Paranormal / Fantasy Romance
Date Published: April 5, 2018
“A human and a vampire. An Assassin and his target. They made an impossibility possible, despite his past, despite their present. They had the future—they had Eternity.”
Ryu Takamura is the Dark Ones’ Assassin. He has never missed his target…until now. Until her.
Ava Monroe is a talented geneticist who holds the key to the vampire race’s future…and perhaps her own as well.
Their attraction is explosive from the first. She would do anything to have him. He would sacrifice all to protect her.
But will their love triumph over seemingly impossible odds as they battle enemies new and old? Especially the demons from Ryu’s past? And deep within his heart?
Aja has been writing stories since the age of six, and novels since the age of thirteen. While she’d be the first to admit that those early efforts weren’t particularly good, she sure loved putting them down on paper!
The best part of writing, according to Aja, is that it’s completely organic, the way the stories develop. When the inspiration hits, she writes just so she herself can learn where the characters are headed because oftentimes, they take her by surprise! It is her ultimate dream to share her stories with as many readers as she possibly can.
Her other loves include art, cooking, old movies (anything with Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Clark Gable, and all the song and dance numbers because she can’t watch them and not be happy!)
She adores taking long walks with her husband and running after her two rambunctious kids. She has traveled extensively (all seven continents except Antarctica) and has had a multi-cultural upbringing. She speaks two and a half languages and binge watch TV shows when the mood strikes.
Aja has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Comparative Literature and Economics and two Master’s degrees, one of which is in East Asian Studies.
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
Inspiration for Dark Desires in particular:
I travel a lot for work. Mundane, Economy Class, scrunched in a tiny seat with my knees against the seat in front of me (and I’m not a tall person!) sort of non-luxurious travel. I’ve been to every continent except for Antarctica, clocked enough miles to make me hate traveling, but not enough to obtain “Platinum Forever” status on any airline or hotel chain. Not once (well, okay, maybe just one single time, but I was “taken” at the time) did I sit next to a hot guy with an interesting personality (or hot gal, for that matter). So you’ll understand how I got inspired to write the first chapter of Dark Desires.
Inspiration # 1: Haven’t you ever fantasized about meeting that perfect stranger on the plane, at the bus stop, in the subway or coffee shop? That ultimate soulmate that was meant just for you?
This is the story of Ryu Takamura and Ava Monroe.
Of all of the books in the series, this might be the one I liked writing the best. It’s also the one that took the least amount of time to write because it was just flowing out of me like it insisted on being told.
Inspiration #2: The reason I like writing about it is because it’s the only book in the series, the only novel I’ve ever written PERIOD that was inspired by a real person. Not so much the REAL person, but at least the looks and persona of the actor I was “slightly” obsessed with at one point in time. (You know what I mean by “slightly” —binge watching all of the movies and dramas he’s ever been in and spending hours perusing his pics online… passive stalking, in other words.)
For those of you who visit my blog and follow me on FB and Twitter, you might know which actor I’m talking about. I’ve written about this subject before. The actor himself is not the obsession, it’s the aura, the look he projects in some of his works. And of course the voice and the way he walks.
Inspiration #3: And then there’s the setting of Dark Desires. It takes place almost entirely in Japan. I have been fascinated with Japanese culture for many, many years. I’ve studied it, taught it in college, and put together my own rambling Manga with a good friend of mine (which will never see the light of day if I can help it!). If you like to lose yourself in another place, another culture, another time when you read, I think Dark Desires will take you there.
Hope you like it!
How did you do research for your book?
A lot of the series is set in ancient worlds. To research those eras, Google is my best friend J At the same time, most of the novels are set in the modern world, in real cities like NYC, Boston, London, Tokyo, cities in China, etc. I’ve lived in all of these places, so these experiences come in handy.
Do you have another profession besides writing?
I am a full-time corporate executive, part-time novelist. I wish it were the other way around!
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Honestly, I wouldn’t go back in time because I’m too spoiled by modern convenience, particularly plumbing, electricity, the Internet (!!!!) and modern medicine. Also, there were too many prejudices and injustices in historical times. Even though there still are today, there’s a LOT less by comparison. But if I absolutely had to choose a time, I might want to do the Regency era, England, in which case I would be born into an understanding family in the nobility and write novels for fun, in addition to oodles of letters to all of my friends and relatives and be allowed to marry whoever I want :P, a la Mr. Darcy.
What is your next project?
I am halfway through Book 6, titled Dark Redemption, in the series. It is about one of the “bad guys,” how he came to be the way he is, and how finding true love remakes him. As with all the books in the series, the world around each book’s main characters continue to evolve. You get more background on the characters, more POVs being told, more insight into these immortals’ very long histories, and progression for other characters. Many readers have been asking for Sophia-Ere-Dalair’s story to be told sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, it will have to be later J BUT, I will probably write a novella after Book 6 in Sophia’s voice exclusively to help readers get better insight into who she is and how she is transforming.
Cendrilla is swapping her glass slippers for combat boots
After being sold in marriage by her stepmother to a wife-killing ogre, Lord Bluebeard, 16-year-old Cendrilla Perrault flees for her life.
Armed with a magical staff, she must reach the safety of the Anti-Magic Capital’s city walls before her murderous betrothed and his henchmen catch her.
But getting there means braving the badlands of the United Kingdom of Seven, a land teeming with trolls, bandits, swindlers and magical foes.
If you like damsels who defy distress, you’ll love the Magestaff.
Perfect for fans of Xena The Warrior Princess, Brienne of Tarth, and Celaena Sardothien!
Get it now.
Previously published as Cendrilla. Lengthened and revamped for 2018.
Date Published: 22 April 2017
Publisher: Evolved publishing
All the Left Hand of Death wants is something to call her own, but is the price too high?
Ellaeva, the fated avatar of the death goddess, is desperate to track down her missing family but the trail is decades old. Instead, she discovers her battered and bloodied sister priestesses driven across the Jerreki border on pain of death. Ellaeva must turn aside from her personal quest to investigate the murders, only to find her parents have been taken into the heart of the conflict.
Lyram Aharris, favoured son of the royal line of Ahlleyn, is the only living person she trusts to help her infiltrate the enemy stronghold and uproot the horror they find there, but their chequered past threatens the mission. Accompanying him is his crown prince, the one man Lyram wants dead above all others.
Now Ellaeva must face down the darkness in her soul before a dark god is brought into the world.
At the boundary of life and death, all oaths will be tested.
Lyram leaned on the window casement, scouring the bustling courtyard of the royal palace of Ahlleyn below. Servants in the black and purple livery of the clan Gaylbrath strode confidently about their tasks, and his gaze skipped over them, looking for someone obviously out of place—looking for the crow amongst the sparrows. From this high, picking individual faces out of the crowd was impossible, but that didn’t stop him searching. He didn’t need a face to find the person he sought.
Despite his failure to note anyone out of place, he knew there was at least one person in the palace who shouldn’t be there. He could feel it in his bones.
“Lyram, you’re not listening to me.”
Sighing, he turned, leaning back against the wall with his arms folded over his plaid. He regarded the duchess. “No, Narrawen, I’m not. I do apologise. What were you saying?”
The Duchess of Kinrothen narrowed pale-blue eyes at him. She stood in the centre of his sitting room, an inner sanctum furnished by his late wife, and a place of solitude and reflection where he’d usually not permit the duchess. But, short of his bedchamber, this was the only room in his suite with a window. He needed to see the courtyard, and she’d insisted on speaking with him.
“Never mind. You clearly have something else on your mind.” Then her voice grew teasing. “Perhaps something I could help with?“
Lyram swallowed a long-suffering sigh. Narrawen, standing with her head cocked and one hand on a hip, was a fine figure of a woman, but she was also a schemer. Her kirtle, though made of expensive linen, was woven in the red, yellow and green tartan of her clan; she took every opportunity to wear it, as though reminding everyone she was their clan leader. Though women were accepted as equals in Ahlleyn, a woman heading a large warrior clan could experience certain… troublesome elements, and she carried a bow slung over her shoulder. A woman who would lead warriors must be a warrior, and she had the temperament to match the flaming red hair tumbling down her shoulders in unruly curls. Everything she did was calculated and planned, and there was no way he’d be sharing what was on his mind.
“It’s nothing to trouble yourself over,” he said.
“Oh, it would be no trouble to take a burden from your shoulders.” She stepped forward, closing the distance between them to place a hand on his arm.
The heady aroma of eastern tuberose assaulted his nostrils, rich and sensual. She was tall, the top of her head on a level with his nose, and her breath tickled his clean-shaven chin. Her gaze held the resolute intensity of a woman accustomed to getting her way, sooner or later. She was beautiful, and in a way that went beyond her face and figure: she was fierce, determined, and intelligent.
But when he looked at her, he saw only Ellaeva.
Her brow pinched, as if reading something in his face, and he smoothed his expression.
“You’ve been too long a widower,” she said.
He started. “Eighteen months! That’s hardly too long.”
She met his gaze with an intense expression, ignoring his protest. “And I’ve never married. We both need heirs.”
He shook his head and tried to draw away, but she had him pinned between her wide skirts and the window. “You would merge two of the kingdom’s most powerful and influential duchies into one? The aristocracy will never stand for it. You already know my answer, Narrawen. I’m not interested in marrying—you or anyone else. It’s not personal, you understand?”
She snorted in a most unladylike fashion and tossed her hair, like a wild horse tossing its mane. “You pay too little attention, Lyram. You’d be surprised what the aristocracy will allow now, after the fall of Traeburhn. Everyone’s been made nervous by his treason, especially the stripping of lands and titles. Besides, we need not merge the duchies. We could agree on a division of heirs.”
“The risk of civil war—”
She leaned closer, until only inches separated their faces. The heady smell of her perfume was almost intoxicating.
“There are any number of men in this kingdom, and without, who would marry me,” she said. “Most for the wrong reasons. Few of them have my respect and admiration, but you do. What I need is a husband. What I want is you.”
The door burst open, thumping against the wall.
Narrawen jumped back, her bow clattering against the side table. A faint blush stained her cheeks.
Lyram’s pulse quickened. This was it, the moment he’d been waiting for.
Everard stood framed by the sitting room’s doorway, his posture perfectly erect as he folded his hands neatly in front of his sporran. As always, he was clad in scrupulous court attire, his rank pinned to the shoulder of his white shirt and his kilt falling in perfect pleats. His thinning grey hair had been meticulously combed, and his wire-framed glasses perched precariously on his nose. He kept his face blank, but a small twitch beside his eye betrayed his displeasure at the duchess’s presence. “Sir.”
Though Everard’s tone was even, Lyram read the tension and urgency in him. “I know, Everard. I’ll come.”
“A prior engagement, Lyram?” Narrawen said. “Whatever it is, reschedule it. We’re not done.”
Lyram opened his mouth to countermand the order—though she outranked him, how dare she presume to order his aide-de-camp?
But Everard’s gaze flickered to her with that same inscrutability, and in his perfectly deadpan aide’s voice he said, “Is Your Grace still chasing a husband? Perchance I can suggest a better hunting ground.”
Narrawen grew rigid, and Lyram suppressed a grin.
“The duchess and I can finish our conversation later,” Lyram said. “I’ll come, Everard.”
“No, sir—” Everard blinked, jerking aside as though pinched, and Ellaeva stepped into the room.
The shock of seeing her thrilled through him, like the mixed pleasure of an unexpectedly warm spring day, tainted by fording a stream running with snowmelt. Though he’d felt her jump suddenly from the far east to well within Ahlleyn borders several days ago, though he’d felt her drawing nearer by the day, he hadn’t realised she was here, outside the room. And no amount of time could have prepared him for this moment.
Their gazes locked. Her black eyes were flat and cold. In his head, the sense of her abruptly clenched into the hard glass ball that said she was trying to control or hide her feelings. That connection was the unintended legacy of his resurrection at her hand, but she’d grown better at controlling it. Then her gaze flickered to Narrawen, standing so close alongside him, and the glass ball shattered into a thousand shards with an impact so visceral he gasped and sat down. The chill in the air deepened.
She switched her stare back to Lyram. Finally, she spoke, in a voice cold as iron. “I have come to see Alagondar.”
About the Author
Ciara Ballintyne grew up on a steady diet of adult epic fantasy from the age of nine, leaving her with a rather confused outlook on life – she believes the good guys should always win, but knows they often don’t. She is an oxymoron; an idealistic cynic. Her debut work is Confronting the Demon, and In the Company of the Dead is her first book to be published with Evolved Publishing. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and is a practising financial services lawyer. In her spare time, she speculates about taking over the world.