Blog Tour-Serpent’s Kiss by Layla Dorine (Excerpt + Guest Post)
by Layla Dorine
by Layla Dorine
While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister, Kaandhal come across the last pure blooded psy-clairvoyant of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in learning, or in helping them locate their brother, Zxex.
A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, Darian’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any assistance to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home Rhumba, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.
With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.
Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to gain possession of him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles.
Gesturing with his hand for the minister to lead the way, Karim directed them away from the drafty auction space and back toward the warmth of living quarters through a series of twisting tunnels. They bypassed a cavern filled floor to ceiling with weapons and for a moment, Darian forgot to move. Mouth hanging open, he studied the blades and other close quarter weaponry, surprised to not see bows or guns.
Karim grinned, and stepped closer to Darian, though he did not attempt to touch him this time, for which Darian was grateful. The bodyguard was confusing. He might even be easy to like if he didn’t work for Tihara’s crazy ass.
“Impressive, aren’t they?”
“Hell yeah,” Darian remarked without thought, quickly realizing his mistake. “Sorry, but if ever a moment called for cursing, this was it. Holy…seriously, this one amazing armory.”
“This is but a small collection, the true armory if kept far from here. Perhaps, if you cease to annoy my mistress she will allow us to spar with a few of them, if you believe you are capable.”
“I’ve done my share of playing with knives.”
“Good, then I look forward to testing just how much play you are capable of.”
Darian flicked out his tongue, licking along his upper lip, deliberately teasing the same way it seemed as if Karim was teasing him. For a moment, the minister was forgotten as he locked eyes with Karim and saw the interest flicker in the other man’s eyes.
“I love a good challenge,” Darian remarked. “Let’s just hope you’re as good as you seem to think you are.”
“I am afraid your little sparring session will have to wait,” Minister Valero interrupted. “There is much I need you to look into tonight.”
“Yes, sir,” Darian replied, not wishing to displease the man and risk confrontation, especially when the vibes rolling off the minister weren’t ones of violence, or cruelty. Unfortunately, the minister did not seem to be the type to be easily manipulated, and from his physical stature, he looked like he’d put up quite the fight. Not good for his chances of escape. There’d likely be plenty of time for sparring Karim in the future.
Karim led them the rest of the way to a lavish suite of rooms without further interruption and handed the minister the key.
“There is chocolate syrup in the refrigerator along with milk, drinking a combination of it seems to help him recover after a vision,” Karim explained. “There is food in the refrigerator and supplies in the pantry should you wish anything additional. I am to retrieve him tomorrow morning at ten, until then, he is yours.”
The minister gave Karim a dismissive wave, his attention entirely on Darian. He’d hardly looked at the room, and it made Darian wonder just how much time they would spend in the common areas. He hoped the man would allow him to eat and drink, at least, or it would make for a very long evening.
US Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y2RM5J3/
UK Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06Y2RM5J3/
DE Amazon: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B06Y2RM5J3/
JP Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B06Y2RM5J3/
CA Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06Y2RM5J3/
While I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get into this book at first, I have to say that when I found myself unable to put it down, I knew I was going to really enjoy it. This was a very unique story and I am amazed at how well crafted it turned out to be. Layla Dorine is wonderful at world-building and it's obvious that the setting created took time and patience to portray so realistically.
Darrell/Darian is one of those characters who you can't help but fall in love with even though you may not necessarily like him at first. As you get to know more and more about him and why he's lived his life the way he has, it becomes apparent that he's not the bad guy he was convinced he was. He's never truly had anyone show him love or understanding, his family wants nothing to do with him and he stays far away from them. Now, though, with Zaiden and everyone else, he finds what he's been deprived of his whole life.
Zaiden was scary at first, I can't lie, I didn't know whether he was good or bad. He quickly grew on me and I liked his more dominant and reserved personality. It is a perfect contrast to Darrell's more brash attitude. It becomes clear rather early in the story that he'll be important to Darrell but I wasn't instantly sure how and when o did realize I felt like it couldn't come soon enough.
This isn't just some instalove Shifter fantasy. There is a lot going on in this book and really, the romance aspect is secondary to the plot. There's a lot of intrigue and a whole world of politics and conspiracies that Darian finds himself shuffling through. There are also some very dark and very sad moments through which I felt my heart break for him and the way he is treated. I wanted him to find his place so badly and it made me angry on more than one occasion when I read what was being done to him.
Again, this book is very well-written and kept me on my toes. With so much going on, there were times when I wasn't quite sure what would happen or who was good or bad. There are things to figure out or piece together and there is also the sexual tension between the men that had me wondering if Darian would ever be able to open up. I really loved the way the story presented itself and in truth would like to see more in this unique world.
I highly recommend Serpent's Kiss!
***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***
It’s awesome to be part of the blog today, thank you for offering up a spot for me to come on and talk a bit about Serpent’s Kiss and other projects I have going on at the moment. Serpent’s Kiss was born of a fascination with Naga mythology and other half snake, half human myths, as well as a deep seated love of shapeshifters and a desire to combine the two. Many of my projects have started the same way, with a love of myths, legends and lore, ghost stories and campfire tales, my imagination running wild with what ifs and what could be’s and those are the things that weave their way into my tales.
And speaking of tales, wow do I have a bunch to share with you today. I couldn’t stop at snake shapeshifters, I wanted to play in the paranormal genre a little longer, so coming soon will be a triad dragon shifter tale as well. One of the things I am going for with that one is a chance to let characters explore a poly relationship, which I’ve only hinted at a little in Desolation Angel. The dynamic has always intrigued me and when this trio of characters started talking in my head and showing me images of what they were up to I knew I needed to get their story on the page.
After all, that’s how each of my stories really come to pass. Loud characters, bright scenes that unfold behind my eyes when I’m trying to sleep or trying to cook or trying to do anything really but get some actual writing done. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pull over on the way somewhere just to jot down a note to myself about an idea because the characters are that loud.
It’s a good loud though, it keeps the writer’s block at bay and lets me play in worlds that I’ll never get to see. Underground caverns with glowing moss for lights, will o’ the wisps dancing outside the glass ‘windows’ lighting up a room and providing endless sources of entertainment and solace for characters. Armories carved into caverns with stalactites and water polished stone, winding tunnels and underground ponds all make up the world of Serpent’s Kiss. It took my love of caves and caverns, dark tunnels and twisting stone and it allowed me to bring energy and life into it through these characters who live there. I just hope you enjoy visiting it as much as I have.
About the Author
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.
Layla Dorine can be found at:
Author Website: layladorine13.wix.com/layladorineauthor
Author on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9814124.Layla_Dorine