It's with great pleasure that we're saying a big Sinfully hello to the awesome Lex Chase who, along with two fabulous video's, has brought us the first in her fantastic new Darkmore series: Chasing Sunrise. Listen as she answers some in-depth (sounds better than nosy, lol) ) questions and reads us a great excerpt that will tantalise and tease as she lures us into a world of Vampires and Shifters like you've never seen before...sit back and enjoy!
Chasing Sunrise (The Darkmore Saga #1) by Lex Chase
Title ~ Chasing Sunrise (The Darkmore Saga #1)
Author ~ Lex Chase
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ July 25th 2014
Genre ~ M/M Paranormal Romance
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women's finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic's men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack's loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic's compliant prisoner.
Wow, that was a bit of a wild ride! My first Lex Chase, but it won't be my last. There was something about the blurb on this that drew me, it sounded different and exciting and I'm pleased to report that it was. I think what fascinated me was the premise of Sevon as a character. The gorgeous cover alone hinted at a beautiful ethereal creature and having a bit of a thing for femme, androgynous guys I knew I had to find out more.
First off, Lex Chase has created a really well defined, finely structured universe that's intriguing and enticing. Her Vampires or Aisa's (pronounced I–Sah) as they're known, aren't the common or garden blood sucking kind we're used to reading about, some of her shifters live in a world that mirrors Ancient Rome and we humans are either totally oblivious of these neighbouring veiled worlds or we're being farmed like cattle for the consumption of those not so sparkly fanged ones...skin, bones, blood and all! **Shudder**
So, when I was reading this I found myself envisaging each separate culture in a very clear way, and it was really interesting how distinct those images were to me as the book switched between each society. Obviously whenever the book crossed over into our 'human' world, it had a modern, contemporary feel. With Priagust, the shifter world, there was a sense of the historical as the Romanesque influence took me into a civilisation of fierce but cultivated, toga wearing, canine gladiator shifters, Senate buildings and vibrant bustling cities, then finally there was Darkmore, the capitol city of the Aisa society, which although the trappings of human, present day life had crept into their lifestyle, still had me picturing it in a more old world, fantasy setting. There's a palace with hanging tapestries, corridors, stone stairwells and palace guards, kings and princes, high court intrigue, spell casting of sorts and plotting, plus dank, dirty dungeons with wall manacles and implements for torture and then there's Sevon—In his elaborate gowns... Who I imagined sweeping down those corridors...retiring to his Royal chambers...holding court under the thumb of his cruel lover, the manipulating Dominic, who had me "boo hissing" from the moment he appeared on page. What an evil fucker he is! .
One thing I was really grateful for was the detailed glossary at the start of the story that chronicled all the separate elements of Lex's world building. When it's a first in a series like this, it can take some time to get used to everything going on in new realms, especially when there's a lot of different species, their hierarchies, titles, labels, politics and laws to learn about. In fact the glossary was proof that some real thought has gone into the planning of it all, showing that this is not just a flash in the pan "Oh I'll make up a new world, name it and then just wing it!" type of story. I was really impressed with Lex Chase's vivid, imaginative vision.
The plot itself is pretty intricate, not one I would advise putting aside to do other stuff, before getting back to it because It does twist and turn and there were a few times where I found myself a bit confused by some of the characters actions and motivations, which had me pondering a few decisions but that could be me because like I say there's a lot happening and being our first introduction to this world building, I guess you could say it's still at it's 'settling the reader into its ins and outs' stage. Hence, for myself, the one star drop. Still though, it didn't keep me from getting engrossed in all the intrigue and scheming and enjoying myself in the process!
The story starts with the protective 'Veil' that cloaks the paranormal kingdoms from the human world being torn open by a hurricane, leaving the Aisa's world open to discovery. As it's happening the bad guy, Dominic, takes his chance and kills Louis, the king, Sevons father, unfortunately giving him an opening to take over the kingdom which is left ruined and all it's Vampire citizens in a precarious state, starving and in a frenzy. It also leaves the toddler Verkolai (rare breed of Aisa) prince orphaned when the cruel usurper murders his mother too. Forward twenty two years and we get to focus more on the books three main characters. Sevon, Dominic and Jack, a lakta or puma shifter, who was just a youngster at that time when he was living at the palace, but who saw everything go down before he escaped back to his own world.
What a complicated triangle those three make! Exquisite Sevon...exploited, controlled and dominated by the heinous, murderous Dominic, who keeps him under control using pain and humiliation one minute and a sense of distorted, unhealthy love the next. Like a puppet master, he's manipulated the prince into believing that their twisted relationship is normal and our beautiful puppet spends years with him, see-sawing between fear and a weird misguided sense of need and dependence. Wanting to escape his clutches, but then falling back into them when Dominic uses his wicked, persuasive wiles on him, the moment he sees his puppet prince's resolve wavering. OMG! There were times when I wanted to scream blue murder at Sevon, urging him to wake up and smell the coffee...or should that be blood!?! At times he appeared weak willed and aggravatingly passive, but at the end of the day he's a victim of intense conditioning, leaving him torn between believing Dominic's brainwashing and wanting to rebel so he can cater to the true needs of his people. To mask all that's going on he uses his desire to dress himself in women's clothes, appearing ultra feminine, as a shield to hide behind. Dominic begins to formulate a plan that will allow him to take over Priagust and it's inhabitants, a plot which brings Jack back onto the scene when he's kidnapped one day while bathing in a lake that when activated by magic acts as a portal between their worlds, but by this point Sevon has blanked out all memories of his childhood friend, seeing him only as an enemy and from then on the story kicks into action as Jack fights to get the prince to recognise and remember him.
'Sevon solemnly watched Dominic walk away. Failure burned in his throat. Dominic had raised him, claimed he loved him, and eagerly encouraged his love of fine frippery. Dominic encompassed the entirety of his world.... And nothing would ever change.
It was easier to pretend it would all be okay.'
The plot thickens, the plans to invade the neighbouring shifter world advance, secrets about Sevons heritage are revealed and he and Jack become accidentally bonded in a way that starts to slowly bring Sevons awareness of Dominic's true (evil) intentions and sick influence over him to the fore and the two of them begin to fight back with the help of some unexpected allies who arrive in the form of Armigers. Tough warrior style women who exclusively make up the Royal Guard. Originally loyal to Louis these lower breed Aisa's were run off Darkmore land by Dominic after they failed to rescue their young liege, but they've returned to try and restore the harmony that Louis had maintained before his murder and to attempt to get their prince see sense and break away from his persecutor.
All in all this is an excitingly good start to a series that promises to just get better as it goes along. You can see in the glossary that there's more species yet to make an appearance and the end of this book, whilst not particularly a cliffhanger, leaves you with a sense that there's a hell of a lot more to be explored in this Trifecta of Vampire, Shifter and Human interaction. What's in store for Jack and his "little Meadowlark" as a couple is left in a strong HFN ending that hints at more trials for the two of them to overcome. Obviously I can't tell you why, but I'm looking forward to seeing just how their lives together will continue to play out in the upcoming books...or will the next story feature a completely different couple? I don't know, but I'm hoping it's not the last we get to see of them.
One thing I do know is there's mutant spider shifters—So how cool is that!!!
Buy it Here
Interview with Lex Chase
Lex Chase reads a passage from Chasing Sunrise
About Lex Chase
Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle.
She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.
Lex Chase will be gifting one lucky reader a $20 Gift Card for Dreamspinner Press, all you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.