In the Shadow of the Selkie
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Red Hots!
Publication Date: January 29, 2008
Lady Theodosia Barrett is blackmailed by Dubheasa, Queen of the Dark Fin-Folk, and forced to stalk the Cu Maran crypts in search of a selkie king’s pelt. What she finds is the king himself—and he isn’t only a selkie, but also a vampire. Calling upon her skills as a vampire hunter, Theo stakes him. But she doesn’t complete the kill. A year later, King Roane comes back, demanding her hand in marriage.
Theo has no choice. To protect her family, she must accept.
Selkie vampire King Roane Cu Mara is determined to keep his people safe from the Dark Fin-Folk. To do so, he must first solve the puzzle as to why Theo, a soul born to protect the selkies, tried to kill him. Until he can figure out why she betrayed her own kind, Roane sets out to keep a close eye on her by making her his bride.
But even as Theo begins to warm Roane’s cold, vampyric heart, Queen Dubheasa plots to destroy selkie-kind in a twisted quest to make Roane her own. For she knows something that Roane doesn’t—Theo’s soul holds the key to keeping the selkie kingdom alive.
Vanishing Isle of Cu Mara, off Donegal Coast, Ireland, 1805
She’d served the selkie her entire life. Now she wanted something in return, something no mortal should dare ask, nor would any sane selkie agree to give. But Lady Theodosia Barrett had little choice in the matter. She refused to let her family suffer at the hands of the Dark Fin-Folk ruler, the evil Queen Dubheasa. If Theo didn’t bring back the selkie skin she’d been ordered to steal, Queen Dubheasa would blackmail her father and expose his secret research on the existence of selkie vampires to the outside world, forever tarnishing his reputation and possibly prompting an all-out war between the realms of myth and man.
Raiding a tomb strictly to steal a prized artifact went against everything she’d ever been taught. In fact, it even went against her enemy’s “official” code of ethics. Yet despite her misgivings, here she stood, deep inside the ancient burial grounds she’d been born to protect, prepared to commit the greatest of all sins.
She adjusted the flaming torch she carried in her right hand and double-checked the wooden stake resting in the pouch tied to the ribbon at her waist. Even though she didn’t really believe in the existence of selkie vampires, she wasn’t taking any chances tonight. Inhaling a deep breath, she continued her trek through the stone tunnel. At her back, the soothing sound of waves crashing against rock grew faint as she ventured deeper into the cavern.
As she approached the opening of a large room, she froze. Shock jolted her nerves. Selkies, Theo imagined, lived in caves lined with bones and seal pelts. Not elaborately decorated chambers. The find surprised her. Through dancing shadows she made out the faint image of a four-poster bed draped in sheer panels and several large tapestries hanging on the walls. Even the floor had changed, melding from rough stone to smooth, marble squares.
In all her years researching the selkie, she’d never once imagined the type of life they lived while in mortal form. The thought of a seal sleeping in a four-poster bed never entered her mind. The notion struck an odd chord in her soul.
Theo stepped cautiously into the large chamber. Searching for a place to set her flaming torch, she turned and scanned the wall behind her. A claw-shaped, iron holder protruded from the stone above the doorway. As she reached up, a large shadow in the form of a man crossed the wall. Her left hand went straight for the stake at her side.
“Don’t make another move,” a deep voice ordered.
Her heart pounded. “I’ve come to meet with the selkie. I’m the woman who shed seven tears into the sea a fortnight ago.”
“I’m well aware of your right to be here,” the voice behind her said. “However, since we live dual lives in my world, I must conceal my mortal identity for the sake of my kin. And for that reason, I insist you wear a blindfold. You’ll find one on the chair next to the door.”
She scanned the dimly lit area and found the chair. On its arm lay a single strip of black cloth. The soft fabric caressed her fingers as she slid the blindfold over her eyes and knotted its two tapered ends at the back of her head. “Are you not curious as to who I am or why I called you from the sea?”
The intoxicating aroma of sandalwood mixed with rich spices and citrus teased her nose. A warm breath fanned her neck. Bloody hell, she thought, the man moves like a ghost. She really needed to be more alert to this stealthy creature.
“Mortals cry to the selkie only when they have need of our help,” the selkie said. “To come to your aid, I need not know your name, only that you are willing to pay the price for my services.”
“I’ll pay anything,” she said. “So long as I’m guaranteed your help.”
“A selkie never goes back on his word.” A warm hand caressed her cheek. “Tonight’s mating ritual will bond our souls for all eternity, or until the time comes when I choose to free you from this pact.”
The selkie’s deep, velvety voice sent a simmering bolt of heat through her body. Having read numerous tales of endless passion given by the selkie to their human mates, the thought of being “owned” by such a creature enticed her. At the same time, she also realized sacrificing herself to the mythical creature greatly dimmed her prospects for a mortal husband, but so would her family’s ruined reputation if her father’s secrets were exposed. Taking the selkie as her lover was her only choice. “Do you have a name?”
“I’m your new lord and master,” the selkie said. “And that is all you need to know of me.”
4.5 STARS!"...an excellent book with strong characters, passionate love scenes, believable dialog and an intelligent plot." - Lily Spinella, The Romance Studio