Weekend Edition – Life Without Regrets plus Writing Tips and Good Reads

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

Dan’s right. It is later than you think.

paris clockDo you ever feel like the Universe is conspiring to send you a message? I do. All the time.

This week, the theme was “Life is Short.”

I began the week with a little getaway that was inspired by the truth of life’s brevity. Along with my beau and my daughter, I headed north to the elegant and enchanting Mount Washington Hotel – an idyllic, turn of the century hideaway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Knowing how quickly the next few years will pass (and how, soon, my daughter may be less inclined to spend quality time with her dear mother), I took my fifth grader out of school for the three days so we could revel in the delights of slightly forbidden joys. We went on a horseback ride, hiked to a waterfall, and she and my beau spent hours performing…

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Spotlight: Predator by Janice Gable Bashman

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Predator by Janice Gable Bashman
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books

“Predator is a fast-paced, creepy page-turner! Bashman had me at the opening sentence and she’s still got me. I want more!”

Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Rules

The hunt is on!

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland must inject herself with an untested version of her father’s gene therapy to become a werewolf in order to stop a corrupt group of mercenaries from creating a team of unstoppable lycanthrope soldiers.

When Bree went with her scientist father to Ireland, she thought it would be a vacation to study bog bodies. She never expected to fall in love with a mysterious young Irishman and certainly never expected to become the kind of monster her father said only existed in nightmares. Dr. Sunderland discovers that lycanthropy was not a supernatural curse but rather a genetic mutation. When they return home, her dad continues his research, but the military wants to turn that research into a bio weapons program and rogue soldiers want to steal the research to turn themselves into unstoppable killing machines.

Bree’s boyfriend Liam surprises her with a visit to the United States, but there are darker surprises in store for both of them. As evil forces hunt those she loves, Bree must become an even more dangerous hunter to save them all.

Predator gives the werewolf legend a couple of new spins by introducing the Benandanti (an actual folkloric belief that certain families of Italy and Livonia were werewolves who fought against evil), as well as a modern scientific approach to mutation and the science of transgenics.

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Cover Reveal: I “Heart” Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

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Welcome to the Cover Reveal for

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen

presented by Month9Books!

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

I HEART ROBOT Cover Art from Suzanne van Rooyen

I’m not the most artistically inclined. While I do love art and have been known to bust out the pencils and paints myself, it’s not an area where I’d consider myself particularly talented. In short, I knew that cover design was something best left to the professional and I had every confidence in Month9Books.

I am so grateful to Georgia McBride for allowing me to have the amount of input I did when it came to cover creation for I Heart Robot. This is a novel that is as much about a civil rights struggle in a futuristic, post-war city as it is about romance, and we wanted a cover that reflected both elements. Finding the right balance between romance and science fiction was a tall order, but Month9Books delivered in spades by presenting me with two stylistically different covers. I loved elements of both, and by working closely with the cover artist and with Georgia we managed to combine all the best parts of both original covers into what we have today: a cover that reflects the gritty world my characters live in while emphasizing the fact that this is above all, a love story.

I Heart Robot

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

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Title: I Heart Robot
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen

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SV

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Book Blitz: Dark Roses Boxed Set

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Eight New York Times, USA Today or Best Selling Authors of Paranormal Romance- P.T. Michelle, Trisha Leigh, Anthea Sharp, Lola St. Vil, Terah Edun, Erica Cope, Cameron Jace, Sarra Cannon come together to bring you Dark Roses.

SYNOPSIS: Eight bestselling authors. Eight stories of paranormal romance. Eight series to take your breath away. From kick-ass cheerleaders to leaders of the fae, these teenage girls are out to save their worlds, one unforgettable adventure at a time. The only thing standing in their way – love, loss & a little magic.

From NYT & USA Today Bestselling author, P.T. MICHELLE – BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS — Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.

From USA Today bestselling author LYLA PAYNE, writing as TRISHA LEIGH – WHISPERS IN AUTUMN — For sixteen years, Althea has been alone in her ability to feel emotion, to think for herself, and on occasion, light things on fire. The autumn brings a boy named Lucas to town, along with unwanted scrutiny from the alien race of Others that rule Earth, and if she wants to live to see winter Althea will have to stop hiding–and start fighting

From USA Today bestselling author, ANTHEA SHARPFEYLAND: THE DARK REALM — Jennet Carter never thought hacking into her dad’s new epic-fantasy sim-game would be so exciting… or dangerous. But behind the interface, dark forces lie in wait, leading her toward a battle that will test her to her limits and cost her more than she ever imagined.

From bestselling author, LOLA ST. VILGUARDIANS: THE GIRL — The prophecy says “should human and angel unite, it will bring the end of the human race…” Yet Emmy & Marcus can’t fight their feelings. All they want is to be together; the only way for us to survive is to keep them apart…

From bestselling author, TERAH EDUNWITCHES FINISH FIRST — Witch. Daughter. Queen. Katherine is second-in-line in a provincial town ruled by her coven. But she’s about to learn that the hierarchy of witches first, fae second, and humans last isn’t set in stone…at least not in high school.

From bestselling author, ERICA COPELARK — An ordinary girl. An ordinary life. Until her Elfin heritage comes to light. Mia Carrington discovers she’s the heir to the kingdom of Álfheimr in the most unexpected way. But it’s the Dark Elves that pursue her that have her world turned upside down, because they will let no one and nothing stop them from claiming her.

From bestselling author, CAMERON JACEPENTIMENTO — On her seventeenth birthday she comes of age. Her seventeen birthday is also the day the Beasts come for her. After the destruction of the world these rulers of new America provide safety and services to human in exchange for one new teenage girl every week. They call them the Brides, and they never come back.

From bestselling author, SARRA CANNONBEAUTIFUL DEMONS
Harper Madison’s inability to control her extraordinary powers has gotten her kicked from countless foster homes. Shadowford Home for Girls and Peachville High are her last chance. But when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, Harper discovers this small town has a big secret.

Publication Date: September 15, 2014

Genres: Paranormal, Romance

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Excerpt from BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS

Once we’d stowed my stuff in the back of my car, Ethan opened the car door and waited for me to get in. Even though I wanted to ask him so many questions, I was afraid to speak. It felt like we’d moved to a whole new level in our friendship, but I wasn’t sure what that level was.

Every nerve ending urged me to hug him, to show my appreciation, but I was unsure. Would he pull away? I didn’t need any more rejection in my life. “Thank you for being there,” I said in an unsteady voice.

Ethan clasped my wrist and pulled me into his arms, holding me close. “I’ll always be here for you.”

I shuddered against his chest, mumbling into his flannel shirt. “You weren’t at school and I didn’t see you after practice. I thought for sure no one would hear me scream when those guys finally got their hands on–“

Warm fingers tilted my chin up. “I had something to do today, but I’d never leave you hanging. When I saw your stuff on the field and then I heard a guy yelling, ‘She went this way,’ in the woods…” he paused, tensing. “I freaked.”

“You got to me just in time.” I tried to smile but my lips trembled. “Who knew knights wore flannel shirts and Led Zeppelin tees?” I knew I sounded like a goof, but I didn’t care. I wanted him to know how much his rescue meant to me.

Ethan leaned close and I closed my eyes as he lightly kissed my cheekbone, then my forehead. He had no idea that his gentle kiss had melted something inside me, how much I craved the physical connection. His warm lips lingered against my skin for a second before he took a step back and shoved his hands in his jean pockets.

“I’m no hero, Nara.” His gaze narrowed briefly toward the woods. “Go home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Excerpt from BEAUTIFUL DEMONS

The tone of his voice turned my body to melted chocolate. I steadied myself against the wall, afraid that if he moved any closer, I really would melt. I felt his nearness in my bones, a vibration of warm, flushed energy.

“You better get inside,” he said, checking his watch even though it was probably too dark to see the time. The way he raised his arm and leaned forward brought his chest so close to me, I wanted to run my hand along the rippled muscles I felt certain I would find underneath his black t-shirt. “It’s way past your bedtime.”

My heart beat so hard in my chest my ears were filled with the loud thumping sound of it. I dipped under his arm and pushed open the barn door, grateful for the refreshing rush of cool, night air.
“I won’t tell if you won’t,” I said.

“Your secret’s safe with me,” Jackson said. He drew an X over his heart as I ran toward the house, disappearing into the shadows.

Excerpt from GUARDIANS: THE GIRL

She looks at me. She has no response. There was nothing she could have said that the two of us didn’t already know. I take her hands. She had started crying. I wipe her tears away with my hand.
“I can’t save the world, Marcus. I’m not strong enough.”

“You can’t save the world, you don’t know the world. So you have to focus and narrow it down to the people you do know—your mom, your uncle, your neighbors. You have to fight for the people that you love. You. Have. To. Fight.”

Excerpt from LARK

He runs a hand through his hair, but the waves fall right back to their disheveled state. The glow from the torch reflects off his hair, causing its already coppery hue to glow like embers. He is actually quite attractive. His features are angular but in a perfect sort of way. His skin is surprisingly freckle free considering the auburn color of his hair. He actually has a better tan than me. His pretty green eyes are framed by dark eyelashes most women would kill for. And he has full, kissable pink lips.

He’s actually sort of swoon-worthy.

A vision of Grey pops in my head and I feel guilty. Which is ridiculous for so many reasons. What the heck, Mia? I mentally slap the boy-crazy girl out of my head. Greyson and I are just friends, and this Jacoby character, regardless of how dreamy he may appear, is aiding and abetting my captivity. Not exactly the kind of guy you want to bring home to meet mom.

“Mia, I’m not going to bite.” He gently pats the spot right next to him again. I finally concede and sit down as far away from him as possible, which isn’t far on the narrow cot, and take my less than appealing breakfast while trying to appear grateful. I actually am a little hungry. I take a small nibble of the toast and it’s not terrible, so I take another bite.

“There. That is much better. I would hate to see you starve to death.”

“Why do you care anyway?” I finally say.

“Well, let’s just say that I don’t agree with keeping anyone, especially pretty girls, against their will. I would much rather they make the choice to be in my company, but since you are here anyway, I figure we better make the most of it.” He winks at me again.

“Is there something in your eye?”

“No, why?” He asks with a bemused expression.

“Then stop winking at me. It’s annoying.”

“Beautiful and feisty,” he mutters to himself. “I might never leave.”

Review: Witches Bane by Ann Gimpel (Witch Chronicles Series #2)

Witch's Bane (The Witch Chronicles #2)Witch’s Bane by Ann Gimpel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Disclaimer: I received a copy in exchange for a review.***

Synopsis: Two stubborn people—a witch and a mage—come together with a fierceness borne of desperation. Can passion trump their intense need for independence? Will they live long enough to find out?

Roz, Jenna, and Colleen are the last of the demon-stalking witches. So far, they’ve escaped disaster, but their luck is running low. When demons strike in the midst of Colleen’s wedding, Roz launches desperate measures because she and her sister witches are Earth’s only hedge against being overrun by Hell’s minions. As she shape-shifts to keep one step ahead of the demons, at least it takes her mind off her other problems. Personal ones. She burned through a couple of marriages with a string of loser men before, after, and in between. Though she wants to be happy for Colleen, the jealousy bug bit deep and hasn’t let go.

In Roz’s secret heart she’s attracted to Ronin, one of the Daoine Sidhe. He’s so profanely beautiful she can barely breathe around him, but he’s also headstrong and arrogant. Not good partner material, she tells herself, unless she wants to end up dusting her heart off one more time.

Ronin set his sights on Roz when she was at his home in the U.K. for a strategy meeting and he can’t get her out of his mind. Unfortunately, she’s so prickly getting close to her requires scheming. He casts an enchantment to lure her at Colleen’s wedding, but she senses the spell and rebuffs him.

Roz is used to calling the shots. So is Ronin. Sparks fly. Tempers run hot, right along with an attraction too strong to be denied. Roz and Ronin come together with a fierceness borne of desperation, but demons are determined to rid themselves of the witches for good, no matter what it takes.

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The Story Structure Countdown: How Different ‘Experts’ Say You Should Structure a Story

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Originally posted on THE OTHER NETWORK WRITER'S ROOM:

The Story Structure Countdown

Lots of people have come up with lots of ways to map, chart, categorize, name and formulate story patterns and structures. (also see my Comparative Narrative Story Structure Chart for a graphic side-by-side exploration).

Some of these structures are obviously and/or explicitly derived from others and some feature similar story beats with different names, but I find they all have something to offer – at least conceptually.

I’ve never personally been able to directly apply any one of these to any of my own writing projects or to any clients’ work. I’ve found that all but the most formulaic writing projects have their own unique structure which has to be discovered during the creative process.

There’s no magic formula that works for every project every time. You can always find examples of successful projects that don’t fit a given formula or find ways successful projects do…

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Review: Shadow Fire (The Light Chronicles #1) by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Shadow Fire (Light Chronicles, #1)Shadow Fire by Kimber Leigh Wheaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Disclaimer: I received a copy in exchange for a review.***

Shadow Fire is listed as Light Fantasy, but a better description would be Light & Fluffy. This is one of the most under-engaging titles I’ve read in some time. In other words: typical YA Fantasy.

A lukewarm beginning gets undermined as the cliche’s come rolling in like the tide. Every few years a young girl aged 14-18 is selected to set off on a quest to recover a missing magical relic from the Goddess which protects the village from monsters. Reason they keep selecting is, of course, because no one’s gotten it done yet. This time it’s Ashlyn- the prettiest girl of this generation (how many girls does this village have to keep sending them off?) Chosen One… Girl So Pretty She Has to Downplay Her Looks… Handsome Warrior Who Only Has Eyes for The Chosen One… and then it gets worse.

Since Ashlyn’s sooooo pretty she avoids nearly all male contact (but her sister has a reputation for being a ‘fun time on a date’) her most stalwart friends are a pair of wolves she met in the forest while hunting. One is the last fenris wolf- a breed that is rather intelligent and smell like cinnamon and vanilla… from running around in the forest all the time. The other wolf turns out to be Loki- son of the departed Goddess who’s relic the Chosen One must recover. Seems he’s been hanging out just to keep an eye on Ashlyn… because reasons.

The plot is a slapdash of fantasy tropes strung around a MarySue YA romance. In a medieval fantasy world you’ve got a village where the kids can be sent to the Old Man on the Mountain to learn martial arts. Guess who’s so good she can beat down an older boy trying to molest her? A medieval world which has the most fantastical luxury inn built out of a fortress set in the midst of the plains replete with showers, gaslamps, shampoo and garden suites… plus a witch who can enchant things for you.

Speaking of magic… in this world magic is illegal and people who practice it will be killed. But why then is the whole plot about recovering a relic whose magical power helps protect the village by keeping monsters away? So pre-existing magic items are OK but you’re not allowed to make any new ones or cast spells?

And let’s not forget the romance- which is really what’s it’s all about. Zane and Ashlyn have that Insta-Chemistry Love Connection. He’s here to protect Ashlyn on her quest and is a famous mercenary… except Ashlyn’s the only one who’s never heard of him. Not surprising since he has almost no personality. But Ashlyn’s got plenty of perky, plucky persona for both of them so it’s ok. Since it’s YA, Ashlyn and Zane have a lot of makeout sessions, then always lament about not going further. She’s just met the guy, never even heard of him before and it takes less than three days to start rolling around the grass with him (guess it runs in the family), and using words like “molten gaze, smoldering looks, limpid pools, blahblahblah…”. Get used to it because it’s the meat and potatoes of the book.

Shadow Fire is utterly typical of the genre. Take that for what it’s worth.

 

Review: Stone of Destiny by Laura Howard

Stone of Destiny (The Danaan Trilogy, #2)Stone of Destiny by Laura Howard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a review.***

Book 2 of the series picks right up where the previous one leaves off with the news of Aoife’s escape. Her obsession with Liam threatens to plunge everything into chaos. But can they stop her before she undoes everything and everyone?

Laura Howard has style and imagination, no doubt. The geas spell Alison’s mother is under to keep her apart from Liam is a truly wicked plot nugget, reminiscent of other tales like Ladyhawke where the lovers are cursed to remain apart, but this one’s really evil. There’s some great scenes that kinda jump off the page and really placing you in the moment. I’m not a big fan of YA as it tends to be as syrupy and half-witted as the worst bodice ripper, but this one was pretty engaging for the most part, despite the prerequisite YA love triangle. Lots of characterization, development and growth- especially between Alison and her father, Liam. Saoirse remains an enigma; her true motivations and agenda shrouded. And Ethan has to deal with his memories of Danaan being erased by Deaghlan. Nice.

The first problem you’ll notice is the pacing: as much as a threat Aoife is, it takes quite some time before anyone’s moved to actually do something about it. Then everything starts speeding along, which makes the story uneven. Snippets of info about Danaan are doled out here and there- as they should be- without massive infodumping just to get things out of the way.

Second, as some others have pointed out, there’s too many things left unanswered and hanging, leading to some plot holes. Like how did Marie know that Liam, Ethan and Alison were gonna show up?

Stone of Destiny is an enjoyable book that’ll make you want to read the finale. Can’t ask for more than that.

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Book Blitz: Stone of Destiny by Laura Howard (Book #2 of the Danaan Trilogy)

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Stone of Destiny by Laura Howard
(The Danaan Trilogy #2)
Publication date: April 15th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Allison thought it was crazy enough when she found out her father, Liam, wasn’t entirely human. But now she has to join his magical allies to unravel his former mistress’s plans. Aoife wants to keep Allison’s parents apart forever.Despite Allison’s efforts to keep Ethan, the only guy she’s ever cared about, out of this supernatural mess, fate keeps throwing him back into the mix.

Will Allison be able to find the amulet that holds the enchantment Aoife placed on Liam and destroy it? Are Ethan’ s feelings for Allison strong enough to endure the magic of the Tuatha De Danaan?

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Purchase at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.
Find Laura at her: Website / Facebook / Goodreads / Twitter

Cover Reveal: Her Avenging Angel by Felicity Heaton (Angel Romance Book 7)

 

Her Avenging Angel (Her Angel Romance Series Book 7) by Felicity Heaton

Once a proud angel of Heaven, Nevar is now a servant of Hell, bound to a new master—the King of Demons. Consumed by darkness and driven to seek revenge, he set in motion a series of events that awakened the Great Destroyer, a force that will bring about the apocalypse. Now, he is the creature’s master and the fate of our world rests in the hands of an angel with only darkness in his heart.

Lost in the mortal realm without any recollection of how she came to be there, Lysia is only aware that she has survived a great battle. When she stumbles into a demon bar, she finds more than a chance to discover what happened to her—she finds a dark and deadly angel warrior who stirs fire in her veins and awakens soul-searing passion she cannot deny.

With the mounting threat of the Great Destroyer, the forces of Heaven and Hell against him, and a band of dangerous angels intent on capturing Lysia on his heels, can Nevar protect the beautiful woman who is light to his darkness and find the strength to save the world?

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Her Avenging Angel is due for release in ebook and paperback on October 11th 2014 and will be available from all major online book retailers. Pre-order links available soon at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/her-avenging-angel-romance-book.php

Join Felicity’s mailing list to receive a notification when Her Avenging Angel is released, PLUS a sneak preview of the first 6 chapters of the book and chances to WIN a signed paperback copy: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/newsletter.php

Books in the Her Angel paranormal romance series:
Book 1: Her Dark Angel – FREE in ebook at selected retailers
Book 2: Her Fallen Angel
Book 3: Her Warrior Angel
Book 4: Her Guardian Angel
Book 5: Her Demonic Angel
Book 6: Her Wicked Angel
Book 7: Her Avenging Angel

 
EXCERPT:
Lysia hovered by the entrance of the inn, unsure whether to enter or leave. Her stomach gurgled again, making her decision for her. She had to stay. There were colourful glass bottles lining the wall to her right and demons there were serving drinks to people who lined a long black bar. If they had mead and other liquids then perhaps they had food for her.

She moved deeper into the room and everyone turned to stare at her, their eyes wide. She frowned at them all. Why did they stare? She thought them all strange but she wasn’t being rude by staring at them. If she hadn’t been so hungry, she would have asked them, or forced them to tell her the reason.

She pushed through a group of male demons, all of which were wearing their human forms, and they turned on her. Their growls died as their eyes fell on her and they parted, staring as she passed.

Lysia leaned against the tacky black bar top.

A man walked over to her, tossed a rag over his shoulder, and smiled.

“What’ll it be?”

“I require sustenance.”

He frowned, a puzzled edge to his dark eyes, and shook his head.

Lysia tried again. “I must eat.”

He waved his right hand and another man joined him, a blond with pale eyes.

“Problem?” the blond said.

“Not getting this one,” the brunet responded.

The blond raked his eyes over her, his right brow quirking. “Taking things a bit far, aren’t we? You want something?”

She nodded. “I need sustenance.”

He looked at his friend and shrugged. “I don’t understand her.”

What was there to understand? She only wanted food.

Blood.

The two men walked away, serving others who seemed to have no problem ordering what they desired and receiving it. She cursed them and everyone who communicated with them with ease. While she could understand many languages, she could write and speak only one. Without being able to speak to the serving staff, she had no chance of getting blood.

A woman beside her cast a glance her way, looked down at herself, and slipped off her seat and walked away, disappearing into the heavy crowd.

Lysia sighed, perched herself on the seat, and leaned on the bar with her forehead resting on her arms. She was warmer inside this noisy inn but still hungry, and still tired. She needed to feed. How?

A male stopped to her left.

She turned her head towards him and ran her eyes up from the waist of his impeccable crisp black suit to his shoulders and then his face. Vampire. She knew his kind and could see through his façade to the wretched monster beneath. He smiled, his fangs on show to her and his pale blue eyes swirling with ill intentions.

“Having trouble?” The dark-haired vampire leaned his left elbow on the bar beside her and she sat up.

She nodded. “I need to order blood.”

He frowned at her and her heart sank. He didn’t understand her either.

“What language is that? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with it. Can you mime what you want?” He shifted closer and she focused hard on every word he said, listening closely so she could grasp the words he used and use them too.

He smiled a little wider, and shifted a little closer. His gaze drifted down to her chest and back up again.

“Mime?” He made a show of using his hands to make shapes.

She was about to do as he asked when he danced his fingers over her left shoulder.

A cold shiver ran over her flesh and skated down her spine.

Lysia flicked her right wrist and hurled him across the room, scattering the crowd and ripping a few shocked gasps from them.

A male further along the bar looked her way.

She froze as her eyes met his, heat pulsing through her, a visceral throb that reached right down to her bones.

The male was handsome, but darkness clung to him, danger that called to her and lured her to him. There was evil in him.

He would know her tongue.

He raised a glass filled with green liquid and tipped his head, causing threads of his silver-white hair to fall and brush his brow. He swept them back and she caught a brief glimpse of tiny horns above his ears. Her belly flipped and heated.

“Kudos for giving Villandry hell,” he said above the thumping music, his deep rumbling voice doing funny things to her insides and turning her knees to rubber.

She presumed Villandry was the name of the vampire now picking himself up off the floor across the busy room. She wasn’t sure what kudos meant though.

Lysia swallowed her trembling heart, slipped off her seat and approached the pale-haired male with all the confidence she could muster when he was staring at her, his jade eyes burning into her body and setting her aflame.

Rousing strange feelings within her.

She halted beside him.

He swivelled to face her, set his drink down on the bar but kept his left hand on the stem of the elegant glass, and raised an eyebrow.

“Why are you naked?”

He held his right hand out and black material appeared in it. He offered it to her.

Lysia took it and stared at it, unsure what to do with it.

The male huffed, released his drink and stood, managing to tower over her despite the fact she was taller than the other females present. He moved closer to her and took the material back, but she didn’t notice it leaving her hands. The heat radiating from his big body washed over her, cocooning her in warmth and strengthening the feelings stirring in the pit of her belly.

She stared down at the strip of cut, hard muscles visible between the armoured plates around his hips and his breastplate. A warrior. Her heart accelerated. Her breathing quickened. She dragged her eyes back up to his face and found he wasn’t looking at her. He busied himself with slipping her arms into the garment he had made for her and she busied herself with memorising every sculpted plane of his face, from his straight nose and strong jaw, to his firm lips as they compressed into a mulish line.

She inched her gaze up higher, to the stunning jade eyes that were focused on their work with an intensity that made her ache inside with a desire to have them locked on hers with the same ferocity.

They shifted to meet hers and then dropped, a fascinating glimmer of shyness in them that lasted only a heartbeat before coldness swept in to wash it away.

He tugged the material closed over her front and tied a belt around her waist, fastening the garment in place.

“There,” he murmured, “now people will stop looking at you funnily, and you can stop looking at me funnily.”

He stepped back, a scowl darkening his striking eyes. She hadn’t been looking at him strangely. She was merely fascinated by him. Now that she was close to him, she could sense the depth of the darkness within him but something else countered it, something she could only describe as good. There was more to the male before her than she had anticipated, and it made the pull she felt towards him grow stronger.

She looked herself over. The sleeves were too long, concealing her hands, and the material reached her ankles. The garment covered all of her, leaving nothing on show. Had that been his intention?

“What do you want?” he said, bringing her focus back to him.

She lifted her eyes to meet his. “Blood.”

He back peddled, almost falling over his seat, a flicker of something dark crossing his handsome face. His eyes shone pure violet.

He had eyes like hers.

And he understood her.

“Leave me alone,” he barked and snatched up his drink with a shaky hand. He downed it, slammed the glass back onto the bar top, and shoved it forwards, away from him. “I’m not interested.”

Lysia frowned and shrank back. Why was he rejecting her company? He had given her something to wear, had seemed concerned about her, and now he was pushing her away. She clutched the robe over her chest in both hands and risked a step closer to him instead.

“I only desire blood… but I cannot order it.”

His violet gaze darted to her and away again. A shadow settled on his troubled features, turning them grim. He looked down into her eyes for long seconds, stealing all of her attention, sucking it away from the room and her surroundings.

He raised his hand and she flinched away, anticipating the strike.

It didn’t happen.

She squinted, remaining held away from him, and looked up into his eyes.

He cocked a single pale eyebrow and waved his left hand. The brunet male behind the bar came to them. He had been signalling the serving staff.

Lysia grimaced.

She had much to learn about this realm.

“Blood, straight up,” the white-haired male said.

The servant’s expression turned wary and he shifted foot to foot. “I’m not allowed to serve you blood, remember? You made me promise.”

He had? She canted her head, studying both men. Why had the man asked the servant not to give him blood? Did he drink it as she did?

The pale-haired warrior scrubbed a hand down his face and sighed. He pressed both hands into the bar, digging his black claws into the wood, and leaned forwards, closer to the man.

“It is not for me. It is for the woman.”

The brunet shrugged. “She has to order it then.”

The warrior tipped his head back, screwed his eyes shut and sighed, and she felt he was searching for calm. He drew several slow deep breaths before opening his eyes again and fixing them back on the barman.

“I do not think she knows how,” he said.

“I tried, but the man didn’t understand me.” That brought his gaze back to her and she shivered under the intensity of it.

“That would be because you are speaking a language this man doesn’t know… one I don’t have a fucking clue about either but for some godforsaken reason I can understand you.” He shoved his fingers through his hair, clawing it back until it tugged at his forehead, smoothing the skin, and ground his teeth. He released his head, dropped his hands to his sides, and huffed as he leaned over, bringing his face close to hers. “Repeat after me if you desire… blood.”

She nodded, noting that it had taken a lot of effort for him to speak that final word. Why?

She leaned closer to him, trying to shut out the noise of the room so she could hear every syllable that left his lips.

She watched how they moved as he spoke. How his tongue moved. How his teeth moved.

Her focus shattered.

He had fangs.

Made for drinking blood.

Yet he had asked the man not to serve it to him.

And she had asked him to speak of it, something which had evidently pained him.

She stepped back and his pale eyebrows dipped low above his now-green eyes.

“I’m sorry. I have troubled you with my request.” She went to turn away but he caught her arm in a vice-like grip, holding her firm. She looked down at his black fingers around her and the claws that blended into the robe he had given her, and then up into his eyes.

He shook his head and spoke again, slower this time. “A glass of blood, please.”

Lysia swallowed to wet her parched throat and spoke the sounds he had made, repeating them several times over and growing in confidence when he smiled, making her heart flutter in her chest. He nodded and jerked his head towards the brunet behind the bar.

She turned to face him. “A glass of blood, puh-leeese.”

“We’ll work on that last bit,” the warrior muttered beside her, a touch of warmth in his deep voice.

The man nodded. “That’s ten quid.”

Ten quid?

What was a quid and where did she find ten of them?

“Money,” the brunet said.

She looked down at herself. As the warrior had clearly mentioned, and this man knew, she had come here naked. She had no coin.

The warrior huffed and slammed two pieces of reddish paper down on the bar top. “It’s on me. Plus my usual.”

The bartender looked displeased and Lysia feared he wouldn’t give her the blood because the warrior was paying for it, and had requested this man not serve him blood.

She bared her fangs and growled at the brunet, preparing to attack.

“Down girl.” The white-haired warrior caught hold of her arm again, wrapping long fingers around it, and heat blazed through her.

She looked across at him, her eyes wide. He glared at the bartender.

The man heaved a sigh, swiped the money off the bar, and walked away. A sharp spear shot through her heart and she tried to pull away from the warrior to follow the man, afraid he wouldn’t return.

The warrior’s grip on her arm tightened and he pulled her closer, until her backside bumped against his thighs. An achy shiver bolted through her and she spun to face him, catching the shock in his eyes before he covered it. He had felt it too.

“He will be back with your drink and then you can leave me alone,” he said in a gruff tone, released her and sat back on his seat, turning his profile to her.

Lysia’s heartbeat began to climb, awareness of the people around her creeping back in. The vampire was on his feet again and glaring at her. Others stared her way too. Some of them not mortal. She didn’t like how they watched her, not when she was weak.

Only the warrior felt as if he wasn’t a threat to her and that he would protect her rather than seek to harm her.

She didn’t want to leave his side.

The brunet returned as the warrior had said, bringing an elegant glass of green liquid for him and one filled with dark liquid. He set that one down in front of her and moved off to serve another patron.

The warrior eyed her expectantly.

He wanted her to leave.

Lysia sucked down a breath for courage and reminded herself that she was a warrior too and as powerful as any of these beings on her best day. Today was not her best day though and it was wreaking havoc on her courage, leaving her feeling vulnerable. She was injured, starving, and everything around her felt so alien and unfamiliar.

Except for him.

He made her feel safe.

She made sure she had all of his attention before she whispered, “Allow me to stay. The men here mean me harm.”

His face darkened, his jade eyes swirling into blazing violet, and he slid his deadly gaze towards those staring at her.

She felt their eyes leave her.

“Sit,” he growled, more a command than a request, and she obeyed.

She took the stool beside him, swivelled to face the bar and picked up her glass. She sipped the blood, her gums itching and fangs aching to descend. She wanted to gulp it down but it was such a small quantity and she didn’t think the warrior would buy her more.

It wasn’t enough to appease her hunger. It would only take the edge off it.

She would need more and her heart said she knew where she wanted her next meal to come from.

Her gaze slid to the warrior, settling on his strong neck and the pulse hammering there, powerful and steady, a beat that called to her.

She wanted to bite him.


Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

Get in touch with Felicity at: Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads