Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Angela McCallister’s Kade from Bad Mouth, coming in January.
After her ex-husband’s obsession with vampires, Valerie Craig is on a mission to stop transformations. Of all vampires, Kade Rollins is the worst of the worst, but when multiple murders plague Seattle, Val is forced to enlist his aid. Kade’s crude wit and seductive nature attract her like no other, but she can’t ignore his violence toward his human servants, no matter her yearning to forget.
She’s torn when she learns Kade may be behind the murders. Val’s worked hard to protect humans from vampires, but the truth surrounding the murders could ignite a bloody battle between their races, one humans are sure to lose. Someone is pulling strings to build a vampire army and spark the war—setting Kade up to kick it off. But if she trusts the vampire prince, she risks her job, her integrity, and her heart if he betrays her as all the men in her life have.
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away an ebook copy of any Entangled Publishing title—winner’s choice.
The Perfect Gift
“Kade!” Val elbowed him sharply in the ribs, her eyes pummeling into him like icy, jade hail.
“—dge me,” he ended. “I’m behaving. Let me finish.” Ignoring his discomfort in the throngs of human vermin swarming around him, he let his words sink in, and a lecherous grin replaced his scowl.
“Stop it, caveman. I mean it. There are kids here.” She glanced around surreptitiously. Checking for baby eavesdroppers, no doubt.
He searched the area himself but, unlike Her Properness, kept an eye out for potential danger. So this was Pacific Place. Impressive. He’d never celebrated the holidays, much less stepped foot in a mall before, but Val had twisted his arm with some insane idea that more exposure to humans would improve his outlook. Joy to the world and all that crap. It wasn’t joy in the air here. The scent of anxiety, anger, and distress flooded his senses. Why would anyone endure torture like this?
She twined her arm in his, sending giddy little girlie-flutters into his belly. “What?”
“So this is why I have professional shoppers.” He swept his free arm around to encompass the hectic scene.
She parted those luscious lips to reply, but then tracked his attention at her lips and closed them into a tight, disapproving line. Instead, she tugged him deeper into hell on earth.
He had to give credit where credit was due. The humans had gone all out to present a cheerful façade. Christmas lights, glittering garland, and bright red bows—and he had an affinity for that particular color that matched his eyes—hung on every store and kiosk. A large number of humans wore jovial smiles and Christmas gear, the gaudy sweaters, Santa hats, reindeer antlers and such. Their agitated, uptight body language revealed the reality of things.
The truth was if Santa had been a real being, they’d all get coal or something worse in their stockings. Kade knew better than most about the inner heart of man. As one of the elite adjuvants, the only vampires capable of turning humans, his unique ability was to see scenes from the past of those he drank from. He’d given those he’d turned a permanently mutilated appearance to match their sins, though Val had put a stop to that. The softie. As much as he’d like to believe that a detriment, he loved her generous heart. It had been a new lens through which to view the world.
His softie eyed him with trepidation. He raised a brow and tugged her tighter against his side. “Something wrong?”
“Yes.” She frowned. He was a heartbeat from kissing it off of her when she pressed her fingers to his lips and shook her head. “We have to split up.”
“What?” he bellowed. The horde near them stepped back and gave them a wide berth. Guess he’d put on his anti-social face. “The hell we do.”
“How’m I supposed to shop for you with you hovering?” Her eyes widened innocently as something akin to panic crept through his veins. That little—she’d dragged him here to purposely leave him battling his demons alone. “You’re not afraid, are you?”
He scoffed. As if. Still, he scanned the surrounding mob, half-expecting them to be carrying torches and pitchforks. All he saw were strollers, bags burdened by overspending, and weary faces. Children’s whines, whispered arguments, and a heavy mix of perfume settled over him. Holy Christ, if he backed out now, she’d think him weak. He could do this. They were only… humans.
“Not at all.” His voice came out a little too hoarse and unsteady for his liking. “It’s not like you picked the worst day of the year to go shopping.”
“Come on. Don’t be a baby. Black Friday is the best day to shop.” She laughed. Laughed. A raspy, throaty laugh of pure delight. Oh, the little imp was having fun now, but paybacks… She’d be in for it when he got her home. Hell, when he got her to the limo. Her laugh died a sudden death. Yep, she knew she was in for it. She cleared her throat and untangled her arm from his. “Well, I’ll text you when I’m done,” she chirped cheerfully, her words a bit too squeaky to be said with comfort. With that, she disappeared from his side, leaving him as cold as wind off the Puget Sound. Damn.
Well, then. It wasn’t like he hadn’t been around humans. Maybe just not this… much. At first, he watched, his eyes narrowed. The squat ones caught his attention the most and held it enslaved. Something about their tiny bodies and round, chubby cheeks and stubby little fingers held him captive. Noisy and squirmy with adrenaline, they tested even the most patient parent. Would he be that patient? Could he be a good father someday? An aching spear sank into his chest. He hadn’t had the best example as a child. Would he end up corrupted by power like Olen, his own father? Guess he’d find out the hard way.
With a mental prod, he headed to the map of the shopping center. Aw, hell, he hadn’t given any thought to what gift he could give Val. Thoughtfully, he examined his options. He should know her well enough after feeding from her, but he was drawing a blank. Aha. Tiffany’s. What self-respecting chick didn’t like expensive jewelry? He had a fortune at his disposal. He could buy out the store. With a grin, he headed toward the shop. At least it was on the first level, and he wouldn’t have to get any deeper into the mob.
It could have been the instinct of prey, but the humans parted to allow him through. Good choice. The glower he sent in all directions may have had a little to do with that. The sales clerks at Tiffany’s fell all over themselves to serve him, and he found himself in a lighter mood when he left. More. He needed more. There couldn’t possibly be enough treasure in the center to show Val how he felt for her. He zipped through store after store, his collection of goods multiplying exponentially. Fortuitous that he had long arms. He’d hit paydirt with Victoria’s Secret. What better gift than one that kept on giving?
He was actually smiling when he got Val’s text to meet him at the front where they’d entered. Just shy of his destination, a shrill cry pierced the constant buzz of the noisy crowd. It went beyond the fit-throwing he’d heard throughout the mall. Little hiccupping sobs, and they didn’t stop. He searched the crowd.
At the entrance to a bookstore, a tiny boy stood alone. The mass of foot traffic passed the kid as if he were invisible. Kade hesitated. Somebody had to stop for the kid. But nope. No such luck. Damn. He craned his head, scanning over the humans’ heads for a set of frantic parents. Damn again. Any other day, he would have walked away. It was a predatory world, and he was a predator. Predators aren’t in the habit of rescuing prey. But damn.
With a sigh, he worked his way, fairly easily, over to the boy and crouched down to his level. “What’s wrong, little man?”
He smoothed the aggravation from expression, trying to look harmless. Hah. Must have worked because the sobs settled somewhat, though the kid didn’t speak.
“Lost your parents?”
The boy nodded, swiping his reddened nose with his sleeve. Gross, but despite that, he was a cute little thing with disheveled dark hair, doe-like eyes, and tan skin, like he played in the sun a lot—however he could accomplish that in the Pacific Northwest. Val’s babies would look like this, all sweet and cuddly. Ugggh. When’d he turn into such a prissy little girl?
“How about we find them, hm? Ever play Where’s Waldo?” Hells bells. The kid grinned like Kade had transformed into Santa Claus. Freaking ridiculous. Kade’s Merry Men—yeah, Val had rubbed off on him—would have a field day with this. Better dump the kid before anyone found out Kade might have a heart buried in his chest somewhere. How was he supposed to rule over a nation of dangerous and terrifying vampires with that sort of reputation?
A mall security officer passed as Kade stood. Yes! He caught the guy’s arm. Startled, the officer grabbed at the radio on his belt. Kade couldn’t help himself. He laughed aloud. Like the human could do anything to Kade even if it had been a gun.
“Whoa, there, Tex.” He held his hands up to symbolize how harmless he was. “Got a lost kid here. You were passing him up.” He ruffled the boy’s hair. “Can you help him out?”
“Oh, shi—I mean, darn.” The officer turned fully toward Kade. “Sorry, man. Thought you were…”
Ah, guy realized what Kade was. He looked a bit dumbfounded. Had the guy never met a vampire in public before?
“Got it handled?” Kade put an ounce of warning into the question. The officer pulled his head out finally.
“Yeah,” he answered, kneeling next to the boy. And then he looked up at Kade. “Hey, thank you.”
Shock zinged through Kade. The guy seemed to genuinely mean it. Kade’s world took a serious tilt and whirl. His body still numb from that zing, he turned away from the guard and immediately froze when he met Val’s gorgeous, emerald eyes, eyes sparkling with tears and an emotion more foreign to him than if aliens had landed in front of him.
He lifted his bags and held them out to her. “Found you some things.” Lame. He was a complete and utter lame-ass. She didn’t even look at the bags, her focus entirely on him.
“That was the best gift you could have ever given me.” Her voice trembled.
This. God, this was why someone would endure the holiday torture. The look on a loved one’s face when she was given the perfect gift. He’d endure hell for this. He dropped the fortune and a half of extravagantly-packaged things and took her in his arms.
“Merry Christmas, Sir Lancelot.”
The inside joke warmed him to the marrow. “Merry Christmas, Val.”
Meet Angela McCallister!
Angela McCallister had always wanted to grow up to be someone who would never grow up, and lucky her, that’s exactly what she’s done. Nothing says adventurous more than being a career US Navy Sailor with an imagination wild enough to create stories and characters with a paranormal bite. A mother of five, she’s gained plenty of story ideas from her family as well as her military experience. She’s currently stationed at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu in California and loves to hear from and meet readers and other authors. Her first release is coming very soon from Entangled Publishing.
Want to purchase Angela’s novels?
Bad Mouth (January 2013)
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 Angela for taking part in Literary Escapism’s Black Friday!
Angela is giving away an ebook copy of any Entangled Publishing title—winner’s choice. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: What was the perfect gift that you’ve received a Christmas time? 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.