This is a reading for a fictional character. I do these to help my fellow authors promote their books and to give you a chance to win some things. I am very pleased to have been able to read for Joey Hill’s hero from A Vampire’s Claim–the very sweet and a bit flirtatious, Devlin.
Devlin is a human. Born in the early 20th century, he hails from Australia. I really enjoyed reading for him. He has some secrets that he’s not telling me here, but I am sure he reveals them in his story.
Author Joey Hill is well known for her romances. She is an accomplished writer who writes for Ellora’s Cave as well as Berkley. Her latest book comes out August 4, 2009. And you could win a copy for yourself.
Warning! This is a spicy love story and Dev uses some very real language. On to the reading. Don’t miss that contest at the end!
1. How do you see the people around you?
Here is the 9 of Wands, Devlin. The people around you need your leadership and protection. They may not know it, but that is your role in their life. This man willingly picks up a burning stick to protect what he sees as his.
There is a hesitancy in the way he stands though. As though he is not sure that he should take this role. But it is a role you can not refuse, is it? You were simply born to take care of others.
There is a tendency in you to try to save others. This may lead you into some problematic situations.
Devlin’s Response: A man’s supposed to protect those who need protecting, whether it’s his family, his country, or just a good bastard who’s run on some hard luck. Or a pretty sheila who thinks she doesn’t need any protecting, when you see it entirely different.
Don’t get me wrong, Lady Danny can hold her own against most anything. She’s brave as any bloke I met in the war, and I met a lot of brave lads there. She’s wicked with a saber and a fair hand with a stock whip. But sometimes that confidence gets her in hip deep, if you know what I mean. The night I met Danny, I’d come into a pub from the bush, and had nothing on my mind but popping the tops on a few stubbies. Maybe finding a soft and willing sheila to… Well, I found Danny instead. Course, she was willing, sure enough. But soft? <chuckle> She damn near killed me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I loved every minute of it. Her rough way stirs me up, for sure.
Yeah, she was trouble, from head to toe. I could tell that before I even knew she was a vampire. But something about her…I guess I just knew she needed someone to watch her arse (and a fine arse it is), no matter how she felt about me.
You see, vampires…well, they consider humans inferior, and if you decide to fall in with one, you’re pretty much viewed as that vampire’s property. So figuring out what my place is with her has been a tough one
It’s a mess of my own making, though. No matter how intense that first night got, there were no strings attached. The day after, she took off, giving me the chance to leave it at that. But then I found out she had some pikers chasing after her, and I couldn’t just let that stand, could I? No matter how strong you think you are, when your enemies close in, you need someone to watch your back. I couldn’t see leaving her on her own, no matter how invincible she thinks she is.
2. How are you seen by the people around you?
You represent a mystery to them. They do not quite get you, do they? The HPS shows that you have some nurturing qualities as well as those protective ones we discussed. Definitely Earth material.
There seems to be a dance going on here. I wonder who is really in the power role when the HPS shows up in this spot.
Devlin’s Response: You hit a bit close to the vein, don’t you, love? Course <snort>, I don’t know a woman breathing who doesn’t have secrets. As for me, I may not feel like talking about some things – what happened to my family, the war, the way I feel about Danny – but I don’t know if that’s what you call secrets, right? I guess most of that’s not a secret to her, anyway. She has a way of drawing the truth out of a man, lancing the boil and being there to put her lips to the wounds, making it all seem far more bearable than it should be.
However, as far as the “not getting me” part, that’s sure as hell on target. She thinks because she’s an all powerful vampire, she’s supposed to be protecting me. And vampires, they have this whole domination thing going on. When you officially become a vampire’s servant, a big part of that <uncomfortable shifting>, well, it has to do with the fucking part of things. I’ve never been one to let a sheila hold the reins on me in the bed, so sometimes it’s a bit of a tussle between us, you know?
I mean, hell, right after we first met, I had to pull her out from under a burning Rover and figure out how to keep the Outback sun from broiling her like a fish. I think things like that rile her up, because she’s never supposed to be vulnerable. But there are times she’ll relax, get that soft smile on her face, and I know she’ll let me coddle her some.
3. What is your most important goal?
The Ten of Pentacles is a card about family and community. You need to belong to something. You need to know exactly where your place is with those around you.
You worry about who is going to watch your family when you are gone. There is a need to be there for them forever if you can but can you really?
Prosperity figures into this as well. Something about never being broke again. Not sure where I am getting that from. But this is about your place in your community. How you fit.
Devlin’s Response: I’m not much on possessions, you’re right about that. I was raised part of my life by Aborigines, and I tend to agree with their take on property. If a man needs a thing, he uses it, then when he’s done with it, he lays it down for the next bloke who needs it. I have a pack of things, like my stockwhip and my billies for cooking, and that’s pretty much all I brought with me when I took up with Lady Danny.
I admit, I can be a little possessive about her, but then, I expect I’m always going to need her – don’t think I want to lay her down for some other bludger. Of course, she tends to see me as her possession, even though she’s a little more open than most vampires about the whole “humans are inferior” nonsense. Still, she and I do run into a bit of trouble with “my place”. I’m her third-marked servant, but it wasn’t by my choice. There were some things going on, she thought I was going to get killed if I didn’t have some extra protection, so she tricked me into the marking.
I’m not saying I’m not fine staying by her side for the next 300 years, but she needs to be more about the asking rather than the telling. I’m always going to be at her side – that’s my place, and she shouldn’t try to shake me from it. A couple times we almost went our separate ways, but that didn’t work out so well for us. We came to the conclusion we’d rather spend a couple centuries arguing about my proper place than spending it without one another. Guess in that regard, I don’t mind calling it “belonging to her”. Just wish she wouldn’t be so stubborn about that shoe fitting both feet.
As far as skills, I’m a fair stock hand, good with horses and sheep, and I can do pretty much anything with a stockwhip. My lady Danny likes that about me – the first night we met she challenged me to give her a kiss with the end of it without leaving a mark. After that, things got pretty interesting… I know a lot about the bush, and that’s helped me keep my lady out of trouble more than once. So though some of those skills were hard won, I’m glad I have them, and that they’ve come in handy. I also went to Oxford, and learned some poetry that softens her up at times (wink).
Yeah, I worry about her losing me. You know, she can live about as long as she needs to. As her servant, I’ll live about 300 years, which most folks would consider not worth complaining about, since they might get a third of that. But I think of her having to get along without me, and it rubs me wrong She doesn’t trust easy, and though she pretends it’s otherwise, I know she counts on me to be the person she can let into her head, you know?
Death doesn’t really care about our feelings on the matter, though. I just need to take good care of her while I’m breathing and above ground. As far as prosperity, I’ve always thought being part of a family was the best wealth there is, so if that means prosperity, yeah, I’d do a lot to keep from being without that again.
4. Where do you get your strength from?
Ah, the Ace of Pentacles is the seed of earth energy. Your strength comes from your own steadfastness although some might call it bullheaded stubbornness. Yet this gives you the strength to do what you do.
In your lowest times, you know how to dig dig dig deep until you find that one seemingly last piece of strength. And then you get the job done.
I pity the person who thinks they can break you. With the Ace of Pentacles in your back pocket, that’s going to be very hard to do.
Devlin’s Response: My lady came in to listen to this and now she’s giving me that eye you sheilas do, telling me that she thinks you’re dead on. Bullheaded stubbornness? That brought a smile to her pretty lips – course, if she went head to head with one of our steers, I’d have an ice pack handy for the poor fella’s head when she was done with him. Ow…<grunt> She just gave me a right smart pinch.
I don’t know about always knowing the right thing. I see something a certain way, and my gut tells me that’s the way I’ve got to go, no matter what, right? Life’s hard. During the war, there were times you thought—there’s no way I can hold it together through this—but you just do, because you don’t get that choice. You’re the front line, and behind you is home. You’re the only thing standing between the enemy and everything that matters to you. Without a home, you’ve got nothing. I’ve been there, and it’s a lonely place.
There’ve been times I worried I wouldn’t have that last piece of strength you mentioned. But when I think I’m about to hit that bottom, I think of Danny needing me, and that’s that.
Danny marked me when I was about forty. I’ve seen a lot of things happen since then, and I know that there’s a lot of touchy-feely stuff that goes on with blokes now, them wanting to be sensitive. That’s all well and fine – they can cry like sheilas if they have to, but they still need to be men when the moment calls for it.
5. Why do you want to be remembered?
This is another card about community. Family seems to be important to you although I feel like it is your found or chosen family rather than blood family.
The community will thrive and survive because of your sacrifices. That is important to you. You want to be remembered for putting them before you.
Devlin’s Response: Well, I don’t know about all that. That makes me sound pretty noble. I want to be there when Danny needs me, and the rest of the folks at her station. We’ve got people there that depend on us, with families, and of course on top of the daily hardships of making a life in the bush, we’ve always got some vampires in the territory stirring up trouble that Danny has to deal with.
Guess I’m glad I popped open a cold one before we started, love, because you sure stir some old ghosts. Danny – or ‘my lady’, since she’s around to hear and might decide to get all high brow with me – doesn’t care for me drinking, because she says the beer stirs up those old ghosts a bit too much. But sometimes it’s a comfort to a man, you know? Probably the same way you sheilas feel about chocolate when you’re having a sad day.
Yeah, well, I lost my first family, my wife and son, back before the war. They’re why I joined up, trying to find something to do with everything boiling inside of me about that. I never wanted to be one of those blokes that went to the moon or invented some great new contraption. I wanted to watch my boy grow up, go to bed with my wife every night, grow old with her while we ran a modest station. Guess that dream wasn’t meant for me.
Danny… She wasn’t my idea of a family, but that’s the way life works. I think of her that way now, and even more. She’s why I get up and breathe every day. Sometimes, when night falls and she starts to stir, it’s like…well I know taking care of her and making sure the family and people of our world are safe and well, that’s what I’m meant to do. The best times are when we’ll lie in the front bedroom at night, and I’ll hold her in my arms. I know in those moments, listening to the night sounds and the wind through the curtains, that we’re as close as two people can get, and nothing else needs to be said.
Strewth, you get a man to thinking too much. Why don’t you put your pretty cards away and have a cold one with us? Maybe we’ll play something on the jukebox and sing along. Life’s too short for a man to be thinking this much, love.<wink>
Lady Daniela has never taken a full human servant. At two hundred years, she’s always put it off, having a bachelor’s attitude toward bonding with another, even an inferior human. However, on her return to her sheep station in Western Australia in 1953, she meets Dev, a war veteran and laconic bushman, who has the talents to help her reclaim her station from her mother’s lover, who usurped her position there forty years before.
But after she takes care of that nasty bit of business, she’s also intending to rid Western Australia of a corrupt Region Master who is 500 years old and therefore over twice her age and strength. While a full human servant, particularly one with Dev’s unique talents, can augment her skills and resources, the more she gets to know him, the more reluctant she is to bind him to her in a way that might get him killed. But Dev has his own thoughts on the matter, and she will soon find it’s easier for a vampire to survive in the desert sun than for her to survive without him by her side.
Want to read more about Devlin and Danny? For an excerpt from Vampire’s Claim, and all the books in the Vampire Queen series, you can go to Joey Hill’s site and choose Vampire Queen series or click here.
But what about the contest?
I’m getting to that, greedy Gerts! Make a comment on this posting and Joey will choose a winner at random to receive a signed copy of the reader’s choice of any of her titles, including the newest release, Beloved Vampire coming from Berkley August 4, 2009! I’ll notify the winner in a week, on July 31.
So, get to commenting! If you are a Joey Hill fan already, tell me why you love her work. I have to admit, I’ve not read a single Joey Hill book. I am going to fix that this weekend though! Doing this reading for Dev made me want to read this story. And you know me, I can’t start in the middle! I have to read the first one first. It’s the OCD in me.
Don’t forget! Next Friday is the last day to sign up for tmy Hero’s Journey workshop. Learn more here.