Today I’ll be speaking about Tara Fox Hall, who’s been a guest on my blog before, as part of a virtual blog tour. Then, the focus was on the Lash Series. But Tara has got so many stories to talk about, we knew it could never stop there.
Her writing credits include non-fiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Today I’d like to introduce you to the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me Series.
In Promise Me, when young widow Sarelle McGarran finds the vampire Danial Racklan unconscious and hurt in her woods, intuitive concern quickly becomes passionate love. Together Danial and Sar work to overcome their own past heartbreaks, their vastly different lifestyles, and Danial’s relentless enemies. Yet Danial needs more; an Oath of forever. But can Sar give Danial his greatest desire?
In Broken Promise, all’s not smelling of roses. Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sar returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian… or Theo?
Read on to find out what happens in book three, Taken in the Night.
When Theo disappears, Sar is left bereft, the uncertain guardian of Theo’s newly born werecougar daughter, Elle. As months pass, clues emerge about Theo’s disappearance, yet the twisting trail ends repeatedly without answer. In her grief, Sar turns to Danial and hesitantly begins to build a life with him and Elle.
FALLING TOO FAST
I’m not sure how to begin. But I’m not sure of a lot of things since the love of my life disappeared.
My name is Sarelle McGarran, or Sar for short. Close to a year ago, I met a werecougar named Theo. At the time, I was dating his best friend, the vampire Danial. Theo was standoffish at first, and in some moments downright hostile. His excuse—the one time he actually said more than a few words to me—was that he’d never had to share Danial’s time with anyone. I took that for truth…until Danial and I broke up, and an honesty spell compelled Theo to tell me his true feelings. We dreamed together that night, something I took to mean we had something magical. Terian—the spell caster—said so; in fact, he compared us to soul mates.
Not that everything’s been wine and roses since Theo and I got together as a couple. Theo’s old girlfriend showed up pregnant, and yep, you guessed it, the baby was Theo’s child. She tried to use the baby to break us up. It didn’t work, but it did test our commitment to one another. Then there was Danial, who Theo was still working for. He wasn’t as bad, though. I could avoid him.
Theo, Danial, and I went to Europe for the birth of the baby. Tawny died in childbirth, something I can’t feel bad about no matter how guilty I feel admitting it. Elle was beautiful, and I loved her at first sight. Theo asked me to marry him, and I said yes. Everything was going wonderfully. Then Theo disappeared without a trace.
To say I was devastated doesn’t begin to cover it. I don’t remember much that happened in those first weeks afterwards. I cried and slept and woke to cry some more. Danial took care of me, and of Elle. He wanted me to stay there with him, to let him help me take care of her. But I wasn’t ready for that, so I took Elle and went back to my old house to try to heal.
Danial went to Europe, but he found nothing about Theo’s whereabouts, just trails that lead nowhere. He finally came back more than a month later. It was good to see him, and Elle remembered him at once, pouncing on him and purring.
We had a long talk that night. Okay, there was more than talking, I admit. We fought, and…um, more. It was one of those fights that prompted Elle to change for the first time, something I’d been trying to help her with to no success for months. Danial was…well, he was wonderful with her. And it’s easy to see she adores him.
I’m scared that agreeing to move to his home will backfire, that he’ll want more than I can give. I’m also scared that I won’t be able to resist him, that in a short time we’ll fall back into our old relationship. I don’t want to love anyone again, not after losing first my husband, then Theo. I’m still picking up the pieces. But I can’t wallow in my grief. I have to think of my adopted daughter. Having Danial around is clearly the best thing for Elle. Whether it’s the best thing for me…I guess time will tell.
Excerpt from Taken in the Night:
“Sar, you have to accept it,” Danial said softly, helping me up. “It is Theo.”
“No,” I replied, looking him in the eye. “It’s not.”
We walked together back to the car. He helped me into the back seat, and asked the men to take me back to the hotel. Driving away, I looked back to see him on his cell, watching me drive away as he talked, Harv standing near him.
Harv’s men escorted me up to the room. I went inside to find Elle still asleep. I ordered room service, then fed Elle. After, I played with her, while I waited for Danial to return. Eventually, I slept, Elle at my side, in Danial’s bedroom. When I awoke, it was day again, and Danial was back, his arms around me. I turned to him, putting my arms around him, and went back to sleep.
When I awoke, Danial was gone. Elle was biting my fingers, telling me she was hungry. I again ordered room service, fed her, and cleaned her box. After, I quickly showered, then put on some jeans and a sweatshirt. A peek outside the door verified Harv’s men were still in place.
Now that I was clean and full, worry again consumed me. Theo had been gone more that forty hours now.
Danial came in abruptly. “Are you packed? We have to leave within the hour.”
“I’m not leaving until Theo comes back,” I said defiantly.
Danial led me out of the bathroom, and sat me down on the bed. “Sar, Theo is dead. You must accept it.”
“No,” I said calmly “That wasn’t him, Danial.”
“You saw the body—”
“It wasn’t him,” I said angrily. “Don’t tell me it was, because it wasn’t!”
Danial looked at me seriously, took a deep breath, and then slapped me hard across the cheek. I fell back on the bed, my cheek stinging.
“I’m sorry to hurt you,” he said seriously. “But you have to snap out of it.”
“You bastard,” I spat at him. “You wanted to get him out of the way! Maybe you were the one who shot him in the back! Don’t think I can’t see how you planned this out!”
Danial glared at me, the red tints in his eyes, his fury building. “Sar, he’s dead. We need to go home. We won’t be safe until we’re back in my territory.”
“No, he’s not dead!” I yelled.
Danial sneered, as he tossed something at me. “Catch.”
Reflexively, I caught it. In my hands was a velvet box. Inside was a diamond ring, about a half carat. The diamond was set into the gold, so it wouldn’t catch on anything. It had been fashioned to work in. From a man who knew what it was like to need to work with your hands, who had wanted a ring for his wife-to-be that she could wear all the time, and not have it catch on anything, no matter if she was cooking, or handling steel, or chainsawing wood…
“It was in his pocket,” Danial said. “I’m sorry.”
I felt the world cave in, as a scream that came from the depths of my soul tore out of me. Danial grabbed hold of me, as I hit at him and screamed louder. He held me as I kicked, flailed and fought him.
“No, this can’t happen! Not now! Not again!”
Hearing myself utter that word, I remembered its other meaning to Theo and me, and realized I’d never hear it uttered to me in that way ever again. Something broke completely inside of me.
“He said he was coming back! He promised he was coming back!” I screeched.
Danial didn’t speak, but his eyes were mirrors of my own, weeping tears.
I cried for a solid two hours, using up a whole box of tissues. Danial stayed with me, stroking my hair, holding me. Finally, I stopped, mostly because my eyes were too swollen to see out of.
“We have to leave now,” Danial whispered gently. “As it is, I may need your help to avoid burning. We’re just going to make it.”
I didn’t reply.
Danial picked me up, still sniffling, and carried me in his arms out of the hotel and down to the waiting limo. Elle was put sleeping into her crate by Harv, and Harv’s men drove us to our plane. I don’t remember much about the flight, or the landing or takeoff. Elle was scared, and I remember holding her. Perhaps I slept. We made it back to Danial’s home just in time for him to take shelter from the sun.
Danial carried me inside, laying me on his bed. Cia was there hugging me, her face swollen with tears. She was pregnant now with her and Aran’s first child, due in late December. She told me quietly that they were hoping it would be born on the date they had been married on a year earlier. I couldn’t think about that, or be happy for her. I didn’t reply.
She cared for Elle that night. I lay on Danial’s bed, and cried myself to sleep, waking sporadically throughout the night. Every time I woke up, my first thought was confusion at not being home. Then I remembered the headless body in a pool of blood and it all would come rushing back. I’d be hit all over again with the pain, remembering Theo’s blue eyes, his smile, his wiseass comments, and the way his body had felt with mine. The way it would never feel again. Danial did not enter, or appear at all that night.
At eight the next morning, Cia knocked on the bedroom door. “Suri’s at your house, taking care of your pets.”
“Good,” I said tiredly.
“Your boss is on the phone. He wants to know if you’re coming in today.”
It couldn’t be Monday already? We’d come back a day early, and the weekend was still to come, right? Maybe I had lost some days?
I said, “Tell him the love of my life just died. I won’t be in for a few weeks. It’s okay if they replace me.”
I stayed that way most of the week. I cried, resumed taking care of Elle, and went about the chores of showering and eating like a zombie. Suri came in once, and tried to talk to me about attending a funeral. I wouldn’t look at her, wouldn’t talk to her, and she finally left in a rage.
Danial reappeared on what I guessed was the following Monday night. “May I join you?” he asked softly.
“It’s your bedroom,” I said tiredly, getting up. “I’m the one who should leave.”
“Please stay,” he said, enfolding me in his arms.
I stood there, tensely.
“Please tell me your words were from grief,” he said, very upset. “I would never have hurt Theo. He was my best friend.”
“I know that,” I said, relaxing slightly. “I’m sorry I said what I did.”
“I’m sorry I hit you,” he whispered. “I was terrified it wouldn’t be hard enough, yet scared more that I’d hurt you.”
“You didn’t,” I assured him. “I needed something to break me out of it. We’d probably be dead if we’d have stayed another night.” I looked up at him. “Do you think it was Samuel?”
“No,” Danial said reluctantly. “I wish it had been. There are laws I could reference to have him punished. No, Peterson somehow surprised Theo, or someone else did.”
“Do you think it was someone wanting his rank?”
Danial nodded. “Likely. Those who’ve had their ranking a short time are big targets. Some get their rank because of luck, as Theo did last Christmas.”
I pushed past him. “I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Danial followed me. “Where are you going?”
I began to pack up mine and Elle’s things. Most were still packed, so it didn’t take long. “I’m going home.”
“What? Are you crazy?” Danial said incredulously.
I walked out the two bags and loaded them in Theo’s truck. “No.”
Elle would have to ride with me in the cab. First, I’d have to find her. “Elle?” I called loudly. “Elle!”
“She’s out walking with Cia,” Danial said, grabbing hold of me. “But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not letting you leave with her, not in your condition.”
I was intrigued. That is the real reason why I picked up this book, and you know what? I wasn’t disappointed. When you read vampire romances, after a while, you know it all. It’s hard to tell which author and which character you’re reading about.
Not with Tara Fox Hall. Originality must be her middle name. I have never seen weres behave like they are in these books, and I have never read a story so free of cliché, in every sense of the word.
Ok, so the intensity of emotion is there – I expected that – but the author takes it one step farther. It’s not called a romance for nothing, you’ve been warned! I enjoyed every scene, and wanted to read more. I actually got quite annoyed that the book stopped where it did. The story most clearly goes on, and also very clearly is part of a series. I would advise that you start with book one. By the time you read the first three, book four will be out and then you’ll have some continuity.
What I liked. So many things. The plot is nice and twisty, storyline is engaging, drama is always just around the corner, and it just keeps going. The characters are good, be them human, vampire, were, or magical. I loved the freedom of allowing the weres to be something other than the classic werewolf. I also liked the love triangle, with its invisible third point, I loved the emotional turmoil that comes from having to redirect a life that barely seems worth living. There are lessons to be learned from every event in one’s life, and I love the fact that, here and there, the characters have grown with the books and learned those lessons. I loved the way in which Elle has been treated, the sensitivity of caring for a child who is not a blood relation, as well as the firmness and guidance a loving parent should provide their child.
What could be better – very little. Secondary plots were a tad underdeveloped, and a few of the scenes passed too fast – I would have liked the chance to linger in those settings and with those characters a bit longer. The ending felt as if it had been chopped, but I understand the need for that. I just want more; I can’t help it.
A very enjoyable story, one that I would certainly read more about, and one I would recommend. Not for kids. Over eighteens only. A very solid 4.5 stars.
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