Guardian’s Grace

 

600x795Guardian's-Grace_2e (4)Guardian’s Grace

Available at Amazon and at Smashwords.com

Grace Masters always wanted a family she could call her own. Of course, in her imagination it didn’t include a pair of rambunctious and affectionate twins who can turn into killers within the blink of an eye or an aging vampire who has trouble controlling his thirst. She never expected to find a friend and mentor in a three hundred year old witch who looks like Sophia Loren. And she certainly never dreamed – okay, she dreamed but never thought it would come true – of a tall, handsome hero who would sweep her off her feet. Yet here she is, in an old Victorian home, living and loving under the cover of night.

Who knew that the source of her lifelong torment was really her gift as a Daughter of Man or that this gift could be controlled and used for something good? Who knew there was another race called the Paenitentia who live side by side with humans? Who knew that demons were real?

Grace certainly didn’t until one fateful night when her world falls apart and comes together again in a place where she finally feels she belongs. Sometimes a person just knows when something is right and destined to be. Sometimes convincing someone else of that fact is a little more difficult. Canaan ad Simeon is that someone else.

Canaan is Liege Lord to a House of Guardians whose job is to protect the Race from a demon threat many no longer believe in.  Already breaking away from the outdated traditions that are depletingtheir numbers and threatened by a hierarchy resistant to change, the last thing Canaan needs is to fall for this innocently sexy Daughter of Man. But fall he does, with a mixture of comedy, drama and sexy fun that will touch your heart.

For a taste of what’s in store, Chapter 1 is at the bottom of this page.

You can order Guardian’s Grace at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Praise for Guardian’s Grace

A compelling mix between the Black Dagger Brotherhood and The Midnight Breed series Guardian’s Grace reminded me WHY I love paranormal romance
Guardian’s Grace has it all! Great characters,action, humor, depth, and a fantastic romance.
I don’t have a doubt in my mind that the Guardian’s of the Race series will become an instant hit in the world of Paranormal Romance. –
Carole Dee, Bitten By Paranormal
Romance

There are moments that will break your heart and the tears will flow… Guardian’s Grace is a wonderful novel for first-time author Jacqueline Rhoades. I look forward to her next storylineGuardian’s Hope. -Sandy,  The Reading Cafe

I didn’t know what to expect… I am very happy with what I found though…It has all the action, suspense, and good vs evil that one expects in a paranormal novel. . – Amazon Reviewer

Guardian’s Grace is a captivating and energetic new novel and a wonderful start for new author Jacqueline Rhoades.

Brenda at Crazy Four Books had really nice things to say about Guardian’s Grace.

The wonderful Vanessa at Jeep Diva also had great things to say about the Guardian series.

Another interview! This one with Caroledee  at Bitten By Paranormal Romance . Wow! Thanks!

Check out my interview with Sandy at The Reading Cafe from June 30, where Sandy also reviewed Guardian’s Grace and Guardian’s Hope, the second installment of my paranormaal romance series, Guardians of the Race.

Read the full Bitten By Paranormal Romance review for Guardian’s Grace and Guardian’s Hope

This book blew me away and was honestly a breath of fresh air…. Krystal Willingham, Goodreads

Honestly it is the best written and with the most well developed characters in a book I have received for review. I love this new world that Ms. Rhoades has created. There was a little bit of everything in this book; steamy hot romance, humor, drama, and plenty of action. I totally fell for Grace and Canaan as well as the rest of the crew who inhabit the house. I couldn’t wait to see what happens next, so I bought the next two in the series before I finished this one. They are a steal for the price listed for a book this well written and with a great plot. Amy Softa, Goodreads

A female character that gets stronger as the story moves along. A new race of heroes (Paenitentia) protecting humans from demons. Yaz, Goodreads

Great start to a series!! Guardian’s Grace was full of action,romance and alot of laughter.  – Toni, Goodreads

GG New paperback cover

 Chapter 1

 This was a mistake. Grace knew it when her best friend Alice cornered her at the elevators after work and she knew it when Alice dragged her, protesting, into the little apartment that shared a landing with her own to dress her up in what Alice called ‘a sexy little number’ and Grace called one step up from a street walker. Why, oh, why had she said yes?

But of course, she knew why. It was guilt, plain and simple. She’d avoided Alice all week because she hadn’t told her friend about getting laid off. Alice, with her rose colored glasses, would see this misfortune as an opportunity to try something new, to embark on an adventure, to meet new people. The woman never saw a problem that couldn’t be fixed and Grace needed a little more time to get used to the idea of being unemployed before hearing about how wonderful it all might be.

So here she was, at a retirement party for a guy she barely recognized, sitting at a group of tables surrounded by twenty people she didn’t know, wearing a little black sheath that covered a great deal less than decency should allow and a pair of thin strapped stilettos that almost guaranteed foot pain in the morning. A crystal pendant disappeared into her cleavage and sparkling teardrops hung from her ears.

The buzzing in her brain was a continuous thrum and it wasn’t from the lights or the music or the three glasses of wine she’d sipped her way through. It was the people. There were just too many people with their emotions rolling off them in waves, heightened by the music and alcohol.

Grace looked around at the crowd, smiling, talking, drinking and dancing. Happiness, anxiety, lust, fear, and even a smattering of violence blazed through her head and she winced as her heart seemed to take up the throbbing beat of the music. The place was a cacophony of sensations and she didn’t know how much longer she could hold out. She couldn’t handle this many people on her best day and today definitely wasn’t her best.

Today had been her last day to take the elevator to the basement storage facility where she’d spent the last six years scanning box after box of paper files onto her computer. It didn’t pay much, but she didn’t need much and the peace she enjoyed made up for the lack of dollars. No one ever came down to her little cloister and that was what made the job so perfect. No people meant no psychic vibrations and none of the violent headaches that accompanied them. Unfortunately, she’d been too efficient and worked herself out of a job.

“Come on. Dance with me. You’ve been sitting there all night.” Alice, wearing a flirty red dress with glittery trim at the hem and deeply scooped neckline, shimmied in front of Grace. Her smile was wide and her eyes sparkled. She held out her hands. “How are you going to attract attention if you don’t display the goods?”

“I’m not a piece of meat, Alice.”

Her friend laughed. “Oh, honey, in that dress you’re a prime rib.”

When Alice leaned over to whisper, Grace could only imagine the view the swirling skirt offered from behind.

“In that dress, you’re as sexy as sin.” The bubbly blonde’s face became serious. “You really don’t have a clue, do you?” Then she shook her head and laughed again. “Never mind, come dance with your best friend.”

And Alice was her best friend. If truth be told, Alice was her only friend and had been since seventh grade when yet another foster placement dropped Grace into yet another school, her eighth or ninth. She was no longer sure. Thirteen year old Alice immediately took her in and unlike most of her classmates, never saw Grace as weird, only different. The friendship continued right through high school as did the foster placement.

She and Alice lost touch for a few years after high school when Alice remained at home to attend Junior College and Grace was cast out on her own when her foster child funding was cut off at the age of eighteen. Then six years ago, when Grace moved into her current cheap, fourth floor walk-up, there was Alice, ready to say hello to the new neighbor and reminding Grace that there were, after all, good things in every life and Alice was the best thing in hers.

At twenty-seven, her life was a confined and lonely one. She didn’t like it, didn’t want it, but it was the only way she could survive. She often thought that without Alice’s friendship, she might have succumbed to desperation and depression.

Grace smiled as she joined Alice on the dance floor and laughed outright as Alice lifted her arms and began swirling her hips to the heavy beat of the music. She raised her own arms and began a much slower mime of her friend. It was then that she saw them.

Across the room, standing against the wall, arms crossed over massive chests, were two of the most beautiful men she had ever seen, twins, each the exact replica of the other. Soft light surrounded them as if they stood in a spotlight on a stage. Only their eyes moved, searching the room. She smiled in appreciation.

“Whoa, girl, I didn’t know you could move like that,” Alice’s admiring voice broke through.

Grace’s heart skipped a beat as realization dawned. The buzzing in her head was gone, leaving only the music. The tension that had been her body’s constant companion was replaced by a peaceful swaying rhythm. This was heaven. She kept her eyes on the twins and let her body fall under the seductive spell of the moment.

“Alice,” she said softly, after another song began. “Eye candy at one o’clock.” She gestured with her eyes.

 

Dov elbowed his twin lightly in the ribs. “That girl over there is staring at us.”

“Woman.”

“What?”

“Woman. You can’t call a female over eighteen a girl. It’s sexist. Chauvinistic. Politically incorrect.”

“Whatever,” Dov replied, shrugging off the criticism. “She’s still staring at us.”

“She can’t be. We’re in white light. Humans can’t stare at what they can’t see.”

“I’m telling you, she’s staring at us. Look,” Dov directed with a slight poke of his chin. “Right there. Goddess body, skimpy black dress, dark hair with the blonde streak. She’s dancing with the sexy boobs in the red dress.”

“Idiot. You’ve got to stop saying stuff like that. You can’t refer to a woman as sexy boobs in a red dress.” Col looked disgusted.

“Blonde. I meant blonde. Sexy blonde in the red dress. Okay? And she’s still looking. She’s pointing us out to her friend.”

“Shit. You’re right.” Col motioned with his head. “Let’s take it outside.”

 

“Eye candy?” Alice squealed. “Did you say eye candy? I can’t believe you said eye candy!”

Grace huffed in exasperation. “You say it all the time. Now quit making fun of me and look behind you, over by the wall. And don’t be your usual obvious self.”

Alice made a casual turn and kept on dancing. “Ooo, you mean red shirt, dark hair, and dreamy eyes?” She completed her turn and faced Grace.

“What guy in the red shirt? I’m talking twins! How could you miss them? White tees, light blue jeans, at least six feet of hunky body. Each.”

“Twins! Where?” Alice shrieked and spun around.

It was too late for subtlety. Grace pointed. “Right there in the light.”

But they weren’t there. And neither was the light they were standing under. Her eyes darted around the room. They had to be here. Somewhere. They were way too big to get lost in the crowd.

“They were there, Alice. I swear. They were right there.” Grace pointed across the room.

“So they left. No big deal, honey. We’ll catch them another time. Now that you’re getting in the swing of things, we can go out anytime you want.” Alice winked. “You really let yourself go for a minute there, girl. You were something to see.” Her eyes lit on someone over Grace’s shoulder. “We’ll catch those twins another day, but right now I think I’ll go introduce myself to the cutie in the red shirt. Don’t leave without me, now.”

As she watched Alice dance her way across the floor toward her intended conquest, Grace tried to keep the smile on her face, but knew it was becoming a grimace as the buzzing of emotions around her returned. She glanced at her watch. The few minutes of reprieve had been wonderful and it gave her hope. If it could happen once, it could happen again, right? But for now, the buzzing was back with a vengeance.

She returned to her table, took a sip of wine and tried to take an interest in the dancers on the floor. She scanned the room again hoping to catch another glimpse of the gorgeous twins, to no avail. The buzzing in her head grew stronger and the migraine that always accompanied the sensory overload was building along the side of her head. It was too much and she knew it was time to go home. She wasn’t going to ruin Alice’s night out, just make her apologies and find her own way home. She once again scanned the floor, this time for Alice and Mr. Red Shirt and quickly spotted them heading for a hallway at the back of the club.

She blinked her eyes, shook her head and blinked again. She couldn’t be seeing what she was seeing. Mr. Red Shirt wasn’t the cutie Alice claimed. Grace’s heart stopped and she choked on the bile that rose up in her throat. Red shirt’s face had elongated, his chin jutting forward with snarling lips curled back exposing jagged, feral teeth. His brow bulged over blackened eyes and it appeared he had no nose at all. Grace shook her head again, trying to dislodge the nightmare image. This couldn’t be real.

Her rational mind told her that this was a hallucination. Someone must have drugged her wine. It all made sense. That’s why her brain buzz had temporarily disappeared. That’s why she saw the beautiful twins who weren’t there. That’s why she was now seeing this monster while Alice walked calmly at his side, laughing and talking as if she didn’t have a care in the world.

Grace grabbed her purse and followed the couple across the floor. If she was hallucinating, whether from drugs or simply because she’d finally gone over the edge into insanity, she needed to get to a hospital and she couldn’t trust herself to get there alone. She needed Alice. Alice was all she had.

She reached the empty hallway in time to see a rear exit door close. Something was very wrong. Hallucinations or not, Grace knew that Alice would never follow a complete stranger into a back alley alone. Alice was fun and flirty. She wasn’t stupid.

Grace sprinted for the door.