I ask… How bad is bad?
I love heroes and heroines, but to be completely honest, the bad guys are the most interesting characters for me to both read and write. Actually, I build my baddies the same way that I build my good guys, but when push comes to shove, they choose the dark course. Okay, some of my heroes and heroines do that too, but hopefully they redeem themselves by the end of the book.
Ferrol Grey is the villain in Fire Kissed, says so right on the back blurb. But the tenets he lives by make sense for him and his world. He’s reasonable and organized, and could be likeable, if he wasn’t so dang bad. But then, he’s striving to be a leader, and sometimes leaders have to make terrible choices. At what point does a terrible choice make a bad man?
And then there’s a kind of nature/nurture question. Ferrol Grey is a mage, which means he’s got magic in his blood. It’s hereditary and so he was born for the life he lives. His kind of magic (every mage family is different) allows him to take a little (or a lot of) magic from other mages. Sometimes he uses his power for the safety of his people. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. And sometimes he uses his power to keep his own… there again, it’s kind of understandable when there is so much danger coming from every direction. Someone needs to maintain order. But this power, which hails from iron, by its very nature takes from others. Was he doomed from birth?
Here’s an exclusive excerpt featuring Ferrol ( aka “Ferro”). The setup: He’s throwing a reception in honor of heroine Kaye Brand, who he intends to romance, but only if she’s not hiding anything. To discern truth from lie, he needs a bit of another mage’s power…
Ferro descended the great hall’s sweeping staircase while surveying the space below. Decorations were in place—candles and sconces everywhere, as yet unlit. Shadow roiled on the floor and gathered in the corners, whispering. At the turn, he caught sight of Alistair Verity, ankle deep in magic. Alistair was frowning into his jowls like a bulldog, his head thrust forward as if he were already refusing. The collar of his tuxedo shirt must have been strangling him.
Ferro checked the clasps of his cuff links; he’d dressed for the formal reception quickly. But no, he was ready, just nervous, a welcome jittery feeling in his belly. A little excitement for once. Kaye.
“You summoned me?” Alistair growled.
Alistair Verity didn’t have the luxury of refusing. Ferro had a need; Alistair would meet it. And so it would be until Alistair’s son took head of House, at which time Ferro would come to terms with him too. How else did they think they got the Florida panhandle? And how did they think to keep it? The arrangement was very reasonable.
Ferro came to the landing and approached, his hand out to seal the bargain.
Alistair got red in the face. “You’ll leave me defenseless.”
“That’s not true.” Ferro pulled back his hand, soured. “I am your defense.”
“Too much and you’ll kill me.”
Alistair spoke through gritted teeth. “You’re a vampire.”
Ferro went as cold as his House iron. He’d been called many things behind his back, all foul, but this—he breathed through his sudden anger—this he was going to like. If only he had that one vampire characteristic that eluded him. He’d regained his youth, yes, but immortality still escaped him. Vampire. There were worse names; he could own this one.
Besides, these days everyone loved vampires. Especially old ones wrapped in young bodies.
“That’s why we’re such good friends, Alistair,” Ferro said, the rest of his ire evaporating.
“You’re all about the truth, while the rest of us stick to the Shadows.”
It was a House Verity trait.
“This is against my will.” Alistair Verity did not, could not, deceive.
“You’ll of course be excused from the party tonight.” Ferro made a beckoning gesture to hurry things along. “Your hand? Or would you like a fresh spot?”
He had to know if Kaye’s intentions, however ambitious, were true.
Alistair’s hand came up, an old circular scar at the center of his palm. Ferro moved quickly; she’d be here soon. He touched the Shadow setting in his iron ring on the spot and closed his eyes to conceal the eye-flickering rapture of Verity Shadow entering his being. Did it make him bisexual to enjoy Alistair so?
Bisexual was popular too.
Ferro opened his eyes, his gaze inadvertently on the man’s jowls. No.
Alistair fell, gasping, to one knee, his hand smearing the floor with a streak of blood as he tried to catch himself from falling all the way. His resting position was not unlike the deep bow of a knight before his liege. Their relationship was not much different.
Alistair drew a shuddering breath. He seemed beyond humor just now.
“Do you want help leaving?”
“I want to kill you,” he said.
A bright echo, like harmonics climbing a major scale, sounded within Alistair’s words, and Ferro knew—knew—that what he said was true.
That was the power of Verity Shadow.
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It is Kaye Brand's power to wield. But outcast from her kind, she's been selling herself to the highest bidder - money for her survival in exchange for a magic glimpse into the flames of the future.
One of the angelic Order, Jack Bastian has no use for a female like Kaye, as provocative and unexpected as her blazing beauty. Yet he has no choice but to hire her to uncover the secrets of his sworn enemy and her former fiance, Ferrol Grey.
War is inevitable between the defenders of the Order and the mage Houses who threaten to engulf the world in Shadow. For Jack, mage-born Kaye is off limits, no matter how hot the impossible attraction between them. But in the coming darkness, beset by danger and desire, everything is about to change...
Thanks SO much for making this a stop on the blog tour! I agree... a evil character is essential in my favorite books. They usually become the catalyst for the hero or heroine in the story. Oh and Ferrol Grey is VERY bad! I can't wait to see what everyone lists as their faves.
Oh and anyone who reads my reviews knows that I love this series! That includes this book and I even made a certain angel an official member of the man harem! ;)
Okay, I know... the giveaway! Oh Erin rocks hard and made this one INTERNATIONAL! Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter!