Tuesday, March 4, 2014

All of Court's Men : Cadmus of The Bloodstone Saga by Courtney Cole

The Bloodstone Saga Synopsis:
The Bloodstone Saga is a series consisting of four YA Paranormal Romance novels following the many lives and tribulations of one girl and features a love story that spans the ages. Harmonia’s very identity is hidden from her through the treachery of the Fates and for over two millennia, she has been reborn time and time again into tragic lives with tragic ends. 

Every Last Kiss
With My Last Breath
My Tattered Bonds

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The Bloodstone Saga is available as a box set for $9.99!

In these four books, one girl is confronted with lies, treachery, magic and myth. She learns how strong she really is and what sacrifices she is truly prepared to make for those that she loves. Heartbreaking, poignant and emotional, these books will tug at your heart-strings and leave you breathless for more. 
Here is what critics say: 

The Supernatural Snark says: “Overall, Every Last Kiss is a thoroughly enjoyable start to the Bloodstone series, the world of Cleopatra’s Egypt dazzling our imaginations as the joy and tragedy of love and death plays the keys of our emotions with mightily deft fingers.”

The Caffeinated Diva says this about Fated: “Once again, the author weaves actual mythology and legend and real people with the fictional and it is absolutely seamless. While the first explored ancient Egypt and its mythology, this book delves into Greek mythology. Her ability to maintain the integrity of the true mythology while also layering her own with it is amazing and makes for a very absorbing read.”

My Vamp Fiction says this about The Bloodstone Saga: “I just have to say this author keeps blowing me away with these books. I’m totally and completely infatuated with them. I’d even go as far as to say that they may just be my favorite series of the year.”

And the Goodreads reviews are in!

Tanya Maries says: “The Bloodstone Saga is pure literary magic!!!! This is my new literary chocolate -- my new literary gold!!!”

Carrie says: “I feel like this whole series can be described with words like rich, exquisite, romantic...the history of the stories and the world that was created by Ms. Cole are all of those things and more! Her descriptions are like a delicious banquet for the mind.”  

Hasani was gone when I woke and I squeezed my eyes shut against the light from the flickering wall sconces.  He must have lit them for me before he left and even in my grumpy morning mood, I had to smile at his consideration.  I pulled the covers over my head and rested my cheek against the comfort of my pillow for a few minutes longer before I finally sighed and emerged into the reality of daytime.
It couldn’t be much past daybreak, since the orange fingers of the sun were just starting to curl around the horizon.  Hasani must have risen early to run drills with his soldiers before the Alexandrian heat rolled in.  Antony was probably with him.
I got up quickly, tying a soft white scarf around my waist and putting on a jeweled golden brassiere.   As I pulled my hair away from my face and fastened gold earrings into my ears, I briefly pondered my older body.  As Charmian, I may be thirty-nine, but my body was as svelte as a teen’s.  Fascinating.  It probably had a lot to do with the fact that ancient Egyptians didn’t have French fries or ice cream.
Sitting down at my vanity table, I pulled out the multiple jars required for my daily skin care and cosmetics application, sighing as I did.  As Macy, I was a very low-key, low-maintenance person. Charmian’s intricate, Egyptian beauty regime was tiresome.  But I had to admit that it was effective.  I had a perfect complexion.
Dipping my fingers in a jar of scented oil, I glanced back into the mirror as I began to apply it.  And froze with my fingers at the base of my neck.
A woman, pale and beautiful, sat on the bed behind me as though she belonged there.  Her eyes were ice blue and her long hair was so blonde that it was snow white. I whirled around to face her.
“How did you get in here?” I demanded.  “How did you get past the guards?”
She smiled peacefully at me, but didn’t answer.
“Can you speak?” I asked.  “Who are you?”
She studied me again, unmoving and silent from her perch on my bed.  She wore silvery robes embroidered with rich blue which were spread around her and her long fingernails were silver.  They sparkled in the muted light from my window.  She reminded me of what a fairy would be like.  An odd sensation began to build in my chest and I hesitated.
“Who are you?” I whispered again.
“You know who I am,” she said gently, as she rose from the bed.  She was so graceful that it seemed as though she floated as she walked toward me.
“I don’t,” I argued, as she came to a stop behind me.
“You do,” she insisted softly, as she placed her hands on my shoulders.  And in that instant, the second that her hands touched me, I did.
I was standing face to face with Lachesis, the middle sister of the Fates.  Terrifying and powerful, the last time I had seen her, she had been an ancient, stooped hag.  My eyes flew in amazement to her lovely, young face.
She smiled.
“I can appear as I wish, Charmian,” she said lightly.  “You are beautiful.  So, of course I wanted to appear beautiful, as well.  I have no wish to scare you.”
“Then what is your wish?” I asked quietly, keeping my eyes locked on her face.
She reached past me and picked up the jar of oil, dipping her long fingers into it. Picking up my arm, she gently began rubbing the scented oil into my skin as she spoke.
“You are one of twelve, Charmian.  Did you know that?” I shook my head, instantly intrigued.
“Yes.  Twelve very important people were chosen so long ago to assist us throughout the millennia.  You were chosen for your bravery and your heart.”
She turned my wrist over and fingered my scar.
“I placed the mark of the phoenix upon your wrist myself.  The phoenix is sacred to the order, Charmian.  It symbolizes re-birth and life, the very thing that we stand for… the things that we protect. And we gave you that mark.  It is an honor.”
I nodded.  “Yes, of course it is.”
“Then why have you been doubting us?” she turned her large blue eyes to me, beseeching me.
“I haven’t!” I protested. “The priest Annen has tried to convince me of his theories… but being a member of the Order is all I know.  I have no wish to believe him.”
“But you’ve wondered.”
She stated it as a fact, watching my face as she absently held her open palm out to a butterfly that had flown in from my window.  The delicate yellow wings quivered as it crawled onto her hand and sat still.
“I know your heart, Charmian.”
I sighed.  “I couldn’t help but wonder how much truth was in what he said.  But I have no wish to believe him. I’ve put his claims out of my mind.”
“As you should,” she instructed with the first trace of a harsh tone.
She watched the butterfly for a moment more, her blue eyes glinting, before she snapped her hand shut, crushing the delicate insect between her fingers.  I gasped as she put it in her mouth, chewing calmly as she contemplated me.
“You are one of the best we have, Charmian.  Yet you’ve lost your bloodstone.”
My heart dropped into my toes.  I couldn’t deny it.
“Yes,” I admitted in a whisper, my head bowed.
“Get it back,” she hissed, her face clouding over and for a split second, one brief moment, I saw a glimpse of the ancient hag that she was.  I sucked my breath in, waiting for a storm.
She calmed herself, resuming her tranquil tone, her face regaining its youth and beauty.
“Our bloodstones are powerful, as you know.  They are the keys to everything.  That sniveling eunuch will not be able to use it- because it was made for you.  But the bloodstones were made from one stone. One. When one is lost, we all suffer.”
I stared at her intrigued, as she pulled her own bloodstone out of her robes.  Hers was larger than mine and set in an intricate setting surrounded by rubies, but it had clearly been cut from the same mother stone… glistening blood-red, with black veins.
“Our power as a whole should not be diminished because of the carelessness of one, should it?” she purred, sliding her hands smoothly over my shoulders and stopping with her fingers wrapped lightly around my neck.
I gulped, then shook my head quickly.
“Then, fix it,” she instructed pleasantly, removing her hands.  “No matter what you need to do to repair your error, you have my support.  Do you understand?”
Did I? Was she saying that retrieving my bloodstone using any means necessary was more important than restoring history?
Before I could speak, she nodded.  “I see that we’ve come to an understanding.  You’re such a bright girl.”
Confusion flooded through me as I watched her adjust her clothing.  How could this be happening?   My entire being was dedicated to enforcing the plan of the Fates.  Never had we deviated before, under the threat that chaos would ensue.  How could we deviate now?  Unless the threat was just that… an idle threat.  I had forgotten that my thoughts were not safe around her, until she snapped me from my reverie with a growl.
“Do not question us again, Charmian!  There are times when the Plan is not as important as protecting the Order.  It is as simple as that.  And I will not explain myself to you!”
But she just had.  The Order had a weakness.  The Bloodstones.  And nothing on earth was as important as keeping them.  I quickly blanked my thoughts so that she couldn’t read them again and nodded.
“Yes, Lachesis.  I’m sorry.  Rest assured, I will fix this…” My voice trailed off hesitantly.
“But?” she prompted.
“But can I just ask one thing?  Can I just know one thing… because I know I will not remember it in my next life anyway.”
She studied me quietly, reading my thoughts and hearing my unspoken question.  Her face an unreadable, lovely mask.
“In each life your memories from your previous lives are wiped clean for your own benefit,” she finally explained.  “It benefits you in many ways.  If you were able to remember the sadness from your previous lives, it would drive you to insanity.  You would lose your effectiveness as a Keeper.”
I nodded.  Ahmose had been right.
“And you forget the gifts you are capable of through your bloodstone as a safeguard,” she added.  “The power that we are able to harness is exquisite and enormous.  Too much burden for any one person to be aware of, life after life.”
“But you…”
“My sisters and I have each other to keep us in check.  You have no one.  But your Aegis.”
Realization settled upon me like a cloud.  So, Ahmose wasn’t just there to assist me…  he was there to keep me firmly in place.
“So, now you know.” She stared at me.  “For now.  You’ll forget it again soon enough.”
That thought was not comforting.
I looked up at her.
“Be good.”
And she was gone.
I took a shaking breath and sank into my bed, allowing the softness to comfort me momentarily.  I wasn’t sure what to think.  She had just confirmed that at least some of the things that Annen had told me were true… but since she openly admitted them, didn’t that mean that the Order had nothing to hide?  I was at a loss.
My hand brushed against a rolled up papyrus on my bed.  Staring at it suspiciously, I picked it up.  How had she left it?  I hadn’t seen her with it at all.
As I unrolled it, the yellow butterfly that I had just seen Lachesis eat flew from the confines of the paper and out my window.  I watched it fly away in shock, alive and well, before I turned my attention to the paper in my hands.  Delicate, feminine writing flowed across the page in English.
 There are things you were never meant to understand.
You will have to trust me.
Before I even had a chance to ponder its meaning, the cryptic message burst into flame and I dropped it to the stone floor, watching it burn on the stone.  Within a minute, it had disappeared completely… as though it had never existed.  

About Courtney Cole:

Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.

Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their
orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.                                                          

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