Category Archives: Giveaways
Happy Valentines, Lovelies!
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Multi-Author Giveaway Event
Feb 15-Mar 15, 2020
Who said Red’s afraid of the big, bad wolf?
Once upon a time…
Samantha Grant never believed in monsters roaming about the dark, forbidding forest just outside her village. Until the night she and her love are attacked beneath the full moon. Then, Sami learns just how true Gran’s old tales really were.
With new adventures Beginning, and Changes on the way, Sami and her love, Jonah, are forced to face true evil. One willing to do anything it takes to fulfill his Obsessions, and get his Revenge.
A paranormal romance retelling of the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood. Each volume is like an episode of your favorite TV show. This bundle includes the first five volumes. Settle in and enjoy the ride!
Best ~ Amber Kallyn
From sweet to dark, divas of romance work their fingers to the bone for your reading pleasure in the Labor of Love Bloghop from 9/4-9/6. Come join us and enter to win a Kindle with new, heart-pounding titles just for you!
Happily ever afters only come after heart-breaking work.
This Labor Day weekend, we are celebrating our written labors of love by giving our readers a chance to win a brand-spankin’ new Kindle loaded with ebooks!
So here’s your chance, just click the link below to enter our giveaway:
Don’t forget to checkout my own personal giveaway below 😀
I will draw (3) winners to claim your choice of (1) of my single title eBooks
The world of Vampires can be a dark one, but even the monsters of the night can be lonely and need love. Join them on their journeys if you dare…
When duty forces a shaman to stop a vampire from her revenge, love doesn’t just burn… it bites.
For two hundred years, Niki DeVeraux has been tracking the monster who murdered her family and made her a vampire. She finally catches up to him only to face more than she bargained for in a too-sexy sheriff who makes her remember she’s still a woman. With duties as Keeper of the peace and Sheriff, Shane Spencer must protect humanity and stop the friction between the local Arcaine races before it turns into an all out blood war.
When wolves start turning up dead, the tension between the races grows and suspicion falls on Niki. Shane knows she’s not to blame, and it has nothing to do with the primal urges she stirs within him. Working together, they must stop the hostilities from going over the edge. Trouble is, the desires raging between them might prove more dangerous than the surrounding threats.
“If you like kick ass females, and magical males, then you will definately enjoy this” ~The Book Diaries
“Kallyn does a great job of building suspense and undeniable attraction and leaves you dying to know what’s next for these characters.” ~ParaYourNormal
“This book was jam packed with action and sexual tension.” ~Bibliophile
And because I don’t want your To Be Read pile to wither away over the holiday weekend, THREE lucky commenters will win a copy of YOUR CHOICE of any one of my ebooks!
Let’s celebrate your greatest accomplishment! Just post your favorite accomplishment in the comments below and I’ll announce the winners on 9/7. Please make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you 😀
Thank you for join joining our Labors of Love Blog Hop. To see who’s participating, click the link below and work your way through our participating authors:
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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…
Nab Jami Gray’s SHADOW’S EDGE Free for a Limited Time! #freeread #uf #pnr
“This fantastic paranormal action novel is quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year. I could not put it down, and had to exercise serious self-control to keep from staying up all night to finish it.“ – The Romance Reviews, 5/5 stars
“This book has everything in it, you have your Fey, Demons, Witches/Wizards, and Shifters. What more could you ask for?! Plus you have a great story to follow. The story and characters flowed so well together, it was like watching a movie in my head! Book 2 here I come!!” – Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock, 5/5 Fangs
SHADOW’S EDGE: BOOK 1 OF THE KYN KRONICLES
Everyone fears what hunts in the shadows—especially the monsters…
When the supernatural lurks in the shadows of the mundane, hunting monsters requires unique skills, like those of Raine McCord. A series of deaths threatens to reveal the Kyn community and forces her to partner with the sexy Gavin Durand.
As the trail leads to the foundation haunting Raine’s childhood, she and Gavin must unravel lies and betrayals to discover not only each other, but the emerging threat to them and the entire magical community.
READ AN EXCERPT
Ryder stepped in front of her, stopping her short. “Damn, Natasha is never wrong,” he teased, running an appraising look over her.
(Raine) didn’t have the patience to deal with cocky little demon frat boys and cursed herself for asking, “About what?”
He gave a low, evil laugh. “You, of course.” He stepped closer, deliberately invading her personal space. She froze, while her muscles vibrated slightly as if ready to strike. Unaware of how close danger stood, Ryder continued, “You like to live dangerously.”
She gave him a sardonic look. “I hate to be bored.”
“She didn’t mention you’re another prime example of why you don’t have to be male to have stone cold balls.” He pushed, testing her, like some naughty child. But she wasn’t anyone’s mother.
Raising her gaze, she met his smirk. From the up close and personal view she currently held, she saw the signs of latent handsomeness. His ability to grow into that promise was currently up for debate. Only a breath separated them and in her right hand, she held her wrist blade a hair’s breath away from his groin area. Her voice dropped a notch, “If you don’t want to lose yours, you’ll step back, little boy.”
His eyes flamed red for a second as he looked down to see her blade perilously close to his own set. He stepped back, but not before flashing a taunting grin and raising his hands to indicate his was unarmed. The tension between them broke when Xander called her over to see what she discovered.
Heading to the tracker, Raine shook her head. She hated dealing with demons. They were such a pain in the ass, always pushing the limits until someone bled. Frat boy from Hell better have some serious skills or when this was over, she and the demon queen were going to go a few rounds.
If you want to play in the shadows, continue the adventure with Jami Gray’s Kyn Kronicles:
Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.
Come stalk Jami at any of these fine locations:
Please help me welcome the lovely Allison Merritt to the blog today. She was not only gracious enough to answer some questions, but she’s sharing her HOT! upcoming release, and giving away some goodies.
Peeps! We have a HOT DEMON SHERIFF 😀 Read on to find out more.
If Wystan became a movie, I’d love to see Henry Cavill play him. Man, does he have the jawline and the muscles for being a badass demon-slaying hottie sheriff? Yes, yes, he does. And for Rhia, I’d like to pick Anne Hathaway. She’s so talented, and I think she’d really capture Rhia’s personality.
I’ll just say YUM! at Henry Cavill and we can move on 😉
What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
I got a late start on watching Game of Thrones, seriously, I’m just now on season two, but I’m so into this. It makes me want to write fantasy romance. I love movies. It’s not unusual for me to bring home a different DVD ever couple of days to watch. When I’m not on my bum, I like to walk and take photographs of nature.
It has a great storyline, love the angst, LOL.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Lemon meringue pie. I call it solid sunshine, because that’s what sunshine would taste like if you could get a mouthful—you know, if it was a thing you could taste and not get horribly burned when you ate it.
What’s your favorite color? Do you decorate your space and/or dress in this color often?
It’s blue. I have more blue shirts and a couple of dresses than normal. I told my husband not to let me buy any more blue clothes, but it just keeps happening somehow. It’s not my fault cute clothes come in blue. We should complain to the manufacturers.
Yay for blue! the best color ever.
If you could time-travel, where would you go and why?
I have an awful hankering to meet Nikola Tesla. You know the guy invented a way to get electricity without using all that crap Edison did? I curse Edison every time I get an electric bill. Tesla seems like he was a really interesting man. Little is really known about him, but I’d sure like to talk to him.
Why are manhole covers round?
They were inspired by stroopwafels. Have you ever had one of those? They’re an amazing thin wafer cookie filled with caramel syrup. They’re fantastic with ice cream.
Do you have any upcoming news you’d like to share?
Just a couple of months ago, I submitted Eban (The Heckmasters, Book #2) to my editor and I’m pleased to announce it’s coming out in April 2015. I just got the cover. I promise, between that and the story, everyone will be blown away.
Coffee or Chocolate? Chocolate
Jewelry: Precious gems or gold? Gems
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Early Morning or Late Night? Late night
Fruit or Veggies? Fruit
About the Book:
Length: 228 pages
Pubisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication date: October 21, 2014
Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.
The Heckmasters, Book 1
Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.
Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.
The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.
With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.
Warning: Contains a take-no-prisoners sheriff, a woman who can’t outrun her supernatural secrets, and a dusty town where hope is as thin as dust in the wind. Author recommends keeping a glass of cool spring water at your elbow while reading.
Something changed in the air the moment the wagon crossed the town’s border. Too early to be a supply train, and there was no way in hell it was visitors. Berner didn’t host town fairs, theatre troupes, peddlers, or bible thumpers.
Wystan Heckmaster slapped his battered Stetson on his head, collected the keys to the jail, then stepped out the door. The first thing he saw was a pretty woman with hair the color of maple sugar—a rich brownish-blonde. The frown on her face spoke volumes, and the air around her pronounced trouble. She made a straight path for him.
“Mr. Heckmaster. Or should I call you Sheriff? Or Mayor? I need to discuss the ad in the Lancaster County Republican with you. Someone placed an ad, but your brother tells me there is no school here. I’m sure there has to be a mistake. There’s only one Berner in New Mexico Territory. I’m very capable at reading maps. If I wasn’t, I would be ashamed to call myself a teacher.”
He doubted she had taken more than two or three breaths during the speech. If she made talking in rambling paragraphs a habit, no wonder she looked so peaked.
“Teacher?” He glanced along the street, but it was deserted as usual. “Lady, we don’t have a school here. Certainly no need of a teacher.”
Her hands balled into fists that settled on her hips. The dress she wore was patched—the egg yolk yellow faded into something even more disgusting. It had little flowers dotting the material, but they looked as worn as her scuffed black boots.
“Then what was the purpose of placing an ad in the Lancaster County Republican?”
She spoke with the fierceness of a mama bear warning predators away from her cubs.
Wystan reached into his shirt pocket and drew out a toothpick. “I didn’t place any ad in any Lancaster County anything.” He looked past her, expecting Eban to saunter up the street. Eban had to be the brother she’d referred to since Tell was still on the trail.
“Someone did,” she insisted. She fished a crumpled and much-folded piece of newsprint out of the pocket hidden by the folds of her skirt. “See? Right here it says, ‘School teacher wanted for spring term at Berner Schoolhouse. Wages paid based on experience. Room and board provided. Apply in person at City Hall, Berner, New Mexico Territory.’ I’m sure my eyes don’t deceive me.”
Wystan stared at the clipping, then back at the woman. A galaxy of freckles spattered across her nose and cheekbones, making her look younger than her eyes said she was. Full figured and sure as shittin’ a grown woman. The wariness and worry darkening her hazel eyes gave her away as one with a lot of trouble on her plate.
“I can read.”
She pulled the ad away from his face, folded it, and returned it to her pocket. “Where would you suggest I look for an explanation, Mr. Heckmaster?”
Fussy little thing. “I assure you that no one in this town did. There’s been a mistake. Sorry to inconvenience you, Miss Schoolteacher. Now turn around and head home.”
A flush colored her cheeks. “I can’t head home! I have no home to return to. My little sister and my friend are waiting at the doctor’s office for me to straighten this mess out. The ad says that room and board will be provided. I’d expected to move into a room, sir.”
“You left them with Eban?” That explained his absence.
“Beryl is ill, Sheriff. This is the first town we’ve seen in days and it was past time for her to get some attention.” Despair crept into her voice.
Wystan shifted his weight and transferred the toothpick to the other side of his mouth. “Eban’s not exactly trained in human medicine.”
The woman’s mouth opened into an O. She shook her head and seemed to regain her senses. “He’s a veterinarian? He seemed certain he could help Beryl.”
Wystan cleared his throat. “Sure, animal doctor. I’m sorry for your misfortune, lady, but as you can see, Berner’s about run into the ground. There’s nothing here for you or your friend. Might be best to move along.”
She seemed to deflate. “Move along.” Her lips moved, softly forming the words, but it was as though she didn’t comprehend them. “We’ll move along, right down the trail into the next town where there won’t be any teaching jobs either. Sylvie, Beryl, and I will starve to death on the side of the road with no one in the world to care.”
Click on the link for the Giveaway
About the Author:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.
Social media links:
Facebook – http://facebook.com/allisonmwrites
Twitter – http://twitter.com/allison_merritt
Goodreads – http://goodreads.com/AllisonMWrites
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/allisonmwrites/
Blog Hop: 12 Days of Christmas
Event Date: December 1st – 12th 2013
Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Glaze (recipe follows)
COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.
FOR GLAZE: COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.
Book Giveaway for the Hop Winners (See the Rafflecopter link below to enter)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
After centuries alone, can a vampire king trust the woman who’s woken his heart?
Jordan MacDougal, laird and King of his vampire clan, walks a thin line of civility between his clan and the local shifter pack. When his vampires began to disappear and the wolves accuse the intriguing woman who’s touched his heart of being evil, he discovers that the traitor in his midst may be closer than he thinks.
A newly turned vampire, Dalia Jensen wakes to an unusual and frightening new world with no memory of the past year of her life. Accused of working with the Master Vampire who held her prisoner, her inability to remember the truth leaves her reeling under the allegations of vicious past actions. Uncertain of her culpability, she’s unable to trust her own instincts as the reigning Vampire King turns her world upside down.
When the wolves call for her trial, demanding her life for those killed and tortured during that blank year, Jordan and Dalia must work together to find the truth, and save the love blooming between them.
Hungerstorm on Goodreads
Personal Blog Giveaway
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Share in the comments below (and make sure you leave your email address) what your favorite Christmas cookie is : )
Winner will be chosen after the blog hop ends on the 16th.
Grand Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
First Prize: One (1) eBook from Every Participating Author
To enter the giveaway, go to the RAFFLECOPTER HERE
For more Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes & Giveaways – Hop along the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!
1 Kindle Paperwhite and 5 autographed copies of Unbound…so there will
be 6 winners!!
Go HERE to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway and keep hopping!
And don’t forget to leave a comment here, with your email, to enter to win my own prize, a $10 Amazon Giftcard 🙂
I can’t choose my favorite warrior from my own books, it just doesn’t seem right. And there are so many warriors I love from other authors, pinning down one of them is impossible.
So, my Q4U: Who’s your favorite wicked warrior? And if that’s as hard for you to answer as it is for me, what’s your favorite kind of warrior (ie human, vampire, wolf shifter, ect)?
Leave your answer in the comments, with your email, to enter to win my own prize, a $10 Amazon Giftcard 🙂
Danica Avet and her crazy hotties from the Cabal of Hotness have come together to bring to you some BIG….Fun..lol!!!! We will have a Grandprize of a HUGE Amazon Card plus lots and lots of swag and books!!! So come join us for tons of Crazy fun.
$100 Amazon or Nook, Winner’s choice!!
Second place: $50 Amazon or Nook
Third place: $25 Amazon or Nook
To enter the contest, go HERE for the Rafflecopter and keep hopping 🙂 And don’t forget to answer the question below.
Leave a comment and your email, to be entered in my own prize, a $10 Amazon gift card.
My favorite holdiay of the year is Halloween. I still love dressing up, though I can claim I do it for my kids 😉
Then there’s the candy. Can we say Chocolate?
So, my Q4U: What’s your favorite part of Halloween? Why?
It’s Blog Hop time! We’re going to kick things off with The Sultry Summer Reads Blog Hop from Sept. 11th – 16th where our grand prize is a loaded Kindle Fire HD 7″, Second Prize is $100 Gift Card to Amazon or B&N. (Rules for the hop are listed on the Safari Heat site. http://safariheatbooktoursandauthorservices.blogspot.com)
Discover some great authors and check out their giveaways
Want to know who’s participating? We have best selling authors Maggie Shayne and Dianne Duvall, plus awesome authors Bella Street, Mimi Barbour, Jami Gray, Linda Kaye Frazier and oh so many more!
Want to win a gift? Then leave a comment below sharing your fav title/author who’s heated up your summer.
Commenters will be chosen from all the blogs for various giveaways EVERY DAY OF THE HOP for our PRIZES!
I’ll be giving away a $5 amazon gift card. To enter, simply coment below. Make sure you include the following information (blog hop format enters you into the hop prizes as well):
FYI: You’ll get four entries to the grand prizes for following me on twitter, facebook and this blog But you are not required to do any of them.)
Twitter: (Did you follow me to get extra entries for the Grand Prize? Yes/No)
FaceBook: (Did you follow me to get extra entries for the Grand Prize? Yes/No)
Blog: (Did you follow me to get extra entries for the Grand Prize? Yes/No)
Are You a Reader or Author:
Country You Live In:
Want more? Okay then, click on the link below to continue on the hop and check out our rules! Good luck!
To keep hopping follow the link below. http://safariheatbooktoursandauthorservices.blogspot.com
Please welcome Magicstorm into the world, Heart of a Vampire, Book #4.
When a mortal cop must delve into the paranormal, only a Viking vampire can save her soul, and her heart.
Detective Celeste Wilder knows who she is, a damn fine cop. But when the recently dubbed ‘Cult Murders’ start back up, this time targeting city prostitutes she’s sworn to protect, she’s thrown into a world of paranormal creatures she never believed existed. And now, they’re out to keep her from uncovering even more secrets.
An immortal Viking vampire, Brandon Wulfgar knows something is strange the moment he sees Celeste valiantly fighting for her life against a group of rogue vampires. When he’s asked to work with her–solve the crime while keeping the mortal woman safe–he figures no problem.
But as the undeniable connection between them grows and danger appears from every side, they will have to trust one another not just for their lives, but for their very souls.
Brandon Wulfgar sat stiffly on the icy metal chair. He took a hefty gulp of his drink–a mix of blood and whiskey–never glancing away from his twin brother. Eric lay in the bed, facing the stone wall of the dungeon room. He mumbled in his dreams, the quiet mutterings occasionally punctuated by short, guttural screams. Was he reliving the painful past they’d shared, or that of Eric’s own more recent tortures?
The room stank of cold sweat, permeated by fear and agony.
Brandon’s hands clenched and the mug cracked. It crashed to the floor, shattering.
He stared at the white shards of ceramic covered in crimson. The sight mirrored how he felt, unable to help his brother pick up the pieces and leave the darkness he’d descended into.
With a sigh, he stood and headed for the hall. His king’s new wife was going to be pissed he’d broken yet another cup. He snorted, the sound lacking any amusement. Dalia would just have to deal with it.
He opened the door, then stopped short.
Dalia stood in the hall, arms crossed, tapping her foot. Her short pink-streaked blonde hair settled around her pointed chin and her green eyes flared, vampire-red circling the irises. “Again?” she demanded.
It didn’t matter he dwarfed her with his six-foot-four height, nor that he was ten times stronger. All she had to do was shoot that look of hers and even the strongest of the vampire warriors living in the castle crumbled as if facing a disappointed mother.
Brandon merely shrugged. “I’ll clean it up.”
“Yeah, right.” Her gaze softened as she looked past him to Eric. “No change?”
She straightened, rubbing her hands together. “Jordan wants to talk to you. I’ll sit with your brother. And I’ll clean up the poor cup. Again.” Shooting him an ironic look, she added, “We’re almost out of dishes.”
It wasn’t true, but she had a point. He’d gone through an awful lot of mugs lately. But it wasn’t on purpose.
As the older twin, albeit only by five minutes, he’d been raised to protect his brother. To fight the world, side-by-side. Yet he was failing miserably, unable to draw Eric from the cocoon of sleep where he’d escaped.
Dalia entered the dungeon room, and leaving the thick metal door open a bit, sat in the chair Brandon had vacated. She leaned back, hands folded in her lap and started humming. Her voice was soft and airy, a sound guaranteed to get soul-deep inside anyone listening and make them feel better.
As an Omega, she could calm people’s ragged emotions. More recently, with her magic growing, she no longer needed to look into their eyes to gain that connection. Her voice could suck anyone in when she tried.
Brandon’s shoulders tightened when her voice brought no reaction from Eric. It took most of his will to leave, but he forced himself to walk down the icy hallway, and upstairs to his king’s chamber.
Inside, Jordan reclined in a chair, facing the fireplace. The man held a glass of amber-colored liquid. A second full glass sat on the table beside him.
“Sit for a while,” Jordan stated, his Scottish brogue thicker than normal.
Brandon twitched at the tension in Jordan’s voice, and crossed the room to the waiting chair on the other side of the table.
“Any change with Eric?” Jordan lifted his drink and sipped, trying to act casual as he ran a hand through his short blond hair.
Taking his own glass, Brandon gulped it down. The smooth whiskey burned his throat, then settled warmly in his gut. “No.”
Jordan sighed, shifting to face Brandon fully.
Trepidation filled him. The man was normally direct.
“The ‘cult killings’ have started once more in the city,” Jordan said, his gaze dark with anger and confusion.
“But Connor killed the demon behind them just a few weeks ago,” Brandon protested.
“Aye. Yet, here we are.”
Brandon set his empty glass back on the table before he broke that one too. “So is Connor returning?”
“He’s busy with something else.”
“What? His refound family?”
“Nay. Something for the Magic Council.”
Considering the man was a Judge for the council, it shouldn’t be surprising. “So they’re not sending him back?”
A sinking suspicion crawled into his gut. “Then who are you sending to investigate?”
Jordan just stared at him.
Jumping to his feet, Brandon paced to the fireplace. “I can’t go. Eric needs me–”
Jordan’s voice broke through his agitation. “Needs you? He hasn’t said two words in the last month. He doesn’t respond to anything we try.” He stood, arms behind his back, as Brandon paced. “Someone has to take care of the problem. If it’s another demon, you’re the only one I can send.”
Anger turned his stomach, bile burned up his chest. “I can’t leave my brother.”
Jordan’s voice cracked like steel. “You’ll tell me no?”
Stopping short, Brandon slowly swung around and met his king’s blazing red gaze. He’d never told Jordan “no,” since the man had rescued both him and Eric from living agony. But to leave his brother…
The tension in his shoulders ached. His chest tightened and he gave his king the only answer he could. “When do I leave?”
In the lingering heat of the evening, Celeste Wilder strode from her unmarked car towards the flashing lights shining from the alley. Near the yellow police tape, cameras flashed as bystanders tried to capture anything interesting they could put online or sell to the news.
Whipping back her long black hair, she muttered under her breath, “Mierda! Gotta start keeping a damn hair tie in the car.”
One of these days, she was actually going to remember, so when she was called into a crime scene unexpectedly, she didn’t have to deal with the looks she was getting now. It was difficult enough being a female detective without flaunting her femininity. More importantly, it got in the way.
Like usual in Arizona, the weather had bypassed spring entirely. Sweat dampened her neck, making her loose curls cling uncomfortably to her skin.
“Daily, let me in,” she growled at the nearest officer blocking the alley.
He hurried to pull back one of the sawhorses. “Yes, ma’am.”
She pushed past him, taking in the scene. Phoenix PD officers guarded the sight from the lookie-loos, while the coroner hunched over a body only partly hidden behind a rusty dumpster. Overlaying the scent of rotting garbage, she caught the distinct coppery odor of fresh blood.
“Who was first on scene?” she demanded from an obvious rookie as he nervously flicked his notepad open and shut.
“Um, I was, detective, um, ma’am.”
She read his name-tag. “All right, Portensky. Details.”
He fumbled open the notebook, nearly dropping it. “The call came in at 8:02 p.m. I was dispatched, and arrived at 8:09. I didn’t see anything at first.” The kid paled, swallowed hard, then continued. “Then I smelled it.”
“Any information on the caller?” She studied how the dumpster had been pulled away from the wall. Black and red lines of wax snaked from the brick to the center of the alley.
“No, ma’am. Distorted voice, barely clear. Dispatcher said she wasn’t sure she’d even heard the address right.”
“Make sure your report is on my desk by morning.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He hustled toward the street, as if trying to put as much distance between himself and the body.
Unfazed, Celeste headed right for it.
Hovering over the body, the coroner, Frankie, glanced up. Weariness dulled her dark eyes. “Hey, girl. Rough night?”
“About to get worse.”
Frankie sighed, pushing her long bangs from her eyes with the back of her hand, then waved at the body. “No name, no ID.”
“I assume that’s why I was called in. These are my streets,” she replied.
“Sad state this last month, with all these killings.”
Shrugging, Celeste stepped closer. The woman lay mostly exposed, tattered remains of her clothing spread back from her chest. A small piece of red cloth had been draped over her face. Bleach-blonde hair spread around her head, the tips soaked with blood. The killer had taken a knife to her throat and chest.
“Time of death?”
“Her temp is still high. I’d say in the last hour.”
Considering Portensky had been dispatched less than a half-hour ago, it was possible the rumors were true. This cabrón was calling it in before his victim was dead.
Frankie pulled off her gloves. “What kind of sicko mutilates young girls? That’s what I’d like to know.”
“Aren’t they all sickos?” Celeste replied, forcing her emotions away. The victim’s wounds were ragged, as if caused by a serrated weapon. They still hadn’t figured out what the killer was using.
“We’re ready,” Frankie said.
Nodding, she replied, “Go ahead.”
Frankie lifted the red cloth from the body to seal it in an evidence bag.
Celeste’s breath caught, hitching in her tightening throat. “La madre que te parió!” she cursed.
No woman, just a girl.
Baby had been fifteen, max. She’d worked the streets, saying it was better there than at home.
Trying to get these girls into shelters was a trial. Every time Celeste got one off the streets, five more took her place. But Baby had been sweet, mostly clean, not the hardened type Celeste was used to dealing with.
And next week, there was an opening at one of the shelters Celeste worked with that Baby had agreed to enter.
Three damn days.
Swallowing hard against the dark, useless emotions trying to choke her, Celeste forced herself to move, to get on with the job. She noted the wounds and the bruises covering the girl’s face and upper arms. A broken necklace of cheap, brightly colored glass lay discarded near her left hand.
A dark smudge against Baby’s pale skin caught her eye. “What’s that?”
Frankie bent closer, snapping some photos, then gently turned the girl’s hand over.
A black mark had been drawn on her wrist. A question mark with a bar crossing the center of the straight line. Celeste drew a replica in her notebook.
“Didn’t see anything like this on the other bodies,” Frankie said as she took more pictures.
“I didn’t either. They were only left on the walls.” She continued to note the details of the crime scene as the morgue techs wheeled away the body, along with the scattered trash on the ground. They took it all. Anything could hold a clue.
As the other officers dispersed, Celeste stood back and watched. Waited for the scene to clear so she could search for clues. See if she could find more of the strange markings, some sort of runes, like at the other scenes.
As she waited, tapping her foot impatiently, her anger burned hotter.
These “Cult Murders” as the press called them, were supposed to have been solved weeks ago. They had disbanded the taskforce on her captain’s orders.
The city began to breathe easier.
Until a few nights ago, when they’d started up again.
I’ll be giving away a $5 Amazon gift card, INT, Winner to be drawn next week on May 1st.
In the comments section, please tell me which of the Hero’s from the Heart of a Vampire series is your favorite so far : ) (Shane, Jordan or Connor)
Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.