Laurel O'Donnell has won numerous awards for her works, including the Holt Medallion for A Knight of Honor, the Happily Ever After contest for Angel's Assassin, and the Indiana's Golden Opportunity contest for Immortal Death. The Angel and the Prince was nominated by the Romance Writers of America for their prestigious Golden Heart award. O'Donnell lives in Illinois with her four cherished children, her beloved husband and her five cats. She finds precious time every day to escape into a different world to bring her characters to life in her writing.
Q: Welcome, Laurel! Please tell us about your latest release. And do you have a review you could share with us?
A: Angel's Assassin is the story of redemption. It's a story about Damien the assassin who longs for freedom, but discovers he wants more when he meets the woman he is to kill.
Blurb: Damien is an assassin, a man with no home and a tortured past. Sold into slavery as a young boy, he is trained to kill with cold calculation, without remorse. As a reward for his ruthless success, he is given a chance to earn his freedom from his cruel master. One last mission. One final person to slay…Lady Aurora of Acquitaine is the epitome of purity and goodness, beloved by all her people. She lives her life trying to atone for her mother’s cruelty by being a fair and just ruler. Secretly she fears that one day her mother’s murderer will return for her.
When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of dark passion and forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart with shadowy secrets of his own.
Can Aurora’s light heal Damien’s dark spirit or will his evil consume her? The eternal battle of good versus evil, love versus hate, dark versus light, all come to a shattering climax in this historical romance set in medieval England.
Here's a review from the Indie Bookshelf -
“Everyone loves a good medieval romance! And it's been awhile since I've read my last one. Seriously. I think it's been about 2 years!! So I was very excited to read Angel's Assassin, to say the least.
In order to gain his freedom, Damien, an assassin has one more task to complete, to kill the lovely, Lady Aurora. He's ruthless, cold hearted, and has no interest in his next victim.
Until he discovers that Aurora is more than just another mission. She has a passionate heart that sees the good in everyone, including Damien. He has four days to finish his task. And Damien has to decide which one is more invaluable: his freedom or Aurora's life.
Something I appreciated was the manner of Ms. O'Donnell's writing. It flows with just enough descriptions, and conversations to keep you easily focused.
Damien- What I enjoyed about him so much was he wasn't a brooding hero. He WANTS someone to love to him. His past has left many scars on his emotions, but it's so apparent to see that he doesn't want to be the person he is. He desperately wants a way out!
Aurora- Has a very compassionate heart that wants to help everyone out. She is a beautiful person, and to everyone around her it's easy to see that the beauty is also inward too.
I felt like both of them together was a good match. Their both trying so hard not to be what everyone expects. Both of them have hidden secrets that no one knows, and the two of them are scared to find out what the other would think if those secrets were revealed!
Another thing that I thoroughly liked was that even though this book focuses on Damien and Aurora. There are other characters mixed into the book- both evil/innocent- that give the plot an edge and make you want to know what exactly is being hidden from everyone! I like a good amount of mystery. It makes me all the more anxious to click on to the next page!!!
Angel's Assassin is a great read. Very well done, Ms. O'Donnell!!”
Q: Sounds fascinating! What inspired this story?
A: I wanted to write a hero and heroine who were opposites (even the words in the title are very contradictory). Damien is such a dark hero, he doesn't even see himself as a good person. And Aurora is exactly opposite. She sees good in everything and everyone.
Q: Why do you write romance?
A: I love that there is a happy ever after for the characters. Romance has stories of hope and happiness after overcoming tragedy. They are feel good books. I mean, the things these characters go through and still manage to have a happy ever after gives hope to us all!
Q: I agree. Did you choose the title of your book and if so how did you do it?
A: Angel's Assassin. Well, Damien is an assassin, so that part is pretty straight forward. And Aurora is his angel. J I chose the title Angel's Assassin because it is contradictory. Whoever heard of an Angel who had an assassin? But it also fits the story. Dark and light. Good and evil. It's a perfect title for this book.
Q: I love the contrast! Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.
A: It has to be Damien, the hero. He is such a tragic hero. He doesn't see himself as worthwhile or good. He has been through so much, sold into slavery by his father, abandoned by his brother, taught to kill mercilessly by a tyrannical master. And yet, there is goodness in him. Only Aurora's love can heal him. And throughout the entire story, I was hoping that she could!
Q: Which element of this story was the hardest for you?
A: The ending! I just couldn't find the right ending. I wrote four different endings. Each ending before the final one didn't seem right to me. It didn't give the most satisfactory ending to Damien and Aurora's love. When you read it, please let me know what you think! But I love this ending.
Q: What's next for you?
A: I have epublished my backlist of medieval titles. I have a paranormal romance out with Pink Petal Books entitled, Immortal Death. I have published Angel's Assassin. I am working on my Lost Souls urban fantasy series. Next for me is another episode for Lost Souls, entitled Deception. I'm hoping to have that out by the end of the year. After that, I'm working on another full length medieval romance, and contemplating a medieval series.
Q: Would you like to ask readers a question?
A: I do have a question for readers. I've been playing around with the idea of short medieval stories. For instance, I'm doing an urban fantasy series called Lost Souls. They are about 75 pages long, so they are short stories. I was thinking of doing something similar only set in the medieval era. A medieval series. Would you be interested in reading a series of short stories in medieval times?
Here's an excerpt for you from Angel's Assassin! Enjoy!
Damien watched the startled expression cross her eyes, heard the gasp stop in her throat. His fingers trembled. One quick move… How innocent she was. How trusting. How foolish. Foolish in her blind faith and trust in him.
He had waited a long time for this moment. His freedom was within striking distance.
Her lips parted in a silent gasp and she lifted her chin beneath the pressure of the blade. “Damien,” she whispered.
Betrothed. Anger flared through his veins at the thought of Ormand laying his hands on her, at the image of him kissing her and tasting her as he had. Is that why Roke wanted Aurora dead? So no one else could have her if he could not? Were Roke's thoughts thick with jealous rage just as his own thoughts were now? Did that make him just as evil and twisted as Warin Roke?
He had to do it now. He felt himself swirling toward oblivion. He was becoming lost. Lost to his mission, lost to his freedom, lost to everything he held dear except for her. Damien looked at the silver blade he held to the white skin of her neck. Your freedom means everything to you. He pressed the dagger up tighter against her throat. Her beautiful, smooth, white, flawless throat. Do it.
She should be afraid. Why wasn't she moving? Why wasn't she running or trying to talk him out of it? Would she stand so motionless before another assassin like this? All of his victims had struggled and fought for their lives, especially when they knew their end was near.
Aurora stood before him, her chin held high, unflinching, unmoving. Unafraid.
Damien clenched his teeth tighter. Trusting, he thought with bitter disdain. No one trusted him. No one. Not his father. Not his colleagues. No one. And rightfully so. He was an assassin. He brought death. He was death.
And yet… Aurora stood before him, imperiously, bestowing goodness on him with a simple glance.
His hand shook, his fist tightening around the handle of the dagger. “You're wrong about me,” he snarled.
In her eyes, in her stunning blue eyes, he saw absolution. Damien could not move. His freedom was at hand. Just a little slash with his sharp dagger. But this was Aurora. She was so damned pure and innocent. He wanted desperately to kiss her. He wanted to have her. She was dangerous to him. So dangerous. That thought could not save him from his desperate need for her. Damien growled low in his throat.
He threw the dagger aside and grabbed her shoulders, pulling her against him tightly, pressing his lips to hers. It was a frantic, despondent kiss. A punishing kiss. He would not give up his freedom. Not for anyone. It was all he wanted. It was all he needed. She would not stand in his way.
Angel's Assassin is available at Amazon.
I'd like to thank all the authors at Fierce Romance for allowing me to share Angel's Assassin with your readers. Thanks everyone! :)
What a wonderful and intense excerpt! Thanks so much for being our guest today, Laurel! Everyone, please visit Laurel online:
Website - www.laurel-odonnell.com
Blog - www.herstorycalls.com
Twitter - http://twitter.com/