Today, I get to welcome Teal Ceagh to Literary Escapism. Teal is the author of the Destiny’s Trinities series published by Ellora’s Cave and she is celebrating the release of Mia’s Return and Sera’s Gift. As such, Teal is giving us glimpses into these two novels, so make sure you stick around after the contest and check them out:
Make sure you stick around, we’re giving away a copy of Beth’s Acceptance, the first novel in her Destiny’s Trinities series.
Christmas Reading Really Is The Best Time of Year
With the annual dumping of snow upon us up here and the drop of temperatures to hovering around ten degrees (Fahrenheit!), it suddenly becomes a lot easier to stay inside and at my desk and write. I love the first fall of snow for the season, too. Everything becomes very still and quiet. You know Christmas is on its way, and thoughts turn to gift-giving and families.
I also love this time of year because thoughts also turn to curling up by the fire with a really good book or two. People actually manage to carve out leisure time for themselves (lord knows how!) and read. “Christmas reading” is not an oxymoron.
I think it’s one of the greatest times of year to be an author, and I love cruising around the bookshops at this time of year. They’re always bursting with new books. I guess it’s not big surprise that my family tend to buy a lot of books and literary-type gifts for each other – movies, music, soundtracks, theater tickets, framed posters, and so on.
Although I’m feeling a little ragged around the edges because I’ve had two books come out very close together (Mia’s Return came out on November 25 and Sera’s Gift came out on December 9 – yesterday), it’s still fabulous that I’ve had two book releases this close to Christmas. If I’d got to pick a time of year at all, this would be it.
So I’m feeling very mellow and contented, so instead of writing a controversial or mud-stirring post designed to rile your feelings and cause lots of chatter and traffic, I’ll leave that to the Alan Elsners of the world, and instead wish you the best of the season and hope you have a wonderful, peaceful and happy time with your loved ones this year…and find lots of lovely books to read. ;)
Thank you Teal for stopping by.
Contest Time! We’re giving away a copy of Teal’s novel Beth’s Acceptance, the first novel in her Destiny’s Trinities series, to a lucky commentator and it’s very easy to enter. All you have to do is answer this one simple question: What are your favorite books to read this time of the year. Do you go for those holiday romances or something a little different? Just so everyone knows, the prize is an ebook and not a print copy.
As always, if you want more chances to win, you can post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer (yes LE is now on Twitter as well!). The more places you share it, the more entries you get.
Join the Literary Escapism Facebook page and you’ll get an additional entry. Make sure you leave a comment so I know that’s why you’re joining. If you’re already a fan, let me know and you’ll get an additional entry for that as well.
For 2 additional entries, subscribe to Literary Escapism’s newsletter in the sidebar.
For 3 additional entries, purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: myjaxon AT gmail DOT com. Each purchase is worth three entries and it has to be through the LE Link.
Ten years ago, Alexander hungered for Mia Menendez and for a single day they had indulged that passion before tragedy struck. Now Mia is back, but she thinks Alexander died ten years ago and no man has been able to stir her heart since. The truth could kill her.
Wyatt Whitacker, demon hunter, hates Alexander and all his kind. But one look at Mia and her pulse-stopping curves and his scarred, angry heart begins to melt and his body to rouse in ways he’s long forgotten.
The bonding has begun…
He considered running down the fire escape stairs to the foyer and avoiding the congestion in the elevators. At this time of day it would take forever. The stairs wouldn’t tax him in the slightest. But it might draw attention to him. So he patiently waited for the elevator and stepped on with a dozen others and moved to the side to give them room.
The elevator stopped on the next floor, with more people getting on but by then his animal instinct was crowding him, making the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He was being watched. His heart thundered.
He made no sudden moves. Instead, as people pushed onto the elevator, he turned so his back was to the side wall of the car, giving him an excuse to look at everyone if he brought his head up.
He lifted his head and looked around.
She was standing on the other side of the car, almost completely obscured by the other riders because she was only just over five foot.
Mia. Shamira Menendez of San Diego, California.
His first aching thought was, You’re so fucking beautiful, Mia.
Then reality caught him in the chest. Mia was staring at him because she thought he was dead. She thought he died ten years ago, in San Diego.
And now she was watching him with tears in her eyes and all he could think about was his swelling cock and his exploding heart and how much he wanted to take up where he had left off…bending her over the counter, sliding his cock into her pussy and making her scream his name.
“Are you all right, sir?”
He tore his gaze away from Mia. “Excuse me?” he said hoarsely. He looked down at the gray-haired lady next to him.
“Your breathing is all funny,” she said. “Are you claustrophobic?”
Others were looking at him now. Becoming the center of attention was never a good thing for a vampire. Zack had drilled that into him. Seaveth was even more of a sergeant about it, now vampires were assimilating into human society. He swallowed. “I’m fine,” he said.
But he wasn’t. He looked at Mia. She was still watching. She knew it was him. There was no way to deny it. No escape. No bluff he could use to fool her. The knowledge gleamed in her eyes.
“Give him room, please,” she said. “Everyone, stand back a bit.” She was stepping closer, taking charge.
They all shuffled back, clearing eighteen inches. Mia squeezed between them and stepped into the space. “Take a deep breath,” she told him, her voice low.
He couldn’t tear his gaze from her face. The tears in her eyes pooled and one fell down her cheek. Just one. But she didn’t wipe it, or show any sign of emotion. Cool, calm, controlled. “We’re nearly there,” she added, speaking for the others in the car, maintaining the illusion of a claustrophobe in full panic mode. She knew as well as he did it was nothing of the sort.
As the doors opened, the others stood back, letting them exit first. She grabbed his lapels and hauled him from the car. He let her, for he stood a foot higher than her and outweighed her by nearly a hundred pounds. But her scent alone was wreathing his head and making his senses reel. Something with vanilla and…grapefruit? He could feel his incisors trying to descend and his mouth filling with vampire saliva to deaden her flesh so she wouldn’t feel the first piercing of his teeth. His cock was pounding with the agonizing need to slam her against the walls of the foyer and fuck her senseless.
He was almost hyperventilating with the dilemma.
Her hand rested on his chest. God, he could feel her heat through her hand. He swallowed.
“You’re supposed to be dead,” she whispered. No hello. No attempt to confirm who he was. She was that sure of him despite ten years.
He couldn’t afford to answer her, to even start the conversation. Instead, he stared at her, soaking up details. She had been eighteen when he left and even at that age, infinitely dangerous to his pulse. Now she was a mature woman and beyond dangerous. He could feel it in his heart, his mind, his cock. His whole body was responding to her like a nuclear magnet. She wore her dark hair down to her shoulder blades but styled in some mysterious fashion that just brushed over one eye and framed her high cheekbones and pointed chin. Her black eyes, still gleaming with tears, with their arched strong brows, were staring at him, giving him no quarter. They never had. And her lips…full, the top one like a cupid’s bow. He had dreamed about kissing those lips and woken sweating in his lonely bed all those years ago when he could sweat. Those lips still looked sweet, the teeth behind them white and beckoning.
Mia was wearing a dress. He had no way to describe it, except to say it wrapped her in roses and made the most of her figure. And she had a figure. Even at eighteen she’d had a figure. He had lusted after it. And in ten years, it had changed very little. Her breasts had not sagged. Her hips had not spread. And her waist was still as tiny as ever. It was that tiny waist he had grabbed as he bent her over the counter…
He realized his heart was thundering in his ears. With her hand on his chest, she must surely feel it too.
She was frowning, staring at him. “You haven’t changed,” she said. “Not at all.” And she stepped back, her hand falling away.
Alexander realized she had seen, then, he had not aged. This was one of the reasons that Zachariah and Diego had insisted he move to New York once Zack had made him.
Mia took another step backward and he could see her doing the mental math.
“Mia,” he began and stopped, mentally cursing. He’d just confirmed he was who she thought he was. Until that moment there had remained the possibility of pretending she’d made an embarrassing mistake. It would have killed him to do it but it would have been a way out. That chance was gone now. He closed his eyes. What a fucking disaster. He opened them again and took a last look at her. Beautiful Mia. She was starting to realize there was something dreadfully wrong. Horror was creeping into her expression. He needed to leave before she began to look at him like the monster he was.
Sera arrives in New York to help her brother Lindál, but a vampeen attack brings her face-to-face with two men and changes her life forever.
Diego Savage lives up to his name. Cynical, rebellious and a womanizer, he doesn’t believe in the trinities. With his scarred heart and terrible past it would take a miracle for him to change—or someone like Sera, with her special gift.
Blake Harvey, dedicated NYC police lieutenant, takes one look at the tall, supple woman with the crystal blue eyes and glowing skin and knows his life is about to change in ways he can’t even define, but his body is already responding with a power that is hard to deny.
The bonding has begun…
Blake jumped and realized he’d fallen asleep in his chair, the same moment he realized it was morning already. He glanced around at his office door. Anna Maria had her head around the door, looking at him. “You clocking off?” he said, glancing at his watch. Six a.m. Her night shift was over.
“You okay, boss?” she asked.
“Long night,” he said, trying to make it sound like he did this all the time. He stood up, stretching carefully, feeling the bones in his neck.
“’Kay. Night, boss.” She let the door shut itself.
He looked out the window. Daylight was trying to break through thunderclouds outside his windows. A soggy, fetid, miserable August day that matched his mood. He glanced at the three in-trays on his desk, all of them overloaded. They stood next to his computer, which was another two hundred and sixty gigabytes of hell screaming at him for attention.
What was happening in his city? Twelve years in the department and he no longer thought he understood New York and its denizens. He’d spent all night doing basic regression analysis. And the numbers frightened him. If things went on this way, New York would turn into an uncivilized all-out crime zone in about six weeks. The police department was slowly losing ground. It just didn’t have the numbers to cope. Rape and murder were the top two favorites, with decapitations being numero uno on the hit parade. But number three on the New York Times Best Seller List right now was Missing Persons. People were vanishing without trace in numbers higher than six hundred percent more than any time in the last three centuries…and that included two world wars, famines and plagues.
And the police couldn’t do a damn thing about it, except record particulars and wait. They were overtaxed by the murders and rapes already. A missing person was a lesser concern.
Blake pushed his hand through his hair. God, what a fucking nightmare.
The other lieutenants in the other departments across the boroughs made light of it. They were mostly older and had seen tough times before and while they all heard the same unsettling rumors about the cults, the gangs, the animalistic behavior, they were in denial. They didn’t want to look at the big picture.
The figures Blake had projected last night didn’t lie, though. Something was going on. But right now he couldn’t see what it was. Despite all the information flowing into his desk, it eluded him. Sometimes, like now when his energy was low, it felt like there was someone else out there manipulating the information that reached him, so that he couldn’t see the truth. Not all of it, anyway.
He bumped his forehead against the window and felt the chill spread across his flesh. It reminded him of how hot and tired he was. He’d been in these clothes for over twenty-four hours. He needed a break. So did his mind. He was slipping into paranoid delusions.
He picked up his jacket and logged off the computer. A few hours sleep, a shower and food, then he’d head back here. Things would look different, then. Maybe.
He clocked out and walked home to his apartment, feeling at odds with the day. Manhattan was just firing up for a busy day of commerce, while he was going home to sleep. He glanced up at the skyscrapers as he passed them. It all looked so innocent and normal.
Who’d’ve thought there was such a time bomb ticking away in her guts?
* * * * *
When Mia came bustling into the boardroom, Alexander felt his heart jump. Even after a year, she still managed to make him pause to catch his breath when she arrived after a small absence. She was here in his life. And she was never going away again.
He kept reminding himself to be thankful to whatever entity or force designed the trinities and chose him to be part of them. Him, Mia and Wyatt. How had he got so lucky? He was careful never to question that good fortune, but to grasp it with both hands and to work his ass off in service of the trinities and Seaveth, in gratitude.
Mia came up to him with the small smile she kept for him and Wyatt alone. “You’re brooding,” she said.
“I’ll shake you about it later,” she said. “Right now, we need to head to the keep for the assembly. The car is waiting.” She looked at the huge watch on her wrist. “And Wyatt still hasn’t shown up. Did he call you at all?”
“No call. No text. But he knows he has to be here. He’ll show, Mia. In a year, has he never not shown up for an assembly?”
“There’s always a first time,” she said darkly, thumbing through her Palm Pilot. She had become the staffing agency’s chief executive officer and completely indispensable, running both the private and public personas of the agency like clockwork and liaising with the Earthwing clan’s seniors and Seaveth’s portfolio with seamless efficiency.
Wyatt had returned to hunting but even there, Mia had left her mark, organizing and commercializing his ventures and bringing recruits to his doorstep. Now Wyatt’s hunting was an organized trade, with tools, equipment, partners and income. Wyatt had been stunned that demon hunting could raise revenue in a human world but Mia had shown him how to bring in profit for himself and make it attractive to other demon hunter and vampire investors and just like that, Wyatt had found himself an entrepreneur.
Mia glanced at her watch again. “Time to go. I’ve texted Wyatt and told him to go straight to the keep.” She chewed her lip. “I hope he’s okay.”
Alexander took her face in his hands. “He’ll be fine,” he said softly. “Stop it, Mia.” He kissed her to stop her fretting and slipped his tongue against her lips. He drew back when he tasted blood. “You just fed?”
She blushed. “Sorry, yes. I should have warned you.” This was one of the changes he’d had the hardest time accepting. As a result of the bonding, from time to time, Mia had to feed on blood, like a vampire. She ate normal food and excreted it like a human but every few months or so, like a vampire, she hungered for blood. Alexander had been devastated by the knowledge. Instead, Zachariah and the other vampires had taught Mia how to ingest the artificial blood developed by the clan.
At least she had no incisors. He was spared that.
Alexander hugged her, instead and let her go. “We were running late, I believe?” he reminded her.
“Damn, yes.” She straightened her business skirt back into place and threw him a dirty look. “I wish you would stop kissing me at work. You know I hate that.”
“While I can make you look like a cat on catnip, I’ll keep kissing you whenever you’re within reach,” Alexander growled softly as they hurried through the office to the elevator bank. The armored stretch limousine would be waiting for them in the lower basement. Max, the driver and one of the Earthwing clan, would have the engine running and his bolo tucked between the seat and the door, watching the street ramp. “Zack and Diego aren’t coming with us?” Alexander asked as they passed the other two partner offices without pausing.
Mia shook her head. “Zack is…he wanted to be with Seaveth today. Diego just didn’t show up this morning.” She frowned. Diego’s dedication to playing the role of a normal human was flaky, at best, despite the combined pressure Alexander and Zack tried to exert upon him. Diego had spent centuries unfettered. He was taking a longer time adjusting to Seaveth’s demands for assimilation than most. But they both knew he would be at the full assembly. Even he would not dare risk Seaveth’s wrath by missing that.
“He’ll come around,” Alexander assured her. “Diego is just…” He tried to find the right word.
“Savage,” Mia said succinctly. “I’ve heard the gossip. There’s a reason for his last name.”
“There is,” Alexander said flatly. “But whatever you’ve heard, it’s wrong.”
She glanced up at him, a furrow between her brows but she couldn’t ask him a more direct question for they had reached the foyer and were surrounded by strangers for the ride down to the basement.
In the elevator car, Alexander was swamped by memories of the day Mia had reappeared in his life, here in New York. She swiveled her head to look up at him and smiled and he knew she was thinking the same thing. She pressed closer to him in the crowded car.
She was getting many admiring glances from others in the car, who skimmed her high heels, smart skirt and jacket, silk shirt and shoulder-blade-length hair she refused to either cut or wear up in a bun despite the weather and the hourglass figure that the suit did nothing to hide.
She’s with me, Alexander thought. At last. And he curled his hand around her hip.
The car was empty by the time they reached the last basement and they looked out cautiously. The limousine was waiting as promised. Mia swapped her briefcase over to her left hand and they stepped out, heading for the limousine.
There was a rattle of metal to their right and Alexander turned, his animal instincts flaring. Max was already leaping from the driver’s seat, his bolo in his hand.
But Mia was faster. She had the gun pulled from the holster at the small of her back and out, ready to fire, before Alexander had completed his turn.
Her reactions were faster than his.
She dropped her briefcase and threw her arm out across Alexander’s path to prevent him from moving forward. “Stop. It’s Wyatt,” she said, putting the small caliber gun away again. She ran forward into the shadowy basement and was enfolded by the dark figure there. Alexander could not make out the details but she had been able to. This had been another of her changes. Not only were her reaction times faster than his, she could see and hear better than a vampire.
And Wyatt was stronger than one. She was leading him forward now but he did not look like the strong hunter who had gone off the day before to Quebec to hunt a gargoyle. He was hunched over, an arm to his stomach. Alexander felt his heart seize. He hurried forward.
“What happened?” He and Mia between them bundled Wyatt into the limousine. “The keep, Max.”
“Aye.” Max climbed in and got the long vehicle rolling with minimum fuss, pulling out into the traffic without delay.
Alexander was grateful for the smoked windows and air-conditioning. He and Mia stretched Wyatt on the seat. “What happened?” he repeated again as he tried to pull aside Wyatt’s shirt to see his stomach.
“Demon was working with the gargoyle. The damn things are ganging up together these days.” Wyatt rolled his head back.
“Why aren’t you healing?” Mia cried.
Alexander winced and leaned over to the back of the driver’s seat. “Sorry, family business, Max.” And he hit the button for the privacy screen, which slid up behind the driver’s seat, a blacked-out window of total privacy between them and Max. It was soundproof and bulletproof.
Alexander turned back to Wyatt and looked at the long crimson gashes on Wyatt’s stomach.
“You’re supposed to have vampire healing powers now,” Mia said, tears rolling down her face.
“He does,” Alexander said quietly, studying the wounds. “These were much worse, twelve hours ago.”
Wyatt swallowed and nodded. “A mate drove me down from Ontario through the night. I had trouble convincing him not to take me to hospital in Toronto but when I didn’t die on him right away and was still talking when we hit the New York border he was starting to put it together. He was happy to get rid of me, I think. I scared the crap out of him. And he hunts demons.” He tried to laugh and it turned into a series of coughs that looked painful. He finally took a deep breath and opened his eyes. “God it’s good to see you both.”
Mia threw herself on his chest and Alexander kissed his forehead. Wyatt held Mia to him and eyed Alexander. “I’m guessing the war ain’t over, if the ass-kicking I just took is any measure. No sign of the infamous third trinity?”
He shook his head.
“Fuck.” Wyatt sighed. “The elves are going to eat Seaveth for dinner at the assembly.”
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