Well, it's that time...a bittersweet time for me.  My Inherited Damnation series comes to a close on January 16th with the release of Marked for Death.  I've had a wonderful time with these characters, and more so with the darkest sibling, Taran.  I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did writing it.  It's really a very emotional journey.  Very emotional.

Here's the first part of Chapter One, to whet your appetite!

Marked for Death
Inherited Damnation, Book VIII

Taran McLaine knows the agony of his incubus father's curse more intimately than his siblings. A century ago he murdered the only woman he ever loved. When he finds her alive, he's faced with the ultimate heartbreak. They have no chance at a future--he's done all he can to insure that on his day of judgment the ancestors will deny him a mortal life.

Years ago, Solene Larouche embraced Taran and the dark curse that cloaked him. She knew the risk she faced, but when Drandar pulls her back to life, she agrees to aid the demon and damn Taran to eternal suffering. One look at the man who held her heart so long ago, however, changes her mind. She must find a way to free him, even if it means condemning herself to eternity as Drandar's slave.

As Samhain approaches, Solene and Taran conspire to destroy Drandar. But will their combined effort enable them to kill the incubus or will they be cast into Drandar's own special Hell and all hope of their renewed love marked for death?


Chapter One

Like sapphires hidden in earth’s inky depths, the subtle cobalt sheen of her hair called Taran McLaine by name.  Within the cover of deep shadow, he tracked the glossy sway as the woman crossed the Rue de Rennes and strode past a small café that bustled with late night activity.  She stopped before an ornate iron gate that enclosed a recessed door on the ground level of a five-story, grey, stone building.    

To anyone else, the building looked just like its neighbors.  Astute, touched by time, and weathered with charm.  To Taran, the building was Notre Sérénité, and the memories that came with the house haunted him.
Much like the woman who he had literally stumbled into months ago, when he was hurrying through a downpour to feed the mangy tomcat that watched him from a nearby trash container now.  She’d been running for the gate, he for the corner of the antiquated block, when they’d collided into one another.  He’d taken one look at her fair features, her vivid green eyes, and forgot how to function.

In 125 years, he had never encountered a woman who bore such a striking resemblance to Solène Larouche, the woman who had captured his heart and died at his hands.

Keys jangled as the woman unlocked the iron gate.  Hinges squeaked.  She slipped inside, shut the heavy iron behind her, and locked it once more.  Taran shifted his stare to the window on the left.  A light switched on within.  A few moments later, another illuminated the second story window atop the first.

She had even chosen the same bedroom Taran had spent too many nights in, for her own.  She was the only person to do so in over a century.  The other owners—tenants when one owner converted it into flats in the early 20th century—had somehow always chosen another room in the vast five stories as their personal sleeping quarters.

Taran fought a grimace as icy fingers gripped his heart.  A memory flashed, the same long dark hair spilling across white linens, her flawless skin flushed with unspent passion.  He squeezed his eyes shut against the unwanted recollection and shifted his weight.

When he had tamed the yearning, he opened his eyes to find the window dark once again.  If he stole around the block, behind to the terraced patio, the pavestones would be aglow with soft yellow light.  The rear entry would be unlocked, braced partially open to allow the October breeze in and the diverse aromas of incense out.

Whoever she was, she had opened the store once more.  The same shop that Solène and he had opened together, to service the desires of a spiritualistic community that dared not show their faces in the light of day.  He’d only had to make a few discreet inquiries to discover she sold the same wares.
Who was she?

Dáire encountered her briefly, back before their mother’s scrolls had been discovered.  After recognizing the same similarities Taran did, he duped the woman the niece.  Taran couldn’t bring himself to ask.  She was too much like Solène.  Too much like the memory he couldn’t escape.

The woman held the power to drag him into the abyss of feeling, to provoke emotions he hadn’t experienced since the night he murdered the woman he loved.  

For that alone, she must die.

Taran breathed in the river’s wet scent and straightened his shoulders.  He didn’t hold a knife this time, as he had so long ago.  No, anymore, he didn’t need manmade tools to suffocate life.  His hands would work just fine.  Quicker too, as he snapped her neck.  She wouldn’t suffer, and he would solidify his own eternal demise. For by killing her, he would guarantee the ancestors would never return him to life.

He pushed away from the shadowed wall he leaned against and struck off down the street, winding beneath the streetlamps that painted Paris’ Left Bank with serenity.  For months he had put this off, waiting until he had done all he could to insure he would never draw another breath.  He’d even left Paris for a few months at a time to avoid the fierce urge that unwanted memories sparked.

In a few minutes, all he would need was his mother’s last scroll to secure the only peace he would ever know.

Taran crossed the street in swift, determined strides.

Come back next week for the continuation of chapter one!


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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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