Gabrielle Bisset

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Author Tarah Scott Guest Post

What a beautiful blog you have Gabrielle! Thanks so much for hosting me today.

My latest paranormal release is a touch if time travel with lots of magic and voodoo, and an erotic love triangle. I did loads of research for this book, both on Scottish history as well as voodoo. Talk about a creepy subject! But creepy worked well for what I was going for in LABYRINTH.

Yes, magic exists. Not the backwater voodoo witches practice where Mississippi Deputy Sheriff Margot Saulnier grew up. But the age-old black magic a woman weaves around a man that draws him under her spell. The kind Margot’s best friend used to kill her husband…and get away with it.

Margot chases her friend to Scotland, determined to prove her guilty of murder. No one will stop Margot. Not the SAS agent sent to watch her…and not the Scottish lord legend says murders his lovers when they cannot free him from the spell that has imprisoned him in Castle Morrison for three hundred years.

He’s just a legend.

Chapter One

Murderers weren’t born. They were made. At least, that’s what Margot had told herself these last four years. She opened the door to Castle Morrison and stepped inside the small entryway. Her hand tightened on the strap of the duffel she carried. She’d left Mississippi behind fifteen hours ago and was now on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, about as far north as a person could get in the Scottish Highlands. The countryside was just as remote as Wilkinson County, and probably just as wild.
Gooseflesh crept across her arms with an unexpected desire to turn and head back home—back to her father, the job she’d left behind and the front porch swing that squeaked too loudly on sultry summer nights. Exhaustion, she told herself. That and the fact she was about to face a murderer.
She took three paces through the arched doorway into the reception area and stopped. Caterine Bowers, the new owner of Castle Morrison, stood alongside a young brunette behind a mahogany reception counter at the far end of the room.
Cat hadn’t changed in the four years since Margot had seen her. The boys back home had gone wild over her perfect thirty-six, twenty-four, thirty-six body. With lustrous, jet black hair that brushed her waist and the feminine walk she’d perfected, she’d fucked her way through half of Wilkinson County. Margot didn’t blame her for that. Hell, she’d had her share of those southern boys. It was the fact Cat had murdered Donny four years into their marriage—and gotten away with it—that Margot hated.
Cat’s invitation for Margot to visit her in Scotland offered the opportunity that had been lacking when Cat fled to L.A. six months after Donny’s death. Eighteen months later, Cat dropped off the radar. Margot couldn’t let that happen again—couldn’t let Cat murder again. And she would.
Cat looked up from the papers she and the brunette were studying. The emerald green eyes that had gotten her name shortened from Caterine to Cat lit up. Margot chilled. As Deputy Sheriff of Wilkinson County, she’d convinced criminals she was their friend in order to get their confessions. But none of those criminals had been her best friend…and none of them had murdered her husband—Margot’s cousin. So how was she going to hide the fact she was here to prove that Cat killed Donny?
Margot smiled. Cat skirted the counter and hurried toward her. Margot dropped the duffel and started forward. They met in the middle of the room and Cat pulled her into a warm hug. Margot relaxed as if embracing the same friend she’d shared everything with, from make-up to Jimmy Thornton in the twelfth grade.
Cat pulled back and looked into her face. “You look exhausted.”
Margot startled at hearing the clipped Yankee tones coming from Cat’s mouth. What had happened to her Mississippi drawl? The four years she’d been gone from Mississippi wasn’t nearly long enough to lose that southern inflection.
Margot gave a tired smile. “Beyond exhausted.”
Cat grinned. “Sorry, there are no direct flights from Wilkinson County to Scotland.”
“Wilkinson County?” Margot grunted. “There aren’t any direct flights from anywhere in Mississippi to Scotland.”
Cat slipped an arm around her shoulders. Margot forced herself not to stiffen when Cat gave her a squeeze.
“Come on, I’ll show you to your room.” Cat looked past Margot, and Margot glanced back to see her cab driver standing at the counter, her suitcase and duffel beside him on the floor.
“Hold on.” She started to pull free.
Cat’s arm tightened around her. “Never mind. Dahlia, see to him, will you please, and have Margot’s bags sent up right away.”
The brunette smiled and turned her attention to the driver.
Cat directed Margot across the foyer to a staircase on the left wall. “You’re going to love Morrison Castle,” Cat said. “There’s nothing like it in Wilkinson County.” She released Margot and went ahead of her up the stairs.
Margot followed, grimacing when the entrance disappeared around a hard right turn and the narrow stairwell closed in behind her like a coffin. Her legs moved as if slogging through mud and she released a tired breath when the stairs finally opened into a hallway that was expansive by comparison. Cat turned left.
Margot looked back at the slit in the stone wall that held the staircase. “Those stairs would challenge the most seasoned spelunker. How do people pass on them?”
Cat laughed. “The Scots are big on togetherness.”
Margot imagined two men coming face to face, backs pressed against opposite walls as they sidled past one another. If the men were anything like the large specimens she’d seen working the castle grounds, they would exchange more than just greetings.
“Staircases were built narrow,” Cat said, “so an enemy had to charge up one man at a time, which gave the defenders a chance to kill them before they reached the upper levels.”
They passed four doors before Cat stopped. “This is the last of the unrenovated rooms. I didn’t want you to have to worry about moving while you’re here.”
She opened the door and stepped inside. Margot followed, catching sight of the bed. The brandy colored quilt looked like heaven on earth. She halted, her attention riveted onto a painting that hung over the fireplace where a low fire burned. The painting’s three dimensional depiction of Castle Morrison made the picture feel as real as the wing backed chair sitting in front of the low burning fire in the fireplace.
Battlemented towers on each corner of the oblong castle rose above the keep’s three stories. Like a velvet caress, ivy crawled up the stone surrounding the heavy, central oak door. Sunlight glinted off narrow, stained glass windows as clear and vivid as newly cut glass.
“Damn,” Margot breathed.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Cat asked.
“Magnificent. Who’s the artist?”
“Unknown. The picture’s three hundred years old.”
“Three hundred? But that’s impossible. It’s so…”
“Perfect?” Cat said.
“That’s one way of putting it.”
Margot crossed to the fireplace. The castle came into sharper focus as if she had hit the zoom button on her web browser. “The detail’s amazing.” She reached a hand to touch the ivy, then thought better of it. Three hundred year old paintings weren’t meant to be touched. She faced Cat. Hair on the back of her neck stood on end and she recognized the feeling of being watched. That’s what happened when you stood in the presence of a killer.
A knock sounded on the door.
“Your luggage,” Cat said. “Come in,” she called.
The door opened and a young man entered carrying Margot’s luggage. He murmured a hello, then lifted the suitcase onto the stand to the left of the door and set the duffel on the carpet beside it.
He faced them. “Will there be anything else?”
“Hold on, sugar.” Margot started toward the duffel where she kept her money, but Cat lifted a hand.
“No tipping here at Castle Morrison,” she said.
“I don’t mind.”
Cat shook her head. “The caliber of guests who stay here don’t tip.”
“That rich?” Margot asked, as if she didn’t already know the answer. Castle Morrison was a new brand of hotel where the obscenely wealthy squandered their money on the “seventeenth-century-Highland-experience.”
The richest of the rich,” Cat had boasted a week ago when she called to invite Margot to Scotland.
Scottish castles didn’t come cheap—Margot had checked. Castle Morrison sold for three-hundred and seventy-two thousand. Total renovations would set Cat back a cool million, but she would make up the expense in the fees guests paid for the privilege of sleeping in a Scottish castle. A two-week stay ran sixteen thousand pounds—twenty-five thousand American dollars. Cat had a waiting list that stretched into next year. In the next twelve months, she stood to gross twenty-one million dollars.
Helluva business deal, Margot had noted after Cat’s call a week ago. But what woman bought a Scottish castle with the money she inherited from the husband she murdered?
Even better: what murderer invited her cop friend to visit?
“Thank you, Toby.” Cat looked at the bellhop. “That’ll be all.”
He nodded and left, as Cat faced Margot. “You can put your things in the wardrobe.” Cat nodded to a modest built-in armoire on the far wall.
Margot released a sigh. “If I don’t get some rest I’ll get cranky.”
Cat laughed. “And none of us want that.” She crossed to the door. “Come downstairs when you wake up.” She grasped the door handle, then paused and looked over her shoulder. “Oh, stay off the balcony. The wrought iron railing is dangerously loose. I don’t want you falling into the water below.”
Margot jerked her gaze onto the French doors that opened onto a balcony. A shiver snaked up her spine, and ex-Deputy Sheriff Margot Saulnier jumped at the soft click of the door shutting.


An award winning author, Tarah Scott writes historical romance and romantic and paranormal suspense. She is published with Total E-Bound, Loose ID, The Wild Rose Press, and Etopia Press.


Sandy said...

I have this book and can't wait to read it. I just LOVE the cover too! Off to share.