WINNER VAMPIRE ROMANCE OF THE YEAR!
– Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild
“This book starts with a speed date from hell and someone talking to you from the afterlife – I kid you not! Only Victoria Danann could bring those things together and make it work in such a way that it seems absolutely ‘normal’.” – Archaeolibrarian
Solomon’s Sieve Short Description…
When Sovereign Solomon Nemamiah lay dying on a beach under an overturned vehicle with his fiancée helplessly sobbing next to him, he made a vow to himself that he would refuse to stay in some arbitrary afterlife. He silently promised to return and finish what he started with The Order of the Black Swan and the love of his life. When the new Sovereign of Jefferson Unit begins saying and doing things that remind people of Sol, it raises suspicion in the minds of people who were closest to him.
Dr. Mercy Renaux is a new hire archeologist seeking to change her life and find something to blot out the guy she can’t forget. Sir Rafael Nightsong, bad boy member of the infamous Z Team, is the guy she can’t forget. When his team is assigned to escort the recent recruit to Bulgaria on a mission to contain irrefutable evidence that vampire exist, they both wish they worked for somebody else.
98,650 words of Black Swan sighs
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LIGHTNING ROOM LITERARY REVIEWS – “Solomon’s Sieve is a perfectly told love story. This book is a big thumping heart wrapped in a song. With each contraction, intake of breath, you can feel the anticipation, the wonder, the whimsy start to catch fire. With each release, each exhalation, there is a flood of joy, sorrow and hope. And throughout it all is the lyrical mastery that Victoria Danann weaves throughout each of her books.
I both started and ended this book with sobbing. Joyful, sorrowful, uncontrolled sobbing.” – Shanyn Doan
VAMPIRE ROMANCE BOOKS. com “Danann knocks another out of the park with Solomon’s Sieve. Her writing is amazing! She is so good at her craft that her writing appears effortless. I am most impressed with the way the story flows. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the whole adventure, and the novel is an easy and enjoyable read. The story is exciting, suspenseful, passionate, and sexy with plenty of comic relief to give the reader a breather. ”
NIGHT OWL REVIEWS TOP PICK AWARD. “The story is beautiful and in turns, both heart breaking, and heartwarming.”
FANTASY & ROMANCE BOOK REVIEWS …it was brilliant to see just how Victoria Danann again easily has picked up the reins of immersing herself into this fascinating world with all of it’s amazing, interesting sometimes quirky, but all familiar characters that in a strange way we feel like long lost friends.
THE PARANORMAL ROMANCE REVIEW “As far as I am concerned, this series is as good as it gets.”
BOOK JUNKY’S OBSESSION “Loved every second of it! ”
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 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.”
“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.”
When the big day came, Sol borrowed Storm’s silver convertible Porche roadster. Storm had never driven it to California because he didn’t need it there. It had been parked in the underground at J.U. for months without use, but it turned over when Sol pressed the ignition. There were two seats in the car and not much room in the trunk, but most of what Farnsworth would want and need was already at her cottage. It was too cold to put the top down, but convertibles are romantic even when the tops are up, wind noise and all. They have a way of making a vehicle’s occupants feel young. And sexy.
On the trip down they chatted easily about places where they’d been, people they knew in common, and bucket list items even though it was still early in life for them to be composing bucket lists. When they were twenty minutes away, they made a grocery stop at the last supermarket en route. They bought more than the space left in the trunk, but Farnsworth was a good sport and laughed about sharing the passenger seat with one of Sol’s duffels between her legs. It was cool but sunny when they arrived and the March wind was doing its reputation proud. Sol pulled the car underneath the house between thick weathered support pillars. There was a store room and guest room next to the carport, but the two floors she used as real living space began twelve feet above ground level. He carried groceries and bags up the stairs while she opened up the house. That involved engaging the motorized storm shutters, lighting the pilot and turning on the heat plus her favorite part of the ritual – affixing a unicorn flag to its holder on the deck.
“There,” she said turning toward Sol with a grin. “Now we’re officially in residence.”
He stared at the flag for a minute. “A unicorn?”
She laughed. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
It was a blue and white unicorn on a light gray background. And it was beautiful. As unicorns go it was dignified with a fine proud head, flying mane and long elecorn.
“I guess.” His scowl was more obligatory than sincere, lip service to the code of macho. Using an armload of logs from the half cord of firewood on the deck, Sol built a fire to warm up the cottage while they were waiting for the small gas furnace to do its job. When everything was put away, they drank a glass of wine and made love in front of the fire on a white rag rug that was so thick it felt like a pallet. When Sol had assured her that he had the resources to take her anywhere she wanted to go, she had immediately formed images of having him in her house. And, once that vision had taken root, it appealed to her more than anything else she could think of. Farnsworth was so accustomed to relaxing at the cottage and letting work stress dissolve away that her nervous system responded to the environment automatically and put her in getaway mode. Sol, on the other hand, had muscles that were knots on top of knots on top of knots. If he had ever known how to relax, it had been decades in the past and, certainly, the idea of “vacation” was foreign to his nervous system. So he fidgeted and paced and suggested things to go and do. She sat watching him, casually sipping chardonnay, in a yellow cable sweater the same cheerful color as the cottage.
“Let’s go for a walk on the beach,” she said.
He stopped abruptly, his gaze going toward the ocean. “A walk on the beach?” He looked and sounded as if he’d never heard of such a thing.
“What for?” She chuckled and shook her head. “Just because. Go put on enough layers to keep you toasty and we’ll go see what there is to see.” He looked dubious. “Come on. It’ll be fun. I promise.”
“You promise?” His face split into a grin.
“I do.” He swore he liked the sound of that, but he would have also sworn that he would hate walking on the beach. Maybe that would have been true under other circumstances, but doing things with Farnsworth just made them different.
She had a way of transforming ordinary experiences into extraordinary events, simply by virtue of being there. She taught him to like walking on the beach by changing his perspective. She pointed out sights like little birds that ran on the sand so fast you almost couldn’t see their skinny little legs and little crabs that ran out of holes on some unseen errand and then retreated to safety just as fast. Now and then she’d point to the remains of a seashell and tell him what kind it was. Through her eyes his consciousness was raised to appreciate the way sunlight dances on water, the way the color of the ocean changes to try and match the color of the sky, the way brightly colored windsocks whip in the wind against a blue sky background and make the whole world feel festive. He began to see through her eyes, hear through her ears, feel her sensations, and little by little, day by day, the layers of tension fell away and she saw, for the first time, what his face looked like when the muscles were lax and not held rigid as steel.
One day he picked up a stick and threw it for a retriever someone was walking on the beach. When he turned back to her with a laugh and a glorious heart stopping grin she said, “Solomon. You’re so lovely when you let go.”
His grin resolved into a smile. “Lovely? If you say so.”
“I do.” He liked the sound of that every time he heard it.
“I was just aiming for nice looking. Did I overshoot?” She laughed. “Indeed you did. By fathoms.”
“I think I’m keeping you.“ He pulled her into a kiss that was far too passionate for a beach they shared with passersby. She thought about pulling away, was sure that pulling away was the appropriate thing to do, but her body was making the case that life was too short for propriety. So she returned his kiss with enough fervor to make sure he knew she meant it.
The days melted away into the closest thing to pure happiness that Sol had ever known. He didn’t remember feeling that happy or carefree even in childhood. And that was the state of his euphoria when the call came that he was needed at Headquarters immediately. The furrows in his brow reappeared instantly, the lines around his eyes were deeper, and the smile that had become perpetual disappeared.
She nodded as he promised to come right back if he could. He gave her the keys to Storm’s roadster and a soft, lingering kiss goodbye. When he reached the end of the deck he turned back once to see her watching from inside the glass door. She waved and his heart responded with a reluctance to go. He’d never before had a hard time with the call of duty and he cursed under a heavy sigh when he confronted just how much he didn’t want to leave her or that place. He would have given just about anything to stay right where he was.
But he didn’t.
“Well, I’m scheduled to patrol with B Team tonight. I was hoping you could get a babysitter and…”
“Yes. We’ll do it.”
Ram looked at her like he didn’t know her. “Do you no’ think we should talk it over just the two of us?”
“Normally yes, but I’ve given this a lot of thought. I was going to bring it up after my patrol tonight when you’d had a chance to find out how hard it is to sit home and not know what’s going on. This latest crisis has jus moved my schedule ahead by a day.”
“Your schedule,” Ram repeated drily. “I was actually goin’ to have a talk with you today and let you know that I’m goin’ out tonight instead of you. I am no’ likin’ the idea of my child’s mother in the field. Particularly no’ in light of the way these new biters are behavin’.”
Elora gaped at him and Ram knew the flush in her cheeks was never a sign that an argument was going his way. “You mean you were planning to make me fight my way onto B Team a second time?” She outraged-whispered so as not to wake Helm. “As for ‘badly behaving biters’, that’s exactly the point I was going to make and my practical demonstration couldn’t be more apropos to your phrasing.”
“You know how Helm is going through a biting phase?” Elora turned to Rev to catch him up with a summary. “When the baby doesn’t get what he wants when he wants it, sometimes he turns red in the face, screams, and bites like a little pit bull. Three days ago he bit Ram on the shoulder.” She turned to Ram, who was wearing a gray metal band tee. “Come on. Show our guest how it looks after three days.”
Ram hesitated for a couple of seconds, eyeing her in challenge, but finally acquiesced and pulled the short sleeve up above his shoulder to reveal the bite mark . It was ugly. Helm had made a mold of his teeth out of his Daddy’s flesh. It was bruised all around and had the red telltale signs of beginning infection.
“Your baby did that?” Rev asked incredulously.
“It looks worse, Ram. When we’re done here, you’re going to go down to clinic and get a shot of antibiotic.” Elora continued. “But back to my demonstration. Tonight, right here in this very high chair,” she pointed to the chair for dramatic effect, “the child threw a similar tantrum – which had Hawking stamped all over it, by the way – and he bit the bejuices out my forearm.”
She then pulled up her sleeve and turned her arm over so they could see that, from any and every angle, there was no sign she’d been touched.
Ram grabbed her arm and gave it a close inspection and then insisted on doing the same with the other arm. When he was satisfied with the inspection, he shrugged. “So you’re a fast healer.”
“No. The point goes much deeper than that. It’s not that Helm bit me and I recovered quickly. It’s that he didn’t do any damage to begin with. Unless you count the fact that I think less of him and question his love.”
Ignoring that last part, Ram said, “So you’re tryin’ to say you can no’ be hurt?” He made a rude noise. “Talkin’ to the wrong person, dearie. You’re forgettin’ that I happened to be there when we almost lost you to vampire bites. Made a righteous mess of that beautiful body if I’m recallin’ correctly.”
“I’m not forgetting that. But you’re forgetting that, number one, I wasn’t out with a team. I was alone. And number two, I wasn’t taken down by vampire. It was a fellow knight, which is why I didn’t see it coming.” Ram responded by slumping down in his chair and starting to thump a nervous rhythm on the table with his hand. “Don’t you see, Ram, if I’m on patrol, I can protect you and Kay and Storm. That’s why I wanted to be a knight to begin with.”
Ram sighed deeply. He was going to give in for all the same reasons he had given in the first time. “That’s why you wanted to be a knight?”
“Rammel, if something happened to you, I would never forgive you because I would always know that I might have prevented it if I’d been there. I owe that to you, to me, to Helm, and to B Team.”
“Are you plannin’ to play every card in your deck?”
Elora raised her chin and smiled. “I’m not playing, Ram. I’m standing by my man.”
“You know there’s a reason why Great Paddy never married.”
Elora cocked her head and looked at Ram thoughtfully. “You do know there’s no Great Paddy, don’t you, Ram?”
“What do you mean?”
Rev interjected. “If this is settled, I need to go throw a couple of things in a bag.”