Marked for Death by Claire Ashgrove

MARKED

Marked for Death by Claire Ashgrove
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (157 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Verbena

Taran McLaine knows the agony of his incubus father’s curse more intimately than his siblings. A century ago he murdered the only woman he ever loved. When he finds her alive, he’s faced with the ultimate heartbreak. They have no chance at a future–he’s done all he can to insure that on his day of judgment the ancestors will deny him a mortal life.

Years ago, Solene Larouche embraced Taran and the dark curse that cloaked him. She knew the risk she faced, but when Drandar pulls her back to life, she agrees to aid the demon and damn Taran to eternal suffering. One look at the man who held her heart so long ago, however, changes her mind. She must find a way to free him, even if it means condemning herself to eternity as Drandar’s slave.

As Samhain approaches, Solene and Taran conspire to destroy Drandar. But will their combined effort enable them to kill the incubus or will they be cast into Drandar’s own special Hell and all hope of their renewed love marked for death?

Imagine harboring an evil deep inside you that threatens to destroy anything and everything you love…

Taran has done some despicable things in his life, but brutally killing the one woman that meant the world to him has tormented him, non-stop, for years. He’s resigned himself to living in solitary misery, with the exception of a mangy alley cat who allows limited contact in exchange for tuna. Taran is a good man with a caring heart, but he carries a curse from his father that makes him do terrible things to those least deserving it. He’s ostracized himself from his family and has chosen to spend eternity in self-loathing until he finds a way to end his life and his suffering. What he never expects is to have a second chance with Solene, his one true love. After all, how could he? She’s dead; brutally murdered by his own hands.

Solene shows the depth and devotion true love is willing to go through. She’s given the opportunity to avenge her death and regain the life that had been taken from her, but when she sees her beloved Taran, when she understands the depth of his misery and guilt, she knows she can never betray him, even if it damns her to an eternity of sexual servitude to the very demon who cursed her lover. Solene shows us her strength and fortitude when all seems lost. She’s willing to sacrifice herself all over again if it will give Taran the life he so longs for, the life he deserves as a mortal man.

As if Taran’s curse isn’t enough to make him miserable, learning that the only way to end it is by working with the very people who he felt surely hated him for his terrible deeds is about more than he can take. But sometimes we have to swallow our pride and humble ourselves to those who’ve hurt us deeply, especially if it means protecting the ones we love. Taran’s endless love for Solene, paired with his anger and burning hatred for his sire, may just be the encouragement he needs to finally end the curse that’s plagued his family for so long.

Ms. Ashgrove has penned a deeply touching story in Marked for Death. Her exceptional talent for creating imagery with words had me intrigued from the start. The main characters, Solene and Taran, are ones I quickly grew attached to. I wanted to know what happened. At times, their future seemed very bleak and hopeless. If anything, this made their plight seem even more real. Everyone wants a happily ever after, but the ability to make the reader wonder up until the very end is a rare talent and nice break from stories that are predictable from beginning to end. There are several secondary characters added toward the end that make it a bit difficult to keep up with. But I suspect, since there are several tales in this line, that these characters have their own stories to tell in their own time. I thoroughly enjoyed Marked for Death by Claire Ashgrove and plan on getting my hands on more of her intriguing stories.

Deeply troubled hearts, love that spans across life and death, and complex characters with admirable qualities are what I found in this wonderful story. Be sure to check out Claire Ashgrove’s Marked for Death. You just may be pleasantly surprised.

Comments

  1. Wow, great review. I’m not surprised, I love all of Claire’s reads whether they’re contemporary, paranormal or anything that comes from her imagination.

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