Tag Archives: vampires

Author Interview with Katherine Gilbert ~ New Release: Protecting the Dead

Please help me welcome Katherine Gilbert, with her new release, Protecting the Dead – Great title, right? I love the cover too, and it’s one of the choices in the Moonlight and Mystery Cover Contest. I’m sure Katherine would love your votes!

 

Good morning, Katherine. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’ve been born and raised in South Carolina (unofficial state motto: “Our politicians embarrass us”). My real family and best friend is my sister, Armida. Our goal is to become strange, cackling old ladies in the corner of a tearoom together.

Where did you get the idea for Protecting the Dead?

There was, until recently, a real apartment complex in Decatur, GA  (where my novel is set) which my sister and I once visited on an apartment hunt. Unfortunately, everything there was just a little too creepy, including the apartment she was shown which didn’t quite feel empty. When she asked about the turnover of tenants, she was told, “Oh, our residents never leave.” This hit my gothic imagination with an audible buzzing sound and wouldn’t leave me alone, until it was written.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

Some of the places in the novel are based off of Atlanta urban legends, such as the club (now closed, I believe) which was said to be the home of vampires.

Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story?

I can’t talk about a story, while I’m writing it. If I do, I’ll talk it out of myself and won’t ever sit down to write.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

Every book I love I know I couldn’t have written, but I do admire the talents of so many other authors. I wish I could throw off a laugh-till-it-hurts line like Terry Pratchett. I wish I could create a fascinating, unexpected twist like Agatha Christie. I wish I could convey an astonishing sense of time and place like Barbara Hambly–and so many, many others.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I teach English at a SC community college. As to whether I like it, it depends on the students. Some are lovely, funny, fascinating people who I fervently hope succeed in all their dreams. Some have never mentally shown up to school once, so I’ve really only met their bodies. When there are many more of the latter group, it’s not a wonderful semester.

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

When I go to a new city, I love to visit Victorian cemeteries, especially ones with very ornate mausoleums or stone angels, etc. One of the great joys of my life was getting to visit Highgate Cemetery in London, especially the older parts you need to have a guide to be allowed into. It’s beautiful, quiet, wooded, and the statues–ohh, the statues.

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

Spicy food! It seems to me that every commercial now is for some restaurant or fast food place which promises that your head will actively explode after tasting their burningly spicy food. I love flavor in food, especially subtle, delicate flavors and spices, but not having my taste buds actively burned out of my mouth.

Do you collect anything?

Quite a few things. Among them are magnets (from just about everywhere I visit) and weird little salt-and-pepper shakers. Among the stranger ones I have is a set of Hello Kitty vibrating shakers. That’s right–you pull the string, and they vibrate. The wonderful absurdity of it just makes me giggle.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why?

It’s so hard to choose! I can maybe cull it down to three: Terry Pratchett’s The Fifth Elephant (all of Discworld is wonderful, but add the gothic and I’m totally hooked), Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog (The world-building! The romance! The references to 19th-century comic authors!), and Jean Ferris’ Much Ado About Grubstake (it’s just a wonderfully good-hearted, light-hearted YA novel set in a fictional old west town).

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Protecting the Dead?

I’d like them to take a few moments to smile and sigh and enjoy having lived in that world for awhile.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

It’s hard to choose, but I suppose it depends on the bad review. No book is to everyone’s taste, so I accept that there will be people I can’t please. I’d rather not have a review which seems to be purposely trying to cut out my soul, though. As for no reviews, that’s difficult, too, since I don’t know whether anyone is reading it–and others who might want to aren’t given any guidance on whether they’d like it. I guess my answer, then, is . . . I haven’t a clue?

What is your favorite quote?

My friend, Chris, always says, “When someone thinks they’re doing you wrong, they’re actually doing you a favor.” It’s a philosophy I try to remember, when people aren’t very nice.

What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with?

Sorry, she’s not famous, but it’d have to be my sister. We’d never survive, but at least we’d be together.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

To quote from the movie, Auntie Mame: “Odd, but loving.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Yes, I have three completed urban fantasies and one completed contemporary romance. I’m also actively working on a fourth urban fantasy novel. All the fantasies take place in different parts of the same alternate universe, and they generally fall into two categories: the magical and the gothic. Protecting the Dead is also one of the gothic ones.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Generally speaking, real people aren’t as interesting for me to write about as the ones I make up. I don’t think anyone would thrill to tales of a department meeting.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

My sister is my biggest supporter. I read her every chapter, as it’s written. My friends are sort of in shock that I’ve kept at it long and hard enough to be published, but they’re excited for me.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

That would be the demon who wants to destroy Lydia.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

I walked about six feet behind David Carradine once. Weird Al Yankovic sweated on and sang to my sister at a concert (when she was sitting right beside me). They were fun moments, but, to quote Weird Al, I think they also qualify as pretty “Lame Claims to Fame.”

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Only that good and bad people come in all forms. The forms alone don’t tell you much about the person. The way that people interact with others does.

How much of the book is realistic?

It’s based on a real place, but overall it’s much more fantasy than urban.

How did your interest in writing originate?

I started writing fan fiction for a show I was obsessed with, La Femme Nikita. I wrote a LOT of it, and there were quite a few people who enjoyed it. After awhile, I started branching out into a couple of alternate universe pieces–and through that realized that I could actually create my own characters and plot. I also realized that I didn’t need to know everything about a story to write it. I just needed to get started, and the characters would show me where things were headed, as I went along.

Your favorite…

Song–“Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls (I’m not a gigantic fan of theirs otherwise, but I LOVE that one song). A close second and third would be Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” and Blue Oyster Cult’s “Veteran of the Psychic Wars.”

Place you’ve visited–Ireland, England, and Scotland, all of them beautiful with touches of the gothic throughout

Place you’d like to visit–Brookgreen Gardens, a figural sculpture garden in SC. I’ve been there dozens of times, but I always want to go back.

TV show from childhoodLou Grant, or maybe Scooby Doo–I was an eclectic kid.

TV show from adulthoodLa Femme Nikita, although there are plenty of others I like. I usually only come across a show on DVD long after it’s over nowadays.

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Are there any urban legends or haunted houses in your area? Leave a comment and I’ll select a random commenter to receive a $5 gift card from Amazon.

 

 

Blurb:

After a childhood filled with demons and her devil-worshiping parents, Lydia longs for a quiet, normal life, a safe haven somewhere blissfully dull. Being the manager at the Roanoke Apartments seems to fit that bill. But Lydia soon learns that you can’t leave the past behind so easily. She finds herself faced with unclogging drains for werewolves, conducting nightly vampire counseling sessions, and caring for two talkative cats. Then there’s the distraction of Geoffrey, the hottest, and most angelic, boss anyone ever dreamed of.  As if that isn’t enough, the demon who nearly killed her shows up to finish the job. So much for a peaceful, simple life…

 

Excerpt: 

She knew she was being rude, knew she certainly wasn’t being a good assistant to Geoffrey, but she couldn’t quite force herself to look up again. If she did, she was going to see things she couldn’t wholly deny. She couldn’t take that. Whatever its dangers, denial felt safe. There was only so much oddity her brain could withstand, before it just started to explode.

She found herself sitting on the couch a moment later, knew that all these men were watching her, knew that she was direly failing whatever test she was being given. But she just couldn’t help it. It was too much, was far too weird. If only life could be all picket fences and well-tended lawns and SUVs and…

Okay, so she really wasn’t dumb enough to think such details meant an utter lack of misery, but they just seemed so nice, compared to her life. She felt someone sit on the couch beside her, knew it was Geoffrey, even before he spoke.

“Give her a minute,” he whispered, tenderly stroking her blue hair.

That only made her sigh all the more. There were times she truly wished she could be a stereotypical vapid blonde.

That wish, of course, was part of the reason why she’d ended up with the hair color she was now stuck with, but she wasn’t up to such analysis.

One of the residents sighed softly. “I guess we are a bit much for a first day. Especially with our moon phase coming up and all.”

She wished she lived the sort of life which made it impossible to guess what they were talking about.

Geoffrey’s soft touch made her raise her head again, her eyes a little misty, as she gazed at the two werewolves’ worried yellow eyes. Their normal clothing only made the situation weirder. The one who had greeted them, Hugh, dressed much like her boss tended to. The second one was even wearing a business suit. She was trying not to scream.

Fortunately, Geoffrey surprised her out of the impulse, pulling her close, his arms tender, mouth by her ear. Into it, he whispered a series of soft, soothing sounds. Like at her lunch with Glory, none of them were quite recognizable, except for her name. “Lydia,” he would breathe, before those only half-hidden words began again. “Lydia.” It made her real name so darn tempting that she couldn’t quite remember why she’d ever chosen another, and it finally made her sanity begin to piece itself slowly back together.

She wasn’t certain how long they were like that, knew nothing except his touch, his comfort. Some final spate of words settled inside her as a sort of hope for the future, a thought — even if she had no conscious access to it — that comforted her even more. She felt his soft kiss there, before he finally leaned back. She didn’t really know what to think, after that.

 

Buy Links: 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/protecting-the-dead-katherine-gilbert/1128969519?ean=2940162107453

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Katherine_Gilbert_Protecting_the_Dead?id=lFhgDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/protecting-the-dead

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/842470

Bio:

Katherine Gilbert was born at house number 1313 and then transplanted to a crumbling antebellum ruin so gothic that The Munsters would have run from it.  She has since gained several ridiculously-impractical degrees in English, Religious Studies, and Women’s Studies. She now teaches at a South Carolina community college, where all her students think, correctly, that she is very, very strange, indeed.

Where to Find Me:

Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Katherine-Gilbert-Author-102573417043950/

Goodreads pages:

Book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40583130-protecting-the-dead?from_search=true

Author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18141907.Katherine_Gilbert

Bookbub:

Book: https://www.bookbub.com/books/protecting-the-dead-by-katherine-gilbert

Author: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/katherine-gilbert?list=author_books

Amazon Author’s page:

amazon.com/author/katherinegilbert

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My Path to Publication… (More like my rocky road.) by Ashlyn Chase

An excellent, inspiring article by Ashlyn Chase. You don’t want to miss this one!

 

I’ve always been extremely creative. I missed the clues that I might enjoy writing…like loving my creative writing class in high school and even earning an A+ from a tough teacher, but like I said—Duh. I had already decided to pursue fine art, so I stubbornly stuck to that goal. But at Mass College of Art I discovered there were far more talented people than I, and we were all going to starve. LOL

Fast forward several years with twists and turns like marriage, birth, divorce, and I became an RN to put food on the table. In nursing, creativity is highly discouraged by doctors who want you to follow their orders to the letter. Sheesh. I needed an outlet!

I took a course in screenwriting. That taught me how to tell stories, but Hollywood passed on my romantic comedies. Oh well. I lived closer to New York, anyway. So I turned my ‘movies’ into novels and found where I fit in.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” Well, I don’t have to worry about that! I monitored my reading tastes to see what I might like to spend months writing. (Novels are a hellova lot longer and more difficult to write than screenplays.) I discovered that I liked reading the hot stuff! When I accepted this (and stopped blushing) I tried writing a steambath of a novel.

Back in the early part of this century, traditional publishers held the reigns. ebooks were almost unheard of. I had joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and was trying the traditional route along with everyone else. I received a lot of good advice and continued to practice my craft, while submitting my first finished novel and getting a slew of rejection letters. Many self-published authors have missed this awesome opportunity to thicken their skin. There’s nothing like being told, ‘Thanks but no thanks’ to boost your self-esteem. (Pass the chocolate, please.)

Anyway, a fellow author who liked my writing but knew what I was up against, mentioned I might try epublishing. I didn’t know what it was. Heck, nobody did back in 2002. So, I looked into it and researched a few electronic publishers. I narrowed it down to three and submitted my manuscript. (Not the story that was rejected everywhere. By then I had taken the hint.) But I used what I’d learned from it and wrote a better book. I wasn’t letting rejection discourage me.

My ego finally got a boost when all three epublishers offered contracts! Oh my goodness. I picked one and began publishing. Let’s fast forward again. My ebooks were doing well. Reviews were positive and my romantic comedies were being nominated for (and winning) awards! I was having fun! Cool. I got from my readers what I didn’t get from a lot of my fellow writers. Respect. Epublished authors at the time were considered inferior. Erotica authors were considered the red-headed stepchildren. I was both.

Time to fast forward again. I kept trying to find a publisher that would put my books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, make bookmarks for me, contract non-English translations…in other words, someone to make me world famous. LOL. I’m nothing if not a big dreamer. But it’s a funny thing about dreams. They won’t come true if you let them go. Eventually I wound up in the right place at the right time with the right idea. Lo and behold, I received “the call!” Yes. Editors used to call, not email. Some still do.

In 2010 my first mass market paperback came out. It was the start of a series. The series did well and garnered a spin-off series. The spin-off did well and they contracted another spin-off! Okay…we’re nine books into this thing (as of the August 1st 2017 release, Never Dare a Dragon.)

Are we done? Not by a long shot. I’m calling my Sourcebooks titles “The series that never ends.” I’m working on book 2 of another spin-off now. I’ll give you the run-down in easily digestible bites.

Strange Neighbors – the name of the book and series that started it all. Book 2 is The Werewolf Upstairs and book 3 is The Vampire Next Door.

1st Spin off series: Flirting with Fangs. Book 1 is Flirting Under a Full Moon; Book 2 is How to Date a Dragon; Book 3 is Kissing with Fangs.

2nd Spin off series: Boston Dragons. Book 1 is I Dream of Dragons; Book 2 is My Wild Irish Dragon; and book 3 is Never Dare a Dragon. Here, we’re up to date—publishing-wise.

3rd spin off series under contract: Phoenix Brothers. Book 1 is Hooked on a Phoenix. Finished and sent to my editor, waiting for the dreaded red pen. And what am I working on now? Book 2. Title? I don’t really know yet. I’m calling it Wing-men. I’ve rarely kept the titles I started with, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

By the titles alone, I hope you can tell what I write. Light paranormal romance. And I’m not just an epublished or traditionally published author. Now I’m an Indie author too. The rights to several of my old epublished books have reverted to me. So, I’m updating, rewriting, and rereleasing many of these books, independently.

The roller coaster ride continues. I have an agent next to me now. She keeps me from screaming too loud or demanding the ride stop, because I can’t take it anymore.

Advice to the newbie… Yikes! Are you sure you want to do this? If no one can talk you out of it, no matter how many sensible arguments they throw at you, you just might make it. Ignore the haters and hang in there.

And if you’d like some company, I’ve started a wonderful conference for readers and writers that takes place in New England, smack dab in the middle of foliage season!

 

 

Wow…I’ve always been fascinated with New England. What a wonderful conference…I’d love to come. Maybe I’ll plan to do that.

Thanks so much for joining me today, Ashlyn!

 

Find Ashlyn here:

http://www.ashlynchase.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshlynChase

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Linda Nightingale ~ New Release: A Vampyre Rhapsody

Please help me welcome Linda Nightingale with her latest release…

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Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody
By Linda Nightingale
From The Wild Rose Press
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Editor: Callie Lynn Wolfe
Digital Price: $3.99
Print Price: $13.99

Book Trailer:

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlbRLTFQUHE&feature=youtu.be

A titled lord, concert pianist, and … vampire, Morgan D’Arcy has everything he wants…except what he most desires…the woman of his dreams—the search is on.

Blurb:

The greatest enemy of a vampire is boredom. Four centuries of existence have taught Lord Morgan Gabriel D’Arcy to fear nothing and no one. Humans and their weapons have little chance against his preternatural speed and arcane powers. Vampires are viral mutations of human DNA. Still, the Vampyre code requires secrecy, and he has learned to hide his nature from the world. The lure of mortality, of a life in the sun, puts Morgan again and again at the mercy of calculating human women though they fail to consider his charm and determination into the equation. However, even grooming a future bride from infancy proves to be fraught with heartbreak. And second chances are not always what they seem unless… you are Morgan. Immortality and beauty, aren’t they grand?

“…Morgan…is a tour de force of egotism, wit, sensuality, and talent…” ~Author Toni V. Sweeney

 “Morgan D’Arcy is a class act and the most arresting vampire I’ve ever encountered in literature or films.” ~ Historical and Paranormal Romance Author Beth Trissel

Excerpt: 

Snow built castles on the windowsills.  Wispy flakes swirled in the night air.  I stood at the mullioned window with my back to the Chief Councilor of the ruling body of the Vampyre.  The pure white silence of a snowy night echoed in the room.  A fire crackled in the fireplace, but cold seeped through the stone walls.

At midnight, Lucien St. Albans had arrived with shocking news.

Royal Oak wasn’t on the beaten path.  The castle perched on a hill above a small village on the Devon coast.  From my bedroom window, I could see the ocean.  Lucien had driven his new motorcar hard to tell me that there was no such thing as forever.  He was pale and drawn, worried.  I’d never seen the Chief Councilor rattled.  Lucien St. Alban’s self control was legendary.  The emotion in his black eyes was fear, and a shudder chased over me.

“I drove straight from an emergency meeting of Les Elus,” he announced without preamble.  “We are all in jeopardy.”

In a small principality between France and Spain, an epidemic of anthrax ravaged the countryside.  Not only human villagers died in Andorra.  Two vampires had perished.

Grief for Daphne and guilt for her suicide had wearied my spirit.  “Why send me?  I’m not a scientist.”

“Dear God, Morgan, I wouldn’t send you into danger.”  Behind me, Lucien’s reflection appeared in the window.  He rested his hands on my shoulders.  “One of our scientists plans to travel to Andorra immediately and investigate.   He believes the bacteria secretes an endotoxin that is a reverse mutagen.  When infected, the disease progresses at a phenomenal rate.  The victim reverts to mortal, and the body disintegrates to ash.”

A thrill pierced my lethargy.  Dead vampires presented an intriguing mystery.  Members of our select society should not perish to a disease fatal to humans, or very few others of the Grim Reaper’s tricks.  It was time for me to stop lurking in Death’s shadow.  My grief for Daphne was useless to her corpse.  She was quite simply and forever gone.  Reverse mutagen.  The mere idea sent a shiver of excitement over me.  If the Vampyre Effect could be undone, then the possibility of returning to human existed.

Buy Link:  Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody

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About Linda:

Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston.  She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.

Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award.   She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Symphony League, and enjoys events with her car club.  Among her favorite things are her two marvelous sons, a snazzy black convertible, and her parlor grand piano.  She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LNightingale – @Lnightingale

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaNightingaleAuthor

Web Site:  http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.

Blog:  https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ – Lots of interesting guests & prizes

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839311.Linda_Nightingale

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lbnightingale1/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Nightingale/e/B005OSOJ0U

Other Reads by Linda Nightingale:

Gambler’s Choice

Love For Sale

Sinner’s Opera

Sinner’s Obsession

Cardinal Desires

Gemini Rising – Controversial Dark Fantasy with deep psychological undertones

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release, Uncategorized

Writing Tip: The Middle Third by Author Michele Drier – Plus, her Vampire Novel, SNAP

Please help me welcome Michele Drier with an informative article and her latest release.

Thank you for joining me, Michele! Your series looks awesome…right up my alley. 🙂

SNAP_I_Vampire_eBook[974457]

The Middle Third

Most writers know the Dreaded Middle Third. The roughly one-third in the middle of the book where you can get bogged down in telling the story.

You start with a bang, It’s a new story, you’re developing the characters (and you like them!), you have action, maybe a new romance, a dash of fear, all the things that get your adrenaline moving

The last third, well you know the ending and it’s fun tying up all the loose ends, resolving conflicts, settling into a relationship.

But that middle third. This section is where you build the bridges to get from the excitement of a new adventure to the resolution at the end. It’s many times the crux of the book. The characters get depth, sometimes so much they take over. The tension increases. Does Character A know the background of Character B…let alone how s/he’s overcome it? Or is it still there, sabotaging every move?

Will Character C really go in that small, creepy basement?

Will they or won’t they fall in love?

What challenges raise their ugly heads? How many fears are standing in the way of a happy ending?

All good stuff. Harder to write.

What happens when Character B takes off with the narrative and you find that she’s developed an aversion to all those traits that intrigued her about Character A? Wow, this feels like a much stronger story and you like her new, feisty personality. It’ll never get her from the first to the last third, though.

Do you leave her like this, go back and rewrite the first third? How will that change affect the other characters? The plot?

Will the resolution change?

Probably plotters have a little easier time with the middle third, but for pantsers like me, one has to tread carefully. You give the characters space to tell their story, guiding them toward the resolution, but you don’t always know until you’ve written it, what’s going to happen.

Will the protag get pushed off the boat? Will an old lover show up? Is there abuse in the past? What’s he lying about? How will this affect the relationship?

It’s more difficult writing the middle third. A lot of times it’s like juggling four, five, six balls or kintting a sweater without a pattern. Oops, I have three sleeves! This is the time, though, where you can let the plot grow organically, following faint paths of desire, defeat, dishonesty, deceit.

I’m deep in the middle third of my thirteenth book, a stand-alone psychological thriller with a working title of Ashes of Memory.  It’s different from anything else I’ve written and juggling the balls is trickier. I believe one can learn from any experiences, no matter how weird, no matter how old. And this exercise is teaching me not to be complacent, stay open to new ideas. I have one character who will turn out to be the opposite of what he appears and I’ve never written a villain like this before.

I’ll finish it this summer and I’m hoping to emerge at the end a stronger plotter, stronger writer, stronger story-teller.

How are you planning to spend your summer vacation?

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Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.

Her paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights,  SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire .

Visit her webpage, www.micheledrier.com

facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier or her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, New Release

A Bloody Good Cruise – Diana Rubino

I’m pleased to introduce Diana Rubino and her latest release, A Bloody Good Cruise. It’s about vampires on a cruise…are you kidding me??? LOVE the premise, the title, and the cover! Plus, she’s sharing a fun interview.

 

*** Diana is giving away a free PDF copy of the book to the first person who can answers this question: Who are the 3 historical figures you most would have wanted to meet?  (Please be sure to provide your email address in your comment)

 

BloodyGoodCoverSmaller

 

BLURB:

A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE is a fun-filled blend of the vampire world and luxury cruises.Romance writer Mona Rossi’s book sales are slipping. She needs new ideas and fast! Her vampire love, Fausto Silvius is a doctor aboard the Romanza, a luxury cruise ship. Holding a “Motion on the Ocean” writer’s cruise sounds like a great idea. What better way to combine a career boost with romance? But they soon discover hunters on board who give chase to Fausto and his fellow vampires. While he longs to bring Mona into his world, how can he convince her to join him with fringe lunatics on the hunt? In the prime of her life she’s not sticking her neck out for a shot at eternity.

 

Excerpt:

Mona forced a dose of cheer through her jangly nerves. Vampire hunters wouldn’t have the balls to attack Fausto and his friends on this ship. Security was tight. “Well, you’re here, so does that mean you’ve been going out, and aren’t confined to your house any more?”

Fausto shrugged. “Almost. I couldn’t wallow in self-pity forever. And I knew seeing you would make it worthwhile.”

She smiled and gave him a genuine Italian cheek pinch. “I’ll cheer you up, faccia bella, you can count on that. You must feel safe.” She gestured at the tacky duds. “I mean, relatively speaking.”    

“Don’t let this scare you, but –” He glanced around over the rims of his shades. Uh-oh. Whenever he said “don’t let this scare you,” it scared her. “I got an ominous message at the doctor=s office earlier.”

“What?” She swallowed a lump. “What kind of ominous message?”

He looked away, shaking his head. “Nothing to get alarmed about. The hunters just want me to know they’re here. After the initial jolt wore off, I said, ‘okay, I’m being stalked again.’ But I’m used to it. It doesn’t make me constantly look over my shoulder like in the old days. My family’s murder gave me a reality check. If they want me, they’ll get me. I can’t let it interfere with my work, or what little leisure time I have here. And you shouldn’t either.” He gazed at her adoringly and cupped her cheek. His hand was surprisingly warm. “But you’re still scared. All the blood’s drained out of your face, and not in a good way.”

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Author Bio:

As a romance author, I’ve cultivated a loyal following. I am active in my RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter and attend author/reader events at local bookstores. Local and regional columnists have given me a good deal of publicity with interviews and articles. I advertise in Romantic Times and the RWR to keep my name before readers, and have held several contests on my website, which RWA and RT have promoted. In my other life, I own an engineering business, CostPro, Inc., and am Director of Marketing.

Kindle link: www.amzn.com/B00ILXYAI6

Amazon Paperback Link: http://amzn.to/1loSASo

The Wild Rose Press Link: bit.ly/1k8Vlrs
 

 

Where did you get the idea for A Bloody Good Cruise?  Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?  

I wanted to combine Italian vampires, comedy and cruising in one package, so I hopped on my imaginary ship The Romanza to get my characters in all kinds of trouble. I envisioned the hero, Fausto, as actor Vincent Irizarry (Dr. Hayward on All My Children). That made my job so much easier. He is THE perfect vampire. Italian vampires and hunters (the Vampire Ball Busters) leave the field wide open for comic relief, and I had plenty of chances in this story. Since I’m hooked on cruising and I’m Italian, I didn’t need to do that much research. The name Fausto came from an Italian woman I met in the 1980s, Fausta. I knew I had to use some version of that name in one of my books.

My husband and I are hooked on cruising, and my very first cruise was on the Eastern Mediterranean, beginning in Rome and ending in Istanbul. The ports of call included Rhodes, Cyprus, Santorini, and Egypt. Because I love Italy and cruising, I wanted to combine those passions with a humorous story about vampires and how they face prejudice in the human world.

I met an Italian woman named Fausta in 1983 and always loved that name–I always planned to use that name in one of my books someday. I finally got the chance with the hero Fausto, close enough!

The actor I envision for the hero Fausto is Vincent Irizarry, who played Dr. David Hayward on All My Children. He is every bit the perfect vampire.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and how do you like it?

I own an engineering business with my husband Chris. I’m Director of Marketing, which I enjoy. I like to meet people and ‘work a room’.

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

I don’t know if most people don’t like this, but when I visit a historical site, I must touch everything I possibly can, for that link to the past. I got yelled at in Warsaw for touching one of the keys on Chopin’s piano, but I wasn’t leaving there until I touched it!

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

Ever since I’m a little kid, I never liked to eat meat. Nobody understood it in those days, and since vegetarianism is much more common now, more people understand it, but I still get weird looks sometimes.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?

If only I could get by on two hours’ sleep!

What is one word you would use to describe yourself? What is one word you think others might use to describe you?

I describe myself as curious. Others would probably say earthy.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?

My favorite book of all time is THE AUTIOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII by Margaret George. It transports you to Henry’s time as if you’ve time traveled. My favorite childhood books are from a series about a girl, Trixie Belden, who solved mysteries, very much like Nancy Drew.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read A Bloody Good Cruise?

That prejudice can be overcome, and that there’s nothing like being on a cruise ship.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

The hero, Fausto is definitely Vincent Irizarry! She’s not really an actress, but the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, would be a great Mona.

What is your favorite quote?

“I am still learning.” –Michelangelo

Thank you for the interview, Diana. Now, she has a question for readers… 

What is it about a book that makes you buy and read it rather than putting it back?

 

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Snow the Vampire Slayer (Farielle Series Book Two) by Rebekah R. Ganiere

Check out Rebekah R. Ganiere’s new release…an exciting story with a unique concept…

Snow

  

BLURB: 

Lady Snow Gwyn is tired of playing “mother” to her seven Vampire Slaying brothers. For the past two years, she’s yearned to be out there fighting at their side as they hunt for bloodsuckers in the black of night. Snow is as good a fighter as any man, but she wasn’t called to be a Slayer. A mere formality in her book. 

Prince Sageren, Son of Lothar has spent the last fifty years in exile, awaiting the day when he can finally avenge his family and take back his throne. Barely existing, he’s forced to face his inner demons and the monster he once was, compelling him to vow to never drink from humans again. A simple enough task–until he crosses paths with a human who makes his fangs ache to drain her.

When Snow runs into Prince Sage on a late night trip to the woods, she’s torn between the urge to kill him and the desire to succumb to the feeling he stirs within her. And when Snow’s life is threatened by the same evil that murdered his family, Prince Sage must enlist the aid of Snow’s brothers to not only help him save her life, but to also regain his rightful place as King of the Vampires. 

If Sage can keep the Slayers from killing him first. 

 

EXCERPT: 

Run away. Run now. He wanted to scream. But he couldn’t. Drink her dry. Make her your own and you’ll never be alone again. He pounded on his skull. His gaze met hers and he suddenly lost all reserve.

One moment he was inches away, the next he grabbed her braid and forced her body against his, crushing her lips with his own. His tongue plunged deep into her mouth. She stiffened at his touch initially, but then relaxed against him. He needed this.

Her supple body pressed against his, her curves sparking every inch of his skin to wake up and pay attention. Out of sheer will, he forced his fangs at bay. He wanted her all to himself at that moment. Just her. The feel of her lips on his lips. Her tongue danced and licked his with a palpable need. Her apparent lack of experience made Sage savor her all the more.

He was dangerously close to losing control. She pushed against him roughly and he let go. Her eyes widened before hardening. Quick as light, she swung to slap him, but he caught her wrist.

“You don’t want to do that, love. You’ll split your palm open again.”

“You had no right to kiss me.”

Need pounded through him, making his body quake. He let go of her wrist. “I didn’t see you protesting too much.”

“I…I…” Her mouth opened and closed several times, but no words formed.

His gaze trained on her throat. The pulsing vein and the thundering of her heartbeat called to him. He licked his lips.

He stepped forward, gripped her arms and locked his eyes with hers. Her pupils contracted and then flooded open.

“You will go straight to the cabin. You will get your things and you will run. Run ‘til you get safe in your bed. And when you wake up in the morning, you will remember nothing.”

Her eyes glazed over and he eased his grasp on her. She picked up her sword and ran. A minute later, the light in the cabin flickered out and the door slammed. Sage didn’t dare let himself even breathe until he knew she’d gone, for fear that he would chase her down and ravish her.

When he no longer heard her footsteps, he fell to his knees and clutched the bloodied gauze she’d left behind. So long he had been in exile, underground. So long he’d denied himself the companionship of a woman. And here, in the middle of a glade, he’d found her. His heart’s desire was a human. What the hell was he going to do now?

Purchase Snow the Vampire Slayer here:  Amazon, BN, Kobo & ARE

 

rebe

BIO: 

Rebekah is an award winning author. Her novel Dead Awakenings, debuted in January 2014. Red the Were Hunter, the first in her Farielle Series, released in May. The second book Snow the Vampire Slayer will be releasing in September 22, 2014. And her trilogy The Society will be released Nov. 17th 2014 by Kensington’s Lyrical Press.

Rebekah is the VP of Communications of the RWA FFP Chapter as well as a member of her local Los Angeles and Orange County chapters. In her spare time when she isn’t writing you can find her moderating on SavvyAuthors.com or hanging out with her husband, four children and her English Bulldog, rabbit, two bearded dragons, and two tortoises. The escaped snake has yet to be found.

Find Rebekah here:

Newsletter ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Book Trailers

 

 

 

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Elvis Presley – Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan – Part 6 – A Mention or Two in My Books

As I’ve stated previously, nearly each of my published work contains a mention of Elvis, even if only briefly. Below are a few samples from a handful of books…

 

THICKERTHANWATER

Available now, but will be released on August 14th as part of a boxed set with other Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll Stories by other authors

Thicker Than Water – Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll

Jake fell silent and flipped on the radio. “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis was playing. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye. Did he remember how much she liked Elvis? How he’d teased her unmercifully about it? Nothing showed on his face, but he must remember. Or had he shoved every memory of their time together out of his mind?

 

2. Heart of the Witch 12.1.09

Available at Amazon

Heart of the Witch:

Ravyn crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair, purposely keeping her gaze above chest level so she wouldn’t see the way the tool belt slanted across his lean hips. “What do you want to know about me? I make candles and jewelry. I have one sister and a mother. I live alone. No pets. I like long walks in the rain and old music . . . you know, Otis Redding, The Platters, Elvis Presley. Anything else?”

He gave a satisfied smile. “See? Was that so hard? My turn. I work construction, and I have two sisters and two parents. One dog, a golden retriever named Dog. I don’t like long walks anywhere, and I’m not crazy about oldies. Not crazy about Elvis’s music, although the later stuff was pretty good. I like his movies, though.”

 

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost (Coming this Fall)

“But one of my foster moms, Della, was different. She was good to me. She loved me. Really loved me. She was an excellent cook, and my favorite thing she made was peach pancakes. We’d sit together in the kitchen in the early morning hours before anyone else was awake, and we’d talk about…everything. She was the first person in my life who made me feel important. Who really seemed to care about me.” She paused. Bittersweet memories assailed her. Della’s comforting hugs. Her special smile. Listening to Elvis Presley music with her and watching her sweet face as she seemed transported to another time. Then, the night her husband came home from the hospital, looking ten years older…

 

Death Notice Cover

 Available at Amazon

Death Notice – Northland Crime Chronicles Book 1

“Suspicious Minds” by Elvis came on the radio and I turned it up, feeling my spirits lift. I had inadvertently become an Elvis fan in college while doing a paper on the impact of celebrities on society. Whether or not one appreciated Elvis’ talent, there was no denying he was a phenomenon, the likes of which had never been seen before and would probably never be seen again. Not only did I find I loved his music, I’d discovered why he had the impact he had. He had this boyish, southern charm, but at the same time, a deeply embedded raw sexuality that was powerful and intoxicating. It was fortunate that he only used that power for entertainment. If he’d been a terrorist or a cult leader, he could have easily taken over the world. I was only six when he died, a few years younger than his daughter. Had I been ten years older, I was certain I’d have been a part of the frenzied, screaming masses, fainting and tossing my panties up on stage.

 

LibertyAwakened

Available at Amazon

Liberty Awakened – Isle of Fangs Book 1

Though the music coming from the party was muted, she recognized an Elvis Presley song, “One Night.” She grinned at Eli. “You like Elvis Presley? Isn’t he a little before your time?”

His lips twitched with amusement and he shrugged. “You might say I’m an old soul.”

 

9. SOUL SEDUCER 6.4.12

Available at Amazon

Soul Seducer (The hero is a Grim Reaper)

He hesitated, clearing his throat before speaking. “I’ve observed a lot of people over the centuries.” He stared past her shoulder. “I remember one time you came out here, your Walkman hanging from your ear. You stood right over there. All by yourself. Dancing.”

A heated flush rose to her face. “You saw that?” She laughed to cover her embarrassment. “I was listening to Elvis Presley music. It made me feel better somehow. I guess that makes me a dork.”

He shook his head. “No. Your goofy dance made you a dork.”

“Hey!” she said with mock indignation. Then she shrugged. “It was kind of goofy.”

“Elvis, though. Not a bad choice. He was a talented guy. Nice guy.”

“You knew him?” A horrifying thought struck her. “Did you…”

“No. No, I didn’t take him. I took someone at one of his concerts. Afterward, I was curious. I followed Elvis around for a few days. I was awed by the effect he had on people. They were so drawn to him.”

“I can see why.” She cocked her head. “I bet you’ve met a lot of famous people. I never really thought about that. You can go anywhere, can’t you?”

 

EndofLonelyStreet_w9180_FINAL

 End of Lonely Street (Coming January 7, 2015)

Mapleton, Tennessee, November, 1957

Toby Lawson closed her eyes and shut out all sounds of the diner, except for Elvis Presley’s voice. He was crooning about how she was the only one for him…no matter where he went or what he did… he’d spend his whole life loving her…

Rough hands landed on her waist and shattered the fantasy. She caught a whiff of hair tonic and too much cologne, and she snapped her eyes open. Wes Markham’s hateful face replaced the image of Elvis’ beautiful, crooked smile and smoldering blue eyes.

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New Kindle for Christmas? Four Ebooks ON SALE FOR 99¢ EACH!!! Ends 1/15/14

Through January 15, 2014, purchase these titles for only 99¢ each. Something for everyone: A Gothic Mystery, two New Adult Paranormals, a Suspense with Romantic Elements.

10. Lady in the Mist 7.26.12(Alicia Dean writing as Winter Frost)

Click here to purchase: Amazon

Blurb:

Upon her arrival in Shoal Harbor, Maine, Lily Jackson hears eerie moans that the locals claim are the ghostly cries of the unfortunate Breckenridge women. Running from loss and setback in Cincinnati, Lily needs the job as semi-psychiatric caregiver for Andrew Breckenridge, but the storm she has to weather from the oldest Breckenridge brother is severe. Clinton Breckenridge is a brooding man used to getting his own way, and he’s not convinced Lily is the right person to help his troubled younger brother.

Even as Lily starts picking up the pieces of Andrew’s tortured psyche and finding out his dark secrets, another mystery looms before her. Andrew’s lover has gone missing in recent months and no one knows what has happened to her, or if her voice has joined those of the other Breckenridge women. Before she knows it, Lily finds herself in danger—thrust directly into the eye of the raging storm.

Snippet:

That night, I was in my room preparing for bed when a loud crack of thunder vibrated through the room. I rushed to the window, dread pounding through me at the sight of the darkening sky. Drops of rain shimmered on the glass, and a startling bolt of lightning illuminated the lighthouse. Something flashed in the top window of the tower, and I squinted through the darkness. Had that been a face? That was impossible. The weather was making me imagine things. Another enormous clap of thunder boomed, and I jumped back, dropping the curtain.

I shivered. Stop this. It’s only a storm. You’re inside. You’re safe. I made a concentrated effort to stop the trembles running through my body. Choosing a book from the nightstand, I settled in bed to read. No way would I be able to sleep until the storm subsided. I tried to focus on the novel, but the words might as well have been written in Swahili for all I understood.

My mind kept wandering to the weather raging outside. With a determined effort, I focused on the page I’d already read no less than five times.

A particularly horrendous blast of thunder made me let out a scream. The lights went out, and I was plunged into darkness.

I froze, my legs quaking so badly, I couldn’t climb from the bed. But then again, did I want to? Wasn’t this the safest place to be?

I tried to remember if I’d seen any candles in the bedroom, but couldn’t recall. The storm was frightening enough, but a power outage was terror-inducing. The only illumination was the occasional flashes of lightening across the draperies, which only intensified my fear.

Forcing my legs to work, I threw off the covers and stood. There had to be a candle in here somewhere. I was halfway across the bedroom floor, making my way through the dark toward the dresser, when a violent rattle shook the doorknob.

A scream left my throat. I couldn’t think straight. Terror sent blood rushing through my eardrums, and it was several moments before I recognized Clinton’s voice. “Lillian? Are you all right?”

On shaking legs, I rushed to the door, mindless of the dark. I jerked it open and summoned all my willpower not to launch into Clinton’s arms. In the faint glow of the flashlight he held, I could barely make out his silhouette, but just having another human in the vicinity eased my terror.

“The power’s out,” I said stupidly.

“I know. I’m sorry. There are candles in the bathroom.”

“I wasn’t sure where to look. And it was dark…” I shuddered. “Why are you here?”

“Drew mentioned your fear of storms. I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

“Thank you.”

“Let’s get those candles.” His touch landed on my arm, warm and comforting. He guided me to the bathroom where he released me and opened a cabinet. Several candles, some new, some already used were stacked neatly in place. He grabbed the nearest one. Resting the flashlight on the countertop, he reached into his pocket. Flame from a lighter touched the candle’s wick. He turned off the flashlight and slipped it in his back pocket. The flare wavered over his features, which were drawn into a look of concern I’d glimpsed only a few times.

“You’re shivering,” he murmured. He rubbed his hands up and down my arms. The friction of his touch sliding the silk gown along my flesh sent a skitter of desire over my spine.

I met his gaze in the candlelight. His eyes shimmered a golden green. We stared at one another for a few excruciatingly silent moments. He tugged lightly, and I was pulled against his chest. My bones turned to liquid, his touch leaving languorous heat in its wake. His hands slid upward, settling on my face.

“What am I doing?” he asked, his voice a tortured groan.

Before I had time to respond, he lowered his head and claimed my mouth. The kiss was gentle, his lips warm and coaxing. I opened to him with a small moan, linking my hands behind his neck. I pressed into him while a wave of undeniable yearning ached in my lower belly. Madness. This is madness, a voice whispered in my head. In spite of the truth in the words, I didn’t stop.

libertyawakened400

Click here to purchase: Amazon

Blurb

Evil lurks beneath the surface in the beauty of the tropics…

After graduation from her small, Oklahoma high school, Liberty Delacort is looking forward to a fun-filled summer before college. But when the people she trusts the most betray her, and a letter arrives claiming her deceased father is still alive, she jumps at the chance to travel to an exotic island to meet him.

But her excitement is short-lived. Her father is dying, and he doesn’t want her around. And, in spite of its outward tranquility, the island is filled with danger and ominous secrets. The secrets soon begin to unravel, and she discovers she is a descendant of Van Helsing, the vampire hunter.

The one up side is her budding romance with the sweet and sexy Ryan Kelly. But even that is threatened when—in spite of her fear of him—she finds herself attracted to an insolent, formidable vampire. Her plan to stay away from him fails when she learns he is the only one with the ability to train her to fulfill her destiny—to save humans from a faction of vicious vampires.

Will her inexperience lead to her death—and the death of others—or will she rise to the challenge and realize her full potential as a Hunter?

Snippet:

Eli moved closer until only a hint of space separated their bodies. “Liberty?” His raspy voice was like a caress over her flesh. A breeze wafted over her bare back, and she shivered. She waited breathlessly for his next words, his next move. “You find me irresistible,” he whispered, his gaze never leaving hers. “You’re helpless to deny me anything. Your knees are weak.” He stroked his finger over her shoulder, letting them trail down to the center of her chest, just above her breasts. “Your heart is pounding for me right now. All you can think about is what it would feel like to kiss me.”

She licked her lips, wishing her glass wasn’t empty. Her mouth was so dry, she couldn’t speak. But oh wow…was he ever right. She didn’t even mind his aggressive, unusual approach. Something about the atmosphere, about leaving behind the trappings of home. The memories of what Cam and Alyssa had done made her reckless. She took his glass from his hand without breaking eye contact. His eyebrows rose as he watched her take a sip of the strong liquor, whatever it was. It burned her throat and eyes, but she resisted the urge to cough. It had done the trick, and she was able to whisper, “Yes.”

The corner of his mouth quirked. He moved closer, brushed his lips along hers, just a tease. That was it? That was the kiss? She bit back a groan of frustration. Her body ached with disappointment. But he moved toward her again, his eyes searching, his lips a hairsbreadth from hers. He stroked a hand down the side of her neck. His touch sent a flash of fire through her veins. She nearly moaned in anticipation, in yearning to feel his mouth, firm and hot against hers. She braced herself. Something primitive deep within told her this would be the kiss to rival any other. She swayed, her lids drifting shut, every nerve in her body tingling…

A scream tore through the night, breaking the spell. Liberty’s eyes flew open, and she gasped.

Eli stepped back. “Dammit,” he bit out. He cupped her cheek in his hand. “Don’t forget where we were.”

Then he was gone. She could barely feel her legs. Were they still supporting her? What the hell had just happened?

She shook her head, then followed the sound of excited voices where the scream had originated.

A group of people had gathered around a gazebo at the back of the house.

Liberty pushed her way through the crowd. Ryan knelt in the center of the gazebo next to a bench where a girl lay still. Her skin was as white as the moon, blank eyes staring at the midnight sky.

Liberty was afraid to look, but somehow couldn’t help herself. She scanned the girl’s body from head to toe. No blood. Good, that was a good sign, right? But the girl looked so…dead.

“Son of a bitch,” a male voice shouted. “She’s been drained.”

LibertyDivided-400

Click here to purchase: Amazon

Blurb

One man can fulfill her destiny…the other can fulfill her fantasy.

To quell the rise of evil vampires, Liberty Van Helsing must embrace her newfound Hunter destiny. But she has a great deal to learn, and Eli Barkley—the vampire who has been teaching her—has already betrayed her once. Her goal is to shut Eli out of her life and become a better hunter on her own—and to focus on her new romance with hot Australian, Ryan Kelly, a human she can trust.

But when a rogue vampire begins savagely killing young women, the authorities insist Liberty work with Eli to find the murderer. Liberty must overlook Eli’s epic betrayal and find a way to get along with him if they are to stop the unknown maniac and protect innocent lives.

Yet, the more time Liberty spends with Eli, the more her unwanted attraction to him grows. She starts to question her feelings for Ryan—are they real, or could Eli be ‘the one?’ As Eli and Liberty delve further into the murders, clues surface that point to Eli as the culprit. Can she trust him now? Or will she have to plunge a stake into his heart, breaking her own, just when she’s learning to believe in him again?

Snippet:

“Rough night?”

Liberty jumped at the sound of Eli’s voice. Speaking of darkness and evil

She turned a glare on him. He stood directly behind her, hands shoved in his pockets, yet he’d been in the bar only seconds ago.

“Don’t do that,” she snapped. She looked back at the tiki bar. “How the hell did you…?” She shook her head. “Never mind. You’re a vampire. You move with the speed of light.”

He grinned and slanted his upper body toward her. “Yeah, but we’ve got all that darkness brewing inside. Ironic, isn’t it?”

She swung away from him and took hold of the door handle. “Whatever. I’m tired, so you’ll understand if I don’t feel like hanging out and bantering with you. Besides, your dates are waiting for you.”

“Jealous?”

She snorted a laugh. “No. Sympathetic. Better them than me.”

“Why is it I don’t believe you?”

“Maybe because you’re delusional?” She gave him an overly sweet smile before turning away to jerk the car door open.

“I see you’re still pouting because I didn’t tell you I was once a big, bad vampire.”

“It doesn’t matter. You warned me early on not to trust you. I should have listened.”

“And now you should put on your big girl panties and get over it. You’re a hunter, Liberty. You need to toughen up.”

Toughen up? Was he kidding? She’d risked her life last night, had worked her ass off training, and he was calling her a wimp. To hell with him. She started to slide into the car, but his voice stopped her.

“You can be mad at me all you want, but you can’t completely shut me out.”

“Watch me,” she bit out, not turning around.

“Let me ask you something. What difference would it have made if you’d known in the beginning?”

She slammed the door and whirled on him. “At least I’d have known who—what—I was dealing with.”

“Would you still have let me train you?”

“I’m not sure. But I had the right to know. To have all the facts before making that decision.”

“If you had chosen not to let me train you, how do you think you would have fared last night? Not knowing the truth was for your own good.”

She gave a bitter laugh. “Yeah, and I’m sure you’re all about what’s best for me.”

“Look, you’re going to have to put all that behind you. Like it or not, you still need me.”

“No, I don’t. I’ll keep practicing. I’ll be fine.”

“You can’t take that chance. If I hadn’t saved your ass last night, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Just like him to throw that in her face. She huffed out a sigh of irritation. “Thanks, but from here on out, I can take care of myself.”

He stepped closer, backing her up to the door. The only way she could get away from him was to climb inside the car. But she didn’t.

“What’s wrong?” He raised his eyebrows, amusement lifting the corners of his mouth. “Are you afraid of me now?”

She tilted her chin up and met his eyes. Eyes that were molten grey in the semi-darkness. “Not afraid. Pissed off. There’s a difference.”

He chuckled. “Well, it’s nice to know I have an effect on you.” His gaze dropped to her throat. “Your pulse is beating like crazy. Right here.” He stroked a finger down her neck, sending heat skittering over her flesh. Damn him. She sucked in a breath and clenched her teeth.

“I can see it.” He dropped his hand, and his gaze locked onto hers. “No matter how much you’d like to be, you’re not immune to me, Liberty Van Helsing.”

She swallowed hard, trying to slow her racing pulse. “I need to get home. Let me go.”

His lips curved in a grin, and his voice lowered to a near whisper. “I’m not touching you.”

7. Death Notice 7.2.11

Click here to purchase: Amazon

Blurb

A killer has something to say—and he’s using her obituary column to get his point across…

When columnist Monroe Donovan receives an obituary notice with a date of death two days in the future, she dismisses it as a typo. Then, a second incorrect obituary comes in, and a woman whose name matches the name of the deceased is murdered—on the date listed in the obituary. Now, Monroe realizes that something much more sinister is happening. A serial killer is trying to communicate with her.

She turns to Detective Lane Brody for help, but her attraction to him is complicating her already complicated life. And when the killer turns out to have a disturbing connection to Monroe, complications turn deadly.

Snippet

I went to work early on Monday morning, before anyone else arrived. I wanted to look up some information from when Katie was murdered. Our computers held software that couldn’t be accessed from my home terminal.

I left off all the lights, other than the one directly above my cubicle. Sipping from the mug of hot, strong coffee I’d just brewed, I scrolled through the limited data available about the murder.

The only viable suspect they’d had was Cameron Cooper. He’d been twenty-one at the time. He’d served three years for a rape that occurred when he was a juvenile.

I did a search on his name. He’d be forty-six now. I wondered if he were still alive, if he were still in the area. Had the police looked at him for Maya’s killing two years ago? I hadn’t found anything to indicate they had in my two years of research. Hadn’t found anything to indicate whether or not Cooper was still around. Was he in jail now for some other crime? Maybe another rape? Once a rapist, always a rapist. The question wasn’t had he done it again. The question was, had he been caught and convicted.

Nothing came up on the search.

A noise sounded behind me and I turned. A figure lurched toward me from the darkness. I let out a scream.

“Monroe? Is that you?” a male voice said.

My heart pounded furiously, but I recognized him now. Adam.

“Yes, it’s me.”

“What are you doing here so early?”

He came closer and in the circle from the light above me, I got a better look at him.

His clothing was wrinkled, as if he’d slept in it. His face, however, looked like he hadn’t slept at all. Deep lines etched the sides of his mouth and dark circles surrounded his eyes, their vivid green now dulled. His hair was uncombed. He smelled of stale cologne and sweat. He squinted at me, blinking like he was coming out of a daze.

“I came in to do some research,” I told him. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

He peered at the computer screen. “What kind of research?”

Adam knew about Katie, but not everything. In the two years we’d dated, I hadn’t told him half of what I’d told Lane.

“It’s not important,” I said, minimizing the web site I had pulled up. I repeated my question. “Are you okay?”

He shook his head, shoving a hand through his hair. Shaking his head again, he stared at me. For just a moment, I saw a longing in his face. The old feelings I’d buried surfaced briefly, my body responding to the look in his eyes. I shoved them aside.

“Adam, has something happened?”

“Did you read yesterday’s paper?”

“No.”

“Tabitha’s best friend.” He sighed and dropped into the chair next to my desk. I waited for him to continue. After a long silence, he did. “Tabitha’s best friend was…murdered.”

“Oh, Adam. I’m so sorry.”

He nodded slowly, staring at his hands where they rested on his knees. “Murdered. Tabitha’s a wreck. We were up all night.”

“How did it happen? Do they know who did it?”

“Not yet. She was stabbed.” He drew in a shuddering breath. “Murdered,” he said again.

Not knowing what to say, I sat silently. Reaching out, I placed a hand on his shoulder. I could feel him tremble beneath my fingertips.

“I need a drink,” he said.

“It’s six-thirty in the morning.”

He gave a weak grin. “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” Leaning back in the chair, he closed his eyes. “I can’t believe it. Can’t believe Laurel’s dead.”

A chill weaved its way through me and I shuddered. “Laurel?”

He nodded. “Laurel Lohman.”

My blood froze. I couldn’t speak.

Laurel Lohman was the girl’s name. The one in the obituary with the wrong date.

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Wednesday’s Want, Wed, Waste: NFL, MLB, and NBA Athletes

Hello and welcome to my version of the game, ‘F*@#’, Marry, Kill. This week we are WWW’ing Professional Athletes.

Myself and some of my friends are sharing our Want, Wed, and Waste choices from this week’s list:

Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, and Derek Jeter

kevin lat-brady-wre0012511832-20131118 derek-jeter--02f5f2dfd5a4d015

Click on book titles below to learn more and to be taken to a buy link

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Me (Alicia Dean). Author of Liberty Divided Isle of Fangs Book 2 ~ One man can fulfill her destiny, the other can fulfill her fantasy

WANT: I suppose it would have to be Tom Brady. I don’t like the Patriots, nor do I care for him, but he IS hot, so… Yeah, I could overcome my dislike and suffer through it. Just once.

WED:  Kevin Durant, only because I CANNOT marry a Yankee! I don’t care for basketball at all, and I don’t know much about him, but he is on my home city’s team (I guess he’s still with the Thunder?). Anyway, he wins by default. (Plus, he’s loaded! Not that the others are exactly poverty-stricken)

WASTE: Jeter. He’s a cutie, and he’s a phenomenal ballplayer, but I cannot, in good conscience, entertain any positive thoughts about anyone or anything associated with the New York Yankees. I would, however, ‘want’ him if given the opportunity.

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Marie Tuhart, author of More Than One Night, Website: www.marietuhart.com

Want: Tom Brady.  I adore football and Brady just does it for me.  Plus he grew up not too far from where I did.  And he is taken with a cute baby.

Wed: Derek Jeter.  While I’m not a huge baseball fan, he’s the closest to my age (although I’m older) and I just like looking at him.  And he’s starting a publishing venture with Simon and Schuster.

Waste: Kevin Durant.  I don’t watch basketball and I really don’t care for it.  Plus he’s a little too young.  But he’s a good looking man and he’ll find the right woman soon.

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Kathy L Wheeler, author of Lies That Bind  Would a modern woman marry for convenience to protect the identity of her child? Hell yes.  Http://kathylwheeler.com

Wed: I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kevin Durant. As I have been seeing him regularly now for four years. (At least 84 days out of the year.) Half of that in person. He’s widely traveled you know. He’s a born nurturer (because he loves his mama so!)  He’s an all around generous, down-to-earth sweetheart. He laughs at himself, plays well with others… and I would flourish in his positive aura.

Want: Derek Jeter…nah…I want Kevin Durant too. 

Waste: Tom Brady….strikes me as Kevin’s polar opposite.

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Now we’d like to hear from you….which of these Hottie Athletes would you Want, Wed, and Waste?

Thanks for playing!

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Filed under Entertainment

Read the First Three Chapters of Liberty Divided, Isle of Fangs Book 2….FREE….

LibertyDivided-400

One man can fulfill her destiny…the other can fulfill her fantasy.

To quell the rise of evil vampires, Liberty Van Helsing must embrace her newfound Hunter destiny. But she has a great deal to learn, and Eli Barkley—the vampire who has been teaching her—has already betrayed her once. Her goal is to shut Eli out of her life and become a better hunter on her own—and to focus on her new romance with hot Australian, Ryan Kelly, a human she can trust.

But when a rogue vampire begins savagely killing young women, the authorities insist Liberty work with Eli to find the murderer. Liberty must overlook Eli’s epic betrayal and find a way to get along with him if they are to stop the unknown maniac and protect innocent lives.

Yet, the more time Liberty spends with Eli, the more her unwanted attraction to him grows. She starts to question her feelings for Ryan—are they real, or could Eli be ‘the one?’ As Eli and Liberty delve further into the murders, clues surface that point to Eli as the culprit. Can she trust him now? Or will she have to plunge a stake into his heart, breaking her own, just when she’s learning to believe in him again?

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Prologue

 Sang Croc Island – French Polynesia

The night breeze blowing in from the ocean brought with it the intoxicating aromas of suntan oil and blood. Although there weren’t a lot of humans on the beach now that dusk had fallen, the heady scent of the rich, red fluid was strong enough that the vampire could still smell it just beneath the surface of their flesh. He drew in a breath and slowly exhaled. Delicious.

The sliver of moon drifted in the black sky and shone on the white sand, providing enough light so that, even if he weren’t a vampire, he could still see clearly.

He strolled along the beach, blending in with the handful of human tourists hanging about. He’d been itching for the sun to go down, had barely slept all day. He was hungry. Jonesing for a feed. Mostly, though, he was anxious to put the next phase of his plan in motion. Slow and steady. Wasn’t that how the tortoise had won the race?

He strode across the soft sand, looking out at the glassy surface of the ocean—a sight he would never see the way it was meant to be seen, in sunlight. The cruel irony of being a vampire on a tropical island wasn’t lost on him.

Ah well, while he was unable to enjoy the daytime, fortunately, beautiful, tasty women were always out in abundance, even after darkness fell.

Evidence of his prediction came when he spotted two girls in barely-there bikinis at the edge of the ocean. They kicked water on one another, giggling and squealing in oblivious delight.

Girls. They were the easiest.

They passed a bottle of Lambrusco back and forth, chugging straight from the neck. He grinned. How fitting. In a matter of moments, he would be chugging straight from the neck.

He approached silently, not speaking until he was within a foot of where they frolicked. “Ladies? Enjoying yourselves?”

They turned startled eyes on him. The expression on the tall brunette’s face became a flirty smile. The shorter of the two still looked wary.

“Tons,” the brunette said. She held out the bottle. “Want a sip?”

His lips spread into a grin. “More than you can imagine.”

She laughed and released the Lambrusco into his grip. He put it to his mouth and drank. The wine was a cheap, sweet red. The taste couldn’t compare to the sweet red of the blood flowing through the girls’ veins. Veins he would tap into shortly.

“Skyler, we’d better be heading back to the hotel,” Miss Blond, Short, and Skeptical said to her friend.

He moved closer to the blonde and walked into the ocean, ignoring the unpleasant feeling of water-soaked shoes. He stared down, letting his eyes capture hers. “Why is that? The party’s only just begun.”

She swallowed audibly, and the pulse in her neck jumped. Excitement bloomed in his chest. He hadn’t been sure which one would die, but now he knew. This one had spunk. She would not only taste delicious, conquering her would be more exciting.

She started to look away, but he gripped her chin in his fingers. “What’s your name?” he asked softly.

“Mine’s Skyler,” her friend said from behind him, as if he hadn’t just heard the blonde call her by name. “She can go back to the hotel if she wants and—”

“Silence!” He whirled on the brunette. She blinked at him in hurt confusion. Sensitive little thing. For God’s sake. It wasn’t like he said her bikini made her look fat.

Still holding the blonde’s chin, he focused on the brunette’s eyes. “Look at me and listen carefully.” He kept his voice low, commanding. “Stand there quietly and don’t move. Don’t make a sound until I tell you it’s okay. Understand?”

“Hey,” her blond friend said. “You can’t tell her what to do.”

He let out a frustrated breath. Mesmerizing two chicks at once was not an easy feat.

He turned back to the blonde and made sure they were eye to eye. Made sure he had her complete attention. “You will also be quiet. Do exactly as I say. Understand?”

A frown marred her brows, but she gave a quick, jerky nod. Barely under. Good. He didn’t want her too docile when the time came.

Back to the brunette, he said, “No matter what happens, no matter what you see, you won’t make a peep. You won’t move. Got it?”

She nodded and immediately quieted. The only sounds were those of crashing waves and distant conversations of other humans.

“Your name?” he demanded again.

“Patrice,” she finally muttered.

“Well, Patrice, because you’re so enticing, so remarkable, you will have to be sacrificed. But take solace in the fact that your friend will be spared.”

She blinked rapidly. Her mouth dropped open, and little mewling sounds came out. “What? I…you’re going to…?”

He released her chin and gripped a handful of hair at the back of her head. “Not a sound, I said.” She fell silent, and he reveled in the terror-filled eyes. So easy.

He yanked her to him and tugged her head back. With a growl, he protracted his fangs and drove them deep into her flesh.

Hot sweet blood with just a hint of wine flowed into his mouth. He nearly moaned in satisfaction. The feeding was good…great, but being another step closer to exacting revenge…well, that was about as good as it got.

She struggled silently, clawing at his shoulders, trying to shove him away. Nice. He liked a little fight. But the fight soon fled. Her body went limp. The flow of blood slowed. Her heart no longer pumped it to him. He released her, and her body hit the water with a splash.

He turned back to her friend, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Silent tears coursed down her cheeks. Her body trembled violently, but she remained silent, standing where he’d left her.

He ignored the flicker of sympathy crowding its way into his soul. He was a vampire, after all. It was in his nature to feed…to kill. No room for a conscience. No room for weakness.

He stalked to the brunette and grabbed her shoulders, looking down into her eyes. “Listen carefully,” he said. “I want you to wait ten minutes, then run up the beach, screaming. Report this to the police. You understand?”

She nodded.

“Good. And this is what you’ll tell them…”

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 Chapter One

 Liberty Van Helsing could almost believe last night had been a dream—that she hadn’t hunted vampires, hadn’t actually killed vampires—had it not been for the aches in every muscle of her body and the bandage on her arm that covered a bullet wound.

Business was slow at the tiki bar. But of course her boss, Jerome, wouldn’t let her off early. The Perfect Getaway had to be fully manned at all times, with the bright smiling faces of a staff eager to serve. All she felt like doing was going home and pulling the covers over her head, sleeping for a week.

“How are you making it?” Ryan Kelly spoke at her shoulder as she loaded plates from the warmer onto a tray.

Her pulse quickened at the sound of his voice. She glanced up to find his dark eyes roaming over her from head to toe, worry evident in their black depths. “I’m fine.”

He frowned. “I don’t think so. Tell me how you’re really doing.”

She swallowed back a lump of tears. There’s no crying in vampire hunting…

She’d learned less than a month ago that she was a descendant of the vampire hunter, Van Helsing. She’d traveled from her small Oklahoma hometown to this strange island to meet the father she’d never known existed. And gotten so much more than she bargained for. Her father passed away before she really got to know him. And here she was, destined to take up where he left off. Hunting and slaying vampires when she was barely out of high school, had never even had a fist fight, and the sight of blood made her hurl. Some hunter she was.

“Well, how I’m really doing is, I’m a little freaked about what I did last night.” She brushed a hank of hair behind her ear. “My arm hurts like hell, and I’ve barely slept. Better?”

He shrugged. “More honest, at least.” He covered her hand with his. “I’ll do whatever I can to help you through this. You know that, right?”

She nodded. “I’ll be fine. Really.”

He pointed to the tray. “Let me take that. You don’t need to be lifting with that arm.” He took hold of the tray and scowled at her. “You should have called in.”

“I’m fine. I can get this.” She tugged on the tray, but he didn’t release it. “Ryan, you can’t coddle me. And you can’t do my job. You’re tending bar tonight, and I’ll just have to suck it up. Jerome would’ve had a hissy fit if I’d called in.”

“Bloody dingo,” he muttered.

Liberty smiled. Although she didn’t understand all of his Australian idioms, she was sure the insult fit their boss perfectly. “Come on, get behind the bar, and let me do my job. I appreciate your concern, but if I’m going to be a hunter, I need to suck it up, get tougher.”

He winked and flashed his adorable grin, making the laugh lines around his eyes more pronounced. “I like you soft, just like you are.”

Warmth spread through her belly, and she smiled self-consciously. “Thanks.”

She liked Ryan. Maybe not as much as he liked her, but he was ten times better than the cheating boyfriend she’d left behind in Oklahoma.

She lifted the tray and instantly regretted not taking Ryan up on his offer. Her wound screamed with the weight, even though she was using her good arm to bear most of it.

Gritting her teeth against the pain, she headed to the table. Female laughter shrieked through the room, and Liberty knew exactly where it came from.

She smiled at her customers, but inside she seethed. Eli was here with two girls. How dare he show his face after what had happened last night? It wasn’t like the Getaway was the only bar on the island.

“Jerk,” she mumbled under her breath. “Can I get you anything else?” she asked the two couples she was serving.

“We’ll have another round.”

“Coming right up.” She put the empty tray on the rack and started toward the bar to order the drinks, glancing at her other tables to make sure they didn’t need anything, and tried to ignore Eli Barkley.

But in spite of her determination, her eyes strayed to his table. He was leaned back in his seat, arms draped on the backs of the bamboo chairs on either side of him. Each chair held a female—one blonde and one with flaming red hair—both with envy-inducing curves.

Eli’s dark blond hair was in its usual disarray, his silver eyes glinting as he laughed. His pose was relaxed, like nothing had happened. Like she wasn’t in the room. Like he didn’t give a damn.

Fine. She didn’t give a damn either.

Lips compressed, she stalked to the bar. “Two margaritas, a hurricane, and a Bloody Mary.”

Ryan peered at her, eyes narrowed. “You okay?”

She nodded. “Yeah, I’m okay. It’s just that Eli is getting under my skin.”

“Did he say something to you?”

“No,” she admitted reluctantly. “I just think he could have picked a different place to drink and whore around after what happened last night.”

“You know, it’s really not his fault. It was kind of a dick move for me to tell you he used to be one of the Evil Ones.”

Both good and bad vampires inhabited the island. The EO’s not only fed, but drained the life from some of their victims—and they turned as many humans as they could each full moon night, which was the only night a human could be turned. Her job was to hunt them and prevent them from multiplying so the island wouldn’t be overrun with their kind.

She compressed her lips. “No, it was a dick move that you didn’t tell me in the beginning. I had a right to know who would be training me. Who I’d be spending hours alone with.”

“Yeah, but he’s different now. He’s on our side.”

Her gaze went back to the table. Irritation tightened her voice. “I think Eli is only on Eli’s side.”

Ryan slid the drinks onto her tray. “He’s not a bad sort, really.”

The friendship between Ryan and Eli baffled her. A thoughtful, sensitive human and a lying, heartless, jerkwad vampire. Go figure. She stole another glance at Eli and his companions. “Who are those girls?”

“I don’t know the blonde, but the redhead is Grace. She’s a…friend…from Eli’s past. They met during the Civil War.”

The Civil War? Even though she knew of the existence of vampires, she couldn’t help but be stunned at the reality of it all.

“How old is Eli?” She’d never asked the question. It hadn’t really occurred to her that he could possibly be centuries old.

“Twenty-one in human years. In vampire years, he’s about two-hundred and fifty. He was turned in the 1700’s.”

She shook her head. Unbelievable. He’d been around in the Revolutionary War. It seemed implausible, but she knew it was true. The last month had taught her that nothing was beyond the realm of possibility.

“I know.” Ryan grinned. “Hard to accept, right? It took me a while. I would say you’ll get used to it, but I still haven’t.”

“I totally get that.” She took the tray of drinks to her table and dropped the check. “I’ll take care of that whenever you’re ready.” Maybe they would get the hint. It was closing time, and there were only a few customers left, Eli and his friends included. At least they weren’t in her section. She could go as soon as her last table left.

“Here, we’ll take care of it now.” One of the men offered her a credit card.

Relieved, she accepted the card. She could finish up her closing duties and take off. Finally.

After clearing her section and settling her money for the evening, she headed to the parking lot.

Her first several weeks on the island, she’d had to depend on rides from others. But Antoine—the manservant she’d inherited from her dead father—had insisted she have her own transportation, and they’d purchased a nearly-new blue Corolla for her use. She was still nervous driving in a strange country, but it was damn convenient to have her own wheels.

The Perfect Getaway sat on the beach, and the parking lot was lined with palm trees and red and pink hibiscus plants. The scent of vanilla orchids hung in the air. Such a paradise, yet it held such darkness and evil. She shivered.

“Rough night?”

She jumped at the sound of Eli’s voice. Speaking of darkness and evil

She turned a glare on him. He stood directly behind her, hands shoved in his pockets, yet he’d been in the bar only seconds ago.

“Don’t do that,” she snapped. She looked back at the tiki bar. “How the hell did you…?” She shook her head. “Never mind. You’re a vampire. You move with the speed of light.”

He grinned and slanted his upper body toward her. “Yeah, but we’ve got all that darkness brewing inside. Ironic, isn’t it?”

She swung away from him and took hold of the door handle. “Whatever. I’m tired, so you’ll understand if I don’t feel like hanging out and bantering with you. Besides, your dates are waiting for you.”

“Jealous?”

She snorted a laugh. “No. Sympathetic. Better them than me.”

“Why is it I don’t believe you?”

“Maybe because you’re delusional?” She gave him an overly sweet smile before turning away to jerk the car door open.

“I see you’re still pouting because I didn’t tell you I was once a big, bad vampire.”

“It doesn’t matter. You warned me early on not to trust you. I should have listened.”

“And now you should put on your big girl panties and get over it. You’re a hunter, Liberty. You need to toughen up.”

Toughen up? Was he kidding? She’d risked her life last night, had worked her ass off training, and he was calling her a wimp. To hell with him. She started to slide into the car, but his voice stopped her.

“You can be mad at me all you want, but you can’t completely shut me out.”

“Watch me,” she bit out, not turning around.

“Let me ask you something. What difference would it have made if you’d known in the beginning?”

She slammed the door and whirled on him. “At least I’d have known who—what—I was dealing with.”

“Would you still have let me train you?”

“I’m not sure. But I had the right to know. To have all the facts before making that decision.”

“If you had chosen not to let me train you, how do you think you would have fared last night? Not knowing the truth was for your own good.”

She gave a bitter laugh. “Yeah, and I’m sure you’re all about what’s best for me.”

“Look, you’re going to have to put all that behind you. Like it or not, you still need me.”

“No, I don’t. I’ll keep practicing. I’ll be fine.”

“You can’t take that chance. If I hadn’t saved your ass last night, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Just like him to throw that in her face. She huffed out a sigh of irritation. “Thanks, but from here on out, I can take care of myself.”

He stepped closer, backing her up to the door. The only way she could get away from him was to climb inside the car. But she didn’t.

“What’s wrong?” He raised his eyebrows, amusement lifting the corners of his mouth. “Are you afraid of me now?”

She tilted her chin up and met his eyes. Eyes that were molten grey in the semi-darkness. “Not afraid. Pissed off. There’s a difference.”

He chuckled. “Well, it’s nice to know I have an effect on you.” His gaze dropped to her throat. “Your pulse is beating like crazy. Right here.” He stroked a finger down her neck, sending heat skittering over her flesh. Damn him. She sucked in a breath and clenched her teeth.

“I can see it.” He dropped his hand, and his gaze locked onto hers. “No matter how much you’d like to be, you’re not immune to me, Liberty Van Helsing.”

She swallowed hard, trying to slow her racing pulse. “I need to get home. Let me go.”

His lips curved in a grin, and his voice lowered to a near whisper. “I’m not touching you.”

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Chapter Two

Eli stepped out into the balmy darkness with his two companions. They’d closed down the tiki bar and had to vacate. Besides, it lost some of its appeal once Liberty left. Tormenting her was so much fun. She was so quick to rise to the bait. Her moss green eyes would darken, and her full lips would tighten. Her chest would rise and fall with angry breaths…

He inwardly groaned. Yeah, fun to torment. That’s why he screwed with her. It had nothing to do with his wanting a reaction from her, any kind of reaction as long as her focus was on him. Pathetic. What kind of self-respecting bad ass vampire would let a slip of a girl like her consume his thoughts?

But like it or not, she had. Now he’d pissed her off and she might not agree to let him continue to train her. If she didn’t, she would die. It was that simple. There was no way she had acquired the skills she needed to be a true Van Helsing. Now that the Evil Ones knew of her existence, she had more to worry about than the feeding frenzy during full moons. She’d have to watch her back nightly. Not to mention, the EOs’ big bad leader, Rupert, was now focused on her and would stop at nothing to make her his. She definitely needed Eli’s help, but she was too damn stubborn to accept it.

“You’re not thinking of that little Van Helsing girl, are you?” Grace’s whisper penetrated his reverie. “She’s cute, Eli, but looks to be way more trouble than she’s worth.” Her eyes raked the blonde walking in front of them. “Besides, we have something much more pressing at the moment.” She winked. “Dinner.”

Eli chuckled. “You always did have a thing for blondes.”

She shrugged. “They taste…sweeter somehow.”

He and Grace had met in 1863. He’d joined the Union out of boredom and met her when the savage group of soldiers he’d aligned himself with had raided her Georgia plantation. They’d slain her servants and her husband, then decided to have a little fun with Grace before killing her too.

Although having a conscience was not usually his forte, something about her quiet terror, the attempt at courage reflected in her dark brown eyes, her soft flesh…the blue vein visible along the side of her pale neck, he’d had a change of heart. He’d turned on his men. In a matter of seconds, he slaughtered all five of them. Grace had been more terrified than grateful.

“What kind of monster are you?” she’d stammered, her voice rising with panic.

“The kind that saved your ass.” He’d jerked her to her feet, stared into her eyes, and mesmerized her into being compliant.

He had to wait for a full moon before he could turn her. That was five days away. During that time, they remained at her plantation. He fed on her, had sex with her—after a few days, she’d initiated it, he hadn’t had to mesmerize her for that. Then on the full moon, he’d turned her. They’d been close friends and occasional sexual partners since then. Once in a while, she popped in to hang out and party with him.

As was the way in the vampire procreation process, since he’d turned her, she’d taken on his characteristics and had been as cold-hearted and bloodthirsty as he when he’d been one of the Evil Ones. Once he switched sides, he’d convinced her to subdue her murderous instincts. With a lot of coaxing and a bit of commanding, she’d come around to his way of thinking. But, like him, she had to constantly fight her dark urges.

“We’re not going to kill her,” he told her now.

She pouted but gave a brief nod. “I know that. I’ll control myself, I promise.”

They’d been walking along the beach and had reached the edge of the water. The blonde stopped and turned to face them. She was in her late thirties with the worn, desperate look of someone who’d partied too much too soon and was heading toward burnout.

“So?” She lifted a brow. “Are we going to do something insanely risky or not?”

Grace’s husky laughter filled the night. “Oh my dear, you have no idea how insane…or how risky.”

-#-

Liberty nestled deeper into the beach towel lying on the soft white sand. A cool breeze drifted over her exposed flesh, even though the warmth of the sun beamed down. Ryan’s strong hands rubbed sunscreen onto her back and shoulders.

Heaven.

She almost didn’t think about the insanity her life had become. Or her run-in with Eli the night before. Or the fact that she missed home, missed her mom so much it was a physical ache. She would call her mother when she got back to the house. But right now, she just wanted to bask in mindless bliss…

“Liberty?” Ryan’s hands slowed.

“Hmmm?” she murmured, not opening her eyes. Why did he have to spoil the moment with talking?

“Are you going to let Eli continue training you?”

She let out a heavy sigh. Especially talking about that.

She rose and reluctantly dislodged Ryan’s skilled hands. “No. I don’t trust him.”

Ryan sat back on his haunches and beseeched her with his dark brown eyes. “If you don’t, you could get hurt. Or worse. And it would be my fault.”

She stood and brushed sand off her black two piece. “How would it be your fault?”

Ryan rose to his feet. “Because I told you the truth about him. If I hadn’t, you’d still let him train you.”

“Ugh. Do we have to talk about Eli on such a beautiful day?”

“Not if you at least promise me you’ll consider it.”

She hesitated then, realizing it wasn’t a commitment, said, “I’ll consider it.”

He smiled, his white teeth flashing against his bronze skin. “That’s all I ask.” He took her hand. “Now, come with me.”

He tugged lightly, and she followed him down the beach until they were knee-deep in the warm, translucent blue-green water.

“Look.”

She followed Ryan’s gaze, and let out a gasp. She could see all the way to the ocean floor. What appeared to be hundreds of tiny fish—ranging in hues from jade to orange to one that was the color of a rainbow—swarmed around a purplish cactus-like mound.

“Is that coral?” she asked.

“It is. Pocillopora, one of the hundreds of species found in the Pacific.”

“My God,” she whispered in awe. “It’s unbelievable.”

“So are you.” Ryan took her hands and tugged her to him. Their bodies lightly bumped, his warm and hard and damp, hers wanting to melt into him.

He caressed her knuckles with his thumbs. “I’m bloody bonkers over you, you know that right?”

She nodded. “I like you too, Ryan. A lot.” The way her pulse rate accelerated and goose bumps pebbled her flesh, she was feeling more than just ‘like,’ but she wasn’t ready to go there. Not yet.

“I know you have feelings for Eli, too.”

Eli again. She opened her mouth to protest, but he placed a finger over her lips. “You hate him right now, because he hurt you. But I’ve seen the way you look at him. The way he looks at you. I know there’s something there, and it’s okay. Because I’m a very patient bloke. You mean too much to me to give up so soon.”

She smiled. “We’ve known each other barely a month.”

“I know. That’s what makes it so bloody great, right? That we could be this in sync this soon.” He slipped his hands around her waist, pulled her closer.

Her breathing slowed, her heart thumping so loudly she was sure he must have heard it. Her lips tingled in anticipation of his kiss.

“Yeah.” Her voice cracked. “Bloody great.”

He smiled. “You’re gorgeous, love. The golden highlights in your chestnut hair shimmer in the sunlight. Your green eyes look like emeralds…a beautiful day with a beautiful girl. It doesn’t get any better.” His voice lowered. “You know, this is something you could never share with Eli.”

A pang of sympathy pierced her heart. What must it be like to live for centuries in the dark? To never feel heavenly sunlight on your face?

She frowned. “Is this your way of one-upping him?”

Ryan grinned. “I guess so. Sorry. Not exactly the way to be the better man, is it?”

She laughed and ran a hand over the carpe diem tattoo in his right bicep. “It’s not a competition. If it were, you’d be in the lead.”

His eyes roamed her face and settled on her lips. He cupped a hand behind her head, his fingers firm on her scalp, the other hand pressing into the small of her back. He bent his head, touched his lips to hers, and all thoughts of Eli fled.

While they kissed, small fish bumped against her legs—which felt a little creepy and cool at the same time. Ryan’s lips on hers, the deep growl in his throat fusing with the sighs coming from hers, was so different, so…magical. A few months ago, she never could have imagined she’d be standing in the South Pacific kissing a gorgeous guy. Of course, she never imagined she’d be out of Oklahoma. Let alone a world away.

She lifted on her tip toes, parted her lips, and Ryan’s tongue slipped inside. Her knees nearly buckled as she was swept away in a torrent of desire she’d never felt before—most definitely not with Cam. On one hand, she hated PDA, knew she should pull away. On the other, this was the most amazing, scariest, and at the same time perfect thing she’d ever experienced, and she didn’t want it to stop.

Somewhere in the back of her mind she wondered…if they were alone, exactly how would this end? Would she give up her virginity to him? The way she felt at this moment, she would be powerless to resist.

A large bump against her legs made her freeze. That was a big ass fish.

She shuddered and broke the kiss. “What the…?”

“What is it?” Ryan’s muscled chest rose and fell with short breaths.

“Some kind of huge…” Liberty looked down, and her heart stuttered to a halt. Trembles shook her body, and a scream tore from her throat.

A woman’s pale face stared up at her from just below the surface of the water.

“Bloody hell,” Ryan muttered. “Come on.”

He took her shoulders and led her onto the sand. Darkness clouded her vision, and the trembles increased.

He tightened his grip. “Look at me, sweetheart.” His voice was steady, comforting.

She lifted her eyes.

“Go up the beach and grab your phone. Call 1-7.” He gently brushed a strand of damp hair from her face. “Can you do that for me?”

She nodded, still trembling. The second dead girl she’d seen since she arrived—the first one had been at a party Eli had thrown. Even though she’d slain vampires, she wasn’t immune to death. Seeing the girls’ bodies was far different from hunting vampires. That had been for protection, to prevent evil from taking over the island. This was tragic, heart-breaking.

Ryan gave her a gentle push, and she hurried up the beach, tiny sobs working their way from her chest to her throat.

Fumbling in her bag, she snatched out her cell phone and punched in the digits.

While she listened to the rings, she watched Ryan. He shouted at the swimmers, waving his arms and motioning for them to come out of the water. Then he bent and gently pulled the girl’s body onto the shore. Maybe it was a bad idea to touch her, tainting evidence and all, but if he didn’t, she could possibly float away and they’d never find her. She’d no doubt be devoured by scavengers…

Bile rose to Liberty’s throat, and she squeezed her eyes shut to banish the image.

“One-seven, what is your emergency?” A French-accented female voice came on the line.

Liberty’s teeth chattered, even though warmth still blazed down from the sun. “There’s been a…” she was going to say murder, but they didn’t know how the girl had died. “…death. We found a girl. Her body. She’s…”

“Are you positive that she is deceased?”

The bloated, pale face rose to her mind. “I’m sure,” Liberty choked out.

“Okay. Please provide your location, and do not touch the body.”

Uh, yeah, no worries. At least not again. Been there, done that.

Liberty spoke quickly, providing the necessary details.

After ending the call, she forced her feet to carry her back down the beach to the edge of the water, where Ryan, head bowed, knelt next to the dead girl like a dejected sentinel.

-#-

Later that evening, Liberty stood at the door of the police station, holding the coin Ryan had given her and rubbing her thumb along the impressions, trying to calm her nerves. She took a deep breath, and pushed the glass door open.

She’d never been in a police station before. What did they want with her? She’d answered their questions at the beach. When the call came from the captain asking her to meet him at the station, she hadn’t known what to make of it. Ryan offered to come with her, but she couldn’t lean on him for everything. As Eli so ingeniously put it, she needed to put on her big girl panties.

Ugh. Why did she always have to think about Eli? He was such a pain…she shouldn’t give him a second thought.

“Liberty?” A woman stood next to a receptionist desk. Behind her, more glass doors led into a squad room. “I am Aiata. You may come on back.” She was in her late twenties, pretty, a native judging from the caramel skin and dark, exotic eyes. A long black braid fell down the middle of her back.

Liberty followed her past two desks overflowing with stacks of papers, one empty, the other occupied by a middle-aged man in a uniform.

Aiata stopped at the back of the squad room, in front of a door with a sign reading “Captain Jacquard.” The office windows were glass, but shades covered them so Liberty couldn’t see inside. Aiata opened the door. “Here she is, gentlemen.”

Liberty stepped inside the room and her throat knotted with anxiety. A large-chested man stood from his seat behind a desk and extended his hand. “Liberty, I’m Captain Jacquard. I think you know these gentlemen.”

Rupert Kilbourne lounged in a chair across from the captain’s desk. Next to him sat a guy she didn’t recognize. He was a few years older than she was, fit, dark-haired, attractive.

He smiled and winked. “So you must be the infamous Liberty Van Helsing. Finally, we meet.” He offered his hand, and she shook it. “You don’t know me. I’m Blake, Rupert’s son.”

Oh God, there was an offspring?

Rupert came to his feet and took her hand, bowing. He placed a lingering kiss on the back. “Liberty, my dear, lovely to see you again.” His silver hair and blue eyes gave him a distinguished, handsome appearance, but a glint of evil hovered somewhere amidst all that charm.

She jerked her hand back and resisted the urge to wipe away his touch. Her gaze went to the final occupant of the room. He stood, gave a small mock bow and a crooked grin. “Yes, Liberty, lovely to see you again.”

Eli.

***********************************************************************

Chapter Three

 Liberty looked at the captain. “What are they doing here? In fact, what am I doing here?”

“Please, sit.” In spite of his size, the captain’s voice was smooth, reassuring. “I will explain everything. I appreciate your coming to meet with us.”

“I didn’t realize they would be here, or I would have declined the offer.”

A hard gleam came into his brown eyes. “Then I would have had to come to you. This is a matter of utmost importance, I assure you. Please hear me out.”

Liberty tightened her lips and dropped into a chair flanked by Rupert and Eli. She felt like a gazelle caught between a lion and a cheetah.

Eli leaned over and whispered, “Where’s your shadow?”

The touch of his breath against her ear sent a shiver coursing through her. She shifted away and ignored his question.

“First off,” Captain Jacquard said. “I wanted to tell you how very sorry I am about the incident this afternoon. That must have been quite traumatizing.”

“It was…difficult…yes.”

“I am afraid to inform you that this young lady was not the first victim of a similar attack.”

Liberty snorted a sarcastic laugh. “You mean a vampire attack?” She shot a glance at Rupert, then at Eli. “I must say that doesn’t come as a surprise, Captain. There is no shortage of vicious vampires on the island.”

Rupert spoke from her left. “But these are different. Even the vampires of my…persuasions…have certain guidelines they must follow. We try to be—discreet—when choosing our sustenance. Although at times, our nature takes over and, how shall I put this, our vessels do not survive, we certainly do not condone frequent, public slaughter.”

She raised her brows and forced a note of mock admiration into her voice. “My, you guys are regular altar boys.”

A deep chuckle rumbled from his chest. “You are a little spitfire, are you not?” He looked past her to Eli. “You shall have your hands full with this one, my boy.”

Liberty scowled. “He’ll have his hands full? I can’t imagine why. My plan is to avoid him as much as possible.”

“That is what I wanted to speak with you about,” the captain interjected. He was silent for several moments, his bushy brows lowered into a scowl. “You and Eli are going to have to work together to stop whoever is committing these crimes.”

Shock rendered her speechless. When she found her voice, she said, “Work with him? No way.” She shook her head vehemently. “No freakin’ way.”

“Yes, Captain,” Eli said. “I’m afraid Liberty, in spite of her Van Helsing heritage, is a bit of a weakling. She learned one tiny little thing about me, and now she acts like I’m the anti-Christ. In spite of the fact that more innocent victims will die if we don’t stop this person, we need to consider Miss Van Helsing’s fragile emotional state. I’m afraid it will be more than she can handle to work with the likes of me.”

With each word he spoke, fury built inside Liberty’s chest. She pushed to her feet and whirled on him. “How dare you! Just because I don’t trust you, don’t want to be within twenty feet of you, doesn’t mean I’m a weakling, or fragile. You have a lot of fu—” She halted and took a deep breath. “A lot of freakin’ nerve talking that way about me.” She didn’t know who she was more furious with, Eli, or herself for confirming his assessment and acting like a weakling. She swallowed and continued, “I am not afraid of you. And of course I don’t want more innocent people to die. I’ll hear the captain out, but I would appreciate it if you would stop…baiting me.”

He smiled. “But you rise to the bait so easily. I find it…irresistible.”

The way he said ‘irresistible’ indicated more than just baiting her. A shiver ran down her spine that wasn’t completely unpleasant.

Liberty forced her thoughts away from Eli and sat, directing her attention to the captain. “Of course I will do whatever I can.” She wrinkled her nose in distaste at Eli. “And work with whoever—whatever—I have to in order to stop this person. I’m not sure what I can do that the police can’t, though. What either of us can do.”

Captain Jacquard tapped his fingers on the desktop and frowned. “First of all, the laws on the island are…different. Vampire crimes are to be handled by Van Helsings. After your father’s death, we thought they would fall under our jurisdiction.” His gaze rose and he leveled her a look that was less than friendly. “Now that you’re here, vampire crimes fall to you. I suppose it makes sense. With your hunter skills, and with Eli having been on both sides of the fence, so to speak, the two of you should make a good team. Eli can garner insight into this person’s thinking, his—or her—habits, that we cannot.” The captain’s features sagged, as if he’d aged in front of her eyes. “Additionally, once we find this person, arresting him will be futile. All he has to do is morph into a bat and escape. Or mesmerize our jailers. All manner of options are open to vampires. Which means a different kind of justice is needed to stop this rogue.” He pursed his mouth and his frowned deepened. “We’d hoped to contain this, but these latest murders have drawn media attention. Tourism could suffer. The peace of mind of our residents and tourists will be shattered if we do not put an end to it.”

“I see.” And she did see, but she didn’t have to like the fact that she’d be working with Eli. A hunter teaming up with a vampire? Ridiculous.

“And of course,” the captain said. “My people will offer our assistance in identifying this maniac, but the rest is up to you and Eli.”

Liberty looked at Rupert. “How does this involve you and your son?”

The captain answered for him. “Rupert and Blake want to help because this rogue is endangering their food source and will keep tourists from visiting our island. When your father was alive, the island was in good hands.” His gaze flicked to Rupert. “He kept the population of—dangerous vampires to a minimum. Now, they have multiplied. And as I am sure you are aware, when a vampire sires someone, that new vampire takes on his or her inclinations. Sometimes, they are able to overcome their more—vicious traits, but it is rare. That is another area of grave importance in utilizing your assistance. If you are able to stop this person, their entire line will cease procreating. It will halt any offshoot of evil that might otherwise develop.”

As much as Liberty hated to admit it, the captain made sense. It was settled. She would be working with Eli. What would Ryan think about that? It wasn’t like Ryan owned her, but she cared about him and didn’t want him to worry about her and Eli spending time together. She would just have to make sure Ryan understood that she had no interest in Eli whatsoever. “What’s our first step?”

The captain picked up a baggie from his desk and handed it to her. Inside was a small wrinkled sheet of paper. Liberty smoothed it out through the plastic and looked up with a frown. “I don’t understand. It’s a drawing of a tree.”

“That’s really all we have, other than our eye witness. It was crumpled in her hand. She said the killer gave it to her.”

“What does it mean?”

“We don’t know. Yet. I wanted you to see it in case something similar comes up in your inquiry.” He reached for the bag, and she handed it back. “We need to go over your statement from this afternoon.”

“I already told the officer who came out what happened.”

“Yes, I know. But sometimes after a few hours, new details emerge. So, if you will bear with me, we will quickly run through the events leading up to your discovery of the body.”

“Yes. Sure.”

“Okay. You and Ryan Kelly were standing in the water. The girl’s body bumped against your leg, is that correct?”

Revulsion at the memory washed over her, and she shuddered. “That’s correct.”

“What were you doing that you did not see the body before that time?”

She lifted her brows, surprised at the directness of the question. “What was I—doing?”

“Yes. You and Ryan were in the water, but I assume you were facing away from the location of the body. What were you doing that kept you from noticing the body before?”

Her insides went cold. She felt Eli’s eyes on her, felt him waiting. She took a deep breath and swallowed hard. “I—we—were…kissing.”

She glanced at Eli from the corners of her eyes. Other than a brow lifted in amusement, there was no reaction from him.

“You and Kelly?” This from Blake. “Well, well, the bloke works fast.” He grinned at Eli. “He scooped the pretty girl up right from under your nose, eh?”

Eli frowned, but didn’t respond.

The captain cleared his throat. “If we can get on with this, please?” He said to Liberty, “What happened next?”

She repeated her story, just as she had to the first responder on the scene. She ended with the part about Ryan kneeling next to the dead girl. About his keeping people away and protecting the girl’s dignity.

“So heroic,” Eli murmured.

Liberty shot him a glare.

“Is there anything else you can think of?” Captain Jacquard asked. “Anyone around who seemed suspicious, out of place? Sinister?”

“No, Captain. I believe all of those—” She paused, deliberately turning to Rupert, then to Eli. “—types were sleeping at the time.”

Rupert burst into laughter. She kept her eyes on the captain.

“Okay, I guess that’s all there is to do here. I need you and Eli to take care of something before you go. We have the friend of the victim here at the station. She was with the girl when the attack happened. I asked her to come in. I thought the two of you could speak with her. Liberty, you can perhaps put her at ease and get more details from her, being a young woman about her age. And as for Eli….” He scowled down at his desk then raised his gaze. “Eli, I was hoping you could…mesmerize her. Make her forget she witnessed her friend’s death.”

“What?” Liberty couldn’t control her surprise. “You want a witness to forget the details of a murder?”

“Once we get all the information we need, yes.” The captain’s tone was defensive. “Remembering will not do us any good, nor will it benefit her. The media is already having a field day with this thing. I don’t want them talking to her, blowing her story out of proportion, sensationalizing the whole mess.”

In spite of the overlying ridiculousness of the situation, Liberty understood where the captain was coming from.

“So, if that is all then.” Rupert stood and took both of Liberty’s hands in his, pulling her to her feet. Without even thinking, she allowed it. Her brain was too overwhelmed with all she’d learned to be concerned about his touching her. “I believe the two of you will make a great team.” He looked over her shoulder at Eli. “The four of us actually.” A crooked smile lifted his mouth. “Shall we call it an unholy alliance?”

-#-

Skyler Simmons was waiting for them in a bleak interrogation room with gray walls and a lone table. She looked up when they walked in. Her face was damp, streaked with mascara. She twisted her hands nervously together atop the table.

Liberty sat across from the girl and introduced herself and Eli. Eli took the chair next to Skyler.

“I’m so, so sorry about what happened to your friend, to Patrice,” Liberty said gently. “I can’t imagine how awful that must have been for you.”

Skyler nodded and wiped her face, smearing the black beneath her eyes. “I—I can’t believe it. I still just can’t…” Shaking her head, she dropped her head to stare at her clasped hands. Her shoulders shook.

“Can you tell us about that night? I know it’s difficult, but we want to find the man who hurt Patrice, and we need your help.”

She drew in a shuddering breath. “Patrice and I were just hanging out. We were drinking a little, you know, laughing, having a good time. Then this guy comes up, this attractive guy…” Her gaze went to Eli and she squinted. “He actually looked a lot like you.”

Eli gifted her with a dazzling smile. “Oh, come now, I’m blushing.”

Liberty rolled her eyes. “You say he looked a ‘lot’ like Eli. Can you be more specific? Describe him to me.”

Skyler leaned her head back and stared up at the ceiling. “He was tall, but not mega tall, not like a basketball player or anything. He had sort of dark blond hair and light grey eyes…” Her voice trailed off and she looked at Eli once more. “A lot like you.”

A chill ran over Liberty’s arms. It couldn’t have been Eli, could it? No. No way. He wouldn’t be sitting there playing Mr. Calm and Cool if it were him. Besides, the girl would just say it was him instead of that it looked like him. There had to be more vampires around with that mussed blond hair and those silver eyes…

Liberty took a breath, cleared her throat. “I know this is difficult, Skyler, but can you tell me what he said when he approached? Exactly what happened?”

Hesitantly, tearfully, the girl told her story. “He—he bit her. Oh my God, he tore into her neck, drained her blood, while I just stood there…and…watched.” Her body shook and she turned stricken eyes to Liberty. “I know it seems impossible, but I also know what I saw. A vampire murdered Patrice.” A sob tore from her throat. “Vampires…oh my God. How can that be?” The words ended in a scream.

Liberty rushed around the table and bent to wrap her arms around Skyler. “I’m so sorry. I know what it’s like to lose a best friend.” But not in such a horrifying way as this. No, she knew what it was like to find out your best friend, someone you’d known most of your life, was a cheating backstabber.

Liberty pulled away and plucked a tissue from the box on the table, handing it to Skyler. “Okay, now I want you to sit very still and listen to my friend here. He has something he wants to tell you.”

Liberty stepped back, leaned against the wall, crossed her arms, and watched.

Eli covered the girl’s hands with his. In a low, soft, voice he said, “Skyler, I want you to look into my eyes. Listen to me carefully, okay? Can you do that for me?”

Hesitantly, she nodded, her gaze fixed on him.

“There’s a good girl. I know what you saw was horrible. I know you must have been terrified. I’m going to help you with that. I’m going to take the bad memories, the fear, away. You never saw the man who did this to Patrice, okay? The two of you were hanging out, having a good time, drinking…then you decided to go up the beach to talk to some people. Patrice wanted to stay. After a few minutes, you heard sirens. They told you that Patrice had died, but you didn’t see anything. You didn’t witness her death.”

Eli gave the girl a tender, reassuring smile—one Liberty had never seen him use on her. Maybe he was capable of some decency.

They left the girl in Aiata’s care and walked out into the night. The moisture had become a light misting rain. The island was a quiet, wet, dark oasis.

“Well, we didn’t learn anything helpful,” Eli said. “All we know is that our killer is a devastatingly, handsome, sexy guy.”

“Good Lord.” Liberty huffed out a sigh. “And that he’s full of himself and exaggerates his attributes.”

Eli lifted his hands as if in surrender. “Hey, those were her words, not mine.”

“Uhm, actually they were your words. All she said was that he was attractive, and that he looked like you.”

He shrugged and winked. “That’s all I said too.”

Liberty nearly growled in irritation. Working with him was going to be pure torture.

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