Being attacked by a demon in Philadelphia shouldn’t have been a big deal. Tarian Xannon is, after all, heir to the Dolphin Throne and the strongest magical talent in generations.
Never mind that demons aren’t even supposed to exist. Never mind that the demon managed to swipe some of her blood. She’s never met her match before and she’s confident she can handle the situation.
She creates a plan to find the demon, and kill him, before he destroys her, or worse, steals her power and the Dolphin Throne.
Of course, she hadn't counted on the throne insisting that now would be a great time for her to provide the next heir.
She’s a modern woman with a demon to kill, and a baby to produce. What could possibly go wrong?
I really enjoyed this book. I'm really into magical type stories and this one was really good. It was a great start to a series and I hope more books are written.
I also feel that Tarian is a great female lead character. Her world changes when she gets informed that she has to produce an heir. She knew this was going to happen but having to find and fight a demon while trying to produce an heir? Not something she wanted to do at the same time.
My favorite scene's are probably the ones where everyone is fighting the demon. It was action packed and I couldn't put the book down.
Melinda takes you into a whole new world filled with demons, magic, adventure and love. It's a fun filled adventure from the first page to the last. Absolutely a must read!!
Tarian took off her jacket and focused her magic on the wound in an attempt to heal it, but after a couple of minutes had to admit it: She sucked at healing. Even if she hadn’t just spent a lot of energy fighting the demon, she couldn’t have managed to heal this. When she tried to handle something as delicate as skin, she felt clumsy and awkward. The headache wasn’t helping, either. The best she was able to manage was a loose scab that she wasn’t entirely sure wouldn’t have formed on its own in a few more minutes. She surveyed the damage. It was angry and in-your-face, and it hurt like hell, but at least she’d managed to make it stop bleeding.
She put the jacket back on and winced as the stiff leather brushed against the wound. The torn section stuck out at odd angles. She tried to tuck it in so it was less obvious, then searched the alley for any scrap the lizard man might have touched. If she couldn’t track her own blood, for whatever reason, maybe she could use something he’d touched as a focus. She found nothing, not even a button or a scale.
A man stood on the sidewalk, surveying the alley. A strong magical signature emanated from him, plus a whiff of some sort of spice. She tested the air, ready to throw every ounce of magic at him that she could muster, which wasn’t much at the moment. She relaxed as she realized he wasn’t attempting to focus power of any sort. Satisfied that he wasn’t an immediate threat, she took a good look at him.
He had the kind of strong jaw she loved, and his messy black hair soaked up the afternoon sun. He wore jeans, a black wool coat and relaxed confidence. A shiver crawled down her back and settled in her groin. If they’d met in a bar, she’d have bought him a drink. Or three.
The stranger raised his eyebrows as his eyes passed over the slice in her jacket, then had the nerve to wink at her as his eyes traveled down her leather pants.
“You’re in some kinda trouble. Need help?” His smile stretched up and lit a sparkler in his eyes. “I felt that blast all the way in the coffee shop.”
“I’m doing just fine, thanks. I have a job to do, if you don’t mind.” Great, just what she needed, some magic citizen thinking he was a detective. She needed to finish her original mission and get the hell out of here.
“You’re anything but fine. Whatever job you think you’re doing, you need to have that arm looked at first.” His eyes didn’t lose the sparkle, but his voice took on a serious tone. “It smells wrong. If it’s what I think, you need to have it sealed. Fast. And then you need to catch the guy, quick, before he uses what he got.”
She couldn’t stop herself from putting a hand over the injury. He was right. The wound felt wrong, somehow. The cold inside her wove in and around her internal organs. She didn’t want to think about what it searched for. It pulsed in time to the throbbing in her arm. But surely the healers could handle this when she got home. No big deal.
“Look, I appreciate the concern, but I’ll be fine. I don’t have time to get it looked at right now.” She resolutely put her hand down and pushed past him. Her target couldn’t be far. She’d only been here for what, a few minutes? He was probably in the nearest bar.
The man put a hand on her good arm to stop her. The warmth soaked into her bicep and loosened muscles all over the place.
“Make time.” The sparks were gone from his eyes. “I’d hate to see someone so fine used by something that foul.”
“Just who are you, anyway?” She pulled her arm away from him.
He put a hand in his back pocket, fished out a card and handed it to her.
Daric Voltain, Private Society Investigations
The address was the building next to the alley they stood in, the home of her favorite coffee shop. No wonder he’d felt the backlash of spell power. He must live above the alley.
“I told you, I’ve had some experience with this. And it’s obvious you haven’t. That arm is bad news. He’s left a mark on you. And if you have some of him, it means he has some of you.”
Her skin turned cold as she remembered the lizard man tasting her blood.
“It’s no big deal.” She put the card in her back pocket and matched his know-it-all stare with a glare of her own.
“I’ll take that as confirmation. The clock is ticking, hun. If he’s a demon, the stronger he is, the faster it will tick. If he knows what he’s doing, I’d say you have a week, maybe less.”
A week before what? Before her arm fell off? She put her hand over the wound again. It didn’t feel life-threatening. Her head pounded. Dizziness threatened to drop her on her ass.
It was as if Daric read her mind.
"A week before he has control over you. Your powers. Everything. You'll be his to command. That would be a very bad thing, for you and the rest of us.”
Melinda VanLone writes fantasy and science fiction, freelances as a graphic designer, and dabbles in photography. She currently lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and furbabies. When she's not playing with her imaginary friends, you can find her playing World of Warcraft, wandering aimlessly through the streets taking photos, or hovered over coffee in Starbucks.
Guest Post from Melinda VanLone:
A book cover seems like a simple thing, right? Slap an image and some text on there and send it out.
In reality, like anything else that seems easy, it's a lot more complicated and complex. At least, if you want to do it right. A book cover is more than just the thing holding the pages together; it's a marketing piece. It's one of the tools in the toolbox that, combined with other things, sells the author and the author's brand.
If you're a reader, the first thing you see, in general, is the cover. It affects you in all kinds of ways and is a huge part of what makes you pick up the book or click that link. It's entire reason for being is to communicate to you not only what the book is about, but why you want to read it.
A heavy job.
It's also art. Something that hopefully catches the eye of the target audience and pulls them in. It's a hook, even more than the first line of the story. People notice images first. Even in the newspaper they'll look for the photo first, then read the caption, then read the article. Maybe it goes back to the days when all we had was chiseled pictures on walls. Whatever the reason, the image is vitally important.
If you want to sell the book, that is.
When I'm browsing for a new book, the cover tells me a story long before I ever read a word inside. If it's doing the job right, it tells me what genre the book is, the tone of the story, the overall theme...a hint of the drama inside. All that without a word. The title then kicks it up a notch. From those two things, the artwork and the title, I'll know if I want to pick that book up off the shelf and give the first sentence a chance.
The cover for my debut novel, Stronger Than Magic, hopefully tells the reader that here is a fantasy novel, one that has a main female protagonist, and by the look of her expression she's confident, and more than ready to take on whatever dangers lurk in her way. Her eyes draw the reader in. What's she thinking? Why does she look amused?
The title might refer to her...she might be the thing stronger than magic. Or it might refer to the thing she fights. Or maybe something else entirely. Hopefully it's a question the reader would like to have answered. Just what is stronger than magic anyway?
At the beginning of her journey, Tarian, the girl on the cover, would have said nothing was stronger than her magical ability. By the end, Tarian might have a different answer. I hope the cover is enough to pull the reader into the story, and that by the end the reader learns along with Tarian exactly what is Stronger Than Magic.