I'll have you all know that it took me a good ten minutes before I could quit staring at this picture long enough to type anything coherent. I'm still struggling.
Anyway...lo, the prodigal author has returned to her blog! It's warmer. I'm feeling motivated. I will soon have new books to share! So here I am, back to sporadically entertain you with random things. I see I have magically earned some new blog followers! HELLOOOOOO! *waving madly into cyberspace*
Today I want to talk about the anthology I'll soon be appearing in, Vacation with a Vampire. The story I did for it is called Vivi and the Vampire, and it's tied to the Nocturne I had out back in 2012 (still available! shameless pimping!) called Renegade Angel. If you read that and liked it, you'll love this story. And if you never read it, fear not...I made sure to let the story stand alone so everyone can enjoy it regardless. The anthology comes out June 19th, and since I'm paired up with the inimitable Michele Hauf and Lisa Childs, this book is chock full o' goodess.
Vivi and the Vampire is a beach story about a vampire king, Justin, who's forced to go on a vacation by his equally vampiric sister. Justin is a workaholic. The man runs a magically fortified underground city full of vampires, werewolves, and fallen angels. He's busy, he's serious, and he's only had a handful of real dates since his living years back during the Roman Empire. This is a guy in need of some time at the beach (in the dark, of course)...and after some protesting, he relents and goes.
That's where he meets Vivi Martin, a vampire hunter, also on vacation. As you might expect, sparks fly. Especially after he saves her butt from a vamp who wants to make a snack out of her. Vivi manages to thank Justin, but he's got a specific kind of thanks in mind...have a look.
“Have dinner with me.”Her stunned expression was priceless. “Excuse me?”
Justin took a step towards her, then another. He made no attempt to thrall her even though her eyes were locked with his. She would accept his offer in good faith or not at all. To her credit, she didn’t back away, though her tension increased the closer he got.
“Dinner. Or a drink. An evening with me.” He paused, then gave her a slow smile. “You do owe me.”
“I…but…I already said I wouldn’t kill you. Doesn’t that make us even?”
“Killing me would take more than just you, and more effort than you should be expending on your vacation anyway.” He took another step, closing the distance between them until he was only a foot away from her. Still she didn’t bolt, though she was beginning to look like she wanted to.
“You want me to…go out with you,” she said slowly, as though trying to process the information herself.“You’re here alone. I’m here alone. And to be perfectly honest, I’m already bored out of my mind. But I promised my sister I’d spend a week away, at least attempting to enjoy myself.”
Justin watched Vivi mull this, and found he wanted her to say yes. More, much more, than he’d counted on.
“You realize that my job involves, you know, killing vampires on a regular basis, right?” she asked. “This doesn’t bother you?”“Technically, you’re not on the job. And if I’m not mistaken, the Hunter’s Guild targets only vampires who are threatening humans in some way, not the average nightcrawler minding his or her own business. We’re all few and far between…” He nearly finished with up here, but stopped himself. His interest in Vivi notwithstanding, it was dangerous to get too comfortable.
“True,” she said. “But we’re not all the same. I’m not as…zealous…as some. And if you think you wouldn’t be considered a big prize for the higher-ups, you’re nuts. You’re the freaking vampire king.”
“Mmm,” he murmured. “It doesn’t work exactly how you think it does.” Humans, even Hunters, had no true knowledge of Terra Noctem beyond rumors and whispers. If too much information got out about the location, the city would simply move and reappear elsewhere, an ancient magic he had always appreciated without ever understanding it. Apart from that, there were other, deadlier safeguards against human invasion.
He was the king of a city, not of his race. The vampires were a diverse lot, impossible to corral, impossible to rule. He had influence, yes. But the bloodthirsty troublemakers who had necessitated Hunters in the first place were no more influenced by him than they would be by any vampire. It was hard to begrudge Vivi her position, though he knew what she said was true. Some Hunters hated all vampires, unequivocally. It had the potential to become a problem someday, perhaps sooner rather than later.But not yet. And not here.
Vivi was frowning at him. “You are a very weird man, Justin. Even for a vamp.”
“Is that a yes, then?”She sighed, rubbed her palms against her hips, and looked around as though searching for guidance in the warm Florida night. Finally, she looked back at him.
“One date? I mean, well, outing, whatever you want to call it. One, and you won’t get all stalker-ish on me after the fact or anything.”
He nodded, though he had every intention of seeing her more than once this week. He’d just have to come up with a strategy when he had time to think about it. For the first time in ages, he’d met a woman who fascinated him, provoked him. Every time she spoke, he wondered whether that pink rosebud of a mouth would taste as sweet as it looked, whether her tongue was as clever with a kiss as it was with words.He was betting on yes.
Interested? Hope so! I had a lot of fun with this story, just as I did with the book it's tied to. Vivi is my favorite kind of heroine, full of life and more than a little kickass. Justin is hot, ancient...and actually, a little awkward about dating! If you want to see how well they navigate the inevitable complications they encounter when they figure out they're far more into one another than either expected to be, then I hope you'll put the anthology on your summer reading lists.
That's all I have for today, but keep an eye on the blog...lots of good stuff is on its way! After all, I've got that vampire assassin I'll be sharing with you on July 31st, and hmm, I seem to have an entire box of ARCs I need to do something with. Giveaways, anyone?:)
Hope you enjoyed the excerpt, and have a great Friday!