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Monday, March 02, 2015

Texting All Hearts @GoddessFish $25 Giveaway! #kindle #bookblast


TEXTING ALL HEARTS

by Various Authors



Texting All Hearts—Boxed Set
Seven Multi-Published Authors

What do rodeos, otherworldly encounters, exotic dancers, bondage, hot sex, refound love, and time travel have in common? Besides romantic, edge of your seat fun and intrigue, they all evolve from a single text. Seven multi-genre novellas that promise to heat your nights and warm your hearts.

Her Cowboy Dom (Bliss)

Tate Hardy’s best friend leaves him all his cattle if he spends thirty days on a ranch with a woman he wants but can't have. Jess is a nice girl, and Tate doesn't do nice. Jessica Campbell needs her brother’s cattle as collateral for a loan. To get rid of the sexy bull rider, she suggests he teach her about D/s. When he agrees, Jess gets more than she bargained for from her cowboy Dom.

Midnight Road (Lorelei Buckley)

Drew Mathews cherishes her deceased husband’s lingering spirit. When his best friend, Dominic, reveals her late spouse’s dark secrets, Drew's crushed. She turns to Dominic and neighbors for support and stumbles into a passionate love affair and a slew of bizarre commonalities restricted to the residents of Midnight Road. As mysteries unfold, inalterable conditions threaten her romantic relationship, her life, and possibly, the world.

A Lethal Affair (Debra Jupe)

With a rumored serial killer targeting exotic dancers, Daisy Piper is more than a little worried when her co-worker goes missing. Her concern escalates when a guy she’s never met shows up claiming her friend stole his laptop. A mild-mannered computer whiz on the surface, Miles Garton is a total contrast from the streetwise Daisy. But he’s on a mission of his own, making the jaded stripper suspicious. Fighting each other, a mutual attraction, and the truth, they team up to find the missing woman.

Sexting Texas (Darah Lace)

Texas Tallulah Taylor never thought she’d be turned on by a dirty text from a stranger, one that leads to a delicious sexting session with her best friend. Will Sanderson never thought the love of his life would see him as anything but a friend. Maybe sexting Texas will show her this cowboy aims to give her the ride of her life…for the rest of her life.

The Dom Delivers (Nese Lane)

He’s a Dominant, and she’s as vanilla as they come…

Designer Jenna Jaynes enjoys the safe bubble of her creative world, until her delivery guy bursts through and steals her heart. CFO Aden Kelley’s regimented world is thrown into chaos when a spitfire dressmaker captures his soul. Will the Dom convince vanilla to swirl?

Wounded Hearts (Linda LaRoque)

Sarah Lawson's fiancé Logan Miller died in Afghanistan. She receives a text from Brandon Perdue, one of his war buddies, who wants to meet and deliver a message from Logan. Physically and emotionally scarred, Brandon values Sarah's friendship. Sarah wants their relationship to deepen, but he fears she's projecting her feelings for Logan on to him.

Pale With Color (Susan JP Owens)

Cheyenne Clark doubts Captain Joseph Westerly’s beliefs about reincarnation, but a twenty-first century gal stuck in1862, during the Battle of Gettysburg, creates a new perception about philosophies and physics. After Joseph’s death, Cheyenne returns to her time period and anticipates his rebirth. Will Joseph find her?


Excerpt:

Her Cowboy Dom:

“You need to be careful. There’s guys out there who don’t play nice. They won’t stop if you change your mind.”

“I can take care of myself.”

“If you wear that dress, I hope you can.” Tate cleared his throat and pushed off the counter to saunter toward her. “Because it makes you look like a slut.”

In one day Jess had been called a tramp and a slut. She wanted to hit someone and took a step toward Tate to meet his challenge. “I guess you would know since I understand whores are right up your alley.”

“Dammit.” He tore off his hat, tossed it toward the table, and yanked her against him. It was like hitting a brick wall. He held her tight and seized her lips in a punishing kiss.

A zing of heat raced through her. She dropped her purse and jacket. Her stilettos made her close to his height, and she wove her arms around his shoulders to get nearer to him. She wanted more. A whole lot more.

The kiss started out hard as if Tate was determined to prove a point or scare her, but then it changed. He took his time exploring her mouth with his tongue, making her stomach flutter. 

Releasing her as if she’d zapped him with an electric cattle prod, he took a step back, his breathing as erratic as hers. “I’m sorry, Jess. I was out of line. I only meant to scare you out of going.”

“Have sex with me, and I won’t have to go out.” She sounded desperate and hated it. The need to have him gone battled with wanting him to stay, and she wasn’t sure which one she wanted more.

He frowned. “I can’t do that.”

“Why not.” She took a step toward him and almost stumbled on her purse. “Josh is gone. There’s no one here but you and me.”

“You’re wrong about that.” He moved backward until he hit the counter. “Josh will always be here between us.”

“I know you want me.”

“I don’t deny that, but nothing is going to happen between you and me.” He ran a hand down his face. “Just do me a favor and stay home. I don’t want to see you make a mistake and end up getting hurt, because then I’d have to go kick someone’s ass.”

Jess snatched her jacket and purse off the floor and stomped toward the back door, the sting of his rejection riding her hard. “Then I suggest you pack and hit the road to Seguin.”

“Don’t leave like this.”

“There’s chicken and dumplings on the stove. I may not be back till tomorrow morning, so lock the door on your way out.”

“Jess!”

There was more than one way to break a cowboy. And she had Tate’s number. “Don’t worry, Tate. This isn’t my first rodeo.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bio for Linda LaRoque

Linda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.

A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers. 

Linda writes contemporary western romances, time travel romances and futuristic romances. 

Visit Linda at these locations.

Links for other authors:

Bliss

Lorelei Buckley

Debra Jupe
twitter: @DebJupeAuthor

Darah Lace
Twitter: @DarahLace
Pintrest: ‪pinterest.com/darahlace

Nese Lane

Susan JP Owens
Twitter: @SusanJPOwens





Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coming Soon from @EvoPublishing #RomFantasy

Shades of Death is a novel many readers find difficult to define. I have to admit, I'm at a loss myself with this one because it encompasses many genres. I wrote it in two distinctive parts, and while it is a short novel, it's one that touches on a number of intriguing themes, Christianity's connection to the vampyre, modern research, paranormal investigations, and a touch of romance, of course. If you haven't already read this one in a previous release, I hope you'll enjoy this newly re-edited version.

Shades of Death returns:

Death has many shades and shapes... Deep within the ageless Carpathian Mountains, an ancient evil wakes. Imprisoned many centuries ago, the creature has waited, patiently, for the one destined to grant her freedom. Arienne Lereaux has studied the preternatural menace called "vampyre" for most of her life. She is an expert in the field. Loosely affiliated with a secretive organization called The Institute of Paranormal Research and Investigation, she turns to them when she unearths what may be the first representation of the vampyre ever to exist.

The enigmatic and attractive Head of the Institute, Adam Raven, has spent a lifetime tracking the clues left by his mother's disappearance in the mountains of Romania nearly twenty years past. When Arienne arrives at the secluded island headquarters of the Institute, he wonders if she holds the key to finding his lost mother. But before too many days pass, the city of Vancouver is rocked by a series of grisly murders. As it races to find the culprit, the Institute faces an evil unlike any it has encountered before...

In the middle of their hunt, another branch of their network is making a scientific breakthrough in genetically heightened telepathy. The team responsible may soon hold a weapon that will have world powers at their door—until their lead scientist vanishes  after leaving Toronto to consult Raven and his people. Ancient myth is suddenly not myth, and evil may take many guises before the Institute can restore the delicate balance that was destroyed the night Arienne stumbled into a remote castle in the mountains half a world away…

Exclusive excerpt from Chapter One:

The Institute of Paranormal Research and Investigation, British Columbia, Canada

        The Nest, Adam Raven’s whimsical moniker for his small island home called Raven’s Eyre, was filled tonight with patrons from many of the charities and educational institutions that regularly received grants from The Institute of Paranormal Research and Investigation. There were also the expected number of curious spectators, casual students of archaeology, and reporters.
        Standing slightly apart from the gathering was Arienne Lereaux, casually at ease and smiling, but shrouded in an almost visible, self-imposed distance. She held a glass of sparkling champagne, sipping it occasionally as she watched the other guests, her expression pleasant but aloof. She was not a woman who sought the limelight, but she never failed to attract a certain amount of attention in any room. At five and a half feet tall, Arienne was not imposing; yet she was striking. Her voluptuous curves drew men to her, and her cool, sometimes scathing wit just as quickly drove many away. Her hair was shining coffee brown, falling to the middle of her back; her eyes a matching darkness, that when she chose, could be fathomless.  
        Her features were a disarming mix of soft feminine gentleness, and unrelenting stubbornness when she was crossed. At thirty-three, she remained detached from people, and oddly untouched by the passions of love. In her innermost heart, where honesty is the only rule, she knew she inflicted that isolation on herself because she’d never met anyone who challenged and cherished her in equal measure. She made it an impossible quest for any man who tried, and, so far, none had proven her wrong.
        Her expression warmed marginally when she met Adam Raven’s polite gaze, and she raised her glass in a wordless toast to him. His smile reflected amusement, and enjoyment.
        Doctor Adam Raven was a man who made her contemplate things she rarely considered. He was intelligent, and an easy match for her swift mind. He was casually arrogant and composed, naturally in control of the responsibility of The Institute. Her woman’s heart also conceded to his charm and his handsome face. Adam was a man that was impossible not to notice–especially when dressed as he was tonight, in the stunning black and white of a tuxedo. Arienne smiled when he scanned the crowd to locate Lorinna Mallory, the most beautiful woman in the room, as far as Arienne could see. Adam smiled again when his colleague nodded in response to his wordless directive.
        The Institute workers discreetly made their way to the far end of the room, and positioned themselves in a loose semi-circle at Adam’s back. The reception room grew hushed, and all attention became focused on the draped pedestal that was so clearly the reason for tonight’s party.
        The Institute headquarters on the small island off the British Columbia coast was a grand, vaguely mysterious place, rarely made accessible to the public, except on occasions such as the one that opened the house tonight. The rich dark shades of gleaming wood dominated the atmosphere; books were a natural part of the decor; antiques of varying ages and places of origin; and a staff of demure, well-trained people ran the house with discreet efficiency.
        Arienne knew that somewhere in its depths, the mansion also housed one of the most advanced laboratories on the planet. That was one of her reasons for coming to the city. A few seconds later, her attention was diverted from the estate and her internal wanderings.
        Lori stepped forward and smiled.
        “Ladies and gentlemen, if we could please have your attention for a few moments?”
        The crowd quieted, and Adam once again glanced at Arienne, who made her way to the front of the assembled group, but had not joined the Institute team. For the first time since they’d met, her smile was radiant, and she nodded.
        “You all know Adam Raven...” Lori continued, and took a step back to her position beside Robin George, a psychologist and M.D., and relatively new to the eclectic team.
Adam halted next to the shrouded pedestal and felt the focus of the entire room settle on him with expectant intensity. The unconscious force of psychic energy battered him for a moment before he imposed the control that kept such sensations from overwhelming him. Composed again, he smiled and addressed the people in front of him.
        “As you are aware, the Institute Museum is home to many valuable and rare artifacts from all over the world.” He waited out the expected spurt of applause. “Tonight we are honored to add to our collection a piece many scholars and researchers believed to be pure myth.”
        With the theatrical flourish of an accomplished magician, Adam lifted the small sheet that had hidden from view a figure of ancient stone. It was hideous in appearance; fanged, skeletal, winged and Vampire-like. Clutched within its talons was a human skull. There was an odd, eerie luminescence lurking within the dead eyes of the figure.
        A quick scan of the room told the Institute members that their guests were wary of looking too closely at the small statue. That unease created its own wash of anxiety among them. Adam once again became the center of attention as he broke the uncomfortable silence.
        “This piece has been dated at well over 30,000 years old. It was discovered in,” he smiled, expression faintly ironic, “perhaps appropriately enough, the Transylvanian Alps. Tonight, we have with us the woman who found the piece, Doctor Arienne Lereaux.”
        He gestured to Arienne, who responded with a tiny bow of acceptance of the polite burst of clapping.
        “Doctor  Lereaux, would you do us the honor of explaining the significance of this piece?”
        Arienne frowned briefly, then her expression smoothed, and she went to stand at Adam’s side. The slinky ripple of her gown as she moved made her overly conscious of herself, and she mentally berated herself for allowing the saleswoman to persuade her to purchase the outrageously priced designer dress–scarlet was not a color that left its wearer unobtrusive, as Arienne generally wished to be.
        “Thank you, Doctor Raven.” She turned to the people who awaited her explanation of the find, and its significance. “We’ve all heard the legends of vampires and many of the myths most commonly found in our culture were born from Bram Stoker’s novel, DRACULA. There are vampire legends from virtually all cultures; they vary in types and abilities, but all have two things in common. They are creatures reputed to have died, and they feed off the living. This,” she touched the figure with reverent fingers, “is one of the oldest representations of the mythical being we call vampyre. The people of the Alps believe to possess this figure is to be enslaved to the vampire spirit entombed within it.” Arienne shrugged, and her features shifted to an expression of wry humor. “I guess that makes me Renfield.”
        The guests laughed weakly, still unreasonably agitated in the presence of the idol. Adam and the other Institute members were also growing apprehensive along with the mood of the room.
        Adam moved to go to Arienne’s side and halted abruptly, his eyes suddenly filled with the flashes of psychic vision plaguing him in recent years. As they often did, the images blurred together, a rapid series of impressions that would not make sense immediately: .....He and Arienne in a passionate embrace... making love... Arienne screaming... blood on Adam’s hands... Then, lastly, Arienne’s eyes... terror-filled... glowing...
        The vision ended as precipitously as it began. Adam, inwardly shaken, completed his interrupted step to Arienne’s side. She was gazing at the crowd, seemingly oblivious to his closeness.
        “The first record we have of this figure in our culture links it to Christianity, though it’s not clear how or why there is a connection,” she said quietly.
        Adam glanced again at the crowd, aware that they were shifting nervously, hardly concerned with what Arienne was saying. He touched her elbow, and when she looked at him, he shook his head.
        “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. As always The Institute is grateful for your support and your continued interest.”
        Adam glanced back to the other members of the Institute team, his request silent, but understood. They broke up and began to mingle with the guests, carefully leading them into the banquet room.
        Discreetly, Adam took Arienne by the arm and led her toward the stairs. They exchanged smiles and comments with various guests as he maneuvered her up the flight, through the library, and into the conference room.
        As soon as they were alone, Arienne left his side and wandered to the window, her thoughts alive with chaotic images that were terrifying... and uncomfortably familiar.
        “You did not mention a religious connection when you brought the statue to us, Arienne,” Adam said. His voice, softly accented by his years spent in English schools, was cool with annoyance.
        She was motionless, and unresponsive. For a moment, Adam wondered if she’d even heard him. When he was about to repeat the question, she turned to meet his angry eyes.
        “Why else would I be interested in it? You know my specialty, Adam. I’ve been trying to connect vampire lore to the Christian myth for years.”
        Adam crossed the room to stand at her side.  “For many of us Christianity is not considered a myth of any kind. It is the basis of our faith and our goals here. The Institute supports your research in terms of knowledge, but not in spirit, Arienne. Not if you consider the core of our strength nothing more than myth,” he admonished with a gentleness that was in direct contrast to the storm that brewed in his deep brown eyes.
        “You misunderstand me, Doctor Raven,” she whispered. She faced him squarely, expression composed but equally angry.  She indicated an ornate plaque, visible beyond the open door as it reigned over the library, and the inscription etched deep into the rich silver, “All sacrifice is made worthy by Truth,” she read aloud, then smiled. “I am merely seeking that truth, Doctor Raven. Something your parents would understand well.”
        Adam remained silent, waiting for her to continue.
        “I have reasons as great as your own for believing in God, and all that He represents. The darkest path needs a light, however ephemeral, and I have often found that beacon from within my faith and trust in a God more wise than we will ever be.” As she spoke, she calmed, the anger and argument forgotten. She relaxed with her subject and spoke more freely.
        “The primary purpose for my quest, as it were, is to discover why there has always been such a great fear of vampirism and why it’s become so heavily linked to the Christian faith. There’s more to it than the modern fascination with lurid fiction.”
        Adam was thoughtful, and leaned on the polished frame of a window, his hands resting on the wide sill.
        “How long have you been studying this?”
        Arienne perched on the edge of the conference table and shrugged delicately.
        “Since before I became associated with The Institute... I ran into one of your people on one of my excursions into the Carpathians, and she persuaded me to take my talents to your Paris Division. I agreed. It’s been very useful,” she added with a laugh.
        Adam smiled. “For us as well.”
        “Adam?”
        Lori interrupted whatever reply Arienne was considering. Adam looked toward her, and saw the hesitation on his friend’s exquisitely beautiful features.
        “We need you downstairs.”
        He paused long enough to cast another look at Arienne, saw her nod and stroll to another of the many windows in the room, then he moved and followed Lori to the main floor.
        Alone, Arienne stared blindly out the window. For the flicker of an instant, the mirrored surface of the glass cast her image back at her, but her eyes flared red fire. She was unaware of the disfiguration, and shivered violently as tears blurred her vision. Hugging herself tightly, she closed her eyes and bit back a sob of anguish.

Testimonials for Shades of Death:

Shades of Death was a great read from beginning to end. Just about the time I thought I knew what was happening, a new twist would come into play. I found myself riveted to my seat each night in front of my computer, reading and waiting to see where I would be taken to next. My only complaint is that this should be a movie and there had better be a sequel. ~~ Penny Adams, avid reader

In Shades of Deaththe characters and the storyline draw you in so much that you forget time, you have to keep flipping the pages until the end.... ~~ Patsy Marshall, Book Club member and avid reader

Denysé Bridger's hauntingly suspenseful story kept me spell-bound from the first chapter right up to the last. It was hard to put down, and impossible to forget! ~~ Lisa Vance, Author



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shades of Rose media presents An Irresistible Shadow @KirBlacketer


An Irresistible Shadow by Kirsten S. Blacketer

Lady Evelyn Montgomery, only daughter of the Baron of Rayne, detests the thought of marriage. She will never allow a man to control her. Crushed by the constraints of propriety, she steals away from the safety of the keep and stumbles onto a plot designed to stir up trouble between England and Scotland. When a mysterious hooded man saves her, she fights her attraction to him as they join forces to hunt down a traitor and save her father. But can she save her heart?

Gabriel is a Shadow Guardian. Hiding beneath his black cowl and blending into the night, he is sworn to protect the Baron's daughter. The spirited Lady Evelyn is far from the delicate flower he anticipated. She makes herself crystal clear, no man will possess her. Can he prove to her that love can be more than just possession? Or will the traitor they seek tear them apart forever?

~Excerpt~

Fear infused her body, Evelyn had been captured. The fear melted into anger. She thrashed in her captor's arms, twisting and kicking. His gloved hand tightened over her mouth and the other pinned her securely against his chest.

"I mean you no harm," a velvet voice whispered in her ear. "I don't want to bind you, but I will." Evelyn's heel connected with the man's shin. He cursed. "Although you evidently mean to harm me." His voice was calm, suffused with amusement. He carried her to where their horses were tethered.

Evelyn struggled to free herself, but he was much stronger. She was close enough to the keep to call for help, if he would only remove his hand from her mouth. He was all warm muscle against her back, a living, breathing stone wall. His breath caressed the fine hairs on her neck. When he stopped moving, she wedged her mouth open enough to fit her teeth around one of his fingers and bit down. Hard.

"God's blood, woman! I'm trying to help you," he swore in his velvet whisper, then readjusted his hand over her mouth.

So much for that idea. If she had to play along with the rogue, so be it. He held no weapon to her throat. Though his hold on her was firm, he did not cause her pain. His muscles flexed as he shifted her in his grasp. She was keenly aware of every part of him that touched her. Okay, so he had a weapon against her. Though she had yet to see his face, her body betrayed her with its reaction. Evelyn inhaled in an effort to regain her composure and breathed in his scent. It was fresh, earthy, and dangerously sinful. She groaned, embarrassed by her wicked thoughts.

Her captor stilled, his breath quickening. "I will let you go," he murmured. "If you promise to behave." She nodded, relieved when he kept his word.

Evelyn broke from his embrace and spun on him. "Who are you?" she hissed. "What do you want?" She scrutinized the shadowed man before her. He wore all black: boots, leggings, tunic, and cloak. The hood covering his head was positioned low purposefully to hide his face from scrutiny.

The man proffered a sardonic bow, waving his arm with a flourish. "I am your humble servant, my lady."

The humor in his voice made her wary of his intent. "How did you know I was here?"

"I followed you," he answered.

She swallowed the lump in her throat. Following her? The words of Sir Alexander echoed in her mind. She should have taken a guard. "Why did you not make your presence known?"

"That would not have served my purpose, my lady," he replied as he leaned against a tree, melding into the shadows. Since he seemed more amused than disturbed by her questions, she asked another.

"Why did you grab me?" she demanded, licking her dry lips. Formidable and mysterious, this man of the shadows aroused her curiosity.

"Ensuring your safety. You're not as quiet as you think you are."

Evelyn bristled. She was proud, unwilling to admit he was right. "Who do you think you are?" Her voice rose in pitch and fervor. "First, you follow me, then accost me, and finally insult me. You, sir, are playing a dangerous game. I should turn you over to the night watch." She poked him in the chest. "I don't need your help. I can take care of myself." Evelyn turned looking for her horse.


"I can see that."

Buy Links:


~About the Author~

Stick her in the middle of a chaotic home with two children, a hyperactive dog, and a camouflage wearing husband, and she can cook and clean with the best of them. But when the sun goes down and the children are nestled in bed fast asleep, she tucks away her pots and broom and like Cinderella she transforms.

Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.

Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.

Author Links: Site * Twitter * Facebook * Tsu * Tumblr * Goodreads

~Giveaway~

Kristen is giving away a print copy of An Irresistible Shadow to one lucky winner. 

For your chance to win fill out the rafflecopter below. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Romance Books 4 Us would like to meet you!! #RB4U

For authors who are looking for more visibility, this site is an excellent place to begin, with very reasonable pricing, and high profile people from all areas of the publishing world. Drop by and check things out - and don't forget to enter the awesome contest on the Home page, there are some great prizes to be won - every month!!

Romance Books 4 Us
At the Romance Books '4' Us website, we have lots of promo advertising available! 



Author Spotlight of the Month: Next available spot is June. Your photo, cover, short bio, short blurb, website link and buy link appear on WELCOME page. $20.

Slideshow spots: 10-15 spots per month available on WELCOME page. Buy link embedded in cover. $10.

Books of the Month: 5 per month on WELCOME page. Buy link embedded in cover. $15.

FULL Page Advertising for Authors and Industry Reps: Check our pages. $15 per month or 3 months for $30. Authors get bio, blurb, news/contests, three covers, genres, links space on ONE PAGE! If you purchase a page, you can participate in our monthly contests and offer Free Reads...all good ways to promo your name again!

FULL page Advertising for Industry reps: Check our pages. Publishers: introduce your company, give three book covers/blurbs/buy links, latest news, genres, links. If you purchase a page, you can participate in our monthly contests and offer Free Reads...all good ways to promo your name again! Other Industry reps: introduce your service, give links, endorsements, samples, etc.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NEW: From Out Of The Past (mainstream paranormal mystery)

Almost 20 years ago, I wrote the first draft of what would become this novel. It began as a submission for Berkley Books, a novel based on a television series called Forever Knight. When they chose not to license further novels for the series, the book was returned to me, with regrets from the editor who told me she really did want to publish it. I pulled it out of my files a few years ago, and revised it, reimagined it, and it's become the novel that has just been released again. I hope you enjoy this one, it's very special to me.

From Out of the Past
(Revised and Re-edited – formerly released as Out of the Past)

Available now from:


A series of killings has the Toronto Police Department in turmoil. The press has labelled the killer a “werewolf” and hysteria is on the rise in the heat of the summer… Detective Damien Knightley is the lead investigator, but he’s got secrets of his own that need guarding in this very public investigation. Knightley is a vampire, and as the case gets more complex, what he discovers has him both baffled and worried.

In the Northern Ontario town of Brighton, a visionary woman finds a stranger outside her door, and because he’s near death she brings him into her home. In the wake of her kindness, dreams and visions expose things that terrify her. The stranger is a wolf, and history is about to repeat itself and explode in violent death if they can’t reach Toronto and capture a renegade on a blood-hunt.

As Damien recalls a love from a century ago, the threads of time are being pulled together, joining the past and the present. The beautiful woman he is falling in love with is bringing back memories he’d rather forget, and when the killer is finally revealed, there are more questions than answers in the identity…

Excerpt:

March

Rain spewed from the heavens in heavy torrents carried on water-laden gusts of cold wind. It was a horrendous night, and no one in their right mind would be on the streets in this kind of storm. Despite that, this little corner of the city was presently filled with activity. Nothing like a police crime scene to pull people out into the elements.

The dark alley and the area immediately surrounding it teemed with people: Forensics, uniformed officers, detectives, and now the captain of the Metro Squad. The entire area was cordoned off with the distinctive yellow of police tape, a much too familiar sight in the large city. The night was lit with eerie strobes from the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles. The coroner’s wagon was inching closer to the mouth of the alley, and the uniformed men were keeping the growing crowd at a safe distance. Despite their curiosity, none of them really wanted to see the body—at least that was the consensus of the police department.

Detective Damien Knightley slipped past the medical team and stood in the shadows. His senses reached, drew in the smells and resonances of the violence that had taken place here so recently. The storm offered little hindrance to his enhanced vampiric senses, and he shivered against a rush of cold that had nothing to do with the rain or the chill in the wind. Beneath the heavy aroma of blood was a subtler scent, one that he knew he’d encountered before, though not for many years. It was wild, animalistic, and it touched his heart with an icy thrill of fear.

Beyond the savage taint of rage and bloodlust were even more discordant signals. He felt the scream of the victim, silenced almost instantly, and the surge of power that intoxicated the murderer more than the killing itself did. It was akin to the supreme pleasure of consuming the blood of a willing victim, and he resented that remembrance–and the longing it woke inside him.

“Damien?”

He turned at the concerned query and offered Doctor Janine Chase a shaky smile. She was as lovely as always, thick brown hair tied into a disarrayed ponytail, wide eyes dark and sensitive in spite of the circumstances. If she’d worn make-up to work, it was long since washed away by the squalls of water that gushed from the sky and soaked mortal flesh to the bone. He remained cheerfully immune and was grateful for it. As he looked down at her, he felt a rush of affection and forced his mood to lighten.

“What’s wrong?” Her voice was pitched low, but the worry in her huge eyes was unmistakable. She glanced at the body on the ground, winced involuntarily, and met his sharp gaze. The blood was running like a river now that the impediment of the body was being removed. “You’ve seen something like this before, haven’t you, Damien?”

Her eyes never left his face, and against her will she was caught again by the intense awareness he incited within her. Damien Knightley wasn’t like anyone she’d ever known, and despite years of casual camaraderie, she couldn’t stop her body’s response to his physical presence. He was tall, golden haired, classically handsome, and possessed the intelligence of centuries. He was the loneliest man she’d ever known, and the most giving in many ways. She loved him. She had been in love with him almost from the start. That ache never left her.

Knightley nodded, his gaze drawn to the body despite his desire not to look at the bloodied, ravaged corpse. It was quickly covered and wheeled out of the alley moments later. Damien felt vaguely sick, and hunger gnawed his belly. The rich, metallic scent of blood was smothering. He drew in a deep, shaky breath.

“The Whitechapel murders weren’t all the work of the Ripper,” he told her quietly.

“You think the killer is a vampire?” She rarely questioned his judgment, but something about this didn’t feel like the work of a vampire—for a start, there was too much blood left behind. When she watched his eyes grow guarded, she feared the answer might be something worse than a vampire.

“No, but he’s not human, either,” Damien replied uneasily, his expression distant. He shielded any feelings he wasn’t ready to look at too closely.

It took a few seconds to recover, but Janine bypassed the shock with the practiced ease of being too familiar with his amazing revelations. In the moments that followed her stunned silence, she remembered, vividly, the monster Damien had destroyed the previous year. ‘The Ripper’ was a mistake DeVallier had made over a hundred years earlier. Damien had felt compelled to step in because he had failed his vampire father when DeVallier had asked for his help in destroying the creature back in 1888. It had taken several deaths, including the loss of a promising young detective, to end that particular horror. Recalling the condition the bodies were in was enough to make her queasy all over again. She was startled out of her morbid thoughts by the appearance of Damien’s partner.

“How can no one have seen or heard something like this?” Bonnie Taylor’s voice shook, and her normally fair features were bleached with shock. Janine placed a gently comforting hand on her arm, and Bonnie smiled wanly at the supportive gesture. “I’m okay, really.”

“Well, you sure as hell don’t look okay,” Captain Joe Winslow observed as he came to a halt behind her. Raindrops glistened on his dark face, and months of overtime and frustrated worry had put deep lines around the normally calm eyes of the police captain. His mouth was a grim line as he looked at the detective in charge of the biggest task force currently operational in Metropolitan Toronto.

“What have you got, Damien?”

Janine took her cue and went to join the rest of her team as they combed the alley for whatever evidence might have been left behind.

Knightley met Winslow’s demand without flinching. “Same as the others, Captain. We’ve got people canvassing the area, but the odds are no one heard a thing, especially on a night like this.”

“Have you I.D.’d the victim?” Try as he might, Winslow couldn’t keep his tone even. He was asking Knightley for a miracle solution, wishing with all his heart the young detective could supply him with the answer he wanted.

“Carla Winters,” one of the officers said, and handed the captain a small plastic bag with a worn wallet inside it. “At least that’s what the Health Card says.”

Winslow took the bag without comment, and fell into step beside Damien when Knightley headed out of the recesses of the alley.

“Have we been able to find a motive?”

“Speculation,” Damien answered quietly. He was silent for a moment as they passed close to a few of the curious onlookers. “We’ve run checks on all the victims, their backgrounds, and talked to anyone who might have known them. There’s no connection, at least none we can find.”

“This was picked up a few feet from the body,” Janine interjected as she rejoined them. Bonnie was with her, and the blonde woman didn’t look as pleased as she should have been with the recovered bit of hope.

“Colbert House,” Damien read through the plastic covering the card.

Winslow drew in a deep breath, exhaled loudly and rubbed his eyes with a hand that shook visibly.

“Alethia Colbert is the head of a shelter project a few miles from here,” Bonnie supplied reluctantly.

Janine and Damien exchanged a curious look.

“Think there might be a connection?” Damien posed the question to his partner, half his attention still on Joe Winslow.

“Not likely, Knightley,” the captain stated firmly. “Alethia Colbert is building hope for street people, not encouraging murder.”

Damien was startled by the observation, and the vehemence with which the words were spoken.

“Who wants her project stopped?”

“Just about everyone,” Bonnie said.

Janine waved at them and headed for her car. Her work was enroute to the morgue. Damien would satisfy her curiosity about Taylor and Winslow later.

Captain Winslow was called back to the alley.

With a last look toward the murder site, Damien took Bonnie by the arm, and they headed for the ancient Caddy parked just outside the police lines. As he’d anticipated, the press descended on them as soon as they passed within range.

“Detective Knightley, is this another werewolf killing?”

Damien stopped abruptly and turned to look at the man who had tossed the query at him. The detective’s vivid blue eyes locked with the deeper shades of hazel in Christopher Haines’ eager gaze. For an instant, he was tempted to wipe the thought from the young man’s mind, and then he dismissed the idea.

“It’s another killing, Haines,” he answered quietly. “At the moment, that’s all there is to tell.”

“We’ve heard that parts of the bodies can’t be accounted for, Detective. Is that true?”

Taylor winced and Damien motioned for her to get in the car, and he quickly slid behind the wheel. He ignored the last sputter of questions and comments, put the Caddy in gear and left the crowd of reporters far behind them in seconds.

“Tell me about Alethia Colbert’s project?” Damien requested. “Where is it?”

Bonnie didn’t answer immediately and Damien looked sharply at her.

“Her office is on Eglinton, near Avenue Road,” she finally told him. “The shelter isn’t operational yet.”

“She’s a friend of yours,” Damien surmised as he turned in the right direction.

“Since I was a girl,” Bonnie confessed softly. She turned to look out the window, the watery haze of sheeting rain obscuring everything to blurred dots of light that flickered past without much notice. “She’s one of the best people I know, Damien. This can’t have anything to do with her.”

“It can’t,” he suggested gently, compassion and understanding in his tone. “Or you don’t want it to?”

She resisted the instant retort that sprang to her lips and held her tongue until she could speak without snapping at a perfectly logical query.

“I don’t want it to,” she admitted carefully. “She’s put her life into this project, Damien. In more ways than one.”


Damien wanted to ask questions, but something in the troubled eyes, perhaps the sadness and uncertainty, stilled the words. She pointed as they approached the building, and within minutes they were enroute to the tenth floor office.

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