Catherine Spangler’s Sentinels

I’m delighted to have paranormal romance author Catherine Spangler as my guest today.  Catherine and I met when we were Golden Heart finalists the same year.  She went on to final in the RITA and become a national bestseller.  I fell in love with her Shielder series and am looking forward to reading the Sentinels, the books she’ll discuss with us today.

Welcome, Catherine!  Please tell us a bit about the Sentinels series and where Touched by Darkness fits. 

Cathy's_Picture,_Head_ShotThank you for having me. This is such a great group.

The Sentinel series is urban fantasy romance about the Sentinels, who are reincarnated Atlantians here to protect Earth from evil beings (also previous Atlantians) known as Belians.  Helping the Sentinels is a small number “conductors”, humans who are psychically wired to enhance the Sentinels’ powers for tracking Belians. Conductors and Sentinels are always the opposite sex of each other, and experience a strong sexual attraction. Touched by Darkness is the first book in the series.

What draws Kara and Damien together, and what keeps them apart?

Since Damien is a Sentinel and Kara a conductor, there is an immediate psychic and physical recognition between them. Not only that, but Kara was in a relationship with a Sentinel who was murdered, and her son inherited his father’s Sentinel powers and is starting to project them.  He’s going to need protection and training.

 What keeps Kara and Damien apart is Kara’s fierce determination to stay as far away as possible from the dark, supernatural Sentinel world, and to shield her son from it as well.

CatherineSpangler_TouchedByDarkness_2500Would you like to share an excerpt? 

 Kara felt it the minute she climbed down from the pickup. It assailed her, surrounding her like the treacherous tentacles of a sea monster. Threatening, suffocating.

The power.

She grabbed the top of the door, suddenly struggling for breath. No! She was just imagining it, still haunted by the terror of seven years ago. Still raw from Richard, even now. No one in this small west Texas town could wield such power. Alex was too young, and—God willing—would never learn to manifest it. She shouldn’t have even let herself think about it on the drive here. That was the only possible reason she could be imagining the sensation.

But the feeling persisted, furtive, horribly familiar. The sensation of the power. Adrenaline surged, sending an awful tension through her body. She slammed the door shut, leaned against the truck, battling the beginnings of all-out panic. No, no . . . no!

Her frantic denial didn’t diminish the effect of her pounding heart, or the insistent barrage of an outside force. It was coming from across the street, near Don Mason’s feed store. Kara turned that direction, determined to tame her runaway imagination. 

A man stood on the sidewalk in front of Mason’s Feed, tall, dark, unmoving. A long black duster flapped around his jean-clad legs. The same breeze blew his midnight hair around a sharp face with chiseled features. His steady gaze fixed on Kara, an all-too-familiar glow flaring into his eyes. No . . .

“Mom? What are you doing?”

She felt sweat trickling down between her breasts, even though the day was chilly enough that she’d worn a sweater over her shirt. The power was like that, like an insidious fever that heated the blood, destroyed balance and rational existence.

Reminiscent of hell.

“Mom!”         

Still staring at the stranger, she saw his gaze shift downward and to her left. Oh, God. Alex.

She looked at her son. He clutched her sweater, concern on his thin face. Dark brown eyes, sandy brown hair, and an expression so much like Richard’s, she wanted to cry—something she had refused to do since about two weeks after his death.

Richard. Her gaze snapped back up. The stranger was striding toward them, staring intently at Alex. The power. Here, in Zorro. Panic coalesced into terror.

“Get in the truck!” she gasped, pulling Alex away from the vehicle and jerking open the door. She jammed her hand in her pocket, grabbing the keys. “Get in! Now!”

He stared at her, obviously confused by her irrational behavior. “But Mom—”

“Now!” she screamed, picking him up and heaving him across the bench seat. She didn’t give him time to slide over, before she leaped in behind him. It seemed like an eternity before she could right herself from the sideways angle in which she landed, while Alex wiggled out from beneath her.

She leaned out to grab the door. The stranger was almost upon them, moving in steady strides. From painful experience, she knew his seemingly moderate speed was deceptive. Her heart battered her rib cage. She fumbled the key into the ignition as she swung the door shut.

The engine roared to life, the truck lurching forward as she floored the gas before the gears had fully engaged. The jolt snapped her head backward painfully. For one horrible moment, she thought the vehicle would stall. Frantically, she stomped the gas pedal again. Tires shrieking, the truck shot down the road, fishtailing and nearly crashing into the right curb, before Kara spun the wheel and got it under control.   

She sped away, exhaust spewing out behind them. She had to look. Was compelled to look. In her rearview mirror, she saw the stranger, standing in the road, watching them. Watching her. Watching Alex. She began shaking uncontrollably.

And knew her bid for a normal life had just gone up in smoke.

The terror pressed down on her, the memories swirling through her frantic mind. Only she feared memories weren’t the only monsters she now faced.

But real flesh and blood demons.

Ooh, terrific! What was the most difficult part of this book to write, and what was the most fun?

Since Touched by Darkness is a romance, it was difficult to balance the adult relationship between Kara and Damien with that of Kara as a mother with a young boy—and to keep her from appearing unsympathetic with Damien’s search for a murderer.

The most fun (as it usually is for me) was creating the Sentinel world; and also watching Kara and Damien’s bond develop, and growing from an impossibility to a believable, honest, loving relationship.

What’s ahead for you?

I plan to re-issue my science fiction romance series, the Shielders, then want to return to writing new books. I have two more planned for the Sentinels, and I’m also working on a dark fallen angel series.

For more information on Catherine and her books, check out her website, http://catherinespangler.com/.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CatSpangler

FB: https://www.facebook.com/catherine.spangler.35

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/107533.Catherine_Spangler

Catherine is giving three commenters today Touched by Darkness, either the new e-book version or a hard copy of the original paperback.  So tell us–what’s your favorite mysterious stranger story (romance or not), and why did you choose that one?

Comments

51 Comments

  • Amy Conley says:

    He finally coming back to Indiana?

  • Amy Conley says:

    Favorite mysterious stranger? Wow that’s a toughy. First one to come to mind is Simone Boulenger from Lila DiPasqua’s UNDONE, one of her Fiery Tales.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Catherine and Nancy

    I love the sound of this book congrats on the release, I cna’t think of a mysterious stranger at the moment I am sure I have read some 🙂 but the mind is blank

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Quantum says:

    A mysterious stranger appearing from nowhere and rescuing a stressed damsel is a classic Western theme. I think my favourite is Whip Moran in Elizabeth Lowell’s ‘Only Love’. The book has the fight against evil, the staggering beauty and harshness of the Rocky Mountain wilderness and the raw passion of a couple who resonate on a deep level. Wonderful story!

    I have loved paranormal stories involving enhanced psychic powers, ever since reading McCaffrey’s Rowan series. These powers are evident in our world in fledgling form so the plausibility of imagining them evolved to powerful abilities makes for compelling reading.

    Coupling this with the legend of Atlantis sounds like a winner to me! 🙂

    • Quantum, I haven’t read the Elizabeth Lowell, but I agree that this is a recurring theme in westerns. Leigh Greenwood used it a couple of times, I think.

      I loved Anne McCaffrey’s books, and stories about psi powers always interest me.

      • Quantum says:

        Hi Nancy
        I actually have Leigh Greenwood’s audio ‘Arizona Embrace’ on my TBR.

        I noticed that your ‘protectors’ series is now available to download in the UK. I think it may be time that I made my acquaintance with Griffin the mage. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Quantum! Have you read any of Kay Hooper’s Noah Bishop books? They’re about an FBI unit of psychics who track serial killers (some who are also psychic). They’re dark and gritty, but I love them.

  • Laurie G says:

    Nora Robert’s futuristic time traveler Caleb in TIME WAS
    I liked it because it was so different from Nora’s usual romance book. I liked the idea of a man from the future crashing back in time to modern day USA. Libby with her nonconformist parents hippies from the 60’s was the perfect match for Caleb.

  • Catherine says:

    Good morning all! I just love this group and I’m so happy to be here. Mysterious stranger? Nancy, that’s a great question! Hmmm. I don’t think I’ve had enough coffee yet, as none come to mind. But I’ll come up with soneone–or something 🙂

  • catslady says:

    I’m horrible at remembering those kind of things but I can say that I’ve read that theme and I’ve always found it enjoyable. Actually since I love variety I’m usually up for anything lol.

  • Shannon says:

    I’m trying to think of mysterious strangers in historical fiction. The closest I can come to that is a story about a young woman smuggler who finds that a stranger wants to take over her smuggling ring. Meanwhile, the local ladies are trying to match her with the newly arrived lord and revenue officer. She doesn’t want to be matched since that would impinge on her illicit activities, and he is pursuing his twin role as revenue officer and temporary smuggler trying to find a spy or the transport of spies.

  • Susan Sey says:

    Oooh, this series sounds wonderful! I’ll have to check it out as soon as possible! My TBR pile is a marvel, as always…

    As for mysterious stranger stories, does Gone With The Wind count? I love how Rhett turns up with his mysterious background & unsavory connections/morals, & proves himself a hero. He breaks my heart every time, that guy.

  • Catherine says:

    I kind of think as Wesley in The Princess Bride as a mysterious stranger, when he’s in the mask and we don’t know who he is. There’s always the Lone Ranger 🙂 Alfred Hitchcock was good at having mysterious strangers in his movies and show. Damien in Touched by Darkness is definitely a mysterious stranger at the beginning, although Kara knows he’s a Sentinel.

  • Minna says:

    Mysterious strangers.. Only one I can think of right now (besides the ones Nora Roberts’ Time and Again: Time Was / Times Change) is Miranda’s Viking by Maggie Shayne. Rolf Magnusson is a stranger in more ways than one: he’s 900 years old Norweigian Viking in modern day USA.

  • WAVING MADLY from my office!!!! HEY Cathy!!

    We’re chapter mates down here in Dallas, y’all, so I get to be extra enthusiastic! AND I love her books. Sexy Atlanteans who are very Alpha. Can’t wait to read more!

    Thanks for having her on today, Nancy.

  • Cassondra says:

    Catherine, that excerpt is absolutely riveting! I could feel her terror clawing at me as I was reading. Most excellent bit of writing.

    And your cover is fantastic too. What a hottie!

    What draws you to the darker worlds like this one? I ask this because I so much want to write light contemporary, and everything I start to write turns dark. I think it’s a disease, but it’s certainly not working against YOU in any way whatsoever!

    Nancy thanks for bringing Catherine to us with her wonderful new series!

    • Cassondra, doesn’t this series sound fabulous? I can’t believe I missed them the first time around. I just bought Touched by Darkness today.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cassondra! Good questions on the dark worlds, and difficult to answer. I often enjoy lighter, humorous books, but those simply aren’t the stories rolling (rampaging?) around in my head. So I often read things different from what I write. We have to be true to those stories that speak to us.

  • Becke Turner says:

    Nancy/Catherine

    My comment must have whirled down the black hole. I’ll try this again!

    Your excerpt compelled me to add this to my Kindle. And I love questions that alert me to new authors/books.

    Mysterious strangers:
    Jackson’s Rule- Dinah McCall/Sharon Sala

    The Outcast- Beverly Barton

  • Catherine says:

    It’s been great hanging out with everyone today. Thank you all for your great comments. Thank you, Nancy, for having me, and for doing such a great blog. Romance Bandits rock!

  • flchen1 says:

    How fun, Catherine and Nancy! Mysterious stranger? I think that’s definitely a fun theme–maybe Cowboys & Aliens? Or Pale Rider? Sort of that man without a known past sweeping into town…