I’m so glad I was.
“The Queen of Swords” is everything I enjoy in a novel: Vampires, Witches, Magic and romance. I was so happy with these aspects of the story, but as an added bonus . . . its set in England and Scotland, there’s mention of Celtic mythology and lore along with English/Scottish history. I kept finding myself looking up Karen’s Scottish Witches posts.
The two characters we follow are Graham Logan and Cathleen Fingal
Graham is Scottish, dabbles with magic, and is a vampire. He keeps to himself, a miserable and lonely existence, but he can’t risk another loved one’s death. He’s loved twice in the past, and both times, the women were killed. He currently lives with two friends –a brother and sister – Benedict and Branwen O’Lyr.
Cathleen is a university professor, she teaches the occult! She’s writing her Dissertation Paper on Vampires! The university has a HUGE vampire collection. She suffers from vivid dreams and visions, deep down she knows something is missing from her life. There’s a part of her that’s missing, and her dreams/vision have to be that part.
*This character is not like Bella Swan! Just throwing that out there.*
They meet while she’s researching at the university library. Something sparks in her; he’s handsome, Scottish, and knows about vampires. Everything she’s ever wanted. He disappears before she can continue to talk to him. Later that night her friend/roommate invites her to go to a club with her. Cat hoping to find the ‘handsome stranger, that doesn’t seem like a stranger’ agrees. She casts a spell to make herself irresistible. She’s a witch.
He’s there, but he doesn’t want anything to do with her. Frustrated she leaves, and is attacked; the handsome Scot saves her and warns her to leave him alone. Of course, this frustrates her more.
She realizes he’s the person or one of the people in her dreams and visions, but he won’t talk to her. She performs a spell that forces Graham to come to her. It also won’t let him lie to her. He’s her slave until she releases the spell. During this time, she learns she was Caitriona Fraser and Catharine Le Croix both the women Graham loved and lost. Also, the reason he’s trying to avoid her. . . in order to keep her safe.
She’s used variations of the nickname Cat throughout all of her lives; the dreams/visions are memories of the past lives.
Cat’s determined to make this third try at love successful; she learns all she can. Both of her previous lives have ended at the hands of a yellowed eye monster, Gerard Fitzgerald, Graham’s Sire.
However, she has more than Gerard Fitzgerald to worry about; Branwen is in love with Graham too. Branwen also has magical powers of her own. When Cat releases her spell on Graham, she knows what he plans to do. . . return to Scotland where he’ll never contact her again, to keep her safe. Branwen has other plans though.
It’s Monday, after returning from work, she gets a horrible feeling in her gut, she casts another summoning spell to make sure Graham is okay (he isn’t Branwen has him hostage, abusing him sexually, -not in a good way) Gerard appears. Gerard explains his hatred for all three of Cat’s lives. In hopes of buying some time, she agrees to Gerard’s request, something the other Cat’s refused causing their deaths. (Read the book to find out what the request is)
Branwen attacks and tries to kill Cat (using her magical form of a Raven), the near death experience makes her forget all that happened on Monday, the meeting with Gerard, all she’s learned to work against him. It’s not until weeks later when her advisor gives her a spell she requested that she remember. Cat summons Graham, saving him from Branwen, and tells him her plans of killing FitzGerald. Graham reluctantly agrees to try.
There are some weeks of happiness, battles between Graham and Gerard Fitzgerald. I’m not giving it away. . . you have to read it to find out what happens.
I was pleased. I enjoyed the twist at the end, not something I normally see.
I give The Queen of Swords 5 out of 5 stars. I’m looking forward to another of Ms. Mason’s books titled The Knight of Wands. I really enjoyed her writing style and really enjoyed the story.
**Mom Warnings** There’s violence, stories of war, decapitating vampire heads and the cutting out of a vampire heart. There are also very detailed sex scenes.
Here’s some blurbs and excerpts:
When Graham Logan, a Scottish earl turned vampire by a dark wizard’s curse, draws the Queen of Swords, he knows he’s about to meet the love of his life. For the third time. But surrendering his heart will mean risking her life…or making her what he is. Neither of which his morals will permit him to do. Graham, who believes he lost his soul to the curse, rages at God: Why give her back only to take her again?
Cat Fingal, the third incarnation of Graham’s twin flame, won’t let him escape so easily. As soon as they meet, she feels she knows him and begins having past-life flashbacks. A white witch, she casts a spell to summon him, wanting answers and to fill the void she’s felt all her life.
Graham has other problems, too. Like the seductress who wants him for herself and the dark wizard who cursed him and killed his beloved the first two times.
Will he find a way to save her this time around? Or will she save him?
Biting his lip, Graham turned the card of the here and now quickly. Seeing what he’d most feared tightened his chest. The central figure sat in profile upon a throne carved with angels and butterflies. She wore a white gown and a cloak decorated with clouds. More clouds gathered in the background, suggesting a storm was coming. The woman’s left hand reached out toward someone or something unseen in the distance. Her other hand gripped the up-thrust symbol of her suit.
The Queen of Swords.
He’d drawn the card only once before: the morning he’d met Catharine La Croix at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the Seine. To say her resemblance to Caitriona discomposed him was an understatement. He’d been floored by the likeness. He’d also been drawn to it like a sailor to a siren’s song. Unfortunately, he’d had no ship’s mast to rope himself to until the danger passed. Within a few weeks, they were deeply in love. He never suspected she might meet the same fate as her previous incarnation. Not until it was too late, anyway.
He’d done his best to protect her. After seeing Gerard Fitzgerald, the dark wizard who’d cursed him, on the street outside her apartment on Rue de Cherche Midi, he’d kept a watchful eye on her. Being as stubborn as before, she didn’t care for his vigil. One morning, she slipped out after he’d fallen asleep. He’d searched for her everywhere, out of his mind with worry. He’d had her blood, should have felt her, but he didn’t. That evening, he learned why.
Fitzgerald had done it. Of that, he was certain. He just didn’t know why. Now, it looked as if history was about to repeat. And what could he do about it except tear out his hair, beat his fists on the walls, and cry to heaven, “Why? Why give her back to me only to take her again?”
Grief closed around his throat like a strangler’s hands. Coughing to ease its grip, he overturned the card of his future. Surprise stung his heart when he saw The Fool. Squinting, he studied the image of a gaily-dressed youth whose open arms seemed to embrace the world. His right hand held a knapsack, his left, a single white rose. Nipping at his heels was a wee white dog. The Fool, fearing nothing, looked skyward with a dreamy expression as he strode toward the edge of a cliff.
Bewildered, he shook his head. What could it mean? The Fool stood on the threshold. He was the protagonist of the tarot, the archetypal hero embarking on his quest, the soul starting its journey toward atonement. The Fool, in other words, was the polar opposite of the hopeless, faithless tightrope walker Fitzgerald’s dark curse had turned him into over the past one hundred years.
Buy your copy here The Queen of Swords: A Paranormal Tale of Undying Love
ABOUT NINA MASON, AUTHOR
Nina Mason is a hopeful romantic with strong affinities for history, mythology, and the metaphysical. She strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. Three of her books will be published in 2014: The Queen of Swords, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance; The Knight of Wands, book one in the Knights of Avalon Series; and The Tin Man, a political thriller about the dangers posed by media monopolies. She is currently at work on Book Two of the Knights of Avalon series and is itching to get back to a book she started a while back about a merman who falls for an oil company spokeswoman after a phantom tanker capsizes on the coast of the Hebrides islands. When not writing, Nina works as a communications consultant, doll maker, and home stager. Born and raised in Southern California, she now lives in Woodstock, Georgia, with her husband, teenage daughter, two rescue cats, and a Westie named Robert.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ninamasonauthor (@ninamasonauthor)