Welcome to the thirty-second day of my Almost Heaven West Virginia Blog Bash.
Since my guest today writes vampire and other creatures of the night, here are some Halloween pictures from Denny’s boat party.
These two could be Sparkle and Ganymede at a costume party.
Ok I was only laughing until I looked up at Angel, then I freaked out, he scared me so bad. Zombies scare me more than any other paranormal creature. BTW they won for most scariest. Who says Zombies can’t find love, just look at the last picture.
This is Denny’s welcome home banner from 7 years ago when he came home from deployment, it was his birthday and he had just made Chief.
Since Nina’s Castle of Dark Dreams are set in a Castle I was lucky to find one in Berkeley Springs WV.
Welcome to all my followers and visitors, I am having a month-long celebration in my husbands honor. My husband Denny is retiring from the Navy after serving for 24 years. We are packing up one last time and moving back to his home state of Wild Wonderful West Virginia. Each post will start off with a picture to showcase West Virginia. Everyday their will be a prize up for grabs and at the end we’ll be giving away some chocolate.
Please follow the rules posted at the end of each post to enter the daily contests and remember you don’t have to subscribe to win but I hope you decide to stick around. Also any post that contain super erotic material will carry the warning label so as not to shock or offend anyone upon opening.
May I have the pleasure of introducing you to Nina Bangs. Bio:
My one regret in life? I wish I’d started writing sooner.
Talk about misspent youth. What did I do during those lazy summer days of childhood when I could’ve been honing my writing skills? Nothing. Okay, so I spent a lot of time dreaming I was a cowgirl with a trusty black stallion. Oh, and I read every Walter Farley horse novel. I was an only child so I relied on my imagination to supply the excitement in my life.
By high school, I’d decided to trade in my lariat for a trench coat. I was into dark and dangerous. As an intrepid foreign correspondent, I’d stalk the mean streets of the world. Did I actually write anything? No, but I did read all of Agatha Christie’s mysteries.
I worked at a department store during college. My short stint in the accounting department taught me a lot about math. Three hundred-dollar shortages plus hysterical tears equaled instant move to gift-wrap. A career in math was not in my future. I didn’t care because I’d discovered “real” literature. I plowed through James Joyce’s Ulysses and Tolstoy’s War and Peace. If it didn’t make my eyes cross then it wasn’t worth reading. Yes, I admit it, I was a literary snob.
But there’s just so much “real” literature one person can take. I graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in English Literature and a determination to avoid books that induced eye crossing or had tragic endings. The only things I managed to write during those years were research papers.
I taught second grade for several years then spent two years in Dublin, Ireland. A friend and I supported ourselves by singing folk songs in Irish pubs. We weren’t great, but we were young, enthusiastic, and wore short skirts. It was obviously my destiny to be the next Judy Collins. I spent a lot of time poring through music books.
Returning to New Jersey and reality, I taught elementary school until I grew restless again. My cross-country odyssey included stays in Arizona, California, and Texas. Along the way, I indulged my love of horses. No black stallions, but I did have several beautiful Arabian mares. I read tons of books on breeding and showing.
Somewhere between California and Texas I grew addicted to romance novels and cats. The cat’s independent attitude was exactly the quality I admired in my romance heroes. And once I decided to try writing my own romances, I made sure a cat crept into each story.
Texas is my permanent home. I’ve come full circle. Born in San Antonio, I spent most of my life in New Jersey. Maybe the Texas in my blood accounts for my attachment to strong men, fast horses, and wide-open spaces. My love of cats? Haven’t a clue.
Nina’s Critique Group
The members of my critique group from left to right are: Donna Maloy, moi, Kim Groff who writes as Kimberly Raye, LeeAnn Dansby (LeeAnn has left the group), and Gerry Bartlett who writes as Lynn McKay. Gerry, Kim, and I have been critiquing together for fourteen years. Donna joined us a little later. We’re a living testament to the fact that persistence does pay off. I probably would’ve quit long before my first sale if not for their support. So thank you, ladies.
I’m including this next little bit because if you’ve read Nina’s Books you know about Ganymede.
Meathead wandered through my open front door one day and immediately claimed ownership of me and all I owned. He’d nip my ankles if I dared open the fridge without giving him something to eat. He guarded his property with courage, fiercely attacking any dog that unwisely invaded his territory. And he met me every day after work, waiting by the car door until I got out. He was a cat with attitude, and a little bit of him is in every story I write. In fact, he was a major player in my James Bond spoof, From Boardwalk with Love.
I loved him. Miss you, big guy.
I have read From Boardwalk with Love , it is a must read for all Nina Bangs fans if you haven’t already read it.
When I went to my first ever RWA book signing in Washington DC the first author that I got an autograph from in my book was Nina Bangs. I squealed when I saw her and there I was on my knees in front of her table babbling, well, like the village idiot. I was digging in my bag, when I looked over and saw next to her was Maya Banks and I squealed again and scared them both. They shared a look as I sat there babbling, I think they were happy to see me go only because I couldn’t shut up. I forgot to bring my camera so no picks, sigh.
There are 3 series that I love that Nina writes they are The Gods of the Night Series, The Mackenzie Vampires Series and The Castle of Dark Dreams Series
Let’s take a quick peak at the covers of The Gods of the Night. These guys can transform(kinda) into ancient killing machine Dinosaurs. I never thought I would like a story line with Dinos but I love this series, love love love it! Can’t wait for the next book to come out.
THE GODS OF THE NIGHT SERIES
THE ELEVEN—an alliance of ultimate predators. Primal, lethal, irresistible.
THE PROPHECY—an ancient Mayan prediction that the world will end on 12-21-12.
THE PREY—where can you hide from pure evil?
Eleven Gods of the Night…
The only creatures more deadly are the ones they’ve been summoned to destroy.
Gods Book 1 : Kelly Maloy opens her car door to much more than a great looking stranger at the Houston airport. Terror, desire, and a horrible truth climb in with him. She’s only supposed to drive Ty Endeka around the city for a few weeks. Too bad no one tells her that once day fades she’ll become part of a battle fought in the darkened streets with an enemy that isn’t human. And the sensual man who feeds her fantasies hides a soul that gives new meaning to animal magnetism.
Gods Book 2 : Lies. He’s been promised a new life as the hunter he once was. But Al soon learns that all the rules have changed. Now he must control his most basic urges—the need to kill, to feed, to mate. And the woman he wants looks at him with both heat and fear in her eyes. Jenna Maloy doesn’t buy the story that he’s come to Philadelphia to save souls. She seems to see through the layers of deception to the primitive heart of him. With her beside him, Al stalks the dark forces that crouch in the city’s night shadows. But the real battle rages in his heart. Love is a formidable opponent. How can he ask her to stay with him after she’s seen the savagery of his beast? He only knows that if she turns from him he’ll be cursed with an Eternal Craving.
Gods Book 3 : Utah knows all about vengeance. Vampires killed his brother, and that act demands only one response. He frees his beast and destroys every bloodsucker he finds. But he never expected to meet a leader of his immortal enemies who was so beautiful, bewitching…and mortal.
Lia understands her destiny. She has a duty to stop the rogue vampires who are intent on wiping out the human race along with any nonhumans that get in their way. But she needs help dealing with the shadowy power guiding the escalating slaughter. Utah would be her last choice for a partner. Once a deadly foe, he now becomes her ally and protector. Loving him will be more dangerous than anything she’s ever done. Because when Utah releases his soul, the ultimate predator will once again stalk the earth, and death will walk with him.
THE MACKENZIE VAMPIRES SERIES
These were the first books by Nina that I read and I love them, they are loosely related to her Castle of Dark Dreams series.
MV Book 1: MEET THE MASTER OF ECSTASY
He is everything dark, dangerous, and delicious. And for five hundred years, his sensual power has grown. He calls to all that is wild and elemental in a woman. Warrior, Highlander, vampire, he has returned to his ancestral castle in 1785 Scotland to fulfill a duty.
HAPPINESS IS HER BUSINESS
In a distant future, she works for Ecstasy Inc. to make people happy using only the most modern techniques and her own power. Sensual solutions to unhappiness are forbidden by company policy. She has traveled back to 1785 Scotland to prove that she can make anyone happy. She hasn’t counted on a centuries-old vampire for a client.
He believes that sexual pleasure is the key to happiness. She thinks that Ecstasy Inc. has all the answers. Neither one considers love as part of the mix. They’re about to discover how wrong they can be.
MV Book 2: Cindy Harper had an ice-cream flavor for every emotion. Vanilla caramel fudge eased the stress of dealing with her weird and wacky guests at the Woo Woo Inn. But no sweet treat from her freezer was smooth, creamy, or tempting enough to cool down her sensual fantasies about uber alpha male Thrain Davis.
This was a man to be enjoyed on a strictly primitive level. Every woman who ever saw him smile would wonder about the pleasure his mouth could give her and recognize the secrets in his hard blue gaze. Too late she realized the danger of inviting an ancient vampire into her inn. The concept of fanged creatures of the night scared her witless. Besides, he forced her to examine her past when she was just fine with her present. He did have an up side, though. Who needed ice cream when you had a hot and yummy dark immortal in your bed?
MV Book 3: He’d lived a thousand years for this? Reinn Mackenzie was one ticked-off vampire.
Werewolves–furry pains in the butt. Werecats–sneaky whisker-twitching manipulators. Reinn hated them all. But most of all, he hated his job. Guardian of the Blood. What a crock.
The Mackenzie council, in its infinite stupidity, had ordered him to protect the purity of the clan’s bloodline. What purity? They were all just a bunch of bloodsuckers, for crying out loud. Besides, how could he destroy a clan member for mating with someone not on the council’s approved list when the very sight of a certain little werecat revved his engine?
Kisa Evans made it impossible for him to think about anything but the dangerous fantasy of freeing his own inner beast. No matter how he fought the desire to feel the soft heat of her throat beneath his lips, the craving only grew. Kisa might be the enemy, but he longed to show her the sensual pleasure to be found in…
A TASTE OF DARKNESS
MV Book 4: He’s a big, bad vampire looking for a one-bite stand.
She’s a big, bad harpy looking for her ticket to the underworld.
Harpies don’t get callbacks. That’s why Daria’s job as night manager of the Woo Woo Inn is the opportunity of several lifetimes. Where better to prove that in the snatch-and-dispatch business she has CEO potential? So what if she doesn’t really fit the corporate image. So what if she has to nurture her inner bitch to compete. And triple so what if she’d rather take Declan Mackenzie to bed than on a one-way, all-expense-paid trip to Tartarus. His sexy blue eyes and hard male body lure her into deep and dangerous erotic waters. With a monster eating guests for its midnight snack, cosmic troublemakers cooking up chaos, and Declan making serious moves on her, this looks like a lot more than a…
ONE BITE STAND
Before we move on the The Castle of Dark Dreams series let’s take a moment shall we to all sit down in that lovely gathering room in the castle shall we. Well just as soon as Eric, Brynn and Conall bring in some chairs and love seats. I think Conall could bench press the loveseat with me on it.
Z: Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
Nina: I definitely chose my genre. I thought I was meant to write short contemporaries for Harlequin, but after many rejections I decided to explore other areas. A critique partner wrote and sold a paranormal romance, and I had so much fun critiquing the book that I decided to try writing one myself. The result was An Original Sin which sold to Dorchester. I’ve continued to write paranormals because I love the freedom they give me to create stories outside the box.
Z: What is your favorite comfort food?
Nina: I love ice cream. I know it’s bad for me, but when I need an instant feel-good moment I reach for that carton of frozen happiness. I passed on my love of ice cream to Ganymede. He doesn’t seem to worry about it making him fat. But then who would dare tell the cosmic chaos-bringer that he was fat? Not me.
Z: Do you have a comfort read? Tell us about it.
Nina: I have several comfort reads, and they change as my reading preferences change. Right now I’m heavily into young adult books. I love the edgy feel to them, and they have just enough romance to satisfy me. So when I want to read a book that I’ve already read and enjoyed I turn to: White Cat by Holly Black, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Matched by Ally Condie, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and Divergent by Veronica Roth. Since all of these are first books in a series, I also read the rest of the series. Of course, my comfort reads change, and if you ask me this same question in six months I might have a different answer.
Z: Were you a bookworm growing up? Who did you read?
Nina: I always preferred reading to almost everything else. I was a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s mysteries. I always loved horses, so when I was younger I read The Black Stallion by Walter Farley and all of his horse books that came later. I also read all of Albert Payson Terhune’s dog books. Louis L’Amour’s novels of the old west were also at the top my reading list for a while. Surprisingly, I didn’t read romances when I was young.
Z: What is something that scares the heck out of you?
Nina: Ten-page revision letters from my editor? Okay, seriously, I’m afraid of heights. When I’m in a tall building I have to force myself to look out the window. I can’t imagine being a construction worker on one of those skyscrapers. Shiver. That said, plane trips don’t bother me. Go figure.
Z: If you could go on the Ultimate Vaca where would you go and who or what would go with you?
Nina: My favorite places in the whole world are Ireland and Scotland. I lived in Ireland (Dublin) for several years when I was in my twenties. They were probably the best two years of my life. My friend and I sang and played guitars in pubs and hotel lounges to support ourselves while we were in Dublin. She married an Irishman she met there. I’d have to take her with me because she’s the only one who could appreciate those memories with me.
Z: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Nina: I have many of them. Of course, all the authors of my comfort reads are favorites. I’ve read every one of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I’ve also enjoyed Adrian Phoenix’s The Maker Song series, and anything by Patricia Briggs. Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books are also auto buys.
Z: Research? How do you prefer to do it; plane/train/automobile, laptop or library?
Nina: I’ve set several books in Houston, Texas and in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey because I’ve lived in those areas. When I set my books in other places I depend on Google maps and readers who live in the places where I’m setting my books. I rarely travel to them. Google maps with their satellite images are priceless. And I can’t imagine how I ever did any research before Google. If I want information on carnivorous plants, I just hit a few keys and I’m there.
Z: Do you attend conferences? If so, where can we “stalk” I mean go to find you and which is your favorite to attend?
Nina: I usually attend one large conference a year. This year I’ll be at the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago (April 11-15, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel). You could do some quality stalking…er, networking at the Giant Book Fair on Saturday, April 14 from 11:00-2:00PM at the hotel. I’ll be signing books and schmoozing along with three hundred other authors. You don’t have to buy any books, just stop by to say hi or bring your books from home for me to sign. I’d love to meet you.
Z: What do you like to drink, nibble on or listen to while you write?
Nina: None of the above. I need complete silence with no interruptions while I write. I’m easily distracted. When I’m not writing, I might enjoy an occasional Amaretto on the rocks while I nibble on sea salt and vinegar chips. And I’m huge fan of anything Adele sings.
Z: Do you have kids?
Nina: No kids. But I taught school (mostly elementary) for thirty years, so I feel as though I’ve done my duty in the children department.
Z: If you could have one of your books or series made into a movie , which would it be and who do you see starring in it?
Nina: I’ve always thought that my Gods of the Night series would make a great action movie. Apocalyptic films usually don’t win any awards but people seem to love them. Of course, Steven Spielberg would have to direct it. He seems to have an affinity for dinosaurs. I suppose Fin would be considered the main character, but I don’t have a clue who could play his part. The actor would have to be tall, powerful, and look good with silver hair and matching eyes. Maybe some of you have an idea.
Z: Favorite TV shows?
Nina: I’m very predictable. I love True Blood and Vampire Diaries. And I never miss Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. I’m completely addicted to the paranormal. Have I ever seen a ghost? No. Do I want to? Maybe. I’m not as fearless as I’d like to be.
Z: To finish off, describe yourself in 5 words.
Nina: I love to push limits.
Welcome to the Castle of Dark Dreams, the yummiest attraction in an adult theme park where only dangerously tempting men play.
CDD Book 1: Welcome to the Castle of Dark Dreams. It’s the yummiest attraction in Live the Fantasy, an adult theme park where women who dare can take sexy role-playing to new erotic heights. Just by looking at the castle you know that only dangerously tempting men would play here. Three brothers—Eric, Brynn, and Conall McNair—run the castle. Okay, so they’re not quite human, but that’s a secret. This night Eric, the castle’s resident vampire, will prove that he’s everything bad should be.
Talk-show host Donna Nolan is on the trail of the weird and wacky in the Castle of Dark Dreams. But thoughts of a juicy interview to enthrall her listeners disappear when she meets Eric. With the coldest blue eyes and the hottest mouth she’s ever seen, he’s a primitive call to the wild in every woman.
Love between a talk-show host and a vampire shouldn’t be possible, but then, strange things happen in the Castle of Dark Dreams.
CDD Book 2: A MAN WHO CAN’T SAY NO
Brynn McNair has spent the last five hundred years of his existence offering his body to any woman who desires him. The evil entity that created him has made sure that if he tries to resist the compulsion to play love slave, he suffers. So it’s no wonder that he thinks of women as his enemy. Until he meets Kimberly Vaughn.
A WOMAN WHO WON’T SAY YES
Kim Vaughn is a demon hunter. It’s a family business and her destiny. But Kim is all about avoiding her destiny. She wants to marry an ordinary guy, have ordinary kids, live in an ordinary house, and work as an architect. No way does she want anything to do with a man who has paranormal connections. Until she meets Brynn McNair.
Kim comes to the Castle of Dark Dreams, the main attraction in a sexy theme park, to plan a few upgrades. She stays to join forces with Brynn and save Galveston from a supernatural takeover. Can a woman who wants to marry Mr. Ordinary and a man who thinks of love as sleeping with the enemy find happiness together? You’d be surprised.
CDD Book 3: Welcome to the Castle of Dark Dreams, the yummiest attraction in an adult theme park where only dangerously tempting men play. Wicked Fantasy is the final book in a series that stars three extraordinary brothers—each promising ultimate fulfillment for any woman bold enough to accept his sensual challenge.
Conall O’Rourke learned the hard way that goddesses kick butt when you tick them off. After killing an Irish deity’s favorite in battle, he’s cursed to protect his enemy’s descendants down to the last arrogant jerk. Now there’s only one left, and Conall can almost taste freedom after endless centuries. But who knew the remaining descendant would be so beautiful, so sexy, and such a . . .
Vampire? Gerry Kavanagh hunts nonhuman entities that break Texas laws. But she finds more than the sneaky shape-shifting snake she’s after at the Castle of Dark Dreams. The most hated member of the O’Rourkes expects to follow her around so he can “protect” her. Protect? She’s a fanged creature of the night, for crying out loud. Nope. Never going to happen. Too bad he’s a major wow on her personal sizzle meter.
CDD Book 4: The Castle of Dark Dreams is just part of an adult theme park, right? The most decadent attraction in a place where people go to play out their wildest erotic fantasies. Holgarth isn’t really a wacky wizard, and Sparkle Stardust doesn’t actually create cosmic chaos by hooking up completely mismatched couples. And that naked guy chained up in the dungeon? No way he’s a vampire.
Wrong…dead wrong, as botanist Cinn Airmid is about to find out. It’s up to her to save the night feeder’s sanity, but to do that she’ll have to get close to the most dangerously sexy male she’s ever encountered. And one look in Dacian’s haunted black eyes tells her close will take on a whole new meaning with someone who’s had 600 years to practice his technique. Even a girl with a name that conjures up images of forbidden pleasure has a few tricks to learn from…
The mystery of what the hell Sparkle was talking about followed Cinn across the great hall to a dark doorway and down winding stone steps—lit only by wall sconces—that ended in a shadowy hallway. “Why wasn’t this manager at the meeting?” Not that Cinn cared. She was counting on Sparkle releasing her from her contract before the two weeks were up. Then she’d get on the phone and beg for her old job back. Her family would be thrilled if she were once again close enough to harass daily.
“He has a few emotional issues right now, so he’s pretty much keeping to himself.” Her gaze skipped away from Cinn’s. She stopped in front of a heavy wooden door. “This is the dungeon. We use it in our fantasies, but it’s off limits until Dacian feels able to cope.” She pulled out an old-fashioned key and shoved it into the keyhole.
This didn’t sound promising. Emotional issues? Cope? Cinn noted the click of the lock. To keep Dacian in or others out? “Umm, maybe I should wait to meet him until he’s feeling better.” “No, now is the right time.”
Shadows played across Sparkle’s face as she pushed open the door and stepped aside for Cinn to enter. Cinn barely registered Sparkle following her in, relocking the door, and then coming to stand beside her, because shock had frozen her in place.
A man was chained spread-eagled to the stone wall. No, not a man. Nothing human had fangs like that or eyes completely black with no white showing. Whatever he was, he was tall and muscular with long matted hair and wore nothing but what looked like a black silk scarf around his hips. A light sheen of sweat threw every straining muscle into relief, highlighting the scars crisscrossing his chest and stomach. Not bullet wounds. These had been slashing wounds. She shuddered.
He lifted his lips away from his fangs in a silent snarl. No need for him to make scary noises. He was already the star of her next fright fantasy.
“He’s a big man.” Sparkle slid her gaze the length of his body, lingering where the black scarf slowly slipped lower, inch by torturous inch. “And oh so dangerous. Dangerous men are sexy.” She glanced at Cinn. “Don’t you find that’s true?”
Cinn’s heart began beating again with a solid thunk. She turned to face Sparkle. “Okay, you got me. I bought into the reality for a moment. But if I were going to fantasize about a vampire, I’d make damn sure he looked better than that.” She refused to turn to look at “that” again.
Something in Sparkle’s smile made Cinn swallow hard.
“You’re right. Most vampires are gorgeous, but I guess there’s always the exception to the rule. Although who knows what he really looks like under all that hair, dirt, and scars? Mede brought him here directly from his grave.” She moved closer to the “vampire.” “He’s a little crazy right now. I hope he comes out of it soon.” Sparkle sighed. “I hope he comes out of it at all. He has a brother, Taurin, who’s searched for him a long time. In fact, Taurin and his wife have just finished running down another false lead.”
Behind her, the fake vampire hissed, and Cinn controlled the urge to bolt. Things were getting a little too bizarre for her.
“Mede got a tip on Dacian’s location three days ago and went to check it out. He showed up at the castle with Dacian a few hours ago. We’re not quite sure where Taurin is right now, so we can’t give him the news. Considering Dacian’s condition, maybe it’s better this way. Taurin and his wife will be back at the castle in a few days.”
“Uh…” No words came. Sparkle wasn’t joking. She was freaking serious.
“Then Mede and I will have to make a decision.” Sparkle’s expression said it wasn’t a decision she looked forward to. “If we can get Dacian coherent and cleaned up, we’ll reunite him with his brother.”
“And if not?” Cinn didn’t know why she was whispering. A quick glance at the guy—she would notaccept that he was anything else—didn’t show any awareness gleaming in those scary black eyes.
“We’ll destroy him.” Cold and emotionless, this was a new face of Sparkle Stardust. “Right now he’s a danger to himself and anyone near him. It would devastate Taurin to see his brother like this.” She shrugged. “It would be kinder to allow him to keep searching and to never find Dacian.” Cinn felt like Sparkle’s words had sucked every bit of air from her lungs. Her boss was calmly discussing murder. “You can’t kill him.” She edged toward the door. If she escaped, she wouldn’t stop running until she got to the police station.
Sparkle looked puzzled. “Of course I can’t. He’s already dead. I can destroy him, though. If nothing’s left of his mind, it would be a kindness to Taurin and to him.” She watched Cinn’s slow creep to the door. “I wouldn’t bother if I were you. The door’s locked, and I have the key.”
Cinn ignored her in favor of yanking on the door. Right. Locked. She pounded on the wood and shouted, “Help! I’m locked in here with a maniac. Someone get me out!”
“The wood’s a foot thick and the room is soundproofed. No one will hear you,” Sparkle offered helpfully.
Cinn abandoned the door. She pulled her cell phone from her pants pocket and blessed the habit that never allowed her to go anywhere without it. Frantically, she hit 911.
Sparkle had a patient expression pasted on her face. “You won’t get a signal down here.”
Cinn shoved the useless phone back into her pocket. She eyed Sparkle. The woman was taller than her, but Cinn was in good shape from digging, planting, and toting bags of fertilizer.
Sparkle smiled. “Don’t even think about it, sister. You along with all your friends and family couldn’t take me down. But hey, if you want to try, knock yourself out.”
Cinn wanted to try. She flung herself at Sparkle. About a foot from her goal, she smacked into an invisible wall. She couldn’t see it, but it was damn well there. After pounding her fists on it and delivering a few kicks that only served to hurt her toe, she backed away from Sparkle.
“Good. Now that you’ve gotten that out of your system, we can get down to business.” Sparkle hopped onto a table with a bunch of ominous-looking straps. Crossing her legs, she motioned for Cinn to join her.
Cinn shook her head. “I’ll stand.” She tried to quiet her frenzied thoughts so she could think. But her mind refused to stop circling the invisible wall. “Say what you have to say so I can get out of here.” She wouldn’t think about the possibility that Sparkle might not intend to release her. But just in case, she scanned the area for a weapon. Whips, chains, and a bunch of other torture implements. Hmm. She could do some damage with that small ax.
Sparkle laughed. “Give it up, Cinn. The only real things in here are the chains keeping Dacian from trying to suck us dry.” Cinn slanted a quick glance at Dacian. Who knew that eyes so black could look like they were burning? She swore she could almost see the flames behind his enraged glare.
“So here’s the deal. Yes, vampires do exist, along with lots of other nonhumans. Edge and I are cosmic troublemakers. My specialty is creating sexual chaos throughout the universe. Edge is the cosmic troublemaker in charge of death. You can guess what he does. Bain is a demon, and yes, Holgarth is a real wizard.” She held up her hand to stop Cinn from interrupting. “Let me finish.”
Cinn had no intention of interrupting. No way could she talk with her jaw dragging on the floor.
Ok so I put in the excerpt because Nina is offering a copy of My Vicked Vampire to a reader. Here is a snippet of the email Nina sent me. ” It was a Dorchester book and last year they pulled all their books from the shelves to go completely digital. I don’t even know if it’s available online in paperback form. So the winner will be getting sort of a collector’s item.”
CDD Novella :
Amanda Harcourt had one scorching night of incredible sex with Conleth Maguire on a Galveston, Texas beach ten years ago. Then she’d left Con for a career in New York City. She’s back in Galveston now as the interior designer for the weird and wacky Castle of Dark Dreams, a theme park attraction. Old memories surface when she finds out that Con has been hired to paint the castle. Because no matter what she tries to tell herself, she’s never forgotten him or the rose tattoo on his hip.
Con remembers everything about Mandy, including the blue butterfly tattoo on her round little behind. And now that she’s back, he’s determined to make her realize what she abandoned so many years ago. Namely, him.
He wants to paint the castle in darkly erotic colors. She’s into understated elegance. But they agree on one thing. Even grumpy wizards, telepathic cats, and voyeur plants won’t stop them from finishing what began on that beach.
I will sweeten the day by giving away a copy of the next book in the series Wicked Edge to another lucky person.
CDD Book 5 Coming March 2012: As an angel, Passion prides herself on perfection. But some mischievous part of her always goes against the godly grain. After one too many attempts to enliven the heavenly halls, she’s sent to earth to tame her naughty nature. While human, she has to bring goodness and light to the most sinful of places, the Castle of Dark Dreams. Once there, she finds herself in the role of a virgin used as bait to trap a marauding demon. Passion thinks the game is harmless—until she sees the man playing the demon. His name is Edge, and Passion senses darkness in him beyond any she’s ever dreamed.
Edge may play a demon, but he is something much worse. His past is littered with pain and destruction—and that’s the way he likes it. Now he must prove to himself and others that he is what he’s always been—cold and emotionless. But as danger threatens and his need for Passion heats up, he finds himself balanced on love’s Wicked Edge.
He’d needed this down time away from the Castle of Dark Dreams. Two weeks to just kick back, waste a few losers, and relax with a drink.
He leaned against the oak’s trunk and savored his scotch and water as he watched the dumbass crouched beside the reservoir. Edge had followed the guy’s progress from the moment he’d come up with the idea to poison the city’s water supply until now. Homegrown terrorists, had to love them.
Not that Edge didn’t sort of admire the guy. He’d whipped up a poison no amount of testing would detect until it was too late. The death toll could reach into the millions. Now the formula would die with him. Too bad. Another great scientific mind pissed away by an idiot.
There was a time when Edge would’ve applauded that kind of grand gesture. But then the Big Boss had reined him in, forced him to change his methods. Edge downed the rest of his drink. Let’s hear it for the good old days. Nowadays he was reduced to one kill at a time. Hey, you took your fun where you could.
Edge narrowed his gaze as the man… No, as Mark—didn’t want to ever depersonalize his victims—pulled vials of the poison from his backpack and set them on the ground.
Now was the time to act. Edge chose an image from his mind, focused on the reservoir, and changed thought to reality.
A giant squid rose from the water’s depths, big enough to swallow Chicago if Chicago had been on the menu. It wasn’t, so the squid settled for Mark. One massive tentacle reached out to wrap around his body. It lifted the man into the air and then dragged him beneath the water. The squid disappeared, leaving only a few ripples on the surface. Mark’s body would be found, a victim of drowning. But they’d never find the squid. It was once more only an image in Edge’s mind.
Edge shook his head. He’d made it happen too fast. Mark didn’t even have a chance to scream. He’d just stood there bug-eyed. What fun was that? But at least the guy died in a unique and interesting way. See, death didn’t have to be boring.
Edge wandered down to collect the vials. He stashed them in Mark’s backpack. He’d dispose of them later. Then he headed back to his car.
That was his last kill for now. Vacation over. Time to return to his crappy role-playing-slash-managerial job.
He took a last look at the reservoir before driving away. How did he really feel about Mark’s death and all the ones that had come before his? The truth? Edge closed his eyes. He felt freaking tired.
“How ugly and horrible are they? Do they coat your skin with slime? Does their stench make you nauseous? Do you feel like you’re walking into the bowels of hell?”
Passion sighed. Of all the heavenly contacts they could’ve assigned to her, why Hope? Once a day she’d have to listen to this idiocy in her head.
She could picture Hope sitting in her little cubicle surrounded by the neutral colors Archangel Ted loved. Ted, along with everything else in heaven was bland and boring. Okay, so Passion could include herself in the bland and boring category. She accepted the reality of her existence. But she’d looked into enough human minds to know their vision of heaven was a fantasy.
Humans. Sure, they could get sick and die. Fine, so they suffered heartbreak and other emotional traumas. But from Passion’s viewpoint, things were a lot more exciting on the mortal plane. Could anyone blame her for trying to spice up her own world? Guess that was a resounding yes.
She supposed the final straw for Ted was when she talked the other angels in her department into painting their cubicles lime green. In her opinion, Ted had some serious control issues.
So here she was, on the outside looking in.
And you have only yourself to blame. If Passion had been a better angel, she wouldn’t have drawn this punishment—a still-to-be-determined amount of time spent living on earth as a human. No powers, no friends, forced to check in once a day with Hope-the-heavenly-drama-queen. The only good thing? The Council of Justice had at least given her some privacy. Hope couldn’t read her thoughts; she could only hear what Passion spoke out loud.
“They’re…” Way too beautiful. Evil should appear in shades of muddy brown or black. But no, just look at them. The Seven Deadly Sins shimmered and flowed around the Castle of Dark Dreams in vibrant jewel tones. Totally gorgeous. Totally tempting.
Oops. Wrong reaction. “They’re…awful, disgusting, but sort of exciting.” Hmm, maybe she should explain that last word just in case Hope got the wrong impression. “I mean, it’s exciting to think about all the peace, harmony, and massive heavenly vibes I’m going to bring to this place.” There, that was better. Didn’t want anyone taking away the only thing she had left, her ability to see the colors of sin.
“Oh.” Hope sounded disappointed. “Well, keep in touch.” She broke the connection.
“Absolutely.” Passion knew her smile wasn’t kind. Note to self: work on sweet and sincere smile. Hope and the other angels had gotten used to her supplying their daily entertainment. Too bad. Passion wouldn’t be there to amuse them for a while because she’d be busy earning her way back into heaven.
She had to be the perfect angel. Sure, she’d always longed for more…variety in her existence, but she sure hadn’t planned on getting that variety as a powerless and frighteningly vulnerable mortal. She could actually die, like in never-coming-back die. She shuddered.
Passion crossed the drawbridge, avoiding glancing down at the moat’s black water in favor of staring up at the castle—a keep with four square towers complete with a curtain wall. The whole thing gleamed white, a color symbolizing goodness and light. Fake. Goodness and light didn’t live here.
She’d take care of that by the time she left. She narrowed her eyes as she strode through the open gate and across the courtyard, headed for the doors leading into the great hall. Spotlights lit up the night around the castle. No threatening shadows warned the innocent about what waited inside. Righteous anger drove her as she reached for the door. She’d smite the wicked and save all those poor souls inside who…
She paused. No powers, so no smiting. Damn. Passion closed her eyes. No cursing. Ted hated cursing. So many things to remember. But she could do this. Opening her eyes, she pulled the door open and stepped inside.
Someone spoke. “Ah, another person who didn’t bother to check the schedule and has chosen instead to annoy the hell out of me by showing up at the last moment.” Dramatic sigh. “But I live to serve, so I’ll probably be able to stick you in somewhere. All the choice parts are gone. How do you feel about playing the lowly maiden who serves the queen? Not a virgin. The virgin part was taken by a woman who obviously has only a faint memory of that particular condition.”
“Virgin?” Startled, she looked at the speaker. A wizard? A short one. Gold-trimmed blue robe, tall conical hat that added at least a foot, and all of it decorated with gold suns, moons, and stars. He’d topped everything off with a long pointy gray beard that matched his narrowed gray eyes.
“Yes. The part is gone.” The wizard looked down his nose at her, which was tough to do when she was taller than he was. “If it’s any comfort, you’d fit the part better. Pale hair, pale skin, pale eyes, and uninspired pale clothing. You, my dear, are the definition of unawakened. Avoid Sparkle Stardust at all cost. Now, do you want the lowly maiden part?”
“No.” What was he talking about? She glanced around. People in medieval-type costumes wandered the large hall. Too bad the Council of Justice had kicked her down here without full disclosure. All they’d said was that the castle needed help. This place was her ticket back home.
“You look confused.” The wizard glanced at his watch. “As much as I’d love to waste more time explaining the obvious, I have a fantasy to direct. Feel free to gawk. If you care to wait until this fantasy concludes, you may buy a ticket to the next one over there.” He pointed to a small table by the door with a “tickets” sign taped to the front of it. “And you might want to read that.” He gestured toward a sign on the wall above the ticket table.
Bemused, she watched him turn to walk away. Violet, the color of pride, swirled around him. No kidding. Too bad there wasn’t a color for bad-tempered old farts. She took a deep breath. Get rid of unkind thoughts.
Passion didn’t know how other angels did it. They wore their perfection like a pair of comfortable old shoes. Her shoes pinched her toes and left blisters on her heels. She constantly wanted to kick them off. Well, she’d kicked them off a few times too many.
She looked at the sign. Fine, so she was in an adult theme park called Live the Fantasy. The Castle of Dark Dreams was one of the park’s attractions. It was a hotel as well as a place where nightly fantasies were played out. The first fantasy began at 7:00PM. That would be right about now. She should get out of here and find the registration desk for the hotel part of the castle, but she couldn’t resist taking a peek at the fantasy.
A long table with people in costumes seated around it rested on a raised platform at one end of the great hall. Passion assumed the major parts like the queen were played by the castle staff. They’d guide the fantasy. The public could buy tickets to play lesser parts. Made sense.
It only took moments for the fantasy to capture her. What could she say, heaven didn’t get cable, and she was easily amused.
Mesmerized, she followed the tale. A demon was killing the castle’s people. The queen’s greatest hunters couldn’t catch him. So the virgin offered to sacrifice herself for the good of all. She’d lure him into their clutches with her virginal beauty and purity. Hah. Passion was seeing lots of blue swirling around Ms. Untouched. Lust. Passion couldn’t read her mind, but she’d bet there weren’t a lot of chaste thoughts bouncing around in that head.
The wizard had been right about the virgin. If the demon was smart, he’d run like crazy. She’d eat him alive.
Of course, the dumb demon fell for the trick. She heard the virgin’s not-overly-convincing screams coming from one of the darkened hallways along with the demon’s snarls and the shouts of the hunters. A few minutes later the virgin led the parade back into the great hall followed by the triumphant hunters surrounding the cage of the captured demon. The queen called the virgin and her hunters forward to praise them, and Passion got her first look at the demon.
A voluminous cape and hood covered him from head to toe. All she could see of him were his hands clenched around the cage’s bars. Well, that was disappointing. She was all ready to be awed by the pure evil carved into his face, the demonic gleam in his eyes. Passion felt cheated.
Then he turned his head toward her. She sucked in her breath. Wow, just wow. The hood shadowed his face, but that didn’t lessen the impact. Nothing said savage predator like strong slashing brows, a full mobile mouth drawn into a snarl, and amber eyes that shone with every wickedness she’d ever imagined and some she hadn’t dared.
And he’d fixed his gaze on her. Passion looked away first. She realized her hands were shaking as she pushed a strand of hair from her face. Time to get out of here.
But even as she started to move toward the door, Passion realized something. She’d been so focused on his eyes that she’d barely noticed the color swirling around him.
God, no. It spread horror in a slick coat of ice over her soul. Black. Not one of the Deadly Sins. This went beyond those. It was rage, greed, and all the others taken to the final act. Death. This man was beyond redemption. She shuddered. What could she do to yank the castle from the brink with him dragging it down? Passion didn’t know.
She pushed the door open but couldn’t resist one look back. A thin band of blue had joined the black. Lust. Human males thought about sex a lot. She wondered if he had a specific target for all that hunger, or if it was simply his normal state of being. Passion had no experience with lust. Didn’t want any experience. She sighed. Yeah, lying was a sin too.
Once outside, she drew in a deep breath of clean night air. She’d escaped. And that’s exactly how she felt even though he was the one in the cage. She’d have to toughen up if she wanted to do any good here.
But she would need some time to get used to everything. The only experience she had of the mortal plane was what she’d seen and heard in the minds of the souls she’d visited. Even though she’d been focused on easing their worries and nudging them down the path of goodness and light, she’d absorbed enough knowledge to blend in.
Blending wasn’t the problem, though. Heaven didn’t generate much emotion, nothing even close to what she’d felt as she stared at the demon. She’d better get a handle on her feelings fast. Ted always said that logic was what made angels superior beings, and that humans were beneath them because they were slaves to their emotions. So, no more out-of-control emotions.
Passion scanned the courtyard. People who must be arriving for the next fantasy stepped around her to reach the door. She moved out of their way. She was sure if she went back into the great hall she could find a door leading to the hotel lobby. Did she want to do that? And take the chance of locking eyes with the demon again?
She walked around the outside of the castle. And as she walked, she worked on her story. No luggage because the airline had lost it all. Passion was glad that at least the Council had given her a credit card and some cash. She’d have to go shopping tomorrow. Maybe buy some clothes in brighter colors. Not that she was letting the fake wizard get to her. What she looked like didn’t matter as long as she did her job.
She thought again about the demon with his amber eyes and his lust and… Maybe she’d buy herself a few sexy things. She had to fit in here, not draw attention to herself. And she couldn’t change evil if she couldn’t get near it. Those who embraced all that was wicked would be more willing to accept her message if she dressed like them. Not that she’d enjoy dressing like a slut. Hello, your conscience here. Run that thought past me again. Okay, so maybe she’d enjoy it a little. There were times when Passion despaired of ever living up to heavenly standards.
I’m not going to post all of the excerpt but if you want to read it you can go here http://www.ninabangs.com/bookshelf/wickededge.php#excerpt
The thing I like about Nina’s books is two characters that are in almost all if not all or her stories, Sparkle and Ganymede.
They just add that wow factor and I can’t wait to see what trouble they are going to get into or stir up each time I open a book.
So I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if you’d like to see more of Nina you can go here http://www.ninabangs.com/index.php
Thank you Nina for joining us today to help celebrate.
Oh and I hope it’s ok to mention this here but Nina was running a contest about a month ago I think, to name her next Wicked book that is all about Sparkle and Ganymede…remember how I said I just love them. Well I was notified about a week ago that Nina loved one of my suggestions and I was one of her winners. Yeah me, I love Sparkle and Ganymede. Here is a snippet of the email I received. We were driving through NYC when I heard my phone ding and I checked my email and squealed and scared my dh to death, he though someone in another car was about to hit us, he about had a heart attack he said. Me I was bouncing in my seat.
” Hi, Zina,
Congratulations, you’re a winner! I chose your title, FOREVER WICKED, as the one I’ll use for my Ganymede and Sparkle book. There were so many wonderful titles that it was tough to choose, but something about yours seemed to embody their spirit.“
I thought about Sparkle and Ganymede and the fact the are eternal( if the Big Guy doesn’t take them out…just ask Gandymeade about it.) and how they can be oh so Wicked at times and I came up with a few titles, but Forever Wicked was my favorite.
1. You must leave a meaningful comment, something more than Hi, Hello, or Great Post. Ask a question, squee like a fan girl or whatever you want as long as it’s appropriate.
2. Every comment counts so chat away. Please include your email in your comment.
3. Winners will be drawn 3 days after each post and a master list will be posted on Feb 17th. You will have until Feb 29th to email me at SeawitchReviews @ yahoo (dot) com. I will also send an email to each winner but if I don’t hear from you by the 29th a new winner will be drawn.