The Sullivans, a family of hard-working Irish lawyers, came from nothing and built a life they can be proud of. The Deschanels amassed incredible wealth by siding with the North during the Civil War, betraying their people. Both New Orleans families have a dark and rich history, painted with secrets, treachery, and colorful, supernatural abilities.
The House of Crimson and Clover unravels the mysteries surrounding both families, pulling us further into their tangled, enigmatic lives.
Excerpt from Eventide
Chapter One: Nicolas
Living no longer interested me.
This decision was a rare instance of clarity in nearly thirty years of debaucherous living. I could not pinpoint the exact moment when it initially crossed my mind. Hell, I couldn’t tell you when it went from a whim to a done deal. Like most things in my life, it didn’t occur to me slowly. The idea did not evolve, although looking back, every moment leading up to my realization essentially shouted the same forgone conclusion.
I was only numbly unaware of my plan as I gassed up the Porsche, or as I packed my small leather bag, carefully placing inside the box housing my father’s handgun. Even the drive to Deschanel Island on New Year’s Day was free of interesting revelations. If I were the insightful type, I’d have started putting the puzzle pieces together sooner; I’d have recognized this sojourn to my family’s private island was not just another one of my notorious, spur-of-the-moment getaways. This was more than Deschanel spontaneity rearing its self-indulgent head.
There were plenty of assholes who expected something like this from me years ago, after the accident that killed off most of my family.
I grew up with four half-sisters. Products of my father’s inability to stop rutting with his French maid. Sisters my father loved far more than he ever loved his only son. This didn’t bother me the way it should have. I grew up doing whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased, however I pleased, and there was no one who cared enough to stop me. Even my own mother, who I loved despite her faults, was too self-absorbed in misery of her own creation to tend to my emotional needs.
What should have been an exclamation point in my life was, in reality, more of a footnote. My entire family–except my youngest sister, Adrienne–died in a car accident deep in bayou country. At the ever-so-tender age of twenty-one, I was faced with unfathomable tragedy. Most of the family biddies were on edge, waiting for me to do something characteristically selfish like drink myself into oblivion and walk down the Mississippi River levee naked.
But I was too stubborn to give the Deschanel Sewing Circle the satisfaction of being right. Besides, I’d already done my share of drinking naked on the levee. I could think of far more creative ways to go off the deep end.
It was easier to let them believe I didn’t care. I loved my father even if he was a prick. I loved my conniving mother, even if it was her fault he excluded me. And I loved my half-sisters too, though they probably never knew it.
My illusion was apparently very convincing. I should’ve been on suicide watch; people should’ve been concerned for my frame of mind and personal safety. The kitchen at Ophélie should have been swimming with shitty casseroles. But it wasn’t. Because no one saw me mourn. Friends, other family, our lawyers, staff all assumed I didn’t care. They mistook my lack of tears as a sign of apathy.
Although beyond their understanding, I did experience sadness. I grieved for what I could have had, but never did. And now, never would.
But this wasn’t why I came to Deschanel Island to die. It had nothing to do with some repressed grief or inexorable loneliness stemming from my crappy upbringing, or from my family’s accident. That was almost a decade ago. I’d experienced very little heartache in my life since, and despite my often dysfunctional rearing, I’d never been lonely. My life had always been pretty fucking good, if I do say so. And up until a month ago, I was happy.
Excerpt from Midnight Dynasty
Chapter One: Elizabeth
Elizabeth woke abruptly, sweat pooling at her brow. Her dreams only grew to levels this vivid when their reality was imminent.
Beside her, Connor lay snoring, undisturbed. He had never, not in the nearly twenty-five years they’d been married, had trouble sleeping through his wife’s episodes. She could wake screaming at the top of her lungs and he would continue on in uninterrupted, restful bliss.
As a seer, Elizabeth often saw glimpses of the future. When awake, her visions were unreliable; she was only given snippets, and much of what she saw was open to interpretation. When dreaming, however, they were painfully lucid. She could see the future in all its terror or glory, and there was no filter to help ease the burden.
Of course, as a Deschanel, this ability was not wholly unique. Her relatives were healers, empaths, and other powerfully “gifted” individuals. But the rest of them experienced things in the now. They lay their hands on someone sick and that person was healed. They sensed disquiet in another and helped soothe it. Elizabeth only ever saw what was to come. And if it came to her in a dream, it always, without fail, came to pass.
She glanced at the clock: two in the morning. Connor would be waking in a few hours to head in to the law firm. Tristan, her son, would be dead to the world until lunchtime.
Though Tristan did not figure into her dream—thank God, she could not lose another child to this wretched Curse—she still had a pressing urge to check on him. Since he was born, nearly twenty-one years ago to the day, she always feared he would stop breathing in his sleep. Some nights, even now, she sat at his bedside and watched his chest rise and fall. She’d done the same thing for Danielle too, but now Danielle was gone.
This was the life Elizabeth Sullivan led day in and day out: one of fear. Fear the Deschanel Curse would continue to strike those she loved. Terror it might take Tristan, as it had Danielle.
Tristan lay askew in his old childhood bed, long legs dangling out from the side of his sheets. Elizabeth released the sigh she’d been holding in, and sat quietly on the pine chest beside his bed. Once filled with toys and plush friends, now it lay stuffed with forgotten sports gear and a messy stack of dog-eared video game magazines.
He wasn’t in the vision. He was safe, she kept telling herself. But years later, she was still unable to get the sight of her only daughter, lying broken in the street, out of her head. Eyes open, closed, it did not matter. That image was burned in her heart and mind for all of time. It was a wound that would never heal, and a grief she would never recover from.
Though Tristan was safe (for now), there were others in the family, people she loved, who were not. Nieces and nephews she watched grow up. Children who never would.
And there was nothing—not one thing—Elizabeth could do to stop it. It was going to happen. The only unknown was when.
About the author
Sarah is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Paranormal Southern Fiction series, The House of Crimson & Clover. The series was born of her combined loves of New Orleans, family dramas, and the mysterious nature of love and desire. Her books combine elements of paranormal, mystery, suspense, intrigue, and romance. She is always working on the next book in the series, and absolutely loves connecting with her fans.
Sarah lives in the Pacific Northwest, but has traveled the world from Asia to Europe to Africa. When she isn’t working (either at her day career, or hard at work at writing), she is reading a book and discovering new authors. The great loves of her life (in order) are: her husband James, her writing, and traveling the world.