Review: Seal of Destiny by Traci Douglass + Character Interview: 20 Questions (or less) with Kagan, an interview by Mira Herald + Excerpt

Seal of Destiny (Seven Seals #1)

  • By Traci Douglass
  • Editions: ebook
  • Published: January 21st 2013 by Crimson Romance
  • Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
  • Source: review copy
  • Love conquers all… but can it stop the Apocalypse?

    Mira Herald is having the worst life ever. Not only is she plagued by horrific nightmares starring the Devil himself, she’s now the target of a power-hungry, rogue minion, freshly sprung from Hell and bent on her destruction. To complicate matters further, she’s acquired a stalker. One who insists he’s a divine warrior sent for her protection because she houses an ancient relic with the power to unleash Armageddon. Last time Mira checked, she wasn’t insane. Still, all this celestial mayhem is enough to drive a girl crazy.

    Kagan is a member of the Scion, an elite team of immortal warriors selected by Divinity to aid mankind and save the world. After a century alone, Kagan is summoned for a new mission. He’s eager to begin. Eager until he’s informed his mission consists of protecting a woman with no clue to the power she wields. Plus, his briefing fails to prepare him for his new target’s cosmic-sized attitude problem. As Divinity’s sworn servant, he’s required to fulfill his duty. His oath, however, does not require him to be enthusiastic about his new assignment or warm-and-fuzzy toward his new compatriot. He plans a wham-bam rescue and a quick return to solitude.

    The rogue minion attacks—with the backing of a mysterious organization—and all Hades erupts, putting a fast end to any whirlwind escapes. Accustomed to staunch independence, Mira’s survival now requires full cooperation and an unwavering belief in Kagan. The battle-hardened warrior is also forced to chose: between duty and desire. Amidst the turmoil, Kagan and Mira’s undeniable passion draws them closer to each other and down a path neither expected but both yearn for, more than they ever knew.

    Will love save the day? The world’s fate depends on the answer.
    ~ Bewitching BT

  • Bomy’s Flutter: active plot and fun characters

  • One thing I’ll mention first about this read was I loved the diversity, linguistic and cultural; we have some Italian, some Greek words/phrases showing up, so there’s some cultural diversity to this novel and I loved it. It was especially fun since I got what they meant, I’m cool with Italian and the Greek phrases I’d heard before as well 😀 Fun.

    Now, the world of this read was very interesting. As you well know, I don’t like faith elements much in my reads, I am in fact (in)famous for avoiding reads that contain such elements. I expected some here since we’re talking Apocalypse, Divinity, Lucifer and such – I loved the fact that while the characters were there, and they had a pseudo-belief system connotation, there was no actual faith involved. I have a low tolerance for reads that use religious elements so I tend to avoid angel stories like they’re the plague, pretty much, yet here I found I enjoyed the whole supernatural realm. Mainly because it wasn’t about faith at all, but about action. Divinity was more of a troop marshal or something, quite fun in fact. The Scions were awesome, and I really enjoyed the enochians and all the diverse cultural elements that made an appearance here. So yet again, I’ll applaud the author for her vision.

    I found the characters fun by large, but something about Mira’s past sort of ambushed me and that I won’t say I liked. I avoid reading stories about characters with abuse in their past, and I have a sound reason to; I didn’t like finding out Mira was one of those characters as I read, and it had the same effect it always has on me: I immediately and completely detached emotionally from Mira. Which sort of ruins a whole read for me by large since I’m character-focused always, and it’s why I avoid reading stories with these types of characters to begin with. I liked Mira, she had humor, she was spunky and she could kick a$$, but as soon as the past element showed up I disconnected. It’s not part of the action of the novel, but it affects her and if I could have chosen, I would have liked not to bump into that. If you have a similar reaction to mine about these things, some of the novel’s charm sort of misses its target.
    Kagan was all alpha-like but thoughtful, I felt he was a good match for Mira and their interaction was full of tension, fact that I enjoyed by large. But again, the fact that her past had an impact on their future had me emotionally disconnect from their relationship. It sort of frustrated me, because they were a fun couple and I would have liked to enjoy their chemistry as I might have were it not for the ambush past element. If you don’t have an issue with past abuse stories, you’ll most likely love them each and love their chemistry as a couple, the way they reach each other and what they have. For me, sadly, a lot of that was lost. Once you disconnect emotionally from one of the characters in the main couple, the romance is sort of lost. Let me be clear on this, this a personal issue I have with abuse, not something lacking or not well done about the characters in this couple. If you don’t have my issue with it, chances are you’ll feel more for Mira because of it, empathize with her more and such. I can’t do that, I have to tune out as soon as the element makes an appearance for my own peace of mind.

    The plot was well paced, it had a good amount of action that kept me entertained though not riveted. But then again action never gets me riveted, only characters can do that. If you love action though, you’ll appreciate this read. There’s a good balance between romantic elements and action and the read felt well-rounded.

    I enjoyed the writing too, it had a good amount of humor which you know I always love, dealt well with emotional, delicate scenes and presented convincing fight and action scenes.

    The presentation of the book is good, the blurb is very informative (though I’d like some hint to Mira’s past in there, just to keep safe readers like me) and the cover is great. It wouldn’t have necessarily been an impulse buy since none of my favorite themes are featured, but I would have gotten it in a maybe-Apocalypse-scenario mood.

    All in all, I say this was a good read since it kept my attention even though it contained something of a deal breaker for me, it was a good mix of romance and action that I believe would appeal to both lovers of romance and lovers of urban fantasy.

    Exclusive Excerpt: Seal Of Destiny

    “Basta!” Kagan grabbed her by the arm and twisted slightly, not enough to hurt, but enough to let her know he meant business as he directed her to a corner booth. He ignored the half-full beverages and coats scattered on the seats and shoved Mira into the confined space. When the booth’s original owners took issue with his hostile takeover, Kagan dispatched them with a lethal glare. He wasn’t sure where the girl had gotten the idea his mind was damaged, but he was damn sure he didn’t like it. He moved in behind her to block her escape.

    “Oh, hell, no!” After several unsuccessful strikes to his muscled physique, Mira tried to slide out beneath the table. The angle proved too awkward. Defeated, she shoved as far away as she could into the corner and propped those killer boots on the seat in front of her in warning. “You better let me out of here, asshole, before I call the cops! I caught you stalking me, pervert!”

    Kagan took a deep breath. He never lost his cool in battle, and he wasn’t about to start now. “Pervert? You’re of age, si?”

    Mira glared. Kagan ticked through their earlier interactions, searching for a reason behind her intense hostility. His preternatural instincts sensed her intention before her hand reached his carotid. He blocked her quickly, locking her small hand within his and forcing it to the table beneath his own. Her pulse raced against his palm. He took another swig of beer then flashed his most endearing grin. “Let’s start over.” He released his bottle and extended his hand. “I’m Kagan.”

    She refused to acquiesce. Kagan spoke in quiet tones meant to calm, to reassure. “I know I’m a stranger, but we have things to discuss.” He glanced around the crowded club, at the bodies packed tight. “We can’t do it here, though—no privacy. My apartment is close. Why don’t we go there and talk?”

    Mira kicked him hard in the thigh.

    “Merda!” Kagan grabbed his throbbing leg. “What’s in those damn boots? Marble?”
    “Let me out of here, jackass, before I sideline your baby-maker!” Mira struggled within the tight confines of the booth. As she squirmed, the spicy scent of her shampoo wafted, and he was overcome with the strangest urge to plunge his hands into the riotous mass of her hair, to feel it curl around his fingers. She tugged on the hand pinned beneath his, and his thumb traced over her thudding veins. His heart pounding along with hers. The odd tingle sped through his torso, and his mouth turned to cotton. Her gaze blazed up at him, a swirling mix of green and golden brown. He noted the dark smudges below and wondered what kept her from slumber.

    Dolce Cristo! Kagan looked away, fought for control. This was getting way out of hand. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d bedded a woman, but apparently it had been far too long.

    20 Questions (or less) with Kagan, an interview by Mira Herald

    Character interview with Kagan, Scion warrior and hero of author Traci Douglass’s debut novel, SEAL OF DESTINY, as conducted by his mate, first Seal of the Apocalypse and heroine, Mira Herald. The interview takes place over the kitchen table of Kagan and Mira’s Chicago warehouse loft.

    Mira: Since you never talk about yourself, I thought this would be a good way to get to know you better. So, let’s start. What’s your favorite quote?
    Kagan: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” And your mate closest of all…
    (Kagan chuckles and reaches for Mira. She skirts out of reach and smacks his hand.)

    Mira: Behave yourself. Now, if you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
    Kagan: Only you, carissima.
    (Mira edges back closer to Kagan and continues)

    Mira: If you could only see one color, which would you choose?
    Kagan: Hazel

    Mira: That’s a weird. I thought your favorite color was blue.
    Kagan: Yes, but this way I could view the loveliness of your eyes.
    (He flashes Mira a lopsided grin. Her face heats and she scoots closer still.)

    Mira: What’s your favorite song?
    Kagan: Depends on the situation. If I’m preparing for battle, “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns and Roses, “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock, and “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit. But if I’m relaxing, I enjoy peace and quiet, or opera. Verdi or Puccini.
    Mira: What’s your favorite movie?
    Kagan: Gladiator. Reminds me of my human youth.

    Mira: Any weird fetishes I should know about?
    Kagan: What do you have in mind, piccola? (He waggles his brows. Mira shoots him her best ‘in-your-dreams-buddy’ look. Kagan gives her a slow smile as she fidgets in her seat and clears her throat.)

    Mira: You’re skydiving and realize your parachute isn’t opening. What would you think about/do for the last 5 minutes?
    Besides shit my pants? (He laughs)
    (Mira drops her paper and pen on the table and scowls)

    Mira: I’m trying to be serious. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. We should stop.
    (Kagan reaches across the table and takes her hand, stroking her knuckles with his thumb)
    Kagan: No, piccola. Don’t stop. Per favore?
    (Mira stares at him for a moment then picks up her steno pad again)

    Mira: Okay. What would make you an excellent presidential candidate?
    Kagan: You mean besides my good looks and my huge c…

    Mira: Dammit, Kagan. You don’t vote for someone because of that.
    Kagan: Wanna bet? (He leans back in his chair to give her an eyeful of his assets.)

    Mira: Maybe I should give you and your ego some time alone together?
    (She crosses her arms)
    Kagan: I’m sorry, tesoro. (He flashes her a contrite grin) Please continue.

    Mira: Fine. What’s the most pathetic thing you’ve done with your life?
    Kagan (his lips twitching): Besides answer these questions?
    (He ducks as her pen and steno pad fly past his head)

    Mira: Look asshole, I’ve given up a lot for you. The least you can do is answer a few stupid questions for me so I can…
    (Her speech is cut short as Kagan yanks her out of her chair and kisses her)

    Sometime later…

    (Mira collects her paper and pen from the floor and returns to her seat)
    Mira: Where were we? (She flips through a couple pages) Okay. Are you a morning person or a night person?
    Kagan: I’m an anytime you want it kind of person (he winks at her)

    Mira (rolls her eyes): Really? Does that line actually work for you?
    (Kagan shrugs) The normal response is, “Oh God, Kagan. Yes, Kagan. Please, Kagan!”
    (Mira flips him off)

    Mira: Moving on. If you could be a magical creature, what would you be?
    Kagan: Magical creature? You mean like sparkly things? (He thinks for a moment and his expression morphs from mortified distaste to self-satisfied orneriness) How about a Nymph? Don’t they have sex all the time? Si! A nymph.
    (He stretches out again only to bolt forward as Mira kicks him hard in the shin)
    Ouch! Do that again woman and I swear I’ll…
    (Mira sticks her tongue out at him)

    Mira: Final question. (She ignores his loud profession of thanks and continues) If someone has a very good reason for taking the law into their own hands, should they still be prosecuted?
    Kagan: The only law Scion obey is Divinity’s. (He reaches for her ankle, pulls her stocking foot into his lap, and massages her arch)
    (Mira leans back in her chair. Her shoulders and eyelids droop. Kagan smiles)
    What’s the matter, piccola? Your expression has gone dreamy…

    Mira: What? (She forces herself to sit up) Dammit Kagan, you know I can’t concentrate when you do that.
    (Mira attempts to pull her foot free and instead brushes against the growing ridge in his faded denims. He groans and her breath hitches)
    Mira: Oh, uh, sorry…
    Kagan: No apologies, carissima. Just don’t stop.
    (Mira wiggles her toes and watches him through lowered lashes. Kagan slides his hand up her calf, coaxes her off her chair, and into his lap)
    Mira: But what about…
    (Her speech is ended by Kagan’s finger atop her lips)
    Kagan: Later, tesoro. Much, much later…

    {Livia says: Daium! If I’d known an interview could go like that, I would have tried to interview the dude myself, lol!}

    About the Author & Links:

    Traci is the author of paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romances featuring a sly, urban edge, including her current Seven Seals series. Her stories feature sizzling alpha-male heroes full of dark humor, quick wits and major attitudes; smart, independent heroines who always give as good as they get; and scrumptiously evil villains who are—more often than not—bent on world destruction. She enjoys weaving ancient curses and mythology, modern science and old religion, and great dialogue together to build red-hot, sizzling chemistry between her main characters.

    A storyteller since childhood, she began putting her tales down on paper in November 2011 after the idea for the Seven Seals Series occurred to her in a dream. She finished the first draft of what was to become Seal of Destiny in one month and decided to pursue a full-time writing career in January of 2012. Life has now been a rollercoaster, crash course in pursuing your dreams.

    Traci is an active member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Indiana Romance Writers of America (IRWA) and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Writers (FF&P) and is pursing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction through Seton Hill University. Her stories have made the final rounds in several RWA chapter contests, including the 2012 Duel on the Delta, the 2012 Molly Awards, and the 2012 Catherine Awards. An earlier draft of Seal of Destiny won the paranormal category of the 2012 Marlene Awards sponsored by the Washington Romance Writers.

    Other current projects include upcoming books in the Seven Seals series and a new futuristic detective series with hints of the paranormal and plenty of romance.

    Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


    8 thoughts on “Review: Seal of Destiny by Traci Douglass + Character Interview: 20 Questions (or less) with Kagan, an interview by Mira Herald + Excerpt

    1. Traci Douglass

      Thanks so much for having me here and for the great review! Glad you enjoyed the book. 🙂


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