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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Book Review: The Veiled - Expanded Edition by Jennifer Osborn

The Veiled - Expanded Edition (The Shilund Saga #1) by Jennifer Osborn
Genre: Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: October 5, 2014
Publisher: Indescribable Publishing

Danger lurks in the dark woods that surround the small town of Presque Isle. Legends passed down from generation to generation, cautioned all to avoid the woods or risk losing your life. It was rumored that throughout the years, many who did not heed the warning went missing, right before the sighting of human like creatures, never to be heard of again. Jack dismissed the lure as the urban myths that accompany all small towns. Until on a camping trip with two of his friends, the unthinkable happens, leaving his friends dead and him imprisoned by a mysterious girl named Serena. Her strange eyes and stories of others of her kind intrigue him, leaving him defenseless to her. He discovers that his small town was nothing like he thought and that his life and those around him would be better than he could ever imagine, if he would only believe

The Veiled is the first book in the Shilund Saga by Jennifer Osborn. I'm not sure what was added or changed in the expanded edition that was or wasn't in the first version, but I'm so glad the author offered the expanded edition to me, because I couldn't imagine any tid bit from this book to be missing from the story. There was action, romance, danger, and a touch of horror. I immediately connected with the characters. I could feel Serena's feelings of being an outsider and being okay with it yet longing to belong at the same time. She was easy to relate to. Jack was believable too. They have an instant attraction, but he's cautious of Serena and wasn't quick to trust her. He knew she wasn't human, but didn't know what a Shilund was either. What is a Shilund you ask? In the beginning I thought it would be bigfoot or something similar, but as I read... I'm not so sure, so I googled it. I couldn't find anything about a Shilund that wasn't related to this book so, it seems to be a creature of the author's imagination. I love that about them. They are something unique to this saga. They are intriguing, and I'm anxious to learn more. To know more about these creatures, you'll just have to read the book too.

The Veiled by Jennifer Osborn was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Gazing to look out the window, he could see the sun filtering through the trees in sharp rays.  Their golden light breaking the darkness apart.  As he studies the dust dancing in the light, a feral face appeared before him, gazing at him with a snarl.

Jack recoiled back so quickly that he landed with a thud on his backside.  With a delft quickness, the creature was inside the cabin and on top of Jack, pounding him into the floor.  Jack responded by swinging up to the figure and striking it in its face hard.  That succeeded in momentarily stunning it.   His eyes were exactly like Serena’s, only his irises were a mint green.

Jack could see it was a Shilund, like Serena, but decidedly male.  His canines were bigger, and his body was all muscled and stern.  The male growled at Jack and pulled back to strike again, when suddenly his weight was off of Jack.  It was a blur of movement as the Shilund male was thrown across the room, and a rumble echoed off the walls.

Jack looked up to see Serena standing in front of him in a protective stance, bearing her fangs to the male laying across the room.   She was impressive…and scary.  Jack stood up, only to be held back by Serena.

“Remain still!” she ordered and Jack nodded okay.

The male was up in a moment, his chest heaving with anger.

“What is this?”  The male demanded through gritted teeth.  “You have a human here!”

“This does not concern you Rafhey!”  Serena spat, holding her stance before Jack.

“I can-“ Jack began.

“Quiet!” Serena screamed.

Okay, so he’d try to keep his mouth shut.

“Doesn’t concern me?  Are you crazy Serena!”  Rafhey began to pace slightly.  “You have this human here with you.  You are breaking the law!”

“No one needs to know this,” Serena began, “you can turn and leave exactly as you came.” She indicated the door with an incline of her head.

The room became quiet, only the heavy panting of Serena and Rafhey.  Jack could hear his own heart beat in his ears.

Rafhey took a step forward, and Jack found himself attempting to get in front of Serena and pull her behind him.  Whatever was going to happen, he didn’t want her hurt.  Not for anything.

Serena frustrated pulled Jack back and whinnied, “Stop that! He won’t hurt me!”

Jack tried not to be moved, but Serena pulled him easily behind her.  Man was she strong.

Rafhey moved another step closer and threatened, “Baden will rain down hell on this place knowing a human is here…alive.   You know the law.  This will not pass.”

“Baden need not know.”  Serena walked closer to Rafhey, “You can keep this to yourself.  The human is only here long enough to heal and leave.”

Rafhey looked Jack up and down disdainfully, “He looks well enough now.  Are you sure it was only to let him heal? “

Serena seemed taken back.  “Of course that is all.  Why else would I allow a human here?”

“I don’t know Serena.  You tell me?”   His fierce eyes glowed suspicion.

Cue the jeopardy music.  Neither party moved, but seemed to stare each other down, each poised for conflict.

Rafhey shifted slightly, his hand moving toward the inside of his robe, slowly revealing a gleaming blade.

Her movement was so fast; Jack could not track it.  One moment Serena was with him, and the next she had Rafhey against the wall holding him by his throat, his legs dangling in mid air.  The blade dropped harmlessly to the ground.

The noise coming from her was animalistic and low.

“You. Will. Not. Touch. Him.” The menace was clear.  Serena pushed Rafhey further up the wall, waiting for him to respond.   He could only manage to scratch at her hand to loosen it, but was unsuccessful.

Rafhey struggled, his voice a whisper. “—Let….me….go.”

Serena continued to growl as she held him, squeezing her hand tighter, which only succeeded in sending a panicked look on Rafhey’s face as all air was completely cut off.   He began to lose consciousness.

“Serena!” Jack shouted, hoping to catch her attention.  He didn't want to see her kill him, even though he could care less for Rafhey.  This was all about Serena.

Serena’s eyes flickered toward Jack's direction in acknowledgement of her name, and she released Rafhey.  He landed in a tangled mess.

Rafhey struggled for breath, pulling in the air as deeply as he could through coughs.  Grasping onto his throat, he glared up at Serena.

Serena squatted down in front of him and spoke between clenched teeth.  “Get out of my house.   And if you breathe a word of this to anyone, I will gut you.  Do you understand?”

Rafhey stared at her, still attempting to breathe.  He made no attempt to answer her.

Serena grabbed the blade from the floor and held it to his throat.  Rafhey froze.

“I asked, do you understand?” She glared at him unflinchingly.

“Yes.” He whispered.

“Good.”  She replied as she stood and dropped the blade at his feet.  “Now get out.”

Rafhey gathered himself, weaving like a drunk and paused at the front door.  “One day Serena, you will answer for this.  Mark my words.”

Her only response was to snarl again at him as she stood in front of Jack to protect him.  Rafhey reluctantly turned and disappeared into the golden sunlight streaming in through the door.

Jack felt himself relax, and he sat back on the bed.  What had just happened here?  He couldn't figure out why this Rafhey character was so on edge, like someone had just peed in his Wheaties.

Jennifer Osborn was born and raised in South Eastern Kentucky and transplanted to the Cincinnati, Ohio area where she continues to live.

Having grown up with characters freely roaming around in her head, she gave into the compulsion to write them on paper and give them a voice.

Through out high school, her stories were passed around from friend to friend, which fueled the desire for more.

As an adult she is continuing to pursue her love of writing, both in books, short stories and poetry form.

To learn more about Jennifer Osborn and her books, visit her website & blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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