Joyfully Reviewed is excited to welcome Author Devyn Quinn!!
Morgan Saint-Evanston has prevailed over every demented beast sprung from the otherworld, but now he finds himself tormented by an earthside foe who could destroy everything he’s built in the mortal realm. Forced to turn to a magickal ally to preserve the sanctity of Blackthorne Manor and safeguard its secrets, he discovers that the bewitching creature’s services come at a chilling price: the very part of his soul that harbors his humanity.
Julienne Blackthorne is bonded to Morgan by blood, but the emotional and erotic ties that bind them are fraying as his lost humanity sends him spiraling downward to the furthest extremes of darkness and depravity. As Julienne struggles to save the man she loves from utter and eternal ruin, she must delve into her own dark powers at the risk of forsaking her sanity.
As Morgan and Julienne steel themselves to do battle with his greatest inner demons and those who would deny him his legacy, they must confront the very real threat that his fragmented psyche will lead him to the edge of self-destruction—and the destruction of all they hold dear, both in this world and in their hearts.
Boxer Briefs or Commando: Boxers
Binge or Live TV : Binge
Chest Hair or Not: Not
Whips or Ropes : Whips
Print or Ebook : Print
Superman, Aquaman, Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Captain American, Thor, or Iron Man : Iron Man
Facebook or Twitter : Facebook
Cruise or Spa : Spa
Christmas or Birthday : Birthday
Heels or Flats : Flats
Talk or Text : Neither!
Action or Comedy : Action
Desperate times called for desperate measures. Morgan Saint-Evanston needed a foolproof way out of trouble, and he needed it fast.
The hunt for Xavier D’Shagre’s demon had gone dreadfully wrong. The damages inflicted were bad. The exposure, even worse. He was well aware the peace enveloping Blackthorne would not last much longer. Unless he took drastic action, the place he called sanctuary would soon be swarming with the law. A fugitive from human justice, he could not bribe or murder his way out of this bit of trouble.
As always, witchcraft offered an easy solution. The brief blink of an eye, between dusk and dawn were the most optimal hours to rewrite timelines, erasing the truth and implanting a lie. Whether his strategy would work or not remained to be tested. Some of his brighter ideas had a tendency to backfire in the most spectacular fashion.
Passing through the empty foyer and into the library, he headed for his den. By now, Julienne’s weight was a burden, but he could not leave her unconscious and exposed. He had to take her with him.
Fourteen steps exactly brought him to the wall that harbored an entrance leading to a secret set of chambers beneath the manor. The door slid aside as he approached, bringing a gust of icy air into the den. Candles burning on the table behind him wavered, throwing wild shadows onto the walls.
Without hesitation, he plunged into the tunnel, a flurry of concerns teeming in his mind. As he passed under the threshold guarding the underground refuge, he knew exactly what to do— and how to make it happen. It wasn’t the most desirable choice, but at this point he didn’t really have one. The consequences might be costly, but he was ready to pay the price.
Below the ground lay the original cellars. Block after block of carefully hewn fieldstones were arranged in a precise layout that would create the purest lines and clearest harmony for the casting of spells. Rectangular, the spacious dwelling was arranged in a deceptively simple layout. The furthest wall held a series of niches. Inside were the grimoires he’d guarded through the ages.
Directly to the right of and left of him, were two deep, wide hearths. These walls also harbored deep recesses crammed with the implements necessary for ritual witchcraft. Though the hearths had long ago gone cold, ever-burning candles propped in scones provided adequate illumination.
At the fourth wall stood a solid block of rough grey stone. Cold and inert, the porous stone was darkly stained, a splattering from the blood he’d spilled in sacrifice to bring his vision of his earth-side sanctuary to successful fruition. Over four centuries had passed since his resettlement in the mortal world, an exile from Sclyd. Even though he had come and gone through the ages, Blackthorne had always offered safety and protection from the outside world.
Crossing to the altar, he placed Julienne atop it. A soft moan emanated from her lips, but she didn’t open her eyes.
Morgan paused, brushing his palm across her brow, soothing her uneasy rest. “You are safe here,” he murmured. “I will not let anything hurt you now.”
Drawing a quick breath, he stepped back and cast a quick glance around the shadowy chamber. He had neither the concentration, nor the energy, to set things right on his own. He’d have to call in some help.
Slipping out of his long duster, he tossed it aside and rolled up his sleeves. He didn’t need much for a summoning. Just a piece of charcoal, a little blood and a willingness to make a deal.
Digging through the cold ashes for a piece of charred wood, he bypassed the altar and knelt on the stone floor. With quick, precise movements, he drew a pentagram, circling it inside and out with the symbols that would enclose the entity he intended to summon. Unbroken, the three circles were an emblem of protection, perfection, and infinity.
When the conjurer’s circle was completed to his satisfaction, he reached for the blade sheathed at his side, and cut a slice in his right palm. Tipping his hand so that his blood would drip in the exact center, he began the litany of a summoning. “Ego voco audite, meus dico thee Djinn.”
Before the final words left his lips, the small crimson pool morphed into animation, taking on a strange otherworldly radiance. A series of smokeless flames set to forming, growing higher and brighter with each passing moment. No heat emanated from the blaze.
Throwing up a hand to shade his eyes from the brilliant radiance, Morgan backed away from the writhing mass. Peering between parted fingers he caught sight of an undulating figure gliding through the inferno. As quickly as it had appeared, the fire winked out.
The woman standing in the conjurer’s circle was naked, but she was by no means unadorned. From the top of her head to the tip of her toes, her pale skin was tattooed; shades of blue, black, red, green and yellow all came together to form an elaborate design that only enhanced her exotic features. A fall of metallic purple hair cascaded over her shoulders, spilling a swirl of tresses down her back. Amber irises glowed with the intensity of the sun. Standing close to six feet tall, she was a brilliant beauty to behold.
Lowering his hand, Morgan eyed the familiar figure. “Yadira.”
Hearing her name, the woman inside the conjurer’s circle raised her eyes. At first her face was blank. It took a minute for recognition to spread across her features. “How dare you call upon me, you son of a three-legged hound.”
Morgan winced. Judging by the depth of her frown, he was still on her shit list. She probably had a few curses to throw his way, but revisiting the past would have to wait. “Can you hate me later?”
The Djinn’s stare, unblinking and direct, burned through him. “You are a sight for these eyes, and not a good one.”
Running a hand across one bloodstained cheek, he glanced down. His clothes were a mess—he’d taken a scrape of claws across the abdomen. A few inches deeper and Xavier’s demon would have succeeded in disemboweling him.
No time to beat around the bush. “I need help.”
A smirk immediately turned up her crimson lips. “You must be at the end of your tether to call me.”
He nodded. The Djinn were a predatory species, and humans were their natural prey; they had a touch that allowed them to implant reality-altering hallucinations in the minds of their victims. “More than you know. I need to erase a few mistakes in the mortal realm.”
Intrigue lit her gaze. “And that is something a Djinn is expert at.”
Yadira impaled him with a frown. “You have a lot of nerve summoning me out of nowhere. It’s been almost thirty years since we last spoke.”
He spread his hands. “I got caught up in other things.” That was no lie.
She planted her hands on her slender hips. “I shouldn’t even be speaking to you, especially since you left me in limbo when you walked away from the Triad. We were a damn good team, and you simply vanished without a word.”
Morgan cut her off. He wasn’t in the mood to try and sweet talk her. “I have no time to explain except to say I am back as an Enforcer, and I am in trouble.”
“Because some humans saw you?” Flagging a hand, she rolled her eyes. “The same old shit I’ve pulled you out of a thousand times before.”
That wasn’t fair at all. “It was always the exception, and not the rule,” he said in his own defense. “But you always did cover my ass when I needed it.”
Yadira’s tawny gaze sparked. “I always coveted your ass, too.”
Morgan drew a breath, forcing himself to calm. Djinn were notoriously sexual creatures. Insatiable. She’d damn near sucked him dry in past times. “Do not get ahead of yourself. I need your expertise—and I am willing to bargain.”
Yadira folded her arms. “Is that so?” Although some would associate them with genies, the Djinn were not the sort to grant wishes. They were deceivers and could twist a person’s darkest desires around in ways that would often seem pleasurable, but were not. If they were so inclined, they would swap a favor. But they didn’t work for free.
He didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”
A wily look sidled across her face. “I’ll do whatever you ask. You know that.” Poking out one bare foot, she toed the charcoal lines etched into the stone floor. “But you have to let me out of here.”
He graced her with a chary look. “What will it cost?”
Yadira looked around, catching sight of the altar, and its occupant. “I see you came prepared to pay.”
Morgan navigated around the circle, cutting off her view of Julienne. “She is not part of our bargain.”
The Djinn frowned. “Too bad. She looks—” She licked her lips. “Tasty.”
“You are not to touch her.” He lifted a single finger in warning. “I mean it.”
Yadira eyed him. “Somehow I don’t think you’re in any position to be making any threats.” Her gaze narrowed with devious intent. “You wouldn’t have beckoned me unless your back was against the wall.”
Patience thinning, Morgan forced himself to remain calm. The Djinn loved to toy with their victims, wearing them down the way a cat would a mouse. “I will offer myself.”
“That’s even better.” Grinning, Yadira briefly cupped her full breasts before gliding her palms down the smooth plane of her belly, toward her hairless mound. “I’m willing to take it out in trade.”
Morgan couldn’t help but look over every inch of her luscious body. Djinn women were wonderfully enticing. Yadira was no exception. Her breasts were small but pert, her belly as flat and hard as iron, and her rear had just enough meat to give a man something to grab on to. Taking a Djinn was a pleasure to be savored, and he’d indulged his carnal appetites more than a single time with her.
Mouth going bone dry, he reluctantly shook his head. “No sex.” Just saying the words delivered a kick to his libido.
Yadira sniffed with disgust. “What’s the matter? Celeste still yanking your leash?”
He winced. That was low. “Right now, my concentration and my energy are shot all to hell. You would be disappointed, to say the least.”
A hint of irony twisted her mouth. “Something must really be wrong if you’re turning down sex.”
His patience thinned, and then snapped. “Ask anything else of me and I will give it. Willingly.”
Yadira eyed him. “You’re serious?”
“I am desperate.” Each precious second that ticked away brought him one step closer to disaster. He needed an answer, and he needed it now. Otherwise he would send her away and fall back on plan B. He’d burn Blackthorne down and disappear until time passed and memories faded. He’d done it, twice before. Hardly the most desirable option, it would be better than being exposed as an entity in the human would.
Yadira stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. “I want something you never use.” She pretended to think. “How about, hmm, your humanity.”
Morgan’s brows rose. “My what?”
“Your humanity.” She offered a grin through clenched teeth. “You know, those emotions you always said you have no use for. Give me that piece of your soul, and I’ll grant anything you want.”
He didn’t hesitate. “All right.”
She tossed her long hair off her shoulders. “Free me, and we shall seal our deal.”
Reaching out, Morgan took her proffered hand, breaking the binding inviolability of the conjurer’s circle.
With little hesitation, Yadira stepped toward him. Closer now, she extended a hand, fingering the gray streak running down his temple. “You’re showing your age.”
He brushed her hand away. “Thanks for noticing. Any other insults you care to skewer me with?”
She cocked her head. “You could still come over to the Djinn side. You would make an excellent incubus.”
Drawing in a breath, he couldn’t help but notice the scent of her; a cloying mixture of sandalwood and opium. She frequently spent her days in illicit dens of iniquity, draining her victims down to dry husks.
He shook his head. “I prefer my women to be awake—and willing—when I have sex with them.”
She pouted. “Killjoy. It’s much more fun to invade their minds and twist things around.”
“And I am willing to pay you to do just that,” he said. “I need this settled fast.”
She immediately shifted gears, shedding her playful manner. Her gaze searched his. “You can’t lie to me. I know you. This path you’ve chosen—Are you sure?”
Pressing his lips tight, Morgan stepped back. Her question offered a moment to reflect, but he didn’t take it. Common sense should’ve warned him it wasn’t a very good idea to barter with a piece of his soul, but he didn’t want to take the time to think it through. “Yes,” he muttered under his breath. “I am.”
Yadira tiled her head, gazing into his face. Her fingers grazed his cheek. “We can settle on something else.”
Shaking his head, he swallowed the lump building in the back of his throat. “No. What you ask is fair, and right. Take it.”
“Then we have a deal?”
He didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely.”
Devyn Quinn lives in the middle nowhere New Mexico. It is so tiny and boring that the only thing enchanting about it is waving goodbye as you leave. Seriously. It’s small. And boring!
To alleviate her boredom and keep from going on a wild shooting spree, Devyn collects and rides motorcycles. She is the proud owner of a Harley, a Honda and a Classic 2001 Ninja ZX-12R–which makes her the fastest, most dangerous writer on the road. Really. Devyn likes to go fast. Light speed fast. She will probably die in a massive fiery crash, but thinks she will enjoy herself before that final “oh, sh*t!” moment hits. At least she has enough toys to play with