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Please note that the stories reviewed in this blog are Romances, and as such, often contain explicit sexuality.

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Review: The Hunt – C.J. Ellisson

Copy of The Hunt NEW

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Expected Release Date: June 26, 2014
Publisher: Red Hot Publishing
Imprint: N/A
Author’s Website: http://www.cjellisson.com
My Source for This Book: Gift from the publisher
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, VV Inn Series
Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but works well as a standalone
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Rape/Dubious Consent, Shifting POVs

Official Blurb:

Vivian thinks she can control every aspect of a deadly game with her usual manipulations… but what if she can’t? 

Seven vampires and seven werewolves pay to hunt a supernatural criminal across the cold, vast grounds of an Alaskan resort. The one to catch her, and live through the encounter, will increase their power by feasting on hers. 

The tiny vampire they track is more than she appears, however. To escape a fate of twelve years in silver chains, she’ll do anything to survive the weeklong excursion. This time, the darkness holds more than just the stinging bite of the Arctic–it holds death. 

Journey along, in this next installment of the V V Inn series, for a wild ride as the tale is told through the eyes of all the new seethe members.

Warning: This series contains explicit sex and is intended for readers over 18.

Though this book can be read as a standalone, I admit that at first it was a little hard to keep up with the sheer number of characters, especially since the first person POV kept shifting between the different characters throughout the story.  I think I would have fared slightly better had I read the first installment in the series, but even so, by about halfway through, it was fairly easy to keep up.

My biggest problem actually stemmed from the somewhat cavalier attitude to something that happened to one of the male characters fairly early in the story. Had it happened to a female, I felt that everyone would have been outraged, and yet at the time that it happened, it seemed that everyone was quite prepared to just brush it aside as though it were nothing. This bothered me so much that at the time, I almost stopped reading. I’m glad that I didn’t, however, as it was addressed later on, and much to my satisfaction.

To be honest, the one thing that held me back a bit was the overwhelming amount of sex in the book. I think I went into this story expecting a paranormal romance, but instead, this book firmly falls into the genre of a more lighthearted erotica.  Everyone seems to be having a lot of sex with everyone else, and romance doesn’t always seem to be a prerequisite, nor does a Happily Ever After seem to be a requirement, which was a bit of a disappointment to this romance addict.

That said, there’s no denying that the love scenes are hot, and while the shifting POV’s were distracting a first, the final quarter of the book was actually the best for me. That was where the main storyline with the rogue vampire got settled, as well as a very satisfying resolution to a bit of the storyline that had plagued me from very early on.

Overall, this was a fun, sexy paranormal romp, perfect for when you’re in the mood for quite a bit of no-strings-attached sex thrown in with a bit of intrigue and action along side.

4/5 Stars.

04stars

About the Author

C.J. Ellisson is the USA Today Bestselling author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Vanilla on Top, the bestselling V V Inn series, and several erotica shorts. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two children, three dogs, and a fluffy black cat who makes her sneeze.

Unlike most full-time authors, she’s also battling severe chronic illness. C.J. works daily to put her Lupus into remission and continues to fight numerous bacterial infections while her immune system slowly attacks her body. She turned to writing when she could no longer work outside the home and claims the escape of penning contemporary fantasy, erotica, and erotic romance has helped save her sanity.

To learn more about C.J. and her other books, please stop by the author’s website (http://www.cjellisson.com) or visit her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/c.j.ellissonfanpage.

Review: Stranger on the Shore – Carina Press – Josh Lanyon

Stranger on the Shore

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Expected Release Date: May 5, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Carina Press
Author’s Website: http://www.joshlanyon.com/
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy
Favorite Tropes: Enemies to Lovers

Official Blurb:

Twenty years ago young Brian Arlington, heir to Arlington fortune, was kidnapped. Though the ransom was paid, the boy was never seen again and is presumed dead. Pierce Mather, the family lawyer, now administers and controls the Arlington billions. He’s none too happy, and more than a little suspicious, when investigative journalist Griffin Hadley shows up to write about the decades-old mystery. Griff shrugs off the coldly handsome Pierce’s objections, but it might not be so easy to shrug off the objections of someone willing to do anything to keep the past buried.

What Worked For Me:

  • Though I did figure out  the main “twist” very early on, I did enjoy the runaround Mr. Lanyon gave us on that point.
  • Even though the chemistry wasn’t quite up to par for what I’m used to from this author, I did enjoy the back and forth between Griff and Pierce, and the angst that resulted from several of the scenes.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • The book got off to a much slower start than I’m used to for this author’s books. Though the reasoning behind this became apparent later on,
  • I solved the mystery — well, both mysteries, actually — rather early on, which was rather disappointing. One of the things that I usually enjoy so much about Josh Lanyon books is the mysteries, but this one fell flat.
  • Unfortunately, the romance, too, fell rather flat to me. There’s usually such lovely chemistry between the protagonists in Josh Lanyon novels, and the one things I can look forward to is the angst between them being complemented by this chemistry.  This just wasn’t the case in this book.  Don’t get me wrong, we still get the angst, and there’s still the asshat of a love interest for our main character, but I never really felt the chemistry between them.

Honestly, this wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from Josh Lanyon.  I’ve been a big fan of his for many years, and was so excited when I saw this book available that I jumped at the chance to read and review it. Unfortunately though, it fell a bit flat for me, both in the romance aspect and in the mystery.

It still had the trademark angst and a lovely amount of tension between our heroes, and as always, he does write an enemies to lovers story oh so well.

For me, though, while I love the romance aspect of the story, I crave a strong mystery to go with it, and in this particular case, I simply wasn’t feeling it.

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible way to pass the day, but I think I’ve come to set the bar a bit high when it comes to Josh Lanyon, and unfortunately this one simply didn’t feel like it hit the standard he’s set in the past.

3half3.5/5 Stars

Review: Voodoo ‘N’ Vice – Carina Press – K.C. Burn

Voodoo n Vice

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Expected Release Date: May 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Carina Press
Author’s Website: http://kcburn.com/
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 3, Galactic Alliance
Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Forced Nudity
Favorite Tropes: Class Barrier

Official Blurb:

After nearly causing a galactic incident, fleet captain Gideon Arcturus is disgraced, demoted and exiled with nothing to do but pass the time at a seedy club on seedier planet Elora Ki. It’s no place for a straight-laced soldier, but following the rules is what got him there in the first place. When he meets a mesmerizing fire dancer, he’d do anything to get close to the flame.

Tai doesn’t date customers—it’s far too dangerous for a man who was once for sale. But the shy, awkward Gideon entices him, and the two spend Gideon’s leave tangled together, neither knowing the passion that stirs within them won’t soon subside.

When a violent drug lord forces Tai back into slavery, Tai has no choice but to give up his new love. But when Gideon learns that Tai’s fate lies with those who brought about his own ruin, he’ll need to revisit his own difficult past in order to save them both.

What Worked For Me:

  • Mmmm I do love a good tale of hot lovin’ between two sexy men, and this one really fits the bill. Kai is stunning, and Gideon is nothing to sneeze at either.  With Gideon’s need to keep a perfect reputation due to his status in the military, and Kai’s desire to avoid unwanted attention due to his past, their almost clandestine meetings added a delicious bit of secrecy to their rendezvous.
  • loved Kai’s tattoos, especially with the history behind them.
  • Gideon’s reaction to the revelation to Kai’s past warmed my heart, no pun intended.  It was lovely, especially since that was a huge concern for much of the story.
  • Though I’ve read the previous installments of the series, I was pleased to discover that knowledge of the other books were not necessary to understand the events of this book. It’s been a long time since I’d read the other books, so while I had a passing memory of some of the characters when they were mentioned, I didn’t really need that knowledge to get me through this story.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the sub-plot that continued the overall story arc of the series. The drug trade on Elora Ki, and how it touches both Kai and Gideon’s lives, as different as they may be, resulted in some very thrilling action. I especially loved the revelation of just how different Kai was from those around him.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • As strange as this may sound, I think there were just a few too many sexy times for my taste. Now, don’t get all excited — I do love me some hot man-on-man action — it’s just that at times it actually took away from the main storyline, and I found myself skimming a bit.

Believe it or not, I think there may have been just a little bit to much sex for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong, it was hot sex, but it was a lot, and sometimes got in the way of plot development. 

Even so, it was an enjoyable take with two tortured protagonists, some action, a bit of intrigue, and lots of hot man on man action. 

There was a little too much self hatred on the part of Kai for my tastes but given his background that was understandable.

I also liked that you didn’t have to be familiar with the series to follow along though obviously that would make your enjoyment of the overall story arc a little more satisfying.

Overall a very pleasant way to spend the day.


04stars4/5

Review: Blood Ties – Bantam – Kay Hooper

Blood Ties

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Expected Release Date: January 22, 2010
Publisher:  Random House
Imprint: Bantam
Author’s Website: http://www.kayhooper.com/ 
My Source for This Book: Public Library
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 12, Bishop/Special Crimes Unit
Series Best Read In Order: Yes
Steam Level: Chaste

Official Blurb:

A series of grisly murders has left a trail of blood across three states, bringing the Special Crimes Unit to a small Tennessee town. There, two more brutal killings lure Noah Bishop and the SCU into what may be the ultimate trap, and lead Special Agent Hollis Templeton into a dangerous attraction—and a serial murder investigation that turns very, very personal. In her time with the SCU, Hollis has shown an uncanny ability to survive even the deadliest attacks. But what she can’t know is that this killer intends to destroy the team from within. As the body count climbs, and Bishop and his agents race to uncover the true identity of their enemy, not even their special senses can warn them just how bloody, and how terrifyingly close, the truth will be

What Worked For Me:

  • I loved the concept of a special division of the FBI that is made up of psychics, mediums, and the like.
  • The identity of the killer left me gasping. I thought I had it figured out, but the author surprised me, and honestly, that doesn’t happen very often in romantic suspense.
  • The pacing was perfect, with just enough down-time between the action to give a bit of a breather, without ever letting things stagnate. This also gave the perfect amount of time for the two main romances to develop organically, without feeling rushed.
  • Speaking of the romance, while I would have preferred a little steam, I loved the intensity and devotion that Hollis and Diana got from their men. There’s just something delicious about having a man so completely focused on his woman like that, and his refusal to give up on her even when everyone else around her has.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • As hard as the author tried, it was pretty much impossible to jump into this story without having read some of the previous installments. There were just too many characters, too much backstory, too much history to keep up with on top of the action going on with this story.
  • While I appreciated the tidbits of romance in the story, I was admittedly disappointed with the lack of heat. A minor point, as I didn’t really go into this one for the smut, but still, I’m the kind of gal who likes a little lovin’ action to go with my suspenseful action.
  • SPOILER ALERT SelectShow Spoiler

I snagged this one from the library right before I left for vacation, and while I realized it was part of a series, what I didn’t realize was that it was book 12.. Unfortunately this meant that it was a little hard to keep up despite the author’s best efforts to provide everyone’s backstory, and it left me floundering at times trying to keep the vast number of characters and their powers and their relationships straight while still trying to keep up with the main storyline.

That said, the mystery and suspense was beautifully paced, and while I of course was disappointed to the lack of smut (heh), there were two rather satisfying romances on an emotional level.

I DID like that there were notes at the end of each chapter marking references from previous books. An author’s note indicated that this was something new with this installment, and it did seem like it would be helpful, were I to want to go back and read up on a particular incident, or refresh my memory had I read some of the series up to that point.

3half3.5/5 Stars
(though it would probably have been higher were I more familiar with the series going in)

Quickie Review: It Takes A Scandal – Caroline LInden

It Takes A Scandal

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Sometimes It Takes a Scandal…

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she’ll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets—except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He’s not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after…

To Reveal Your Heart’s Desire

…Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn’t—wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won’t give up the only girl he’s ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

This book was deliciously steamy.  One thing I thoroughly enjoyed was that there was a lot of foreplay before Abigail and Sebastian actually fell into bed together. The references to 50 Ways To Play added perfectly to the sexual tension, and I still dearly love Penelope and her “addiction” to the series.

I especially loved the grotto, with both with its history and its lush descriptions, and Sebastian and Abigail being able to use it as a secret that only they shared was lovely.

As many of my readers probably know by now, I’m a complete sucker for a hero with a physical disability, and so Sebastian’s limp went a long way towards endearing him to me.  Add to that the wonderful scandal that followed Sebastian, and I was hooked.  I especially enjoyed all of the little details like the shopkeepers in town treating him poorly, all the way up to

SPOILER ALERT SelectShow Spoiler

I figured out the truth behind the theft rather early on, but I did enjoy the “reveal” so to speak, and more than that I loved the ending.

The ending was heartbreaking and beautiful.  I would love to say more, but it would be a spoiler, so suffice it to say that the story is very neatly tied up in ways that will break your heart.

The only real thing that didn’t appeal to me was actually something that I should have known going into this story — that there is a bit of a love triangle. Somehow I missed it in the blurb when I first read it and was a bit taken aback by the fact that Abigail had another man vying for her affections.  In general, I don’t care for love triangles because I don’t like to see someone “lose” in the game of courtship (unless they’re a villain, of course), and while Ben was certainly an arse at times, he certainly never qualified as truly villainous.

Overall, this was a delicious read. Sexy and funny, yet balanced with just the right amount of turmoil and angst to keep things interesting, it is now firmly on my Keeper Shelf.

A very solid 4/5 Stars

04stars

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Burning Star

If you love fantasy, the paranormal, romance and twisty-turny stories featuring two young women in the fight of their lives then we have the book for you! Pick up Jessie Lane’s THE BURNING STAR, available now, and we have a special excerpt from the book to whet your appetite! Learn more below and be sure to enter the author’s amazing giveaway while you’re at it!

 

The Burning Star by Jessie Lane

Re-Release Date: March 23, 2014

Original Publication: May 23, 2012

Links: Website | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Hosted by: Author’s Taproom

*This book is a re-release and revision from the original book. Please be aware that some things have been added, deleted or changed.*

Kay’s journey of a lifetime started in the woods outside of Asheville, North Carolina. It was there that the 17 year old met a beautiful man along with a monster. The chance encounter led her to an unbelievable world that shouldn’t exist; a place where myths and fairy tales were real, and in some cases, deadly. Kay knew she would have to brave this new world if she hoped to find a cure for her terminal cancer.
With a strange yet beautiful cast of characters that she would meet along the way, Kay uncovered truths that would change her life forever. However, before it was all over, it would become clear that Kay wasn’t the only one with problems.
Yet another 17 year old young woman was fighting for her freedom and her life.Kira had lived in a magical world that Kay had only dreamt of. Despite this, her life had not been filled with many good things. As a matter of fact, she considered her empty, emotional solitude the only positive aspect of her life. She fought daily battles to escape abuse and torture.
Trained to be an expert assassin, she was charged with kidnapping Kay and delivering her to Kira’s master, Lord Donovan.
As the two young women set forth in their journeys, their paths would cross in unimaginable ways. The only question that would remain was who would come out alive and whole in the end?

WARNING: This is a upper ya/young adult/new adult fictional story that includes some explicit language, graphic violence, and mild sexual situations. Recommended for ages sixteen and up.

 

 

 

 

 

He’s going to be so pissed. That was all I could think about. The insides of my body trembled so badly that I thought my knees were going to buckle and I would collapse. On the outside, no one saw it—I would never let anyone see how scared I was. The moment they knew I was weak, they would rip my throat out and serve me in pieces to those damn hellhounds of his.

My body involuntarily shivered at the thought of them. Being fed to those atrocious things was something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I felt like staying intact, so I would keep my fears to myself. I hadn’t survived this long by letting anyone know I was weak on the inside. It was a good thing I had distanced myself from the rest of the group by outpacing them to the front and beyond.

He surely couldn’t get that mad. He was the one that told them to fall back. I would have gone out into that field and killed them all if he’d let me. The three men and the wolf had been so preoccupied with his hellhounds that they would have never even seen me coming.

But he’s still going to be pissed.

We were supposed to get her before anyone else did. That damn wretched girl. Why did he want her so badly? Had I not done everything he ever asked of me? Suffered through all of his cruel training and punishments? Surely he could see that I was devoted to him.

Even now, I could feel a trickle of blood run down my back from where he reprimanded me for speaking out of turn. He’d let his favorite Redcap pack attack me for sport. Maybe I was one of the best at what I did—killing—but not quick enough to take on twenty or so Redcaps.

The image of her sitting in the meadow with the Summer Prince swirled in my mind. Her bright red hair blowing softly in the breeze while she sat there blushing like an idiot at the pompous, little brat sitting next to her.

So why does he want her?

Silent and mysterious as shadows, but beautiful and most importantly deadly, I was his best assassin. Even now, as I walked, the dead grass beneath me made no noise at all, bowing down before my feet carried me forward. My victims only knew it was me coming for them in their last moments before they closed their eyes. I remembered them all, every, single haunted face. It was the never-ending stream of memories plaguing my dreams. I did it all for him, to please him, for just one ounce of his attention, his affection. The only man I have known to be a father figure; he always loved to remind me of that.

 

 

Crystal and Melissa often live half their lives with their heads in the clouds dreaming of alpha military hunks, werewolves and kick ass heroines crazy enough to chase after creatures that they unquestionably should know better than to chase.

Their first YA novel, The Burning Star, was released in May 2012. Big Bad Bite is their second novel, but their first adult paranormal romance. They are now working on their next two novels, Walk On The Striped Side and Secret Maneuvers. With these projects underway, they are looking forward to showing the rest of the world their crazy stories, heroes and heroines that often plague their minds until written, and hope you will join them on their journey!

 

 

Blog Tour Giveaway: (USA Only Giveaway due to shipping!)

  1. 1 Signed Paperback of The Burning Star by Jessie Lane
  2. 17 Signed Paperbacks:
  • Shelly Crane: Significance, Accordance, Defiance, Reverence, Independence
  • Helen Boswell: Mythology, Mythology Wicked
  • Quinn Loftis: Elfin, Prince of Wolves
  • Heather Hildenbrand: Dirty Blood, Cold Blood
  • Alivia Anders: Illumine
  • Carrie Butler: Strength, Courage
  • Alyssa Rose Ivy: Flight
  • Erica Stevens: Kindred, Ashes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


Tour Schedule:
April 1:
Rather barefoot than bookless – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 2:
 
April 3:
Reading Between the Wines – Author Interview
 
April 4:
Turn the Page – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 6:
I Read Indie – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 7:
Reading in Pajamas – Character Interview
Renee Entress’s Blog – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 8:
Little Read Riding Hood – Author Guest Post
 
April 9:
Belle’s Book Bag – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 10: 
Fictional Candy – Playlist
 
April 11: 
The Romanceaholic – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 12:
Rustys Reading – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 13:
Paulette’s Papers – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 14:
Wicked Readings by Tawania – Spotlight w/Excerpt
We Stole Your Book Boyfriend – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 15:
RhiReading – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 16: 
 
April 17:
The Book Harlots – http://www.thebookharlots.blogspot.com – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 18:
Kats Read – Author Guest Post
Confessions of 2 Book Lovers – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 19:
Romancebookworm’s Reviews – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 
April 20:
Cocktails and Books – Playlist
 
April 21:
A Novel Review – Dreamcast
 
April 22:
random jendsmit – Spotlight w/Excerpt
Twinsie Talk Book Reviews – Spotlight w/Excerpt
 

Series Spotlight & Giveaway – Jago Legacy – Jane Goodman

Series Spotlight Giveaway

LegacyOfDarkness_HIRES (1)

LEGACY OF DARKNESS
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1837 Cornwall, England
Orphaned, penniless and reduced to the role of lady’s companion, Lucy Alleyne is relieved when a distant relation spirits her away to Castle Athal. But gratitude soon gives way to fear—and unlooked-for pleasure.
The ancient Cornish castle is a dark monument to family, fortune and blood. Within its walls, the Jago family keeps its wards close…and its secrets closer. Lucy is drawn to Tynan, Earl of Athal. The young heir is handsome and caring, yet tortured in his mind like his father before him. Tynan is utterly different from his uncle Uther—a commanding, seductive presence whose leonine power radiates from his every word and gesture.
These two Jago men have innocent Lucy enthralled—mind, soul and body. But if she remains within the poisonous castle keep, with its history of ill-starred passion and madness, a mere broken heart will seem a mercy.

Echoes Original (1)
ECHOES IN THE DARKNESS
(available now in the April 2014 SHIVERS box set)
Not betrothed, but beguiled.
In artistic circles she is the Divine Dita, Paris’ most sought-after nude model. But now she’s not so much posing as playing a role: fiancée to the next Earl of Athal. The charade is a favor to Dita’s friend, Eddie Jago, a dissolute painter…and the aforementioned heir. As deceptions go, it is innocent compared with what will come.
On the grim Cornish coast, from the ashes of a ruined castle rises the Jagos’ sumptuous new manor house. The fresh-hewn stone, however, cannot absorb the blood of centuries or quiet the echoes of past crimes. Dita struggles to decipher the family: the infirm Earl and his inscrutable wife; resentful Eddie; sheltered sister Eleanor. And Cad: the handsome second son whose reputation is spotless in business—scandalous everywhere else.
Drawn by friendship, ensnared by lust, Dita uncovers a sordid tangle of murder, desire and madness. It will lay her bare as no portraitist has done before.

DARKNESS UNCHAINED
The third and final book in the Jago Legacy series is coming soon!

LEGACY OF DARKNESS Excerpt
{This excerpt takes place during Lucy’s first night at Tenebris. I chose it because I think it sets the gothic scene perfectly. ~ Jane}

I could not sleep. Whether it was the strangeness of my surroundings, the speed with which Demelza had whisked me away to this place or, as I suspected, the unsettling effect of meeting Uther Jago, I could not say. But I rose from my restless, curtained bed and sat in a chair by the dim light of the dying fire for what seemed to be many hours. The shadow of the bed-post danced upon the wall, but my thoughts were still as the grave.

I remembered with great clarity how my mother talked of her occasional childhood visits to Tenebris. Although she died when I was young, she had a remarkable gift for painting with words a vivid picture of reality. Her stories stayed with me long after she had gone. Bemused affection always tinged her recollections of this Jago stronghold, the walls of which had seen so many bloody endings. She viewed Tenebris through the romantic eyes of a fanciful child, and it had not disappointed. Ghosts and hauntings, mysterious whispers, troubled winds, darkened moors and secrets … these were the colours of her memories.

The awful grandeur of Tenebris, it seemed, exerted a powerful attraction over the Jago family, even those for whom it had never truly been home. My grandmother, a Jago cousin, spent her childhood nearby in an unremarkable manor house. Even once married to a successful London diplomat, and with a family of her own, she made a regular summer pilgrimages to the remnant of her ancestry. My own mother had married well, but perhaps not quite brilliantly enough for her Jago relatives. Although my father died a baronet, the title came to him through hard work, not birth. I suspected that my mother’s visits to Tenebris were curtailed because her husband— who, at that time, had been plain Mr Reginald Alleyne— was not quite grand enough for her noble relatives.

Of her Jago cousins, my mother had spoken little. And that struck me, with the great gift known as hindsight, as rather odd. I wondered at the charismatic duo who made up two- thirds of my new family. Brother and sister had physical beauty in abundance, undeniable charm and something more besides. Their wealth and pedigree were beyond question. Yet both were well past the expected marriageable age and remained unattached. Were they particularly difficult to please? Or, as my aunt had hinted, had their great sacrifice to the altar of family duty been their care for an orphaned, delicate nephew? And what of that nephew? Of Tynan Jago, the man who was master of this towering monument to the cruel vanity of men? In spite of Demelza’s dismissive assurances, I remained nervous about how the Earl of Athal would view the introduction of an indigent— and tenuously distant— relative into his ancestral home.

Uther, yielding to Demelza’s promptings, had promised to escort me around the castle on the following day. I looked forward to learning something of the castle’s history. Dare I also admit that I relished the prospect of his company? My thoughts, unbidden, returned repeatedly to dwell on this possibility. Indeed, if I am honest, my mind had not strayed far from Uther Jago since the minute I met him. I was utterly, helplessly devastated by his charm.

At first, my mind was so preoccupied that I thought I must have imagined the sound. When it came again, it was faint and my ears strained to fully catch it. It was a cat, surely? Or maybe a fox had strayed into the gardens beneath my window. The hoarse, yipping sound could only have come from a wild animal.

I rose and drew my elegant new dressing gown tighter . The casement window creaked as I opened it. The moon was full and threw its benign silver-gauze veil over the unfamiliar scene. The sound grew louder. It became a croaking, screeching banshee wail which that broke on a note of wild laughter before dying away to an embittered moan. Frozen into immobility, I stood by the open window, as the soulful lament— urgent and frenzied— went on and on, branding its madness into my brain. No emotion so effectively robs the mind of all reason, or the feet of all action, as fear. But my terror was not induced solely by the haunting desperation of the sound. It was also because its source was here … inside the castle. In the corridor outside my bedchamber.

About the Author

I am an avid reader, particularly of historical romances, and my favourite authors are Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen and Victoria Holt. I have always enjoyed writing (I still have a copy of the medieval novel I wrote, in felt tip pen, when I was 14!).
Gothic romance (love stories with a dash of horror) is my favourite genre. I love the lush atmospheric settings of the true gothic, the dark, unexplained secrets and feisty heroines. The heightened sensuality the new gothics sends an extra shiver down the reader’s spine.
My first Harlequin Shivers novel, Legacy of Darkness, was published in January 2014. The sequel, Echoes in the Darkness, was released in April 2014 as part of a four book Shivers box set.
I also write historical romances, with heroes and heroines you fall instantly in love with, fascinating supporting characters and luscious settings.
I live in England and love to travel to European cities which are steeped in history and romance. Venice, Dubrovnik and Vienna are amongst my favourites. I am married to a lovely man, mum to two grown up children and slave to a spoilt-brat cat.

I love to hear from readers and can be contacted at:
http://www.janegodmanauthor.com/
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Mills and Boon:
Jane Godman page: http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/jane-godman

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