Halloween Treats (Excerpt) Coming Your Way!

Last week, I celebrated Halloween with parties and costumes! This year, I dressed up as a Minion. What do you think?

I got a kick out of it and the costume was like wearing a warm hug all day long.

I also bought something appropriate for celebrating the Halloween season. In the past, I have had trouble not buying Halloween decorations. This year I controlled myself (for the most part) until I saw this pillow.

Now how could I walk away from that? I am the Queen of Halloween – self appointed – but still true.

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And as the Queen of Halloween, I am giving you a treat today (better than a trick, I think).

Attached below is an excerpt from DEMONS ARE FOREVER, the third book in my Realm Trilogy that releases one week from today on the 12th!

Chapter 1

Sergei Chesnokov was a demon without purpose. A pathetic admission, especially for someone two hundred forty-five years old, but true nonetheless.

The bell sounded, announcing that the plane had taxied to the gate and passengers could leave their seats, and the people around him leapt into action. Always the same–everyone trying to wrestle with bags that were too big and should never have been in the overhead to begin with, then jockeying for position to rush off the plane to their newest adventure, only to have to wait for their connecting flight or ride.

Sergei used to be like them, traveling throughout the world for the past century to experience everything it had to offer, and using his camera to capture it. So much anticipation. Hell, he had been one of the first to cross the ocean on a commercial flight. There was something about being the first that appealed to him. Maybe being the third son played into it. Growing up, he had never been the first to do anything…except disappoint his father.

“Is everything okay, sir?”

The plane was empty, the flight attendant looking at him with concern. “Yes. I’m fine. I’m not in a rush, so I decided to let everyone else get off first.”

She smiled. “It is a bit crazy, isn’t it?”

Sergei pulled his backpack out from under the seat in front of him and stood. “Yes.” He grabbed his appropriately-sized duffel from the overhead as well.

She walked with him to the front of the plane. “Is Chicago your home?”

Chicago. He’d forgotten where he was for a moment. Nonstop traveling did that. “No. I’m not home. Have a good day.”

The teeming crowd of people had him stopping in the middle of the terminal to get his bearings. He hadn’t been in the States for a while now, and it always took a few days to acclimate to the craziness. Next step was to grab something to eat and then figure out where he wanted to go next.

Sergei pulled his phone out and switched out of airplane mode. In seconds, it beeped, telling him he had a voice mail. He frowned at the name—Irina, his grandmother. She insisted that he call her on Sundays if he was in an area that actually had cell phone service.

The call came in an hour ago – five pm on a Tuesday. His stomach twisted. Something had to be wrong.

Sergei hurried over to the wall, dropped his duffel at his feet, hit play, and listened.

“Sergei, you need to come home. Aleksei is in grave danger. Call the following number and talk to Kyle. She’ll pick you up at the airport and explain everything. Please, Grandson. Your family needs you.”

Sergei’s chest tightened. What kind of message was that? What had happened to his brother?

He called his grandmother’s cell, but it went to voice mail. Then he listened to her message again and wrote down the number for this Kyle person before rushing to the ticket counter. Luckily only one person stood in front of him. He studied the flight screens while he waited. A flight to Cleveland left in less than an hour. Stepping up to the counter, he booked a seat on the plane even though the ticket agent said he would have to run to make it.

Ticket in hand, he ran toward the gate and yelled for them to stop before they closed the door. He clambered onto the plane, stuffed his duffel into an overhead, and dialed the number his grandmother had given him. The person answered on the second ring.

“Sergei?”

“How—”

“Irina gave me your number before she left. Where are you?”

“I’m in Chicago, and just got on a plane for Cleveland, so I should be there in an hour.”

“Good. I’ll be at arrivals waiting for you. I’ll be in a black van.”

“What’s going on, Kyle? Where’s my grandmother?”

“Your family is trying to help Aleksei.”

Sergei let out a breath at the use of present tense. “So he’s not dead.”

“No. I’ll explain everything to you as soon as I can, but it would be better to do it in person.”

Sergei gripped the phone tighter and opened his mouth to argue.

A flight attendant stopped beside him. “I’m sorry, sir. You’ll have to turn off your phone now.”

“I’ll call you when I land, Kyle.” Sergei hung up the phone and flipped it into airplane mode as the plane taxied down the runway.

He leaned against the headrest and rubbed his hands on his jeans.

“Are you okay, son?”

He hadn’t been paying attention to anyone when he boarded, and he turned to look at the older human female next to him who’d made the comment.

“I’m fine.”

“Are you afraid to fly?”

He shook his head. “No.”

“Are you traveling for work?”

He wanted to ignore her questions, but he had been taught to respect elders, even though he was older than she was by at least a hundred years. “I’m visiting my family.”

“Ah. Families are both wonderful and stressful. I hope your trip home is a happy one.” She picked up the book in her lap and thankfully began to read.

Home. He didn’t have a real home anymore. And now the family he had for all intents and purposes abandoned was in trouble. His grandmother had been telling him for a while now to come home, but he always made excuses. Now he didn’t know what awaited him.

He hadn’t spoken to either of his brothers in a long time. He had little in common with his older brother, Misha, and the last conversation he had with Aleksei had ended in an argument. What if those were the last words they would ever speak to each other?

Sergei ran his hands over his face. He had a lot to make up for. He just hoped he wasn’t too late.

So did that entice you??? The Queen of Halloween hopes so!

Releases November 12th – PreOrder:  Amazon  iBooks  Nook  Kobo

Excerpt Time! aka Middle Brother Wants His Time In The Spotlight

Aleksei’s book, DEMONS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND will be released in 2 short weeks! So the middle brother in this crazy demon family wants his say, which means time for an excerpt! Here goes…

Aleksei Chesnokov was a demon with a plan. If there was one thing he’d learned in his two hundred and fifty years, it was to have a plan and stick to it. As the future leader of the Shamat clan, he also knew his time would not be his own. Even though Boris, his father, was entrenched in his role of clan leader, and probably would be for the next several hundred years, it paid to be prepared.

He grabbed a towel hanging off the side of the treadmill and wiped his face, maintaining his stride even as he continued his morning ritual. Earbuds in, he listened to an audiobook. He was all about multi-tasking, so he listened while he ran. This particular book was about project planning.

Imagine a project plan is like a triangle. Point one involves setting objectives. Point two is establishing timelines. Point three includes determining cost. Each side of the triangle is necessary to ensure success.

Which made sense to Aleksei. He wished he could convince others of the importance of planning.

A plan provides balance.

Exactly. Aleksei strove for balance. However, over the course of the past three months, balance had become an elusive animal. It all started when he agreed to run the new Bureau of Demon Immigration. He had seen the job as a training ground for clan leader, a logical step in honing his skills. There were only so many business books he could listen to before he needed practical experience. So when he was asked to run the organization, he jumped at the chance.

Plus, how could he not help bring the demon clans from the realm to earth? The realm was a wasteland, a prison for demons who were being punished for a war their ancestors started a thousand years ago. To play a part in uniting the five realm clans back with the twelve earth clans was a weighty responsibility, and he had been proud to step up and assume the mantle.

Now? Now he wondered if he’d bitten off more than he could chew.

The alarm beeped on the treadmill he was pounding into submission, and Aleksei pushed the cooldown button. Within seconds the speed adjusted, and Aleksei slowed his run to a fast-paced walk. He checked the clock on the wall. In a little less than two hours he would be meeting with the team to discuss the next group of demons who would emigrate from the realm.

Not an easy task, since these demons had no concept of earth and what living here meant. Food, clothes, language—hell, even their ability to change into human form—were all foreign to them. And to make matters even more complicated, the Bureau was now dealing with protestors, demons on earth who weren’t happy about the realm immigration plans.

Once he finished his workout and took a shower, he would review his agenda items for the meeting. The machine slowed further, so Aleksei hit the stop button and stepped off.

Next he strode to the side of the room, entering a long, thin hallway with the bullseye at the far end, used for a special kind of target practice.

He could do this. Be the best damn director of the immigration. But he needed to convince Naya, the realm guard leader, that he was not the enemy. If she wouldn’t disagree with him at every turn, things would run more smoothly. If only he could explain the concept of team-building to the stubborn female, but teamwork was not in her makeup.

Aleksei jerked back to the present and the droning in his ears, unsure how much of the book he’d missed by zoning out. Time to pay attention.

Step one in project planning: Imagine your objectives.

Aleksei stared at his palm. Sparks appeared and coalesced into a small ball of fire. Aleksei focused down the target range before releasing the fireball with a quick snap. The ball hit the center of the bullseye. He watched his hand again, ready to repeat the process as bits of fire swirled from his fingertips.

Practice makes perfect, and he couldn’t afford to screw up—both for his sake, and the sake of his clan.

A bit of a tease of what’s to come. So what do you think??

PreOrder:   Amazon   ibooks   Kobo    B&N 

It’s Almost Showtime!

Monday Misha’s story releases and before then he wants to give you a sneak peek. Below is an excerpt from DEMONS WILL BE DEMONS, book one in The Realm Trilogy. Book one is all about Misha finding love. He’ll tell you that it’s about daggone time!

Without further adieu…

Chapter 1

Misha Sokolov was a demon on a mission.

It was finally time to take the plunge back into the dating game, but unlike the quirky TV show, he didn’t need a cheesy game show host or a trio of bachelorettes to make his choice. He had already found his one and only.

It shouldn’t matter that they came from different worlds, literally. Love should be able to conquer all—even interdimensional portal jumps.

He glanced over at his teammate Jean Luc, who drove the team van like they were in one of The Fast and the Furious movies. Tires squealed as they streaked down Mayfield Road to pick up their other teammate Kyle in Little Italy. With Jean Luc it didn’t matter if they were on their way to a case or simply out for a drive, speed was the vampire’s constant companion, along with his vampire lady-love, Talia.

“Is something wrong, my friend?” Jean Luc asked as he screeched to a stop in front of Kyle’s apartment building, the smell of burned rubber permeating the van.

Misha opened his mouth and then closed it again. How could he explain to Jean Luc…who had only to walk down the street with his long hair and French accent to attract hordes of females…that he, Misha, was nervous about a female? One female—his bachelorette—in particular.

Naya.

His stomach fluttered like a lovesick schoolgirl…or was it the two burritos he’d had for lunch? Either way, Naya was his dream woman. Hell, he’d never seen her human side and he still found her gorgeous. Maybe because her demon side was a purple version of Xena, Warrior Princess.

He thought she might be his soul mate, and in his heart of hearts he did believe that love could conquer all, but there was one small problem.

He couldn’t talk to her.

He became a bumbling, stumbling idiot whenever he was within a fifty-foot radius of her. Misha Sokolov, who, according to his babushka, was born with the gift of gab. And since his grandmother was over a thousand years old, she would know.

He could talk to females. Had he not already been married three times? True, his first marriage was arranged by his father, but the other two weren’t. They didn’t work out, but it wasn’t because he couldn’t talk to them. Natalia, wife number two, would say the opposite, actually. That he was way too fond of talking.

He shook his head. His love life, or gaping lack thereof, might be his mission, but was not the actual priority right now.

After they picked up Kyle, they were on their way to the demon immigration meeting to work out how to bring the next group of demons to earth from the demon realm.

And Naya would be there.

In approximately one month, the next realm demons would arrive. Even after the first group immigrated with few issues, dissenters in the supernatural community who did not want the realm demons to come to earth had become increasingly vocal. Which meant everything must go according to plan with the next group. Supernaturals, like humans, were not immune to having fear and ignorance cause them to do stupid things.

The back door of the van opened and Kyle hopped inside. Misha smiled at his petite teammate, who was decked out in her usual black jeans, T-shirt, and steel-toed black boots. The color of her hair was often a surprise, although recently she had been keeping it jet black. Today she had a festive streak of red down one side.

She pulled out a bag from behind her back, and he reached for it with glee.

“The bakery! What did you bring me today, little one?”

She handed him the bag. “Three apple strudels. I would’ve bought more, but there must’ve been a run on them before I got there.”

He opened it and caught a whiff of the cinnamon and sugar wafting up from the bag. Nirvana. “Thank you. This will tide me over until my midafternoon snack.” He took a bite of the pastry.

Kyle chuckled. “It’s already midafternoon, you know.” She gave Misha the once-over before her eyebrows rose slightly. “Don’t you look fancy. Is that a new shirt?”

He took a long time swallowing before answering her. “No,” he lied before stuffing the rest of the strudel into his mouth and chewing for several moments.

When Kyle opened her mouth to say something else, Misha asked, “Isn’t Joe joining us?” If he brought up Kyle’s FBI boyfriend, maybe he could distract her.

“Dalton’s in Chicago on a case. And don’t lie to me, demon. You dressed up for Naya.”

Before he could lie to her again, his ringing phone saved him. Dolly was calling from the office.

Misha clicked on the speaker. “Well hello, Dolly,” he sang in his bass voice.

“That wasn’t funny the first time you did it, Misha, and hasn’t been the thousand times since then.”

“What can I do for you?” Misha asked, ignoring her scold.

“We’ve got a call.”

“We’re on the way to the demon immigration meeting. Can it wait?”

“It’s the twins.”

Misha sighed. The twins. Dolly didn’t need to bother with any further explanation.

If Misha hadn’t automated the Bureau of Supernatural Relations filing system a couple of years ago, and they still kept paper files, the twins’ folder would be several inches thick, even though they had only been wreaking havoc for a little over a year now.

If Misha had to place bets on who would finally expose supernaturals to humans, he would put his money on those two little demons, Matthew and Luke Roberts.

***

So, there you go. A little snippet of Misha’s story. What do you think??

 

 

Upcoming Release Celebration – Excerpt Time!

TO HAVE AND TO HOWL will release in one week! To celebrate the upcoming unveiling, I will be sharing several posts with you over this week. This first post is an excerpt for your reading pleasure of the new book.

There will also be an exclusive excerpt reveal later in the week on the Heroes and Heartbreakers site as well and I will share that with you too!

And of course, we can’t forget about teasers. Since Julia the heroine in this book is a lawyer, I have created 5 video teasers about practicing law with a paranormal twist! Stay tuned and I’ll share those with you as well over the week.

So without further delay, join in on the celebration and check out the excerpt below…

Love and law are not so different in their pursuit of truth.

Chapter 1

Julia Cole entered the empty Tribunal chamber, her heart pounding in sync with the staccato click of her heels on the stone floor. She hesitated at the front of the gallery, resisting the urge to walk those few extra steps to the prosecutor’s table.

She wasn’t used to sitting in the audience when a trial took place, and if she had been able to convince the magistrates, she would have been prosecuting this case. But the magistrates shot down her request immediately. Not because she was a human wanting to try a supernatural case, or because she was normally a defense attorney, but instead they cited conflict of interest. Her husband was one of the victims. In her head, she knew they were right, but her heart was still kicking and screaming about it.

Today would not be a fun day. But then, fun had not been seen or had for a while now. Determination—yes. Single-mindedness—most definitely. Anger…well, anger had become her constant companion.

Julia sat in the front row and closed her eyes. She had been sitting in this same seat throughout the final week of the trial, absorbing every nuance, and staring the accused supernatural supremacist in the eyes. She would not be cowed. And since Thomas could not be here, she would be his representative, his presence, his voice. She would not allow her husband’s message of tolerance to be silenced.

Today was the day. The verdict would be announced. And all the victims and their families would receive justice. There could be no other outcome.

The room filled up quickly. Throughout the trial, the magistrates had kept the chamber closed unless someone was called to testify or, in Julia’s case, petitioned to attend. Now people crowded the benches and lined the sides of the gallery.

Jonathan Godfrey, the prosecutor, entered the chamber and nodded to her. He was a powerful foe in the courtroom, but in this instance, he had carefully considered her input and insights from the beginning.

Thomas’s brother, Devin, arrived with his wife, Alex, who sat down next to Julia and squeezed her hand. Filing in behind them were Devin’s teammates, the men who helped capture and bring the supremacists to trial.

She looked back at the four men and acknowledged each in turn, Charlie, Giz, and the twins, Connor and Jack. Jack had almost lost his life in the pursuit. She owed him and all of them for what they had been willing to sacrifice for this case. Even Alex was kidnapped and threatened. Julia wasn’t sure if anyone would ever know the full extent of the crimes committed by these bastards.

And speaking of bastards—Tobin, the leader of the supernatural supremacists, swaggered into the room between two guards, his hands secured in glowing handcuffs. The supremacist gang had elected him as their representative in court. Why, Julia had no idea, but she also didn’t understand why the idiots had followed him to begin with.

The room buzzed, anxiety jumping from person to person like static electricity. The guard at the front of the room gestured for them to rise. She stood with the rest of the crowd as the magistrates entered and sat at a raised bench in the front. There was no jury of your peers in supernatural court. Three magistrates heard the cases and rendered a decision.

The head magistrate raised his hand for silence and then motioned for everyone to take a seat. Julia pulled out her notes from the trial and the gold pen Thomas gave her. She gripped the pen so tightly she thought it might leave indentations in her fingers.

The head magistrate stood. “The case is concluded. In the matter of extortion, gunrunning, drug smuggling, kidnapping, attempted murder, and murder, we find Josiah Tobin and the Vipera gang guilty as charged.”

The room erupted into shouts and sobs.

Julia’s vision narrowed into a thin tunnel. The world tilted and went fuzzy…she shook her head hard, once, and deliberately slowed her breathing.

Had she heard the magistrate correctly? She turned to see Alex and Devin hugging beside her. It had actually happened. She wasn’t imagining things. She had dreamed of this so many times, the reality was hard to believe.

“Order!” the magistrate yelled as he slammed his hand on the bench and the sound vibrated through the room as if amplified by a speaker. The crowd settled down, and everyone took their seats again.

“Normally we would pronounce sentence immediately. However, in human courts of law, we understand that victims and their families are permitted to speak before sentencing. Prosecutor Godfrey has requested that this practice be followed here. We have decided to allow his request. The floor is yours.”

Godfrey cleared his throat. “Thank you, your honors. Julia Cole has asked to speak on behalf of the victims.”

Julia blinked. She blew out a breath and then inhaled, imagining herself breathing into a paper bag. She and Godfrey talked about the possibility of this happening, but he wasn’t sure the magistrates would allow it. Now the time had come.

She could do this. Delivering closing remarks in a courtroom was second nature to her. She would speak for all the victims and their families today. Someone needed to be their voice, and she was more than ready to speak on their behalf.

Well…what do you think?

Preorder:   Amazon   ibooks    Kobo    B&N  

Excerpt, Excerpt, Read All About It

wedding1-elf copySo are you ready for some more info on my paranormal wedding planner series? Well, I can’t think of a better way to get the feel for the new series than to read an excerpt! And I thought it made sense to give you something from the very beginning…

Chapter 1

It was time. Alex peeked out the door of the inn and clutched the bouquet of orchids to her chest to hide her trembling hands. Hundreds of guests were perched on white wooden chairs in the grass. Many of them, celebrities included, turned frequently to glance back at the inn, hoping to catch the first glimpse of the wedding party. Excitement buzzed in the air as a small group of invited paparazzi circled the crowd like gnats, snapping pictures.

The inn was the spot in San Diego. The timeless stone and wood inn overlooked the steep cliff, while waves crashed below at the perfect volume—not so loud as to drown out the string quartet, but in the background as an important part of the ambiance.

Her grandmother made sure the wedding was all about ambiance.

Alex took a deep breath and tried to remember the relaxation techniques Dr. Jennings taught her. Nothing. Two years of counseling and she was drawing a blank. Her heartbeat sped up, the pounding so loud it pulsed in her ears. Alex switched the flowers to one hand and wiped her sweaty palm on her dress. The movement stirred the petals, perfuming the air with a hint of vanilla. She sucked in another deep breath and concentrated on the flowery fragrance.

She could do this. She owed it to her grandmother. Heck, she owed it to herself.

She checked the clock in the entryway. Three minutes and counting. Her friend Peggy walked toward her, smiling.

“Is everything ready?” Alex blurted.

“Of course. Your grandmother is in charge.”

The crowd let out a collective gasp when Bradley took center stage. His dark Armani suit fit his toned, fit body to perfection, and his blond hair was cut short and styled flawlessly. He looked like a movie star…which made perfect sense, since he was a movie star.

Alex giggled. Oh, no, there would be no uncontrollable giggling, laughing, or guffawing. Although inappropriate laughter would be a far better choice than projectile vomiting. Alex bit her lip to stifle another giggle from erupting.

Peggy leaned closer, nudging Alex’s shoulder with her own. “He’s downright edible.”

“Peggy!” Alex released the breath she’d been holding. Everything will be fine. It is all going as planned.

Only one thing was missing…

The bride.

As if on cue, supermodel Sydney Thompson descended the staircase of the inn with her entourage of three bridesmaids, a hairstylist, and a makeup artist in tow. Alex’s grandmother, Lorinda Bennett, wedding planner for the ridiculously rich and fabulously famous, completed the procession.

The group swarmed the lobby, making tiny adjustments here and there to assure Sydney looked her best. They didn’t need to worry. Statuesque and almost otherworldly, Sydney glowed. Her strapless mermaid gown hugged her curves, and her long, blond hair hung in loose waves around her shoulders.

Lorinda’s regal voice broke through the high-pitched chatter. “Alexandra, the bouquet.”

Alex maneuvered through Sydney’s anxious entourage and handed her the flowers. “You look amazing.”

Sydney flashed her gorgeous, insured-by-Lloyd’s-of-London smile. “Thanks.”

The music changed, signaling the bridal party’s entrance, and Lorinda took over, reminding Alex of a symphony conductor. Grandmother was in her glory, as well she should be. Landing the Bradley Prentice and Sydney Thompson wedding had been a coup of epic proportions.

Alex slipped outside with Peggy to watch the bridesmaids proceed down the grassy aisle.

Peggy patted her shoulder. “It’s good to have you here today, Alex.”

Alex nodded, since her voice had deserted her. She hadn’t been to a wedding in two years, not since her own almost-wedding. And she wouldn’t be here now if this wedding wasn’t so important to her grandmother and to Bennett Bridal, Incorporated. Working the ceremony today was her first step toward becoming the old Alex Bennett again. The one her grandmother would be proud of.

In the middle of her thought, irrational fear wrapped its icy fingers around her spinal column and squeezed, and she had to lock her knees to keep from sprinting for cover.

Peggy continued, “This is a huge day for the business. It’s icing on the cake to have you here to help us.”

Alex smiled, although she imagined it looked a tad maniacal. Peggy was Bennett Bridal’s office manager and she was always in control. These days Alex was never in control. It was quite annoying, really.

The Wedding March swelled, and Alex swallowed hard, as if each chord was a new lump joining the growing pile in her throat. For her, attending a wedding was as much fun as a root canal without Novocain. But she couldn’t bring herself to confess her phobia to Peggy or her grandmother, or tell either one about her panic attacks.

Rational human beings didn’t have wedding phobias.

******

Preorder:  Amazon     Kobo       iBooks

And there you go! So what do you think?

I’m a Tease, and I Like It!

Did I get your attention with that title, my followers? Three weeks and counting until I release Sentinel Lost, book 5 in my Mind Sweeper Series. I shared my cover and blurb with you last week, so this week I thought a teaser AND excerpt was in order! Are you ready….

SentinelLost2

And since the teaser above is the first line in the book, I thought it would make sense for the excerpt to start right from the beginning!


Chapter 1

How many supernaturals does it take to screw in a lightbulb? In this particular case, way more than I had backing me up.

I walked around the outside of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Even though the pole lights in the parking lot were on, reflecting eerily in the puddles, the inside of the building was pitch dark.

And the museum was never dark.

I pulled Stanley, my .9 mm, out of his holster and clicked off the safety. I didn’t need supernatural senses to know something was hinky.

Damn. This was supposed to be a quick drive-by. Misha was so going to owe me for this one. He’d detected some sort of energy surge on his equipment. Go check it out, Kyle. We’ll be right behind you, Kyle. Ugh. Normally Misha’s energy spikes amounted to nothing.

But then, when could I rely on anything being normal?

I reached for my phone to find out how far he, Jean Luc, and Talia were from my location. Before I could call, a loud thump made me slip into the shadows and then slink along the side of the building until I reached the back.

A metal door slammed open, and a huge man darted down the stone steps, his footfalls echoing across the lagoon in front of us.

Come on. Give me something, big guy. Are you a norm or a supe? I hesitated for a second. If he was a human burglar, I had no jurisdiction here. Screw it. He was getting away, and my gut told me to take a chance.

“Freeze!” I yelled, walking into the light of the full moon and aiming Stanley at the guy.

He jerked to a halt, turned toward me and stared. His eyes glowed like lighthouse beacons. Supe it is. Now we’re talking.

“Bureau of Supernatural Relations. Hands where I can see them,” I barked while I moved closer.

He stood there glowering.

“Did you hear me? Hands up!”

He raised them slowly, and I stepped closer. He clenched his right fist, and I gasped. Even though he was several feet away, invisible fingers clamped around my wrist like a vise. I tried to yank out of his hold. He frowned at my resistance, and as he closed his left fist, I aimed and shot. He howled, clutching his left shoulder. When he pulled his hand away, blood ran down his arm. Green blood.

What. The. Hell?

He flung his right arm outward, and Stanley flew from my grip. Then he raised his hand, palm down, and I dangled in the air, my feet jerking beneath me in a futile attempt to touch the ground. His upper lip crooked up like a demented Elvis. He studied me for a moment like I was a lab experiment.

This was what I got for listening to my gut. My stupid, stupid, gut.


I hope you enjoyed the little teaser… I’ll be sharing more teaser pics over the next three weeks!

Preorder:   Amazon       Apple iBooks        Kobo

Picture Time!

No excuses this time, my followers. I am two days late for my weekly blog, but there is a definite reason for it. On Saturday, I posted my cover reveal for The Pursuit, which is book 4 in my Mind Sweeper Series. And since I think that it is an AMAZING cover, I decided to leave it front and center on my blog page for a few days before I posted my weekly blog.

If you didn’t get a chance to see my cover reveal, click HERE to check it out. And if you are wanting to read an excerpt from The Pursuit, click HERE.

Now when it came to this cover, I will admit that I was a little nervous. After all I have described Jean Luc in my books as beautiful and sexy. And I am sure that my readers have definite ideas of what he looks like in their heads. But I decided to take the risk and put a picture of him on this cover. I mean, Talia got face time on book two, it only seems fair that Jean Luc got some attention of his own!

It really is amazing what a picture can do. It can set mood, set expectation, set pulses racing. So in celebration of my release on February 8th, I am having fun with pictures!

I have created a Pinterest board for The Pursuit where I will be posting relevant pics for your perusal. Come visit it by clicking HERE.

And of course…wait for it….I will be having countdown teasers next week too! Yahoo, I just love teasers. Fun or angsty quotes paired with pictures that make you wonder what the book is really about!

So stay tuned….

 

Cover Reveal: The Fledgling

Here is my newest cover reveal! Check out The Fledgling, book two in the Mind Sweeper Series which will be released on October 13th! But you can preorder now if you would like 😉

The Fledgling is a novella about Jean Luc. After you have perused the new cover, make sure to read the blurb and excerpt below.

And tell me what you think!!

Preorder:          Amazon     Kobo     iBooks

 

fledglingfinal2-jacket copy

 

The Fledgling – A Novella

Book Two in the Mind Sweeper Series. This book is a novella at approximately 20,000 words.

A Mind Sweeper novella that peeks into Jean Luc Delacroix’s past. He has lived for centuries as a vampire, but the 1980’s may be his biggest challenge yet. How does a nearly four-hundred-year-old vampire survive a decade of shoulder pads, big hair, and music videos? Simple. Concentrate on his job.

Jean Luc and his demon partner, Misha, work for the Bureau of Supernatural Relations. Their task: keep humans from finding out about the supernatural. Not a simple thing to do when dead bodies keep turning up with their throats ripped out. So the team’s first priority is to stop a supernatural serial killer from striking again. The only problem is the beautiful bounty hunter who keeps interfering with the investigation.

Talia Walker is a bounty hunter who also happens to be a newly turned vampire. She deliberately avoids other supernaturals and knows nothing of what being a vampire truly means. Her job: find a murderer and bring him to justice. The problem is she has never dealt with a supernatural bounty before…or an overbearing, ridiculously sexy vampire.

When Jean Luc and Talia butt heads over the investigation, only Misha can see that their animosity has more to do with attraction than anger. And unless Jean Luc and Talia can set aside their troubled pasts and learn to trust each other, they may never have an opportunity to explore their true feelings. Especially when they come face to face with the killer.

 

Excerpt:

 

Chapter 1

Sometime in the mid 1980’s…

The smell of blood no longer excited him. Whether that was a good thing was debatable. However, in this particular instance, it worked to his advantage. The stale, tinny odor engulfing the room had already sent several men out the door to lose their most recent meal.

“Jean Luc?”

Mon Dieu. He turned toward the voice and stifled a groan. Three hundred and seventy-five-year-old vampires did not groan in the face of overzealous human females. And one such female sashayed toward him.

Well, sashayed was perhaps an overstatement, since she wore paper slippers over her shoes and studiously tried to avoid the human detritus littering the floor. The extraordinarily large shoulder pads in her suit made her look like a small child playing dress-up in her father’s clothes.

“It is you! Hi, how have you been?”

“Good evening, Muriel.”

She smiled, and her eyes assessed him quickly, the way a shifter would peruse a fresh piece of meat. “You still look the same. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw you…”

Was she really flirting with him? Here? Jean Luc took a calming breath. “We met over the previous dead body.”

Muriel giggled. “Of course. Well…I guess I should get to work then.” She snapped on her rubber gloves and squatted down next to the corpse.

And within a matter of seconds, the flirtatious woman disappeared, replaced by a focused, professional medical examiner who barked orders. “Harper, did you get pictures on both sides of the body?”

When no one responded, Muriel’s head jerked up in irritation. “Harper!”

“Is he the redheaded technician with the camera?”

“Yes.”

Jean Luc nodded toward the door, and the muted sounds of retching. “He is a bit indisposed.”

Muriel sighed. “He’s new. I hope he sticks around longer than the last tech. They all think this job is going to be like the TV show, Quincy.” She stood and scanned the room, homing in on an older officer. “Simmons, would you go get the camera from Harper and make sure all angles are captured?”

When Simmons returned, Muriel stepped out of his way and motioned for Jean Luc to follow her into the garage.

Peeling off her gloves, she blew out a hard breath. “I thought I had seen it all before, but this? His throat was ripped out. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was attacked by a bear or a wolf.”

“Indeed.”

“Except we’re in a split-level in the Indianapolis suburbs.”

Jean Luc shrugged. “There is that.”

“Come on, Jean Luc, the department didn’t just hire you for your pretty face. Give me something to work with.”

The department had not actually hired him at all, but the misconception helped him with his real job. The police commissioner contacted the Bureau of Supernatural Relations whenever something “irregular” occurred, so Jean Luc could help cover it up. But there would be no concealing this type of death. The killer might as well have posted it on a billboard. And claw marks did not narrow the field of potential supernatural killers. They could mean vampire, demon, or shifter.

He paused for a moment, debating how much to say. Unfortunately, he had seen this type of kill before. “The viciousness of these murders is increasing. He either knew the victim or is beginning to enjoy the savagery of the act.”

Muriel nodded. “I see no evidence of hesitation this time.”

He opened his mouth to respond, but something light as a gossamer thread brushed his consciousness, and he looked out the open garage door, casing the yard. Several uniformed police officers stood outside, but none were paying attention to his discussion with Muriel.

A supernatural was nearby.

“Jean Luc?”

He turned back to the Medical Examiner. “What do we know about the victim, Muriel?”

“Not too much yet. But they should have found out something by now. Charlie!”

After a few seconds, a heavyset man in a worn corduroy suit lumbered into the garage. “You bellowed, Muriel?”

She chuckled. “You’re the only one who isn’t scared of me. Why is that?”

“Unlike some of these cavemen, I think you actually know what you’re doing, even if you don’t have a penis.”

Muriel grinned. “You always say the nicest things. What have you got for us on the vic?”

Charlie pulled out a small notebook and flipped it open. “Guy’s name is Peter Peters.”

Muriel rolled her eyes. “Cut the crap, Charlie.”

His mouth quirked up a bit. “Honest, I’m not making it up. His parents need to be smacked upside the head a couple times. According to the neighbors, he’s been living here for two years. He was, and I quote ‘quiet and kept to himself.’ Why am I not surprised?”

“Do we know if he had any recent altercations?” Jean Luc asked.

“Nada. I’ve radioed into the station, and they’re checking the files, but nothing came up so far. No domestics. The neighbors don’t remember seeing any steady girlfriends, either.”

“Did he have a steady job?”

Charlie turned the page of his notebook. “That’s where it gets interesting. He was an accountant for Manny Edwards.”

Muriel frowned slightly. “You don’t think it’s legit?”

“Oh, he probably did work with numbers, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t on the up-and-up. We’ve never been able to catch him, but I’d bet my shield Manny’s restaurant is a front for a bookie joint.”

Manny was also a shifter who dealt with many of the supernaturals in the city, but they did not need to know that.

“We’ve tried to place several cops under cover in his operation, but no one has ever lasted for long.”

Which was no surprise. Shifters were incredibly skillful at sniffing out emotions—walking supernatural versions of a lie-detector. They would see right through a cop’s cover. “Will you be interviewing Manny?”

Charlie smiled. “Oh, yeah. He’s top on my list.”

Once Charlie had finished with his interrogation, Jean Luc would visit himself to find out the truth. After all, Charlie had no inkling of what to ask.

###

Jean Luc watched a very irritated police detective peel away from Manny’s establishment. He would wait a few more minutes before approaching the restaurant.

He rested his head against the car seat and closed his eyes. He was tired, as much as a vampire could be tired, and he longed for a moment of quiet. However, instead of silence, he was being serenaded by his partner, who, if he was not mistaken, was whistling the theme song from one of the multitude of television shows he regularly devoured, memorized, and then trotted out to fill every quiet moment.

“Misha, may I have a moment of peace, s’il vous plait?”

The whistling stopped.

Jean Luc took several deep breaths. Why did he continue doing this work? Another dead body. Another case of a supernatural risking exposure to humans. Another lie he must fabricate to conceal the truth. A century of the same issues, of moving back and forth across the country, unable to build a sense of permanence. Misha and he had only been living in Indianapolis for a couple of months. Nicholas had reassigned them to Indiana a week before the killings started. Which was a very significant coincidence, and Jean Luc didn’t believe in coincidence. But until they found the killer, he would table the list of questions he had for his boss.

“What is wrong, my friend?” Misha asked, his deep Russian accent rumbling in the close quarters of the car.

“Nothing. We should go see Manny now.”

Misha shook his head slightly. “You may be older than I am, vampire, but it does not mean you’re a good liar.”

Jean Luc turned to issue a retort, but instead quirked a brow at his teammate. He had not paid attention to the demon’s outfit earlier. He was wearing a white suit with a turquoise t-shirt and shoes with no socks. Did he dare ask him why he was dressed this way? No, ignorance was truly bliss when it came to Misha’s peculiarities. And he was glaring at him as only a stubborn Russian could.

Jean Luc blew out a breath in defeat. “These murders worry me. I have not seen this kind of blatant disregard for exposure of our kind in centuries.” Not since The Wars, and that was not a subject Jean Luc wished to discuss.

“Do you have a theory yet?”

“No. And I have arrived at the crime scenes too long after the killer left to sense any residual energy that might reveal what type of supernatural we are pursuing.” He reached for the door handle. “Shall we go in?”

They climbed out of the car and were greeted at the restaurant door by Manny’s version of a host. He loomed as tall as Misha—who stood six feet six inches—and his neck was as big around as Jean Luc’s waist.

“Welcome to Manuelo’s.”

Jean Luc glanced around the restaurant. “We would like to speak with Manny.”

The behemoth crossed his arms over his broad chest. “Sorry, he’s not available right now.”

A door behind the host’s counter opened, and a short, portly man appeared. “It’s okay, Jacob, I’ll take it from here.” He gestured them to a corner booth.

Once they were seated, he smiled and said, “I’m Manny, and you must be the new team Nicholas assigned to the city.”

“How did you know?” asked Misha.

He shrugged. “Vampires and demons don’t normally mix, so I put two and two together.”

“Then you also know we are here to discuss Peter’s murder,” Jean Luc said.

Manny frowned. “I can’t believe Peter’s dead. The cops wouldn’t tell me what happened.”

“Peter was killed by a supernatural.”

“Damn.”

“What can you tell us?” Misha interjected.

“Same things I told the cops. I don’t know who would want to kill him. He was a good employee and got along with everyone.”

Jean Luc tuned into the flow of Manny’s blood, listening to his heartbeat, which remained slow and steady. “What about one of your clients who might hold a grudge?”

Manny’s eyes narrowed for a moment, as if he was trying to decide how much to say. “Peter didn’t deal directly with my customers. He worked in the back room and balanced the books.”

“Did he know about supernaturals? That you are a shifter?”

“Nope. We’re careful here. Our human employees don’t have a clue.”

###

Jean Luc opened the restaurant door. Dusk cast a light orange hue over the street as the sun sank beneath the skyline.

Misha walked around him toward the car. “Well, that was a bust. It reminds me of a recent episode of Magnum, PI. Magnum questioned this guy who had stolen…”

The tingling started again, traveling lightly up Jean Luc’s spine, and Misha’s voice faded away. He would swear he sensed a fledgling, but it was not possible. Vampires were required to register with them when entering their jurisdiction. And there were no new vampires under the age of fifty currently living in the city.

He looked across the street, studying the area illuminated by the neon sign advertising the Gentleman’s Club. But unlike the refined gentleman’s clubs Jean Luc had frequented centuries ago, the name now represented something seedy, sordid.

He surveyed the immediate area. No one stood outside the club, and the windows were covered with thick curtains. The street appeared to be empty.

But someone was watching.