Monday, October 21, 2013

Guest Blogger Dorothy Bell


Hi, everybody, Dorothy A. Bell here. Thank you, Terri Talley Venters for hosting me on your beautiful blog. As an introduction, I thought I would give visitors a glimpse into my life so far.

I grew up in southern Iowa, moved to Oregon’s Willamette Valley at the age of eleven. I was in the sixth grade when I started school in Oregon. On my first day of school, I encountered the boy I would eventually marry. He kept pestering me, trying to kiss me. I held out until I turned sixteen, then I kind’a got the hang of the kissing thing. We’ve been married for forty-eight years, he’s still a pest, bless him.

I started out writing Regency Romances to entertain myself. I took writing courses, but I think I learned the most by submitting my work to publishers, editors and agents, and getting feedback. Laid low for nearly twenty-five years with arthritis, forced to use a battery-powered cart, I took up aquatic exercise and became an instructor. After two surgeries to replace my knees, I went to work on myself and lost eighty-five pounds, which I have kept off.

My husband and I live in Central Oregon with two West Highland White terriers, an energetic, longhaired Dachshund and one big, angora tuxedo cat. When I need a break from writing Oregon historical western romances, I work in the yard or my garden.

This year I am proud to announce the release of two Laura Creek romances “The Reprobate” and “The Cost of Revenge”, available on Amazon,

 Barnes and Noble,  Good Reads, and Freya’s Bower, as e-books.


The Reprobate

A Laura Creek Western Romance

Fiddle playing, hard drinking Royce O’Bannon believes he’s worthless like his old man, no woman should have anything to do with him.

Music teacher Cleantha Arnaud, her virtue long spent, believes her life is over; crippled and barren, no man would want her. When these two outcasts become lovers, hopes and dreams blossom within their parched souls.

Royce’s vengeful daddy begins a campaign of retaliation against his traitorous sons and the town that gave them a second chance.

Driven by a fledgling sense of responsibility, Royce follows his daddy into the dark tunnels beneath Pendleton’s streets intent on putting a stop to the old man’s vengeful crusade. With a swift crack on the head, all of Royce’s newly found hopes and dreams could be shattered like candied glass. Who would miss a reprobate, a worthless man?

The Cost of Revenge
A Laura Creek Western Romance
Quinn O’Bannon knows it’s time he settled down. He has two likely candidates, both sensible, attractive, young women. However, his fantasies keep straying to Tru McAdam, that thieving, sloe-eyed vixen with the grudge against the whole darn O’Bannon family.
Tru McAdam wants to believe the O’Bannons, all of them are rotten, heartless cheats. God help her, most of all she wants to believe the handsome, arrogant flirt Quinn O’Bannon is the worst of the lot.
When destiny shuffles the cards, strange pairs show up in the hand. Who can fight destiny, not the handsome, flirtatious Quinn O’Bannon, not the thieving, sloe-eyed vixen, Tru McAdam.

Caption: I will not forget this. Someday I will get even.

There’s a little kid inside of me that cannot resist donning a disguise of some sort when Halloween comes around. When my children were small, I dressed up with them and went door to door. Then I had grandchildren, and I dressed up and went door to door. Then the grandkids grew up and no longer wanted to go out with grandma. But I found a way to dress up—celebrate. Not only get in disguise, I inspired others to follow suit.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Take the Train Autumn Blog Hop

Join the authors of Wild Child publishing and Freya’s Bower as we Take an Autumn Train Ride through our blogs.
Prizes will include
  • Four $50 gift certificates (two for Wild Child and two for Freya's Bower)
  • An awesome swag package that includes:
    • Bookmarks
    • Books
    • Wild Child T-shirt and mug
    • Wild Child and Freya's Bower bags
    • Four handmade, crochet coasters by Kit Wylde
    • An autographed copy of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
    • A rare DVD copy of the Matheson/Furst classic "Up The Creek" (lovingly used)
    • One ebook copy of Nita Wick’s short story, The Dream (previously published as part of a Freya’s Bower anthology.)
    • Book trading cards
    • Signed Dangerous Waters poster
    • copy of "Battle for Blood: The Blood Feud"
    • the winner’s name as a character in Kissa Starling’s next sweet romance story.
    • A Yankee Candle
    • and more...

The train from Rome arrived at the armpit of Italy, also known as Naples. Luckily, Gabriella only had to stop in Naples long enough to transfer to the
Circumvesuviana, the train which would take the dark-haired beauty to Sorrento. Then a ferry would whisk her away to her final destination--the beautiful and serene Isle of Capri just off of the Amalfi coast. Although she could’ve taken a longer ferry ride directly from Naples, Gabriella opted to detour via Sorrento just for pizza. The wood-burning oven at Ristorante Pizzeria da Gigino makes the best Neopolitan-style pizzas. She licked her lips, tasting the Quatro formaggi with a glass of chianti already.

The train’s engine expelled its exhaust as it stopped, and the doors opened. She retrieved her pink suitcase from the chrome luggage rack, extended the handle, and pulled it down the narrow aisle of the first class car. A woman dressed in a cobalt blue suit and matching hat exited her first class compartment. Gabriella did a double take because the lady reminded her of Queen Elizabeth II. Only this woman appeared as a platinum blonde in her fifties instead of the white haired monarch. The queen’s younger clone retrieved two pieces of her matching Louis Vuitton luggage, while a young Italian man helped her with the other three. The dark haired man didn’t resemble a relative. Man servant? Boy toy? Shaking off the notion, Gabriella vowed to mind her own business.

After patting herself on the back for not packing so much crap, she gingerly descended the three narrow steps. Setting foot onto the cement platform at Napoli Termini, she met with an early autumn breeze. Gabriella pulled her pink suitcase and briskly traversed the platform to the main terminal. Checking the enormous round clock at the station, her stomach grumbled. Ignoring the hunger pains, she bypassed purchasing a sandwich at the stand and followed the signs to the
Circumvesuviana. She avoided the ticket window and its long line thanks to the Italy Rail Pass next to her passport which safely hung in a pouch under her shirt. Pick pockets and Gypsies lurked at train stations, just waiting to steal from careless tourists.

Gabriella stepped onboard the third car of the train and couldn’t find a seat anywhere, at least not a seat with any available room in the luggage rack above. Not wanting to let her luggage leave her sight, she placed it against the wall by the bathroom and sat on it. The thought of risotto, Limoncello, and a swim in the Blue Grotto beneath the Isle of Capri tonight with her lover got her through the next two hours of the hell train. That, and the beautiful scenery--the ocean on the right and Mount Vesuvius on the horizon.

She arose from her perch on the suitcase as the train pulled into the small Sorrento station. Gabriella promptly found the WC, relieved to have held her bladder for the last two hours and to have avoided the putrid bathroom on the train. She freshened up her appearance before meeting her handsome Italian lover, Giovanni, for the weekend. Excitement filled Gabriella at the thought of great food, wine, and toe-curling sex on the beautiful Amalfi coast.

Before descending all of the steps from the train station to the streets of Sorrento, she spotted the lady she’d seen on the train from Rome to Naples who resembled the queen. Only this time, the lady stood alone without her five matching pieces of Louis Vuitton luggage and boy toy.
The lady scanned the train’s platform as the Circumvesuviana prepared for its return trip to Napoli. Making eye contact, the lady walked towards her with a waving arm and a look of panic.
“Excuse me, do you speak English?”

“Yes, are you okay?”

“No, I can’t find my porter. This nice Italian man helped me with all of my luggage back in Naples. He said he’d get it on the
Circumvesuviana for me and I could pick it up once I arrived in Sorrento.” A tear dropped onto her cheek as the realization sank in.

Gabriella’s heart broke for the woman as Rick Steve’s words of warning rolled off her tongue. “Ma’am, there aren’t any porters at train stations in Italy.”


Take the Blog Train and Visit These Blogs for more chances to win

Copper Cauldron
Penelope Manchester, a good witch with one green and one blue eye, awaits her destiny: a warrior of God with the face of an angel, the heart of a saint, and eyes which match her own. St. Michael the Archangel flies into her life and sweeps her off her feet. Meanwhile, an evil sorcerer captures witches, steals their powers and most of their nine lives, and shrinks them to the size of a doll--a Nuremberg doll. But when he turns two of the Manchester witches into dolls, the Manchester clan fights back with St. Michael and divine intervention. Armed with the legendary copper cauldron, a fire breathing dragon, and an arsenal of spells, good battles evil.
Available from Wild Child Publishing


Carbon Copy

Lilly Allen has brains, beauty, and a trust fund. She's living in New York City and her career as a reporter is taking off. She's hoping the love of her life, Grier, will propose soon. She has it all, or so she thinks.

Grier Garrison, Create Life executive, is running the company while his father, Dr. Michael Garrison, is in the ICU awaiting a heart transplant. Grier knows the truth about Create Life and its shady side business. He fears Lilly and her twin brother, Luke, are in danger.

While working on two unrelated stories, stolen newborns and cloning, Lilly discovers a shocking connection. Horrific things are happening, but who is behind it all?
Available from Wild Child Publishing


Tin Roof
the sequel to Carbon Copy
In the sequel to Carbon Copy, Lilly Allen returns to her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, to be closer to her mother, help with her injured brother, and heal from the disappearance of her fiancé Grier Garrison. While she awaits Grier's return, she busies herself with her mansion renovations, her best friend's wedding, and her job as a news reporter.
But even her busy schedule cannot stem the worry over her brother's persistent amnesia and changes in personality. Is he her real twin? Or did they rescue a clone?
On top of this, the months of pining without a word from Grier begin to take their toll. She finds herself growing closer to her favorite cameraman, Joe. His confession of undying love, followed by a passionate kiss, has her questioning how much longer she can wait, and whether she wants to.
To further complicate matters, two unrelated news stories drag her into the seamy underbelly of the Charleston Police Department where murder and drugs are common occurrences.
In the chaos of a hurricane, another body washes ashore, and Lilly comes face-to-face with the murderer.
Available October 16, 2013 from Wild Child Publishing

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Interview with Author, Jenn Nixon

Interview with author, Jenn Nixon


If you could date any character from any book, who would it be?

Jack Reacher, hands down, and not the Tom Cruise version…the one that’s in MY head. He’s a total man’s man without all the angsty alpha-male-ness, who has a big soft spot for righting wrongs. If not him, I’d take Kenji from my book Lucky’s Charm. He’s a hottie too. J

If you could transport to any place during any time period, where and when would you go?

I would want to go to the future. Earth. Maybe a hundred years from now, or two. The mass amount of science and technology our planet has created in the last fifty years is amazing to me. I remember playing PONG on a black and white rabbit-eared television, now my nephew plays games on a tiny iPod. Now we have wireless technology, 3D printing, deep space travel…I can only imagine what it will be like in our future and I wish I could be there to see it. 

Oh, and I want to know, for certain, if aliens are real, too.

When and why did you start writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first “publication” was a book of poetry I wrote in the 5th grade. While I still write poetry occasionally, I moved into short stories and fan fiction in my teen years. Yes, I was doing fan-fiction before the internet made it popular. I wrote myself into my favorite TV shows, Homicide: Life on the Streets, X-Files, then eventually move onto CSI and Star Wars. When I finished my first “original” Star Wars fan-fiction from start to finish, I was hooked. I wrote an original story after that, a very bad one mind you, but my friends loved it and it fueled my desire to keep writing.

What is your favorite part about writing?

This may sound a little weird and probably egotistical, but I love re-reading my stories when they are done. It also serves as a way of helping me become a better writer because with every novel, I learn something new. It’s fun and a little embarrassing sometimes to go back and read what I’ve written and see where I could have made improvements. It also helps me see where I have already improved.

Another favorite part about writing for me is connecting with other writers and readers, without them, none of us would be here.

What are you working on now and what are your writing goals/plans for the future?

 Right now, I’m working this blog tour for MIND: The Beginning and it’s been a blast! I am also editing the second book in the Lucky series, my Romantic Suspense from Wild Child Publishing. I have a Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel, Tiva Boon: Royal Guardian coming out this fall from Hydra Publications. In the future, I have a novella anthology re-print coming out as well as Lucky #3 and Tiva #2 in completed and ready for editing!

I’m brainstorming my next big project, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m hoping this one will be the book to get me an agent!

 Favorite book(s)?

My favorite types of books are Suspense/Thrillers, Mysteries, and Romantic Suspense. I’ve been reading more small press and indy authors recently.

Favorite movie(s)? 

I love movies. Any type. I’ll usually watch anything. I recently watch Olympus Has Fallen, Skyfall, and Star Trek: Into Darkness, very entertaining. My go to movies are usually Romantic Comedies like Sliding Doors and Never Been Kissed are two of my all time favorites.

Favorite TV show(s)? 

How long is this blog? LOL I watch way to much TV thanks to DVRs, though I have to say, I did trim it down a little this year. I used to watch cop procedural shows all the time. Sadly, they are so predictable now that I’ve cut the list down tremendously and added in some new shows to change it up. I’m into the paranormal and sci-fi shows right now like Vampire Diaries, True Blood (We love you Eric!), Walking Dead, Grimm, Lost Girl, Once Upon a Time, and Arrow. I can’t wait for S.H.I.E.L.D!!

What is on your "Bucket List"

Skydiving, Trip back to the UK,  and a Road Trip across the county.

 I’d also love to write an episode of Doctor Who…hey, a girl can dream!


After Dina Ranger loses telepathic contact with her brother, she breaks into his apartment and stumbles onto a special government unit responsible for monitoring the psychic population. She’s offered a job where she can use her psionic gifts to help people.
Stranded on earth over a hundred years ago, Liam of Shria is searching for a metal needed to repair his ship when he finds Dina, a telepathic investigator, and narrowly saves her from an exploding alien pod. Together, they uncover a plot to rebuild an ancient weapon and discover the truth behind Dina’s abilities while unlocking dangerous secrets about the alien presence on earth.
Can they stop a powerful weapon meant to enslave the human race? Can their relationship survive the secrets of the past or will it tear them apart?

Author Bio: Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.
Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.
MIND: The Beginning Purchase Link:
Past Release: Romantic Suspense, Lucky’s Charm


Monday, September 16, 2013

Interviw with Author, C. M. Michaels

Interview with C. M. Michaels

If you could date any character from any book, who would it be? Hmm… I would have to say Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series. She is stubborn and impulsive, which often gets her into hot water, but she is also incredibly brave, has unshakable morals and is fiercely loyal to her friends. And let’s not forget she’s a half-human / half-vampire trained assassin. Something tells me our dates would never be boring J

If you could transport to any place during any time period, where and when would you go? I’m torn between western North America in the time before humans and the Jurassic period. I am a huge nature lover, and both would be fascinating, but I guess I’d go with the former rather than face a hungry T-Rex. 

When and why did you start writing? I have always had an overactive imagination which writing has provided an outlet for. When I was 9 or 10 I used to exchange letters with my oldest brother each week while he was at college. Our fantasy creatures were mortal enemies, and battled each other in our imaginary world.  I have fond memories of reading my first book, a children’s novella that I still have tucked away in my closet, to local grade schools when I was 14.

What is your favorite part about writing? Being surprised by where my characters take me. Listening to impulse thoughts of what your character would do in a given moment doesn’t always pan out—and can take you off on some pretty odd tangents—but I’ve learned to let myself run with them and see if I like where I end up rather than rigidly sticking to my chapter outline.

What are you working on now and what are your writing goals/plans for the future? The book I am working on now, Kerrigan’s Race, is a fantasy romance set in a water world that features mermaid-like creatures and griffins. I hope to have the first draft completed before the end of the year. I will also be starting on the sequel to Dangerous Waters in the next month or so.

Favorite book(s)? The Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, The Vampire Academy and Bloodcurse series by Richelle Mead, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Desert Spear and Daylight War by Peter V. Brett.

Favorite movie(s)? The Matrix, Troy, Gladiator, Braveheart, Dances with Wolves

Favorite TV show(s)? 24, Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, Cougar Town, The Middle

What is on your "Bucket List" Visit Alaska, visit Scotland and Ireland, go whale watching, renew our vows in Yellowstone National Park.


Dangerous Waters


For Emily Waters, a nature-loving, small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she’d do anything to escape. 

The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself held captive and presented with an impossible choice. While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven “sister,” and her new vampire sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters, not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is only the beginning of her journey.

C.M Michaels grew up in a small town in northern Michigan as the youngest child of a close-knit family of seven. He met his wife, Teresa, while attending Saginaw Valley State University. Together they’ve provided a loving home for several four-legged “kids”, including Sophie, their eternally young at heart, hopelessly spoiled Spaniel.
He has always enjoyed writing, and still has fond memories of reading his first book, a children’s novella, to local grade schools when he was 14. Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Sisters in Blood series, is being published by Freya’s Bower on September 5th, 2013. C.M. is currently working on the second book in the Sisters in Blood series along with a Fantasy romance.
When he’s not writing, C.M. can be found curled up with a good book, watching movies or hitting the hiking trails with his wife. An avid reader since discovering Jim Kjelgaard novels in early childhood, his favorite authors include Kelley Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Claire, J.R. Ward, Laini Taylor and Tessa Dawn.
C.M. currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.
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Book trailer:



The ornately carved golden doors of the global court swung open, and the raucous crowd settled into their seats. Soldiers outfitted in full battle gear streamed in, marching down the long marble aisle to the raised gallery that formed a half circle behind the five vampire containment chairs. They each carried a debilitating knockout stick and a shoulder-fired laser rifle. The electromagnetic waves generated by the RF frequency systems in their helmets shielded their thoughts and ensured that not even the strongest of their enemy could hijack their minds.
Once they were positioned, the bailiff typed a code into the touch pad on the wall, and a steel panel slid open. Four hooded figures emerged, surrounded by several more guards who forcefully escorted them to their chairs. Their shackled ankles and wrists were smeared with conductive jelly and attached to electrical leads. As soon as they were seated, thick metal bands extended around their shins, thighs, chests, biceps and forearms, firmly securing them in place.
None of the prisoners made a sound, knowing that even a whimper would be met with another punishing jolt of current from the collars fastened around their necks, but that did little to lessen the deafening noise in the room. Every seat of the three-story grand hall was occupied for this momentous event, with another 750,000 people crammed into Central Park outside. Reporters from around the globe scrambled to get their last pretrial clips recorded before the court was called to order.
“Some are questioning the tactics of the global court this morning,” an Austrian reporter stated in her native German, “using vampires and humans as bait in an effort to lure what most people consider to be the Vampire Queen out of hiding. So far their plan doesn’t seem to have worked, as there have been no sensor reports of vampire activity in or around New York, but with the executions moving forward today, things are expected to intensify.”
“All rise!” the bailiff bellowed out through the hall. “This court is now in session. The honorable global court inquisitor O’Callaghan presiding.”
An imposing figure with short, golden locks entered from behind the bailiff, motioning for people to take their seats. He gathered his floor-length white and purple robes in his left hand, made his way over to the furthest prisoner and yanked the hood from her head.
“So this is the all-powerful Sienna,” the inquisitor mocked, squeezing the bound woman’s cheeks with his hand. “How disappointing.”
Her once beautiful face was disfigured by several charred-black electrical burns. Blood and pus oozed out of the open wounds. The pungent salve packed into her broken nose made her eyes tear up and prevented her from smelling anything.
“Do you have anything you wish to say in your defense before I render my verdict?” the inquisitor asked, deactivating the device around her throat so she could speak.
“This will never work—she knows her life is far more important than mine.”
“It’s possible she’d let you die,” he acknowledged. “But both of her parents, her mate and her best friend? No, I think that’s far too much to expect her to endure. Sooner or later she’ll come, and the world will celebrate her execution.”
Sienna snapped to attention, her green eyes widening in horror at the news of who else had been captured. “You have no idea what you’ve done—everyone in this building’s going to die.”
The crowd erupted at her outburst, and the inquisitor held up his hand to silence them. “And how exactly is your precious queen going to manage that? She’ll be welcomed to our fair city by twenty thousand volts from the first alarm she trips. Not enough to kill your kind, but plenty to leave her unconscious until—”
“Sir, a perimeter alarm’s been triggered just outside the north gate,” a soldier interrupted from the gallery.
He wheeled on the man in a fit of anger. “Interrupt me again, and I’ll disembowel you! People have been jumping the fence all day—contact the guards at the gate and have them check it out.”
“We tried sir. Calls have been placed to the guard desk, the three closest perimeter sweep teams and the north tactical unit—they’re not responding.”
“Who’s not responding, you imbecile!”
“Any of them.”
“It’s too late,” Sienna said, gazing at his panic-stricken face. “She’s here.”
“Clear the courtroom and take the prisoners back into custody!” he commanded.
Before anyone could move, a massive explosion rocked the third-floor balcony, raining debris and body parts down on the crowd below. The auditorium filled with a choking white smoke. The crowd flooded for the exits, which were soon hopelessly jammed. They started to push and trample each other in a desperate attempt to escape.
The lone set of stairs to the balcony was located outside the courtroom, so the soldiers had no choice but to yield the high ground to their unseen enemy. Several of them panicked and fired blindly into the smoke, only adding to the chaos. The commanding officer who’d been talking with the inquisitor raised his rifle—his body no longer under his control—and sent a chest high laser beam though the entire gallery, cutting several of his fellow soldiers in half. The ones who survived were turned to dust by an energy burst that blew out the entire back of the building.
Moments later, a woman dressed in skin-tight black leather swooped down onto the marble floor, drawing two broadswords from the sheaths on her back. Her vengeful glare bore into the inquisitor, who took three running steps and dove for a knockout stick that had come to rest a few feet in front of him. His body was suspended mid leap. The inquisitor glanced down in total disbelief at the marble tile he was now hovering over before being catapulted sideways into the solid steel outer wall of the holding cells.
The vampire advanced but had to break off her attack when a laser tore through the floor inches in front of her black leather boots. In a move too fast to be seen, she coiled and launched herself across the courtroom, landing amongst the small group of soldiers who had fought their way through the crowd. A bright red mist filled the air as she executed her elegant dance of death, moving with the grace and agility of a jungle cat.
By the time she returned to the inquisitor, he’d managed to pull his body up into a sitting position and was taking short, labored breaths. She raised his chin with the tip of her blood-covered blade, wanting him to see who was delivering him to hell.
He let out something between a choking sound and a chuckle, spitting blood from his mouth. “Releasing the locks requires an order from me, and the code can only be entered remotely by central command. They’re all going to burn.”
“Don’t flatter yourself—there’s nothing I need from you.” She fixed her gaze on the restraints binding Sienna to the chair. Within seconds they started to rattle, shaking more and more violently until they broke free and dropped to the floor.
His lower lip trembled in fear. “Wh—what are you?”
“The last thing your wife and three kids are ever going to see.” She flicked her wrist, and his severed head fell into his lap.
Fire was rapidly engulfing the courtroom, and waves of torrid heat washed over her face. She scanned the hall in search of any additional threats. Most of the remaining people had succumbed to the noxious gas that was making her gag. Those who were left were sprawled out on the floor, clinging to the last threads of life. Assured that they weren’t in any imminent danger, she sheathed her weapons and turned toward Sienna. “Hi Mom.”
“I told you not to come.”
She laughed, wiping some of the blood from her face. “You can ground me when we get home. Can you walk?”
Sienna took a tentative step forward before gripping her side and doubling over in pain. “Not far. Your father’s in worse shape, though. Brooke, his heart—”
“I know—I can hear it.” Brooke reached behind her back, pulled a sports bottle out of the top of her pants and tossed it to Sienna. “You’ll need your strength.”
“Thanks.” Using both hands, she reset the bones in her nose, and then popped the top, poured about a quarter of the bottle over her face and chugged down the rest. Within a few seconds the wounds healed over. They both jumped when one of the rafters crashed to the floor behind them. “I think that’s our cue. Let’s get out of here.”
Brooke concentrated on her father’s restraints. As soon as they broke free, his hunched-over body pitched forward into Sienna’s waiting arms, and she eased him onto his back. “Hang in there, David,” she whispered, removing his hood. “We’ll get you to a hospital soon.”
The whirling noise from dozens of approaching helicopters sent them scrambling to free the others. Countless soldiers—an entire brigade at least—charged into the mouth of the blown-out opening just as the last of the restraints fell.
“My God,” Sienna gasped. “There’s too many, sweetheart, even for you.”
“I’m what they want,” Brooke said with a resigned nod. “Take my father and head north. Stick to the rooftops until you get outside the city so you don’t trip any alarms.”
Sienna was appalled. “We’re not leaving you here to die.”
“No fucking way!” Her quirky, endlessly compassionate soul mate grabbed her by the shoulders, glaring at her. “You’re my wife—I’m not going anywhere without you.”
Stepping forward to flank her mate, her goddess of a best friend—still looking runway ready in spite of her ordeal—flashed a warm but determined smile. “Neither am I. Like it or not, we’re in this together.”
Tears pricked the corners of her eyes. Part of her wanted to say yes, to have them all fight together to the end, but she knew how selfish that was. Three vampires with too weak of a trance ability to penetrate the RF jamming would be all but useless against an army this size, and if she fled with them, any chance they had of escaping vanished. She’d resisted the stupid “Queen” title from the moment it’d been forced upon her—the first and only order she’d ever given her family was that they never bow to her—but invoking that authority was the only way she’d get them to leave. Using her telekinetic ability, Brooke pushed them away, knocking her mate to the floor. “As your queen I command it! Move!”
They all shot her stunned looks laced with an edge of betrayal. Without another word, Sienna hoisted David into her arms and disappeared into what remained of the third floor balcony, the other two vampires close behind.
The exchange had cost her precious seconds she could have used to move to a far more defensible position. As it was, she was now surrounded, with the only gap coming from the roaring wall of flames at her back. All of the soldiers had their knockout sticks in hand. Apparently they were intent on taking her alive. Brooke arched her hands out in front of her, and a glimmering light began to radiate between them. Once it had fully materialized, she thrust her arms forward, hurling a ball of plasma into the advancing troops that obliterated the entire first wave. The hundreds behind them closed in, driving her back toward the flames. There was no escape. She defiantly drew her swords before the first blow from a knockout stick sent her tumbling to her knees. The second incapacitated her completely.
When she came to, she was in the cargo hold of a Blackhawk helicopter, and a soldier was fitting a voice restraint collar around her neck. Her boots had been removed, and her wrists and ankles were bound together with the latest alloy composite, stronger than even she could break with sheer force alone.
“Sir? We’ve got her,” the commanding officer called over his satellite phone. He listened for a few moments, and then handed the phone back to his first lieutenant. “Bring me the laser shears.”
“Yes, Colonel.” The first lieutenant relayed the order and soon had them in his hand. “Here you go, sir.”
“Prop her up.”
Two soldiers stepped forward and raised Brooke into a sitting position. The Colonel flipped on the shears, took hold of her chin and shaved off all of her milk-chocolate colored hair.
“This cap is packed with lorazepam,” he said, sliding a black swim cap onto her now bald head. “It’s a potent tranquilizer that’s absorbed through your skin. In a couple minutes you won’t be able to remember your name, let alone trance anyone.”
He started to walk away, and then stopped and turned back toward her. “And this is a gift from me, for killing over three hundred of my men.” The Colonel removed the guard from the shears and stuck the tip of his combat knife into the beam, heating it to a molten red. The other soldiers moved aside as he bent down over her and burned a large V deep into her forehead. Brooke screamed in agony, and five thousand volts fired into her throat. Her eyes rolled back in her head, and her jaw fell slack.