Today is the release day for my new book, Called by Blood! I'm super excited and wanted to share an excerpt with you.
There's an excerpt of the opening scene at Samhain. And a different one at my website. So I'm going to put a little snippet here that's not anywhere else yet:
Set up: Alex is a vampire. Helena is human. They're destined mates, but that doesn't make it any easier for them to deal with the differences between them. This book is about the journey they have to make to come together. In this scene, Helena is testing her boundaries--and Alex's.
While he paid for his groceries an idea occurred to her. It was a horrible idea, but it took hold, the pressure of it growing and growing until, as they unloaded their groceries into her trunk she blurted, “I want to watch you hunt. Here.”
Alex shut the trunk. “That’s a bad idea.”
“Why? You said there’d be no more sugar coating.”
“You’re not ready to see it.”
He met her eyes, his expression full of warning. “Then let’s say I’m not ready.”
“You’re ashamed. You want me to forget what you are.”
She knew what she was doing. She was distancing him. But knowing didn’t make it stop. It made her all the more determined to finish the job. “Why don’t you pick someone out right here?”
“Helena, no. Just no.”
“It’s that ugly? You’re ashamed?”
He gave her a long “what have I done to deserve this?” look and seemed about to say something sharp. Instead he threw up his hands. “If that’s what you want, I’ll do it. Choose your victim. Someone alone.”
Helena scanned the parking lot until she spotted a cute little blond in a fur hoodie unloading her groceries. “That one.”
“I only hunt men.”
“You told me you prefer women.”
“Women offer me their blood. If I’m going to take someone by force, it’s going to be a man.”
“You’re very delicate in your distinctions. What does it matter?”
“You’re right. I’m a monster. I can take anyone I want. Old ladies, babies. What the hell.”
He turned on his heel and headed toward the woman with long, determined strides. Helena hadn’t really expected him to agree. She expected him to tell her to f**k off.
Swinging back around, he grabbed her arm. “Stay close to me. Smile and don’t stop smiling.”
Their victim was just climbing into her SUV. Alex raised his hand and called out to her like he was an old friend. Helena smiled nervously. Then it happened. Fast as a snake strike. Helena couldn’t understand how it went down, but one moment Alex was saying “Hi,” and the next the woman was wilting in his arms. Alex held her up like a puppet, so it looked like he was hugging her.
Helena locked her face into a smile. Happy happy. We’re all happy here. Just hugging and saying hi. No one glanced at them.
Alex pulled the woman’s hair to one side and bent over her throat, just like a movie vampire. Helena was close enough to hear him make a small noise of animal satisfaction as he bit down. The woman made no noise at all. Her eyes weren’t closed, just vacant.
After just a couple of seconds he hitched her up in his arms and refastened his mouth on her throat. As he did, one of his hands grabbed hold of the woman’s perky ass. Helena clenched her fists. She really hated that he was holding her that way. Hated it.
A few seconds later Alex murmured something in the woman’s ear and kissed her gently. On the lips. Then he had Helena by the arm again and they were walking away. Helena looked over her shoulder and saw the woman standing there, dazed but apparently undamaged. Sort of like in nature shows when they catch animals for tagging and then drop them back on the savannah.
They climbed into Helena’s car, both of them slamming their doors at the same time. Suddenly they were trapped with each other in the quiet intimacy of the car with all the world bustling around them. They both folded their arms and glared sideways at one another.
Alex broke the silence. “Satisfied?”
“That was disgusting. Did you have to molest her on top of everything?”
“I thought that’s why you chose a cute one.”
He caught her wrist before she could slap him. “What’s wrong? Did I fail your test? Didn’t I do exactly what you wanted me to do?”
She twisted her arm, trying to get free. “I just wanted to see you feed. Not watch you feel up her ass.”
“It was a nice ass. Why do you care?”
He crawled over her, straddling her hips, reclining her seat so she was on her back and he caged her with his body. A passing man raised his eyebrow at them.
“Planning on putting on a show, Faustin?”
“Maybe.” He swiped his nose along her neck, brushed his lips over her cheek. “You want to?”