Monday, June 18, 2018

Interview + Giveaway: When Darkness Follows by Athena Daniels

UFI welcomes Author Athena Daniels. Thanks for Joining us!!

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?

That’s such a good question! I’m a country girl. I grew up in a very small town in South Australia, that even to this day, doesn’t have a single set of traffic lights. It’s on a long stretch of highway and is one of those ‘blink and you miss it’ towns you drive through on the way to somewhere else. I lived on a farm with lots of animals including sheep, and even had a pet Wedge-tailed eagle.

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?

Now that I’m a writer, reading is a luxury I cherish. I love paperbacks, and where possible choose a real book over kindle as I enjoy the break from a screen. I enjoy spending time with my family and long walks along the beach, collecting shells with my boys.

What is your Favorite part of writing?

Writing is my ‘me time’. I love everything about it, the peace, the solitude. I love the feeling of creating something from nothing.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?

I don’t have any routines that I must follow, but I find myself writing my best work during the hours of 4 and 6 a.m. before my boys wake up. When I first started writing, this was the only time I could carve out for ‘me’, and now it has become my most treasured time of the day. I wake up, make myself a strong coffee, light my favorite candle, and write away! I find it’s the time where my mind is the clearest, most focused, as it is not cluttered with the million details of everyday life.

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?

There are so many! I’m an avid reader, and always have several books on the go at any one time, both fiction and non-fiction. I love reading accounts of true paranormal experiences and enjoy anything mysterious and unexplained. I enjoyed the Karina Halle EIT series, and all of Sylvia Day’s paranormal books. I loved the True Blood series by Charlaine Harris, and of course, the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward.

How would you pitch Beyond the Grave series to someone who has not heard of it before?

In a tagline? Sexy, supernatural thrillers that will send chills down your spine.
The series is a combination of a steamy romance and an edge of your seat paranormal thriller.

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that When Darkness Follows is set in?

When Darkness Follows is set in a fictional town north of Perth, Western Australia.

One night, a cancelled gig for her band, Trinity Beat, leaves Rachel and her band members at a loose end and they wind up exploring a haunted ghost ship. Rachel and her friends don’t believe anything will happen. Why would they? Ghosts don’t exist, right? But Rachel and her friends do disturb something that night. Something demonic. Something that lured Rachel to the ship. And now one of her friends is dead, the other is missing, and Rachel’s memory of the night is gone. There’s only one thing she knows for sure: whatever killed her friend has followed her home.

The ghost ship aspect of When Darkness Follows was inspired from a real haunted shipwreck located not far from where I live called, The Alkimos.

Do you have a favorite scene in When Darkness Follows?
I enjoy writing the spooky suspense thread throughout the series, but my favorite scenes are the romantic thread between the main couple of each story. I love the tension, the seeming impossibility of their relationship.

Here’s an excerpt from When Darkness Follows: (It’s not a steamy one!)

Daniel stood, brushed the sand off his jeans, and paced down to the water’s edge. She felt the loss of his presence at her side powerfully, like someone had put out a fire, the only source of heat on a blustery winter night. A chill seeped into her veins.
Oh no you don’t. You don’t get to start this conversation then simply walk away.
Leaving her strappy sandals behind, she walked to him. He had his back to her, his arms folded across his chest, and her body ached for him.
Rachel stood at his side, stared out at the ocean, breathed in a deep lungful of salty air. “You have no right to be angry.”
He whipped his head around, his eyes burning brightly. “Don’t I?”
Rachel’s face heated. “No,” she snapped. “It’s not as though we were in a relationship or anything.” He’d promised her casual; his reaction now screamed anything but.
His eyes continued to blaze. The intensity of his gaze made her feel naked, scorched her skin. Emotions she couldn’t read rolled off him in tumultuous waves. He reached out and she involuntarily flinched. His hand froze, then continued forward, taking a strand of her hair and tucking it behind her ear.
“You don’t trust me.” His eyes searched her face, a muscle along his jaw twitching. “What have I done to cause that?”
Rachel’s throat tightened painfully.
I don’t know how to be near you and not let you into my heart.
Even now, after seeing him again for such a short time, he had her questioning her resolve.
“Don’t do that,” he growled.
“Don’t do what?” Rachel asked, hugging her arms around her stomach.
“That!” Daniel untucked her arms, ran his hands down to her wrists. His grip was tight, his touch searing her skin. “You stopped returning my calls, refused to see me. You shut me down in the coffee shop earlier, left without an explanation, and you’re shutting me out again now.”
Rachel pulled out of his grip and began walking along the beach. Daniel watched her for a moment, his long stride making it easy for him to catch up. He kept pace beside her as Max ran off ahead, splashing in the waves.
They were silent for a long time before he spoke. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“I can’t do this anymore.”
“By this, you mean us.”
“Yes.” She couldn’t meet his eyes.
“I haven’t been a detective for all these years without spotting bullshit when I see it. Your words tell me you don’t want me, but everything else about you tells me that’s a lie.”
Daniel stopped walking and gripped her shoulders, turning her to face him. He stared at her long and hard, then pulled her flush against him, his erection pressing into her stomach.
“Do you feel what you do to me? I want you, Rachel, like I’ve never wanted another woman. And I know you want me too.” His voice was deep, rough. It sent a tremor rippling through her. Wanting him wasn’t the problem.
He traced the back of his finger down the heated skin on her cheek as she looked up at him. “Your skin is so beautiful when it’s flushed, so pink.”
His finger trailed across her jaw, down her neck. He lowered his mouth and his teeth grazed the tender skin on the side of her neck. She cried out, desire pooling hot and demanding between her thighs.
It was cruel how much she wanted him. How much her body craved his touch. Her head fell back as his tongue worked its way up her neck, flicking at her skin. He stopped to suck on a particularly sensitive spot. A moan escaped her mouth, and he crushed his lips against hers. Ah hell.
She was going to regret this later, wasn’t she?

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?

I am just finishing my latest novel now, but it is not part of the Beyond the Grave series. It is something quite different. The details, including even the title is under wraps at the moment, but I’ll be making announcements very soon! It’s scheduled for release in November this year.

Thanks so much for having me! I have loved being here. :) I hope that if you get a chance to read When Darkness Follows, you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

Athena x


Athena Daniels is the #1 international bestselling author of the award-winning Beyond the Grave paranormal romance series and the romantic thriller Desperate.

In 2016, Athena was nominated for Author of the Year and Best New Author in AusRom Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards.

Her novel Girl Unseen won the Silver Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite® International Book Awards and was awarded a Silver Medal in the 2017 Literary Titan Book Awards. Girl Unseen was an “Official Selection” in the New Apple Literary Awards, and was also nominated for 2017 Book of the Year in AusRom Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards.

The Seer’s Daughter was the solo Medalist Winner in the Suspense/Thriller category of the 2016 New Apple Annual Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing.

The Seer’s Daughter was also a finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards in Suspense and in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite® International Book Awards. Additionally, The Seer’s Daughter was nominated for 2016 Book of the Year and 2016 Cover of the Year in AusRom Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards.

Girl Unseen and The Seer’s Daughter are both 5-star Top Picks at The Romance Reviews.
Athena has a natural curiosity about the “more” there is in life and holds several qualifications in metaphysics and natural therapies. She is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner, life coach, and feng shui specialist.

Athena lives on the northern beaches of sunny Western Australia.

Find Athena and her books

 When Darkness Follows
Beyond the Grave #4
Amazon US Amazon AU Amazon UK
Amazon Canada BN iTunes
The only man who can save her, is the one she swore she’d never see again…

Rachel Sommers and her two best friends don’t believe anything will happen when they sneak onto a haunted shipwreck in the middle of the night. Why would they? Ghosts don’t actually exist… right?

But Rachel and her friends disturb something that night. Something demonic. Something that lured Rachel to the ship. And now one of her friends is dead, the other is missing, and Rachel’s memory of the night is gone. There’s only one thing she knows for sure: whatever killed her friend has followed her home.

Over a century ago, an act of bitter jealousy and revenge tainted a crystal ball with an unstoppable evil. And when the deadly object eerily turns up in her bedroom, Rachel’s nightmare really begins.

The only man who can help her, is the one she swore she’d never see again.

Ex-Special Forces detective Daniel Smith takes the case the moment Rachel’s name appears on his screen. Rachel is the only woman he’s ever loved, but despite their explosive chemistry, she’s determined to keep him at a distance.

With Rachel’s life on the line, the disturbing truth about her ancestry and the possessed object she has inherited must be uncovered. But is it already too late? Daniel will risk everything to save the woman he loves, but how can he win this lethal game of cat and mouse against a killer that is not flesh and blood?

Rachel wrapped her arms around Daniel’s neck and kissed him back with a ferocity that surprised her. All the emotion, the turmoil, of the last two weeks, the last year, moved through her. She couldn’t remember why keeping away from him was so important. Something about self-respect and needing to be more than just an occasional fuck to someone.
Daniel crushed her to his body, his tongue delving inside her mouth, tracing across her teeth. He took control of the kiss, like the man controlled everything else in his life. The heat of his mouth set her blood on fire, and her body submitted to his natural dominance.
He groaned, holding her to him so tightly she couldn’t breathe. But she didn’t need her own oxygen when she could breathe his.
Daniel walked her away from the water to where the sand was dry and still warm from the sun. He fell to the sand, pulling her down on top of him. She laughed in surprise.
His sunglasses fell off his head as he looked up at her. He cupped the back of her neck, guided her head down and kissed her hard. She couldn’t think, couldn’t feel anything but him.
Her soft, white denim skirt slid up her thighs as she spread her legs and sat on his hips. His erection, firmly encased in his jeans, pressed against her lacy white panties. She rubbed against him, needed to, and his eyes flickered closed. He groaned, the sound sending fire racing through her veins.
“I want you so bad.” Daniel’s grip tightened on her hips, the roughness in his tone thrilling her.
This was what was familiar between them. This rawness and this uncontrollable desire.
“Tell me you still want this.”
Rachel nodded.
“I said tell me.”
The bite of authority in the command made her blood race. Her mouth dried, and she swallowed twice before she could speak.
“I want this.”
Daniel squeezed his eyes shut, and when he opened them, emotion swirled heavily in his gaze.
“Tell me you still want me.” His body went rigid as he waited for her answer, and her heart stuttered to a stop.
“I want you,” she said, the truth and a lie all at once. God she wanted him! Right now, in this moment, she wanted him more than her next breath.
Daniel sat up, cradling her in his lap, her legs wrapped around his hips as he kissed her again, long and deep. She thrust her hands in his thick hair, holding him hard as his hands ran up her thighs, his thumbs tracing along the seams of her panties and making her core clench with anticipation.
He lifted the hem of her top, his palm scorching the soft skin on her stomach as he moved to cup her breast. His expression looked pained, his chest rising and falling as his breathing grew labored.
As much pleasure as he gave her, she loved watching how much simply touching her aroused him.
“A year,” Daniel growled. “A whole fucking year.”
She cried out as his fingers found a hardened nipple and squeezed. Pleasure, white-hot and overwhelming, filled her, stole her breath.
His other hand slid the thin fabric of her panties aside, his thumb gently tracing along her slick entrance. Her heart skittered in her chest, her pulse roaring past her ears.
“You need this too,” he said, his voice a low rasp. “Don’t tell me you don’t.”
Tears burned her eyes, and she squeezed her lids closed to hide her reaction to his words. She needed him? Dear God! She fucking craved him.
And then he’d leave…
And she’d be left empty, wanting him. Frustration caused her to cry out at the same time his thumb slipped inside her, and the sound was disguised as pleasure.
Frustration and pleasure: those two extremes described what she had with Daniel perfectly.
Max barked, and they both looked up to see him bounding through the thick sand toward them. He barked again, and Rachel followed his gaze and noticed two people at the top of the sand dunes, making their way to the water.
“Fuck,” Daniel growled.
How like Daniel to always make her feel as though they were the only two people in the world. She pressed her forehead against his, his ragged breath warm across her skin. Before the couple could see them clearly, she rolled off Daniel and tugged her skirt back into place, her body still tingling with the feel of his touch.

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