The Price of Power
I think it’s safe to say that all paranormal stories revolve around at least one character with extra-human powers. Vampires are immortal and preternaturally strong. Shape shifters exhibit the powers of their beast sides: fleetness, ferocity, heightened perception. Psychics can read thoughts, mentally control inanimate objects, or see the future. Fairies, witches, demons and similar fey folk have access to a wide variety of magical capabilities. Even ghosts have the power to appear and disappear and to walk through walls.
Encountering individuals who can defy everyday laws and logic is one of the joys of reading paranormal romance. We all like to imagine what it might be like to fly, crush our enemies to a pulp, or psychically meld with our lovers. One of the fascinating things about power, though, is that it almost always has its price. In return for their powers, the characters lose something. Vampires pay in guilt for their blood-sucking ways, and often in loneliness. Werewolves live at the mercy of the moon. Psychics suffer social isolation; it’s difficult to have a normal relationship when you know what everyone else is thinking.
The dark side of power, the payment it exacts from the one who wields it, often plays a central role in paranormal romance plots. Sometimes it is the primary source of conflict, particularly when it divides the powerful character from his or her beloved.
During my childhood, my father created stories for me and my siblings about humans and other creatures with magical abilities. Surprisingly, given how young we were, his tales often highlighted the negative consequences of magic. Perhaps because of that early exposure, I’ve always been fascinated by the dual nature of power. Almost every paranormal book I’ve written explores, to a greater or lesser extent, the costs associated with having supranormal abilities.
The Eyes of Bast is no exception. Though it allows him freedoms normal humans don’t experience, Tom suffers from his shape-shifting. Shaina discovers her innate power in the course of the book and is tempted to use it in ways she knows will be destructive. The villain Delphine Monserrat has been transformed from an innocent girl to a vicious witch by her desire for immortality.
In the romance world, one can always expect a happy ending. There may be darkness, though, along the twisted road to that bright conclusion. Personally I prefer romances which recognize that power has its price. Otherwise, it’s just a fairy tale, sunny and superficial.
Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.
When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she’s set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice. She discovers she’s caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the missing feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape—the tomcat she rescued.
Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate—even though it might mean losing him forever.
The Eyes of Bast was previously published by Totally E-Bound. This new edition has been revised and re-edited.
By the time we emerged from the theater, dusk was near. We parted at the subway, she heading downtown, me heading up. The train was crowded with people dressed up for the evening. Everyone seemed so cheerful. I couldn’t help but smile.
I slipped my key into the front door of my building, thinking about ordering Chinese for dinner. All at once, I heard someone call my name. I glanced around. Aside from an old woman walking her golden retriever, the sidewalk was empty.
Weird. But then it had been a weird twenty-four hours.
Go check the old elm.
I swear, the voice was clear as crystal in my mind. Lack of sleep, I told myself. Or stress. The cage is still in my apartment. There won’t be anything there. But the urge to go back just wouldn’t let go.
Trust your instincts. With a sigh, I turned and headed for the park, pulling my mace out of my purse as I walked.
The sky was still light enough for me to see shapes and shadows, even under the trees. As I’d expected, the area beneath the elm was empty, the grass trampled from my previous visit. Of course, no cats revealed themselves. If there were ferals around, they’d be hiding in the underbrush, wary of my scent and the sounds I made, despite my attempts to move quietly.
Tom wasn’t afraid of me. The thought made me ache. He’d been such a gorgeous, affectionate cat. I hoped he was okay.
“Hello.” The voice was male, low and throaty. I jumped and whirled around.
A man stood behind me, a fairly young man with sleek, dark skin and a wide, shy smile. Although his body appeared to be fit and muscular, he held himself in an awkward manner, as if he had some subtle handicap. His arms hung at his sides, his hands clenching and unclenching as though he didn’t quite know what to do with them.
I gripped my mace more tightly. He didn’t appear at all threatening, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
“Um—what are you doing here?”
“Nothing, nothing…” He shrugged and scratched the curly black locks that covered his head. “I heard your voice. I wanted to make sure you were all right.”
Had I spoken aloud? I returned his smile, still uncertain whether I should trust him. “I’m fine. Just taking a walk.”
“It’s not safe here after dark, you know.”
His earnest tone made me chuckle. I held up the can of mace. “I can take care of myself.”
Worry furrowed his high forehead. “That won’t help against some of the things that come out at night.”
A chill shot through me. I shook it away. “I was just headed home anyway.”
“Good. You should be careful.” His smile returned, melting my last vestiges of suspicion. He pronounced his English with a precision that made me wonder if he spoke something else as his native language. It wasn’t exactly an accent, but I could tell he wasn’t a native New Yorker.
“What about you?”
“Oh, I know my way around here,” he answered. He ran his fingers through his curls and arched his back a bit, as though stretching. Despite that odd awkwardness, he was lithe and graceful. A brief pang of desire shot through me. “And I have excellent night vision. Exceptionally sharp hearing too.”
I couldn’t figure out why, but something about him felt familiar. “Have we met before?” I asked then cringed, realizing it sounded like a pick-up line. “I mean…um… I don’t mean…” Hot blood climbed into my cheeks, though the shadows were probably too dense for him to detect my discomfort.
His bold laugh rang out in the growing darkness. “Maybe we have met,” he said. “I live in the neighborhood. Do you?”
“Pretty close,” I answered, alarm bells sounding in my head. No matter how handsome and charming he was, I wasn’t about to give him my address.
“Well, then, you never know. You said you were heading home. May I walk with you?”
He took my arm without waiting for my permission.
His touch stopped me cold. It drove out rational thought. As if someone had turned on a faucet, hormones poured into my blood. My nipples tensed and my lower lips grew plump and slick. Fire tipped the fingers resting on my bare forearm. I gasped, staring up in wonder at his strong, even features, overcome by his imminent maleness.
I wanted to stretch out in the grass and pull him down on top of me. I was dying to feel his weight on my chest, his hardness probing between my thighs. Skin on skin was what I craved, with an urgency I’d never experienced in my all my twenty-eight years.
His nostrils flared and I knew he’d caught the ocean scent rising from my sex. I could smell it myself. My saturated panties and jeans were no barrier. He grinned, revealing teeth so white they gleamed in the twilight gloom. I shuddered with need, imagining those teeth tearing my flesh, and stumbled on the gravel path.
“Are you all right?” he asked. He released his grasp to search my face, concern evident in his eyes. The blaze raging through my body subsided slightly.
“Ah… I think so. I’m dizzy…” I wasn’t lying. The world swung around us, tree canopies whirling overhead. Gradually, the universe settled back into place. My heart rate fell to something close to normal. My nipples still ached for contact, though. My clit pulsed, the seam of my jeans kindling sparks every time I moved. “I’ve… I’ve got to go.”
I started down the path, forcing myself to move away from him and his perilous magnetism. It might have been the most difficult thing I’d ever done
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Rave Reviews for The Eyes of Bast
The Eyes of Bast is hard to put down once you start reading it. Between highly arousing sex scenes and nail-biting suspense, it’ll keep you turning pages until the very satisfying ending. ~ Ria Restrepo, Amazon (5 stars)
What I DO want is extremely hot sex between one man and one woman, and plenty of it, as they fall in love. And WOW! Does this book have that! ~ Fiona McGier, Amazon (5 stars)
Lisabet brings it all together seamlessly: mystery, thriller, paranormal, black magic, shape shifting, smoldering sensuousness, hot, hot sex and a touching love story. This one has it all. Really enjoyed it. ~ Max Lemberger, Amazon (5 stars)
I picked up this novella, meaning to read the first chapter or two in the time I had before I had to be somewhere. Needless to say, I read a lot more than I intended, and I was very late. ~ Cheyenne Blue, Goodreads (5 stars)
Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, BookBub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh