Echoes of Angels
Keepers of Eternity Book 1
by Devyn Quinn
Genre: Paranormal Romance
If you like dark paranormal romance, you’ll love the Keepers of Eternity series by Devyn Quinn!
“This is an exciting, atmospheric story. . . . A dark fantasy with tortured characters and dramatic events, Echoes of Angels is a very promising start to a new series. 4½ stars.” —Romantic Times
With her life in shambles and nowhere to turn, Julienne Blackthorne has no choice but to accept her grandmother’s offer to return to her ancestral home—a home Julienne’s mother fled in fear more than twenty years ago. What she finds there is a world so macabre it haunts her senses and fills her with dread. And the darkly compelling Morgan Saint-Evanston, whose mysterious pull haunts her in more sensual ways.
Morgan was once the most feared mercenary in a sinister realm and was destined to become the leader of his people—a duty he abandoned when his tormented soul drove him to seek exile in the mortal world. Tortured by his betrayal and the knowledge that those who dwell on the dark side will one day have their vengeance, he turns to the beautiful Julienne for one last moment of solace. Because the veils separating the worlds are about to open, and Morgan knows he must take the fight to the enemy before the forces of darkness unleash their unholy hell on mankind.
As Julienne surrenders to the undeniable passion that flares between them and Morgan prepares to confront a fate he cannot ignore, both will be plunged into a realm where human souls are open barter and even the power of love may not be enough to save them.
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The flight into Belmonde, Virginia, was a blur. Julienne Hunter spent most of the journey in the washroom, carefully retouching the layers of cosmetics she wore. Without them, she looked vulnerable, haggard and drawn, and she wasn’t ready for anyone to see her up close.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be landing in five minutes. Please make sure your seats and tray tables are in the upright and locked position and your seatbelts are fastened.” The voice on the intercom was cold and lifeless, an impassionate end to an uneventful trip.
Arranging her belongings, Julienne returned to her seat. Despite her success at disguising her flaws, she was still a bundle of raw nerves. Strands of her copper hair clung to her perspiring face and neck. She simply couldn’t relax. How could she? In a matter of minutes, she was due to meet the family her mother had left behind over twenty years ago.
“I have to believe it will be all right,” she murmured. It had to be. She had no other place to go.
When it was time to deplane, she took a deep breath. She wanted to be calm. Disciplined. She drew her purse onto her shoulder. The butterflies in her stomach wouldn’t cease fluttering as she walked down the canopied ramp.
Entering the terminal, she surveyed the unfamiliar area. Other travelers milled past her, forcing her to follow their migration. Friends and families around her met and greeted, chattering in animated conversation.
Doubling her pace, she passed passengers hurrying to board outgoing flights. Weaving her way around jostling bodies, she realized she didn’t know who was supposed to meet her. She thought about buying a ticket back to California. What would it hurt? If she wanted to leave, her exit would be assured.
She dug her billfold out of her purse. Opening it, she was dismayed to discover thirty-two dollars and fifty-eight cents.
“Shit.” Her hands quivered a little, and it took a moment for her to fight off the crushing sense of helplessness. She had credit cards, but they were over limit. Her cell phone, unpaid for months, was useless. She was dead broke, part of the reason she’d agreed to return to Virginia.
That, and the fact that her soon-to-be ex-husband had tried to kill her.
Julienne winced, remembering the assault. Two days after she’d asked for a divorce, James Hunter had accosted her outside a popular Miami hot spot. Using a box cutter, he’d carved deep gashes into her face before horrified onlookers could stop him.
Though the disjointed memories were blurred, she’d never forget the searing pain of the razor. When she’d separated from James, she hadn’t thought he’d follow through with his threats to get even with her.
Looking back, she knew their marriage had been a damned union from the beginning. They met when she was seventeen and waiting tables in LA. She was looking for her big break in Hollywood. A minor agent, representing D-list clients, he’d promised to make her a star.
James had also introduced her to crack cocaine in a Singapore nightclub. He was already an addict; her modeling jobs supported his habit. She’d tried it to please him, believing she wouldn’t get hooked if she used it sparingly. She was wrong. The drug turned her into a junkie, too. The night James slashed her face had been her second trip to the hospital in less than two months. Both times she’d nearly died, and both times she’d been fueled on the drug.
Bitter recriminations ricocheted through her mind. She always made bad decisions. James. The drugs. After years of struggling, her brief brush with fame was over.
As though reaching for a talisman, she slipped her hand back into her purse, brushing the tips of her fingers across a sheaf of letters she’d carried for months. The cloying scent of vanilla still clung to the pages.
Grandmother Anlese. Thank God for her letters. If nothing else, they proved someone in her family cared whether she lived or died.
The Blackthorne family had stepped back into her life after the attack. They had money, and the way they operated was like a well-oiled machine. Overnight, a cadre of attorneys appeared, sucking her back into the world of wealth and privilege her mother had fought so hard to escape.
A stint in rehab had followed her hospitalization.
Since admitting her own addiction, her life hadn’t been pleasant or easy. Withdrawal meant rules. Rules meant structure. Structure meant recovery. Recovery meant continuation. Not an easy battle when she was utterly bankrupted by scandal and a pending divorce. Surviving hadn’t ended the conflict over her weakened spirit. It would take time to regain a healthy balance.
But she wasn’t scot-free. Her family’s generosity had come with a price. Julienne had to pay them back by coming home.
She supposed she owed them. Not only had they covered all her medical expenses, her grandmother had also paid a hefty sum to purchase the sex tapes James was desperate to release. Currently behind bars for the attack, he needed cash for his own defense.
Her skin, so warm only moments ago, grew chilled. Those DVDs we made would’ve gotten a tidy sum from any porno producer. It embarrassed her she was a willing participant in their creation. But jobs in front of the camera were drying up as their drug use spiraled out of control. No one wanted to hire a crackhead for an expensive shoot. And no reputable actor wanted one as an agent. There was easy money to be made, peddling sex on the Internet.
Sadness washed over her like the consuming waves of an angry ocean. Oftentimes, it felt as if she didn’t belong in this world. Through her twenty-four years, she’d always felt different, isolated and alone. Was it because something had always been missing in her life? A sane mother? A stable home? She’d had neither. Her mother had been mentally ill. What had frightened Cassandra Blckthorne away from her family might have been nothing more than her own schizophrenic mania in action.
Julienne reached for the cross hanging at her throat. She wasn’t particularly religious, but the crucifix offered a bit of solace. She wished things could be different, but she couldn’t dwell on that now. In Virginia was a new life, a fresh start. Whether she’d be able to reclaim her place in the Blackthorne clan was yet to be determined. Her mother was years into her grave. Surely, the bitter past had died with her.
“I belong here,” she murmured to no one.
Lost in a sea of travelers, she noticed a small group of people coming together, pointing her way. She tensed when an elderly woman broke away and approached her. The smile on her face was warm and welcoming.
“Hello, dear. My name is Edith Danridge, and you look lost.” She was beautifully dressed; her soft Southern accent one of education and refinement.
“I am.” Hiding the disappointment in her eyes, Julienne returned a grateful smile. The woman was trying to be kind. The least she could do as a stranger was to greet the locals. She was grateful no one had recognized her. She was just another anonymous nobody in the crowd.
“Then perhaps you need the comfort of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Julienne glanced down at the literature. Hope sank like a stone in water. The Path to Salvation, it read. Disappointed, she shook her head in a polite decline of the material. “Thanks, nice of you to offer.”
“Is someone coming to meet you?” Edith asked, trying to engage her in conversation. “You seem so alone.”
“My grandmother, I think. Perhaps you know her. Anlese Blackthorne.”
Edith Danridge drew back a bit upon hearing her answer, her lips forming an O of silent surprise. A shadow of uncertainty flashed across her features. “Yes, I know your family.” Her body language became defensive, as if she was afraid of being attacked. Her voice was strained.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her.” Julienne was puzzled by the abrupt change in attitude. It was as if a chill wind had blown without warning through the terminal. “My mother’s name was Cassandra. Did you know her?”
“I remember Cassandra. She didn’t have a chance”—Edith Danridge unexpectedly glanced over her shoulder toward her group, who were also handing out church literature, as if afraid they would hear her—“belonging to them. You don’t, not yet.” She raised a hand and curled her fingers around the gold cross hanging from Julienne’s neck. “Keep faith, and don’t let them destroy you the way they did her.”
Julienne drew back, sucking in a startled breath. The nearness of this strange woman made her extremely uncomfortable. The thin chain around her neck snapped, the ends dangling from the stranger’s hand. “I—I don’t understand.”
Edith Danridge ignored her. As if in a daze, she stared at the broken necklace. “Too late.” The chain slid from her fingers, falling to the floor at her feet. “You belong to the devil.” Giving Julienne a frightened glance, she turned and scurried away, murmuring, “God help us all.”
Julienne stood motionless until jostled into action by passersby. She’s nuts, she told herself. She tried not to let the woman’s words affect her. Nevertheless, such strange pronouncements were unnerving. A fanatic. She knelt to retrieve her jewelry. Spends too much time in that church of hers.
“There’s Miss Julienne.” A man’s voice wafted through the airport and caught her ear.
Julienne turned, looking for the person who’d spoken her name. Her gaze located a young black man standing on the periphery of the departing passengers, at an angle where he could survey the entire room in a single glance. He wore crisp new jeans and a matching shirt, and held a well-worn felt hat in his hands.
She watched him lean slightly to his left and speak to a figure concealed behind an outspread newspaper. The paper came down immediately. Folding it with four crisp movements of precise economy, the second man dropped it into the nearby wastebasket.
Julienne felt the fine hairs on the back of her neck rise. Surely it wasn’t . . . No. Not Morgan Saint-Evanston. God, why him?
As the two men approached, Julienne felt as if someone had led her to the top of a cliff and then, without warning, pushed her off. Somehow, she’d managed to catch the edge, but she was still left to dangle helplessly high above the ground.
She couldn’t help but notice people were falling back to make room for him. A current of apprehension rippled through the masses as he advanced, as if some silent command demanded none should cross his path. Even his companion followed a courteous distance behind.
He stopped within a few feet of her.
“Morgan?” she asked, hoping she was mistaken about his identity.
He nodded in acknowledgment. “Ce’as mile fa’ilte, leanabh.”
Julienne blinked, uncomprehending, puzzled. The odd words jarred, seeming to carry the whisper of familiarity, much like the strains of a long-forgotten tune. One could hum a few notes but never entirely capture the haunting melody. “What did you say?”
“A hundred thousand welcomes,” he repeated, this time in English.
Her face flushed with self-consciousness. “Oh. Sorry, I didn’t understand.” Her brow wrinkled in question. “You expected me to?”
“When you were small, I used to speak Gaelic, the Irish language, to you.” His earnest gaze raked over her, measuring every inch. “But you are not so little now.”
She looked back, evaluating him as closely as he assessed her. His complexion was cream-colored, his eyes almost black. His black, collar-length hair was layered and unruly, threaded with silver at his temples and bangs. At a glance, he appeared to be about thirty. But a closer look revealed crow’s-feet etched at the outer corners of his eyes. Around his mouth were a few deeper character lines and small scars. He was admirably muscled, his posture regal, as if he was always in command despite what fate might otherwise dictate.
He cut an impressive figure, elegantly dressed in a charcoal-gray suit, coat tailored, trousers sharply creased, silk vest worn over a crisp white shirt open at the neck, no tie. A gold watch chain bridged the pockets of his vest. With the heel of a boot under him he almost made it to six feet. All in all, his finery was immaculately tailored and smartly worn.
She’d expected him to look a lot older, and meaner.
But, no. He was absolutely striking. In every way.
Frustrated, and a little confused, she replied, “N—no, sorry. I don’t remember much about my childhood.” She immediately noticed that he didn’t offer his hand or any other physical contact. Despite his salutation, his behavior was guarded, his penetrating stare intense and aggressive, displaying no emotion.
“Why not?” he asked. “Were we so forgettable?” His words were tinged with an Irish brogue, precisely spoken as if to avoid mangling the English language. His voice had a pleasing timbre, even in cadence and tone, in intimacy and confidence. She surmised he could manipulate it with ease to make anyone believe he was sincere, even when he was not.
Julienne swallowed the lump rising in the back of her throat. “It’s been a long time since I was a toddler.”
Now that she’d come face-to-face with him, Julienne wasn’t sure what to make of the man. Morgan was the reason her mother had left town. Cassandra was terrified of him, and she’d run away from him until the effort had killed her.
She’d always suspected Saint-Evanston might be her father. Cassandra never would tell her the truth.
She looked at him again, searching for a connection—an acknowledgment of kinship—in his gaze. There was none. She wasn’t even sure how he fit into the family bloodline. All she knew for sure was he controlled the Blackthorne legacy, and the money that went with it.
And he ruled with an iron fist.
Descent of Demons
Keepers of Eternity Book 2
“Devyn Quinn writes compelling characters, a chilling and gripping story, and a setting that is easily seen within your mind’s eye.” —Rogues and Romance Reviews
Left for dead in a hellish corner of the dark realm, Julienne Blackthorne refused to surrender, and through her own force of will and her love for one man she managed to survive and escape. But survival brings its own new hell when she makes a horrific discovery. A demonic sorcerer has begun a search for the forbidden Scrolls of Cachaen, ancient texts that will restore his waning magic and give him the power to take his final revenge on the man Julienne loves, Morgan Saint-Evanston.
In a desperate quest to save Morgan and stop the diabolical sorcerer from gaining control of the scrolls, Julienne will be forced to confront the most sinister powers of this dark world. And in a race against time that will determine the fate of all mankind, Julienne and Morgan will find themselves in a perilous battle against evil that will either condemn them to eternal misery . . . or grant them everlasting love.
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Keepers of Eternity Book 3
Since Julienne Blackthorne succumbed to the dark passion of the erotic and erratic Morgan Saint-Evanston, she’s been forced to draw on her deepest strengths to survive the demonic realm of the otherworld and the treacherous existence of an immortal. But when Morgan obtains the Scrolls of Cachaen—said to be the keys controlling the forces of nature itself—it unleashes a deeply sinister beast from the astral realm who wields an unholy power capable of defying their efforts to destroy him.
Morgan knows that safeguarding the scrolls is his only hope for protecting Julienne and all of mankind, but the powerful and mystical scrolls are taking a debilitating toll on him, even as very mortal enemies scheme to control him for their own purposes. As he is stripped of the strength he needs to wage an epic war against the beast hell-bent on their destruction, he realizes he will have to turn to a dark magick for their salvation—one that may consume his soul.
And as Morgan and Julienne struggle to defend themselves and the hard-fought love that fires them both, they will come face-to-face with a cruel fate that would turn their one hope for survival into the very thing that could lead to their ultimate destruction.
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Rise of the Beast
Keepers of Eternity Book 4
Morgan Saint-Evanston has prevailed over every demented beast sprung from the otherworld, but now he finds himself tormented by an earthside foe who could destroy everything he’s built in the mortal realm. Forced to turn to a magickal ally to preserve the sanctity of Blackthorne Manor and safeguard its secrets, he discovers that the bewitching creature’s services come at a chilling price: the very part of his soul that harbors his humanity.
Julienne Blackthorne is bonded to Morgan by blood, but the emotional and erotic ties that bind them are fraying as his lost humanity sends him spiraling downward to the furthest extremes of darkness and depravity. As Julienne struggles to save the man she loves from utter and eternal ruin, she must delve into her own dark powers at the risk of forsaking her sanity.
As Morgan and Julienne steel themselves to do battle with his greatest inner demons and those who would deny him his legacy, they must confront the very real threat that his fragmented psyche will lead him to the edge of self-destruction—and the destruction of all they hold dear, both in this world and in their hearts.
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Devyn Quinn lives in the scenic Southwest, though she has called several other states home. She is a huge fan of dark gothic music & shoot-'em-up action movies.
Having published through traditional channels, Devyn got fed up with the antiquated New York system & decided to head into indy publishing with Beyond the Page. Beginning in 2017, she will be releasing new work. She is also planning to reissue her former NY titles with fresh material & smoking hot cover art. More exciting is the forthcoming "Ocean Deep" mermaid series, which will tell more tales of the Mer. The Kith & Kynn, Eternity, and Wildcat series' will also be continued with new books.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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