Cursed by Diamonds (A Dance with Destiny)by J.K. Ensley
How much of yourself can you sacrifice before you are no longer who you once were? Is it worth it? Is winning worth any price? Is freedom?
Every curse has a blessing and every blessing has a curse. When you stand face to face with your destiny, will you be able to tell one from the other?
In a world filled with darkness and hate, ignorance and fear, the only answer needed should be love and light, happiness and acceptance. Well, it should be.
Good versus evil, daylight over darkness, Angels or demons...the age old epic battle rages through the universe. One thing always rings true, love triumphs over all.
But, what if a pure and loving heart unintentionally caused Angels to fall, demons to rise, and blurred the line between heaven and hell?
Jenevier owns such a heart. An innocent, unadulterated purity that is too quick to find good where none exists. Her blind trust and radiant soul could be the answer long sought, or, it could mark the end of us all.
An epic journey of love and magic, curses and trials, joys and pain, Cursed by Diamonds is only the beginning.
Follow this fragile maiden; thrust upon a fated path wrought with world altering decisions, as she blindly begins A Dance with Destiny.
And, this little tune may change all our lives.
JK Ensley is a native Tennessean by way of Missouri, born there and quickly ushered down South. A product of public school and private college, she spent her early twenties bouncing across the country. Fascinated by rich culture, ancient customs, and thick accents, she is compelled to drink in the many exquisite differences humanity is gifted with. A self-described, happily divorced mother of three with a stressful day job and an uber common minivan, she does little to hide her wicked wit, advanced sarcasm, and extreme shoe addiction. "At the core of me, I'm one slightly twisted, pink haired, sword wielding, invisible ninja with a laptop, an imagination, and very little me time. That's just who I am. I'm comfortable in my skin and I love my life. Totally not kidding about the hair, the swords, or the laptop, I might have stretched it just a little with the invisible part."
First Chapter Previews
“There are many different shades of love and hate…
and it is a very fine line which separates them.”
Moonlight spread across her face and glistened off the beads of sweat covering her brow. Deep blue eyes sprang open and frantically searched the darkened room, she released a sigh.
Jenevier had always been a wildly vivid dreamer, but life, this life, her life, had transformed her sleeping mind into a tumultuous torrent of fear and panic.
Once, she had dreamt of enchanting, mythical creatures playing in the morning sunlight as it slipped through the tree tops to the dew soaked glades below. Those fairytale creatures had now been transformed into fanged demons and grotesque atrocities. Monsters, their wings dipped in blood, roaming the night, devouring all the innocence and bliss the world once held. She could not quite grasp what had changed her lovely dreams so drastically. The answer seemed to be out there teetering on the very edge of consciousness, just beyond her reach.
Sweet rest shall not visit me this night, she thought.
Rubbing the sleep from her eyes, she surveyed her quaint, moonlit room. Pillows strewn about, covers mussed and partially off the bed, a book lay face down with pages crumpled upon the floor, all evidence of her restless mind.
Opening the tiny drawer in her nightstand, she drew out the matches and stumbled to the kitchen.
Her reflection appeared ghostly within the panes as she stared absently out the window. The first rays of the newly breaking dawn were trying desperately to reach down and touch her peaceful little home. A keen whistle from the boiling teapot snapped her mind from its nebulous roaming.
Letting her head loll back, Jenevier looked up into the expansive canopy of the ancient winslet tree as her favorite chair swung back and forth from its mighty limbs.
This is my favorite place in the whole world, mine own paradise.
She was constantly amazed at how perfect this place truly was. The unimposing little cottage was surrounded by a deliciously fragrant flower garden that sloped down to touch her sleepy little stream which slid lazily behind the modest stables. Her favorite part was the magical looking forest that encompassed it all. She was blessed with peaceful happiness and beauty in abundance, until the dreams came.
Breathing in the floral aroma of the steaming tea, she was morbidly captivated with the first tiny ray of morning light as it touched her swinging toe. In and out of the light, back and forth, she watched absently as the determined little beam grew to touch the top of her foot and started its slow ascent up her outstretched leg.
“In the light…in the darkness…in the day…in the night…” She watched the hungry little ray grab for her foot only to lose it once more to the shadows. “Horrid dreams,” she mumbled.
She relished the glorious morning glow spreading across her face and let its nurturing warmth cover her a few moments more. She stood and turned toward the stables.
Therein lives my heart.
Her golden curls lost their sunlit glow when she swung wide the old wooden doors and entered. Raven was the first to respond. He ran toward her, anxiously awaiting her touch upon his majestic brow. This horse seemed always in tune with her emotions and she knew their souls must be connected in some strange way.
Her mare, Epona, was a stunning beauty; she sparkled like spun gold. Crowned with a ghostly white mane and luxurious tail that fell fluidly to the ground, she was powerful and alluring, holding her head aloft and looking down upon all other creatures. Jenevier loved Epona, but she did not have the same connection with the mare as she did with Raven.
Raven was a creature unlike any other; he was a huge stallion with hair darker than a moonless night. This enchanting beast boasted a silken mane and tail so black they flamed blue in the vibrant midday sun. In some of her dreams, Raven appeared to protect her from the horrors rampaging ferociously through her once quiescent world. Jenevier often carried on entire conversations with the horse and he seemed to listen. She was certain his deep black eyes showed compassion and understanding.
These majestic creatures would never betray her and she would protect them even unto death.
“Come. Walk with me.”
The three friends strolled out into the breathtaking brilliance of another perfect day. Epona kicked up her heels and ran large circles near the edge of the darkened tree line. Jenevier was captivated by the enchanting scene the golden horse made shining wildly in the sun and shadowed by the forest.
“I wish to play by the river, Raven.”
She placed her hand upon his powerful neck and together they walked down the hill to the outmost edge of the western trees.
Strolling by the deep, still waters, she recounted what she could remember of her epically bizarre dreams. “I cannot recall the whole of it. My surroundings were blurred, but the demons were real, Raven, as real as you can get in a dream. They were horribly vivid as they ravaged and destroyed all the things I loved…all the things I treasured.”
She spent the better part of the day soaking up the precious sun, tossing stones in the water, counting the rolling ripples, and talking to her dear friend. Around dusk, Jenevier returned to the stables and began all the usual tasks of feeding, watering, and brushing. As she worked, she hummed some long forgotten tune remembered anew.
Another day had slipped away before she even realized it. She sat down upon the lounge in the hallway, exhausted. Sleep fell hard upon her.
She woke when she landed on the ground with a jolt. The second terrifying clap of thunder sped up her already racing heart. The almost constant lightning sent dancing flashes of the darkened stable to her blurry eyes. Jenevier got to her feet and stumbled through the shadows, feeling for a lamp. Intermittent flashes illuminated the stables and she could plainly see Epona’s golden hair as the mare paced nervously within her confines. She heard Raven before she could actually see him. He was dark, the shadows swallowed him. When the lamp caught his eyes, she could see he was terrified beyond controlling.
Something bad is coming this way, something powerful. I smell anger swirling about me; I can taste it on the air.
She tried to coax the maddened horse with coos and clicks when a crack of thunder sent him rushing toward her gentle voice like a needy child. Rubbing his brow with both hands, Jenevier kissed his nose and spoke sweetly as she shushed away his fears. Raven calmed in her hands and she felt his pulse lessen and his breathing steady. He stilled, yet his eyes remained wild and haunted.
“What a good boy. Shhhhh, now. It is but a little storm. No harm, it will soon pass. I am here, I will not leave you.”
The raging wind blew the stable doors open with a crash. A hauntingly familiar voice drifted down the hallway. It rocked her hazy mind as it mingled with a deep growl and was carried away by the wind. Raven jerked free and went mad within his stall. Epona kicked the walls and neighed loudly. As quickly as it had rushed in, the wind died away and left an even eerier calmness hanging in the rain soaked air.
She cautiously opened the stall door. The terrified horse saw a glimpse of freedom and bolted. She grabbed for his long mane and the sheer force of this powerful steed slung her half upon his back. Pulling herself upright on the horrified beast, she wrapped her arms around his neck, closed her eyes, and held on for dear life.
Jenevier could have jumped before Raven reached the now open barn doors, but this was her beloved friend and she refused to let him experience this horrific fear alone. The blinding rain felt like needles against her bare arms. She raised her head slightly, her sodden curls stuck to her face like a giant web. Seeing the western side of the forest fast approaching, where the placid lake lay just beyond the tree line, Jenevier screamed at Raven and pulled back hard on his mane. She knew the horse would not stop, he could not hear her through his blind terror. She laid her head upon his neck and wrapped her arms tightly around him.
“Then, let it come swiftly,” she whispered.
She felt the ground soften beneath his massive hooves and saw the moonlight dancing across the tiny ripples. She laced her fingers through his beautiful, wavy mane.
“I love you, Raven.” Her words trailed off into the night air.
There was a cold, wet rush. Then, complete darkness.