My newest release, Ward of the Vampire, has gathered some lovely reviews so far, including a 'reviewer favorite' award from the Full Moon Bites blog. I am really excited that readers have connected with Angelina because I have a lot of fun writing in her voice. Here's a bit from the story, and her first exchange with the hero, Morgan Ward.
Feeling a little lightheaded, I looked around for a bit of quiet and solitude, but guests were everywhere. When I passed by heavy curtains, I lifted a corner, and was almost relieved to get a glimpse of a balcony behind a window.
I checked that no one was paying attention to me, then slipped behind the curtain and opened the window. It was only when I stepped onto the balcony that I realized someone was already there.
He was leaning forward, one elbow resting on the ornate stone balustrade, his chin propped in his palm. His hair was darker than ink. When he glanced back, I barely saw the cigarette hanging from his lips.
My eyes went straight to his, and I couldn’t suppress a quiet gasp. They were so dark that they seemed completely black. I knew it was only because of the lack of light, but just the same, that look made me shiver. That, and the cold December air. He didn’t seem to mind the cold at all. He’d taken his tuxedo jacket off, and it rested on the balustrade next to him.
“The freaking party’s inside,” he said in an exhalation of smoke, looking away again. “Go back in and leave me the hell alone.”
At any other time, I’d have stammered an apology and gone back in. I honestly don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was the champagne. Maybe I simply couldn’t stand going back to all that noise, all those people quite yet. Maybe it was the smoke; I’ve quit a long time ago, but when I’m stressed I still crave nicotine. Or maybe I was just tired of doing what other people told me to.
“I don’t think so,” I replied, stepping to the other end of the balcony, as far away from him and from that delicious smoke as I could. “Why go in and enjoy the company of so many pleasant people when I can be out here with a jerk?”
I was looking down at the park on the other side of the street, but from the corner of my eye I could see him turn his face to me, the end of the cigarette flaring bright red when he sucked in a breath.
“Why indeed inflict such charm on them,” he drawled, “when you can focus it on me? Name your price, already and go.”
I turned fully toward him, outraged. “My price?” I repeated, probably in a too loud voice. “My price for what? Who do you think I am?”
“I have no idea whatsoever who you are,” he said, looking away from me again. “But I know your kind. I know why you come to parties like this, showing skin halfway down to your navel.”
I gasped in disbelief, my free hand instinctively coming up to the exposed skin above the top of my gown. Compared to some other décolleté dresses I’d seen that night, mine was nothing if not conservative. And it definitely didn’t go down to my navel.
“How dare you,” I started, but he wasn’t finished.
“Your kind only wants two things. To meet famous people or to swindle money out of them. Either go back in or name your price. Or would you rather I get you thrown out of my home?”
My outrage and protests vanished in the time of a heartbeat, as I understood who he was.
My home, he’d said.
I shuddered as I remembered Miss Delilah’s admonition. She’d told me to be nice. And instead…
My heart jumped to my throat. My chest constricted until I couldn’t breathe anymore. Every inch of my body felt as though my skin were being sliced with shards of glass.
I knew only two things in that instant. I was in front of Morgan Ward, my host, Miss Delilah’s brother, whom I’d been rude to. And I was about to die.