I have with me today Jessica Mankiller, the heroine from V.S. Nelson’s, latest episode in her Sekhmet’s Guardian series, Eternal Nights. Jessica’s story is one of the most unusual ones I have ever heard of.
Jessica why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, how you came to be and what the book Eternal Nights is about?
Thank you, I’d be happy to. To make a very long story short, I’ll try to condense the 590 page book and my life story by giving you the facts about me first.
You see, I was born five years after my sister Jennifer, the heroine from Eternal Lovers, book one of the series. My mother dumped me, just like she did Jennifer, on my grandparents. They were very poor and barely surviving as it was. After I was born, my grandmother kept me hidden in the cabin where I was born for a few days while she tried to keep me alive. Being born premature with weak lungs, the old medicine woman did everything she could to keep me breathing. Sadly, her healing abilities weren’t strong enough, but they were strong enough to give me a second chance at life. You see she merged my life essence with that of a young wolf pup then gave the pup to Jennifer as a companion. Now Grams had full intention of undoing what she had done once I was better, but the angels took her before she was able to undo her spell or tell anyone what she had done.
For twenty years I remained as I had always been, locked inside another being. Even Jennifer, who was very close to the wolf, Nowaki, didn’t know I existed. Now, I’m not complaining mind you, I was content to go on living and seeing life through the eyes of another until Raphael along with a few friends came to pick Nowaki up at a wolf rescue. One look at him and I knew, he and I were meant to be together. I just had to find away to make my presence know and find away to undo what Grams had done. Sounded simple enough at the time—but it wasn’t. That’s for sure.
I finally managed to enter Raphael’s dreams at night while he slept. Poor man thought he was going loco once I started talking to him through the wolf.
It wasn’t too long after that Raphael and I were out running in the wilderness when he was shot. Nowaki and I took off after the assailant and avenged our Raphael but not before I was hurt pretty bad. As I lay upon his chest, I was convinced the three of us would die together.
It was about that time Grams in her ghost form made an appearance to Jennifer and shared the story of what she had done. Then she asked Jennifer to perform the separation ritual.
Thankfully, the Guardian soldiers and Jennifer found Raphael and I, then brought us back to the lake estate where we both were operated on. I was pretty out of it for a while but from what I understand, that is when Raphael learned he wasn’t go crazy and that I truly existed. Once we were well enough, a group of us headed back to where I was born so Jennifer could do the ritual. As you can see, she did manage to complete the ritual, but not without some complications. Those I will remain quiet about—too many spoilers can spoil a great book. Anyway, I became whole for the first time in twenty years and had a lot to learn; like how to walk and eat with silverware… Not so simple for someone who has relied on four legs her entire life.
Raphael and I finally mated and are planning on living together forever – making my dream come true.
I’ve brought with me a little snippet from the book I’d like to share with you. It’s the scene where Jennifer and I talk for the first time while I was still sharing Nowaki’s body.
“Raphael, tell me about the woman.”
“Jennifer, I don’t think we need to upset him again… he’s been through too much…”
“No, I need to hear about her, please.”
Jennifer gave him one of her famous, Shut up, I need to know looks.
He nodded at the two of them. He wasn’t sure why it was important to her but she evidently had something on her mind.
“It’s important, please, Raphael, tell me about her.”
Raphael blushed like a high school girl then admitted he dreamed about the young woman more than once. He didn’t go into the intimate details of his dreams but he could see his friend had it bad for her.
“The first time I saw her in person was in the woods when she appeared from out of nowhere and offered her wrist to me. The second time was when I woke and she was asleep on my chest. Guess from what you and Michael said, my sub-conscious mind was playing one hell of trick on me.”
Jennifer, without saying a word turned and started to walk out the door. He picked up on Jennifer’s thoughts immediately. He stopped her from leaving the room by placing his massive palm on her arm.
“Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?”
She nodded, “I’ll be right back.”
Standing on her tip toes, she kissed him on the cheek, left the room and went next door. He didn’t hesitate to follow her.
“Jennifer, please don’t.”
The circumstances were much different now than they were when Jennifer jumped ship some months back but the fear of losing her again overrode his reasoning abilities.
“Honey, it’s ok. She’s right here. It’s not like it was before. I’m in control.”
“Yeah, but what if something goes wrong? She’s out cold, drugged. I just can’t bear to go through that again. If something were to happen…”
It had only been a few months since Jennifer placed her essence inside Nowaki after being attacked by a breed in a Hollywood hotel. He flew her back to the compound in Illinois thinking she was in shock. In doing so, he almost lost her until her father informed them what she was and her life force and body were too far away from one another for her to return to her own body. He still carried the guilt that in his attempt to help her, he damn near killed her.
She took hold of his arm and tried to comfort him. He wrapped his arms around her and held her as tight as he dared.
“OK, OK, I promise I won’t go anywhere. But there might be another way.”
Knowing she had always been able to communicate with Nowaki without speaking she was going to try reaching out to her with her mind without leaving her own body. She wasn’t sure if it would work considering Nowaki was out cold. Reassuring her mate once more she told him what she was going to attempt. She asked him to remain still and hold on to her.
She turned around and faced Nowaki. She leaned her back into Gabe’s muscular chest. Gabriel’s arms tightened around her stomach as he breathed in unison with her.
Silently, she called out, “Jessica…Jessica…Jessica, are you there?”
Jennifer was sure she felt two presences in the wolf’s body for the first time. Then she heard the unspoken familiar female voice.
“I am here, as I have always been.”
The voice was soft and mumbled as if someone was waking from a deep sleep. Oh, thank God. It really is you.
Although Jennifer hadn’t been aware of Jessica until recently, Jessica explained to her she had always known about her. She remained silent for years; hidden behind the voice of the wolf, until Jennifer became trapped in the wolf’s body some months back.
The two conversed for some time. Jennifer explained what Grams said and Jessica explained why she remained hidden for years. Jennifer finally asked her what happened in the forest with Raphael.
Jessica told her what she already suspected. She took over Nowaki’s body, laid the wolves bleeding wound up to his mouth because she sensed he would die without the blood. She then passed out on his chest believing both the wolf and she were going to die from the wolf’s injuries. Jessica said she was content and would die happy as she had saved Raphael.
Eternal Nights in addition to V.S. Nelson’s other work are available through her author’s Amazon page. Her books are available in regular paperback, large print an of course e-format. Signed editions are still available but if you want one you’ll have to contact her directly through her website or write to her directly at Virginia@authorvsnelson.com
You can also find V.S. Nelson around cyberspace at the following locations.