Friday, April 24, 2015

A Lifetime For Revenge by Natalie G Owens

Title: A Lifetime for Revenge
Series: Book Two in The Valthreans series
Author: Natalie G. Owens
Release date: February 23, 2015
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Keeping it simple doesn’t always work out so well…

After exacting his longed-for revenge, Massimiliano “Max” Damiani’s life is about to get more complicated when he is sent by the Valthrean Council to investigate the mysterious death of one of their Councilmen. Duty-bound to protect the victim's daughter and her young brother, the stakes are upped as Max and those around him become targets of a dangerous enemy. The Cult is closing in, threatening the future of their kind.

Fate is a cruel mistress…
Piper Ingram’s existence is thrust into turbulent waters. Her father has been murdered in cold blood and she is now sole guardian to her little brother, Charlie. After years of helping others come to terms with their problems and move on to better lives in a domestic violence shelter, she now needs help protecting herself and her kin.

Salvation comes when we face our deepest fears…

Max values his independence above anything. Meanwhile, this case brings him more trouble than he's bargained for, pushing his limits, and testing his fear of commitment. While striving to keep his personal demons at bay and holding on to his set ways, he fights his attraction to Piper, but he fast learns some things are not within his control. Will he save those entrusted in his care this time? And most importantly, will he finally find redemption ... and love?

Pick one of the excerpts for your blog
Excerpt #1
“Would you like some tea or coffee? I have chamomile if you like,” he said, clutching at a straw to keep the air around them from turning into an overinflated, strangulating monster.
He felt her smile.
“That would be nice, thank you.”
He stood. “I need to see…”
“Go ahead. Pretty weird to keep sitting here in the dark, isn’t it?”
No, not weird, for I am in no mood to see your face in the light. I have no space for you, Piper, so let’s do what we have to do and move on. Hell, I never even have women in my bed, in my home. This is my space. I go to theirs.
That train of thought proved a mistake, because it took him where he didn’t want to be.
Piper in my bed … curls spread out on the pillows. Milky skin ripe for feasting on…
Max, you’re a jerk. That, he wouldn’t deny.  His lips curled up in a smirk. He switched on the pendant lights over the kitchen counter and went straight for the kettle, making sure she didn’t see his face.
An arse he may be, but he wouldn’t deliberately offend her. Making tea kept him busy for a few minutes. All he could see was the back of her head—the magnificent, thick mass of curls that fell down to the middle of her back. She’d tied them loosely with a band but some strands had escaped the pony tail to fall forward over her face.
So time went on, during which he found himself tamping down a physical impulse to touch that hair, to run his fingers through it slowly, testing every strand; and then to feel the softness of her skin, trail kisses down the delicate curve of her neck, trace the feminine lines of her slender form on a path to discovery…
Does she even know how dazzling she is?

Excerpt #2
Max took a step closer to the young woman who sat stiffly on a chair, one room away from where her father lay dead, murdered in cold blood. A redhead, yes, but not as solid a shade as Madeleine’s, he realized. Miss Ingram’s thick, copper-infused corkscrew tresses tumbled about her head in willful abandon, reaching down past her breasts. The mass of loose hair possessed burnished gold tints that would create a blinding halo under direct sunlight, as though spun from that bright star at the liminal stage of a breathtaking sunset…
She wore that magnificent fall of autumn brilliance like a blanket of grief separating her from the world. A lone figure, her head down in a pose that dared anyone to come pull her from the clutches of hushed despair, she kept her hands linked tightly together on her lap, each finger vying to be the others’ lifeline, and stared hard at the carpet beneath her feet—a woman in utter disbelief that her life had been turned upside down, that her dear father was no more.
Commiseration ought to have raised its scratchy, skeletal hand from the depths of his being, screaming, ‘I know this!’. The same vacant aura, a cosmic inner emptiness, had been his, once in the distant past. He’d had to snap out of that daze fast back then because circumstances had dictated it, but not before grief had burned itself into every vein, every muscle, every sinew, every layer of flesh he possessed. He’d been branded, time and again, with its red-hot poker, until the furtive chill of resignation had put its anesthetizing balm on his heart. Time could heal in some ways, but his wounds had been haphazardly patched up, leaving his soul marred with permanent scars. Does one ever shake off such horror? He had come to doubt that over the years and, eventually, disbelieved it altogether. Memories got fuzzier, but the worst ones stuck like wasps on honeydew and stayed there, mired in his psyche.
Max found himself in equal measure entranced and disgusted. But, while he stared at the woman, revulsion started to give way to something else, something eminently more insidious. He did not enjoy having his heartstrings pulled, or moments when a sense of duty felt dangerously close to personal obligation. He didn’t know these people, didn’t owe them anything except a day’s, week’s, or month’s work. Anything more—the threads of emotion—would be unwelcome. He quelled the pang of sympathy that rose from his gut. Pity is a springboard for trouble, and trouble brings pain or, at the very least, undesired change.
She must have felt his attention on her for she tilted her face up to him.
His breath hitched, drawn with startling violence into his lungs as green eyes fixed on him. Green eyes—but not a copy of Madeleine’s emerald ones that had haunted his nightmares for years, and still did on occasion. This woman’s were a precious blue-green jade. Limpid and light in shade, they shone like twin stars. Beautiful porcelain skin complemented a perfectly shaped angelic face with a pointed chin, perked up nose, and Cupid’s bow lips.
A mouth that would drive a man crazy. Immediately, a vision of her bending down and wrapping those sensual lips around his throbbing erection finagled its way in his mind…
Would she be soft to the touch?
His heart thumped faster and empathy gave way to yet another emotion so overwhelming and unexpected, he felt powerless.
Bloody hell! This isn’t the time … or the place.
He couldn’t be standing there, mesmerized by a beautiful woman, when he’d been called to assist with a murder investigation.

Excerpt #3
Against his better judgment, he looked behind his shoulder to find those killer jade eyes on him, chock full of pain and confusion.
“It will,” he said, swallowing against a dry mouth. “I know.” He stared at her, watched her expression change to curiosity.
No, Piper Ingram, don’t look at me that way, as though you want to know things about me I’ve never told anyone. I won’t tell, anyway, so it’s a lost cause.
“You really know?” she said in scarcely a whisper.
He gave her the barest of nods then looked back out, at the oak tree that had been in the garden when he’d bought it. No one could tell him how old it was but he always thought they’d built the house around it. The bench sitting in its shade seemed so lonely and bereft under the moonlight. The heavy duty glass path running from the door to the wall, splitting the landscaping in two, shimmered in parts as it stretched between rows of low, manicured bushes. Another similar path ran across, both meeting in the middle and forming a plus sign. The mermaid fountain adorning the center of the far wall stood in shadow. His outdoor area was purposely simple in design, structured, symmetrical, and neat—what he aspired to be in his life. Not necessarily always balanced, but measured according to a recipe of his creation. Adventure and enjoyment, but no surprises. Excitement without commitment. Complete freedom.
Still, that lone tree broke the symmetry, and it had been one of the major reasons that had attracted him to the place. Food for thought…

Excerpt #4
“Stop with the nonsense and give me that gun. This is serious,” he said with calm insistence.
“Yes, and so am I. I’m serious, says she.” She crossed one arm over her chest and widened her stance, favoring her left leg.
“Piper, please. We want to solve this without need for bullets, if possible.”
Her nostrils flared like a corrida bull’s at the sight of red.
“I suppose you have a better solution then?” she asked in a vinegary tone.
“Matter of fact, I do.” He stepped closer to her and stared her down from his full height. She didn’t back down, taking on the veritable picture of an avenging angel. From her spitfire expression, he fancied her lost wings had grown right back, and she was about to take flight.
Piper Ingram, I was mistaken to think you at all weak. You’re completely fearless. You’re out of your damn mind.
He envied that spirit for even in suffering, she found inner peace to hold on to. She stood there, battle ready and not the least bit ruffled.
A modern Joan of Arc.
“Please, give me the gun. I just want to help. I can help.”
Lately, he’d been doing a whole lot of begging. How did that happen?
Another smashing sound made her start. The living room they were in stood at the side of the house. The man was toying with them, taking his time, knowing he could get in when he damn well pleased. They didn’t have long. 
“Alright. Here,” she said in a clipped tone, handing it to him.
Relieved, he inspected the chamber to see it fully loaded.
“I thought you said you didn’t need bullets.”
“I don’t. This is just a precaution.”
“Piper, I want you to go into the kitchen with the others and stay with them. For no reason—no reason—are you to stray from them or come anywhere near the front door. Understood?”
“You won’t do anything crazy, will you?”
“No,” he lied, placing the gun carefully on the desk. “Now, promise me.” He inched toward her.
Standing as close to him as a piece of furniture with the wall behind it, her lips a hand’s breadth from his, she nodded. He could kiss her anxiety away…
Bang. Louder than ever.

Excerpt #5
Emotion welled inside her. “Thank you,” she croaked out. “No one’s ever done this for us. There was never any need.”
“Again, it’s my duty to protect you. I didn’t anticipate that threatening note, and I don’t like surprises.”
“Max, you really are a g—”
“Stop!” Seemingly pulling the wrath out of thin air, he turned on her like a beast ready to consume her. An unholy fire spat from his eyes. What she’d said must have triggered flames from Hell itself to pop and explode in his brain.
His face suddenly morphed to stone, giving her pause. For the first time, he scared her. Reaching her in one stride, he caught her again by the shoulders and shook her.
“Stop saying that!” he growled. “I’m not a good man. I’m a man who lives how he wants, takes what he wants. And I want to do this right now.”

Gathering her in a steel hold, he crushed his lips to hers.

About The Author, Natalie G. Owens:

Pink velvet and black lace. Light and darkness. A world of contrasts exists in Natalie’s stories because every rose has its thorn. Her favourite stories to write are romances with a dark edge featuring brooding heroes, strong heroines, an intriguing mystery, and a good dash of fantasy.

Married, with one son, she now calls the beautiful island of Malta home after eleven good years in AtlantaGA. As a professional editor and author, her days are always busy, but when she’s not working—or muttering to herself about her book plots like a batty old maid—she enjoys spending time with family and friends (both online and offline), sipping on a good shiraz, reading, cooking and entertaining, watching a good movie, travelling, and ogling shoe store displays. Most of all, she loves to meet and communicate with other authors and readers.

Find out more about Natalie’s latest news and works in her monthly newsletter –

You can also find her here (she’s waiting to make new friends!):

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