Guest Author Kaylea Cross
Please welcome guest author Kaylea Cross! She writes fast-paced, uber sexy military romance and now her first paranormal romance is close to releasing (Darkest Caress, 4/23/2012). She’s a very dear friend of mine and an incredibly talented writer and I’m thrilled she’s here today! So without further rambling from me…here’s Kaylea!
The Setting That Left a Mark
Normally I write military romantic suspense, but after one particular trip I took a couple years ago, I decided to write something different. Way different. And all because the settings I’d seen were too awesome to pass up.
It’s a long story, but even though I hate flying, somehow in the fall of 2009 I wound up in the Baltic States with my father, stepmother and favorite cousin, Mike. He’s really the reason I went on the trip in the first place, leaving my hubby and young children for three weeks. The fact that I actually gave in speaks volumes about just how much I love the guy.
On one particular leg of this trip we were in Lithuania, visiting various spots with our suddenly enthusiastic tour guide, Jurate (the J is pronounced like a Y, and her name means “mermaid” in Lithuanian), who is from the capital city of Vilnius. We’d already been with her over a week in Latvia and Estonia, but I’m telling you the moment we crossed the border into Lithuania, the woman suddenly lit up.
One early October day we drove out to a Catholic shrine dating back to the 19th Century, called the Hill of Crosses.
The sky was clear and blue…except for the roiling mass of black clouds closing in from the south as we approached the shrine. And I do mean black. The approaching storm looked like something you’d expect to see right before a tornado hits. That should have been our first clue to turn around, but no, we carried on and climbed out of the vehicles to visit the shrine, which is smothered in crosses and crucifixes of every shape and size.
No sooner had we reached the edge of the hill than the heavens opened up. It felt like the Big Guy Up There had turned on a faucet all of a sudden. Buckets of rain poured down, and the wind picked up suddenly, blowing so hard we could barely stay on our feet. Hail began to pelt us, raining down from the boiling clouds like stinging bullets. We all huddled together, leaning into the wind to stay upright as the icy pellets pelted our faces and hands. Mike reached out blindly to grab the closest thing to him—a six foot tall cross, and hung on for dear life while we all laughed hysterically at the situation. We withstood the storm for a few more minutes, then abandoned Juarate, who was bravely still trying to give us the grand tour, turned and ran back to the vehicles at a dead sprint while the wind shoved at our backs. My stepmom fell headlong into a gigantic puddle lake that had formed on the sidewalk. Jurate kept shouting at us, trying to call us back. As a staunch Catholic, this was a sacred spot to her and she’d been waiting for almost ten days to show it to us. We all kept running.
By the time we got to the vehicles and piled into them, we were soaked through. It looked like we’d dived headfirst into a swimming pool fully clothed, we were that wet. And we still had another four hours of driving to reach the town where we were staying the night. It was a long, cold, clammy ride, with torrential rain, wind and flashes of lightning that slowed us to a crawl along many sections of the highway.
This is the stuff of adventures, people. And as someone that doesn’t travel much, it certainly left an impression on me.
The next morning we found out it hadn’t been just a storm—it was an anticyclone that felled trees and power lines, killing half a dozen people in the immediate area.
Was it mere coincidence that the storm hit the very instant we set foot onto sacred soil? No way. I still think it’s because my father is a non-believer and my cousin and I were never baptized. Someone Up There was ticked at us.
It was the very next day while visiting the picturesque Curonian Spit and the seaside village of Nida that I learned about the folklore which ultimately gave rise to Darkest Caress. But you’d better believe I’m going to find a way to include the Hill of Crosses and the anticyclone in the next book! I included a note about it to cousin Mike in the dedication.
Has a book’s setting ever made such an impression that it’s always stayed with you? For a chance to win a digital copy of Darkest Caress, please leave me a comment.
Two-hundred-year-old Daegan Blackwell is one of the last remaining Empowered, an ancient magical race. Daegan’s duty is to lead and protect his remaining Brethren in the coming war foretold by prophecy. The last thing he expects is to meet the one woman who will either save or destroy him—his destined mate.
Fiercely independent Realtor Olivia Farrell believes darkly handsome Daegan is simply a prospective client. Until she’s attacked by a man with a strange aura—and Daegan fights him off, taking away her pain with just his touch. At first, Olivia refuses to believe she’s part of a magical race, yet mounting evidence and her powerful chemistry with Daegan are too strong to deny.
But as Daegan’s partner, Olivia becomes a target in the battle between good and evil that threatens her life, as well as the very existence of the Empowered. And the only one who can save her is the man claiming to be her destiny…
Kaylea Cross is an award winning author of edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense and hot paranormals. A Registered Massage Therapist, Kaylea is an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, bellydancer and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband. You can find her on Twitter, her blog, Goodreads, and Facebook.