Character Reading: Rayhan Stavrakis

Today I am delighted to share a reading with you. Rayhan Stavrakis is the hero of Stephanie Draven‘s latest release, Dark Sins and Desert Sands. He’s a bit prickly but I think you can see past some of his bluster into the hero that he truly is.

A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves.

Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.

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Arwen: How do you see the people around you?

You would rather not be around them. They remind you of past hurts or losses. You would leave them behind if you could, but something is forcing you to stay with them.

Someone is showing you a way out though. It may not be a way you particularly like, but it is something you will have to endure to truly free yourself from your past.


Rayhan: Well, no, I don’t want to be reminded of everything I lost. Of course I don’t. That’s not really anything shocking, is it? You know, who does want to sit around thinking about how awful everything turned out?

…What do you mean someone is showing me? I show myself – my destiny is in my hands, not someone else’s. …who is showing me a way?

Arwen: How are you seen by the people around you?

As someone who is very reserved. Your emotions are like a deep well that only you can access. But someone sees you for what is really yours, They don’t see the mask or the persona you adopt.

Aquarians are what I call the cat of the Zodiac with their mixed message of Come Here/Go Away. It’s hard for an Aquarius to be emotionally intimate. Not because you can’t be but because you of all the signs understand how much of yourself you would have to reveal. That’s a daunting task for you and someone knows this. Others just think you are a bit stuck up.

: I just have my own life to live, my own stuff to do. It’s not about being …stuck up. I just have a mission to tackle and I refuse to get caught up in other things while I handle the business I came to do!

Arwen: What is your most important goal?

An interesting card for this question. The Magician is the one who has all the tools. I think that you are looking for all your own tools so you can create your own reality.

You know the power of the phrase “I Will.” You need to be able to look at someone who holds some power over you so you can say, “I won’t” and walk away. The tools are within your reach.

Rayhan: I kind of resent this. I have my tools. I know what I need to do and I will do it. This sounds like you think I’m not independent, but I definitely am. I refuse to let that woman, or anyone else, have control over me again. I got out of that jail and now I’m my own man again. I won’t break and I won’t bend even a little bit. Not for her. Not for anyone.

Arwen: Where do you get your strength from?

Another intriguing card because this one is the “scorched earth” policy. Do you draw strength from knowing that what you are forced to destroy will return in a stronger form?

A forest fire is out of control but I think your force of nature self is more controlled than this. I think you know the advantages of clearing out the underbrush/unsavory types so the rest has room to grow.


Rayhan: I draw strength from knowing that I can take hold of my own destiny. My life is mine to live, revenge is mine to take. I will destroy what needs to be destroyed in order to push forward and live again.

So yeah. I pretty much agree with this card — I have no qualms about eradicating the dead weeds.

Arwen: Why do you want to be remembered?

As someone who grabbed fortune with both hands when it came your way. You see the opportunities in life and you won’t miss them again.

You want to show others that by taking risks and creating opportunities you can, in fact, change your life and your world.

Rayhan: Maybe this will sound selfish, but I really just want to grab that bitch Layla with both hands, make her pay for what she did to me, and then go on and live my life. I don’t really care about being remembered. I don’t really care about grabbing fortunes or showing others the world. I guess if that happens, if they see me and notice that by taking your own life by force you can change the world, that’s alright. But I’m not set out to do it or anything.

Here’s a bit about the book.

Wrongfully accused and broken by torture, an American soldier transforms into a mind-controlling minotaur bent on revenge…only to fall in love with his beautiful but cool-eyed interrogator.

Ray Stavrakis is out for revenge. As an Arab-American soldier accused of treason, Ray was interrogated and tortured so brutally, he’s been transformed into a monster of ancient imagination. He can enter the maze of other people’s minds and learn their secrets–even get them to do his bidding. This is a power he intends to use on Dr. Layla Bahset, the woman who broke him.

But Layla is now working as a Las Vegas psychologist and she has a secret. She can’t remember her past and she can’t remember Ray. When he enters her mind, there is nothing but a Sandy desert, and he realizes that she’s no ordinary woman. Layla and Ray become the target of a chase that is altogether other-worldly. Pursued by an Egyptian war god, Layla and Ray find their fates, and passions, increasingly entwined. And they learn that in a modern world in which the gods of old civilizations use mortals like playthings, they need each other to survive.

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