BY: MONA KAREL
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 the sequoia 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 in Phoenix, Kendra returns home to the remote cabin determined to heal both her body and her spirit. But the forest is ailing, too. Evil lurks in 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 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 yet again. Not only is she innocent of the crime the Atrahasis have accused her of, Kendra is the missing part of the soul he 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?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: I had mixed feelings about My Killer, My Love by Mona Karel. While there is a great deal to like about this book, I had some trouble with Karel’s characterization. Not that her characterization isn’t good. It is, in fact, it’s excellent and deeply layered. In this reviewer’s opinion, however, Karel pushes the boundaries of the romance genre. I tend to like strong alpha males and females as main characters. Sue me, but that’s just the way I am. Although I do have to admit, I absolutely loved the fact the heroine had a limp and was flawed. Karel’s main characters are neither completely alpha nor are they beta. Instead, they walk a fine line between these two personality types. Karel has given them with strong character traits like courage, determination, and a firm sense of justice. She’s tempered these traits with emotional baggage, physical disabilities, and a charming innocence.
The female lead, Kendra, is especially interesting. With her strong heart, shy courage, and broken body, she’s not the usual type of heroine we see in modern paranormal romances. Her innocence comes from being a misfit. Her father wanted a boy and got Kendra instead. Her cousin Clarissa is beautiful and sophisticated, all the things Kendra wishes she could be and feels she isn’t. Clarissa is also the one most men choose, leaving Kendra to languish in the background, a perennial virgin. So Kendra has never felt at home with anyone but her grandmother. Mykhael’s innocence comes not from his lack of sexual experience, but from his inexperience with modern-day humans, particularly innocent, unassuming humans like Kendra. Mykhael is also a misfit in his world and unable to find the success he desires. Of course, being in solitary confinement for the past two-hundred years didn’t help. Having said that, there is no question Karel is an exceptional writer. Her plot is well thought out and very tight. While her characters aren’t the type I usually like to read about, they are realistic, well-developed, and very three-dimensional. The world she created feels authentic, what sex there is, is hot, and the interaction between the characters rings true.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: My Killer, My Love by Mona Karel is an outstanding achievement for a debut author. I can’t find enough good things to say about this book. Why do I like it? The title for one thing. How could you not read the book with a title like that? For another thing, the characters are different. Take the heroine, Kendra Weiss. Kendra is not beautiful. Not only is she not beautiful, she’s handicapped. She is recovering from the injuries she received when she was pinned under a heavy object for hours with the weigh across her knees. Now her knees are scarred and ugly. She walks with a cane, and she wears glasses. Not contacts, glasses. How many heroines have you seen recently in romances that wear glasses? Or have ugly physical scars. Most heroines these days are tall, slender, and beautiful. All the things most of us are not. It’s delightfully refreshing to find a new author with the guts to deviate from the norm and give us a heroine who actually feels like a real person. I’m impressed. Then there’s Mykhael—the way she spells the name is so killer. Mykhael is immortal, or close enough, but he’s not all powerful or even very successful. While he is beautiful, he’s a failure in his world. Unable to fulfill the assignments of his masters—or controllers or whatever those guys are—Mykhael has spent most of the last two hundred years in the gods’ version of solitary confinement, and believe me, you don’t want to go there. A warrior who can no longer abide the shedding of blood, Mykhael is a misfit. Just like Kendra. When these two wounded, unhappy souls get together, it’s not love at first site. Mykhael has been sent to kill her. Kendra thinks of herself as a coward and is suspicious of any man. Especially a beautiful man who makes her seem to be more than she thinks she is.
As their relationship develops, the complications only get worse. If Mykhael kills Kendra, he will finally achieve the success and rewards from his masters he’s been hoping for. If he doesn’t kill her, the masters will send someone else to do it, and Mykhael will go back into solitary confinement. What a no-win situation! Throw in evil humans and even more evil immortals, and you have a page-turner you’ll want to read again and again.
Kendra Weiss braced herself on her walking stick, contemplating the place she’d always thought of as her talisman against the cruel realities of the modern world. Whatever life had thrown at her, she’d always had Gran, her dancing, and their home deep in the sequoia forest. Now Gran was gone, the doctors marveled Kendra could even walk, and the forest held no refuge.
Once she could take care of herself again, she’d headed here, deep within the ancient forest. Television, automobiles, and the frenzied pace of progress were far away. The evil she’d tried to leave behind seemed closer than ever.
She remembered a cheerful harmony of songbirds, chattering squirrels, and rustling leaves. A mélange of growing scents had once tickled her nose in giddy promise. Now a watchful stillness lay over the ancient forest.
She moved painfully along the overgrown path. Even the ground cover seemed out of control, snaking across the pathways, threatening an already perilous journey. At least no one saw her halting, ungraceful progress.
Or did they?
“Right.” She hobbled forward as she muttered, keeping a close eye on errant vines and loose stepping stones. “Next thing you know, I’ll be blaming my problems on alien invaders.”
Generations of harmony with the creatures of the forest seemed to be at an end. What hadn’t been chewed by deer or mutilated by snails had become hors d’oeuvres for bunnies. The bunnies and deer she could handle later. For now, she had to deal with the snails or face starvation the next winter.
“I’m sorry to do this,” she murmured, her spirit as dark as the woods had become. Her innate reluctance to harm another warred with the need for survival. “But times have gotten tough, and there won’t be enough in the garden for me at this rate.”
She navigated the three stone steps with a fraction of her past agility and set down the wooden cane. Someone, most likely her cousin Clarissa, had stocked up on all the deadly chemicals never allowed at the cottage in Gran’s day. A box of them sat on the porch. Donning plastic gloves, she reached for the slender bottle guaranteed to deliver a quick if not merciful death to snails.
“Are you absolutely sure you want to do that?”
The voice came from everywhere at once—and nowhere in particular. Deep, commanding, it filled the garden, echoed in the trees, rumbled across the sky. Kendra wheeled around, steadying herself on the rough-hewn porch timbers.
Now the clouds moved, driven by a high wind to mass even more densely above her. Crows took flight, calling to each other as they fled to the safety of the deep forest. Tree branches rustled at the other end of the clearing, though no breeze touched her cheek.
A shape formed, deep within the shadow at the edge of the forest, just beyond her perception. A man stepped forward.
The sun’s last rays eased through the clouds, gracing the high cheekbones of an ascetically carved face and limning his dark hair in a halo of gold. The tanned beauty of his skin and the luxuriant mass of his dark red hair drew her eye. Classic would be the only way to describe this man. His image had been carved from marble in Greece and preserved on canvas by the Italian masters. No doubt there were still small wooden statues with his likeness deep within the druid forests. She knew she’d seen those same high cheekbones, flaring nostrils and bow-shaped upper lip a thousand times in her study of ancient concepts of beauty.
This modern version decorated a tall, lean, and very much human, male body. On the whole, she preferred this interpretation. A heated flush washed through her as the subtle differences between man and woman became very clear to her.
Green fire flashed from his narrowed eyes as he strode forward, a warrior spirit bent upon vengeance. She had only a moment to be aware of him, to acknowledge his unearthly beauty and innate grace before her common sense asserted itself. Bracing herself against the porch railing she stepped back, seeking to maintain as much distance as possible between herself and this stranger. Her foot brushed against the walking stick, knocking it off the porch before she could reach for it as support or protection.
“Who—who are you?” she demanded, hating the quaver in her voice. She knew she should move back, run, get inside where there was at least a pretense of safety. But like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, she was mesmerized. She tried to move but her feet grew leaden as an unnatural calm permeated the resistant part of her mind.
The man continued forward without speaking. Sounds ceased in the forest around the little cottage. The few remaining birds fell silent, waiting in breathless anticipation.
“Whoever you are, please stop now.” She tried to project firmness in her voice.
Still he came forward, growing larger by the second. At another time she could have appreciated the grace of his walk. Now she only feared and resented the speed with which he covered the area between them, and the fact that she would not have been able to avoid him even if she could make herself move.
She squinted as the fading sun glinted off her glasses. Surely the sunset was the reason she could almost see a glow, bright orange and red, outlining his body. It deepened in hue, and heat seemed to wash off him, warming her uncomfortably.
With one stride he ascended the low retaining wall. This final reminder of her inadequacy was too much. Pointing the bottle of snail killer in his direction, she thumbed back the spout.
“This is your last warning, mister.”
He stopped at the edge of the porch steps, one hand on the pillar. Peridot green eyes looked from the bottle to the carefully cultivated angry look on her face, back to the bottle. “What, precisely, do you intend to do with that?”
“The label says it’s guaranteed to rid my garden of slugs and unwanted pests. Whoever you are, you seem to qualify.” Her voice still quavered, but since he no longer approached, she could at least pretend courage.
Both brows rose, just before the finely sculptured mouth twitched at both corners. His eyes continued to study her in an intense, feral way before they, too, crinkled at the corners. At last, he threw back his perfect head and laughed.
The forest resounded with mirth that echoed in the hills, reminiscent of summer storms and winter thunder. This was no polite chuckle, no quiet appreciation of her once common, madcap humor. Laughter overcame the stranger, and the world laughed with him.
She lowered her hand. It had been a silly idea, just the kind of thing she used to do. The last of her strength drained away as his laughter washed over her. She leaned against the closest support, the aged wooden porch rail. Eventually, he would get over his amusement and tell her who he was. She wondered why she wasn’t screaming down the forest but was distracted as the bright orange glow seemed to fade around him. Had she really seen it?
As his laughter quieted, his perfect mouth quivered at one edge then stilled as he looked at her more closely. In baggy linen drawstring pants and a wrapped top, he certainly dressed like one of Clarissa’s many friends. But not even her gorgeous cousin would be enough woman for this man. There wouldn’t have been a chance for Kendra even in the past. Now…
Kendra closed her eyes, wishing for the oblivion of sleep, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. The tiny scuffling sounds of animals setting out on or returning from food-gathering chores resumed as though there had never been an interruption. Kendra wearily opened her eyes. The Adonis in front of her stood very still, intently studying her face, her hair. A frown marred his perfect brow, making him appear gorgeous and serious at the same time. He nodded toward the bottle in her hand.
“The contents of that are poison.”
“I believe that’s why it was developed. If I don’t do something about the snails in my garden, I won’t have anything to eat this year.”
“There are better ways,” he said in the condescending tone she’d heard from males so many times.
“Unfortunately, ‘better ways’ aren’t getting the job done at the moment.” Pretending courage, she dared to step toward him, off the porch.
She’d made the move hundreds, thousands of times when she lived here as a child. She stepped out as though she had two whole legs under her and pitched forward. Then she remembered she didn’t have the equivalent of one.
She fell down the steps, toward granite stepping stones. It would be an ugly fall, with no way to soften the drop, and Adonis too far away to help. Resigning herself to more pain, she relaxed as much as possible.
There was no fall. As her knee buckled, a warm wind blew against her side, and she was held, supported, and lowered to the porch step. Large, gentle hands straightened her trembling legs.
Seeing the masculine hands against her jeans-clad leg broke through her curious sense of detachment. Could this be a dream, induced by the drugs forced upon her in the hospital? Would she soon wake sweating, trembling, rigid from the effort not to scream, not to strike out? She tried to pull her leg away, to stand and hobble out of his reach, away from this fantasy.
From his hands radiated a sensation of limitless power. She felt a shift, as though the fabric of the universe had been strained then rewoven in another pattern. Her pain diminished, replaced by tingling warmth and a singular sense of familiarity.
The large hands stilled, not quite touching where her knee was ugliest under the denim. Time hesitated, drawing a deep breath, while Kendra tried to bring herself back to a semblance of reality. The warning voices in her head quieted as she again felt the touch deep in her mind and realized there was nothing to worry about.
His head raised, the mane of dark auburn curls falling back from his brow as he looked at her. It was as though he saw her for the first time. His intense hunter’s eyes looked from her casually held back hair to her aged, comfortable t-shirt and jeans. Again, he looked at her glasses, and again, his perfect brows drew together.
Kendra was prepared to hear herself inanely ask if they had met before when he spoke again, softly this time.
“Do I know you?” His deep voice soothed, like the rumble of distant thunder on a summer afternoon.
“I think that’s supposed to be my line, isn’t it?” She managed the whole sentence without stuttering and imagined herself almost sophisticated in the process.
“Line?” He frowned as though the concept were totally foreign to him. Was he intelligent in inverse proportion to his appearance? No. No one could be that stupid and remember to pick his feet up to walk.
“Never mind. Look, if you’re not going to go away and not going to tell me who you are, could you make yourself useful and take this so I can stand up?” She held the bottle of snail bait out to him.
Maybe she’d blinked without realizing it. She didn’t see him move, yet he now stood well away from the porch. Hands raised as though in a defensive measure, he crouched slightly, like a big cat preparing to lunge. In which direction? Then he straightened and shook his head, as if to rid himself of unwanted instincts, and Kendra wondered where in the world these ideas came from.
“If you will put that to one side, I will be happy to assist you in rising.”
Had his voice been that formal before? Shrugging, Kendra carefully fastened down the spout of the bottle, making sure it locked shut before she looked around for a place near her to set it. Against the railing would have to do for now.
“It would be better to put it farther away.” There was a new note of tension in his voice. Could he dislike the stuff as much as she did?
“That’s as far as I can reach without getting up.” Still holding the bottle, she peeled the disposable glove off her left hand, covering the top of the bottle. The other glove covered the bottom, so she could handle the bottle without actually touching it. She wrinkled her nose in disgust as she set the bottle out of her way.
“If you dislike the poison so much, why is it here?”
“I’m not sure. I think my cousin brought it while I was in the hospital.”
“Clarissa. She came by to take care of things while I was hurt. Gran and I never had a problem with the snails. They had their part of the garden and stayed out of ours. The same with the deer and rabbits.” She heard the words babbling out of her mouth but couldn’t stop herself. “It seemed as though we had a bargain.”
“One which worked very well,” he said, as if it were perfectly natural to think you could reason with slugs.
She leaned back, looking at him again, trying to understand him. “Who are you, one of the Forest Guardians?” Again with the jokes. She seemed to be a regular comedian around this stranger.
Another of those heavy silences fell over the woods as he tensed, staring at her. Then the corners of his mouth curled.
He gave her a smile to make the masters weep. They’d tried, all of them, many times, to preserve this upturning of lips, this all-knowing expression. None of them had come within a prayer of portraying it. Youth, wisdom, mischief, knowledge were all exposed in the movement of a pair of lips.
“Not hardly,” the lips said, parting enough to give a glimpse of strong, depressingly white teeth. Then he looked away, studying the neglected garden.
He seemed to have forgotten her, his face lifted to the sun, as if he sought what little remained of the heat and light. Under the loose linen shirt, his chest rose, drawing in great gulps of the rich air, and his hands lifted away from his sides. As though he tried to feel the forest with every pore of his body.
Kendra looked away, once more thanking whatever powers Gran had believed in that mind reading was not a common talent. Her words had sounded silly enough, without her thoughts. She stared at her serviceable sandals, not wanting to intrude on his absorption in the forest. Once, she’d felt that same connection to her surroundings. After a moment, he collected himself, pushing his hair back with both hands, and looked down at her.
“Do you tend this land?”
“This was my grandmother’s cottage. I grew up here and came up whenever I got the chance. Were you interested in the area?”
“I was told of the gardens and the wise woman who tended them.”
It seemed reasonable, if archaically put, but Kendra’s days of trust were long past.
“Did they also tell you she’s gone?” She tried to say it with a firm voice. The best she could manage was not to break down completely.
“I knew that.” He spoke more gently than before. “It seems she turned care of her land over to someone she loved and trusted.”
Kendra stared unseeing at the ruin of the garden. “It appears I haven’t done all that well at caring for her legacy.”
“I am learning appearances are not always what they seem at first.”
She looked back at him, wondering, almost as an afterthought, who in the world he was. But she lost the thought before it had time to develop, almost before she had time to wonder how he got there. “Since you seem to have come a distance to see the gardens, I can show you around while there’s still a little bit of light, before you have to leave.”
He didn’t react to her hint about leaving. After a moment she shrugged, leaned down to reach for her stick, and levered herself to an upright position.
“You have been hurt,” he said, watching her struggles, “and you need to rest. We can inspect the gardens later.”
Before she could speak, before she could tell him she didn’t like to be touched, that she had learned to be particularly wary of a man’s touch, his warm hand braced under her elbow. Energy she’d forgotten she possessed flowed through her limbs. She rose, yielding to his guidance to turn away from the garden. Instead of staggering, she managed a near normal walk into the cottage.
Any unease she’d experienced before was gone. In its place was a peace she hadn’t known since her childhood. Later, after she rested, she would think about that.
“Would you care for a snack before you leave?” she asked, no longer worried about subtlety. “I have a few things made up. I’m afraid there’s no meat.”
His shudder nearly shook her body, and the force of his hand on her arm was almost painful.
“I do not eat meat.” His calm tone belied the tension in his fingers.
He looked around the cottage as though this, too, was a strange and wonderful place to be studied with an unsettling intensity. Every hand-thrown bowl, every rough-carved piece of furniture, every patiently woven or crocheted blanket was examined and categorized.
“You need to rest,” he informed her. “I could prepare a meal, if you tell me what you want.”
“You cook?” She leaned away, wanting to get a clearer look at this true paragon among men. Not only beautiful, but useful as well?
“I have not done so before, but it cannot be too difficult. Women have been doing it for years.”
He was absolutely, totally, no-grin serious. Gorgeous or not, this was too much. Kendra stopped dead, wrenching her elbow away from his grip.
“I have offended you?”
Kendra knew she should protest what was, after all, a sexist remark, but it would require too much energy. Sighing, she shook her head. Maybe the sexism was a natural byproduct of the looks. She yawned deeply, more weary than she realized.
“You rest.” He urged her toward the narrow cot where she’d slept since her first visit to the cottage so many years ago. Gran’s small bed, built into the wall, had been piled high with boxes. Somehow, not keeping it as a sleeping place made the cottage seem less lonely. She would rest, for a minute. Only because she suddenly felt so very tired, not because he told her to. Setting aside her glasses, she collapsed more than sat on the cot, letting herself sag back amongst the brightly covered pillows.
Serenity swept over her in smothering waves as a voice which seemed to be inside her head urged her to lie down, to lift her legs, to sleep. The soft, familiar warmth of a woven throw settled over her. As she hovered between sleeping and waking, a nearly forgotten longing came to her. She remembered an old desire to find the missing part of herself, someone to share her life with. It seemed such an old dream, and so foolish. It had been years since she’d given in to that particular whimsy.
Before her eyes slid shut she watched him drift around the cabin. Some items he just looked at. Others he touched, stroking his lean hand along the wood of the spinning wheel, caressing the stone of the fireplace with his fingertips. The mantelpiece was a solid slab of mahogany, tended lovingly for many years until the wood grain gleamed like a precious gem. Under his hand it seemed to reflect an even deeper light.
Gran had kept a collection of photographs on the mantel. Mostly group family shots, there were a few individuals whose pictures sat in a place of honor. Kendra waited for the inevitable question.
“Who is this?”
She inched one eyelid open, identified the photo by his general location, and let her eye rest again. The image leapt up at her from memory. Two young women with light blond hair, standing with their arms linked, showing loving faces to the outside world.
“My cousin, Clarissa, and myself, outside this cabin a couple of years ago.”
“You look very much like your cousin.” He made it a statement of fact, not opinion. There was another note in his voice as well, as though he had solved a great riddle.
“No, I don’t. Clarissa is beautiful.” She heard him take a breath, as though to protest, and forced both eyes open again. At least he played the part better than most. He deserved a modicum of her attention. “I’m attractive. I was athletic. Clarissa is beautiful.”
“Who are you, precisely?” He asked the question as though the answer mattered greatly to him.
“I am, precisely, Kendra Weiss.”
“Kendra?” His eyes widened, pinning her with the relentless stare of a cougar. “Do you know what that means?”
“Of course I do. It means my father was so disappointed he didn’t have a son, he named his daughter after himself, instead.” There was no bitterness in her voice. Her naming had long been one of the family’s favorite jokes.
Again that smile decorated his face, this time tinged with an exasperation she could see without her glasses. He shook his head, and the auburn curls fell around his shoulders with more grace than her own silvery-blond hair ever managed.
“It means much more than that, but you do not seem prepared to listen at this time.”
He fell silent, standing very still by the fireplace. It was as though he sought to become one with the ancient stone and wood. Telling herself she was definitely hallucinating, she faded into sleep.
Once the woman slept, he moved more freely. With the stealthy tread of a stalking wolf, he searched the darkening rooms, letting his senses hunt for a specific location. He settled in a corner window seat, bathed by the moonlight inching its way toward her bed. Many puzzles existed here, and he knew he was not yet prepared to face them.
He breathed deeply, then more slowly, his body becoming motionless. The atmosphere around him thickened, a silent wind lifting his hair away from his face then dying abruptly. After a long moment of hushed tension, he emitted a sound of exasperation. The answers had never come to him easily before, why should now be any different?
He studied the woman. Even in her sleep, her thoughts spoke to him in unclear muttering, a not unpleasant sensation. He wondered about the part he had been sent to play and knew the ending would not be as originally planned. He could no longer think of her as he had been instructed.
This small, fearful female had given him something he had forgotten existed. She had given him back his laughter. For that alone he would protect her beyond life.
© 2011 by Mona Karel
Kick Back & Review:
Wednesday, October 12, 2011: Laura McQuillen of Kick Back & Review calls My Killer My Love an interesting twist on the paranormal and gives it 4 stars.
She says: “When I first sat down to read this book, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The blurb seemed a little vague to me and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was dealing with. Then, the first few pages confused me a little. I persisted though, and things cleared up nicely. It’s not that the beginning doesn’t hook you. Not at all. I just wasn’t sure what was going on. The beginning is actually intriguing, and you’ll get the gist of the plot within a few pages…
Kendra is a strange mixture of a quiet, introspective and sassy woman that, once committed to something, stuck by it. And Mykhael is just one of those guys that is sexy and sensitive but still able to take care of things in most situations.
An interesting twist on the paranormal genre, once I got into the book I really enjoyed it. The resolution was a little unexpected and threw a little monkey-wrench into things initially, but worked out in the end. I was a little confused on what Mykhael’s race actually is. I narrowed it down to two possibilities, but I’m still not sure which one is correct. Despite the confusion (for me) about that, it is a good read and I really enjoyed it.” READ FULL REVIEW
Second Review by Rebecca Forster:
Monday, May 30, 2011: My Killer My Love garners additional praise from USA Today best-selling author, Rebecca Forster.
Two things happened to me recently that gave me pause. First, I read a debut novel by Mona Karel entitled My Killer, My Love. The second was that a very dear friend passed away suddenly. Now you’re wondering what in the heck does a romantic fantasy novel have to do with my sadness at the passing of my friend. Well, it’s all about fantasy and faith.
I do not read a lot of romantic fantasy. In fact, it might be fair to say that Ms. Karel’s is my first in the genre. I have read pure fantasy, science fiction fantasy, I even added a fantasy overlay to my thriller, Before Her Eyes, yet My Killer, My Love was something special. To say that Mona Karel has a way with words is like saying Susan Boyle can sing. The story of My Killer, My Love is inventive and entertaining and the satisfying conclusion was a testament to her talent as a storyteller. Yet, it was her way with the English language, her vision and the poetry of the fantasy portion of this novel that moved me. I was so invested that I completely accepted the ancient race of beings, their reason for interfering in our earthly ways and the goodness and love shared by the physically flawed heroine and the magical hero.
Which brings me to the passing of my good and dear friend. My first emotion was shock—after all he was not much older than I. My second was overwhelming sadness—and, yes, tears were shed as well they should be. Strangely, my third thought was of Mona Karel’s novel. Like her heroine, my friend walked with a cane. Like her heroine, my friend was pained by his infirmity. Like her heroine, my friend was cautious of many relationships. But in the weaving of her novel, Ms. Karel’s fantasy hero brings peace and love and beauty to the ever wary heroine who struggles with her leg, her cane and her caution.
I realized as I came to terms with my friend’s death that somewhere in my soul I wanted to believe he had found the world described in My Killer, My Love. Call it the afterlife, call it wishful thinking, call it whatever you will, I believe it exists. None of really can define that place where a person finds peace and even happiness, but Ms. Karel came so close to weaving a web of definition for me that I smiled at the thought that my friend was caught up in it and happy. I imagine him without his cane. I imagine him still cantankerous but with that twinkle in his eye that I knew when we were all younger.
Ask me to point to the exact words that left me thinking of Mona Karel’s vision long after I put the book down, ask me to recite one phrase that tied her fiction to my reality and I can’t. More it is the sum of the parts that created something that stayed with me, that made me believe there are fanciful things out there for each of us that will heal our wounds – physical or spiritual. I have a feeling the author would think this pairing of her work and my mourning a little odd. Still, isn’t that the charge of the novelist, to find the words that touch someone in an unexpected way? Isn’t that the privelege of the reader, to interpret those words as we see fit?
So, it would seem, at least for this reader and that author, the job is done. I doubt I will ever know if my friend’s cane has been left behind as he walks through a magical world without pain or care but I can fantasize, can’t I? ~ Rebecca Forster USA Today Best Selling Author
First Review by Rebecca Forster:
Thursday, May 19, 2011: USA Today Best-Selling Author, Rebecca Forster, reviews My Killer, My Love.
She says: “Mona Karel writes about love with a deft hand, a deep heart, a sexy eye and an intelligence that has been all too rare these days. In her romantic fantasy, My Killer/My Love, Karel leads us on a journey that is both magical and grounded in all too familiar earthly realities of fear, selfishness, arrogance, pride and caution. The fantasy world embodied in the history of Mykhael who has been sent by ancient beings to kill Kendra for the desecration of a powerful natural site is so well thought out that I never questioned its existence. But Karel drills even deeper, offering the reader layered character motivation as love and trust build. I would recommend this book to any lover of fantasy, romance or just darn good books.” ~ Rebecca Forster USA Today Best Selling Author