Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blood on the Ice--Out Today!!

My new book, Blood on the Ice, debuts today from Samhain! Check out the excerpt below, and I hope you'll check out the whole book!
Chapter Fifteen
He woke to pitch blackness, and for a few seconds he couldn’t remember where he was. Panic rose, but he was too sluggish to react to it.
And he was hungry. So fucking hungry. Even paralyzed in the blackness, his body and brain not quite transitioned to nighttime consciousness, he was hungry.
The blackness receded, as if his eyes hadn’t quite started working yet when he’d awakened. Returning consciousness prickled along his arms and hands, his brain, like circulation returning to numb limbs.
He was never going to get used to this.
As soon as he could, he sat up and groped for the bottle of pills on the nightstand. He popped two into his mouth, letting them dissolve on his tongue. The hunger eased, feeling more like a normal early-morning craving for eggs and a bagel and less like a crazed badger setting up a home under his rib cage.
He made his way downstairs, tiptoeing because the silence of the place seemed far too...silent. He was loath to break it, not because he liked the quiet but because he was afraid it might become corporeal and attack him if he disturbed it.
Downstairs seemed more normal. He could hear the vague sounds of traffic from below, a siren wailing somewhere, a screech of brakes as someone narrowly avoided an accident. The refrigerator hummed. He opened it, took out a bottle of blood.
He felt like he was physically holding the hunger back as he waited for the blood, transferred to a highball glass, to heat in the microwave. Don’t try to rush it, he remembered, watching the LED numbers count down.
He had to concentrate to keep from chugging the blood, instead rolling it over his tongue, letting the flavor settle. He savored it, feeling the hunger recede as the blood washed warm through him. He’d finished the first glass and set the refill in the microwave when he heard his cell phone tweedling from the bedroom. He dragged himself away from the hypnotic spectacle of his breakfast turning around and around on the carousel to go find it.
By the time he retrieved the phone from the bedside table, it had stopped ringing and made the beeping noise that alerted him to a voicemail. He looked at the call history. Marc. He called back as he made his way back downstairs.
“Hey!” Marc answered on the second ring. “Turn on CSN Chicago.” The connection clicked off.
Travis grabbed a TV remote and did as told. As the microwave dinged in the kitchen, his own face appeared on the TV screen in all its widescreen, high-definition glory. His pores looked like a small child could swim in them.
“...makes his debut tonight at Cobra Stadium in the team’s third game this season against the Detroit Damnation. These teams are bitter rivals, and their last confrontation ended in a shootout, with Detroit coming out on top after the fourth round. Sources from inside the Cobra organization say Payne’s more disciplined, team-based play style has already had an effect on the Cobra’s practice sessions...”
The door swung open and Marc ambled in, joining Travis in front of the TV. Travis gave him a startled look.
“I still have the key.” He eyed Travis sidelong, the corner of his mouth curling.
Travis nodded, wondering if he should ask for the key back. The smirk on Marc’s face made Travis think he probably should, or Marc would take advantage. Mulling, he turned back to the TV.
“...in the meantime,” the announcer continued, “controversy continues to rage over Payne’s right to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup after the Hawks’ victory last spring. Payne played in all but two regular-season games and every game in the playoffs until the finals against the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. Under normal circumstances, he would be eligible for inclusion on the Cup, but the league has shown reluctance due to questions regarding his changed status.”
The NHL commissioner’s face appeared on the screen then. Travis was happy to note that his pores looked even more spacious than his own had.
“We still don’t know the circumstances of this incident. If Payne chose to be Turned, then he has no reason to complain. And it’s my understanding that very few full transformations are involuntary. It requires a certain level of cooperation from the ‘victim.’”
“You smarmy motherfucker,” Travis muttered. Then he fell silent again as Susan’s face replaced that of the commissioner.
“Travis Payne was Turned involuntarily, and there is a pending police investigation regarding the identity of the individual responsible. Mr. Payne is no more responsible for his change in circumstance then was Vladimir Konstantinov of the Detroit Red Wings after his devastating car accident in 1997. And, as we all know, Konstantinov’s name is, indeed, on the Cup. In fact, it’s on the Cup for the 1998 win, during which season he never played due to his injuries. Travis Payne’s should be allowed, as well.”
“And there you have it.” The main announcer dominated the screen now. “Yet another blatant act of prejudice against the vampire race. Only this time it looks like we have a human on our side. Best of luck, Ms. Harris, with your crusade for justice, and best of luck to you, Mr. Payne, in your LVH debut tonight.”
The coverage switched then to a story about the Eastern European vampire rugby league. Travis flicked off the TV, a little stunned.
“I just called her last night. Or way early this morning. She wasn’t even awake.”
“She’s a good agent,” said Marc. He punched Travis in the shoulder. “And you, my friend, are a big fucking deal.”
Travis just shook his head. He’d known all this was going on, but seeing it on a fifty-inch TV was a bit different from watching clips on YouTube.
There was a moment of silence, not quite awkward but not quite comfortable, then Marc said, “I’m keeping your key.”
Travis didn’t look at him. “Fine. God knows when you might have to bust in here to save me from myself.” He finally gave Marc a sidelong look, his mouth twisting into something that didn’t really feel like a smile. He knew damn well that wasn’t why Marc was keeping the key. “Let’s face it—I’m still kind of a shit vampire.”
Marc chuckled and dragged a hand across Travis’s back, the touch lighting up Travis’s skin in ways he wasn’t entirely comfortable with. “Not going to argue with that,” Marc said. He waved toward the kitchen, where the microwave was still blinking. “Finish your breakfast. Game’s in four hours.”

Monday, June 16, 2014

Excerpt from Gunn's Kiss by Adera Orfanelli

I'm turning the blog over to my friend Adera Orfanelli, who has a book coming soon from Changeling Press. This is part of her science fiction vampire series, Politics Bite.

Enjoy an excerpt from Gunn's Kiss...

By the time they reached the door to her suite, they’d passed through the three sets of doors -- including the lift -- as well as five different visual checkpoints. It’d make his job easier, especially since he knew the security team running this part of the station. He’d be sure to send them a message when he got back to his place. The facial recognition software acknowledged her presence and the door opened.

Gunn waited outside.

“Why don’t you come inside? I have some information I didn’t want to leave this room,” she said.

He hesitated, mostly because he’d made a good reputation for himself by being discreet. Usually his clients didn’t want to see him around. He crossed the threshold and stepped into the suite.

“Please record --”

Gunn held up his hand. “I’ve ensured that I am able to access your suite in case of an emergency, but thank you.” He didn’t want to hear her give permission for the facial recognition software to file his likeness as authorized to enter. Hearing her say that sent thoughts through his mind, or rather his cock, of his arriving here at night, slipping into her suite to seduce her.

“Oh.” Her lips formed a circle and stayed there for a moment. Could she read his thoughts? Surely she wouldn’t, though certain members of her species were known to be telepathic. According to his information, those with telepathic ability never left the home world.

“Sorry to startle you,” he said, keeping professional distance between them. “You said you had information.”

“Yes. Nochte-Theta was not my first destination upon leaving my home world. I stopped first at a couple of other stations to speak with their officials before meeting with the council. I received these.” She pushed an envelope across the table next to the door. “My people have gone over them. We cannot find the source.”

“And you told station security where you were staying?” His gut twisted. He didn’t like this, not one bit. At her nod, his stomach twisted further. Gently, though he knew there probably wouldn’t be any evidence to gain, he opened the envelope and pulled out the first piece of paper.

A security print from a communications console. A message was tagged across the top -- a threat on her life -- with all the pertinent information below. He scanned it, noting the obviously faked addresses and protocols. No doubt untraceable. A second sheet of paper, another threat, was also in the envelope.

“When were you going to tell me about these?” A wave of protectiveness came over him. He fought to keep frustration out of his voice. Not knowing about threats made his job infinitely more difficult. And station personnel should have communicated these threats; they had her travel itinerary. He clenched his jaw until a muscle began jumping.

“I planned to tell you.” Her soft words forced his gaze to meet hers, where wariness crossed her face.

“I’m glad you did.” He breathed deeply and forced himself to calm. “I will contact the other station security departments to see what they have on these.”

He stepped back, because now that the initial fury that someone would try to hurt her had ebbed, he became aware that she stood close to him, so close her breasts brushed his arm with each breath. A floral scent, something planet-bound and not anything he’d find on this station, surrounded him. Hunger drove through him. He told his muscles to take another step back, to tell her he would bring the papers back to security and study them further. He should turn for the door and leave her for the evening. He didn’t.

“You can take care of this?” she asked, her voice wobbling a little and betraying her worry.
Visit the publisher to read an excerpt and to purchase this title

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