Mortal Bite – The Honeymoons Continue.
Mortal Bite practically wrote itself. I have to say I was nearly possessed with these characters. And, if you’ve read the book, all the new characters that came on stage and just wouldn’t leave!
I knew I had to write Paolo’s book towards the end of Honeymoon Bite (Marcus and Anne’s story). In the meantime, I had to polish and finish two of the Navy SEAL Brotherhood series, and get them launched. It was killing me to get back to the vampire series.
The story starts at a costume ball in San Francisco. My husband and I went to such a ball last Halloween and had a fantastic time. And yes, I dressed up as an angel, and he was the stereotypical vampire character. We danced to a DJ at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, and met lots of couples. Yes, there were Smurfs and “ladies of the night” that wore things only pasted on. We walked through a white bough of twinkle lights. The place has hosted parties for San Francisco’s upper crust for nearly a century. I even attended a Night of Living Dangerously for Nano two years in a row there. What better place to start my story.
The more I wrote, the more consumed I became. The Jett brothers were created as part of a security detail to help protect the child, Lucius Monteleone. I created in these dark vamp brothers a loyalty to the Monteleone family spanning centuries. I loved the idea that a dark vamp could fall in love with a Golden, and never be able to have her, but he could owe his allegiance to her children and grandchildren, whom he would protect with his life. I also wanted to demonstrate some of the difficulties and problems in making some of the tough decisions they have to make as Goldens.
The Jett brothers (Lionel, Hugh “Huge” and Jeb) became more than just secondary characters, they became alphas for future books. They became the ones who trained my ex SEALs, who will be prominent in my next book. I wasn’t sure how I would blend the two together until I realized that SEALs, with all their equipment and training, would love to “trace” with dark vamps. But until I put them together and watched their interaction, I wasn’t sure. Well, it worked.
The little blonde waif Dag finds was originally going to die in the end. But, her chemistry with Dag earned her the consideration of a reprieve. Her chemistry with Lionel was so unexpected and so hot, I just couldn’t kill her off. Shirley lives to tell another story! There are some twists in store when we explore her past.
The story about the origins of the Golden Vampire race will be explored in the next book. The twist at the end of Mortal Bite got me so excited, I practically didn’t sleep for a week when I was writing it!
There are many more things I’d wanted to put in Mortal Bite I just ran out of room for. So, you can be assured, it will be in the next book, I have tentatively called, Love Bite. I’m plotting it out now while I’m writing another book in the SEAL series. Trust me when I tell you, it will blow your mind.
So, until then, tell all your friends about this great series. I’d like a huge audience when I launch Book 3. Can’t you feel it?
Paolo had never been curious about the origins of his species, which was odd, since he loved mysteries. Perhaps he was unsure what he’d find if he dug too deeply. He assumed vampires, both dark and golden, had always co-existed with the human population. But many of his kin had lived centuries, longer than his three hundred years, and could see changes occurring in their vampiric DNA. New children were born with special powers. Certainly there were breeding oddities forming when a dark and a golden vampire mated. Exceptions were occurring at an alarming rate.
He searched what he had been taught. He’d been a gentleman scholar, in the classical sense, almost three hundred years ago, growing up in Tuscany. But what fascinated him for most of his life was human nature. Paolo knew he wanted to be mortal—be and live life as a human—even with its brevity. It was these mortals he befriended, drawn like a moth to the flame. Once he had accepted the turning, he never could really be human again, even though he walked amongst them as much as was possible.
To idle the time away, he focused on amassing wealth, something he did very successfully, and tried to live as “normal” a life as possible. He guarded the secret of his vampire genes, and was a dedicated husband to his mortal wives. In the end, though he tried very hard, he failed miserably.
Could someone have discovered the apex? When their immortality began? He also wondered if these early vampires were dark or golden.
Or was there a difference at the beginning?
He was fascinated.
“Where have you gone?” she asked him, and he realized he’d been daydreaming.
“I’m enchanted with your story, Cara. I’ve never heard it before.” It was the truth.
“Well, at this point that is all it is, a good story. But I just feel like there’s something to it. My classes are the way I pay my bills. But what I’d rather do is research full time. I haunt libraries like some haunt bars.”
They both laughed. It felt good to see her smile. It seemed to bring out the sun in the room.
“So this is what you do with your free time?” he asked.
“Pretty much. I have to force myself to get out and do something decadent, like going to that costume ball.”
“Where you meet a mysterious gentlemen dressed as the creature you study.”
“Exactly. Like it was fated.”
She was smiling, shaking her head from side to side and looking down at the table. Paolo wanted to take her in his arms and cover her body with kisses. He consciously toned down the glamour, releasing her reluctantly. But then he couldn’t help it. His soul needed warming.
Come to me, Carabella. Show me you have interest and I will fulfill your wildest fantasies.
She was making figure eights with her forefinger in the water spot from her iced tea. The design was flowing, sensual. Curved, and that point she seemed to linger on where the two rings touched and crossed over one another. Unexpectedly, she looked up into his face and he felt her need. It wasn’t a glamoured attraction. It was coming purely from her.
“Tell me about yourself, Paolo.”
He sat up straight and laid his forearms on the wooden table, sliding them over so that his palms rested on her fingers. “Gladly,” he said as he gently squeezed her hands. He waited to feel any hesitation on her part. There was none.
“I’m from an old family in Tuscany. Generations of Monteleones have lived all over the Mediterranean, but mostly in Italy.” He searched the warmth of her cheeks, down her neck, examining the length of it, and the curve as it connected to her shoulders.
“And?” she asked.
“You must forgive me, but I find you so beautiful, it is distracting.”
That brought a flush of blood to her face. She jerked her fingers slightly, but did not remove them from under his large hands. He rubbed the side of her palm with his thumb. Slowly, he brought her hand to his mouth and kissed the delicate flesh of the backs of her fingers, which smelled of jasmine and lavender. He felt her pulse quicken.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
“For what?” She smiled through a sudden realization that she’d been blushing, embarrassed.
“For not running away.”
She slipped her hands free and dropped them in her lap. He resisted the temptation to glam her as she straightened her spine and averted her eyes. But then she came back to him, her lips slightly open, moist. And she looked at his mouth.
You come to me of your own free will, Carabella. I will not hurt you.
“I, too, am a bit of a loner,” he began. “I like dark corners in large rooms, stay to the outside. Don’t like to attract attention. I don’t have any alpha females in my life, either.”
Her face lit up at that.
“You certainly looked like you enjoyed being the center of attention at the ball,” she said.
“Faeries. Faeries are always beta. Angels are alpha.” He tilted his head to see how these words affected her. She leaned in, putting her chin in her palm, not seeming to notice that she’d planted her elbow in the small puddle of condensation on the table. She finally shrugged, as if unable to give him a comment, her eyes wandering all over his face, down the front of his chest.
“Sometimes I get carried away.” He said as he looked directly at her and was rewarded when he saw the blue vein at her neck pop up, as if greeting his hungry fangs. He was filled with desire to taste her, and to mate with this charming mortal woman.
“So tell me something about you I wouldn’t ask,” she whispered.
“I am staying with my brother and his wife in Healdsburg. They have a small winery there. But I have a home in Tuscany.”
“That wasn’t a very daring reveal. Surely you can do better than that.” Her eyes sparkled with the taunt.
He hesitated, and then answered, “I have never found the love of my life. I am the only one of my brothers who has not found that special someone.”
She raised her eyebrows, and waited for more.
“I have tasted wines from all over the world. You might call me a professional taster, but I have no degrees.”
“A professional taster of women, too, it seems. Never been close to taking the plunge?”
“Close, yes. Several times. I do enjoy mortal women.” His slip-up earned him a frown from across the table. He quickly recovered with a smile, indicating it was a joke, “I identify playing the part of your vampires. The dark loner, brooding type, occasionally bored with my life. I don’t attract women who last very long.”
It was the truth, and seemed to satisfy her.
“What do you do to them to send them away?”
That was a good question. “Every good fantasy has an untimely death, right? You believed in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy…”
“You really believe a fantasy love can’t last forever?” she asked, dismissing the childhood references.
“As in immortal?” he asked. He was coming closer to the dangerous edge of a reveal, and he knew she’d rein herself in very soon.
“I mean a love that can last a lifetime,” she spoke the innocent words which captured him. He could see this was important to her.
“With all my heart. Yes.” He placed one palm on his chest as his other hand wanted to hold hers. But Cara was primly sitting, hiding her hands under the table. He could feel her resolve, a combination of control and desire.
Let me unleash your inner fantasies, Carabella. Let me teach you the pleasures of…
Cara’s cell phone blurted out the sound of a car horn. She fished for it from her computer case and answered, “Hello Johnny. What’s up?”
Paolo listened to the squawking on the other end of the line. He looked out the window as he heard her assistant’s tinny words. “You wanted me to go down to Berkeley to speak to that researcher. Can I bail on the office time if I promise to do it for you this afternoon?”
“Anyone signed up?” Cara asked.
“Well, I’d blocked out the afternoon for our discussion time, so I don’t think anyone will be here. I can’t go to Berkeley tomorrow, so thought I’d take advantage of the time today. You okay with that?”
Cara looked at Paolo, who was pretending he had no idea the lovely woman in front of him was now free for the entire afternoon.
“I’m fine with that. Leave it marked off. I’ll see you Wednesday. Thanks for calling.” She ended the call and placed her phone on the table.
Cara’s screen saver was a picture of Frank Langella dressed as Dracula.
“Good news?” he asked. He tried not to stare at the actor’s picture.
“It seems my office hours have been cancelled.”
Paolo took her hands in his. “I’ve got some excellent thoughts on how we might spend the afternoon. If you’re willing.”
She stared at their entwined fingers as she allowed her forefinger to rub along his flesh. Her touch sent him into a trance of desire.
“I think I might like that.”
And that was all she had to say.
Honeymoon Bite (Amazon)
Mortal Bite (Amazon)
Hope you’ve enjoyed my excerpt. One lucky commenter will win a Kindle copy of Mortal Bite, plus an autographed copy of the cover in poster size, signed by none other than cover model Jimmy Thomas himself!!