"Take The Journey" – Exploring Humanity
by: Stephanie Burkhart
My latest release is "The Wolf's Torment," a paranormal romance set in the 1860's in the Romanian principality of Moldavia. It has witches, werewolves, and a couple of other creatures of the night. Crown Prince Mihai Sigmaringen is a witch. Can he save his family from a deadly werewolf?
As a young girl growing up on the gothic romances of Victoria Holt, I had a natural predisposition toward the unknown – the supernatural. I loved Holt's spooky mansions, secrets, and dark, haunting ambience. But most gothic events have their unexplainable events rooted in a natural cause. With a paranormal romance, the unexplainable has a very unnatural cause. That's one of the attractions to me – to explore the unexplainable. There are witches, werewolves, vampires, etc., all fantastical creatures, but it’s the traits and qualities which makes these creatures "human" that I like to explore.
In "The Wolf's Torment," my hero, Mihai Sigmaringen, has to come to terms with being a witch. He has to accept who he is – a very human concept many can identify with.
A werewolf bites Mihai's best friend, Viktor Bacau. Viktor is a good, honest man now driven by demons that threaten to destroy his world. While Viktor's demon is quite literal – a wolf – most can equate that with more modern demons. For example, drugs. Viktor's demon is an inner one. Drugs, also is similar. Both are gradual, but over time, marked.
Mihai and Viktor are best friends, but do their inner torments drive them apart or does their humanity solidify their bond? Next to Mihai's story, Viktor's story and his struggle with his feral nature will resonate with readers.
Paul Walker, inspiration for the character of "Viktor."
Enjoy this excerpt:
Viktor led his horse into the stables, glad to be done with his trip to Mulfaltar. A stable boy took the animal's reins, and Viktor made his way toward the closest entrance. He felt sated in an odd way. Sated, yet the goose bumps pricked his arms.
He inhaled deeply, finding comfort in the familiar salty scent of the Black Sea. This was his home, and more than anything, he would fight for it -- and his wife. He was a man, not a beast, and determined to show an iron will when it came to his control over his feral nature.
Viktor glanced toward the shore. Only one royal yacht was moored. Mihai must be on his honeymoon. There was work to be done, and the sooner Viktor got involved, the better.
He walked into the rear entrance and into the kitchen. Miss Pompeli hovered over the stove stirring a stockpot.
"Lord Bacau! What a pleasant surprise."
He smiled. "It smells wonderful. What are you cooking?"
"A simple chicken stew. It seems to help the king."
"How is my wife?"
"She's havin' a good day, my Lord."
"And the king?"
"He's been coughin' up blood again, but he won't take the laudanum. Says he wants his wits about him for the railroad business."
Viktor hesitated. He wanted to bathe, but perhaps he should check on the king first.
"Thank you, Daciana. I look forward to dinner."
She nodded. Viktor departed and made his way toward the king's study. He heard Sonia's father coughing just as he got to the door and Viktor paused, drawing in a deep breath. The king reminded him of his own father, gracious and accommodating. He treated Viktor as if Viktor were his own son and had wholeheartedly approved of his marriage to Sonia. Viktor was resolved not to let the king down. He knocked on the door.
Viktor walked in. The king stood in front of a map, his arms crossed. He smiled when he saw Viktor.
"It's good to have you back, Son."
"It's good to be back."
"How is your family?"
"Well." Viktor hated lying to the king. He couldn't be told the truth of Viktor's condition, so he had been told that Viktor went to visit his family in the Ukraine.
"What are you looking at?" asked Viktor.
"This is a proposed route of the railroad. There is a matter of a small hill. They can set the track around the hill or blast through it. By going around the hill, it will add fifteen minutes to the travel time. To blast and clear the hill puts the project's finish in October."
"Is October feasible?"
"It will be close. The ground starts to frost over toward the end of the month."
Viktor rubbed his chin with a finger. He liked the idea of blasting and clearing the hill for the quicker route.
"Well, what say you?" asked the king.
"Go through the hill."
The king chuckled. "Yes, that's what I was thinking as well -- but it will be up to you and Mihai to see to it the work is done in time."
Viktor arched an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"It won't be much longer, Son. I have weeks to live, if that."
Viktor swallowed, tucking his hands under his armpits. Everyone respected the king, despite his gruff ways. He'd done much good for the principality, his main accomplishment being the construction of the docks in Constanta, making the city a viable seaport and bringing more trade to the Romanian principalities.
"Son, I think you're going to miss me."
"Yes. So will Sonia and Mihai."
The king gestured toward his drinking cabinet. Viktor accompanied him and the king poured them each some brandy. "I've got regrets, Boy." The king paused, then sat down in the chair across from the sofa.
Viktor sat on the sofa.
"I loved my wife and when I see Sonia look at you, I know she's found that same feeling." Again, the king the paused and drew in a breath that rattled his lungs. "Don't be foolish with my daughter's heart."
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The Wolf's Torment is available as an ebook only on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Ereader. Formats include: PDF, html, and epub which can be found on the Publisher's Website at: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-163/Stephanie-Burkhart-Moldavian-Moon/Detail.bok
About the Author: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She also served as an MP in the US Army. Multi-published, she has a children's book, "The Giving Meadow" with 4RV Publishing. She's an avid reader , loves coffee in the morning, and her favorite movie "werewolf" is David Thewlis, Lupin from Harry Potter.
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