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A Sneak Peek at Blind-Sided

 

As you can see, I’m working hard on the final rewrite of Blind-Sided, and yes I am a heavy drinker, when I work. coffee — hot and cold, iced tea and water. The clutter, well that’s just a part of my creative process, that and being too tunnel-visioned to notice. All that aside, I’m so excited with the rewrite of Blind-Sided. In addition to our usuals, Alonso, Susan, Michael, Reese, Magda, there’s a whole panoply of new players, and wow, are they fun … and scary.  I thought this weekend I would give you a shameless selfie that involves a bit of a tease from Blind-Sided, book 2 of the Medusa Consortium Series, a tease in which the plot seriously thickens. For those of you who haven’t read book 1, In The Flesh, be sure to check out my book page for a preview. Enjoy!

 

Blind-Sided- Now that I have Your Attention:

I killed someone tonight, Michael. I just snapped his neck. It wasn’t about blood, it wasn’t about losing control. I knew exactly what I was doing. He hurt a friend of mine – tried to slit his throat, so I killed him without remorse.

Susan paused, device in hand. She decided it best not to give details that it was Reese she spoke of and that his throat actually had been slit. She didn’t want to alarm Michael, if Michael actually even read her texts anymore. She continued.

My regret now is the constant reminder that I’m no longer human in that I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Sadly, Susan discovered that vampires couldn’t hide away in shock and sleep through their depression and trauma like humans could. Neither did sedatives or anti-depressants or alcohol work. A good topping up of blood, and lucidity, in all its ugliness, returned with a vengeance. For a long time she sat staring at the text on her iPhone. She could call him, but he wouldn’t pick up. She’d tried to call him, and she got only his voicemail. She didn’t want to trouble Alonso until she could talk to Reese about why he was here. She certainly didn’t feel comfortable bringing her problems to Magda Gardener. As for Desiree, well she’d made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t sympathetic. Susan had never felt more alone, nor more envious of Reese, sleeping peacefully and well healed on the wide four-poster bed she could easily imagine him sharing with Alonso. Desiree had them taken to Hawthorne House, which was in a secluded area on Long Island that felt a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city. Susan had never been there before, but when she arrived a whole new staff of familiars and employees were there to serve, and Millie had already arrived with Doctor Carlson.

Once Susan was certain she’d get none of the easy rest and oblivion that engulfed Reese, once she had changed out of her ruined clothes and showered, she insisted upon staying with him, even though there was little she could do. He was drunk on her blood and sleeping like a baby – as for the wound at his throat, it had healed into a thin pink ribbon of a scar that looked as though he had done it years ago.

“Because he’s the familiar and the lover of a vampire,” Dr. Carlson had said, “he already has better healing abilities than the average human, but, there’s no way he would have survived what happened without your blood.”

Without her blood, her precious fucking blood – all of which she had taken from someone else, including the one who loved Reese, the one who had loved her too, in a different way. She stood and paced, device forgotten in hand. She was a thief now, as surely as Michael was for Magda but, unlike Michael, her survival depended on thievery. She deleted the text and shoved her phone in her pocket.

“You’re beating yourself up.” She turned to find Reese wide-awake watching her pace. “I’ve seen Alonso do it a thousand times. It doesn’t surprise me that his fledgling would do the same, though I suspect you were prone to it before you ever met Alonso.”

He made an effort to sit up, and she came to his side to help. As she rearranged his pillows, he eased his way into a sitting position. He moved slowly at first, as though he wasn’t sure everything would work okay. She realized she’d never seen him without a shirt before. The man wasn’t quite as big as Michael, but he was as well muscled, muscles he’d gotten from hard physical labor. As he shifted and the duvet fell back to reveal the hard ridges of his belly, an image of him feeding from Alonso’s heart’s blood, of him wrapped in her maker’s arms left her breathless with its power and its passion. How could Alonso not love him? She’d always liked and respected Reese, and she knew the extent to which he had fought to make sure their plan for the recapture of the Guardian had worked. He was worthy of Alonso’s love. In every way, he was worthy. Once he was comfortably seated, he cautiously lifted his fingers to his throat, which he cleared experimentally a couple of times.

“How do you feel?” She carefully sat down on the edge of the bed, as though she feared she might break him, strangely close to tears at seeing him like this. At least this one thing she had done right. Alonso would not lose the one he loved.

“Fine, I feel fine. A bit of a blood hangover, but then you know, that’s not a bad thing.” A blush crawled up his newly healed throat, and he rearranged the duvet in his lap to cover the more obvious symptoms. A blood hangover meant a buzz no drug could possibly match, and it made both the giver and the receiver horny as hell when it was shared during lovemaking. Fortunately the exchange had been only one way. She had been in no position to experience anything but the horror of the situation. At least he had been spared that. She’d leave him to take care of himself in a minute, but first she had to ask. “Do you remember what happened?”

“Of course I remember,” he said. “You didn’t shield yourself when you fed me.” His face darkened. “You had other
things on your mind, like saving my life. Oh God! Oh
Christ!” He caught a deep breath and his pulse hammered wildly in his throat just above the scar. For a second she thought he was having some sort of seizure. “It’s Alonso. That’s why I’m here. Alonso’s been taken, kidnapped!” He tried to shove his way out of the bed but she held him.

“Fuck! What? Who kidnapped him? Reese, who has Alonso?” At last she gave up trying to be gentle and shoved him hard against the headboard. “Calm down, and tell me what the fuck’s going on. I can’t help until you do.”

She had just managed to settle him and get him to drink some water when his cell phone rang and they both jumped. It lay on the bedside table where one of the servants must have tossed it when they undressed him. With a move surprisingly fast for a human, he grabbed it and switched it on. The color that her blood had returned to his cheeks left. He nodded to her and put it on speaker.

“It’s as I suspected then,” came a rough baritone voice on the other end, a voice that sounded like whoever it belonged to was a two packs a day sort of person. “Reese Chambers is alive and well in spite of my Myrmidon’s best efforts.” There was a chuckle that sounded more like a cough. “Which is more than I can say for him, from what I understand. Seems like our little scribe of a vampire is not so jealous of her maker’s lover that she wouldn’t move heaven and hell and pull the head completely off my poor unsuspecting servant to save him. But then unlike you, Mr. Chambers, she has another lover. Don’t you Ms. Innes? An angel named Michael, am I right?” Before Susan could respond he continued, “Never mind. You don’t need to answer that, I know all about your angel. You see he’s now keeping your maker company as my guest.”

Susan’s blood turned to ice in her veins, and her nails cut half moon circles into her fisted palms. “Who are you,” she asked, “and what do you want?”

“You may call me Cyrus if you wish. As for what I want, all shall be revealed to you in good time. I’ll expect you to meet me at midnight tomorrow. I’ll let you know the place. Though there have been rumors, Ms. Innes, that you are a vampire who’s able to walk in the daylight. While I’m intrigued by the idea, I prefer the mystique and the magic of the midnight hour, don’t you?”

“It isn’t going to be easy for me to get to the UK and be where you are by midnight tomorrow,” she said.

The chuckle was like a clearing of the throat. “Oh I’m not in the UK. I’m plenty close for you to sleep late, have a nice snack and still be there on time.”

“How do I know you have them? How do I know you’ve not killed them already?”

Susan’s phone rang. She nearly catapulted off the bed and yanked it out of her pocket. “Pick up, Ms. Ennis,” Cyrus said. “Lover boy is dying to talk to you.” There was the laugh again. “Well not actually dying, and he won’t be as long as you two do as I say.”

With fingers icy even for a vampire, she connected. “Susan, don’t worry,” came the blessed voice before she could speak, the voice she’d been desperate to hear, “I’m all right, Susan. Alonso’s all right too. Cyrus has us safe underground so Alonso won’t be caught out and –”

One didn’t have to have a vampire’s preternatural hearing to recognize the sound of a fist slamming against flesh. She roared, and Reese cursed, then Cyrus came back on the line.

“I’m curious, Ms. Innes. If while you’re here, I slit your angel’s throat and restrain you just long enough that your only alternative is to let him die or turn him, could you do that? Could you actually turn an angel into a vampire?” He chuckled to himself. “I would think that would be the ultimate abomination to your god, wouldn’t you?” Susan’s stomach clenched to a painful knot. “Can you imagine such a thing as an undead angel cursed to roam the earth and feed on the blood of those he is sworn to watch over and protect?

“I’m retired,” she heard Michael’s voice in the background, clearly struggling to breathe through the pain of what must have been a gut punch. She swallowed back a sob of a laugh. One of the things she loved about the man was his sense of humor.

And then anger threatened to strangle her. “If you hurt him, or if you hurt my maker, I won’t rip your head off like I did the vermin you sent tonight. I’ll make sure you live long enough to suffer for your deeds.”

For a moment there was silence, for a moment she thought she’d lost the connection, and then Cyrus spoke again. “You may have the blood of your maker in your veins, woman, but he’s such a civilized vampire. You’re not like your maker at all. No, I see you have the barbaric heart of the vile bitch who owns you.” This time there was no chuckle.

“So you know Magda Gardener?” With stealth she supposed came from living among monsters, Reese had moved to her side, holding the throw from the end of the bed around his waist with one hand and shoving his phone close to hers with the other. It was then that she realized he’d been recording the conversation, and her respect for the man, which was already high, went up still another notch.

“Let’s just say she’s … an old friend of the family – one we’d do anything to reconnect with. Which brings me back to our little rendezvous, Ms. Innes. You are to come alone and –”

“She’s not coming without me,” Reese interrupted, pressing in close enough for her to feel his body heat and smell the
scent of him, so like Alonso, and yet so different.

“You may come if you like, Mr. Chambers, though it’ll do you no good. It is only that I wish to meet face to face to tell you my terms. You’ll not be allowed to see your lovers, neither of you. Nevertheless, you will come to me, and the two of you will bring no one else, and you will tell no one. You will most especially not tell Magda Gardener. If you do, I’ll make sure your lovers are delivered back to you in pieces much too tiny for you to resurrect with your vampire blood, Ms. Innes. Do I make myself clear?”

“You’re clear,” Susan growled.

 

A Sneak Preview of To Rome with Lust, Book 3 in The Mount Series

To Rome with LustYIPPEEE! I just finished the first draft of To Rome with Lust, the third book in The Mount Series, which will be out late this autumn. I’ve had so much fun romping and sniffing with Liza and Paulo that I thought I’d share a bit of the fun with you. Here is a sneak preview of the sizzling fun.

Blurb To Rome with Lust:

Book three of The Mount trilogy (Click here for The Initiation of Ms Holly Book One |and Fulfilling the Contract Book Two)

The adventure that began with Rita Holly in London, then moved to Las Vegas with Nick Chase continues in Rome when a chance encounter among the Roman ruins has tourist, Liza Calendar, and perfumer, Paulo ‘The Nose’ Delacour, in sexy olfactory heaven. Paulo is the heir apparent of Martelli Fragrance, a roll Rita Holly abdicated to lead the Mount in London. With her magnificently sensitive nose leading the way, Liza uncovers Martelli’s hidden secret –it’s the front for the original Mount, an international secret society with sexual rites into which Paulo is more than willing to initiate her.

Excerpt: 

At first Liza thought she had only dreamed such an exquisite scent. She’d certainly never smelled anything so sexy while she was awake. Strange, though because her dreams had always been the only part of her life that was olfactory-free. She sat in the business lounge at LaGuardia, dozing, blocking out the noise and the smell of the busy shuffle. But this smell, was different. This smell was just too delicious to ignore. It intensified, then faded, and she snuffled and inhaled and shifted in her seat.

The place was packed with passengers awaiting a spate of flights going out at nearly the same time. She was there way early, thanks to Carl. But after a miserable night alone in a hotel room, she had no reason to hang around – not after what she’d seen … and smelled. She didn’t want to think about Carl. The fog around her thickened and she drowsed.

She had just slipped back into that space between wakefulness and sleep when the scent wafted over her again. There was no denying it was the primal smell of male. It was the smell of desert lightening, of sage and juniper and thick, dark night. It was the smell of sex – or at least the intimation of sex or what sex might be like with this man.

Jesus, was she really going to have sexy dreams right here in the airport? What next? Would she be rubbing herself against the sofa while all the businessmen and the tourist pretended not to notice? Surely it must have to do with the sex she’d expected to have last night, but didn’t get. Surely it was just her angry unconscious inventing an olfactory fantasy, but God, the man smelled good – better than anyone she’d ever smelled, and she smelled everyone! She inhaled again and her deep intake of scent came out sounding like a sigh. Her lips parted just enough to take in the fullness of the experience, like a cat making an effort to taste that hypnotic smell of masculinity. Her nipples chafed and hardened against her bra until they dominated the front of her sweater with an achy tetchy fullness that matched the tightening she felt between her thighs. It was as though the man stood right over her. She could smell expensive fabric weighted and warmed with the heat of his flesh, his crotch so close made her mouth water. The scent was heavy, thickening, male — driven by passion, and it was so close she could taste it.

The view from the offices of Martelli Fragrance

The view from the offices of Martelli Fragrance

To Liza the scent was like a magnate and, in the dreamy state in which she floated, she shifted, she uncrossed her legs and leaned forward to draw him to her, wanting nothing so much as to touch, to caress, to experiment on ways to arouse from her dream man more of that delicious scent, ways to bring the smell of his maleness, his arousal to the forefront, next to her breath, next to her mouth.

There was a soft grunt, a startled gasp, and a large hand came down heavily on her shoulder. A desperate clearing of a throat and a slightly accented ‘Pardon me.’

She opened her eyes and found herself nose to crotch with a very expensive suit not quite able to disguise a very nice package. Her fingers were fisted in the edges of the front pockets of his trousers, reeling their wearer ever closer and closer to her salivating mouth. She yelped and practically shoved the guy, who might have fallen if not for the hand resting on her shoulder. ‘Oh my god! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,’ she gasped. ‘I was dreaming.’ Her face burning and her heart doing a drumroll in her ears, she raised her eyes up and up and up the length of the well-filled out charcoal suit to meet rich caramel eyes looking down at her from beneath thick midnight lashes. Damn it, if she were going to make a fool of herself, she was going to have the courage to apologise eye to eye. But wow! The scent hit her in waves, making her giddy, making her want to sniff like a dog in heat, making her feel wrong-footed and out of focus.

‘Must have been some dream.’ His eyes sparkled and he offered her a half-smile. His warm hands fell to cover hers and disengage them from his pockets. ‘I can’t tell you how sorry I am that I woke you,’ but I’d really hate it if your dream got us both kicked out of the lounge.’ His thumbs brushed over the backs of her knuckles before he released her. ‘Is it all right if I share you sofa? The lounge is quite crowded.’

‘Yes! Of course, please.’ She shifted and rearranged herself, resisting the urge to fold her arms across her perky nipples. Even harder was resisting the urge to pant and sniff. My God, how can anyone smell so good? If an aphrodisiac could be inhaled, his scent would so be that aphrodisiac. She felt moist and swollen against the crotch of her panties, too tender for the weight of her body against to sofa.

‘Are you all right?’ The man’s eyes had darkened with concern. ‘You seem in distress.’

‘Fine! I’m fine,’ she said with enthusiasm that made her sound like a dork. ‘Just outrageously embarrassed.’

‘Don’t be. You made my morning, and gave me something I’ll smile about for what will be a very long, very tedious flight. You sure you’re alright?’

‘You smell amazing,’ she blurted out before she could stop herself, then felt the heat rise to her cheeks again. Jeez! Could she sound any more stupid?

He raised an eyebrow and cocked his head. ‘Thanks. Ode d’ generic hotel soap and shampoo,’ he said.

‘No, it’s not the soap or shampoo, I mean I can smell that too, but …’ What the fuck was it with her? She practically attacked the guy, who handled an embarrassing situation very graciously, all things considered, and now she informed him she’d been sniffing? ‘Never mind. I … like I said, I was dreaming.’

He leaned forward in a wave of scent that made her dizzy with lust. ‘No, please, don’t be embarrassed. I’m very interested in all things olfactory. And I’m very flattered that you like the way I smell.’

‘I’m sorry. I have a sensitive nose.’ She forced a laugh. ‘I guess maybe I’m a little closer to my primate roots than most people. I … I pick up on scent … way more than most people do. Bit of an evolutionary throw-back, I’m afraid.’

The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, after which The Mount's Villa is patterned.

The Villa d’Este in Tivoli, after which The Mount’s Villa is patterned.

His smile was practically edible. ‘Humans are mammals. Mammals live through their sense of smell. Humans have just gotten lazy and forgotten how to do that. Real scent is hard to come by in a world that’s been deodorized, sanitized and scrubbed. Apparently you remember.’

Oh, she remembered all right. She remembered so much more than she wished she did at times. She could feel his dark, rich gaze against her, feel his scent baring down on her, now spiked with the cinnamon nip of curiosity.

‘So,’ he leaned still closer and everything in her suddenly felt tetchy and humid. ‘Tell me what you smell?’

God, she knew he was going to ask that. She should have kept her damned mouth shut. To ask her to describe his scent was like asking her to describe what she thought sex with him would be like, and with a scent like his, she could imagine it would be pretty fucking amazing. On the other hand, if he stayed leaning close like this, she’d have a few more seconds to sniff and enjoy before he suspected her of total nutterdom.

‘Don’t be embarrassed,’ he said. ‘As I said, the sense of smell and the way we humans use it is of special interest to me.’

She leaned in and inhaled deeply through her nose. After all he had given her permission to sniff. ‘You smell like a summer lightening storm … at high altitude. She inhaled again and closed her eyes, hearing the catch of his breath. ‘Beneath that, you smell like evergreen and the earth around tree roots.’ His breathing accelerated. She could hear it. She leaned still closer, and the slip and slide of fabric on fabric informed her that he’d done the same until they were nearly touching. She inhaled again. ‘You smell like cat fur in the sun, like a rainstorm on the wind just before it arrives, but that only a little bit, that a distant undertone, that’s because you’re skeptical, and I don’t blame you.’

It became a competition to see who could breathe the hardest. Down below her belly muscles trembled and tensed; in her panties, the clench and release, clench and release had left her swollen and pouty. She opened her eyes just a slit, and there was no mistaking the shape of his growing erection. Her own scent spiked all honey and butter and nutmeg.

‘What else?’ he breathed. ‘Is there more?’

‘Your curiosity smells of cinnamon and there’s a bit of irritation, tart, tangy, almost like lemon.’ Her eyes fluttered open at the same moment his did.

‘Oh it’s not you,’ he said quickly. ‘I mean I’m not irritated at you. It’s the trip. I didn’t plan to take it and now I find out … wait a minute. You can smell emotions?’

‘Kind of,’ she said, trying not to look at his erection, as he shifted to rearrange himself a little less conspicuously. Then she couldn’t resist. ‘What about me? Can you smell me?’ Jesus! Why did she ask such a loaded question?

He squirmed again, which did nothing to hide his needy package. A blush rose to his cheeks. ‘Maybe … Possibly.’ He inhaled a shaky breath through his nose like he was afraid of what he might smell. ‘The more we talk … the more I smell.’ His eyes fluttered shut again. ‘You’re … not wearing perfume.’

‘I never do.’ She eased herself closer, resisting the urge to rest a hand on his thigh. ‘It interferes with other smells.’

He nodded, as though he completely understood. ‘You smell like the sea, but you smell like honey and butter melting over hot bread.’

Did she just whimper? Oh god, please say she didn’t just whimper and shift her bottom against the sofa.

This time he inhaled deeply, boldly, pushing forward on the sofa, his eyes closed, suddenly making no attempt to cover the heavy strain against the front of his trousers, and the cinnamon scent of him spiked and became more peppery. ‘Jesus, I can’t believe we’re doing this?’ His voice was little more than a whisper between parted lips, lips that Liza would only have to lean into to touch with her own. ‘I can’t believe I can smell all that. I’m probably imagining it.’

‘No you’re not. You’re not imagining it,’ she whispered back.

He was suddenly breathing as though he’d just ran a marathon, each breath through his nose, each breath followed by a gulp, almost as though he were eating the scent of her.

The Temple of Hercules in Ostia Antica where Paulo and Liza do a little research.

The Temple of Hercules in Ostia Antica where Paulo and Liza do a little research.

‘People are looking. We should stop.’ She barely got the words out before he leaned in just a tiny bit further and, in his enthusiasm, his lips brushed hers. Everything spiked in a sharp stab of scent that went straight to her pussy, as they both gasped and sat back, eyes wide, fingers pressed to lips. A flight to Paris was called over the intercom immediately after one to Frankfurt and, in the jostling and shifting and gathering of belongings, no one was paying any attention to them. Though she wasn’t sure it would have made any difference even if they’d suddenly been center stage. Their gaze locked on each other, cheeks flushed, chests heaving, they sat locked in a moment so tight, so full that its breaking apart was inevitable. It was ridiculous. She was seconds away from coming, and his cock was about to burst his trousers and his lips, my god his lips, she could think of so many places on her body she wanted those lips.

‘I have to know,’ he gasped. ‘Surely you want to know too.’ Then he did the unthinkable. He curled his fingers into the back of her hair and pulled her to him. This time their lips met with a clash of teeth and a gasped swallow of oxygen that transitioned into parted lips and darting tongues and an absolute explosion of scent. If he had smelled amazing by himself, if his scent had sharpened hers to the cutting edge of orgasm, then the mixing and blending that happened when they touched, when those two scents came together was shattering. ‘I’ve never smelled anything like it,’ she breathed into his mouth.

‘Me neither,’ He bit her lower lip and tugged and their blended smell became darker, more spicy, tones of earth and sea, pepper and honey and my god the guy could kiss!

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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