Servants of Fate
Boxed Set Books 1-3
by Wendy Sparrow
Date of Publication: December 24th 2016
Publisher: Pen and Kink Publishing
Cover Artist: Amanda C. Davis
Genre: Paranormal Romance
From The Book Junkie Reads . . . Servants of Fate Boxed Set 1-3 . . .
There’s a reason why you should never tempt fate, piss fate off, or even try to manipulate the outcome of what fate has set in stone. This collection of three shorts gives us a view into how three different wielders of time tamper with fate in different ways, but ultimately for the same reason. Love.
I found reading the shorts a collection made for a smoother transition into each of the servants’ lives. Father Time has some hot sons, Zeit Geist, Tempus Halt, and Ruin each tempts the fates. Each had to pay. Feeling the emotions of the mere mortals may be the downfall of this three sexy wielders of time. Come see each one of them as they take on the issue with the sacrifice they must make each New Year’s eve.
As servants of Fate, Father Time’s sons must sacrifice a mortal’s lifetime on behalf of humanity before each year ends. It’s simpler if they don’t get involved, as their immortality is a barrier to relationships and to understanding the emotions of those whose lives end in a blink, especially if these time holders have a hand in it. Servants of Fate pass in and out of the lives of those around them, never interacting, until a different type of fate steps in. They can stop time, but love will leave them powerless.
THIS COLLECTION CONTAINS ALL THREE TITLES FROM THE SERVANTS OF FATE SERIES
Father Time’s son, Zeit Geist, must sacrifice a mortal’s lifetime to the Fates each New Year’s Eve. Last year—inexplicably, really—he made an 11:59 substitution. The Fates are pissed and they’re after his mortal Hannah. With the year ending, he ought to figure out why he’d saved her—and why he keeps doing it.
Following an unlucky year, Hannah Lyons needs a week’s holiday in a lodge to unwind. What she gets is near-death experiences and a sexy immortal who can’t avoid kissing her, but might have to kill her. After all, even Zeit can’t hold back time indefinitely.
Tempus fugit. Time flies…unless you’re Tempus Halt, Father Time’s son. Day in and day out are the same, except for New Year’s Eve when he steals the life of a mortal on behalf of the Fates. This year marks his first failure to stay the monotonous course. A mortal’s kiss and her insistence on taking the place of his year’s sacrifice stalled out everything. Now, Tempus has to keep her alive for a year so his sacrifice isn’t wasted, but that’s the only reason—definitely.
One of these crazy grim reapers stole Lacey Carpenter’s estranged father’s life two years ago. She’ll give her own life rather than letting it happen again. It backfires when Tempus doesn’t actually kill her, and they have to spend the year together. She’s falling for an immortal who stops time, not just to save her life, but also to ruin her dates and steal her books. This can never work and fate is just not on her side—in fact, they’d really like her dead before Tempus falls for her in return.
When Ruin’s mortal sacrifice to the Fates on New Year’s Eve is already dying, it should be the easiest life he has to take, but not this year. The dying man knows Ruin is there to kill him, but he asks Father Time’s son to look after his twin sister. Ruin can’t stay away from the sweet and sensual Phoebe. His previous interactions with women changed the definition of his name, Ruin, so he can’t fall for her, especially when the lovely mortal doesn’t know he killed her brother.
Phoebe’s brother promised to send her a guardian angel, but Ruin seems too devilish to be holy. He only wants to be friends and keep watch over her, but she can’t resist him. Loving Ruin is a sin tempting her heart. How wrong is it to cause an angel’s fall? Ruin and Phoebe’s time is running out as another New Year’s Eve sacrifice approaches, and Ruin might lose everything for keeping his true hand in fate secret.
It took them another three attempts to get what they both deemed were acceptable snowman portions.
“Hey. Coal.” With raised eyebrows, Hannah held up the two lumps of coal that had come in his snowman kit. “Get a good long look because this is what you’re getting next year.”
He couldn’t stop smiling at her. A dozen times each hour today, he’d wished he could slow down time because he wanted to spend more time with Hannah—he needed that. She was singing Frosty the Snowman with a carefree abandon he’d never felt before. If only he didn’t have the end of the year looming over him.
“Okay, pass me his corn cob pipe,” she said.
He pulled the “pipe” out of the box and stared at it. “Our snowman is a smoker? And this is a kids’ song?”
“It was written back before people worried about things like their lungs,” she said, reaching for it.
He pulled it away. No. It wasn’t right. “His days are already numbered, and he’s playing with fire—actual fire?”
“Ohhhh, right.” She tilted her head. “Wow, that does make him a bit of a rebel, doesn’t it? I bet the snowladies were all suitably impressed.”
Zeit looked around. There were mortal children all around. Young impressionable mortal children. He put the pipe back in the box.
“Or he’s not really a rebel. He likes to play things safe. Then again,” she tapped his coal eyes, “he did earn his coal. Maybe he’s got nothing to prove. There should be buttons in the box.”
He pulled off his glove to search through the bottom of the box, pulling out three buttons. “What is he buttoning up?” he asked as he handed them to Hannah.
She’d started pressing the buttons into his middle snow section, but she stopped and bit her lip as she stared at the round button still in her hand. Finally, she shrugged and pushed the last one in. “I think you’re overanalyzing this.”
“Or it’s a mortal tradition that could use some scrutiny.” He held out the faux carrot that came in his kit.
“But, look, he’s healthy. A carrot.”
“Is he going to eat his own nose?”
“I can’t do this with you now.”
Creating a Fictional Couple
I’ll admit, it’s easier to hook up fictional couples than real life couples. If you’ve ever unsuccessfully tried to introduce a potential couple, you know how it is. Part of it is, well, people are stupidly stubborn, they can’t see that you, as an outsider, know what’s best for them. If they’d just go along with your evil…uhh, orchestrated plans, they’d realize that you are the perfect matchmaker.
Actually, I’m kidding. I can count on one hand how many people I’ve seen get together that I saw coming. I’d need a dozen hands to tally up how many couples that have blown my mind. During those catch-up sessions with family and friends, where they say, “Oh, did you know that Tina’s daughter ended up with Mary’s son?” I’m always staring, wide-eyed, with my jaw dropped. Why? Because people are complex, layered entities, and most of those we meet we’ll only have a shallow take of them. That doesn’t stop me from trying to figure out why some people click and work as a couple.
Knowing why a couple works is integral to romance writing. Good editors will note in early drafts where you stray away from establishing this. In a well-written romance, a reader should reach the last page and think, “Of course, they ended up together. They were just what the other person needed.” Avid readers will eventually experience the opposite—where you reach the final scene and you snort and shake your head because it wouldn’t have happened that way and, if it did, that couple would never last. It’s aggravating too because you’ve been essentially denied your happily-ever-after with a couple you’ve emotionally invested in. You’ve stood watching over their shoulders rooting for them (which would be so creepy in real life.)
The interesting thing about working through the dynamics of building a happily-ever-after is that the idiom “opposites attract” often fits—only once you’re inside their heads, they’re not really opposites. They’re meshing connections like Velcro.
For example, the couple in Taking Time is attracted right from the get-go, but there’s one huge, giant conflict. Lacey recognizes that Tempus is a reaper or something similar because her father met his end with another of Father Time’s sons. So, to foil Tempus’s New Year’s Eve mortal sacrifice, she distracts him with a kiss and offers herself up.
Vaguely, amid the fireworks in his brain from the kiss, the crowd’s chanting of the countdown broke through.
He pulled back. “I need to go do something.”
“Take me instead,” the woman murmured, kissing along his jawbone, not loosening up her arms.
“Oh, I will.” He definitely wasn’t letting this one go. Hopefully she had a room in the lodge because he didn’t, and it looked like he wasn’t leaving right away and he definitely wasn’t bored anymore. At all.
Then, midstream, the chant in his head shifted from Joseph Toulouse to Lacey Carpenter, age twenty-nine, still in the ballroom, still in the lodge.
Rather than kill the woman in his arms, Tempus decides to keep her alive for a year so that her sacrifice isn’t “wasted” and she can be the following year’s sacrifice. They have a very…tumultuous relationship for most of the year. Tempus resents Lacey because he’s falling for her, and he knows how their story ends. Why does she have to be so vibrant and alive and amazing?
Lacey is fighting her own feelings because Tempus is everything she wants—right down to his arrogance and audacity, but she’s the one who volunteered and put them in this situation where he has to save her life from the Fates’ machinations to kill her. It’s not until they’re crammed in a lodge room together that they realize how in-step they are.
I think that readers will recognize Tempus and Lacey work long before they do, though, not because of the attraction, but because of the conversations. When you run across a couple that has sticking potential, in real life, you’ll often notice that they can have long conversations that build because of their interest in each other.
“All I’m saying is that you could pick nice, quiet, safe things to cross off your bucket list. Everyday, mundane things.”
She pinched the bridge of her nose. “It’s like the entire purpose of a bucket list escapes you.”
“Just show me your list.”
“Okay, just tell me where you keep it.”
“Uhh, even more no.”
“Do you keep it in the drawer where you keep all those romance books?”
She set down her sandwich. “Okay, we’ve got to discuss boundaries, Tempus. You can’t just come into my house and go through my things. If it’s inside a drawer, closet, or inside my fridge, it’s off-limits.”
“So you’re saying it’s in one of those three places? But I’ve looked in all those places.”
Dropping her head, she banged it lightly on the table.
He slid his hand between her head and the table. “Stop. You’ll give yourself a concussion.”
She lifted her head with a sigh. “Well at least I’d be getting it in nice, safe ways. Tempus, haven’t you ever wanted,” she gestured around frantically, “more? I feel like there’s something within my grasp that’ll make this next eight months enough. That’ll make New Year’s feel like reading the end of a book... not that I manage to do that anymore.”
“All mortals think that. It’s why establishments like that skydiving place exist. You need the rush of adrenaline to make you feel complete. You get the same rush from sex and hot peppers.”
“So I should stick to sex and hot peppers?”
“No, you should just eat hot peppers. I thought you’d decided not to fall in love.”
“You don’t need to fall in love to have sex.”
“No, you have poor taste in men so stick with hot peppers.” She should definitely not be having sex.
Honestly, he’s a little adorable, right? Taking Time is the second book in the Servants of Fate novellas, but can be read as a standalone. They’re my favorite couple, but the way Ruin and Phoebe grow independently and together over the course of Keeping Time is really touching also. And Stealing Time is where it all began. You should just read all of them probably.
Let me know about your favorite fictional or famous couples in the comments. Have there been Hollywood hookups or divorces that you didn’t expect?
Thank you for letting me hijack this blog!
After a childhood spent wandering as a military brat, Wendy Sparrow found her home in Washington State. Her days involve convincing her two kids she knows how to properly parent and her nights showing her husband all the cool things romance authors know… or goofing around online… or reading, but mostly the first thing.
She’s active in OCD and autism communities and writes on her blog to support awareness in both. With her whole heart, Wendy believes everyone deserves a happily-ever-after. If she's not writing or wrangling kids, she's on Twitter, @WendySparrow, where she'll chat with anyone about anything.