May 23, 2013

Character Interview: Kendra Weiss @MonaKarel #RLFblog

My Killer My Love 

Mona Karel, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We're excited to interview your character, Kendra Weiss from the book, My Killer My Love.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Cover artist: Pepper O'Neal and Mona did the cover together
Length: 324 pages
Heat rating: Sensual
Tagline: An immortal enforcer is sent to punish an innocent woman, and discovers the soul he'd forgotten he possessed.
Blurb: She came to the woods to heal and found evil lurking among the trees... Upon her grandmother's death, Kendra inherits a cottage deep within an ancient forest, along with the powers given only to certain women in her family—powers she doesn't know she has. Recovering from a vicious attack, Kendra returns home to the remote cabin determined to heal both her body and her spirit. But the forest is ailing, too. Evil stalks its dark places, turning its quiet glades into a battlefield. When a strangely beautiful man appears at her cabin intent on punishing her for a crime she didn't commit, Kendra needs all her strength to protect her forest, her life... and her heart. Can she learn to use her powers and to trust Mykhael in time to save the ancient forest?
He came to the woods to redeem himself and found an innocence that would be his undoing... Throughout his long life, Mykhael has struggled, often in vain, to please the Atrahasis, immortal overlords of the sacred places in the universe. Now they have given him one last chance to redeem himself. He must punish the person they think desecrated an ancient forest in Northern California. But when he meets Kendra, he realizes he's doomed to disappoint them once more. Not only is she innocent of the crime the Atrahasis have accused her of, Kendra is the missing part of the soul Mykhael didn't know he still possessed. Can he defy the Atrahasis yet again and live long enough to save the only thing in his life that matters?
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What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Kendra Weiss is in her mid twenties. She's been a folk dancer but with her injury plus her grandmother's death, she's come back to the cottage to heal herself and, as it turns out, the forest.
Mykhael Alastor, oh, he's ageless. Seriously. He would have stopped aging when the Atrahasis offered him an opportunity to right all the wrongs he encountered, around mid to late twenties. Which three thousand or more years ago was quite an advanced age. He's an enforcer, a guardian of the sacred places on Earth.

Interview with Kendra Weiss

Tell us about yourself.
"I'm afraid I'm a bit of a disappointment to my family though they try to say otherwise. My father controls large corporations, my mother is the ultimate hostess and my siblings are at the top of their field. I was uncomfortable in that life as a child, so they let me stay at Gran's cottage deep in the Sequoias."
Tell us about Mykhael Alastor.
"Mykhael's had a rough life. He was rejected by his father, one of Atrahasis overlords, though he was known as the god Alastor, whose duty was to ensure the sins of the father were visited upon their sons. Kind of grim, don't you think? Since his mother was not of the Atrahasis, he grew up away from the family and alone after his mother died. In spite of this beginning he became a soldier, then a war lord, then was offered a position with the Atrahasis. Even though his life has been one of war and fighting, he loves sunlight and the natural order of things."
What do you think is your strongest point?
"Oh, I'm not much really. I learned to keep the garden growing and how to live here in the woods. For a while I performed with a folk dance group, which was great fun until I had a set piece dropped on my legs and couldn't dance any more. I guess my strongest point is being too stubborn to give up when other people might."
What would Mykhael say is your strongest point?
{smile} "Mykhael really likes my cooking. Seriously, I guess he'd agree I don't give up easily...oh, here he is."
"Yes, and just in time. It sounds like you're once again bending reality, my dear. Let's see, hmmm...a disappointment to your family? And they LET you stay at the cottage?" Sigh. "My darling you really don't need to hide yourself from these people, after all they want to read your story. Kendra's grandmother recognized the power in her as a baby, and asked that she be sent to be raised in the woods. They resisted until they realized Kendra didn't belong in their modern world. They could not be prouder of their 'fey' daughter even when they don't completely understand her. As far as her strongest point, stubborn does come to mind. But even more her inner self glows with the light of her power, which she has never used to her own benefit. Although she does bake a marvelous loaf of bread.
"Now let's see about these other questions, since you seem hesitant to be truthful about yourself. Hmmm, weakest point, you have none except you don't think enough of yourself. You grew up here in these sacred woods, a magical area for sure. I'm not going to let you wish for something different in your life since all of your life brought you here to be with me in these woods, and isn't that your fondest wish?"
"Am I not allowed to answer questions for myself? And here I thought you'd become a more modern man. Now let me answer my own questions...oh, a place of perfect refuge--"
"I do believe you're blushing my love. Do you really want to tell them about your refuge...our refuge?"
"Why not let them read what Mona had to say about it?"


            The peace she'd sought was here, and she wondered why she hadn't thought to come here before. In fact, until that morning, she hadn't remembered this place at all. As she settled herself on the mossy roots of the benevolent old sequoia, she wondered about that.
            Immediately, she felt the searching probe, and she redirected her thoughts. In spite of his restless dreams, Mykhael was awake and again trying to reach her. Now, instead of confusing his search with inane detail, she let her mind go blank and opened herself to the rising sun. As the first rays stroked her face, she breathed in the serenity of the clearing and breathed out her confusion, anger, and fear. The familiar ritual worked as it once had. Soon, she was immersed in tranquility, far away from any touch.
            The thought of Mykhael she rejected as soon as his image appeared in her mind. He was too close, too clever, too attuned. Thinking of him would bring him here, before she was ready to deal with him. Instead, she allowed herself to think of her cousin.
            Clarissa. Child of the light, with moonbeams threading through her hair and eyes the blue of the finest summer skies, though her inner person did not match her appearance. Clarissa, for whom beauty and success were a foregone conclusion. It was known in the family that Clarissa was beautiful and Kendra...well, Kendra was smart, which was quite good enough for her.
            Her cousin had come to visit in the hospital, overcoming an aversion to things imperfect. When Kendra expressed worry about the garden, Clarissa had been happy to come up, to help out. Why hadn't Kendra seen the danger? In her whole life, her cousin had never done anything for anyone else without expecting something in return. Still, Kendra had wanted to believe Clarissa's stated desire to help.
            Even knowing the truth, and knowing what kind of a person Clarissa had grown into, Kendra could not accept the duplicity. To even think of selling Gran's home was impossible. That Clarissa would intentionally pretend to be someone she'd always despised meant the purpose behind the act was darker than Kendra could conceive.
            It had been too long since she opened her mind to contemplation. Thinking was as hard on her body as it was on her mind. She shifted, trying to find a more comfortable spot on the ground, and her heel caught on a root.
            The pain came unannounced, ripping through her knee, rushing up and down her leg, piercing her heart. Kendra had not cried for her grandmother and could not cry for her cousin. Not yet. She could, and very nearly did, cry for the destruction of her knee, and of her life.
            It was the warmth, first, that let her know she was no longer alone. Not only physical warmth, but something far more than that. A gentle, nurturing warmth, reaching through the ice that had formed in her thoughts, around her heart. Reaching, searching for a way to help, to touch. To invade.
            Mykhael was in the glade with her.
            "No." Her eyes snapped open, but for a moment her mind refused their message.
            He sat close enough to touch, far enough away not to frighten. His green eyes regarded her with the unblinking stare of a predator. His legs were folded into the complicated knot she coucould no longer achieve, and his expression was one of benevolence. Kendra doubted that expression, and when he reached a long-fingered hand in her direction, she recoiled before she could stop herself.
            Mykhael paused, his hand in mid-air, reaching for her but not quite touching. Then he let his hand drop to rest on his thigh. From kindness, his expression froze into the remote aloofness she told herself was more in keeping with the person he really was. She would not allow his implied hurt to touch her. Not this time.
            "I could never hurt you, Kendra. Not in the way you think." In the hush of the glade, his voice filled an emptiness she'd never noticed here before, yet she knew it had always been there.
            "You already have."
            He tilted his head to one side, and the entirely-too-thick fall of dark auburn curls draped across his shoulder. "How have I hurt you?"
            "By making me think I was better than I am, that I have courage and value. I've been a crawling coward all my life. I was perfectly content to remain that way. Now that you've made me experience valor, I know what I'm missing in my make-up."
            He allowed himself a small smile, as though amused by her explanation. "Your courage was always there, Kendra. I did nothing to force it."
            "Oh, like Oz and the lion?"
            This time his puzzlement was absolute, but he didn't pursue what she said. Instead, he looked around the glade.
            "Is this a place you came when you were afraid or worried?"
            "I found this place when I started high school," she answered obliquely. "Gran never wanted to come here. She said it should be my place alone."
            "No one ever joined you?"
            "No one ever knew anything about it. I'd forgotten about it myself until this morning." She looked away from him, lifting her face to the sun's growing warmth. On the edges of her mind, she could feel his delicate touch.
            "Go away, Mykhael. Get out of my mind and my life."
            "What is it you fear?" he asked, his voice low.
            "You," she answered without hesitation. "I fear you."
            There was none of the condemnation or argument she expected, nor any derisive amusement. Instead, a void suddenly appeared where his thoughts had been. Puzzled, Kendra allowed herself to look, really look, at him, for the first time that day.
            Backlit by the sun, he sat very still, his rising and falling chest the only sign that he was more than a statue. The belt of his shirt had come loose, exposing the knit silk undershirt. Mykhael had gone into himself, shutting her out as completely as she had tried to shut him out. Now she saw her own efforts as amateurish. Had he wanted in, he could have invaded her mind whenever he wanted.
            "Touch me, Kendra," he said into the blank silence that had taken root between them.
There was no force in his voice, and he did not change his position. With his legs wrapped up within themselves, it would be difficult for him to leap toward her. Yet she felt trapped. She pulled away, readying herself to rise.
            "You have no need to fear me. I think you realize that. It is yourself you fear."
            "Why would I fear myself?"
            Whatever her fears, or lack thereof, she knew she could not respect herself if she backed away now. Finally, her eyes on his face, she braved a touch on his forearm. Just a light brush of her fingertips, trailing through the short dark hairs.
            She saw his pupils dilate, then his eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared, while his mouth
Teach Me to Forget 
opened slightly to grab a breath of air. She watched his chest rise as his breath caught.
His small nipples hardened and rose against the silk undershirt. Fascinated, she continued to stroke as she recorded his reactions. A bulge began to show in his loose linen trousers, and she jerked her gaze away, to focus on his hands, forming into fists on his legs.
            "It is not just you, touching me. It is us. It is something concerning you and myself." He swallowed, and she tracked the movement of his throat then was distracted by the pulse beating at the base of his neck, the abrupt rise of his chest. "I was sent here to investigate rumors of people violating your grandmother's garden. I did not expect you. I am as shocked about it as you are."
            He lifted his hands, opening them, looking at them then at her. "I have tried to only touch you to heal, to help. But I cannot control what happens when our skin connects. I find I do not want to control it. Kendra, may I touch you?"
            Helpless against the honest longing in his voice, the torment in his face, she nodded. Her eyes squeezed shut as she braced herself for the now familiar shock.
            A warm breeze skimmed across her cheek, brushed the edges of her hair, traced the outline of her jaw, then swept on. Intrigued, she leaned toward rather than away from the promise of his touch. A lightening came to the glade, as though the trees themselves breathed a sigh of happiness.
            Finally, she felt the slight roughness of his fingers against her skin. Through some oddity of the communication they shared, she also felt the softness of her cheek under his fingers. He traced her eyebrow, the edge of her nose, the folds of her ear. Everywhere his fingers touched, sparks kindled. Soon she felt as though her entire body was on fire. The fire chose no one place, but she felt heat pooling in her thoughts, melting the lump in her chest until it ran into the
center of the most feminine part of her being.

About the Author

Mona Karel is the writing alter ego of Monica Stoner, who has lived her life in a manner guaranteed to give any parents gray hairs. She's been a dog groomer, horse trainer, stable manager, waitress...then at thirty five took a job as a buyer's assistant at a nuclear power plant. A few years later she married the man she'd loved for far too long, and settled down for a while. During this passage into normal life she rediscovered her love of writing. Of course she couldn't do that the easy way either, completing numerous manuscripts which will never see the light of day while learning her craft. Distractions abounded, including her long time involvement in pure bred dogs and her husband's amazing artistic talent. Eventually her characters called to her to be set free upon the world, and she braved another round of submissions.

Previous Books

My Killer My Love was the first, then Teach Me To Forget. The books aren't related to each other, except being romances about strong women and the men who enter their lives to drive them nuts.

Books Coming Soon

A sequel to My Killer My Love, set in the ancient mountains of New Mexico
Let's see, what would be a good prize...How about a $5.00 gift card to the buy link of your choice, to a randomly chosen commenter?

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  1. Thanks for being here today Mona!

  2. Thanks for inviting me to share your blog. I always enjoy the cover stuff!


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