Redeeming the Unredeemable
Hi all! Thanks for having me here today and listening to a little about Marked for Death, the last book in the Inherited Damnation series…and my absolute favorite book of them all. If you’re just catching this series, you can check out the first book free – Cursed to Kill.
So, around book four, my editor said to me that I was going to have a hell of a task in redeeming Taran, the darkest sibling of the bunch. To give you an idea what she felt I was up against, here’s what he’d done so far:
pretty much attacked one of the heroines
- he killed innocent animals
- he hates his entire family
- he was stalking some woman in France
Quite the daunting task, honestly. But hey, I’m always up for a challenge!
As I piddled along, the answer to how I could pull this off was to give him a reason for being so dark and so loathesome. Which meant something pretty nasty had to push gears already in motion, into full-tilt baddness. The answer? His curse.
You probably know by now that the entire family is cursed to kill whomever they give their hearts to. And Taran fell head over heels for a witch and suffered the worst fate—she died by his hand. In that death, in the torture he suffered over knowing he killed the woman he loved and couldn’t stop himself, I found the sympathetic thread. Which I believe is the core of redeeming any darker character.
Can you imagine what it must feel like to be unable to stop yourself, to have no physical control over what you know is rationally wrong and horrific, and to murder the one person you can’t envision living without? Then, to top it off, there’s no death for you. No jury or life sentence. No suicide. You must continue on, because you’re immortal. And you can’t escape.
Unless you get your hands on one of your mother’s ancient scrolls that will force you to stand before the ancestors, who will judge whether you return to life or die eternally.
So who the heck wouldn’t do everything under the sun to insure you weren’t coming back to relive that moment, that utter loss, day in and day out? I sure would.
I think this added another level of depth to Taran. Previously, we never saw his thoughts; only his actions, and several of his actions we heard about second-hand. For those of you’ve who’ve been following along, as you get into Marked for Death, you’ll be able to look back and see those scenes in a different perspective.
And then there’s one character who sort of marries the entire concept of being alone. A cat Taran very much cares about, but who can’t stand him. That poor cat is Taran’s judge, jury, and executioner.
Of course, it’s never quite as simple as one element. There are many other smaller areas where Taran’s past influences him. The issues with his family run deep and definitely scar. I’m sure some of you will relate to the struggles he faces with his siblings, curse aside. And I’m pretty sure there are some twists and surprises that you won’t anticipate. All of which were amazingly fun to write and develop.
I hope you’ll check it out. Meanwhile, please leave your thoughts below: what would you do in his position? How would you cope with the horror you created?
One of eight children born to an ancient Celtic priestess and sired by a demonic incubus, Cian McLaine suffers from a centuries-old curse. Though his immortality allows him to enjoy the pleasures of mortal life, he is plagued by the desire to kill. As long as he doesn't fall in love he can keep the compulsion at bay.
When Cian walked into her rare bookstore months ago, Miranda Phillips never imagined she'd lose her heart to the handsome playboy. Her reward for doing so was abandonment. Cian left as mysteriously as he appeared, in the middle of the night with no explanation, no goodbye. Now he's back, and passion flares just as hot. But Cian has secrets. If Miranda is to survive, she must uncover the truth and free his darkened soul.
Tormented by Darkness
INHERITED DAMNATION Book #2
Cursed by her incubus father centuries ago, the last thing Rhiannon McLaine wants is to fall in love.
The night she delivers flowers to detective Mick Farrell, however, everything changes. Deep-seated attraction flares into untamed passion. In the morning, Rhiannon awakens to find she’s lost her heart. Now, unless she can convince Mick of her secret past, she’s destined to take his life.
When Rhiannon asks Mick to go camping with her, instinct warns him to refuse. Though he hungers for her love and the goodness she represents, he’ll do anything to keep her from discovering the darkness within his soul. Yet a weekend in the woods is the perfect place to indulge in temporary desire…until he finds himself bound against his will.
Surrounded by ancient Celtic rites and magic, can Mick see beyond Rhiannon’s duplicity and recognize her love? Or will the revelation of her true demonic nature doom Rhiannon to a mortal life alone?
Destined to Die
INHERITED DAMNATION Book #3
Haunted by his mother’s betrayal, Belen McLaine surrendered to his demonic half long ago. For centuries, he’s roamed, doing all he can to corrupt those he encounters. But Belen’s life changes when a little Yuletide fun goes wrong, and the one woman he can’t stay away from is suddenly in need of his protection. Unable to cast her aside, he finds himself on a deadly path to love.
Faith Winters shared one glorious date with Belen complete with fireworks, but he stayed away until the night of her brutal attack. As danger escalates, he becomes her only safety net. Shared passion gives way to something deeper, hotter, than she’s ever known before. Yet Faith has no idea her greatest threat is the very man who holds her heart.
Bound by Blood
INHERITED DAMNATION Book #4
Beth Whitley has finally put her life back together after her husband’s betrayal and is determined to piece together the clues to her past. But she never imagines an ancient scroll bearing the name of a Celtic ancestor will plunge her into a world of demonic ritual. Nor does she suspect that a kiss shared with genealogist Fintan McClaine will unveil the secrets of her dreams and a burning desire.
Fintan McClaine wants freedom from the dark curse he’s suffered for centuries. When Beth arrives with evidence that she shares ancestral ties with his Selgovae Celt tribe, he must confront the truth of his inherited damnation. As he struggles to convince Beth the truth within her dreams, she awakens a dangerous and forbidden yearning in his heart.
Fated for Sacrifice
INHERITED DAMNATION Book #5
When Reese Hamilton is abandoned in the snow-laden woods, she must find her way to Dáire McLaine’s cabin—a friend she’s known for years, and the man who makes her pulse triple. Little does she know that a cozy night in the woods will lead to passion they both have been longing to explore. But with the new change in their relationship comes something darker and more terrifying, and Reese must confront danger, even death, before she can be free to love.
Dáire McLaine will do anything to escape his demonic blood and attain mortality, even if that means defying nature’s laws and manipulating Reese’s thoughts for his own means. But when he delves into her hidden secrets, the staggering emotion he encounters makes it impossible to deny the forbidden longings of his own heart. He’s yearned for Reese over the years. Yet to love Reese will demand the ultimate sacrifice—his life.
Doomed to Torment
INHERITED DAMNATION Book #6
Isolde McLaine left Hatherly Hall and its darkly handsome owner Angus Shaw to escape her incubus father's curse. But when word reaches her that Angus is selling the piece of British history, she returns to talk sense into him. Little does she realized that returning to England will throw her into her sire's vile world and leave her fighting not just her heart and the danger of falling in love but battling to save Angus's son's life.
For three and a half months, Angus has done his best to put Isolde and the one unforgettable kiss they shared behind him. Yet when she returns, scolding him for selling his deceased wife's estate, he's sharply reminded of the passion she awakens inside him. Yet as Isolde pushes for him to leave his son's legacy intact, their battle of wills provokes far more than just desire. His son's nightmares have returned. And Isolde triggered the hellish dreams.
Torn between protecting his child and the love he feels for Isolde, Angus must find the strength to trust in Isolde before her demonic sire claims his son.
Enslaved by Fear
INHERITED DAMNATION Book #7
For standing against her brother, Brigid McLaine is imprisoned within her home. All she wants is freedom and the ability to follow her dark nature. But captivity poses a greater threat in the form of her handsome guard, Micah Nelson. Day after day of confinement leads her down a treacherous path of desire she can no longer ignore.
When Micah befriended Brigid six years ago, he never imagined the woman who haunted his every fantasy would end up being the very same demon he's employed to guard. During the forced confinement, he comes to learn the softer, gentler side of the woman who is despised by her family--and he recognizes the fear that keeps her chained to her sire. As their bond strengthens and passion ignites, Micah struggles to convince Brigid to confront her fears and escape her incubus father's dark designs.
Marked for Death
INHERITED DAMNATION Book #8
Buy links available on the Author’s Website
Taran McLaine knows the agony of his incubus father's curse more intimately than his siblings. A century ago he murdered the only woman he ever loved. When he finds her alive, he's faced with the ultimate heartbreak. They have no chance at a future--he's done all he can to insure that on his day of judgment the ancestors will deny him a mortal life.
Years ago, Solene Larouche embraced Taran and the dark curse that cloaked him. She knew the risk she faced, but when Drandar pulls her back to life, she agrees to aid the demon and damn Taran to eternal suffering. One look at the man who held her heart so long ago, however, changes her mind. She must find a way to free him, even if it means condemning herself to eternity as Drandar's slave.
As Samhain approaches, Solene and Taran conspire to destroy Drandar. But will their combined effort enable them to kill the incubus or will they be cast into Drandar's own special Hell and all hope of their renewed love marked for death?
Make sure to check all of them out, and thank you so much for following the extravaganza!
About the Author:
Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, Award-Winning Author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled, passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars, marries the history of the Knights Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy--a must-read for speculative fiction fans. For romance fans, she also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance as Sophia Garrett.
In her non-writing time, she owns and operates Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-founded with Bryan Thomas Schmidt. She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.
To learn more, visit her at: claireashgrove.com or toristclaire.com. For all the latest updates look for the Untamed Spirit blog, via any of her websites.