JAX EXCERPT…

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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?”

“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.”

“I understand.”

“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.”

“What happened?”

“With the marriage?”

“Yes.”

“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.”

“England.”

“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.”

IT’S THEIR TURN!

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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.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Victoria Danann, brings us a sizzling new take on the Knights of Black Swan. The boys are all grown up and bursting at the seams looking for action..

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.

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EXCERPT #1

Storm wanted to appear nonchalant, but couldn’t help sneaking a glance at Ram when he said, “I’ll bet Elora would like to sashay by there tonight. We know she has a thing for talking vampire.”

Ram caught the mischievous gleam in Storm’s eye and knew Storm was teasing, but it was also a dig that didn’t go down easy. After three children and years of married life, the way Baka and Elora had interacted, back in the day, still bothered Ram. And Storm knew it.

Rammel carefully set his whiskey tumbler down on the table beside him before launching himself out of his chair so fast it looked like he’d been sitting on an eject mechanism. He flew across the space that separated them and attempted to get Storm in a headlock.

“What are you doing?!?” Storm wheezed, turning red and trying to get his breath while Ram’s forearm cut off his windpipe. “It was a joke!”

Ram didn’t respond to that protest because he didn’t care if it was a joke. He jerked Storm out of the chair by his neck, which was a testament to Ram’s strength because Storm was still a big well-muscled guy. As soon as they fell to the floor together, Ram hauled back and launched a fist that caught Storm in the side. Storm reacted by rolling over so that he could get enough room to clip Ram on the side of the face. Kay, of course, was yelling and doing his best to break it up, but in the process took punishing hits from both of them.

Several of the other knights came to assist Kay and fifteen minutes later, the three veteran members of B Team were standing in the Sovereign’s office being called on the carpet like they were kids.

“The. Hel.” said Glen, clearly furious. “Every trainee in Jefferson Unit has already heard that B Team were brawling in our own club lounge, rolling around on the floor like… like…”

“Brawlers?” Kay suggested.

“Famous legendary elite vampire hunters indeed.” The sarcasm was dripping from every word Glen uttered. “A fine example you set for the next generation tonight.”

“He started it,” Storm mumbled.

“You did not say what I think you just said,” Glen looked incredulous. “Is this some kind of midlife crisis?”

That hit a mark. All three men looked horrified. “We’re no’ yet even thirty five,” Ram protested.

“You’re acting like you’re not yet five.”

Ram glared at Storm. “There are just some things you do no’ say about an elf’s mate.”

Glen pulled back and studied Ram for a minute. “I don’t believe there is any power in heaven or hel that could make me believe Engel Storm insulted Elora Laiken.”

“Well,” Ram hedged, “he did no’ insult her per se.”

“Per se,” Glen repeated.

“Aye. Per se.”

Glen threw up his hands. “You know, I don’t really care what happened. If you were Z Team, I’d just roll my eyes and say, ‘What else is new?’ The three of you are going to be guest speakers at one ethics and decorum class per grade during this term.”

“Oh, for…” Kay started.

“Not. Another. Word.” Glen walked over and opened the door to his office. “Get out. And shame on you.”

Standing in the outer offices, Kay looked at the door that had been shut in his face and said, “I didn’t do anything! In fact I tried to stop it.”

Ram and Storm started walking down the hall toward the elevator. Storm turned to Ram and said, “Look what you did now.”

“You want me to? Pull your shirt up so I can see.”

“There’s nothing to see. You on the other hand are going to need some ice soon if you don’t want that eye to swell shut.”

Ram reached up and touched it. “You got me good,” he smiled.

Storm’s face split into a proud smile. “You’re gonna be wearing my mark for a while. Elora’s gonna chew your royal rear end when she hears about this.”

By that time Kay had caught up. From behind them he said, “Maybe you two are having a midlife crisis.”

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Book #7 Coming UP

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Book #7, Knights of Black Swan, Solomon’s Sieve will be released May 25th.

Official Release Celebration Party on May 27th.

The GREAT VAMPIRE ROMANCE EVENT

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4:00 pm EDT – 9:30 pm EDT

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Ask Victoria!

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Patricia Smith asks: Are any of your characters in your books reminiscent of anybody in your life?

Not really – although who knows what shadows lurk deep in the subconscious mind of woman?

I do sometimes use real life events. As far as I’m concerned, anything friends and family members do is fair game. Here are a couple of examples.

1.) In My Familiar Stranger, when Elora comes back to the table at Serendipity and finds Ram hamming it up for a bunch of little girls with two long French fries hanging from his nostrils? That was my husband and one of those little girls was ours. Only in real life there was nothing funny about it. I was mortified.

2.) In Gathering Storm, when Elora finds out that Rosie regularly disappears (literally) while Glen is babysitting and says, “That is not okay, Glen!” I stole that phrase from one of my daughters who frequently says to one of her youngsters, “That is NOT okay!”

Valentines COVER REVEAL – Black Swan #7

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Cover Reveal for BLACK SWAN #7.

I promised an announcement with the cover reveal and here it is.

As some of you know, I had toyed with the idea of doing a series of novellas this Spring, but they had their own idea. Raif and Mercy wanted to be part of Sol’s book. So the next release will be a full length novel and it will be #7 in the Knights of Black Swan serial.

Target date for release is May 1st. Expect another announcement when the release date is firm.

Here’s a brief excerpt.

Kay gave Storm an amused look. “In some ways this feels more familiar than watching TV with my wife. ”

They were separating from Ram and Rev, going opposite ways in an alley. Storm looked back over his shoulder at Ram and Rev walking away. On a whim he called out, “Sol!”

Without hesitation, Rev turned and said, “Yeah?” The four of them stood frozen, Storm and Rev staring at each other, Kay and Ram looking back and forth between the two.

Let it never be said that Ram didn’t know how to handle a situation delicately. “What the fuck, Stormy?”

“You know, that’s a good question, Ram. And well put.” Storm didn’t take his eyes off Rev. “Something you want to tell us.”

Rev pursed his lips before growling. “No.”

“You sure?”

“You gone hard of hearing?”

Storm’s gaze was a concentrated challenge, pinning Rev in place, but he moved in close enough for quiet conversation.

“How about clueing us in, brother,” Kay was as calm as the eye of a hurricane as he nudged Storm. “What’s going on here?”

“Has it seemed to you that there are things about the new Sovereign that seem familiar? Eerily so?”

“Like what?” Ram asked as he eyed Rev from top to bottom.

“Oh, like the fact that he smokes the same brand of Turkish cigars that Sol used to smoke. And lights them with an old school fluid lighter. Then he puts the lighter down in front of him and turns it around and around the same way Sol used to.” Kay turned his attention toward Rev and began regarding him with increased interest. “How about the way he screws up his mouth when he’s aggravated or the way he steeples his fingers when he’s making a decision?”

Rev lifted his chin in defiance and narrowed his eyes at Storm. “And let’s not forget the fact that he took a bead on Farnsworth about thirty seconds after arriving Jefferson Unit. Doesn’t it strike you as a little strange that he handles Sol’s job like he knows what he’s doing? No. Not like he knows what he’s doing. Like he’s done it before!”

Ram eased around in front of Rev so that the three veteran members of B Team appeared united as the inquisitors they had just become. They stood in a dimly lit alley with accusation hanging in the air, waiting for Rev to answer.

“Your imagination’s just got the better of you, Sir Storm.”

“There! Right there. I never met another knight who called me Sir Storm. But Sol did.” Storm glanced at Kay. “All the time. Called me Mr. Storm when I was a kid. Switched to Sir Storm when I was inducted.” He stepped closer to Rev. “When I called Sol’s name, you turned around like you’d been answering to that name your whole life.”

Ram and Kay were giving Rev looks that said the questions weren’t going to go away just by staring Storm down. Finally Rev replied with the cool of an iceberg. “So what are you saying? Exactly? That I’m a body snatcher?”

“What I’m doing right now is asking questions.”

“I don’t have answers for you.”

“Is that because you don’t have an answer or because you can’t answer?” Rev gave nothing away. Storm blinked twice rapidly. “Well, then there’s no harm in sharing this with Simon and the Council.”

“NO!” Rev’s answer was a little too forceful and a little too quick.

“Start talking.”

Rev blew out a breath and looked around at the alley. “Let’s go sit down somewhere private.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I’ll buy a round of drinks and tell you a story. Not about me mind you. A story about a guy I heard of.”