Hello everyone! Every once in a while, I get a lovely offer to review amazing books, and this is one of them. I LOVED this one, so I have to share it with you! Let me show you some goodies!
Tori L. Ridgewood’s new book Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, published by Melange Books, was released on June 20, 2013.
After a series of misadventures including being accused of attempted murder in high school, Rayvin Woods, a photographer and natural witch, left her hometown of Talbot in Northeastern Ontario, hoping to start her life over and never return. Ten years later, circumstances force her back to face her past and her former crush Grant Michaels.
Malcolm de Sade, a cunning vampire, escapes from an underground prison looking for vengeance. His accidental release unleashes his hunger and ambition on a small, sleepy town. Rayvin’s power is all that stands between de Sade and his domination of Talbot, and beyond.
Grant Michaels, a police officer, thought Rayvin was a murderer. He will do whatever it takes to protect the community he loves from danger… but will he learn to trust his heart, and the word of a witch, before it’s too late?
Rayvin didn’t count on rekindling a lost love or battling a malevolent vampire and his coven for her life when she came home to Talbot. Facing the past can be a nightmare… It’s worse when a vampire is stalking you.
Wind and Shadow is available for sale on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wind-Shadow-Talbot-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00DYCH64Y
“During a period of writer’s block on Wind and Shadow, I wrote a prequel novella titled Mist and Midnight to help myself find answers to questions about how my vampire was trapped, and why he had come to the small town of Talbot in the first place. Mist and Midnight was released in 2011 as part of the Midnight Thirsts anthology, published by Melange Books. It’s a stand-alone piece, but it’s a terrific companion to The Talbot Trilogy,” said Ridgewood.
Blood and Fire: Book Two of The Talbot Trilogy will be released in February 2014.
Excerpt from Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy, by Tori L. Ridgewood
The pain in her eyes was tearing him apart. “You want to make amends?” She laughed, and looked away.
“You could put it that way . . . Rayvin. Look at me. We connected once, remember? When we were kids? I’ve missed that in my life. I didn’t realize, before you were gone, how much I needed you in my world.” He leaned forward and reached for her. “How can I make you believe me?”
“Why?” She jumped up, staring down at him. “What’s changed since yesterday that could possibly have reversed an opinion you’ve had of me for years? I don’t understand! You’re not making any sense.”
Grant’s face burned. “You don’t know what I think of you. You’re not a mind-reader, Rayvin.”
“I don’t have to be. I’ve seen how you look at me. Yesterday, you wanted to run me out of town, and now look around you.” She gestured wildly. “Candles, blankets. You don’t want to ‘start fresh’, you just want to get laid.”
Grant got to his feet. “Really? Is that what you think?”
“What else have men ever wanted from me?” she responded, wearily. “You know what, it was a noble gesture for you to drive me home, and help me with Andrea. But now I’d really like you to leave.”
“No. We need to talk; we have to figure this out.” Grant moved closer to her. Rayvin’s teeth were bared, but she held her ground as he approached. She infuriated him, she insulted him, but she didn’t back down, and by God he admired her for it. “I know you’ve been hurt, but I’m not him. Not all men are like that. I’m not like that.”
“I’ve felt your desire, Michaels. I know that you want me. Maybe we should just get it out of the way, so we can move on with our lives.” Her eyes glittering, she closed the distance between them and ran one finger down his chest. Behind her, in the fireplace, the flames on the candles flared and elongated. Grant’s body responded immediately to her touch; his breath quickened as his manhood swelled. Her laugh sounded like a sob. “But I have better things, more important things to do with my time. I’d rather not fulfill your adolescent fantasies tonight. I’m telling you again to please leave.”
Looking into her eyes, a breath apart, dozens of possibilities flashed through his mind, most of them involving the shedding of clothing and the quilt on the floor. Maybe they should fulfill their physical needs, and move on. But that wouldn’t leave him satisfied. Grant needed more from her, and he strongly suspected that she needed him, no matter how much she denied it. He saw the plea in her gaze, the sorrow and the anger. Taking a deep breath, he raised his chin and stepped back.
“Point taken. But there are a few things you should know.” He picked up his jacket from the edge of the couch. “Yes, I want you. I’ve fantasized about you for years, ever since we were in the tenth grade and you walked past me in your parka. It wasn’t your body that really caught me, though, Rayvin. It was the way you smiled when you pulled the furry hood up around your face. God, I wanted you to smile at me like that. I wanted to give you pleasure like that. So I guess the past does matter, in a way. I can’t let go of how I felt about you, and how I still feel. I don’t want to, because I have never felt for anyone the way I do for you.”
Grant put on his jacket. “That was the first thing. The second is this: I believe there is a reason for everything. You chose to come back here, no matter what you decide to tell people. You weren’t driven here, you could have gone anywhere. I think you might be punishing yourself for some reason. You want people to hate you, because that will justify rejecting them. So don’t blame the citizens of this town for making your life miserable. That’s all on you.”
He walked to the front door.
“Is that it, Michaels?” Rayvin called out. He turned around, his hand on the doorknob. She hadn’t moved, but the candles in the fireplace had almost completely burned to their stands. Her face was cast into shadow by their brilliance.
“No, there’s one more.”
Grant strode forward, crossing the room in three long steps to take her in his arms. Rayvin’s eyes burned into his for a moment, before he leaned down and tucked her into his chest. He held her close, feeling the beats of their hearts together, inhaling the scent of her hair, just breathing. Slowly, her hands moved to his back. They pressed gently. He sighed, moving a ticklish lock away from his face.
Behind them, the flames dwindled into tiny points of light, before they extinguished themselves.
“Whatever else you tell yourself, Rayvin Woods,” he whispered, kissing just above her ear. “You have to believe that everything will be okay.”
“I tell myself that all the time.” Her voice was muffled by his shoulder. “I’m just so tired of being alone. And now . . . there’s no other way. There just isn’t.”
He released her, letting his hands move down to clasp her fingers. “You’re wrong, Ray. There’s always a choice.”
Grant pressed his lips to her forehead, and went back to the front door.
He opened it, not expecting to step into madness.
Hands with sharp claws grabbed him by the neck and shoulder, hauling him forward and up; it was so sudden he couldn’t react. By chance, his right hand caught the doorframe as he was being pulled out. Impossibly, his assailant was on the roof. He gagged on a stench that invaded his nose and mouth, taking his breath away. Whoever had grabbed him had impressive gymnastic skill: he jumped down, flipping in the air, double-jointed arms maintaining their hold on him, and dug his heels into the lawn to gain purchase. Grant tried to call out, but his shirt collar was tightening around his throat, cutting off his air supply.
Rayvin’s mouth had opened in warning, too late. She watched, horrified, as filthy claw-like hands reached down and yanked Michaels nearly off his feet. A rage she did not know she possessed boiled up in her blood. She flew across the room in a heartbeat, grabbing Grant and holding on with all of her strength. She pressed the hand he’d wrapped around the jamb so hard that her nails scraped against the painted wall, and winced against the pain of ragged paint chips digging into the quick.
From her vantage point at the doorframe, the vampire’s bared fangs seemed only a few inches from Michaels’ face. He grunted, straining his neck to keep away from the snapping jaws. The creature had both arms around the policeman’s upper body in a tight grip. Rayvin reached out with her other hand and hauled back on Michaels’ shoulder, heaving with as much power as she could muster. The thing hissed at her, digging in with his heels. Michaels’ hand slipped under hers.
“Hold on!” she cried, bracing herself against the wall.
Time seemed to stop in her desperate tug of war. Sweat broke out on her body with the effort it took, helping Michaels resist the unnatural strength of the bloodsucker. Anger fuelled her reserves as it occurred to her that he was toying with them. Amid the grunts, Rayvin heard the distinctive rip of clothing being torn. Michaels’ hand slipped a little more; now, she was only anchoring his fingers. She’d lost hold of his shoulder when his jacket gave way under the vampire’s claws. She lunged forward to get another grip and felt her own sweater tear under an elongated canine as she found a handful of shirt. Michaels’ feet were leaving marks on the concrete step as he was dragged forward. The monster laughed at them, sneering, his black eyes narrowed and dirty, demonic face twisted in a maniacal grin.
Rayvin felt the fabric of Michaels’ shirt starting to give. In another moment, his fingers would slip out, lubricated by their combined sweat. Her heart broke as he ground out a command to her, between his teeth. “Let go, Rayvin! It’s okay, just get inside!”
“Yes, let go, Rayvin,” the creature mocked, using Michaels’ body to creep closer to her. He leaned over the big man’s back like a sinister gargoyle. She smelled his disgusting breath, the odours of dead things and rotting flesh making her gag. Michaels fell to one knee under the weight, which the vampire used to his advantage, moving towards Rayvin until only inches separated her panting lips from his malevolent grin. She couldn’t look away from the fathomless black eyes. In the back of her mind, she heard Michaels crying out for her again, ordering her to save herself, but she was losing herself in the chasm of the vampire’s gaze. She blinked, and the reality of the present disappeared . . .
Vampires vs witches, except in this one, the vampires seem to have the upper hand. Your main female character has been delt a really crappy hand, and it only seems to get worse. Our main guy is figuring out that his simple happy life is not so happy or simple, and he’s stuck between a rock and a crazy vampire lol. I was not expecting this and I’m about to have a little rant 🙂 ready, set… GO!
So, Ravyn is our leading lady. I actually loved her, seriously, until the end. But let’s start slow. She was accused of attempted murder in her small home town as a teenager, and though she was found not guilty, the whole town made her feel unwelcome. That’s the nice word, the realistic word is there are some very cruel, horrible people in the world and this town has a ton! And in a crisis, she comes back home to her one and only friend, who then goes missing. She founds out, after so many of those damn horrible townsfolk treat her like crap, that several others are also missing. And lots of dead fur babies are popping up. And we just don’t kill fur babies!! Ravyn finally gets a grip on some things and needs the help of Grant, her high school crush, the person who’s also best friends of her attempted murder victim-who is not a victim- and also a cop in town. I liked her determination. She’s been alone Her whole life so she’ll have to save these stupid people and her wonderful best friend but she needs a little help. She smart and even funny, and still has a good heart after everything.
Grant is your sweet, mannered, all around good guy cop… Except he’s an ass in the first half to Ravyn. I eventually liked him after he got the stick out his ass and his head in the game. He also finally learns the truth about his best friend and Ravyn’s attempted murder incident and I’m seriously hoping some major ass kicking is to come. I am still seething at how people treat the popular jock and this town may be better if we blow it up. Ok I’m being harsh, but damn the people and their hateful ignorance 🙂 And Grant has some solid points, like his willing to try to help Ravyn only because he wants her gone, then because he can’t let he go. He’s also smart and logical to a fault, but he’s great back up. Plus their romance is SMOKIN HAWT when he’s not being a lunatic lol. He’s flawed like most men but I sure so hope he can find his inner Prince Charming to help Ravyn after she sacrificed everything for him. Oh boy, I can’t wait to see what’s gunna happen with this part!
Now the serious part. I loved the plot, I loved the characters. I loved how much I’ve come to hate all those stupid people. I do not love Ravyn’s last choice. I’m almost equally appalled at how easily she gave in to the bad guy to save Grant and her friend. I want her to fight, like kicking screaming pinching hair pulling ass kicking fight! I think I was just a little disappointed especially now, she’s in an even worse fate and tragic end than she was before. Maybe that’s why I’m so mad. She already gave up everything she loved for this town and these people, but this one broke my heart. I’m a little broken for her… Maybe grab a tissue, or just don’t throw your reader lol BUT this totally sets up the next book. I’m so damn anxious to read it because I HAVE TO KNOW if Ravyn’s decision is going to break her or build her up. Lord please let this poor girl kill that vampire, and that vampire, but maybe not that vampire…. Yes I’m trying really hard not to give too much away… And maybe some extremely painful, very gory all together sweet vengeful death blows to that vampire… It’s hard without spoilers 🙂 I can’t use names because that’s a spoiler 😉
If you haven’t out how good the writing is by how emotional my feelings are, you missed the point. The writing was done exceptionally well. The mystery and the plot twists and that damn ending just about blew my mind. This one is either setting up for the most brilliant sequel to redeem all the tragedy or an epic fail- no pressure LOL- but I WILL be buying book 2 the second my fingers can click the preorder button and I will very impatiently wait…. SIGH IM STILL WAITING…. But I’m definitely in for this one. And after my little rant, my favorite character is Samantha, her completely awesome totally paw worthy black kitty!!! She’s my ultimate hero in this story. Seriously, she’s cool and I know there’s more that was not revealed about her yet. Please please, keep her safe from being a character death!! 🙂 overall a seriously jaw dropping, Munchausen syndrome hating, we need a vampire hunter, black kitty loving 5 PAWS… Seriously I’m still waiting 😉
About Tori L. Ridgewood
After her first heartbreak, Tori found solace in two things: reading romance novels and listening to an after-dark radio program called Lovers and Other Strangers. Throughout the summer and fall of 1990, the new kid in town found reading fiction and writing her own short stories gave her a much needed creative outlet. Determined to become a published author, Tori amassed stacks of notebooks and boxes of filed-away stories, most only half-finished before another idea would overtake her and demand to be written down. Then, while on parental leave with her second baby, one story formed and refused to be packed away. Between teaching full-time, parenting, and life in general, it would take almost seven years before the first novel in her first trilogy would be completed. In the process, Tori finally found her stride as a writer.
At present, on her off-time, Tori not only enjoys reading, but also listening to an eclectic mix of music as she walks the family dog (Skittles), attempts to turn her thumb green, or makes needlework gifts for her friends and family members. She loves to travel, collect and make miniature furniture, and a good cup of tea during a thunderstorm or a blizzard. Under it all, she is always intrigued by history, the supernatural, vampire and shapeshifter mythology, romance, and other dangers.
Tori is currently working on Crystal and Wand: Book Three of The Talbot Trilogy. She lives in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two children. She is a full-time teacher at a local high school.
I am offering to one commenter an ebook copy of this book. So leave me or the author a nice comment to enter to win 🙂
I want to thank the wonderful Ms Kelsey, who sent me all the goodies and worked with me to share this one. I hope to work with you again to help spread the word more about this great series and wonderful author! I wish you all good luck with the giveaway 🙂 Happy reading and later gators!