Armored Hearts Blog Tour

Armored Hearts_fb

July 1, 2013 – July 31, 2013

By: Melissa Turner Lee & Pauline Creeden

Cover art by Marcy Rachel Designs

Model Photographer: WinterWolf Studios

 

 

Armored Hearts 3D standing (1)When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself

and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought

Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park and left behind while

his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair.

Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a

distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.

*This is an exciting collaboration between a Steampunk writer and a Paranormal Romance author.

Together we are blending the two cultures as seamlessly as possible so that fans of both genre will

love what we’ve come up with.

 

 

 

Armored Hearts kindle crop (1)Excerpt:

Twelve-year-old Tristan Gareth Smyth gripped the armrests of his wheelchair and said,

“This will do. I can make it the rest of the way on my own from here.”

His eyes trained up the landmark tree and he had that feeling again. The vapor of a

memory, maybe a dream. He always had that feeling when he looked up at the broad branches

of this particular oak. Then he remembered who he was talking to and his face hardened.

The new maid, Sarah, with her strong Scottish burr, patted him on the shoulder. Gareth

refused to look at her. He stared down at his knee pants instead. “Are ye sure ye will be alright?

I do na mind walking with ye the rest of the way to Mr. Strong’s house.”

Gareth clenched his hands into fists. “I’ll be fine.”

“Too bad he didn’t like coming out to the manor. Remember how green Mr. Strong got

when he choked on my spice cake that day and ran off.” She laughed but tried to cover it with

a cough. “I thought that would be the end of ’im but he worked it out with yer grandfather to

instruct ye in town. Funny, my spice didn’t bother the rest of ye.”

She bent down in front of Gareth, attempting to make eye contact. “There are lots of

children in this section of town. Ye might try making friends with ’em.”

Gareth turned away and clenched his jaw. Children never wanted to make friends with

him. The chair made them uncomfortable. And what did he care anyway? He attempted to give

her as stern a look as his grandfather would. “I know the way from here, and I won’t be late.

You can go on to market, now.”

The breeze picked up and blew wisps of red hair into the woman’s round face. She

smiled. Was she making fun of him? “Oh, it’s such a pretty day. This fresh air will do ye good,

for certain.”

Gareth scowled.

She patted her hands on her knees and stood straight again. “Well then, I’ll leave ye to

it. I’ve got to run off to the baker’s. Be sure to get to Mr. Strong’s in a timely manner. Though I

think yer old governess was doing a fine job. Not sure why ye need Mr. Strong. But I guess it’s

none of my concern.”

She was a servant, in uniform, and he was a future lord. Following his instruction was

her duty. She and her husband, Thompton had been employed by his grandfather only six

months. They might find themselves out of work and heading back to Scotland, if she kept

voicing that sort of opinion.

No, Gareth could never really get them fired. But he’d make her think he would. He

shook his head in the same disapproving manner he’d seen his grandfather use.

The sunlight played in the golden highlights of the woman’s ruby hair. Although her

green eyes twinkled, she continued to voice her cutting opinion. She placed one hand on his

shoulder. “It’s not being stuck in this chair that keeps ye lonely. It’s yer surly attitude.”

Gareth couldn’t help but let his face scrunch a little. He crossed his arms and turned his

face from her.

Her accent was thick and melodic, familiar in a way. His mother had been Scottish

though he hardly remembered her. Still, Gareth kept his pout in place. The truth was, he didn’t

know how to relate to others. Even people who could feel at ease talking to perfect strangers

stammered or spoke quickly to him and walked away. The wheelchair did more than keep him

from playing.

She straightened the collar of his waistcoat. “Look, there’s a little girl coming now. She

looks to be about Tabitha’s age. Maybe a wee bit older.”

He did glance then, but just under his lashes, not to give the impression that he cared.

Easier to act like he didn’t care than to show he truly did. He refused to give anyone more

reason to feel sorry for him. No one pities an angry person.

He missed Tabitha…Tabitha Fitzgerald, Lord Gerald Smyth’s bastard daughter. But

ward was her polite title. At five years old, she was the only person he allowed to get close.

Maybe it was the way she climbed up in his lap, never caring about the wheelchair. She didn’t

see it when she looked at him, she only saw Gareth.

He never spoke to Tabitha about who her parents really were, but she knew. For some

reason, servants believed children to be both deaf and dumb, and gossiped openly around

them. That’s how Gareth knew the truth about his own mother. He was told she died, but he’d

overheard the maids say she had run back home to Scotland and how they didn’t blame her.

It’s also how he’d learned the truth of his own father’s death—shot by his mistress’s jealous

husband.

“I’m heading off. I’ll be sure to get ye a sweet roll for later.”

Gareth only grunted in response.

When the maid turned away, Gareth allowed himself to watch the little girl play. Her

hair was a darker blonde than Tabitha’s and had streaks of amber. She looked to be a bit taller,

too, as she ran around in a green day dress and stockings. She pushed a hoop along until she

reached the tree. Once there she looked both ways. Her eyes met Gareth’s and, for a moment,

he was tempted to turn away to keep her from doing it first. Instead, she smiled broadly and

beckoned him closer.

Gareth wheeled his chair to the tree trunk, his curiosity getting the better of him. The

girl dropped the hoop on the ground and took hold of the lowest branch. She whispered in an

accent he didn’t recognize, “Keep watch for me, and call out if you see anyone coming.”

His chin tucked in and his eyes grew wide. She took it as assent, and nodded, starting

her climb. She was spirited like Tabitha. The thought of being able to climb a tree at all pricked

at Gareth’s heart. He would never get to climb a tree.

Again he took on the expression of being bored. No one needed to know he was jealous

of the girl. Gareth made a habit of never owning his true feelings. It was his protective covering.

With his lids half closed, he tried not to watch the girl or keep an eye out for anyone else’s

approach. Without his permission, his gaze returned to the girl’s powder white limbs as she

climbed higher than most children did.

Soon she was too high up.

Gareth adjusted himself in his seat, his eyes darting around. Instead of keeping lookout,

he hoped for some adult to show up and tell the girl to come down.

The girl called down in a harsh whisper.“Look! Watch this.”

She scooted out on a limb, making her way to a bird’s nest. The limb wobbled as she got

closer to the end.

He was about to call out a warning to her when it was too late. The branch snapped.

The little girl was falling with barely a squeal.

All Gareth could think was that he needed to do something. It was then he noticed he

was rushing towards her. He wasn’t sure how he was moving his wheelchair and catching her

but he did. Her giant brown eyes grew as he held her. Then she looked about and her eyes

became wider. He swallowed hard and stared at the ground several feet away.

In a rush, he placed the girl on the grass and flew back to his chair. His heart

still pounded in his ears as he sat. He tried to mask his confusion as he masked all other

uncomfortable emotions, but it wasn’t working. The girl stared at him, but said nothing as a

dark haired woman rushed toward her.

“Sweeting, are you ok?” The woman swept the girl up into her arms. “I got here as fast

as I could. I can’t believe you did that. I thought I told you not to climb that tree.”

She put the girl back down and looked her over, grabbing her head and looking for a

sign of injury. “Aren’t you hurt at all? I saw you falling from the window upstairs.”

The girl shook her head too quickly, like she was still in shock.

“Come on back to the house,” the pinch-faced woman snapped, ushering the little girl

The girl yanked her hand free of the woman’s grasp and rushed back to Gareth. She

placed an object in his hand and kissed his cheek.

“You were amazing,” she whispered and turned back to the woman who called out her

Gareth’s cheeks burned. What did the woman say the girl’s name was? He didn’t hear

with the blood rushing to his ear drums. Jessie? Jenny?

The woman scolded the girl as she returned to her. “What did you do? Where are your

manners? You don’t talk to cripples. Best to act like you don’t see them at all.”

The words struck Gareth like a bucket of cold water. But he let it slide off him as he

thought about the fact that he had flown. He watched after the girl as her dark eyes stared back.

His mind was muddled at what had happened. The muscles in his face hardened and he glared

at the woman’s back as they retreated.

Shaking his head, he remembered he was supposed to be heading to Mr. Strong’s house.

He pushed on the wheels of his chair down the road again. He’d forgotten he was holding

something, and nearly dropped it. The small, pale blue-green stone had a few dark wrinkles,

but almost looked like a robin’s egg. He put it to his nose. Flowers. It smelled just like the girl.

Gareth was so caught up in staring at how tiny the stone was in his palm, he’d forgotten

all about Mr. Strong until the man called, “Master Tristan, what are you doing out here? You

were to report to my house a quarter of an hour ago.”

“I prefer Gareth.” He narrowed his eyes at the pale, feeble man.

Mr. Strong ran a hand through his thin blond hair and smiled, his lips forming a thin

line. “Yes, of course.”

Mr. Strong placed himself behind Gareth’s chair and pushed down the lane. “I have an

excellent plan for your studies today. I see you’ve brought no supplies from your home, but no

matter, I have plenty of paper and pens to practice your lettering…”

Gareth rolled his eyes, knowing Mr. Strong couldn’t see. The man’s cheerful babble

continued as he pushed them towards the house past the inn. The stone rolled between

Gareth’s fingers, and he remembered the feeling of the girl’s lips on his cheek.

 

Authors:

 

Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a

concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing

since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from

professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.

How to find Melissa:

Blog: http://melissaturnerlee.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/melissaturnerlee

Twitter: @MelissaTLee1975

 

melissaturnerlee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pauline Creeden is a horse trainer from

Virginia, but writing is her therapy. In her fiction, she creates worlds that are both familiar and

strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her

stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.

How to find Pauline:

Website: http://paulinecreeden.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/paulinecreeden

Twitter: @P_Creeden

 

paulienecreeden

 

 

Giveaway

1 Necklace, 2 swag packs and a signed Paperback

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CM Stunich Cover reveal

Losing Me, Finding You Synopsis:

Twenty-one year old Amy Cross’s idea of a hot Saturday night is curling up with her favorite book boyfriend and secretly sneaking a bottle of her mother’s wine. That is, until she meets Austin Sparks, the biker boy with a past that burns like fire and a gaze she can’t look away from. Without knowing what she’s doing or why she’s doing it, Amy ends up on the road with Austin traveling from one city to another while learning things she’s only ever read about in romance novels.

At first it seems like Austin is Amy’s fantasy come true, but as their journey progresses, she starts to sense that Austin is running away from something. Amy knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to help him find himself. What she doesn’t expect is that she’ll lose herself in the process and how good it will feel to be free.

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Losing-Finding-Erotic-Romance-ebook/dp/B00CG6W73O/ref=sr_1_20?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1375134290&sr=1-20&keywords=CM+Stunich

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Me, Trusting You Synopsis: 

The Triple M Motorcycle Gang has a new president in Austin Sparks, the bad boy biker that swept Amy Cross off her feet. And nobody’s happier about that than Gaine Kelley. Now that his best friend has finally found the woman of his dreams, Gaine’s free to go after Mireya. But what if she isn’t ready yet? What if the demons from her past howl so loud she can’t hear him calling?

Mireya Sawyer isn’t ready for love. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Especially not when the one thing she’s always fought for is called into question. Triple M may not be a ‘real’ MC, but they’re posing as one, and there are people that don’t like that. People who can’t accept the way they do things and are willing to take the time to put a stop to it. With several rival gangs circling around, threatening the rights of the women in Triple M, Mireya knows it’s time to forget her love affair with Austin and move on. Thing is, Gaine’s not willing to stand on the sidelines anymore. He loves her, but can she trust him?

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

Image of C.M. StunichC.M. Stunich was raised under a cover of fog in the area known simply as Eureka, CA. A mysterious place, this strange, arboreal land nursed Caitlin’s (yes, that’s her name!) desire to write strange fiction novels about wicked monsters, magical trains, and Nemean Lions (Google it!). She currently enjoys drag queens, having too many cats, and tribal bellydance.

Always a fan of the indie scene and ‘sticking it to the man,’ Ms. Stunich decided to take the road less traveled and forgo the traditional publishing route. You can be assured though that she received several rejections as to ensure her proper place in the world of writers before taking up a friend’s offer to start a publishing company. Sarian Royal was born, and Ms. Stunich’s books slowly transformed from mere baking chocolate to full blown tortes with hand sculpted fondant flowers.

C.M. is a writer obsessed with delivering the very best and scours her mind on a regular basis to select the most unusual stories for the outside world.

Ms. Stunich can be reached via e-mail or by post and loves to hear from her readers. Ms. Stunich also wrote this biography and has no idea why she decided to refer to herself in the third person.

 

Website: www.cmstunich.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cmstunich?fref=ts

 

Moonlight Series Book 1

First I want to apologize because this post was supposed to be up sooner but I set the date wrong. Silly me!

Lisa Kessler, if you haven’t read anything by her you are missing out, is such a sweet and amazing woman!

 

 

LisaKessler_Moonlight_final-680x1020

 

About Moonlight, book 1 in The Moon Series

Rancher Adam Sloan is more than meets the eye. As the heir to his Pack, the sexy werewolf’s biggest

challenge is keeping his kin’s true nature under wraps. But a group of jaguar shifters threatens to reveal

the pack, blasting into town killing humans in plain sight. And when he smells one at the local diner,

his standing orders are to take her out.

Lana Turpin doesn’t realize she’s a moving target. Raised in the foster system, she only knows that

she blacks out during the new moon and wakes up without remembering a thing. But now she’s being

tracked by some strange organization that wants her back–even though she’s never stepped foot inside

their compound. And the stranger across the diner is watching her like an enemy.

It should be a simple mission for Adam, but when he touches the frustratingly beautiful Lana, his inner

wolf howls…mate. Now, the two must find and stop the people who hunt her…and Adam must keep his

own family from killing the only woman he will ever love.

 

“A fabulous read. Lisa Kessler is an up and coming author to remember!”

Sherrilyn Kenyon #1 NYT Bestselling Author of the Dark-Hunter Series

 

Where to find Lisa Kessler:

http://www.amazon.com/Moonlight-Moon-Series-Entangled-ebook/dp/B00CGFGS3A

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moonlight-lisa-kessler/1115161574

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17834401-moonlight

https://www.facebook.com/MoonSeriesLisaKessler

 

 

Lisa Kessler Author PhotoAbout the Author

Lisa Kessler is an award-winning author of dark paranormal fiction. Her debut novel, Night Walker,

won a San Diego Book Award for best Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror, and many other awards. Her short stories

have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was

a finalist for a Bram Stoker award. Lisa lives in southern California with her husband and two amazing

kids.

Visit her at:

http://Lisa-Kessler.com/

https://twitter.com/LdyDisney

https://www.facebook.com/LisaKesslerWriter

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the Moonlight launch, Lisa’s giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, a bullet necklace that’s

just like Adam’s, a Moonlight cover necklace, and the Night series in ebook format.

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moonlight-bt

Elizabeth Black

Trouble In Thigh High Boots
Blurb:

This isn’t your mother’s Puss In Boots.

This erotic version of Puss In Boots, “Trouble In Thigh High Boots” is a story packed with hot, sexy, body-humping adult fairy tale erotica.

“”Trouble in Thigh High Boots” is a delightfully creative retelling of the Puss in Boots tale. It is a tale that has been told myriad times, but never in such a wonderfully imaginative way. The characters are enchanting, and the story flows beautifully. The love scenes are sizzling.”

— Hitherandthee of Night Owl Reviews

WARNING: Tita isn’t your run of the mill Puss In Boots. She’s a cat shapeshifter who turns into a mouth-wateringly sexy human woman with a sex drive to match. This story includes M/F, F/F, M/F/M/F, light bondage, and erotic lactation. This erotic fairy tale will get you hot in all the right places. Definitely for only 18 years and over.

 Tita is a Puss In Boots with a little something extra. Being a magical creature, she shifts from a kitty into the form of an alluring, ginger-haired woman when the situation demands it. And what a situation she finds herself in! Her new master Dylan is a poor man who needs a boost in the world. Sly Tita uses her seductive wiles to pass him off to the villagers and the king as the Marquis of Carabas in order to help both of them gain their fortunes. Her plan is not without its problems. Dylan’s malicious brother, Zane, lusts after Tita, and he wants her all to himself, but she refuses to succumb to his treachery. Being a cat first and foremost, she purrs in the arms of her many lovers but her heart belongs to only one man – the king. She hopes that in ensuring Dylan his lofty place in the world the king finds a place in his heart for her. Her life becomes an erotic adventure in reaching her goals.

Buy Links:
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Thigh-Boots-Lactation-ebook/dp/B009KSFDDW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367690323&sr=8-1&keywords=trouble+in+thigh+high+boots
B&N
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trouble-in-thigh-high-boots-elizabeth-black/1113575032?ean=2940044970694
Author Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack?fref=ts
Website: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com/
Prize Info:
Elizabeth is giving away one ecopy of her other Erotic Fairy Tale “Climbing her Tower” at each stop of the tour. She is also giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card to one grand prize winner. Rafflecopter code below for the grand prize.
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Schedule:
7/22: Simply Ali
7/23: Readers After Dark
7/24: Regina May Ross
7/25: Mimmi’s Musings
7/26: Storm Goddess Reviews

Cynthia Eden Sharpshooter

Blurb: 
Heart-pounding action meets smoldering desire in USA TODAY bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s Shadow Agents miniseries!  Two years ago Gunner Ortez saved Sydney Sloan’s life on a mission gone wrong. And ever since then, he’s been watching her back. Now a hostage-rescue mission is about to blow the Elite Ops agents’ lives apart once again.
Working side by side back in the jungles of Peru, the heat between Sydney and Gunner is hotter than ever-and so are the threats to their lives. With the danger escalating, Sydney knows Gunner is her only hope at successfully completing their assignment. But the ex-SEAL who arouses passion she’d only dreamed about also poses the greatest risk to the secret she carries in her heart…and in her belly.

 

Author’s Bio:

 

USA Today Best-selling author Cynthia Eden has written over twentyfive novels and novellas. She was named as a 2013 RITA her paranormal romance, ANGEL IN CHAINS, and, in 2011, Cynthia Eden was a RITA finalist for her romantic suspense, DEADLY FEAR. Cynthia is a southern girl who loves horror movies, chocolate, and happy endings. She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populateher romantic suspense stories.

Cynthia’s foreign sales for her books include translations to Japan, Germany, Thailand, Greece, and Brazil. (Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people). Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor.

But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.

 

Author Links:

 

Website/Blog: http://www.cynthiaeden.com/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cynthiaeden

 

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaedenfanpage?fref=ts

 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/153738.Cynthia_Eden

 

 

Book Links:

 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17382820-sharpshooter

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373747586?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-

 

20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0373747586&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6Y

 

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Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sharpshooter-cynthia-eden/1114668416?

 

ean=9780373747580&itm=1&usri=9780373747580

 

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Books/sharpshooter

 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/book/sharpshooter-mills-boon-intrigue/id668132002?mt=11

 

Books A Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Sharpshooter/Cynthia-Eden/9780373697045?

 

id=5653475406369

 

AbeBooks: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?

 

bi=10581635084&searchurl=afn_sr%3Dgan%26amp%3Bbi%3D0%26amp%3Bbx%3Doff%26amp%3Bds%

 

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IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780373747580

Reality cover reveal

 

17938428

Title: Reality (The Life of Arie)

Synopsis:  This story has manifested into a series of books following the journey of Arie as her life and world changes after the death of her mom and the introduction of an unexpected love triangle.

Reality (Book 1): Arie slowly discovers she’s more different then she could have ever imagined and that love exists on more then one level and reality. As her journey of discovery begins, more questions then answers arise.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17938428-reality

Until Death Do Us Part

Title: Until Death Do Us Part

Until Death Cover

Author: James Fuller

 

Genre: Paranormal Erotica

 

Release Date: “middle” of June

 

Tour Organizer: B3

 

Synopsis: What was supposed to be a lustful night of passion and sinful, sexual thrill turned bloody in a way he could never have imagined, revealing a predator that plagued the night and feasted on the living…Fueled by the bleakest of hope and the haunting images of the past, Conner cleaves a path of retribution through the midnight world of vampires; dangling his morals and life in the balance to retain what little he has left of his former self, praying each step will bring him closer to finding ‘her’ and the one that took everything from him…

 

Book links:

 

http://www.authorjamesfuller.com/until-death-do-us-part.html

 

Author Bio:

 

James Fuller has enjoyed the fine art of writing for many years now, he‘s

 

been busy with many on the go book projects lately as he‘s extended his writing from

 

fantasy fiction to also writing a short story anthology as well as an up and coming zombie

 

apocalypse. His popularity has grown not only locally but online through Facebook

 

where he runs his author’s page which is constantly growing as he hosts contests and

 

give-aways daily.

 

James has an absolute passion for his characters and unique twisted plots with his

 

detailed writing skills that really brings his books to life and makes his characters and

 

their journeys so favourable. As an author he also goes above and beyond when it comes

 

to writing battle scenes, the intricate design and explanations of fighting, not only in

 

swordplay but also in tactics is one of James incredible expertise in which he delights in.

 

When James isn’t on his computer writing the third instalment of the Fall Of A King

 

series “The Bastard King: Birthright“, he enjoys recreational activities such a camping,

 

fishing, hiking, and archery. Along with being an adventurous outdoors man James also

 

spends many of his hours in a day as a devoted husband and father.

 

Author Links:

 

Website: http://authorjamesfuller.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJamesFuller

 

Erotica Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJamesFullerErotica

 

Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/James-Fuller/e/B006TNSNSS/

 

ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1370863177&sr=8-1

 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/492187.James_Fuller

 

Excerpt:

 

Conner sat in a dimly lit corner of the small run down hotel room, the old

 

faded seventies floral papered walls casting shadows across his rugged unshaven

 

features. He inhaled deeply off his cigarette and for a moment the sensation of

 

warm favoured smoke rolling down into his lungs was all he cared about, all else

 

ceased for that briefest of time and he wished that moment could last forever but

 

it wouldn’t. He placed the cigarette in the grimy, glass ashtray upon the cheap,

 

scratched up pinewood table beside him and exhaled two streams of thick smoke

 

from his nostrils.

 

The wooden chair made a creaking noise as his weight shifted back and he

 

pulled a worn photograph from his leather coat pocket. He stared down at it for

 

a long time lost in a better place. His fingers slowly ran over the creases and torn

 

edges that had marred it with time. It was the last good picture he had left and he

 

knew he should have it framed and safe from the damage it would be forced to

 

endure on his person, but he couldn’t, he needed it close to him so.

 

He returned the picture and glanced over at the two naked women in bed,

 

their slender, tanned bodies still sleek with the sweat of love making. He chided

 

himself with a shake of his head, no he would not try and fool himself, what they

 

had done had not been ‘love making’ it had been sex, plain and simple. An act of

 

lustful desires with a hidden purpose on both sides, yet he would not deny the

 

pleasure he had taken from it.

 

He closed his eyes taking another drag off his cigarette as flashes of their

 

eager, firm bodies against his ran rampant through his mind; their exploring

 

hands caressing not only the hardness of his body but the voluptuous curves of

 

each other’s willing to discover all the pleasures that could be had. He could still

 

feel their hungry mouths upon him, silken lips tasting every forbidden place and

 

trying to find more.

 

Meaningless sex was about the only pleasure he knew anymore. The

 

thought reminded him of a deep grievous memory and the real reason he was

 

here now in this room, waiting, because of a girl just like one of them.

 

Conner watched their slow breathing and knew it would be hours still

 

before either would wake. The drug he had added to their last drink would ensure

 

that much. He couldn’t have them waking up before tonight’s exploit was done,

 

he wanted no harm to come to them if it could be avoided. This wasn’t their fault,

 

they were only pones in a sick and dark game.

 

He knew what they were and who they worked for just as they had known

 

exactly who he had been. He was the reason they had been in that filthy dive bar

 

to begin with. Girls of their caliber didn’t go to places like that without instruction.

 

It was why they had come so easily to him flashing him their seductive smiles with

 

batting eyelashes and playful touches that promised of sinful delights. They had

 

thought they had him baited but it was really he who had beguiled them into this

 

room.

 

He pulled the Colt .45 from the holster at his side and popped the chamber

 

open pulling out one of his hand crafted bullets. He ran a rough finger over the

 

smooth surface of the soft hawthorn wood tip. He uses hawthorn because it was

 

pliable and upon impact it broke apart allowing the potent herb, Vervain to be

 

released into the blood stream. A shot to the heart was fatal, anywhere else just

 

wounded and slowed the vile creatures he hunted. A shot to the head would

 

bring them down and incapacitate them for an hour or more but unless the heart

 

was destroyed or body burned to ash there was no stopping them. But there was

 

one element that gave Conner an edge, the sun was fatal to these creature of the

 

night. It was something he exploited as often as he could, but when he needed

 

them to come to him he had to play during their hours.

 

He slid the bullet back into the chamber and flicked it closed reaching for

 

his cigarette again the gun resting ready on his lap. How long would he have to

 

wait he wondered as he took a long slow drag, not much longer he was sure. They

 

were never patient despite their immortal existence, and neither was he.

 

His eyes lingered back to the stunning display of exposed flesh upon the

 

old hotel bed. He had seen the scars, and the scarlet rims around their eyes, they

 

were damphyr’s, used for daylight tasks and to feed upon when other pray was in

 

short supply. Bonded dutiful to whoever had compelled them. The thought made

 

him sick to his stomach and he gripped the revolver tighter, he could save them

 

tonight… he would save them from the nightmare.

 

The sound of footsteps outside in the hallway was dulled only slightly by

 

the paper thin walls of the hotel and drew his attention from the girls back to the

 

door and its tarnished Victorian style handle and hinges. He threaded a silencer

 

onto the well oiled barrel of his gun and pointed it at the door his heart pounding

 

faster as anticipation grew.

 

The footsteps stop and a dark shadow loomed between the small space

 

between the door and the seventies faded carpet. Suddenly the door burst in,

 

splintering off the wooden frame like it was paper and crashing to the floor.

 

“You’re a dead man Conner!” A deep voice bellowed and a bulky, dark

 

skinned man with long, braided black hair stepped into the room. His eyes

 

seethed with an unnatural glow and the muscles in his face twitched in rage as

 

two long fangs protruded from his upper jaw.

 

The man stopped and looked down at the two girls passed out on the bed.

 

“Useless bitches where is he!” He hissed.

 

“Right here ugly.” Conner pulled the trigger and the bullet slammed into

 

the big man’s chest just missing his heart by a fingers width.

 

The large vampire stumbled back growling like a feral beast, the wound

 

hissed and blistered as the Vervain burned him from within. The dark skinned

 

man glared at him with pained hatred. “You’re going to pay for that human!”

 

Conner let two more shots free, they tore into his chest before the vampire

 

had a chance to use its unpredictable speed and strength against him. The

 

creature crashed into the back wall and slumped to the floor its face twisting in

 

violent agony as the bullets did their nasty deed.

 

Conner stood over the thrashing vampire. “Who sent you?”

 

“Fuck you!” He hissed bitterly clawing at the three bullet holes trying to

 

tear out the segmented pieces and powdered herb as it seared his insides.

 

“Tell me who sent you and where they are hiding and I will end your

 

miserable suffering.”

 

“I’m not telling you shit Conner!” He grimaced as he plucked a wooden chip

 

out.

 

“You’ll tear your whole chest cavity out before you get them all and then I’ll

 

just put three more back in you. So how about you do yourself a favour and tell

 

me what I want to know.”

 

“You might as well just kill me because I’ll tell you nothing.”

 

Conner’s smiled coldly. “I think you will.” He fired twice more the bullets

 

blew through the vampire’s knees and the side of his revolver smashed against

 

its jaw silencing the howls of anguish that erupted. “Let’s try this again. Who sent

 

you?”

 

The vampire’s eyes burned with a deep, bitter resentment. “You already

 

fucking know who! Why else would you be here.”

 

The words hit him harder then he cared to admit even though he had

 

suspected them as much. “Where is she?”

 

The man smiled up at him weakly. “I can hear your heart pounding, you

 

scared Conner?” he chuckled callously. “You should be, but don’t you worry; she’ll

 

find you when she is ready too.”

 

Conner fired the last bullet into the vampire’s heart and watched its

 

eyes nearly bulge from his head before they closed forever. He stood back and

 

watched dutiful as the body quickly began to shrivel and flake away into chips and

 

dust until nothing was left but a pile of broken, black ash.

 

He moved over to the bed and rolled both girls onto their backs. He lifted

 

the redhead’s eye lids and was glad to see the thin scarlet rim that surrounded

 

the pupil was fading. He lifted the blondes and cursed, the rim remained meaning

 

the vampire he had just killed hadn’t been the one to compel her.

 

He quickly replaced the bullets in his revolver in case he needed them

 

fearing the other vampire would come to join him at any moment. He had learned

 

the hard way once before of not staying prepared and it had almost cost him his

 

life. The empty casings he pocketed and would refill later.

 

Conner looked down at the girls. He couldn’t leave them here, the one

 

would go back to her master and if they didn’t kill her for failing she just be back

 

out doing their bidding. The other when she woke would be scared and confused

 

and likely get herself locked up in a mental hospital if she tried to tell anyone or

 

worse. Neither deserved such a fate.

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