Branch 1 of the Tree of Life
Nearly a century ago, Rowan Nemed died by lightning strike. The divine bolt ignited something magic and she was transformed into something rare, powerful, and fey: sidhe.
Sidhe survival depends much upon one’s ability to remain hidden from other supernatural creatures and magic users who would exploit them. Rowan has lived for several years in the pressure cooker of Hollywood as a set designer, carefully staying away from the camera. However, a spontaneous act of recognition for her work brings Rowan to the notice of Los Angeles’ supernatural community and her freedom is threatened.
Lion shifter Adrian and vampire Simon are best friends and business partners. When they discover Rowan, each wants her for his own. Rowan does her best to dissuade them, for a supernatural matebond means the end of her freedom.
Then demons begin hunting sidhe and Rowan is a prime target. She agrees to exchange her freedom for survival. But which male will Rowan accept? And can she survive when one of them dies in a battle to keep her?
This is the first of three books in The Tree of Life trilogy. The book can be read as a stand-alone novel.
I found the whole exercise in fantasy, fame, and infatuation endlessly entertaining. Since Hollywood’s golden age, the process repeated itself over and over as a particular leading man or lady gripped the nation’s attention and affection and commanded salaries that most folks only dimly imagined.
Firmly ensconced behind the scenes where my anonymity could be protected, I loved making Hollywood magic come to vivid life. That evening’s set raised the bar and even I would have to work hard to exceed its success. Film sets were enhanced by digital wizardry; special effects on live audience sets were much more difficult to pull off, but I—and my small company—did it.
“Rowan, once again Stardust Set Design has created an unbelievably beautiful and fantastic venue,” Bertie Pendergast complimented with a small wave that sparkled and flashed with gold and jewels. Bertie loved his rings. “Troy Ingalls told me that you are definitely chosen as the set designer for his next movie—probably all three of them.” He added as an aside, “Betty Davis is doing the costume design. You’ll want to coordinate with her.”
I smiled and politely accepted the high praise and exceedingly good news from Hollywood’s most prominent B-list actor who was often selected to host several of the self-congratulatory awards programs that actors and moviemakers like to broadcast. These events afforded Hollywood’s darlings, the has-beens, and the ambitious up-and-comers with ample opportunities to flatter themselves, to parade before fans, and to attend decadent and extravagant parties. That night’s Oscars awards program and party was being held at the opulent Kodak Theater.
“Bertie, you’re an angel,” I said when he offered to introduce me to Troy Ingalls, the hottest director in the business who had just signed Derek Wolfe to a three-movie contract for an obscene amount of money. The blonde beauty who accompanied him that night held one of the lead parts in the ensemble cast.
“Troy’s doing a Camelot-based trilogy. The first is based on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” Bertie said with a shrug. “It’s a departure for Derek, but then Tom Cruise did a fabulous job as the vampire Lestat, which really surprised everyone.”
“I take it that Derek is Sir Gawain?”
“He’s too rugged to play Arthur,” Bertie said with a grin. “They’ve got Hammer Allencamp for that role.”
I repressed a groan as the actor just named by Bertie walked past us. He had shoulder-length, blonde hair, an impressive physique, a dangerously beautiful face, and an IQ equivalent to his shoe size.
“It’s a good thing he’s pretty,” Bertie said in a snide undertone.
I choked back a chuckle.
“You know, Rowan,” Bertie began, “I don’t see why you’re not in front of a camera.”
“Because I can’t act,” I retorted. My own accompanying shrug concealed the need for continued anonymity. Discovery meant loss of freedom and that meant someone had to die. I preferred that someone not be me. Patrick Henry said it best: “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Tour will be from December 17th - January 17th
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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