Thursday, April 26, 2018

DAY REAPER with MELODY JOHNSON




Day Reaper

Night Blood

Book Four

Melody Johnson


Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Kensington/ Lyrical Press

Date of Publication: April, 2018

Number of pages: 414
Word Count: 116, 525

Tagline: A dangerous choice for the chance to live.

Book Description:

On the brink of death, Cassidy DiRocco demands that New York City’s master of the supernatural, Dominic Lysander, transform her—reporter, Night Blood, sister, human—into the very creature she’s feared and fought against for months: a vampire. The pain is brutal, she'll risk the career she’s worked so hard to achieve, and her world will never be the same. But surviving is worth any risk, especially when it means gaining the strength to fight against Jillian Allister, the sister who betrayed Dominic, attacked Cassidy, and is leading a vampire uprising that will destroy all of New York City. . .

When she awakens, however, Cassidy realizes the cost of being transformed might be more than she was willing to sacrifice. The overwhelming senses, the foreign appearance of her new body, and the lethal craving for blood are unrecognizable and unacceptable. But if Cassidy hopes to right the irrevocable wrongs that Jillian and her army of the Damned have wrought on New York City, she’ll need to not only accept her new senses, body and cravings, but wield them in her favor.

Irresistible and enigmatic as Dominic is, he no longer has command over the city or its vampires. Only Cassidy has the connections to convince the humans, Day Reapers, and the few vampires still loyal to Dominic to join forces, and maybe, if Dominic can accept her rising power over the coven he once commanded for the past several hundred years, the two of them together might forge a bond more potent than history has ever known. . .

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Excerpt:
A bird was squawking, and after several minutes of attempting to ignore its repetitive, shrill, bleating, I came to grips with the fact that it didn’t seem inclined to stop on its own. I snapped open my eyes, prepared to reach out the window and stop it myself, with my bare hands if necessary—I’d never heard such an obnoxious bird in my life, not in the city, not on the west coast, not even on my one excursion to visit Walker upstate—and froze. There was no window. And if the vents Bex used to filter fresh air into her underground coven were any indication, there was no bird. Despite the similarity of the vents to Bex’s coven, however, I didn’t recognize the room as the inviting, well-decorated step-back in time that Bex had created, either: no extra furniture for lounging, no scented candles, no Gerbera daisies, and no kerosene lamps pulsing in a hypnotic, romantic beat.
This room contained only sparse necessities: vents for underground air filtration, a bare bulb for light, a door for privacy, and of course, a bed. I was in a strange room in a stranger’s bed, its dimensions and d├ęcor familiar only by its unfamiliarity, and suddenly, the last moments of my memory smashed into my brain like a semi.
            Jillian tearing out my throat. Dominic healing me. The blood and burning. The transformation.
Someone was speaking in the room outside this bedroom’s door, and despite the distance, the scarred door, the cement wall, and my disorientation, I could hear every word being said, and I recognized the voice speaking: Ronnie Carmichael.
“Lysander said he would. There’s no reason to think he won’t, so I don’t think—”
And following Ronnie’s voice was the squawking of that damn bird.
“Exactly. You don’t think,” Jeremy snapped.
“Lysander said that he would try,” Keagan said patiently, his voice nearly drowned out by the bleat of that insufferable bird. “His priority is Cassidy and our safety. He won’t take unnecessary risks, like remaining above ground, away from Cassidy longer than absolutely necessary.”
 “Yes, he said he would try,” Ronnie insisted, but her voice was faint now. “Lysander doesn’t say anything lightly.”
The bird squawked even louder, in time with Jeremy’s audible groan, triggering a memory of Ronnie’s little girl voice and something she had confided in me: I never even knew he thought of my voice as grating. I never knew someone’s annoyance had a sound let alone that it sounded like a squawking bird.
I was right about the bird not being underground, but unlike anything I’d ever heard, the sound wasn’t a bird at all. The squawking was the sound of Keagan’s annoyance at the grate of Ronnie’s whining voice. Unlike Jeremy, Keagan was too well-mannered to audibly express his frustration with Ronnie, but among other vampires, he could no longer hide his true feelings. His unspoken annoyance had a sound—as loud, obnoxious and obvious as Jeremy’s audible hostility—and Ronnie could no doubt hear it, too, despite the calm, reasonable tone of his words.
I could hear it.
I could hear the sound of Keagan’s annoyance.
The weight of the sheets covering my body was suddenly suffocating. I raised my hand to tear them from my body, but someone else’s hand whipped into the air. I gasped at the skeleton-skinny joints of each finger, the knobby protrusion of its wrist and the elongated talons sprouting from each fingertip instead of nails. I ducked under the hand, trying to avoid its attack and swallow the scream that tore up my throat, but the hand moved with me, moving with my intensions, attached to my body. I froze again, for the second time in as many seconds, and raised the hand in front of my face. It looked lethal. With one wrong move, it could eviscerate me. As I ticked each finger, the long talons swept the air as I counted—one, two, three, four, five—and each moved on my command. Like the inevitability of a pending dawn with the rising sun, I realized that the hand was mine. Fear of that hand turned to horror and then to a kind of giddy resignation. Hysteria, more likely.
I had ducked against the attack of my own hand.
A swift peal of laughter burst from my mouth. 
            I stopped laughing just as abruptly. Even my voice was different: guttural and sharp, like shards of glass scraping against asphalt.
            The voices outside my door and the squawking bird had abruptly stopped, too, and in the sudden silence following my outburst, an uncomfortable, aching vise circled my chest. The pain wasn’t physical, but its presence triggered a dull burn in the back of my throat. I had the immediate urge to destroy everything, to pound the cement walls into crumbs with my fists and tear the sheets into ribbons with my nails—my talons—and fight my way free from this prison. I held myself motionless, resisting the urge, and I realized with a belated sort of curiosity that the aching vise was panic. Without a beating heart to pound and without a circulatory system to hyperventilate, I hadn’t recognized the emotion without its physical symptoms, but even so, it felt the same in one way. It felt horrible.
            I took a deep breath to dispel the panic, purely from habit, but the action wasn’t calming. My heart that wasn’t pounding didn’t slow, and I couldn’t catch a breath that I hadn’t lost. The vise around my chest tightened. I squeezed my hands into fists, trembling from the force of my will to remain still and silent. Something sharp pierced my hands, and I gasped, the raging panic stuttering until I looked down at my bleeding fists. My talons were imbedded in my own palms.
            A door slammed somewhere outside this room, further away than the voices directly behind the door, but I didn’t hear it slam with my ears. I felt it slam from its flat slap against my skin. Never mind that the door wasn’t near enough for me to see, nor in this room, nor the impossibility that I could feel its sound waves, my entire body felt its sting as if I’d been smacked from all sides.
            “Why are you just staring?” Despite the impatience and aggravation in those words, hearing his voice made the aching around my chest both loosen and worsen.
            The clip of his tread across the cement floor stung like the warning barbs of a wasp. I knew the physical pain on my skin was only the tactile manifestation of sounds— first, the door slam, and now, his walking—but that didn’t change the fact that the sounds really did hurt my skin. I tried to rub away the lingering sting and realized my hands were still fisted, my talons still imbedded in my palms, so I just sat on the bed, motionless and bleeding, like someone trapped without an EpiPen, waiting for the inevitable swelling, choking and death: trapped within a body that had betrayed me.
            “Did you have time to—” Ronnie began, but her voice was too small and too fragile not to crumble under the weight of his will.
            “You heard her waken,” he accused. “Don’t you smell the blood?”
            I could actually taste the pungent, freshly sliced, onion musk of their silence.
            The door swung open, and suddenly, inevitably, Dominic entered the room. He didn’t need permission to cross my threshold, not anymore, and he didn’t bother with the perfunctory acts of knocking or requesting my consent to enter. He simply strode inside and slammed the door behind him with a final, fatal bee sting.
            He’d recently fed. I could tell, as I’d always been able to tell, by the bloom of health on his cheeks, his strong, sculpted figure, and the careful calm of his countenance, but my heightened senses could now also smell the lingering spice of blood on his breath and hear the crackle of it nourishing his muscles. From the top of his carefully tousled black hair to the soles of his wing-tipped, dress shoes, Dominic was insatiably sexy, but his physique was an illusion of his last meal. I knew his true form. Upon waking, before feeding, he appeared more monster than man. Although not many people look their best in the morning, Dominic by far looked his worst.
            The way I looked now.
            That thought made my fists tighten, embedding my talons deeper into my own flesh.
Despite his grievance with Ronnie, Keagan, and Jeremy for their inaction, he too just stared, immobile after entering the room, but his gaze absorbed everything. I felt the slash of his eyes slice across my face, down my body, and eventually, settle with dark finality on my fisted palms.
He didn’t move, and that I could tell by the stillness of his throat, he didn’t make a sound, but despite his still, silent stare, I heard the unmistakable rush of wind. There were no windows underground, and in the stagnant stillness of the room—the tension between our bodies like an electric current stretching to complete its circuit—no relief from the heat of his presence. The sound wasn’t wind, it only sounded like wind, but whatever it was the sound of, it was emanating from the only other person in the room.
I blinked and Dominic was suddenly, but no longer impossibly, beside the bed. His movements were just as inhumanly fast as ever, but with my enhanced vision, I could track his movement, see his grace and fluidity. I heard the slide of air molecules parting for him, felt the electric snap of his muscles flexing, and smelled an emotion he wouldn’t allow me to interpret on his carefully neutral expression. Whatever he was feeling was spiced, sweet, strong, and dangerous with overuse, like ginger.
            He reached out and carefully wrapped his palms around mine to cup my fists. His voice was steady when he spoke, but I knew better. The rush of wind emanating from him heightened, the smell of ginger became chokingly poignant, and his heart that didn’t need to beat to keep him alive, contracted just once. I could both hear the swoosh of his blood being pumped through each chamber and taste the silky spice of that sound.
My hands were injured yet his trembled.
            “Relax,” Dominic murmured. “I’m here. I should have been here when you first awakened, but I’m here now.”
            I blinked at him. With him here, everything was somehow simultaneous better and horribly worse.
            “Mirror,” I growled. I tried to form a complete sentence, to demand, Get me a mirror, so I can see the horror of a face that matches these hands! but my throat was too dry. Even that one word rattled from my vocal cords like flint scraping across steel, and the resulting sparks flamed the back of my throat. I sounded dangerous and angry and monstrous. If I had stumbled upon me in an alley, I would have run.
            Then again, I’d stumbled upon Dominic in an alley, and look how that had played out.
            Whether Dominic saw my anger or thought me a dangerous monster now wasn’t revealed by his carefully masked countenance. He stroked the back of my hand with the soft pad of his human-feeling thumb. “You need to calm down.”
            Calm down? I thought. I jerked my hands free from his gentle hold and shook my fists between us, in front of his face. All things considered, this is calm!
            Dominic sighed. “I can’t see your claws from inside your palms, but did you happen to notice their color before stabbing yourself with them?”
            I frowned. I had claws, for Christ sake. Claws. No, I didn’t take note of their color.
            “I’ll take that as a no,” he said, still gentle, still careful, and so fucking infuriating.
            A comforting flood of hot anger blast-dried my shock and sorrow. I spread my fingers, tearing said claws from my palms and ripping wide my self inflicted wounds, but I didn’t take the time to note their color. I swiped at Dominic.
            My movements were lightning. Dominic’s movements were just as fast; he leapt back, dodging my claws. I lunged off the bed after him. A familiar sound rattled from deep inside my chest, a sound I’d heard emanate from Ronnie, Jillian, Kaden, and Dominic, a sound that coming from them had raised the fine hairs on the back of my neck. Now, that sound came from my throat. I was growling.
            Dominic summersaulted out of reach. I watched his movements, fascinated by the strength of his muscles as he leapt into the air, his coordination as his legs tucked and his arms caught his knees, and his athleticism as he stuck the landing and raised his hands to block my advance. He was the epitome of power and grace under pressure, and with the enhanced ability of my heightened senses, I could actually see it. He wasn’t just a blur of movement but a perfectly choreographed symphony of muscle, control, and honed skill. I watched, and unlike the jaw-dropping awe of impossibility that Dominic’s physical feats would normally inspire in me, I was just inspired.
            I attempted to mimic Dominic’s movements with a matching forward summersault of my own, but instead of landing on my feet, like I’d intended, like Dominic had stuck so effortlessly, I landed in an awkward, bone-jarring, heap, flat on my back.
            Dominic leaned over me, his mouth opened with concern, surely about to ask me if I was all right. My pride was more injured than my body, and the hot embarrassment fueled my anger, as every strong emotion could fuel my easily provoked temper. Taking advantage of his concern and close proximity, I raked my claws down the front of his shirt.
            Buttons severed from their threads, but before the pops of their little plastic heads hit the floor, Dominic was airborne again, back flipping away from me before my claws could do any real damage. I lunged after his leaps and twists and rolls, milliseconds behind his acrobatics, but even without the advantage of his fancy gymnastics, my body’s newfound abilities were astonishing. Each muscle contraction burned beneath my skin, but not like human muscles burning with fatigue. Mine sparked to life, twitching with power and reveling in unleashed speed and strength.
I’d never been particularly athletic; my entire life, even before being shot in the hip, my skills were better served in an intellectual capacity—interviewing witnesses and writing articles. After being shot, my physical abilities had shriveled to the point where I could barely walk. Now, I could not only walk, I had the potential to fly. I was a force in both body and mind, and the limitlessness of those abilities after being physically limited for so long was intoxicating.
            Time suspended. Our battle raged in the timespan of a blink, but within that blink, we fought and danced and completely trashed the little utilitarian room in what felt like years—a lifetime of limitations revealed and obliterated with every movement and newly discovered capability. Our movements were lighting, the evidence of our devastation scattered across the room—Dominic’s torn clothing, upended and smashed furniture, pillows gutted and their insides fluffed over the rumpled comforter and upended mattress—the cause unseen.
I made a move of my own instead of following Dominic, cutting him mid-leap and smashing him face-down into the box spring. He was vulnerable for the split of a millisecond, me at his back, my razor claws splayed across his shoulder blades, his neck bared as he craned to look over his shoulder at me, and I had him. If I chose to, with a swipe of my hand, I could sever his head from his body. My claws were sharp, his skin was soft, and unlike any other physical battle I’d waged in my life, I had the advantage.
            My body’s speed and strength were new to me, but the feelings of rage and intoxicating addiction were not. I knew those emotions intimately; they had been the very core of my personality and shaped a person who, despite my former physical limitations, had unbeatable mental strength, evidenced by my winning battle against Percocet addition and an ability to entrance vampires as a night blood. Memories of addiction and the bone-deep reasons I’d fought to overcome it, kept me grounded when I would have taken advantage of Dominic’s weakness. I nearly let the strength and power overwhelm reason, but I knew when to stop. I knew when the need and heat felt too good to be good. The rage reminded me that despite the claws sprouting from each fingertip, despite the fact that I might look like the devil and have the strength of God, I was the same flawed person I’d always been.
I was still me, and despite his flaws, I loved Dominic.
I jerked my hand from his back, ripping fabric with my movement but not skin, and fell to my knees.
Dominic summersaulted over me. He landed at my back, but I didn’t turn to face him. He knew I’d resisted the opportunity to kill him. Our battle was over, but mine had just begun.
He fell to his knees behind me, wrapped his arms around me, holding my hands, cradling my body, and it was only then, with the steady press of his cheek against mine, that I realized by the solid stillness of his arms holding me that I was shaking.
I burst out weeping. The sobs wracked my body and bathed my cheeks.
Dominic’s arms tightened. He stroked my hands and murmured promises into my ear that I knew better than to believe, promises that no one could keep, but having him hold me, his lips moving against my ear and the familiar tone of his voice resonating like a blanket cocooned around my body, was comforting anyway. I sobbed harder at first, relieved that he was here, that I wasn’t alone, that he’d experienced this, too, and had survived and eventually thrived. Buoyed by the knowledge that I, too, could survive and eventually thrive, I calmed. My weeping slowed, the sobs wracking my body lessoned, and my tears eventually dried.
I relaxed into Dominic’s embrace—my back flush against his chest, his arms cradling my arms, our fingers entwined. His breath fluttering my hair wasn’t winded, and I noted with a detached sort of astonishment, that neither was mine. I was suddenly struck by a wary sort of certainty that my new, debatably improved physical form would continue to astonish for a very long time. I stared at our entwined fingers—his perfectly formed human hands still larger than my emaciated fingers but not nearly longer than my elongated claws—and I pulled into myself, embarrassed that he was touching them.
“Don’t,” he murmured, tightening his hold. “Some aspects of the transformation might take some getting used to. You’re already becoming accustomed to your heightened senses and increased strength, which is impressive. In a few days, you’ll land that summersault, I assure you. And eventually, you’ll look into a mirror and recognize yourself, but for tonight, let me be your mirror.” He raised his hand and urged my face to the side to meet his gaze. “Let me show you how beautiful you are.”
My physical appearance wasn’t the only aspect of the transformation that shook me, but when he cupped my cheek in his palm and ducked his head, pressing his lips to mine, I kissed him back. My lips felt foreign against the long protrusions of my fangs, but his lips were soft and the texture of his scar familiar. His Christmas pine scent enveloped us, and with my enhanced senses, I felt its chilled effervescence simultaneous heat and create goose bumps over my body. I turned in his arms, angling for more access, and a rush of blood filled my mouth.
Dominic stiffened.
I jerked back, startled by the blood coating my tongue, a taste which wasn’t entirely unpleasant, was in fact, not unpleasant at all. The blood was absolutely delicious, which was also startling, not to mention disturbing. Dominic had a gash across his lower lip, and I realized that I’d cut him.
I swallowed the blood in my haste to apologize and choked.
Dominic covered my lips with a finger and shook his head. His thumb swiped back and forth over my cheekbone as we stared at each other, and before my very acute eyes, I watched the intricacy of Dominic’s body heal. The split sides of his lip filled with blood, and that blood pooled in the crevice of his cut, coagulated, scabbed, and flaked to reveal new, shiny, pink skin. That skin darkened to a faint thread, and if he’d still been human, the healing might have stopped there, but his body healed the scar, too, until his lips bore not one sliver of evidence of my clumsy lust. What had once seemed to occur instantaneously and magically was now a simple bodily function, but I suppose, that in itself was a kind of magic.
I touched his lips, grazing my fingertips carefully over the perfection of his newly healed skin to the divots and pucker of the permanent scar gouging through the other side of his lower lip and chin, a reminder of his human lifetime, and for me, a reminder of the few things we had in common. Although looking at the skeletal, talon-tipped hand touching him—the hand that I controlled but didn’t resemble anything I recognized as mine—we had much more in common now than I’d ever anticipated having.
He touched my lips with his fingertips, mimicking my movements with the human-looking version of his hand, and I couldn’t help it. Despite the impossibility of this situation and the state of my hands and what I could only imagine was the state of my face, I smiled.
“Sorry,” I murmured. Dominic’s blood had moistened the scratch in my throat, so it didn’t feel like my vocal chords were raking my esophagus with razor blades anymore. “I’m not myself this morning.”
Dominic grinned—full and genuine and lopsided from the pull of his scar—and the warmth and affection in his expression widened my own smile. I let that warmth soak into me, filling my unfamiliar body with hope, reminding me that I could survive. That I wanted to survive.
“No one looks or acts their best upon waking, not even you when you were human.” Dominic reminded me. “Not even me.”
I sighed. “I will miss working on my tan though,” I said, only half-jokingly. The feel of the sun’s warmth on my skin had become a safe haven after discovering the existence of vampires. Having become one, I supposed the necessity was moot, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t miss it.
Dominic grunted. “Many things about you will never change despite the transformation, including your ability to enjoy the sun and your stubbornness it seems.”
I raised my eyebrows. “My stubbornness won’t cure a fatal sun allergy.”
“Look at the color of your claws,” Dominic said dryly.
Despite my said stubbornness and the urge to resist looking at my claws just to defy him, I looked. The skeletal appendages coming from my body were long and knobby and honestly grotesque, a monster’s hands with four-inch, lethal talons sprouting from their tips.
And those talons were silver.
Dominic was right, as per usual, and unfortunately, so was our dear friend, High Lord Henry. I was a vampire, but I wasn’t allergic to the sun.

I was a Day Reaper.


About the Author:

Melody Johnson is the author of the gritty, paranormal romance Night Blood series set in New York City. The first installment, The City Beneath, was a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests, including the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests. Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology, and after moving from her northeast Pennsylvania hometown for some much needed Southern sunshine, she now works as a digital media coordinator for Southeast Georgia Health System’s marketing department. When she isn’t working or writing, Melody can be found swimming at the beach, honing her newfound volleyball skills, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia.






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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH A.M. GRIFFIN (When a Vamp Fails)



This month is going so fast, it's hard to believe. We've had some great new guests and some faves have returned. Thanks again everyone for tuning in.

Today we have A.M. Griffin in the house to talk about When a Vamp Falls.
 
SC:  Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.
AMG: Ramsey, the hero is a two thousand year old vampire. He’s lived as long as he has because he’d promised his human children that he would take care of their offspring. Now that he’s fulfilled his promise he doesn’t see the point in living any longer. He’s bored with life and is ready to greet the sun. That is until he meets Danya. Through her he’s found a reason to live again. Not because she’s some super sassy woman that he’s intrigued by, but because she awakens feelings in him that he hadn’t felt in a long time. Love. (I know. I know. Sappy. Lol)

SC: Vampires aside, do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
AMG: Hell yeah! For those who have read or who have followed my sci-fi books know that I have my own alien encounter story. It was something that happened to me when I was in high school. My mother and aunt were abducted when they were younger. As far as true paranormals such as shifters, vampires, witches, etc., I believe that there are beings on this earth that aren’t entirely human. There are too many stories rooted in ancient civilization that suggests so. My mind is an open book!

SC: That's encouraging. We'd love to hear your encounter story some time. What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
AMG: I have a few in the works. I’m currently working on the second book in the War of Blood and Bonds series. Hopefully I can get that released before the end of the year. I have a sci-fi story that I’ve been working on for over a year. Hopefully the book gods can steer me in the right direction to get that one completed. I have the fifth book in my The Undercity Chronicles of Babylonia Jones, P.I. urban fantasy series in edits. I’m looking for a May release. And lastly, I’m also hoping to have the 4th book in the Dark Wolf Enterprises, wolf-shifter series completed soon.

SC: Thanks so much for stopping by today. The door is always open to come back and chat.

When A Vamp Falls
War of Blood and Bonds
Book One

A.M. Griffin



Genre: Paranormal

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Date of Publication: 15-MAR-2018

ASIN: B07BGDFGZC

Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 72k

Tagline: Ramsey will stop at nothing to keep Danya safe from harm—even go to war to protect the one he loves.

Book Description:

Danya Evans’s normal everyday life is turned upside down when one good deed lands her on the opposite end of fangs. The fangs happen to be attached to the sexiest man she’s ever seen.

She knows that she should stay away from the vampire who almost kills her, but everything about Ramsey calls out to her heart and soul.

Ramsey Moreau, a Vampire who has walked Earth for thousands of years has two regrets. The first is underestimating the two new vampires who’ve found their way into New Orleans and the second is stealing blood from the trusting human he can't get off his mind. His world is mundane to say the least, but when Danya is around he finds a reason to live and love again.

He'll stop at nothing to keep her safe from harm—even go to war to protect the one he loves.

Amazon       BN       KOBO


Excerpt 1:

Death by sun meant fire, more pain, and more screaming. As far as Ramsey was concerned the whole ordeal would’ve been an overall drawn out affair.
But he was ready for it. He’d planned to greet the sun like a big boy.
Until his ego reared its ugly head.
There was no fucking way he would be taken out by two piddly fledglings. His self-preservation kicked into high gear.
He’d struggled, trying to get himself to safety. Wait out the impending sunrise in the shadows. But he couldn’t move. The blade they’d used had severed the tendons in his legs, and the force of the blows had crushed through his knees, just to name a few of the injuries.
In vain he’d tried to establish a telepathic link with Marcos, his assistant, but he couldn’t block out the pain and concentrate long enough to complete the thought. Without help he was good as dead. His only hope had been to use his dwindling energy to psychically call for help and pray that a passerby came to his rescue.
It had worked, and now because he’d turned his back on an enemy, he had to steal.
Ramsey didn’t want to take her blood without her permission, but with death at the front door and his ego urging him on, he had no other choice. The moment the woman had stepped into the alley he’d caught her scent. She smelled like the sweetest flower, rising above the stench of piss, feces, throw-up, and garbage. His instincts kicked in overdrive.
He needed her.

Her blood pumped hard and fast through her body. The sound weighed on his ears, his mind driving him to rise up and devour her. He struggled to move, unable to keep control.
He’d willed her closer.
She’d come with tentative steps.
Closer.
He’d stopped breathing. Her scent drove him insane. His body demanded the blood in order to survive.
Blood.
Mentally, he tried to lure her. He’d tried and tried, but couldn’t focus on the thought. Her blood was all he could think about. It consumed him.
“What happened to you?” she asked in a soft whisper.
Come closer. “Jumped. Stabbed. Dying.” He could barely speak. He’d wanted her so badly.
She stayed where she was. Red clouded his vision. Blood lust set in. He needed her. Now.
He’d tried to lunge, but his body wouldn’t cooperate. He whimpered in frustration, pain, and need.
Come closer.
“Do you have a cell phone? I have to call for help, but I left mine at the hotel.”
He didn’t have one. There’d never been a need. Everything he wanted to tell Marcos was done telepathically. He opened his mouth to tell her no, but changed his mind at the last second.
No. Then she’ll leave. “My … my back pocket.” He could barely talk anymore, his energy draining fast.

She’d rushed to him and kneeled at his side. The sound of her blood pounded in his head.
He couldn’t stop himself, and he breathed her scent in.
Delectable.
“Holy shit. This is all blood. You need an ambulance, mister.”
She pushed against him. Her hands roamed his butt, searching for a phone that wasn’t there. With all the strength he could muster he grabbed her, holding her in a vise-grip. She struggled against him, but even dying he had more strength than she did.
“Hey. Wh-what are you doing?”
“Sorry about this.”
He’d opened his mouth wide, his canines elongating in response. She looked on in horror, her screams caught in her throat as he descended on her neck. His teeth pierced her skin, and immediately the warm rush of blood filled his mouth.

She’d tasted better than he’d ever imagined.

About the Author:

A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She's a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

For more information please visit www.amgriffinbooks.com




 
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Monday, April 23, 2018

AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID L. WALLACE (Preordained)


It's been raining a lot in my neck of the woods. A lot. I know that's not much comfort to those of you still experiencing winter. Either way, sometimes it's a good time to stay inside and read.

We have author David L Wallace here today to talk about his new offering, PREORDAINED.

SC: Tell me a little bit about your main character of this book.


DLW: I’ll tell you about his backstory - who Art Somers is before the start of page one of Preordained. Art’s a former Navy SEAL and newly promoted detective in Murrell’s Inlet, SC. When he was nine years old, home invaders killed his parents and his sister, leaving Satanic symbols written on the walls with his slain family’s blood. Authorities never solved the case and he has no conscious memory of what happened. His maternal grandmother Sarah raised him in an area steeped in spiritual and supernatural belief systems, things he doesn’t believe in. He doesn’t believe in God or the Devil because it’s hard for him to fathom a spiritual being would’ve allowed the slaughter of his family. He became both a SEAL and a cop, motivated to right injustices in the world. He’s in a custody battle with his ex-wife Judith over their twelve-year-old son Benjamin. He’s also in a relationship with his detective partner, Angela Hunter. Just before the start of page one, a serial killer prepares to make his presence known on the world stage within the county in which Art lives and operates.

SC: Speaking of spiritual and supernatural belief systems, do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?
DLW: I’ve never personally given any credence to the paranormal, but I have close family members, friends and associates who believe with everything in them that supernatural events occur. I grew up in the setting of Preordained and it’s an area riddled with such beliefs. The one experience I did have occurred late one night while I was developing this story. I’d fallen asleep on my family room couch and awoke in the middle of the night. Just before becoming fully awake, through groggy eyes, I saw a woman in a white negligee walk across my family room floor and enter one of my empty bedrooms. It startled me for a moment. I figured it was the tail end of a dream I couldn’t remember. I’d never experienced such a thing before, so I got up and checked the bedroom and found no there. I haven’t given it any more thought until you asked me this question.
SC: Who knows? That may have been your first apparition sighting.  What titles are you working on now that you can tell us about?
DLW: Preordained is the first book in a new series. I’m currently working on an outline for book II. I’ve also written the first book of two other series, Trojan (2016) and Ralphy the Rabbit (2017), and from time to time I work on an aspect of those sequels. Right now, my focus is to write and publish Preordained II.
SC: Thanks for stopping by to chat. Let's take a look at your novel now.

Preordained

David L Wallace



Genre: Paranormal, Crime, Thriller



Date of Publication: 13 Apr 2018



ISBN: Paperback 978-0-9972257-2-3

ISBN eBook 978-0-9972257-3-0


Word Count: 75,000

Book Description:

In the vein of Seven and The Devil’s Advocate, it’s the book that launches the series: a tech billionaire, foretold in biblical events; a cop, ordered to sacrifice his soul to save his son…

Art Somers is a detective in close-knit Murrells Inlet, S.C., a small-town, coastal community with deeply held spiritual and supernatural belief systems. A serial killer has shattered his peaceful existence by abducting multiple victims within his county. Young thugs, backwater drug dealers and the occasional murderer are the most Art’s had to deal with, but now he must apprehend a predator who FBI profilers can’t find.

He discovers he has a tie by blood to the case and uncovers evidence that calls into question his long held spiritual and supernatural beliefs. Abraham, the father of faith, had to choose to either sacrifice his son or disobey a direct order from God. Art must now make a choice - sacrifice his soul to save his son.

“A riveting and intriguing read.”  - Clarion Review

“A gripping detective story.”  - Kirkus Reviews

“Original and engaging.”  - Publisher’s Weekly

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From his crouched position in the woods of rural Georgetown County, South Carolina, and under the echo of his heavy breathing in the night air, he watched his favorite family’s movements inside their small brown home.
After much thought about the impression his outfit would make, he’d decided it was festive enough for the occasion. The complete ensemble consisted of a red and black head mask, aligned perfectly to the holes for his eyes, nose, and mouth and a form-fitting, black bodysuit with white wings painted on the back.
For years, he’d contemplated a befitting name for himself and finally settled on Star of David killer. He liked the way the alias reverberated in his head. It revealed a lot. It concealed everything. It hinted at his purpose and yet – it withheld the true essence of his aspirations, keeping them covered in a shroud of secrecy. He hoped an insightful reporter would have an epiphany and bestow that nickname on him. It was far more interesting than the one his parents had given him at birth. He breathed deep and exhaled slowly, taking in the ambience of the moment. He flexed his muscles. It was time to initiate the events that would lead everyone to recognize him by his self-appointed moniker.
He clenched and released his toes on each of his hospital footie–covered feet. Through the sheer curtains of the dimly lit dwelling, he watched the boy pick up the used plates from the table, which signaled the parents and their twelve-year-old son had finished their dinner. He knew them well. He’d cased their dwelling for years, observing every nuance of their behavior. He sat flushed as he watched them for the last time, shivering from time to time from the thrill of the thought of what he was about to do.
The music of the bullfrogs kept him company, along with the thought that all he’d longed for, all that he was meant to be, was about to be on full display on the world stage in a matter of hours. Like Heinz ketchup, he’d been waiting in anticipation for a long time for this moment.
He glanced at the scavengers in the clear sky above him, each casting its shadow across the moon as it circled. They were his favorite creatures—the redheaded, black-feathered, and partially white-winged turkey vultures of the Carolina skies. His outfit mimicked theirs. The birds squawked in the sky, seeming to know his plan for that evening. They’d followed his vehicle from his home until he’d parked, and now they circled directly above him. He could feel their hunger and impatience.
The boy walked outside his home and scraped the remains of their dinner plates into a slop bucket on the back porch. He picked up the hog’s food and headed out to the pigpen, which was located near the backend of their yard.
The Star of David killer watched the boy make his evening trek on pigeon-toed feet that turned inward with each step. Ever since the infant pigs were born, the boy fed the adult male hog an extra feeding at night to prevent him from dining on his offspring. That’s right, the daddy hog ate his own children. What a disgusting breed of animal.
The overhead undertakers began to shriek and shrill as the boy moved across his lawn, their voices echoing in the night.
The boy jumped at their sound and looked to the skies. He stared into the woods directly below them.
The Star of David killer remained as still as a stone as the kid’s gaze seemed to linger on him for a moment. The last thing he needed was for the boy to detect his presence and yell out for his daddy. The papa of the family had an itchy twelve-gauge finger that he didn’t want to deal with that evening.
Seemingly satisfied, the boy stopped searching the woods and continued his walk.
The Star of David Killer glanced overhead at the vultures, angry with them for almost giving away his position. For their carelessness, they wouldn’t be feeding on his handiwork that evening, and if they didn’t atone for their misstep, they wouldn’t partake in any of the festivities on his planned itinerary.
This was the first night—the evening of his coming-out party and the kickoff of his personal pilgrimage. It was the acknowledgment that the presence within him, who had compelled him to plan and now execute the initial steps of his mission, had chosen the right vehicle for the job.
He felt something biting him on his lower legs. Glancing down, he saw by the light of the rear porch that ants were advancing up his calves. He remained silent and didn’t move, not wanting to sound the alarm that he was out there in the dark. A small green garden snake slithered out of the brush toward him. He stepped on it and crushed its head.
The grunting male hog reveled in the slop the boy had dumped into his pen. The female hog stood to the side with her five remaining piglets cowering under her.
The killer frowned at the stench of the hogs. It wasn’t the last smell he wanted on his mind before he began his body of work. To get past it, he closed his eyes and thought of the fragrances inside the boy’s family home, smells that he knew all too well. He’d
spent many nights there while they slept, enjoying their scents, with his favorites being the individual smell of each of their worn clothing. The laundry room was a treasure trove of delights. Each of the family members left their own unique and enjoyable stains in their underwear. He’d gotten to know the other families in just as much detail, meticulously taking in their routines and schedules, getting to know every nuance of each of them.
He removed his blade from his waistband and watched Rueben, his first victim, as he rinsed out the slop bucket with a water hose attached to the rear of his home. He squeezed the black-handled blade. The paring knife felt perfect in his hand, after having gone through an exhaustive testing process to find the right cutting instrument—one with just the right shape and size for optimal carving control against a moving body. He’d practiced his skills with it for many hours, initially on cantaloupes, cucumbers, and other fruits and vegetables, until he’d graduated to successful tests on small gerbils, kittens, and puppies he’d purchased at various pet stores.
Finally, the lights went out in the shack. It was time. As usual, Rueben’s parents were more than likely already fast asleep. Rueben, on the other hand, should be wide-awake in his darkened room, surfing Internet porn sites by the light of his laptop. The little fella loved to look at online pussy, but he wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy any.
As the final step of his preparation process, he extracted a bottle of removable glue from the front waistband of his outfit and placed another coat over his hands. It was an additional layer to guard against him leaving fingerprints behind, but he knew he didn’t need to worry on that score. Over the past year, he’d used razor blades every month to remove the top layer of skin on each of his fingertips, making them as smooth as a baby’s ass.
He had no fingerprints.
He could’ve easily used gloves, but he wanted to touch them, to feel his prey with his bare hands. He blew on the glue until it dried. Satisfied, he stood, stretched his legs, and approached Rueben’s home on silent feet.

He hadn’t troubled himself to brush the ants from his lower torso. The stinging sensation of their bites would serve as a reminder that before that evening, he was once human.

About the Author:

Before publishing his debut novel in 2016, he served over 27 years as an information technology professional working initially for the US Navy, and then the Department of the Navy and various fortune companies. He’s a UCLA writing program alumnus who writes mystery thrillers and children stories. He has three wonderful kids who he enjoys immensely. Writing is his passion and his goal with each story is to capture the imagination in the opening pages and keep it engaged to the story’s riveting conclusion.







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