Soul Awakened (Key to the Cursed #2) by Jean Murray – Author Feature


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Book Synopsis


Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.


Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most– his Parvana. His butterfly.


Kendra commanded herself to march straight out the door. Enough of this bleeding heart stuff. If only she could take that next step toward freedom. She sighed heavily. Who was she fooling? She wasn’t going anywhere other than straight to his bed. Heck, she had bled, almost died, and ran naked into his frigid subconscious in less than twenty-four hours of knowing him.

She had no sense of self-preservation.

Bakari lay in the center of the enormous bed. The size of two kings put together. She couldn’t very well assess him from her vantage point. Climbing in bed with him uninvited caused her heart to flutter. What if Bomani walked in? How would she explain this?

Irritated with her thoughts, she stepped on the sideboard and hoisted herself on the thick plush mattress. The bed barely moved or compressed under her dainty weight. She didn’t want to wake him or least that was the plan.

Check on him and go. Yep.

Thankfully, he didn’t move as she crept closer on her hands and knees. His body contracted tighter and he shook his head against the covers. Maybe she could break the nightmare with a light touch. It seemed to lessen his pain before in his cell.

With her weight on her right hand and knees, she reached out and gently brushed his damp black hair out of his face. Surprisingly, it was soft and shiny now and all the white had faded. He must have washed it sometime before she arrived.

She moved her knees forward and sat back on her heels with her hands on her thighs. Too scared before to take in his features, she measured his face in an unrushed appreciation. His cheeks had filled out from last night. The muscles in his jaw twitched, as he clenched and unclenched his teeth in his sleep. His skin had warmed to an olive tone. Not bad for what little food he had eaten.

She traced the angle of his cheekbone to his full jaw with her fingertip. He had Asar’s facial structure. Her finger stopped at his chin. She mentally traced the line of his mouth. His lips were perfect in size and shape. She pressed her lips together and wet them with her tongue.

Startled, she snapped her gaze away. Why the heck was she wondering what it would be like to kiss him? She had really lost her marbles. A virgin, but not a saint? Bad girl, she scolded herself. Now as she looked at herself kneeling uninvited on a man’s bed while he slept, it seemed even dirtier. She needed to have her head examined.

Holding her breath, she placed her palms on the mattress and pushed away toward the edge of the bed. She was getting the heck out of here. Her toes breached the outer seam.

A low growl preceded large hands clamping on her shoulders and flipping her in the air. The ceiling and black silk sheets flashed in her field of view before her back found the mattress and her head flopped into the pillow. She yelped as Bakari’s hard male body pressed her firmly into the padding. In one hand he pinned her wrists above her head. Despite being severely underweight, his torso and pelvis heavily restrained her.

“Did you see something you did not like, Parvana?”

Author Biography

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In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series.

Author QandA

Q. Where are you from?  Does the area you live in influence you writing?

·       I grew up in PA, but joined the Navy after getting my nursing degree. It provided me so many opportunities to travel and live in different places. I think being stationed overseas and traveling to different countries broadened my appreciation of our history and influences my writing today. The Key to the Cursed series is based on Egyptian mythology, which I love.

Q. Tell us your latest news??

·       I am releasing my entire Key to the Cursed series this year. Each book will be released every 90 days for a total of 5-books. Soul Reborn, the first book in the series, released April 1st, 2015. Soul Awakened is already on pre-order and will release July 1st . Soul Unbound will be available for pre-order the day Soul Awakened is released and so on.

I think my biggest frustration as a reader and an author is the wait time between books. I’m hoping readers will be pleased to have the next book waiting on their kindle/e-reader. No hassle trying to track down the release schedule after a year of waiting.

My other big news—I opened Fated Press, a small publishing house that provides services for indie authors – formatting for multiple platforms, royalty free music for book trailers, audio books and, in the future, publishing services.

Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

·       This is a weird one for me, because it literally hit me out of nowhere. I started writing a vampire series in 2009, as a hobby. My husband read the first book and encouraged me to pursue writing more seriously. I thought he was crazy and out of his mind, but I started studying the trade and became hooked.

The Key to the Cursed series was inspired by vampires actually.  I wanted to create a series and a world that was unique but still had the same allure. I wanted a series based on an ancient society and belief system. I’ve always loved the idea of mummies and curses. From there the Key to the Cursed series was born. Most Egyptian novels are historical. I wanted to break the mold and bring the Underworld gods to present day with a blend of paranormal and urban fantasy. Let me tell you, I wasn’t sure how readers would receive this type of novel because it challenges many of the traditional boundaries. I was so surprised – readers love it and inspired me to write more books in the series.  

Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

·       I read my first paranormal romance in 2009, Noah by Jaquelyn Frank. Being an avid Tom Clancy reader, I was completely blown away by Ms. Frank’s Nightwalker series. I love vampire movies to begin with but mix it with romance and I was completely sold. Tom Clancy has taken a back seat. I enjoy dark paranormals – like Lara Adrian and JR Ward. Series that surround a group of males are my favorite. My books are very much the same, each having their own powerful alpha.

Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be?  Have they been in your head for a long time?

·       Actually, I went looking for the perfect hero and found Asar (Soul Reborn) in the Book of the Dead, a pyramid text from Ancient Egypt. I wanted a world I could build based on mythology, but something unique. A world few had created at least in the way I wanted to, bringing the world of Egyptian gods to present day. I was told by many published authors, if it’s not historical – it won’t sell. Well, I wrote it anyways and celebrate every book sale. 

The ancient Egyptians had an incredible and complex belief in the afterlife. It is not the nasty place of Greek mythology, but instead a place of rebirth and renewal. I’m sure you remember the line from the Brandon Fraser Mummy movie – “Death is only the beginning.” Well, they truly believed it, fully expecting to take their treasures with them.

Although my underworlders are not without their flaws or their own sins. They are in need of some saving and I have the perfect women to go head to head with these Alpha males. The books in the series have a unifying theme of family, love, war and redemption. An action pack romance you can sink your teeth into.

Q. What motivates you to write?

·       Motivation is never in short supply. I have so many stories bouncing around in my head. They torture me until I can get them down on the computer. I write every chance I get which is more difficult than most think. Competing demands are plentiful.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing?

·       I was going to say time, but the hardest thing is letting your baby go out into the world. I always worry—is good enough? The first reviews are always nail biters. Once you set a precedence you don’t want to disappoint your readers.

Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

·       I think with every book you learn your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. My editors always say I’m a master when it comes to world building and character and plot development, but most of my weaknesses are technical like making those sentences less stilted in places. I don’t think you ever stop growing when it comes to writing.

Q. Where do you get your ideas?

·       Everywhere and anywhere! It could be a picture, a view, a man on a bus, a perfectly horrible day – you name it. I tend to write very emotional and “heavy” stories. My books are dark and raw for the most part, which I think makes the characters (although supernatural) vulnerable and real.

Q. What does your family think of your writing?

·       I think I shocked the hell out of my entire family, not to mention my co-workers. My youngest sister said to me when she found out, “just when you thought you knew everything about someone then bam, they surprise you.” Disbelief just about covers it. Then when the books came out, I think it finally sank in. I have to say it’s a little uncomfortable watching my 80 year old mother read a love scene out of the book. LOL.

My husband was the one that encouraged me to submit my book for publication. As I said before, my first reaction was that he was crazy. There was no possible way. I look back on that time and laugh, apparently he saw something I could not – now I am so grateful for his support. He has been with me every step of this journey and I love him all the more for it.  

Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?

·       Rules of writing and publication are more like guidelines. If I followed what a few of my peers had told me (which I’m sure was told to them at some point) my Key to the Cursed series would have never been born. It would have been a huge mistake. Instead I followed my instincts and created a world that is rich and wonderful and I think that is what resonates with readers. Readers don’t have a rule book that tells them what books to read or not to read. Why should we? Follow your heart and write what you love. There is a home for every well written book.

Q. What book are you reading now?

·       I’m diverging from my usual paranormal fix to reading a romantic suspense – Saving Sophie by Cate Beauman, her 8th book in her Bodyguards of LA County Series. I’ve been promoting several of her releases on my Wicked Romance Blog. She gifted me a copy of her new release.  I love it – her writing style is amazing.

Author Links

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