I've been a huge Virna DePaul fan since her debut release not to long ago. On top of being a fabulous author with a strong talent for writing romantic suspense, she's also a really great lady and friend. I've spoken with her several times over the course of this year and each time she really knows how to make me feel special. Great lady indeed!
She gives kick-butt writing advice as well but more on that another day. Today we're going to have a sit down with one of her paranormal romantic suspense in her Para-OPs series titled Chose by Fate. It released last October. I've spoken with a lot of readers in online book cubs and at my local library book club that discussed this series, naming this title as the best of the series because of DePaul's unique heroine. After reading the blurb and snippet let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear them!
Chosen by Fate
Para-OPS, Book Two
Back of the Book:
Although he keeps company with a vampire and a were, human Shaman Caleb O'Flare can definitely hold his own. But neither his psychic ability nor his healing powers can help his sexy-as-hell teammate, Wraith-a ghost with no memory of her human existence, who cannot experience touch without pain. No wraith has managed to exist past its tenth year, so her time is about to run out. She wants only two things before accepting her fate: to learn her human identity, and experience one night with Caleb...
EXTENDED SNIPPET READING:
LOCATION UNDISCLOSED AND CONFIDENTIAL
F irst it had been vamps and weres. Then felines and mages. Then finally wraiths and shape-shifters. One by one, the Otherborn had been discovered by humans. Over the next five years, they’d run the gamut of emotions together: fear and exhilaration, hope and despair, suspicion and hostility.
And then, just when the fighting had ended and Mahone had taken a breath, amazed that he’d managed to survive it all, he’d been visited by a Goddess with plans to annihilate every living creature on earth. Even more surprising, she’d apparently believed that he, Kyle Mahone, generic human, FBI grunt, and allaround fuck-up at heart, held the key to stopping her.
By the look on her face right now, she no longer did.
Even as Mahone stared at the Goddess Essenia, sensation and thoughts numbed by drugs immediately flared to life. White-hot pain made him jerk and gasp, while at the same time his mind, his soul, his being—whatever the hell one chose to label his life force—greedily latched on to the feelings that had never been so crystal clear with purpose. He felt the zing of blood pumping through his veins, the crackle of neurons firing in his brain, and the powerful beat of his heart thudding in his chest cavity. Every cell inside him shouted. He lived. He breathed. He existed. At the same time, he was consumed by a heady, life-altering knowledge, one granted to him by the being who’d appeared in his room.
He lived, but only because she permitted it.
He lived, but only because she had the power to sustain life or end it.
He knew she wanted to end it.
Despite everything he and the Para-Ops team had done in the past two months to fulfill the bargain he’d struck with her, he sensed her resolve. Her disappointment. In him. In all of her children.
Growling at the knowledge, he forced his eyes to remain open. He stared despite the light that surrounded her, so intense that most were blind to it unless she chose to reveal herself. Yet again, he was stunned by the power of her visage, one so beautiful and so frightening it made him think of Medusa, the creature with snakes for hair and the ability to turn any man who looked directly at her into stone.
Her soft, melodious laugh drifted toward him. The sound was ethereal. Soothing. Mahone actually felt his wounds healing. Pain ebbed, replaced by a pleasure so intense it made his body shudder in near orgasmic pulses. He threw back his head and groaned, his body arching off the bed so that only his skull and heels made contact with the mattress.
“Medusa was but a myth, Human. Yet another boogeyman created by your kind to fulfill its need for darkness and violence.” Essenia drifted closer to him and waved her hand over his body. The riotous sensations quivering through his muscles ceased until he once more lay in the bed, the sweat on his brow and the dull, medicated pain of his wounds a blessing. “Your wounds are just another manifestation of the inability of my offspring to exist in peace. No matter how I try, no matter the chances I’ve granted, it is always the same.”
Gut clenching with the effort it cost him, Mahone forced himself to sit up. “The team . . .” he gasped. “We accomplished our first mission. We proved humans and Otherborn can work together.”
The being shook her head. “Even your statement highlights the chasm between my children. And your mission? One small victory drowned by a sea of greed and violence. Look what happened to you in the process. Your success cannot make up for centuries of deception and violence.”
“It doesn’t have to,” Mahone reasoned desperately. “The prophecy doesn’t speak of the whole world, nor the whole nation. Only of six. The ability of six, each from different races, to unite with one purpose. To act as one for the greater good of all.”
“Something they have not yet been able to achieve,” she reminded him. “With respect to the dharmire and his mate? I never doubted they would unite. The others?” She laughed again, but this time the sound was rife with rancor. “Give it up, Mahone. They are too caught up in their own agendas. Their own pain.”
Mahone automatically thought of the two Para-Ops team members who posed the greatest challenge, but plowed ahead anyway. “They can come together. They will.”
“Wraith? Dex? You don’t know the darkness inside them, Mahone. Even with the information your men have collected, you have only the barest hint of a clue. No, you made a mistake when you chose them.”
“Wraith has proven herself. She’s put herself in danger time and again. To help others. O’Flare. Me.”
She shook off his arguments with a wave of her hand. “I think it’s best we stop playing this game and start over. Humanity has proven itself unworthy of the gifts I have bestowed upon it. I have come to a decision, but I will make your end painless. You, who have endeavored to serve me, will—”
Enraged, Mahone pulled at the tubes and needles piercing his skin, immediately causing several machines next to the bed to beep in alarm. He stood, swayed on his feet, then steadied himself with one arm braced against the bed. Breathing hard and fighting the nausea that twisted in his gut, he nonetheless forced himself to walk closer to the glowing, celestial being. “It’s not your decision to make,” he rasped. “You are bound by the agreement we made. I have done what you asked of me, and so must you. You—”
He felt her fury in the blast of heat she threw at him, knocking him off his feet and back onto the bed. Then she was upon him, hovering over him, doing what, for lack of a better description, could only be seen as straddling his body. “I created you,” she hissed. “I am required to do nothing. Do you think O’Flare could have rescued you, with Wraith’s help or not, if I hadn’t wanted him to? I am the law and I make the law.”
At her statement, a flash of skepticism ran through him. Just as he had before, when she’d shown herself to him before Caleb’s rescue, he wondered who she answered to. Somehow he knew, even if she made the law, someone or something had the power to veto her decisions. Even now, a tinge of desperation edged her words, telling him that her threats were a way to maintain control, to keep her cover as the most powerful deity so he wouldn’t guess that something else, something darker and more ominous, threatened them. Where his idea of God fit into all this, he couldn’t know. But Essenia wanted Mahone to contradict her, to persuade her to give her children another chance, so that’s what he tried to do.
“You made the law,” Mahone gasped, failing to look away even as blisters began to mark his face. “You laid down your decree. Even you must follow it; otherwise, your word has no worth. Your existence no meaning. Your prophecy is recorded in the mage’s texts, and you sought me out, not the other way around. Now you want to change the rules?”
The heat emanating from her grew more intense. His hospital gown and the sheets twisted around him began to smolder. His already-chapped lips split, and he could suddenly taste his own blood. Maybe he’d been wrong after all. Maybe the Goddess really wasn’t feigning her bad intentions. He forced back an agonized, terror-filled scream, refusing to give her the satisfaction of hearing it.
But then the heat waned as she backed away.
He could see his words had swayed her, so he kept talking, his voice harsh in his parched throat. “You gave me one year to prove that my team can make an impact. We can help your children once again live in peace, despite the darkness that will always be among them and within them. Perfection wasn’t our deal, nor is it demanded by the prophecy. We need only show a tipping of the scales in favor of the goodness of humanity.”
Essenia’s renewed anger flashed through the room once again, and he involuntarily closed his eyes against the horror of it.
He heard her voice reverberate around him. Inside him. “Why do you continue to rally for them? I’ve taken everything away from you, Mahone. Any chance of the life you hoped to spend with Bianca. Yet you fight for your survival. For that of your kindred.”
At the thought of Bianca, another kind of pain shot through him. Why did he fight for the survival of humanity when there were times he himself believed they were lost? Maybe for the very reason Bianca, the vampire Queen and Knox Devereaux’s mother, had been reunited with her husband and why he could accept it.
“You question my persistence? Even though you chose me and won’t tell me why? I don’t know what answer you want. All I know is you created us.” Or had some hand in that creation, he thought. “You imbued us with both strengths and weaknesses, but with one strength above all. The ability to learn. To change. To grow. We might not be doing it with the speed you wish, we might have fucked up again and again, but we deserve another chance. Please.”
For several long minutes, she said nothing. Then she waved her hand, silencing the beeping machines abruptly. She nodded, causing him to shudder in relief.
“Very well. Continue with this game, but the outcome won’t change. Humanity is lost, Mahone. You cling to visions of what could have been, just as I once did.”
“Just hold to our bargain. Let my team show you what they’re capable of.”
“The bargain stands. For now. You have until the end of one year. Then humanity will fall in order to be reborn.”
Thank you for stopping in and spending a little bit of your Saturday with me. I believe you'll find this series to be a fabulous romantic paranormal suspense series. Virna really does know how to meshed the two genres together to create the kind of edge-of-you-seat suspense that keeps you flipping the pages. If you've already read this series what did you think? If not, what did you think of the snippet? Interesting?