Excerpt from JAX, Next Generation Book 2
“So you’re the vampire?” Jax opened his eyes to look at the owner of the deep male voice and found a man standing in the aisle by the empty recliner next to him. He nodded. “Want some company?”
For a split second Jax debated whether to tell the truth or not. The truth was that he wanted to be alone to further contemplate the mystery of Drogheda Daley and how she’d managed to do what no other woman, out of a hundred thousand, had done. Namely, to cause Jax to think about her after what he affectionately called the ‘nip and tuck’ was over
He wanted to be alone, but didn’t want to be rude. So he motioned to the unoccupied seat.
The man introduced himself as he sat. “Blake Lavers. I’m attached to Edinburgh. Paranormal Investigation.” The guy looked a lot younger than he sounded. He had coal black hair and pale green eyes that were highlighted by long dark lashes. Jax supposed that women probably found him attractive. “I guess it doesn’t get much more paranormal than being a vampire. So I thought I’d kill some time investigating.”
Jax rewarded Blake’s attempt at humor with a half-smile. “So this is an interview?”
Blake laughed. “Interview with a vampire? Good one. Yeah. I guess. If you’re up for it. But no matter what you say, it’s not going to end with me asking you to turn me.”
“No? And why’s that?”
Blake narrowed his eyes. “Sly. I’m the one asking the questions.”
“And I’ll answer if it’s an exchange. Perhaps you know things that would either inform or entertain me.”
Blake seemed to consider that. “Tit for tat? Quid pro quo?”
“Whatever you want to call it.”
“I should probably invite my partner over.” He glanced toward the front of the plane where a young woman with mahogany hair and the youthful look of a cheerleader was staring unabashedly. “Megan.” Blake grinned. “But I won’t. Maybe if you tell me stuff she wants to know, she’ll finally break down and sleep with me.”
Jax looked from Blake to Megan and back again, wondering if they were as young as they looked or if he was feeling the effects of being ancient, even if he also looked no more than twenty four.
“I’m feeling generous. You go first.”
“Any regrets? Are you glad you were turned?”
“Wow,” Jax said in a rare use of the modern exclamation. “You go right for the kill. Maybe you should have been a journalist.”
Blake suddenly looked older as his smile widened slowly. “Making a mental note that you ducked a direct and immediate reply. You stalling, vampire?”
“I may have been remiss in not telling you my name. It’s Jaxon Kell. These days humans call me Jax. Not vampire.” Jax gave the P.I. a slow appraisal of his own. “You’re a chess player, aren’t you?”
“That’s two evasions and a delay still in progress. You can take a minute if you need to think about the answer.”
Jax grew serious and sighed. “Honestly. I’ve never been asked that question nor have I ever put it to myself. Probably because it’s entirely impractical. What would be the point of dwelling on what cannot be changed?”
“Practical or not, if you hadn’t made a good adjustment, you’d have a ready answer about regrets. Since you don’t, I’m going to put that in the ‘no’ column.”
Jax narrowed his eyes. “Are you a mental therapist?”
Blake burst out laughing then shook his head. “Hardly. Your turn.”
“Tell me about a case you’ve worked on that would make a good movie.”
Blake laughed again. “Well, Jax. I’ve got to admit that you’re not what I expected.”
“What did you expect?”
“Which question do you want answered this turn? Number one or number two?”
“Hmmm. Ego gets ‘em every time. Maybe I’m a little Hollywood-influenced myself. I guess I expected you to be grim and brooding. Angsty. And older. I thought you’d be at least fifteen years older. I mean… Well, you know what I mean. Not in how old you actually are, but how old you look.”
“When I asked the question about regret I would have thought you’d go on about what a nightmare life has been for you. I’m not getting the sense that your life has been a nightmare.”
Jax chuckled. “I hope this is not disappointing you, but I’ve had a pretty good life.”
“Yeah. That’s the vibe that’s coming through loud and clear.”
“Are you psychic?”
“A little bit. Everybody in P.I. is. A little bit. Your turn. What made you decide to, uh, come out of the shadows? That’s just an expression and not meant to cast aspersions. Can I just have a blanket ‘no offense’ waiver for the remainder of this exchange?”
Jax chuckled. Blake was the sort of person who’d be hard not to like. “Yes. You can have a ‘no offense’ waiver, but that was two questions. So it’s my turn.” Blake smiled and good naturedly shook his head at his own folly. “Answer the movie question.”
“Okay. A case that would make a good movie. Truthfully, they would all make good movies if they involved taking the camera behind doors with Megan. I’m thinking Megan undressed would be box office gold.” He raised his eyebrows for emphasis. “But I’m also thinking that’s not what you’re asking.” A quick glance at Jax confirmed that. “There was this guy who was convinced his wife was shtupping a ghost. They’d bought a Brownstone in Brooklyn to renovate.”
Jax felt his eyes glaze over for a second as he calculated the odds of talking to two humans in two days about renovating a Brownstone in Brooklyn and wondered if fate was screwing with him.
“That’s what we were doing in New York,” Blake continued. “The guy kept telling everybody that the place was haunted and that his wife had fallen for the spirit that came with the house. The wife, who was no longer enamored with the hubby, called Bellevue and the state got involved. Somebody on the inside… you know we’ve got people everywhere, somebody called Black Swan to report that a case involving something paranormal had been brought to their attention.
“To make a long story short. The poor devil was telling the truth. The wife was schtupping the ghost of a guy who’d been a previous owner.”
“How is that possible?”
Blake grinned and held up a finger in a way that was both dorky and utterly charming. “That can be your next question. Here’s mine. Again. What made you come out?”
“Symbiosis was upset and things had become unbalanced. If too many deadheads multiply too quickly, humans become extinct in a shockingly short time. Then where would I be? It was purely selfish. I need humans to survive. As a TV vampire once said, it’s like millions of Happy Meals walking around on two legs.”
“I see.” Blake blinked several times.
“You look like you weren’t expecting that answer.”
“I guess I wasn’t. Makes sense though.”
“Now you. How is it possible for a ghost to ‘shtup’ anybody?”
Once Blake recovered from being forced to think of himself as a ‘Happy Meal’ on two legs, he grinned. “You know the thing I love most about my job is that the unthinkable and improbable are the stuff of routine. When I come to work, I never know what’s going to happen. In this case, the spirit apparently becomes corporeal when sexually aroused. Afterward he fades into a form so diaphanous he’s virtually invisible.”
“Wow.” Even Jax couldn’t believe he’d used that word twice in one day. “Does that kind of thing happen often?”
Blake did a bobble head. “Let’s just say it’s not novel.”
“With the marriage?”
“I just gave you a pass on three questions. No more bob and weave. Tell me how you became a vampire.”
“I was a farmer near Yerk. That’s what it was called then. It’s known as York now.”
“That’s right. I met an immortal in the town while running an errand for my father. She liked what she saw and turned me.”
“With your consent?”
Jax smiled. “What happened to the marriage?”
“They’re divorcing. The husband moved out. But the ghost told the wife where to find gold that he’d hidden behind a wall. It’s enough to make her rich by most standards of comparison. So she’s going to use it to buy the house herself.”
“I wish I could think of another word besides wow.”
Blake chuckled. “In this business, that word is my best friend. I’ve got to say that it’s kind of fun to wow a vampire with a ghost story.” Jax grinned and shook his head. “So. Consensual or not?”
Jax looked away momentarily and sighed. “That’s a hard question. My first reaction would be to say yes and no. The immortal who made me what I am asked if I wanted a carefree life, to be as rich as a king, to travel to exotic places and see marvelous things, to have eternal youth and have sexual power over women. I was a virgin and had never even been to a town the size of Yerk before. Naturally, I thought all that sounded great. Nothing was said about the downside.”
“And what is the downside?” Jax tipped his chin and gave Blake a slanted look. “Okay. Ask your question first.”
Blake kept Jax amused for most of the long flight overseas.
When the jet touched down, Blake said, “Where are you headed?”
“Venice. I’m on a recruiting mission.”
Blake smiled. “Gotta keep the Happy Meals reproducing.”
Jax grinned. “That ‘no offense’ waiver goes both ways.”
“Sure.” Blake stuck out his hand. Jax looked at it for a couple of seconds before shaking. “Let me know next time you’re in town. We’ll get a drink or something.” He caught himself. “I mean alcoholic beverages.”
“Yeah. I knew what you meant.”
“Maybe I’ll introduce you to Megan.” Blake lowered his voice. “But only if you agree she’s off limits.”
Jax chuckled. “She’s very cute, but you have my word. Megan is off limits.”
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When it came to the attention of the old ones that their creations, the Earth gods, had been playing games at the expense of humankind for millennia, they put a stop to it. But the rebellious gods were far too addicted to their games to give them up. After several summit meetings, they voted to use their own children as players and locate the playing field in the most treacherous environment in the known universe… high school.
To make it even more interesting, they would strip their children of their memories and withhold the rules of the game.
Like the other players, sixteen year old Ever thinks she’s an ordinary kid until she transfers to R. Caine. After a series of close calls, she realizes she needs to figure out the mysteries behind her burgeoning powers fast; what they are, how to use them.
Because yes, she’s special. But that doesn’t mean she can’t die.
SUITABLE FOR MOST TEEN and YOUNG ADULT READERS.
My name is Ever Moore.
I know. It makes me wince every time I say it. When I’m eighteen, I plan to have it legally changed to something that doesn’t make people laugh. But right now I’m stuck.
My dad thinks puns are the highest form of humor. He calls it ‘word play’. That’s right. I’m the spawn of nerds. My dad creates video games. My mother is an ethics professor at UCLA who thinks the battle between good and evil begins at home.
If you want to know just how weird it can get at the Thanksgiving table, I can go one better. My grandfather was a big deal rock star in the seventies. You wouldn’t know the name of the band. So there’s no point in name dropping. After a visit, he exits with a two-finger peace salute like all the other well-adjusted hippie grandparents, but he doesn’t say, “Peace.”
He says, “Rock steady.”
My family is big on manners. They’re too strict to let me say what I think, especially about Buzz’s love life. My grandfather doesn’t want to be called Grandpa or Grandad or Gramps or anything close to normal. Oh no. He wants to be called ‘Buzz’. I have no idea why. That is not his name.
Anyway, the best protest I can mount is rolling my eyes. I keep trying to get his attention and roll my eyes back further into my head when he does the ‘rock steady’ thing, but he will not be deterred.
Anyway I was leading a completely typical and deliciously angsty teenage life in Austin, Texas when my parents were suddenly offered jobs in the LA area at the same time. It was weird, but weird is part of my normal. Always has been.
Since my grandad, the rocker, still lives in LA with the latest girlfriend who’s barely legal – she’s two years older than I am – moving seemed like a good idea.
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***would you do ANYTHING for love?***
Brant shrugged a big shoulder. “Too much green to turn away even if I need to do it myself. Arnold said the dad could have taken out a contract for what he’s paying us. And he’s right. It’s a chunk of change.”
When Arnold had blurted that out in meeting, he’d gotten several awkward minutes of silent stares from around the club table. They were bikers, but they weren’t killers. Even back in the days when they operated outside the law, they hadn’t been killers. At present they were businessmen who happened to like bikes and hold a certain disdain for authority and rules of all kinds.
“What’s involved? Pick her up and fly her here?”
Brant laughed and shook his head. “If that was all there was to it, guys wouldn’t be ducking around corners avoiding me. The man has hired the club to execute the disappearance of his daughter and keep her in the wind until after the divorce is final.”
“Why does she need to disappear until after the divorce is finalized?”
“The soon-to-be ex-husband is dangerous and greedy. The girl’s father thinks he may try to have her killed before the divorce goes through. He suspects this man of devising some clever means that would give him an airtight alibi while also making him eligible to inherit her trust fund.”
“Who is it?”
“Severn Carmichael.” Brand’s eyebrows went up and he whistled. “I suspected you’d know who he is.”
“Our enterprises have touched circuits now and then.”
“He know who you are?”
“He probably knows who I am, just like I know who he is, but we’ve never met.”
Brant seemed satisfied with that. “What do you think?”
“Let me make sure I’ve got this straight. I need to pick her up somewhere in New York, bring her to you, and make sure she’s not seen or followed on the way.”
“In a nutshell.”
“What aren’t you telling me? Why isn’t it safer to shelter in place wherever she is?”
“He’s scared. Really scared. Thinks this guy can get through any defense he can mount.”
Brandon nodded thoughtfully. “When did you tell him we’d get her?”
“Day after tomorrow.”
“Day after tomorrow? Forty eight hours to come up with a plan and make arrangements to be away from the office?”
“Security will work with you on a plan. Taking time off work? Come on. You’re the boss, aren’t you? You want the job or not? If you do, I’ll call a meeting and get a vote on patching you.”
Brandon hadn’t realized how badly he wanted that until it was offered. He’d thought it was something that would never be within his grasp, but suddenly there it was. He didn’t really have a choice. Once in a lifetime offer to get the only thing he wanted that he didn’t already have?
Brant smiled as they stood up. He slapped Brandon on the shoulder and it made Brand’s heart ache for the years he’d missed not having his father in his life.
“I’ll call you later with the verdict,” Brant said.
They mounted their rides and ignited the engines. The noise made all the patrons of Chuy’s turn and look. The men wished they were on those bikes. The women wished they were sitting behind the men on those bikes.
Brant turned west on Bee Caves. Brandon saluted as he turned east.
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- Brand takes a job nobody wants to earn the respect of club members. Being third generation SSMC doesn’t go very far in biker cred.
- Camden Carmichael is running from a psycho ex. Lucky for her that her father has the means to hire Sanctuary Security to protect her until the divorce is finalized.
- Two strangers set out on a road trip together. At the end of it, neither will ever be the same again.
*Please note this book contains dark material that may be unwelcome by sensitive readers.*
Brandon St. Germaine was at the top of the billionaire playboy heap when he learned about a side of the family that had been kept in secret. He left New York, moved to Texas, and took most of the corporate empire with him. But he worked at restructuring Germane Enterprises by putting trustworthy people in key positions to free up his time so that he could learn about the Texas motorcycle club branch of his family that had formed its own kind of dynasty.
His dad, president of the club his grandfather founded, spent three decades converting the club’s income sources to legitimate business dealings. One of the biggest earners was the security service. When a ridiculously wealthy, but justifiably scared father hires the SSMC to protect his daughter from the psycho she’s divorcing, Brand gets the job.
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FALCON: Resistance, Next Generation #1 will only be available on iTunes, B&N, and KOBO until release day.
IT’S THEIR TURN!
The next generation of the Knights of Black Swan have been inducted and vested with all the privileges and responsibilities of the legends in whose shadows they took their training. They are coming into their prime as servants of The Order, but still have most of their lives ahead. Or so each one hopes.
Black Swan believed they’d found the cure for the vampire virus, but it mutated and the resurgence threatened to be the extinction of humanity within a generation. But help emerges from a most unexpected source, a vampire.
Meanwhile, the new Director of Operations is cute, curvilicious and has Falcon reeling. And he doesn’t need distractions when he’s busy saving the world.
The epic saga that has won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES the past three years in a row (Reviewers Choice Awards, the Paranormal Romance Guild) continues with a new crop of vampire hunters that we already know and love. Preorder TODAY and be one of the first to find out why KBS is called astonishing, breathtaking, nail biting, spectacular, unique, and a wild and sexy ride.
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