When I first held Charisse Nicolle’s debut paperback in my hands all those years ago, I didn’t think I could be prouder of my friend and colleague. Now, many house moves later, that book has vanished, but the pride and friendship lives on. Charisse tells me her novel is today more polished than ever, and re-launched last year on Amazon.

I asked if she’d mind sharing it with all of you. Here’s what she had to say…

Beneath the Sleepless Stars by Charisse Nicolle

Will a love thought lost to the endless gaze of sleepless stars awaken once more?

By daylight, Sapphira is an aspiring young designer, trying desperately not to end up in the family antiques business. The discovery an heirloom necklace hidden beneath the floorboards leads her to an encounter with the fabulously wealthy billionaire-about-town, Lincoln Scorpeone.

By starlight, Sapphira now finds herself amorously entangled in Linc’s fabulous world. Yet the closer they get, the more she is haunted by cryptic dreams of a stranger warning her that she is courting danger.

When an unexpected proposal causes her dreams and reality to spectacularly collide, the truth of Sapphira’s heritage exposes the false facades of all those closest to her. Believing the necklace holds the key to her family’s secrets, she escapes to London in pursuit of answers.

On a chilly starlit rooftop she meets the enigmatic Declan. Sensing he is intertwined with her nebulous dreams, Sapphira is drawn to the beguiling green-eyed barman.

Yet just as Sapphira begins to awaken the secrets of her bloodline, she finds herself pursued by a Hunter – who has returned from the shadows to enact a centuries-old revenge.

To survive, Sapphira and Declan must join forces and fight to overcome an immortal feud that lays claim to both their hearts.

Beneath the endless gaze of sleepless stars, will dreams be all they ever have?

Green eyes peer through a starry night sky on the cover of Beneath the Sleepless Stars by Charisse Nicolle

Excerpt

‘Crummy English weather,’ I muttered.

‘Don’t need a penny for your thoughts then,’ a soft male voice murmured behind me. Startled, I turned, realising that in my quest to feel free I had not thought to consider sinister axe wielding maniacs who lurked about on London rooftops on chilly nights. I could make out a figure in the shadows, leaning casually against the main large chimney. My pendant jolted into high alert and the hairs stood up all along my arms.

‘I didn’t realise anyone else was up here.’ That’s right, point out to Jack the Ripper that you are up here all alone. You really are on the ball tonight.

‘Understandable. I try to be rather unnoticeable.’ His voice had a distinctly Irish lilt to it, but somewhat diluted, sounding like he had lived in London for a long time. A memory awakened, tingling at the edges of my brain, but I was too preoccupied with my safety to acknowledge it.

By who? Your other slasher victims? ‘Is that because you like to skulk about in the shadows?’

‘Skulking? Hardly. This is my space you’re invading. I claimed this rooftop long ago.’

I judged the distance between myself and the door. I sidled along the wall a little to the right. If I dodged to the other side of the main chimney from where he stood, then I could make the door in about five bounds.

‘I didn’t realise one could take a lease out on a rooftop. Is that a British thing? I may have to consider that option myself if this week doesn’t improve.’ I took one step more to the right to improve my getaway angle. The pendant chain, well concealed beneath my hoodie, hummed with electricity against my neck, a sure sign something was afoot.

‘We all need a place to come and be ourselves. Sharpen my axe skills. That kinda thing. Are you – are you trying to move away from me?’ he suddenly asked, his tone of voice incredulous.

Oh God, he really is an axe murderer and I’ve made him angry. ‘Stay away from me! I know Tai Chi!’ I yelled, commencing my escape plan.

‘Wait – what?

I made the first three bounds successfully before my foot managed to hook on a cable feeding off one of the antennae, plunging me into a collision course with one of the smaller chimneys. My complete lack of any kind of athletic ability was shining gloriously through once again. I couldn’t even escape when my life depended on it. I cried out and instinctively brought my hands up to protect my face as I braced myself for the inevitable impact. But at the last moment when I should have connected with something flat and brick, I found myself pressed up against something broad and soft. Strong arms grabbed my shoulders and kept me upright. My hands gripped cotton that had that well-worn, favourite t-shirt feel to it. And smelt faintly of sweat. His face was bent down, checking to see if my ankle was okay. I gripped his t- shirt and wondered how he could not be freezing on a night like this. Yet I could feel his warmth emanating through the fabric, smouldering beneath my fingertips.

I looked up into his face which was barely inches from my own.

It was angular with strongly outlined cheekbones, one of which bore a small jagged scar. Slightly chapped lips framed a set of perfect teeth. A small indent cleft the bottom of his square chin. He had a goatee, but not in the preppy trimmed way, just in a “forgot to shave for a few days” way. He looked to be in his late twenties, his hair concealed beneath a dark grey beanie, his one consolation to the cold night. A cheeky smirk played across his mouth, yet his dark eyebrows were furrowed in concern across his eyes. Oh, but those eyes. In the dim light I could see that they were an intoxicating green. Like a choppy sea on a stormy day, inviting you in but capable of pulling you under; you could lose yourself entirely.

He turned from examining my ankle. Our eyes connected and my world suspended completely.

I was certain that in that instant, my heart stopped beating, my lungs stopped breathing. Instead the vehement humming that had reached fever pitch within the necklace unexpectedly surged free, consuming my whole body and powering me with life. The force of it overcame me and I was transfixed, feeling utterly exposed before him, vulnerable and laid bare, as though he could see right through to my very soul with those shining eyes. It was an unsettling and intrusive feeling and yet I could not avert my eyes from his. Just when I felt certain I would be completely overwhelmed by his gaze, he blinked, his eyes clouding over; I was released, and the connection passed. My heart rate slowly settled, as the power pulsating within me retreated once more to the containment of the pendant. I drew a ragged breath. A haunting memory triggered in the recesses of my mind, but I was incapable of coherent thought. His eyes remained intense, like unfathomable storm clouds, a fortress to protect what lay beyond.

‘Are you alright?’ As he spoke his breath caressed my wind burnt cheeks. I opened my mouth, intending to answer smartly ‘oh you have no idea just how much better I am now thanks’, but the word axe came flashing back into my mind. He was clearly now trying to lull me into a false sense of security. But I wasn’t falling for that.

Reviews from Goodreads

“I was completely hooked from the first page, an enticing romance fantasy”

“A captivating read and true page turner”

“An intriguing urban fantasy romance… I didn’t want to put it down”

“Creating a genre within itself, Beneath the Sleepless Stars is well worth the read”

“I really enjoyed this debut novel and I can’t wait for the next one!”

About Charisse Nicolle

I am an indie writer hailing from the sunset coast of Australia. When not pondering my next storyline, or the countless possible ways GoT could have ended, I am an ardent U2 fan, blatantly inept skier, and the only person I know who can make any garment more creased by attempting to iron it.

I have been known to apply a Star Wars quote to any given situation, prefer DC over Marvel any day, and believe the best story recipe combines sprinklings of mystery, spoonfuls of laughter and generous dashes of romance.

Beneath the Sleepless Stars is my first published novel.