Today I am overjoyed to have to have Hunter J. Skye on the blog talking about A Shiver of Shadows, The Hell Gate Series Book 2. The series sounds like wicked good fun just in time for Halloween! Learn about the characters directly from the author below.
Bringing the Wicked
I spend a fair amount of time talking at writing workshops about character development and how to create an interesting protagonist, but the truth is I absolutely love writing villains too. We all need a little wickedness in our lives and if you can’t rely on haughty, eurotrash, exhibitionist vampires to bring the wicked, who can you rely on? In this sizzling installment of The Hell Gate Series, narcoleptic celebrity ghost hunter, Melisande Blythe, is the forced guest of some slightly unhinged immortals and there’s lots to dislike about this sinful crew. Allow me to introduce the Vampires of Cathar:
Mephos the Innocent is a handsome, dark-haired, copper-eyed young man still lanky and raw-boned from his last growth spurt centuries ago. It’s easy to mistake him for a nineteen-year-old party guy burning through his inheritance on the beaches of the Mediterranean. In fact, he is the owner and operator of a collection of very exclusive spas in Andorra. Europe’s rich and beautiful flock to the secluded mountain spas for the medicinal waters of the springs, but there’s more in the waters than just curative properties. A nearby hell gate is tainting the springs with dark magic and the vampires are cashing in.
Celene, at first glance, is Mephos’s arm candy. With long midnight red hair and tantalizing curves, she wields her ability to enthrall like a billy-club. Only dangerous when she’s let off her leash, look for a startling revelation about Celene toward the end of the book, and prepare yourself for her voracious sexual appetite.
Bertrand brings the class to this horrid little ensemble in his over-sized, manly way, but his hammered features and numerous scars suggest a not so polite past. As a former crusader and Knight Templar, Bertrand is haunted by his deeds, and abandoned by a church that drove him to the brink of madness. Even if time hasn’t healed all his wounds, they are cauterized, field-dressed, and mostly forgotten. Bertrand’s long golden hair, faded blue eyes, and warrior physique turn heads most anywhere he goes.
Rasmus of Gomorrah was a priest not even God could kill. Caught at the edge of town by a biblical curse whist fleeing the famed city of Gomorrah, Rasmus’s inhuman regenerative abilities keep him from eternal rest as, every second, the will of God still tries to turn him into a pillar of salt. The resulting agony has left him insane. Couple that with his talent for scheming and manipulating and you have a desperately dangerous entity with planet-ending plans for God and man alike.
If that’s still not enough wicked, add in rotting ghouls, cursed-dripping mummified thieves, and a sect of pain-loving heretics and you’ve got a touching romance. A Shiver of Shadows, the semi stand-alone sequel to A Glimmer of Ghosts, packs plenty of steamy wickedness, but the star-crossed love story between Melisande and three-hundred-year-old corporeal ghost, Colonel William Grayford is the beating heart of this romantic tale of rescued love and new beginnings.
“We won’t make it in time, so I need you to do exactly as I say,” she clutched me by my arms then shoved me into a small convenience store that blazed white with artificial lighting. She dragged me down a narrow aisle, past products with unfamiliar labels, towards a dead-faced man in a turban. His mottled eyes followed us as the woman pushed past his small counter.
“Santuario,” she whispered to the man and he nodded stoically. Then she turned to me.
“Don’t stop. Don’t look around. Just keep moving.”
“What?” I asked as her hand closed over mine once more.
We hurtled down a dark slender hall to an ancient rat chewed wooden door with symbols painted on it in a dark, drooling liquid. Something about that viscous fluid made my skin crawl. The dingy walls pressed close and suddenly the hallway felt as though it was swallowing me whole.
“Wait.” My voice wavered. “Just wait a second.” Something big hovered on the other side of that door. Something I wasn’t ready for. It peeled away my thoughts. It knew I was coming.
“This is a mistake.” Not a bad tattoo kind of mistake. This was the kind of mistake that would burn through my being. It would hollow me out. I’d already rebuilt myself once. I couldn’t go through that kind of stripping again. “Whatever’s in there…it isn’t for me to see.”
“Then close your eyes.” She yanked the door open and pulled me through.
You'd think stopping Armageddon would buy a girl a bit of R&R with her freshly resurrected boyfriend. But things go south again when celebrity soul wrangler, Melisande Blythe, is abducted and dragged to Europe.
There's more to the darkness hiding in the reclusive, mountaintop country of Andorra than just garden variety evil. There's something dangerously wrong with her beautiful immortal hosts too.
Gifted with flesh again by the Grace of God, three-hundred-year-old former ghost,
Colonel William Grayford, will move heaven and earth to find his beloved. But Europe's most wicked monsters stand in his way. Something more painful than death awaits Mel, if Grayford can't find her in time.
The world's been living on fifteen thousand years of borrowed time and it's just run out.
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About the Author
Paranormal romance and urban fantasy author, Hunter J. Skye, was born with a rare nightmare disorder, and raised in a haunted Victorian home. Those two factors predestined her to write ghost stories. A Glimmer of Ghosts, the dark and steamy start to The Hell Gate Series won 5 RWA awards. Book 2, A Shiver of Shadows, released in May, 2021. Look for book 3: A Rapture of Wraiths, Spring 2022.
One thing about the story:
Many of the spirits appearing in A Glimmer of Ghosts are based on actual ghost stories from the Olde Towne district of Portsmouth, Virginia. Once a year, these stories are told on the city’s annual Halloween Ghost Walk. These apparitions are well known to the residents of Olde Towne, Portsmouth and the city considers them ambassadors of a sort. One such ghost, Colonel William Crawford, founded the town three hundred years ago and is the inspiration for Grayford- Melisande’s haunting lover.