One Shade of Gray by Monica Corwin
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
My name is Dorian Gray. You might think you know my story? Please. That was just the beginning. Not the end.
I’ve lived over 100 years. I don’t know why. I’ve sinned, deeply, but haven’t we all?
Now Sybil is back. Her name is Izzy and she looks the same. Smells the same. Walks the same…but everything else about her is different. Stronger. Bolder. I want her more than ever.
I should keep her safe, and keep my hands to myself. But those dark parts of my soul still linger. I won’t lose her again.
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Excerpt from One Shade of Gray:
Some said women who knew their own minds were dangerous. I disagreed. A woman who knew her mind, and her worth, was intoxicating.
She cleared her throat and I realized my thoughts had been wandering to the past. “My apologies.”
Her face flushed a pretty pink. “It’s fine just stop looking at me like that.”
“Like I’m more than an employee.”
I leaned out, about to pull her in again for another lesson but she stalled my hands, placing her small ones on the outside of my own. They were chilled slightly but the touch sent a heat through me I hadn’t felt in years.
“I think we just had this conversation.”
She leaned in and pulled her hands into her lap. “No, we had a lecture. You told me how you wanted it and didn’t give me the chance to offer an opinion.”
Fair point. “Very well, what is your opinion on the matter, Miss Vale?”
“Do you actually want to know, or are you going to do that playboy billionaire thing where you declare something to be and suddenly the universe aligns against the poor unsuspecting female you set your sights on?”
I chuckled. She was funny. Maybe Sibyl had been funny too, and I never took the time to notice. “I promise your opinion will be considered with appropriate weight.”
“That sounds like something a billionaire playboy would say.”
I didn’t respond to her taunts but waited instead for her answer.
She raked her eyes over my face and body, and I’d never felt more on display. I sat up straighter, which caused a little tick of a smile to appear at the corner of her mouth.
“I don’t want to date you, Gray. You’re technically my boss, and while you’re very attractive I can’t put aside my personal work ethic.”
My heart hit my feet and shattered like a boulder into a pile of rubble. Of course I wasn’t going to force her to do anything. But part of me had hoped my charm or appeal might at least give me the opportunity.
“Is there anything I can do to change your mind?”
She shook her head and gave me a sad soft smile, the kind reserved for deathbeds and christenings. Definitely not the reaction I wanted from her. Not the smile I wanted from her.
I nodded and stood up, unable to remain under her scrutiny once she’d made her opinion so very plain. “Of course. I’ll not bother you again.”
“And you’ll stop following me?”
I threw some bills on the table, slipped my arms into my coat, and buttoned it, all without meeting her eyes. The rejection stung. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever felt this particular mix of humiliation and sadness. Once I was put together and glued on the face I showed the world, I gave her my own version of the deathbed smile and a little bow. “Of course.”
I walked away without a word but when I reached the middle of the square a hand clasped my shoulder. Izzy grabbed me and held out the book I’d left on the table. I took it and met her eyes, unsure what she could see there, unsure what I could and couldn’t hide when I was around her.
She leaned in and whispered, “I’m not going to ask to kiss you but I will give you this as a parting gift.”
Dorian’s Top Ten Favorite Books
Why anyone would want to know my taste in books I certainly have no idea but, I’m happy to oblige. Here are my top ten favorite books.
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – I’m also partial to The Three Musketeers as well. You can’t go wrong with an 800-page tome on vengeance, retribution, or atonement.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman – In my day, people were shunned for books like this. It was called Blasphemy. Which is why I find the book so amazing. This author’s mind astounds even me.
- Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – Another amazing fantasy epic that makes me forget how long I’ve been alive while I gallivant around as a teenage boy.
- The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe – A classic horror/suspense story set in one of my favorite cities…They call Edgar Allan Poe one of the founders of mystery fiction and Auguste Dupin never disappoints me. I wish we could have seen more of him in Poe’s time. (And no I never met the man)
- Dracula by Bram Stoker – A classic “monster” book back when monsters were de rigueur and I love how this monster always stays a monster. In today’s society when vampires sparkle this book reminds me that some creatures aren’t worth saving.
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Whenever I think about this book one particular quote comes to mind: “Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.“ This reminded me of my youth but with far less vigor and more empathy. This book reminds me to live while still caring for the rest of the living.
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – What is not to love about this classic tale? It makes me warm, happy, and let’s me be outside myself in the same way Harry Potter does for me.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – This book is one I could have used in my younger years. I adore the short tale. Another book that reminds me to treat others with kindness and respect. After 150 years it can sometimes be difficult. I often see myself and everyone else as “them.”
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig – A classic story of travel that makes me want to venture around the world (no matter how many times I’ve been).
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain – This is another author I could have met that I failed to. Mark Twain takes a classic “fish out of water” story and elevates it to something much more fun. I enjoy this book when I’m feeling out of my element in the modern world.
I hope this list has given you something to read, or a new author to embrace, perhaps. I have multiple copies of each of these in my own library and wish the same on every other person in the world.
Monica Corwin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She is an outspoken writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preferences. As a Northern Ohioian, Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan football. Monica owns more books about King Arthur than should be strictly necessary. Also typewriters…lots and lots of typewriters.