I’m very excited to unveil my Lovecraft-Indiana Jones-Sherlock Holmes inspired novel Widdershins to an unsuspecting public. This book is dear to my heart: although never employed by a museum, my first degree was in archaeology and as a student I worked with museums quite often. As a result, I relished the chance to write about a Victorian-Era hero employed by a museum during the great age of scientific exploration. Of course, Whyborne would rather hide in his office than explore his own hometown, let alone traipse around the globe. It takes a certain ex-Pinkerton detective to convince him to come out of his shell, as in this excerpt:
The explosion was deafening; a huge cloud of fire rolled out the window after us, its immense heat brushing against my face as we tumbled into the snow.
We hit the ground and rolled. Flaming debris from the house came down around us; Griffin shoved me flat on my back, covering us both with his heavy coat.
The echoes of the explosion reflected back across the river, then slowly dwindled away, like dying thunder. The leaping flames threw warm light onto the falling snow, turning it into a storm of sparks pouring down from the heavens.
Griffin started to push himself off of me, then stopped. His hands were braced to either side of my shoulders, his legs twined with mine. My heart pounded, my palms sweated, and I was suddenly, acutely aware of how close his face was to mine.
“You’re a madman,” he whispered. “An utter madman.”
“Perhaps,” I allowed. “But it worked.”
The leaping light from the burning house painted his features in gold, highlighting his patrician nose and finding the threads of brown and blue in his green eyes. His pupils widened, the irises contracting to slivers. “Whatever am I to do with you?” he murmured.
The warmth of his breath feathered over my skin. Heat collected in my groin, my lips. My mouth was dry, my voice hoarse, and perhaps he was right and it was madness when I whispered, “Whatever you want.”
A shiver went through his body, perhaps because we were lying on the cold ground. But instead of getting up, he leaned closer, his overlong hair tumbling over his forehead. He paused, his mouth almost touching mine, his eyes seeming to ask a question.
It was madness; it was folly; it was sheer selfishness. I was delusional, misguided, wrong, out of control. I needed to pull back, to say something sane, to re-establish mastery over myself. I could not do this. I could not take this risk.
Later tonight, I’d relive this moment in my lonely bed and wonder if I’d done the right thing. But at least that would be familiar, would be something I knew how to cope with.
And yet the very thought felt like dying.
I surged forward, crossing the final, tiny gap and pressing my lips to his. It was awkward and desperate and frantic, but the feel of his mouth against mine sent a bolt of electricity straight down my spine. Just a moment, just this one kiss, surely that would be enough…
Then he kissed me back, and it would never be enough, a thousand years of this would not be enough. His mouth was hungry and insistent, his tongue probing my lips, asking for greater intimacy. I granted it, tongues swirling together, mine following his when it retreated and tasting him in return.
Widdershins is available at these fine retailers: