Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wuthering Nights An Erotic Retelling of Wuthering Heights by: Emily Bronte and I.J. Miller

Wuthering Nights

An Erotic Retelling of Wuthering Heights


Emily Bronte & I.J. Miller

Advance Uncorrected Proofs Not For Sale


Romantics everywhere have been enthralled by Emily Bronte's classic novel of the tragic love between beautiful, spirited Catherine Earnshaw and dark, brooding Heathcliff. The restrained desire between these two star-crossed lovers has always smoldered on the page. And now it ignites into an uncontrollable blaze. In WUTHERING NIGHTS, writer I.J. Miller reimagines this timeless story to reveal the passion between Catherine and Heathcliff--in all its forbidden glory.

Set against the stark, raw beauty of the English moors, Heathcliff, an abandoned orphan, recognizes his soulmate in wild, impulsive Catherine, the only woman who can tame his self-destructive nature. And Catherine cannot deny the all-consuming desire she feels for him, despite his low birth. Together they engage in a fiery affair--one that will possess them, enslave them, and change their destinies forever...


I think I may be the only book addict in history that has NEVER read the classic Wuthering Heights. I know after reading this I will most definitely change that statistic. I will be purchasing the original classic story and reading it soon! 

I absolutely love this retelling. I cried with Heathcliff, I cried with Catherine, and I cried with Nelly. I was completely overcome with grief and surprise over Heathcliff's drastic change in parts II & III.

The ending was surprising as well. I never thought anyone would find happiness in these cursed households. I cried with happiness for Cathy and Hareton. 

Thank you I.J. Miller for the great read! It was most definitely an emotional roller coaster that took me for the ride of my life.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by: Karen Finneyfrock

That’s the day the trouble started. 
The trouble that nearly ruined my life. 
The trouble that turned me Dark. 
The trouble that begs me for revenge.

Celia Door enters her freshman year of high school with giant boots, dark eyeliner, and a thirst for revenge against Sandy Firestone, the girl who did something unspeakable to Celia last year.
But then Celia meets Drake, the cool new kid from New York City who entrusts her with his deepest, darkest secret. When Celia’s quest for justice threatens her relationship with Drake, she’s forced to decide which is sweeter: revenge or friendship.
This debut novel from Karen Finneyfrock establishes her as a bright, bold, razor-sharp new voice for teens.

Karen Finneyfrock Bio:

Karen Finneyfrock is a poet, novelist and teaching artist in Seattle, WA. Her young adult novel, The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door, is due from Viking Children’s Books on February 21, 2013.Her second book of poems, Ceremony for the Choking Ghost, was released on Write Bloody press in 2010.  She is a former Writer-in-Residence at Richard Hugo House in Seattle and teaches for Seattle Arts and Lectures’ Writers-in-the-Schools program. In 2010, Karen traveled to Nepal as a Cultural Envoy through the US Department of State to perform and teach poetry and in 2011, she did a reading tour in Germany sponsored by the US Embassy.


Karen is a wonderful writer. She gives us a fresh new story that is nothing like what we are used to, but tells the story in a way that makes us love it just the same! I loved this book from beginning to end and laughed more than I have in quite some time. Thanks for a wonderfully delightful read Karen!



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Special Offers by: M. L. Ryan

Special Offers

The Coursodon Dimension Series – Book 1

M.L. Ryan
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Running with Scissors Publishing
ISBN: 978-0615672762 
Number of pages: 216
Word Count: 63,000
Cover Artist: M.L. Ryan

Book Description:  

As soon as Hailey Parrish discovered her husband was cheating with her co-worker, she swore off men. She had to find another job when her boss went to prison for being a pimp in his spare time. Three years later, Hailey still hadn’t gone on a date and she milks chinchilla for a living. Her life is about to get weirder.  

While in pursuit of inter-dimensional miscreants who use their arcane powers to prey upon humans, Sebastian Kess was ambushed and mortally wounded. To save his life, he used his own magic to convert his soul to binary code and transfer it into Hailey’s soon-to-be shipped Kindle eBook reader. When Hailey inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined.

Hailey must come to grips with the existence of the parallel dimension of Coursodon and the realization that magically inclined non-humans walk the world while dealing with Sebastian’s arrogant banter in her head.  Her predicament also introduces her to another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland.  The action moves from Hailey’s hometown of Tucson, Arizona to New England and across Europe as she and Alex try to return Sebastian to his own body while staying one step ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is.  

Special Offers, the first book of the Coursodon Dimension Series, combines paranormal romance, urban fantasy, a bit of science fiction and a healthy dose of quirky humor.

About the Author:

M.L. Ryan is a professional woman — not that she gave up her amateur status, but rather that she is over-educated with a job in which she spends a lot of time writing dry science non-Fiction. In an effort to strengthen the less logical side of her brain, she decided to write some of the many stories rolling around in her head.  She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband, son, four cats, two dogs and two adopted desert tortoises.

Twitter: @MLRyan1


While I waited for Wyatt to take my order, I swung around on the stool and glanced about the room searching for anyone I might know so I could hang with them instead of at the bar.  No such luck.  Someone slipped into the empty seat next to me, and from over my right shoulder I heard “Hey, how’s the knees?”
I turned back and was caught in the cornflower blue gaze of No Sweat Bastard.  And he looked even better in the tight black t-shirt and black jeans he was wearing than he did this morning.  The outfit accentuated his sinewy, athletic physique while giving him a look of confident masculinity.  Yum.
“I almost didn’t recognize you with your hair down,” NSB remarked.  “It looks good this way.”
As my bad luck would have it, Wyatt picked that moment to come by to ask what we wanted.
“You having your usual?” Wyatt drawled as he started to grab a bottle of Patron.
Wyatt knew me well.  The only alcohol I ever drank was tequila; either in a margarita or straight.  But I heard someone say “No. Glen Fiddich, rocks,” and realized soon thereafter that it was me.
I wanted to immediately right the obvious wrong that was my drink order, but I was too embarrassed to admit I had misordered in front of NSB.  I thought I noticed a flash of unease on his face when I asked for the scotch, but it was gone as soon as it appeared.  He probably thought I was trying to seem exotic or something, ordering single-malt.  Great, I fretted, now I was doubly self-conscious.
“I’ll have the same,” he directed toward Wyatt.  To me, he said “I never introduced myself this morning. I’m Alex, Alex Sunderland.”
“Hailey Parrish,” I replied.  Not wanting the conversation to stall, the only thing I could come up with next was “Wow.  What are the odds that we would run into each other twice in one day?”
He unleashed one of those spectacular smiles my way and said, laughing, “Astronomical, I would think.”
Just then my purse started to vibrate.  When I went out some place crowded, I liked to use one of those little cross-body bags instead of the behemoth I usually carried.  That way, I was forced to limit myself to the essentials - phone, driver’s license, lip gloss, some cash and a credit card – and I never had to worry about misplacing it in the throng.  I excused myself, and turned away slightly as I grabbed the phone.  It was Rachel.
“Hailey, I’m really sorry, but Harrison has some sort of stomach bug and he’s currently curled in the fetal position on the bathroom floor moaning, ‘kill me’, over and over.”
Ew.  “That sounds awful.  Does he need to go to urgent care?”
“No,” she continued, “but you know men, they’re such babies when they are sick.  Obviously we are going to have to beg off tonight.  Are you already at the bar?”
“Yeah, I got here early,” I yelled.  Even with my finger pressed into my other ear, I could barely make out what she was saying with all the raucous bar noise.  “Too bad Harrison’s sick.  Tell him I hope he feels better.”
“I’m sure he will by tomorrow.  But I feel terrible that you are there by yourself.”
“No problem,” I assured her.  No problem, indeed, I thought as I glanced at Alex, who was paying for both the drinks that Wyatt had just delivered.  “Hey, it’s really noisy in here, so I’m having a hard time hearing you.  I’m fine, though.  I’ll just talk to you tomorrow.”
I ended the call and set the phone on the bar.  I wasn’t particularly unhappy that they weren’t coming.  After all, Alex was easy on the eyes and Rachel would be so proud of me for talking to him instead of making an excuse to hide in the ladies’ room.  Besides, there was something about him that felt very familiar, like I had known him for a long time.  Astounding as it seemed, I actually felt comfortable sitting with him.
As I turned to face him, he raised his glass towards me and I did the same with mine.  We saluted each other with scotch and I took a sip.  God, this stuff really is wretched, I thought, but somehow I felt compelled to keep drinking.  And not just to keep up the pretense of having ordered something I actually liked.  It was the weirdest feeling; wanting to both spit it out yet at the same time longing for the next mouthful.  It occurred to me that maybe that’s how all scotch drinkers feel.  Because truly, the stuff tasted like turpentine.
Throughout the evening, the conversation encompassed the usual get-to-know you banter.  I got the important information without too much digging; he was single and an insurance adjuster from Portland, Oregon in town for two weeks for some specialized training.  He seemed sincere, but really, he could be from Salt Lake City, unemployed with ten kids for all I really knew.  Not wanting to get into a complicated dialogue about my unusual career path, I just said I worked at a local dairy.  That was my go-to angle when I wasn’t in the mood to get into the specifics.
We ordered another round, which I paid for, and then switched to non-alcoholic choices; ice tea for me, sparkling water for him.  He had a relaxed way about him that belied his obvious intellect and he shifted effortlessly between topics ranging from popular culture to global economies.
Too bad he doesn’t live around here, I lamented. It figured that I actually meet a guy that I might actually like, and he’s only here for two weeks.  No sense letting this go much further, I reasoned.  I certainly wasn’t up for a one-nighter, or even best case scenario, a fourteen-nighter.
It was getting late, it had been a long day and I wanted to drive home soon before I risked falling asleep at the wheel.  I rooted in my bag and found some bills to leave on the bar for Wyatt’s well-deserved tip.  Then I downed the last of my tea and turned to look at Alex.
“This has been fun,” I began.  “But I really should be getting home.  Hope your training goes well; maybe we’ll run into each other again at the River Park.”
As I started to get off of the bar stool, a peculiar sensation coursed through me, as if I was suddenly exerting a great deal of energy.  My expression must have communicated the discomfort, because Alex frowned and asked if I was okay.  When I didn’t immediately respond, he reached over and took my hands in his, concern etched across his handsome face.
Suddenly, I felt an electrical zap similar to what I had encountered days before when first synching the Kindle.  I might have been able to rationalize it as some hackneyed romantic sign had the next two events not occurred in rapid succession: First, I inexplicably uttered one long, unrecognizable sound.  Then I heard the voice.
I always wondered how Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams managed to stay relatively calm when he first heard “if you build it, he will come” whispered in his cornfield.  But that was a movie, after all.  When, in my head, a man uttered “I need his help” over and over, I panicked.  I tore myself from Alex’s grip and ran through the crowded dance floor, shoving unsuspecting patrons out of my way as I quickly escaped out the emergency exit.
I sprinted to my car and managed to fish my keys out of my purse despite the fact I was shaking from head to toe.  Thankfully, the repetitive pleading of my auditory hallucination had ceased by then.  I’m not really sure how I got home; I know I drove, but beyond that I had no recollection of the journey.  When I reached the safety of my house, I rushed inside and collapsed on the living room floor.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Eternal Lovers by Virginia Nelson + GIVEAWAY

Title: Eternal Lovers
Author: V.S. Nelson
Series: Sekhmet’s Series Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: January 5, 2013
Formats: Paperback/Large Print Paperback/E~Books

Sekhmet’s Guardians – Book One - Eternal Lovers
A multi-plotted, cross-genre’ paranormal Romance

Within our modern society a parallel vampire world exists. Two factions of vampires have fought against one another since ancient times. Each faction started with seven men that were brought forth from the land of Tuat and taken to ancient Egypt, then transformed into what they remain, vampires. These fourteen are known as the Ancients. They are the makers and the fathers of the both sides of the vampire world we know today. The behavior of each side of the faction differs, but their purpose has remained the same; to eliminate the other from the Earth’s surface.

Contrasts are essential and play a strong roll through the multiple points of view and plots that develop as the story is unveiled. Love vs hate, honor vs betrayal, strength vs weakness, virtue vs evil, and death vs birth are just a few of the contrasts that unfold in the first book in the Guardians Incorporated Saga.

Set’s Army, evil by nature, have no regard for the human race. They see mortals as nothing more than food that provides them with the blood they need to survive. They survive in order to fight the Guardians, who protect those of the Vampire Nation who live in harmony with the humans. Bagsu, the first of ancient vampire created by Set has led his legions for centuries.

Guardians Incorporated is a legitimate multi-billion dollar world wide protection agency that operates openly in the human world. They protect dignitaries, world leaders, rock legends, the rich and famous, and members of the Vampire Nation. The corporation was formed over a hundred years ago and is still run by the seven Ancient Guardians.  The leader of Guardians Incorporated is Gabriel. Since the loss of his first love Akhakh in ancient Egypt; Gabriel, a man of few words has become hard, cold, and distant from his emotions.

Jennifer, a Native American married woman of twenty four, sets off on a short vacation to visit her best friend who is currently staying at a lake estate near Chicago.
Soon after arriving she realizes that she is becoming sexually drawn to two of the oversized gorgeous men that are guarding the estate. Unknown to her at the time, both men have fallen in love with her. Not wanting to break her wedding vows, she sets off on a surprise overnight trip to visit her husband, a studio musician, who is staying in a hotel in Hollywood. Unlocking the hotel door, Jennifer is surprised to find her husband is otherwise engaged. She finds him locked in the arms of another man.

Her best friend and the two, who have fallen in love with her, have followed her to Hollywood with the intent of stopping her before she discovers her husband’s secret.
They arrive moments too late. Jennifer is attacked by her husband’s lover, a half breed vampire. A fight breaks out between the Ancient Guardians and her husband’s lover.
Jennifer falls into a catatonic state believed to be shock.  She is flown back to the estate just outside of Chicago. The guardian’s believe that when their physician removes the memories of what she has witnessed, she will regain consciousness.

The guardian’s physician, Michael soon discovers that although Jennifer has the blood of a mortal, she has the brain function of an immortal. He is unable to remove her memories. After hours of research, they suspect that Jennifer is something other than a mere mortal. Compiling all the evidence, they have come to the conclusion that she is part Selkie.

A small group of her friends travel to Jennifer’s home hoping to find an old photograph of her biological father that has his name on the back. Instead of finding the old picture that her friend saw years prior, they find Jennifer’s father, Ronan, in person.
Ronan has been watching her from a distance since her birth. Ronan, after being informed of what has happened to his daughter, tells the group that he believes that Jennifer is not in shock. Like all Selkies, Jennifer has always possessed the ability to place her life essence in nearby animals. Rather than deal with what she witnessed, Ronan believes Jennifer jumped ship.  

The first attempt to locate an animal possessing Jennifer’s essence was futile.  It is discovered that the wolf she has raised since her early childhood possesses Jennifer’s essence. The group returns to the Chicago lake estate with Ronan and the wolf. They hope that by bringing the two together Jennifer will return to her own body.

Meanwhile, the rock band, The Immortals, arrive at Yankee Stadium for their New York performance.  When the helicopter descends in front of the stage it is hit by a firework’s mortar and all hell breaks loose. Several more mortars are fired onto the stage and into the massive crowds of spectators. In all the confusion, Kathleen, a lifemate of one of the band members is kidnapped by the soldiers of Set’s army.

A national search for her is conducted by Guardians Incorporated; bulletins are posted on the World Wide Web and throughout the Vampire Nation. A phone call is received on the Guardian’s hot line from an unidentified caller. A male voice recites an address and hangs up. A well organized assault team from the Guardians New York office descends upon a rural farm house and discovers two, not one, lifemates being held prisoner. Kathleen is returned to her husband. The Immortals, after receiving injuries travel under the protection of G.I., to the lake estate just outside Chicago.

At the lake estate Jennifer awakes in her own body to discover she is now living in a whole new world; her soon to be ex-husband is gay, she meets her father for the first time and her best friend lives in the world of vampires. Suddenly, Jennifer is forced to mature and accept who and what she is. Her Selkie half leads her to discover that she is in love with Gabriel, the leader of G.I., and a vampire.

Gabriel is forced to confront his own repressed emotions.  He has fallen in love with the tiny half Selkie, Jennifer.  The passion and intimacy continue to rise between the two when it is discovered that Set’s forces are planning a full scale attack on the G.I. headquarters. Before Set’s army is able to implement their plan, assault teams led by the G.I. Ancients storm four of Set’s strongholds.

Gabriel is confronted by his old enemy Bagsu, one of Set’s Ancients, who he had previously killed.  Two hundred years ago Bagsu was turned to dust when Gabriel severed his head from his body. Mysteriously, the ancient along with three others have returned from oblivion.  Gabriel is critically injured in the confrontation with Bagsu.
During the conflict several breed warriors are killed and more are injured. One man is missing and believed to have been taken prisoner by Set’s forces.

Armstrong, now a prisoner of Bagsu and three other ancients, is being held captive in a house in Saint Paul. Enduring days of torture, he has revealed nothing to his enemy. He awakes no longer in the cell he has been in, but in a comfortable bed being hand fed blood by what he believes to be; a fellow soldier in arms. Bagsu felt that torturing Armstrong for the information he desired was a waste of time and tried a new approach. He has assigned Alan Roberts to befriend him in an attempt to extract the information.

To regain the army’s strength, Bagsu divulges his plans.  He orders his soldiers to stand down and leave the Guardians alone for the time being. Recruiting additional soldiers has become the top priority. New recruits are to be targeted from U.S. military instillations. An order is implemented to abduct female civilian lifemates because their blood carries a strength giving substance.

Gabriel recovers and during an intimate setting discovers that Jennifer is the reincarnation of his beloved Akhakh. While things are quiet on the warfront he asks Jennifer to not only be his lifemate but to marry him in a traditional human ceremony.
The guests and staff at the lake estate lend a hand to plan and execute a grand elaborate wedding ceremony. Two days later, Ronan walks his daughter down the isle in front of a crowd of over two hundred guests. They adjourn to their underground chamber after the wedding, where Jennifer at last becomes as his lifemate.

Author Bio
V.S. Nelson has always enjoyed reading stories with strong relationships and happy endings so it’s not surprising she found herself writing across the romance genre. Even her commercial fiction, Sins of a Man, the memoirs of a Mafia Hit man, is layered with romantic elements.Landing in Arizona, after an exciting teaching career, which took her to the Middle East for several years, she lives in Arizona where she spend most of my time making love to her computer while writing, editing or researching, seven to ten hours a day. The days she’s not writing, you will find her with my critique partners at Starbucks, attending or presenting a workshop or at a RWA meeting.
Being a Native American woman and a Scorpio, she’s always had a fondness for history, mythology, the occult, and the unexplained events which have occurred on this world we call home. It was no wonder she found herself writing a paranormal series. She enjoys hearing from readers, fans and people with similar interests. They are more than welcome to contact her through 

Her Website:
Author Links
Purchase Links
Eternal Lovers – Paperback -
Eternal Lovers – Large Print -
Eternal Lovers – Kindle -

Approximately 20 Years Ago
Rock Creek, California
Somewhere high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Jennifer froze with her hands clutching the handle of the trout sized fish net still in the water. Woops. She knew she was in trouble, again.
She was warned repeatedly not to use her special abilities in public. Since she wasn’t around anyone else she didn’t think she would get caught. Guess, taking that short cut with her go fishing task wasn’t such a great idea after all. As soon as she got to the creek, she laid her fishing pole against the base of a pine tree, picked up the net, and willed the nearby trout to enter. She was about to lift the now heavy net out of the water when her grandfather approached her from behind.
She paused before turning around to face him, trying to think of a way she could explain her way out of this one. If she had just placed the pole in the water maybe it wouldn’t have looked so bad... but no, she was in a rush to finish her chores. Dumb move, Jennifer!
“Gramps, I....”
“Not a word,” her grandfather said, shutting her up. Glaring at her with narrowing eyes, he pointed towards the camp.
She tried to swallow the lump in her throat when it tightened with no luck, nodded then marched off in front of him towards the small camp. Her grandmother, the elderly medicine woman, was sitting by the campfire trying to keep warm when the two approached.
“Chenoa, you’re going to have to do something with her. One of these days she is going to use her abilities in the wrong place, at the wrong time--then where will she be?” barked her grandfather. It was obvious to her he was disgusted with her actions and with her. He picked up his fishing pole and headed back to the stream to catch the small family’s dinner.
Her grandmother looked up, shaking her head. Jennifer stood, hands folded together in front of her, her head slightly bowed staring at the ground. “What did you do now, little one?”  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Forever Hers by: E.B. Walters

Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing (October 8, 2012)
Language: English
Publish Date: October 8, 2012

She wants her past hidden...
Amy Kincaid is running from her controlling ex-husband, who will stop at nothing to find her. With a new identity and a new job as a housekeeper, she just wants to be left alone to raise her daughter. Then Eddie Fitzgerald rolls into town and turns her world upside down.
He’s in the business of exposing the truth...
Eddie Fitzgerald, L.A.P.D.'s finest, lives for his job and nothing else, until he decides to take a break at the family summer home and is held at gunpoint by the most annoying, sassiest woman to ever cross his path. But something is off about Amy, and the more he learns about her, the more he’s convinced she’s a fugitive.
When her past catches up to her, Amy has no choice but to trust Eddie. Unfortunately, Eddie has demons of his own, and struggles with the decision to protect her or uphold the law.
The truth takes them down a deadly path, and only love can save them
E.B. Walters is the author of a magnificent series known as The Fitzgerald Family Series. This is book 5 of the series. I have followed this series from the beginning and I will tell you that I have loved each and every book in the series. This fifth installment definitely was NOT a disappointment. The story is very well told, the characters come to life in your head, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

Buy Links:
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Visit these other blogs to see what they have to say about the book!

March 18 Christina Irelan
March 19 Britney Wyatt
March 20 Stacey Pattinson
March 21 Megan Keyser
March 22 Mindy Janicke
March 25 Michelle Luker
March 26 Kristina Haeker
March 27 Katrina Wittaker
March 28 Shelby
March 29 Lindsey Hutchison

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crimson Flames Tour

Title: Crimson Flames
Author: Ashley Robertson
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Book Description:Half-vampire Abby Tate is determined to learn more about the sorceress powers that were awakened inside her when she was turned into a vampire—making her a whole new hybrid species. There’s a group of rogue vamps banding together and forming a Resistance against the vampire governing body, The Head Council, and Abby’s newly discovered powers are the key to the Council’s victory. Now the Resistance will do anything possible to remove the hybrid threat, and with no other options, Abby is forced to rely on the aid of the Council, yet can she trust the very vampires that hunt for her human lover? And even worse, can she fight the unwelcome attraction that’s growing between her and one of those ancient vampire rulers?
Add to your Good Reads shelf:

Book Review:
Wonderful new vampire experience. Ashley has given us a very enthralling story in Crimson Flames. She has excellent ways with words and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Once you start reading you won't be able to put it down!

Author Bio:
Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida, and loves writing about anything paranormal. She also composes poems and songs, though she learned long ago she doesn’t have a singing voice. When she isn’t writing you’ll find her spending time with family and friends, training in her home gym, traveling and exploring new places, and drinking fine red wines and gourmet coffees from her Nespresso machine.

For a sneak peek at Ashley Robertson’s upcoming books, giveaways, and blog entries go to

Ashley's Links:

Chapter One Sneak Peek
The Deal

MY STOMACH CLENCHED as I sensed the vampire’s approach. He was close. So close I could feel the thrum of his power vibrating along my skin. The hairs on the back of my neck rose, and I knew if I was going to use my power for defense, then I needed to bring it forth now. I closed my eyes, forcing myself to breathe as deeply as I could—which thankfully had gotten easier with practice. I focused on the energy inside me, willing it to the surface, and as I felt it swelling, building like an approaching storm, I threw out my hand, gripped Stone’s shirtsleeve, and urged him to the floor. “Get down! He’s here!”
Stone raked me with a look that told me he was not too pleased, but then fear swept over his face when he realized just how little time we had.
The wooden door to the pub suddenly burst open—bits of wood and dust raining down from the force. Even though Stone should’ve cowered behind me—since his gift of reading blood wasn’t something he could fight with—somehow he’d found some bravery and boldly stood by my side. Though I appreciated it, I didn’t like it, and desperately wished he had listened to me. But I couldn’t think about that and call forth the fire within me at the same time. So I pushed Stone to the back of my mind with the silent promise of dealing with him later. Then I returned my attention to the power building inside me. One last deep breath and my heart shuddered to life inside my chest, making a rhythmic pattern with my faux breathing. A tingling warmth spread from head to toe, then settled on my awaiting hands. Seconds later, there was a glowing orb of fire (about the size of a basketball) cupped inside my palms. And just as the vampire appeared through the settling fog, I called out, “Not another step, Tristan, or it will be your last!”
“I think you should reconsider your threat,” Tristan shot back. “We are on the same side.”
That I sincerely doubted, but I knew killing a member of the Head Council would definitely put me on the “Most Wanted” list. Which I might already be on, since I’d helped the human this vampire was here to claim escape.
“She’s not bluffing!” Stone said through a snarl. I wanted to glare him into silence, but I refused to take my eyes off of the vampire standing in the broken doorway, wearing a black Armani-looking suit—now lightly covered with dust. It was a custom for all members of the Head Council to wear black suits, but each of them would wear shoes and an undershirt of their own choosing. I guess it was a way to express their individual personalities. Yet this one seemed to express himself through his spiked, platinum blond hair, not the basic black undershirt and matching boots—which were much more boring compared to what I’d seen a few of the other Council members wearing. But this vampire was far from boring. He was a tracker for the Council—one of the best hunters on earth. And he was after my human boyfriend.
“You know why I’m here, Abigail,” Tristan bit out. “The human was here.”
I felt my gaze narrow as I carefully took a step forward, the ball of flames growing hotter in my hands. “Yes, he was. It’s my fault he wasn’t captured.”
“That’s not exactly true,” said Stone as he moved up beside me.
I stole a few deep breaths, fighting the urge to throw my fireball at him instead of the blond vampire in the suit.
“Please explain!” Tristan ordered with impatience. But as Stone attempted a reply, he was cut off. “Not you! I want to hear this directly from Abigail!”
“Abby,” I corrected, feeling sweat forming above my brows and pooling between my breasts.
The blond vampire smirked, folding his arms in front of his chest.
“I did not restrain him because I do not believe he will be kept safe once in your hands,” I went on. “And until I can prove his innocence in all of this, I feel it’s best that he stay far away from you.”
A tinge of red formed a ring around Tristan’s irises as he scowled. “That is not your decision. He must pay for his involvement with those rogue vampires, including Bronx. He cannot get away with helping them try to destroy our stronghold.”
“I made an agreement with the other Council members,” I reminded him. “Doesn’t that count for something? Your word is nothing if your actions do not back up what you say.” My voice was getting louder, my patience thinning. And the angrier I got, the more difficult it became to control the fire in my hands.
“Yes. We have a deal,” Tristan assured. “We will not kill him or harm him—just as we told you—but that does not mean he won’t be punished some other way.”
“I don’t believe you,” I snapped.
Stone put his hand on my shoulder. “Abby, maybe you should—”
In a flash of movement, the vampire closed the distance between us and held Stone in a headlock from behind with his fangs hovering over my friend’s neck. And since it wasn’t to drink Stone’s blood, since Stone was also a vampire, then that meant it was a threat to rip out my friend’s jugular. From there it would be too easy to finish Stone by ripping off his head. And that’s when my patience snapped. There were only two ways to kill a vampire—burning to death or decapitation—and he was about to find out firsthand just how very dangerous I was. Sure, he could threaten to kill my friend, but he’d be burned alive before Stone’s head hit the ground. I placed all my focus on the orb of heat in my hand, willing it to retract to half its size while intensifying, growing hotter, then I thrust it at Tristan’s face. In a blur of motion, he ducked, throwing Stone to the floor as the fireball grazed over his head, singeing the soft tips of his hair. A snarl erupted from his throat as his fiery gaze locked onto mine. There was a brief hesitation, burnt hair and musk filling my senses, then something similar to curiosity flashed over his eyes and he was airborne, plunging straight for me. My body shuddered as heat blasted out of every pore, radiating from me like invisible steam. Throwing his arms over his face, the vampire faltered midair and fell sideways, then jumped back once he landed and retreated by the door from which he’d entered. Satisfied I’d made my point, I pulled all the heat back inside me, then rushed over to Stone and helped him up. “You okay?” I asked.
He nodded by way of an answer, then ran his hand through his coffee-colored hair—which was completely messed up now.
My eyes narrowing, I fixed my gaze on Tristan across the bar by the door. “Do that again and I’ll kill you,” I warned.
Tristan brushed some of the dust off of his pants. “Abigail, I’d rather not have to repeat that again. Hopefully I’ve made my point by now,” he said, his mouth curling into an amused grin that nearly reached his eyes. The hints of crimson were gone—for now anyway. “I would not have harmed your friend, as I’m sure Mr. Rayver here is already aware.” He glanced at my disheveled friend, a smirk still pulling at his lips; then his gaze slid back to me. “Your powers make you far greater than just any other Enforcer. You are an equal with us. We should work side by side, you making the sixth, and final member, of the Council. But you must not argue with our protocol. If rules are broken, there are, and will always be, consequences. There are no exceptions to this. Ever. The rules of our kind are ageless. It’s been that way for centuries and shall remain that way indefinitely.”
Well that was news to me. I knew the Head Council wanted my services, but I’d thought they just wanted me to be one of their many Enforcers. Enforcers were gifted vampires like me. Well, kind of. A few months ago I’d been kidnapped by an evil vampire named Bronx and turned against my will, which awakened the sorceress’s bloodline inside me, unbeknownst to me. But Bronx knew all about it, and he’d planned to use my powers to defeat the Head Council. Only I’d killed him before he got the chance. Later on, I’d learned about my real mother being an all-powerful sorceress and how she’d used her magic to impregnate her vampire lover—my father. So I never really was just another vampire. Or even an Enforcer. I was always more than that. A whole new species altogether, a hybrid, and a hot commodity among the vampire world—since there was no other like me. Yet if the Head Council really wanted my partnership, then I just gained a whole lot of leverage. Anxiety curled through my belly. “If you want me to work with you, and of course the others, then I will need you to be more flexible. Rules are always in place for guidance, but we both know they are not in stone. Especially when I believe innocence is a key component.”
“When there is proof of one’s innocence, then we have a trial,” Tristan explained. “But there is no proof of that with this human.”
I thought about that for a moment. Sure, I didn’t have “proof” per se, but I had Tyler’s word. And though he’d lied to me about his alliance with Bronx, and the fact he’d known about my father’s death all along, for some crazy reason I believed him now. “Allow me the time to find the proof you require and I will consider partnering with you.”
Tristan shot me a lasered glare. His face softened but I had absolutely no idea what his thoughts were. Mind reading wasn’t one of my gifts—yet. Since no one could predict what other gifts I’d inherit.
“How can you possibly believe this human didn’t help those rogue vampires?” he asked at last.
Keeping my eyes on Tristan’s, I shook my head. “He was involved. I’m not saying I can prove that differently. He’s innocent of knowing what Bronx’s intentions were, what those rogue vampires’ intentions were.” I paused a moment to suppress some of the heat inside me, though I didn’t completely extinguish it just in case things got hostile again. “He thought he was helping them,” I went on. “He thought they were in trouble. He didn’t realize he was working for the bad guys until…until it was too late.”
Stone snorted in disbelief, but kept his mouth shut. Smart vampire.
Tristan’s eyes widened. “How can you possibly believe that? He must have you brainwashed!”
“That isn’t possible,” I told him.
“What are you speaking of?”—confusion in Tristan’s voice. “Bronx would have claimed you with his mind control had you not killed him first.”
 “No, it’s not possible to brainwash me,” I explained. “And that is how I was able to kill Bronx.” Saying that struck a pang inside my chest: I didn’t want to be a murderer any more than I wanted to be a vampire, err hybrid. “I have the ability of blocking powers.”
A wave of surprise flashed over Tristan’s face. “There is so much to learn about you, Abigail,” he said.
“So do we have a deal?” I asked, taking a couple steps toward him.
Tristan raised a brow. “How much time are you asking for?”
“As long as it takes,” I replied instantly. “I have a feeling you and the others will delay me, since we are all curious to learn more about my powers.”
Tristan closed his eyes momentarily, presumably using his telepathic powers to confer with the other members of the Council. I stole a moment to look at Stone. He was shaking his head slowly, azure eyes with hints of red wide with shock. I shrugged my shoulders warily, knowing fully that to keep Tyler safe, I’d break this deal and the neck of anyone who attacked him. Obviously Stone knew that too.
“We have a deal,” Tristan finally announced.
I smiled. Relief flushed through me as the remnant heat within finally extinguished. Moments later, my breathing slowed and my heartbeat completely stopped. Oh the joys of being a vampire hybrid. “I have one more favor to ask,” I said, a whole new confidence exuding in my voice.
Stone called out, “Abby, what are you—”
“Silence, Mr. Rayver,” Tristan stated. “I am very interested in what Abigail will ask for now.”
“I want to speak to Madelaine. Will Elliott do that for me?” My real sorceress mother, Madelaine, had died long ago, and I’d never even had the chance to meet her. My father and one of his female blood donors, all the while believing she was my mother, had raised me. And though I’d love for Elliott to connect me to my father, I simply couldn’t risk giving away the fact he was dead too. Who knew how that little piece of info would affect the deal I’d just made, or the innocence I wanted to prove for Tyler. Bronx killed my father. But it was because of Tyler’s gift of premonition that Bronx was able to find my dad in the first place. So I guess you could say Tyler did carry some of the blame. But he’d sworn that he never thought Bronx would’ve killed him. And I believed him, hopefully not foolishly. So far I was taking the news of my father’s death okay. Maybe my estranged relationship with him was helping me through the mourning process. After all, he’d left me when I was ten. Fifteen years later, I’d finally gotten a phone call from him, warning me I was in danger. I never had a chance to thank him for trying to help me…or see him again.
“Abigail,” Tristan said, bringing me out of those thoughts. “You’re going to make a great addition to our team. You’re already very good at negotiations.” He chuckled lightly. “It will be our pleasure to call upon Madelaine for you and an honor to introduce you to your real mother.” Holding out his hand, he moved closer, giving me a good view of his violet eyes speckled with the deepest of cobalt, not a trace of crimson in them, which calmed me further. “So we have a deal?”
I nodded, taking his hand inside mine. “We have a deal.” Then I asked, “When do we leave?”
His answer was one simple word: “Dusk.”
I felt my chest tighten as he said it, even though I’d somewhat expected that to be his answer. Moving to where Stone was behind me, I threw my arms around his neck and buried my face against the softness of his tee, yet I could feel the ridged lines of muscle just beneath. “I know I just got back here, but I promise we’ll have more time once this is all over. I will miss you,” I told him, my voice muffled.
He gently grabbed my shoulders and pushed me back, just enough for him to look at my face. “What in the hell are you talking about? Do you actually think you can get rid of me that easy?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, feeling confused.
“I’m coming with you.”
“No, you’re not!” Tristan shouted from behind me.
I shrugged as a plan formed in my mind. “Wait a second. I think it’s a great idea for Stone to come.”
“No,” Tristan repeated.
“Actually, sir,” Stone said, “I can be of help to both Abby and the Council. I can help look for the information Abby seeks to clear her human while she is tied up with business affairs with you. It would make her that much more available.”
I felt my eyes widen. That was actually better than my plan. “But you hate Tyler.” And he did—with a passion.
“Oh I still hate him, but I think the world of you.” Stone gently gripped my chin, caressing it between his thumb and forefinger.
A lone tear I hadn’t felt before dripped from my eye as I smiled. Stone let go to wipe it and I glanced over at Tristan. “Please allow Stone to come with us. He would be a true asset. And he is my friend. Please.”
Tristan was quiet for a short moment, face hard, eyes studying us intently. “Very well.”
“Where are we going exactly?” I asked.
“Boston,” Tristan replied. “We have a few stronghold locations, but we are operating out of Boston right now. It’s good to move around. Staying in the same place for centuries can get quite boring. And it’s not as safe.”
I nodded. I’d never been to Boston before, but I’d heard it was an interesting place. A huge part of me was looking forward to seeing it, checking out all the historic monuments, buildings, and the statue of Sam Adams, if there would be any time for sightseeing. With Stone coming, we would certainly accomplish twice as much, twice as fast. I trusted that he would work diligently on finding a way to prove Tyler’s innocence. Though Stone despised Tyler, I was certain that he cared enough about me to do as he said he would. Yet Stone wouldn’t be upset in the slightest if he was unable to find the proof we needed to clear Tyler’s name.
There was also the uncertainty over what kind of situation I’d be getting myself into with the Head Council. Learning vampire politics and more about the new species I’d become when Bronx turned me…well, that could take more time from me than I could ever imagine. Plus meeting my mother for the first time and finding out more about her set my emotions swirling with anxiety.
I closed my eyes and let out a deep, long sigh. Just take one thing at a time, Abby. One thing at a time. Quit worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. Bronx was dead. Tyler was alive and pardoned for the moment. Lily, my closest human friend and old blood donor, was okay. Stone was here with me now and would stay with me at the Head Council’s stronghold. And I’d gotten pretty good control over my amazing, awesome, and insanely strong powers. I’d say my life, afterlife, whatever, was going pretty darn well at the moment. Yet, at the time, I had no idea just how quickly everything was about to change.