Unfortunately, the Rakshasa are currently winning the battle, as the Light Ones are not fertile. Only one type of Light One, exceedingly rare females called Chala, are able to produce offspring. The Rakshasa know this, and have managed to nearly decimate the population.
Enter Gavin Rowan, a cursed Rakshasa who believes he is a Light One. He feels all his Rakshasa urges to kill, but has been cursed to protect the Light Ones instead.
Throw Sydney Amataya into the mix. She is a Chala– except she doesn't know it. At least not until Gavin saves her from a Rakshasa attack and then declares her as his mate.
But that’s not how Sydney operates. Encouraged by her cross-dressing Fate, William, she refuses Gavin’s claim. If he wants to mate with her–once she gets over the shock of discovering this supernatural world, that is–he's going to have to woo her, impress her, wine and dine her. Romance her. She deserves no less, end of the world be damned.
I started writing Of Love and Darkness in 2009. Back then it was titled Cursed and Chosen, because the hero was a cursed Rakshasa (evil shifters), and the heroine was a Chala, the only type of “good” shifter who could reproduce, thus ensuring they did not go extinct. I hadn’t been a fan of the title from day one, but it took me until about six months ago to find one I liked better (read: I asked my friends for ideas). Luckily, my publisher was accommodating to my last minute change, since they hadn’t yet created the cover at that point.
I have been a fan of shifter books pretty much since I started reading romance, which was much younger than I probably should have. My favorite shifter books are Pamela Palmer’s Feral Warriors series, Katie MacAlister’s dragons, and the Warriors of Poseidon series by Alyssa Day. As obsessed as I have been with these three series, it really isn’t surprising at all that I would write shifters as well.
The real question back in 2009 was how to write a shifter book that would stand out from the rest. I attended an RWA class during which the instructor informed us that pretty much every trope had been done, over and over again. That was okay, because the reason certain tropes remain popular is because that’s what readers want to read. The key to writing popular tropes (such as shifters) is to put something unique in your book. You don’t have to spend your time and energy searching for an entirely unique storyline, you really just need to ensure one aspect of your book is different from everything else out there.
And therefore William was born. William is Sydney’s Fate in Of Love and Darkness. In this series, a Fate’s job is to protect the Chala from the Rakshasa until they have found a mate. I decided William would be that character, the one who would stand out, who would be different from everything else out there (I hope). So he’s as large as a linebacker, with buzz-cut blond hair, and a preference for dresses and heels instead of pants and sneakers.
Yep. This is Gavin’s first impression of the Fate, from Of Love and Darkness:
Gavin whipped the car into the driveway of the basic brick ranch home she shared with William, and skidded to a stop inches from the closed garage door. Ignoring her completely, he unfolded his tall frame from the driver’s seat, strode up the steps of the front porch, and headed toward the door.
Sydney climbed out of the car and hurried after him. “Wait,” she said, recalling that he actually did not know her stepbrother. “I should probably warn you—”
The words were out a scant second too late.
The front door opened and a hulking figure loomed behind the glass storm door. Gavin’s steps faltered as his gaze swept over the closely cropped blond hair, smooth-shaven face, narrowed brown eyes, and rigid set of the thick jaw. His gaze traveled south, to take in the muumuu decorated with cabbage-sized flowers visible under a hot-pink satin robe. Thick, tree trunk-like, shaven legs could be seen under the hem of the muumuu, and feet that were at least a size thirteen were shoved into clearly custom-made hot-pink high-heeled slippers with a fluffy, pink ball of puff on top.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Gavin said as he turned to face Sydney, with an accusatory look in his eye. “This is your Fate?”
“This is my stepbrother,” she retorted as she shoved past him, jerked open the storm door and allowed herself to be pulled into a hug by the huge man on the other side.
Thus introduces the opportunity for snarky humor and sarcasm, from both men, as Williams struggles to accept that his Chala, who is like a sister to him, might possibly fall for some alpha male with an over-abundance of testosterone, who, by the way, is not the man she’s supposed to fall for. And Gavin, of course, can’t figure out how a guy who wears dresses can possibly protect the woman he’s determined should be his mate.
From those relationships, the rest of the book, and then the series, was developed in my overactive imagination. As I mentioned, it’s a three-book series. Books 1 and 2 both end with happy for now’s, with an overarching plotline that carries through, until everything is finally wrapped up at the end of book 3. The next two books have been written, although they are both in rough form right now, so I have to get to work editing and cleaning them up and then get them to the publisher.
Guess I’d better get to work!
Thanks for the sneak peak. Drum roll please.......
Today is release day!!!
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Of Love and Darkness
Tami is multi-published, both self and with a few publishers, including Crimson Romance, Liquid Silver Books, and Soul Mates Publishing. Chances are, there is a new book coming out soon. Be sure to stalk her on social media, so you know when.
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