Today is the release day for Destiny Redeemed! Excitement all around! I'm thrilled to announce this because this has been a long time in the making. Completed in March of this year, it's had to wait until the Victorian Erotic Romance Trilogy had its time, but now it has its chance to be the star.
The hero of Destiny Redeemed has been one of my favorite characters to spend time with, and it's with real happiness that I release his story to the world. Amon was a character who threatened to take up all the air in the room from the moment he appeared on the page. More than anyone else, he was the one who readers connected with in Stolen Destiny, even though he was the romantic villain. He was just so good at being bad.
I finished writing that book last November and almost immediately began Destiny Redeemed. Even if I hadn't wanted to, he was going to make sure I did. Ever on my mind, his story flowed through my pen and even with taking off time around Christmas, I completed writing the book by early March. Firmly intending to follow the path I'd taken with Stolen Destiny, I typed the manuscript and prepared to send it to the publisher.
Then everything changed with my publishing situation and suddenly the book was put into limbo as I began writing Vampire Dreams. Never far from my mind, Destiny Redeemed remained on the side throughout the summer as Love's Master and then Masquerade took my attention. Finally, after the success of those three novellas, I was ready to go back into Amon's world.
When I finally turned to it, I was a different writer than I'd been when I'd first written it, but I still loved the story as much as I had then. In the end, after some reconstruction, the story is what I'd always known it could be. So today I officially release it to the world and take down the Destiny Redeemed progress counter that has been present since I first began this blog back in January.
I hope readers enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Here's a little taste of Amon and Thea:
Thea watched the man in front of her with fear, but there was something else too, something she’d never experienced before as a healer. She didn’t just feel sympathetic for him, didn’t want to merely make his pain go away. She felt drawn to him, and not only on a physical level. She could understand that after resting her head on his hard body. He was more masculine than anyone she’d ever met. Even after what had obviously been repeated beatings, he seemed stronger than any man could be. So her physical attraction she understood.
But there was something else. After only a few hours near him, she realized with sadness that she’d miss him when he released her. But why? She knew little about him, and what she knew wasn’t good. He was Amon Kalins, the escaped prisoner from Nil. She’d been warned, as all other Aeveren healers had, not to help him in any way. She hadn’t had a choice, though. His wretched man had kidnapped her from her home and when she saw him suffering before her, nature had taken over. Healing him had never been a choice but a need.
“Thea, don’t be afraid. I told you I wouldn’t let any harm come to you, and I won’t. You’re safe as long as you’re with me.”
The tone of his deep voice was softer now, but it didn’t make her feel any better. She remained fearful, her fingers tightly gripping the drawer handle behind her.
“You’re Amon Kalins...” she squeaked out as her voice failed her. The hard surface of the dresser pressed against her back when she attempted to take another step back away from him.
“The escaped prisoner from Nil.”
Thea’s body relaxed almost against her will. Each affirmation should have made her fear for her safety all the more, but it didn’t. Something in his voice soothed her.
“And you’re a tempuster?” This the Council hadn’t mentioned in its edict to healers.
In all her lifetimes, she’d never met any Aeveren with the power of time travel. Amon Kalins must be a very powerful man, she realized.
“Is it my ability that frightens you?” he asked in a voice she was sure was intended to put her at ease.
Thea thought about this for a moment and answered in a small voice, “No.”
His being a tempuster was probably the least frightening aspect of him. The truth was she was most frightened of how much she already liked him. She shouldn’t. She knew this. But something about him called to her.
“Then my being a prisoner from Nil?”
Thea drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I’m not supposed to help you.”
“Why? You’re a healer. It’s your gift. Why would you be banned from healing someone who needs your help?”
Thea was ashamed to admit that she’d never considered this question, not when she was ordered not to heal him nor all the other times those who dictated her power ordered her not to help another in need. How many times had she followed edicts and watched half-breeds or full blooded Aeveren suffer needlessly for breaking one of the many rules of their world?
The thought of her blind heartlessness made her shoulders droop and the regret she suddenly felt overwhelmed her. Sadly, she explained, “The Council ordered all healers to not help you. Under no circumstances were any of us to heal you.” As she spoke the words of the edict, she felt guilty not because she had helped him, but because for the first time in her forty-five lifetimes she’d truly lived up to her nature.
“But you did. Not that we gave you a chance to follow your orders.”
“Now I don’t know what will happen to me. When they find out what I did...”
Thea’s voice trailed off as she thought of how the Council would punish her for healing Amon. As she winced at the thought of her reprimand, Amon clenched his fists at his side. Thea saw the anger in his expression and wasn’t sure how to react. She was reasonably sure his anger wasn’t because of her, but something in him had changed.
“Are you in pain?”
Amon relaxed his hands. “No.” Slowly, his face returned to the handsome, albeit bruised, expression he seemed to usually have. Thea stepped forward toward him and carefully placed her hands on both sides of his face. She didn’t know why as he’d said he wasn’t in pain, but something in her pushed her toward his bruised face.
The swollen left eye had returned to normal, and she felt the gaze of his ocean blue eyes on her as she coaxed the pain out of his features. Gradually, the slash under his eye closed until all that was left was a faint pink line. The light purple bruises that marked near his jaw and above his eyes, remnants from a prior assault than the one on his last night in Nil, faded under her light touch as the pads of her fingertips softly glided over his skin.
Amon sat stunned by her unsolicited help. As she focused on healing him, she saw him study her, his breathing turning to shallow pants and sensed his desire when she saw him lick his lips. As a healer, she wasn’t gifted with the ability to read minds, but her power came with the complementary ability of being able to read others’ reactions better than other Aeveren.
That something inside her that had pushed her toward him now told her to kiss him, and she leaned in and gently pressed her lips to one of the pale black and purple marks on his forehead. When she finally pulled away, she saw his eyes were closed and his face was calmer than at any time since she’d met him the night before.
Her mind raced. Should she apologize for kissing him, even if it was just on his skin? She’d never wanted to do anything like that ever before with anyone else she’d been charged to heal. But nothing about being near this man was like anything she’d ever experienced before.
Unsure of how to act, she found it difficult to know what to do next, and words began to tumble out of her mouth. “I’m sorry...I didn’t mean...I don’t know why...”
Amon opened his eyes as Thea felt the color rising in her cheeks. She may have been saying she was sorry and claiming she didn’t know why she’d kissed him, but she was still positioned right next to his face.
“No need to apologize. In fact, there’s no need to stop.”
A sound of surprise escaped her lips and her eyes grew wide at the idea that there was more to come. Her heart pounded in her chest as his deep blue eyes stared into hers. Would he kiss her now? All at once, she realized she wanted so much to feel his lips on hers.