One of my challenges in writing The Kure was to convey the strong sense of mutual attraction between John and Sarah. Not that the interest didn’t exist—unfortunately, the conflict preventing them from demonstrating their physical passion was John’s own body and its reaction to a deadly plague that threatened to end any chance of a future together.
Yet the longing between John and Sarah became a mainstay of the story. Fueled by their flirtatious exchanges—the characteristic foreplay of would–be lovers—their unrequited passion was as frustrating as it was compelling as they faced the possibility of their relationship becoming nothing more than a bittersweet memory.
In the following excerpt, John and Sarah have found their way to the barn, the closest shelter from a violent storm. Soaking wet from the pelting rain, Sarah slips into the tack room to remove her clothing, unconcerned that John is watching from just a few feet away . . .
Here’s an excerpt:
If he had known Sarah was going to use a second lantern to illuminate the room’s interior, he would have waited, or sat somewhere else. Now with the light betraying her every move, common courtesy demanded that he direct his focus elsewhere. Until she finished changing, he should pretend to be occupied with adjusting his blanket, or watching the intermittent flashes brighten the loft. But he could no more look away than the ancient sailors could ignore the seductive song of mythic sirens.
She unbuttoned her blouse and bent forward, pulling it free from the tight tuck inside her dress. Breaking the wet seal, she peeled the clinging fabric from her shoulders. Glancing back through the doorway, she saw John staring openly, his gaze unhampered by moral restraint. She simply smiled, granting him permission, allowing him to see her full breasts in the subdued yellow cast of the lantern.
She had left the door open for a reason—not because she needed the light, or had any intention to tempt or tantalize. It was a confirmation of their unspoken bond; they had fought the storm together, and tomorrow they would both learn John’s fate. Any display of feigned virtue or prudish reluctance would have been a sad sequel to the concern and caring—the unspoken desire—that had driven them this far. She had left the door open because there was simply no reason to close it.
John could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He had to find a way to calm himself, to silently assure Sarah that he could appreciate her beauty in the same way she had chosen to reveal it. He had been unconsciously holding his breath. He let it out slowly, demanding that his own body not distract him from Sarah’s.
She reached behind and untied the waistband of her skirt. Without hesitation, she slid it over her hips and let it drop. The thin fabric of her underclothes clung to every contour, every fold, and Sarah made no effort to turn away as she pushed the final piece of damp cotton down her thighs. It fell to her ankles, leaving her naked in the soft, golden light.
The rain beat steady and hard on the roof, its rhythm in concert with the pulsing wind. The horses shuffled about in their stalls, occasionally snorting at the draft of air flowing from the open loft. High above, century-old timbers creaked and groaned with the changing pressure.
Yet John heard none of it. Sarah’s body was a spellbinding vision, her clothing having only hinted at the sheer perfection of her form, and he watched her as though each movement was a sacred revelation, every motion divinely inspired. But as his reverent admiration grew in proportion to his desire, his thoughts were plagued by one inescapable certainty: If the disease could not be arrested by the leeching—if it ultimately took his manhood—he would never know the pleasure of her touch during a playful swim on a warm summer’s evening, or delight in watching the firelight kiss her smooth, inviting skin on a cold winter’s night. If forced to endure the worst possible result of the bloodletting, he would be left with only memories of how the raindrops had sparkled on her face, how her breasts had glistened in the lamp light, and how unhurried and trusting she had been, standing naked before him.
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Here’s a brief synopsis of The Kure:
John Tyler, a young man in his early twenties, awakens to find a ghastly affliction taking over his body. When the village doctor offers the conventional, and potentially disfiguring, treatment as the only cure, John tenaciously convinces the doctor to reveal an alternative remedy—a forbidden ritual contained within an ancient manuscript called the Kure.
Although initially rejecting the vile and sinister rite, John realizes, too late, that the ritual is more than a faded promise scrawled on a page of crumbling paper. And as cure quickly becomes curse, the demonic text unleashes a dark power that drives him to consider the unthinkable—a depraved and wicked act requiring the corruption of an innocent soul.
Ultimately, John must choose between his desperate need to arrest the plague that is destroying his body, and the virtue of the woman he loves, knowing the wrong decision could cost him his life.
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Because of the nature of the theme, The Kure is best suited for an adult reader. For those who would like to learn more about the background and dark historical practices which became an inspiration for the story, I’ve provided some details on my website at the following link:
Author Bio: Jaye Frances is the author of The Kure, a paranormal-occult romance novel, The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age story of high school romance, The Cruise-All That Glitters, a humorous adult satire about romance, and The Beach, a sci-fi fantasy about a man who is given the opportunity to receive his ultimate wish and lives to regret it. She is also a featured columnist for the NUSA SUN magazine. Born in the Midwest, Jaye readily admits that her life’s destination has been the result of an open mind and a curiosity about all things irreverent. When she’s not consumed by her writing, Jaye enjoys cooking, traveling to all places tropical and “beachy” and taking pictures—lots of pictures—many of which find their way to her website. Jaye lives on the central gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, four cameras, and several hundred pairs of shoes. For more information, visit Jaye’s website at www.jayefrances.com, or Jaye’s Blog at http://blog.jayefrances.com
The Kure is available in paperback and kindle eBook from Amazon
Places to stalk Jaye:
My website is: http://www.jayefrances.com
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Jaye is giving away one Kindle copy of the Kure. Comment below with email address.
I will email the winner Saturday September 1.