Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over romance author, Amber Kallyn. Amber’s chatting about her latest release, Bloodstorm (Heart of a Vampire- Book 1). This book sounds great. Gotta love those vamps!
Amber is graciously giving away an Ecopy of Bloodstorm to THREE lucky commenters!
Let’s hear from Amber…
I remember a few years ago as I delved into my dragon shifters and wrestled with my Angels and Demons, saying flat out I would never write about vampires. I mean, there are so many great books out there already, I didn’t have anything fresh or interesting to bring to the table.
I’m lying in bed trying to sleep (one of the few quiet times I have to do the creative thing) when a new character wakes up in my head.
She sidles up to me and whispers, “Hello.”
“Hi,” I reply. “Who are you?”
“The name’s Niki. And do I have a story for you.” Then she flashes me a grin, complete with fangs. I jump back from the sight, hands up, shaking my head.
“B-but you’re a vampire,” I tell her. “I don’t write vampires.”
Her eyes shone, red bleeding into the color. “You do now.”
The next morning she was still there, hovering in the back of my mind. Little by little, she introduced me to her lover, Shane, and a whole new world of vampires, shifters and magic.
Niki was such a pain, I couldn’t ignore her. When I finally listened, I realized my vampires don’t follow the standard conventions. They can get a tan, though the sun will weaken them. The whole Holy Water & garlic doesn’t do a thing except leave you with a pissed off, damp, vamp.
They drink blood, but a nice gourmet meal will help them keep that whole humanity thing going. Like anyone, a liquid diet makes them true monsters of the dark.
Stakes hurt, but to truly kill a vampire in my world, it’s off with their heads or they’ll be back.
They’re supernatural beings, fast and strong, but under it all, they still face the same emotional needs as anyone.
In the end, they want to belong and to be loved.
Did I bring anything new to the world of vampire stories? Maybe.
Most of all, I hope what I brought was Niki and her story of hope and love and redemption.
When duty forces a shaman to stop a vampire from her revenge, love doesn’t just burn... it bites.
For two hundred years, Niki DeVeraux has been tracking the monster who murdered her family and made her a vampire. She finally catches up to him only to face more than she bargained for in a too-sexy sheriff who makes her remember she’s still a woman. With duties as Keeper of the peace and Sheriff, Shane Spencer must protect humanity and stop the friction between the local Arcaine races before it turns into an all out blood war.
When wolves start turning up dead, the tension between the races grows and suspicion falls on Niki. Shane knows she’s not to blame, and it has nothing to do with the primal urges she stirs within him. Working together, they must stop the hostilities from going over the edge. Trouble is, the desires raging between them might prove more dangerous than the surrounding threats.
The pitch black tunnel, complete with crumbling dirt walls and cobwebs, didn’t frighten Nicola DeVeraux. The dark held nothing to fear. She’d seen too many real monsters in the years since her death.
Besides, her night vision was as good as any human’s in the bright light of day.
She stepped over a skeleton, then around the grisly remains of a wild boar.
At the far end of the tunnel, candlelight flared to life, as if welcoming her into the witch’s den. Her boots stirred up dust as she entered the small cave.
The walls glinted with a mix of crystalline dirt and flecked stone. The scent of a nearby spring layered heavy moisture in the air. In the center of the cavern stood a long rectangular table, covered by a black velvet cloth. Strange items, some unrecognizable at first--or even second--glance, littered the top.
Spinning at the gravelly, androgynous voice, Niki grabbed for the dagger at her waist.
The old crone cackled as she entered, her grin nearly toothless. Stringy gray hair straggled around her plump, wrinkled, face. Jezamine glided to the table. “I didn’t think ye’d answer my summons.”
“You asked me to come, old woman. I assume there’s a reason.” Though the dark tunnel hadn’t scared her, the witch did. Niki forced herself to take another step, though she kept a tense grip on the hilt of her still-sheathed dagger.
“What question do ye ask the gods?”
Ignoring the tension roiling in her stomach, she moved to the woman’s side. “They’re finally ready to answer me?”
Jezamine laughed again, the sound sending skitters down Niki’s spine. “Ye know they take their time, girl.”
“Fine. I want to know if I’ll finally find the man who murdered my family.”
The old woman reached for a silver cup etched with strange markings. She shook it three times before dumping the contents into a circle made from small, round crystals. Human finger bones clattered against one another. She bent over the table.
Jezamine had looked as ancient a hundred years ago as she did now. “Hmm. Yes. Mmm.” The old woman poked at one bone sticking above the others. “But what ‘bout...”
Niki eased onto one of the dark wooden stools at the far end of the table.
The priestess sprung upright, staring at Niki with her fathomless dark eyes. Her inky black lips stretched in a grimacing smile. “It’s yer birthday. Samhain be a good day for birthin’.”
Niki clenched her fists in her lap. “Not really.”
Halloween was a cursed day to be born. It had brought her nothing but pain, brought her family nothing but death.
The old woman poked at the bones again. “Maybe. Maybe ye be finding the monster ye seek, maybe be getting some other kind of lucky.” Jezamine’s screeching laugh echoed from the cavern walls.
Shivers inched along Niki’s spine and flooded into her legs. Thankfully she was sitting down. “What do you mean, some other kind of lucky?”
Jezamine’s dark eyes glittered. “Girl, I don’t think ye want me telling. Don’t think the Fates want me telling.”
“Then what about Thomas?” Her nails poked painfully into her palms.
“Lil’ girl. Why ye wanna spend all yer time tracking down pure evil?”
Memories flashed. The Halloween ball, celebrating not just her seventeenth birthday, but her engagement as well. The plantation in the bayou, ringing with music and laughter. At least until dawn arrived, the sun shining down on nothing but death.
Niki shook the old pain away. “Duty,” she repeated. “He owes me vengeance.”
“’Tis a fine line ye walk between revenge and justice.” Jezamine shook her head, the corners of her lips drooping in a frown. “Revenge make yer soul dark as his.”
“I don’t care.” In the far corner of the cave, wisps of white fog crept up the walls. Soon they would form into the shapes of those long dead.
She jumped to her feet, turning away. “Can you tell me anything else?”
Jezamine walked around the table to face her. “’Ware child. He who turned ye may also be the cause of yer downfall.”
Niki lifted her chin, facing down the old woman’s words, the Fates themselves. “Not until after I’ve killed him.”
As Shane Spencer finished the last of his beer, his deputy, Chase Campton, strode by, slapping him on the back.
“Another re-election year well done, Sheriff.”
The small crowd in the bar cheered and the waitress, Rae, slipped another bottle onto his corner table.
Shane tipped his cowboy hat politely and plastered on a fake smile, unable to join in the spirit. All day, something dark had been hanging over the town. Not that anyone else sensed it. He needed to go to his childhood home. On the edge of town, the house sat at the borderline of the Apache reservation and Moss Creek.
His father, head shaman and seer, would know what the signs meant. Once again, doubt crept up inside Shane. How did the Fates pass over the eldest in their family and choose him as their father’s successor? It had never before happened in their tribe’s history.
He nursed the beer, deep in thought.
The door banged open, a cold autumn breeze swirled the smoky air. A woman followed it in, stopping just inside the bar. The air vibrated with unseen power. Even the deepest shadows shivered. Everyone in the bar fell silent, turning as one to look her way.
She held her head high, long black hair curling over her shoulders like silk. Her bright green gaze scanned the tables. She passed over Shane without pause, only to snap back to him.
Magic filled the room and the hair on his forearms rose. The other people in the bar were forgotten. Only the two of them existed.
His heartbeat slowed, skipped a beat, sped up like a race horse barreling down the track.
The doorframe towered over her slight form. Yet her body was ripe, lush with curves. The tight blue jeans emphasized her hips, the narrowness of her waist. And the sleeveless white tank showed her breasts off to perfection.
He swallowed, though his mouth was dry.
Her eyes widened and even over the distance of the room, he heard her soft, feminine gasp. Palms slick, he shakily set the bottle back on the table.
His blood screamed primitive urges... demanding he drag her off to his cave.
It wasn’t like him.
Women, even the most beautiful, had never affected him this way. He’d met with the rich and beautiful, models and actresses galore during his time in the city. Gathering the remaining shreds of his willpower, he closed his eyes calling on the magic of his ancestors. The spirits of the earth responded and power surged through him. Magic raised the hairs on his arms and the back of his neck as the whispers of the spirits of the nearby forest filled him. Ignoring it to concentrate on what was here and now, he reopened his eyes. Colorful hues surrounded everyone in the bar.
Her aura struck him like a punch to the gut. A deep maroon, with flecks of black, revealed exactly what she was.
And not local.
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Don't forget to comment for a chance to win. Contest ends, Sunday, July 15th, 10 PM EST.