Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Thief of Sanguardia (Skeleton Key) by Cherie Marks @CherieMarks

Thief of Sanguardia
by Cherie Marks
Published June 15th 2016
Genre: Paranormal, Vampires


Skeleton Key Book Series
One Skeleton Key. Endless Adventures.

His otherworldly charm isn’t an act.

Kaia Skipwith is having a very bad Monday. A reformed thief who has to pull one last job in New York City to save her sister, she must bring some barely-guarded, ancient artifact to the Seagate Building in Manhattan by midnight Saturday, she’ll never see her sister again. An in-the-bag finale for an experienced B&E expert such as herself. Yet, not more than five minutes into the job, alarms blare and police cars screech up. She grabs the creepy key with a skeleton emblem—a literal skeleton key—looks up at the doors in front of her, and gets the strangest feeling that she’ll be safe on the other side of that door.

Zegorie Fay of Clan Montgomerie has taken charge of the Vampire Army, and though he knows his duty, he no longer knows why he fights. War has been raging in Sanguardia for as long as he can remember. Battle-worn and searching for meaning in his existence, he gets distracted in a most unusual way. The minute he sees her, he knows she’s trouble. For one, she’s the most attractive female he’s ever seen. For another, she’s clearly human, enemy to the vampires and bringers of war. But, above all, he senses something special about her, something…otherworldly. He must possess her secrets.



They emerged from the trees into a small clearing, and Zegorie stepped up next to Kaia until they were side-by-side. “If I were a barath, this is where I would wait for an ambush.”

“What’s a barath?”

“Let’s hope you never have to find out.”

With measured steps and vigilance, they crossed the grassy clearing, but before they made it inside the next stand of trees, Zegorie heard the tell-tale growl coming from his left. He looked up, knowing exactly what he’d find in the tree above him. Crouched on a branch, ready to pounce was exactly the dreaded creature he feared finding here. A large, furred animal with rippling muscles and pointed incisors that stretched beyond its wide mouth. The barath swiped its large, flat tongue along its jagged teeth as if readying for its next meal.

“Spoke too soon, it would seem. That... is a barath.” He sunk into a defensive pose and pulled his sword from the scabbard across his back, prepared for the imminent attack. Without taking his eyes off the animal, he spoke two words to Kaia, “Run! Now!”

He didn’t have time to see if she followed his order as the barath gave a great roar and flung itself off the branch, mouth wide, claws raised, attempting to take out Zegorie’s throat with a swipe of its paw. Yet, Zegorie was ready, diving to the ground and rolling away just as it neared. Within a few seconds, he was on his feet, sword raised, facing the dangerous creature. They circled each other cautiously, searching for an opportunity for attack.

Patience. Let it come to you. He waited until the barath lowered its lower body, clearly getting ready to charge. As it leaped off its front paws, Zegorie raised his broadsword and slashed downward, aiming for its exposed chest, but the animal surprised him. With its powerful legs, it jumped out of his reach, over his head, and landed behind him. He twisted just in time to slap the flat of his blade against the velocity of a descending, plate-sized paw.

He slashed his sword with an offensive move aimed at the barath’s head, but the animal jumped back a few feet out of his range. If he could just catch it in the right spot, this would end quickly. He really needed this to end quickly because he couldn’t afford to put Kaia in this kind of danger. Humans were fragile, and Kaia wouldn’t last more than a minute with a forest full of dangerous creatures. He had to end it now.

Time slowed, and in a charged moment, Zegorie met the feral gaze of the animal. He’d know the exact instant when the barath would attack. Zegorie pulled a deep breath in through his nose and readied himself. The minute it leaped, he’d wait for its descent and slice his sword across its throat. The barath tensed its muscles, and Zegorie squeezed the handle of his sword in preparation. With a growl, it leaped in the air, and, for what seemed like minutes but lasted only seconds, Zegorie watched and waited, sword raised slightly at the right of his chest.

Suddenly, as he prepared to strike, he heard a loud crack and the animal’s head snapped backward as its body continued on its trajectory and fell hard toward him. He swung his blade and knocked the heavy, limp body down before it crushed him. With the momentum of his swing, he went to his knee, but quickly scrambled to his feet, turning to piece together what had happened.

Behind him, Kaia grinned, just lowering a still-smoking handgun. He stared, stunned for the briefest of moments. She stood there, her hair had come loose and hung down her back and blew around her head like a fiery mane. She looked like the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.

“Have you had that gun the entire time?”

“Of course. I don’t usually carry, though I chill at the shooting range when I’m stressed out. But, the job I was on felt like a set-up from the start. Something told me it was a good idea to walk out of the door packing, and looks my instincts were on point.”

“Yes. On point. You’ve had the gun the whole time? And haven’t used it on my men or me. You threatened with the cleaner instead.”

“Oh, I thought about it, big guy.” She put the gun out of sight in a hidden holster at her hip that he would’ve never guessed was there. He almost demanded she hand it over to him, but if she hadn’t used it on him up until now, she probably wouldn’t. “But, you never gave me reason to kill you, and trust me, if I shoot my gun, my aim is deadly. Besides, I only have six bullets— five now. You have way more men than that. My guess is that more than six would come after me or try to stand in my way.”

Had he really thought she couldn’t handle herself in this forest? He would never underestimate her again.

My Review:

Kaia Skipwith is a thief and is one of the best in the business. If she can’t steal it then it can’t be stolen. That is sort of her motto as a thief. Kaia was coerced into doing this job by Finn McClaire. Finn has taken her sister; Aubrey hostage in order to get Kaia to do this job for him. He knew she could do the job where others probably could not.

Kaia is performing her last job when just minutes after she entered the building and taken possession of her prize, a skeleton key she hears sirens and just as someone is coming into the room Kaia spots a door she did not see before and just knows that she would be safe behind this door.

When Kaia steps through this door just in the nick of time she enters the world of Sanguardia. A world that she did not know existed until this moment. In Sanguardia Kaia meets the handsome Zegorie Fay of Clan Montgomerie, the leader of the vampire army. The vampires have been in war with the humans for a very long time. It is all Zegorie knows.

Kaia is attracted to Zegorie right off the bat. She thinks he is very handsome. After spending some time with him Kaia’s body starts feelings things that she has not felt before or not exactly like that. Kaia knows she can’t have a relationship with him because she has to find a way back home so she can save her sister before the deadline that Finn placed upon her.

Zegorie is tired of fighting and is searching for a way to stop the war when he sees Kaia for the first time. He knows right from the start that she is special and that she holds the key that will stop the war although he doesn’t know just how right he really is at that moment. At that time all he is seeing is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.

Will Kaia ever find her way home? Can she save her sister before it is too late? Will Zegorie ever find a way to stop the war so everyone can live in peace and the killing will stop? Can Kaia and Zegorie ever be together? Could they have a long distance relationship, Kaia in one world and Zegorie in another?

I have truly loved reading Thief of Sanguardia. I loved the world that Cherie created in Thief of Sanguardia. I love the whole new world of the vampires. These vampires will take you to a whole new universe one that I have not read or heard of before. Thief of Sanguardia will take you to places you have never been before. It will grab a hold of you from the very first word and will not let go until the end. If you have not read Thief of Sanguardia then I highly recommend that you do. You will not regret it for one minute. It will blow your mind in more ways than one.  


It all started with an old fashioned typewriter. When my family brought it home, I knew what I wanted to do. All those stories rolling around in my head could finally get out. The press and click of the keys were satisfying in their own right, but when I pulled out a finished page, I knew this was for me. Since then, I’ve graduated to a laptop, but the stories still find a way out.

I’m a breast cancer survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and from the very beginning—a storyteller. Always a hint humorous and honest to a fault, I love to make people laugh, smile, and have “a-ha” moments. My goal in life is to achieve tact and stop procrastinating. The battle wages on.