I don’t know about you, but for me January has flashed by so far.
We’ve had guests staying over New Year, a friend at the beginning of the week, and we’re imminently expecting my father in law for a week. On top of that, we had a puppy crisis, when the little monster managed to get hold of some Pro-Plus caffeine tablets and may or may not have swallowed one or several. It’s quite hard to tell when your puppy has hyper-mad turns periodically anyway, but even for him, he was somewhat OTT! So, emergency vet time. He had to stay in overnight and get an IV drip, and eat masses of charcoal with his food. He came home bright as a button the next morning – flatteringly pleased to see us after his expensive weekend break! He’s still on the charcoal for another day – I won’t tell you what it does to his poo, but my husband wants to sell it as coal :).
So, all this has been distracting me from I wanted to say, which is that it’s only just over a week until the release of my fifth Serafina’s book, Serafina and the Founder! There will be all kinds of fun to celebrate the release, including a party at Facebook and Author Island, a contest at Bitten by Books, and other flash prizes. More on that next week. For now, have you read this series so far? For anyone who hasn’t, I’ll be giving away some free copies of the first in the series, Serafina and the Silent Vampire. Hurray!
To enter, answer this question in the comments, about the following excerpt from Serafina and the Silent Vampire (Serafina’s Book 1):
WHAT DO YOU THINK SERA SHOULD DO NEXT?
The contest will be open until midnight EST on Monday night/Tuesday morning, 19th/20th Jan, and I’ll announce the winner here in the comments on Tuesday during the day.
Here’s the blurb and excerpt: Sera’s first encounter with the silent vampire, who she believes is muscling in on her own vampire joke/scam….
Silence has never been so sinful…
Welcome to Edinburgh’s unique psychic investigation agency, Serafina’s.
Serafina MacBride is psychic – but not strictly honest. While staging a hilarious vampire attack at a client’s party, Sera is stunned to encounter a real vampire – annoying, gorgeous and inaudible to everyone but her. When her client’s son is found dead with puncture wounds in his neck, she tracks the silent vampire to his lair.
But the amoral and seductive Blair is also on a mission – to find and kill a nest of young vampires who’ve invaded his territory. Soon Sera is drawn into the bizarre world of the undead, where danger lurks in the shadows along with forbidden sensual delights – and a murderous conspiracy to flood the world with financially astute vampires who talk.
Supported and hindered by Blair’s eccentric, undead friends, and by her own motley crew from Serafina’s, Sera and Blair uncover surprising truths about each other and about the mysterious Founder from whom all vampires are descended.
In the end, Sera draws on powers she never knew she had in a frantic fight to defeat the forces of evil and preserve the strange, complicated being she’s trying so hard not to love.
She felt her way around two intertwining apple trees and found Tam.
She stopped dead with shock. His large frame was unmistakable in the flashlight beam, but she’d never before seen it slumped in the brutal hold of an attacker who seemed to be strangling him or squeezing him to death. Which would be quite an achievement considering the size of Tam’s muscular body. And the fact that his opponent, although about equal in height, was far lighter and leaner in weight. And wearing a kilt, as if he was, or was pretending to be, one of the Bells’ guests. Tam’s arms flailed as if trying feebly to fly free. That was terrifying in itself: Tam the Tank physically helpless.
Sera’s hand wavered, and the beam from her flashlight shifted over a shock of dark chestnut hair.
There was a tiny instant when she imagined she’d steeped herself too deeply in this vampire nonsense, because it almost looked as if the stranger had his face buried in Tam’s throat. It sent a weird, almost sensual shiver down her spine before she yanked her brain back into line.
Who the hell was this? Ferdy’s stalker? Sera didn’t wait to find out. As he began to turn his head, granting her a glimpse of his shadowed face and gleaming eyes, she hurled herself at him feetfirst. Both her boots connected jarringly with hard flesh; her whole being jolted as if she’d been shot.
It took an instant to realize that she lay on the ground on her back, winded, while Tam’s attacker, and Tam himself, remained upright. Jesus, she couldn’t have lost her touch to that degree! She’d slammed into him. She should at least have knocked him off balance! But then, she should have landed on her feet, not her back, and been ready to jump him before he recovered.
As she struggled to rise, her blurred vision cleared enough to show her, by the crazily waving beam of the torch, that the kilted thug had released Tam, who leaned one massive shoulder against the tree, shaking his head as if to clear it. Thank God, at least the bastard hadn’t killed him. And now they were two against one, however strong this maniac was.
“Tam! Now!” she commanded in an urgent stage whisper and ran at the curiously still figure of the enemy.
Tam muttered something that might have been, “Don’t, Sera.”
Her quarry sidestepped her with a blur that surely spoke more for the intensity of her previous winding than for his genuine speed. Whatever the cause, it was enough to unbalance Sera. Fortunately, Tam leapt and caught her in his muscled arm—all that prevented her from falling over again.
She whirled around, poised to face a counterattack, snatching the only weaponry she carried in her pocket—one of the ridiculous pointy sticks—and for the first time looked into the shadowed face of her enemy. Remembering belatedly about her flashlight still clutched in her bruised left land, she shone it directly into his face. The eerie crisscrossing of shadows on his skin disappeared in the golden glow, but he made no effort to hide from the light. Two large, dark brown eyes stared at her from a lean, still face. There was no doubt he was good-looking enough to turn heads, with a high forehead, long, thin nose, and full, expressive lips, all framed by a shock of thick, dark hair streaked with auburn. The combination of high, broad cheekbones and leanness gave him a slightly cadaverous look that somehow didn’t detract in the slightest from his male beauty.
All these jumbled impressions Sera absorbed in an instant. But chiefly what caught and held her attention was the trickle of red blood running from the corner of his mouth and down the side of his chin.
“Oh for f…!” Sera hurled the pointy stick to the ground. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she raged. “This is our show.”
If you like, you can read a longer excerpt on the Serafina and the Silent Vampire page