In this third Wednesday of March 2015, I hereby call to order the 35th meeting of Kate’s Book Club. Every meeting, we shall be reading a tome either (a) penned by an author named Kate or (b) that includes a character named Kate or (c) that this Kate liked a whole lot and thinks you will too. If you missed our last meeting, you want to get caught up.
Bookclubbers don’t feel bamboozled, but Kate Thomas is not in fact a Kate at all. Rather Kate Thomas is the awesome pen name of L.A. Starkey, the author of the upcoming Soul Keeper Series, a supernatural young adult series, and The Liarus Detective Series, a supernatural middle grade series. She is a CPA by trade, a church planter and entrepreneur at heart; however, writing and reading are passions she just can’t help but indulge in. With more ideas than one person should be allowed, she is blessed to have a muse that doesn’t seem to take a vacation and more energy that one might consider healthy.
L.A. Starkey – YA/MG Paranormal
Kate Thomas – NA/Adult Paranormal
Isabella James – Sci-fi/Fantasy
Lauren Elizabeth – Adult Contemporary Romance
So, I don’t know about you, but if you skip down to the excerpt below I think you will find a much more convincing reason to pick up The Core than the blurb. Yes, Ellie does have to make a decision and yes there is a precarious balance to be upheld, but the so much more compelling issue here is the amazing chemistry between Ellie and her boss Mr. Kelley, David that is. And that magnetic chemistry makes this book well worth picking up. Thomas sets up intrigue and drama seductively in this first installment in what could be a very long series (please please please).
This reader was not always a fan of Thomas’ prose, the in-between moments are blah. But when there is action (and there is quite a lot of it) the narrative moves swiftly, tension is built to perfection and you can fall right into this alternate world that Thomas has created. My hope is that Thomas tightens her transitions in books to come, but I’ll still read them even if she doesn’t because the meat of this is so delicious that I don’t mind the less than sturdy tendons. I hate spoilers, so I won’t be one. The most I will say is that if you aren’t good with cliffhangers, you might want to wait until the sequel to The Core is released this summer to pick this up. But if you are like me and believe anticipation is a feeling to be relished, then go get this book today!
The narrative structure is different as Thomas doesn’t pretend that this is a story in and of itself; she sets us up neatly for the long run. But The Core is still a quick, yummy read that fans of paranormal romance will enjoy.
The silence greeted her as she walked into her house. A large, white fluff ball meowed and rubbed itself along her legs as she worked to get the door closed behind her; the cold front had utilized a strong wind to bring itself into town. She reached down and picked up her baby, kissing the side of his head and murmuring to him.
“Did you miss me, Marx? Was it a long day without Mommy?” She walked through the darkness while holding her cat to her chest, turning on lights as she made her way to the kitchen. Her home was small, the living room barely fitting a couch and TV , and the kitchen being made for one medium-sized rear to move around in it. Sundays with her mom and Jacob crowding around her were warm and full of fun, but a tight fit.
The sound of a voice caused her to jolt, scream softly and drop the cat.
“Did you find what you were looking for tonight, Ellie?”
She turned on the kitchen light, her hand shaking a little as her eyes fell upon her employer. His body was comfortably positioned in one of her small wooden chairs, his eyes questioning and yet not filled with malice. She couldn’t speak for a few moments. The mere fact that he filled up the kitchen with his presence should’ve scared her to death , but all she could do was breathe in deeply, enjoying the dark hues of his cologne.
Play it cool … play it cool, Ellie.
“I’m not sure what you’re referring to, but finding you in my kitchen is creepy.” She stood shocked for a moment, her face flushing from anger at the idea of him thinking that it was okay to break into her house.
“Just a little. Why would you think that breaking into my house was a good course of action?” She touched her fingers to the side of her head, trying not to enjoy the smile that lifted his lips.
“Why would you think it would be wise to trail me half the night? What if I wasn’t the upstanding guy you thought me to be, or wait… perhaps you didn’t think me such a good guy or you’d not be interested in watching me from the shadows.”
She was pissed, but he had a point, sort of.
Ellie walked toward him, pulled out a chair and sat down a little ways from him, the small, round wooden table between them. She pinched her forefinger and thumb together in front of her face, a soft smile touching her lips as she said, “You have a point, but I’m still disturbed.”
Her heart was beating painfully in her chest; the thought of dying at twenty-four was a bit overwhelming, and the truth of the matter was that her boss was probably up to something quite nefarious. She’d only given Jacob half the story. Whatever he was doing in her kitchen, he wasn’t offering secrets or planning parties, but most likely giving her a stern warning.
A smile touched his beautiful mouth, and his full lips spread to show stark-white teeth, the gesture reaching his eyes and softening his expression. He laughed quietly, leaning forward to lay his leather-covered arms on the table before looking up at her, his dark green eyes full of self-assurance. “Do you find me that interesting?”
She felt the weight of his stare, a shiver starting in her stomach and rushing upward, until her arms were covered in goose pimples. “I have a few questions. I followed you, yes, but you’re in my place in the dark.”
He shrugged nonchalantly, “I’m not upset by your actions, though I can see how you feel about mine. I understand the situation.”
“You do?” she asked, confused by his admission. Her own sense of reason was slipping from her grasp as her eyes moved toward his large hands, which were clasped together, one thumb rubbing along the other.
“I do. You have questions, so ask me.” He stopped speaking and sat back, placing his hands in his lap, his dark slacks barely showing from her vantage point. He didn’t seem to have a care in the world and she’d yet to ask what he was really doing here and how he’d gotten into her house when she was more than certain that she’d locked it up tight when she left with Jacob for the evening.
She swallowed hard, leaning forward and placing her arms on the table, knowing that her crimson fleece jacket looked professional and slimming on her feminine form. “What are you doing here, David?”
If he thought himself bold to be in her home uninvited, she was ten times more so for using his first name. He’d never, ever given her his name, always referring to himself as Mr. Kelley to everyone he encountered. It took her a whole year to figure out what his first name was, and to use it was a no-no, or so she imagined. Tonight seemed to be the night to put everything out on the table, seeing that she was most likely going to die.
A smile tugged at the side of his mouth, his strong cheekbones and defined jaw leaving no question of his dominance. “I am here to give you a few of the answers you seek, but first you get to confess.”
She scoffed, quickly forgetting his appeal and remembering how very dominant she herself could be. “I get to confess? What would you have me confess, exactly?”
“You know, it’s not every day I have an attractive younger female following me around town as if I’m a wayward lover and she’s in need of answers. What exactly did you and your male friend hope to find tonight?” His gaze moved from holding her own to traveling down the front of her body, her reaction causing his smirk to widen. “Do I make you uncomfortable, Miss Martin?”
“That male is my twin brother, and I was trying to figure out if you’re a mass murderer.” She wrapped her arms around her torso, one hand coming up to allow her to bite her fingernail. “Attractive younger woman, hmm?”
He laughed, and the sound warmed the whole room. For a moment, his overbearing disposition was discarded before he locked back into his façade, the persona that David Kelley wore in front of all who interacted with him. “Yes. You are quite attractive, but you know that.”
He stood and walked toward the back door, opening it and smiling over his shoulder. “Strike one for not asking for what you wanted, Ellie. I offered and you decided not to bite.” He walked out the back door as she stood, turning only to put the key back above the doorstop in the back of the house. “You should really be more conspicuous in all areas of your life, hmmm?”
She wanted to respond, but could do nothing more than stand and watch him leave. A soft sigh of frustration left her as the door closed.
Whew… Read on my lovely, Bookclubbers, read on… until next time.