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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest Post - Imogene Nix

[Cross-posted from Willsin's World]



Today I'm handing over the reins and the studded riding crop to Imogene Nix, who's not only a fellow Aussie, but also a fellow QUEEEENSLAAAANDAAAAAH! 


Imogene's latest book, "The Illuminated Witch", is making the rounds right now, and she's very kindly taken the time and effort not only to manifest one of her characters in the flesh using nothing more than baking soda, four eggs and a jar of expired sea monkeys, but she's gone as far as interviewing him for us.

Take it away, Imogene. And if you could give it a light dusting before you bring it back, that'd rock. Cheers!

* * * * *


Character Interview Javed 

Imogene wanders in, dressed in her uniform black pants, boots with exceptionally high heels and flowing black blouse. She is followed by a handsome man in his mid thirties. He’s quiet and respectful as well as immaculately dressed in an Armani suit with a stark white shirt, which highlights his Arabic heritage.
As Imogene sits down in an over stuffed chair, he takes the seat next to her. She drags an old battered notebook out of her bag and flicks through until she finds the page she’s seeking. Then she looks up.
“Thanks for meeting with us today. Javed here struggles to get away at the moment as the next is settling in.” 
“Things are busy at the moment.”
Our host nods. “Imogene, you’re sure you are happy to run the interview?”
Imogene smiles broadly. “Of course! It’s truly my pleasure.”
She turns to Javed who visibly relaxes.
“Javed, you’re the master of the first new house in a century. It’s one of those events that stand out. Can you tell us why you were chosen to lead it?”
Javed shakes his head and appears somewhat bemused. “The honour that the Council have done me leaves me humbled. I had no expectation that something like this would happen. Off the top of my head, I could name maybe a dozen other warriors who would have better served a nest in their own right.” He is patently uncomfortable with the topic of conversation.
Imogene cocks her head to one side. “And yet, they chose you.”
With a smile, Javed inclined his head. “In shaa Allah.”
Imogene laughs lightly and gives a tiny shake of her head. “Alright then. Tell me about the day you met your partner, Celina.”
He smiles. It’s broad and his eyes glint with remembered emotions. “I was flying into the nest offices with Hope when we landed. It was just after dusk, the time we usually start to get about. I noticed her instantly. The red hair, and her pallor. I think it was that initially. Plus there was a prickle, a bit like an electric charge that filtered through the air. Now, I know that was a wisp of magic escaping her. Anyway, when she collapsed I caught her. She’s been mine ever since.” He gives a deep rumbling laugh.
Imogene presses forward. “But you didn’t know, at that time, that you were destined to be together?”
“No. That came later.”
“But for everything that’s gone right, there is still a looming thread.”
Javed’s face shutters at this point. “There is.”
“You have plans to defeat him?” Imogene leans back into her seat.
“We do, however, as I’m sure you’ll understand, our tactics must remain hidden. After all, the fate of so many hangs in the balance.”
Imogene nods and flicks through the notebook in her hand. “Okay then. One more question then I’ll let you go.”
“Of course.”
“You were turned…”
“A long time ago. During the crusades. My sire was a knight and I was changed against my will. I had gone only into a public house to save my friends, when he took me. I don’t remember much of what happened. Afterwards, Phillipe schooled me in my new life. How to survive. How to learn about the new world I inhabited.”
“But you went home?” Imogene waits as Javed draws a deep breath.
“I did. I was married and like any person, I wanted to go home. To see my wife. But I couldn’t. She couldn’t accept the me that I’d become. I had to let her go. I carried that pain for a long time. Celina made me understand though, that I had to be tempered in order for the steel of my conviction to harden.” His gaze carries a far away look for a moment then he snaps out of his memories.
“Ahh…” He glances at his watch. “I must be gone. I have a meeting with my banker and my Yeux Secondes. You will excuse me?”
Javed stands, brushes his pants and bows deeply to both Imogene and myself, before walking brusquely away.
“He’s an amazing man. I’m so honoured to know him and Celina.” Imogene’s murmured words are met with the closing of her notepad. “I too have to hurry off. I’m meeting Celina in an hour and I still haven’t eaten.”
She gives me a brief hard hug and a kiss on the cheek, before whirling in a cloud of Chanel No.5 and heading for the door. She turns back, her hazel eyes glinting in the light. “Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.” Then she’s gone.

* * * * *

The Illuminated Witch
Blurb:

Celina has always been alone, until the new Master, Javed, draws her close. But danger and passion are never far away. 

After years of struggling alone, Celina—a witchling of immense power—must find her place in the world of vampires.

But while Javed is building a new nest—the first new one in a century—and struggling to overcome his own demons, an ancient evil stirs.

Now with Celina in danger, time running out and the demands of a fledgling nest, can their love possibly overcome every obstacle?

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief reference to incest.


Buy Links:

All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/1iKjoKo Amazon http://amzn.to/1rO6ShR  Totally Bound http://bit.ly/1pwIzTp Kobo http://bit.ly/1pwJdjR

Excerpt:

Celina grabbed her aching head. Another headache, just like the day before, but perhaps it was more violent. Her stomach lurched uncertainly and she rubbed her belly while it heaved and roiled. It was only four in the afternoon, too early to head home, but she glanced around the office, looking vainly for an escape.
“Hey, Celina? Can you cover for me tomorrow? I’m going to call in sick ‘cause I’ve got a hot date tomorrow night,” Sylvia, her cubicle mate, whispered to her excitedly.
Celina closed her eyes. Great. Just what I need. “Honestly? Syl, I don’t know. I’m not feeling so great.” She mumbled a little, knowing what Sylvia’s reaction would be.
“Have you been to see the doctor yet?”
Celina swivelled in her seat and cast a dark glance at her workmate. “I’m going to call—” Her words ended abruptly as the lights dimmed and went out. “Damn… This is like the third time this month. What the hell is going on?” The heat of the office space swelled as the air conditioning failed. The cloying scents of a multitude of perfumes and hot sweaty bodies in the summer wave closed in on her.
Celina’s tummy jostled once more, demanding her attention. She rose, racing unerringly to the bathroom, making it just in time to empty the contents violently into the toilet. The clunk of the door somewhere behind alerted her to the fact that she was no longer alone. She sighed loudly. Sylvia had followed her, she knew. The sound of wood banging closed reverberated off the walls. The ensuing echo splintered her thoughts.
“Celina, you have to see the doctor.” There was concern in Sylvia’s voice and Celina shied away from it.
Celina leaned limply against the wall of the stall, the dim security lighting flickering in and out. “Yeah, I think you’re right.” She didn’t want to face it, but the headaches had become an almost everyday occurrence in the past few months. One she’d tried to ignore, but with little success. But something had to be wrong. Her stomach quivered at the possible reasons.
She pushed away from the wall and headed for the sink, turned the tap and was rewarded by the sound of running water. Celina scooped the liquid up, washed her face and swilled some around in her mouth, trying to banish the sour taste. Her knees shook like wet noodles beneath her.
“Okay, I’ll ring in the morning and see how soon I can get in for an appointment.” A sound from outside caught her hearing, a thudding noise, as if someone was testing the door. She wouldn’t be able to hide from the problems for much longer and right now, she really needed some air. “We’d better get out there.”
“Yeah. Okay.” She heard the concern in Sylvia’s voice. “Will you be okay to get home?”
They slowly made their way through the door and back into the office, where the blast of heat and the waft of body essences made her want to gag again. She struggled through one shallow breath then another.
“I’m planning on going straight home anyway.” Celina shuffled towards her desk and groped around in the dark, hunting for her phone. She grasped it in her damp hand and pressed the screen, waiting for it to lighten sufficiently to see her desk. She spied her bag and opened the desk to find her keys. “It looks like these are going to be out for a while. Can you…?” She indicated the light fittings, then towards the office at the end of the row, hoping Sylvia would understand.
“I’ll go tell the supervisor. You go on. Head home and take some painkillers.”
With a small nod, which she quickly regretted as a pulse wavered through her throbbing skull, Celina headed to the emergency stairs. As she passed desks she saw others grabbing up their items, including laptops. No doubt they obviously thought the same thing.
 Finally she made her way down the fourteen flights of stairs. On the way she heard many voices, some shrill and others filled with laughter in the darkness. Here and there she caught glimpses of light, probably from mobiles, illuminating the gloom.
One foot after another she plodded down the steps, her head aching viciously and finally, light glowed ahead and a breeze started to clear the stuffy wooliness from her head.

* * * *

Javed shook his head. The missive he held in his hands filled him with emotions he hadn’t experienced in hundreds of years. He knew what it was. It was confusion. The sense of having the carpet jerked out from beneath him. His hands felt clammy.
“So… That’s your destiny, there in your hands.”
His hand shook and the sound of parchment moving back and forth filled the air. He held not just his destiny, but also that of so many others.
He glanced at Xavier, his master, and Hope. They were two very powerful vampires as well as his friends. “I don’t know what to say.”
Hope rose and glided towards him. “You don’t have to say anything. We will say it all. Your leaving us on one level makes us sad, but you will be a master in your own right. You’ve earned this.”
Javed wanted to sputter and stop her words, but he couldn’t. The intent of the letter was clear. On the night of the next full moon, Cressida would grant him his own nest. He would be elevated to the position of master.
If that wasn’t enough to accept, there was the knowledge that there hadn’t been a new house in over a century.
There was so much to do. So many decisions to make and all of them would fall on him. He would need to choose a Yeux Secondes, the human who would oversee the financial and day-to-day aspects of the nest. He would also require a second, a guardian who would stand at his side. A fellow warrior, in whom he could place his trust, one who would help him build a safe haven in their house. He would need witches to help protect the vampires and followers… Where the hell do I even start with that?
“You’ll need a house. Somewhere for your people to call home.” Hope grinned and he saw the lurking humour she couldn’t quell. “I know of an interior designer, if you want their details?”
He rolled his eyes, remembering the problems she’d had with her parents before she had been turned and the way she’d arranged for the entire block of units to be furnished. It had taken her one night to order and arrange for the delivery of all the furniture. Unlike the immense task her mother had proposed.
 But her smile died away as her own memories must have surfaced.
“I don’t know about that, but if you’re offering help, then I’ll accept it. I don’t have a clue where to start.” He moved back to the armchair and slumped into it. “I don’t usually concern myself with those types of problem.” He allowed his head to drop into his hands and muttered. “I don’t think I’m ready yet.”
A soft touch on his shoulder captured his attention. “Cressida thinks you are. Otherwise she would not have petitioned the Councillors. Now come on. You need to start planning. We have one month to arrange your investiture…”

* * * * *


About Imogene:

Wife, mother and nutty bookstore owner all describe Imogene Nix, but the real secret is Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance with a hefty dose of Romantic Suspense is what she adores. Dedicated to high quality romance, with a dollop of erotic interactions, Imogene has dipped her toes into Science Fiction, Contemporary Rural Romance and Paranormal Romance featuring feisty headstrong female leads.


About The Illuminated Witch:
The Illuminated Witch is the second in the Blood Secrets Trilogy. The first, The Blood Bride, was an ARe and Totally Bound Best Seller.


How to follow Imogene:

Website: www.imogenenix.com 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Too Busy For Love

Hi folks. Willsin here again. Man, are all you man-love lovers gonna love this! (Try saying THAT ten times quickly!) The sweet and sultry Tamsin Baker has yet another naughty story that's just been released, and if the cover is anything to go by, it'll be hot enough to short out your e-reader!

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Too Busy for Love
By Tamsin Baker

Blurb:
He needed a job — he never expected to need his boss. 

Thomas's life can be pared down to one principle: Be as successful as possible by being as single-minded as possible. But his commitment to his goal is tested upon returning home to his mansion and finding his gorgeous new gardener in his library. 

Luke is a student, and his new job is perfect: decent income and a place to study that's quiet, peaceful, and stocked with useful resources. The last thing he expects to find there is a stunning man who offers to open up all the doors that Luke has yet to be brave enough to peek behind. 

Thomas is happy to wait for Luke to come to him, but when he does, Thomas has no intention of holding back...

Excerpt:
Good morning, sleep well?" 
Luke nodded and stretched. "Yeah, so good."  He rolled over and saw the time. "Oh fuck, I’ve got an early class." He rolled out of bed and began to pull on his clothes.
Thomas was late too but he lay back and put his hands behind his head, enjoying the show as Luke hopped and shimmied into his clothes. What a fantastic body he had. 
Luke lifted his head and pinned Thomas with his baby blues. "So, will I see you tonight?" 
Thomas sat up in bed, panic rising. He didn't want any sort of formal commitment and the fact that he had just slept with an employee became crystal clear in a split second.
"Ah, I have no idea. I may be working late."
Luke's face fell and Thomas saw the pain before the boy’s face shifted into a look of sophistication.
"Oh sure. Well, I'll be around. So you'll find me if you want me?"
Thomas nodded, knowing that he had just committed to being the one who would continue the relationship if he wanted to.
"Have a good day."
Luke laughed and bounced forward on the bed, kissing Thomas quickly and laughing as he walked away. Thomas fell back on the mattress. Luke was an awesome young man and a hot piece of arse, but how was he going to handle this? Should he seek Luke out again for another one night, or would that set a precedent for more than a string of one nights? No, it would be best not to open up that can of worms. After all, Luke wouldn’t know what was expected. 
Thomas didn’t have time for messy feelings, commitments or the wants of another person. His work was all-consuming, he couldn’t focus on another person long enough to meet all of their needs. 
Thomas could educate Luke about the pleasures of sex, as he had the night before, but did he want to? And would Luke be happy to have a no strings attached, fuck buddy relationship? He was, or had been, a virgin. If Thomas remembered what a virgin was like, and it had been a long time since he had even known one, Luke would attach a lot of emotion to their physical intimacy. No, it was best to cut off their connection now, before things got messy.
Thomas groaned and rolled out of bed, running his hands over his cock and balls. He should have made the kid stick around for another hour; he would have loved one more feel of that tight, hot arse.


About the Author:
Tamsin Baker is an Aussie girl who only discovered erotic romance twelve months ago. Before that she read sexy romance, skipping the plot and looking for the ‘good bits.’ Since then she has written and obtained twenty contracts of varying lengths for her erotic romance and erotica novels. She absolutely LOVES reading and writing it! She has two other jobs, kids and a hubby too – but writing is a passion that she has to indulge for fear of insanity.
M/M is a passion of hers so even when she writes ménage, there is always an M/M story. She particularly enjoys writing Female dommes, but she loves experimenting in all genres. She is learning to write and read more, one step at a time. Soon, she’ll have stories published in every sub-genre of erotic romance – well that’s her aim anyway.


Author Links:


Buy Links:

Amazon: 

ARe:

Escape Publishing:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stranded Domme by Tamsin Baker


Willsin here again, folks. It's with enormous pleasure that I've invited a very good friend of mine to post here today. Tamsin Baker is a fellow Aussie, and she has been simply churning out great erotic fiction for the past 18 months or so. Seriously, she puts snail-pace writers like myself to shame! Tamsin's writing (like the woman herself) is sensual, gorgeous and smart. Not to mention kinky. Must remember the kink!

Tamsin has a new book recently released, called Stranded Domme. Anyone who's a fan of BDSM should definitely check this baby out!

* * * *



Blurb:
Natalie is a professional Domme, in total control of her emotions and her life. When her car breaks down outside of a small town, she is rescued by a quiet gentleman with all the strength of a good submissive. They have a wonderful night where Natalie breaks her own rules, yet doesn’t regret allowing Mick into her bed. When Natalie returns to her real life she feels the lack of her country gentleman and invites him to her club. She offers him a play collar and shows him off to her friends. All is in order for Natalie, but Mick is feeling less than enthusiastic about being kept on the outside of Natalie’s heart. They need to find a balance quickly, or their budding relationship will soon be over.


Excerpt:
Natalie awoke to two very weird and rather pleasant sensations. The first was the mere fact that she awoke naturally and not to an alarm. It had been years since that had happened. The second was the warmth and weight of a male body behind her. It had been almost a decade since that event had occurred.
Memories of the night before came flooding back to her and the soreness between her legs became more pronounced. Mick.
What on Earth had tempted her to let him fuck her? She rarely had sex with anyone, let alone an untrained, un-collared sub that she had just met.
The urge to leave quickly was strong but so was the feeling to stay. She lay still for a minute just listening to him breathing. It was deep and even, comforting actually. His weight was nice too.
Too many men she had met were scrawny, too thin and all lean muscle. She liked a bit of bulk. It made her feel small, safe and protected.
Confused now, old memories came flooding back into her mind. Days of crying over men who had hurt her, disappointed her. It was enough to get her moving.
Natalie wiggled out from under the strong arm that held her and shuffled to the bathroom.
She looked in the mirror and the Domme did not stare back. A ruffled, well fucked and sated young woman looked back at her. Who the fuck was that?
“Damn...”
She groaned as she sat on the toilet. It had been so long since she felt out of control.
“What a mess.”
Natalie pondered over what she would do. She really wanted to see Mick again, but how was that going to be possible? He lived too far away, and he wasn’t in the Lifestyle. How would he handle watching her with some of the other bottoms?
A strange smile spread across her face at the thought. He wouldn’t like it at all. She giggled to herself as she imagined a stand off in her club.
No, she had to stop thinking that way. Nothing could develop between them. Last night had just been a moment of weakness. A wonderful, fulfilling, unnerving moment, but still just a moment.
She took a deep breath and snuck back into the room for her clothes. She didn’t really know why she was being quiet, Mick had to take her back into town. She would have to deal with him eventually.
She froze on entering her bedroom. Mick sat up in bed, the sheet covering his lap. His eyes scanned her nakedness and he smiled.
“Good morning, Natalie.”
Inside her head, the Domme was warring with her girly self again. How did he manage to bring out that side in her? The one that wanted to jump onto the bed, laugh and curl up into his lap for morning kisses. There was a reason she didn’t do that anymore and that was because she was happier when she was always in control.
She tried to be casually confident as she opened her overnight case and pulled out fresh bra and panties. She was never embarrassed by her body, but she blushed as she felt his heated gaze on her.
“Would you like a shower?”
She jumped, his voice surprising her. Mick hadn’t come inside her, a concession she greatly appreciated but she was still sweaty from their exertions. A shower would be very much appreciated.
“I would actually. Thank you, Mick.”
Mick smiled as he slipped from the bed and walked towards her. He was still naked and his cock was hard. Her mouth hung open, shocked at how natural and in control he looked. How did he manage to look so calm when she felt like a bundle of insecure nerves?
What did you do the morning after? All of her scenes were orchestrated and always ended with her subs going home afterwards. She was at a loss at what to do with a lover.
Mick kissed her softly on the lips and walked to the door.
“I’ll make us some breakfast and you have a shower. See you soon.”
Natalie stood staring after Mick’s retreating form. He had a lovely ass, and she could see the red striations from her flogger. She blushed again. 
The cool and calm gentleman she had met yesterday afternoon was back and in control of the situation. She couldn’t believe how unbalanced she felt, how out of control. And it would not do.
The reason she had trained to become a Domme in the first place was to establish control and order in her life and emotions. It would not do to lose all of that now.
She showered and pulled on her work clothes. They were black, fitted and very professional. She had to take special care with her feet and apply many band aids to her heels before she dared to put on her black work shoes. Her feet wouldn’t let her forget this hiatus any time soon.
When she entered the kitchen she was ready for action, only to be totally derailed by the scene in front of her.
Mick had set the table for them both, orange juice poured, bacon and eggs cooking. Tears stung her eyes at the casual intimacy he was so good at. Where had he been when she had desperately wanted this sort of relationship?
She collapsed into her chair, deflated and awestruck. She had stumbled upon one of the last true gentlemen.
“How do you like your eggs? Sunny side up?” Mick called over his still bare shoulder.
Clearing her throat, she coughed. “Sunny side up would be great.”
Mick whistled as he cooked and Natalie looked around the kitchen. It was clean and orderly but lacked a feminine touch.
“Have you been married, Mick?” Natalie asked before her brain could kick into gear.
She hissed in frustration and wanted to bite off her tongue. Why was she asking intimate questions?
Mick looked over his shoulder at her for a minute then turned back to his cooking.
“I was, for twenty years. But we divorced a few years ago.”
He continued whistling and Natalie found herself more intrigued, not less. That was the problem with questions. Once asked, they opened the door to more.
“And you have kids?” She couldn’t help it, she had to ask.
Mick laughed. “Yep, the bane of my bank balance.”
Natalie smiled, despite what he actually said the tone in Mick’s voice was beautiful. Loving devotion.

* * * *

Stranded Domme is available now through Amazon. Click right about here and you can get started on the hawtness!

Friday, February 7, 2014

"Dissension" - Available Very Soon!

[Cross-posted at Willsin's World]

Howdy folks. Willsin here.

I asked Katie if it would be okay with her if I made the announcement about her book being released on February 11th. She looked at me funny (okay, so I asked her over the interwebz, but I could sense her looking at me funny), but she agreed when I explained why.

Essentially, this is my take on the whole shebang. All writers seem to think of their books as their "children". Having been fairly heavily involved in the behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty for this book, this one feels like my niece, at least.

"Dissension", marks a stylistic departure for both of us. New ground, of sorts. For me as a cover artist, it allowed me to explore a grittier side of graphic design. Only once or twice had I worked so "dirty", and never had I worked on a paranormal dystopian fantasy cover before!

But the bigger departure was Katie's. With a hugely successful series already behind her (the Immortalis series...if you haven't read it yet, folks, get on that train!), it would have been the easier path for her to stick with those characters, that situation, that world, and keep on weaving those tales. Hey, perhaps more books in the series will end up happening.

Katie, though, chose to listen to her muse. A new world, and new characters, unfolded itself - one still involving vampires, but that's really the only factor that Dissension has in common with Immortalis. This world, the world of Iron Gate, is uncompromising and—here's that word again—gritty as hell.

So I say "hats off" to my buddy and sometimes-co-author. Any writer will tell you of the fear they feel when deviating from that which they're truly known for. No, it's not life-threatening, or even truly dangerous...but it's a real fear, nonetheless. Not to mention that a whole lot of the work Katie put in was while she was either heavily pregnant, or dealing with a brand new baby and a suddenly-jealous toddler!

But that's enough waffle from me. I'm keeping you from the juicy bits!

* * * *


Dissension – Chronicles of the Uprising: Book 1



The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost. 
But not all survivors were human. 
In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators. 
And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising...and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever. 
Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision - to become Mira’s patron – changes more than just Lucian’s perception about vampire kind.  The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted – a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers. 
Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both?

* * * *









* * * *


Dissension – Excerpt
©Katie Salidas 2014
Rising Sign Books LLC

The roar of the crowd, all twenty-five-thousand people in attendance, rose to a thundering crescendo when Mira delivered a bone-crunching blow to her opponent’s ribs. Standing only five feet tall, she might not have appeared a formidable warrior, but the thin, spiky-haired waif of a vampire could hold her weight and more when put to the test. Amplified by the superb acoustics, the sound of bones cracking echoed through the Superdome arena. The defeated, a red-headed male vampire staggered, punch-drunk, and then dropped to his knees. Dirt and sweat coated his face but could not mask the fear in his icy blue eyes. His was a look Mira had seen so many times before. Her opponent’s immortal life had finally come to an end, and he was ready to take the final deadly blow.
Above her, Mira knew the fifty-foot mega screen showed her hapless victim in brilliant resolution, ensuring that all who were attending, and those watching from the comfort of their homes, could see these last gruesome moments in crystal clear high-definition. 
Mira gazed down at her opponent’s blood-soaked face. Though he was her enemy for the moment, she did not relish having to end him. No one should be forced into the arena and told to kill or be killed. It wasn’t right. But it was what was demanded of her, and given the choice between her life and someone else’s… well, there really was no choice. No matter the cost, Mira was a survivor.
She glanced up to the large private box overlooking the arena. A well-dressed man in deep-purple robes sat, enjoying what appeared to be a dinner of filet mignon and roast potatoes. Even here, in the dusty arena below, Mira’s enhanced senses picked up the tantalizing scent of very rare, bloody steak. She could hardly believe that a human could not only watch the murder about to take place, but also sit and eat the dead flesh of a once-living being while doing it. From the smell of it, the poor beast was practically still bleeding on his plate. Who was truly the more savage creature? 
Over the crowd’s roar, an announcer introduced the well-dressed man, Lucian Stavros, Regent of the Iron Gate. Lucian gently and purposefully slowly set down his knife and fork. He took another moment to wipe his face clean and then smiled, acknowledging the roaring crowd. 
Chants of “Death, death, death,” rang out from the throng as a single unified demand. 
The Regent listened for a moment, making a show of putting his hands to his ears to hear screaming hoard’s request, and then held a hand out, with his thumb pointed to the side.
As if the next moment were the most important, the anticipating mass hushed. Eerie silence filled the arena as everyone watched for the Regent to make his decision.
From her vantage point below, Mira saw the steely look of determination cross the Regent’s face. If she didn’t know better, she might have thought he took this decision seriously; but then, he was human, and they never cared much if her kind lived or died. Lucian Stavros took a cursory glance down at Mira. Their eyes met. It was only a brief moment, but in that short time, Mira saw him waver. 
Could it be true, she wondered, or was it just a trick of the light? No human actually cared about the lives of vampires. The moment faded, and the fleeting thought left. 
Mira saw the Regent’s decision. He turned his thumb down. Death!  
The crowd went wild. 
The last hope for her defeated opponent had vanished; Mira had to finish him. “Sorry,” she whispered to the half-dead vampire on his knees before her. Though her fangs tingled at the prospect of tasting his final dying moments—her reward, if you could call it that, for living through another battle— she did not enjoy what she was about to do. Like her, he was a slave, forced into servitude to the humans as they saw fit. He had not asked for this, and neither had she. But, despite what either of them wanted, it was the will of the crowd, the humans, that had to be served.
Aiming to sever the carotid artery with her fangs, Mira dove at her opponent’s neck. His death would be quick. At least she could afford him that luxury.



Friday, January 24, 2014

Cover Reveal - Dissension by Katie Salidas

Coming SoonFebruary 11th 2014

Dissension
Chronicles of the Uprising: Book 1





The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost.
But not all survivors were human.
In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators.
And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising...and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever.
Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision - to become Mira’s patron – changes more than just Lucian’s perception about vampire kind.  The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted – a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers.
Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both?

How About A Sample?



©Katie Salidas 2014
Rising Sign Books LLC

the hair on the back of Mira's neck prickled. An uncomfortable weight of unseen eyes settled on her. Dread sank to the pit of her stomach. Busted...and so close to escaping. Someone else was there, watching her. She felt it, but what was more unsettling was the fact they had yet to announce themselves. Guards would shoot first and ask questions later. Someone lurking in the shadows… there was no telling what game they’d be playing.
Mira turned around and stood next to the guard she had just felled. It didn’t take much for her to find the source of her unease. A pair of mossy green eyes scrutinized her from the opposite end of the hall.
Heart pounding, she stared back at the man attached to those quizzical eyes. Human, no doubt. But he didn’t carry a weapon. Nor was there any fear in those green eyes of his. On the contrary, alone in a dark corridor, he stood his ground, lifting his head, and stared Mira down like an alpha from some long lost wolf pack.
The strangeness of his manner caught Mira by surprise. For a few moments too long, she stood dumbfounded, trying to process who he was and what her next move should be. His face seemed oddly familiar, though at the moment she couldn’t place where she’d seen him before.
The strange man was tall and well built, but that really didn’t matter much. Mira could take down vampires larger than she with no problem. But that wasn’t the thing stopping her from making a move. Judging by the deep plum of his suit, he was a man of some power. Only the Elite – those in the ruling class – were ever permitted to wear such an audacious color. As desperate as Mira was at that moment, she needed to tread carefully. Being caught escaping—again—would earn her more time in the light box, but injuring an Elite could have her staked out in the middle of town square awaiting the dawn.
“Aren't you going to finish him?” the man asked, his tone calm, soothing, as if he genuinely wanted to know the answer.
“Why don’t I finish you instead?” She hoped the warning in her voice would be enough to deter him, but still the man remained unfazed, like some stoic statue across the hallway. What was he playing at? And why was he just standing there, calmly, giving her every opportunity to strike? Did he really place so little value on his life?
“You could kill me, sure, but ask yourself how that is going to help your situation.” Spoken like a true Elite. He had to be up to something.
She didn’t like the smugness in tone, but felt at a loss as to how to continue. She could be on him in a fraction of a second. Crush his windpipe, and maybe buy herself a few more minutes to find the exit, but she was lost and had already wasted too much time. However, her inaction was almost certain to earn her some additional reprisal as well.
The corner of his lip quirked up. “I take it by your lack of response, that you’ve decided against harming me?”
Damn him! He knew she couldn’t take the risk. “For the moment, I guess.” Mira did not let her own uncertainty leach out into her voice. She attempted to sound self-assured, as if she were the one in charge at that moment.
“Well.” He let out a little sigh. “I’m pleased to hear that.” The strange man smiled congenially. “But, we will have to sort out what to do with you. It appears you’re out of bounds here.”

Check back here for more updates. Dissension is currently set to release February 11th 2014