COVER DESIGNER SARIAN ROYAL
Five years after her sister disappeared, seventeen-year-old Adrienne finds the strength to return to her father’s home in New Orleans. But soon after she arrives, the mark of a curse appears on her, leaving her worried. Will she be the next victim of a four-hundred-year old family curse ... the next to be claimed by a serial killer roaming the back alleys of the city?
The day before his senior year begins, Jayden is given a skeleton key passed down through his family for generations -- a gruesome reminder of how his ancestors betrayed their own people and sold them into slavery. He doesn’t believe in the curse the key allegedly bears and puts it away with the intention of forgetting about its message. Until he meets Adrienne, a girl he’s compelled to for more reasons than her beauty.
He’s not the only one who notices her. A man in a skeleton mask and a voodoo gang member are also drawn to Adrienne. One is determined to protect her. The other intends to mislead her. Haunted by the mythical Red Man, all are connected to the ancient curse.
Can they overcome their misgivings about one another and prevent the dark prophecy looming over them? Or will they be lured away from each other by evil’s siren song?
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Adrienne St. Croix
Seventeen year old girl destined to become a powerful voodoo priestess who has a gift for communicating with the spirits in a way no one else can. She’s beautiful and brave with a heart of gold.
She comes to New Orleans to discover what happened to her sister, who disappeared five years before, the latest victim of the four hundred year old St. Croix curse. Adrienne’s arrival splits the voodoo community of New Orleans between those who fear she brings the curse upon them and those who know she’s the only one who can stop the evil that’s coming.
Therese St. Croix
Adrienne’s oldest sister. Therese is a mysterious figure whose motivations are not fully known. She’s the only person in four hundred years who figured out how to escape the family curse, even if that meant sentencing her own soul to purgatory, where she bides her time and builds up her knowledge of magic in order to escape.
Determined to come back to life at any cost, Therese has made a deal with the dark spirits that live in the land of the undead, one that will not only bring her back to life, but will drag everyone around her into the path of evil.
Only her sister Adrienne and the mysterious Red Man can stop her – but they must act before it’s too late, and Therese does what no other has and succeeds in breaking down the barrier between living and dead.
Photo © Andrey Kiselev - Fotolia.com
Twenty two year old street smart, tough gang member who helps his brother run the Loa Ogoun street gang. Known as the guardian of the innocent, he’s the go-to person to help police rescue tourists and others in trouble in the seedy parts of the city where lawlessness (and black magic) reigns. He’s more than the bad boy he looks like – he’s also able to see the spirits of lost souls that wander the streets of New Orleans.
Accustomed to violence but with a soft spot for protecting women, Rene is bothered by only one thing: that he has to cover up the murders of innocent women – innocent victims of the serial killer prowling the city's back alleys – which means their spirits wander the streets, lost, and their families know no peace. He’s charged with protecting the unsuspecting Adrienne from an evil no one can name – but which everyone in the voodoo community knows is coming.
Jacques “Jax” DuBois
Rene’s older brother and leader of the Loa Ogoun voodoo gang that runs the streets of New Orleans. Violent, intelligent and talented in the magic arts, he regularly resorts to black magic to keep the streets safe and the darker elements of the voodoo community in check. For five years, he’s mourned the loss of the woman he loved. To honor her and the god of death, Jax has worn a skeleton mask since he lost Therese St. Croix to the St. Croix family curse.
He is known as the scariest person on the streets of New Orleans for a reason, and yet he’s also entrusted by police and community members to keep the peace that protects the tourism trade, the city’s greatest source of income. What no one else knows: alone, in his apartment, he’s performing a different kind of black magic, a blood rite meant to return to life the woman he mourns. If he succeeds, the black magic that will not only claim his spirit, but will condemn everyone around him as well.
Photo © frenzelll - Fotolia.com
Seventeen year old, All-American athlete born into privilege. On the eve of his senior year, Jayden learns the horrible secret behind the source of his family’s incredible wealth.
The dark secret is accompanied by the St. Croix curse, a piece of his family’s history that the practical teen dismisses as ridiculous. He doesn’t believe in magic or voodoo– until he accidentally discovers his ability to cross between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Initially drawn to Adrienne by her beauty, Jayden soon finds their fates are intertwined by the same curse that befell their families four hundred years before.
He must overcome his misgivings about magic, if he is to help them both survive.
The Red Man
After incurring the wrath of the deities in the voodoo pantheon for his misuse of magic, The Red Man is sentenced to a four hundred year penance. He becomes the embodiment of the curse hanging over Adrienne and Jayden’s families and must carry out his sentence in full by claiming ninety nine firstborns from each of the St. Croix and Toussaint families. He’s been killing for hundreds of years and only needs one more life to fulfill his penance – that of Therese St. Croix. But when he came for her five years ago, she used black magic to escape him and disappeared, leaving him with a difficult choice: claim Adrienne’s life in place of her sister's to end his sentence? Or continue chasing Therese to prevent a greater evil – her return from the dead - and maybe redeem what he can of his damned spirit?
Photo © Chris Smyth - Fotolia.com
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