Category Archives: Dark Fantasy

Heroes & Heroines Special Feature: Character Herod D’Argyl, Anti-hero from THE CYNN CRUORS BLOODLINE SERIES by Isobelle Cate

Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. Recently, I asked authors to come to the blog with a little background into their characters. Exactly what is it about them that keeps a writer up at night, composing those romance novels we love? I wanted to dig deep into each of these characters. Today is the first post in this series.

So, without further ado, let’s turn the mic over to author Isobelle Cate, who has some things to say about her character.

Hi, Isobelle! Describe one of your main characters and why he or she impacts the story.

Who is Herod?

 

When I started writing my paranormal series, The Cynn Cruors Bloodline, Herod was just one of the secondary characters in my stories about vampire/werewolf hybrids. I really had no intention of truly developing him into someone that made my heart squeeze. It just came as a ‘eureka’ moment and since then, Herod became someone who had a deeper connection to the main characters of the series.

Just like my heroes, Herod was also infused with the same DNA as the Cynn Cruors. The difference was that he was batting for the other side. He was a Scatha Cruor. But the complexity of how he came to be the epitome of the evil the Cynn Cruors were battling against is deeper than what the first five books in the series have shown. In the 6th book, Midnight’s Paradox, Herod’s identity is revealed. Naturally, I made sure there was a foreshadowing of things to come from the very start.

Herod’s evolution did not come overnight. I spent several nights in the course of writing the series that I’d just be in bed, stare at the ceiling and see Herod’s life unfold before me. There were flashes of inspiration that I had to write down immediately lest the impact of the words disappeared from memory. And with every unfolding of Herod’s story, I couldn’t stop the sorrow I felt for him. I remember the time I wrote his dialogue and the scene with another character and I couldn’t stop crying. Using words to describe him, to give him form, he became a living, breathing character.

He became real.

Characters take time to develop. Sometimes, an author may have already given a character his/her attributes, then suddenly adds further traits to make the character multi-faceted or multi-dimensional. Herod was one such character. His actions affected everyone in the series. Directly or indirectly, he became part of their collective memories.

Collective memories…maybe I might just write a book about Herod and why he made the choices he did that led him down a slippery slope.

If you want to read about immortal highlanders with vampire/werewolf DNA, why not read the Cynn Cruors Bloodline series?

Yes, why not? 
Let’s find out more about the novel, shall we? 😉

This is the blurb for Midnight’s Paradox, book six of The Cynn Cruors Bloodline Series:

IT BEGINS IN AN ANCIENT CASTLE, WITH IMPULSIVE HOT STRANGER SEX –AND IT LEADS TO WORLDS SHE’S NEVER DREAMED OF…

In Isobelle Cate’s SIXTH erotic paranormal romance, it’s been hundreds of years since immortal Cynn Cruor warrior Blake Strachen buried what little was left of his family. And it’s been three years since his last unsuccessful raid on his nemesis Dac Valerian. Enemies are still at large. Too much is left unfinished.

Restless, Blake is wandering through the deserted streets of Edinburgh in the early morning hours when he encounters the ghost of a woman, a witch hung centuries ago, who speaks cryptically of “the sins of the father”. But before he can ask her what she means, she disappears with the first light of dawn. Dawn means that Blake–a vampire-werewolf-human hybrid–must find shelter, and he stumbles into the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle before visitor hours. But he’s not alone…

Phoebe Ruth has come into work early at the old castle when she notices the dark shadow of a man handling a relic sword with surprising ease. A powerful and disturbingly attractive man. Sparks ignite immediately, the two strangers wordlessly embracing with an uncontrollable passion neither of them understands… But just like that, Blake disappears.

All day, like a stereo needle skipping over a vinyl scratch, Phoebe replays the steamy sexual encounter of the early morning–the hunger that threatened to devour her. Was it just an arousing dream? But when Blake rescues Phoebe from an assault by thugs in the cemetery, each becomes enraptured by the other. Forever.

Phoebe has read of the Cynn Cruors in her father’s journal and believes they’re only the ravings of a grief-stricken man after losing his wife. But after several chance encounters, she begins to realize that the Cynn Cruors’ world is as real as the dark stranger’s bonfire of burning kisses. Both Phoebe and Blake have sordid pasts to sort through. And these chance encounters inexplicably link the two lovers together in more ways than one…

This haunting love story will appeal to romance readers who love a hot steamy erotica series with a paranormal element– supernatural shifters, werewolf romance, and vampire romance (it’s got all of that!) –and plenty of explicit sex.

***CONTENT WARNING: This story contains adult language and sexual situations and is intended for audiences 18+ ONLY. ***

And here is an excerpt.

Herod looked at himself in the mirror, his reflection blurry at best. It was as though the mirror had fogged after someone had taken a long hot shower. But there was no shower to blame since the mirror was in the corner of his room, in his own manor. The room was stone cold, with its vaulted ceiling and tall windows that overlooked the expanse of a dark loch intermittently covered with black ice. His bed had hardly been slept on, not for lack of want. He’d been at Dac’s beck and call nearly twenty-four seven. He hadn’t raped a woman in several days nor killed someone to feed the debauched, altered Kinaré gene inside him. It didn’t matter that Herod didn’t feel the cold or he hadn’t had a good fuck. What annoyed him was that he couldn’t bloody see clearly. Dac came in the night before and smashed the special mirror he had, and with everything that was going on, vanity wasn’t on Herod’s list of priorities for the time being.

He squinted, trying to catch a sharper glimpse of his wound but not even the Cruor’s razor sight could pierce the ordinary looking glass. The only thing Herod could do was to feel the flesh around his wound. A three inch slit where The Hamilton’s silver laced claymore gored him. Any other blade without silver wouldn’t have left a scar. Herod remembered the pain of the silver cutting through his bloodstream and the white hot influx of the adriserum The Hamilton jammed into him to alleviate the damage the metal inflicted on him.

Herod closed his eyes. For as long as he could remember, he thrived on pain. He loved receiving, giving it. Even in battle, he had a perverse pleasure of feeling the metal singe his skin though only to a point. He was still too obsessed with living for the pain to be the harbinger of his last breath. He loved to hear the tortured cries of Scatha victims and the mournful wails of the sex slaves as they were auctioned to the highest debauched bidder. He watched and joined in the hedonism when the winning bidder sampled the merchandise in front of a lascivious crowd. Sometimes he participated, sampling the quality paid for. The pain was different when it came to silver, not only since it was the bane of all Cruors – Cynn and Scatha. It was because the pain reminded him of what it was like to be human.

Weak and fallible.

Herod twisted his torso so he could try and see the exit wound. His brow furrowed in concentration as he felt his skin stretch taut against his back, the sensation around the healing wound similar to the tiny feet of ants crawling over and around it. He whipped around, his eyes narrowing when the door to his room opened and Dac sauntered in.

“Nasty wound,” he remarked.

Herod grunted, reaching out for his muscle shirt draped over the nearby wingback chair.

“It’s healing.” The shirt covered his body. A warning tingle skittered around in a circle on Herod’s nape. Dac was on to something and Herod wasn’t sure what it was. Instinctively, he brought his mind barrier up. He hardly had any need for it except when Dac had his over suspicious moods. He tracked his liege lord across the room as Dac perused his wide collection of music CDs that surrounded his state of the art audio system, an Infinite Grand. Herod loved listening to Chopin, the only composer who made him feel any semblance of peace. This was what was left of his immense collection when most of it had been razed to the ground in the Isle of Man’s siege. Centuries ago, he’d had the immense pleasure of listening to the virtuoso play several of his compositions when Chopin performed in one of the many grand salons of Europe.

Dac’s fingers ran across the roughly hewn stone wall blunted by time, his gaze taking in the huge four poster bed sans the overhead damask curtains which Herod abhorred because it made him claustrophobic. Instead, above the bed, framed on the wall was the D’Argyl tartan of forest green, black, and brown. It resembled a bedraggled and tattered piece of cloth that Herod had returned for after his confrontation with Deanna.

It was the only thing left to tie him to who he was, the only symbolic piece of humanity to tie himself to.

Herod sucked in a harsh breath.

Fucking conscience.

Why did he have to return to get it? He should have left it in the fortress to be a sacrifice to feed the fires. But no, he had to drag his sorry arse to rush like the wind to the fortress before the sun burned him alive. He hid in the tunnels and picked his way along the corridors that swarmed with Cynn Cruors, entered his room to take his birthright from the wall and leave through the forest. He knew all along Deanna would eventually find the hidden trapdoor in the forest that led to his room.

He kept this knowledge a secret.

Herod watched Dac peruse his clan’s colours and braced himself. As he suspected, Dac started to invade his mind and when the Scatha Cruor leader made a gesture to touch it, a small growl rose from his throat.

“Touchy,” Dac laughed, amused.

“You know I don’t like you or anyone touching what is mine.”

“We share women,” Dac feigned confusion. “You take her hole, I take her ass or mouth. We rape them together, kill, and share the spoils. And you don’t want me to touch a measly rag?”

Herod’s eyes heated and he knew his eyes were about to change. His hands fisted, and his jaw clenched to tamp down his fury.

“You don’t share my family history or my clan, Valerian. That alone is mine. You were Roman, I was Gaelic. I will not warn you again.”

“You forget yourself, D’Argyl.” Dac’s grin waned.

Herod expelled a breath and sat down on the chair, to put on his steel toed boots.

“So do you, my liege.” Herod’s muscles flexed and slid under his skin as he tied the laces. “You wouldn’t be the Scatha Cruor leader if I didn’t save your life.” He stood, a small smile shadowing his mouth at Dac’s annoyance.

“That’s about to change.” Dac glared.

Unprepared, Herod fell to his knees, grunting at the pain that exploded inside his head. It snaked through every nerve ending of his brain and to his horror, the Scatha Cruor leader suddenly flipped the lock of his memories. Racing against the onslaught, Herod allowed the pain to blind him, darkness clouding his vision while his mind galvanized every barrier and protection from the attack.

In a second, Dac withdrew, the agony that ripped through Herod disappearing like it never happened. Herod fell on all fours, his heart beating so loud in his chest it might as well have been the waves coming from a nuclear blast. Dac’s boots appeared in front of Herod before he crouched.

“What are you hiding, D’Argyl?” he asked, his voice soft hardly threatening. “I often sensed you hiding something from me soon after we escaped the Ancients.”

In retaliation, Herod slammed into Dac’s mind. Dac howled, staggering and falling on his ass. Herod pushed, straining against the powerful walls of Valerian’s brain. Hell, Dac had been there when Hadrian’s Wall had been built. He probably had a convo with Shih Wang Ti to build the Great Wall to hide his own memories.

There!

He found something but his concentration broke when Dac roared once more before swiping his claw against Herod’s face. Herod reeled from the force of the attack when he felt the claws swipe through his skin and jaw bone. He catapulted into the air landing in a defensive growl, his lips pulling away from his teeth in a snarl. His vision turned green waiting for Dac to attack once more. Herod’s fangs elongated, his jaw breaking to accommodate the teeth that began to crowd inside his mouth.

Dac didn’t attack. He stood looking down at Herod whose green blood still trickled from his jaw on to the stone floor. His eyes, completely black, gradually turned to its normal color. Without a word, he stormed out of Herod’s room. The door crashed against the stone wall and when it did, a fissure ran through the wood causing slivers to fall softly to the floor. Herod leaned back, his chest heaving from the exertion of shielding his mind but it was enough for him to catch a glimpse of an image before Dac broke his concentration.

The key that could bring Dac Valerian’s downfall.

A sarcastic chuckle broke out from his still bleeding mouth.

After all this millennia, he could finally go home. A groundswell of emotion nearly drowned him.

“No,” he roared. He shut his eyes, forcing the emotions back. Sentiments had no room in his world anymore. Memories, no longer a part of his life.

It was already too late.

Herod stood, a bit unsteady on his feet after Dac’s attack and the needling of his persistent and awakening conscience. He left his room and made his way to his castle’s great hall when he stopped and sniffed. A rumble fizzed up his throat. What the fuck was a Cynn Cruor doing in his manor? Did they find out where he lived? Fuck! Frustration and fury formed a thunderous vee on his forehead. The Keep was the only thing he had left he could call his own and Dac had to bring complications to his doorstep.

Whizzing up to the gallery so he could determine his mode of attack, Herod eased himself above the great hall. He could feel his eyes transforming at the sight of the Cynn Cruor taking liberties with his extensive collection of cognac. His gut soured and his claws fisted until he drew blood that dripped to the floor. Shit, by the time Dac was through and he moved on to another abode, Herod would probably have baptised most of his castle in his own blood. He listened carefully, his sharp teeth starting to fill his jaw, eager to sink his claws into the Cynn Cruor. He didn’t know the immortal, wasn’t one of those he paid for betraying the Ancients’ trust.

Dac roared, his pupils dilating to a dark greenish black that held dark flecks so deep that any human would not be able to turn away. The last time Herod saw Dac transform was shortly after Dac’s attempt on the life of the Ancient Eald. Herod had also gone through the same transformation, the corruption of the Kinaré solidifying the more evil they perpetrated.

“Give me something I can use against the Cynn Cruors, traitor, or not only will you not get your money, I will have also have your head.”

The need to transform disappeared as Herod listened to what the traitor had to say.

“Here we go again,” he muttered before leaving the gallery and joining Dac in the Great Hall.

Intriguing! I hope you all get a chance to read this steamy paranormal romance! 🙂

Or discover the full series at the links below…

Rapture at Midnight             https://books2read.com/u/mYgg7d

Forever at Midnight              https://books2read.com/u/mZ5NeR

Midnight’s Atonement           https://books2read.com/u/bMrRXX

Midnight’s Fate                       https://books2read.com/u/3k0ve8

My Haven, My Midnight      https://books2read.com/u/3k00WR

Midnight’s Paradox               https://books2read.com/u/bMrrPk

Midnight’s Yule                       https://books2read.com/u/ml5rAW

How exciting to learn about your erotic paranormal romance, Isobelle! I know I can’t wait to read it! 🙂

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Midnight’s Paradox!

Readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series! It looks fantastic!

Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Isobelle! Lovely to have you here! ♥

Guest Bio

Isobelle Cate is a woman who wears different masks. Mother-writer, wife-professional, scholar-novelist. Currently living in Manchester, she has been drawn to the little known, the secret stories, about the people and the nations:  the English, the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, and those who are now part of these nations whatever their origins. Her vision and passion are fueled by her interest and background in history and paradoxically, shaped by growing up in a clan steeped in lore, loyalty, and legend. Isobelle is intrigued by forces that simmer beneath the surface of these cultures, the hidden passions, unsaid desires, and yearnings unfulfilled.

Author Links

Website:  www.isobellecate.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorIsobelleCate

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Isobelle_Cate

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Isobelle-Cate/e/B00E5OD27K

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191925.Isobelle_Cate

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/isobelle-cate

 

Thanks again, Isobelle, for giving us a peek into the world of your characters. Exciting! 😀

Readers, stay tuned for our next special feature on this topic when author Sable Hunter visits us on September 28th! Yay! 🙂

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, characters, Dark Fantasy, Erotica, Event, Fiction, Guest Writer, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writers, Writing

Pre-order Release Feature: The Angel Alejandro by author Alistair Cross

I am pleased to announce a great new release by Alistair Cross, an author I met during my journey! His riveting dark fantasy/romance, The Angel Alejandro, officially went up for pre-order and will be released on January 25th!

That’s awesome, Alistair! Congrats on your new release!:)

When a new book comes out, it is always an exciting time for an author!

alejandro-book-cover

Alistair is giving us a look at his intriguing dark fantasy with a touch of romance, The Angel Alejandro, today.

Great cover!

This is the blurb for The Angel Alejandro:

A Man without a Past

After a near-fatal accident, Madison O’Riley is faced with an astonishing problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro … and he has no memory of his past. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes he harbors deep – and otherworldly – secrets that will shatter her understanding of reality … secrets that may put her in grave danger.

The Devil in the Details

And now, there’s another stranger in town. Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a small price, he’s willing to make a deal. By day, he walks the streets of Prominence in top hat and trench coat, tempting the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he and his legion of insatiable acolytes corrupt the locals at Club Mephistopheles, a den of unholy delights housed in an abandoned church.

The Battle has Begun …

The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …

What people are saying about Alistair’s books:

HELLNOTES
“The Crimson Corset is a good read. There is a colorful cast of characters, a clever plot, and an intricate structure … there are surprises and jumps and starts, sex and death, beauty and gore, something for everyone … if you’re looking for set-up and payoff, this novel will not disappoint.”

Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL
“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”

Q.L. Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS
“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!”

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the SAINT-GERMAIN CYCLE
“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.”

Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID
“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, The Crimson Corset – a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”

Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural
“Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest.”

****

And here is a teaser plus a short excerpt to entice you with.

alejandro-promo

A mouth covered hers, blew, and Madison’s lungs expanded with borrowed breath. As if the man were blowing on dying coals, warmth glowed inside her, spreading and swelling through her solar plexus, expanding, reaching her limbs, bringing heat to her skin and clarity to her mind. She could breathe, she could see, and what she saw was the stranger’s face.

Handsome. Full lips, strong cheekbones, eyes she couldn’t yet fathom. Close-cropped, golden hair backlit by a near-blinding halo of light. Yes, she knew him from somewhere – but where?

The warm buzz swam through her. Her fingers and toes tingled. She was losing consciousness again, but she didn’t care; the panic was gone. As the world pulsed in and out, the man leaned over and blinked black-lashed silver eyes at her. Not gray, but silver. Bright and shining, like disks of polished steel. The light behind him swelled and brightened just before the world relapsed into black and nothingness wrapped itself warm around her.

-Excerpt from The Angel Alejandro, by Alistair Cross
Copyright © Glass Apple Press 2016.

Whoa! What a thrilling excerpt!  🙂

Book Info:

Genre:  Dark Fantasy, Romance

Release Date:  January 25, 2017

Pre-order Purchase Link:

Universal Amazon link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B01N347ZE8

What an interesting story! ♥♥♥ This looks like quite a ride!

Thank you for telling us about your book, Alistair! I know I can’t wait to read this new dark fantasy/romance! 🙂

Readers, don’t forget to pick up a copy of this awesome book!

alejandro-book-cover

Author Bio

ac-headshot

Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Visit Alistair @ alistaircross.com

Author Links

Website/Blog:   http://www.alistaircross.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/crossalistair

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CrossAlistair

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Alistair-Cross/e/B00N446AZS/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Alistair_Cross

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/alistaircross/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/107331425042802585965

 

Thanks again, Alistair! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime. 

Happy reading, everyone!🙂

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