Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Tiffany Allee’s Astrid from Lycan Unleashed and Mac from Banshee Charmer.
When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.
Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworlder Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aidan knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count…
A Black Friday Encounter
Whew! I can’t believe it’s that time of year again. Where has the year gone?
First of all, thank you so much to the kind folks here at Literary Escapism for letting me participate in this fun event. My novella, Lycan Unleashed, is a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing’s Ever After imprint. It is the third in my From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series.
Each book in the series revolves around cops working the paranormal unit of the Chicago Police Department, as well as agents from the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency, or OWEA (similar to the FBI, but for otherworlders). There is always a crime to be solved, a bad guy to catch, and two people destined for love.
The short piece below takes place between books two and three of the series, and stars the main female character from Lycan Unleashed, with a special guest appearance by the main female character from the first book in the series, Banshee Charmer.
Look for Lycan Unleashed in January 2013.
I hope you enjoy it!
I shook my head. “I don’t think guns are a good idea, but I’m surprised you didn’t bring one.”
“Aidan said it would only make things worse,” Mac muttered, and the banshee’s mouth turned down with distaste. “Hell, he’s probably right. He’s dealt with this kind of BS more than I have.” She tugged her wool hat off and faced the building. “I have my badge, though. Never know when it might help.”
Her power pinged next to me, the perfect tones that I knew meant banshee—or in Mac’s case, half-banshee. Farther into the building, I could sense others. No other banshees, of course—Mac was unique in that she was the only I’d ever met—but the smell of coffee touched my nose, a sure sign a vampire was nearby. And almost undetectable was the taste of strawberries. A succubus was in there too.
“We have to go in. We don’t have a choice,” I said, an order to myself more than information for Mac. She knew only too well that we were stuck. “Besides, you’re the one who bet that fiancé of yours we could do this.”
“We got this. Hell, we investigate horrific homicides on a regular basis,” Mac said, pulling her coat more tightly around her body. “It’s just a bunch of humans, right?”
I didn’t argue. With Mac heading for the door, no way was I going to try to explain what we faced and risk the banshee getting cold feet.
The crowd hit us even before we could get into the building. They were laughing, a big group of them. I shuddered and forced my way through, wishing I had my gun.
Through the doors, bright signage announcing one-day-only sales filled my vision. Candy cane shapes and snowmen and reindeer abounded. Loud voices rose above the crowd. A mother yelling at a child who had escaped into one of the clothing racks. A man trying to get the attention of his wife. A toddler screaming.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” Mac said, skin paling as she took in the crowd.
“You can,” I told the banshee. “Like Aidan said, you haven’t lived until you’ve shopped at the mall on Black Friday.”
Her lips pursed like she’d tasted a lemon. “Fine. But if I kill someone, it’s on his head.”
She kept her angry scowl in place through most of the morning while we struggled through stores, but I couldn’t help but notice her gaze occasionally slide to the ring on her finger. Her eyes would soften, for the briefest of moments, before the hard gaze I’d come to associate with the banshee would return full force.
“You got anyone special to buy for?” Mac asked, eyeing my two bags to her five.
Sadly, other than my partner and some of the cops I occasionally shared a drink with, I didn’t have anyone to buy for. But she didn’t need to know that. My family situation wasn’t something I was eager to discuss in the best of situations, let alone at the mall. And I couldn’t tell her that I was stuck on a man I’d shared only a single kiss with. A kiss that had happened nearly a year ago. How pathetic did that sound?
I forced a smile. “Nope. Just Claude and some friends.”
As if summoned by her question and my depressing admission, the fresh scent of the outdoors filled my nose and the silvery tint I always associated with moonlight flashed in my vision.
Worse, it was one I knew.
Mac frowned, but then something caught her eye behind me. I didn’t have to turn to see the gray eyes and handsome features. I’d memorized that face, and I could bring it up in my mind’s eye anytime I cared to. But that knowledge didn’t stop me from looking over my shoulder.
Recognition flashed in Mason’s eyes, then some raw emotion that was gone behind an impenetrable cop face before I could identify it. He nodded at us in polite acknowledgement, then turned away.
Pain pressed against my chest, so hard I had to fight to suck in a deep rush of air.
“You okay?” Mac asked.
I forced my gaze away from where Mason had disappeared into the crowd and back to the banshee. “I’m fine.”
She raised an eyebrow at me, but didn’t push. That was one thing I loved about Mac, she never offered much personal information, but she also never pressed for it either.
“Are we done?” I asked.
“I just need to stop at the bookstore.” Mac’s cheeks blushed slightly before she turned away.
“Looking for something special?” I followed her out of the department store into the loud and shopper-filled mall hallway. A kiosk vendor tried to shove some sort of cream at us, but Mac’s glare stopped him in his tracks.
“No.” She sidestepped an oblivious shopper as we made our way past Santa and the line of kids leading to his lap. “Just…something for Aidan.”
The bookstore offered sales I couldn’t resist, so I soon lost Mac in the crowd. After paying for a humorous-sounding memoir for my partner, Claude, I scanned the crowd for Mac. From between two elderly women, the banshee appeared, holding a small stack of books close to her chest.
Mac checked out, keeping her body between the books and me. She returned to my side, and her purchase had been double bagged.
I opened my mouth to ask what she’d purchased so sneaky-like, then stopped myself. No. We all had our secrets, and Mac had a right to hers.
Mason Sanderson’s gray eyes flashed in my vision, this time summoned from memory alone. I swallowed hard and followed Mac, and tried to force the image away.
Meet Tiffany Allee!
CPA-turned-romance-author Tiffany Allee used to battle spreadsheets in Corporate America, and now concentrates on her characters’ battles to find love. Raised in small-town Colorado, Tiffany currently lives in Phoenix, AZ, by way of Chicago and Denver. She is happily married to a secret romantic who tolerates her crazy mutterings.
She writes about ass-kicking heroines and the strong heroes who love them. Her work includes the suspense-driven Otherworlder Enforcement Agency series which revolves around a group of paranormal cops solving crimes and finding love, and Don’t Bite the Bridesmaid, a lighthearted paranormal romance (Entangled Publishing).
Tiffany has an MBA in accounting and nearly a decade of experience in corporate finance. All super useful stuff for a writer who spends far too much time trying to figure out fun ways to keep her characters apart, and interesting ways to kill people (for her books—of course!).
Tiffany is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Want to purchase Tiffany’s novels?
Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency
Please help spread the word: Tweet: Celebrate the madness with 32 authors while #giveaways ensue during #BlackFriday (Nov23-Dec24) http://tinyurl.com/LEBlackFriday2012 #paranormal #fantasy
Thank you Tiffany for taking part in Literary Escapism’s Black Friday!
Tiffany is giving away a copy of Banshee Charmer and Succubus Lost. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Who do you think Mason is to Astrid and why did they not acknowledge each other? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
All Black Friday contests will remain open until December 31st at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have. Have you checked out the other Black Friday contests yet? Check out the Master List to see all the Black Friday giveaways
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.