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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Step into HELL - London - Circa 1892

The Devane Files
Book One: OUT OF HELL
Available from: Liquid Silver Books
Read More HERE


London 1892


Whitechapel was disturbingly quiet as newly appointed Inspector, Michael Charles Devane walked the streets in contemplative solitude. His eyes missed nothing as he strolled, absorbed with the turmoil inside his head, yet acutely aware of all that was around him. It was instinctive, like so much else about his nature. His promotion had come at a difficult time in his career, his friend and mentor, Chief Inspector Fred Abberline had only retired weeks earlier, and Michael frequently wondered if it was Abberline’s influence that had tipped the scales in his favor when it came time for his Superintendent to consider this promotion. His career before Abberline’s friendship had certainly not indicated he would rise in the ranks to this level. He shivered against the sudden chill of memory, drawn inexorably back to the evening a few years ago when he had been recruited into Abberline’s elite H Division unit of investigators hunting the notorious killer who would become known as Jack The Ripper.

Devane had been a mediocre police officer, but several small cases that had baffled other investigators had been solved by his unorthodox and admittedly questionable methods. Like Fred Abberline, Michael Devane knew the district intimately, and he spent long periods of time actually living in Whitechapel. The locals trusted him. The prostitutes had laughingly befriended him in the first years of his adult life, and subsequently, the early days of his career with the police force. He had contacts that even Abberline didn’t have access to, and the then Inspector in charge of the ground forces, wanted Michael on his team. Strings had been pulled, and his transfer had been made in the space of days. If he’d known then what the events of the coming months would bring to his life, Devane might have chosen a more peaceful method for destruction of his mind, his emotional balance, and his life in general.

Mist curled around his feet; the thick, cottony clouds of fog that were uniquely London clinging to his pants with cloying wetness. His footsteps, lost in the swirl of sickly white on the cobble-stoned ground, sounded vaguely muffled. He pulled the collar of his overcoat a little higher and glanced around. There were still people brave enough to walk the streets, but fear lingered behind the boldness of the gazes that met his stare, then slid away too quickly. He shuddered as he spotted The Ten Bells tavern, and the chill of the night sank deeper into his being. Almost four years since the Ripper murders, but it might have been yesterday to many. It felt like yesterday to him. Every time there was a particularly messy murder, it was attributed to the infamous Ripper; and there had been several that did, indeed, look like the madman’s work. After all, the police had never caught the notorious Jack the Ripper. Had they? A great number of people blamed Chief Inspector Fred Abberline. Others were not so specific and targeted anybody who was even remotely associated with the nightmarish case. Few people knew the truth. It would always be that way, too, he knew, truth being subjective, and loyalties as eternally ambiguous as the evidence. Conspiracy theories had abounded at the time of the killings, and many more had been formulated and put forth since those grisly days in the latter half of 1888.

Devane’s sergeant, David Goodwin, chided him often for his penchant for inviting death, whether it was walking the Whitechapel streets, or caught in the limbo dream-world created by his continued use of opium. ‘Chasing the dragon’, as Goodwin, (and a few others), noted with his worry-tainted contempt of the practice. Devane knew the bursts of anger were born in concern, and he frequently ignored what another police inspector would have disciplined in his “junior”. That irony never ceased to bring a flicker of wry amusement to the younger man’s handsome features, and it did so now; Devane felt the telltale twitch of movement at his mouth--just beyond his conscious control.

A hand touched his arm, tugged less than gently, and he turned to look into the lascivious smile of a local whore. He saw a multitude of things in her pale eyes as they looked at each other, among them was the ever-present fear. Her gaze dropped for an instant as she took stock of him, a potential customer. His expression remained passive, and when her head rose to meet his stare a second time, she was apologetic.

“Beggin’ your pardon, sir,” she mumbled, and ran off before he could utter a word.

Inspector Devane was not typical of her customary clientele, in any way. He was young, exceptionally handsome, and dressed like a gentleman. His eyes were dark, intelligent, and if anyone peered too closely, the shadows of perpetual pain and deeply-rooted loss would become visible. Few people were permitted that privilege, of course.

Devane continued his interrupted walk, and eventually the worn sign of Mitre Street caught his attention. Again, the icy breath of past death caressed his insides. Just beyond the Street was Mitre Square and the ghost of Catharine Eddowes, Jack The Ripper’s fourth victim. He turned away, unwilling to go further in that direction. Abberline had been quick to see the value of his gift of near-clairvoyant insight, and had quickly given him the rare opportunity to be among his men on the streets. It had been a mixed blessing, indeed. He’d gained invaluable experience working with Abberline’s team, but the horrors he’d seen had never quite faded safely into vague oblivion.

The Ripper had been haunting him anew recently. Devane’s dream-vision had once again been filled with gore and terror. Not entirely unique in his experience, but the horror of the attacks, and the violence in the residue that remained with him throughout the day, was vividly reminiscent of the Ripper murders that had occurred over a period of several months. He knew that it was not the work of Jack The Ripper, yet something was drawing him back into that macabre nightmare world that had cost him a piece of his soul, as well as his faltering marriage, and then threatened his very sanity in ways about which he tried to avoid thinking.

His footsteps quickened slightly, and it took only a single heartbeat for him to recognize the reason for it; behind him, the sound of a carriage approaching, moving fast and with purpose. Pulling his thoughts inward, cloaking himself in cultivated control, Devane turned to face the nearing vehicle. Repressing his annoyance, he went to join Goodwin when the sergeant’s broad face appeared in the window and he beckoned.

“Good-evening, sir,” Goodwin said quietly, once Devane was seated next to him and he’d told the driver to continue onward to their destination.

“What is it this time, Sergeant?” Devane enquired, gazing outward, seeing nothing.

Goodwin winced at the resignation in the younger man’s strong, quiet voice. He didn’t really know what to say to Devane a great deal of the time now. Goodwin had worked with Devane for a number of years, and they’d become friends. But, things had changed after the Ripper case. Not in overt ways, but the more subtle undercurrents had shifted into a murky grey area where he was no longer always certain of Devane’s dark genius. Fred Abberline had hinted it might happen, but Goodwin hadn’t believed it; he’d known Devane for such a long time, and his faith had been unshakable, until that terrible case. And, this new one was going to put more pressure on a personality that was fraught with edginess on the best of days.

“Sergeant Goodwin?”

Goodwin started visibly and tried to look away from the intensity of Devane’s expectant gaze. It was impossible. It always had been.

“There’s been a murder,” he imparted cautiously. Devane released him by turning to look out the window again, drinking in the night and its secrets.

“What of it?”

“It was messy, Inspector. They’re already whispering about The Ripper being back at work. Though that makes little enough sense in this case, since the victim is a man, not a Whitechapel bang-tail.”

Devane closed his eyes and leaned back in the safe confines of the jostling carriage. He was suddenly drifting into lethargy, tired beyond weariness. His head fell back and a hiss of breath escaped from between clenched teeth. Before he could hold back the images, blood spattered his mind’s eye and held him in the semi-consciousness of familiar dream-scapes. A scream, deafening yet soundless, split the silence inside his head. He turned, and a graceful, eerily beautiful arc of liquid fire sprayed upward, glistening drops of crimson life held suspended against the stark glow of gaslights. A sliver of silver glimmered, vanished, then returned again, covered in scarlet gloss. Then the screaming amplified and enveloped him for timeless seconds, until it slowly pulsed to a soft, steady heartbeat. Through the haze of red, a face tried to take form, and failed. Devane inwardly twisted away, eager to escape the marred beauty that pleaded with his tortured soul...

“Inspector?”

Goodwin’s concerned shout penetrated the fog, and banished the siren and her song. Devane nodded, opened his eyes, and peered out to look at the pale grandeur of a Kensington townhouse. Two uniformed constables flanked the massive double doors that were the entrance to the place, and Devane knew Goodwin would have two others positioned at the rear of the house as well. As he descended the steps and felt solid ground under his feet again, his equilibrium reasserted itself. Goodwin waited until he led the way, and they approached the house in resolute silence.

Before they had reached the landing at the top of the stairs, the huge doors swung open and an immaculately dressed, somber butler awaited them. They presented an incongruous pair, and the butler’s flickering gaze did a quick inventory of the two policeman. Goodwin was a big man, half a head taller than his companion, and twice his bulk. He was older, with a friendly, broad face that was deceptive about its owner’s perceptiveness. Sharp eyes belied the illusion of a cheerful bear of a man, and his stance was faintly protective as he stood next to the smaller man. Goodwin’s clothes were less stylishly cut and less expensive, as well. But, there was no denying his imposing presence.

“This is Inspector Devane, Mr. Carstaires,” Goodwin said, apparently having already met the typically haughty servant.

The Inspector was a slender man, dressed in a deep midnight blue suit and pristine white shirt with black tie, the knot very slightly askew. He was pale, features fine and angular, very striking in quiet demeanor and possessed of a forceful personality that wasn’t evident until you met his startlingly dark eyes. He wasn’t six feet tall, yet this was the stronger and more dangerous of the two men, the butler realized instantly. Whatever Devane lacked in physical strength was more than compensated for by his quick, agile mind.

“Lady Bradshaw is waiting for you in the Library. The family physician has been sent for,” he added in explanation. “I will inform you upon his arrival.”

“I’ll need to see the body and the crime site first,” Devane inserted quietly. “Then the family.”

Carstaires digested the request, nodded slowly, then changed the direction they’d been going in and stopped at the foot of the long, curving staircase that dominated the huge foyer of the house.

“I believe Sergeant Goodwin can show you which room,” the butler said with a faintly questioning look at Goodwin. The sergeant smiled and nodded, and the expression turned to a soft chuckle as he indicated the stairs.

“Shall we, sir?”




The Devane Files: Book One - OUT OF HELL
Available from: Liquid Silver Books
Read More HERE



The Devane Files: Book Two - AN UNSPOKEN BETRAYAL
Available from: Liquid Silver Books
Read More HERE





Monday, April 11, 2011

My Rehvenge

Once in awhile we encounter characters who speak to some part of our souls. It doesn't always make sense, and sometimes there is no conscious recognition. For me, while reading the exceptional Black Dagger Brotherhood books by J.R. Ward, I encountered one of those unforgettable and remarkable fictions who came to life and breathed inside my imagination and heart, too. I thought about what it would be like to stand a few feet away and look for the first time on him, to...


Behold, My Rehvenge
© Denysé Bridger
10th April, 2011

She watched him, eyes caressing with a combination of hunger and adoration, her heartbeat tapping like the staccato rhythm of stiletto heels on a sidewalk. She suspected he could hear the erratic pulse of her life, but he didn’t move, not even to glance in her direction. She leaned on the doorframe, permitted her dreams to venture forth and speak within her mind. He was a remarkable male, handsome like so many of his kind, but also different from them. In this one power and passion seethed just below the surface, contained by the force of his will, and a need to remain apart. All of the knowledge she should not have began to coalesce and make itself known inside her, and with each new piece of the puzzle her heart became his possession.

Despite the warning that told her this was not a male to be casually examined, she continued to process the influx of responses that were lighting a trail of fire along the course of her veins. That she wanted him was of little consequence, that was a given, or she wouldn’t have been there at all. The complexity of his presence was a drug, an addiction pleading to be fed. He could have owned her soul without expending more effort than it took to gaze at her, but he chose to stand back and allow her the freedom to choose her dreams, and control the destiny she would live because of it.

The air around them was a living thing, warm, sinuous, caressing heightened senses with promises and threats that were equally alluring. With him, a thing as simple as a kiss would be layered in mysteries that required answers drawn from the soul. And he would know how to extract what he wanted, from her mind, her body, and the heart that now beat in steady reply to his.

He finally turned to look at her, and she shuddered at the impact of his eyes. Amethyst gemstones, but beyond the brilliance of his intellect there was fire and fury. A flame that burned inside him, searing all it touched, purging the ugliness of lies, leaving only the naked truth to be gazed upon. In those brief, life-spanning moments, he saw all there was to know in her, and in the next heartbeats it was judged and understood.

He leaned back in his chair for a moment, his jewelled gaze speculative. After a minute he rose and walked toward her. Each step that brought him closer made her feel as though a blanket was being wrapped around her, enveloping her in warmth that was rapidly becoming heated desire. He stopped, just short of touching her, and the corners of his mouth curved upward, a whisper of smile reaching his eyes.

“Why are you here?”

His voice poured over her senses, the richly timbered bass textured with seduction and curiosity. She straightened and still had to look up at him, but words were lost in the tide of longing that was crashing over her in battering waves. She stared at him, entranced by everything about him. He touched her cheek, a breath of contact, and she felt the quiver of response tingle to the core of her being. Surprise flickered in his eyes, followed by satisfaction. She knew, in that single moment he had read it all... claimed what was already his, and made the choice to keep it.

He bent to touch her forehead to his, and smiled.

“Why are you here?”

She opened her mouth and he claimed her lips, the slow stroke of his tongue gaining entrance as she sighed into his touch. Inside her head, the world became a rush of sensual fireworks, her body as alive and captivated as her mind had been moments before. All that existed was the madness he lit inside her, the hunger to be consumed by him. And, in spite of the paradox, with the promise of his possession came the certainty that Fate had just righted a lifetime of wrongs.

When he drew back endless moments later, she smiled up at him, trembling against him.

“Behold, my Rehvenge...”

His smile dazzled her, and the warm ring of his laughter fell over her like summer rain, washing away the past terrors of her world, cleansing a life and a heart, making them worthy of him... worthy of love itself.



Disclaimer: The character of Rehvenge Rempoon is the sole property of J.R. Ward - the use of his name here is in no way intended to infringe upon copyrights held by Ms. Ward, nor does it pretend to have her endorsement. It is a fan fiction created with respect and admiration.




Friday, April 01, 2011

Shayla Black - The Doomsday Brethren

Exciting news for fans from New York Times Best-seller Shayla Black!

For anyone who isn’t familiar with her, Shayla Black (aka Shelley Bradley) is the New York Times bestselling author of nearly 30 sizzling contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances for multiple print and electronic publishers. She lives in Texas with her husband, munchkin, and one very spoiled cat. In her "free" time, she enjoys reality TV, reading and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Shayla has won or placed in over a dozen writing contests, including Passionate Ink's Passionate Plume, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the National Reader's Choice Awards. Romantic Times has awarded her Top Picks, a KISS Hero Award and a nomination for Best Erotic Romance.

A writing risk-taker, Shayla enjoys tackling writing challenges with every book.

Recently, Black did something that has fans applauding her and happily buying up her books–she’s not only sanctioned the use of “role-play” as a promotional tool for her Doomsday Brethren series, she is an active participant in the daily activity of her group on Facebook.

While some authors are out-spoken with their fears and misgivings about allowing fans to role-play their characters, Ms. Black has taken the initiative and joined them, seeing for herself the very positive impact this can have on promotion. With talented and creative people stepping in to bring her characters to life for fans, and her own presence to see that things remain fun and friendly, she’s just embraced the kind of publicity no one can buy at any price.

So, if you have yet to experience this popular series of books, you can find them all with a quick visit here: Meet The Brethren: http://www.shaylablack.com/DoomsdayBrethren.html

There is a free novella listed to whet your interest:

FATED - http://www.shaylablack.com/fated.html

And if you want to join the group and Shayla on Facebook, here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shayla-BlackShelley-Bradley/132991689785

The Doomsday Brethren Role-Play Group is here:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_171073539609382

Any way you look at it, this is author-fan interaction as its best, and Ms. Black has seen the value in it. Drop by, and join both groups, you’ll be amazed at the talent involved in all of this!!