Check out this excerpt from Darkest Knight, the 2nd book in Karen Duvall's Knight's Curse series.
"You're coming with me, right?" I asked Rafe when he opened the silver veil that separated the physical world from the realm of angels. This misty otherworld was home to Rafael, my guardian angel, but not to me. I think I'd overstayed my welcome.
Rafe towered above me and scowled. "No."
I leaned forward to peer through the filmy curtain. "I'm not ready to go there alone. It's too soon."
"Chalice, it's been over a month." Rafe closed his eyes and sighed so deeply I thought he'd collapse a lung if he had one. "But if you prefer to wait a while longer.." He held his palm flat against the transparent veil and the sigil on his hand glowed. The surface began to solidify.
I grabbed his arm. "Wait."
His sigh came even louder this time. "Make up your mind."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "You have no idea how hard this is for me."
The deep creases in his forehead smoothed as his eyes crinkled with the start of a smile. It made him appear almost human. "I can imagine."
"No, you can't." The memory of my last day of bondage to Shui, a homicidal gargoyle, remained clear in my mind. The gargoyle's death had freed me of the curse that once threatened to take my humanity and turn me into a winged devil as horrible as Shui. But my freedom had come at a price. In order to save me from my fate, Shui had to be killed by another gargoyle. Aydin, who was also bonded to a gargoyle, had allowed the curse to change him so that he could fight Shui to save my life. But, by doing so, I'd lost the only man I'd ever loved. It was time for me to bring Aydin back, to make him human again. The only way for that to happen lay on the other side of this veil, at the Vyantara
fatherhouse. Home of my nightmares, where failing a heist used to mean a beating by my master or a death threat from Shui. Lucky for me the gargoyle died before getting his chance to feast on Chalice tartare.
I sucked in a breath. "I can't face another gargoyle."
"Then don't face it. Just kill it." Rafe's hand stayed in place against the veil, but he didn't reopen it. He waited for my okay.
"Come with me," I told him, trying to make it sound like an order. He was usually good at following orders.
"You know what would happen if I did?" he asked, raising his eyebrows. "My presence would set off every alarm and ward in the house."
I winced. "That would defeat the purpose of sneaking in, right?"
I heaved in a fortifying breath and blinked. Even after a month, it felt strange not to wear my contact lenses. Or the filters for my ears and nose. I'd worn these protective devices practically all my life. For being half angel, even if that half was the fallen kind, my unusual abilities helped keep me out of trouble. Unfortunately, they helped get me into almost as much. Rafe had been forbidden to meet me until after my curse was broken, so only recently was he able to teach me control over my hypersensitivity through meditation. Now I could turn my powers off and on as easily as a light switch, though I hadn't practiced under stressful conditions. I was about to test my new skill big-time.
"I'm ready," I said. "Open the veil."
"One last thing before you go—"
"No!" I glared at him. He was about to deliver another lecture about staying focused and making safety my first priority. I'd heard it over a dozen times. "Do it now before I lose my nerve."
"As you wish."
The veil opened and I stepped through, my booted feet landing on a dark Oriental rug as wide and long as the room I stood in. I glanced behind me. Rafe and the veil were gone.
Copyright © 2012 by Karen Duvall. Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin
Now, let's find out a bit more about Karen Duval.
I was born in Hollywood, California. Sound glamorous? Maybe it might have turned out that way if my mother hadn't given me up for adoption. Or that's what I used to fantasize about when I was a child. Nevertheless, I was very fortunate to have had the best adoptive parents in the world. If you're curious to read more about this part of my life story, I wrote about it for my blog. http://karenduvall.blogspot.com/2012/01/lets-get-personal.html and http://karenduvall.blogspot.com/2012/01/secrets-revealed-and-secrets-kept.html
I've always been a writer, even before I knew how to make my letters. At the age of three, I used to tell stories to my mom so she could write them down and I could draw the pictures. I still draw pictures, however I've replaced the crayons in favor of computer graphics. I've been a professional graphic artist for over thirty years after graduating from the Art Institute of Colorado in 1978.
I started out writing short stories because the thought of writing a book was too intimidating. Then I read an amazing series by Armistead Maupin and was so intrigued by his excellent characters that I knew I had to give it a try. After that, I was hooked. Writing books became my thing.
I joined Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers http://www.rmfw.org about 20 years ago, and that's how I learned how to write. I owe this amazing organization so much! Such a fabulous group of warm, helpful and supportive writers. I feel blessed to have discovered them and highly recommend their annual conference to any writer serious about becoming a published author. It's an amazing event attended by some of the best agents and editors in the industry. Even though I don't live in Colorado anymore, I return for the conference every year.
Now I live in Bend, Oregon, with my husband Jim, an over-zealous border-bully dog named Kinsey, and three spoiled cats that run our household. When I'm not writing, I freelance as a graphic designer. If you'd like to see some of my work, please visit my design website. http://www.duvalldesign.wordpress.com.
Karen's Writing Awards:
2008 PASIC (Published Authors Special Interest Chapter of RWA) – KNIGHT'S CURSE, 2nd Place
2009 Romance Through the Ages (Hearts Through History Chapter of RWA) – MYSTIC TAXI, 1st Place
2012 Reveal Your Inner Vixen Contest (Maryland Romance Writers) – MIRROR READER, 2nd Place
2012 Suzannah Contest (NOLA Stars Chapter of RWA) – MIRROR READER, Finalist http://nolastars.com/contest/ (winner to be announced in March 2013
If you'd like to connect further with Karen, here's how:
Check out or buy Karen's novels online via the following links:
Knight's Curse via Barnes & Noble
Knight's Curse via Amazon
Darkest Night via Barnes & Noble
Darkest Night via Amazon
'Til The World Ends via Barnes & Noble
'Til The World Ends via Amazon
Thank you again, Karen for joining us here today! I look forward to reading what you produce during your future writing endeavors.