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review 2017-05-06 17:00
Review: Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Muller
Borrowed Souls: A Soul Charmer Novel - Chelsea Mueller

Callie’s brother Josh is in trouble and the only way to get him back alive is to do the bidding of drug lord Ford. For her task, Callie must borrow a soul from the Soul Charmer and commit a crime. But it’s not that easy. The Charmer insists Callie work for him for two weeks in exchange for the soul saying she doesn’t have enough cash to outright loan it. The Charmer is intrigued by Callie’s soul, and Callie may be getting way more than she bargained for.

 

In Ms. Mueller’s fascinating new Soul Charmer series, souls are pawned for cash or other favors. The Soul Charmer is able to wield “soul magic,” allowing him to take souls from and place souls in bodies. One can trade their for a short time to get cash, or borrow another to sin without repercussions on your own soul. The mythology is completely unique and unlike anything I’ve read before, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to Borrowed Souls

 

As the first book in a new series, there is a lot of world-building, but it’s not heavy-handed or shared via info-dumping. The author leaves clues about the world in dialogue and descriptive scenes. The reader learns about soul magic as Callie is exposed to this dangerous trade. Callie is rather naive at times, even though she comes from a rough childhood and her mom is a bit of a con artist. I like that Callie has to work for her badass UF heroine status; she’s not born with powers or have innate fighting abilities. Try as she might, Callie just can’t be mean, which gives her a soft edge. Callie makes mistakes, sometimes costly ones, but she seems to learn from her situation and move forward. 

 

Callie works as part of a soul repo team for two weeks to earn a day use of a soul. The Soul Charmer pairs Callie with Derek, the muscle to shake up those who are delinquent on returning borrowed souls. Derek is the strong, silent type, but Callie forms a bond with the big guy fairly quickly. She also has difficulty hiding her attraction to Derek, and soon the pair find themselves a couple. I LOVE Derek. He’s kind and good, giving someone for Callie to trust. She’s got so little good in her life, and Derek fills all the nooks and crannies without taking over her life. He’s patient and understand, something Callie hasn’t experienced before.

 

While I love this new world and mythos, I struggled a bit with the storytelling. I think what is niggling at the back of my mind while reading Borrow Souls was that there were things that happened and they just weren’t fleshed out enough for me. For example. After Callie accidentally burns Bianca and then the next day goes to her own place of employment, two therapists jump on her for burning Bianca. How did they even piece all that together?! Too often there were unfinished thoughts or conversations, with much left hanging. I questioned if I was supposed to understand what happened, or did the author purposely leave things open-ended.

 

In the end, I am completely fascinated by the world of soul-swapping and ambiguous magic. Callie is a wonderful UF heroine because she has to earn her badassery the hard way, working her butt off to survive and protect those she loves. I love Derek’s role as protector and lover - Callie deserves to have some good in her life, even if she doesn’t think she does. The world building is strong, leaving a few holes that should be fleshed out in future titles. At times the writing is a bit underdeveloped, but overall a good story. I look forward to what happens next in Ms. Mueller’s compelling Soul Charmer series.

 

My Rating:  B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues

Review copy provided by Edelweiss/Author

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

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review 2017-05-03 06:12
The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee
The Secret Life of Souls - Jack Ketchum,Lucky McKee

Wow....just....wow! Yep, that's all I'm going to say.
Just read it, you'll understand. I don't want to give anything away.

 

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review 2017-04-24 00:26
Ashes Reborn (Souls of Fire #4) by Keri Arthur
Ashes Reborn (A Souls of Fire Novel) - Keri Arthur

Emberley has already suffered losses in the battle against the Red Vampire plague – and has only just managed to resurrect her fellow Phoenix Rory from his ashes.

 

But even with the leader of the Red Vampires dead, the threat continues – rebel vampire Rinaldo is threatening to use them as a weapon against the city – and one city block has already been destroyed in the last conflict.

 

Still seeking the research which may be the cure to this threat, Embrley and Jackson have to work with the secret Paranormal Police Force, PIT to try and survive and stop the bodies piling up: and their own being among them

 

 

 

This series has so many original elements I love – starting first and foremost with the whole concepts of the phoenixes as protagonists. The whole concept of them as beings that resurrect and reincarnate but are far from without flaws or weaknesses is interesting how it’s done.

 

Emberley’s relationship with Rory is fascinating. There are so many stories out there where we have couples forced into a sexual relationship because of woo-woo. It’s an inevitable storyline which has two people who hate each other forced into a romance, with lots of anger and resistance followed by them finally giving and in and twu love follows. I’m not a fan.

 

So to have this –have Emberley and Rory care for each other – but not romantically. How they accept their bond happily, not as a burden or something which always drags them down; it’s really refreshing. That this is not pushing them towards romance nor is it some desperate dark sadness that dogs both of them with angst and tragedy

 

Not that there isn’t angst in the life of Emberley – but I also like how this broken relationship with Max is treated. Normally when I see that a protagonist’s love life is cursed I turn and run so far because oh my gods the angst that will follow! But here? Not so much. Oh it hurts Emberley and she’s not happy about it – but that doesn’t mean she can’t work with Max and isn’t quite happy pursuing other relationships rather than moping all alone hoping Max comes back to her. She likes Jackson, she has a good time with him. It is a bit overly sex focused (when, my gods, sometimes I just want them to get on with the plot and stop worrying about Jackson’s dick) and she has fun and a life even if her romantic life has all fallen apart that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a life.

 

The main characters, their conflicts and the world really make this book worth reading. And I really like the take on the elves and if anything needs expanding then it’s definitely the different kinds of elves and the powers and cultures they have.

 

 

I really feel that this series really does need to trim some characters and concepts. We have so many sides: we have the Syndicati vampires, we have the Red Vampires and the wizard, we have apparently new big-bad     Rinaldo . We have the wererats. We have the werewolves. We have our heroes. We have PIT who are now kind of working with our heroes

 

We have scientists and lost notes on the virus, we have a gang of rogue vampires looking for a home, we have a wandering telepath. And we have some kind of ominous big dark apparently lurking in the future.

 

It’s all so crowded and confused that I’ve kind of forgotten big chunks. Like I get that Emberly and Jackson are now working somewhat co-operatively with PIT but I can’t quite remember how smoothly that happened. I know they have a beef with the rats but it’s all a little fuzzy as to why because so much has happened

 

This also tends to make the story lacking impact and focus. After shifting most of the focus to Rinaldo as the big bad and the threat, that underlying fear about the Red Vampire virus gets kind of lost. There’s this fear of a plague of raging red vampires taking over the city but it’s all kind of banished into the background and it’s all more about which group is threatening Emberly and Jackson at the moment, finding tokens (which could be anything at this point) to placate each faction and generally trying to stay alive. They keep chasing down this scientific research but I’m not even sure why half the factions even need or want this research any more.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/04/ashes-reborn-souls-of-fire-4-by-keri.html
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review 2017-04-12 17:59
Dangerous Souls 03 Come fuoco sulla pelle
Come fuoco sulla pelle (Dangerous Souls Series #3) - Debora C. Tepes,Alexandra Gale

Tiago
Sono il fuoco che incendia i corpi e travolge i cuori.
Sono il sesso proibito.
Gusto avidamente la vita, la divoro.
Il ricordo dei suoi occhi neri come la notte mi perseguita, è impresso nella mia mente.
Lei è stata il mio mondo e oggi è la mia promessa infranta.
Lei mi odia e il suo rifiuto mi sta uccidendo.
Voglio che sia mia.
Voglio farmi perdonare.
Selena
Sono una promessa dimenticata, una ragazza distrutta, abbandonata al suo destino.
Sono ferita, contaminata, deteriorata.
Quel ricordo, conficcato tra cuore e mente, mi fa sopravvivere.
Lui mi tiene per mano e mi protegge: è il mio salvatore.
Lui mi abbandona e mi spezza.
Ora lo detesto, lo respingo, non voglio perdonarlo.
Eppure il mio corpo arde solo per lui.
Eppure il mio cuore batte solo per lui.

Debora C. Tepes è una brava scrittrice, capace di intessere trame mai scontate. La lettura risulta sempre scorrevole, l'editing curato, i personaggi ben delineati.
Con questo romanzo si mette alla prova con un argomento attuale e doloroso.
La trama si svolge tra passato e presente, dalla città di Tijuana e Los Angeles. Viene affrontato il problema del disperato viaggio dei clandestini messicani verso gli Stati Uniti nella speranza di una vita migliore e il destino terrificante di quelli che non ce la fanno, le bambine vendute come schiave e avviate alla prostituzione ...
Ho amato la protagonista di "Come fuoco sulla pelle", Selena è fragile e forte al tempo stesso, mi ha commosso e mi ha fatto male pensare a tutte le bambine del mondo che nel buio piangono in silenzio per non farsi sentire dai mostri.
Cosa per me non ha funzionato e mi ha deluso in questo romanzo è il protagonista maschile: Tiago.
Bellissimo, sexi e con fascino latino certo, ma i difetti per me superano i pregi. Dato che la trama alterna i pov di Selena e Tiago, attraverso i suoi pensieri e azioni impariamo a conoscere un ragazzo arrogante e superficiale, un "figlio di papà" come si definisce lui stesso, che passa le serate tra festini a base di alcol e sesso, che pensa di poter ottenere tutto quello che vuole, che tratta le donne in modo abominevole (anche la donna che dice di amare) .... semplicemente l'ho odiato e penso che la mia Selena meritasse molto di più.

 

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text 2017-04-11 09:29
Blog Tour and Giveaway for Blackburn Castle (Tortured Souls Series Book 2) by R.C. Matthews
 
Blackburn Castle
Tortured Souls Series Book 2
by R.C. Matthews
 
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal
 
Victor Blackburn is living on borrowed time. An ancient curse violently claims the life of each Blackburn male on his twenty-seventh birthday. As his approaches, his only hope of survival is a witch who vanished long ago without a trace.
Mercy Seymour eagerly counts down the days until the curse will claim Victor’s life. She watched him murder her mother, and only his death will free her of the hatred and anger she harbors.
When fate throws them together in Devil’s Cove, desire simmers between the handsome pirate and the spirited barkeeper’s niece until they learn the truth about each other. Desperate for her cooperation, Victor spirits her away to Blackburn Castle in the Scottish Highlands, where forces of magic and mists from beyond the grave weaken her resolve, opening her eyes to the truth of the past.
As Victor and Mercy unearth the fabled stones needed to break the curse, they discover that the only weapon powerful enough to destroy hate is love. But will they have to sacrifice their relationship to save what means the most to them?
 
RELEASE DATE of April 10, 2017
 
EXCERPT
The fine hairs on her neck prickled, and her instincts flared to life, warning her to flee. Whatever business these pirates had with Charles Mitchell was best left between them and their Maker. She glanced at the tavern door, mentally calculating the odds of sneaking inside now without notice. Quite poor, considering the angle at which Charles stood. But with the pirates’ backs to her, it was now or never.Just as she crept from behind the barrel, Hatchet sidled up behind Charles and clasped his upper arms in an iron grip, both men now facing her. The deadly glimmer in the pirate’s eyes halted Mercy in her tracks, and she crouched lower.“Tarnation,” she grumbled under her breath while peeking over the top of the barrel.Charles grunted in shock, before he struggled to break free. His fair skin paled a shade further when Victor grasped a handful of his shirt. “What can I do for you, Victor?”“Well, you can start by keeping your fucking mouth shut,” he said, slamming one fist and then the other into Charles’s jaw in rapid succession.The dull thud of bone on bone rippled through Mercy, and she shuddered as blood spewed from Charles’s battered mouth. Well, that had escalated quite quickly. She clasped her hands to her chest, praying for Freya’s guidance. Should she hold her tongue or scream? Would anyone come to her rescue? Not likely, given the boisterous patrons of The Black Serpent. No, best to remain silent. They wouldn’t kill the man in an alley, would they?“I’ll keep it shut,” Charles said, slumping forward. “Tell me what I’ve said wrong, and I promise not to say another word.”Good man. Yes, listen close and keep your mouth shut.Victor sank his hand into Charles’s hair and yanked his head up. “Stop spreading filthy lies about your wife and daughter, you rat bastard.”Charles snarled, his lip curling in an unsightly manner. “Eveline isn’t my daughter! She’s Deveraux’s bastard.”Mercy shoved her fist into her mouth. She had met Eveline the day she moved to Devil’s Cove. Her aunt had hoped they would become friends, being of an age with one another. But then Charles Mitchell had sent his daughter to live at the priory under Brother Anselm’s care and renamed her Grace. An odd business, that. Or, perhaps not so odd, considering this bit of news.Without warning, Victor pummeled Charles in the stomach with so much force that the man doubled over and vomited with great, heaving gulps. The second he recovered, Hatchet held him up for another round of beatings from Victor’s effectual fists. He was relentless, pounding his victim without mercy until he hung like a rag doll in Hatchet’s firm grip.Bile threatened to choke her. Despite years of working in her uncle’s tavern, she’d never witnessed a beating as prolonged and vicious.Victor’s shoulders heaved with every breath, and he shook out his hands before taking a step back to assess the damage. “Not another goddamned word, Charles,” he said, motioning for Hatchet to hold up the man’s lolling head. “The next time I catch wind of your rantings, you’re a dead man.”Mercy gasped then sank to her haunches. Stupid mistake! Blood rushed into her ears, and her heart thundered with each passing second. Had they heard her over Charles’s groans and feverish pleas for mercy?“Drag the bloody blighter home, Hatchet, and leave him on the doorstep.”She closed her eyes and rocked softly, tapping her head against her knees as she counted to twenty. Please go away. Taking one final, deep breath, she opened her eyes—and screamed.Victor pressed his hand against her mouth, muffling her cries as he hauled her to her feet and backed her against the wall, covering her body with his. She stiffened, unable to move a single inch. His touch was firm but exerting only the requisite pressure to ensure her compliance. Pressing his lips into a grim line, he regarded her with his emerald eyes.The hue was unusual, so calm, almost beckoning her to lay down her defenses. Oh, dear, she shouldn’t gaze into his eyes. But he held her head in place, so she glanced down instead and was met with a view of his cracked and bloodied knuckles.Her stomach lurched, and she struggled to break free from his hold, using every ounce of strength she possessed.“Calm down before you attract every bloody man in the tavern,” he said, his gaze steely. “I won’t hurt you. Do you hear me?”She nodded vigorously while tears stung her eyes. What would he do to a nosey young lady who’d witnessed his ruthless deeds?“I’m going to remove my hand so you can answer my questions. No more screaming. Or I’ll be forced to cover your mouth with mine.”His mouth on mine? Better than his bloodied hand, but no, feeling his lips pressed against hers would not be good. Well, it would certainly feel good, but it would not be good. Because he would wish for more. And more, until … Questions? The pirate wanted to ask her questions? She nodded again.His brow furrowed. “How much did you see or hear?”What did he expect her to say? Every single blow of his lethal fists upon a man half his size. Secrets capable of destroying Eveline’s already tenuous reputation. Threats against his victim’s life. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth, and she swallowed hard before finding her voice.“Nothing,” she whispered, avoiding his piercing gaze. “I didn’t hear or see anything, I tell you.”He chuckled, drawing her gaze back to him. A wisp of a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as he studied her face, and a blush heated her cheeks. She was a horrible liar.“Good girl,” he crooned, rubbing the soft pad of his thumb absently over her cheek. “I believe you. What’s your name, lass?”She breathed for what felt like the first time in five minutes and inhaled a rich mixture of sandalwood and his perspiration. His eyes burned with desire as they dropped to her mouth, lingering there for a few heart-stopping moments before he met her gaze again.Her belly quaked under his possessive stare. Goodness, he wanted to kiss her with those full, supple lips … and a small part of her longed for his kiss, to feel the warmth of his mouth. ’Twas useless to deny her physical attraction to the man. But succumbing to his charms would be foolish. He would only offer a taste of passion, bringing her ruin and shame. Yet, she couldn’t fight him off if he wanted to take her innocence in the dark alley, so why did he not ravish her?Instead, he traced his thumb along her jaw until his hand threaded into her hair at the nape, holding her prisoner to his steady gaze. “You tremble in my embrace. I would never hurt a woman or force her into submission. Do you believe me?”She nodded, though, in truth, her instincts warned her otherwise. He had brutally beaten another man only minutes before. And he was first mate on The Savior to the Devil himself, a renowned pirate. She didn’t wish to reveal her name to him. Best that he forget her.“Come, tell me your name, sweet lass.”
EXCERPT #2:“Why have we stopped searching for Mercy Limmerick?” Hatchet asked, pounding his fist on the table. “She’s the key to breaking the curse.”“Give it up, man!” Victor snarled. “I’m through with hunting for a unicorn. Devlin needs us, here and now. I won’t abandon him when he’s days away from achieving his own goals. One week, that’s all he needs to reclaim his title and land.”Hatchet leaned over and poked Victor in the middle of the chest. “I’ll never give up, and neither should you.”Victor clamped his jaw tight and stared into his tankard. His friend stood and stalked out of the tavern, leaving him alone with his damnable thoughts. His hands trembled as he lifted his drink, intent on drowning his sorrows, but he found his glass was empty. A full tankard of ale slammed on the table in front of him, and he stared after the fair-haired waitress walking away.When had she returned from her clandestine meeting with Lady Bellamy?Dammit. He couldn’t tolerate secrets and needed to know what business the witch had with his mistress. He sipped his ale and bided his time, watching her like a hawk as she made her rounds. When she passed him again, he stood and walked in her wake. Before she entered the kitchen, he grabbed hold of her wrist.“A word, if you please,” he said, ushering her to an alcove in the rear of the tavern. He backed her up against the wall.Her amber eyes danced as she lifted her brow. “What can I do for you, my lord?”“Don’t, my lord, me,” he growled.She was a sassy little one with a smart mouth, goading him. Others might not care if she meddled with their lives, but he did. This was a serious matter, and he planned to settle it without further delay.“What business do you have with Lady Bellamy?” he asked, watching her body language closely. “You sold her a potion, didn’t you?”Her eyebrows crinkled at the crook of her nose, and she glanced away. “No, I didn’t.”“Do not lie to me!” he barked, employing a tone he reserved for intimidation.His harsh words reverberated between them, and she met his gaze dead-on, the heat of her anger fanning over her cheeks. “You must inquire with the Lady if you wish to know more about our dealings.”The chit sold illicit goods yet laid claim to a code of honor? That was rich. Well, he was a pirate. Everyone and everything could be bought for the right price. Her code be damned. She would not evade him so easily.“Sell me what you sold her.”Biting her bottom lip, she considered his request for a long moment but finally shook her head. “I’m afraid not. If she were to find out, my reputation would be ruined.”But, of course, the lady was a shrewd businesswoman. He could hardly blame her. Still, he would get what he wanted. Answers.“Come, no one has to know but us.” He leaned in, and his lips grazed her earlobe. “I’ll pay fifty times your normal price. What say you?”Her breath hitched, and he pressed closer still, enjoying the subtle pressure of her breasts against his chest, the wild clattering of her heartbeat. She smelled of vanilla and cinnamon, unbearably sweet, and he ached to taste her pert lips. He must kiss her—or go mad.“Deal,” she whispered, gazing at him through hooded eyes. “Now let go of my wrist so I may fetch the vial in my pocket.”He released her begrudgingly and stepped back, folding his arms over his chest. “You carry potions on your person?”“One never knows when a gentleman may be in need of a love potion,” she said tartly. She stuffed her hand into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out a vial, offering it flat on her palm. “That’ll be five pounds.”His stomach dropped. Oh, hell! A love potion. He owed Hatchet one shilling. What if the bloody stuff worked? Before arriving in Devil’s Cove, he’d dismissed any suggestion of the supernatural. But firsthand experience while living at the haunted manor had forced him to reexamine his beliefs.After snatching the vial, he held it up. The oily amber liquid sloshed from side to side, but it filled only half the container. “Lady Bellamy paid two shillings for this? It isn’t even full. Does it work?”The chit waggled her eyebrows, a slight grin forming on her lips. “Why don’t you have a wee taste, and in a few minutes, we’ll know? But don’t forget to gaze into my eyes while I whisper words of sweet love to you.”“Perhaps I shall,” he said, pretending to pull out the stopper.He lifted the vial to his mouth, and her lips parted, drawing his gaze like a moth to the flame. Her heated stare met his, setting his heart rate skyrocketing. She desired him, though she would deny it, no doubt.“Or perhaps not, Mercy mine,” he said, running his thumb over her supple bottom lip and grinning at her shocked expression.In a flash, her hand shot up to slap him, but he was faster. He caught her wrist with his free hand, brought it to his mouth, and kissed the delicate skin on the inside, seeking her pulse point. Did her heart race as well? His lips grazed her bracelet and the blue amber stones embedded within it. Blue amber…The lass tugged her wrist, seeking to escape his iron grip, but he wouldn’t relent. He held her securely while he studied the unique bracelet, entranced.“Let me go,” she hissed, yanking free of his hold. “You got what you wanted, now pay me.”She was right. He had gotten what he sought—and so much more. After tucking the love potion inside a pocket of his coat, he fished out a five-pound note and laid it in her trembling hands. “Don’t spend it all in one place, lass.”“You’d best leave, or you’ll be late for your tryst,” she said, stomping away.Fuck his tryst with Lady Bellamy. Excitement buzzed through him, and he fought the urge to shout in triumph as he sat once again to enjoy another ale.The tavern wench answered to Mercy, dabbled in witchcraft, and wore a bracelet adorned with rare blue amber stones. The amber tears of Freya? God in Heaven, it must be she. All this time, she’d lived right under his nose in Devil’s Cove. Christ, had he truly found her?

 
Devil's Cove
 
Tortured Souls Book 1
 
Shrouded in unspeakable horror and spoken of only in whispers, the abandoned Devil's Cove Manor lures Captain Devlin Limmerick and his unquenchable thirst for revenge to its doors. Feared as the Devil on the high seas, the pirate's desire to avenge his past is matched only by his hunger for the powerful young medium he has coerced to aid him in his nefarious quest.
Blinded from youth and touched with an ability to communicate beyond the grave, Grace is both feared and revered by the uneasy town folk. Yet she is powerless against the unrest brewing within the manor walls and finds herself drawn to the Devil's darkness. Still, she refuses to sacrifice her soul to set Devlin's unspeakable plans in motion.
 
But an evil lurks within these walls, and their very souls are in jeopardy. Grace's presence at the manor spurs inexplicable happenings, forcing Devlin to believe nothing is as dead as it seems - not even his heart. Plunged into the throes of passion and danger, they discover the only way out is to search deep within and summon the courage to believe in true love.
 
EXCERPT 
A gust of wind blew through Grace’s hair, sending gooseflesh racing down her arms and reminding her why she despised sitting close to the tavern entrance. Only this time it was different as a hush settled over the boisterous room. Grace cocked her head to one side and listened closely. Nothing but the hiss of the gas lanterns could be heard. Not even the telltale squeak of the wooden floorboards as Mercy Seymour made her rounds, racing from table to table in a never-ending attempt to keep the tankards full. This was odd, indeed.But even odder was the sense of foreboding that crept into Grace’s veins. She inhaled a deep breath, and her nostrils itched. Fear had a distinctive scent, and the air was rife with it. She shivered.Mercy shuffled past Grace’s table, mumbling under her breath, and just like that, the muted voices resumed and the unsettling moment passed. As the clanking of forks against plates grew louder, Grace exhaled and tuned out every last speck of noise, homing in on the conversation taking place at the entrance. Ever since she had gone blind at the age of seven, her cochlear and olfactory nerves had sharpened to an astonishing level, almost as if God mourned the loss of her sight as much as she had and gifted her with heightened sense of sound, taste, and smell.“Evening, sir,” Mercy said with the tiniest of tremors lilting on her words. “I’ve a fine table for you this way. Please follow me.”The floorboards groaned under a heavy set of boots, and a mixture of fresh sea air and sandalwood assaulted Grace’s senses. She bit down on her lip when the footsteps paused, and her fingers tensed around the fork and knife she held steady over her plate. His heavenly scent enveloped her; he must be a fine fellow to smell so good. Her heartbeat thumped painfully against her ribs, and she hated herself in that moment for falling victim to vanity. However, she couldn’t help but wonder if the man stared at her in disgust, drawn with a morbid curiosity to gawk at the sightless spheres that rested in her eye sockets.Her mother had gazed often into her eyes and proclaimed their beauty when she was a child. Bluer than the bluest sky on a bright spring morning. That was a long time ago and much had changed. The brothers of the priory couldn’t afford much, but she was thankful for the simple prosthetic eyes they’d procured. Brother Anselm assured her the dark-brown shade was appealing.She shoved the treasured memory to the back of her mind and resumed cutting a piece of roasted beef on her plate. Let the man stare if he must. Bowing her head, she pulled the fork toward her mouth and welcomed the taste of the savory beef, seasoned to perfection. It melted on her tongue, tender as it was.The footfalls resumed against the wooden planks, and the noise of the tavern reached its normal deafening pitch. Grace lifted her head toward her supper mate as the tension left her body. She must know about the newest patron of The Black Serpent. That he should bring the entire establishment to dead silence spoke volumes about the man, yet she yearned for specifics.“Brother Anselm,” she began, licking her lips. “Please.”She needn’t say more. After living in each other’s company for nearly fifteen years, he understood her plea. What she didn’t know was whether he would comply and provide the details she sought.A soft chortle from across the table was enough to bring a smile to her face. Brother Anselm was amused, so the tale must be a good one. As she waited for him to collect his thoughts, she fished for a potato on her plate. They were always the largest pieces, and her fork sank into them with ease. She speared a tasty morsel and bit into it, delighting at the creamy gravy rolling over her tongue.“It’s Captain Devlin Limmerick,” Brother Anselm said in a hushed tone.Grace stopped in midchew and her stomach fell to the floor. “The pirate?”“Privateer,” he countered. “Or at least that is what he would have the good people of Devil’s Cove believe. He has taken residence at Devil’s Cove Manor. Can you imagine?”She forced the potato down her throat and washed it away with a sip of ale. That was only one of many rumors she’d heard about the man. A shudder ran through her. “No, I can’t imagine living there. The man must be the very devil himself to reside in a mansion reputed to house the gatekeeper of Hell. Pray tell, does he look like the devil?”“Ah, my dear girl,” Brother Anselm said with an amused lilt. “You cannot believe the nonsensical rumors whispered about the gatekeeper. But the man … should you like to hear that his hair is black as night, and that he sports a chiseled jaw capable of ripping his opponents to shreds? Tall, with rippled muscles that will crush every foe? Eyes so dark and sinister that to even look into their depths would send a man screaming in the other direction?”Grace’s lips twitched as the heat of a blush rushed up her neck and into her cheeks. That was exactly what she wished to hear. But from the sound of her mentor’s voice, it wasn’t entirely the case.“Oh, that would be fine, indeed,” she said on a sigh. “Is it not so?”Brother Anselm laughed and pulled her hand into his. “I would liken him to an archangel. Golden hair kept long and pulled away at the nape of his neck. Quite unconventional. Chiseled jaw, that much is true. But his eyes. From what I could see in this dim light, I believe they must be as dark blue as the fathomless sea upon which he commands his ships.”Not what she had been hoping for, but all was not lost. There must be more to the man in order to command a room with only his presence. Perhaps he towered over everyone and wielded an axe or sword. Yes, that would do nicely. “Would you say he’s as big as Goliath?”“Quite,” came the answer from an amused baritone at the edge of their table, and Grace froze.

 
R.C. Matthews’ debut book entitled Little White Lies, was conceived in 1997 while living in Cologne, Germany. However, marriage, children and a day job that paid the bills put writing the book on the back burner until 2012 when she discovered the folder with her research in the basement while reorganizing! Determined to finally realize her life-long dream of writing a book, R.C. Matthews spent 15 months writing on weekends to complete the manuscript.
R.C. Matthews was raised in the Metro-Detroit area by deaf parents along with four siblings. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a B.A. in Accounting and German and continues to work as a certified public accountant. She enjoys traveling with her loving husband and children, reading, down-hill skiing, and playing board games. Talisman and LIFE are high on the list of favorites at her home.
R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and historical romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you'll find her watching The Walking Dead, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.
 
 
 

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