Sunday, April 9, 2017

Excerpt & Tour: Blackburn Castle by R.C. Matthews

Title: Blackburn Castle
Author: R.C. Matthews
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/Adult
Series: Tortured Souls Series (Book Two)
Publisher: Crimson Romance
SynopsisVictor Blackburn is living on borrowed time. An ancient curse violently claims the life of each Blackburn male on his twenty-seventh birthday. As his approaches, his only hope of survival is a witch who vanished long ago without a trace.

Mercy Seymour eagerly counts down the days until the curse will claim Victor’s life. She watched him murder her mother, and only his death will free her of the hatred and anger she harbors.

When fate throws them together in Devil’s Cove, desire simmers between the handsome pirate and the spirited barkeeper’s niece until they learn the truth about each other. Desperate for her cooperation, Victor spirits her away to Blackburn Castle in the Scottish Highlands, where forces of magic and mists from beyond the grave weaken her resolve, opening her eyes to the truth of the past.

As Victor and Mercy unearth the fabled stones needed to break the curse, they discover that the only weapon powerful enough to destroy hate is love. But will they have to sacrifice their relationship to save what means the most to them?

Fear cleaved Mercy’s heart in two, and she lost all sense of decorum.

“What kind of monster are you?” she cried, pounding her fists against his chest. “You would force me to lie with you and bear your children? Have you no conscience whatsoever? You beast!”

His green eyes darkened into pools of determination, and he shoved her aside, striding to her abandoned carpetbag. He clawed through the contents, tossing her clothes absently onto the bed, until he pulled out the wooden box containing her potions. Her heart stuttered a moment when he opened it, revealing vial after vial.

“I have a conscience that batters me daily,” he said, plucking one of the vials from the box. “But you leave me no choice!”

He held the cylinder to the light, and although it appeared empty, Mercy knew better. The contents were expensive and, by far, the most sought-after potion of meddling mamas of the ton.

“I do believe the gods are on my side,” he said, reading the label. “Serum eau de Freya.” A vindictive smile curled his lips up. “Freya is the Norse goddess of love and fertility. Your love potion is amber, so methinks this little gem promises fertility. What say you?”

She felt the blood drain from her face as he sauntered back to her, his confident swagger back in full force.

He cupped her chin, rubbing his thumb over her cheek. “Enough said.”

“You can’t force the serum down my throat.”

“No, I don’t suppose I can. But there are other ways to gain your cooperation, and I’m quite motivated.”

He collected the Tome of the Accursed and her wooden box. Striding to a davenport desk in the corner of the cabin, he lifted the lid and stowed the spell book and her potions inside.

“Come here, Mercy,” he said, crooking a finger.

With clenched fists, she stomped toward him. Oh, she had the courage to ignore his command, but he might make good on his earlier threat and use her precious spell book for kindling.

He turned his hand palm up. “Empty your pockets.”

She stepped back and tamped down the burning desire to slip her hand inside her pocket and retrieve the vial of sleep serum. “I beg your pardon! There’s nothing in my pockets.”

“You’re a terrible liar.” His hand shot out lightning fast and captured her wrist, drawing her to him. “I felt something hard when we kissed, and it wasn’t me. Either empty them yourself, or I’ll take great pleasure in doing it for you.”

No doubt he would. She turned out her pockets, securing the vial in the palm of her hand, and lifted her brow in triumph. But he only grinned and snatched the vial from her. His jaw tightened as he read the label. With a grunt of disgust, he tossed the vial into his desk and locked the lid.

“This is the only key,” he said, turning to face her. “Do not attempt breaking into my desk, or you’ll suffer the consequences. I assure you the punishment will be severe and one you will not enjoy, though I most certainly will.”

His fingers entwined in the simple ties of his shirt at the base of his throat, and he tugged them loose. The shirt fell open, revealing a thatch of black hair on his chest. He bent over and pulled off one boot, and then the other, followed by his stockings.

“What are you doing?” she asked, backing away.

Was he offering her a glimpse of the type of punishment he threatened?

“I’m undressing.”

He unbuttoned his trousers next as he walked toward the bed.

“Cease this instant! You won’t gain my cooperation this way.”

His trousers fell to the floor, and she gasped, covering her eyes with her hands. Her heart thundered. Would he strip naked before her? She had thought herself safe from his wicked plans.

“I’m immune to your rantings, witch. It’s late,” he said, his voice muffled. “And I’m tired. It’s been a long day, the storm rages on, and I must relieve the captain in a few short hours.”

Peeking through a slit in her fingers, she caught sight of his round buttocks encased in snug-fitting long johns. She studied his sleek leg muscles, so unlike any man she’d ever seen in the tavern. His muscles flexed under the task of pulling his damp shirt over his head. When he was free of the garment, her gaze traveled north, traversing the expanse of his broad shoulders.

A painful knot lodged in her throat. His back was an intricate web of thick scars from waistband to neck and shoulder to shoulder. She dropped her hands from her face, taking in the full measure of the damage.

Victor was a child of ten years, abducted and tortured himself, and acting under duress of the Butcher.

Although Cecelia had often preached the same as Eveline, Mercy had not given either woman’s claims an ounce of credence. But the evidence before her was irrefutable. Victor had been savagely beaten. On multiple occasions. A vague memory of the Butcher slashing a knife across the boy’s back before he stabbed her mother assailed Mercy, and she heaved in a breath.

Victor glanced over his shoulder, and his eyebrows knitted. There was a glimmer of comprehension in his eyes, and he grunted. “Don’t waste your pity on me. I haven’t suffered anything I didn’t deserve.”

“Did the Butcher do that?” she asked.

“Why do you care?” he growled, turning to face her. “You would have me die a brutal death. Or have you forgotten?”

Why did her stomach quake so violently? He spoke the truth. She wished him dead. Her gaze roamed over his chest and corded stomach, unscathed and so utterly beautiful. He was a study in male perfection from the front. But his back … She could not fathom the level of pain he’d endured, nor what lie ahead of him under the Blackburn curse.

“You may hate me,” he said, his tone a smug sneer. “But you want me between your thighs. The way you stare at me sometimes … ” His heated gaze traveled the length of her body, devouring her inch by inch as he settled onto the bed. “Like I’m a slice of apple tart and you haven’t eaten dessert in a long while. Come here and eat, sweetheart.”

He patted the empty space next to him on the bed. A lascivious grin split across his face, and he laughed.

The man was horrid! Pompous. Arrogant. Vain. Why had she felt even a speck of sorrow on his behalf? Remaining in the same quarters with him was out of the question. She stomped to the cabin door. The knob rattled under her hand but would not open. Balling her hands into fists, she pounded on the door.

Other Books in the Series

R.C. Matthews’ debut book entitled Little White Lies, was conceived in 1997 while living in Cologne, Germany. However, marriage, children and a day job that paid the bills put writing the book on the back burner until 2012 when she discovered the folder with her research in the basement while reorganizing! Determined to finally realize her life-long dream of writing a book, R.C. Matthews spent 15 months writing on weekends to complete the manuscript.

R.C. Matthews was raised in the Metro-Detroit area by deaf parents along with four siblings. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a B.A. in Accounting and German and continues to work as a certified public accountant. She enjoys traveling with her loving husband and children, reading, down-hill skiing, and playing board games. Talisman and LIFE are high on the list of favorites at her home.

R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and historical romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you'll find her watching The Walking Dead, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.
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