"The Black Lotus is an intriguing historical romance with a paranormal twist, focusing on life in the eighteenth century, and giving the reader a tale of romance, intrigue and the paranormal." - Goodreads, Majanka
Published: June 29th, 2014
....though I would dearly love to play court to you, I would hurt you more than any other.
It is 1752.
The year that will change the life of heiress Melissa De Vire. As she makes her first fumbling steps into society, she meets the handsome young cad Justin Lestrade and his world tears her perceptions apart. For Justin is more than he appears and his secrets and enemies are manifold. Drawn irresistibly to him, she finds herself sinking into a realm of feuds, magic and old curses and her life will never again be the same.
"The Black Lotus is a must read, paranormal romance. With its original plot line, intriguing characters, and well paced plotting and dialogue it is sure to grab the reader and hold their attention for the duration of the story. That's certainly what happened to me. Stayed up until one in the morning to finish it. Yeah. Thanks for that, Claire Warner." - Goodreads, C.J. Anaya
Burn: The Cure
The Kill: 30 seconds to Mars
Moonchild: Fields of the Nephilim
Gimme Shelter: Rolling Stones
Closer to the Edge: 30 seconds to Mars
In the end: Linkin Park
The Farthest Star: VNV Nation
Bring me to Life; Evanesence
We are Glass: Gary Numan
Down in the Park: Gary Numan
Seed of a lie: Gary Numan
Queen of the Damned Soundtrack: Various
Anyplace Anywhere Anytime: Kim Wilde and Nina
“I’m Justin Lestrade, I’m sure you’ve been told about me.” In his warm voice she could hear suppressed laughter and she smiled, answering his amusement with some of her own. Even so she wondered at his hidden laughter for she felt that it was not directed toward the conversation but at something she couldn’t quite understand.
“My brother did mention you,”
“Of course he would have done,” The amusement thrummed through his voice and she was sure that he was quite aware of her brother’s warnings. “And you would be Melissa De Vire? Yes I’ve heard quite a bit about you. You’re the toast of the room.” The laughter spilled from his voice and spread across his face, it made his features look less jaded, more human. There was something magnetic about his voice; it held a confidence beyond the norm for a man his age and a mildly derisive humour that she couldn’t fathom.
“Only because I’m a fresh face,” Melissa replied, a soft smile touching her lips. “I got the impression that I was a shiny new toy.” She took a sip of the sweet wine and relaxed a little more.
“Well that silk does suit you well,” Justin responded, the compliment falling easily from his lips. “Green is your colour,” He beckoned a waiter carrying a laden tray forward and removed a small glass of canary. Dismissing the servant with a wave, he turned his attention back to Melissa. “I daresay shiny new toy is the best description for you at this point. It’s your first night in society; people are supposed to be curious and intrigued.”
“Intrigued?” Melissa asked, her eyes shifting from his handsome face with required modesty.
“You are an unknown. And the unknown is always to be explored.” His eyes sparked as he regarded her and he smiled. Melissa felt her breath catch as he turned that devastating smile full on her. There were layers to his conversation, meanings that she knew were not for a lady or at the least were meant for someone more versed in the arts of seduction. Ordinarily such a conversation would leave her tongue tied and stammering, yet he put her at such ease that she felt confident in replying.
“Perhaps the unknown is best left a mystery.” She answered finally, her fingers sliding over the smooth glass in her hands as she stared at him.
“Perhaps,” He conceded, “but exploring a mystery is a wonderful venture.” He lifted the glass to his lips and delicately took a sip. Melissa followed the motion, drawn to his mouth and its sensual twist with an interest that could not be considered academic.
“What if the unknown wishes to remain unexplored?” It was a bold question and one she should not even be thinking of saying, yet his manner seemed to draw it from her. His rakish smile encouraged indiscretion and for once in her ordered existence she revelled in the opportunity to be free with her thoughts.
“Does the unknown have a choice? What if the explorer decides to find out all he can?” His voice was honey soft and seductive.
She met his eyes boldly. “Then perhaps the unknown will poison him unexpectedly.” Shock flickered through his gaze like summer lightning at her daring and for a second, their conversation stuttered to a halt. Melissa did not drop her gaze as a modest lady should and they both stared at each other. Melissa’s frank gaze meeting his startled one as the room gossiped and danced around them.
Justin laughed; a low chuckle that broke the unnatural silence and relaxed the tension surrounding them. “This explorer always treads carefully,” He conceded finally as the chuckles subsided. “And chooses the safe path,” He sipped the canary and sat back, regarding the girl before him with more interest than before. “What has your brother imparted about me?” His eyes laughed as he looked down at her. “All bad I daresay,”
Melissa looked away and back out of the window, the view through the small portal was smeared and hazy. In the increasingly heavy rain, they rattled through the villages that lay closest to the manor. As the carriage rumbled along the familiar roads, she marked each well known sight with increasing depression. The village inn, the church, the green, all went by with a dreary familiarity. With a jolt, they took a left at the mile marker and headed along the roads that led towards the manor. As the carriage jolted and jerked along the muddy thoroughfare, Melissa stared at the damp landscape.
“Marcus?” At her call, he looked up from his light doze. “Look at that,” Grumbling lightly under his breath, Marcus stretched across his sister and stared out at the landscape.
“What am I looking at?” He enquired, his sleepy brain finding it difficult to sort out landscape from rain spatter.
“Someone’s put a gate up at the ruin next to us.” She pointed at the newly acquired gate, as they slowly moved past it. Marcus sighed and settled back against his chair.
“Don’t you pay any attention to local gossip?” He exclaimed as the gate passed out of sight. “That place has been sold for about six months.”
“I don’t pay attention to gossip,” Melissa retorted, as she craned her neck and tried to see into the overgrown estate.
“Clearly, if it wasn’t for Mother, you wouldn’t know who the king was.” He winced as Melissa thumped him. “Well that’s dashed unladylike, you’re not supposed to go around thumping me anymore.”
“We’re not in the middle of some party now.” A mischievous gleam chased away the melancholy look in her eyes that had haunted her all morning. I can slap you whenever you deserve it.” She grinned at her brother, who rolled his eyes. “Who would buy that place?”
“Justin Lestrade apparently,” Marcus replied, not missing the interest spark in his sister’s eyes as he spoke the words. “No one knows why, but he brought the place and is refurbishing it. It’s taking an age though, as the debris in the place goes back several decades.”
“I can imagine,” She murmured remembering the sight of that crumbling relic of a bygone age. As children they had run through the woods between the estates and run through the overgrown gardens. The house had loomed over the surrounding grounds, its walls ruined and overgrown. Only part of the building seemed standing, the rest was a brooding wreck, its stones scorched by a fire in its distant past.
“Surely he has his family estate?”
“By all accounts that is his family estate,” Marcus replied, leaning forward to stare at the weed choked land. “Apparently after the fire, his family went to the Americas and made more money. He returned last year after the death of his father.” The overgrown estates disappeared behind the hedgerows and Marcus sat back in his chair.
“It must be costing a fortune to rebuild that ruin.” Melissa mused as they trundled closer to the gates of their estate.“I daresay,” Marcus replied, losing interest in the conversation as they drew closer to home. “Still if he wants to waste his money then who are we to argue.”
The carriage turned towards the gatehouse and trundled along the drive towards their home. The house had only been built in the last forty years. Its façade was in pale cream stone and large windows overlooked formal gardens. The carriage rolled to a stop before the main doors and their mother woke. As the footman placed the steps before the door, Melissa caught hold of her brother.
“What is it Melly?” He asked, pushing the carriage door open as he spoke.
“Sorry,” She muttered as the footmen reached forward a hand and helped her from the coach.
“For what?” Marcus stepped down after her and began walking to the main doors, shoulders hunched against the rain.
“For this morning, I shouldn’t have snapped as I did, you were only trying to..”
Marcus held up his hand and stopped her. “Don’t fret about it,” He caught hold of her arm and escorted her to the door. “I know you hate being helpless,”
About the author:
When I was a child, I made up games and characters when my sister and I played with dolls. As I grew older, I would make up scenarios and scenes, fully intending to write them down but never finding the time. In my late teens, I discovered the world of role playing and settled into an avid ‘geeky’ life of D&D, comics, sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Years passed and I finally gave voice to the stories in my head. I write romance, fantasy, action and adventure. I love tales of steampunk and history, tales of magical powers and dark curses lurking in the shadows. Though The Black Lotus is not my first attempt at a novel, it is the first I have finished.
And some fun facts about me:
My favourite Disney film is Atlantis.
I’ve been a film extra and stood 5 feet away from Sam Rockwell.
Babylon 5 is my fave sci-fi show.
I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.
I must say, both the series and book titles and the cover art really drew me in to read the syopsis. Well done.
Interesting excerpt :) I'm intrigued... might have to read the series and find out more!
Thanks for the great giveaway! Looks like an awesome read
Sounds great,thanks for sharing!!
This sounds great :D Thanks for sharing and for this amazing giveaway :D
Great excerpt, this sounds like it's going to be an interesting series.
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