100% of the presale royalties of this book will go to Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Domestic Violence Service.
Genre: Vampires, Werewolves/Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Fantasy
Series: The Darkmore Saga: Book One
Published: July 25, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pre-order: Paperback or eBook
The Darkmore Saga: Book One
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.
Chasing Sunrise Excerpt
The chill of the metal bucket had long since numbed Sevon’s hands. He took another breath. He had to do this. He had no choice but to go through with it. He bit his lip and mentally repeated Jack was the enemy, Jack was just like any other man. Jack was a man who preyed upon men like him. Jack intended to kill him.
Jack was the enemy.
Jack was the enemy.
Jack was the enemy.
Sevon upended the bucket of ice water over Jack’s sleeping head.
Jack coughed and sputtered, consciousness returned to him in a hard-hitting rush. His shackles rattled and creaked. Sevon waited patiently as Jack fought the unrelenting wave of temperature shock. Jack turned his soggy head upward and looked at him. Sevon fought to keep his expression cold as Jack chuckled in a shuddering laugh. He croaked hoarsely, “Well, if it isn’t the little meadowlark….”
Sevon considered his set of tools on the small wooden table. They were well maintained in comparison to Dominic’s set. Dominic had them made just for Sevon’s boyish hands and gave them the royal touch with studs of diamonds, sapphires, and inlaid with filigree.
It’s just a game, Sevon reminded himself. The object of the game was for him to appear more intimidating than Jack. The intimidation part commonly worked. Sevon had never had to draw blood in exchange for the truth before. Dominic made it look easy. Easy but horrific. This time, it was different. This time, the creature had tried to kill him, and when he searched his mind, Sevon found only a foggy void where the incident would be—and a sense of desire.
The idea sickened him.
Sevon had to make himself the bigger monster. He had to be ready for what came next. He couldn’t make his heart stop racing. Sevon’s fingers glided over his instruments, trying to decide what to try first. The pliers? Maybe not. The razors and salt? Too soon for that. The flask of mercury? Oh, come now, he’s no good to the kingdom dead! Possibly the skewers are the best choice. Yes.
Sevon delicately rolled a metal skewer between his fingertips. “We’re going to have a little chat. The more you cooperate, the more you get into my good graces,” he purred.
Jack laughed against the rawness in his throat. “Your lover’s poor excuse for sadists already had a round on me. I think I made one of them cry…. I’d have to apologize about the nose of the other.”
Sevon regarded his prisoner coolly and gathered three skewers. “Broke his nose, did you?” he asked, as if they were discussing the weather. If he could keep his thoughts disassociated from what was unfolding, Sevon would get through this momentary unpleasantness.
Jack spat out a lock of greasy hair and grinned. He looked up at Sevon, the blackened blood of an aisa caked around his mouth. “More like bit it off,” he said, adding his observation, “You creatures taste like fermented clay. Thanks for the water. I needed a drink.”
Sevon maintained his aloof air, but his stomach lurched at the state of Jack’s appearance. Old bruises had faded and were overlaid with new ones that, despite the size of the marks, didn’t appear terribly severe. Old blood, sweat, and grime painted trailing fingers down his wiry body. They had done away with his clothing as well as his dignity in the dungeon. While bound in chains, he had no place to relive himself save where he stood. They had treated him like a beast. A mongrel that only deserved beatings.
Sevon knew that sensation all too well. He knew this cell intimately. Dominic was taunting him by putting Jack in the very cell where Sevon was sent to be taught obedience. Sevon blinked away his concern, despite the bile rising in his throat. He forced himself not to pay attention to the smell of filth.
Sevon considered where to apply the skewers first. The toenails seemed like a good idea. After all, Dominic had done it to him months ago as part of his training regimen. Dominic had wanted to teach him a better appreciation of the prisoner’s pain. As Sevon observed Jack’s roughly callused foot and thick toenails, his own toes flexed in his boot at the hazy memory of agony. Sevon wasn’t sure about shifter physiology; maybe it would get a reaction, maybe it wouldn’t. Losing a toenail was bound to ruin anyone’s year.
“What happened in Priagust, Jack?” Sevon asked the foot.
Jack feebly tried to jerk his foot out of Sevon’s reach. “By Diana, do we really have to be like this?” Jack whined as Sevon tapped the skewer into position.
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Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure, epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine residing in the ’burbs of Northwest Florida where it could be 80F and she’d be a popsicle.
She is grateful and humbled for all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.