Tortured Souls Series Book 2
by R.C. Matthews
Genre: Historical Romance, Paranormal
Victor Blackburn is living on borrowed time. An ancient curse violently claims the life of each Blackburn male on his twenty-seventh birthday. As his approaches, his only hope of survival is a witch who vanished long ago without a trace.
Mercy Seymour eagerly counts down the days until the curse will claim Victor’s life. She watched him murder her mother, and only his death will free her of the hatred and anger she harbors.
When fate throws them together in Devil’s Cove, desire simmers between the handsome pirate and the spirited barkeeper’s niece until they learn the truth about each other. Desperate for her cooperation, Victor spirits her away to Blackburn Castle in the Scottish Highlands, where forces of magic and mists from beyond the grave weaken her resolve, opening her eyes to the truth of the past.
As Victor and Mercy unearth the fabled stones needed to break the curse, they discover that the only weapon powerful enough to destroy hate is love. But will they have to sacrifice their relationship to save what means the most to them?
RELEASE DATE of April 10, 2017
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“Why have we stopped searching for Mercy Limmerick?” Hatchet asked, pounding his fist on the table. “She’s the key to breaking the curse.”
“Give it up, man!” Victor snarled. “I’m through with hunting for a unicorn. Devlin needs us, here and now. I won’t abandon him when he’s days away from achieving his own goals. One week, that’s all he needs to reclaim his title and land.”
Hatchet leaned over and poked Victor in the middle of the chest. “I’ll never give up, and neither should you.”
Victor clamped his jaw tight and stared into his tankard. His friend stood and stalked out of the tavern, leaving him alone with his damnable thoughts. His hands trembled as he lifted his drink, intent on drowning his sorrows, but he found his glass was empty. A full tankard of ale slammed on the table in front of him, and he stared after the fair-haired waitress walking away.
When had she returned from her clandestine meeting with Lady Bellamy?
Dammit. He couldn’t tolerate secrets and needed to know what business the witch had with his mistress. He sipped his ale and bided his time, watching her like a hawk as she made her rounds. When she passed him again, he stood and walked in her wake. Before she entered the kitchen, he grabbed hold of her wrist.
“A word, if you please,” he said, ushering her to an alcove in the rear of the tavern. He backed her up against the wall.
Her amber eyes danced as she lifted her brow. “What can I do for you, my lord?”
“Don’t, my lord, me,” he growled.
She was a sassy little one with a smart mouth, goading him. Others might not care if she meddled with their lives, but he did. This was a serious matter, and he planned to settle it without further delay.
“What business do you have with Lady Bellamy?” he asked, watching her body language closely. “You sold her a potion, didn’t you?”
Her eyebrows crinkled at the crook of her nose, and she glanced away. “No, I didn’t.”
“Do not lie to me!” he barked, employing a tone he reserved for intimidation.
His harsh words reverberated between them, and she met his gaze dead-on, the heat of her anger fanning over her cheeks. “You must inquire with the Lady if you wish to know more about our dealings.”
The chit sold illicit goods yet laid claim to a code of honor? That was rich. Well, he was a pirate. Everyone and everything could be bought for the right price. Her code be damned. She would not evade him so easily.
“Sell me what you sold her.”
Biting her bottom lip, she considered his request for a long moment but finally shook her head. “I’m afraid not. If she were to find out, my reputation would be ruined.”
But, of course, the lady was a shrewd businesswoman. He could hardly blame her. Still, he would get what he wanted. Answers.
“Come, no one has to know but us.” He leaned in, and his lips grazed her earlobe. “I’ll pay fifty times your normal price. What say you?”
Her breath hitched, and he pressed closer still, enjoying the subtle pressure of her breasts against his chest, the wild clattering of her heartbeat. She smelled of vanilla and cinnamon, unbearably sweet, and he ached to taste her pert lips. He must kiss her—or go mad.
“Deal,” she whispered, gazing at him through hooded eyes. “Now let go of my wrist so I may fetch the vial in my pocket.”
He released her begrudgingly and stepped back, folding his arms over his chest. “You carry potions on your person?”
“One never knows when a gentleman may be in need of a love potion,” she said tartly. She stuffed her hand into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out a vial, offering it flat on her palm. “That’ll be five pounds.”
His stomach dropped. Oh, hell! A love potion. He owed Hatchet one shilling. What if the bloody stuff worked? Before arriving in Devil’s Cove, he’d dismissed any suggestion of the supernatural. But firsthand experience while living at the haunted manor had forced him to reexamine his beliefs.
After snatching the vial, he held it up. The oily amber liquid sloshed from side to side, but it filled only half the container. “Lady Bellamy paid two shillings for this? It isn’t even full. Does it work?”
The chit waggled her eyebrows, a slight grin forming on her lips. “Why don’t you have a wee taste, and in a few minutes, we’ll know? But don’t forget to gaze into my eyes while I whisper words of sweet love to you.”
“Perhaps I shall,” he said, pretending to pull out the stopper.
He lifted the vial to his mouth, and her lips parted, drawing his gaze like a moth to the flame. Her heated stare met his, setting his heart rate skyrocketing. She desired him, though she would deny it, no doubt.
“Or perhaps not, Mercy mine,” he said, running his thumb over her supple bottom lip and grinning at her shocked expression.
In a flash, her hand shot up to slap him, but he was faster. He caught her wrist with his free hand, brought it to his mouth, and kissed the delicate skin on the inside, seeking her pulse point. Did her heart race as well? His lips grazed her bracelet and the blue amber stones embedded within it. Blue amber…
The lass tugged her wrist, seeking to escape his iron grip, but he wouldn’t relent. He held her securely while he studied the unique bracelet, entranced.
“Let me go,” she hissed, yanking free of his hold. “You got what you wanted, now pay me.”
She was right. He had gotten what he sought—and so much more. After tucking the love potion inside a pocket of his coat, he fished out a five-pound note and laid it in her trembling hands. “Don’t spend it all in one place, lass.”
“You’d best leave, or you’ll be late for your tryst,” she said, stomping away.
Fuck his tryst with Lady Bellamy. Excitement buzzed through him, and he fought the urge to shout in triumph as he sat once again to enjoy another ale.
The tavern wench answered to Mercy, dabbled in witchcraft, and wore a bracelet adorned with rare blue amber stones. The amber tears of Freya? God in Heaven, it must be she. All this time, she’d lived right under his nose in Devil’s Cove. Christ, had he truly found her?
Tortured Souls Book 1
Shrouded in unspeakable horror and spoken of only in whispers, the abandoned Devil's Cove Manor lures Captain Devlin Limmerick and his unquenchable thirst for revenge to its doors. Feared as the Devil on the high seas, the pirate's desire to avenge his past is matched only by his hunger for the powerful young medium he has coerced to aid him in his nefarious quest.
Blinded from youth and touched with an ability to communicate beyond the grave, Grace is both feared and revered by the uneasy town folk. Yet she is powerless against the unrest brewing within the manor walls and finds herself drawn to the Devil's darkness. Still, she refuses to sacrifice her soul to set Devlin's unspeakable plans in motion.
But an evil lurks within these walls, and their very souls are in jeopardy. Grace's presence at the manor spurs inexplicable happenings, forcing Devlin to believe nothing is as dead as it seems - not even his heart. Plunged into the throes of passion and danger, they discover the only way out is to search deep within and summon the courage to believe in true love.
R.C. Matthews’ debut book entitled Little White Lies, was conceived in 1997 while living in Cologne, Germany. However, marriage, children and a day job that paid the bills put writing the book on the back burner until 2012 when she discovered the folder with her research in the basement while reorganizing! Determined to finally realize her life-long dream of writing a book, R.C. Matthews spent 15 months writing on weekends to complete the manuscript.
R.C. Matthews was raised in the Metro-Detroit area by deaf parents along with four siblings. She graduated from a liberal arts college with a B.A. in Accounting and German and continues to work as a certified public accountant. She enjoys traveling with her loving husband and children, reading, down-hill skiing, and playing board games. Talisman and LIFE are high on the list of favorites at her home.
R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and historical romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you'll find her watching The Walking Dead, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.