In my upcoming series, The Belladonna Agency, Eliana “Ana” Martin is a human ex gang member trying to keep off the radar and enjoy a simple life. However, vampire Ty Duncan has different plans for her, including recruiting her for a black ops organization intended to hunt vampire criminals.
In addition to Ana, the agency recruits three other human females. They are beautiful but deadly just like the Belladonna or Nightshade plant, and the male vampires on their team.

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I like writing about strong characters but unfortunately for them, strong characters are often tested by pain and heartache. The women of the Belladonna Agency have scars, some on the outside but mostly on the inside. In some ways, learning about the existence of vampires is easier for them to deal with than their own pasts.
Ana is especially closed off to love because she has never truly experienced it. The love she had for her family was taken away from her years ago. After that, physical violence was the only thing she knew as a gang member. As Ty tries to penetrate the walls around her heart, Ana must learn how to deal with the feelings Ty inspires in her—first lust, then love.
I hope you pick up a copy of TURNED to see how Ty convinces Ana to surrender to him!

She felt her heart racing, in fear and in anticipation. Finally, his lips tightened and he banked the fire in his eyes. Silently, she let out a sigh of relief.
“Accept our offer,” he urged.
“And if I did, my tasks would be . . . what?”
“You’ll work missions, but you’ll also train other women.”
She couldn’t help it. Her eyes bugged out. The idea of her training women to be super agents was ludicrous. He’d shocked the hell out of her and she didn’t care if he knew. “What makes you think I have anything to teach anyone?”
He looked at her steadily. “The information we gather isn’t the sort people give out willingly. In fact, it’s the kind people kill for in order to protect.”
“So you kill them before they can kill you?” She’d never sign up for something like that. Gang life had been about protection and survival, not war. Not premeditated murder.
Whoa. Scratch that last thought. She had never committed murder, planned or unplanned. She’d never wanted to look too closely, but she’d always known how dangerous some of her fellow gang members could be—-even to each other.
“Wrong. We avoid using force, and we avoid doing anything that would unnecessarily call attention to the agency. At the same time, our agents need to be prepared for any eventuality. They need the skills to blend in. To talk themselves out of trouble. And yes, if it’s absolutely necessary, to fight violence with violence.”
“What makes you think I’d risk breaking a nail, let alone my life, for some agency I never even knew existed?”
“Because I know more about you than you think. I know you’d do just about anything to see your sister again. Why not work for the right cause in the process?”
She shook her head. She didn’t believe in causes. Didn’t waste her time with volunteer work and trying to make the world a better place. The world was a minefield. You looked out for yourself or you got blown to kingdom come.
“Even if that’s true—-and I’m not saying it is,” Ana said, “I’m not an expert in any of the things you just talked about.”
“You’re not giving yourself enough credit. You’ve assumed a new identity, quite successfully, I might add. And you managed to make me hurt—-and bleed—-more than once,” he pointed out.
True, but still . . . he’d already proven quite thoroughly that anything she’d done to him was probably the result of him having let her do it. She chewed her lip, considering him. Considering what he offered. He seemed like he was on the up–and–up—-crazy but legitimate.
Téa had told her often enough that she would get tired of rejecting human contact—-but as a coffee shop owner–manager, Ana usually had so much human contact that by the end of the day she wanted to rip up her apron and run away into the Seattle sunset.
It was emotional contact she could use. And work that meant something. Her greatest achievement to date was learning how to correctly foam skim milk for half–caf double–shot supertalls at six bucks a pop. She still lived week to week. There was never enough to consider quitting and giving the search for Gloria all she had. Sure, Gloria had told her to leave her alone, but if Ana could find her, if they could see each other face–to–face, she knew their sisterly bond would take over, giving her a chance to talk sense into the other woman. They were family, for God’s sake.
Ana ached to hold Gloria again. To see the dimple on the side of her cheek when she smiled.
And to find out how everything had gone so wrong that day seven years ago, when her formal jump out of Primos Sangre had turned into a shoot–out.
She wanted her sister, damn it. But there was no denying she wanted more, too.
Ty said Belladonna paid well. What else was he offering?
He smiled at her.
Riiight.
Could she really relax enough to let someone in again? Even if it was simply to work with a team, to work with Ty and be treated with kindness and respect, to maybe even explore the sizzling attraction that flared to life whenever he touched her . . .
Her instincts fought against the idea. Her aching heart tugged her forward.
“Ana,” he said quietly. He walked toward her, his movements slow. Predatory. Primal. Jesus, he got to her. His strength was a natural part of him, just like his confidence.
“I’ve answered a few of your questions,” he said quietly. “Now I want an answer from you.”

Virna is offering one commenter a print of TURNED when it releases (limited to U.S. & Canada).  Good luck y’all!

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About Virna

Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor and national bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. She writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, HQN, and Random House. In her off hours, she loves broadway
musicals, spending time with her family and friends, and connecting with other romance readers.
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