Andi Callaway has dreamed of becoming a published author her entire life.
Ford Delaney has always wanted nothing more than to escape his past.
An opportunity of a lifetime. This is what Andi finds when she returns home to Callaway Cove on summer break. A chance to work for her literary idol Ford Delaney is up for grabs, and she’s willing to risk everything—her boyfriend, her best friends, and her education—to get it.
She’s positive this will be the key to reaching her dreams. But the moment she begins working for the reclusive author, Andi realizes there’s more to him than just a name. As attraction builds between Andi and Ford, she begins to discover consequences must come hand-in-hand with something great—which could loosen control over her tightly wound life. And once romantic sparks fly, Andi’s other relationships start to crumble, Ford’s fame comes back to haunt him, and the heat they generate will either forge a powerful, enduring love or threaten everything she holds dear.
He went to pull away, but Andi caught his hand, holding it there.
He exhaled, breath caressing her skin. “How do you do it?” he asked.
She swallowed, a razor blade in her throat while his eyes searched hers. “Do what?”
His face became distorted and her vision blurred until she wondered if this all wasn’t just a dream.
“Get under my skin,” he whispered.
The second the words left his mouth, he leaned in and crushed his lips over hers, kissing her as though it was going to be his last time kissing anyone. She blocked out the world, blocked out every thought except of him and the warmth of his touch. His fingers trailed over her jaw, her throat, and moved over her cool, damp skin, leaving her breathless.
She tipped her head to the side, deepening the kiss, reveling at how the pain in her throat and the throbbing in her chest vanished with his touch. Never before had she felt this. As if she was soaring and falling at the same time. As if she was witnessing something exotic and rare. As if she could die right now and not care, as long as it was in his arms.
She reached up to him, running her hands through his hair, something she had wanted to do from that first day in his office. He groaned and every nerve came alive with each second his lips danced with hers. All her worries slipped away. She was invincible.
And then their lips parted and Ford breathed her name. But when she blinked her heavy eyelids open, seconds later, he was gone.
About the Author:
Paige Rion is a contemporary romance author. She’s a mother, wife, blogger, hopeless chocoholic, coffee-addicted, wine-lover. Her debut, novel–a new adult romance–Written On Her Heart, is the first in the Callaway Cove series. The next in the series is to be released this summer. She loves connecting with readers on her blog and social media.
Blackjack & Moonlight by Magdalen Braden Series: The Blackjack Quartet, #3 Publication Date: May 25, 2014 Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sex v. Love?a battle in the courtroom and the bedroom!
Hotshot litigator Elise Carroll doesn?t have time for romance?she wants to make partner at her Philadelphia law firm. Despite her mother?s urging, Elise avoids settling down by keeping her relationships short and sexy. Her idea of a perfect date? Beer and pretzels at a Phillies game.
When Jack ?Blackjack? McIntyre?Philly?s super-sexy new judge?falls for Elise in court, she?s horrified. He ?claims? to be in love with her?but that can?t possibly be true. He doesn?t give up trying to wine and dine her, though, so she devises a new scheme. Like all men, surely he?ll leave after a short and sexy fling.
Only problem?Blackjack refuses to sleep with her! They compromise?she?ll go on his romantic dates if he?ll alternate them with her ?just sex? dates. Their contract works surprisingly well?until Elise can no longer find the line between love and sex.
Can Elise get her life back where she wants it?in a partner?s office? Or will Jack McIntyre use his superpowers to win their contest of wits?
?Hey, it?s my favorite client.? Elise Carroll grinned and dropped her briefcase so she could scoop DeeDee, her secretary?s four-year-old, into her arms.
Kim looked up from a file open on her desk, her cheeks striped by dried tears. ?Can you play with her for a couple minutes??
Uh-oh. More domestic drama?the last thing Kim needed. ?Okay, but I cannot be late for that man.? Elise walked into her office. With the door open, Kim would be able to watch her daughter from across the hall.
?What man, Auntie Leese?? DeeDee asked, her corn-silk hair glinting under the office lights.
Elise pointed at the magazine on her desk. ?Him.?
DeeDee reached for Philadelphia Magazine, the cover showing a handsome man in a black robe. The headline read, ?Philadelphia?s Newest?and Sexiest?Judge? and beneath that, in smaller letters, ?Blackjack McIntyre moves from the US Attorney?s office to his own district court.?
?Who?s dat?? DeeDee inspected the photo.
Elise laughed. ?Just the latest guy to think a black robe makes him right all the time.? She set DeeDee down on the carpeted floor. ?You want to color, sweetheart??
Elise pulled some paper out of the recycling bin, and after checking what was printed on it, spread it out on the floor, blank sides up. She found the crayons she kept in her desk for DeeDee?s visits.
She checked her watch. ?Oh, lord, look at the time. If I don?t leave immediately I?ll be late for him.? She pointed at Blackjack McIntyre, scowling at her from the cover of the magazine.
Kim grinned. ?I can?t wait to hear all about it. Details, I want all the details. Is he as good-looking as in his press conferences??
?Not you too.? Elise threw the magazine onto Kim?s desk. Jack McIntyre?s blue-black hair and chiseled jaw mocked her from the cover. Superman in a judicial robe. ?I don?t plan to be there long enough to look at him. Five minutes, tops. He grants my motion, and I?m out of there.?
?Oh, please. You know he?s seriously hunky. And the article says he?s not dating anyone at the moment.?
?Well, based on the women he?s been seen with, I?m not his type. Good thing because I have no interest in dating him or anyone else right now. I want to focus on making partner. And you?d better focus on getting your daughter to day care.?
Another check of the watch. Shit. There?d better be a cab downstairs or she?d be late.
On her way back into her office, Elise looked at the papers on the floor. DeeDee had drawn a figure in black. Either it was the Honorable Jack McIntyre or a vampire bat. Hard to tell.
After pairing up lawyers romantically in her head for fifteen years, Magdalen Braden traded in her job as an attorney to set her inner matchmaker free. Today she draws on her past adventures in a Philadelphia law office to write her sexy contemporary romance series, The Blackjack Quartet.
Blackjack & Moonlight, the third installment in the series, was a finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest in 2012. All four books contain love, romance, and a solid dose of legal humor.
Magdalen connects with readers at her local satellite of the Lady Jane’s Salon? reading series, and with fellow writers at her Romance Writers of America? chapter.
When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her crossword-loving husband, their Rhody-mix dog, and two omnipresent cats in the Endless Mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stacey will be awarding a $20 gift card (winners choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at the end of this post. Please click the banner to see the other stops on this tour.
Sparks fly when a headstrong wrangler and an alpha park ranger are thrown together while he searches for evidence to stop the poacher killing animals in RMNP. When the monster turns his sights on Brittany, Joel discovers he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her—even give his own life.
Trust makes all the difference when love and danger collide.
Book 1 of the exciting Colorado Trust Series
Enjoy an excerpt:
A redhead sitting nearby caught his attention by flashing him a sensual smile as the live band returned from their first set break. She leaned forward to allow him a clear view of her generous cleavage, then uncrossed her long legs. His gaze slid down as she slowly re-crossed them.
It was a blatant, hot invitation and he felt nothing more than a slight twinge of lukewarm interest.
You are friggin’ nuts, man.
With a smile that felt more like a grimace, he turned back to the mirrored wall that ran the length of the bar. He lifted his drink, watching the reflection as the door behind him opened. His hand halted in mid-air, then slammed his glass down on the bar so hard he was amazed it didn’t shatter.
He slowly turned to regard the vision face to face. Through an opening in the crowd, he got a split-second glimpse of a gray sleeveless dress, long bare legs, and black cowboy boots. Bodies shifted, and he looked up again, focusing on those blond curls cascading in wild waves past her shoulders.
Now, there was a woman who aroused his emotions. The first being anger, and the second, desire—much as he hated to admit it. The second fueled the first, and he was halfway through the crowd before he even realized he’d moved. When he reached her, he clamped a hand on her arm to spin her back toward the door.
He glared down into her startled green eyes and marched her right back outside. She tried to pull away, but he refused to release her until they reached the parking lot.
The moment she was free, she whirled to confront him, eyes flashing, chest heaving with indignation. “Who do you think you are? Grabbing me like—”
“I’m the one who walked for hours because you took my horse.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Stacey Joy Netzel is an avid reader and loves all movies with a happily ever after. She lives in Wisconsin with her family, a couple horses and some barn cats. In her limited free time she enjoys gardening, canning, and visiting her parents in Northeastern Wisconsin (Up North), at the family cabin on the lake.
Russell R. James was raised on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents’ warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn’t make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.
After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight. He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic and Dark Vengeance. He has two short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness. His next novel, Dreamwalker, releases in 2015.
His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”
Visit his website at http://www.russellrjames.com and read some free short stories.
Follow on Twitter @RRJames14, or drop a line complaining about his writing to email@example.com.
About the Book
In this magic shop the magic is real. And the trick is on you.
Citrus Glade is a dying town that needs new businesses, but the one that just opened is doing much more harm than good. Stranger Lyle Miller’s magic shop seems to only stock what its select customers desire. When four outcast boys buy common party tricks, only Lyle knows what those tricks can really do. As subtle changes occur around town, a few residents realize that something is amiss…and getting worse. But it may already be too late. Lyle’s black magic has empowered more townspeople to help him execute his Grand Adventure, a plan that will reduce the town, and half the state, to rubble.
A single fried egg stared at Lyle Miller from the center of the white plastic plate. It was sunny side up, a perfect match for his ebullient mood. He was about to banish his ennui and embark upon a new Grand Adventure. He picked up a bottle of hot sauce from the diner counter and painted a ring around the egg yolk.
He noticed that Gloria, the waitress, watched him from the end of the counter. Lyle wasn’t the usual Sunrise Diner customer, who was generally of the south Florida cracker variety. Lyle combed his thick, black hair near straight back, razor part on the right. High cheekbones gave his face great definition and his eyes sparkled sapphire blue. Despite the stifling summer heat, he wore a black, long-sleeve silk shirt. No doubt he looked a cut above Gloria’s usual ten-percent tipper.
Lyle touched the yolk with the tine of his fork. It shuddered, as if in protest at its coming fate. He gave the egg the slightest pressure and pricked the sac. Others attacked a fried egg, slashing the liquid yolk in half and mixing it with the hard fried white. But Lyle preferred to savor that moment of victory. Bright yellow yolk oozed from the egg’s wounded side. Lyle smiled at the almost imperceptible drop in the yolk’s crown and the slow trickle from the base that telegraphed the inevitable end.
With his fork, he led the streaming yellow liquid in a counterclockwise journey around the egg and through the red hot sauce. By the third trip, the yolk sac was flat and Lyle had a masterpiece, threads of swirled red, orange and
yellow that covered the white of the egg. It reminded him of his new Grand Adventure.
Gloria sauntered up with a carafe of steaming coffee at the ready. She was well past thirty with platinum hair and the kind of skin damage only tropical sun can inflict at that age. She tucked her gum into the corner of her mouth with her tongue and fired up a big homespun smile.
“Warm you up?” she said with a dip of her carafe to his coffee mug.
Lyle looked up from his plate. He guessed her life story. High school cute. A failed marriage or two. A variety of addictions and a slide down into a career at the Sunrise Diner off Alligator Alley. Nursed a stubborn denial that she was as past her prime as week-old fish. Nobody anyone would miss. He flashed her a shining salesman’s grin.
“Has anyone ever turned down that offer?” he answered.
She refilled his cup. “So what brings you out into swampy south Florida today?”
Lyle caught the arrival of an old man in a green John Deere baseball hat. He shuffled in and took a seat in a booth. Collateral damage.
“I’m a magician,” Lyle answered. “A master of illusion and prestidigitation.”
“Like that Criss Angel?”
Lyle kept from cringing. “Exactly. Allow me.”
He pulled a deck of cards from his shirt pocket, though it had appeared empty. All fifty-two cards expanded into a fan in his right hand. Gloria’s eyes locked on the large dark blue sapphire ring on Lyle’s third finger.
“Pick a card,” he said.
She passed her hand back and forth across the deck, hesitating as if the fate of the world rested on her selection. Lyle swallowed his impatience. She pulled out a card. He placed the rest of the deck against his forehead and closed his eyes in mock concentration.
“Seven of diamonds.”
“Oh my gawd!” she shrieked. “How’d you do that?”
Lyle winked away the world’s stupidest question. He extended his hand and she returned his card. He tucked it into the deck and cut it in half, face down. He held his hand over it and the top card levitated into his palm. He flipped over the queen of hearts and handed it to her with a flourish.
“For you,” he said. “The queen of hearts, as you are destined to break so many.”
Gloria managed a star-struck smile and stared at the card. Lyle rose and left ten dollars on the counter for his uneaten three-dollar breakfast. By the time Gloria looked up from the face of the playing card queen, Lyle’s black convertible was pulling away in a cloud of white dust.
She tucked the card into the breast pocket of her white working blouse, behind her hand-lettered name tag. She walked the coffee pot over to the old man in the booth.
“A little java, Sid?” she asked the Sunrise regular.
She started to pour and she felt the card in her pocket get hot. A look of shock crossed Sid’s face. His mouth opened in a silent scream and his eyes bulged. He went red as a beet, looking like some horrific Christmas decoration in his green hat. Sid clutched his chest and fell against the table so hard his coffee mug jumped with a clank.
“Sid!” Gloria screamed. She dropped the coffee pot. It shattered on the floor into a muddy sunburst. She bent to help Sid.
The card in her shirt went white hot.
She jerked upright. Fiery fingers dug into her chest and wrapped her heart like bands of flaming steel. She hitched one last, incomplete breath and collapsed to the floor.
Ten miles away, Lyle’s black convertible took a right on CR 12 and headed north. It passed a sign that said: CITRUS GLADE 35 MILES.
Black Magic Giveaway
US ONLY 2 winners will each get a signed copy of Black Magic
Title: Honest Love Author: CM Hutton Genre: Contemporary Romance
Starting over was never easy for anyone.
I’d heard the stories over and over.
But after the hell my ex-husband had put me through over the last year, over the last twenty years…well, I was ready to move on, repair what was left of my shattered heart and find someone to share my life with—someone who would put me first.
I deserved it. I’d done my time being in her shadow, being a cheap understudy, always second. For. All. Those. Years.
Our move to San Diego provided a fresh start, a new place away from all the hurt and memories. Life as a single mom to three teenagers had its’ challenges, but we were adjusting and my kids were doing well.
It was time to focus on my happiness, for once. I had a huge capacity to love and I wanted to share my love with a man that respected it, accepted it and gave it in return.
It was just a matter of time before he found me and showed me what true, honest love was all about.
Every now and then,
during his session, I’d notice an odd glance or two from
him, but ignored it. I didn’t want his negative shit adding to my
own. This was my job. I was his physical therapist, not his friend or
counselor, and this job was what would keep me going while I learned to wrap my
head around my new life.
say much. He grunted a few times when I pushed him harder, but other than that,
until we were just about done and I was giving him our customary mini
relaxation massage, that I took the opportunity to really take a good look at
him. Derek removed his shirt as he laid face down on the massage table in my
therapy room and an involuntary gasp escaped from me.
Wasn’t expecting that.
Most patients didn’t
remove their clothing as these massages were only meant to relieve the tension
built up in the body as a result of the stress from working an injury. He’d apparently heard me because a small,
stupid grin turned up on one corner of his mouth. I ignored him.
He was tall and
lean, not too bulky, and his skin was tan and smooth…defined.
I noticed a few tattoos on his ribs. I’d never been much on body ink, but it
was sexy on Derek and I couldn’t stop staring at it as I slowly
rubbed the tension from his neck and shoulders.
Yeah, you could say
I was attracted to him.
Claire seemed nice.
Actually she seemed like she probably wouldn’t
take any crap from me. And I didn’t think she knew who I was…always
a good thing.
She was good at her
job. I had a feeling I’d be back on the truck soon. My life
as a firefighter was about all I had to keep my mind occupied. Football used to
do that for me.
Nothing but tainted
I shook my head,
brushed off my thoughts and focused more on my new therapist. I’d
asked her a few questions, which she answered willingly. I was curious about
Claire, but my pissy mood made my questions come out way too harsh and nasty.
I just hoped I
could stop staring at her. She was shorter than me. Maybe 5’5”with
beautiful blonde hair and amazing brown eyes. Not who I would typically pay
attention to, but what the hell did I know? The only girl I’d
ever loved was Claire’s complete opposite with dark brown
hair, blue eyes and really tall. She’d
also ripped my heart out and practically ate the damn thing right in front of
Maybe Claire was
just what I needed.
But first, I had to
find out more about her past and what lead her to San Diego.
I’m a wife, a mom of three, a friend, an aunt, a sister, a daughter and a teacher. Now, I can add writer to my list! I’ve always wanted to write and finally found inspiration and support to do it. I live near Austin, Texas with my family and love to read and travel. Put me on a beach with a good book and the world just disappears around me. Paradise Taken was my first novel and is a highly emotional book based on true events. Its sequel (Saving Us) is due out February 2014. Loving Her was the second book I wrote after needing a little time off from Paradise Tak-en. It is a story close to my heart. I love that you are willing to take a chance on a new writer and promise to keep striving to put out great books! If you don’t like my books, that’s okay. Just please be gentle on my fragile ego. 😉 I’d love to chat with you, so look me up on any of my social pages. Happy Reading. 🙂
A surprise visit from Blake and Devon’s uncle, Dominic, demanding both vampires, come home immediately to find what is ailing his son Anton, puts everyone on edge. Can vampires get sick? Devon doesn’t appreciate Dominic’s demands, but agrees to fly back to Connecticut with Darby, since Blake has a job to finish up in California. Excited to meet more of Devon’s family, Darby is confused by Devon’s distance and coldness since Dominic’s visit.
In Connecticut, this only gets worse when a gorgeous Libby, Anton’s estranged wife, shows up unexpectedly and seems to have her sights set on Devon. To top it all off, there’s seems to be some pent up animosity, Anton and Devon have towards each other.
What is this strange power Libby has over the men in this family? And what’s wrong with poor Anton? Why does it seem that Anton and Devon hate each other? These are all questions Darby sets out to answer in this third volume of the Blood Series.
Dominic smiled at her gesture and
said, “I’m sorry, miss, this is a private family matter and I just couldn’t
possibly stay. You understand, don’t you?” He said this dismissively as if
speaking to a servant; polite, but not sincere.
Darby saw that Devon
was irritated by his uncle’s rude behavior and was about to say something, when
Blake jumped out of his chair and said, “Sure, Dominic. They understand.”
He glanced at the others at the
table and gave Devon
an imploring look, all the while helping his uncle with his coat. “We’ll speak
in the front yard, Dominic. Go back to your meal, enjoy! We’ll only be a
minute,” Blake said rather apologetically to Darby still standing, stunned, in
front of her seat.
Darby looked at the rest of the
people at the table and said, “I’ll get some champagne flutes, to enjoy our
lovely gift.” She excused herself as Devon
and Blake led Dominic to the front yard.
They were almost to the black
limousine, when Dominic turned to the boys. “I’m in need of your help, boys.
Anton is terribly sick and I would like you both to come to Connecticut
to help me determine what is ailing him.”
“I’m very sorry Anton is sick,
but that does not excuse your…” Devon
is trying to say, Dominic,” Blake interrupted, “is that we are not boys any
longer. We have lives here, jobs, commitments, significant others. We can’t
just up and leave.”
“Yes, I see you’ve hooked up with
a lively bunch of hooligans. Eating at a table with witches and werewolf swine.
How could you? So what, you with your Darby girl, and you with the werewolf
crossbreed creature? Both witches, I presume?”
“Yes. I am with Rowan, but you
don’t understand, Dominic,” Blake said.
Dominic’s eyes grew large. “How
despicable, boy! Didn’t I teach you anything? Didn’t you listen to a word I
told you? Your mother must be turning in her grave in shame. We are a family of
noble vampire blood. What a disgrace to your heritage. Vile. Disgusting!”
“That’s enough, Dominic. You are
wrong about werewolves, like many are wrong about vampires. You are mistaken…” Devon
“How dare you? I am a professor
of science. I most definitely am not mistaken. I saw, with my own two eyes, the
horrific act of a werewolf. They are animals, not people.”
“You’re wrong, Dominic, very
wrong. These are good and decent people. They’ve risked their lives for us on
numerous occasions…” Blake tried to explain.
“Don’t bother explaining, Blake.
He won’t change his mind. He has his view, and that is the only view he’ll ever
“I see your manners have been
severely degraded by the company you keep. I demand you come to Connecticut
immediately. Maybe you’ll find your manners there and remember your place in
“I’m not leaving. Not for you and
most definitely not for Anton,” Devon
“Oh, grow up, boy. That was ages
ago. Let bygones be bygones already. I won’t take no for an answer. You will
both march in there, pack your things, and come home.”
is not our home. This is our home, Oljone, California.
Right here, with a bunch of great friends who are waiting for us to continue
our Thanksgiving feast,” Devon
said as he turned and headed back to the house.
Blake said. Devon
stopped and slowly turned. “Dominic, won’t you please join us for dinner. Get
to know these people. They are family to us.”
said, “Don’t bother wasting your breath, Blake. Like I said, he’s already made
up his mind about them.”
“It’s Thanksgiving. You said
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for family, friends and loved ones.
Dominic and Anton are our only blood relatives.”
“Fine. You’re right, Blake, I did
say that. Dominic, would you please join us for dinner?”
“Thank you for the offer but no.
I can’t. No, I won’t sit at a table with two werewolves. I am staying at the
Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.
Here are your tickets. We are leaving at 10:50 AM tomorrow. I
expect to see you on the plane.” He handed each of them a first class ticket.
“Whoa, wait a minute. I can’t go,
Dominic. I have to work. I have a project due, deadlines, I just can’t up and
leave,” Blake insisted.
“Fine, you will join us when you
are done with your commitments.”
“I’m not going either, Dominic.
This is my home, here with Darby. There is no love lost between Anton and me.
I’m sure he doesn’t want to see me any more than I want to see him. I’m sorry
he’s sick, but for God’s sake, he’s a vampire, he’ll heal. I’m sure he will be
He won’t. He is rapidly declining. You must help me. I demand that you help
“You demand that I help you?
There’s nothing I can do for him. I’m not a doctor; you are. I’m a software
engineer. So is Blake. What could we possibly do for him?”
“You’re his family. You can be
his family. Maybe he will confide in you.”
“What makes you think if he
hasn’t confided in you, that he would do such a thing with me or Blake?”
“Because…you are his age. You
speak his language. You’re more understanding, like your mother.”
“Not where he’s concerned,” Devon
muttered under his breath.
“You must do this!” Dominic
yelled and turned red in the face, pounding a fist into his other hand, tears
welling in his ferociously angry eyes.
Blake said, “Hang on, now. You
both need to cool off a bit. Dominic, you’re going to blow a gasket. Relax. Devon,
if Darby went with you to Connecticut,
would you be willing to go and at least talk to Anton? See if maybe he would
confide in you? You never know. And if he’s really that sick, don’t you think
one of us should be there? We’re family, after all.”
“If Darby were politely invited
to come, and treated appropriately, yes, I may consider going to Connecticut.”
“Dominic, would you be willing to
accept Darby as a guest in your home, treating her as such, for Devon?”
He mulled this over, taking
longer than Devon
would have liked, but he reluctantly agreed.
“As long as her mutant sister
does not come. Yes, I would accept the witch as a guest in my home providing
she behaves in a proper manner.”
“What the he…” Devon
started. Blake saw he was about to blow his top and interrupted.
“See, I knew this could be worked
out. Now, would you at least join us for a glass of champagne and invite Darby
Dominic grumbled and nodded.
About the Author: T. Lynne Tolles
T. Lynne Tolles can be found most days, juggling one of two cat muses and a laptop, tripping over an ancient Newfoundland dog and washing a never-ending pile of laundry. When life doesn’t get in the way, she writes paranormal romances for new adults.
Her passion for witches, ghosts, and vampires together with a light-hearted wit are reflected in her loveable characters and the adventures of mystery they unravel to find their happily ever after.
Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.
But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.
As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.
The worst thing about vampires is that they’re dead. That whole wanting to suck your blood business runs a close second, but for sheer creepiness, it’s the dead bit that gets me every time. They’re up and walking around and talking and sucking blood, but they’re dead. And then there’s the whole terminology problem–how can you kill something that’s already dead? It’s just wrong.
I was twenty-four the first time I . . . destroyed? dispatched? . . . a vampire. That’s when I found out that all the books and movies are wrong. When you stick a wooden stake into their hearts, vampires don’t disintegrate into dust. They don’t explode. They don’t spew blood everywhere. They just look surprised, groan, and collapse into a pile of corpse. But at least they lie still then, like corpses are supposed to.
Since that first kill (I might as well use the word–there really isn’t a better one), I’ve discovered that only if you’re lucky do vampires look surprised before they groan and fall down. If you’re unlucky and miss the heart, they look angry. And then they fight.
There are the other usual ways to kill vampires, of course, but these other ways can get a bit complicated. Vampires are notoriously difficult to trick into sunlight. They have an uncanny ability to sense when there’s any sunlight within miles of them, and they’re awfully good at hiding from it. Holy water doesn’t kill them; it just distracts them for a while, and then they get that angry look again. And it takes a pretty big blade to cut off someone’s head–even an already dead someone–and carrying a great big knife around New York City, even the Bronx, is a sure way to get arrested. Nope, pointy sticks are the best way to go, all the way around.
My own pointy stick is actually more of a little knife with wood inlay on the blade–the metal makes it slide in easier. I had the knife specially made by an old Italian guy in just about the only ratty part of Westchester, north of the city. I tried to order one off the internet, but it turns out that while it’s easy to find wood-inlay handles, the blades themselves tend to be metal. Fat lot those people know.
But I wasn’t thinking any of this when I pulled the knife out of the body on the ground. I was thinking something more along the lines of “Oh, bloody hell. Not again.”
About the Author
Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.
Connect with Margo
In this hop, I am featuring Taming the Country Star and giving away a new release from Entangled Publishing–and there’s also a grand prize to be won! Be sure to check out the excerpt from Taming the Country Star below, then:
He’ll do anything to win her heart. She’ll do anything to keep him away.
Country star Cole Grayson is in town, and Kylie Andrews is less than thrilled. As if months of changing the radio station and tearing down his posters weren’t bad enough, now she has to deal with a town of fans swarming toward the man who deceived her the year before. But when Kylie’s eyes meet Cole’s again, she can’t deny the electric chemistry that drew her to him the first time around.
Cole Grayson is on a mission. Ever since Kylie left him, he hasn’t been able to forget her sweet country smile. After writing a song just for her, he sets off for her hometown to prove he’s not the player she thinks he is. But as much as Cole can’t forget her, Kylie wonders if she can forgive him…
Kylie Andrews’s Texas-themed gift shop, Cowbelles, sat on the very outer edge of Fort Worth’s Stockyards District, not far from Jimmy’s Honky Tonk. And much to her dismay, no matter how often she cleared it, the wall adjacent to her store remained covered with announcements for local events.
Like, for example, concerts.
She stared at the latest layer of advertisements.
From the topmost poster, Cole Grayson stared out at her, leaning against the edge of an old barn door, guitar at his feet. One booted foot was kicked up against the wooden wall behind him. His dark-blond hair curled around behind one ear and fell down across his eye on the other side. A cowboy hat rested on the ground next to the guitar.
Her hand drifted up toward the image, hovering several inches from the picture of his face. She glanced around. None of the other shopkeepers were outside. No one was watching.
“Bastard,” she whispered to herself, and ripped the poster off the wall.
At least, she tried to. It was thicker than she had expected, attached more firmly, and it resisted her pull.
Chewing on her lip, she took another look around, dropped her bag to the ground, and reached up to grasp the edge with both fists, jerking at it in opposite directions. A tiny tear opened up along the side, and she yanked harder. Finally, the poster ripped—right across Cole Grayson’s lying eyes.
She tugged at the image some more, glancing around surreptitiously every few moments and dropping ragged pieces of paper on the ground at her feet, until there was nothing left on the wall but a few fluttering strips.
Gathering the mutilated shreds together, she opened her bag and shoved them inside until they overflowed, bright ribbons of color in the morning light.
Margo Bond Collins is the author of contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal mysteries. She has published a number of novels, including Taming the Country Star, Legally Undead, Waking Up Dead, and Fairy, Texas. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. Although writing fiction is her first love, she also teaches college-level English courses online. She enjoys reading romance and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about heroes, monsters, cowboys, and villains, and the strong women who love them. She currently writes for Entangled’s Red-Hot Bliss line.
Despite their apparent differences in scope – Gelder’s book covers only the last twenty years of vampire cinema, whereas Weinstock discusses a more general history of vampire movies – Ken Gelder’s New Vampire Cinema and Jeffrey Weinstock’s The Vampire Film: Undead Cinema offer remarkably complementary readings of the vampire in film. In particular, both Gelder and Weinstock deal with the ways in which vampire films “endlessly and in so many ways talk about vampires and vampire movies” (1) in order to build “narratives around the vampire’s capacity not just to create a disturbance but to endure it and survive” (vi). Ultimately, these two books deserve to be read together as they work together to illustrate the importance and cultural value of vampire cinema.
Weinstock’s book is part of the Short Cuts: Introductions to Film Studies series and in many ways reads as a primer for vampire cinema. He begins with an introduction that riffs on Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s 1996 “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” in Monster Theory: Reading Culture (ed. Jeffrey Cohen, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996). and sets up seven principles, complete with corollaries, that guide the rest of the book:
Principle 1: The cinematic vampire is always about sex
Corollary 1.1: Cinematic vampires are marked by performances of hyperbolic gender
Corollary 1.2: Cinematic vampires are inevitably queer
Principle 2: The vampire is always more interesting than those who pursue it
Principle 3: The vampire always returns
Corollary 3.1: Vampirism begins at home
Corollary 3.2: The vampire always appears to come from someplace else
Corollary 3.3: The vampire is always in motion
Principle 4: The cinematic vampire is an overdetermined body condensing what a culture considers ‘other’
Principle 5: The cinematic vampire is always about technology.
Corollary 5.1: Vampire films are always about dfining the vampire, which is a necessary preliminary to destroying the vampire.
Corollary 5.2: Vampires are always cyborgs
Corollary 5.3: Vampire films are always about the cinema itself.
Principle 6: The vampire film genre does not exist
Corollary 6.1: The vampire film tradition is defined by generic hybridity
Corollary 6.2: Vampire films are inevitably intertextual
Principle 7: We are all vampire textual nomads
Weinstock’s discussion of these principles and their corollaries takes up three chapters and ranges over an astonishing number of films for such a slim volume. His discussion of vampire films from A Fool There Was (1915) to 30 Days of Night (2007) serves to support not only these principles, but also his claim that “The vampire . . . is a sort of ready-made metaphoric vehicle waiting for its tenor. Its potency, however, derives from its intrinsic connections to sex, science, and social constructions of difference. . . . the vampire film is always about sex, always about technology and always about cultural ‘otherness’” (19).
Gelder’s book similarly claims that his volume’s “aim is simply to try to make some sense of what these film do and why they seem to do it over and over” (v) and that
The films in this book all bring their vampires into the modern world, building their narratives around the vampire’s capacity not just to create a disturbance but to endure it and survive. . . . over the last twenty years or so the question of the vampire’s capacity to make this journey and live through it is now paramount. Vampire films stage an encounter between something old and something new, something ancient and something modern; the arrival of the vampire (which is invariably from somewhere else) brings with it both excitement, and catastrophe. (vi)
The five chapters cover what Gelder calls “Inauthentic Vampires,” “Our Vampires, Our Neighbors,” “Citational Vampires,” “Vampires in the Americas,” and “Diminishing Vampires,” coming to the conclusion that
There is something parasitical about vampire films . . . exhausting/regenerating them simultaneously, giving them just that extra bit of life, or half-life. The original vampire and the ‘last vampire’ bleed into each other; sequel and original soon become difficult to distinguish, just as parasite and host, vampire and victim, the remote and the proximate, periphery and centre, likewise converge and fold together. (107)
Perhaps inevitably, both authors discuss, at least briefly, the novel Dracula, highlighting its position as the ur-text of vampire movies. Gelder writes that
Even though they mark out their various distinctions and differences, vampire films always speak to other vampire films, and of course, to that urtext of Stoker’s which still, remarkably, seems to exert some sort of pressure on them, holding them in its grasp or perhaps letting them slip through its fingers. (v)
Weinstock notes that “At the centre of the vampire cinema solar system is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the vampire Ur-text that exerts a powerful gravitational attraction around which all vampire texts – literary, cinematic and otherwise – necessarily orbit” (17).
The similarities between these two books become most apparent when Weinstock and Gelder discuss the same movies, as happens often. For example, both authors analyze the cinematograph scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), in which Dracula speaks to Mina Harker in front of a screen showing clips of various films. Weinstock claims that it “shows us . . . the vampire present at the birth of modern cinema and the correspondence between the two – each creating legions of the undead” (77). Similarly, Gelder writes that “the scene self-reflexively puts Stoker, Dracula, theatre, the origins of cinema and Coppola’s film into a sort of mutually citational loop” (4).
Even when their analyses of films differ, they often seem to overlap, as, for example, in their discussions of the use of technology in the Blade films. For Gelder, Blade’s reliance upon technology is an example of his claim that vampire films often highlight the anxiety surrounding encounters of the new and the ancient – in this case, Blade and his technology (equated, perhaps, by the half-vampire’s name) are the “new” coming up against the “ancient” vampire regime. For Weinstock, the reliance upon technology in these films illustrates that “the silver-screen vampire, itself a product of cinema technology, is inevitably defined in relation to various technologies of representation, definition, detection, and destruction” (57).
Both authors also highlight the importance of what Gelder calls the “moment of recognition” in vampire films. Weinstock writes that
Vampire movies, like monster movies in general, are always about definition. . . . What the protagonists conclude about the nature of the vampire . . . has important ramifications not only for deciding how to combat the vampire but for understanding how the represented cinematic world works.
Gelder notes that “Every vampire film has its key moment of recognition. To recognise a vampire ‘for what it is’ turns out to be crucial to a character’s wellbeing or otherwise; it is also simply a way of saying, this is a vampire film” (vi). Weinstock’s claim that “vampire movies always define themselves in relation to previous cinematic representations of vampires and are often quite explicit about the revisions to the mythology that they are making” (127) could have just as easily appeared in Gelder’s discussion of what he calls the “citational” nature of vampire films. Ultimately, Gelder’s interest is in examining this citational nature of vampire films, Weinstock’s in discussing the principles guiding those films, but both offer investigations of the form and function of vampire cinema, and that similarity makes these two books particularly interesting and useful when read together.
Despite their many similarities, however, the ways in which the two works diverge means that one cannot simply stand in for the other. Weinstock’s conclusion that “what makes the vampire so potent is that it is a concatenation of sexual, racial and technological anxieties and longings – a sort of Rorschach ink blot of culturally specific dread and desire” (13) tied to the fact that “a fundamental characteristic of the vampire film tradition has been its tendency to morph and colonise other genres” so that, “like the vampire itself, the vampire cinema continually transforms itself and seeks out new victims to vamp” (17) reads as dramatically different from Gelder’s claim that
Vampires may be immortal for the time being, but they also carry with them a heightened sense of change, death and loss. This is the direction vampire films routinely take, in fact: offering the possibility of immortality and then cruelly snatching it away, or turning it into something that vampires cannot bear. (106)
The two authors’ takes on the mobility of vampires differs, as well. For Gelder, “vampires in the modern world in new vampire cinema – far from being able to move about freely and so on – are in fact condemned to a particular form of living that is precisely about registering the loss of one’s freedom” (94). For Weinstock, on the other hand,
Mobility and crossing of not only geographical but social and psychic borders is central to the vampire narrative. Either the vampire arrives from elsewhere to interrupt the day-to-day existence of his or her new locale or the protagonist arrives at a place marked by some fundamental social difference – the superstitiousness of backwater villagers, the lawlessness of Mexico or Santa Carla, California, etc. (96-97).
Weinstock’s book suffers a bit from lax proofreading, with problems on pages 49 (“Her’s”) and 109 (“Frost . . . becomes inhabiting” by La Magra”); Gelder’s book sometimes seems to sometimes lose focus (as, for example, in an inexplicable concentration on filming locations for the Twilight series that neither adds to the discussion of the films nor corresponds with any other film’s discussion in the book). Despite these minor problems, however, The Vampire Film and New Vampire Cinema together provide compelling discussions of over 150 vampire movies, offering insight into not only the vampire films themselves, but our continuing fascination with those films.
Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not
college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst
problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.
As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his
affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help
Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he
wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the
truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or
movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?
This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when
art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not.
Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and
how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.
Character Interview with Jamie Peterson
Hi, I’m Jamie Peterson. Fan Art is about what happened at the end of my senior year.
So, you’re on the Gumshoe staff? I heard there was a little problem this year.
Yes, Gumshoe is our high school literary magazine. I’m the graphic designer so I put the layout together. And I might have, um, added a graphic short story that the others had rejected. It was a love story about two boys. It had to be published.
Who is your best friend?
Mason Viveros—the one with the mop of dark curls and the chunky black glasses. We’ve been friends since third grade. He’s really smart—speaks three languages—but he doesn’t brag about it. He’s also good at fixing cars, which can come in handy on a road trip.
Do you have a crush?
Yeah. On Mason. Not on purpose. Everyone knows friend crushes are the worst—even guy-girl friend crushes—drama, angst, broken hearts, you name it. It’s bad—real bad. And straight-guy-gay-guy friend crushes? I don’t even want to think about that apocalypse.
Are you out?
Sort of. I’m out with my mom and step-dad. And some of the girls at school know, not that I told them. Good gaydar, I guess. But I haven’t told Mason. I mean, how do you tell someone that you’ve been keeping a secret from him since middle school?
Will you be glad when senior year is over?
Hell, yeah. Between the many visits to the principal’s office for the Gumshoe incident and the Redneck—I mean Nick O’Shea—thinking I ratted him out about the senior prank I can’t wait to get out of here.
About the Author Raised without television, Sarah Tregay started writing her own middle grade novels after she had read all of the ones in the library. She later discovered YA books, but never did make it to the adult section. When she’s not jotting down poems at stoplights, she can be found hanging out with her “little sister” from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Sarah lives in Eagle, Idaho with her husband, two Boston Terriers, and an appaloosa named Mr. Pots. Her next book, Fan Art, will be released in June.