Monday, May 3, 2021



                             BOOK BLURB 

 In Hiro’s world, youkai are a supernatural story used to scare children into obedience, and to keep men out of back alleys and brothels. Until Sakurai Hideyoshi walks through his door with a fantastical tale of a samurai who had killed a thousand men and drank the blood of his enemies, a man that lived in darkness but sought beauty to keep it at bay.

A story both terrifying and romantic…and completely ridiculous.

Unless it is true.

Convinced something softer lurks behind Hideyoshi’s hard mask, Hiro follows him home. And discovers the story is real.

Only instead of the blood of his enemies, it is innocent blood taken.

Hideyoshi tells him never to return. Yet after Hiro’s mother is mortally wounded, Hiro runs back to the one being he knows with the power to save her. When Hideyoshi can’t, Hiro begs him for the next best thing: the power to avenge her.

As Hiro becomes youkai, he faces a new threat, something darker, older, and far more dangerous. With Hideyoshi at his side, Hiro must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice--and what he’s willing to do--to protect this new life before he loses everything for a second time.


Courtney Maguire is a University of Texas graduate from Corpus Christi, Texas.
Drawn to Austin by a voracious appetite for music, she spent most of her young adult life in dark, divey venues nursing a love for the sublimely weird. A self-proclaimed fangirl with a press pass, she combined her love of music and writing as the primary contributor for Japanese music and culture blog, Project: Lixx, interviewing Japanese rock and roll icons and providing live event coverage for appearances across the country.
Her first novel, WOUNDED MARTYR, is a 2019 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Short Category.

You can find her on social media: FacebookTwitter or at

 A samurai of his reputation didn’t come into town without being noticed, and I was able to get directions to his house from the second person I asked. I stumbled through the narrow streets to an estate in the shadow of the Imperial Palace. It looked like a palace itself, with sweeping tile roofs peeking over a high stone wall. A small torii marked the entrance to a shrine no bigger than a closet on the south corner, the smell of burned incense still hanging in the air around it.
Standing in front of his heavy wooden gate, I bunched my hands in the sleeves of my kimono. What was I doing here? I couldn’t ask him for help. The problems of a geisha were far beneath him, and he’d already done more than his fair share for me. I told myself I just needed to thank him, maybe apologize for the brush-off I’d given him in Ponto-cho.
I took a deep breath and knocked lightly on the gate. “Sakurai-han?” My voice cracked terribly, and I cringed, clearing my throat before trying again. “Sakurai-han? It’s Hiro.”
I leaned closer to the gate, ears attuned to movement. I knocked again, more firmly this time, and the gate swung inward a little.
“Ojamashimasu,” I called softly as I poked my head through the gap.
Lavish gardens abloom with wisteria and hydrangea stretched out before me. My sandals scraped across the stone path that crossed over a pond teaming with koi and led to the entrance of the sprawling estate. The shoji were all closed except one, which was open just enough to give me a peek inside. Lamplight flickered over screens depicting ink-black birds on a field of gold.
A shadow moved inside. My skin flushed hot and cold at the same time. My heart did a strange little dance over my rib cage. I took another step forward and tried to call out to him, but couldn’t squeeze my voice through my clenched throat.
My fluttering heart came to an abrupt stop when I realized he wasn’t alone. Another person stood very close to him, his arms wrapped around them, his head lowered into their neck.
I should have stopped. I should have turned around and walked away, but even though my stomach felt full of pins, I stepped closer. The person he was with—a woman—took shape as I drifted onto the engawa. Slender, fair skinned, modestly ornamented hair in a fashionable topknot. Someone befitting a man like Sakurai Hideyoshi. A person who mattered.
Had I read it all wrong? His complete disinterest in the oiran had led me to believe he was disinterested in women altogether, but maybe it was something else. His reaction to me pursuing work in Ponto-cho hinted at a distaste for the profession. A hollow opened up in my chest. Maybe all he’d wanted was to hear me sing, after all.
She made some small sound, and my insides twisted into something ugly. They swayed together like the interlocked branches of a tree caught by the wind. I shrank back but stopped as the hands that had been knotted in the fabric of his kimono relaxed, went limp, and fell to her sides. Her knees buckled, and Sakurai-han went down with her until she was flat on her back. There was something strange about the way she fell, like the air had all gone out of her.
With a groan, he straightened and sat back on his heels, eyes closed, the back of his hand pressed against his mouth. His cheeks were ruddy, his expression loose and serene as if he were drunk or high. When he dropped his hand, something thick and dark clung to his lips, and his tongue swept across them.


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