Friday, July 11, 2008

Release day! WICKED OMEN by Sherrill Quinn

Hello everybody! Sherrill's having computer woes (on a release day, ack!!!) so I get to play on her blog, whee! I'm really excited because her WICKED OMEN is releasing today -- Book 1 in the Dark Pantheon series!

Whose idea was the Dark Pantheon? I can't remember now who started the whole ball rolling, it might have been Sherrill (Sherrill?) But somehow it gestated and grew and became a shared-world vampire series from the Deliciously Naughty Writers -- and the first one is out RIGHT NOW at Ellora's Cave!

WICKED OMEN
by Sherrill Quinn

Book one in the Dark Pantheon series
Available NOW!
http://www.ellorascave.com/AuthorsBooks.asp?AuthorCode=SQui

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They are children of the gods. Half-immortal, yet never whole. Until they find the one they burn to possess for all eternity...


Wicked Omen


In the seventh century B.C., Kalla must pretend to be one of the hated enemy -- a Spartan -- in order to save her family. Her gift of sight has brought her to the attention of her Spartan master, Praxiteles, who is determined to use her to overthrow one of the dual kings of the Spartan monarchy. She has no choice but to play along, or her father and brothers will die.

Nikolaos, an Aresian vampire, is a fierce proponent of one of the Spartan kings -- in direct opposition to the man who threatens Kalla's family. When Praxiteles introduces Kalla as the Spartan's new oracle, Nikolaos is suspicious of her, both because her behavior is inconsistent with that of a Spartan woman but especially because of her association with Praxiteles. However, he can't resist her beauty and intelligence.

When she tells Nikolaos something that happened in a recent battle that no one but one of his men -- in whose fealty he has absolute trust -- could know, he begins to believe her. With his skepticism put to rest, he gives in to his desire for her.

Kalla and Nikolaos must now face a common enemy -- one who threatens both Nikolaos's way of life and Kalla's family. But their happiness is not guaranteed. What will Nikolaos do when he discovers Kalla is involved in the plot to overthrow his king? Can their love overcome the bite of betrayal?

Excerpt


There had been a time not all that long ago when Nikolaos would have welcomed the sting of death, had eagerly anticipated the journey to the Isles of the Blessed where all heroes spent eternity. He was tired of war, tired of the loneliness that ate away at his soul. It wasn't easy, watching those around him grow old and die while he stayed youthful and fit. But in spite of his many headlong rushes into battle, the god of the underworld apparently did not want him.

Nikolaos would have thought one less Aresian on this plane of existence would be a good thing, but it seemed Hades preferred that the vampire descendants of the gods be Zeus' problem instead of his.

"I'd prefer to die in battle," Nikolaos went on, "than at the end of an executioner's axe."

"Aye, my lord." Castor turned away from him and started back the way he'd come.

Nikolaos fell into step beside him. Within moments, they came upon the rest of his troops. He scanned the crowd, at one glance taking in the beaten Helots on their knees with their hands behind their heads, huddled in a group with the tired but victorious Spartoi gathered 'round them. But there was one man missing... "Where's Deucalios?" he asked, referring to his boyhood friend and fellow Aresian vampire.

Castor's throat moved with his hard swallow. "He has fallen, my lord." He gestured toward the rocky knoll that crowned the hill upon which they stood.

In spite of the warmth of the day and his own overheated battle-worn body, a chill iced its way through Nikolaos. With leaden steps, he walked in the direction his lieutenant had pointed.

There, in what clearly had been a killing frenzy, Deucalios lay in pieces. The gaping hole in his chest was further mute testament that the butchers who did this knew how to make sure the Aresian warrior could not be restored to life.

Fisting his hands, Nikolaos went to his knees beside his fallen comrade. His eyes burned with unshed tears, his throat tightened around the howl of grief clawing to be set free. What was the benefit in having near immortality if it only made you a target of vicious attacks like this? Until the heart had been removed from his chest, Deucalios would have been coherent enough to feel every bite of the blade that rendered him asunder.

The only reason Nikolaos could think of for the viciousness of the attack was because, like him, Deucalios was an Aresian.

When Nikolaos returned to Sparta, he would visit the oracle and discover whatever portends she could envision. For now, though, he would avenge his friend. He put his hand palm down in a deep crimson pool of his friend's blood. Then he placed his hand on his brass chest plate, over his heart, marking himself with Deucalios' life essence. "I will avenge you, my brother," he muttered, bowing his head.

Grief turned to an all-consuming rage that brought back his bloodlust. A red haze colored his vision. He jumped to his feet and returned to the captives. His nostrils flared as he sought out those who had brought Deucalios to such an ignoble death.

He paused in front of each enemy soldier, breathing deeply, taking in the multitude of scents that fierce battle always brought. The coppery smell of blood, the pungent tang of sweat, the stench of fear. But there was one particular aroma he sought�the same scent that wafted to his nostrils from the bloody palm print on his chest.

Deucalios cried out for vengeance.

Get your copy of WICKED OMEN today!
http://www.ellorascave.com/AuthorsBooks.asp?AuthorCode=SQui

Explore the Dark Pantheon at http://www.darkpantheon.com

4 comments:

Debbie Wallace said...

Great book cover Sherrill!

Sherrill Quinn said...

Thanks, Debbie!

And thank you, Sierra, for jumping in and taking care of this for me while I had absolutely *no* internet access. Boy am I gonna have a lot to blog about *that*...

Caffey said...

Hi Sierra and Sherrill!
Gosh, I'm so thrilled this is out, I'm captivated with the theme (historical and paranormal!) and now the peek at the excerpt!

Love the name Kalla, first time I saw this name. I'm falling for Nikolaos already. Gosh, that scene in the excerpt was so emotional!!

Congrats on the release Sherrill!

Sherrill Quinn said...

Thanks, Cathie! This was a blast to write, and it's the earliest setting I've ever used--the 6th century B.C. Sparta. But after having seen the movie 300 with all those ripped guys running around in their red capes and man panties, I had to set it there. LOL