The Seer’s Daughter
Beyond The Grave | Book One
To save her, he must let go of everything he ever believed.
Upon returning to her hometown for her grandmother’s funeral, Sage Matthews is terrorized by a series of strange events. She dismisses each eerie occurrence as a by-product of her overwrought emotional state, until it becomes chillingly clear that something not of this world is desperate to get a message—or is it a warning?—through to her…
Detective Sergeant Ethan Blade comes to Cryton, South Australia, to catch a serial killer. When Ethan meets Sage—the latest victim’s beautiful granddaughter—his attraction to her is explosive and inconvenient. He knows she’s not crazy, but Sage’s theory about the murders is unbelievable.
With the handsome detective rejecting her ideas, Sage embarks on the supernatural journey that her grandmother started. What she discovers shatters everything Sage ever knew about herself—and who she really is.
Ethan’s routine case quickly turns personal when he discovers Sage is the killer’s next target. For her, he’ll break all the rules and cross every line. But how can he protect Sage from an evil he cannot even conceive of?
Praise for The Seer’s Daughter
Finalist in Readers Favorite 2016 International Book Awards!
THE SEER’S DAUGHTER was the finalist in Fiction-Paranormal category in the Readers Favorite 2016 International Book Awards!
NIEA Finalist Award
THE SEER’S DAUGHTER was awarded Finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards in category – Suspense
THE SEER’S DAUGHTER was the solo medalist winner in Suspense/Thriller in the 2016 Annual New Apple Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing!
The award-winning first book in the Beyond the Grave Series
- Winner – Suspense / Thriller, 2016 New Apple Annual BookAwards for Excellence in Independent Publishing.
- Finalist, Fiction – Paranormal, Readers Favorite 2016 International Book Awards
- Nominated for, AusRom Today Readers Choice Awards, 2016 Book of the Year
- Nominated for, AusRom Today, Readers Choice Awards, 2016 Cover of the Year
- AusRom Today‘s January 2016 top-twenty list of “Lust-HaveSci-Fi, Paranormal, and Fantasy Novelists.
- The Romance Reviews, 5 Star Top Pick
“…a chilling thriller with cleverly intertwined themes of romance and suspense…. I found myself getting lost in this book for hours at a time, and was left thinking about it long after I had put it down. Packed full of twists and turns, bursting with emotion and passion and with several captivating story lines and themes…. Athena brings together seemingly unconnected events brilliantly, and in an unexpected twist that will leave you craving for the next installment.”
“…a perfect blend of paranormal fiction and romantic suspense that had me completely captivated to the very last page… flawlessly delivered.”
“One of my most favorite reads this year!… It’s almost like Stephen King meets Christina Dodd…I loved it can’t wait for book two!”
“…the perfect culmination of paranormal mystery with steamy and sensual romance and just enough suspense and intrigue to guarantee a chilling, goosebump-invoking, story line… The Seer’s Daughter would be a brilliant option for adaption to screen–there’s a television series/movie in here for absolute certain.”As featured on AusRom Today
“…one of the spookiest paranormal stories I’ve read in some time and that’s saying quite a lot considering I grew up reading Poe, Lovecraft and Machen.”Jack, 5 Star Readers Favorite.
“…as chilling as it is sexy… This is much more than a romance. The paranormal aspects along with the secondary characters really make the story. The descriptions, language, emotions, dialogue… are all cleverly written to keep you engaged and the pages turning, while the suspense will make sure you read this story with all the lights on.”The Romance Reviews, 5 stars Top Pick
“You look so sexy lying there with your shirt ripped open and your hair scattered across the pillow.” His voice was deep, his focus intense. Her pulse tripped, skittering along in a new rhythm.
“Don’t move,” he ordered. He removed his gun and utility belt and placed them on the chair. Grabbing the neckline of his fitted gray T-shirt with one hand, he tugged it up and off in one swift movement. Sage knew she was staring. She couldn’t help it; his body was even more perfect than she had imagined. Well-toned, but not bulky, his muscles rippling with his movements. A thin and sexy trail of hair started at his bellybutton and disappeared suggestively into the top of his jeans. She struggled to swallow, her mouth suddenly dry.
Not taking his eyes off her, he undid the top button of his jeans and positioned his body over hers, resting his weight on his arms. His mouth captured hers, the deep kiss reigniting the fire that had barely banked between them.
She ran her hands over the taught contours of his abdomen, marvelling at the way the individual muscles contracted beneath her fingertips. She played with that neat line of hair, and he sucked in a breath, catching her wrists as she tried to tug the denim down. Capturing both hands, he placed them above her head.
“Thought I told you not to move.” His voice was barely recognizable, little more than a sexy rasp. He motioned to the chair where his utility belt lay. “Do I have to use my cuffs, or will you stay still?”
Cuffs? Oh hell, yes! An image of herself, restrained on the bed while Ethan teased and pleasured her needy flesh, flashed into her mind. The tender place between her legs throbbed its approval.
Ethan pressed the remote and the Land Rover sprang to life, unlocking the doors and lighting the interior.
What the hell had he been thinking? Christ, he had more self-control than that. Or so he’d thought. Control in the bedroom was something he had always been able to rely on. She’s the victim’s granddaughter, for fuck’s sake. On an active case.
But he’d never been so turned on by a woman in his life. Christ almighty, he wanted to fuck Sage more than he wanted to take his next breath.
Thrusting the key into the ignition, he pressed his boot on the accelerator, giving the motor a series of harsh, unnecessary revs. The tires spun before they found traction. His erection strained painfully against his pants, not softening in the slightest. He couldn’t imagine it was going to either, not while the taste of her was still on his tongue and the smell of her was still on his clothes. The way she’d ripped his shirt had threatened to shred his control. She’d be a hellcat in the sack.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” He thumped his hands on the steering wheel in time with the curses. He’d never acted so unprofessionally. Damn it, he knew better.
But the fear in her eyes, her vulnerability, the feel of her bra-less, full breasts against his chest, all that sweet innocence, mixed with wild, sensuous woman… The image of her staring up him, her face flushed, her breasts bare, was now burned into his mind, and he cursed again. What was it about Sage Matthews that was making him half-crazy with both lust and a powerful need to protect her?
Ethan started to rise, and Sage grabbed his wrist. “Ethan?” She must have surprised him because he froze in place above her, his eyes piercing as they met hers.
“Yes?” His voice was deeper and a little rough.
His dark eyes intently searched her face, and a muscle along his jaw twitched as if there was something he couldn’t quite say. “You’re welcome,” he eventually said.
She was still gripping his wrist, but she didn’t let go. Couldn’t.
As she stared at him, something flared in his gaze. Could it be desire?
“I have to go. I’ll check on you tomorrow.” His husky tone belied his words. She didn’t let go, and he didn’t pull away. They were trapped in the moment, the air alive and crackling between them.
“I have to go,” he repeated. But there was no conviction behind it.
Without conscious thought, Sage leaned forward and kissed him. His lips were warm and full, and heat roared throughout her body. He hesitated for the barest fraction of a second before taking over. His hand, large and strong, cupped the back of her neck, and he deepened the kiss. Her body softened, her mind blanking as she surrendered to the sensual pull of his mouth. Tangling her fingers in the silky hair at the base of his neck, she tugged him even closer. His scent flooded her nose and she let out a soft sound. With a groan, he licked deeper into her mouth.
Mother of all things holy, the man knew how to kiss! Every inch of her skin was on fire and aching for his touch. She ran her hands across his shoulders and down his chest, resenting the thin layer of fabric that kept her from the warmth of his skin. Tugging at the bottom of his T-shirt, she caressed his taut abdomen, then slid her fingers up and across the rippling muscles of his chest. The contact was electric, and she reveled in the low sound it elicited from him.
He leaned into her, his weight pushing her into the mattress, and the juncture between her thighs grew hot and demanding. He pushed up her singlet top and found her breast. When his fingers brushed over her pebbled nipple, streaks of pleasure shot through her.
“Ethan,” she gasped, wanting more. Wanting all of him. Now. She tugged at his shirt, undoing the top two buttons before ripping the remainder.
He pulled back. Hands on her shoulders, he held her in place. Blood thrummed through her veins as she looked into his handsome face, flushed but set into hard lines. His breathing was as ragged as hers, and he dragged in a couple breaths before trying to speak.
“We can’t,” he rasped, looking as though it were the hardest thing he had ever said. Appearing almost tortured, he released her. Standing, he turned his back to her while he tucked in his ripped shirt. His hands curled into fists at his sides, and he squared his shoulders before turning back to her, his face etched with pain.
“Stop!” Frustration swirled behind Sage’s eyes, turning them a vivid green as she stepped forward and pushed Ethan hard in the chest. He instinctively caught her wrists and held them. Her breathing was labored, and he was painfully aware of how close they were. His jeans tightened inconveniently.
“Don’t you dare talk down to me, Ethan. I haven’t had anything put in my head. That is a condescending, arrogant comment, and totally uncalled for.” She made a half-hearted attempt to yank her hands away. His grip on her wrists wasn’t that tight, but he was much stronger than she was. Her chest rose and fell deeply, and her eyes darkened as they scanned his face. Their bodies were almost touching.
She sounded a little breathless. “You don’t know, Ethan. You can’t know, because you weren’t there. I was there. Mark, Pia, Ryan, and Joe were there. Let me tell you uncategorically, that everything that I have seen, and everything I have experienced, I did with my own eyes, my own ears, and my own mind. I don’t doubt it because four other people will corroborate what happened too. That is not to mention Nan and Ada. If you refute that evidence, then it is you who is the fool. Not me.”
He may have been angry enough to take a cheap shot at the credibility of Mark’s team, but he wouldn’t insult her grandmother.
“I know you’re not a fool,” he said instead. She was smart but tough, a little too feisty, but intriguing. Soft, feminine, stimulating, sexy… It was hard to keep his thoughts focused when her soft, warm body was so temptingly close.
“Stay away from Collins.” His voice was a low rumble. In his heightened state of arousal, the mention of that crackpot’s name sparked an intense rush of jealousy. Mark said. He didn’t give a flying fuck about what Collins said. And he didn’t want her thinking about him when it was Ethan’s hands that were on her.
“Why?” Her tone was a challenge, her heavy-lidded eyes a silent plea. A contradiction that made him desperate to kiss her and put a stop to this frustrating conversation.
“Because I don’t like the way he looks at you.” He hadn’t meant to be so honest.
“Oh, come on,” she scoffed. She licked her lips and he felt her pulse racing beneath his fingertips. “Let me go,” she whispered.
He didn’t believe she wanted that. “No. Not until we’ve talked about this.”
“I won’t talk until you let me go.”
Ooh, a challenge. He held onto her for a moment too long, then released his grip, his lips twitching with the urge to smile. “Talk.”
Her eyes were shining, her cheeks stained pink. A tiny vein on the side of her neck pulsed. How he’d love to flick his tongue along it.
“Okay, then. Tell me why you don’t like Mark. And don’t give me any crap about how he looks at me.”
“I don’t trust him,” he answered easily. “Next question?”
“Oh no you don’t.” She stabbed a finger into his chest. “Why don’t you trust Mark?”
“Why?” What the fuck? People didn’t ask him “why.” When he spoke, people took him at his word. “I just don’t.”
“What have you based that expert opinion on? Where’s your evidence?” she pressed.
“My evidence? I don’t need any. I’ve got gut instinct.”
“Ooh.” Her eyes sparkled as she went in for the kill. “And why are you allowed to make a judgment not based on fact, and nobody else is, hmm?”
“You’ve got to be kidding. The difference is I’m not talking about a fucking ghost, that’s what.” Heat filled his body. He wanted to touch her so badly, to grab her by the shoulders and kiss her senseless. His hands opened and closed at his sides.
“You don’t believe in ghosts because you can’t see them.”
“Well, I can’t see your gut instinct, so I don’t believe in it.” She raised her chin and waved a hand in dismissal. Every time she inhaled, he could make out the hard peaks of her nipples through the sheer fabric. She placed her hands on her hips, making those two points of temptation even more prominent. He groaned.
“Mark is coming back tomorrow and—”
Gripping her shoulders, he pulled her hard against his body and crushed his lips to hers. She made a soft mewling noise before opening her mouth. The instant his tongue touched hers, it was like pulling the pin on a hand grenade. He dove into her sweet mouth, tasting her, learning her. The heated scent of desire swirled between them, and they breathed each other in.
She kissed him back with an intensity that matched his own. Her hands locked tight around his neck, fingers tangling in his hair. She smelled fresh, like the crisp air after a summer storm, and as she melded her soft, lush curves into him, she rubbed against his hard cock. It was painful pleasure, exquisite torture.
That rubbing sent him into a frenzy of need, which he then ruthlessly leashed. He didn’t want to scare her. His desire sure as hell scared him. He attempted to slow the pace, but her hands that had been clawing at his back were now on his chest, and heading south.
She reached between his legs and cupped him through his jeans. He palmed her breast, discovering it to be heavier than he had remembered. Round, firm, and more than a handful. Her nipple was a hard pebble underneath his thumb.
She broke the kiss, his name falling from her lips in a ragged sigh. Her skin was flushed, her green eyes sparkling.
“I want you,” she said, squeezing him through his jeans and shattering his control. “Now.”
“Oh, sweet Jesus, Sage.”
Bending his head, he flicked his tongue along the long column of her neck, and she cried out, desperately panting. He was going to find each and every one of her erogenous zones and tease and explore them mercilessly.
He took her mouth again, hard and urgent, and walked her forward, until her back was flush against the wall near the stairs. Eying the rise and fall of her chest, he ripped that teasing, flimsy shirt apart, buttons skittering across the floor. Her pretty bra, so sheer that he could see her rose-colored nipples clearly, looked so damned sweet and sexy that he left it on. For now.