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Thursday, 22 September 2016


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Series Recap Tour & Giveaway

Guns n' Boys Series 

K.A. Merikan 


Author: KA Merikan

Series Links

Guns n' Boys: He is Poison (Book #1) Amazon US  Amazon UK
Guns n' Boys: He is Mine (Book #2) Amazon US  Amazon UK
Guns n' Boys: Paris (Book #2.1) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n' Boys: Homicidal Instinct (Book #3) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n' Boys: Swamp Blood (Book #4) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n' Boys: Chokehold (Book #5) Amazon US Amazon UK 

Blurb

‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a twisted, dark erotic romance mixed with a crime thriller. It’s a long, turbulent journey of one couple deeply entrenched in the dealings of their mafia family. Behind the morbid humor and extreme violence hides the intense love affair of Domenico Acerbi, the mafia’s best hitman, and Seth Villani, the Don’s son.

Together, they have to deal with their blooming affection for each other, their family’s homophobia, their own prejudice, lust, jealousy, and violence. In true anti-hero fashion, they do so in most morally ambiguous ways. 


Author Bio

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

Website: http://kamerikan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KA_Merikan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KAMerikan/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/KAMerikan/


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Tuesday, 20 September 2016






A Private Hunger
Sean Michael

Genre: Gay paranormal romance

Publisher: All Romance eBooks

Date of Publication:  9/1/2016

ISBN: 978-1-945193-37-8

Word Count: 46000

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill         

Book Description:

What happens when you find out the man you’re in love with is actually a dragon?

Matthew is taking a break before going to university, working at a cafe in Seattle. He expects to spend a few months meeting people, having fun and generally living it up before hitting the books. Then he meets Drakon, a passionate, masculine man with an animal magnetism that draws Matthew in.

As Matthew moves in with Drakon on his country estate and slowly finds himself cut off from the world around him, he begins to wonder if that animal magnetism is more literal than figurative and if Drakon would be more aptly named Dragon.

Will Matthew stay with the man he’s growing to love once he discovers Drakon’s long-lived, carefully guarded secret?


Excerpt:
He grabbed the coffee cups off the table, whistling low and easy. His hips were still sore from last night’s dancing, but it felt good, fine, a sweet burn.
Jennie popped his ass as she walked by. “You’re too cheerful for words, Matt-baby. You get laid last night?”
Matt shook his head, red curls falling into his eyes. “Just dancing, Miss Thing. Just boogying.”
She laughed and headed on, coffee pot held tight in her hand.
Two men came in together, one older, distinguished looking. Like a British butler, really. The other was tall, striking, with hair like a mane, dark gold surrounding a golden face and falling down the man’s back.
They sat at one of his tables.
Fucking hot.
He headed over, two menus in hand, telling his jumpy prick to behave. “Afternoon, guys. I’m Matt. Can I get you some coffee? Tea?”
“What about you?” asked the hot one.
Matt blinked, blushed dark, and then recovered with a grin. Flirting. He could do flirting. “I’m working and not on the menu, sadly enough.”
“I guess I shall have to settle for tea, then. I don’t suppose you have something wild and strong?”
“We’ve got a nice blackberry and black tea.” He craned his neck, looking at the specials board. “And another from South America that people seem to like.”
The man growled, actually growled, looking discontentedly at his companion.
“I would be happy to drive you home and serve you what you want, Master Drakon.”
The growling stopped, the hot guy’s mouth twitching into a half smile. “I am most certain that you would not, Wetthers, though you are right, we have better teas at home.”
“Master Drakon” turned back to him, and Matt realized that one of the man’s eyes was brown, the other blue. “How much are they paying you to serve here?”
“Excuse me?” He blinked again. What an odd man.
The man’s eyes narrowed and he asked the question again, enunciating each word very carefully. Matt noticed he had an accent, just barely there. “I asked you how much are they paying you to work here.”
“I heard you, sir. I was just making sure I heard you right.” Rude asshole. “I make minimum wage plus tips, same as every waiter in this town. Are you always this ill-mannered or am I just really lucky?”
To his surprise, the man laughed, the sound low and rich. “Oh, you are a feisty one. Go tell them you have been employed elsewhere and we will leave for my estate immediately. I shall double your salary and of course room and board shall be included. Wetthers will settle all the pesky details with you and the IRS as necessary.”
Matt looked over at the old guy. “Is he for real? I mean, dude, you need a waiter at home?”
The old man seemed quite unperturbed by the goings on. “Master Drakon has made you an offer, young man. If you wish to accept it, I can assure you that it is ‘for real.’”
“Look, I’m not an idiot or a whore. You come in and tell me to quit my job and come with you without so much as sharing names, or you knowing more than I can walk and read a chalkboard.” He shook his head, fingers moving to his side, his skin burning. “I’m flattered, but no, thank you.”
The hot one—Drakon—growled again and stood. “Well, if you change your mind and decide you want to know about the handprint on your ass, maybe I’ll be willing to see you.” Drakon patted his ass, but not right on, more to the side where his birthmark was. With that, the man walked out.
The man named Wetthers handed Matt a card with a stylized dragon on it and the words Drakon Estates. There was a number beneath it. “If you change your mind. Be very sure before you call.”
“Right. Thanks.” He watched the guy leave and shook his head. “Fucking weird. You see that, Jennie? That dude just propositioned me!”
“Weird.” Jennie shook her head. “Glad he left before your shift was up. I hate waiting on assholes.”
“Yeah.” He nodded and pushed the card into his pocket. Real weird.
Guess he’d have to go dancing tonight to work off the memory.
Whistling, he went back to doing his side work, mind filled with music.




Royal Line
Sean Michael

Genre: Gay shifter romance

Publisher: All Romance eBooks

Date of Publication:  9/1/2016

ISBN: 978-1-945193-29-3

Word Count: 17000

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill         

Book Description:

Where’s the common ground between a tiger shifter foot soldier and his prince?

Grio has one job—find dormant tiger shifters and introduce them to the world of Saffron Tigers. When he finds Professor Phoenix Lamoure, he discovers that Headquarters got a couple of key points wrong. Phoenix isn’t actually a professor but Saffron Tiger royalty…a member of the lost royal line.

Phoenix didn’t have things easy growing up. His mother spent most of her life in a mental institution, and he spent his formative years in foster care. When a stranger approaches to learn about his family history, he’s wary. When said stranger actually kidnaps him, all bets are off!

Can he ever believe what Grio says? Or will he be forever convinced that he’s as crazy as his mother was?


Excerpt Royal Line :
Grio sat in his SUV, splitting his attention between the students walking across the quad and the file in his hand.
Professor Phoenix Lamoure. Actually, the guy was a TA, not a professor.
He was going to have to ride Danny next time he spoke to the man. It wasn’t often that the office sent out incorrect information, and he made the most of it when they did. Of course he’d rib Danny privately. No need to get him in trouble with the boss. Nigel didn’t have much of a sense of humor.
Phoenix Lamoure was a tiger shifter like himself, even if the man didn’t know it yet. A lot of shifters remained dormant and died never knowing what they really were.
The Saffron Tigers, though, they were nearly extinct, so they didn’t have the luxury of letting their kind discover themselves, or not. Headquarters searched out potential weres and Grio—or Janey or Tuplo—were sent to flush them out.
Grio looked at the file again, examining the black-and-white image closely to make sure he’d recognize Phoenix when he saw the man.
There were only one hundred and nineteen Saffron Tigers left and they needed numbers, needed safety. Needed each other.
Phoenix wasn’t your typical Saffron Tiger. Instead of bulk and broadness, he was slender, the little wire-rimmed glasses perched on the end of his nose adding an air of fragility or delicateness that Grio imagined was quite false. Knowing it or not, if Phoenix had tiger blood in him, he would be fierce when he had to be.
A small group of students walked by, a shock of unmistakable bright red hair hitting his eyes. Jesus. This one wasn’t just a Saffron. He was descended from the royal line.
How had he missed that? He checked the file again. Grainy black-and-white photo from some old high school yearbook. No wonder. Not only that, the file made no mention that this one was a royal.
Slipping out of the SUV, Grio closed the door silently, then quietly stalked his prey.
The two girls in the group of six headed off toward the parking lot, and he heard, “Nixie? You want to grab a pizza and a beer?”
“I don’t know. I have papers to grade…”
Grio considered his options. He could follow Phoenix to somewhere quiet, or he could “bump into” the man now.
“Come on, man. All you do is work,” wheedled the young man.
Phoenix gave a snort. “If you were Dr. Lee’s TA, you’d work, too.”
Dr. Lee. That was more information than Grio’d had a moment ago. He decided to wing it.
“Excuse me, did you say you were Dr. Lee’s TA?”
“I did, yeah.” Eyes that were pure gold met his, warm behind the wire-rimmed glasses. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, I had a few questions for you. Is there somewhere we could go and talk?” Grio gave Phoenix his best and most earnest smile.

The Moon
Sean Michael

Genre: Gay shifter romance

Publisher: All Romance eBooks

Date of Publication:  9/1/2016

ISBN: 978-1-945193-30-9

Word Count: 18000

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill      
   
Book Description:

The first full moon is always the hardest.

Danny McMann has been busy on pack business for weeks and just wants to spend the upcoming full moon deep in the woods with his pack—running, hunting, napping and generally goofing off. The last thing he wants to hear is that they’ve got another man on their hands who’s been bitten and about to turn with the arrival of the full moon.

Hammond Argyle was bitten by his assailant in a bar fight a few weeks ago. He’s been in a foul mood ever since and it’s only getting worse. As is the way his skin itches and feels like it doesn’t fit him anymore. When someone starts lurking round, following him, it’s about all he can take.

Will Danny be able to help Hammond through his first change and beyond?


Excerpt The Moon:

Hamm was going out of his fucking mind. He was itchy, like all over, scratch his skin right off to make it better itchy. Speaking of skin, his didn’t fit right, either. And it was getting worse. It was getting so he was going to take someone’s head off soon, just for talking to him. Not only that, now some asshole was following him.
Growling—literally fucking growling—he cut through the park. The form that had been following him for hours, staying far enough back that Hamm couldn’t focus on him, moved with him. And when he stopped it disappeared entirely, so he couldn’t even go confront the guy.
Between that and the not feeling right in his skin, he was on the very edge of doing something desperate. He wasn’t sure exactly what, but it was going to happen soon.
He scratched his shoulder. He’d been bitten—fucking bitten!—during a fight. This dude had attacked him and he held his own, even though the guy was viciously strong. He hadn’t even done anything to provoke the attack, goddamn it. It was weeks ago, but he’d been on edge since then. And the goddamn bite was still aching like it was festering, even though it looked well enough healed when he checked it in the mirror.
If Hamm went by how his luck had been going lately, the guy following him was the same guy who’d bitten him, coming back for more. Just what he fucking needed. Goddamn.
He was almost through the park when he stopped and turned abruptly, ready to run and confront his stalker, hoping the element of surprise would keep the guy from disappearing into the shadows this time. And he’d be goddamned if it didn’t work.
The guy—because it was a lean guy with a shock of dark auburn hair—was right there, bright gold eyes shining at him.
“You better have a fucking good reason for being on my ass.” He snarled out the words, not willing to take any guff, even though the guy was hot. And where had that thought come from? He was itchy and out of sorts, goddamn it, not looking to flirt, or even admire silently.
“I came to help.” The words were low, oddly calming.
“What?” He took a step back, startled by the answer and by the way it the man’s voice seemed to diffuse some of his anger.
“I came to help. You’re itching. I can help.”
Who was this impertinent kid?
“How do you know that?” he demanded. He hadn’t told a soul what had happened or how he was feeling.
“I can smell it on you.” How did this lean little thing not seem scared of him at all?
“Are you saying I smell?” He wasn’t sure if that made him more annoyed or not.
“Everyone smells.”
“Then why the fuck would you— You know what? Forget it. Just stop, okay?” He didn’t need this. “I don’t fucking know you from Adam, so get off my ass.”
“I’m Daniel. Daniel McMann.” One hand was held out, the confidence pouring off the man.
He answered automatically, even though he’d had no intention at all of giving this Daniel who’d been following him all day long his name. “Hammond Argyle.” And since when did he lose control of situations? Ever since he’d been fucking bitten, that’s when.
Daniel smiled at him. “That is a fabulous name, my fellow Scot.”
Hamm actually chuckled. That was not the reaction he usually got. “Thanks.”
He finally, begrudgingly, took Daniel’s hand, electricity slamming through him at the contact. He yanked his hand back, starring. “What the fuck? Did you feel that?”
Daniel nodded, blinked as if dazed, as if this had finally fazed the little fucker. “That’s never happened before.”
Surprisingly, that actually made Hamm feel better. “Shake a lot of strangers’ hands, do you?”
“Well, sure. But you’re not a stranger. You’re just a mate I haven’t met yet.”
Okay, so this guy was a little out there. His best course of action was probably to extricate himself from Daniel’s company as painlessly as possible. Instead, Hamm found himself saying, “Sure. Sure. So why were you following me?”
“I told you. I came to help. You were bitten. It’s my job to help with it.” Daniel said it as if that explained everything.
“Are you a cop? Do you guys have a…a lead?” Could the cops be looking into something he hadn’t actually reported? Maybe someone at the bar had phoned in an anonymous tip or something.
“I’m a… Well, I’m like a guidance counselor in the loosest sense of the word.”
Hamm stared at the guy. “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” There were words and they seemed to be forming sentences, but Hamm couldn’t figure out what Daniel was trying to tell him.
“I know. Come have a drink with me?”
“I…” Hamm hesitated, still not convinced this guy wasn’t a nutjob. On the other hand, he felt better than he had in days, and that had started when he’d confronted Daniel. Coincidence, right? Still… “Okay.”
“Cool. Where’s good? I could use a snack, too.” This dude was bouncy as hell.
“There’s a pub on the corner of the park.” Close enough to home, too, but Danny-boy didn’t need to know that.
“Sounds perfect. I’m ravenous. Nice park.”
“It’s…a park.” Hamm started toward the Flying Pig.
“Nice mowed grass. I live in the woods.”
Hamm looked around. There was indeed lots of mowed grass, but also some trees that a couple of paths meandered through. He shrugged again and grinned. “It’s a park.”
“Yep.” There was a knowing, weirdly odd grin on the kid’s face.
This guy was going to drive him crazy. Hamm could tell. He growled deep in his chest, like a warning or something, but the kid just bounced along.
Hamm shook his head. When he was feeling better, he’d show Danny who was boss. Whoa. When he was feeling better, Danny was going to be in his rear view mirror, right? Right. Hamm was not into long-haired twinks.
Feeling more himself than he’d felt in long time, he held the door to the Pig open for Danny.
Danny shot him a smile. “Thank you.”
He swore, and for a second he thought he saw a tail wagging on the end of Danny’s ass. Shaking his head to clear it, Hamm nodded to Wilson behind the bar and pointed out a booth at the back of the place to Danny.
“Perfect!” God, this guy really was a nut.


About the Author:

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used bookstores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

For more information on other books by Sean, visit www.seanmichaelwrites.com



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Monday, 19 September 2016

Thursday, 15 September 2016
About the Authors

About Irene Preston
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

Where to find Irene


About Liv Rancourt
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

Where to find Liv


First off we’d like to thank the gang at the Zipper Rippers for having us on the blog. Interviews are always fun, and for this one Irene and I each took a stab at answering the same questions…

You're welcome!

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

Irene:  I plan almost nothing. Well, that’s not true. It’s just that none of the stuff I plan generally makes it onto the page. I have zero control of my characters and they run around doing all kinds of stuff I didn’t plan and leaving out the stuff I did. Liv (who does plan stuff), will probably laugh when she hears this, but I think I’ve actually done more plotting/planning for this book than all my others combined. 

For most of the first part of the book, we basically passed pages back and forth. Surprise! I left you in the middle of a swamp! But at some point we needed to start agreeing on common goals and making sure we were on the same page with the world building. There were a LOT of chat screens, let me tell you. Despite all that, at one point, AFTER THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN, we realized we were still going different directions on a particular plot point. There was a huge, wait… what?!?.. moment on both our ends. Maybe we’ll confess the details after we work it out in the sequels. 

Liv: Hahaha…yeah, that was a memorable moment. Hold on now. That is NOT why thus-and-so happened. I think we got it worked out, though, and since we mostly communicate by FB chat, we can always scroll back and see who said what. 

Working with Irene has taught me a tremendous amount about grounding the action in the characters, rather than fitting the characters to a predetermined plot. Even though I like to do some planning ahead, I don’t work out every detail before I start. I usually have a beat sheet where I sketch in the major plot points, and sometimes I’ll break down how many scenes I need to get from one turn to the next, but that’s about it. I figure out what happens next as I’m writing, and if what happens next screws up my outline, I change the outline.


Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Irene: Ha. My characters walk all over me. Seriously. Also my kid and my puppy. It’s a trend.

Liv: Irene is exaggerating. She’s no more a pushover than I am. (lol!) I’m something of a control freak, I guess, but I’m learning to give my characters more freedom.

What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?

Irene: It just sort of… happened? I made a commitment to open myself up to more diverse stories, and BOOM, there they were.

Liv: I tripped over my first m/m romance a few years ago, and in a very short amount of time it became my preferred genre. The more m/m stories I read, the more I wanted to write them, so I did.

Do you write in other genres besides M/M?

Irene: I have one M/F. There is at least on F/F in my head that I don’t know when I’ll have time to write. I’d say pretty much everything is romance or has as strong romantic element. I wouldn’t like to think that I’m limiting myself to specific pairings. My personal belief is that if you can find someone to share your life with, you are very fortunate. I hope my writing reflects that.

Liv: I have written contemporary, paranormal, and historic m/f, along with contemporary, paranormal, and historic m/m and one historic f/trans-f that’s actually linked to Vespers. I, uh, have a short attention span.

What is your favourite food?

Irene: Today it was seared scallops, because that’s what Bones made me for supper (and he’s makes really good ones.) I’m very fickle. Most of my answers to “favorite” questions tend to change with my mood.

Liv: Pizza and beer. Next question? 

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Irene: Neither. I’m more productive at most things in the morning, but I dislike getting up too early. I’m married to an owl and I’ve adapted a bit. A lot of my writing is done at night. Really night. Like midnight. I’m not sure if that makes me a night owl or just a big procrastinator.

Liv: Look! There’s a question Irene and I agree on! I work night shift, but generally switch back and forth between days and nights when I’m not working. So, I’m a little of both, too.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

Irene: Gosh – everywhere. One of the places on my bucket list is Machu Picchu. It’s so beautiful and remote and ancient. And for some reason, this type question always brings to mind Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. I’ll confess, I’m not sure I would go into space.  (Bones says he would, so I suppose I would tag along. But it’s not my first choice).

Liv: I’d love to spend six months or so hanging out in Europe. I want to go to London and spend a couple weeks in a small town in Ireland and see Paris and hang out in the south of France. I want to take a train through Germany, with many stops for beer. Oh, and then I want to take another six months driving around the US. There are so many cool places I haven’t been to yet, so many places I want to see.

Do distant places feature in your books?

Irene: So far all my books have been set in the U.S. Strangely, I wouldn’t mind writing about going into space. Maybe I’ll pitch that to Liv next!

Liv: Well I haven’t tried sci-fi yet, so if Irene pitches it, I’m sure I’ll be game. :)

Really, though, I’m a lot more comfortable writing about a place if I’ve been there. Most of my stories are set in Seattle where I live, in L.A. where my sister lives, or in Hawaii where I went to college. I did spend a week in New Orleans a couple years ago, but didn’t do much outside the French Quarter, and writing the Bayou scenes in Vespers was a lot harder than the scenes set in the city. Irene was forever leaving me helpful comments: Um, nope, no hills. No stones, either. And more water. 

Do you listen to music while writing?

Irene: I never used to. It influences my mood and therefore my writing to much. However, lately I’ve been writing in the living room more while Bones is watching TV or gaming and sometimes I need to tune that out. A lot of times I put something familiar on loop. I rarely want a soundtrack for the scene. I’m looking for something familiar enough to not distract me and probably a little moody in a certain way that lets me write. Natalie Merchant is almost always a safe bet.

Liv: Usually, but it’s not a requirement. I’m not one who uses music to get in the mood for a scene, but I sang in bands for over 20 years, so will often have Pandora or Youtube playing in the background. I’ll listen to pretty much anything, from roots country (think John Doe or Steve Earle) to Adam Lambert to Bach’s piano concertos. 

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

Liv: Vespers is a full-length m/m paranormal romance about a 115-year-old vampire monk who kills demons for the Catholic Church in the hopes of redeeming his immortal soul, and a 22-year-old college grad who gets hired – accidentally – as his assistant. Thaddeus Dupont is gay, but he’s spent many lifetimes using Church dogma to stifle his inclination. His “assistants” are hired on one-year contracts, intended to be his sole food source, and they’re women, to help him keep him from confusing his hungers. Sarasija Mishra is an out-n-proud gay man who goes by the nickname Sara - hence the confusion and the error in hiring.

Now, figuring out “how to feed Thaddeus” is a problem, but the story barely starts before they come under attack by demons. As important as the evolution in their relationship is, solving the mystery of who’s behind the demons does almost as much to keep the reader turning pages. Irene and I wanted a story with some heat to it, but we were just as inspired by the urban fantasies of writers like Charlaine Harris and Jeaniene Frost. Hopefully we achieved a similar mix of sexy and adventure.

***


About the Book

Vespers Blurb

Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…

The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…

The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky.  On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…

The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice.  Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

Vespers is a complete novel with no cliffhanger. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or read as the first book in the Hours of the Night series.


Excerpt:

Sara filled the silence between us with a hard slurp on the straw in his bon rien drink. “Might as well get really, really hammered,” he said under his breath.

I had a sudden longing for a glass of bourbon. We’d drunk beer in the monastery, though I’d had nothing alcoholic since 1925. January twelfth, 1925. The warmth, the relaxation, the release had some appeal. I eased back, stretched my legs, and my eyelids slid shut.

No. I jerked upright and grabbed Sara’s arm. “What do you hear?” I whispered. “What do you sense?”

I never drank bourbon, and I never fell asleep in public.

“What are you talking about?” Sara’s words were crisp despite his befuddled expression.

I half dragged him to standing. “We’re not safe.”

“Well, by all means, let’s get the hell out of Dodge.” He took a staggering step toward the door. “It’s been a good half hour since you said anything truly batshit, anyway. You were due.”

The club was still virtually empty, except for the poor skeleton gyrating on the stage, our two waiter friends, and a bartender.

A bartender who had very dark eyes and a foul odor. Rancid roses. Cheap perfume left too long in the bottle. “Now, Sara. We need to leave now.”

“Be nice if we had a car nearby.”

I dropped his arm before I snapped it off his body. “Please. If you cannot say anything helpful, fermez la bouche.” I stalked off, hoping he had the good sense to keep up. And stopped three strides later. I could not let him die.

“Fairmay lah boosh? Did you just call me a cow?”

The rancid rose scent grew stronger. I had no choice. I scooped him up, stifling his squeal of protest with a hand over his mouth, and dropped into the shadows. Roses. Strong enough to make me dizzy. On my own, I could take two demons. Sara’s vulnerability was my weakness. I lowered him to the ground. “Get your arms around my shoulders.”

“Dude, you’re crazy, you know?” He shifted out of my grasp. “Oh wait. Not crazy. Vampire.”

We had no time left. The demon bartender came out, aimed toward us, and I could sense his partner down the street. I ducked, put my shoulder in Sara’s midsection, and grasped his hips. He flopped over me, hollering a string of curses.

I took off running, knowing the demons would follow. The streets of the French Quarter were narrow and nearly empty of people. Half a block up, I spied an ornate balcony with the French doors open and no lights on in the room beyond. I leapt for it, grasping the wrought iron with my free hand and pulling both of us up.

I thrust Sara into the room. He landed on his butt and immediately crab-walked away from me, his dark eyes huge and his mouth working. I pulled out a small vial of holy water. “Invite me in.”

“What?”

No time to explain. I pushed more conviction into my words. “Invite me in.”

He opened his mouth. Shut it. “Come in.” I stepped across the threshold, sprinkling holy water behind me. Once I had entered a home, nothing could keep me out. The first time, however, required an overture. After locking the door, I faced my assistant. “Listen to me,” I said, adding as much persuasion as possible without rolling his mind. “The blessing won’t hold them for much longer than the lock on those doors.”

“Julio, is that you?” a young woman called from the room next door.

“Oh man oh man oh man,” Sara muttered to himself. Short of knocking him out, I didn’t know how to make him calm down.

The door opened, silhouetting a young girl in the hall’s light. “Who the hell are you?”

Short and plump, she wore too much makeup and not enough fabric in her dress.

“Our names are irrelevant. Do you have a car?”

“I’m Sara, and this is Mr. Dupont.” Sara found his feet and his voice in the same moment. “We’re so sorry to intrude on you. We’ll be going now. Have a good night.”

“We can’t leave her, Sara.” I raised my hand to stop his protest. A thump behind me said the demons had reached the balcony. If we left the young woman alone, she was as good as dead. “Miss…”

“Rayna, but I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“I apologize for the inconvenience, Miss Rayna. For your own protection, you must accompany us. If you had a car, things would be much more efficient.”

“So you’re, like, carjacking me from my living room.” She grabbed a purse off a nearby bookcase. “And yet somehow I’m going along with it.”

She led us down a narrow hallway with overbright fluorescent fixtures and a squeaking floor that had been in place since the year 1820. We followed her out to an alley, where a tiny Fiat sat under an awning. Soon we were loaded in, easing down the narrow streets. Sara sat in back, continuing his litany of complaints, while I kept a lookout for our pursuers.

“Sara.”

“Oh man oh man oh man.”

“Sara.” I leaned over the seat and grasped him by the chin. “I need you to call someone for me.” He stopped muttering only long enough to pull out his phone. I gave him a phone number for the monks. “Tell whoever answers I need a representative at my First Street house, and I’ll need a team to repair whatever damage happens to Miss Rayna’s home.”

“Damage to my home!” She jerked the wheel to the right. I covered her hand with mine, calming her so she could focus on the work of driving.

Sara did as I asked as if I had compelled him, though I had not.

“So, we’re going to stop and get my car, right?” Sara interrupted my murmured directions to our driver.

“I’ll make arrangements for it.”

“What?” He threw himself against the door. “That’s like, the only thing I own, and all my stuff is in it. We have got to go get it right now.”

“Where is it?” Rayna asked. “Maybe we can swing by on the way to—”

“Stop!” I all but cracked the tiny vehicle’s front window with my roar. “We are going to one-two-three-seven First Street. When we get there, there will be men who will assist us in all we need to accomplish. Until then, we will all sit quietly and let Miss Rayna concentrate on her driving.”

The eastern edge of the sky had turned a soft purple, the first sign of the coming dawn. In the privacy of my own mind, I began the chant for Lauds.

Deus in adiutorium meum intende.

Dominum, ad adjuvandum me festina.


***

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016