Every Last Kiss
Bloodstone Saga, Book 1
by Courtney Cole
17-year old Macy Lockhart is having a bad day. Her boyfriend cheated on her, she's been seeing things she can't explain and she's been transported back in time to relive her doomed life as the personal servant to Cleopatra. To top it off, she is a Keeper of Fate in the ancient organization, the Order of the Moirae. Unless she changes Fate, her soul mate will die. Again.
Word Count: approx. 71,065 (Novel)
What’s the basic premise of Every Last Kiss?
Every Last Kiss is about a girl who, for thousands of years, has been a Keeper of Fate in the ancient organization, the Order of the Moirae. She literally holds fate in her hands. But, this is something that she forgets because her memories are wiped clean in every life, leaving her to figure everything out over and over again.
In Every Last Kiss, fate is tampered with by a mysterious high priest and the main character, Macy, is left to return to ancient Egypt to fix it… to a life where she was Cleopatra’s handmaiden, Charmian. She is meant to repair the fabric of time, but unless she interferes with fate, the one thing that she was born to protect, her soul mate will die. Again.
What inspired the idea for this book?
You know, it was one of those many times when I had let my mind wander. During my random musings, I started thinking about fate, which led me to the tragic figures in history who might change fate if they had the chance… and I came to Cleopatra. I’ve always been fascinated with her, so I chose her for my book. I knew that I needed a modern element as well, so I created the whole Keeper of Fate plot and dropped my modern main character, Macy, into an ancient setting. Poor thing- she never saw it coming!
Who is the audience for this story?
I like to think it’s a cross-over book… so I’m targeting older teenage girls and women. There is some sexual content, but it is more implied than blatant, in-your-face sex. It’s mostly romance, some magic, a little mystery… you know, the good stuff.
How would you define the genre for this book? Are there any underlying themes?
It is Paranormal Romance, Young Adult. It’s got some mythology and magic flowing under the surface.
What sets Every Last Kiss apart from other books in the genre?
Absolutely no werewolves or vampires were harmed in the writing of this book, lol. I really wanted to do something different… so I delved into mythology and came up with a story centered around the Fates.
It looks like Every Last Kiss is part of a series. Can you tell us more about it?
Yes, this is the first book in the Bloodstone Saga. As a Keeper, Macy has to keep track of one soul throughout the millennia… the same soul who just happened to be Cleopatra in one of her lives. Macy is armed with her bloodstone (which has magical powers) and an ancient Aegis priest who is her handler, of sorts. They answer to the Fates, the three sisters who control destiny. Together with other Keepers and Aegis priests, they make up the Order of the Moirae. The Bloodstone Saga will follow their adventures as they do their best to keep up with the plans of Fate.
Who did the cover art for your book?
The brilliant and amazing (and very, very patient), Christel Michiels from Darkyria Design.
What is your favorite scene or line from Every Last Kiss?
My favorite is the ending… and I don’t want to describe it, because of spoilers. But this is my favorite line: “My soul had recognized his. We stood here like magnets, drawn to each other. Time, it seemed, was not our enemy after all. It was just air and space and hours. Anything worth having was able to withstand it.”
If you could be one of the characters in your book, who would it be, and why?
Macy, of course. Well, for one thing, I’m a little bit in love with her love interest (Don’t worry- my husband is totally fine with it…). But also, I really just think she’s interesting. She’s strong, witty and multi-faceted.
Where can readers find your book? Is it available in ebook, print, or both?
It’s currently in e-book format until the print version is released on May 15th. AND, until May 15, the e-book price is only $0.99.
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XMWO9Q/
- Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55760
- It will be available through Barnes and Noble.com very soon.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know?
Hmm. I’m terrified of birds. And buoys. But you probably meant something important. I have another YA Paranormal novel coming out in July from Whiskey Creek Press. It’s called Guardian and it involves angels, fallen angels and demons.
Where can readers find you online?
Excerpt from Every Last Kiss
Copyright 2011 Courtney Cole
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.
“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.”
“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.
And she was gone.
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““Everything about this book, from the gorgeous cover to the amazing use of rich description in the text, is a delight to the senses....”--Wren EmersonYA Author of the upcoming Witches of Desire Series
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Courtney Cole is a novelist who, given the choice, would rather write than eat chocolate (although she seriously hopes that she is never forced to choose).
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Indiana Wesleyan University, she discovered that no amount of working in the corporate world could quell her urge to write. Every Last Kiss is her debut novel, followed closely in January 2012 by the second book in the series. A completely unrelated novel, Guardian, will be released in July 2011 from Whiskey Creek Press.
Courtney lives in Mishawaka, Indiana 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. Learn more about Courtney and her books at www.courtneycolewrites.com