I'm thrilled to be taking part today in the Blog Tour for These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas thanks to Xpresso Book Tours
! Having absolutely adored the first book in this series, These Vicious Marks, I was thrilled to discover These Ruthless Deeds to be a great sequel.
Hope you all enjoy the excerpt and giveaway I have to share with you today! Be sure to check out this great series if you haven't already!
England, 1883. Still
recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her
powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But
when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn
finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and
protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.
As she follows the
Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous
recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation
is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly
wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the
reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the
Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t
help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears...
From These Ruthless Deeds....
As I thought about how to begin, I finally understood why Sebastian had been so awkward when he tried to explain everything about these powers to me. It was a ridiculous thing to tell someone. With her pragmatic nature, there was only one way to convince Catherine. The same way I had been convinced.
“Catherine, I am going to show you something very strange. You must promise not to scream.”
Her round eyes narrowed. “I never scream.”
I padded over to my writing desk and took up a letter opener, shiny and new and quite sharp. I sliced it across my index fingers. I thought it a small slit but there seemed to be enough blood to alarm Catherine, as she gasped and came over.
“Evelyn! Why would you do that?” She pulled out her handkerchief and hurriedly grabbed for my finger, but I pulled away.
“Just watch,” I said, taking a moment before wiping the blood off and showing her the healed finger.
She stared at it, frowning, at a loss for words, then searched my eyes. “Are you playing a trick on me?”
I shook my head and put the letter opener down. “No trick. No joke. I know this sounds utterly mad, but while I was trying to—to find Rose, these few months past, I discovered something else. I can heal any wound, any illness in me or others.”
Catherine stared hard at me, looking for a laugh that wasn’t there. “Evelyn, I’m sorry, but you must be mistaken; this is impossible.”
“You try doing it to me,” I said, handing her the letter opener, which she reluctantly took while protesting.
“This is silly—”
I grasped her hand with the letter opener, pressed down hard, and dragged it across my palm. Blood dribbled out onto the rug and I winced more at the mess than the light stinging. I was getting better with pain. I’d tested my healing quite enough these last months.
With a gasp, Catherine dropped the letter opener and fumbled again for her handkerchief.
I stepped out of her reach and simply wiped away the blood so she could better see the miraculous healing.
“This sort of cut usually takes a few seconds,” I said. “Just watch.”
She did. She watched as the blood flow ebbed and my torn skin gradually closed and stitched itself back together. Besides the faint bloodstain, there was no sign my hand had even been cut.
“Good morning, miss.” A knock came from the door—my maid. I shoved my hand behind me and positioned my feet over the bloodstains.
“Come in,” I called, eyeing Catherine warily as she stared into nothing with a rather dazed expression.
Lucy opened the door and set down a tray. A long moment of silence reigned as she turned, curtsied, and shut the door. I decided to let Catherine continue her contemplation as I wiped the rest of the blood onto my handkerchief and poured the steaming chocolate into the two cups the maid had left.
I almost moaned after the first sip. If my parents were going to use their new wealth, I had to be glad for their cook.
Catherine didn’t move for a long while. Then she pinched herself. “I . . . am having a lot of thoughts and questions right now.”
“I imagine you must be.” I poured myself another cup and led her to the chairs in front of the fire. “I will tell you everything. First, have you ever heard of something called ‘saltation’?”
And so I explained. The theory that these powers were a jump in evolution. Dr. Beck, his associates. The people—good and bad—who had helped me. Mr. Braddock and Miss Lodge.
Catherine began to pace the room as I haltingly finished explaining Rose’s death. She poured me another cup of chocolate and sat next to my chair, on the floor, as I told her about Belgium, Emily Kane, and the Society of Aberrations.
As if on cue, a slight crackling sounded and a piece of paper appeared in my hand. I opened my palm and Catherine gasped.
“This must be from them—our rescuers from the asylum,” I murmured to her. I unfolded the note to read the short line. We would be so grateful for your assistance, Miss Wyndham. There is a sick little girl who does not deserve to die. Please meet Mr. Redburn in your back garden as soon as you can. It was signed by Captain Goode.
“Was that—did someone just . . . ?” Catherine was peering around the room suspiciously. We both jumped as a knock rattled at the door.
“Come in,” I said, crumpling the piece of paper and shoving it behind me.
Lucy entered. “Um, miss, there is a Mr. Kent downstairs and he—well, he said to tell you that if it is at all inconvenient he is happy to come up here.”
I rolled my eyes. “I apologize. He thinks himself very amusing. Please tell him Miss Harding and I will be downstairs shortly.”
She bobbed a curtsy and left. I moved the gaudy fire screen and threw the missive into the flames. The sick girl was surely some play on my sympathies since their other approaches hadn’t worked. I had told them I did not wish to be involved, and uninvolved I would stay.
“Catherine, will you help me dress?” I asked, taking off my wrapper. “Oh, and I should probably tell you, for all the time we’ve known Mr. Kent, he’s had the power to reveal anyone’s secrets.”
Want more? Trust me....you do!
Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These
Vicious Masks a few years later.
Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.
Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance.
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