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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Review and Giveaway The Appeal of Evil by Pembroke Sinclair

REVIEW

The Appeal of Evil - Could not be a more appropriate title that would convey the essence of this book!

After the first pages I had some doubts about the book, yet the author never gave me any reason to give up reading, so I continued. Is far from me the regret that I did.

If you've ever wondered how a person (apparently) good chose the dark side, how and why it can fall into the nets of and on devils’ side, well, The Appeal of Evil will give you a very good answer. Because, without lacking of action scenes and danger, this (hopefully first) volume focuses on what I could call, more as a joke and recognizing the extension use of the term meaning, the subjective element of the crime (mens rea)... i.e. that intimate, intellectual process of making capital decision.

Katie, the main character, must answer several questions: what is good and what is bad, what to do, what to choose. And if finding the correct answers to these questions is not sufficiently hard, things are actually more complicated because the heroine‘s clear thinking is flawed by a broken heart, a unaccepted resignation, by partial explanation and especially by the blurred images and promises of a devil what lay in her eyes and heart a lot of shades of gray, true or not. Any motivations that could have stopped all that will happen are given too late, after the evil deceptions already got root.

The characters are believable, they convey emotions and support the story, and both pretendants will attract fans. Pembroke Sinclair exploits very well the idea of our day paranormal literature that pure evil is gradually becoming an antihero, and after that he will change, for the sake of his sweetheart, in the good guy, and so she makes the reader to hope that something good exists too in Josh, the demon. If we add here that it is in the nature of a lover to believe that it has the power to change for the better any bad guy, it's clear that the road to hell is paved not only with good intentions, but also with too much self-confidence.

In the absence of a firm decision to take side of one or the other, the two-way deeds and words will lead to an intense ending. A denouement that could be a finale, but one that also provides great opportunities for a continuation... that I cannot wait to read it.

EXCERPT



First Chapter

“You used to have a crush on me, ya know.”

Katie stopped dribbling the tennis ball on the court and focused on the speaker. Wes stood in front of her and to the left. He crouched, his forearms resting on his knees, his tennis racket twirling in his hand. When he glanced over his shoulder at her, a sly smile covered his lips. She remembered when his hair was blonde, but recently he had dyed it black and cut it into a short spike. It made his skin look paler than normal; his thin lips looked redder. The corners of his brown eyes wrinkled as his smile widened.

She set her jaw. There were so many things she could say to him, the first and foremost that he was an idiot, but she pressed her lips into a line. Why would he bring that up at that particular moment? What did it matter? With a shake of her head, she faced forward and threw the ball in the air. Pretending it was Wes’s head, she smashed her racket into it with all her might. It sailed over the net, and her opponent moved to the right to intercept it. A forehand shot sent it back toward Katie and Wes. It was beyond her court realm, so she let Wes get it. Inwardly, she kind of hoped it would hit him in the mouth, maybe swell up his lips so he couldn’t speak. It didn’t. He was ready and backhanded it over the net. The two teams volleyed a few more times, then the girl on the opposite side hit the ball a little too hard, knocking it out of bounds.

“Yeah!” Wes pumped his fist in the air, then approached Katie for a high five.

Reluctantly, she gave him one. The other team readied to serve, but the bell rang. Thank goodness, Katie thought. After leaving the tennis courts, she followed the rest of her class into their respective locker rooms.



Not being one to dilly-dally in the locker room and catch up on the latest gossip, it didn’t take Katie long to shower and change. Being naked around other girls made her nervous. She was more developed than they were, and the way they stared and huffed at her, like she could control nature, made her uncomfortable. The sooner she could cover up her body, the happier she was. She stopped at the bathroom mirror to quickly run a comb through her hair. With her dark brown hair wet, it looked black. It touched her shoulders, so it didn’t take long to get the comb through. She made sure the part in the middle was straight. Her hazel eyes caught the fluorescent lights and glittered for a moment. She leaned closer to the mirror and applied chapstick to her pouty lips. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she turned and headed out of the locker room.

As she stepped out the door and headed for the gym, someone grabbed her wrist from behind. The touch was familiar, and, if she was honest with herself, expected. Especially after what happened on the courts, an apology was in order. The action didn’t surprise her, and she didn’t cry out. Instead, she allowed herself to be pulled toward the storage area near the girl’s locker room that held the gymnastic mats. Her wrist was released and she turned to face him, crossing her arms over her chest. Wes hopped onto a stack of mats. It was typical of him to bring her someplace private, away from prying eyes, after making a spectacle in public. Wes was good at apologizing, but he was horrible about admitting he was wrong in front of others.

“Sorry about what I said on the court, but you needed some motivation. They were creaming us. I figured the best way to get you to play better was to make you mad.” He smiled.

Katie rolled her eyes and turned to walk away. She didn’t make it very far. Wes wrapped his legs around her thighs and pulled her backward. He draped his arm across her left shoulder and rested his hands on her ribs, right below her breast. She shuddered. His mouth was right next to her ear; his breath tickled her lobe.



“Why don’t you still have a crush on me?” he whispered. He traced his fingertip gently across her shoulder and down her arm.

Goosebumps rose on her flesh. Her stomach fluttered; a chill ran down her spine. The smell of soap and mint drifted into her nostrils. The heat from his body radiated through her, making her feel safe. It was a short-lived sensation though, and the flutter in her stomach quickly turned into a lump. She lifted her arm and dug her elbow into his side. He grunted and let go. Without a word, she stomped toward the gym.

Wes caught his breath and jumped off the mats. “Katie, come on. Come back. I’m sorry.” She turned around, her face red with anger. “Just leave me alone!”

She tried to keep her emotions in check, but the words came out louder than she expected. She spun around quickly, not wanting Wes to see how upset she was. As she did, she ran into someone. Jerking back, she opened her mouth to apologize, but the words stuck in her throat. Bright blue eyes met hers, then quickly flicked over her head. She took in the boy’s short light brown hair styled with gel, the full lips that turned down in a frown. The muscles bulged beneath his shirt, and she fought back the urge to place her hands back on his chest. Josh Evers.

“Everything all right, Katie? This guy bothering you?”

Oh, my God! she thought. He knows my name. Josh Evers knows my name!

It took her a moment to find her voice. “No, I’m fine. Thank you.”

The redness in her face that had been there from anger quickly turned into embarrassment. The desire to run and hide from both boys overwhelmed her.

“Hey, Josh, why don’t you mind your own business? Katie and I were having a private conversation.”



Katie glanced over her shoulder. Wes had placed his hands on his hips but hadn’t moved forward. She looked back at Josh.

“If you ask me, it doesn’t look like she wants to talk to you at all.” He balled his hands into fists at his sides, a gesture that didn’t go unnoticed by Wes.

“Oh, really? What are you going to do about it, Josh?” Wes spit the name out before taking a step forward.

Josh also took a step, and worry coursed through Katie’s body. The tension in the air was palpable. She didn’t want them fighting on her account. Although, in the back of her mind, the action flattered her. Especially coming from Josh. He had just transferred to their school at the beginning of the semester. As the captain of the baseball team, he was the desire of every girl in the school and the envy of the boys. Katie hadn’t thought he knew she existed. Yet, there he was coming to her rescue and calling her by name. It was enough to make her swoon. And she would have if the situation had been different. As it was, she needed to stay alert. A teacher could come by at any moment. She didn’t want them getting in trouble for her. She had no idea what she would say, but she could probably come up with something if she really needed to.

Not that she had anything to worry about from Wes. He’d never do anything to hurt her. He wasn’t lying when he said she used to have a crush on him. She’d liked him since they were in kindergarten. At times, Wes even made it seem he liked her back. Then, at other times, he made it perfectly clear he didn’t reciprocate her feelings. Those moments crushed her, sent her home crying on more than one occasion. But those moments of tenderness, the ones that made her believe he liked her, sustained her, kept her hoping that maybe someday something would happen between them. He had toyed with her emotions for their entire school career.



By her senior year in high school, she’d had enough. She couldn’t take the roller coaster of emotion, didn’t want to feel like she was being strung along. She resolved to stay away from Wes, convincing herself she could do it. Only one more year, then she’d leave for college, and she’d never have to see him again. But he showed up her in homeroom, then in her gym class. She wanted to burst into tears when he took the desk next to her. Why was he making this so difficult? Still, she wasn’t going to let her resolve fail. She would ignore him, pretend he didn’t exist.

When Josh showed up, he made pretending Wes wasn’t there so much easier. On top of that, he was standing up for her honor, defending her against a rival. As he stood in front of her, so close to her body she felt the heat radiating from him, thoughts of wrapping her arms around his waist and kissing him ran through her mind. She imagined how firm his muscles would feel under her hands, how soft his lips would be. She inhaled deeply and the spicy tang of aftershave caressed her nostrils. It took every ounce of self-control to keep from molesting him.

Josh took another step closer to Wes. Without thinking, she placed her hands on Josh’s stomach to stay him. As she suspected, the muscles were hard under her fingers. The seriousness of the situation flooded back into her mind. If she didn’t say something, a fight could ensue and someone might get hurt.

“Josh, no, please. He’s not worth it.” She glanced over her shoulder and stared at Wes with narrowed eyes.

Wes held his hands out to his sides. Hurt crossed his face.

Without saying another word, Josh wrapped his arm around Katie’s shoulders and escorted her into the gym away from Wes.









About the author:
I have had several short stories, novels, and novellas published. My story, “Sohei,” was named one of the Best Stories of 2008 by The Cynic Online Magazine. I have novellas and a short story collection available from Musa Publishing and eTreasures Publishing. I have a novella, The History of My Wishes, published by MuseItUp Publishing. My novels, Coming from Nowhere (adult, sci fi), Life After the Undead (YA, horror), and Death to the Undead (YA, sequel to Life After the Undead) are available from eTreasures Publishing. Life After the Undead was a Top Ten Finisher in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll in the YA category and the cover art category.

In April, I have a middle grade novel called The Ifs coming out, which will be published by Little Devil Books. I also have two picture books that will be available from eTreasures Publishing. All of the children's titles are written under the pen name J.D. Pooker. Under Pembroke Sinclair, I also have an adult urban fantasy novel entitled Wucaii that will be published by MuseItUp Publishing.

Under my real name, Jessica Robinson, from March 2008 to January 2011, I wrote scientific articles for Western Farmer-Stockman. I have a nonfiction book, Life Lessons from Slasher Films, published in July 2012 from Scarecrow Publishing (an imprint of Rowman and Littlefield).

I have my Master’s in English, and I am a freelance content editor for Musa Publishing, as well as a former content and line editor for eTreasures Publishing.

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1 comment:

Pembroke Sinclair said...

Thank you for having me on your blog and for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the book. And yes, there will be a sequel!