Please welcome Jamie Rush!
Darkness Becomes Her, Book Six of the Offspring Series
Avon Books, June 2012 (ISBN 978-0062018922)
Desperately in need of redemption, Lachlan McLeod has a mission: find the beast who put his brother into a coma. He'll start with Jessie Bellandre, his brother's girlfriend, who's harboring a dark, dangerous secret that could get them all killed. But as they fight the battle of their lives, not falling in love with her will be as hard as staying alive.
The world of the Offspring has been so much fun to create and work in. When I started the series, I was aiming for something between romantic suspense and paranormal, nothing too far out there. Creatures like vamps and werewolves were big, but I wasn't interested in writing those kinds of heroes/heroines. I was and have always been interested in psychic abilities. So I twisted in aspects of a couple of secret government projects I'd heard about and created a group of people who inherit extraordinary abilities from a parent who was in such a program … a parent who is now dead and cannot answer the many questions their offspring have. Which made it fun (in the evil way writers have fun) because they had to find out themselves.
Funnily enough, I knew they had something in their DNA that made them different but didn't know what. I experienced the mystery right along with the various couples through the first three books, and then in the fourth book, it's all revealed. [SPOILER ALERT: if you intend to read the series from the beginning, skip to next paragraph.] Their parents were given the essence of a human-like being from a parallel dimension. The idea that there are other dimensions isn't science fiction: respected physicists believe it. I didn't want to stray into sci-fi territory by going to that dimension, but I did bring lots of interesting aspects from that dimension to ours.
And then a funny thing happened: creatures! First Cheveyo, who totally surprised me by jumping into OUT OF THE DARKNESS and saving the heroine in the opening scene by becoming a panther. Then I started playing with the possibilities outside the realm of traditional shapeshifters and found something called Darkness. It, too, has mysterious origins (though this time I knew what it was!), and Jessie, the heroine of DARKNESS BECOMES HER, holds it. She inherited it from her father, and he's not in a place to explain it to her.
What she does know is that when triggered, she morphs into Darkness and has superhuman strength. It scares her and keeps her from letting anyone into her life. Her uncle also holds Darkness, but he's got a distinct advantage: he knows what it is and how to use it in terrifying ways.
When she meets Lachlan under, let's just say, extraordinary circumstances, he seems the last person who could help her. Not that she wants him involved anyway. But Lachlan has his own demons, of a personal nature, to slay. And while he thinks he's lost his own abilities, he has suddenly acquired a very interesting—and quite uncontrollable—new one. I don't want to spoil that element either, but I'll say I had so much fun with it that it could have easily stolen the show. And I got to explore an element that has always fascinated me but hasn't seemed to do well in romance fiction as a stand-alone feature.
Here's a sneak peek as Jessie's trying to explain what's in her:
Mad, bad and dangerous. Yeah, that about summed up the man who stood across from her. He wore only black pants, his bare torso long and leanly muscled. His long hair was tied back, emphasizing his square jaw and arched eyebrows. The trimmed beard made him look like a pirate or, seeing the sword he'd brandished earlier leaning against the wall behind him, a primitive Highlander. The movie Braveheart came to mind, all those delicious men in kilts raging into battle for freedom. That same ferocity and wildness glowed in his eyes now as they pinned her like that sword.
"Tell me about Darkness."
Those brown eyes told her she wasn't going anywhere until she laid out her soul.
"I don't even know your name.” A hysterical hiccup-laugh escaped her mouth. “It’s not like we’ve been properly introduced."
"I'm called Lachlan. Are you some kind of demon? I saw your notebook."
“I’m not this thing.” She held herself, and the anger at his word you, back. “I’m a person, like you. It’s something in me. Not me.”
“Semantics. I saw you and that son of a bitch turn into something inhuman.”
She wanted to convince him, but that would sound like begging. He’d seen her notebook, her own personal search for answers. Werewolves, witches, vampires, none fit.
He jabbed his finger toward her. "That's how you threw me across the room. I thought something weird had gone on, but it happened so fast, I couldn't tell. I thought I was mad. Then, back at the carnival, you turned to a black fog. What the hell are you?"
She heard the stretch of emotion in his voice. And the accusation. "I don't know. That's why I've been studying demonology, trying to find something that fits. I'm not evil. I don't want to go around killing people." Way to sound like you're trying to convince him. “I used it to save Magnus, after all.”
“And now he’s some kind of monster.”
She bristled. "You had a choice.”
"Some choice, put your Darkness in him to save him or let him die. But now I need to know, what's in him? Will he turn into smoke, too? Or some bloody wolf thing that'll eviscerate me the next time we have an argument?"
I'm celebrating the release of DARKNESS BECOMES HER with my Kick Butt First Line contest. Shocking, suspenseful…make us want more! Cash prizes! Contest runs until July 1, 2012. For aspiring authors, it's a chance to get your name out there and add a "win" to your bio. For readers, it's a chance to play at being a writer. Even if you're not inclined to write a line, check out the entries—they're a lot of fun! For details, go to www.JaimeRush.com and click on the Contest link.
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