Title: Ill Fated
Author: Rachel Rawlings
Series: Maurin Kincaide #6
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Publisher: R Squared Publishing
Release Date: Feb 11 2015
Edition/Format Available In: eBook & Print
Some things are destined to end in death. After the first attempt on her life Maurin wasn’t scared. Hell, she was almost flattered. But someone put a price on her head and things are getting complicated. Trouble is brewing in the fae courts and it’s spilling over into Salem. The UnSeelie Dark Guard have answered the call for her head on a platter and people closest to her are disappearing.
Can Maurin master court politics and find her missing men before someone claims the bounty on her head?
Ill Fated was like nothing I had read before and that is a huge compliment. The cast of characters and the plot are all all new and fresh for me. Ill Fated is the 6th book in the series. It can be read as a standalone as I have done, but I felt like I was missing some essential information by not reading the previous books. That said it would not be a hardship reading the whole series if they are all as richly descriptive and action packed as this one.
Maurin is a Regulator, she is over an investigator, 2 trackers and a team of cleaners. She is dating Mason the Captain of the SPTF and a member of the Wild Hunt. It gets a bit tense because she has to work with her ex Aidan, but luckily he can only come out at night. Maurin is marked for death then her man goes missing. Her friends work hard to keep her alive and find answers and Mason. So many things can go wrong.
Ill Fated is twisty and turny to keep it interesting. It has steady action and builds up quite nicely. The emotions are displayed so well on the pages It is easy to feel them. I recommend this book for paranormal/ fantasy lovers. It is a unique romantic treat.
My rating system is different from Amazon. Please see rating scale on right. Rating will be different on Amazon
No one should be awake at four in the morning. Especially me. I ripped the plug for my alarm clock out of the wall around three-thirty.
I forgot about the batteries.
The numbers on the clock taunted me like a green-eyed devil until I finally got out of bed. I fumbled in the dark to make a pot of coffee, refusing to turn on the kitchen light and formally acknowledge the day. I pulled my favorite mug out of the cabinet and filled it before settling at my table.
The dream came every night - technically morning - at three o'clock. I was used to running on little-to-no sleep, this bordered on ridiculous. Yesterday at the range I shot a target in the lane on my left. Fortunately, it had been Mason's and I played everything off by exaggerating my sharp-shooting skills. Someone else could have had me banned. As it was, Mason thought I was being a competitive brat.
I wasn't sure I preferred that to being a sleep-deprived danger to others.
I scratched my neck, pausing when I felt the delicate silver chain. I followed it down to the apple branch charm which rested on my chest. Weird. I could have sworn I took it off last night. I slid the charm back and forth as I went over the dream. Again.
After the first week, I’d broken down and started analyzing it. According to Freud, I had mommy issues. No surprise there. I seriously doubted my relationship - or lack thereof - with my adoptive mother was the cause of the recurring dream.
I fired up the laptop, unwilling to cease my search for answers. Instead of the trippy New Age sites I checked out last night, I went back to my trusty Google. I nodded off twice as I scanned the results.
What the hell did an old woman washing clothes in a river have to do with me? I might have written it off as paranoia or a side effect of all the spicy food I'd been eating, if not for the haggard old woman crooking her bony finger at me and called my name - every time.
I finally got a hit on an obscure mythology website. Bean Nighe, the washer woman of the Highlands. She scrubbed the bloody linens of those doomed to die. Knowing she was fae bothered me more than the knowledge the clothes she washed every night were mine. Impending death I could handle. Hell, I'd slipped through the Reaper's grasp more than once. The Fae on the other hand, well they could be tricky
The phone rang just as I got up for a refill. The fact someone else was not only awake at this ungodly hour,but calling me, meant it was bad news. No one who valued their life called me before noon unless it was an emergency - one of the perks of my new position as Regulator.
I was now in charge of one investigator, two trackers and a team of cleaners. It was a lot like it sounds. We investigate, we track and we clean up. We clean up everything, no loose ends. You don't ever want to find yourself in need of a cleaner. Late hours came with the new job, hence the “no calls before noon” rule.
I glanced at the screen before answering and recognized the number immediately. It helped I had been dialing it for the last four years - it used to belong to Captain Matthison. Of course Mason, my fae boyfriend and member of the Wild Hunt, was the captain of SPTF now.
We'd been officially dating for a couple months, moved well past first base. Hell, I had a key to his apartment. Granted I hadn’t used it since the night he gave it to me. I'd been dragging my feet, leaving deep ruts in my wake where our relationship was concerned. My track record wasn't all that great. I'd rushed in before, once because I was spelled and once because I wanted to.
Neither ended well.
Things were going great. I was afraid if I labeled it, changed it in anyway, the change would be catastrophic. Thankfully, Mason was a patient man.
Except when it came to a four a.m. phone call. My phone stopped then immediately started ringing again.
My answer was short and to the point. "Morning."
"You're awake?" He sounded more than a little surprised.
"I'm not really sure the state I'm in qualifies as awake."
"Here I was, terrified to poke the dragon, and you're already drinking coffee and talking in complete sentences."
I snorted and took a sip of the aforementioned liquid gold. "Are you always like this in the morning?"
"If you'd let me sleep over you'd already know the answer to that question. Why aren't you asleep?"
In general or just tonight, I silently wondered. "Bad dream. I've been tossing and turning all night. I finally gave in and got out of bed."
Papers rustled in the background and when he spoke again, his voice was lower, intimate, "You want to talk about it?"
"Something tells me my nightmares are the least of our problems."
"You have no idea. I need you to come down to my office."
I sighed. "Can it at least wait until after sunrise?"
"Would I be breaking the ‘no phone calls before noon’policy if it could wait?"
“There really is no rest for the wicked, is there?”
He laughed and the sound warmed me more than a hundred cups of coffee. "Apparently not, in your case. Now, there's a dirty chai latte and a croissant for you if you're here before Amalie. I can't promise real coffee and pastries will survive beyond five minutes of her arrival."
"It's four-thirty in the morning, Mas. If you know what's good for you, you'll make sure at least one dirty chai and croissant remain unmolested."
"I'll see you soon." He was laughing as he hung up the phone.
Three hours ago, I’d practically crawled through the doorway, exhausted from cleaning up after a newbie vamp who’d broken the Jus Sanguinis Intergentes when she killed her donor. The blood pact between people and vampires had a clear ‘no killing, no exceptions’ clause.
It was up to the maker to ensure their child was ready to feed unsupervised. If something went wrong and the Council found out about it, we cleaned up the mess and the sire was subject to heavy fines and possible revocation of their rights to expand their blood lines. She’d been quite literally a bitch to track and take down.
It had been a long night and it was shaping up to be an even longer day.
I wasted little time getting dressed, opting for a slip-on black jersey dress, eighteen hole Docs and a leather jacket. Jewelry was a hindrance in my line of work. My meeting with Mason could easily turn into a run. Choked with my own chain? No, thank you. Unclasping the necklace, I set it in a glass dish on my bathroom counter. I ran a brush through my hair, a toothbrush over my teeth and slipped into the Between. I stepped out of the alley two buildings down from the station and walked the last block and a half.
Amalie was swarmed by detectives trying to get at the goodies she brought over from the Daily Grind. She greeted me with a warm smile, shaking her head when I offered to pull her out of the fray. She had managed to endear herself to the entire department in record time. All it took was real coffee and fresh pastries. I pointed to Mason's office. She'd make her way over once the starving masses had their fill.
Mason was so engrossed in the file on his desk he didn't hear me come in. He looked as tired as I felt - too many double shifts. Despite an uptick in activity, SPTF was short-staffed due to budget cuts. Without enough man power to staff the shifts properly, overtime was mandatory.
"Is that for me?" I pointed at the to-go cup and white paper bag on his desk.
He finally looked up and gave me a smile which lit up his whole face. "As promised."
I stole a quick kiss, grabbed the coffee and croissant, and settled in the chair across from him. I took a long sip of my latte, savoring the delicious mix of tea and espresso. "Man, I needed this. Is that the case you're working on?"
"Yeah, we've got a real problem on our hands."
"Don't we always." I tried to peek at the file.
Mason closed the manila folder. "I'd rather wait until everyone is here."
"Who else is coming besides Amalie?" My curiosity was definitely peaked now. I reached across his desk, hoping to grab the file.
"You look exhausted. Tell me about your dream while we wait."
I narrowed my eyes and glared at him. "I see this for the obvious distraction it is.” Sighing, I rubbed my temple. “However, I'm exhausted, too exhausted to argue. So I'll tell you. Prepare to be confounded."
He listened intently as I filled him in on the nightly visits from the weathered old woman who washed my clothes and hauntingly called my name. I expected him to laugh and tell me it was just a dream, that I had nothing to worry about.
I didn't expect him to look so stricken.
"Bean Nighe." He whispered the name.
"You've heard of her?"
"Of course I've heard of her. How long has she been coming to you?"
I stared at him curiously. "A few weeks. Why?"
When I agreed to give this thing with Mason a chance I also agreed to some conditions. No more flying solo, no more rash decisions or rushing off to play the hero. We were a team, in everything. This was just one of many setbacks.
"A few weeks and this is the first I'm hearing of it?” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, obviously struggling to control his temper. “We talked about this. No holding things back, remember?"
"I thought it was just a dream.” I shrugged. “Honestly, I didn't think it was a big deal."
"It was a big enough deal for you to research it." Agitation rolled off him in waves.
"I got curious, did a little digging. Until tonight, everything I found pointed to deep-seated family issues, particularly with a mother figure. I've told you about my childhood, does that dream analysis surprise you?"
His growl told me he wasn’t in the mood for reasonable explanations. "When did you discover the true meaning of the dream? How long have you known about the Bean Nighe?"
"Tonight. This morning. Before you called me." I held up a hand to stop the tongue lashing I knew he wanted to give me. "I would have told you. I got the impression on the phone there were more pressing matters than my insomnia."
"Is this why you won't let me stay at your place?” His gaze roamed over my face, searching. “Why you never stay at mine?"
"Is that the real reason why you're so upset?" I arched my brows. “Because we’re not having sleepovers?”
"I stayed at your lovely apartment the first night we met."
I turned to watch Aidan glide into the room, stopping behind my chair. Rolling my eyes, I snorted and muttered, “In the closet.”
Mason's jaw twitched, but he didn't take the bait. "Aidan."
"It's almost sunrise. Shouldn't you be hunkered down for the day?" I sighed, wondering what he was doing here. I was too tired to deal with Aidan and Mason and their combined testosterone.
Meet the Author
I was born and raised in the Baltimore Metropolitan area but my family is originally from Rhode Island. I spent summers in New England with my grandparents, which probably sparked my fascination with Salem, MA. I started writing fictional stories and poems in middle school. In fact I had notebooks and notebooks full of incomplete stories and poems. One of which I managed to hold on to and is safely stashed in a box under my bed. When I was in seventh grade I entered a poetry contest in the back of an Archie comic and won, after that I was hooked on writing after that. Amazingly it took almost two decades to find a voice for my snarky, ass kicking heroine Maurin Kincaide and complete my first length novel. Meeting the love of your life and raising three amazing children together must have caused a rift in time because I still can't believe it's gone by so quickly. I'm fortunate to have a loving and supportive family who don't mind sharing me with all the other people in my head.
Other Books by Rachel Rawlings
Maurin Kincaide Series
The Morrigna #1
Witch Hunt #2
Wolfsbane #3 Novella
Blood Bath #4
Mistletoe Meltdown #5 Short Story
Ill Fated #6
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your books published?
When I completed my first novel I tried the traditional publishing route- agents and publishing houses. I’d received my fair share of “we love your concept but aren’t looking to pick up new talent” letters when I discovered self publishing. As an indie author with a full time day job, a husband of almost twenty years, and three kids ranging from six to almost eighteen there are challenges almost every day, lol! The biggest of those would be time. There’s never enough of it and it’s a personal struggle to spend time with my imaginary family when the real life family is begging for my attention!
What author do you admire most?
Anne Rice, first and foremost. I just love her work and am thrilled to follow the path she forged for the rest of us within the literary world.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m currently working on a new Urban Fantasy novel called Payable On Death set close to my home in Baltimore, Maryland featuring Jax- a girl who sold her soul to the devil and has been trying to earn it and her way into heaven ever since.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I’d like to think as an author I’m brave enough to tackle any topic but I know my limits. I’d have to say contemporary erotica or contemporary romance. It’s not my genre as a reader so I don’t think I would write it well. I write what I’d like to read. Don’t get me wrong, my choice of authors know how to get down and dirty and I’m working to expand my bedroom writing with the characters I have created but I think for me it’s about the worlds the genres are set in. Fanged, fury and ferocious probably sums it up. I’m the same way with movies. I’ll watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the millionth time before I’d watch a romantic comedy. **waves geek flag**
Have you ever had writer's block? What is your best cure if you have? Or how do you keep it at bay?
All the time! Ill Fated fought me the entire way. With Ill Fated I started working on other ideas I had floating around in my head which helped. If that doesn’t work then I’ll pick up a book and read.
What movie do you love to watch over and over? Which one scares you so much you can't sleep?
I could watch the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies over and over again! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie that has kept me from falling asleep but I did have to turn off the remake of the Hills Have Eyes the first time we watched it because I thought they were going to hurt a baby in this one scene.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
One reviewer said my writing was good enough to impress family and friends but not good enough to be published. She said some other things and I had a hard time getting over it because she pushed every insecurity button I have. I’ve stayed away from reviews ever since because they’re not meant for me. Sure every author needs them in order to be seen but the content is really meant for other readers. The best compliment I have ever received was from a reader who said they enjoyed my series more than Anita Blake. That was a big deal for me because I had been an avid reader of that series prior to starting my writing career.
How much research do you usually do for a book? What is your biggest research gathering tool?
I do a fair amount of research for each novel. My encyclopedia of monsters is an invaluable resource. I’ve used it so often the spine has detached and it is full of tabs and highlights. Second to that I would say Google. No longer just a name, it has become a verb. I googled it. I use Google for everything!
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Reviews have their place in an author’s career. But it’s a love hate relationship for most. We need the reviews because it helps our visibility. We love getting good reviews! Hell, I am happy with a three star! Really happy. Because I’m not the kind of person to just throw a four or five star around. Now here comes the but… a lot of them are hard to read. Which leads me back to part of an answer to a question above. Reviews aren’t really for authors. They’re for readers. So I try to stay away from them as much as possible. That said, I think reviews should be polite. You don’t have to love something. Not every book is for every reader. But being cruel for the sake of cruelty or trying to have the most comedic and hurtful review at the author’s expense isn’t necessary. We’re people too and whether a reader enjoyed a book or not doesn’t entitle them to debase an author with a personal attack. Review the work, not the person. You don’t like it
Do any of your main characters have a real life inspiration?
Maurin is a little bit me. Mainly her flaws since wouldn’t call myself deadly with a gun or a blade, lol! And most of my leading men have in some shape or form been inspired by my husband.
How do you decide on your cover?
My current covers are all representative of something in each novel and I love them but….. I am actually in the process of revamping my covers to be more in line with my genre and what readers expect to see with a series.