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Sins of the Heart (Hqn) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

National bestselling author Eve Silver has been praised for her \u201cedgy, steamy, action-packed\u201d books, darkly sexy heroes and take-charge heroines. Her work has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, plus RT Book Reviews Reviewers\u2019 Choice Awards, and in 2007 she received Library Journal\u2019s Best Genre Fiction Award. To learn more about Eve and her books, please visit www.EveSilver.net.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Save me from that god who steals souls,
Who laps up corruption, who lives on what is
putrid,
Who is in charge of darkness, who lives in gloom,
Of whom those who are among the languid ones
are afraid.
Who is he? He is Seth.
He is Sutekh.

—The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Chapter 17

Chicago, Illinois, eleven years ago

In the far corner of a room in the basement of an abandoned factory, a woman huddled on a filthy mattress. Her wrists and ankles were bound by yellow nylon rope. Her head was bowed, dark, glossy ringlets falling forward to obscure her face. The harsh glare of the naked overhead bulb accented the curved line of her back.

Terror had a way of making mortals scream.

Dagan Krayl wondered why this one wasn't.

He shifted to get a better view through the half-inch crack in the door. Small, bare room. Concrete floor. Particleboard walls. No windows.

There were stains on the mattress. Old stains, reddish-brown, dark and stiff. Someone's blood.

Not hers.

Not yet.

But whoever had left her here would be back. So she had reason enough to be terrified. Reason enough to scream. Human females cried. And, at times, human males. But not this female.

Both her silence and her odd movements piqued Dagan's curiosity.

Her head bobbed like a buoy in choppy water. Up. Down. He could hear the distinct rasp of each breath, more scrape than sob, accompanied by a muted grinding.

What the hell was she doing? From this position, he couldn't tell.

She paused, shifted a bit to one side and rolled her shoulder up against her cheek to push back the long, corkscrew strands of her hair. Then she dipped her head and went back to her task. The grinding resumed, and he realized that she was gnawing at the rope with her teeth, making a play for freedom.

A flicker of interest ignited. It appeared that despite the desperation of her circumstances her spirit was tattered but not crushed.

A fighting spirit.

Something to be admired.

He blinked, startled by the thought. She was none of his concern. He was here to harvest and kill.

But not her.

The prey he sought had a tarnished soul, one smeared with the worst sort of slime, the accumulated malfeasance and malady of a lifetime. Nothing less would satisfy dear old Dad. Sutekh, the Lord of Chaos. He dined only on malevolence and vice. Evil was the delicacy he craved.

As a soul reaper, Dagan was tasked with providing it. He was not just any soul reaper, but Sutekh's eldest son. The old man had a small army of soul reapers to harvest for him, but he had only four sons, and he had exacting expectations of his progeny.

He glanced over his shoulder down the narrow, dark corridor. He'd already checked the massive empty space upstairs. Only the underground bowels of the abandoned factory remained unexplored. His prey was here somewhere, and he ought to continue the hunt, not stand here watching the woman.

But something kept him from leaving her and prowling off in search of a darksoul. He knew what it felt like to struggle and strive, to ache for freedom. Be careful what you wish for—wasn't that a common mortal adage? Freedom wasn't always delicious.

Reaching into the back pocket of his faded, torn jeans, he took out a lollipop. The clear plastic wrapper crinkled as he pulled it off. He popped the sucker in his mouth and waited—flavor exploded. Coconut… pineapple. Piña colada. Not his favorite. He'd remember that next time.

He folded the cellophane in half, then quarters and shoved it in his pocket, because littering went against his grain, even in this condemned shithole of an abandoned factory in Chicago's far South Side. The clear paper crinkled and crunched in the quiet.

The woman's head jerked up. She must have heard the sound.

She turned her face toward him, blinked a couple of times and then froze. He didn't know if she cold see him, but she definitely heard him. That was a surprise.

A long scratch marked her neck and a fresh bruise darkened her right cheek, swollen and red against the smooth toffee cream of her skin. She'd been roughed up a bit, but she still had her clothes on. Didn't look like she'd been raped. Yet.

Dagan figured she had to count that as a good thing.

She wasn't gagged. Her captor hadn't bothered, either because there was no one around to hear her or because the guy liked to listen to her scream. Only she wasn't. Screaming.

He found that interesting.

Stepping deeper into the room, Dagan lifted his finger to his lips—stay quiet—and reached back to pull the door closed behind him. He wasn't sure why he wanted her quiet. Letting her scream would only bring her captor running, which would save Dagan the trouble of hunting him down. But he wanted a moment with her. One moment.

Why? One moment to do what? He came up with fuck-all for an answer.

Her eyes widened, then narrowed. Beautiful eyes, green and bronze, the shape almond tipped. The color was startling against her dark skin and even darker lashes.

For an instant, he saw only her eyes, tiger fierce. The room disappeared, and he saw only those eyes. They reached inside him, found something he hadn't known he'd lost, hadn't known he had in the first place.

The instant passed, leaving his pulse beating a little harder, his breath coming a little faster. He recognized that the source wasn't mere sexual attraction. It was… something else.

His gaze dipped to her mouth—full lips, lush and plump—and dipped lower to follow the thick silver chain that snaked beneath the neckline of her dirt-smeared tank top to disappear between the generous swell of her breasts. The room was like a meat locker, and the distinct outline of her nipples left no doubt that she was cold. He was in no hurry to look away; he couldn't help but appreciate the view.

I could warm her, ease her fear.

The uncharacteristic thought held distinct appeal.

Her breasts rose and fell with each rapid breath. He dragged his gaze away, let it rake her at a more leisurely pace, and he felt a distinct unease as he noticed things he'd missed the first time around. Things like incredibly smooth, taut skin. Not a wrinkle. Not a line. Not a single flaw.

Hell. He had no business staring at her breasts, her nipples. He saw now that she wasn't a woman at all. Barely more than a kid. Nineteen, maybe twenty.

"How old are you?"

"Nineteen." She frowned. "And a half."

And a half. That sealed the deal. Too young. She was far too young for him. And mortal, to boot. He generally didn't bother with mortals. They were too… human. There were more than enough female genies and demigods in the Underworld to choose from if he needed to scratch an itch.

But he'd pulled his gaze away too late. She'd seen exactly where his attention had strayed.

"Old enough to put up a fight." Her voice was low and fierce. "You won't get any without a fight, white boy."

His gaze flicked to the yellow ropes that bound her.

"I'm not in the habit of tying my lovers up." A slow smile curved his lips. "Unless they ask."

"I'm not asking."

She stared at him, her posture and expression putting him in mind of a cornered cat. Ready to fight. Claws. Teeth. Whatever it took.

Guts and grit. And beauty. He found the combination appealing. Nineteen. And a half.

"Fuck." He was here to harvest a darksoul, not think about getting laid, and he was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the faster he got done and got going, the better. He set his teeth against the lollipop, sheared off a shard of candy and ground it between his molars.

"Fuck," she echoed. "Yeah, that about sums it up, vanilla bean."

He didn't surprise easily, but that did the trick. She'd been beaten, bound and left to stew in her own terror, but she had the brass balls left to call him vanilla bean. And white boy.

He'd been called worse. With reason.

"You in this with him?" Despite the show of bravado, the question held a telltale tremble.

He took the lollipop from his mouth, studied her for a second, then popped the candy back in and used his tongue to push it off to one side. She held perfectly still, only her eyes moving as she tracked his actions.

"By him, I assume you mean your captor." At her sharp nod, he finished, "No, I'm not in it with him."

Hope flickered to life in her eyes. "You here to free me?"

"Free you?" He almost laughed. "No." If she were looking for a savior, she was in for disappointment. No one was coming. No one but him. Which was unfortunate for her.

At his answer, her cheeks paled, but her chin kicked up a little higher. "You gonna kill me, then?" Her eyes narrowed. "'Cause if y'are, get in line. I think the asshole who tied me up will call dibs."

Not tonight, he wouldn't. Dagan had no intention of letting the bastard touch her.

The second the thought formed, he ground it to dust beneath his boot. He wasn't here to protect this oddly alluring girl. He was here to kill and take what he needed—a darksoul to feed Sutekh's power.

But not from her. Her soul was bright as a xenon arc lamp. Sutekh would cough it up like a hairball.

"This isn't your night to die."

"Real talk?" She tipped her head and thrust one shoulder back in a cocky pose. Almost made him believe it. More bravado. And still no tears.

Interesting.

"Real talk?" he echoed, floundering. Then he realized she was asking if he was telling the truth. "I'm not here for you. I came for a darksoul."

She frowned at the term but didn't ask for an explanation. She had other things on her mind. "Good for you. Maybe you could help me with this little inconvenience first?" Her voice dripped sarcasm. Jerking her bound hands up, she separated them by the quarter inch the rope allowed and winced as it rubbed her already chaffed skin. "You got a knife?"

As he stared at the red, inflamed marks that brace-letted her wrists, something odd and unfamiliar raised its head and uncoiled deep inside him. He'd seen thousands of wounds, caused most of them himself. But the sight of her beautiful brown skin, abraded and bloody, was… unsettling. He felt a second's disorientation. He had no reason to care about her pain.

"A knife?" she prompted. And he heard asshole implied in her tone. Or maybe dickhead.

"No knife." He didn't need one. In three strides he closed the space between them. He took the rolled paper lollipop stick from between his lips, tucked it away in his pocket then hunkered down and caught the rope in his fist.

Her pupils dilated and she gasped. Every muscle in her sleek frame tensed. But she didn't jerk away. Only watched him with those incredible eyes.

A sound carried from the hallway. Footsteps.

"Cut me loose!" she hissed.

"After." He was already rising and backing away.

"After what?" Her breath came in short, sharp pants, her gaze flicking to the closed door, her fear clearly escalating. Bemused, he wondered why she was all swagger and sass talking to him, but she was terrified of the human in the hallway. She had her priorities ass-backwards.

Lifting a finger to his lips once more, Dagan cautioned her to silence as he eased back into the narrow space between the door frame and the wall. If she were smart, she'd be quiet. If she gave him away, it would only make his job… messier.

Jaw clenched, fingers curled into her palms, she followed his movements and offered a short nod as, with a creak, the door opened halfway. A blonde in tight jeans and stilettos sashayed into the room, shouldering the door fully open. Close behind her was a tall man, dressed all in black, greasy brown hair hanging lank to his shoulders. He had one hand clasped tight around the blonde's wrist, the other holding a long hunting knife down by his thigh.

The girl on the mattress lurched up and rasped, "Marcie! You're alive. Oh, thank God."

Marcie froze, and the guy holding her tightened his grip.

Looked like the bastard meant to rape and murder not one girl but two.

Ambitious.

Disgust curdled in Dagan's gut. He was as far from good as anyone could be, but he did have a code. He always settled his debts. His word was his law. He refused to lie. And he sure as sugar never fucked girls barely out of high school then slit their throats.

Marcie tossed her hair back from her face and cocked one hip to the side. She had a hard look about her, like she knew the score and liked it that way. Turning her head, she slanted a glance toward the mattress and the girl.

That was all.

Just a glance.

No expression at all.

Not horror. Not fear. Not empathy.

Understanding arrowed deep, a sharp, bright barb, and Dagan narrowed his eyes, seeing things with new clarity.

Marcie wasn't bound. She didn't lean away from the grasp of her tormentor; instead, she relaxed into his grip. The way she held herself, shoulders back, head high, was anything but fearful. And her lips were curved in the faintest smile.

Well, fuck me raw.

The bastard didn't have two girls captive. He had one girl he was all set to rape and murder.

And one girl who was all set to help him.

The Underworld, the Territory of Sutekh

Gahiji stood on the sandstone gallery and looked down at the line of souls awaiting entry, petitioning for a moment, but a moment, of Sutekh's time. They knew him by that name, and others: Seth, Set, Seteh, Lord of Chaos, Lord of Evil, Lord of the Desert, Mighty One of Twofold Strength. Some even called him by the Greek name Typhon, a god known for cruelty and blind rage. Those who thought that knew him not at all. Sutekh never devolved into blind rage; he was far more dangerous than that: coldly analytical, methodical in his actions, his fury more blade than bludgeon. He was a businessman who could see every angle, map out all possible future ramifications of every decision.

The line of souls stretched so far that Gahiji had no hope of seeing the end. Each time one at the front was allowed entry, dozens more joined the line at the far end. They came to beg favors of the Lord of Chaos. Some were minor deities themselves, far below Sutekh in rank and power, here to wheedle and finagle a deal. Some were the souls of those who had failed to find the Field of Reeds, the paradise of life after death. Perhaps they had done dark deeds in life. Perhaps they had failed the tests of their chosen deity. Some could not pass the twenty-one gates of Osiris. Others lacked the payment for Charon and so would not be ferried across the river Styx. The Underworld was divied up into tidy territories, each god and demigod holding sway in their own kingdom. Souls had to play by the rules to get in.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

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Product Details

  • Series: Hqn
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books; 1St Edition edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373774826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373774821
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,783,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By VampFanGirl on July 19, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Roxy Tam is a child of the system. Abandoned suddenly by her mother when she was five, Roxy was passed from foster family to foster family, never truly being alone but always incredibly lonely. Freshly turned out into the world of adults, Roxy is quick to trust resulting in her being abducted, bound and held in a cell until her captor can languish in the blood bath that will soon be her death. Fortunately she's saved but by the most unlikely of strangers, someone who is most definitely not a savior.

Daegan Krayle is a soul reaper. Half mortal, half god, Daegan scavenges the Topworld to harvest the most soiled of human souls to feed his father, Sutekh. A man of many names, Sutekh is a God of the Underworld, a realm divided neatly into thousands of territories each with its own master jockeying for power. Pushing, pulling and jousting for allegiances, all this havoc of past and future betrayals is orchestrated without crossing a tenuously thread-thin line that if broken, could ultimately lead to the complete annihilation of mortals and immortals alike. Now, after his three hundred year long dark existence, Daegan's life is forever changed when his coming fate aligns with that of a young girl. Never has a mortal glimpsed his face and lived to tell about it until Roxy Tam.

Skip eleven years to the present and the afore mentioned thread-thin line maintaining the world's continued existence has gotten fearsomely near its snapping point. One of Daegan's four brothers has been murdered which is virtually impossible. As a soul reaper like Daegan, Lokan can only die one way and only in the Underworld. But dead he is which can only suggest the hand of a powerful supernatural was involved.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donna on July 22, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As I started reading Sins of the Heart and throughout it, I kept getting the euphoric feeling that I have found a new favorite author. The same feelings I had when I started reading Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Karen Marie Moning and the like authors. Sins of the Heart had everything I look for in a paranormal romance: a smart and feisty heroine, gorgeous drool-worthy hero from the Other world, a tight plot, believable and heart-pounding passion along with pages full of action and mystery.

The main thing that kept my interest is the whole new world of dimension that Eve Silver has spun around the traditional myths on the Greek and Egyptian gods like Hades, Set, Isis, and Osiris. She's added her own layers of creative storytelling with her soul reapers, making the adventures seem limitless and I can't wait to gobble up more these guys.

I plan on getting the rest of the Otherkin trilogy as it publish, and I'm so thankful that they are only a month apart in their publishing dates. And I'm happy to share that I found out the Otherkin books will not end with this trilogy, that Eve has two more books planned for the Otherkin world. *fist pump* I can only hope Eve continues to write these books beyond the two planned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie G (Reviewer for Paranormal Haven) on August 2, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Roxy is a heroine who can take care of herself. As a Daughter of Aset, it is her job to protect humans and she is very good at what she does. But Roxy is not an in your face female who constantly feels she has something to prove. While she is strong and can hold her own with the best of them, there is a side of her that fears being completely alone. She was abandoned by her mother when she was five and everyone she has cared about since has left her, including Dagan Krayl. She knows what he is and even though she should despise everything about him, she dreams about him and what it would be like in his arms and in his bed. But she is angry with him. 11 years ago Dagan saved her life then left her. It is this and not that fact that he is a reaper and son of the Lord of Chaos, Sutekh, that really has stuck with her.

Dagan was not left unaffected by their meeting 11 years ago. He left her because he wanted her to have a normal life even though the thought of her with another man made him have violent thoughts. He didn't want her in his world but once he reunites with her, he sees that despite his efforts to warn her away Roxy is now a Daughter of Aset who are sworn enemies of Sutekh and his sons. Dagan is not a villain. He is a reaper yes but only goes after those with dark souls (i.e. murders, rapists etc). He too has been having vivid dreams of making love and they all include Roxy. When he thinks something has happen to her, he goes in search of her not caring of the consequences. When they finally come face to face again he knows that she is his and he will do everything to protect her and I felt Roxy truly deserved to have that kind of love and devotion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Gilder on June 19, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First thing's first ... Dagan Krayl saves the life of an unknown woman named Roxy Tam more than 10 years ago. Since then, they've only dreamt of each other despite only knowing one another for a few minutes. Years later, Dagan is 'called' back to Roxy and their meeting wasn't what I thought it would be. Roxy got on my damn nerves. Sure, it's never bothered me before when a heroine (especially a black one) is outspoken, tough and independent, but Roxy was almost childish and very annoying. Dagan wasn't annoying at all and it made me wonder why in the world he would deal with a woman who I would want to choke on a regular basis. Anyway ... Once they finally do meet, the book picks up. The period of separation gives us insight as to who Dagan is, what he does and what's going on with the story at hand. Read the rest of the review at The Urban Paranormal Book Blog.
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