Rebecca Royce returns to my site today with her short story Crimson Lust that combines a few different paranormal elements into an immensely satisfying story. Keep reading to get a taste of this story along with my impressions of it. Make sure to leave a comment for your chance to win book and a GC!
Felicity Hahn is a thief on the run in Ireland. She can’t go home and spends every day hoping Interpol doesn’t catch up with her. But when she steals a crimson-red necklace, she may have gotten more than she bargained for.
Cian Finnegan is a vampire who was turned outside the gates of Castle Tullamore over three hundred years earlier. He chases the woman who stole his necklace back to the Castle, now a hotel, both to recover his possession and because her scent makes him as hard as hell.
Can the magic of the Emerald Isles give these two a happy ending, or is it too late for them both?
Just outside of Castle Tullamore, 1615.......
“Stop him. He’s getting away.” The panicked voices of Chichester’s guards filled the almost-dawn landscape, replacing the usual sounds of the curlew chirping, announcing the rise of the sun, the beginning of a new day.
Cian Finnegan grinned, pressing the necklace more firmly into his hand. They could search for him all they wanted—Chichester’s cronies wouldn’t find him. He’d spent enough time hiding out and running from authorities that he could virtually disappear from sight any time he wanted. No one knew the path he was walking even existed, thanks to the numerous landowners who had taken over Tullamore through the years. Thank the heavens for short memories.
And right now, given that he’d just stolen a small fortune in the form of a ruby necklace from the haughty Arthur Chichester, or to be more specific, Chichester’s wife, Cian had no intention of being caught with the pilfered jewelry. He’d sell it, buy passage on a ship heading for anywhere, and be done with the misery that was Kilmorny. Wherever he went, no one would know anything about his father or what the bastard had done to soil their name.
Somewhere where the ladies would fawn on him and the Chichester devils wouldn’t be staring down their British noses at the poor commoners too low for their haughty notice.
Cian stopped in his tracks. A shiver traveled up his spine. He turned around, scanning the area as best he could. The darkness didn’t bother him. He’d walked the dirt paths in the blackness enough that he knew every ditch, every large stone, every possible disaster. The sun would be fully up soon and the dots of light appearing over the horizon gave him more than enough brightness to navigate his surroundings.
So what had him jittery?
Nothing alarming called his attention. The air blew lightly around him. His friends would be long home from the pub, not knowing that he’d done what he always wanted to do, taken the crimson symbol of all that was wrong with his world right out from under their noses.
The guards were going the wrong way looking for him. He grinned. His nervousness had to be some kind of delayed reaction to the whole night. Nothing more. Unless the rumors proved true and monsters really did roam the countryside at night.
He turned back around. Nope. He would not—could not—let his imagination run away with him. Not when he’d got so close to acquiring everything he’d ever wanted out of life.
With his hands in his pockets, he strode down the path toward his small cottage. He’d spend one more night sleeping in poverty before he moved on to the next phase of his existence. Soon, Kilmorny would barely factor in his memory.
He rounded a sharp corner, colliding with something in the still-dark morning. Falling backward, he stumbled two steps before he caught himself. Dodging to the right, he tried to make sense of what had happened. What on earth had he run into? A tree? A wall? Had he misjudged his location?
“Easy there, Cian. You’re not going to find me swinging around like that.”
Cian jolted to the right, in the direction of the voice that had spoken to him. He hadn’t recognized it.
“Who’s there?” He tried wildly to figure out who he was talking with. Had the guards somehow found him?
“You don’t know me. But I know you. For the last three weeks you’ve traveled these paths at this hour. Planning something, were you? From the way you smell tonight, I’d say you accomplished your goal.”
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Ms. Royce has the talent to say a lot in few words and this short story is the perfect example of that. Whereas most short stories feel incomplete with little characterization, Crimson Lust succeeds in feeling like a long-form story with surprisingly fully fleshed-out characters amidst an intriguing storyline. It presents a strong and steamy romance between two likable characters with heart-pounding action and an all-seeing creature reminiscent of a fairy godmother bent on ensuring a HEA no matter what.
Felicity grew up in a family of drunks and thieves and grew up stealing for a living, but with her latest burglary she's changed her entire future. Fate has had a hand in keeping her from selling this life-altering necklace and keeping her at Tullamore Castle to force a meeting between her and the vampire Cian. She's immediately drawn to him and finds herself opening up to him as no one before. She's grown weary of running and being alone and is looking to give up her thieving ways. She's actually willing to change her entire future for Cian until he opens up about himself.
Cian was a thief for one night only to protest against the rich, but that decision damned him for eternity after his encounter with a bloodthirsty vampire. After a few hundred years he's become lonely and jaded with nothing making an impression on him until he senses Felicity. For the first time he's able to control his hunger to woo her as a normal man with help from someone unexpected. This leads to a hot and heavy encounter that makes him feel human and willing to do whatever to keep her in his life.
Ms. Royce has created a compelling story that doesn't take the expected route in bringing the protagonists together. This story's conclusion is clever with heart-pounding action that even brought a tear to my eye. On the way to this surprising denouement there was steamy romance and fast-paced action between two lonely people who ended up being perfect for each other. Ms. Royce can add another success to her repertoire in a story that fans of the paranormal will find refreshingly unique and immensely satisfying.
My rating for this is an A.
*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
As a teenager, Rebecca Royce would hide in her room to read her favorite romance novels when she was supposed to be doing her homework. She hopes, these days, that her parents think it was well worth it.
Rebecca is the mother of three adorable boys and is fortunate to be married to her best friend. They’ve just moved to Texas where Rebecca is discovering a new love for barbecue!
She's in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and tries to use all of these elements in her writing. She's been told she's a little bloodthirsty so she hopes that when you read her work you'll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. Rebecca loves to write series because she loves to see characters develop over time and it always makes her happy to see her favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.
In Rebecca Royce's world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.
Rebecca will be awarding a backlist ebook to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and a Grand Prize of a $50.00 Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
-To be entered, LEAVE A COMMENT TELLING US WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT VAMPIRES, along with your email addy (no email=no entry).
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-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 10/7.