What Does Evil Mean To You?
Have you ever considered what the word 'evil' means to you? Is it defined by one's horrific actions or by their sinister thoughts? Or, is it a primal force some can't escape, even one as simple as low self-esteem?
The question, "What does evil mean to me?" is at the core of my paranormal suspense novel, Choosing Evil. It's something the main character, Serafina asks herself regularly throughout the story as she contemplates the path she will choose for her future.
The reality of this paranormal story is that each character, whether human or otherwise, is charged with questioning evil. Although it may seem like a stretch for us, since they're dealing with evil incarnate (actual demons walking around in the flesh), evil is evident in our world, too. You can find it everywhere, from the people who commit heinous acts to the shreds of doubt we have about our own worth. As humans, our job is to reconcile that experience and overcome the evil in the world (and within ourselves) so we can find a place to live in peace.
My hope when you read Choosing Evil is to answer the story's question: "What does evil mean to me?" If you find the answer is some intrinsic aspect of who you are, my wish is for you to learn to embrace it. Be it anger, jealousy or some other 'evil' within, remember you are human after all.
So long as we don't allow those emotions to define (or rule) us, we can learn to embrace the wonderful people we are inside.
Because in the end, we deserve to love ourselves, flaws and all. No one is perfect. We are all works in progress, no different from my paranormal characters in that regard.
So question evil, embrace your inner demons and ultimately embrace the true, wonderfully flawed, you.
Genre: Paranormal Suspense/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Midnight Frost Books
Date of Publication: November 25, 2014
Word Count: 70k estimated
Serafina Murano is no stranger to the paranormal. All of her life she’s lived harmoniously alongside demons. Damon Serpe is a conflicted demon on a mission. Unexpectedly, they collide into each other’s lives and are inexorably drawn to one another.
Dark deadly secrets, gut wrenching betrayal, and elusive questions haunt her and have her entire life. Instinctively, Serafina realizes Damon holds the key to her understanding. If she trusts him, can he help decipher her recurring nightmares and unravel the mysteries surrounding her?
On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, she must select her path and make a difficult choice. One which will change her, and perhaps the world, forever.
Will Serafina embrace the truth and face her evil?
Already late, Serafina began sprinting toward her building. She was still deep in thought and failed to pay attention. A second later, she slammed into what felt like a brick wall. Her coffee cup filled with mocha latte went flying, landing all over an impeccable pinstriped suit.
She stopped breathing when she faced the victim of her morning beverage. A handsome bronzed man, almost two feet taller than Serafina, stood in front of her. His irises were so light they looked almost clear. They held a world of intrigue and reeled her right in. Those iridescent opal eyes were magnificent and haunting, telling her almost everything she needed to know about him. He was a demon.
His smile was perfection, revealing a set of incredibly beautiful teeth. He was stunning and he wasn't human. Serafina wiped her moist palms on her dress and gave him a half-smile. "I'm so sorry." She rummaged through her purse for napkins or tissues, not fully understanding why the universe had chosen this moment, a time when her best self wasn’t present, to meet a gorgeous demon, like him.
"No problem, I’m Damon.” His smoky voice made her shudder with pleasure.
"Serafina,” she lowered her voice but it didn’t sound natural and it wasn’t nearly as sultry as she wished it had been. She stepped forward to shake Damon’s hand and her heel caught on the pavement. As she began to tip over, he grabbed her arm and pulled her up straight, all in one swift motion. Now attached to him, her arms wrapped around his waist in desperation. When she realized what she was doing, she shuffled away from him and tried regain her balance.
"Are you okay?" His expression showed his concern.
"I'm fine. But, I didn’t have my coffee yet." Serafina tried to flatten the wrinkles in her dress and right herself.
Damon laughed, catching her off guard. Relieved, Serafina laughed too. She didn’t expect her attempt at humor to work. Given her morning, she didn't think there was any wittiness in her to begin with, let alone, for it to come with such ease.
When Serafina’s laid eyes on the mess she had made, her posture went rigid. It was a coffee crime scene, straight out of a forensic textbook. Luminal would have exposed her caffeine attack for all to see. For her assault, she should have been handcuffed on the spot. "I've ruined your clothes.”
Damon brushed himself off and buttoned up his suit jacket. "I’m fine.”
"Yes, you are." Serafina meant to say it in her head, or at the least under her breath, but it had come out of her mouth loud and clear. Her face became hot in an instant, so she began fanning herself.
"This might sound like a line, but I’m glad you bumped into me. Where are you from?” Damon’s eyes twinkled, but his question sounded forced as if he already knew her answer.
"Home, today that is.” She failed horribly at making another joke. “But I've lived at the Jersey Shore all of my life." She tried to redeem herself "And, yes, it did sound like a line.” He was definitely the new one in town. "Did you move here recently?"
Damon shook his head. "I'm as new as you. I've lived in Rivershore for many years. I work in Maroon County and for just as long."
Rivershore was an upscale town not far from where she grew up in the modest beach town of Silver Lake. Although she had worked in the city for several years, Serafina spent all of her free time at the Jersey Shore, mainly Maroon County. Even more coincidentally, Serafina would turn thirty years old soon, so Damon was technically the same age as her. Demons never aged past the age of thirty.
From what he said, they had shared the commonality of living and working in nearby towns. So, it didn’t make sense she had never seen him before. Clearly, he had a knack for hiding. However, many years in demon terms could have been any amount of time since demons were practically immortal.
She studied him for more reasons than one, although he was striking and easy to admire. Damon’s exquisite appearance reminded her of a model or an actor. He had a rugged look, yet he was polished. He wore his expensive suit coupled with his five o'clock shadow as if it were a fashion statement. His ebony hair was long enough to push behind his ears. He was a unique mix of a tattoo artist and a Hollywood movie star. The combination really worked for him.
Serafina’s eye contact with him was firm but her muscles lost all of their tension. “Where exactly do you work? I can’t believe I’ve never seen you before.” She felt weak as she visually devoured Damon. She was certain she would have remembered him if she had seen him before. The fact their paths had never crossed was inexplicable to her. Then, so was the supernatural. Humans living with a paranormal reality made anything possible.
Right as Damon was about to answer, his watch alarm went off. He silenced it. "I've got to run, but it was nice meeting you, Serafina. I hope to bump into you again, and soon.” He touched her arm lightly in a goodbye gesture and once more flashed his award-winning smile.
By the time Serafina summoned the nerve to reply, "Me too," he was already gone.
About the Author:
Kristina Rienzi was born and raised at the Jersey Shore where she still lives today. Her debut paranormal suspense novel, CHOOSING EVIL, is being published by Frost Books on November 25, 2014.
Professionally, Kristina has been active in the writing community as a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime-Central Jersey, Romance Writers of America and New Jersey Romance Writers, serving as Chair of the Literary Book Fair in 2013. Kristina has her Masters Degree in Psychological Counseling and her Senior Professional in Human Resources Certificate, working in both fields throughout her business career.
Personally, Kristina is married and a doggie mommy to Pekingese and Shih Tzu pups. Although a lover of New Jersey, she dreams of one day moving to Hawaii and living the “Aloha” way. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, watching paranormal investigations, rooting for her West Virginia Mountaineers or relaxing with her loved ones, wine in hand.
Kristina is currently working on BREAKING EVIL, the sequel to CHOOSING EVIL, as well as another paranormal suspense novel, UNLEASH THE WICKED, about an unsuspecting witch at the Jersey Shore.