A fatal mistake stripped Zach Roderick of the powers that define him, leaving him a tormented shadow of the warrior he once was. Now, his teammate's life depends on Zach resurrecting the fire that once burned within him. As he undertakes a battle he has no way to win, he is derailed by a tempestuous beauty that awakens in him the dark desires that destroyed him once before.
The scars etched on Rhiannon Diaz's soul are so deep that she will never again be free. The once-powerful guardian is facing her last and greatest battle, and failure means a return to a sexual enslavement that is far worse than death. Her intense and passionate need for the powerful warrior who has vowed to protect her threatens the very foundation of her survival, but his refusal to abandon her drags them both into a world where wild, untamed passion rages, and surrender is their only chance.
All books in the Order of the Blade series are intended to be standalones that can be read in any order. The chronological reading order, however, is as follows: DARKNESS AWAKENED, DARKNESS SEDUCED, DARKNESS SURRENDERED, FOREVER IN DARKNESS, DARKNESS REBORN, DARKNESS ARISEN, DARKNESS UNLEASHED, INFERNO OF DARKNESS, DARKNESS POSSESSED (Available July 2014).
Thank you so much for having me here today! I'm thrilled to be celebrating the release of Darkness Possessed with Mythical Books! I was asked today to talk about how much romance should be in a paranormal romance. I was curious myself, so I sat down and thought about it for a bit, and here is my answer…
Sex or magic?
Passion or swords?
Making love or saving the world?
There is much good stuff to write about in a paranormal romance, but there are only so many pages available to fit it all in! How on earth does one decide between a soul-melting kiss that will make a reader's legs give out as she sinks onto the couch, gripping her kindle in sweaty hands, or a heart-stopping race through dark woods to save the girl from the deadly clutches of a maniacal wizard who wants to destroy the world?
I'll be honest with you. It's not easy to figure out that balance. Paranormal authors write in that genre because they love to use their imagination to stretch to places, adventures, and fantasies that no one else has created before. They want to push that edge of creativity and fantasy. At the same time, the readers of paranormal romances also crave the mystery and magic of a world so different from ours. Without the paranormal, the book loses that which draws people into its pages.
However, we're not simply talking about a straightforward fantasy. We're also talking about those stories that touch the human heart, evoking emotions of love, sex, passion, desire, and that unstoppable surrender to the soul of another human being. We're women. We LOVE that stuff. True love, being cherished and adored and desire is part of the fabric of our soul. There's no way we want to give that up in a romance, no matter how many vampires want to bare their fangs at us.
So, what's the solution? What's the balance that makes for a book that satisfies each of the deep needs of a paranormal romance reader? In my opinion, the only solution is to intertwine the paranormal so tightly that the romance that every scene weaves both parts together in a seamless bond that delivers magic, passion, danger, and romance at the same time. Here is an example from Darkness Possessed that's a little sexy, but the attraction between them is so deep and intense that it would never fit in a book that wasn't paranormal, not to mention the reference to the fact that his weapons reside as brands on his arms when he's not using them. You don't see that in a contemporary romance too often!
Zach didn't waste time going all soft and fuzzy on women anymore, but this particular woman called to him in a way he hadn't allowed in a very long time, making him hesitate before classifying her as the enemy. Her dark hair was in a tight bun, but thick sections had snuck free, curling in damp tendrils around her neck. Her eyebrows were almost black, arched in a seductive curve that smoothed across her high forehead. She wore no makeup or jewelry, with the exception of a red amulet around her neck. Sweat dotted her neck, glistening beads that slithered over the black chain of her necklace. Her loose cargo pants hung low around her hips, not hiding the curves or athleticism of her body. Her shoulders were pulled back and her jaw was relaxed as she had her bow steady, the stance of a confident, prepared, warrior.
But it were her eyes that drew his attention. Like her hair, they were raven black, but they were not the cool, reserved eyes of a warrior. They were turbulent pools of emotions. He could see fear in them, fear so intense that it prickled at his flesh. His sai burned in his arms, not to fight her, but to defend her, to cut down whatever it was that was haunting her so mercilessly.
But that wasn't the extent of his reaction to her. Beneath her fear roiled something else, something that affected him on a visceral level, a pulsing sensuality that seemed to call to him…The realization hit him like a assault, a realization so devastating that his breath froze in his lungs, trapped by a paralyzing horror. He wanted her.
About the author:
Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is the nationally bestselling author of more than forty published novels. Stephanie has received starred reviews from Booklist and high praise from Publisher's Weekly. Stephanie is the author of the bestselling Order of the Blade paranormal romance series, and she will be launching a new vampire series in Sept/Oct 2014. She also writes the intensely passionate Ever After series, and the gripping Alaska Heat romantic suspense series. She also published in teen fiction, middle grade fiction, and motivational nonfiction.