In loving Ranier, Zan overcomes her pain, but to discover his true identity would shred the reality she thought she knew.
He is Barakiel. Warrior. Exile. Hopeless romantic. Barakiel is Covalent, a race of ancient beings who use their great power to keep the elemental forces of Creation and Destruction in Balance. The Covalent Council exiled Barakiel to the Earthly Realm as the price of the treachery of his father, Lucifer, who wages perpetual war against it. Lucifer also relentlessly pursues his son. The Council thinks Lucifer views his son’s power as a threat, but Barakiel knows his father seeks to destroy even the memory of love.
She is Alexandra “Zan” O'Gara. FBI Agent. Army veteran. Recovering drunk. Zan’s troubled past left her with little interest in men, but she had never encountered anyone like the stunning Rainer Barakiel. Zan believes Rainer is a wealthy businessman with expertise in edged weapons who can help her with a case. From the moment she meets him she wants him more than she’s ever wanted anything, but her intense attraction is as frightening as it is thrilling.
This is their love story. As Zan’s deepening feelings for Rainer lead her to confront her emotional damage, he struggles to meet the demands of his home world so he will be free to love her, and to reveal his true nature. Through the gruesome crime that first brought Zan to his door, Barakiel learns that his presence in the Earthly Realm has placed some of its most vulnerable citizens in danger. Compelled to protect them, he undertakes a series of duties he may not survive, even as Zan rescues him from centuries of a deadened heart.
Tell us a little about your main characters.
My male hero is Barakiel (ba-rack-ee-el), also known as Rainer (ry-ner). He is Covalent, a race of ancient beings who keep the elemental forces of Creation and Destruction in Balance. The Covalent bond the elemental forces to prevent them from transforming into each other in an endless cycle. Without these aliens, the elemental forces would crushing everything into oblivion. The Covalent sit at the still center of everything that exists. Barakiel is a warrior Covalent. He constantly gathers energy from his surroundings and turns it into unassailable strength and speed. He is a born weapon, and sees violence as the solution to most problems, but he has another side. The Covalent cultivate Balance, the equilibrium of attraction and repulsion, order and entropy, love and hate. Balance is the source of their power. This means Barakiel loves as mightily as he fights. He is ardent and sensitive and open with his feelings. He is a hopeless romantic.
When the story begins, Barakiel has been banished to Earth. He is mistrusted and feared because he is the son of Lucifer, who rebelled against the Covalent Council and was driven from the Covalent Realm. Far from being in league with his father, Barakiel is the focus of Lucifer’s murderous obsession. Lucifer sends his demon minions against his son at every change of seasons – the solstices and the equinoxes – when the Earth’s axis shifts position relative to the Sun and creates a rift between dimensions.
Fighting demons gives Barakiel a sense of purpose, but he isolated from his kind. He is saved from complete loneliness by Pellus, who was a close friend of his mother’s. Pellus is like a father to Barakiel. They clash, as fathers and sons often do, but Pellus is much more than a stand-in parent and mentor. He is a traveler adept, a type of Covalent who can manipulate the properties of matter and energy. Pellus can travel between dimensions using rifts in the fabric of existence that only a traveler can see. As an adept, he has achieved such mastery that he can bend light and create solid barriers out of the air. He can break through even the most sophisticated computer encryption as easily as walking through an unlocked door. He is calm, rational, and deadly.
Pellus is also cautious. He discourages Barakiel from pursuing serious relationships with humans because they are against Covalent Law. When Barakiel meets Zan O’Gara, it doesn’t take Pellus long to realize the warrior will not listen to him. Barakiel is drawn to her. He tells Pellus that she carries herself like a warrior, and he waxes poetic over her flawless skin. He “burns with Creation, all for her,” as Pellus puts it.
Barakiel needs and wants love, but he never found a woman who could match him until he met Zan. Despite his need, Pellus’ warnings do have some effect on him. He hides his true identity. He passes as human.
Zan, my female hero, is an FBI agent and a decorated army veteran. She is from the mountains of Idaho and has the toughness and self-sufficiency often found in people who hale from a rugged landscape. She is dedicated to her job. Too dedicated, according to Melissa Romani, Zan’s FBI partner. Mel is also Zan’s best friend and is always trying to set her up with men.
Although Zan tried dating, it was always tepid or horrible. She filled her life with other things. She is an excellent guitar player and fronts a rock-n-roll band. Between her job and her music, she doesn’t have time for men. She thinks it’s just as well because she is a recovering alcoholic, and like many women who abused a substance, she has an ugly history with sex. Zan thought her scars meant romance was not for her. When she meets Rainer, she lusts after him and she likes it, but he also makes her feel things she doesn’t understand. It terrifies her.
What is their biggest challenge or quest?
Barakiel’s quest is to discover if there is a connection between his presence in the Earthly Realm and a grisly murder. Zan’s quest is to solve the same murder. A man was gutted at the winter solstice, his internal organs removed. His body was left on display near Barakiel’s home. Three months later, at the vernal equinox, a similar ritual takes place in the national historical park in Philadelphia. The park rangers find a human spleen in the bushes. They call the FBI.
Zan begins an investigation, where she meets Barakiel. They begin to explore each other with a fiery passion. At the same time, Barakiel struggles to meet the demands of his homeworld and deal with his father’s efforts to kill him. His time with Zan gives him strength, but as her investigation brings her closer to the truth about the murder, Barakiel is afraid he will lose her.
Give us your favorite line from your protagonist:
“Zan, it’s a beautiful, sunny day. Let us go to the ocean. We can consign our pain to the waves, and listen to them whisper their comfort.” – Barakiel to Zan, after they’ve had an intense, emotional discussion.
But when I look in his eyes, I feel like nature. – Zan to herself, musing about she forgets all her fears and misgiving in Barakiel’s presence.
From an antagonist:
“I can feel your hatred, hard and sharp as a blade. I live inside you. Return to me and we will subjugate the realms. Return to me or die.” – Lucifer to Barakiel, invading his mind, seeking to make Barakiel his slave.
An emblematic paragraph-long excerpt:
Here's an excerpt from the day Zan and Rainer first meet. She expresses an interest in blades, so he invites her to see his collection. He gives her a sword to examine. Unbeknownst to her, it is his Covalent sword, an alien weapon. To see her handle it gives him a thrill.
Zan took the gargantuan blade with both hands and did a simple block stance, then a thrust. Rainer raised both his eyebrows.
“I’m surprised you can lift that to shoulder level.”
“I’m a strong woman.”
“I can see that,” he replied in a low voice. The way he looked at her made Zan almost drop the sword. She adjusted her grip.
“This sword is unbelievably well-balanced.”
Did I just impress him? God, I hope so.
“Ah, see now,” Zan said. “My arms are getting tired, so you weren’t far from right. I could never actually use this sword.” She pivoted and held it out to him with a slight bow. “Your sword, sir.”
Rainer smiled as he took it. Zan realized he hadn’t been smiling before, not a real smile. This time it was like strong sunlight falling on a person who’d been trapped in the bitter cold.
“You’re trained?” he asked.
“A little. I used to study kendo in college, Japanese sword fighting, but I don’t have the time now. For the job, we’re mostly trained in firearms, but we get a decent amount of training in hand-to-hand, some other weapons. How about you? Is your interest more than aesthetic?”
“Yes. I’ve studied the fighting arts since I was a child.”
“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.”
Rainer tilted his head and regarded her, his lips pressed together.
He doesn’t know what to make of me. I don’t know what to make of him either, but oh, those lips. I better get away from this man. I’m on duty.
What keeps you going when your inspiration flags?
Discipline. I’m a former journalist, trained to write on demand. Writer’s block is not acceptable when there’s newspaper to get out. I’ve also found that the act of writing itself creates inspiration. It touches some mysterious part of my brain.
What truly inspires you and fires up your vision?
Natural beauty. I love mountains. They make me feel insignificant, which is good if you need perspective. Their beauty soothes and renews me. Also, music. A great song gives me a tremendous feeling of wellbeing. In addition, when I’m frustrated or angry, punk rock has a great cathartic effect.
Best words of advice you ever received?
Once, on a trolley, an old woman said to me, “You’re going to have a wonderful life some day because you’re not afraid to be your own person.” She was a stranger, but her words have stayed with me. They’re not really advice, but I’ve tried to live by them.
To take a job as a corporate attorney because it was a “good opportunity.” I knew I would hate it, I didn’t last long. I’ve never been a climb-the-ladder kind of gal.
Where’s your favorite place to write?
My office. I have big bay windows that let in a lot of light, and my cats come to visit me.
Which do you enjoy writing most: action, romance, setting, dialogue?
I love to write dialogue. I love imaging conversations and people’s reactions to each other. I have to take care that my writing doesn’t have too much. I often get carried away. Of course, I enjoy all the others as well. Depends on the day and the circumstance of the story.
More on the series:
The Passion Season is Book I of the Covalent Series. Writing a series is great because I get to tell an epic love story, set in two different worlds, with subplots featuring crime, political intrigue, war, betrayal, stealthy rescues and inter-dimensional travel. Plus, sweet words, tenderness and lots of hot sex. I’ve rarely had so much fun, and I’m a woman who’s had a lot of fun.
I have five books in my head, one finished, one halfway there, and one outlined. The drawbacks? You get impatient. You want to get it all out. Also, I’ve heard that readers hold off buying books in series until the whole series is available because they like to binge. That’s a long time to wait for people to read your stuff. That’s a lot of money to lay out for no return until some distant date.
A hint of what you’re working on next?
The Pain Season: Book II of the Covalent Series! Zan and Barakiel’s epic love story continues. I’ll give you an impressionistic synopsis of the beginning from Zan’s point of view: Terror, determination, anger, grief. The Pain Season will be released on the autumnal equinox, September 22, 2016. The writing is going swimmingly thus far.
About the Author:
Libby Doyle is an attorney and former journalist who took a walk around the corporate world and didn’t like it. She escapes the mundane by writing extravagant yarns, filled with sex and violence. She loves absurd humor, travel, punk rock, and her husband.