Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book Tour for Cursed by Cate Masters (Review & GIVEAWAY)

I'm excited to have Cate Masters paying a return visit to my site today with her unique paranormal/fantasy read Cursed that is the start to a new series.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book through my review and by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to enter the giveaway for a $15 GC and other author goodies!

Leonardo da Vinci - genius or sorcerer?
Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci was not only a master painter, but also was highly skilled at metalworking, leather arts, carpentry, drawing and sculpting? After apprenticing only six years, he became a master artist and established his own workshop.
But he also loved to experiment. He filled 13,000 pages with notes, illustrations and designs for inventions. Inventions that were far beyond his time. How could he have foreseen such a thing as a helicopter in the 1400s?
Yes, he was a genius. But could he have also been something more? It’s not too difficult to imagine he might have had more powers than mere intellect. It’s interesting to note that he saw no difference between science and art. Sounds a bit like he might have experimented in alchemy – or more.
His contemporaries turned a blind eye to one of his more disgusting endeavors: illustrating the human body. Oh, I don’t mean naked models. I mean dead ones. Sliced open to reveal their insides. Yes, Leo was the first one to create a medical illustration. Impressive, but can you imagine the conditions he must have worked under in those days?
According to my research, da Vinci also loved to dabble in a range of scientific investigations, from anatomy to zoology, botany to geology, optics, aerodynamics and hydrodynamics.
Anatomy... that gave me an idea. Da Vinci is famous for his sketch of The Vitruvian Man – the man inside the circle and square. In Cursed, Leonardo decides to create an actual Vitruvian Man. His experiment goes terribly wrong, and ruined Bruno’s life.
And his knowledge of hydrodynamics would allow Leonardo to create a hiding place beneath Venice for Bruno, his beastly experiment-gone-wrong.
It’s fun to imagine how Leonardo might have had a dark side. Been part of a secret society of warlocks. It would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?
So what do you think – genius or sorcerer?

Ten days of freedom. That’s all Fate had allotted me each year. In the streets of Venice, I could walk among them. Mingle. Belong.
During Carnevale, they had no idea who I was. What I was.
For ten days, it didn’t matter.
Until I met her.
Bruno diCesare lives alone by necessity, not choice. An experiment performed by Leonardo da Vinci, who believed having a dual DNA would grant a person immortality, used magic to render Bruno a chimera – the head of a lion, body of a dragon. The only time he can mingle with people is during Carnevale, ten glorious days of masked anonymity, frivolity and intimacy.
Melina Weaver learned fire dancing to enliven her dull existence. A scientist, her long hours at the lab leave no time for a social life. For ten days at Carnevale, she can pretend to be someone else. Someone sexy and daring, who lives on the edge.
Once she meets Bruno, her wish comes true, but everything goes terribly wrong. Beneath Bruno’s costume lurks an alpha male, but is he dangerous? Worse, can she return to an employer who sells her research to the military to make an army of efficient killers? Her only hope may lie with the man she’s just met and never seen.


Melina should have stayed in her room. Finding him had seemed like such incredible luck. Now she wondered whether luck had turned against her.
That sound—almost an animal sound—had that come from him? Had she imagined it? Strange things went on during Carnevale, her online friends had said, some so inexplicable no science could explain them. She’d laughed when they warned her she might get in over her head.
The sheer strength of his muscles, the raw power beneath his clothes, thrilled her. His pace conveyed the same urgency.
Pressed to his side, nerves jangling, her foot slipped on the stone step.
In one fluid motion, he scooped her into his arms and continued hurrying along. “Are you all right?”
“Unless embarrassment leaves a mortal wound. I’m normally not so clumsy.” She settled against his broad chest. Such incredible stamina. An image pierced her mind: his muscular, naked torso above her, his hips rocking against hers. His presence overwhelmed her, and she was acutely aware of every motion, every breath.
At the bottom of the stone stairs, he set her on her feet but maintained his firm hold. “Dampness has a habit of lingering here. You’d best allow me to assist you.”
“Please.” She fitted herself against him, acutely aware of the way his body moved against hers.
“In these calle of San Samuele,” he said, “Giacomo Casanova spent his youth.”
“Calle?” She should have brushed up on her Italian.
He dipped his head closer. “Narrow alleyways.”
“Narrow and dark. I wonder how many trysts Casanova had in these alleys?” And Casanova had nothing on Bruno. Women probably flocked around him constantly. Acid flashed through her at the thought.
“Too many to recount.” He paused, then added, “If one believes the writings in his diary. His mentor, the poet Giorgio Baffe, lived just down there.”
“Mentor?” She didn’t recall Casanova writing poetry. Did Bruno as well? Or was he not romantic that way?
“Of a sort. The man who introduced Casanova to worldly pleasures.”
The way the last two words rolled off his tongue, so enticing. She glanced at the dark steps that led to deeper shadows beside the canal.
She surprised herself by steering him down there, tugging him to an abrupt halt. “Do such mentors still exist?”
He whirled her against a wall. “Why? Would you be interested?”
She let her hands wander across the contours of his chest. “You did offer to introduce me to the delights of Venice.”
The same growl as earlier rumbled in his throat, unmistakable this time. “You do like to play with fire, don’t you?”
And he knew how to ignite one.



Cate Masters series starter Cursed is a unique blend of historical facts and paranormal elements that nicely combine in an action-packed romantic story that lays the groundwork for what promises to be a memorable series.  Though this story wraps up nicely it still leaves plenty of questions unanswered that will have readers clamoring for more.

Bruno's life has been one of loneliness ever since the day Leonardo daVinci used the black arts to condemn him to living as a chimera.  For ten days every year he comes out of the darkness to find a brief moment of affection before returning to his underground lair.  All his previous interactions were of a fleeting nature but this year he finds the one woman who incites possession and jealousy in him and has his animal side demanding to claim her.  In order to have a future with her though he'll have to keep her safe from the nefarious scientist wanting to use her knowledge for their gain in the creation of an unstoppable soldier.  That's not the only roadblock to their HEA as Bruno decides to undergo a ritual that will attempt to undo what was once done to him, but with a vengeful ex-lover in charge there's no guarantee he'll make it out alive.

Melina's life has been devoted to her scientific work except for the few days she's set aside to act in an uninhibited way.  Carnevale gives her the opportunity to leave her staid life behind and jump at the chance to romance the mysteriously sexy man with sadness in his eyes.  Even as he tries to hide what he's become Melina sees past the monster to the caring and loving man beneath, the man who would do anything to make her happy.  To save him, and others whom the government plans to manipulate, she'll put her life on the line in effort to bring very bad men to justice.  But just when their HEA seems within reach a jealous woman's plan might end their romance before it barely starts.

Bruno is a delightful hero who's caring while being mysterious and brooding.  He's tired of being alone but scared of being turned away because of his looks and his time with Melina makes for a gut-wrenching romance.  Melina is a worthy heroine though she sometimes does things that make her TSTL (too stupid to live).  Thank heavens she has Bruno to keep saving her!  Not only are her actions silly at times, so too are the villains who appear bumbling and over the top dramatic throughout the story.  The scientific plot is intriguing though and I wish it had been dealt with more here but it definitely has me excited for future installments as there are men out there who've been experimented on with outcomes that appear precarious.   The romance is hot and immensely satisfying and is nicely balanced with a storyline that keeps you guessing and has me counting down the days until the next installment of this series.  Ms. Masters has created a story that will entice fans of the paranormal and fantasy genre and I recommend readers give this short story a chance.

My rating for this is a B.

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Cate loves to hear from readers! Email her at:

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Enter the contest at each participating stop for a chance to win a $15 GC PLUS book swag. Contest is tour-wide, open internationally and ends 9/23. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Enter HERE.


  1. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review. I'm so glad you enjoyed Bruno and Melina's story. :)

    1. Thank YOU for being here! I look forward to the continuation of this series.

      The Scarf Princess

    2. I'm happy to send you the second book! :D And Claimed, the third in the trilogy, releases at the end of September - woo hoo!

  2. I love the premise of this book and I often wonder if a genius like DaVinci didn't have to be a little dark. His science must have seemed like magic back then.