Scary Castle Ruin

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There exist such beings as incubi and succubi, which indulge their burning lusts, and children can be born from them...

While vacationing in the south of France, American vineyard owner Donald Clermont and his teenage daughter Lisa visit the ruins of a medieval abbey. There they encounter a mysterious old man who tells them the area is notorious for witchcraft; the man points out rocks above the abbey, a site where worshippers once sacrificed the innocent to the goddess of the moon.

That night, Clermont returns to the abbey alone, making his way to the rocks above. There, in a fit of loneliness and longing, he smears the sacrificial altar with his own blood. In the hotel later that night, he hears a scream from the next room—his daughter's. He goes to her but finds Lisa alone, yet terrified. She claims to have been attacked—not by a man, but a beast, a demon. Clermont is convinced it was merely a vicious nightmare.

Supple, moody prose lends an aura of ancient mystery to the story.... it's McMahon's best yet—a haunting work.

Publishers Weekly, 1990

Back in California, Lisa discovers she is pregnant. She insists on her virginity, and Clermont begins to think something horrible truly did happen to her while in France. His worst fears are realized when baby Selena enters the world; Lisa dies in childbirth, and Clermont, overcome with grief—or terror—takes his own life.

Twenty-one years later, Selena—raised in elite European boarding schools, and now an accomplished, stunningly beautiful woman—returns to Sonoma to claim her inheritance. She draws plenty of attention—including from Gene Farrell, a young, brash but goodhearted ER doctor. He's quickly smitten, but Selena makes it coolly clear that she doesn't want anything to do with him. The sting worsens as Gene learns that she's been dating other men—all particularly vile scumbags. Then—when one of them is brought dead into Gene's ER—he starts to realize that these men have something else in common. All of them have gone into violent fits of raving which leads to suicide, for no apparent reason.

McMahon has done his research and given us a fresh phase of the moon goddess myth.

Fangoria, 1990

As Gene struggles to piece together the mystery, his scientific mind is staggered by suspicions that seem too incredible to believe. But even those only hint at the sinister truth: that Selena lives under the curse of invisible "companions"—nightmarish entities who danced in joy at her birth, while her mother lay dying. They're ravenous to feast on human souls, and Selena must provide for them. Any man who becomes her lover gets marked as a victim, and the menacing companions begin to appear to him, terrorizing him to madness and suicide.

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