Release Date: April 13, 2014
(Other retailers coming soon)
Amazingly Awesome cover art by Dawné Dominique
A vampire demon half-breed must save the only woman able to mend his soul.
Half-demon, half-vampire, Sean MacDougal is an outcast, unwelcome by all. When the Arcaine world finds out a war is brewing that will affect all paranormal creatures, Sean is the only one who can find the demoness who holds desperately needed answers.
Used for centuries as the pet Seer of the demon who destroyed her family, Mayah is rescued by a strange half-breed who asks, rather than demands, her assistance. Unable to trust, she pretends to agree, but only if he helps rescue her brother, held prisoner deep in the frozen wilds of Alaska.
Becoming a protector fulfills an emptiness within Sean he never knew existed. Being protected makes Mayah feel safe for the first time in centuries. Hunted by an entire demon army, led by the one who wants Mayah back, they must learn to trust in themselves, in one another and in the emotions sparking between them–no matter how hard they try to resist.
The Judgment Hall of the castle hummed as it filled with a variety of Arcaine creatures. Jordan, King of the local vampire clan, stood at the front, his arms crossed as he glowered at anybody who got too loud. A cell phone rang out–some hip-hop song–and the King’s glare turned sharp. A young vampire slid deeper into his seat, hastily fumbling to silence the noise.
The long rows of wooden benches overflowed, yet more Arcaine were still arriving.
Whispers said a war was coming. One that threatened to fracture the paranormal world.
Unfortunately, that was all they knew about the darkness drawing near.
Jordan, a newly found cousin, had invited creatures from all over Arizona and the southwest to his historical castle that was hidden from mortals. Together, they would discuss what steps to take to gather more information.
Sean MacDougal stood in the shadows against the wall at the back. Few clan vampires gave him a second glance, used to ignoring him. Outsiders though, had differing opinions on allowing a demon vampire half-breed like Sean to live, much less listen to a conversation regarding such delicate discussions.
A group of Fey, tall and unnaturally beautiful, glided into the cavernous Hall. As one, they stopped, turning their eerie gazes toward Sean. They knew what he was, by the scent of his power, as well as his strange eyes–light gray irises surrounded by a thin band of vampire red, and a second ring of the purest demon black
Sean straightened, ready for whatever was about to come.
One man, at the back of the group, drew a sword as he shouted, “Demon half-breed.” He lunged for Sean.
Pulling one of the thin but deadly katanas from the sheaths across his back, Sean met the Fey’s swing. Swords clashed, ringing out in an echo of magical metal. Blue and red sparks danced above the blades.
“You dare draw a weapon while given sanctuary?” Jordan’s yell boomed through the room, making everyone freeze. Intoned with over a thousand years of power, the man could make others quake with a mere glance, much less his reverberating voice.
Jordan’s wife, Dalia, slid between Sean and the Fey man, pushing their blades down. “Come, now. We’re here to work together.”
The Fey literally trembled with the need to continue his attack. “Abomination,” he growled. Turning to glance over the room, he added, “Everyone knows the law of the Council. Half-breeds are to be killed on sight.”
Dalia hummed lightly under her breath. Her strange Omega magic could bring the feeling of peacefulness to any Arcaine. “This one is an exception,” she replied sweetly, brushing back a lock of pink-streaked blonde hair from her face.
The Fey man’s eyes widened. “Not possible. The Council doesn’t make exceptions for his kind.”
“I can take care of this, Dalia,” Sean said exasperated, his voice laced with barely contained anger. Then his heart sank as he caught sight of the man storming toward them.
Connor Gregory stepped in front of Sean, pushing the Fey man hard enough to send him stumbling.
“I am the Council’s representative here.” Connor bowed slightly, lips turned up in a smirk. His deliberate flash of fangs contained deadly intent. “He is under my protection. Spread the word.”
The Fey’s sword arm shook as he faced a Judge.
Appointed by the Magic Council, Judges were recruited from the strongest, most powerful of all Arcaine and given the power to be not only judge and jury, but executioner as well.
Staring at the back of Connor’s head, all Sean could think about was smashing the flat of his sword against that skull. Knocking some sense into the man must surely prove he could take care of himself.
“Any questions?” Connor turned, his gaze piercing the entire room. Guests and clan vamps alike flinched, many sitting lower in their seats to avoid his glare.
When there was no answer, Connor waved his hand for the meeting to progress. After a long moment, conversations resumed. Connor leaned against the wall next to Sean.
“I could have taken care of it,” Sean mumbled, trying to ignore the fiery blaze of resentment as he shoved his fingers through his short, dark hair.
“Aye, son. Perhaps.”
The constant lack of confidence scratched at his already raw temper. So did the fearful glances from some around the room–not at the vampire Judge, but at Sean and his mixed blood. He barely contained a low growl.
It was bad enough anyone who saw him immediately realized what he was. They either ran away in fear that he must be possessed by a crazed bloodlust, or attempted to take his head per Council law. None could concentrate on the part of him that was vampire–they only saw the certain looming destruction by his demon half.
It was driving him insane to have everyone here continue to coddle him as if he wasn’t a nearly thousand years old. Soon he would be overcome by a bloodlust like they feared. Not because of his demon nature, but from his overprotective parents.
His mother, Ashlyn, swooped in, shooting glares at the group of Fey as they moved off. She patted his cheek. “Are you all right? I’ll teach those jerks to threaten you.”
Sean sighed, shaking his head at the uselessness of it all. She refused to think of him as anything more than a child, as if they hadn’t been on the run for centuries, protecting each other. He hadn’t failed her. Yet since finding their family and a home with this clan, as well as his father, she was more overprotective than ever. As if she was trying to compensate for the rough struggle of the past, or something.
Ashlyn sidled to Connor, placing a chaste kiss on his cheek. When she met his gaze, her eyes smoldered with such intense love, it nearly took Sean’s breath away.
And Connor, his father, looked at her with the same emotion.
Sean scooted away, uncomfortable.
He didn’t begrudge his mother her happiness. Didn’t even feel resentment anymore at his recently found father. He was truly happy they’d rekindled their love. His mother deserved it.
But he chafed at the chains of protection both his parents wanted to shackle him with.
A group of younger vampires sitting a few yards away laughed loudly. He caught a few whispers, glances his way.
How could he ever prove himself worthy of the clan no one ever let him?
Oh, sure. He was a master sword-fighter. Long swords, short, he was proficient with them all. His father had recently taught him the joys of using a katana. Sean now wore a matching pair of the thin, yet deadly, Japanese swords strapped across his back. Designed by an ancient sword master, the blades were not only unbreakable, but imbued with magics.
Every Arcaine was needed in this time of uncertain trouble, but even with all his skills, no one would give him a chance.
The huge doors slammed open and a short, old crone strode in. Stringy white hair fluttered around her deeply lined face.
Some in the room hushed, bowing their heads as the old woman walked by. Others seemed to freeze. The power roiling off her hit Sean. He took a half step forward, undeniably drawn to her magic.
She stopped, smiling kindly, before continuing to the front of the room.
The King and all those arguing with him fell silent as they took a few steps back, making way for the woman.
When she spoke, her voice was impossibly strong. Full of immense magic, more powerful than Sean had ever felt before. “All must leave but those who be in charge, and the few on this list.” She drew out a sheet of paper and gave it to Jordan.
“Connor, Ashlyn, stay.” The king read the rest of the list of those the woman wanted to remain, then he hesitated, sending the crone a sharp glance.
“Aye. I want the man,” she said.
“Sean,” Jordan finally stated, looking up briefly.
Ashlyn opened her mouth to speak, but Connor shushed her. Surprise coursed through Sean as he slowly made his way to the front of the room.
The other leaders began to grumble, but a quick glance from the old woman quieted them. Great. Yet another person trying to keep him “safe”.
Jordan repeated her edict to the lingering crowd, “You heard her. Out.”
Vamps and other creatures began filing out, most avoided looking Sean’s way. When everyone was gone save for the large group who had been on her list and the leaders of each type of Arcaine creatures present, the doors were closed and barred.
The woman pulled a long, black cloth from a hidden pocket and laid it over the seat of Jordan’s throne. From another pocket she drew out a silver cup. Something clattered inside as she shook it, then dumped the contents on the cloth.
Small bones tumbled over one another, only to stop prematurely, as if guided by magic rather than gravity.
The woman didn’t look at the bones, but rather the crowd around her. “Most of ye know me. Some call me Jezamine. Others call me witch, seer, prophetess. Call me what ye will, no mind to me. But I have seen the next step needed if we not be dyin’ in this comin’ darkness.”
Niki, one of Jordan’s vampires, held her husband’s hand. Shane, the local sheriff and Keeper of the Peace between the Arcaine, stared at the bones scattered over the throne as if entranced.
Dalia twirled her pink and blonde hair as she stepped closer to the throne, peering at the bones. “What do you see?” she asked.
“There be one we need.” Jezamine glanced up sharply, staring at each person. Then her gaze landed on Sean. And stayed.
He looked into the crone’s black eyes, feeling as if he was falling into endless depths.
“Demon,” she said.
He was unable to shake his head, or move in any way, as he attempted to deny her words. “Only half.”
She shrugged and with a smirk, stated, “Close enough.”
She finally looked away, leaving him feeling as if she hadn’t been looking at him, but rather into him. “It be a demoness we need. She can see the future, knows about the slimy darkness comin’ over us all.”
Jordan stood straighter. “We’ll gather our best men–”
“Nay,” the crone interrupted. “Ye’re men are no match for this task. No match for the deadly poison in demon claws. Not for her, either.”
Before Sean noticed her moving, Jezamine stood before him. She slid one long, sharp nail beneath his chin and raised his head. Once more he fell into her gaze. She blinked and glanced away before he could try to break free.
The crone stared at his mother. “You coddle this one like he be child. Do ye not see the man?”
Ashlyn opened her mouth, then closed it without a sound.
Jezamine nodded to Jordan. “This one. He be immune to such poisons, and so much more,” she stated cryptically. “He must go. Retrieve the one who can be our help. And he must go alone.”
The room erupted in anger, those not his clan shouting about his tainted blood, how a half-breed could never be trusted.
Sean caught his father’s assessing stare. There was not only a surprising confidence in Connor’s gaze, but approval as well. His mother, however, looked like she was about to cry.
Standing tall, Sean faced Jezamine. “Thank you,” he said softly.
“It not be easy,” she warned. “But ye have it in ye to succeed.” She smiled beautifully, and for a split second, he glimpsed the shadow of a much younger woman shining from her gaze. “Succeed in many ways, if ye choose,” she chortled.
“We’ll get you prepared, packed–” Connor began.
“He must leave tonight.” Jezamine pulled out a notebook, stuffed with papers and all sorts of strange items, from yet another hidden pocket and handed them to Sean. “Trust yerself. That be yer key.”
The overpowering stench of decay in the cavernous dining hall made Mayah’s stomach churn. The sight of demons and a myriad of Arcaine creatures sitting at the long rows of wooden tables and piggishly shoveling food into their maws made bile rise to burn the back of her throat. Raucous laughter filled the air, grating, making her temples throb with a headache.
Someone tossed a cup onto a table and the eighteenth fight of the six-hour long feast broke out. A dog-faced demon wrestled some sort of rock creature across the floor.
Sitting beside her, Brüs laughed as he banged his golden chalice in front of him, shouting, “More!”
Mayah rubbed the chaffed skin beneath the leather collar at her throat, careful not to prick her skin on any of the sharp spikes of specially created iron. The metal, mixed with numerous things debilitating to any demon, would send her reeling from even a small cut. Poison would seep through her blood, taking inestimable time before her body could neutralize it.
Minutes later, the rock creature lay sprawled against a wall, unconscious, bloody and ignored. The dog demon sat back down and continued eating, those around him slapping his back with hearty congratulations.
Unfortunately, that meant Brüs was no longer entertained.
As the last “dancer” was claimed by one of his guests to attend their needs, Brüs grasped the iron chain connected to Mayah’s collar.
He jerked her close enough that she nearly vomited at the rotting stink of his fetid breath.
She glanced up at Brüs, brushing back her many colored braids, ranging from white-blonde to the deep red of blood. It was hard, but she swallowed the nausea and forced all emotion from her face, giving him only a pleasant, if blank, expression.
“You. Dance,” he commanded.
Calming the quick flash of anger, she smiled sweetly. “I didn’t realize I’d been forced down here tonight to be entertainment for you and your men.”
He scowled, taking a minute to process her words, in a near-drunken haze from the demon brew he’d been gulping down by the barrel. His pitted, scarred face remained tinged by the gray that proclaimed him an Abatu demon–one who thrived on destruction and death–rather than flushed red like some of his completely drunk companions.
“You ain’t fulfilling any other duties. When’s the last time you had a prophecy for me like a good demoness?”
She bowed her head, long used to showing a submissive pose while not cutting herself on the spiked collar. Her many-colored braids fell over her face, helping to hide her raging emotions until she could control them once more. “Truly, it grieves me to be feeling so sickly of late. But if you wish me to use my last bit of health to dance for you, I shall certainly do so.”
He grumbled, but allowed the end of the chain to slip from his grasp.
Mayah leaned back, keeping her gaze down and her fisted hands hidden in her lap, out of fear this might be the time her anger escaped.
After a few calming breaths, she risked a glance up from beneath her lashes. Her blood cooled at the calculating glint in his black eyes, as if he wasn’t nearly as drunk as he made out.
“If I don’t get a prophecy soon, perhaps I’ll allow you to join the dancers. Permanently,” he stated.
She hid the shiver that oozed down her spine, knowing exactly what he implied. Only her status as Seer and Prophetess saved her from being mauled in the beds of his guests.
The thought of fulfilling that role, when even some of the pure blooded Succubi demonesses didn’t always survive the night, snapped a tight band of bleakness around her heart.
“Of course, perhaps you may still have some usefulness after all. Can’t allow some brute to take your virginity and your powers along with it.” He sat back in his throne, rubbing his chin as he added his ultimate threat. “Maybe instead, the punishment should go to your brother. I could visit my other castle and see him. Listen to his delightful screams. Think that might reawaken your Sight?”
“No, Sire,” she whispered, struggling to remain outwardly impassive, even as a hopeless, white-hot anger filled her soul. “I shall try harder to find your future. I swear.”
“Make it soon, or your precious kin will feel my wrath.”
“Good.” He turned back to his slop, but she noticed the watchful gaze he kept on the crowd.
And on her.
She picked at the fruit on her plate, not bothering to pretend to eat.
Her mind spun. If she didn’t share her recent visions, her future would become even more uncertain than it currently was as the slave of this Abatu demon. He wasn’t just a prince of their hellish realm, but one of the most powerful warriors she’d ever seen.
Lately, he’d been working for a darkness that was easily creeping over everything with a nefarious plot of its own.
Another war was brewing, like those of the long distant past.
Only this time, her visions made her fear this war might be the one to end all of the Arcaine, and all of humanity–not just on earth, but in all realms, including her home.
Not many could face Brüs and survive. But this darkness scared her more than he ever could.
Hope you enjoy 😀
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.
*Sings* Happy release day. Wow, the past few months have been a whirlwind, with kids going back to school and I don’t even know where September went. But October is here, and I’m excited to announce my newest release in the Heart of a Vampire Series.
After a millennia apart, can two vampires rekindle their love, or will the line between right and wrong keep them apart?
Hunted by the demon who imprisoned her for hundreds of years, Ashlyn MacDougal is fleeing with a secret which could destroy her soul. When she runs into her lost love, Connor Gregory, life twists upside down.
Connor has spent the last thousand years as a Judge for the Magic Council, tracking and destroying demons. Especially the abominations–those part demon, part vampire. When he discovers his long ago lover is not only alive, but protecting a half-breed, his confusion knows no bounds.
Thrown together by circumstance, they must resolve their past. With demons after them, Ashlyn and Connor come to find their love still burns. Yet, the secrets she hides, and his duty to his job, might just keep them apart for another eternity.
Connor Gregory hunted along the city’s back streets. The scent of human blood, fresh on the air, made his senses hum. Hunger roared. It had been hours since he’d drank his last pint of blood, but his responsibilities as Judge for the Magic Council spurred him on, pushing his needs back.
A human cult was striking terror into the hearts of the mortals living in the city. A cult that seemed to know an awful lot about real demon magic, which meant there was most likely a creature from the depths of hell helping them out.
Connor grinned humorlessly at the inky shadows. His job was to hunt the demon down, and kill it.
All in a productive day’s work.
He followed the blood scent through the alleys of a business district. For the southwest, the buildings towering into the sky felt out of place. They also hindered his ability to track.
Connor despised big cities like Phoenix. He’d much rather have stayed up in the mountains, in his cousin’s sleepy little town of Moss Creek. But when duty called…
He rounded a corner, freezing for a split second. At another time, it could have cost him his head–and his life. In a flash, he pressed his back to the wall, easily blending with the shadows in his dark jeans, t-shirt and black duster.
Just down the alley, in front of an oversized dumpster, a group of teenagers knelt on the asphalt. All four took the Goth look to the extreme. One boy’s shaved head glinted from piercings. Black and red swirling tattoos covered the other boy’s skin. The two girls could have been twins with their pale skin, hair obviously dyed black. Encircling their eyes, they wore black make-up that matched their lipstick. And how anyone could walk in thigh-high boots with six-inch heels covered in spikes was beyond him.
He also didn’t get anyone who would wear spike-studded collars.
The kids shifted slightly, allowing him a glimpse at the encircled pentagram on the ground. Runes of destruction and death had been drawn inside each triangle arm. The tattooed boy leaned over the last empty opening, and continued drawing the symbols for a ritual designed to rip a soul from an innocent.
Connor sniffed the air. Blood. Rotting flesh. And the distinct smoky, sulfurous odor of demon.
He reached to the back of his neck and silently withdrew his katana, Akoukirito, from the sheath on his back. A Japanese sword master had crafted both hundreds of years ago. The blade, named for its use in striking down evil, was honed to an edge that rarely dulled.
Connor was as deadly with his hands, but if one of these seemingly innocent kids was a demon, he’d need the blade.
He held Akoukirito down along his leg as he slowly approached the group. He had to stop them from completing the ritual. It was like a nice, juicy steak for demons, full of magic and power they could corrupt.
He sure as hell didn’t want to deal with a demon pumped up on soul magic.
E drew closer. The kids remained oblivious to his presence. With a sigh, he resheathed his sword. They might be working with a demon, but it wasn’t here right now.
He shot a fist at the throat of the tattooed boy drawing the runes. The kid flew back, crashing against the brick wall of the building, choking and sputtering. The chalk clattered to the ground.
The other three jumped up, circling him as if they would actually have a chance to participate in this fight.
Perhaps even win.
Chuckling, Connor crouched and spun, sweeping his foot over the ground, knocking the three on their asses. He reached for the artist, then tossed him near the others.
“Who are you working for?” he demanded, allowing anger to deepen his voice into a menacing growl.
Tattoo still clutched his throat, but glared up at Connor with a hatred only the youth could attain.
“Fuck off,” he rasped.
The other three looked at each other, then inched away from their apparent leader.
Connor strode to the kid, towering over him, staring him down.
Tattoo swallowed, looking around the alley, anywhere but at Connor. As if realizing he’d shown fear, he jerked his chin back up.
“Who are you working for?” Connor repeated.
The boy glanced at his partners, then back. “Don’t know what you mean.”
Moving so fast there was no way these mortals could follow, he grabbed the kid’s neck, picked him up and slammed him against the wall. Tattoo’s feet kicked uselessly at the brick, high above the ground.
“I won’t ask again,” Connor growled.
The boy squeaked and the smell of urine soaked into the air. His chest rose and fell rapidly as he began to hyperventilate.
One of the girls shouted, “You’re gonna kill him.”
Connor slowly turned his head, staring at her.
She and her friends gasped, crab walking backwards until they hit the wall on the other side of the alley.
He knew what they saw. His anger at the stupidity of these children had fired his blood. His fangs, extended and showing clearly through his grim smile. His eyes, a blood red, blazing with fury.
They saw the monster inside, the monster he was.
He used it to his advantage, and lied. “I’ll snap his neck before you can blink, little girl, if you don’t answer my question.”
She sniffled as the other girl started to sob. The boy beside them inched farther away, heading in the direction of the alley’s entrance.
“I-I… we don’t know his name,” she replied.
“But he calls himself…” Connor prompted.
Connor chuckled, a raspy sound that made the girl flinch. “The devil, aye? Not quite.”
He let the boy slide to the ground and told the girl, “Tell me everything.”
After she’d listed off several addresses where he might find this ‘Diablo’, Connor pulled a bag from his duster and sprinkled the special sand over the pentagram, then ground it in beneath his boot. By the time he was done, the markings had nearly disappeared.
He glared at the kids. “Play with magic again, and I’ll be back. Next time won’t be as pleasant.” He strode out of the alley, not giving any of them another glance.
Out on one of the busy main streets, he scanned each direction. Trying to track any scent beneath the fumes of exhaust and people bustling about would be difficult, if not impossible.
He’d check out the addresses, but with the ritual not taking place, the demon would know something was wrong when he didn’t receive a nice bite of power. He’d be hightailing his cowardly ass out of his preferred hangouts.
Connor headed down the street toward a bar that catered to those like him. He could get a drink, then finish the night’s frustrating hunt.
Two blocks from the bar, the air filled with the stench of sulfurous smoke. He eased along the sidewalk, searching for the demon. Across the street, a man stood in front of a closed door. His black clothes, inky dark hair and pale face pegged him as another Goth. But the red encircling the green in his eyes told Connor another story.
He inhaled deeply, letting his heightened senses sift through the scents.
The guy wasn’t pure demon. Something else, most likely vampire, filled his blood.
Connor froze, staring at the man. As a Judge, one of his jobs was to kill any half-breed he came across.
Tonight was turning into a wild ride.
And just maybe he’d get lucky enough to catch the half-breed, dispose of him without too much damage to the city.
Half-breeds were well known for being crazed with bloodlust, the monsters inside them unable to coexist easily in any human body.
Between the vampire blood and the demon soul, this had to be the one responsible for the murders throughout the city. It would explain the extent of the depraved torture the victims had suffered.
Connor moved to the street, keeping an eye on the half-breed while watching for a break in the traffic. The man left the doorway and strode down the street. Exactly the way Connor had come. Probably going to search out the teenagers and find out why the ritual hadn’t been completed.
Connor stayed on his side of the street, matching the demon’s pace. Minutes passed. Then the demon stopped, pulling a cell phone out of his pocket and answering a call.
If he’d been closer, or the traffic–human and vehicle–lighter, Connor could have listened in as he wanted. Instead, he had to resort to trying to read the demon’s lips, something he’d never quite mastered. Saying to hell with it, he watched a small opening in the traffic draw closer.
Just as he was ready to make a dash for it, he saw her.
She stood just beyond the demon, her red hair up in a chignon. Strands curled down around her heart-shaped face, like he remembered. She glanced his way, though he could tell she didn’t see him.
His heart screamed she must be Ashlyn. From her high cheekbones, small nose, and wide, startling green eyes, to the lush body he’d once known intimately, unhidden by the sleeveless blouse or the slim ankle-length skirt, she looked exactly the same.
But she couldn’t be the woman of his memories.
The sounds of the city faded, replaced by the past.
Scottish war cries echoed in the dark of the night as coming ships roused the clan. They blocked off the cliff stairs that led down a hundred feet to the beach, confident they could repel the invaders. Until they looked down, only to see red-eyed beasts scaling the rock itself.
His last glance of Ashlyn had been her fear-laden eyes, watching him as she shepherded the children through the hidden door at the base of the clan’s castle.
All had died that night, but for Connor and two of his cousins. When they woke, it was as raving beasts.
Ashlyn had not survived.
Connor shook the memories away, staring at the woman whose image, after a thousand years, still haunted his dreams every night.
The demon approached her. She held out her hand, and the hell-spawn touched her soft, creamy skin, then bent closer to say something in her ear.
Connor dodged into the street, ignoring the blaring of horns as he raced for her. Ashlyn or not, she must be saved.
At the commotion, she looked up, and met his gaze. Her eyes widened. She gasped, bringing her free hand up to cover her heart.
Her lips began to curl in the shy smile he remembered so well.
Chills raced over his skin. His lungs emptied on an explosive breath. His stomach clenched as if a car had slammed into him.
Memories jerked him in a vortex of confusion.
It couldn’t be Ashlyn… could it?
His heart skipped a beat, then drummed into a gallop. Hot emotion thrummed through him.
She glanced at the demon by her side. The smile disappeared, replaced by haunting fear.
She grabbed the demon’s arm and together they raced down the street.
Hope you enjoyed 🙂
I was planning on doing a cover reveal & sneak peek a week ago, but things have been so busy.
Luckily, the book is ready to go 🙂
Release Date: July 13th, 2012
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.
The woman chained to the steel bed frame hadn’t stirred in days. Soon she’d wake.
Jordan MacDougal sat in the inky blackness of the basement, waiting. The darkness didn’t bother him. He could see as well at night as any mortal could in the sun.
He spun a wooden match between his fingers, turning it around and around, unable to tear his gaze from the bed. After three days, he still couldn’t figure out exactly what about Dalia Jensen had commanded his attention in the first place.
He should have let her die.
In the millennia he’d been a vampire, he’d only turned a handful of people. He regretted each and every one. Yet while watching this woman waste away in the large hospital bed, knowing she’d been put there by Thomas Montgomery, who’d been a vampire the epitome of evil, Jordan hadn’t been able to stop himself.
She was so young. Only twenty-one according to her driver’s license tucked in his back pocket. And even in a coma-like state, she exuded a vibrancy which drew him.
He forced himself to stand and stretch, to look away from the woman. His hands fisted and the match stick cracked. Sighing, he dropped the two pieces next to the candle on the table.
Like a magnet, the woman drew him once more.
Large chunks of bright pink streaked through her white-blonde hair curling to just below her pixie chin. The startling color was amazing to one as old as he.
In his time, women hadn’t painted their faces with make-up, or dyed their hair unnatural colors.
It was sometimes disconcerting to be faced with how things changed as time passed.
A thick quilt disguised the generous curves of her body. Though the dungeon rooms were kept warm, the newly turned needed the extra heat until they learned control.
Screams from a friend of his who’d been recently changed echoed through the walls, piercing the soundproofing. Jordan ran his hands through his hair, frustration snaking through him. Chase had been created by the same vampire responsible for Dalia’s near death.
And like all new vampires, Chase was crazed with his bloodlust, even three weeks after his awakening.
Staring at Dalia’s face, Jordan memorized the lines and curves. She would wake soon, only to face a huge change. Hunger would make her, like Chase, a ravenous creature needing to kill, to drink. Jordan’s powerful blood would hopefully help the new vampire calm. And his duty was to be here every night, to feed her while trying to break through to the remnants of her humanity.
If she survived the final change.
Once she became lucid, they’d have ‘the talk’, one of the duties of being clan King he despised.
Horror and disappointment would fill her eyes as he explained what she was–and how her old life was forever lost.
This time, he’d have to add how it was his fault.
A knock pounded on the cell’s thick metal door.
Jordan strode across the room and slipped out into the hall. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust from pitch black to bright light. He looked into a feminine version of his own face.
“Fionah? I’m busy,” he said cautiously, unable to read which mood she was in this hour.
His little sister grinned. “Aye, brothair. When are you not?” She swept her long, silk skirts to the side and stepped for the door at his back.
He held his arm out, blocking her. “What do you want?”
She raised one blonde eyebrow, her eyes widening. She giggled and Jordan realized today she was the child, rather than the thousand-year-old vampire.
“To see your new pet,” she replied with a smile.
He sighed. “You know well she’s not a pet.”
“What else then?” She twirled her long skirts around her ankles. “You’ve not brought over a human in hundreds of years. Why now?”
If he had an answer, he might have spoken. Instead, he merely crossed his arms over his chest and stared at his sister.
At the other end of the hall, Eric, one of his Viking guards, rushed down the steps and hurried their way. The man stopped abruptly when he caught sight of Fionah.
Jordan’s guards never knew what to make of his sister, either. She could switch from child-like to screaming fury in a blink, without cause. Her mind was a strange thing, had been since they were children growing up on clan lands in Scotland. A thousand years had only increased her strangeness.
A whisper of movement broke the silence from the room at his back. He scowled, the urge to rejoin Dalia pressing. “It there a party going on down here I wasn’t informed of?”
Eric’s eyes, usually full of laughter, were instead filled with worry. “Luci is missing.”
Jordan straightened as heat fired his veins. Not again. “Where?”
“She was on the blood run to the hospital.”
Jordan barely refrained from slamming his fist into the stone wall. Who in the hell was still taking his people? He’d thought the problem solved when the rogue vampire responsible for Dalia’s condition had been killed. “Did she make it to the hospital?”
Eric shook his head.
Fionah stepped forward, brushing long curls over her shoulder. Her eyes held intelligence and her child-like grin was gone. “How do you know she didn’t make it?”
Eric shot her a glare. “’Tis my duty.”
Jordan rubbed the hilt of the dagger at his belt. “Get some men together. We’ll–” The sound of stirring inside the cell stopped him. He glanced from Eric to the door, torn. He couldn’t leave Dalia, not during her wakening.
Eric’s eyes flashed. “I’ll get a group together. We’ll find Luci.”
Jordan nodded. “Report to me on your return.”
Eric glanced at Fionah before heading to the stairs.
She stared at Jordan, her blue eyes flushing with red. Waving at the door, she demanded, “You put this woman before the clan?”
“I turned her. It is my duty to help her.”
“Why?” She shook her head. “What’s so special about this girl?”
“I don’t know.”
Fionah studied him, then shrugged and glided down the long hall. Jordan sighed, relieved she hadn’t continued her questions. He didn’t have any answers.
He slipped back inside the room. The woman was slowly walking. It wouldn’t be long now.
She woke with a start. Agony seared through her, bringing a scream to her throat. Her heart beat a deafening rhythm and her stomach clenched with fiery hunger. She jerked upright, staring into the darkness, her thoughts scattered like petals on the wind.
She reached up to rub her pounding temples but cold metal weighed heavily on her wrists. Chains rattled.
The shadows whispered a soothing, “Hush.”
Only then did she realize she was keening sharp cries from a need she couldn’t name. She hurt. Oh how she hurt. Her body ached, her stomach roiled. And she was so damn hungry.
A match flared. Candlelight spread a flickering pool over a man sitting near the bed. His features were harsh, yet his blue eyes held kindness.
The pulse beating at his throat drew her attention. She could hear his calm heartbeat over the erratic thumping of her own. The fire consuming her flared and she lunged.
The chains yanked her back to the mattress, keeping her from reaching the man.
Sharp canines pierced her tongue. The coppery taste of blood welled in her mouth. Startled, she stopped pulling at the chains, trying to think as the sweet taste brought her a bit of clarity.
The man left the chair to crouch beside the bed. She couldn’t stop from jumping at him again, but he stayed just out of reach.
“It’s all right, Dalia. You’ll feel better soon.”
Dalia? That was her name. Yes. Her thoughts grew clearer, though the pain rushing through her body was only getting worse.
He raised his wrist to his mouth. An urgent scent of salty copper bit into the air, making her stomach clench. He lowered his arm and her gaze locked on the blood welling over his tanned skin.
“Drink.” He held his hand in front of her face.
A red haze covered her vision and she sank her teeth into his skin. Blood, warm and comforting, filled her mouth. Mindless with a hunger she couldn’t place, unable to even feel disgust at what she was doing, she drank greedily.
The fire in her belly roared and she drank more, wanting to pull him closer, to wrap her hands around his arm and hold him tight to her lips. The chains rattled loudly, still keeping her from grabbing him. She growled in frustration at the cold metal.
Slowly, the flames in her stomach dampened.
Voices, silently screaming inside her head, broke through the fog. She jerked back, pressing against the headboard, as she realized exactly what she’d just done. Her breathing sped up as panic teased at her senses.
Shadow’s filled the man’s eyes. His lips curled into a fierce frown and she shivered at the anger blazing across his face.
With a cry, she scrambled as far as she could across the small bed and pressed into the ice cold wall in the corner.
“It’s all right,” he said gently.
She shook her head, trying to straighten out her thinking. Nothing made sense and she couldn’t even remember why.
“Dalia.” His voice rumbled, his accent thickening. “Come to me.”
Heat flared in the room as his voice tugged on her. Warmth slid over her, prickling her skin, and burrowing deep inside her mind. She shook her head as the buzzing of his command grew and the urge to do as he said increased. Calling for her to go to his side, his voice echoed and repeated in her mind.
She concentrated on listening to the crazed screaming and jabbering of her own internal voice. Curling into a ball, she fisted her hands over her ears. The chains rattled but she barely heard them over his insistent call.
Release Day Giveaway
Leave me a note in the comments with which character you like the most from the excerpt 🙂
I’ll pick 2 winners by the end of the weekend to win a $5 amazon gift card!!
Good Luck and thanks for stopping by,
Cover Art by the amazingly talented Dawné Dominique
Available at Amazon 🙂
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.
Available at Amazon
Release Day Party and Giveaway
I want your opinions!
Here’s my Q4U: What do you like the best about Vampires?
I’ll be checking in all weekend, today through Sunday night. Let’s talk about vampires and what we like most about them. Make sure to come back each day, because more news & awesome prizes will be announced each day!
Every so often, through the day, I’ll be picking random winners for prize packs:
- 5 gift certificates to Ana Banana’s Bath and Body Treats
- 3 gift certificates to Amazon.com
- Amber Kallyn book bags
- Autographed Posters of the cover art
- Autographed postcards of the cover art
In addition to the above prizes, I have 20 mini-stakes to give away today and tomorrow.
They’re hand made, hand engraved, custom keychain Vampire stakes, LOL. They were so cute, I couldn’t resist. Each stake measures about 2 inches long.
As a gift, I will send these in mini-swag packs, which includes a custom stake key chain and an autographed cover of the book to the first 20 people who email me at amberkallyn (at) gmail (dot) com with an amazon reciept for purchasing Bloodstorm.
(This does not preclude you from winning one of the other prizes)
More Prizes will be announced Sunday, so check back, and join in the discussion.
Extra Entries to Friday’s prizes
I’ve never done this before, but I’m willing to try, LOL.
You can earn extra entries in the contest by doing any of the following:
- If you Tweet the following (copy & paste):
Check out @AmberKallyn ‘s Super Duper Par-tay for the release of her Bloodstorm #vampires http://wp.me/p10Tqd-en
- If you Facebook and share the link in the comments
If you comment on any of my Release Day Bash blog hosts sites:
Romancing the Darkside http://romancingthedarkside.blogspot.com/2012/04/bloodstorm-release-day-blitz-giveaway.html
Beverly @ The Wormhole http://wormyhole.blogspot.com/2012/04/release-day-blitz-bloodstorm-by-amber.html
Saph’s Book Blog saphsbookblog.blogspot.com
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom http://www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com/2012/04/bloodstorm-release-day-blitz.html
But most of all
I want to have fun 🙂
I love vampire stories. So share what you love best about vamps, and we can debate it, LOL.
Love ya’ll very much. Thanks for stopping by and if you participate, thanks so many bunches I can’t even count them all.
*If Peter piper picked a bunch of peppers, how many pecks of pickled peppers did peter piper pick?*
Yes, I love ya’ll more than one bunch 🙂
My gorgeous cover.
Dragos 3: Blazed
Coming this Friday, March 11th.
Here’s the stats:
When someone comes after the rock band Brianna Jones works with, she must not only embrace the fire nymph within herself, but also the growing desire she feels for bounty hunter and dragon shifter Tyler Dragos. Together, they will try keeping not only the band members, but Bree safe from the dark mage hounding the Dragos Clan.
After release day, there will be an excerpt available: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1561
Also (and yes, I know it’s March) my Valentine’s Day short story Roses is available FREE on All Romance EBooks . And, to top it off, this next couple weeks you can get any Changeling Press book 25% off at All Romance, since it’s our 7th anniversary 🙂
Have a great week
Yay. Today, my paranormal erotic romance Dragos 2: Scorched is officially out.
Dragos 2: Scorched
by Amber Kallyn
A bounty hunter and a woman on the run. Even dragons can be Scorched by love.
A rare Argentinean dragon shifter, Cynthianna “Anna” Hernandez has never known trust, peace or safety, not even by fleeing to the deepest wilds of Canada. When bounty hunter Garreth Dragos shows up during a blizzard, things get complicated as their inner dragons decide they’re perfect for each other. Things get worse when the dark mage hunting Anna finds them, sending his creatures to return her to his evil clutches. He’s willing to sacrifice anything and anybody to further his quest for power. Together, Anna and Garreth must trust in each other or all will be lost to evil.
Happy weekend everyone 🙂
Release day for Mistletoe 🙂
And, last night I found out my short story Alice is available now (See sidebar on the left)
But, today is a Release Party at The Romance Studio.
Come win Great Prizes, Read Excerpts and talk to your favorite authors.
12N to 8pm EST
Okay, so here it is. Dragos: Burned is live. I’m nervously fidgeting, wondering if people will buy it. Will people read it? Will they like it?
What if everyone thinks I suck?
See, us neurotic writers are truly beyond help. The thing we dream of most also scares us deeply.
I love my story (obviously). Not to say I couldn’t find plenty of things to still edit. Luckily, I’ve heard this is a common mentality.
But, especially this being my first, I can’t help but worry over my fledgling child out there in the world all alone. And I can’t help but worry that no one will enjoy it.
Like I said, call me neurotic.
So, if any of you do read my story, and you do like it — I would really enjoy hearing from you 🙂