Posts Tagged ‘13 Days of Halloween’

13 Days of Halloween: Loose-Id

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13 Days of Halloween

Holiday Spotlight: Loose-Id

Demon Hunter 3: A Very Demon Halloween

by Evanne Lorraine

el_averydemonhalloween_coverin_1Blurb:

Duec, head of the demon hunters and La Ceinture Noire’s owner, is master of all he surveys, except fate. Death shadows him, drawing closer each day. A different foreboding whispers of danger to Belinda, the damaged halfling he’s sworn to protect. He’s waited a lifetime for her. She’s the other half of his soul, a true submissive too wounded to accept him as her master. He must make her safe from his enemies without him.

 

Unable to tolerate another’s dominance, Belinda, contract witch to the demon hunters, plays at Duec’s club as an icy Domme. She earned her nickname, Control Queen by giving other submissives the discipline they need to find release without ever seeking personal satisfaction. No matter how skillfully she manages her subs, the only male she longs for never sees the strong mistress she’s grown into, only the frightened, damaged child he rescued.

 

Then his enemies strike, capturing Belinda–changing everything. A failing Duec must battle ancient evil to save his mate and Belinda must find Duec before it’s too late.

 

  • Note:This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM elements, violence.

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/demon-hunters-3-a-very-demon-halloween-1.html

 

Snippet:

Belinda gave an exaggerated shudder and turned to Holly. “You’re so much braver than I would ever be. I can’t even imagine getting naked in front of this crowd.”

 

Or anywhere else, for that matter. No one needs to see the scars under my leather.

 

“There’s no courage required. I just stand there and follow Colin’s orders.” Holly’s thick blonde lashes dropped, and her fair skin pinked becomingly. “Nude is fine, because my obedience pleases Colin, but I’d love to wear a pair of boots like yours.”

 

“No way.” Colin shook his head. “Not in public. You’d cause a riot in those shoes. I have to think about crowd control.”

 

Holly smiled at the implied compliment. “Yes, Sir.”

 

“It’s almost showtime.” Colin’s voice deepened.

 

“I’ll try to catch part of your demonstration. Better move along before your fans get restless.” Belinda made a shooing motion at the couple.

 

Holly sketched a wave over her shoulder as Colin propelled her toward the glass-enclosed, center scene room. It was hard not to be envious of their mutual devotion. Belinda shook off the mood-dampening petty jealousy on her way to the bar. Colin and Holly were perfect together. She couldn’t imagine either of them with anyone else. She found a vacant seat, tucked her toy bag under it, and then perched her butt on top of the padded stool.

 

Ramon, another demon hunter and super-popular Dom, worked the bar. He made his way over to where she waited. There were seven demon hunters, not counting Duec. Each one different, but they were all hot and hunky. She fully enjoyed the view while he prowled toward her.

 

“What can I get for you, beautiful?”

 

“A little respect and a diet cola, easy on the ice,” she said with enough bite to remind him she wasn’t one of his human groupies.

 

“Gotcha covered, Ma’am.” He winked at her with no sign of repentance.

 

Copyright © Evanne Lorraine

 

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/demon-hunters-3-a-very-demon-halloween-1.html

Heaven Sent: Sly Spectral Trick

By Jet Mykles

 

JM_SlySpectralTrick_coverlgBlurb:

Chris is warding the house against ghosts? Huh? Darien’s pretty sure Chris is pulling his leg, but his dignified lawyer lover seems awfully serious when he tells Darien that there’s a history of ghosts in his family and he needs to ward the house before Samhain officially starts. His grandmother even calls to make sure he’s doing it.

They’re kidding, right?

When he finds out the truth, it’s better, and sexier, than he could’ve imagined.

  • Note:This book contains elements that may be objectionable to some readers: m/m sex practices.

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/heaven-sent-sly-spectral-trick-1.html

 

Snippet:

Chris faced him for a moment. He opened his mouth, then shut it. Light glinted on the light frames of his square glasses. Then he laughed, but it was forced. And brief. “All right, magpie. You got me.” He turned back to continue painting.

 

Darien’s laughter died. “Chris, quit it.”

 

“Everything will be fine if you let me finish.”

 

He pushed from the doorframe, fisting his hands at his sides. “Quit it. I’m not falling for it.”

 

“You mentioned that.”

 

“All right. Tell me why you’re warding against ghosts.”

 

Chris used a knuckle to push his glasses up higher on his nose before he resumed drawing patterns. “My family is descended from druids. As such, we’re rather attractive to ghosts.”

 

Darien fell back a step, eyes wide on his lover. “What?”

 

Chris shrugged, never taking his eyes off the window. He paused, fingers in the air, painting patterns.

 

“Chris?”

 

He held up one long finger toward Darien, then resumed his air painting, muttering to himself as he stared intently at the pane of glass before him.

 

Darien was starting to get a bad feeling about this.

 

When Chris stopped muttering, he turned to force a smile at Darien. “Don’t worry about it, magpie. Nothing will happen if I can finish this.” He came back to stand before Darien. He used a knuckle to tilt Darien’s face up, bestowing a light, lingering kiss on Darien’s lips. “Why don’t you take a shower and I’ll finish, then we can carve pumpkins and you can make me watch that deplorable slasher movie you wanted to watch.”

 

Copyright © Jet Mykles

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/heaven-sent-sly-spectral-trick-1.html

Match Game: Ghost Style

By Cynnara Tregarth

 

CT_MatchGameGhostStyle_coverlgBlurb:

Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead is here. For Ben Cameron, this holiday is painful without his best friend, Manuel “Manny” Cervantes.

For Shari Livingston, this is a day to remember just how much Manny has done for all of their friends. She never expects Manny to appear at the Dumb Supper she and the others have put together or to demand that she and Ben admit their true feelings for one another.

However, Manny the ghost isn’t about to let them get away with just sleeping together to make him happy. He knows more about them than they want to admit even to themselves. Can this matchmaking ghost get Ben and Shari together or will he be forced to play the ultimate match game to show the love between them both?

Note:This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable. This story was previously released in Spirited.

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/match-game-ghost-style-1.html

 

Snippet:

Closing her eyes briefly, Shari listened to his heart, allowing herself to see if he was lying to her. His pulse was steady, there were no other telltale signs of lying, and she wanted to believe him. She had wanted him just as much as he wanted her. Why not give into one night of passion? Tonight could celebrate the joy of life after losing someone like Manny, who brought love and life into each person he touched. Opening her eyes, she nodded briefly. “Fine. One night, my home, my rules. Our friendship remains even if this romantic interlude doesn’t work and even if it does.”

 

“One night, your home, our rules. I won’t let you have the upper hand in this.” This time his smile reached his eyes. “I know how you can be; you forget how many times you’ve told me about the latest sex escapade, not realizing how hot it made me to claim you myself.” Tugging her close, Ben slid one hand into her loosened hair, then pulled, guiding her lips toward his. “Tonight won’t be like anything you’ve ever had before, Shari. That, I promise.”

 

His lips were warm and demanding while his tongue swept along her lips, trying to slide between them. With a soft moan, she opened to him as she slid her hands up his chest to his strong shoulders. His taste was not just maleness at its finest, but a combination of the wine he had drunk, the chocolate cake, and something spicy that defied recognition to her sensitive taste buds. Her tongue slid against his, teasing him with bold and then soft strokes as she pressed her body against him. Too long she had denied herself even thinking of the only kiss they had shared so long ago. This kiss seared the old one away, leaving behind quaking need as his tongue caressed the roof of her mouth before slowly withdrawing to outline her lips.

 

“Gods above, Shari,” he hoarsely whispered against her lips as their foreheads touched. “I need you tonight. Say yes.”

 

Deep blue eyes filled with desire, respect, and something else captured her gaze. There was no other answer to give. To deny this one night would be denying the dreams she’d had for months now. “Yes.”

 

Copyright © Cynnara Tregarth

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/match-game-ghost-style-1.html

Hero Sandwich: Voodoo

By Angela Knight

 

AK_Voodoo_coverlgBlurb:

Ever since his brother, Cougar, married Paparazzi, bad girl gone good, the crimefighting duo of Cougar and Lynx had become a trio: Cougar and Paparazzi, plus Lynx. Before he put the ring on his lady’s finger, his brother might’ve joined them to join in a hot little threesome, but marriage had made him possessive.

It’s not that he begrudges the newlyweds their quality time, but Lynx could use a little quality of his own. He’s in desperate need of a little action to take the edge off his gnawing frustration. He figures he’ll spend Halloween in Manhattan beating the crap out of super villains.

A rooftop encounter with a sexy psi-siren with her mind on seduction changes everything. Maybe he doesn’t need a fight.

He just needs a little (or a lot) of Voodoo.

  • Note:This book contains elements that may be objectionable to some readers: bdsm.

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/hero-sandwich-voodoo-1.html

 

Snippet:

Breathing hard, Lynx paused and scanned the darkness. This was Voodoo’s unofficial patrol zone, so with any luck, he should run into her again tonight.

 

He’d known a lot of superheroines over the years, but she was something special. No dilettante adrenaline junkie or spandex-clad wannabe, she was determined and serious, even after the attack that had come so close to killing her. Like him, she really believed in the necessity of what they did.

 

He’d been strongly tempted to beat Reaper to death for hurting her.

 

Lynx gave the skyline another questing scan, looking for the flap of a familiar cape. Nothing…

 

A female mouth suddenly closed around his cock, wet and hungry. He gasped and almost tumbled off his perch. Catching himself against a metal pipe, he threw a look downward. Despite his rioting senses, his groin armor was still firmly in place.

 

A clever tongue swirled and danced around his thickening shaft as ghostly fingers gently squeezed his balls. He grabbed for his dick, wondering if some invisible superwoman…

 

Copyright © Angela Knight

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/hero-sandwich-voodoo-1.html

Alpha: Hunted Down

By Treva Harte

 

TH_HuntedDown_coverlgBlurb:

Dunne has always wanted his Alpha more than Hunt, the head of his pack, wanted him. Dunne could live with that. But he can’t live with Hunt’s latest fetish…at least not until Hunt convinces him otherwise. And when he does, it’s a real Halloween treat.

  • Note:This book contains elements that may be objectionable to some readers: m/m sex practices.

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/alpha-hunted-down-1.html

 

Snippet:

“You’re not going to let this go, are you? All right, then.” Hunt sighed and stood up. “Pull your pants down, boy. I see it’s time for a lesson.”

 

Yes!

 

Dunne’s hands moved before he thought. It had been days since they’d been together. For a moment he remembered he was going hold out on principle and not make it easy on Hunt — to hell with principles, especially ones that only he seemed to have. By now he’d take anything Hunt was willing to give.

 

Dunne turned, trying not to fumble with his belt as he obeyed. He could hear Hunt unzipping his own pants, but Dunne knew better than to look around. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to see Hunt’s cock, full and erect, ready to plow into his more-than-willing asshole. Not at all. That erect cock was a sight to worship while on bended knees.

 

But when Hunt said it was lesson time, Dunne knew to keep his eyes and his pants down until Hunt told him differently. Hunt was Alpha. Hunt was boss. Just the idea made Dunne’s cock twitch.

 

Copyright © Treva Harte

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/holidays/halloween/alpha-hunted-down-1.html

 

Need more Halloween Treats? Check out the Halloween Section of Loose-Id’s site.

Contest: Like the Loose-Id FB Page, Tell Loose Id: Happy Halloween, Loowis! And come back here, and leave a comment with the updated number of Likes the page has. If you have already Liked the page then go to the Halloween Section of Loose-Id and tell us what Halloween book tickles your fancy.

The winner will get the entire Trick of Treat Collection!

13 Days of Halloween: Chris Marie Green

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Hot Seat Interview with Chris Marie Green

13 Days of Halloween Edition

 

I set up the Hot Seat room with Halloween Party and put out various Halloween themed Cupcakes and hot chocolate. I have the Cabana Men all dressed up as various Scary Movie Heroes. Once she’s settled in we start the interview.

 

(Whoo! Let’s party!)

*turns on the music and then turns it down to be heard*

 

1) Thank you so much for wanting to do the Hot Seat! Would you say Halloween is one of your favorite holidays?

 

CMG: The favorite! Halloween is the perfect storm for me—nights begin to get chillier, leaves start turning color, I feel like making soup and chili and hearty food, and…of course…scary movies! But the movie thing is pretty much all year-round, LOL.

SI: And now I’m hungry and want a sweater, lol.

 

2)  I know you put together an awesome list of scary movies every year. What would you say is your top ten scary movies?

CMG: Fun! Okay, here goes (and these aren’t in any particular order)…

Friday the 13th, Part 2 – but I love part 1, too. Can I get a two-for-one here? <g> I’m a huge, warped fan of 80s slasher fare, and these two movies just really work on a dread/suspense level for me. Also, the woods are just scary.

Session 9 – Slow-burn freakout fest. The setting, an abandoned, haunted insane asylum, is full of a horror that you can feel through your TV. And there’s real tragedy to this movie. Perfect, all-around “ghost” story.

Don’t Look Now – The last twenty minutes are the scariest I’ve ever experienced in a film. It’s another slow-burner like Session 9 and it’s “arty,” but at the end, all the weird, scattered things that have been going on collide in an OH MY GOD conclusion.

Psycho – The granddaddy of ‘em all. When Norman crashes through the fruit cellar door at the end, wearing his mother dress and mother smile, I go “eek”! And then I get nightmares. I wish I could time travel and see this movie when it first came out and no one had any clue what was in store!

Alien – A house of horrors in space with extremely efficient, amazingly designed killing machines on the loose.  The oppressive atmosphere is great, but then there’s the “who is the monster hiding in now, and when will it pop out?” angle. Slick and terrifying.

The Ring – When I first saw this, I had my hands over my eyes for the last half hour, dreading the appearance of Samara. And all that strange video imagery? Ahhh!

The Vampire Lovers – An old fashioned yet edgy vamp movie with all the B-movie beauty of the best Hammer films!

The Blair Witch Project – After watching this, I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I was so sure the witch was outside my bedroom window, and that’s because the mythology in this movie is so fully developed.

Halloween – This encapsulates the spirit of the holiday for me. The autumn leaves, the trick or treaters running around in costumes, and…Well, maybe I’d skip the unkill-able serial killer. And the soundtrack! Yikes, but in a good way.

Black Christmas – The original from the 70s. Just the prank phone calls alone are enough to make me lock all my doors. And the killer hiding in the sorority house is completely unnerving.

 

SI: *Makes notes of movies to avoid* Well except for Alien. Weird thing is I can watch the Alien movies but not all the others.

3) We know the rules of scary movies. What are your top five rules to survive a horror movie?

CMG:

1. When you hear a strange noise in your house, don’t say “Hello? Who’s there?” RUN.

2. At night, always know where your weapons are. Fire pokers, kitchen knives, golf clubs… Use ‘em.

3. If you’ve just been attacked in an isolated location, you might want to think twice about the country bumpkin in the rat-trap pickup who offers to give you a drive to “my maw’s house. We used to operate a sausage factory in the basement!”

4. If the kid you’re babysitting tells you there’s a monster in the closet, believe him.

5. Make friends with the weird girl at school who wears black, has super messy hair, and is into conspiracy theories—she’ll end up saving your life after all your friends die in a monster attack at the popular kid party.

 

SI: Don’t forget the flamethrowers, baseball bats, that voodoo priest/crazy witch you kidnapped for such occasions. Oh I intend to you use them, you bet your bippy! This one ain’t going down without a fight! Can’t I just knock that guy out and steal his car? If they saw monster does this mean we run and set the house on fire?

 

4) We know the horror/scary movie stereotype. Which would you say is the most annoying?

 

CMG: The joker among the bunch of college kids who are renting a house by the lake for a weekend. He is desperate to get laid. He doesn’t know how to get laid. He will make jokes about everyone else getting laid until he is the third person to get ganked by the serial killer.

SI: Can’t we just make him the first person to get ganked so he can stop talking about sex? Or maybe the talker should go first? No it’s that girl who’s all whiny and insists on running in heels, wait…

 

5) What would you say is your top three horror/scary movie villains?

CMG: 1. Pennywise in IT. Like I wasn’t already afraid of clowns?

2. Bride of Frankenstein because she is rocking a look! Her hair is gorgeous, her lipstick is perfect, and I love how she moves when she’s first resurrected—just like a shrouded raven.

3. Last but not even least, the main villain in DON’T LOOK NOW. I can’t describe who it is because the impactful ending relies on surprise, but I absolutely cannot watch the last twenty minutes of that movie. Can’t. Do. It. Not unless I want serious nightmares!

SI: You just had to mention IT didn’t you? I love that description; like a shrouded raven. <3. I don’t think I want to know.

 

6) You’ve written some awesome action packed books. Tell us about the Vampire Babylon series.

CMG: Thanks! When I started this series, I set the action in Hollywood. I won’t ruin the reason I did that, just in case there are readers who haven’t read it here, but the heroine is also an ex-stuntwoman whose father has gone missing. All the mysteries and L.A. mythology were solved in by third book, but then I was asked to write three more. So the vampire hunting team, who’d come up against an underground bloodsucker organization in Hollywood, moved on to London, where they had to track a second underground. These vampires had more to do with fairy tales in an all-girls English school. After the series ended, a few years passed, and I got the itch to do some self-published work. So I dove back into the VB world and wrote two novellas, RAISING THE DARKNESS and IN BAD SPIRITS. RAISING THE DARKNESS takes place on Samhain, so you know how much I loved writing that! IN BAD SPIRITS is set around Christmas time. Even though these continue the series, they also reboot it, so new readers can step right in. <G>

SI: If you haven’t read this series run and get your copies.

 

7) Out of all the paranormal creatures that you’ve written who would you say is top dog and why?

CMG: I’m going back to my very first urban fantasy book for this one! Under my Crystal Green name, I wrote THE HUNTRESS for the action-adventure Silhouette Bombshell series. It was about a woman who had to learn how to hunt vampires because a Transylvanian tribe of female bloodsuckers had stolen her boyfriend during a raid on a small village. I loved those female villains—they were mindless, I-want-blood-and-you’re-not-stopping-me monsters. Hard to kill. I based them on Dracula’s brides but they were far more feral!

SI: Isn’t it cathartic writing villains like that?

 

8) I know you have written a Ghost story. What can you tell us about it? What can we expect?

CMG: Yes—in February, 2014, my new Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series comes out with Penguin Roc! ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG is the first of three books (I’m finishing up the third now!!!). They center around a ghost from the 80s who haunts the truth out of people who may or not have committed a crime. That sounds pretty heavy, but there’s humor in it in much the same way SUPERNATURAL balances darkness and humor. Having a ghost out of her own era was really fun—and you’ll be happy to know that I based her on Ginny Field, the feisty, smart heroine from Friday the 13th, Part 2, LOL.

SI: SQUEEEEE!

 

9) What do you have coming up that will end up on our Must Buy list?

CMG: I am so excited about KICKING IT, which is a Penguin Roc anthology with a bunch of great authors—I’m honored to be a part of the line up. Faith Hunter, Rachel Caine, and Shannon Butcher are just three of the writers who contributed novelettes. We were all given one story condition: each one had to center around a pair of shoes or boots that the heroine or villain wears. I’ll give you a hint about my novelette: if you’ve read any of my urban fantasy or dark fantasy books, you might recognize the main character. My story is called “The Girl with No Name,” and she wakes up in a bedroom, not knowing who she is, but wearing these crazy, vine-like boots…

SI: So. Excited. There are no words.

10)  Please tell readers where they can find you on the internet.

www.chrismariegreen.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisMarieGreen

 

FB: http://www.facebook.com/chrismariegreen

Thank You so much for doing the Hot Seat. I have the Cabana Men escort her out, bringing the treats with them.

 

ChrisMarieGreen_RaisingTheDarkness_200Raising the Darkness (A Dawn Madison Vampire Babylon Novella)

Former vamp hunter Dawn Madison hasn’t been the same since she retired from the life. She’s tired and drained from injuries sustained during the team’s last stand against the dragon, but when the clock strikes twelve on Samhain, everything changes. It seems that someone has sent raised-from-the-dark creatures after her, and they’re out for blood—as well as Dawn’s life…

(First published in the Undead for a Day anthology.)

99 cents, exclusively on Amazon until early 2014! http://tinyurl.com/py3ckk7

If you prefer a print version, here’s where to go… https://www.createspace.com/4459292

Chris Marie Green is the author of the urban fantasy Vampire Babylon series from Ace Books and the upcoming Ghost for Hire series from Roc (Feb. 2014, Only the Good Die Young), which features a fun-loving spirit from the 80s.

 

She tries her best to avoid international incidents whenever she takes a break from her first love, writing, and cheats on it with her other true love—traveling. She has an alter ego named Christine Cody, who wrote the dark fantasy Bloodlands trilogy.

(from Chapter Three…)

Dawn got out her cell phone, opened the doors to the balcony wide, then went outside to watch the moonlight play on the restless waves below.

Kiko answered on the third ring. “What? What?”

“Sorry for waking you up, but we’ve got some excitement around here.” Dawn’s smile was so big that it was making her cheeks hurt, but in a good way.

“Cool excitement?” Kiko asked. “Not-cool excitement? What?”

She could just picture his little person’s body jumping out of bed as he ran for his clothes, their hunting days still with him, even if they were long gone.

“It’s cool excitement,” she said, glee in her voice. And she’d never really ever done glee.

To think—she had an inner cheerleader in her and she’d never even known it, not even when she was growing up and doing her best to piss her life away with every rebellious act she could think of. Of course, that rebellion had led to a short career as a stunt woman, which had led to vampire fighting, but that wasn’t here nor there.

She told Kiko about her stroke-of-midnight soul stain lifting. “I don’t know what’s going on, but how awesome is that?”

Like Costin, Kiko was on immediate alert. “I suppose it’s cool.” Then, “You don’t think there’s something fishy about your happy-happy-joy-joy thing? This is Samhain, for God’s sake. If it were any other night, I’d just think you accidently swallowed some Ecstasy.”

She stayed quiet, but, naturally, Kiko didn’t.

“Okay, what I mean is this—you know how there’re different versions of Cinderella? There’s the Disney take. The squeaky clean, Yay!, glass slipper, everything is weddings and chirping birds—you know, the whitewashing of  just about every other version of the stories that came before. And I’m talking about dark stories where the frakkin’ stepsisters cut off part of their feet so they’ll fit into the slippers, and where those sweet little birds aren’t so sweet at all and they punish those bitches by pecking out their eyes.”

“Your point is?”

“That there’s only one happy-Yay! Disney version of the story while the rest aren’t so nice. Odds are, Dawn, that you don’t have any kind of happy ending version of your soul stain going on during Samhain.”

Nothing like a good dose of Geek Kiko to put things into perspective. Even so, she couldn’t stop loving the absence of heaviness in her, couldn’t help but to lean on the balcony railing and smell the brine-laced air and think of how lucky she was to be alive after all the shit she’d gone through in life.

Maybe, after everything she and the team had been through, something good had finally happened and this had nothing to do with screwed-up magic, like Kiko and Costin thought. Maybe her therapy had kicked in—

Her ears picked up a sound from down the beach. Somewhere in the night, there was a cry, but these were the final hours of Halloween and the kids were out in full force, so she went back to listening to Kiko.

“Sure, we wiped out those Undergrounds,” he said. “But our vampires weren’t the only bloodsuckers out there. There’re different lines, and some of them could be into magic. We’d be stupid to dismiss the idea. And we know that there’re hundreds of other supernatural creatures out there that might be up to all kinds of mischief tonight.”

She laughed, but then stopped. Dawn’s mother was one of those creatures Kiko was talking about. Eva Claremont had come under the sway of what they thought might be a demon and they hadn’t heard from her since.

But now that Dawn’s soul stains had gone a little lighter, thoughts of Mommy Not-So-Dearest didn’t get to her as much as they had before. She had spent a long, long time trying to forget about that woman.

Now it seemed so easy.

“Besides,” Kiko said, “you know better than anyone that some of the cold cases Natalia and I deal with at the agency have a certain…stench…about them, too.”

“Not everything is supernatural, Kik.”

“I’m not saying that every old robbery or lost love case we deal with is otherworldly, but there’re some screwy things we’ve come across, and Natalia shoves those cases right out the door. She doesn’t want a thing to do with them.” He and Natalia were trying to be “normal,” now that they’d gotten married. “What if one of those cases left some magic behind and it had a ricochet effect on us or our friends on Samhain? Magic doesn’t always aim straight, you know.”

She could hear him moving around on the other end of the line. “You’re overreacting, Kik.”

“No matter what’s going on, I’m getting right on this.”

“Natalia’s not going to like it.”

“Let me worry about that.”

He hung up without another word. Typical Kiko. He was probably already dialing up this house’s landline so he and Costin could have a conversation.

She tucked her cell into the pocket of her jeans and kept leaning on the railing. Three-two, one…Yup, there went the phone.

The waves seemed to get louder, but maybe that was because she was really starting to listen to them. Meanwhile, she thought she felt the dragon’s blood swirling on her right side, restless.

Screw you, she thought. Did you really think you were going to get another chance at taking over the world?

She started to leave the balcony to see if Costin had come upon any paranormal news through the supernatural conspiracy chat boards that usually consumed Jonah’s attention.

But then she sensed, more than heard, something on the beach close by.

She wasn’t psychic like Kiko or Natalia, and she wasn’t a spirit like Costin, but Underground fights had sharpened her human senses. It was just that she hadn’t used them for a while.

Turning her ear toward the faint sound she thought she heard—swish, swish, like sand under a set of paws that were coming this way—she leaned over the balcony, straining to hear some more.

Just as she realized that she did hear something and they sounded a whole damn lot like running steps, she backed away from the railing—but not before a wire looped around her neck and her body was yanked over it.

She barely had time to scream as she grasped the railing, the wire gnawing into her neck as she hung there, clinging and paddling her feet, kicking at whatever had attacked her.

They were pulling on that wire while Dawn choked, trying to slip one hand into the noose while holding on with the other. Her vision got cloudy and, instinctively, she turned her head, baring her teeth, using the only weapon she had on her.

A bite.

But before she struck, she saw a face… An old man with sideburns, pale, puckered skin, and white eyes that looked like they’d rolled into the back of his head. His mouth was in a pruned “O,” as if he was about to scream, too.

The messed-up sight of him made her forget all about biting, and he took advantage of that, putting more force on the wire, even as he reached with his other hand to Vulcan pinch her neck.

A memory flashed by, adrenaline-quick.

London, an attack on their headquarters, another pinch at her neck—

Gathering her guts, she bit his hand, sinking her teeth deep and letting go of the balcony at the same time.

A yelping sound was all Dawn heard from him just before her stunt woman training came back to her, powered by muscle memory. Midair, she twisted her body, flailing with a hand and catching on to one of the trellises that decorated the side of her home.

The wire whipped off her neck, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw it fall to the ground. But her attacker still held onto her, his hands wrapped around her waist.

For a reeling, moonlit second, she hung there, the trellis cracking, threatening as her attacker’s grip began to loosen. She kicked back at him, but a pair of teeth sank into her shoulder—human teeth—and she yelled.

As the old guy bit her again and again—as if it wanted to eat her—the trellis broke an inch, another, and Dawn brought up her elbow, smashing it into her attacker’s temple.

He reared back, and that was enough to break the trellis, sending them both tumbling the rest of the way.

They hit the ground, and Dawn’s lungs pushed out all the air she had. But adrenaline was animating her, forcing her to her feet so she could grab the piece of trellis that had cracked off. She brandished it like a staff to ward off this…thing.

Not a vampire. What was it?

She looked around, gaining her bearings, and her mind began to function properly.

Three of these things, she thought.

All dressed in black, hunched and circling her. The old man who’d attacked her was face-first on the ground, making animal sounds of pain, and Dawn realized that he’d fallen on something that had injured him.

The other two were shaded by a shadow cast by her house, but Dawn could still see the whites of their eyes and how their arms were curved at their sides as they breathed, in, out.

Were they growling at her, too?

Hellhounds, she thought.

No. These were human-like creatures, not dogs.

Then another possibility. Fast and furious zombies? Revenants raised from the dead by something or someone on Samhain?

Whatever these weirdos were, they were angry, and they weren’t stopping, as the guy who’d been lying on the ground rolled to his side, revealing the blood on his stomach where he’d landed on jagged, pointed rock. Even so, he crawled over the sand, as if homing in on Dawn at all costs. He left a trail of blood, and even if he was making a sad attempt to get at her, he was still covering some ground.

“What the hell are you?” she whispered, and she had no idea why she’d even tried.

She thought she heard one of them—the shortest and smallest one—make a twisted sound from the shadows. It made no sense at all, but something about the voice kicked in a thousand awful memories that swirled together: Vampires and blood…

Out of habit, Dawn broke the trellis stick in two, forming a cross.

Turned out crosses didn’t work on these guys, but when the two creatures who were standing on their feet rushed Dawn, she was ready, lifting up the two ragged sticks and aiming at the things’ left sides, where their hearts would be.

They didn’t seem to give a shit that she was about to stab them. In fact, the freaks ran right into her sticks, impaling themselves.

Dawn jumped away so fast that she fell to her ass, crab-scrambling backward, sand flying out from under her.

They were still coming.

And now that the two things that had been in the shadows had emerged into the moonlight, Dawn could see more of them.

One was an even older man with a bald head, withered skin, and those rolled-back eyes. He was holding a chain.

But it was the other one—the smallest—that Dawn couldn’t stop looking at.

Familiar…Light hair, a slight overbite, high cheekbones…

It couldn’t be. Not when the team had blown up the Underground in London and Lilly Meratoliage had been in the midst of the explosion.

Dawn didn’t have time to figure it out, because the girl was holding what looked to be nunchucks, and even with a stake in her, she was gearing up to attack.

Shitshitshit. Dawn wished she had those stakes back so she could use them again. Stabbing the left side of a Meratoliage—one of the dragon’s custodians and bodyguards—didn’t work, because the family was genetically bred to have their hearts on the opposite side of their bodies.

Shit times a hundred.

The rock-impaled sideburn man on the ground was still groping at the sand as he mindlessly advanced toward Dawn, but she didn’t worry about him—not when the even older bald guy had started to spin his chain at his side and when pseudo-Lilly was starting to run at Dawn, grasping her nunchucks in one hand while dropping to all threes, just like a hellhound that Dawn had initially mistaken the group for.

Her mind raced now. What to do? How to fight these creatures?

And with what?

She grabbed the only thing available—the sand. Two handfuls of it.

The girl arrived first, and Dawn held her breath, then hurled a fistful of sand right in the she-creature’s face.

She reared back, making a guttural sound, whipping her head back and forth and blinking those awful white eyes as they seemed to roll even further back in her head. Her mouth was still shaped in a scream.

But Dawn didn’t notice for how long, because the old man with the chain was approaching with more methodical malice, his blank gaze trained on her like weak lasers. He spun the chain around his head, like a lasso, and Dawn had the feeling that he was ready to duck the other handful of sand she’d planned to throw at him.

She steadied her breathing, trying to think like a stunt woman—no, a hunter—again.

Then she knew what to do.

Just as she was about to jump-flip to a stand and use her legs to windmill the guy off balance, something exploded from behind her.

Or maybe it was just the beginning of an explosion, a projectile fired from a weapon, because right in front of her, the old man burst into a mess of sprayed blood.

Dawn took cover, curving her arms over her head as she got into a ball, then looked up to see what the hell had happened.

The first thing she noticed was that the girl was gone, and so was the sideburn man who’d fallen on the rock. Had he retreated while Dawn wasn’t looking?

Had the girl?

The second thing was that Jonah had walked out from behind Dawn and was already inspecting the pool of gore that the old bald man had left behind. Jonah held a grenade launcher with one hand as, with his other, he picked up the bloodied chain.

Dawn grimaced, then said, “What was that, Jonah?”

As he turned to look at her, she thought for a moment, “What if it’s not Jonah? What if Costin is still in his body?”

But then, in the moonlight, she saw that his eyes were blue, not the topaz color that indicated Costin had taken him over, and relief sighed through her. She liked her Costin peaceful, not as the berserk warrior who had once followed the dragon’s orders before he’d been recruited to take the vampire master down.

Meanwhile, her soul stain didn’t react one way or the other, although the dragon was beating inside of her again, as if sarcastically slow-clapping at the sight of blood.

Jonah flashed her one of his charming smiles. “You’re welcome, Dawn. Are there any more freaks around?”

“Not that I know of.”

When she stood, her knees were weak. God, it’d been a long time since she’d thrown down.

But a tiny thrill shooting through her made her wonder if it’d been too long.

She went over to the remnants of the old man, but she didn’t get too close. The dragon was getting more excited.

“Thank you,” she finally said to Jonah. Grudgingly.

“You all right?”

“Of course I am.” Dim bulb. She didn’t need him to be saving her ass.

“I was taking a break from Costin and the research. I came upstairs to see how you were doing and heard a stir outside, so I raided the upstairs weapons locker.”

Ever since defeating the dragon’s bloodline, they hadn’t been on high security. All their doo-dads and items of destruction had been stored away.

Were things about to change?

Jonah asked, “How many were there?”

“Three altogether. Two now.”

Dawn looked off into the distance, then down to the trail of blood that the injured old man with the sideburns had left. Her shoulder, where he’d bitten her, ached. Probably she should clean the wound right away because God knew what kind of chaos could result from a revenant bite.

If that’s what she’d just tangled with.

She turned to Jonah. “You’re not gonna believe what I think I saw.”

Before she even told him about Lilly Meratoliage, Jonah had an appetite in his gaze, and Dawn was shocked to realize that she felt it, too. The soul stain had wiped out so much feeling from her before that she’d blocked out most other emotions. Including boredom.

Including the craving of a hunter who would love to come out of retirement tonight…

From RAISING THE DARKNESS, A Dawn Madison Vampire Babylon E-Novella

ISBN: 978-0-9896646-9-1

Exclusively at Amazon until early 2014!

http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Darkness-Madison-Vampire-ebook/dp/B00FEIZEHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380147848&sr=1-1&keywords=raising+the+darkness

 

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