Monday, March 05, 2012

AVAILABLE NOW from XoXo Publishing™

Book One of an exciting new series for paranormal fans. Told by two distinctive voices, one familiar, one new, WARRIOR MINE: The Claiming sets the stage for a very different kind of story. With roots over two centuries in the past, Angelique Devereaux is a dark legend, once a Chosen Warrior of god, she betrayed her oaths to love one who was forbidden. Cast out, cursed and scarred, she continues her battle alone. Until a soul as tortured as her own stumbles across her path.

Asher Elliot is lost in his own darkness when he first sees the tall warrior known to legend simply as The Slayer. Tortured by the deaths of his wife and children, this grieving warrior is nonetheless drawn to the timeless, cold being he witnesses at work. Like him, she deals in death and her justice is swift, sometimes messy, but always final. He follows her, watching, growing ever more captivated by her, until finally he must reach out to claim what his reawakened heart wants most…

Now, here’s an excerpt, and our first review:

Inside, the Keep was quiet as a tomb, the way Angelique liked it. The sound of her boots on the stone floors was near-silent, her step light and sure. The stealth wasn’t necessary within these walls, but she’d learned the hard way that permitting herself to be too at ease anywhere was a huge mistake.

She keyed in a security code, darkly amused by the modern technology that was so out of place in this ancient castle. A soft beep and the heavy door swung open with a whoosh of displaced air. A wave of her hand and the vast room began to light, torches flaring to life, casting dancing shadows across the rough floor.

She walked to the far wall, steps steady, her eyes moving over the weapons wall with the affection of a lover. She had favourite tools of her trade, as all warriors did, but today she was inclined to challenge her patience by experimenting with some of the modern toys she had acquired through an unknown friend. Asher Elliot’s gift had arrived with a note that told her clearly he was aware of her work and her archaic weapons. He had also assured her the new weapons would become part of her impressive arsenal and she would find them useful if she allowed herself to become familiar with their efficiency. She should have asked him if he’d consider instructing her, she was a quick study.

Far above her, she sensed people in her home. It was still a strange awareness, to know she was not alone here, but it was a knowledge she was finding more and more pleasant. Tanith had arrived weeks earlier, and Angelique’s welcome should have chased her away, instead the silly witch had laughed and made herself at home. Though she’d never admit it, the slayer was glad of the company, and their history was long. The Little One had clearly allowed some of the nearby villagers into the castle.

She reached out to lift a gun from the rack, then shook her head. Another time, perhaps when or if Asher was around. She had no fear, but she did prefer to know a weapon’s capabilities before she began working with it. When he’d had the small arsenal delivered to her, she’d stored it here, but for now she’d dance with her own devices. She chose a long, slender blade and tested the balance - knowing it was perfect, but enjoying the smooth passes through the air that would loosen her muscles.

She practised alone for what was likely hours, until the air around her was suffocating, though whether it was the heavy dampness of the stone chamber, or the smouldering burn of rage, Angelique couldn’t be certain. She had drawn in too much of the turmoil of others recently, felt their betrayals clawing into her flesh with poison-edged talons. No amount of meditation or internal discussion was calming the need to breathe without choking. There were only two cures for this amount of tension, and neither was available to her at the moment.

Spinning on her heel, Angelique approached the rack of weapons again, and took down the weapon she favoured over others, the perfectly balanced and weighted blade that had been forged for her a thousand years earlier, and sealed with binding magic. She walked to the centre of a circle visible only to her, and began the ritualistic flow of motion, her mind citing the familiar litany of ancient prayer that she offered before each battle. It didn’t matter that this was not battle but therapeutic movement to calm the frenzies tormenting her soul.

The sword became an extension of her being, slicing the air in smooth, precise arcs of silvery radiance. She parried, thrust, dodged the strikes of an invisible adversary... She had no way of seeing herself through the eyes of her silent watcher, and was in fact oblivious to the presence that was part of the shadows. Few living beings could hide their presence from her keen senses, but this one did...

Review of Warrior Mine: The Claiming
by Elliot Devereaux

Angelique Devereaux, an ancient warrior, once one of the chosen and Asher Elliot, a hunter whose prey exist outside human understanding, defy destiny as they fall into a seduction so dangerous it threatens to damn them both for eternity.

Asher waits, hidden in shadows—a voyeur of Angelique’s self-loathing and pain. The torture she suffers is well-earned, a judgment passed when her forbidden love for her prey betrays the vows she made. Her punishment casts her into darkness, one that only Asher can understand.

Drawn together, desire consumes them, erupting into a sensual explosion of passion too intense to be denied.

The language is lush and evocative, the characters powerful, seductive and compelling. When Asher claims his warrior, it is but the first step on a journey fraught with peril. The Claiming is a set piece, introducing us to a darkly indulgent world of unbridled passion.

This reviewer, for one, waits with bated breath for the next episode.—Nya Rawlyns

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