Set in New Orleans, Age of Eve is an emotional story of love threatened by the return of creatures first described in ancient Hebrew and Christian texts as the Nephilim or "fallen Sons of God."
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Ms. Pratt is a five-time Emmy nominee, a Golden Globe nominee and was chosen for the Top Ten short list for the Academy Awards for her live action short film Girlfriends. She has received the Lillian Gish Award from Women in Film, The Angel Award, The Golden Block Award, and six B.E.N. Awards. As Co-Executive Producer and Head Writer for the ground-breaking television series Quantum Leap. Ms. Pratt wrote 25 episodes and co-wrote an additional 15 episodes and has produced over 100 hours of network programs. She made her directorial debut on Cora Unashamed for the BBC’s Masterpiece Theatre’s The American Collection, which aired on both PBS and the BBC.
Read an Excerpt
Alone in the entry surrounded by hundreds of people, Eve stood wearing a dress that made her feel absolutely naked. At least in her belted shirt dress she felt armed, ready to face people, but her best friend had insisted this was the first day of the rest of her life and she needed to put it all out there. So she put on the slip of a pale blue silk dress, added eye lashes and ruby lips and piled her thick, honey colored hair into a twist on the top of her head. Her hair, people always said, was one of her best features; a river of flaxen, impossibly shinny and too thick which is why it was in a knot just like her stomach. She was out there, nipples first, and the cool air made her not-as-skinny-as-she’d-hoped naked body under the silk shift way more out there than she had ever experienced in her life. The constant thumping of the dance music matched the nervous beating of Eve’s heart as she stood feeling all alone, staring into a room full of people. She hung back, motionless, looking and listening, furious she had come and feeling more and more like an ugly puppy left abandoned on the side of a road than a pretty woman at a dance. That was shadowed by the anger that came with attending yet another party alone. But she was here so WTF!
The swell of music echoed up from a DJ booth located somewhere beyond the grand entrance and expansive parlors that defined the infamous Gregoire Plantation Estate which dared her to enter. Each step she took was punctuated by the pounding rhythms and primitive war chants that played around her. The hypnotic melody was designed to entice people through the maze of festive décor, past the food and liquor and out onto the dance floor. She took that dare and stepped in, crossing the entry, through the parlor and into the dining room. It was filled with the aromas of red pepper sauce, Andouille sausages drenched in Cajun spices, and thick with the pungent tang of fine southern bourbon, always served with something sugary like coke or julep. That was just the southern way: the sweeter the better. Eve ignored the wall of chatter that echoed up from the party, unable to shake the ever-present feeling that someone was watching her.
Eve took a long, slow, deep breath and crossed the wide marble hall. She descended the steps that led into the main parlor of the house. It was all that defined southern elegance. The mansion had been built by Lafayette Gregoire nearly three hundred years ago as his summer palace. It sat on the shores of a lake just twenty miles outside New Orleans. Six generations of Gregoires had been born, lived, married, divorced, fought and died here. Wars had been won and lost as the house stood enduring the centuries, while patriarchs and matriarchs ruled the lush lands of the Plantation Gregoire.
Eve had always loved the house. She made her mother bring her here at least once every summer, when they came for their annual visits from Chicago, to walk the gardens that stretched along the lake. But until tonight she had never been inside. If she hadn’t been so nervous she would have been in total awe. She would have let her hand trace the beautifully carved wainscoting that paneled the lower half of the entry, falling in straight lines to meet the fine marble floor. She would have let her feet glide across the smooth burgundy surface that stretched out in a perfect circle in each direction and cascaded down the mahogany steps into the sunken living parlor. Eve glanced briefly back at the grand stairway that curled up from the entry and connected to the second floor. In a better state of mind she would have wondered about each of the ten bedrooms that stood like soldiers down the wide, dimly lit hallway. She would have felt each door staring back in sealed silence keeping the long-forgotten secrets of those who had once inhabited them. But Eve had no time to let her imagination wander. She was feeling lost and hopelessly out of place. Why the hell have I come? She wondered. Damn it!
Eve stepped across the crowded entry, through the sunken living room of the old mansion and out onto the balcony. She couldn’t help but feel something else growing beneath her normal nervousnesssomething beyond that innate fear of people that haunted her whenever she had to go out and face the world. Tonight there was something else: different, strange, almost exciting but not quite, not yet. No more than a tiniest quiver somewhere in the distance, gentle yet persistent. It rose up from some hidden place deep inside her and coursed through her blood like a fever. It left her feeling hot and sticky or perhaps it was the moist Louisiana summer night air that wrapped around her as she moved outside. The heat infected not just her body, but her soul with its subtle but constant reminder that the south in the summer was its own special hell.
Eve sighed and walked forward. She saw the faces of all the people who always spent their summers at the lake, the snobbish southern Belles and handsome blue-blooded men whose families had lived in and around New Orleans for the past four hundred years. The women were porcelain dolls with expensive clothes, perfect hair, x-ray thin and way over-educated to be the trophy wives they had or would ultimately become.
Eve turned to look at herself in the mirror. She wanted to make sure she was there. Yep, she thought, I actually came. What a masochist. Her reflection stared back at her. Her face was well painted to enhance what she had been told were her best features: nice lips traced with a line of ruby red, carefully drawn to enhance the shape and colored-in like the meticulous crayoning of an obsessive-compulsive six year old, heavy color on top, lighter on the bottom with a dollop of tangerine at the center of the bottom lower lip to give just the right effect of a pout. God, she believed the makeup advice she wrote about in her magazine. But she had followed the rules: flushed cheeks against pale skin that accented dark eyes which were encircled by black, spidery lashes that spiked around her almond shaped, chocolate eyes. Eve looked approvingly, thinking her hair was just the right amount of tousled to seem like she had not bothered quite as much as she had. She smoothed the soft, silk dress that clung appropriately well in all the right places and straightened her back. She had adorned herself with summer diamonds; as her grandmother use to say before she passed them on, “Some are diamonds, some are not.” Eve smiled to think of Maman and her little legacy of faux jewels that she lovingly passed down to her. They caught the dim candle light and sparkled from her neck and wrist giving the illusion she was appropriately spoiled enough to fit in with the rest of the guests She was as beautiful as she could be. So why did she feel so naked and vulnerable behind the cosmetic armor and fashion shield she had carefully donned to protect herself? Then, there was that feeling again. Something was coming and whatever it was, she was certain she wasn’t ready.
“Dance with me,” a deep, sensual whisper commanded from behind her. Eve started to turn but handsno , armsencircled her and locked her in a gentle but firm embrace. Eve looked down and saw two large, olive-colored hands wrapped around her waist. The fingers were long and sinewy, the kind that belonged to great pianists or a master surgeon with smooth skin that had never seen a day of manual labor.
His body felt strong and tall as he pressed himself against her back. Eve could feel each cut of the well defined muscles that ran down his stomach, flat and firm against her back. He was taller than she by a head. She felt his breath rush warm and moist past her hair as it brushed her cheek. His scent drifted into her nose. This was no expensive bottled cologne, bought in stores; his scent was the scent of life and mystery and intrigue. It was strange and familiar at once, giving her the feeling that she had known him her entire life. It was sweet and pungent and touched her heart with a genuineness that eased the tension and made her melt into his embrace.
Eve felt dizzy, giddy, intoxicated by this presence that carried her all too willingly into its magic. The music changed into a sensual ballad and with a graceful, fluid motion he took her hand and spun her around. The room rushed by her in a blur and when she came to face him, time stopped.
She blinked and softly shook her head to clear whatever it was that clouded her mind and blurred her vision. Eve’s heart quickened for when the world came back she was looking not at a man but what could only be described as a soul, shimmering as clear as mountain air, tall and straight, warm and cloaked in what great poets try to describe as the essence of true beauty. From the indescribable illusion his eyes came into focus first, pale as a summer sky with flecks of silver that seemed to shower her with shimmering beacons of moonlight. His look gave a gentle warning that he wanted truth and would accept nothing less in return. Have I fainted, been drugged, died? She tried to think, to feel the ground beneath her feet to make sense of the dream she had entered.
“You dance as beautiful as you are,” his melodic voice spoke in calming, tender tones. A voice so deep she swore she could feel the bass tones vibrate in her bones as she listened to each word. Again she tried to clear her mind struggling to come back from this waking dream. And then, he smiled at her. His lips were round, full, and smooth with corners that bent up into a smile even when he did not. His face was a vision that only Michelangelo could’ve chiseled from a block of warm, flawless travertine. His hair was midnight black and caught the candle glow, weaving silver lights around each curl like piles of ribbons that seemed to demand she reach up to play in it.
“You dance well too,” she said feeling like an imbecile as the words tumbled out of her mouth.
“Do I,” he smiled teasing her. “I think you like my arms around you.”
Had he read her mind, felt her desire before she had even felt it herself? The tiny quiver that had been growing inside her since she arrived at the party exploded into a blazing fire that made her certain she would ignite if she didn’t run away. Her body began to tremble with excitement.
She knew him though they had never met. She desired him in all the ways that one human being could desire another. She wanted to know everything about him, his hopes, his dreams, the world he lived and breathed in and yet she loved the mysterious feeling of knowing nothing: that first, enticing, unknown moment, unencumbered by the past, void of any expectations of the future, held only the now, existing completely in the present.
Eve suddenly realized he had danced her off the wide, stone balcony that graced the backyard. As if on a carpet of air, they had drifted down six steps and through the English garden alive with a cornucopia of summer blossoms and thick with the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle. He led her gracefully into the black mouth of the massive topiary labyrinth of ten foot hedges that anchored the heart of the garden. There he stopped under the vast canvas of ebony sky and let the moonlight fall, lacing through leaves across her skin with a dusting of silvery radiance. The light illuminated their way while erasing the rest of the world. Eve should’ve been afraid, but fear would not dare enter the cocoon of serenity he had so wondrously woven around her.
Under normal circumstances Eve would have said something practical like what’s your name or engaged in an exchange of sensible facts like where the hell are you taking me? These were the questions that seemed more than relevant in light of what was happening, but not tonight.
Suddenly they stopped, surrounded by four walls of shimmering green leaves. The calls of crickets and night creatures obliterated the strains of the lush, romantic music that drifted from the house, as if they alone were to underscore the astonishing encounter.
He stepped closer, leaning into her. His body felt warm and safe. He pulled the pins from her hair to release it and as her locks unfurled and as they fell free, so did she. He encircled her waist with his arms lifting her momentarily with such ease she felt almost weightless. Eve felt weak and empowered all at one time. The pounding of her heart matched the throbbing that reverberated in his chest. He wanted her as much as she wanted him. His face drifted closer, his mouth hungry to taste her kiss. Slowly, tenderly, he brushed her lips with his. It was a kiss-less kiss, as sweet as if they had been twelve years olds exploring one another’s lips in an innocent prelude before the hormonal storm. He pulled her tighter. Eve’s knees went weak. Her body began to tremble. She was as helpless as a leaf caught in the throes of a torrential wind.
He pressed his cheek against hers. “I love you,” he whispered.
Now she panicked. Fear rushed in and brought with it a deluge of logic and harsh reality. She could feel her heart building up walls and iron bunkers of emotional defense with every breath.
“You can’t love me,” she blurted like she had Tourettes syndrome. Her hands lifted into place to push him away. The words tumbled from her mouth like the charge of the cavalry racing in to protect a heart that had been broken so many times one more crack would surely shatter it into dust. “You you don’t even know me.”
He looked at her and smiled. His embrace softened and his eyes filled with tears. Grateful, heartfelt tears that held such honesty his words had to be true. Softly he whispered, “Even a blind man knows when he’s walking in the sun.” Eve felt her eyes flush with tears, her body melted, and in a single sigh, her heart surrendered. Forgetting the past, ignoring the future, taking a hold of the now, he kissed her. And without a moment’s hesitation she kissed him back.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What i read of this book was okay but it just couldnt hold my attention
Age of Eve Return of the Nephilim D.M Pratt. ARC supplied by netgalley I love books that have a mix of romance and the supernatural/paranormal so this book sounded one I'd enjoy. I was expecting something like the wonderful and mysterious Fairwick Chronicles – Carol Goodman, or the All Souls Trilogy – Deborah Harkness. It seemed really slow to start though :( Its beautifully written, incredibly descriptive about the area and surroundings, and lots of historical facts about the people and region the book was set in. Sadly none of this, detailed and poetic as it was, really helped me. I didn't find the characters easy to warm to – I felt like an onlooker rather than part of the book, and really couldn't get immersed in the danger because I wasn't engaging with Eve the main character, not her best friend Cora. I'm not sure if it was because of the lack of detail about them or just the way their characters were portrayed but somehow the book dragged for me. I was eager to find out who the Mystery Man was but even that dragged through several misleading turns before we learned more. The whole Voodoo premise, Demons, Nephilm and magic just didn't work for me. Its a shame because it sounded so engaging and I love books that are a bit more than just a sweet romance, something heavier and more absorbing, and I really wanted to like this book. Sadly I couldn't. I ended up skimming vast sections of descriptive prose, because beautifully written though it was it didn't add anything to the book for me. I found I was skipping whole sections to find out what would happen to the characters, rather than being engrossed in their journey as I usually am, and even when I got to the end I was left feeling “eh? What?” about the whole novel. I love dialogue in books, that's what really brings the characters alive but here it all seemed so ...stilted somehow. The sex scenes, some were very sensual and incredibly erotic but some were just Eurghh....sad because I love spice in a novel, and clearly Deborah can write scenes that appeal and resonate with me. It needs to be made clear though that this is just MY opinion, and we all read different things thankfully, so as others have given this high ratings then read the sample and judge for yourself how you'll feel. If we share taste in books then you may well feel as I do, but if we don't perhaps you'll be entranced by this book. Its decent value at £4.11 for 322 pages if its a book you like of course, and as the first in a series would def have the re read factor for those who enjoy this work. Stars: The good sections of this book weren't enough to lift it from an indifferent novel to a good one. I didn't hate it – I wasn't involved enough in the whole book to feel that strongly, but I couldn't really say it was OK either :( so sadly just two and half stars from me.
I loved the story. I knew a bit about the Nephilim but this was so much more interesting than I could have imagined. The story was quite "hot" .... a great combination of romance and paranormal worlds. I couldn't put the book down once I started. Highly recommend!