Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of pages: 318
Cover Artist: Art by PhatPuppy
It’s tough being a faery in New Orleans, a city fraught with vampires… especially when their very existence drains your life-force.
Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void is having a rough week. Four years after her twin brother’s mysterious death, Willow’s life is threatened and the director saddles her with a new partner—her ex-boyfriend, David. To her horror, he’s turned vamp, which causes her physical pain whenever she touches him… and any other specimen of the undead.
In order to save Willow’s life, David agrees to turn double agent against the most powerful vampire organization in New Orleans. Or so he says. And she’s convinced they know something about her brother’s death. Unsure where David’s loyalties lie, she turns to Talisen, her childhood crush, to help her solve the mystery.
Caught between two gorgeous men and a director who’ll stop at nothing to control Willow’s gifts, she’ll have to follow her instincts and learn who to trust.
Otherwise, she risks losing more than just her life.
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When she isn’t writing, she is often goofing off with her husband in New Orleans, playing with her two shih tzu dogs, making glass beads, or out hocking her wares at various bead shows across the country.
For more information and updates on newest releases visit her website at www.deannachase.com
A low chuckle rumbled from the branch.
“Wil, I think our friend finds us amusing.” Phoebe gripped her black agate crystal.
“Just you,” the vamp replied, his voice as deep and gritty as a thirty-year chain-smoker. “She’s interesting, as well as that dog of hers, but I’ve been looking forward to this matchup for some time.”
A grin broke on Phoebe’s profile and her eyes glittered. “Oh, good. A challenge.”
The hooded figure leapt from the branch a second before Phoebe blasted the spot with her sunlight-infused agate. The branch sizzled and, with a deafening crack, landed inches from where Phoebe had been standing.
“Holy fae,” I breathed and took off after Phoebe, who was now sprinting to catch the vampire. She sped up, periodically flashing her agate, trying to stun him. His reflexes proved to be far superior to the average vampire’s, and I suspected this one had been around much longer than most. He alternated back and forth from the tree limbs to the cemetery wall in smooth, graceful movements, deliberately waiting for Phoebe to make a move before leaping.
He was playing with her.
At the end of the cemetery, the vampire turned and looked Phoebe in the eye. “What else you got, witch?”
Phoebe stopped yards ahead of me, her tiny, lithe body seeming to grow a few inches. She lifted her left hand straight out, palm up and shouted, “Siste!”
Her long, glossy black hair fell from its bun, whipping straight back in the windless night.
The power behind the spell rooted me to the path, frozen in a running pose. Link was a few yards ahead of her, suspended in midair, his face scrunched up in a snarl. The vampire’s laughter rang clear as he bounded onto a nearby rooftop and disappeared.
“Fuck!” Phoebe shouted as the power dissipated.
With the spell broken, I lost my balance and fell face-first on the hard brick sidewalk.
Link shot ahead, his little legs never breaking the run. His body shimmered gold before his limbs gave way, expanding until he’d grown to ten times his normal size. Once again in wolf form, he shot out of sight, sprinting after the vampire.
I groaned and rolled over, staring into Phoebe’s exhausted face. “You all right?”
She offered me a hand. “Yeah, but shit. I lost him.”
“How’d he do that?” I’d never seen a vampire manipulate her magic before. “It’s like he blocked it.”
“He deflected the spell, and it hit you and Link instead.” She rubbed her temple. “I don’t know how. I’ll need to do some research.”
I nodded. “I can’t sense him anymore, he must be long gone. We better go find Link before animal control gets him again.” The last time they’d picked him up as a wolf, he’d turned back into a Shih Tzu before I could claim him. The paperwork confusion had been a nightmare.
“You go ahead. I’ll grab the car and catch up.”
“Okay. Be safe. I’ll keep an eye out for you.” Smiling, I flew to the nearest rooftop.
I spotted Link within moments. He was racing around the corner at the end of the street, his white coat gleaming in the moonlight. Had he picked up the vamp’s trail or had Phoebe’s magic sent him into a frenzy? I couldn’t feel the vampire, so it must have been the magic.
Or could I? My limbs were weighted as if the air was heavy, and my lungs had to work harder for oxygen. Something was off, though. It didn’t feel the same as the sticky, swimming death I’d experienced earlier. The sensation pressed lightly and then all at once clung to me.
A vampire was close. Really, really close. But why did it feel so different?
My heart picked up as panic set in. Link was blocks away. Phoebe was in the car somewhere, and I was alone on a roof.
Why had I taken off by myself? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I glanced around at the half-deserted neighborhood. A stone settled in my gut as recognition dawned. I was on vampire property. In the years after hurricane Katrina, the city had swelled with vampires. Drawn to the despair and lawlessness, the vampire population had more than tripled.
At first, they helped the struggling economy by buying up blocks of decimated homes. Unfortunately, they only rebuilt the one they lived in and left the others to rot. The perfect way to discourage neighbors. Vamps had been known to do a lot worse for privacy.
I scanned the streets for Phoebe’s car or a glimpse of Link. If I could find either of them I’d be fine. The silence grated. Alone on a roof with no cell phone and a vampire lying in wait. Now what?
I stretched my wings, fluttering a few feet off the rooftop. Flying always gave me a sense of control. I couldn’t cover a lot of ground, but I could move pretty quickly if I needed to. Faster than sprinting, anyway.
The sticky sensation stayed with me, but as I flew, the intensity lessened. Maybe he was in the building.
The thought didn’t put me at ease one little bit. Vamps were impossibly fast. If one had spotted me… Link reappeared at the end of the block.
“Finally.” I flexed my wings and shot toward the edge of the building.
I spun. My wings stilled mid-flutter as pleasure heated my insides. I knew that voice and missed it more than I cared to admit. Managing to land gracefully on shaky legs, I peered through the moonlight. “David?”
Relief washed through my body at the sight of him, uncurling the knot I’d forgotten existed in my stomach. I took a step closer and froze.
Thick honey vampire energy clung to me and it was coming from my ex.