Ghostland

( 59 )

Overview

A dazzling urban fantasy romance from a fresh new voice whose bestselling e-books have put readers "in a constant state of arousal."(Fallen Angel Reviews)

Welcome to a postapocalyptic world, where the afterlife holds beings that only the bravest can summon-or dare to desire.

Taken from her home and family, shamaness Aisling McConaughey must enter the "ghostlands" to save a wealthy man's mistress. But there's a...

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Ghostland

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Overview

A dazzling urban fantasy romance from a fresh new voice whose bestselling e-books have put readers "in a constant state of arousal."(Fallen Angel Reviews)

Welcome to a postapocalyptic world, where the afterlife holds beings that only the bravest can summon-or dare to desire.

Taken from her home and family, shamaness Aisling McConaughey must enter the "ghostlands" to save a wealthy man's mistress. But there's a price to pay for her power: She must summon the Djinn prince Zurael en Caym-and yield to his savage, sensual rage.

Zurael intends to kill Aisling after she's served as bait to find an enemy in possession of an ancient tablet. But the more he tastes her innocent spirit, the more he'll use his fiery touch to keep her hungry for his mercy-even as they weave an erotic spell that he cannot escape...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425226063
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/7/2009
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 373,623
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jory has been writing since childhood and has never outgrown being a daydreamer. When she's not hunched over her computer, lost in the muse and conjuring up new heroes and heroines, she can usually be found reading, riding her horses, or hiking with her dogs.

Jory has won numerous awards for her writing. She lives in California with her husband and a menagerie of pets.

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Read an Excerpt

It was nearing midnight when the sound of the door opening woke her. "Come, they're waiting for you,” the nun who'd escorted her to the room said.

Aisling slipped from the bed. "I'd like my clothes back."

"They're being washed. When they're clean, they'll be returned."

It was such a small thing, considering everything that had happened and might yet happen, but the knowledge she'd soon be wearing her own clothing lifted Aisling's spirits. "Thank you," she whispered as Aziel reclaimed his perch on her shoulder.

The nun's expression gentled. "Come," she said, her voice warmer. "They're waiting for you. I believe it must be important given the mayor's presence."

Aisling was led to a room. It was cold, as if it wasn't used much and therefore wasn't heated often. Though the nun had said the mayor waited, there were only two men in the room, one was the priest who'd come for her, the other a much older man wearing blood-red robes.

"You've met Father Ursu," the unknown priest said. "I'm Bishop Routledge. Your services are needed. In exchange for a successful performance of them, you'll be granted a license to practice your skills in Oakland. You'll be provided with a residence in the area of town where others with controversial abilities have settled. You'll also receive vouchers for food and transportation as well as a small fee in order to ease your transition."

He started to turn away. Aisling said, "Father Ursu told me I'd be allowed to return home."

The bishop halted. He smiled though it didn't reach his eyes. "Returning home with a financial reward is a possibility. But first let's see if you succeed tonight."

Aisling tried to appear confident, unafraid. His voice and wording confirmed what she already knew. There was no choice about whether or not she would help them. "What service have I been brought here to perform?"

"An important constituent is in need of aid. He asked me to act as a go-between. A woman acquaintance of his has disappeared. The police haven't been able to find out what happened to her. Our constituent wants closure, even if the news is bad. It's not something the Church would typically condone or take part in but there are extenuating circumstances. We're hoping a shaman or shamaness might be able to locate her, especially if her soul has already departed."

Bishop Routledge retrieved a photograph from a table Aisling hadn't noticed. He handed the picture to her. "The woman's name is Elena Rousseau. I fear time is of the essence. Father Ursu will remain with you. I have other matters to attend to."

The bishop left the room without another word. Father Ursu indicated a chair next to the table. "I've witnessed this kind of thing before. I won't interfere." He picked up a chalice and handed it to her.

Aisling managed to contain her expression and her thoughts when she glanced down to find grains of salt in the silver cup. Aziel chattered happily as he buried his hands in the white granules and threw some of the salt to the floor.

Father Ursu cleared his throat. His face was tense. "It's nearing midnight. The police have discovered several bodies recently. We have reason to believe the victims were all murdered during the witching hour."

Aisling wondered again what abilities he possessed. Fear lurked deep in his eyes, as if he'd seen some of the beings drawn to the dead hours of the night.

She moved to the center of the room and sat on the bare, cold floor. If she'd been at home she would have placed Aziel on her lap and enclosed them both in a circle of chalk or ash, or surrounded them with the fetishes she used when she wanted to project her astral self into the ghostlands. But here, under the watchful eye of the priest, guided more by intuition than reason, she plucked the ferret from her shoulder and set him away from her.

She dipped her fingers in the salt. It was a witch's protection, a warlock's. She wondered if other shamans used salt to open a doorway into the spirit world.

Tentatively Aisling enclosed herself in a salt circle. Though her eyes were closed she was aware of Father Ursu watching her. She was aware of another presence as well, of someone nearby and able to witness what happened.

She tried to still the panic deep inside herself, felt caught in a deadly spider's web where to struggle was to become more thoroughly entangled. She focused on breathing, on steadying the rhythm of her heart, on clearing her mind of fear.

There were sigils she usually drew, but once again instinct warned her against revealing the most sacred parts of her ritual. She concentrated instead on visualizing them, on making them real in her mind as she silently called the true names of the ones who offered her protection in the spiritlands.

Her heart rate tripled as the heavy gray clouds of the spirit world rushed toward her. She held herself open and the ghost winds blew through her, seeking resistance, weakness, filling her with the terror of endless death even as they welcomed and claimed her. When they calmed and settled she looked down and saw her body, there and yet not there, naked as she always appeared in the ghostlands, her hair a curtain down her back.

Without warning a man stepped from the gray mist. His face bore the tattoos of a lawbreaker.

He licked his lips as he glanced at her naked body. His own was covered in clothing that looked expensive. He leaned forward slightly, emphasizing the fact his hands were bound behind him as they had been in the moment of his death. A metal cable served as a hangman's noose. It twisted around his neck then trailed down his back before disappearing into the mist swirling at their feet.

"I see they've sent a sacrificial lamb," he said in a raspy voice. "Or maybe that's Elena's role." He cocked his head. "Then again, maybe third time's the charm."

Aisling resisted the urge to smooth her hands over nonexistent clothing. "You're here to lead me to Elena?"

"I can find her if I must. Blood calls to blood and all of that." He tilted his head. "And in a few minutes there'll be plenty of blood. You might not need me at all by then."

"What do you want in exchange for your aid?"

"If only it was a matter of what I want. Personally I'd leave Elena to her fate. Once I began collecting the facial artwork, my sister wouldn't have anything to do with me."

He smiled and some of the tattoos cataloging his crimes merged. His eyes reflected a cruel enjoyment. "It was only a matter of time before Elena became disposable. When you make your bed in a nest of vipers you eventually get bitten. But time's wasting. In exchange for my help you'll agree to take the good bishop's offer. Stay in Oakland." He laughed. "You might as well. They don't intend for you to leave. This is only the beginning act — if you survive it, of course. You realize that, don't you?"

Aisling's heart raced in her chest. His words rang with the same hidden truth she'd heard in the bishop's voice. "Who do you serve?"

"One whose name you're not meant to hear at the moment." He rolled his shoulders and the cable he'd been hung with shimmered, a long silver leash leading to an unseen master.

Aisling studied him. Good or evil, malicious or beneficial, with no formal training she had only her instinct to rely on when it came to the spirit guides and entities she encountered in the ghostlands. "I will stay in Oakland, for a time."

The man cocked his head as if listening to an unspoken voice. "Good enough," he said before turning and walking deeper into the gray landscape.

There was no sense of time or distance in the spiritlands. They may have traveled for seconds or hours, yards or miles. There was a sense of being watched but Aisling couldn't be certain which plane it was on given Father Ursu's presence in the room where her body awaited her return. Heat and cold brushed across her ankles, occasionally there was a phantom touch to the back of her hand.

The gray gave way to pink. The pink darkened and became blood red. Her guide stopped. "End of tour for me unfortunately." He kicked at the red mist at his feet. "Too bad. I wouldn't mind seeing how Elena is faring." He tilted his head. "She's not screaming. Could be a good sign — or a bad one." He laughed before taking a step backward and being swallowed by the ghostlands.

Aisling closed her eyes and let herself sink into the physical world as she remained in her astral self. She was greeted by the sound of chanting, by the thick smell of burning incense mixed with blood. Her breath caught in her throat when she opened her eyes and found herself in a nightmare scene of flickering candles mounted on goat heads, of dark-robed figures surrounding an altar where Elena lay naked and spread-eagled. Sigils were painted on her eyelids and lips, on her palms and on the soles of her feet. The steady rise and fall of her chest was the only indication she was still alive.

The gleam of a blade being raised turned Aisling's attention to a man next to the altar. He wore the headdress of a goat. The chanting stopped when be began to speak in a deep, mesmerizing voice.

The words were unfamiliar to Aisling but she could guess their meaning, their purpose. Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. She had no true physical presence here. She was only a witness to the events. Even if she left the room and determined where Elena was, by the time she returned to her own body and conveyed the location, it would be too late.

Warm fur brushed against her ankles. She looked down and startled at the sight of Aziel. Always before he'd traveled with her or didn't appear at all.

The flames of the candles flickered and reflected in his yellow eyes as he met Aisling's gaze. Their minds touched in a way they did only when they were both in spirit form. There is a name you can whisper on the spirit winds, a being you can summon.

It was her choice. It always was. But there would be a price to pay. Tell me.

The ferret climbed to her shoulder. His face pressed to hers as if to ensure the name he yielded would only be heard by her.

Zurael en Caym. Serpent heir. Son of the one who is The Prince.

A shiver streaked down Aisling's spine in soul-deep recognition. There was no time to question the reaction or agonize over her decision. The dark priest's prayer climbed toward a crescendo. When he reached it the athame in his hand would plunge into Elena's heart.

"Zurael en Caym. Serpent heir. Son of the one who is The Prince. I summon you," Aisling said. "I summon you to me and command you to end this ceremony before the sacrifice is made."

The dark-robed acolytes shrieked as Zurael appeared, black-winged and taloned. With a casual swipe he severed the jugular of the dark priest and sent blood spewing across the altar. In panic the participants tried to escape only to be grabbed and killed, their bodies tossed casually to the floor as their hearts ceased beating and their souls fled.

Terror and horror filled Aisling at the sight of the demon, at the destruction he wrought with so little effort. His face and naked body were human but his eyes burned like molten gold. When the last of those participating in the black mass was dead he came to stand before her, coated in blood, his expression promising retribution for being summoned and commanded.

A ring flared to life at her feet, circling her, protecting her. Zurael's eyes slitted as his gaze traveled the length of her and his cock became engorged. "Savor these few moments when you hold me enslaved, child of mud. They will cost your life."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 59 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 59 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting Plot lost to Sex Scenes

    I loved the whole premise of this dark fantasy but... If the author had not thrown in so much non-plot related sex and instead continued to work on the premise, it could have been really good. I don't mind explicit sex scenes but only if they are necessary or in addition to an already developed story line.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2009

    A very enjoyable Book. Recommend you have your husband ,boyfriend close by in another room while reading this book

    I found myself reseaching the orgins of the characters on the internet. All very, very interesting

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2013

    Ghostland is a dynamic and riveting tale set in post-apocalyptic

    Ghostland is a dynamic and riveting tale set in post-apocalyptic earth. From the first page I was swept away with the story. The heroine’s strength is subtle, but undeniable. The hero, everything you’d want a hero to be…and then some! Unforeseen twists in the plot kept me guessing until the very last page. Books like Ghostland are hard for me to read. Why? Because Jory Strong’s talent quickly ensnared me in the world she created, because I stayed up until the early morning hours reading under the covers, because I had an uncontrollable urge to flip to the last ten pages so I could see how the story ended; and when it finally did end, I was saddened because it was over. So, if you enjoy losing yourself in an exceptionally well-written story with vivid world-building and outstanding characters, Ghostland will live up to all your expectations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Not highly reccomended.

    This story was interesting. It was original but the amount of sex really overwhelmed the plot. It could have been a great supernatural mystery but the author chose to concentrate on sex scenes every 5-10 pages instead. IMO - Not worth $12.99.

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  • Posted December 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    loved it!

    Beautiful! Complex storyline, great heroine and very strong writing..loved it!

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  • Posted August 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Enchanting, unpredictable, and extremely sexy!

    This book held me captivated..I just could not put it down.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Powerful story

    GHOSTLAND is a powerful story of the struggle between right, wrong, revenge, passion, and forgiveness. Jory Strong wrote a complex, emotionally charged tale, successfully creating a world and characters that captivated me. Aisling first appears as a fragile woman who has never really had much in her life, but she quickly shows deep strength and while her confidence waivers, she always does what she MUST do, even when she is scared. Zureal was pissed. He did not like losing control, and he was determined to make Aisling pay. What he wasn't prepared for was the scorching heat of desire that he felt when he tracked her. I could feel the sizzle of passion as I turned the smoldering pages. Not only was their passion hot, but the action was riveting as they struggled to locate the fiend responsible for "Ghost" and in the process came to realize the feelings they held for each other.

    When I finished reading GHOSTLAND, I so looked forward to revisiting the post-apocalyptic world Ms. Strong had created that ran out to buy SPIDER-TOUCHED, book 2 in the Ghostland series, which I also loved...now I just have to wait patiently until September 2010 for the next installment, HEALER'S CHOICE.

    Aemelia
    Enchanting Reviews
    October 2009

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  • Posted June 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not what I expected.

    I'm very easy to please with supernatural fiction but this book just couldn't keep my interest. I found many parts of the book to be distracting from the plot rather than part of it. I don't recommend this book to anyone interested in anything more than a romance or love story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

    Great Reading

    Loved the book and would highly recommend.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I was disappointed in this book from Jory Strong!!

    I am a regular reader. A common human being, not a reviewer. I have read most all of Jory Strong books (in ebooks) that she has written and super loved them. Syndelle's Possession is one of the best paranormal books I have ever read. However, in Ghostland, Ms. Strong has gone off on a tangent and I just could not follow along with her. I got bored and fell behind. Her story was different, the way she wrote it is different from the way she usually writes. I just don't know how to explain it, but I just did not think it was very good. But please try any and all of her other books and YOU won't be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Cool plot, Hot lovers!

    I was never really a fan of urban fantasy, but, I was so intrigued by the cover of Ghostland I bought the book! Am I ever glad I did! What a fascinating world the author has created. Yes, there are vampires witches, were wolves and even angels, but the stars of this story are a shamaness named Aisling and a Djinn named Zureal. She summoned him in a time of need and although he was compelled to help he has vowed to kill her. The attraction the couple feels for each other is overwhelming and complete. Together they join forces to stop a threat to both their worlds. The plot is complex without being too convoluted. The characters are interesting and the love scenes are HOT! Great book! I can't wait for the next one in the series.

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  • Posted March 28, 2009

    A Definite MUST-READ!

    I've never been a fan of the post apocalyptic genre, but when Jory Strong gave me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Ghostland, I figured "It's Jory Strong, so its got to be good -- right?" Well, let's just say this book isn't 'good'. It's AMAZING!!!!!! I ended up reading it all in one day and am already slavering for the next in what I hope will be a series!!!

    As usual, her writing captures your attention from the very first page and introduces you to a fascinating, imaginative world where Vampires and Were's exist, but are secondary (at least in this story) to the Djinn and 'Angels'. In a genre that is glutted with Vampires and Were's, it is refreshing to read about the Djinn and 'Angels' and Jory's take on them is creative and unique -- I can't wait to learn more about them!

    The main characters, Zurael and Aisling are courageous, honest and likable, and the passion that burns between them is visceral and hot (burning up the pages HOT!). Even more important to me, you don't have the game-playing and misunderstandings that happens so often in romances -- the strong feelings between the two main characters may not be what they initially wanted and can actually lead to their destruction, but I love how they don't try to deny it or do something stupid to drive the other away.

    Whether you're already a Jory Strong fan, or thinking of trying her out, I can't recommend this book enough!!!

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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Urban fantasy readers will relish GHOSTLAND and look forward to more escapades in Jory Strong's new California

    The Oakland Diocese asks self-taught shamaness Aisling McConaughey to help rescue an affluent VIP constituent's mistress Elena Rousseau. She would prefer to say no, but knows she has no choice as Elena will be sacrificed otherwise and so will the orphans and Geneva that Aisling loves. Aided by Aziel her spirit guardian disguised as a ferret, Aisling enter the dangerous Ghostland where spirits dwell.

    She knows she needs help to accomplish the quest so she summons demon Djinn Zurael en Caym to her side. He is outraged, but helpless as she has him bound; however, Zurael vows to kill the shamaness the moment he completes his mission which will end her summoning spell. However, as they work together, these natural enemies fall in love.

    The vivid description of a post apocalyptic world that followed The Last War is dark, grim, but vivid; yet interwoven into the strong story line. Aisling is a terrific heroine who finds her already complicated mission becoming even more multifaceted and convoluted as she wonders why Elena is neeed as a ritual sacrifice and how love intrudes on her life. Zurael anchors the supernatural making the paranormal seem natural. Urban fantasy readers will relish GHOSTLAND and look forward to more escapades in Jory Strong's new California (and beyond).

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A great read for old and new Jory Strong fans!

    "Ghost Land" by Jory Strong. I love this book. I was a little skeptical about the book because it is a post apctolytic urban fiction. That is not really my favorite book to read, but I would have read it anyway, because I have loved Jory Strong's books for years. Up until now she has always written erotic romances both contemporary and paranormal. "Ghostland" is a departure for her in that it is an romantic urban fiction. I was surprised at how much I loved this book. The depth of world building is amazing. As a reader you except the story at face value, but know there are layers of this world that you can plunge into if you so chose too. The characters are compelling and complete. The love story is hot,sweet and gripping.

    If you are a long time fan of Jory Strong, you will love this new book. Yes, it is a little different from her other work, but this is just a new series for us to delve into. If you are new to Jory Strong I think you have stumbled across her at just the right time.

    I think money is tight from everyone right now. You might not want to try a new author that you might not like or you might not want to spend money on a favorite authors new series. "Ghostland" is a very well thought out story that has been written wonderfully. Diffentely worth your hard earned money! This is going on my keeper shelf and I am looking forward to the next book and where Ms. Strong will take us next in this new world!

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Review of Ghostland

    Jory gave me the opportunity to read and review her book Ghostland, the start of a brand new series. In the post-apocalyptic world, humans with special gifts and talents have emerged along with Weres, Vampires and other magical beings.

    Aisling summons Djinn Prince Zurael to her side in the ghostlands to save a woman from being sacrificed. Zurael is enraged with his summoning by Aisling and intends to kill her after finding an ancient tablet. However, he is ensnared by Aisling's innocent spirit and beguiling charms. Aisling is hired by Elena, the woman she saved, to investigate the origins of a new drug and how Elena ended up as the sacrificial lamb in a black mass. Zurael aids Aisling in her investigation.

    The chemistry between Zurael and Aisling is sizzling. I enjoyed everything about Ghostland. Readers of Jory's books (Supernatural Bonds, the Angelini, etc.) will enjoy her newest series. I can't wait for her next book in the series, Spider-Touched. You should check out Jory Strong's website: www.jorystrong.com.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

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