Welcome to today's stop on the Scavenger Hunt! I hope you'll enjoy your visit!
I'd like to tell you a bit about my Ward of the Vampire serial. Two parts are available so far, with part 1 being available for free on Amazon every first day of the month, part 3 will come out Jly 25th, and I expect part 4 to be released in October. I also post 'bonus' content on this blog.
Ward of the Vampire is told in the first person point of view of the heroine, Angelina. At the start of the serial, she's the personal assistant to Miss Delilah, a very successful business woman... who, as Angelina suddenly discovers, is a vampire. That revelation is not quite as shocking as the fact that, after inviting Angelina to a party, Miss Delilah offers her as a gift to her brother, Morgan Ward, also a vampire. Trapped in a mansion with a sexy, mysterious, and downright infuriating host, Angelina realizes there are stranger things in the world than she ever knew...
Click on the covers to see the book pages (links will open in a new window), or keep going for an excerpt and the answer to the scavenger hunt question...
Excerpt from Ward of the Vampire
“Oh,” I said when the man leaning against the balustrade looked back at me. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude. I’ll just…”
I started turning away, but a warm murmur stopped me.
“It’s all right, you don’t have to go.”
I recognized the deep, chocolate and whiskey voice right away.
“You’re… you’re Mr. Ward, aren’t you?”
He tilted his head as he looked at me.
“I am. But I’m sorry to say I have no idea who you are.”
My heart stammered at the apologetic smile he offered me. “Oh, of course not. We’ve never met. I’m Angelina. Happy birthday.”
Without thinking, I held my hand out to him. He pushed away from the balustrade and turned fully toward me, transferring his cigarette to his left hand. He didn’t shake my hand. Instead, he took it and brought it to his lips for a touch to my knuckles so light I barely even felt it.
“And how did you come to be invited to my party? Not that I mind. This place can always use more beauty.”
Heat suffused my cheeks and for a second I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to answer coherently. When I met his eyes again, though, I was drawn in and the words just flowed out.
“I accompanied your sister.”
He nodded, and with a gesture invited me to come closer to the balustrade with him. Something gleamed at his wrist, attracting my eyes: a cufflink. It was a finely cut square stone, so bright that even in the poor light it was still brilliantly red. It was breathtaking.
And so was he. Not that I was looking. Much.
Oh, all right, who am I kidding? For months I’d read all I could about Mr. Ward, and had never so much as seen a picture of him. Now that I was in front of him, it was hard to look away.
He’d taken his tuxedo jacket off, and his shirt was fitted close enough to his body that it revealed every curve of his shoulders and arms, every hard plane of his chest. His face, pale in the darkness, was a study of angles and shadows, strong and masculine with a bold nose and sensuous lips. And his eyes… I couldn’t see much of them, but I already knew they were as dark as bottomless wells.
Eyes someone could fall in forever, and the thought troubled me, somehow making it hard to breathe.
“Do you work with her, then?” he asked.
Should I tell him the truth? Working with Miss Delilah sounded a lot better, a lot more interesting than working for her. And still… I didn’t want to lie to him, even with a small play on semantics. I don’t like lying as a rule, and it felt important not to lie to him.
“I work for her, actually. I’m her personal assistant.”
He took a deep drag on his cigarette and blew the smoke away from me. It was very considerate of him, although unnecessary. My fingers itched for a cigarette.
“You answer her phone, don’t you?” he said when he looked back toward me. “Your voice. I recognize it now. I always thought it was lovely. And now that I have a lovely image to go with it, I might have to call Lilah more often.”
I wasn’t simply blushing anymore. I was burning. And I had no idea what to reply. So I just looked on at the park on the other side of the street and said, “The view is beautiful.”
As soon as the words passed my lips, I wanted to kick myself. Could I have come up with something any more banal and boring than that? At least I wasn’t talking about the weather.
“It really is,” he murmured, and when I glanced toward him I noticed he was looking at me.
Self-combustion was moments away.
I looked away again and tried to find something, anything to talk about. My mind was blank. It didn’t help that from the corner of my eye I could see that his face was still turned toward me. A shiver coursed through me.
He dropped what was left of his cigarette in an empty flowerpot at his feet that seemed there just for that purpose, then picked up his jacket from the banister and slipped it on my shoulders. And they say chivalry is dead.
I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but tell them from me that they’re wrong.
“Thank you,” I said with a small smile.
He smiled back and I started to melt.
“How come you’re out here when all your guests are inside?” I blurted out.
He shrugged. “I’m out here because my guests are inside. This party was never my idea.”
I remembered the invitation and what it’d said. I took an educated guess.
“Your sister’s idea?”
“It can be hard to say no to her.”
I couldn’t help but laugh quietly at that. “Even harder when she doesn’t ask and just makes you do whatever she wants.”
He eyed me at that, his expression oddly assessing. “Indeed. You seem to know that from personal experience.”
I did, and it had nothing to do with my job.
“Two hours ago, I thought she was coming to your party alone,” I said. “And here I am.”
He raised an amused eyebrow at me. “And you just happened to have such a beautiful dress ready on the off chance you’d have a high society party to go to?”
My heart jumped at the word beautiful, and I had to point out to myself that he’d called the dress beautiful, not me. Still, it was the third compliment he offered me—not that I was counting. I hadn’t received much of those in the past couple of years; since my last break up. I’d missed it. And I’d missed that look in a man’s eyes.
You know that look, don’t you? The one that takes your breath away and makes you weak in the knees. The one that says if he wasn’t a complete gentleman he’d be quite happy to ravage you right here, right now, and make you pass out from pleasure before starting all over again.
Yeah, that look.
“Your sister, again,” I said, and my voice was a little rough. “She had everything planned.”
With a low chuckle, he shook his head and looked down at the park again. “Oh, I’m sure she did, yes. As usual.”
He made it sound like a joke, but I had no idea what the punch line was. I wanted to know. I wanted him to tell me—to say anything, just as long as he kept talking.
“I don’t mean to pry, but… What do you mean?”
His eyes were as dark as the night around us. He considered me for a little while before inclining his head.
“I guess you have a right to know. Lilah…” He sighed. “She happens to know I’ve been on my own for a long time. And she also knows that I have… a type, I guess, you could say.”
My mouth dried up. “A type. You mean, a type of women you like?”
He nodded but didn’t say anything, leaving me to finish that thought.
“You have a type,” I said slowly. “And I’m it?”
When he nodded again, I gulped. Now I could understand better why Miss Delilah had brought me along tonight, dressed me up, done my hair and make-up. I didn’t know whether to be flattered she thought I could interest her brother or insulted she’d taken me with her as a treat for him.
I suddenly remembered the invitation, and the repeated admonition. No gift, Mr. Ward had written.
It seemed to me that Miss Delilah had ignored his request. She’d even wrapped the gift herself in the finest fabrics.
Stunned speechless, I could only stare at him. For a second or two, he smiled, but soon the curve of his lips took a bitter tint.
“Sorry,” he said, turning around to lean back against the balustrade. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. Lilah says I’m not always the most tactful of men.”
“Well, she’s the one who brought me as a gift so maybe tact is not her strongest suit either.”
He let out a quick, surprised laugh, but of the two of us I was definitely the most startled. I had just badmouthed my boss. Well, maybe not badmouthed, but… said something unflattering, definitely. I’d never done that before. I’d never even had a bad thought about her. Granted, she could be demanding at times, but she’d never asked me for anything I had a problem with. This…
I didn’t know how I felt about this yet.
And now the giveaways! Here's my giveaway, with the first prize a free ecopy of all 3 parts of the serial so far, signed digitally + swag, and 3 more winners get signed swag mini-packs (large card, postcard, romance trading card and bookmark). Scroll further for the scavenger hunt (remember to answer the question in the Rafflecopter widget and NOT as a comment).