CRIMSON NIGHT – Excerpt ~
“You’re awake.” That voice was like smooth-malt whiskey, deep and full-bodied. I shivered.
His back was to me. How had he known? I hadn’t made noise.
He finally seemed to settle on a book. He grabbed it and turned, still not looking at me, he traced the gold lettering on the front cover.
I narrowed my eyes. “I see you found my home. Mind telling me how?” I tried, but failed, to keep the dripping anger from my tone.
Those plain eyes of his flicked to my face. His was an unreadable mask as he studied me. Then he shrugged. “I’ve been watching you.”
He opened the book and flipped through a couple of pages.
My nostrils flared. Anger settled like a hot coal in my gut. He was ignoring me. People had done far less and I’d hurt them far worse.
Darn me and my philanthropic ways. I’d let him go, and this is how he repaid me. I pushed glamour into my hands, filling my wrists with heat where the rope touched. I’d cut through this thing and then wrap it around his neck, see how he liked it.
“I wouldn’t if I was you,” he finally said, looking up from the book and slamming it shut. He moved toward me with the careless grace of a jungle cat, before I could even blink he was upon me. His heat invading mine, his face hovering inches above me.
There was anger…and something else, something I had no name for, glittering in those eyes. He placed his hands on either side of my chair and turned me around. I cringed. That rug had cost a small fortune.
“You tear it you buy it,” I hissed.
His eyes crinkled at the corners. He wasn’t as young as I’d initially assumed him to be. Up close like this I could see the lines and wrinkles of age. Earlier I’d assumed him a fresh-faced college grad, now he reminded me much more of the hot college professor all the girls gossiped about.
He was still wearing the ball cap and I had a sick feeling I now knew why.
I’d assumed him human. But no human, even one as strong as a tank, could have gotten through the wards of my trailer, or for that matter masked the fact that he’d been following me.
My heart thudded…
“Don’t push me. You’re lucky you’re still alive.” His lip curled. “Nephilim.”
…and then it sank to my knees.
Oh this was bad.
He pushed away from me, making the chair rock back from the force of it. The pain in my head and shoulder that had become slightly tolerable exploded back to life in a rush of stomach churning queasiness. I squeezed my eyes shut; biting down until I felt my teeth would shatter from the pressure and counted to ten, waiting for the worst of it to pass before I dared open my eyes again.
He sat on the love seat, his long lean frame settling in like someone who’d done this a million times before. Which made me wonder, had he? Just how long had Billy been watching me?
Dangit. Dangit. Dangit. I should have sensed this. Him. How had I wound up in this mess?
I could always feel the presence of something not quite normal; it was like an irritating buzz below the surface of my skin. But even now, with Billy right in front of me, I felt nothing. The only other time I failed to sense the presence of other beings was if they were equal to, or greater in strength than myself. Which was rare. I was about as high on the totem pole as they came.
I clenched my jaw. This was not good.
Again he opened the book, flipping to the middle and read in silence.
My heart pounded.
Billy was Pontifex Mortus—meaning priest of death, the name had stuck to them back sometime during the medieval ages when our scholars spoke mostly Latin. The Pontifex Mortus are to us what a mongoose is to a cobra. B-A-D news.
Several hundred years after we’d come into being, they’d been born. Their existence consisted of only one thing. Killing us. Aside from angels and high caste demon lords, we fear nothing so much as them. We aren’t sure how, or by whom, but the Pontifex Mortus—priests, we prefer to call them—have been given the necessary tools to wipe us out. It isn’t easy to kill one of us, but the right knowledge in the wrong hands, and we’re goners.
They’re shadow. Able to blend in. Hide among the general population. And it’s hard to say, with any type of certainty what they really are—humans with extrasensory perception and power, or something more—we don’t know. They have abilities and skills beyond that of mortals, but you can never seem to find anyone who knows for certain, because you never bump into a priest more than once. Since meeting one of them tends to turn you one hundred percent, grade-A dead.
So then how does the myth remain? How can we know priests exist and that they aren’t our version of the boogey man? Two reasons. Two things we know that will always remain a constant. A. You cannot fake that shade of hair. I don’t know who figured out that priests are silver, but any sighting has always confirmed it.
This is pretty laughable actually; since a priest sighting is about as trustworthy as an Elvis sighting. I eyed Billy. Though it didn’t feel so laughable anymore. Proof positive sat slouched on my couch and thumbing his nose at me.
And B. Because the sick bastards leave the same calling card at each and every scene.
Revelations 21:8, scribbled onto a sheet of paper and tucked someplace on the body, in the body…and when I say “in”, yes, I mean in. I found a girl, two hundred years ago, with a yellowed, blood soaked sheaf of parchment rolled up and tucked inside her aortic valve. Just one of the many creative ways they have to let us know they’re watching.
And they call us sick. I say it’s the pot calling the kettle black. But what do I know?
Which was why the carnival had been so perfect. We’d stopped laying roots centuries ago. It was hard to kill what you couldn’t track. To know one had found us meant we’d made a mistake.
My stomach turned sour.
“Take off your hat?”
He glanced at me, then smiled. It was cold and arrogant and made me want to rip it off, then feed it to Bubba for good measure.
“Why not. We have nothing to hide between us. Isn’t that right, Pandora?” He was taunting me, trying to scare me. And it was working. But that didn’t mean I’d give him the satisfaction of knowing it.
I narrowed my eyes. “Take it off.”
He flipped the cap off, unveiling his hair.
Any lingering hope I’d had, died.
Silver. But this wasn’t the gray of aging humans. This stuff gleamed like poured metal frosted over in a snowy night.
It was short and shaggy. Spiking up at odd angles and my hands itched to touch it. Blood rushed through my veins so hard and heavy I wondered if he could hear it.
Why was I still turned on by him?
“So I’m guessing your name’s not Billy.”
He smiled, his eyes twinkled and for a split second it transformed him from a brooding Bruce Wayne kind of hot, to Batman. Way more beautiful and twice as deadly. My thighs tingled.
“And Belle?” What I was going for was righteous anger, what I got was sex-me-up breathy.
“None of your business,” he snapped.
“Fine. Then answer my earlier question.”
He lifted a brow.
“How long what?”
These games were beginning to wear thin. So maybe he’d leveled the playing field now that I knew he was priest, but that didn’t mean I’d let him take me down without a fight.
“Pretty only gets you so far, Pontifex Mortus.” I poured as much venom into that name as he’d poured into nephilim.
His nostrils flared.
“Obviously you know what I am. You know these ropes won’t hold me worth crap if I don’t want them to.”
“Is that a threat?” A muscle in his jaw ticked.
“You’re not the one trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, I am. Do I look threatening?” My smile was pure poison.
He laughed. Literally threw his head back and gave one of those deep belly chuckles reserved for moments when someone is really tickled. The sound of it tightened things down low, made me squirm. Made me hate him more than I already did.
Then he went serious. That stern look fixed back in place. It was creepy how quick he could do that. I’d seen others attempt it, but no one had done it with quite the same panache. It was a transformation so fast that it made you question your sanity.
TOUR GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
Marie is giving away a $50.00 Amazon or B&N gift card at the end of the tour
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Marie Hall’s TRIPLE BOOK BLAST
Eternal Lovers series, Book 1
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Eve Philips thought she could never love again. After her husband died in a hit-and-run accident, Eve poured her heart into her potions shop, Witch’s Brew, and hasn’t given any man a second glance—until Cian. As soon as she locks eyes with him, Eve knows she’ll never be the same. Gorgeous and mysterious, he incites a passion in her that she’s never felt before. And it’s almost otherworldly . . .
Cian knows Eve is special the minute they lay eyes on each other. He’s a supernatural being with a dangerous duty, and being seen is not part of the job description. But when he meets the kind, beautiful Eve, all the rules go out the window. Now that his superiors have gotten wind of it, he has a wicked enemy on his tail. Yet all he cares about is Eve: loving her, protecting her—and finding the right time to tell her his dark and terrible secret, a secret that threatens both of their lives . . .
Barnes & Noble:
Night series, Book 1
Release Date: September 5, 2013
Welcome one and all to Carnival Diabolique- or what I affectionately like to call, the carnival of the damned. My name is Pandora, and though my face might not look familiar to you, you do know me. I’m a Nephilim. What does that mean? I’m half demon, what’s my other name? Lust. I’m the dark craving that drives you mad, makes you want, makes you reckless and stupid. I’m the drug you’ll do anything to get your hands on. But I’m not all bad. I fight for light, for goodness and truth. I love my job, killing vampires and werewolves, zombies, and freaks… it’s what makes me happy. But people are starting to disappear and lately I’ve felt a dark presence lurking around me. I think it might be a death priest and that’s really bad. There isn’t much a demon like me fears, but I fear them. This should have been easy, me killing the fanged freaks, getting rid of my pesky priest problem, but I’m about to be betrayed by the one person I thought I could trust with my life and before the night is through I’ll be covered in crimson…
Barnes & Noble:
Moment series, Book 2
Release Date: September 15, 2013
Sometimes in life….
Things were supposed to get better when Ryan met Lili. I was supposed to move on, get a life… but I’m stuck and lost. Things with my father are not good. There are demons in our closet, big ones. Ones I want to kill him for, I’m seeing a shrink, I’m trying to get better… but my life feels out of control, like I’m a raft adrift on the sea. I don’t know where to look, how to get anchored again, and then I meet Zoe Stone. Something about her draws me out of my rut, makes me laugh for real, smile, and for the first time in years I want to be more. But what will she think when she discovers who I really am?
…all we have…
When Alexander Donovan, aka The Golden Adonis, walks into my tattoo parlor, I know I’ll do anything to make that man mine. There’s an instant connection, a need to know more about him. Everything about him. But there’s also a mystery surrounding the guy, when people look at him they only see the man that laughs, that cracks jokes and makes the world think that everything’s okay, but I see the truth… I see the darkness that lurks so deep inside few would ever recognize it. I want to help him, I want to be with him, now I just have to make him trust me enough to let me in.
Is Right Now
Buy links coming soon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marie Hall has always had a dangerous fascination for creatures that go bump in the night. And mermaids. And of course fairies. Trolls. Unicorns. Shapeshifters. Vampires. Scottish brogues. Kilts. Beefy arms. Ummm… Bad boys! Especially the sexy ones.
On top of that she’s a confirmed foodie, she nearly went to culinary school and then figured out she could save a ton of money if she just watched food shows religiously! She’s a self-proclaimed master chef, certified deep sea dolphin trainer, finder of leprechaun’s gold at the end of the rainbow, and rumor has it she keeps the Troll King locked away in her basement. All of which is untrue, however, she does have an incredibly active imagination and loves to share her crazy thoughts with the world!
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