04 February 2010

Excerpt Thursday: Jennifer Linforth

This week on Excerpt Thursday, we're welcoming contributor Jennifer Linforth as she celebrates the release of ABENDLIED, the second in her Madrigals series, which continues Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera. ABENDLIED is available for purchase from Highland Press and all of the major online bookstores. Join us Sunday when Jennifer will be here to answer questions and give away a signed copy.

Desiring normalcy is difficult enough with a price on his head, but when Erik is falsely accused of killing Philippe de Chagny, brother of his nemesis Raoul, he is launched toward madness.

Anna is an unlikely companion, sharing Erik's heart and the bounty on his head. As the manhunt heats, Erik's mysterious relationship with Philippe spurs the campaign against them and exposes her darkest secret: defending her honor ended in murder.

Plagued by his past as The Phantom of the Opera, Erik's memories enslave his heart to Raoul's wife Christine, whose shocking confession brings a ruthless bounty hunter into the fray and blackmail to the Chagny bloodline. Blackmail from a hunter who cares little about the Phantom or Philippe and everything about the one he has lusted for: Anna.

With the past weeping like an open wound, can love endure or will it take the memories of one unlikely man to heal them all?

He thought to lean to one side and be done with it. The exhaustion over fighting his desires for Christine, the constant tug of war with madness coupled with fearing he would destroy the one woman who made him feel alive, was unbearable punishment.

"I never believed in Your sincerity of bringing Anna to me. Shocked are we? Surprised for a brief moment I believed?" Erik rolled his head toward the side and pressed his cheek to the stone. His accusatory eyes could have shattered the pinpricks of light across the heavens. "Congratulations, Oh Merciful God, You failed again. Anna can have You and Your Son." He yanked himself upright, his body going rigid with his anger. "I am pleased Philippe is dead!"

Spittle flew from sob soaked lips. His mouth spread upward. He may be alone for now, but not forever. There was to be an heir to his kingdom, a child with his mind and his madness. Erik spoke to the shattered stone below with an unblinking stare.

"I will have my child, in all his hideous imperfections. I will need no one but him and my music. I will need only his love. As for Christine?" Erik leapt to his feet. The wind flapped his cloak behind him. He leaned into the gust and taunted the streets below like a great yellow-eyed bird ready to swoop on unsuspecting prey. "Our character becomes our destiny. Music, like life, is inexpressible silence without its instrument. Am I not its master? I hold the baton. I will conduct what I want. I will have what I want. What is Erik without Christine?"

Leaping back to the roof he retrieved his mask and turned to the opera house, his boots drumming a cadence so the ferryman could dutifully follow. A haunting whisper carried his sadness forward on the wind.

"What is Erik without the Phantom?"