Shadowman [NOOK Book]


"Powerful and fast-paced. . .a riveting read." --Nina Bangs on Shadow Bound

GHOSTSThey haunt the halls of the Segue Institute, terrifying the living, refusing to cross...
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"Powerful and fast-paced. . .a riveting read." --Nina Bangs on Shadow Bound

GHOSTSThey haunt the halls of the Segue Institute, terrifying the living, refusing to cross over. But one soul is driven by a very different force.

LOVEIt survives even death. And Kathleen O'Brien swore she would return to those she was forced to leave too soon.

He broke every rule to have her in life; now he will defy the angels to find her in death.

Forging it is his single hope of being reunited with his beloved, but through it an abomination enters the world. Leaving a trail of blood and violence, the devil hunts her too. Pursued through realms of bright fantasy and dark reality, Kathleen is about to be taken. . .

"Fans of dark drama will be captivated by this intense new series." –Romantic Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781420125535
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 209,692
  • File size: 920 KB

Read an Excerpt


By Erin Kellison


Copyright © 2011 Clarissa Ellison
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4201-1896-4

Chapter One

Twenty-eight years later

Firelight dazzled Shadowman's eyes. Acrid smoke scorched his nose, throat, and lungs. His hands were blistered by his work, the muscles of his neck and shoulders knotted with strain. But no matter; what Kathleen suffered was far, far worse.

How could it be that she, of all mortals, had been consigned to Hell?

Channeling all his strength, he brought the hammer down and rang the anvil with the force of his blow. The note held, high and piercing, reverberating throughout the cavernous space of the New Jersey dockside warehouse. White sparks flew from the glowing hunk of iron and winked out in the depths of his fae Shadows, now churning around him.

Filtering through his memory, a scrap of talk from the fateful meeting that changed everything, her soft voice laughing with irony: Fancy you being afraid of me.

Yes, fancy that. Afraid. And yet he'd been present nearly every day of her life, the veil between life and death made whisper-thin by her weak heart.

It had begun simply—the soul fire of Kathleen as a child had been golden bright, drawing the curiosity of many of the fae, even him, the darkest of them all. For how curious that her soul should burn so bright when her heart was so very compromised. A moment in the presence of her warmth, and Death was transfixed.

He'd watched her grow, fight and cry, watched her grit her teeth as she willed her heart's rhythm into the beat of life.

And in spite of that ongoing labor, her dreams had been more vivid, more controlled, than most other humans' sojourns into Twilight. In dreams, she'd directed him into elaborate schemes of great daring in her imagination. She was a master of the sword, and together they vanquished evil, she never stopping for breath or blood.

And if Shadow had sent nightmares to terrorize her sleep, he had commanded peace. Nothing would harm her while he was present.

At first she wished for a magic cure, of stars and fairy dust—though no fae, not even him, could ever heal the flesh of a human. Her hopes later fixed on a handsome doctor, who promised miracles he also could not deliver. And so time passed.

Then one dark, hopeless day, the woman Kathleen turned her gaze toward Shadow, the knowledge of her fate in her eyes. And her gaze fell on Death, her childhood Shadowman, still watching from across the veil. He'd been more transfixed than ever.

Death afraid of a mortal woman. Yet, for her, he had then and would now again dare anything. Shadowman focused on the timbre of her voice, the light humor, and heaved the hammer upward again. He concentrated himself into his grip on the shaft and jarred Shadow with another sharp, hot strike. The iron flattened, tapering just so.

I wish we could talk, she'd said as she worked at her painting. Art had been her solace, and what else would she have painted but Twilight, the faery world on the other side of the shadows. Her pale profile had gleamed in the wan light of her bedroom. Her tone was filled with warmth. A voice across time. An echo in the dark.

After all, what harm would it be to speak with her? She was so close to passing from the mortal world regardless. Why not cross that divide first himself? Let her see him, really see him, before all chances were lost? Shadow was so cold; Kathleen was radiant. What would it be like to feel that warmth, just once?

Shadowman rotated the hammer in his grip to use the tapered head to shape the end of the spear, the decorative tip of the vertical bar to the gate he forged. It needed to be razor sharp, all violence and cruelty, as was the nature of the haunt to which the gate would open.

Please touch me. I want to feel something real while I can, she'd said.

And so he'd crossed when he had no call to do so. He had broken a cardinal law of nature and trespassed where he did not belong. For Kathleen.

Mortals view Death as they conceive him: ghoul, priest, demon. Kathleen had made him her dark prince from her fairy tales, even knowing his true nature—the Grim Reaper. His duty for all eternity was to transport souls across Twilight to the Hereafter. Yet, even as she'd fought against that inevitable passage, she'd embraced him. Bid him come closer, her emotions coursing through Shadow and into him. Her intent was a revelation. Her touch changed him. Changed everything.

He grasped the wooden haft of the hammer tight, but he could feel her soft mortal skin under his hands again. The satin glide from the slope of her waist to the swell of her breast. He stroked his thumb in the hollow at the base of her throat, then followed with a brush of his mouth. Her back arched. Heat flared between them, a fire for the ages, far beyond the sear of his forge. His death-tuned senses had perceived the clamor of her heartbeat, and now he held the memory of the wild rhythm in his head and used its passion to strike the glowing piece of metal on the anvil.

Together they had created a child, Talia, now a woman with a family of her own and a strong protector by her side. Talia had fought a nightmare scourge of wraiths to come into her own fae power.

Now there remained only the second part of Kathleen's last wish, to find a way back, a way to be with them both.

Death thumbed the edge of the metal with his other hand, found a slight thickening, and lifted the hammer again. Taking a deep breath, he gathered his intent, focused his mind on the object of his creation until he shook with power, then brought the tool down....

The shadows stirred.

Sudden weakness diminished him.

The hammer slipped from his grip and clattered to the floor.

Shadowman panted, dismayed, as he regarded the hammer. It was hard enough to create and sustain the corporeal form of a human body. But to hold the hammer, that hammer, took all of the power, will, and memory within him. The tool had been created by angels and was near unbearable to a fae's touch.


The last time he'd dropped the thing, it had taken him hours to lift it again, and by then, the fire had died. He gulped the smoky air and roared at the heavenly object.

"Sorry," a voice said.

Fae Death brought his head up and jerked around to find Custo, the angel who'd given him the damn hammer in the first place. Custo always seemed to be present when Death needed him, but most especially when Death did not. Like now. Custo's olive-gold skin was lined with veins of Shadow, which meant the angel had the power to cross through fae Twilight to any other place on Earth, including this warehouse. But it was the angel's light that had banished the death shadows just enough for Shadowman to lose his grip on the hammer.

Too late, Shadowman detected the even beat of the angel's mortal heart. Damn the boy. What does he want now?

Shadowman tugged on the shadows hovering like storm clouds around the angel. Immediately the darkness delivered an echo of Custo's emotions: Curiosity was dominant, but anchored by determined control and personal conviction, though what that conviction was, Shadowman could not fathom. The fae could sense feelings, but thoughts were the purview of the divine.

Bare-handed, Shadowman lifted the spearhead from the anvil and plunged it into the glowing coals of the forge. The fire leapt into red-gold curls, but the skin-crackling burn did not signify. Not as Death finally let cold Shadow take him, succor and restore him.

"What do you want?" Vitality pulsed through Shadowman's form with old magic. As always, he could not escape the distant call of his discarded scythe, the hoary blade clamoring from the twilight Shadowlands to be lifted in place of the hammer.

No. Never again. He was done with death.

Custo crossed fully from Twilight into the mortal world. His pale inner light pushed the darkness of the room back, revealing the scarred floor, old piles of discarded rope and rotting crates, the dingy windows of the warehouse. "I ... uh ... came to see ..."

Shadowman knew the moment Custo's gaze hit the gate. Death watched the angel's eyes narrow in examination, then widen in horror. Custo stumbled backward, his fear pervading the space. Shadowman could taste it, bitter and sharp, could smell it, rank, could feel the terror that made Custo shake.

"Oh, God," Custo said, breathless. "What have you done?"

Death crouched to protect the hammer where it lay on the floor. He brought his deep cloak around, as if the fae folds could possibly hide something divine. Custo could not have the hammer back. Not when the gate was so close to completion. Not when he was so close to Kathleen.

"You told me yourself that she is not in Heaven," Shadowman said. "And you gave me the hammer. What did you think I would do?"

Custo shot him a look of acute alarm, his green eyes deepening to black. "It was a favor. I didn't know what your purpose was. I can read only mortal minds."

Shadowman could sense the angel's inner conviction transforming into a pressing intent to act. The shadows of the warehouse floor roiled as Custo added, "The fae are, as usual, utterly obscure and insane."

"Fae Shadow runs in your blood now." Death drew on the silky darkness, sucking the magic into his being, though Shadow could not possibly help him lift the hammer. Lifting the hammer took concentration and time. Shadow was a different kind of power, impulsive and sudden.

Custo sighed. "Yeah ... well ... I guess you have a point." From an affectation of easy stillness, he leapt, the fae ascendant in the blackness of his eyes.

Death twitched a finger, and midair, the Shadows struck Custo down with a sickening head crack to the concrete floor. The boy would have been much better off using his angelic gifts. Shadow would forever and always obey Death first, even the small portion of it that ran through Custo's veins.

Custo brought a hand to the floor and grunted as he pushed himself up. "Be reasonable."

Reasonable? There was no such thing. Not in a universe that had consigned Kathleen to Hell, when he'd been the one to rend the boundary between the worlds. He'd broken the law that bound the fae to the Other side. He'd stepped into her room to view her painting. To speak with her. To touch her. If anyone was at fault, it was he.

Shadowman grabbed at the hammer. His hand passed right through it.

Kathleen! he thought, and tried for the hammer again. The tip of his finger budged the shaft slightly. So close ...

Shadowman thought of her pale face, her gold hair, her violet eyes, but it was the memory of her smell, tinged with the chemical musk of her paints, that helped him close his hand around the grip of the hammer. He forced all his strength into his clenched fist. Mass, that contrary mortal magic, had always defied the fae.

Custo stood, shaking his head, and regarded the gate again. "You can't think for a moment that The Order will suffer that ... that ... thing on Earth."

"That thing?" Death mocked, standing again.

"The Order would call it an abomination."

"And what would you call it?"

"Seriously fucked up."

Shadowman gripped the hammer, a tool of the angels. With it, he could forge the gate. Barbed and brutal, the gate's only decorative element was a few spare flowers, the kind that could grow in the harshest, darkest clime. Three wrought-iron, triangular petals were folded close to guard the core. The blooms were his desperate hope, a symbol that Kathleen could endure beyond, her soul bearing the empty pitch until he could find her.

"Are you going to tell them?" Death asked.

"I'm part of The Order," Custo said. "The angels can read my mind. I couldn't hide this if I wanted to. And I don't. We've had enough trouble dealing with the last forbidden passage you created between the worlds. Wraiths are still plaguing humankind. There's a war out there. Don't open up a way even more dangerous."

Shadowman glanced at the gate.

kat-a-kat-a-kat-a-kat, the gate answered, trembling on its posts. The gate had been talking to him like that since it had been mounted.

And he knew he could not wait to retrieve Kathleen from Hell. There was no higher purpose in her presence there that he could fathom. No order or justice to her damnation. He broke the law, but Kathleen suffered in Hell. There was nothing to do but fetch her back.

"Look ahead, if you can," Custo said, the green forcing out the black in his eyes. His urgency, thick and pungent, saturated the shadows. "I beg you to look ahead."

Shadowman gripped the hammer tighter. The gate was nearly complete. Soon, very soon, it would be ready. The fae existed in the now, the present moment, but he could see that far into the future.


The gate already clamored to open.

"What do you think a gate to Hell will do to the mortal world?" Custo's burnished skin gleamed in the dark. He was all angel now, fighting once again for the people on Earth. "If you can pass through it, what do you think will come out our way?"

Nothing good, that was certain.

So Shadowman answered with a question of his own. "And if it were your Annabella?"

Custo went silent, breathing deeply, thinking of the beautiful ballerina who was his wife. It didn't take long for his mouth to twist.

"It hurts you even to think of it, yet Kathleen is there, right now."

Custo closed his eyes. "There has to be a reason ..."

"... for her to bear pain and despair unending?" Shadowman's arm ached with the burden of the hammer. The sinews and muscles strained to hold it, but he held fast to his human form. He had a gate to finish. "And you could tolerate this for Annabella while you had the means to save her?"

"Oh, God. I gave you the means. Oh, shit." Self-recrimination threaded through Custo's distress. "That makes me responsible."

"Then see it through."


Shadowman turned to regard the gate. At his side, Custo did the same. The potent menace coming off the thing was palpable. Shadow shimmered against the hell-throb of his creation. A gate to Hell, forged by Death.

Shadowman felt the moment Custo came to a decision, his hard resolve overcoming the wilder emotions.

"I begged for a day once, and that's what I'll give you," Custo said. "Then I swear I'll bring the angels. We will rip it apart, even if you, Kathleen, or ... or ... even Anna bella are behind it. It is wrong. You fae obviously have trouble telling the difference."


Right? Wrong? Shadowman didn't care. Death, by nature and necessity, was numb to such considerations.

"I don't require your permission, boy." The pain of his grip on the hammer crawled over his shoulder.

"Mark my words," Custo said, summoning Shadow to depart. "The angels are coming."

"Mark mine," Death returned. "I'll have her back."

Chapter Two

A rustle in the brush snapped Layla Mathews's attention from the quiet hulk of The Segue Institute's main building to the dense trees on her right. Wraith. She held her breath, willing her heartbeat to silence, lowered her camera, and put a hand to the gun ready on the earth in front of her. Steady ...

She waited for movement. Strained for the telltale screech that meant trouble.

Keep it calm....

But heard only the kat-a-kat-a-kat-a-kat of the now chronic tinnitus in her head.

Nothing. Her gulping heartbeat slowed.

Seconds passed. A breeze hit the November trees, and the leaves chattered in the wind.

Still nothing.

Okay. Back to work. She was going to get a photo of Talia Kathleen Thorne if it killed her. A clear shot, in high-res. The follow-up segment to her wraith series wouldn't be complete without it.


Excerpted from Shadowman by Erin Kellison Copyright © 2011 by Clarissa Ellison. Excerpted by permission of ZEBRA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Good series

    The concept is original and I have rooted for Shadowman since the very beginning

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fate, Shadow, Fae, Wights, Wraths. Not lions, tigers and bears! OH MY

    This takes you deeper into the world of shadow and many sides of the dark we can not see, but in this fantasy they become real and can see with the great imagination of Erin! A few twists, a few passionate scenes, some blood and nail biting story telling. This is an excellent book, as so is Erin. Real her other books!! It would be good to start with the first one, so that you can see how the characters play out. You don't have to but I would suggest it. To know who is who and what is going on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2011

    you have to read this series!!!!!!!

    erin kellison is a wonderful author and this series rocks!!!!!! a must read and you will like to read it again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Dark and Amazing

    First off, I haven't read any other books in this series. Saying that, I didn't feel like I was lost while reading Shadowman. I think these books can be read out of order because Erin Kellison does a wonderful job explaining what has happened without overburdening the reader or being mundane to a reader who has read the first two books.

    In the third book of the Shadow series, Shadowman is bound and determined to bring Kathleen back. He has forged a gate to hell and against the angel's pleas, he must open it. He is unable to stand the thought that she is writhing in hell. Layla Mathew's is drawn towards the gate after being banished from the Segue Institute by Adam Thorne. Her story on how the wraiths, regular people who gave up their soul for immortality, first came to the world is getting nowhere and she knows that Adam has the answers. She is given a tip by Zoe Maldano, a woman who has no love for Adam or the Segue Institute. Zoe tells her that the answers lie near the dock. Layla finds the gate and only touches it, but that is enough to unleash a nasty devil on the world. This devil with stop at nothing to kill Layla because if she does, hell will be unleashed upon the earth and the little devil is free to do whatever mischief she wants. Shadowman instantly realizes that Kathleen is not in hell but is reincarnated in Layla. The catch, he can't force her to remember. Hopefully for both their sakes, she remembers soon.

    Layla can't figure out this man. He is mysterious and dark, but he has promised her a story. Now Layla just needs to open her mind to the possibility of another realm, a darker realm called the Shadow. Entering Shadow when you are not fae can lead to disastrous consequences. This is the realm that Shadowman lives in and there are trickster lurking about ready to pounce on Layla. Together they must discover who each other are. Shadowman is no long death and Layla is no longer who she thought she was. Now a new death has taken up the scythe and end what Shadowman has started.

    Shadowman is dark and the world that Erin has created is amazing with angels, devils, wraiths, and ghosts meshed together. You are pulled into this world and unable to get out without losing yourself in the fae realm. I look forward to reading the first two books in this series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2014

    Truly an original and exceptional series. 

    Truly an original and exceptional series. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2014

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  • Posted November 22, 2013

    Fantastic Read...

    I absolutely loved this book. You need to read all of the books in the series in order. I was so depressed when I finished the last one. I hope she continues to write more in the series. I stumbled on this author and was captivated from the first chapter. I was blown away with the story line. Shadowman is love story like no other. READ it!!!

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  • Posted July 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I have loved every single book in this series! They are awesome

    I have loved every single book in this series! They are awesome to read as a series, but can even be read as stand alone books. I cannot wait for the next Erin Kellison book!!

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book was amazing

    This book was amazing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    Original Yet Not Impressive

    I was taken in by the uniqueness of the story and characters though the story line really didn't do much to hold my attention.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Beautiful Story

    I loved this story. So moving and so incredible. You won"t be disappointed. Loved It!!!

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Shadowman will be on the short list of best romantic urban fantasies of the year

    The Shadowman as a dark fae resides in the Twilight between mortal life and the Afterlife. As a watcher he cannot enter either locale. He diligently remains at his lonely outpost as an observer who can watch but not leave.

    However though a shadow fae, he is still a man. When he falls in love with human Kathleen O'Brien he would move heaven and hell for her. She reciprocates and becomes pregnant carrying his hybrid daughter. When Death comes for her even as she gives birth to Talia whom she cannot hold, Kathleen vows to find a way back to the two loves of her life while her weeping sister Maggs vows to take care of her newborn niece. However, their breaking of the rules with their forbidden love and his trespass rips an opening in the veil allowing evil creatures to enter realms banned to them.

    The third dark fae Shadow romantic urban fantasy (see Shadow Fall and Shadow Bound), Shadowman is a superb thriller as the refreshing different look at the paranormal laws of physics makes for an entertaining read. Fans will learn a lot about Shadowman obsessed with love and the woman he cherishes who obstinately refuses to blithely cross over as she fixates over remaining because she needs to be with the fae and hybrid she loves with all her soul. Shadowman will be on the short list of best romantic urban fantasies of the year.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted February 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Erin ROCKS and this story is pretty Awesome too :)

    Im stoked and simply excited, and anticipation the release of this one and the Novella that is due out before this :) I'm super excited to see what happens in the progression of the Story. B&N had offered Erin's first book Shadow Bound for free, and since then I have read her other book Shadow Fall. The books a lil bit hot and steamy mixed with a lil bit of dark fantasy. A serious page turner!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

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    Posted October 31, 2011

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    Posted October 25, 2011

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    Posted February 20, 2012

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