First, there is book signing goodness! If you live in the Chicago area, I'll be part of the big, awesome Chicago North Spring Fling signing on April 28th. You should come by, so it looks like I have fans. ;)
Next, today is release day for the second Cat book, Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered.
To refresh your memory, here's the blurb:
It’s better to be a bad witch than a dead one.
One thing stands between Catherine Duquesne and happily-ever-after with her soul mate Lex—her unwanted bond with billionaire vampire Zachary Harrison. Married life is hard enough without adding an uninvited vampire to the mix, and being tied to Zach endangers more than just her relationship. If Zach dies, she dies, and with his new seat on the necromancer council being challenged by older, more powerful masters, his life expectancy is dwindling fast.
Vampire politics is only the beginning of Cat’s problems. Hunters are stalking magicians, abducting entire families and killing anyone who resists. As the current Titania and Oberon, Cat and Lex must protect their people, but Cat’s dark past keeps the victims from seeking their help. Worse, the former Titania’s granddaughter wants to oust Cat from the job, believing her vampire ties make her unfit.
To break the bond Cat must broker deals with devils on a journey that will take her to hell and back—literally. Freedom comes at a high price, but Cat will risk anything to save her people and her marriage.
Warning: This book contains explicit language, faerie shenanigans, a field trip to hell, even more magician sex, and gratuitous violence against vampires, demons, hunters, helicopters and the kitchen sink.
To celebrate the release, I'm sharing an excerpt. (There are also 2 excerpts up on the Samhain Cafe Yahoo group, if you're so inclined to read those as well.) But this, THIS is an extra special excerpt. Why? Because it has Patience. And Patience has her very own novella, Fire in the Blood, coming out in Fall from Samhain Publishing. I have seen the cover draft, and it is SO MUCH AWESOME. I can't wait to share it with you guys. :)
(There is also news that the first book in my space opera trilogy, Nightfall, will be out in late summer. I have also seen that cover draft. Dude. Seriously. So much fabulous, you don't even know.)
But now, Bewitched, Blooded and Bewildered excerptness (edited for f-bombs). Please allow me to introduce Patience Roberts, she's a woman of wealth and taste:
We left the house around noon and headed toward the city. Oak Park was near the suburb I’d just moved out of, so I was pretty familiar with it. Nice place. I used to take the bus there to browse the shops, which were cute but pricey, and I'd wander around and go stare at the Frank Lloyd Wright homes. Maybe I could talk Lex into buying one of the humongous Victorian houses in the area. He could afford it, though the thought of washing that many windows was a tad bit scary. Maybe we could hire a maid.
We parked in a lot next to an El train stop, and I looked around for an office building. Instead, Lex led me to an inconspicuous door set between a shoe store and a novelty shop. I glanced in the window of the shoe store and eyed the boots, wondering what Lex would say if I asked to shop. I wasn't exactly a cute shoes kinda girl, but I wasn't opposed to the idea of cute shoes. I'd just never had a chance to wear them in my previous day job. Cute shoes meant blisters, aches and pains, and comfortable shoes were usually clunky and/or ugly.
An ancient intercom system was next to the plain wooden door, and I peered at the names next to the buttons. Lex didn't push any of the buzzers and merely opened the door and walked inside. We walked up two flights of stairs—reminding me that I should be grateful that I quit smoking because I get winded way too quickly—and turned down a hallway. Hardwood floors creaked beneath our feet as we passed frosted-glass doors proclaiming Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine and Dr. Howard, until we arrived at the last office, All On Red Consulting. Plain font, no cute logos, nothing that hinted at its being a magician-owned establishment. Usually magician businesses had a tell of some sort, something that signaled to other magicians that the place was safe. The number three was most typical—Three Willows Café, Three Oaks University. Then again, that was probably about to come back to bite us all in the ass, because the hunters were sure to figure it out.
I followed Lex into the office, and I walked into a wall of pungent brimstone-scented magic. Eau de summoner. Gross. There was a bland waiting area with an empty fish tank and old magazines strewn across the coffee table. Zach's face smiled from one of the covers, his arm around some skinny blonde model, and I flipped him off as Lex opened the inner office door without knocking.
I heard the occupant's voice before I saw her. "No. Get out," she snapped.
"Nice to see you too, Patience," Lex drawled.
I stepped around him and got a look at her. Though her eyes were hidden behind a pair of round, mirrored sunglasses, I knew Patience Roberts was glaring at Lex. Her short hair was cherry red and cut in funky, angular layers, but she wore a plain, black business suit with a white blouse. I wasn't sure what to make of that.
"You're not welcome here, Duquesne, and you don't have grounds to harass me anymore, so you can get the hell out of my office."
"He's not here to harass you—we're here to hire you," I said.
"Oh, this should be good. Are you looking to deal in demons now, Ms. Morrow? Your father always enjoyed it, and he was happy to pay the price in flesh," Patience said. She grinned, and my stomach stopped, dropped and rolled.
"That's Mrs. Duquesne," Lex corrected, "and you'd do well to call her Titania. In fact, as your Oberon, I'm orderin' you to help us, so get the twist out of your panties now."
The smile slipped from her face, and she dropped a series of F-bombs so epic even I was impressed. Finally she jabbed a finger at the empty seats in front of her desk. "Sit down and tell me what you want."
For a moment I wondered if Lex was going to demand she say "please", but he strode across the room and took a seat. I followed, my stomach still knotted. I wasn't sure I could work with her if she'd known my father in the biblical sense. The odds were against it—Lovely Laura didn't like sharing her playthings, and I couldn't imagine her allowing dear old Dorian to have any frolic on the side, even if it was business related.
"We need a guide through the shadow realm," Lex said.
She quirked one bright-red brow. "I knew a summoner who honeymooned there once, but I don't think it’s quite your ideal vacation destination. Why the shadow realm?"
"We need a ritual from the library of Kristoff Valkyrie."
"You mean you need a ritual," she said, turning her attention to me. "This is about you and Zachary Harrison, isn't it?"
"Does it matter?" I asked.
"Damn right it matters. If I help you against him, I'm a dead woman. You can't ask me to do that."
Patience scowled as she tugged a desk drawer open and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. My hands twitched as she lit up her smoke. I wanted one so bad.
"He wouldn't kill you for helping us," I scoffed.
"Yes he would if I helped rob him of his favorite pet. No offense, Titania, but I don't care how hard you and your Oberon ask me for my help. I'm not getting involved in this."
"Name your price," Lex said, his voice low.
...and, scene! Should you want to know more, you can buy it now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Mr. Samhain.