The Wraith Accords between the Vampire and the Tuatha de Danaan has held for hundreds of years, but the Vampire are starting to be concerned about whether they will continue to be held. Isabel is a Vampire Sage and has been sent to Fae as an ambassador to the High King and Queen. While there Aed, one of the Tuatha de Danaan, is charged with her protection. Isabel knew that going to Fae would have its dangers, but the intense attraction to Aed was not one she had considered, nor was that he may return the attraction. But things are difficult from the off because of their difference in race, something they will have to overcome if they want to be together...but more than that, something is happening in both the worlds that needs to be solved, and Aed and Isabel are the ones that have to solve it.
Wow. I absolutely loved Carnal Magic, there was everything in it; magic, sex, passion, politics and complexity in the romantic relationship. I don't know what I expected when I picked up Carnal Magic, but I loved it none the less.
The romantic relationship between Isabel and Aed was a good balance. Isabel got upset by Aed at times when a real woman would probably have got upset, but even though she was mad Aed still managed to be sweet and make her heart 'flutter'. But at the same time there was also a lot of passion written into their relationship, and sometimes that even came across as banter, which definitely amused me!
I really liked Aed's reaction to entering the human world. I think that the author did a fantastic job of capturing the wonder that someone would experience over mundane things, like cars, or even more amusingly, boxers.
Similarly the author made sure that Isabel had a detailed and interesting back story. A lot of vampire characters just have a sketchy back story, if any at all, whereas Isabel's was rich in detail and complexity. It was also interesting to see a vampire whose background was the lowest of the low rather than nobility. The past made sense of who Isabel was as a character. She was a strong character but tended to use her sexuality too much, which even she admitted to doing, and that made sense considering her past.
Basically I can't think of anything bad about this book, I finished it and I just want more! From the characters, the author, just everything!
An amazing basket of both Irish and Gothic themed items, include a beautiful scarf, books on mythology, handmade soaps, and jewelry.
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Carnal Magic by Lila Dubois
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Book Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Two hundred years after the Tuatha de Danaan and Vampires formed a fragile alliance, the Wraith Accords are unraveling. Isabel Santiago is a leader in one of the most powerful of the vampire cabals, and she agrees to join the Fae court as a gesture of goodwill—and damage control.
While Aed mac Goll’s loyalty to Fae is absolute, he’s never supported the accords which gave the Vampires sanctuary and restored the Tuatha de’s link to humanity. The very idea he could desire an undead human is unthinkable, yet he’s drawn to Isabel’s dark beauty and fierce intelligence.
Despite their mutual mistrust, they soon find themselves lost in a dangerous game of lust and power. When the treaty shatters amid calls for Isabel’s head, Aed realizes their connection is more than physical. And to save it, they’ll have to unravel a mystery that’s been a thousand years in the making.
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He came from the shadows, a massive outline of a man, darker than anything around him. It seemed the starlight didn’t touch his armor, which was a matte black that made her think of lightless prison cells deep underground. She couldn’t stop the shiver that shook her.
He removed the full helmet, revealing a face as beautiful as the armor was dark. His hair was the rich brown of the earth with streaks of gold. His skin was pale, but not so pale as hers, more cream than white, but light enough that the blue of his eyes was startlingly bright. His hair was long and pulled back from his face, leaving his strong, angular features exposed.
Isabel swallowed the saliva that pooled in her mouth. She wanted this man. She wanted to take him, fuck him, pleasure him and hurt him. She wanted to taste his blood as he fucked her, wanted to feel his hands on her flesh. He smelled like nothing she could describe, and the assault on her senses—visual, aural and olfactory—nearly brought her to her knees. It had been a very long time since she’d had such a strong reaction to a man. If this was what it would be like each time she met one of the Tuatha de Danaan, this mission would be far more challenging than she’d anticipated.
Keeping her lips carefully closed, she nodded, hoping her trembling didn’t show. “Sir.”
“I am Aed mac Goll of the Fianna.” He bowed low.
“I am honored to meet so noble a warrior.”
“You know of the Fianna?” His features hadn’t changed but the consternation was there in his voice. He held his helmet out to the side and it melted away into the darkness.
The Fianna were the legendary warriors of the Tuatha de Danaan. They guarded the royal family and when called upon were a fighting force of unparalleled skill. Most of this was known only through human legends, the stories of Ireland detailing the exploits of the Fair Folk, who were once reported to be gods, then made mere men by the monks who recorded the tales. Fact and human myth rarely resembled each other, but Isabel had found that there was usually a kernel of truth buried in the origins of such stories, and what they’d learned of the Tuatha de Danaan since the Wraith Accords had confirmed that piece of legend.
“I know only enough to be honored.” She curtsied again.
Aed bowed. “The honor is mine. Will you follow me?”
He gestured for her to precede him. Isabel let herself be guided deeper into Tara.
Isabel opened her eyes, blinking to focus her vision.
She turned to Aed, who was standing beside her. “There weren’t as many stairs as I thought.” She brushed at the hem of her cloak. It had taken them less than ten minutes of climbing—and two hundred and fourteen stairs by her count—to reach the top.
“Where are we?” she asked, looking around. They were in a square room. It was a grand space, with a polished marble floor, towering glass ceiling and curved columns that looked like flower stems supporting the glass above. Torches circled the columns at head height, but only one was lit.
Aed lifted it down and she saw that the stone handle was topped not by fire, but by another glowing orb like those they’d seen in the garden.
“This is one of the entry halls.”
“This castle is as old as Fae. I do not know all of it myself, and I would say there are few who do.”
They passed under the squares of moonlight, leaving the entry room for a large hallway. Their path twisted and turned, taking them along wide stone hallways, across sky bridges where the wind whipped Isabel’s hair and cloak, up and down stairways both straight and spiraled, and through courtyard gardens so lush and vibrant that Isabel couldn’t stop herself from slowing her pace to examine the flora. Once she looked back only to see that the opening they’d just come through was gone, a solid wall in its place.
With a rueful smile Isabel realized how naïve it was to think she could find her way out of here on her own. A seed of trepidation rooted in her belly, but she pushed it aside.
They entered a courtyard, the largest they’d passed through so far. Towering trees with trunks and protruding roots like banyans sat in the four corners, while a circular tiled mosaic floor took up the center of the square, its colors muted in the shadow of the trees.
Aed stiffened, then motioned for her to use a path along the edge rather than pass through the center. Something about his posture was different, and Isabel responded to his nonverbal signals—examining the courtyard for danger lurking in the shadows and root hollows. There was nothing there.
“Aed, my friend. Won’t you introduce me to our guest?”
Standing in the center of the mosaic, where there had been no one a moment before, was a tall, golden-haired man.
He waved his hand and lights flared to life in the canopy of the trees, bright as sunlight.
Isabel hissed, falling back a step before she could stop herself. The golden-haired male focused on her.
“Fear not, vampire. There is no sunlight here.” His words were musical to the point of being song, his accent making the French words sound even more lyrical than they already were.
Aed dropped to one knee, torch still held in one hand. “My Prince.”
Isabel looked from him to the figure. The golden-haired man seemed to be waiting, but Isabel knew her manners. Until introductions were made she would not curtsey.
The golden-haired man raised a brow. “Aed, introduce us.” He spoke in a language Isabel didn’t recognize, but she knew enough to pick out the words. It must be the language of the Tuatha de Danaan, which was the root of the human Celtic languages. Luckily Isabel had made a point of learning some of those, including Gaulish, which hadn’t survived to modern times, and Irish and Welsh, which humans still spoke.
She kept her face neutral, looking between the men as if she did not understand him.
Aed lifted his head, though he remained on one knee. “Prince Cairbe, this is Lady Isabel, Sage of the Bucharest Cabal and Counselor to Duke Drakul.” Her titles rolled smoothly off his tongue in French. Aed turned his head enough to look at her, and his eyes were hard and full of warning. “Lady Isabel, this is Prince Cairbe, Lord of Spring and oldest child of High King Cormac and High Queen Albha.”
Isabel sank into a deep curtsey, holding it for several beats before rising. Perhaps she should have waited for an invitation to rise, but she was no subject here, she was an ambassador. Among the Vampire she was of equivalent rank as this prince.
And she would not let any of them forget it.
“Prince Cairbe.” She pronouncing it carefully. Ka-bra.
He bowed, smiling at her all the while. “Lady Isabel. Welcome to Tara.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
His smile tightened and he took a step toward where she stood, safely in the shadows at the edge the courtyard.
Up close, he was perfect. His nose was narrow and straight, his eyes the green of spring. His hair sparkled in the light while dark lashes framed his incredible eyes. His lips could have been chiseled from stone they were so well formed. But they were not kissable the way Aed’s were.
The only flaw in his handsome, symmetrical face was a small beauty mark at the corner of his right eyebrow.
Desire rippled through her, and Isabel found herself looking him up and down, mentally stripping off the leather shirt and pants he wore. She had no doubt he would be well formed. Her nipples drew into tight peaks, her blood pooled in her sex, making her aware of her pussy in a way she had not been moments before. Each breath seemed to heighten her arousal, as if there were nothing more sensual than the way air slipped over her lips.
The more she looked the more she wanted him, but it was a strangely emotionless thing. Taking several steps forward, out of the safety of the shadows, she raised a hand toward his face. She needed him, wanted him. She would give anything to touch him, be touched by him. She would shed her dress, bare herself to him.
There the fantasy stopped. She didn’t crave him the way she’d once craved sweets, or the way she craved Aed. It was a mindless wanting. Almost as if…
As if her desire for him was born of magic, not lust.
Isabel pricked her tongue on her fang. The taste of blood, even her own, brought out the monster within her. Bloodlust was strong enough to override most magic. When she looked back at Prince Cairbe, the lust was still there, but it was muted. She dropped her hand.
Isabel caught the flash of surprise on his face and heard Aed’s armor clanking as if he too were reacting to her actions. Isabel curled her nails into her palm to control her anger. How dare he try to manipulate her?
“Tsk, tsk, Prince Cairbe.” She kept her tone light but could not stop herself from staring at his neck, imagining sinking her fangs into him. She’d make it hurt. “Are manners so different here in Tara that it’s acceptable for you to use your magic to lure an unwilling woman to your bed?”
He reacted as if she’d struck him—eyes round with shock, weight on his back leg.
“Isabel.” Aed’s voice held a hint of panic.
She braced herself for the prince’s anger, ready and willing to battle. He’d behaved badly and she’d called him on it. If he attacked now, the Vampire would be the wronged party…
…and free to attack Tara.
“You surprise me, Lady Isabel.” Cairbe’s voice was tight. “I assure you I meant no harm. There are some things we cannot control.”
She raised a brow. “I remember feeling like that, when I was very young.”
His lips twisted, and this time she was sure he’d lash out, but instead he started laughing. The sound was joyous and pure, like the toll of the finest bell. The lights in the trees brightened to a glaring whiteness and Isabel stepped back into the shadows, distrustful of that light.
“Well met, my lady.” Cairbe laughter faded to a smile. “I had not thought to find you so clever.” He raised his hands. “No games, I truly meant no harm.”
“Nor did I.” Isabel matched his smile. “Had I meant to harm anyone, I think I would not start the fight with you.”
“You flatter me. I enjoy it.” He turned to Aed. “Best of luck. I do not envy you this guard.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lila Dubois is a tech writer by day and a romance writer by night. She’s living her own version of a romance novel with her Irish Farm Boy, whom she imported to Los Angeles. Having spent extensive time in France, Egypt, Turkey, Ireland and England, Lila speaks five languages, none of them—including English—fluently.
To learn more about Lila, please visit www.liladubois.net or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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