Historical Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Categories: Action/Adventure, Steampunk
Basil Tinwhistle's life changed when he was nine years old and he revealed that he had a proclivity for finding the paranormal. Taken from his family and raised by a special order of men dedicated to memorizing legend and hunting monsters, he's risked life and limb to keep the United States safe from terror in the night. More than that, he left behind the only woman who ever held his heart.
Foreseer Nora Frost's parents abandoned her in favor of pursuing sideshow careers in a circus. Her grandmother raised her with a strict hand to prevent history from repeating itself. Nora has never felt comfortable with herself, except for the brief summer Basil spent at her grandmother's antebellum mansion. When Basil vanished without a word, he broke her heart and she vowed never to fall in love again.
Years later, on one of Nora's worst days, Basil suddenly reappears. The attraction between them is as strong as it was that long ago summer, but Basil is about to reveal a danger Nora never imagined—one that might tear them apart before they can repair the past.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
"For once consider doing something for yourself. You hated working for them. This,” she gestured at the prosthesis, “and killing that goblin. It hurt you somehow, Baz, sapped your strength when you killed it. Nothing about the Guardians is good for you.”
“What is?” His voice was quiet, difficult to hear over the pounding of her heart.
Dark eyes sought hers. “What do I have to look forward to without the Guardians?”
She blinked. “There's an entire world out there you've missed by being chained like a dog to your superiors.”
“Even though I've left the service, I still see the monsters that haunt the darkness. Am I supposed to ignore them now? They aren't all bad. Some of them are trying to get by like the rest of us, but there are plenty more who want to rid the world of humans.” His gaze didn't waver. He took his time replacing the sock, grabbed his prosthesis, put it to his stump and pushed it on. A whole man again. The only thing that seemed to be missing was his heart. “It's my duty.”
“Oh, so you'll form a rogue band of Guardians to protect common folk?” The last thing either of them needed was the complication of trying to renew their love. But it didn't mean she didn't want to try. “You'll continue to sacrifice everything until your life is the last thing you have to give.”
“A special brand of monster to take down other monsters.” His voice held a quiet edge.
“You never showed a monstrous side of yourself to me. The Basil I knew was funny, gentle, and clever. I believe in him.”
More than a table stood between them. The wall she'd been fighting to keep in place for years kept her from saying what was really on her mind. But why? What good did it do for her heart to remain unmoved by him when her body wanted to be pressed to his? He'd hurt her by leaving, but he hadn't gone away without leaving scars on his heart as well. It didn't matter if they were trapped on the edge of a dreary swamp or inside a magnificent mansion. She wanted to be beside Basil.
“That . . . boy had to die to accomplish what the Guardians wanted. There's no good, no happiness, no love left here.”
No hope either, judging from the way his eyes went flat. Nora moved around the table, kneeling beside the chair. His hand lay on his thigh and she covered it with her own.
“I don't believe that.”
“You should.” His hand clenched under hers.
“I can't. And I know you don't either. The young man who took me to get a tintype Grandmama didn't know about grew into the man who holds it even now. How often did you look at it over the years?” She lifted his hand to her face, pressing his fingers to her cheek.
Basil swallowed, causing his Adam's apple to bob. “More often than I should have. It was comforting, knowing you were out there. I tried to tell myself that I'd done the right thing because who would protect innocent lives like yours if I didn't?”
“I can't believe you kept it.”
Basil took his hand away from her face and reached inside his coat. He pulled out the tintype, bent, worn, a little faded, and set it on the table.
A younger Nora smiled up at them. Her mind pulled her back to the day the image was taken. When she thought she'd known what the world was about and love was the only thing that mattered. Basil had stood behind the photographer, making silly faces, trying to get her to laugh. She'd mastered her emotions and arranged her face in what she'd hoped was a seductive pose. After the flash of powder, she'd blinked away the light and found Basil looking at her with unmasked passion.
The heat of that look stayed with her. She still felt it, curling at her like flames over paper. It was different than the look he gave her now, but the old spark was there.
About the Author
A life-long love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an indie author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.
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