Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Shadows' Nocturne by C.J. Twining and Rien Nadie

C.J. Twining and Rien Nadie are sharing the cover and an excerpt for Shadows' Nocturne today!  Isn't it pretty?  They added a note to say: We're also welcoming folks to ARC for this book as well, link here:


There are two domains which all demons share: Shadow... and fire.

Relic Night, a summoned daemon burdened by his own destructive nature for over two millennia, finds himself at a crossroads between darkness and redemption. As the ashes of a toxic relationship smolder behind him, he takes it as an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to make better choices. However, his ex-lover is an unforgiving fallen angel who sees Relic as nothing more than a possession to claim.

Noah, a dutiful son trapped in the shadow of his family's duty, yearns for a taste of independence, a moment to discover his true identity. As an empath whose powers manifest through touch, he has grown accustomed to keeping people at arm's length. Everything changes when he crosses paths with the enigmatic daemon, a figure he has only heard of in captivating tales.

The attraction between the pair ignites, deadly consequences and tangled obligations be damned. Noah might just be Relic’s best choice, even if Relic is Noah’s worst. Standing in their way is the specter of a vengeful fallen angel hell-bent on destroying Relic and all he holds dear.

There are two things no angel can abide: Demons... and defiance.

Excerpt: (From Shadows' Nocturne Ch 11 - Pianos')

Music was the thing that Relic did for himself. To which he owed no one save his love of it and how he could speak in ways that words never quite served. How could one use such unspecific things as words to express millennia of hurt? Or loves so deep that the foundations of the world were not enough? He'd tried. In a variety of languages. He hung his heart on words of praise from those he loved and yet, despite the tools at his disposal, he never felt like he could adequately express himself. In music, however, in the rise and fall of chords and scales, he came a little closer. As close as he could get.

Perhaps that was one of the things about Noah that so enthralled him. He didn't have to speak. Or even play. Noah could feel. He was an empath and Relic couldn't entirely deceive him. Couldn’t placate him with white lies that he was fine. For good or for ill, Noah could not help but know.

When his hands finally stilled, Relic was breathing hard and shaking a little, head bowed under the indirect filter of dust mote dotted light. It was silent... until he realized he could hear a heartbeat that was not his own. A tension crawled between his shoulder blades and he couldn't turn around, frozen in indecision because he wasn't sure if he was embarrassed, afraid, annoyed, or glad.

"How long have you been listening?"

Noah felt the sudden change of emotion as the music ended and Relic realized he was there. The instantaneousness of it, the unpredictable sudden chaos after what had been smooth, the emotions rising and falling with the music in a way that had drawn him. Like a moth to flame, and he hadn't even really realized that was part of what had called him. He flushed a little and took a step back, feeling like he'd intruded on something personal. Private. It unsettled him to suddenly feel like he was… unwanted? Not that it hurt- he understood levels of intimacy, perhaps more than most. So he felt only a pang of guilt, mingling awkwardly with the fact that what he really wanted to do was kiss him.

But then, when didn't he want to kiss Relic?

"I don't know. For a while." Noah hesitated, then recovered the step he'd taken. Slid his gloved hands over the daemon's tense shoulders in a touch that had been intended to be light and comforting but turned into something a little more like a caress.

Relic took a deep breath and let the moment of intense emotions slide away. It took a particular focus to ease the tension in his hands so that they relaxed and when Noah set his hand to his shoulders he leaned into him without even thinking about it. It was easy to let everything fall away and be held in the embrace of the stillness and quiet of the room, broken by the beat of Noah’s heart and the sound of his breath.

"I love to play. When time moved on and illumination wasn't really a thing anymore, I fell in love with it. A break from…" He didn't finish. It always sounded pathetic to talk about the blood and death of his life. How it was violence and without Dark to keep him and the Templars to give him a purpose, he was lost. And in the keys he still could be, and not founder. "It's hard for me to say what I mean sometimes, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you."

"It was beautiful,” Noah said, forgiveness and acceptance in three simple words.

The daemon ventured a look up into Noah’s shadowed silver eyes, catching the light in a queer way that didn’t seem quite natural. Defying the shadows of the room. Playing made Relic feel naked when he did it like that; without shields or places to hide. Some of the sharpness of him was eased and maybe he looked how he could have been without the cares of centuries.

"Do you think so?" He didn't usually ever play his own compositions for anyone else.

Noah’s hands pressed a little more firmly onto his shoulders and his lips curved in a tentative smile. He started to lean down a little, then stopped, a look of consternation flashing across his face. Slowly one hand slid up the column of Relic’s neck to lightly cover his mouth, and Noah leaned down to kiss him through the barrier. It swayed his body into Relic’s, molding him against the daemon’s back in a way that sent little, delicious shocks through him.

"Yeah," Noah murmured, his mouth gone suddenly dry. "It's... I don't know. It moved me."

His hand on Relic's shoulder slid down, stroking down his chest. They'd been so very careful since they'd decided to make a real go of this. Relic was so careful of him. He was pretty sure he was the one who made it hard. He liked when they walked side by side and he could hook an arm around behind Relic and lace fingers through his belt loops. Hold hands. Nudge his shoulder. Sit close and put a hand on his thigh.

Noah hadn't been brave enough to do more. Definitely not brave enough to bring up the hints of conversation they'd had about being...creative. Pictures and texts were one thing, giving him the comfortable barrier of distance and time.

Relic wanted to kiss Noah for real. In that moment, so badly, he wanted to just reach up and brush fingers through the downy silk of Noah’s hair and kiss him long and deep. Felt the way Noah’s desire reflected his own. He closed eyes and his breath caught as he fought to stay still, to do no more than turn into the touch on his chest. His heart raced.

"I like when you do that. Your hands on me." His eyes fluttered open, gold meeting silver.