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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Email Subscriber Giveaway-January 2013

Glitter Words

The monthly giveaway is BACK and so am I!! I had a great vacation and feel very refreshed and ready to start a new year!!

Here is January's post. I will be changing it up a bit this year...there will be times that I will give away a choice book from my For Sale/Trade list and other times I will be giving away a specific book. The books will usually be ARCs that I have received so some of them are slightly used. Winner will be chosen February 1. Thank you all for supporting my blog and good luck!

This month I will be giving away an ARC of Need by Todd Gregory! Below courtesy of Kensington Books is the blurb and Chapter One! After reading that just fill out the Rafflecopter form!

On the sultry streets of New Orleans, you can indulge every desire. Even when what you crave is blood.

As far as the mortal world knows, Cord Logan died two years ago. In reality, he stalks the French Quarter, searching for victims. Cord knew that coming back to New Orleans would be risky now that he’s broken with the fraternity of vampires who first claimed him. But a chance encounter with an old friend triggers unexpected desire, and reveals a lethal curse that endangers not just his kind, but all of humanity.

Cord’s quest to break the curse leads him on a journey of carnal self-discovery and deep into the bayous. Here, where magic reigns unchecked, Cord must tap into his dark, unpredictable abilities and all his seductive powers. And if he fails, he’ll have all eternity to regret it…

Todd Gregory is a New Orleans-based writer/editor. He is also a member of the Author’s Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Private Eye Writers of America.

The damp air was thick with the scent of blood. It had been days since I had last fed, and the desire was gnawing at my insides. I’ve waited too long, I thought as I looked around Jackson Square for a promising human. A wave of nausea washed over me as the dull ache from inside pushed every other thought from my head. The wave passed, leaving me feeling more than a little weak. That’s not a good sign. I’d better be getting on with it—if I wait any longer, I might not be strong enough, I thought as my head began to clear. I was sitting on one of the benches between the wrought-iron fence and the massive gray stone of St. Louis Cathedral. I stood up, and my knees almost buckled under my weight.

Definitely not good.

My eyes focused on a young man walking a bicycle past the front of the cathedral. He was talking on a cell phone. His face was animated and flushed beneath the black mustache and goatee. There was a scattering of pimples over his pale face and dark circles beneath his round, bloodshot eyes. He was wearing a black T-shirt that read Who Dat Say They Gonna Beat Dem Saints in gold letters. The shirt hung loosely over his slender frame. His ratty old paint-spattered jeans were cut off at the knees and were so big his sharp hip bones barely seemed to be holding them up. There was a tattoo of Tweety Bird on his right calf and one of Marvin the Martian on the left. There was a bleeding sacred heart tattooed on the inside of his right forearm. His hair was dark and dirty-looking, combed to a peak in the center of his head. He seemed extremely agitated as he pushed his bicycle, his agitation seeming to grow with every step he took.

He stopped directly in front of an anemic-looking young woman who was putting her violin into a battered black case. He stopped for a moment, letting out an enormous sigh as the young woman picked up her violin case. She nodded at him and walked away. He turned his head and watched her go, a smirk dancing across his thin lips. He started walking again, talking into his phone.

I could smell his blood. I could almost hear his beating heart.

I could see the pulsing vein in his neck, beckoning me forward.

The sun was setting, and the lights around Jackson Square were starting to come on. The tarot card readers were folding up their tables, ready to disappear into the night. The band playing in front of the cathedral was putting their instruments away. The artists who hung their work on the iron fence around the park were long gone, as were the living statues. The square, teeming with life just a short hour earlier, was emptying of people, and the setting sun was taking the warmth with it as it slowly disappeared in the west. The cold breeze coming from the river ruffled my hair a bit as I watched the young man with the bicycle. He started wheeling the bicycle forward again, still talking on the phone. He reached the concrete ramp leading up to Chartres Street. He stopped just as he reached the street, and I focused my hearing as he became more agitated. “What do you want me to say? You’re just being a bitch, and anything I say you’re just going to turn around on me.”

I felt the burning inside.

Desire was turning into need.

I knew it was best to satisfy the desire before it became need. I could feel the knots of pain from deprivation forming behind each of my temples and knew it was almost too late. I shouldn’t have let it go this long, but I wanted to test my limits, see how long I could put off the hunger.

The first lesson I’d been taught was to always satiate the hunger while it was still desire, to never ever let it become need. It had been drilled into me over and over again, time after time. I’d been taught to feed daily, which would keep the hunger under control and keep me out of danger. Better to take small drinks every day, small drinks that left the donor a little dizzy for just a moment, than to wait and gorge on blood. When desire becomes need, vampires might not be able to stop drinking until the human is nothing more than a bloodless husk.

Need was dangerous. Need led a vampire to take risks he wouldn’t take ordinarily. And risks could lead to exposure, to a painful death.

I could hear Jean-Paul, my maker, inside my head. Why do you always want to take such risks? Why do you insist on always putting us all in danger? Why did I ever turn you?

I never listened to him. And now I was beginning to regret it as my head swam and the predator inside of me began taking control of my mind.

My insides ached, gnawing at me. All around me I could hear heartbeats pounding, everywhere around me a buffet of blood calling to me.

I had waited too long. I gulped, trying to control the rising beast.

I would follow him and drink as soon as it was safe.

He started walking again, and I began following him, focusing on the curve of his buttocks in his jeans. The T-shirt was a little too short, riding up on his back so I could see the dimples in his lower back just above the swell of his ass. He was more slender than I liked, but it didn’t matter since I wasn’t going to fuck him. I was just going to pierce his neck for a moment and drink from his veins until the desire faded and I returned to my normal state.

You haven’t been normal in over two years, a voice whispered inside my head.

I ignored it as I always did.

He crossed St. Ann Street and continued on his way up Chartres, still talking on the phone, completely oblivious to everything and everyone around him. There weren’t many people about on Chartres Street as darkness continued to fall on the Quarter, and the moon rose in the deep purple sky. I felt power surging through my body with each step I took. Darkness is the vampire’s friend, making us even more powerful, stronger. My eyes adjusted to the darkness, and everything became sharper, clearer. It had taken me a while to get used to the strength of my night vision and how different things seemed after the sun had vanished. My prey glowed in the night, and I could see the vein in his neck pulsing and pounding. I started walking faster, figuring I could catch up to him and pull him into one of the many shadowed doorways. Anyone passing by would assume we were simply enjoying a public display of affection— and the groans of pleasure he would emit as I drained off some of his blood would give further proof to the lie.

The blood scent was so strong I could almost taste it, the need rising in me again—the painful gnawing inside, the blurring in my mind as the predator struggled to take control. My knees buckled momentarily, and I knew I had to catch him soon—


I froze, stopped walking.

“My God, it is you.” A hand grabbed my arm from behind and spun me around. “I—I thought you were dead, man.”

“Let me go,” I growled, the need beginning to push everything else out of my mind. I was dangerously close to losing control.

“No way, man!” My old roommate from Beta Kappa, Jared Holcomb, was smiling at me. His entire face lit up with the smile the way it always had. His thick blond hair was longer than I remembered it being, and his muscles were thicker, stronger. He was wearing a tight pair of low- rise jeans and a tight blue shirt that hugged his torso. “Where have you been? My God... I’m so glad to see you!”

Always feed before the desire becomes need, Jean-Paul lectured inside my head again. When it becomes need, you cannot control yourself and you will take risks you usually wouldn’t. You put yourself at risk. You put all of us at risk. Is that what you want? You want us all hunted down and killed? Will that make you happy, Cord?

His voice faded and all of my conscious thought became consumed with the need.

It was too late.

The guy with the bicycle was completely forgotten.

Jared’s vein beckoned me forward. I could smell his blood, rich with iron and protein.

And I lost what little control was left.

I grabbed Jared with both hands and pulled him into an unlit doorway, wrapping my arms around him and pressing my body up against his. He made a shocked noise as he slammed back up against the door. He squirmed a bit before I sank my teeth into his neck and started drinking.

He stopped resisting, and his body melted against mine.

I could feel my cock hardening. I could feel his own hardening against mine as he began to moan as the delicious warm blood filled my mouth from the little wounds I’d made, as his precious life force entered my body. It was delicious, so satisfying, and I wanted to drink forever from him, I didn’t want to stop until—

But as the need was quenched, I knew I needed to stop.

I’d have to find someone else later, drink a little more, but I didn’t want to leave him unconscious in the doorway. The last thing I needed was for him to wind up in an emergency room somewhere.

I pulled my head back, wiping at my mouth, gasping.

Jared remained leaning against the door, his breath coming in shallow gulps. His eyes were half closed, and blood was dribbling down his neck from the holes I’d left in his throat. I took a few steps back and checked the street. There was no one nearby, no one closer than Jackson Square a half block away.

“Fuck,” I muttered under my breath. I’d gotten lucky. I shook my head, furious at myself. What if he hadn’t been alone? What if someone had come walking along at just the right moment or a police car had come around the corner at St. Ann just as I grabbed him?

When desire becomes need, a vampire forgets everything but the blood. He makes mistakes, takes risks he shouldn’t—and frequently gets caught. It must never become need, else you risk everything. Most vampires are caught—and killed—when they’ve gone too long without feeding. Don’t let that happen to you.

I must have been crazy to let it go so long—especially when there were always people about in the Quarter to feed on. What had I been thinking?

You weren’t thinking; that’s the problem, I scolded myself.

Seeing how long you could go? That’s madness, and a one-way ticket to death.

I shook my head again and pricked my right index finger with one of my teeth, then rubbed my blood over the two little holes to heal them the way Jean-Paul had shown me.

The holes didn’t close the way they usually did.

Nothing at all happened.

I stared at the wounds. It couldn’t be. They always healed.

What had I done wrong?

I could feel the panic rising in me as I rubbed more of my blood over the punctures. I heard myself muttering, “Come on, come on, come on,” over and over again, but the wounds weren’t healing the way they were supposed to, the way they always did. Instead, Jared’s blood continued to seep slowly out through them, dribbling down his neck and staining his shirt. The pale blue was turning dark just below the collar, where the running blood came into contact with the tightly fitting cotton. His nipples were erect, and all of his weight rested against the wall. He looked like he was about to fall over, like he couldn’t walk and his legs wouldn’t support his weight.

I didn’t drink that much, I thought, smiling sheepishly at an elderly couple as they walked past us. I shrugged. “My friend’s had a little too much,” I said apologetically. Their eyes narrowed and they looked away in disgust as they walked a little faster.

Jared opened his eyes a little wider, but they were still half closed. Other than the bleeding neck, he looked like so many other young college boys who drank more than they should in the Quarter. His eyes weren’t focused and looked a little too cloudy to me. “What”—he swallowed, his throat working, the Adam’s apple bobbing up and down—“wha . . . happened? Cord? I feel . . . I feel funny.”

I couldn’t just leave him there, with his neck bleeding and his shirt getting darker with wetness every passing second. Something was wrong, something was seriously wrong, and I had to get away as quickly as I could—but I couldn’t just leave him there.

Modern society might not believe in vampires, but when the police found him—and he would most certainly wind up in the hands of the police—they wouldn’t believe for a minute that he’d been attacked by a vampire, but those wounds in his neck? How would they explain them?

I couldn’t take the risk he would remember seeing me and mention me to the cops.

And since Cord Logan had died in a fire two years earlier on Lundi Gras, that was a can of worms best left unopened.

I put his left arm around my shoulders and placed his head down on my neck. At least the wounds were hidden that way, and in the growing darkness maybe no one would notice the bloody shirt. “Come on, buddy, you need to walk with me,” I whispered to him. “We’ve got to get you out of here. Can you walk?”

His head tilted back for a moment and his face lit up with a crazy grin. His eyes were still a little glassy, but he just looked drunk, thank the heavens. “Cord, buddy.” His voice sounded raspy. “I knew you weren’t dead. I tole them all you weren’t dead.” He shook his head, which seemed almost a little too heavy for his neck. “I tole them I’d know if you were dead, buddy, and no one believed me.” He sounded aggrieved, and for a brief moment I felt tears swimming in my eyes.

He’d been like a brother to me, in so many ways.

I wiped at the wetness in my eyes. “Come on, it’s just a couple of blocks.” I smiled into his eyes, willing him to start walking. “Use me for support if you can’t stand up, okay? It’ll be like that mixer with the Kappas, remember?”

“Okay, buddy,” he replied, and laughed. “Stupid Kappa bitches.”

A wave of emotion washed over me. That was what he’d always called them, and for a brief moment I remembered the days we’d shared a room at the Beta Kappa house at Ole Miss. The laughs we shared together, the joy in friendship and the bond of brotherhood, and the innocence of two boys growing from teenagers into men together.

It seemed like a million years ago. I took a deep breath and started walking him along the sidewalk. Most of his two hundred or so pounds rested on me. Had I still been just a mortal, there was no way I could have supported him, and we both would have fallen to the ground. But I was no longer mortal, and while I had not matured into my full strength as a vampire—Jean-Paul said it would take another fifty or so mortal years for that to happen— I was a lot stronger than the twenty-year-old college student I’d been when I’d been turned. We shuffled our way through Jackson Square and past the Presbytere. No one was really paying any attention to us. It was an all too common sight in the French Quarter—Jared looked like every other young man who’d had too much to drink and needed to be helped back to his hotel. We turned and headed down the narrow alley between the Presbytere and the cathedral. The alley was empty and silent other than our footsteps against the stone. Even though I was stronger, I was still having trouble drawing breath by the time we reached Royal Street. We headed up Orleans, past the crowds on Bourbon and the dancing hand grenade in front of Tropical Isle, and before I knew it, I was helping him up the steps of Jean-Paul’s house between Dauphine and Burgundy Streets. I put the key in the lock and helped him into the house, setting him down on the couch in the double parlor just inside the front door.
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sherry fundin said...

Welcome back. Happy New Year.

SacredmOOn said...

Welcome back. That's great you had a nice vacation. Happy New Year! :)
DeAnna Schultz

Victoria said...

Happy New Year!

Thank you :)

Ruth Ayres said...

Happy New Year!

Carol L. said...

Happy New Year and thanks for this giveaway opportunity. Liked the excerpt.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot com

sherry fundin said...

Glad to see you back. Happy New Year.

SacredmOOn said...

Welcome back! Happy New Year! :)
Thank you for the monthly email giveaways!
DeAnna Schultz