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Karenne
June 24th, 2008, 08:56 PM
Hello and welcome to the ALMOST Anniversary Party with Sara Reinke!

This is going to be fun! Thanks Sara for goofing off with us today

hollie
June 25th, 2008, 03:24 AM
morning Sara hope to a fun day

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 09:03 AM
Good morning, everyone and welcome to my ALMOST-Anniversary Party!

It's hard to believe, but at this time last year, I was 9 months pregnant. July, 2007 was to be a great month for me, one filled with memories that I'll cherish forever. First and foremost, my wee sweet one, my Girl was born. But shortly before that, another sort-of baby of mine was introduced to the world, the culmination of a lifetime of dreaming and trying and struggling and learning. In the early days of July, 2007, my vampire romance "Dark Thirst" hit bookstore shelves for the first time. Now it's almost one year later, with well over 30,000 copies sold. And just like I'm planning an upcoming first birthday party for my sweet munchkin Girl, I'm having another party right here, right now, today for Brandon, Lina and the entire gang of "Dark Thirst."

Just like with any party, we're gonna have goodies! There will be prizes galore, excerpts, sneak peeks at the upcoming sequel and more. Although I can't swing a birthday cake, I think we're still going to have a blast, so I hope you stick around for the fun!

But first I need coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I had a dream last night where Flavor Flav was in love with me, and I had to break his heart gently because I wanted to be with my husband. You can see why I might need to hit the Starbucks pretty hot and heavy for awhile... lol

Thanks again for joining me today! I'm looking forward to the opportunity to meet everyone!

Joanie T
June 25th, 2008, 09:59 AM
Hey girl!

Finally burrowed my way in! Congratulations on BOTH your anniversaries!

I remember how my curiosity was peaked when you spoke about a hero who was deaf/mute. How in the world could that be pulled off?

Well, you did it...and did it wonderfully! :notworthy:

Brandon is a hero to die for and I cannot wait for the next book!

Joan
www.joankayse.com (http://www.joankayse.com)

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 12:29 PM
In the Beginning... Part One

I'm frequently asked about the origins of "Dark Thirst" and the Brethren series. While the book was "born," so to speak, last year, the idea had been gestating in my mind for a good 10 years or so to that point. (I know, I'll stop the pregnancy analogies now, LOL.)

My first job out of college led me to Lexington, KY, where I worked for the local newspaper in the classified advertising department. One day, I fielded a phone call from a young man who wanted to place an ad. He and some friends were putting together an independent comic book cooperative with the ultimate goal of producing published graphic novels. Each member of the group would be in charge of their own book, from story to artwork, then everyone would pool their money to get the books printed.

Ironically, I had long dreamed of working for Marvel Comics, so I jumped at the chance to get in on this co-op. My idea was a story called "Bloodletting," about a young, deaf/mute vampire who is an expert in aikido and struggling to escape his violent vampire family. I got to work sketching some preliminary pages.

Unfortunately, the idea for the graphic novel co-op fizzled out before I got much further than that, and none of the half-dozen or so of us who were involved ever published a comic book. But I did make some fantastic friends with whom I still remain in contact and I also held on to my idea for "Bloodletting." The concept seemed so fresh and original to me, I couldn't let it go. I even tried writing it out as a novel-length manuscript, but that, too, didn't come to anything. At the time, (a) Anne Rice was dominating the vampire fiction market and I didn't think anyone would buy the book, and (b) I was then in the midst of what would turn out to be a nearly decade long bout of "writer's block," during which I only dabbled here and there in fiction writing, having decided to focus my energy on the pursuit of a more "grown up" career. (I know. What the hell was I thinking?)

Luckily, in 2006, I had the good fortune, not to mention pleasure, of meeting NY-Times best-selling author Karen Robards when she came to address my RWA chapter, Louisville Romance Writers. Ms. Robards told our group that vampire romance was a hot genre at the moment because Anne Rice had found God and stopped writing about vamps. Thus inspired, I dusted off my old idea for "Bloodletting" and gave fleshing it out as a novel-length work another go around.

You know, I still have those sketched pages of the "Bloodletting" comic book around in storage somewhere. One of these days, I'm going to try and dig them up and get a good chuckle out of them. I eventually decided I was a much better writer than I was an artist, which is why I turned my attention to writing versus drawing.

sabby07
June 25th, 2008, 12:41 PM
smilies/balsmilies.g Congrats on your year!!! Bouncy Icon Smilie Will you be writing a second book?? And you drempt about Flavor Flav????? eeekkkkk! lmbo

hollie
June 25th, 2008, 01:17 PM
I got your book it's on my shelf waiting to be read and keeps looking at me I'll find time soon i promise

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 02:31 PM
OK, so the idea for "Dark Thirst" came from a concept I had years ago for a comic book. I finally wrote it in novel-form years later after Karen Robards spoke at my RWA chapter. So how did the book go from there to being published?

When I first began to pitch it, the manuscript was still called "Bloodletting." At that time, I was a stay-home, first-time mother, and while my son was napping, I'd try to squeeze in some computer time and get back in the practice of writing fiction. I had about three chapters done of the original draft and decided it would be good motivation for me to keep writing if I started submitting it. I figured if someone responded to my query, they'd want a partial, so I could send them the three chapters I had done, and while they were reviewing those, I could finish the manuscript. Imagine my surprise, then, when I queried Kensington by email and they responded almost immediately requesting the entire manuscript. I was ecstatic except there WAS no entire manuscript! :scardey:

Needless to say, I wrote like hell whenever I had a spare moment for the next two weeks. Kensington called with an offer to contract the book and a sequel as part of their Zebra Debut line within two days. Surprisingly, the version that is published is pretty much what I sent to them, having written the bulk of it in two weeks; my editor requested no significant content changes and only a light copyediting before publishing.

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 02:33 PM
Hi, Sabrina,

Yeah, I know. Some people dream about hot celebrities. Me? I dream about Flavor Flav. *sigh*

And yup, there is a second book. "Dark Hunger" is due for release in September. I'll be sharing more info about it a bit later in the day. ;) You can also visit my website and check out an excerpt, if you'd like.

sabby07
June 25th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Ha ha, well here you go Sara I brought you a gift (since it is your party lol)....
http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e317/sabbysun/thumbnail.jpg

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 04:00 PM
Man, this day is getting away from me! I just realized I haven't given away any goodies yet so far!! :TroutSlap:

So here we go! Drop me an email: sara@sarareinke.com and give me your snail mail address and I'll send you a packet of official Brethren Series goodies -- signed cover flats, bookmarks, magnets, postcards and more! Plus I'll enter everyone who responds to my Almost-Anniversary Goodie Giveaway in a random drawing for the chance to win a print Advance Reader Copy of DARK HUNGER, the sequel to "Thirst" which hits bookstores in September! Be sure to put ALMOST-ANNIVERSARY GOODIE GIVEAWAY in your email subject line so I know to add your name in for the drawing!

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 04:01 PM
OK. I just saw the Flav picture and pee'd myself laughing. heh heh heh

kaisquared
June 25th, 2008, 04:15 PM
Sara, I tried to find you a nekkid pic of Flav, but my fingers rebeled!


Congrats on all the blessings this past year has brought, and continued success!Cheerleader :martini-2:

Esri Rose
June 25th, 2008, 04:31 PM
30,000 copies! Well done! I did notice you had nice sales rank numbers on Amazon and B&N. Congrats!

sabby07
June 25th, 2008, 04:32 PM
LMBO!! yea I think my fingers would have too!

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 04:50 PM
Each week, author Mandy M. Roth hosts a guest commentator on her Nocturn Journal blog for Working Women Wednesdays. I'm her guest for this week's post, if you'd like to check it out: http://mandyroth.com/blog/. As someone who was able to be an at-home mom with my firstborn, but returned to working full-time last year while pregnant with the Girl, I've had a taste of both worlds when it comes to working mothers. In my blog post, I offer some advice and suggestions I learned from both experiences.

Jan in Kentucky
June 25th, 2008, 05:46 PM
Hi, Sara, I'm just checking in to say hi! Glad to see you on Coffee Time and it was good to say hi in person in Cincy. Hope you and your family are having a great summer! Cheerleader

Jan
www.janscarbrough.com (http://www.janscarbrough.com)

CharmedGirl
June 25th, 2008, 05:54 PM
I love Mandy Roth's books. They are great. I'm going to have to check that blog out.

hollie
June 25th, 2008, 06:55 PM
it's my bed time hope you enjoy the rest of your chat

sabby07
June 25th, 2008, 07:28 PM
Night Hollie!!smilies/catmoon.gif

kaisquared
June 25th, 2008, 08:31 PM
I checked out your guest blogging, Sara, loved what you wrote!
:rockon:

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 08:51 PM
Thanks, kaisquared! It's good to see you, btw -- it seems like it's been forever! *hugs*

Sorry to have disappeared. After 5 p.m., I have parental duties -- picking kids up from daycare, suppertime, dishes, baths, p.j.s, etc. I usually don't come up for air until after bedtime, LOL.

So I think it's waaaaay past time to post an excerpt, what do you think? Let me go find a good one... Will be right back!

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 09:08 PM
I'd like to share the Prologue to "Dark Thirst" in its entirety here on the CTR forum. I think it's not only a terrific introduction to the book's hero, Brandon Noble, but to the Brethren as well...

I hope you enjoy!


Brandon sensed the Grandfather coming before he ever appeared in the doorway; like the way the electrical charge from an encroaching storm would shiver through his form, Brandon felt the hairs along the nape of his neck raise, and he knew.

His gift of telepathy, something that came inherently to other members of the Brethren, had never been strong within him. The Grandfather had always told him it was because he was damaged, that like his ears and voice, his extrasensory perception was long-since ruined. His brother, Caine, had always told Brandon it was because he was weak―in body, mind and spirit. No better than a woman, Caine would sneer, his own mental prowess already formidable despite his relative youth. Or worse than this―a human. You’re as weak and wretched as the fetid meat of humanity, brother.

Brandon was in his room with his youngest brother, Daniel, who was four years old. Daniel was sitting in a broad patch of sunbeam beneath Brandon’s window, coloring books and crayons spread around him in a messy circumference. Brandon knelt, watching the boy draw wild, looping circles in red, blue and green, his mouth open in a wide smile, moving nonstop with chattering words Brandon could not hear.

When he felt the odd, ominous, prickling sensation in the air, tingling around him, Brandon lifted his head. Daniel didn’t notice it; he was too young yet, and it would still be many long years before his mind allowed him such uncanny awareness. The boy saw the Grandfather, however, as he stepped into the doorway beyond Brandon’s shoulder, and his dark eyes widened, the happiness in his face fading abruptly to fright.

They were the last of their kind, Brandon and his family, two hundred and twenty-three of them living in close quarters in neighboring horse farms in central Kentucky. Humans might have called them vampires, were they aware of their existence, but to Brandon and his people, they were simply called the Brethren.

The Grandfather seldom visited the younger members of the clan―and never Brandon. He was always too busy or otherwise preoccupied, and he had never made any secret of the fact that he considered Brandon a disgraceful blight among the Brethren.

Brandon had been Daniel’s age when he had come upon a trio of burglars in the middle of the night as they had robbed the downstairs parlor of the great house. He had been four years old when they had attacked him, beating him mercilessly in attempt to keep from being discovered. He had been only a child when his throat had been cut―rendering him mute for life―and his head battered, leaving him deaf in both ears. Just as Daniel’s ability to sense his fellow Brethren had not yet fully matured, Brandon’s healing abilities as a member of the Brethren―the accelerated capacities that would seem to grant them immortality―had not been developed enough. They had kept him from death, but had left him ruined, at least in the Grandfather’s stern regard. Brandon was a constant symbol of weakness to most of his family, and particularly to the Grandfather; one to be disdained and ignored.

That afternoon, however, he didn’t intend to ignore Brandon. But at first, Brandon couldn’t fathom what the Grandfather might want.

Is he lost? Does he want to see Daniel? he wondered rather naively and stupidly. He rose to his feet, lowering his eyes to the floor in polite deference to his elder, at a complete loss as to the reason for his presence.

And then he saw the paper in the Grandfather’s hand, a single sheet, with a distinctive logo atop the page that Brandon recognized even from across the room.

Oh, God.

He had been diligent about getting the mail every day, taking Daniel with him and making a trek out of it as they went together down the two-mile-long, winding drive leading from the great house through the rolling acres of the Grandfather’s Thoroughbred farm, to the roadside mailbox at their gated entrance.

He cut his eyes quickly, frantically toward his bedside clock and saw it was only one o’clock in the afternoon. The mail must have come early, he realized in dismay, feeling his stomach twist inward upon itself, tightening into a tense, painful knot. Oh, God, it came early.

“Take Daniel to his room,” the Grandfather said. Brandon couldn’t hear his voice, but he could read his lips. Worse than this, he could sense him plainly in his mind; the Grandfather was the strongest telepath in the Noble family, but he seldom forced his thoughts upon the younger Brethren unless he meant to be taken at murderous severity. Take him now, Emily.

Brandon’s younger sister, Emily strode briskly past the Grandfather and across the room. She reached for Daniel, but the little boy shied behind Brandon’s hip, his small fingers clutching anxiously at the belt loops of Brandon’s jeans. Brandon looked down and saw him whimper his name, frightened.

It’s alright, Brandon tried to convey in a gentle smile, as he brushed his hand against the cap of his brother’s hair to draw his fearful gaze. Even though his telepathy was weak, he could speak to Daniel with his mind, but it was strictly forbidden by the mandate of the Grandfather. Not until Brandon’s bloodletting. Normally, Brandon was helpless to use his telepathy unless another Brethren member deliberately opened their mind to him. Otherwise, his extrasensory perceptions were as deafened as his ears, and it felt as if a heavy cowl lay draped constantly within his mind, stifling him.

It will be different once you’ve gone through the bloodletting, his twin sister, Tessa had tried to tell him. Your powers will strengthen, just like mine did. You’ll see.

However, Brandon suspected the Grandfather and Caine were right; his abilities were damaged from the same injuries that had cost him his hearing and speech. He didn’t want to see if they would strengthen after his bloodletting. He didn’t want to go through the ancient, brutal ceremony―even if it meant he’d be able to communicate freely with him mind.

Daniel was too young to control his own mental abilities, and his mind was always open. Brandon ordinarily shared his thoughts with Daniel freely and without rebuke, as a result, but he could sense that today, such defiance―and particularly in the presence of the Grandfather―would be a foolish mistake.

He stroked Daniel’s hair again nodded once toward Emily, smiling in encouragement. Go with her, he tried to convey in the simple gesture. I’ll be okay.

Daniel looked unconvinced, but he wasn’t too young to understand one didn’t disobey the Grandfather. He slipped out from behind the shelter of Brandon’s long legs and hooked his hand against Emily’s outstretched, awaiting palm.

Brandon glanced toward the doorway and found their oldest brother, Caine watching from the threshold, his brows narrowed, his dark eyes glittering meanly, the corner of his mouth hooked in wicked triumph. Like most of his siblings―except for his twin sister, Tessa, and Daniel―Caine considered Brandon unfit to hold a place among the Brethren. In that moment, as the two brothers locked gazes, it didn’t take a genius to figure out who had discovered that the mail had been delivered early―and who had brought the letter from Gallaudet University to the Grandfather’s disapproving notice.

Brandon had wanted to go to the all-deaf school for years, even before he had earned his high school equivalency. The Grandfather hadn’t allowed him to go to elementary or high school, however, and had permitted Brandon’s instruction only under the supervision of a private tutor. Jackson Jones, Brandon’s teacher, who was also deaf, had told Brandon about the college in Washington, D.C.; it was Jackson’s alma mater, and to Brandon, it had seemed a place of impossible promise and wonder.
Of course, the Grandfather had no intention of allowing Brandon to leave the Brethren to go to college. He’d made this vehemently clear. Brandon had known it. He had applied to the school anyway. He had planned on leaving on his own, running away, abandoning the Brethren and going just the same.

Though there was no way the Grandfather could know all of this simply from the letter, Brandon knew that he did. He could see it in the man’s cold, unflinching gaze, the way his coal-black eyes seemed to bore into Brandon’s skull, to grasp him firmly and hold him fast, without the Grandfather laying as much as a finger on him. He knew, and he was enraged.

Oh, God, Brandon thought, as the Grandfather swung the door closed behind Emily and Daniel, slamming it with enough force so that although Brandon couldn’t hear the sharp report, he could feel it resounding in the floorboards beneath his feet. Caine remained in the chamber, as if by unspoken invitation, and his smile grew wider at the mounting dismay in Brandon’s face.

The Grandfather was more than three hundred years old, but had the prowess and build of a man no more than his mid-forties. He was strong; like all of the Brethren Elders, he commanded the well-honed strength of more than twenty human men. He had a heavy sheaf of white hair that fell nearly to his hips, standing out in stark contrast to his black shirt. Ordinarily, the Grandfather always wore sport coats and suits, no matter the occasion or weather. Today, he had abandoned his tie and jacket and turned back his shirt sleeves to his elbows.

Oh, God, Brandon thought, his body paralyzed with fright, his mouth gone dry and tacky with it, his shoulders trembling uncontrollably.

What is this? the Grandfather asked, with a demonstrative waggle of the letter from Gallaudet. His mouth did not move; his voice fell with cold remonstration through Brandon’s mind.

Grandfather, Brandon thought, blinking down at his toes. Please, I can―

The Grandfather’s hand whipped around, a blur in his peripheral vision before it plowed into the side of his face. The blow sent Brandon flying. He slammed into a bookshelf, knocking the wind from his lungs, and crumpled to his hands and knees on the floor. He blinked at the polished hard wood beneath him, at the tiny pinpoints of sudden light that danced in his line of sight. Droplets of blood peppered down from his nose, spattering between his hands. His mind was swimming; the Grandfather had struck him hard enough to leave him witless.

He felt the floorboards tremble beneath his palms at the Grandfather’s approach, and he cowered, just as the Grandfather’s hand closed fiercely in his hair, forcing his head back. Close your mind to me, boy, the Grandfather said. That gift is reserved for a full-fledged and fed Brethren. You disgrace your bloodline―and me―to use it otherwise, even in your pathetic and limited capacities.

He released Brandon’s hair, and Brandon crumpled to his hands and knees again, trembling. Get up, the Grandfather said, and Brandon obeyed, stumbling to his feet. A glance promised he’d find no rescue from his brother; Caine remained rooted in place by the doorway, his arms folded across his chest, watching in silent, thinly veiled amusement.

Did you think I wouldn’t find out about this? the Grandfather demanded, shoving the letter into Brandon’s face. Brandon had a momentary, dazed glance at the words, “Congratulations! You have been accepted to Gallaudet University, the world’s only university for deaf and” and then the Grandfather jerked it away again.

Brandon wore a notebook on a chain about his neck, in an engraved brass case his father had ordered custom-made for him. Writing notes in its small, three-by-five pages was the only means by which he was allowed to communicate in the house, by the Grandfather’s directive. Although Brandon knew sign language, the Grandfather had strictly forbidden it, and threatened to sternly punish anyone else who learned it.

Brandon reached for the notebook. His hands were shaking as he flipped back the brass lid. He carried a matching gilded pen tucked at the hinged end of the notebook. He pushed it out with his thumb and began to write, struggling vainly to think of some appeal the Grandfather might consider, some explanation that might spare him what was about to come upon him in undoubtedly brutal measure.

Please, Brandon wrote. Grandfather, please, I’m sorry

The Grandfather snatched the notebook and jerked it. Brandon gasped as the chain cut sharply into the back of his neck and then snapped with the force of the Grandfather’s pull. The notebook sailed across the room. He had a split second to blink at it, startled and dismayed, and then felt the whip of sudden wind as the Grandfather struck him again, sending him crashing across the room. He fell against a table, his feet skittering over the crayons Daniel had left scattered on the floor, dancing against half-finished drawings of houses and horses. The edge of the table caught him squarely in the gut, and he stumbled backward and fell, gasping futilely for breath.

All of your life, you have been spoiled, the Grandfather said, and again, his hand fell against Brandon’s hair, wrenching him to his feet. Your father has coddled you because of your weakness, and I have let him for far too long.

Again, his hand smashed against Brandon’s face, and again, Brandon crumpled to the floor. He could feel blood coursing from his nose. He could taste it in his mouth, bitter and salty, but he did not fight or resist his grandfather. Jackson Jones, his former tutor, had taught him the martial art of aikido, in addition to reading, writing and sign language. Although Brandon had never officially tested, Jackson had told him that he was proficient enough at the sport to likely attain at least a first-degree black belt. But he couldn’t fight the Grandfather; wouldn’t fight him. Whatever further punishment the Grandfather intended for him would pale in violent comparison to anything meted out if Brandon dared to defend himself.

The Grandfather clamped his hand against Brandon’s throat and shoved him back against the wall, rapping his head painfully. He hoisted the younger man aloft and held him there, strangling against his palm, with Brandon’s feet dangling helplessly a good foot off the floor.

You disgust me, boy, the Grandfather seethed in Brandon’s mind. His eyes had turned black, the dark of his irises seeping outward, swallowing any hint of his corneas from view. His canine teeth began to drop as his face flushed with fury. You are a disgrace to your family―a disgrace among the Brethren. I thought you could bring me no greater shame than the night you abandoned your bloodletting―let your sister, Emily, take your place in the hunt, but this…!

I’m sorry…! Brandon thought, struggling vainly, wheezing soundless around the crushing weight of the hand collapsing his windpipe. Grandfather, please…I…

The other Brethren laugh at us, the Grandfather said, leaning toward Brandon, watching the young man’s face flush purple with the strain for air. They laugh at the Nobles, that we abide by you, keep you among us, keep you from those rites of passage that are customary and expected of a Brethren of your age. And now you think you can just leave these walls―abandon a birthright that has been fought and sown for you for more than one thousand years―so that you can harbor the paltry ambitions of the human stain?

He opened his hand, and Brandon crumpled to his knees, clutching at his throat and dragging in whooping mouthfuls of air.

I do not know why I bother with you, boy, the Grandfather said. Or why I continue to let the least among us tax my patience the most.

I am sorry, Grandfather, Brandon thought, still gasping to reclaim his breath.

There will be no university for you, the Grandfather said coldly, and he ripped the acceptance letter from Gallaudet into pieces. Brandon blinked at them, his eyes flooded with involuntary tears as the shreds fluttered to the floor around him. Not now, boy, not ever.

Brandon hung his head, still shuddering for breath. I’m sorry, he thought, over and over. I’m sorry.

Give me your hand, Brandon.

Brandon held up his right hand and felt the cool press of the Grandfather’s fingers as he wrapped them about. You will go through the bloodletting, the Grandfather told him.

Brandon blinked down at the floor, numb, hurting and dazed. He nodded. There would be no fighting it, no protest now. His father―who had kept him from it for so long―would be helpless against this, a direct mandate from the Grandfather.

If you ever run from me, know this, boy, and mark it well, the Grandfather said. There is no corner of this earth, no measure of time that can keep you hidden from me. I will find you. I will return you to this house, and I will punish you a thousand-fold what you have suffered today. And when I am finished, I will cast you into the Beneath, boy, and leave you there to rot.

Brandon nodded, trembling.

When your hands are healed, you will succumb to the bloodlust. You will know your first kill.

Brandon looked up, startled, bewildered. My hands…?

And then the Grandfather closed his hand into a fist, crushing the bones in Brandon’s right hand, splintering them inward beneath his brutal, forceful grasp. Brandon jerked against him, screaming soundlessly in bright, brilliant agony. When the Grandfather turned loose of him, he pitched forward, cradling his shattered hand against his belly, gasping for breath as his mind threatened to abandon him.

Give me your other hand, Brandon.

Brandon blinked up at his grandfather, his eyes stricken and terrified. No, he thought, shaking his head, desperate. No, Grandfather, please don’t…!

He was left-handed. He wrote with his left hand, signed primarily with his left hand, held a tooth brush, fed himself, scratched his ass―everything with his left hand.

This fact wasn’t lost upon the Grandfather. “It would be cruel,” he said aloud, pinning Brandon with his icy gaze. “The height of cruelty, in fact, to damage them both, would it not? You wouldn’t be able to write. You wouldn’t be able to defy me with the sign language I’ve banned―that you continue to use, in spite of this. I’m neither blind nor stupid, boy. I know of your transgressions. You hide nothing from me.”

I’m sorry, Grandfather, Brandon thought, trembling in pain and fright. Please, I―

The Grandfather caught him by the throat, firmly beneath the shelf of Brandon’s chin, forcing his head back. “Even your worthless modicum of telepathy would be even more so, because I would forbid anyone to open their minds to you. Who would dare defy me and try, with you as testimony to my reprisal?”

His hand tightened, crushing Brandon’s windpipe, and Brandon whimpered soundlessly, breathlessly. “You would heal, of course,” the Grandfather said. “But it would still take months―grueling, agonizing months in the meantime. You would be crippled.”

I’m sorry, Brandon thought again, his mouth open as he gasped vainly for air.

“As I said―it would be cruel,” the Grandfather said. “And I am not.”

He released his grip on Brandon’s throat. Brandon crumpled forward, choked for breath, wheezing. He huddled against the floor, trembling, waiting for the Grandfather to leave. He’d had his fun; he’d made his point with brutal emphasis and Brandon waited for it to be over, to feel the floorboards beneath him tremble as the Grandfather walked away.

When several long, excrutiating moments passed, and the Grandfather didn’t move, Brandon looked up at him, hesitant and wary.

“I will let your brother decide,” the Grandfather said, and he glanced over his shoulder toward the doorway.

Oh, God, Brandon thought, as Caine stepped away from the threshold, moving at the Grandfather’s beckon. He strolled slowly across the room, moving like a cat closing in deliberately on some helpless prey. His face betrayed no emotion, but his dark eyes gleamed with unmistakable glee.

“Surely Caine might find some compassion in his heart for you in your plight,” the Grandfather said. “My mind is so clouded with rage at the moment, I’m afraid I might mistake vindictiveness for justice.”

Caine looked down at Brandon, his expression impassive and unmoved. He held out his hand, expectantly. “Give me your hand, brother.”

Brandon locked gazes with him, his brows furrowed. Fuck you, Caine.

The Grandfather struck him, slapping with enough force to snap his head toward his shoulder. You will show your brother respect, he told Brandon sharply. He has earned it, and you will demonstrate it―the same respect you offer me, or any other member of our Brethren who have embraced the bloodlust and made their rightful, honorable place among us.

Brandon looked up at Caine, his vision bleary, fresh blood spilling from his nose. Caine held out his hand again patiently. Give me your hand, brother, he said once more, his voice mockingly gentle inside Brandon’s mind. There was no fighting him; no defying the Grandfather. Brandon held up his left hand, his entire body shaking with terror.

“If you plead with me, I will listen,” Caine said, closing his fingers slowly, firmly around Brandon’s. “I’m not cruel, either, or without mercy.” He smiled at Brandon. “Beg me for it, Brandon.”

Brandon spat a thick mouthful of blood against his shoes. Fuck you, Caine, he thought again.

Caine crushed his brother’s left hand, shattering the bones in his fingers and palm, making Brandon shriek again in soundless, breathless pain. When he was finished, the Grandfather draped his hand fondly against Caine’s shoulder and they walked away, leaving Brandon huddled against the floor, surrounded by the shredded acceptance letter, his broken hands tucked against his belly, his breath escaping him in sodden, sob-choked gasps.

CharmedGirl
June 25th, 2008, 09:32 PM
Poor Brandon. I wonder what Caine will do next.

Sounds great Sara.

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 09:33 PM
Hi, Jan!! *waving back* Thanks so much for stopping by! It was great to see you in Cincy, too! If you're going to Nationals this year, we'll definitely have to hang out! :)

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 09:45 PM
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The following excerpt is from about midway through the book.



Several hours later, Brandon woke with a start, his eyes flying wide in the darkness, his mind snapping instantly from sound sleep to sharp clarity. He had been dreaming of moonlight flashing against dark water, of kneeling along the banks of an anonymous river and ripping the throat out of an old man in tattered clothing who thrashed beneath him.

He lay spooned against Lina, his arm draped over her waist, her fingers twined through his, and her nude body was soft and warm, molded perfectly to his own. He lifted his head from the pillows, peering past her toward the digital bedside clock. It was nearly four o’clock in the morning.
Jesus, he thought, sighing heavily and closing his eyes. Just a dream.

He’d never had a nightmare as vivid or horrifying before; in it, he’d been seized with the bloodlust and unable―not to mention unwilling―to resist it. He’d felt it within his mind, swollen, hot and heavy, clouding his senses, making him focus on nothing else but the urge to feed, the need for blood.

The smell of it racing through the old man’s veins as he’d struggled in terror had left Brandon ravenous, and he’d dreamed of wrenching the man’s head back by the hair and sinking his fangs, fully extended and ready, deep into the meat of his neck.

A shivering sensation prickled his skin and danced through the fine hairs along his forearms, at the nape of his neck, and at this, Brandon sat up fully, drawing his arm away from Lina. She stirred somewhat, squirming briefly beneath the sheets before settling herself comfortably and falling still again.

Brandon tried to forget about the dream and looked around the shadow-draped room, studying the play of moonbeams and streetlamp light coming through the window off of the floor, furniture and doorways. He sensed something within his mind, a peculiar whispering sound, like distant static on the radio. His head was throbbing again, the dull ache rekindled inside of his skull and he frowned.

He wasn’t immediately alarmed, or at least, not as he’d been when Lina had left him alone in the cab the day before in front of that strange building, when he’d experienced a similar sensation. It had been weaker then, much weaker than now, but it had proven a false alarm, and he’d panicked for nothing. It can’t be the Brethren, he thought, climbing out of bed. He reached down and grabbed his jeans, stepping into them. They can’t have found me, not yet. Even if they followed me to the city, they can’t have found me here. Jackson isn’t listed in the phone book. They won’t know how to find this place.

Besides, his telepathic abilities had been going nothing but bugshit and out of his control ever since he’d left Kentucky. For all he knew, he could be picking up sensations from miles away, halfway across the city, or even just one of the neighboring apartments.

Or it could just be my imagination, he thought, as he padded slowly toward the bedroom door. Something left over from that weird-ass dream. My nerves are all on edge.

He glanced over his shoulder once as he finished buttoning his fly. Lina was sleeping, curled on her side, her body gracefully draped in pale bed linens. For a moment, he didn’t move; he remained poised in the doorway watching her sleep.

God, she’s beautiful, he thought. He still couldn’t believe she’d let him make love to her―not once or twice, but repeatedly, and for hours. They had only just succumbed at last to exhaustion an hour or so earlier.
He wanted to return to her, to strip off his jeans and duck beneath the sheets again. Not just to make love to her, although the simple thought of that left dim heat stoking in his groin, but to hold her, to draw the sweet fragrance of her skin and hair against his nose, and feel the heat from her body seeping into his own. He wanted to snuggle against her and forget about the strange whispering in his mind, the horrible nightmare that had wrenched him from sleep.

The monster I dreamed I’d become.

That strange, whispering, tickling sensation shivered through his mind again, and he turned to look down the corridor toward the living room beyond.

Nothing here, he thought, his brows narrowing. There’s nothing here. It’s just my imagination.

Nevertheless, he walked down the hallway, his footsteps light and cautious, his gaze sharp. He cut his eyes around the broad expanse of the living room, studying all of the shadows carefully. Jackson’s towering assortment of tropical plants cast irregular swatches of darkness everywhere. The ceiling fan had been left on, and the breeze stirred palm leaves and fern fronds, making shadows dance in constant, distracting motion.

There’s nothing here, Brandon thought, following the kitchen wall, glancing over the breakfast bar into the empty room beyond. In a nearby corner, Jackson had stowed an umbrella stand. Aside from a few umbrellas, plus some hand-carved walking sticks from Peru, Jackson kept his katana there; an exquisite, tempered-steel Japanese sword housed in a simple, wooden scabbard. Brandon curled his hand around the unadorned grip and slowly, quietly lifted the sword from the stand. He’d only used the blade a time or two in his youth, under Jackson’s tutelage and close watch, but he’d practiced plenty of times with its solid-wood counterpart, a bokuto sparring sword.

There’s nothing here, he thought again, but he wasn’t about to take that chance. Not with Lina asleep in the next room. He drew the katana free from its sheath, watching light filtering in through the windows gleam along the polished length of its blade. He set the scabbard aside on the breakfast bar, gripped the sword hilt between his hands and stepped forward into the living room.

He crossed to the patio doors, then returned toward the kitchen. There was nothing but the bobbing, fluttering shadows of plants moving in the fan’s breeze―and that faint, prickling sensation that let him know he was not alone. He glimpsed a flutter of light against the flat of the katana, a reflection of sudden, swift movement, and then something plowed into his back. He staggered forward with the force of the blow, startled and knocked off balance, and his sharp gasp of surprise cut short as a strong, slender arm snapped suddenly beneath the shelf of his chin, crushing against his windpipe.

Hello, Brandon, his sister Emily seethed inside his mind, as her fingers closed fiercely in his hair, and her long legs coiled viselike around his waist from behind. It’s so good to see you again. We’ve been―

Brandon reacted instinctively, ducking forward, tucking his chin. He grabbed her by the arm and threw her forcefully over his shoulder. He didn’t hold back or offer her any restraint; he threw with all of his might, and she sailed across the living room, clear over the breakfast bar and into the kitchen. She smashed headlong into a row of cabinets and then crumpled beyond his view to the floor.

Shit! Brandon thought, his heart pounding, his eyes flown wide in panic. How the fuck did she find me? He scrambled backward, the sword still in hand, but when he stumbled against someone standing behind him, he whirled, wide-eyed with new fright.

We followed your scent, little brother, Caine told him, his hand clamping against Brandon’s throat and shoving him back. Caine slammed him into the wall with enough force to crush the drywall beneath him, to rattle the wits from Brandon’s skull, and make him drop the katana to the ground. The stink of your weakness clings to you―pathetic and unmistakable.

Brandon drove the heel of his hand mightily into Caine’s face, smashing his nose and sending his brother floundering back in surprise. The moment Caine’s hand was loose of his throat, Brandon struggled to recover. If he hesitated, he was dead, and he knew it. He swung his hand around and down, slamming his fist into the side of Caine’s head, staggering him anew.
Fuck you, Caine! he yelled in his mind, his brows furrowed as he threw another powerful, sweeping, diagonal punch at his brother’s face, and then another, and another; a relentless volley that sent Caine retreating, backpedaling and stumbling. I’m not going back! You can tell the Grandfather that! Have him do his worst―let all of you come! I’m not going back!

The Grandfather is no longer interested in what you have to say, Caine seethed, grabbing Brandon by the arm as he swung another punch. And neither am I. He head-butted Brandon, seizing hold of him by the hair and jerking him forward. Their foreheads smashed together and Brandon staggered back, dazed and reeling. He crumpled to his knees, struggling to clear his head.

Caine recovered more quickly, and again closed his fist in Brandon’s hair. He wrenched Brandon’s head back and forced him to his feet. Brandon’s fists had bloodied Caine’s mouth, but Brandon could see this wound healing, the bloody fissures in his lips closing. He’d fed recently, then, and well. Nothing accelerated their already-heightened healing abilities like an overindulgent feeding, and Brandon thought of the nightmare he’d suffered, the dream in which he’d imagined tearing open the old man’s throat and gorging himself on blood. Not me, then, he thought, horrified. It was Caine. It must have been. I sensed him somehow, even in my sleep!

“Did you think you could hide?” Caine said, grasping Brandon’s throat again, hoisting him into the air and holding him aloft. “Did you really have such pathetic hope, Brandon? Abandon it, then. You’re―”

He turned to look over his shoulder, his hand falling away from Brandon’s neck, sending him crumpling to the floor. Brandon clutched at his throat, whooping momentarily for breath, and looked up, trying to see what had distracted Caine. Oh, no, he thought in dismay. Lina stood nearby in a T-shirt and nothing else beneath, her pistol clasped between her hands, aimed directly for Caine. Oh, Christ, no, no, please, no…!

Lina! he signed, his hands frantic, his palms swatting past one another. Run! Run, Lina! For the love of God, run!

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 09:53 PM
Have I mentioned that as a special token of my appreciation for my readers, I've posted three FREE downloadable ebooks at my website? Just go to the "Books" page at www.sarareinke.com (http://www.sarareinke.com) and scroll down to click on the "Free Reads" link. (I'll probably be adding a link to it on my main menus in the coming weeks, too.)

Choose from HEART'S RANSOM, a novel-length historical romance that Love Romances & More rated 4 out of 5 Hearts: "Readers will thoroughly enjoy this moving account of an honorable man unwittingly set on a
dastardly course and the resourceful woman intent upon changing his direction... Humor, tenderness, adventure, betrayal and misunderstandings will keep readers hooked from beginning to end... Reinke continues to
deliver the goods." In HEART'S RANSOM, when Kitty Ransom, daughter one of the most celebrated captains in the English Royal Navy, is abducted by pirates, she finds herself an unwitting pawn in a seafaring game of cat-
and-mouse. To make matters worse, the longer she is held, the more Kitty finds herself drawn to her captor -- and the less against her will her circumstances seem.

When Rafe Serrano Beltran finally has the chance to seek revenge against John Ransom, the legendary "Hawk of the High Seas," he seizes it. A physician by trade, and unwilling pirate by honor bound, he agrees to kidnap Ransom's only daughter. How could he have known she was blind? Or beautiful? Or clever enough to find the pair of manacles hidden in his shipboard stateroom -- the pair without a key? Or that once inadvertently chained to her side, he might not want to leave?

Add in a vengeful younger brother, a scorned former lover and a sadistic rival pirate with plans of his own for Kitty and her father, and you have a true swashbuckling, seafaring, romantic adventure!

Then in the novella-length paranormal thriller, RESURRECTION, (previously published) Jay Frances can resurrect the dead. One touch is all it takes to restore life to even long-since cold flesh. Jay has always considered this ability more of a curse than a gift -- that is, until the night he finds JoBeth Montgomery brutally murdered in a darkened stairwell and raises her. Jo is the first he is able to restore fully, body, mind and soul. She is also bright, beautiful and before long, Jay finds that Jo fills the void that has been in his heart since the death of his wife. As a mutual attraction grows into something far deeper and more tender between them, so, too, does someone else's interest in them. Jo had not been the victim of a random act of violence. Her assailant had been someone far more methodical, a sadistic serial killer the police call the Watcher.

Jay's brother, Paul, knows about the Watcher's methods all-too well. A seasoned homocide investigator, he's also the lead detective charged with catching him. When he learns about Jo, and what had happened to her during her assault, Paul recognizes the modus operandi of the Watcher.
He also sees the chance to use Jo as bait, to try and lure the elusive killer out of hiding.

Paul and his quarry have more in common than he can ever imagine. Paul knows of Jay's extraordinary abilities; he's seen them firsthand. But so has the Watcher. He knows Jo is alive, but that's not what tempts him any longer. He's watched something else that has fixated him: Jay and
his ability to raise the dead. And now the Watcher embarks on a personal quest to see Jay do it again. And again. And again.

And in the never-before published sequel to "Resurrection," the cateogry length EYE OF THE STORM, Paul Frances hunts for monsters. A seasoned veteran of the Metro Police Department, Paul's made a renowned career out of tracking down serial killers. It should have given him the life of
his dreams, with fame, notoriety and respect, but instead, it's
given him nightmares―literally. He dreams of torturing young women, driving them to the brink of death and beyond, over and over. These visions plague his nights and haunt his days, and when he discovers he'd been sleepwalking, disappearing for unaccounted hours at a time, he
can't help but beg the question: has the monster-hunter become a
monster himself?

Only with Brenda Wheaton does Paul feel like his life isn't falling apart. An assistant medical examiner, Brenda is a confidant Paul finds himself turning to again and again. She shares his passion for investigating and the pursuit of justice. They also discover they share another mutual passion―for each other. But when Paul's teen-aged daughters turn up missing, abducted by the sadistic killer from his dreams, there is no solace he can turn to, no one to trust with his grimmest, deepest, darkest secret. Because as Paul races to save his children from the gruesome fate he's witnessed in his mind, he fears that they may really need saving from him.

Each of these titles is available in PDF format for FREE, so I hope you'll check 'em out and enjoy!

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 09:54 PM
Thanks, CharmedGirl! :)

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 10:00 PM
It's hard to believe, but July 3, 2008 marks the first anniversary of the release of Dark Thirst, the first in my Brethren vampire-romance series from Zebra Books. To celebrate this upcoming milestone, I'm
holding a fun contest with a Grand Prize of your choice: a Kentucky Sampler Gift Basket valued at $55 (pictured on my website; please see link below) or a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

Why a Kentucky Sampler basket? Because Dark Thirst is partially set in Kentucky, my home. The Brethren are involved in some of the industries that make the bluegrass state great -- horse racing and bourbon -- and no celebration would be complete without experiencing these and other great Kentucky products for yourself! Why an Amazon Gift Card? Because if you're under 21, I can't send you the gift basket, as it contains bourbon balls. But I don't want to disqualify you from entering, so now you can!

Other prizes include a signed ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of Dark Hunger, the sequel to Dark Thirst. It won't be available in bookstores until September, 2008, so here's your chance to get your hands on a copy
three months early! This contest ends on July 3, 2008 and there's no purchase necessary.

Entering is easy! . Answer the following question on your blog, My Space page, etc. (Don't have one? See below!)

Why do you think stories about vampires have fascinated
people for so many centuries?

With your reply, include a link to my blog homepage and the Dark Thirst excerpt:
(a) http://www.sarareinke.blogspot.com/
(b) http://www.sarareinke.com/files/Excerpt_Dark_Thirst.pdf
(c) You can feel free to add the book cover image, too:
(http://sarareinke.com/sitebuilder/images/-_small-225x346.jpg)

Email a link to the web page where your answers can be found to me at sara@sarareinke.com and be entered for the chance to win!

Tag a friend to answer the question and post the links, then have them name you as their referral in their email to me. For every friend you tag, I’ll enter both of your names in my drawing. Tag more than one friend, and be entered for each time they refer you!

Don't have a blog or a My Space account? No problem! Just visit my Reader Feedback page at www.sarareinke.com (http://www.sarareinke.com) and post your reply on my message board!

The contest is open through JULY 3, 2008, the one-year anniversary of the release of Dark Thirst!* Prize winners will be selected and notified by email.

* Please see complete rules and disclaimers listed at http://www.sarareinke.com/anniversary.html.

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 10:03 PM
Check out two of the latest great reviews for Dark Thirst. AztecLady from Karen Knows Best gave it 7 out of 10: "The prologue sets the tone of the story...The writing in the prologue is so powerful and so evocative that I hurt for Brandon, even before I realized just how far things were going to go... Make no mistake, it is an extremely dark world—and not just in the 'gore, blood, death' dark, but in a 'they live under the thumb of a psychopath' dark kind of way." Read the entire review here (http://karenknowsbest.com/2008/06/21/azteclady-does-sara-reinkes-dark-thirst/#more-1307).

And Shannon C. at The Good, The Bad and The Unread declares: "I read this book in a matter of hours, and didn't want to put it down for such necessities as sleep and food... Reinke creates a memorable cast of characters whose lives and story drew me in completely... A damn near perfect book." Read more here (http://goodbadandunread.com/2008/06/20/review-dark-thirst-by-sara-reinke/).

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 10:04 PM
Oh - and look! My first review for "Dark Hunger" (the glowing praise from Lara Adrian notwithstanding, LOL)...


The book's not out until September 2, but the buzz has already begun!
LoveVampires.com has posted a glowing review for Dark Hunger, the second in the Brethren Series from Zebra Books.

"With its non-standard romance novel protagonists and its Brethren vampires, Dark Hunger has an original twist on the usual paranormal romance formula," says reviewer Amanda. "Its multi-faceted characters have enough realistic flaws to engage romance readers, while the conflicts between both the characters and the demands of their environment will continue to satisfy readers up to the final pages."

Sara Reinke
June 25th, 2008, 10:11 PM
Last but not least for today, I want to share an excerpt from DARK HUNGER, the upcoming sequel to DARK THIRST. It hits bookstores on September 2, 2008 but is available for preorder now at Amazon.

In DARK HUNGER, Tessa Noble-Davenant will do anything to protect her
brother, Brandon, even if that means traveling across the country with Rene Morin. A cynical, brooding, yet startling sexy vampire, Rene seems to take pleasure in finding fault with Tessa's every move. Despite this, a sensual attraction begins to develop between the two, one to which neither can afford to succumb. Rene and Tessa are being followed --
and a single misstep will put them at the mercy of forces more dark and powerful than they can even imagine...

I hope you enjoy! Thanks so much for spending the day with me and helping me get the anniversary celebration for DARK THIRST started right, bright and early! You'll find more excerpts from both Brethren books on my website, plus the promotional video and more: www.sarareinke.com (http://www.sarareinke.com).

Thanks again! I've had a blast!

Your friend,

Sara



Rene squinted as he walked out of the rest stop men’s room. It was goddamn bright outside and he wished he hadn’t left his sunglasses in the center console of his car. He forked his fingers through his hair, pushing it back from his brow, then shoved his hand into his hip pocket, fishing for change as he limped toward some snack machines. He hadn’t seen an exit off the interstate in more than two hours, and from what he could tell by checking out the map mounted on a bulletin board in front of the building, there was nothing ahead of them for at least another fifty miles.
Looks like it’s Cheeto’s for lunch, he thought, frowning as he studied the snack machine. He glanced down at his palm and began to poke through the assorted loose change he’d dug up. Have to grab something for la pischouette, too, he figured. She was awake now and with the baby, she needed to eat.
No matter how much Tessa infuriated him, how much she grated on his last fucking nerve like fingernails scraping across the surface of a chalkboard, something in him always softened when he thought about her pregnancy. Probably because he hadn’t been able to enjoy much of Irene’s. She’d left him, though he could hardly blame her. He’d suffered what was now known as post-traumatic stress disorder when he’d returned from Vietnam; between his hellish tour of duty, the catastrophic wound he’d suffered and the subsequent, horrifying realization of what he was—a vampire—he’d been a wreck by the time he returned stateside.
Hell, I’m still a wreck.<O:p></O:p>
Irene had been about as far along as Tessa when she’d left him. She’d lost the baby shortly thereafter, a miscarriage he hadn’t learned about until later. He’d been heartbroken, and remained so even now. Not much had given him hope back then, or a reason to live, but the promise of his child had. That had slipped through his fingers, as had any happiness he might have known with Irene. Seldom a day went by that he didn’t wish he could take it back somehow, that he could have made things right for all of them.
A wire coil inside the machine rotated slowly, dropping a foil bag of Cheeto’s, and Rene leaned over to retrieve it. He didn’t see anything in the machine that resembled the sticks and twigs healthy crap that Tessa seemed to favor, so he hoped that dehydrated cheese powder would constitute nutritious enough to satisfy her. And a snack might make for a sort of peace offering on his part, a way to smooth things over from earlier that morning.
He’d made her cry and even though she’d provoked him—par for the course—he still felt like shit about it. He’d been too hard on her—yet again par for the course—and he knew it, but sometimes…
Like whenever she opens her mouth.<O:p></O:p>
…he felt powerless to stop himself. She was a smart girl, high-strung but also wide-eyed and innocently oblivious to a lot of world’s more unsavory aspects, thanks to the privileged, sheltered life she’d known in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State><ST1:place>Kentucky</ST1:place></st1:State>. He’d known too many people—himself included—who had been beaten down by reality’s harshness, made jaded and cynical because of it, and he secretly found that naiveté sort of charming and endearing about Tessa. Nice, even. Not that he’d ever admit this aloud.
God, I’d never hear the end of it, he thought.
“Hey, you got a light?”
Rene looked up to find a young man in his early twenties standing between him and the restroom building. The kid had long, dirty-blond hair caught back beneath a red bandana tied over the cap of his skull. He wore an old AC/DC T-shirt, grease-spotted, ratty blue jeans and a pair of faded black Chuck Taylor sneakers.
Rene had been a police officer long enough to recognize the nervous, darting light in the kid’s eyes. Strung out on something, he thought, wishing all of a sudden that he hadn’t left his Sig Sauer in the glove compartment of the car. “Sorry, pal. I don’t smoke.”
The kid nodded, cutting his eyes to the snack machines. Rene decided to hedge his bets and get the fuck away from him. Just as he turned, presenting his back to the younger man, he heard the distinctive snict! of a gun hammer being drawn back.
Shit.<O:p></O:p>
“I guess I’ll just take your wallet then, pal,” said the kid, with pointed, sarcastic emphasis. “And your car keys, too. Hand them over.”
Rene pivoted, stepping in a slow semi-circle toward the kid and found himself facing the business end of what appeared to be a 45-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver.
Shit.<O:p></O:p>
“Your wallet,” the kid said again, giving the gun a little demonstrative waggle in emphasis. “And your car keys, too. Come on.”
Rene could see beads of perspiration beading along his brow line below the edge of his bandana. He could smell the kid, a mix of sweat and adrenaline, and could sense the mounting, anxious rhythm of his heartbeat.
Christ, he’s wired. What’s he on?<O:p></O:p>
“Take it easy,” Rene said, keeping his gaze steady on the kid as he reached slowly for his pocket. Unbeknownst to the young man, he opened his mind.
Tessa, where are you?<O:p></O:p>
“You sure you want to do this?” he asked aloud, because he had no fucking intention of handing over his car keys if she was still sitting in the front seat. The gun would be a problem he’d then have to deal with somehow, but he figured he’d cross that bridge if and when he came to it.
The kid glanced beyond Rene’s shoulder at the sleek Audi sports car, then back to Rene, his brow arched slightly. “Oh, yeah. I’m sure.”
Tessa? Rene thought again.
I’m using the bathroom! she snapped back, sounding irritable. Jesus, I’ll be right out!<O:p></O:p>
No, that’s okay. Rene slipped his hand into the hip pocket of his jeans and hooked the ring to his car keys with his fingertip. Just stay there for a few minutes. Take your time.<O:p></O:p>
Don’t tell me what to do, she groused in his mind. I’m sick and tired of you doing that—bossing me around.<O:p></O:p>
Goddamn it, I’m not bossing you around, he thought, bristling as he held up his hand, the key ring around his middle finger. The key dangled against his palm for the kid to see. I’m just asking you to stay put for a bit.<O:p></O:p>
“And your wallet,” the kid said, jabbing again with the gun. “Give me your wallet, too.”
Don’t you curse at me, Tessa said. I’m tired of you doing that, too, goddamn it. Asking means you phrase something as a question. It means you say ‘would you mind to do this, please, Tessa?’ Not just ‘do this’ or ‘do that.’ That’s telling, Rene. You were telling me what to do. Again.<O:p></O:p>
The kid’s eyes cut about uncertainly, wide-eyed with startled fright as a semi roared by on the interstate. “Hurry the fuck up, man. Give me your goddamn wallet.”
“Take it easy,” Rene said again, moving his free hand for his back pocket. “I’m getting it for you.”
He didn’t give a shit about the car or his wallet. What mattered was Tessa; getting the kid, his pistol and his hyped-up, itchy trigger finger the hell out of there before she came out of the ladies’ room, even though she was picking the absolute worst time to pull one of her Miss High-and-Fucking-Mighty routines on him, and if she had been standing in front of him, he might have been momentarily tempted to shoot her himself. He pulled out his wallet and held it up with the key. “Take them. They’re yours.”
“Damn right,” the kid said, stepping forward and reaching for the wallet. Right about that time, the door to the restroom swung open wide and Tessa marched out, her brows narrowed, her face twisted in a scowl.
And furthermore, you asshole… her voice began in his mind. She skittered to an uncertain halt when she saw Rene, then shrank back, her eyes flying wide when the kid whirled to her in surprise, pointing the muzzle of the pistol directly at her face.
“Don’t move!” he screamed, and she dropped a bottle of Diet Coke she’d been carrying. She’d opened it in the bathroom, and it spilled in a sudden, frothy puddle around her feet.
“Rene…!” she hiccupped, looking to him in bright, desperate fright.
“You don’t move, either!” the kid screamed, whipping the gun back to momentarily aim at Rene. “Both of you just stand the fuck still!”
“Take it easy, kid,” Rene said, keeping his voice calm and quiet, locking eyes with the boy. “We don’t want any trouble. There’s more than five thousand dollars in my wallet. It’s yours. Take it—the car, too.”
The kid cut a glance at Tessa, letting his eyes crawl along her body, his gaze lingering at her bosom. Rene didn’t need to read his mind to know what he was thinking. “Maybe I just found something else I want, too,” he said, the tip of his tongue darting out to swipe across his lips. He shoved the gun toward Tessa and she flinched, hunching her shoulders and crying out softly. “Move, bitch. You’re coming with me.”

sabby07
June 25th, 2008, 11:35 PM
Sara Thank you so much for all the excerpts!!!! This has been fun:orange:

kaisquared
June 26th, 2008, 12:40 AM
Sara, Love the excerpt, very dark!

BTW as I do not have facebook or blog, I tried to enter my answer on your site Reader Feedback, but it wouldn't let me, and Refer. page not allowed came up in red instead. Page haunted?

angie1313
July 1st, 2008, 03:09 PM
I knew I loved this forum for a reason!! :)

terra57
August 21st, 2008, 08:17 PM
Just to let you all know that both Dark Thirst and Dark Hunger are really awesome. I have my reviews up on my blog if you're interested.
http://terra57.blogspot.com/
http://yankeeromancereviewers.blogspot.com/

hollie
August 22nd, 2008, 05:57 AM
You've got Dark Hunger oh no fair I want it .....humph