**Contest Closed: Congrats to Anne @ acm05(at)etc, who was chosen by random.org as our winner!**
OH, THE JOY OF RELEASE!
Thank you so much, Sarah Ballance, for allowing me to enjoy the release of RELIC, my second novel in the Brethren series, with you and your readers! Make sure you read to the end since there’s a surprise waiting for you there.
What is the meaning of RELEASE? As a verb, it means to allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free. Well, I am setting something free today. Raphael and Serena’s story! It’s a story of love lost, love found, and love that is eternal.
Rather than wait any longer, here is the blurb and an excerpt from RELIC for you to enjoy:
Raphael, a Brethren Savior, an angel with a forgotten past, has lost his power to heal and is on a self-imposed guilt trip to get it back. If he can’t, his tour of eternal duty as Brethren Savior will be revoked. On his journey, he winds up enmeshed in a web of attempted murder and resurrection all thanks to a woman he’s only seen in a photograph and by chance on an Arizona desert hiking trail.
Serena Sikes is a wanted woman. Desired by “undesirables” for a gift her brother gave her- a stolen relic with suspected healing powers. Hunted down in the Arizona desert and left for dead, she is found by none other than the angel who cannot heal.
Raphael and Serena are inexorably bound together, for locked deep within the relic’s heart had lived the soul of his long lost wife. Now, it resides inside Serena. Evil lurks around every corner as Raphael tries to keep both Serena and his dead wife’s soul alive and lustful temptation at bay.
Three souls bound together by an ancient relic, bound by a timeless gift, and bound by a love that is eternal.
Serena lay asleep in her hospital bed, a small, seemingly fragile wisp of a woman. The way the setting sun cast a glow about her face, she looked enchanting and more like a delicate flower. He could almost smell the sweet scent of a Lily of the Valley in the air. He shook himself free of his musings as he moved into her room and quietly took a seat next to her.
Glancing around the room, he found the sweet-smelling culprit that had captivated him—a small bottle of perfume. Returning to gaze upon his enchantress, he noticed the bruising along her jaw line much more pronounced since he’d first come upon her. A cold, steel anger welled within him. His eyes trailed down to her slender arm outfitted with an IV, and to all the machines with their bells and beeps.
“I’m sorry, Serena,” he whispered. “You wouldn’t have needed all of this if I could’ve done my job properly.” He bristled in frustration and leaned his head against his arms resting on the bedrail. He noticed her stirring in her sleep. She seemed agitated and surprised him by blindly reaching out to grab hold of his hand.
“Mmm…I cannot die. I am immortal. An feidir le heinne cuidiu liom? Can anyone help me? Graim thu, Raphael, anam chara. I love you, my soul mate.” Serena whimpered and fell silent once again.
The chair screeched across the floor as Raphael sprung out of it like a Jack-in-the-box. Her hand stayed firmly gripped around his, and a flood of memories—well-hidden for centuries—came crashing through unbidden. Sirona, Goddess of Healing—the love of his immortal life, his wife—smiled at him as they walked in the mountains. She bathed him in the hot roman baths. She made love with him under the stars. She was lifeless in his arms as he carried her to her temple. He was asking E.L. to wipe his memory clean of all remembrances of her and to harden his heart.
Raphael wrenched his hand away from Serena’s tight grasp, involuntarily backing up to the door. He clutched his chest over his racing heart, now filled with centuries of unresolved anguish, his mind buzzed with too many questions.
Serena’s eyes fluttered open. He must have had a look of utter horror on his face because she raised her hand to her face shielding the bruise. “It appears worse than it feels,” she stated quietly. “Really. Have you come to fix the TV? They told me someone would be coming by this afternoon to fix it.”
“Uh…no,” Raphael croaked. “I, uh…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I’ll be on my way.” I have to get out of here. Who the hell is she, some kind of witch? Why is this happening now? And where do I begin to process what I just experienced?
“But wait. Who are you? Why did you come to my room?”
Now she doesn’t know who I am? What gives? “I’m the one who found you and brought you here to the hospital, actually. I was checking to see how you were doing. Now I see you’re doing much better, so I’m going to leave you to your rest.” Raphael headed to the exit.
“Wait! Please, before you go I’d like to say something.” He turned around slowly and stood transfixed by her glittering emerald eyes. “Thank you. You saved my life, and I’m forever grateful.” She smiled, and her eyes brimmed with unshed tears.
“Make no mistake,” he grumbled. “I didn’t save you. The doctors did. But you’re welcome for bringing you here. Now, I really must go.”
“Hey,” Serena shouted as he walked out the door, “what did you say your name was?”
He stopped but couldn’t face her again. “I didn’t.”
RELIC is now available at www.decadentpublishing.com and most online eBook sellers.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL! Since it’s my release day, this is the ONLY place you can enter to win an eBook of…. RELIC!!! Just comment below and leave your email address for a chance to win! I’ll also send you a gift, a sensual poem written by me, inspired by Raphael and Serena.
Sarah again: Deena, that is AWESOME! The book sounds fantastic and I’m honored to be part of the debut. Thank you so much for your generosity, and all the very best with RELIC. And on that note, guys, comment away! Don’t forget your email address for a chance to win, and have a fantastic weekend, everyone!