I loved writing Goddess With a Blade – being able to make the female protagonist hard and vicious was important to me and I knew Angela James would make me work my butt off to get everything just right. But I thought hey, I should give away another Carina book and when I asked around, Man Law was a book that was mentioned quite a bit so I’m going to give that one away as well!
GODDESS WITH A BLADE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2011, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Carina Press
The heels of her boots clicked like a metronome on the shiny floors as Clive’s assistant brought Rowan up to his apartment again. The boots were favorites because they ferreted all sorts of weapons and lock picks and other various implements of up-to-no-goodedness in the buckles.
This time Mr. Stick-Up-His-Ass met her at the doors of the elevator. The smooth, regal female who’d escorted Rowan murmured to Clive, who nodded and dismissed her before turning to Rowan again. And she didn’t fail to notice the way his eyes lingered on her breasts and legs.
“Ms. Summerwaite, won’t you come in?” He might have roving eyes, but his voice was haughty and cool.
“Sure, Clive.” She swept past him into the living room and sat down. “You’ve got a lawbreaker on your hands,” she said without preamble as he joined her, sitting across the low table from her.
“What makes you say that?”
She tossed the pictures from the file across the table to him and sat back.
Annoyed, he picked them up and looked through them one by one until he put them down on the table again. Face a schooled blank mask, he blinked at her. “And what makes you think this is a Vampire?”
“Uh, because I’m not an idiot?”
“Must you always be so crass?”
She stood up. “Crass? Look at those pictures and the notes on them. Drained of blood. Desiccated heart that’d been ripped out of her chest. Throat torn out. You know what it is as well as I do.”
He stood and got in her face. “You people are capable of this kind of violence too.”
“But not in this case.”
“You’re biased where we’re concerned, Ms. Summerwaite. It seems you’re always looking for something to pin on us.” He narrowed his eyes at her.
She threw her hands up in the air. “Always? You’re an expert on my behavior now? You’ve known me all of two days and you know what I always do?”
The moment stretched as their eyes remained locked. Feeling something build between them, she moved away, escaping to the large windows overlooking the Strip.
“I know your history.” His voice was a growl.
“And I know yours.” Her reply was a whisper and suddenly he was right behind her. “You know what this is. The body was dropped some miles out of town in the middle of an abandoned field. No tracks of any kind around the body. No tire marks. Nothing.”
He was silent for a moment. “It could have been an animal.”
She spun then, eyes narrowed, mouth set in a frustrated slash. “You know what this is. Stop it! What is it with you people anyway? You just don’t fucking care that one of your own has murdered this girl and left her body in the middle of nowhere. Animals wouldn’t go near it. All the time it sat out there in the open and nothing touched it. I’m here to tell you that the cops are investigating and this will bring down a whole load of shit on your heads. I will hunt this lawbreaker, Scion. So wise up and get out of my way. I only came as a courtesy.”
“Courtesy?” His face was close to hers, anger radiating from him. “You have no courtesy. Damn you,” he murmured right before his lips found hers, taking her in a rough kiss.
Before the surprise set in and enabled her to pull away, desire, hot and forbidden rushed through her body as her hands fisted in the front of his expensive shirt.
The cool of the window at her back didn’t matter as his lips owned hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth, shocking in the contrast of temperature even though it was only a few degrees different. It’d been a very long time since she’d kissed a Vampire. She’d been young then, a totally different person.
Wantonly, she writhed against his body, the hardness of him sliding against her breasts, her thighs. She kept her grip on his shirt, knowing if she let go, her fingers might wander to places best left untouched.
He had no such compulsion though. Slightly rough, as if he couldn’t touch enough of her at once, his hands roved over her body, up her thighs, across her belly, skirting her breasts, through her hair. All the while he kissed and kissed her with a feral intensity that made her lose her mind.
He broke away, pupils dilated, breath heaving from him, his incisors gleaming in the low light, and a thrill skittered through her, even as she knew she should be ashamed.
He groaned and laughed ruefully. “This is so wrong.”
“Yes, it’s wrong.” Was he gonna do something with what he was packing behind his zipper or what? Why was he questioning it now?
“I already want to do it again. What are you doing to me? This is your fault.” He pushed away and began to pace.
It was her turn to laugh and thank the Goddess he’d acted like the prick he was to help her wrest control from her hormones.
“My fault? Who shoved their tongue in whose throat? You started it. You were all Frenching me and grinding your dick on me and stuff. I was just you know, um, stuck between you and the window.”
“Must you be so bloody vulgar?”
“Vulgar? You think that was vulgar? You’re a pussy. And anyway, you said bloody! I know that’s a bad word to you Brits.”
“You make me vulgar. Damn you.”
“Yeah?” She exhaled violently. “I’m already damned. Now, where’s the bathroom?”
He pointed and she snatched up her bag and sealed herself in the palatial powder room, staring at herself in the mirror. She gripped the marble countertop so hard the tendons in her hands protested.
Ruthlessly, she forced herself under control.
What had she done? What would she have done if he hadn’t stopped? He was the enemy and she was a traitor for even letting him touch her. Guilt and shame warred within until anger pushed it all away.
He’d had the audacity to blame her? Oh he was such a piece of work. All Vampires were so damned arrogant. He should be thanking his lucky stars she hadn’t twisted his ‘nads off!
She splashed cold water on her face and reapplied her lipstick. Clive Stewart needed to be kept at a distance. He was a Vampire. Underline, underline, bold and exclamation points. She knew, only too well, what they were. What they were capable of.
Methodically, she smoothed her clothing and fixed her hair.
There was no reason to have anything but a business relationship with him. The more he feared her wrath, the better. Wrath didn’t include kissing and second base.
Looking at herself in the mirror again, she repeated that last bit, just to make it extra clear to herself because she totally was a bad influence, even on her own self.
Safely pulled together again, she returned to find him totally composed and sitting, looking through the file. Good.
“I should tell you you needn’t worry about catching the virus.”
She must have looked as confused as she felt because he pointed to her mouth. “I believe I nicked your lip. I apologize for that. And of course, Vampires can’t carry STDs so you don’t need to be concerned about blood exchange.”
Her tongue found the spot he’d brushed with his incisors. A perverse need to poke at him built within her. A need to shake him and wipe that smug look from his face. “I know. You seem to forget I was raised by The First. I lost my virginity at sixteen to one of his lieutenants.” The man who’d told her the truth about what really happened to her parents not six months later when they’d broken things off. When her godfather found out, the lieutenant had been executed. Another six months later and she’d escaped the Keep and landed on the doorstep of the Motherhouse in Paris.
He made a strangled sound, his fists clenching a little, before he sighed. “I do forget. Yes.” He looked at her for a moment and then down to the photos on the table. “What are you going to do about this?”
“I’m going to hunt him down and slay him. You can help me. Or not. The outcome will be the same.”
“You want me to help you kill a Vampire?” he demanded, incredulous.
“Don’t pretend to be something you aren’t, okay? I know what you are. I know what you do. This breaks the treaty. Period. You can’t kill humans. You certainly can’t torture them, kill them and dump their bodies. More than the fact that you seem to show no outrage over murder, you should be concerned that the human police are involved. They’ve asked me to consult on the case, as a matter of fact.”
“If you tell them about us, it’s you who’ve broken the treaty.”
She shook her head and stood. Picking up the photos and tucking them in her bag, she looked at him for several long moments.
“I have not broken the treaty. Let’s be clear here, you may wrap up what you are in a three-thousand-dollar suit and think you fool others about your true nature. But I don’t pretend to be what I’m not. I’m a Hunter and I’ll find this Vampire and kill him. I won’t feel remorse for it. I won’t tell the cops about you, but try not to underestimate humans for a change, okay? After a while, they’re going to start asking the right questions and they may just figure it out on their own.”
She moved toward the elevator and hit the call button. “In any case, it’s up to you what you do. But never what I do. Remember that. I’m a Hunter. It’s my job. I serve the Goddess, that’s my calling. Justice will be meted out.”
Have you made any great discoveries this year? New authors you became fans of?
Today I’m giving away a copy of GODDESS WITH A BLADE and also a copy of Man Law by Adrienne Giordano both from CARINA PRESS (and both in digital format). I’ll choose the winner of both books from the comments to this post tomorrow, August 26th! All winners have two weeks to claim their prize and are responsible for checking back to see if they’ve won.