Guest Post and Giveaway with Jessa Slade, author of the Marked Souls series!

 Joining me today I have the lovely Jessa Slade, author of Seduced by Shadows, Forged of Shadows,  and the just released Vowed in Shadows! She’s here to talk about dark romance and dark heroes, and is also giving away a *signed* copy of VOWED IN SHADOWS and a set of the Marked Souls romance trading cards! You’ll find the giveaway deets at the bottom of the post!

Please welcome Jessa to the blog!

Awhile ago on Twitter the question went around, “What is dark romance and who writes it?” My answer: In a dark romance, love doesn’t ‘save the day.’ It just saves the hero’s and heroine’s souls. The day is still f’d.

And when I thought a bit more about it, I decided that even though I fancy myself a cynical, sarcastic, fatalistic hermit, I don’t write dark romance, because in my story heart of hearts, I believe love WILL save the day.
Yes, I realize I might be naïve, crazy and/or just plain wrong.
When I Googled up the news headlines to see how the day is doing, I found war with Libya, nuclear meltdown, higher rates of autism, and the Gulf oil rig execs getting safety bonuses for the year they killed a bunch of people and poisoned a chunk of our coastline. And that was just above the fold.
Okay, so love hasn’t saved the day YET.
I also realize we may need a few bad-ass, take-no-prisoners tough guys to seize the day while love catches up (panting and out of breath, probably, and for all the wrong reasons). Which is why, though I don’t write dark romance, I do write dark heroes.
To me, a dark hero was scarred a little deeper and alone a little longer, and took a few more wrong turns than your average hero. Unlike his long-suffering author, HE may not believe love can save the day.
Which, of course, is why he needs a smart, sassy, strong heroine.
Because I believe a man who must be dragged kicking and screaming into the light of love is the best hero for bringing that love to the world. It won’t be easy or quick for the world, so why should it be easy or quick for our hero? (Although he will get his Happily Ever After in 400 pages or fewer; more than the world can hope for.)
In this scene, my ex-missionary hero wrestles with his feelings—and with the former pole-dancing heroine. Because he was maimed in an earlier story (possibly my fault) he is wrestling one-handed. Both Jonah and Nim are possessed by the powers of repentant teshuva demons in order to fight the evil tenebrae demon-monsters, which are currently surrounding them. To make Jonah’s indecision a bit more fraught, if he can’t get Nim to work with him (after he fumbled the emotional dismount of an earlier love scene) I set it up so they’ll be eaten by bad guys. You’d think THAT would motivate him.
* * *

Jonah knew he needed to convince Nim. But how? With his body, with a look, with words? “I have nothing to give you in return,” he whispered. “My life is pledged to the league; my soul to the teshuva.”

“I didn’t ask for either of those.” 

A heated flush rose in his face. This was the dance, he realized. The back-and-forth of what they could be to each other. For each other. “What’s left of my body isn’t worth the having.”

“You lie,” she said. “And anyway, I’ve had that already.” 

The blush turned to flame and heated him to the core. “There’s nothing more of me.” 

“The tenebrae know there’s always more,” she said. “And they want the very last of it. Light and laughter. Hope and peace.” She hesitated. “Love.” 

The word hit him like a tenebrae fang through the belly, ripping upward to lodge in his throat. “I’ve no more of that either.” 

She shot him a glare and strained away from him with all her dancer’s strength and demon’s power. “You lie again.” 

He struggled to hold her, amping his teshuva against her fury, though his one-handed grip left him precariously unbalanced. “Nim, you ask too much.” 

The closest feralis fell back on its haunches, pointed its muzzle upward, and let loose a howl of triumph. The rest answered in a cacophony that brought another rain of bricks tumbling down. 

Apparently, the tenebrae approved. Always a bad sign.

* * *

Aaaaand apparently I should let Jonah be eaten by bad demons! How could he NOT fall instantly, unfailingly, perfectly in love?
Oh right, because the world doesn’t always work that way. But he’ll get there—through the war, the fear, the confusion, the lies; that’s what makes him a dark hero.

Do you think love can really save the day? Do you have a favorite dark hero fighting to make that happen? Leave an answer in the comments, along with your email address,  for a chance to win a signed copy of VOWED IN SHADOWS along with a set of the three Marked Souls romance trading cards.
*Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL, and you must be at least 18 to enter. 
*Giveaway ENDS 4/14

Thank you, Kristin and My Bookish Ways, for letting me post! And thanks to the rest of you for reading!

* * *
Are you online too much? So is Jessa! You can find her at and or read Chapter 1 of VOWED IN SHADOWS at


  1. yes! love rocks! lol. I can't think of a fav dark hero right now! i guess Edward cullen.

    americangirlie1991 AT yahoo DOT Com

  2. I think Love can save the day. In real life, I have been through so much with my family, and if my husband and I did not have such a strong love, who knows where we would be today. And love in novels, fairytale love, is a nice escape from the real world sometimes.

  3. Well, a lot of things can save the day, but love is definitely at the top of the list 🙂 !
    Favorite dark hero … uhm … I have no idea *lol*.

    danaan at gmx dot at

  4. I bet in some cases love could save the day. I love all of the dark men from the Dark Hunters series 😉
    The series looks awesome! How have I missed it. I would love to be entered. I'm going to have to get the first book asap !

    terilhack at gmail dot com

  5. Well yes! Love can definitely save the day.
    As for fave dark hero…. Zsadist from Black Dagger Brother 😀

    Clarissa Pereira

  6. I think Love can save the day and my favorite dark hero is Dimitri from Vampire Academy.
    Thanks for the giveaway!!!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  7. I do believe that Love can save the day in some situations. It's the love you have for a person, which affects your behavior, and in some cases can wind up saving the day. I can't think of any Dark Heroes at the moment that fit this bill.


  8. Love I can help save the day, it can influence people to do crazy things.

    My favorite dark hero is from Kendra Leigh Castle's Renegade Angel.

    Thanks for the giveaway
    myworldofbooks18 at hotmail dot com

  9. Lindsay, I love rocks too. Even the real kind. I pick up rocks whenever I hike. Sparkly ones are the best.

    Stacey, I wonder if that's why romance novels are so popular. The stories might be fantasy but we see that the thought behind them — love — works in real life too.

    Birgit, chocolate also saves the day! Dark chocolate 🙂

  10. Teril, oh yeah, I think the Dark Hunters are gods in the pantheon of dark heroes. Hope you like Book 1!

    Clary, Zsadist… Mmm 😉

    Diana, a friend just told me about VA and said I needed to get caught up. How did I miss it?! Oh right, I live under a rock 🙂

  11. Of course! Love can always save the day!

  12. Chris, interesting twist on the idea. It's not so much love that saves the day as what love does to us. Then we save our own damn day!

    Kristina, thanks to the menace of one-click buying I now have Renegade Angel 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation.

  13. I really liked the excerpt thanks…….fave dark hero?
    Well other than the BDB boys I'd probably have to go with Raphael from Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. ♥

  14. Love has saved the day in many novels, and it's possible in real life as well… at least I hope so.
    My favorite dark hero is Zsadist from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. He's my favorite of the brothers and up there as one of my favorite male characters ever. :O hehe!

  15. I think love does make you stronger so i guess my answer is yes. My favorite hero is lachlain from immortals after dark series he's just so…..intense

  16. darkangelauthor

    Hey, Jessa — awesome scene! And yes, love absolutely can save a soul or two. 🙂 Congrats on the new release, which I am looking forward to reading as soon as I get this book off to my editor (you are my reward!). As for favorite dark hero…you sure we have to pick just one? 😉

  17. I love Lara Adrian's Breed series, all her Breed warriors are dark but love always saves the day. I'll pick Rio as my favorite, he was particularly dark, almost beyond saving.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  18. Frosy, your certain warms my heart 🙂

    Cath, woo, Raphael! I am a HUGE Guild Hunter fan! And not just because I'm usually filed near Nalini on bookshelves. Those books are amazing.

  19. Natasha, hope is a close runner up to love, I think. At least it can sustain us while we wait for love to win.

    Laura, intense is right. Especially the book covers… 😉

    Hi Linda! Glad to be your reward 🙂 Go go go on those words!

  20. Yes, I do believe love can save the day!

  21. I'd like to believe that love can save the day, but I don't. However, I do love to read about it, my favoruite example is with Phury in Lover Enshrined, and how his love for Cormia not only saves him but also saves all the Chosen.
    Thanks for the giveaway ^_^

    faefever25 at hotmail dot com

  22. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Well, you always hope that love can save the day, so I want that in all my reading. It doesn't always happen that way IRL. Oh this looks so good.

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  23. Well I guess it could but I haven't seen it happen but thats why I love to read about it.

    As for my fave dark hero well I have so many Z from the BDB , Zarek from the Dark Hunters, Wraith From Demonica series I could go on and on , I have a thing for Dark Heroes.


  24. Barbara, walking right up to that line in the sand is a great place to tell a story. Will he cross or won't he?

    FaeFever, one of my favorite posters was on Mulder's wall in The X-Files: I WANT TO BELIEVE 🙂

    Melissa, yeah, real life isn't ever as tidy as storyworld, is it? For example, you'll notice no one in my books has to sweep dog hair 3x a week!

  25. Love can save the day? Definitely! Recently I feel depressed because of school works but with the encouragement and love of my family and my boyfriend I was able to handle it.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. ooops sorry! the email is edilicious09@gmail(dot)com

  27. Love can save the day. Sometimes that's all there is to fight the good fight. A favorite dark hero – I can't dream one up right now. That's a little sad.

  28. Love is awesome of course, all you need is love you know lol. No fav dark hero.


  29. melissasmeanderings

    I don't think that love can save the day…bu it can make life a bit more palatable.

    mk261274 at gmail dot com

  30. I think love can save the day. My fav dark hero is Rayes from the LOTU series by Gena Showalter. Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. Mistress, by your name, I'm guessing you're in touch with your dark side 😉

    Edilicious, love in action! Even if it doesn't save THE world, it saves OUR world.

    Marybelle, I'm sure there's a dark hero buried in your TBR stack (if it looks anything like mine) waiting for you to free him 🙂

  32. Jessica, the urge to hum The Beatles is overwhelming sometimes 🙂

    Meandering Melissa, I agree that love — bitter, sweet or spicy — definitely adds dimension if not completion.

    Maria, Gena Showalter does some fab heroes. And some of her covers are beyond drool worthy 🙂

  33. I truely do think love can really save the day.There are two many dark heros thatI love to mention lol couldnt pick just one.

  34. Offbeat Vagabond

    Congratulations Jessa Slade on the new release. I love your covers, they are so sexy. I do believe love can save the day. But I am with Mistress, that is why I prefer to read about it because real life is more one out of a million of seeing it happen. Favorite dark hero? That is a hard one. I would say Zsadist from the BDB. he battled demons more tragic than we thought and Bella saved him in so many ways Still one of my favorite books in the series.


    (mentioned on the right hand sidebar)

    drharleyquinn87 (at) gmail (dot) com

  35. I honestly think that Love at the end can save the day, love can be salvation for other well others tend to drown them with love but as for me love is like a fuel that can push you to anything you want.


  36. I believe that love can save the day 🙂 And my favorite dark heros with lots of love, would be the vampires of Lara Adrian and J.R Ward series XDDDD

  37. Yes, love can save the day. One of my favorite dark heroes is Acheron from Kenyon's Dark-hunter series.

  38. I think love can save the day. My favorite dark hero is Edward Cullen.


  39. Yes, i believe that love can save the day. And my favorite dark hero is Angel from Joss Whedon's TV series.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  40. I think you can love the same, My favorite dark hero is Wraith from the Demonica series by Larissa Ione.

  41. Thanks for stopping by, Wanda.

    Vagabond, I wish there was a way to up the chances of love winning out. Maybe in a different dimension…

    Jay, rocket fuel! Good energy, to be sure.

  42. Petit, I think it definitely helps the dark hero mystique to be a vampire 🙂

    Marlene, Acheron! How have we not mentioned him yet? Deep and dark.

    Dinda, a touch of sparkle to light up the dark 🙂

  43. Dovile, any Joss Whedon hero is good for me! Captain Malcolm Reynolds… Swoon! I think we would've seen even more of his shadows if there'd been more than one season. I'm still bitter about that.

    Keisha, thanks for commenting!

  44. I would love to think that love can save the day but I don't think so. I believe it can do a great deal of things but sometimes the day and the world just don't want to be saved.

    And dark heroes…I'll go for Zsadist!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  45. thehiddenbibliotheca

    I don't think love can save the day; however, I think that love can help you overcome the hurt or fear from it all. Loving someone and having it returned can help you mend from the aftereffects.

    hnwhitlock2000 at gmail dot com

  46. I think that love can give you the strength to get through anything, it might not be able to save you from some of the horrors that this world can throw at you, but with time love can help heal the scars they leave.


  47. Oh, and my dark hero would have to be either Wrath (BDB J.R. Ward) or Curran (Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews).


  48. I totally think it can.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  49. Stella (Ex Libris)

    Yes, I definitely do believe that love is the ultimate power to conqueer cruelty and all evil. HOw many bad guys got reformed due to their uplifting love for someone?

    One that come to mind is Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series.

    Thank you for the fantastic giveaway Jessa, and thanks so much for making this international!!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  50. Hi Jessa,
    I finally found you on a blog. Congratulations on your 3rd release! What an intriguing cover!

    Yes, love can save the day if the moment is seized. A favorite dark hero fighting to make that happen is from the classic vampire de Morrissey series written by Lori Herter. Here, you have two types of heroes: a vampire who longs to be mortal and a mortal who transforms into a vampire. Both seize love but not until after much soul searching and angst. Although the books are a tad dated (written in the 1990's), they utilize the Scarlet Pimpernal theme which gives them a theatrical twist.

    My favorite is the last book, "Eternity," where actor Matthew McDowell reluctantly transforms into a vampire but learns to survive and thrive as a dark hero and yes, seize his vampire lady love, the vivacious Darienne.

  51. Yes I do believe love can save the day but not for me. I do love it in books when it happens!
    My favorite dark hero is Zsadist he is one who you don't forget 🙂 Great giveaway thank you books sound so good!

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