Thursday, October 25, 2012


Venom by Fiona Paul is one of my favorite reads of this year, and I highly recommend that you read it. Venom is beautiful, and I want to live in the book. I will save my gushing for the review that I will post this weekend.

VENOM has all the makings of a novel that will top readers’ must-read list: sexy characters; high society; midnight trysts; and a murderer on the loose—all set in Renaissance Venice. Fifteen year-old Cassandra Caravello is a girl born into the elite world of the privileged few. Though Cass recognizes her good fortune, she longs to be freed of her boring life that is mapped out before her, including her engagement to Luca, her long-distance fiancé. When Cass stumbles upon a dead body one night, her life quickly takes a turn for the macabre. Soon she is swept up in an unfamiliar world of mystery, wild romance, secret societies and danger. She meets the enigmatic Falco, who quickly becomes the object of her desire—however wrong it may be. Forced to examine who she is and what path she wants her life to take, Cass must also now question who can be trusted as she realizes that she, too, is in the killer’s path.

I am so thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for this lovely book. Fiona wrote a prequel for Venom and you can find bits of the story on each of the participating blogs. 

A Secrets of the Eternal Rose short story
By Fiona Paul

The year is 1600 and the streets of Venice, Italy are ripe with intrigue and danger. In this introduction to the world of Venom, eighteen-year-old Mariabella has recently elevated herself from the rank of common prostitute to the status of courtesan, a respected high- class escort for those men in Venetian society who can afford them. Mariabella steps out to attend a party on the arm of her powerful new patron, certain that the night will be filled with glamour, secrets, and adventure.

If you missed the last part of the story, check it out on The Book Smugglers!

I lower myself to the crypt’s roof, arranging my skirts around me in a circle. Batista sits next to me.
            “You look beautiful in the moonlight,” he says.
            I smile. “You look handsome in any light.”
            He chuckles. “Oh, Maria of the honeyed words.” Slowly, he starts to peel back one of my lacy gloves. He presses his lips to the crook of my arm, kissing his way from my elbow to my wrist.
            My insides grow warm despite the cool night air. Just as I am about to close my eyes, a flash of movement catches my eye. Tugging my arm free of Batista’s embrace, I point toward the churchyard gate. “Did you see that?” I ask. “I thought...I thought I saw someone near the gate.”
            Batista scans the graveyard. “Probably a cat,” he says. He pulls my body over into his lap. “Did I tell you I ordered a present for you?”
            My eyes light up. Even though Batista can’t buy me expensive gifts, I still love his little baubles and trinkets. “You just painted me that lovely portrait. You didn’t have to get me anything else so soon.”
            “I couldn’t resist.”
            I grin into his chest. My hands trace their way down one of his muscular arms. “What is it?”
            “It’s a surprise.”
            “Tell me.” I scrunch my face into a pout as I look up at him.
            He kisses the top of my forehead. “You are such a child to me, Maria,” he says softly. “So sweet. So innocent.”
            “Not that sweet. And certainly not that innocent,” I say, laughing. I run my mouth along the outer edge of his hand and kiss each of his fingertips. I go tense when I see he’s wearing a ring on his middle finger. Silver and red, with a flower engraved on the face. It’s the same ring Don Zanotta was wearing at the party—the same symbol I feel I must have seen before.
            Batista misinterprets my fascination. “You and your obsessive love of jewelry,” he says. “It was payment for some work I did. You may have it if you like.”
            The silver is ice cold, even though Batista’s hand is warm. I slip the ring off his finger and hold it up to the moonlight, admiring how each of the flower’s six petals are exactly the same size. The bad feeling passes. The ring is pretty, and must come from an excellent jeweler if Don Zanotta consents to wear it. “So we are both working in exchange for jewelry?” I tease, sliding the ring onto the first finger of my left hand. It’s too big; the silver rotates easily around my knuckle.
            Batista tilts my chin upward so that our eyes meet. “If only your work wasn’t in such high demand,” he says. My mouth finds his. I caress his hair, letting my fingers make their way down to the back of his neck. He bites gently on my bottom lip. And then harder. The pain is sharp and exquisite. I lie back on the smooth stone of the crypt and pull him toward me.
            He smiles. “Not so worried about getting dirty anymore, I see.” Then he is heavy on top of me, all warm pressure. The wind, the damp chill of the ocean air, the dead sleeping just below us, it’s all forgotten. I inhale the scent of grass and the sea that clings to Batista’s clothing as his hands make their way beneath my bodice. He tugs at the laces of my stays.
            “I almost went insane tonight watching you dote on another man,” he murmurs between kisses. He grips me tightly—too tightly.
            I reach behind my back and struggle to unlace to further loosen my stays. “Let’s not talk about him.” Let’s not talk at all.

For the next part of the story, visit the fabulous Once Upon a Twilight tomorrow, 10/26! 

Fiona Paul lives in the Midwest but travels a lot since she can’t breathe if she spends too much time away from the ocean. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in psychology and spent a year teaching English in Seoul, Korea while she was deciding what she wanted to be when she grew up. Answer: everything. In addition to being a teacher and a writer, she’s also worked as a sauté cook, sporting goods manager, veterinary assistant, and registered nurse. When she’s not working, you can usually find her kayaking, reading, or helping turtles cross the road. Her future goals include diving with great white sharks and writing more books, not necessarily in that order. Venom is her first novel. Visit Fiona online at Follow her on Twitter: @fionawritesYA


  1. I'm glad you liked VENOM! Thanks for being part of the tour :)

    And can I say how much I love that Plato quote?

  2. OMG I want to read this book so bad! That cover is gorgeous and I've heard so many great things!

    Crystal @ Elegantly Bound Books