Library of Absolution
(Legacy of the Book Mesmer #1)
By Jennifer Derrick
Published by: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: December 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Alarick Brandon is the powerful wizard who operates The Keep, a refuge for magical people fleeing the persecution of the Ministry. A bitter realist, Alarick knows it’s only a matter of time until the Ministry succeeds in eradicating magic from the world—and exterminating all magical beings—so he has been careful to avoid any personal involvement with the people who pass through his sanctuary.
But when Elissa Stone arrives at The Keep, her village a smoldering ruin, and only her magical talent and a forbidden library left to her name, Alarick’s ordered world descends into chaos. Elissa is a Book Mesmer, a magical talent long believed extinct. She can enchant books, making them indestructible, unreadable…even deadly to unauthorized readers. But while her magic can secure a legacy for future magical generations, it’s not a skill that’s good in a fight, and certainly not one that Alarick sees any real use for. But there’s something compelling about a woman who defies the Ministry’s edicts against female literacy, and she seems determined to prove that knowledge is a weapon in its own right…
The first installment in an enticing new fantasy series by author Jennifer Derrick, The Library of Absolution is a compelling story of perseverance and determination in the face of persecution, in a Dark Age where hope is lost—and knowledge is the only thing left to fight for.
He read for a while, the story helping him overcome his self-consciousness at this new intimacy between them. After three chapters he stopped, peering down at Elissa.
"Why did you stop? Are you tired?" she asked.
"No, but I thought you might have fallen asleep."
"I'm awake. But since you stopped reading, may I ask you something?"
"Certainly," Alarick said, closing the book and placing it on the table in front of him.
"May I touch you?"
"Excuse me?" he asked, stunned.
He pulled away from Elissa a bit, so she was forced to sit up. He turned to face her. Her cheeks were flushed.
"Your face. May I touch your face? It's just—I'm having trouble remembering your face and I've found that if I touch things, I can better remember what they look like. I'm sorry. It's odd and intrusive of me to ask," she trailed off.
"No, no. It's not odd. I didn't realize—" he stammered.
He took a deep breath and tried again.
"Of course you may touch me," he said.
He took her hands in his and guided them up to his cheeks. Her hands were cool and felt wonderful on his face, which was warm with embarrassment. At first, she didn't move her hands but merely cupped his cheeks in her palms. Slowly, though, she leaned forward and began to stroke his cheekbones with her thumbs. Alarick closed his eyes at the gentleness of her touch and leaned into her hands.
Elissa moved her thumbs up to his eyebrows and then gently caressed the shape of his eyelids, eventually tracing soft lines down the slope of his nose. Gentle fingertips stroked his brow and slid down, caressing his jaw line and meeting on his chin. Her fingers drifted up to his lips, tracing the shape of the top and then the bottom lip. Alarick's lips parted at her touch, and he tipped his head to follow the direction of her caress, willing her to continue.
His face had drifted so close to hers that he could feel her breath on his cheek. Her hands continued to float over his face, ever so gently, growing more familiar and lingering here and there as she attempted to convert the planes of his face to memory. He fought the urge to touch her in return, keeping his hands clenched on his thighs.
She moved to his hair, first feeling the ends where they brushed his shoulders and then running her fingers through its length and along his neck.
"Elissa," he whispered, not sure what he intended to say. Stop? Continue? Either seemed impossible.
He was saved from having to decide when she abruptly withdrew her hands.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to linger. That just makes it more awkward."
He cleared his throat, which was suddenly dry. "I hope it was helpful," he said, straightening away from her.
"It was, thank you. I can better remember you now. I'd almost forgotten about that crease between your eyebrows and the way your lower lip quirks up."
He was amazed at the level of detail she'd managed to capture. More, that she'd paid so much attention to him while she could still see that those little details had etched themselves in her memory and needed only a touch to resurface.
They said nothing for a few moments. A knock on the library door broke their reveries.
Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six and her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents.
Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. You can visit her at her official website: JenniferDerrick.com.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.