Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Introducing “A Stolen Heart” by Kayelle Allen

with 8 comments

Folks, I’m always glad to talk about my friend and fellow author Kayelle Allen. I’ve edited at least six of her books (maybe more; I’ve lost count), and I’m always happy to work on them because they’re well-detailed, well-organized, and a lot of fun.

But A STOLEN HEART, which is all of the above, is even more than that. It’s about optimism, in the face of great loss. It’s about the blessings of family, even when you don’t think you deserve it. It’s about personal growth, and self-sacrifice, and finding your own way in the world…most of all, it’s about figuring out how to love yourself, warts and all, even when you’ve done something so horrible you have nightmares about it many years after the fact.

ab-ash500

Kayelle’s hero in A STOLEN HEART is the enigmatic Luc Saint-Cyr, a nearly immortal man from a race of genetically engineered humans called Ultras. Luc, thousands of years ago and under another name, was sent while he’d been a soldier to kill, and he’d done just that. But when he found out that the people he’d killed this time were children, he was so appalled he confronted his superiors. They told him to basically “stop being a wussy” (not in so many words), and that he’d been engineered to kill, thank you, so why was he complaining about killing children? What’s the big deal?

Luc wasn’t having any of it, and for many years — and lives — he’s tried to atone for that. (It’s not that he won’t kill if he has to; it’s that he will not kill innocents ever again.) He’s believed that he is unworthy of love. And he’s become almost ossified in his beliefs to the point that even when he takes lovers, he gets physical relief from it but no more — and expects nothing more, either, because who could love him, pariah though he is?

And because Luc’s past comes with a very attractive ex-boyfriend who’s also immortal, well…let’s just say that adds some complexity to the mix. (Remember what I said about Luc not feeling lovable? That definitely hasn’t killed off his sex drive. Though there really isn’t any sex in this book, just attraction…ahem.)

ab-ash-bnr-pietas-pi-chart

Anyway, Luc’s now a financier and merchant. He’s also one of the heads of the Thieves Guild, which is a quasi-legal enterprise in the galactic empire he lives in. But he still thinks of himself as a pariah, and while others (including his ex) see him as calm, cool, and collected, he knows his life is empty.

Because he is more or less immortal (Ultras can be killed, but it takes a Hell of a lot of doing), he has borne this shame for many years. But into his life comes a young half-human boy, Senthys Antonello (called Senth by everyone but Luc; Luc insists that “nicknames lack dignity”). Senth is only three when Luc runs across him running from a nasty teacher in the Thieves Guild; unbeknownst to Luc, the rules have recently changed and now young children (providing they are not fully human) can be sold as slaves. This disgusts Luc, and so he determines to do something about it…but first, he takes Senth home with him as a foster child.

And this changes his life for the better in so many ways, it’s almost incalculable.

Because I don’t want to spoil the read, I’ll stop there with the plot summary. But I do hope you’ll read what Kayelle has written, as I found it both enlightening and pertinent. Yes, Luc’s very long-lived, yes, he has an immortal ex, but inside he’s just like the rest of us. And until he meets Senth, he has no idea what the love of family actually is. Much less the type of love known as agape,  which is selfless by nature.

In previous books (including one about Senth as an adult), Luc was shown to be almost sinister at times. But A STOLEN HEART shows Luc to be like anyone else: he wants to be loved for who he is, doesn’t necessarily he believes he deserves it (in fact, he often doesn’t think he deserves it at all), and is trying to find his way despite many life challenges he didn’t make. And while he may have been created to kill, initially, that isn’t what he is now — or at least, that isn’t all he is.

That’s why I was so pleased to work with Kayelle as her editor for A STOLEN HEART, and it’s why I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you now.

——

BTW, here’s the blurb Kayelle wrote for Amazon, in case you need any more:

When he rescues a half-human orphan, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to topple the powerful Thieves’ Guild he once led.

Multiple layers of conspiracy unfold, reaching all the way to Luc’s immortal ex–the king. Behind each solved mystery looms an unseen foe, undoing the good Luc accomplishes. For the sake of this child, Luc must postpone his own freedom and master his desire for revenge or he will violate an ancient vow. Worse, he’ll put the toddler at risk.

At war with his compassion for the vulnerable child, loyalty to the king, duty to the Guild, and the bright lure of freedom he’s coveted for centuries, Luc seeks the right path. Will he choose liberty and unparalleled success, or restore the Thieves’ Guild to its former glory while overseeing the child’s training?

A hard choice for any man.

For an immortal whose inner monster can destroy on sight? Impossible.

A pirate with a monstrous past can never be trusted with an innocent child. Luc must ensure the child is protected, safe, nowhere near danger. Nowhere near him. Even if this little boy has already stolen his heart…

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 18, 2020 at 2:18 pm

8 Responses

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  1. This is such a treat to read. Thank you, Barb. The relationship of a writer with an editor is similar to that of a character with a writer. You hope you’re coming across and that they will shape your words so your story makes sense. I trust you for the technical details that I miss, and am always happy when you suggest a smoother way to express a thought or emotion.
    Luc is a favorite character, and of course his ex, Pietas, is by far the central character for my entire story universe. Writing these two was both work and yet full of laughter. Pietas stumbles so badly around Luc, wanting to bring him back, re-engage his trust, and receive that one-on-one love and focused attention Luc is so good at giving.
    Well… I hope your readers give this story a try. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book.

    Kayelle Allen

    May 18, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    • You are welcome, Kayelle. I want everyone to read your work. And I do mean _everyone_. 🙂

      BTW, folks, it’s only 99 cents on Amazon right now as an e-book. And it’s wonderful, so readers — why are you waiting? 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      May 18, 2020 at 5:43 pm

  2. This is the first edition of the story and contains over 50 pages of illustrated bonus material. When I put the book in print this fall, none of that will be included. This is the best time to get the fabulous illustrations by Nano-Core, the graphic designer I hired to design Luc’s hoversine, his debit bracelet, and even the dragon ring worn by Pietas. Beautiful artwork all inspired by the book and also for the book.

    Kayelle Allen

    May 19, 2020 at 6:25 am

    • It’s always good to have bonus material. 🙂 (I have my copy — and yes, readers, that means I bought one.)

      Barb Caffrey

      May 19, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      • Thank you, Barb. 🙂 I commissioned art specifically for this book. Pietas toys with the dragon ring on his left forefinger, and you can see it in the bonus area. Luc’s hoversine, a flying limo, is pictured inside and out in that section too. I even had the artist draw a scale mockup of two people inside to give a sense of how much room there was. The vehicle has a pop-up bed, which Luc has “never used for actual sleeping.” LOL 🙂 I loved creating all this stuff. I did some art myself. My logo and brand includes the word Art first and foremost: Art, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Romance.

        Kayelle Allen

        May 20, 2020 at 8:28 am

      • Well, if you have a space-age limo (a hoversine), and it’s big enough for a bed, why not use it for whatever purpose? 😉

        I loved the art. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        May 20, 2020 at 10:42 pm

      • Exactly. Now, don’t get ahead of me, but I plan to show him use that bed in a new book. *wink*

        Kayelle Allen

        May 21, 2020 at 7:06 am

      • LOL I can’t wait! 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        May 21, 2020 at 8:45 pm


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