Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dangerous Waters jacket reveal

Great news!

The Dangerous Waters jacket is set and the book is off to the printers (9/5 release date).

Can't wait to get my hands on the first copy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dangerous Waters book trailer premiere!!

The Dangerous Waters book trailer premiere has finally arrived!! 

Please check it out and spread the word to all of your friends and family!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Michigan book signing tour is in the works

I'm working on setting up a Michigan book signing tour from 9/21 - 9/28 with planned stops in Lansing, Novi, Mt. Pleasant, Saginaw and Traverse City! 

The trailer will be playing at theaters in Canton, Traverse City, Lansing and Louisville from 11/1 - 11/29.

Check back for details on each of the tour stops!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest blog with Terri Talley Venters, Author of Copper Cauldron

Terri Talley Venters,
Author of Carbon Copy, Tin Roof, Body Of Gold, and Copper Cauldron
Terri received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Florida. She is a licensed CPA and a Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. She lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with her husband, Garrison, and their two sons.
Carbon Copy, currently available from Wild Child Publishing, is the 1st thrilling novel in the Elements of Mystery Series. The title of each novel will contain an element from the Periodic Table of Elements. Tin Roof, the sequel to Carbon Copy, coming soon from Wild Child Publishing. And Terri’s romantic/suspense novel, Body of Gold, is coming soon from Freya’s Bower. Terri just finished writing, Silver Lining, the final book in the Carbon Copy trilogy. For more about Terri’s upcoming releases, please visit her website http://www.elementsofmystery.com/ Terri is the daughter of Leslie S. Talley, author of Make Old Bones which is also available from Wild Child Publishing.

Copper Cauldron
Penelope Manchester, a good witch with one green and one blue eye, awaits her destiny: a warrior of God with the face of an angel, the heart of a saint, and eyes which match her own. St. Michael the Archangel flies into her life and sweeps her off her feet. Meanwhile, an evil sorcerer captures witches, steals their powers and most of their nine lives, and shrinks them to the size of a doll--a N├╝rnberg, doll. But when he turns two of the Manchester witches into dolls, the Manchester clan fights back with St. Michael and divine intervention. Armed with the legendary copper cauldron, a fire breathing dragon, and an arsenal of spells, good battles evil.

Terry was kind enough to share another of her wonderful elemental short stories! Check it out! 


By: Terri Talley Venters

You are cordially invited to a Valentines’ Day Party
February 14, 1913
8 o’clock in the evening
At the beach home of Jeb and Shelby McAlister
In St. Augustine, Florida

Priscilla squealed with excitement as she danced in circles, delighted to receive the coveted Valentines’ Day party invitation hosted by her friends, twins Jeb and Shelby. Priscilla, along with everyone else fortunate enough to attend, looked forward this annual party of the season. The tradition started several years ago when Jeb and Shelby’s parents wanted society to mingle with their teenage children on Valentines’ Day in hopes to find good matches for their twins amongst the children of their wealthy friends.

Everyone anticipated an engagement between Priscilla and Jeb. In fact Priscilla let Jeb kiss her on the beach at last year’s Valentines’ Day party. Although she’d hoped for a proposal last year, she understood the delay since he and his twin sister, along with their parents, departed for Europe a few days after last year’s party.

Priscilla worried why he never wrote to her during this last year. She feared Jeb’s parents would try to marry him off to a lady of nobility during their Grand Tour. She read the social pages everyday and felt thankful to hear no news of him. Her heart would break if she learned Jeb got engaged to another woman.

It didn’t surprise her to not see him since last year.  The McAlister’s lived in Philadelphia, while Priscilla and her family lived in New York. But like most wealthy families, they spent their winters in Florida.  They took the Florida East Coast railroad to St. Augustine, Florida and stayed in the luxurious Ponce De Leon Hotel. Since the beaches in Florida were so beautiful, many wealthy families built their winter homes here including the McAlister family. 

Valentines’ Day finally arrived and Priscilla arrived at the McAlister’s enormous beach home located on the inlet leading into St. Augustine. Her full-length, red satin gown would normally appear inappropriate on an unmarried woman, but her mother acquiesced and allowed Priscilla to borrow hers for this special evening.

Priscilla walked up the steps of the party and felt breathless at the sight of everyone wearing their finery--the women in beautiful gowns and jewels and the men in coats with tails and top hats.  She entered the beautiful home and fantasized about her future with Jeb.  She pictured herself wearing the latest fashions from Paris, adorned with diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires, depending on which gown she chose.  But the best part about her fantasy life was the title of Mrs. Jeb McAlister.

She entered the enormous ballroom and immediately searched for Jeb.  She took the glass of champagne handed to her by a servant, but ignored the scrumptious buffet meticulously laid out in the formal dinning room of the mansion.  She knew eating like a field hand repulsed most gentlemen, along with her waistline. She saw many of her friends which delighted her, but she saw no sign of any of the McAlister’s.

“Priscilla, darling, how wonderful to see you.  Have you met Matthew Oxford of Boston?” Madeline asked, kissing her cheeks to greet her friend since childhood.

“Of course, I remember Mr. Oxford.  How do you do?” Priscilla asked.  She raised her gloved-hand and allowed him to kiss the silken fabric protecting her delicate fingers.

“How do you do, Priscilla.  How wonderful to see you again.  I was just telling Madeline how sorry I was to hear about her husband who went down on the Titanic last April,” Matthew said.

“I’m so sorry for your loss, Madeline.  And how unfortunate I must again compete with the beautiful Madeline Astor.  How can I possibly land a fine husband when every eye is on you tonight,” Priscilla said.

“Thank you, Priscilla.  But I’m afraid you outshine me in your beautiful red gown,” Madeline said.

“Madeline and I were just discussing how the tragedy of so many lost souls on the Titanic increased my business last year,” Matthew said.

“How interesting. It’s good to hear something positive derived from such a tragedy,” Priscilla said.  She tried to hide her shock to hear a man discussing business in front of ladies. But his breach of etiquette reminded her of Matthew’s “nouveau riche” status.

“Mr. Oxford makes headstones for a living and his father owns a granite quarry,” Madeline said, catching Priscilla up on the conversation while sharing her misery of the dreadful tale.

“You see, tombstones are made from granite, although granite is composed 65% of silicon dioxide,” Matthew said.

Priscilla forced her eyes not to close with boredom from this dreadful conversation.  She needed to find Jeb without appearing rude. “Sounds fascinating, Matthew. Although I don’t care to ever see another tombstone again, I’d love to hear more about the tombstone making business. But if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to search for our host, young Mr. McAlister,” Priscilla said.

Priscilla walked out to the beach and stood in the same spot where Jeb had kissed her one year ago tonight. She missed him terribly and felt disappointed she hadn’t seen him at his own party. She understood his duties as a host, but she thought it rather odd that no one saw either Jeb or Shelby at tonight’s party.  In fact, no one saw or heard from the McAlister’s since last year’s party.

She looked out at the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and thought of all the lost people who perished when the Titanic sank last spring.  Priscilla prayed to see her beloved again. “Oh, Jeb, I miss you terribly. I love you and I want to be your wife more than anything in the world. Please come back to me.”

Priscilla couldn’t believe her eyes at the sight before her. As her vision watched the circling lights of the lighthouse across the bay, she saw a figure standing on the rocks. He looked like Jeb.  She blinked her eyes and thought her prayers were finally answered. Her heart knew the image she craved to see again belonged to her beloved, Jeb McAlister.
She walked towards him and yelled, “Jeb.”

He looked at her without saying a word. He started walking towards the house and Priscilla followed him. Although it thrilled her to see him again, it concerned her when he didn’t come to her now. After an entire year apart, she felt disappointed at his lack of response.  She’d expected Jeb to take her into his arms because he missed her as much as she missed him.
She watched Jeb head to the house and couldn’t keep up with his fast pace. She watched him walk through the open front door, almost knocking over a late arriving guest. He didn’t even stop to greet him. What happened to his manners?

Priscilla ran into the house and screamed “Jeb, Jeb, please wait, it’s me, Priscilla.”

“Did you see Jeb?” someone asked.

“Yes, he walked right through the front door a few seconds ago. Didn’t you see him too?” Priscilla asked as she looked through the crowded party to search for Jeb.

“No, in fact no one has seen Jeb, Shelby, or their parents tonight,” the other guest said.

“Look, there he is. Jeb is so tall; I can easily spot his top hat from here. But what’s the white thing around his neck? It looks like a life jacket,” Priscilla asked.

“Wouldn’t surprise me if Jeb decided to take a midnight sail by the Castillo de San Marco. But I don’t see him. Where is he?” Matthew asked.

“Look, he’s right there going out the back door. He’s probably headed towards his boat. It’s docked at the rear of the property,” Priscilla said, pointing towards Jeb.

“Hey, everyone, Jeb is taking us on a midnight sail in the harbor. Follow the man in a top hat and life preserver and grab bottle of champagne,” Matthew said.

“Hurrah!” the party guests cheered in unison as they headed out the back of the house.

“Where is he? I don’t see him,” everyone asked.

“He’s right there. How can you not see him? Everyone, follow me,” Priscilla said.

She led the party outside, and everyone screamed in horror at the sight before them. Four new granite gravestones now occupied the backyard. Priscilla immediately read the engraving on the third marker.  She now knew why she never heard from Jeb again.

Here lies Jeb McAlister

Beloved Son and Brother

Born Jan 18, 1888

Lost at sea on the H.M.S, Titanic

April 15, 1912.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Check our Karie's Dangerous Waters promo pic!!

One of my very talented new friends, Karie Shafer, created the awesome promo pic below for Dangerous Waters. Thanks Karie!! Very cool!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

More pics from the Dangerous Waters trailer shoot!

Here are some additional behind the scenes pics from the Dangerous Waters trailer shoot. Enjoy!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Coming to a theater near you... the Dangerous Waters trailer!!

The initial list of theaters the Dangerous Waters trailer will play in has been set!! The air date will be determined once the publication date is set, but it will play before all PG rated movies or above on all screens for two weeks.

If there isn't a location near you the trailer will also be available on my Blog, Website, FB Author page and on YouTube. And we may expand to more theaters if the first run produces solid results :)

  • LANSING               Ncg Lansing Cinema         2500 SHOWTIME DRIVE
  • TRAVERSE CITY   Horizon Cinemas 10         3587 MARKET PLACE Cir
  • LOUISVILLE           Baxter Avene Filmworks   1250 Bardstown Road

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dangerous Waters trailer shoot pics

Here's your first quick peek behind the scenes at the Dangerous Waters trailer shoot. These are just a few I had a chance to snap with my pocket digital camera. I should have our "behind-the-scenes-photographer" Terri's pics by the end of the week:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guest Blog Q&A with Tessa Dawn, Author of Blood Shadows - the latest installment in the Blood Curse series!!

Author Bio:
Tessa Dawn grew up in Colorado where she developed a deep affinity for the Rocky Mountains. After graduating with a degree in psychology, she worked for several years in criminal justice and mental health before returning to get her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management.
Tessa began writing as a child and composed her first full-length novel at the age of eleven. By the time she graduated high-school, she had a banker’s box full of short-stories and books. Since then, she has published works as diverse as poetry, greeting cards, workbooks for kids with autism, and academic curricula. The Blood Curse Series marks her long-desired return to her creative-writing roots and her first foray into the Dark Fantasy world of vampire fiction.
Tessa currently splits her time between the Colorado suburbs and mountains with her husband, two children, and “one very crazy cat.” She hopes to one day move to the country where she can own horses and what she considers “the most beautiful creature ever created” -- a German Shepherd.
Writing is her bliss.

Blood Shadows:
Nachari Silivasi is a bright light in a Dark World. As the youngest vampire in a family of warriors, he has studied Magick for four-hundred years and acquired a rare mastery of the universe around him. He is beloved by his family; legendary for his good-looks; and known for his uncommon valor. Unfortunately, he has just made the ultimate sacrifice – he has traded his immortal life for the life of the Vampyr King.

Deanna Dubois is as talented as she is independent, but she has developed a strange and terrifying habit: Night after night, day after day, she sketches one horrifying scene after another -- the body of a gorgeous male being tortured in hell by demons. Disturbed by her ever growing obsession, she sets out to Dark Moon Vale to uncover the truth. Only, what she finds is a web of danger, destruction, and deceit.

Separated by space and time, yet drawn together by fate, Nachari and Deanna find themselves in an epic battle against evil: Nachari is forced to forge a path in a world of shadows, where torture and lust rule the night; while Deanna struggles to decide between two polar opposites – to flee from the truth or trade her mortal soul for the possibility
of a stranger’s salvation.

The stakes could not be higher.
The enemy could not be more lethal.
And the only way to reach the light
is to, first, enter the Blood Shadows.

And now for the interview!!

Hi Chad,
Thanks for having me on your blog. I’m looking forward to the interview!
·         How did you come up with the very creative foundation for your series, the Blood curse? Did the specifics evolve as you wrote Blood Destiny or did you have everything pretty much nailed down up front?
Many years ago, when I was still a teenager, I watched a documentary about an ancient civilization that went extinct after sacrificing all of their females to “male” gods (don’t remember the name). Needless to say, it left an impact (I was glad they all died, and I was appalled that they could’ve been so calloused and power-hungry). When I began the Blood Curse Series, I knew that I wanted to do two things: First, reinvent the mythology and origin of vampires (explain the what, how, and why of vampirism); and second, utilize the history I saw in that documentary. The Blood Curse allowed me to both.

·         Your compelling series formula – with the shifting central character, primary romantic plot, and good vs. evil ongoing subplot (with some Vamps on the side of good) – shares some similarities with the Dark Hunter and Black Dagger brotherhood series (which I also love). Have you had an opportunity to read either series? If so, did you enjoy them?
I have not read the Dark Hunter series; I have, however, read BDB by JR Ward. And just like you, I love it!

·         I read that you penned your first full length novel at the incredibly young age of 11. What was the story about? Do you still have it with you?
I have no idea what it was about… lol. I wrote SO MUCH…so often. I think that was just the age when I finally finished something full length. Luckily, those “books” never saw the light of day (I hope they still exist in a box somewhere, but trust me, they were pretty darn bad!) LOL

·         I’m thinking with your background in criminal justice, there’s more than a little of yourself in Jocelyn Levi. What else do you have in common with the heroine from the first book in the series (Blood Destiny)?
Hmm, let me see: maybe her heart and some of her analytical qualities. Otherwise, not a whole lot. **Spoiler Alert** I would have felt great sympathy for Braden, too; and I would have made the same calculation in the shed about the Dark One (the enemy of my enemy is my friend – go for it). But I would not have tried to jump over the rail on the balcony; I would not have run out to help Nathaniel in the clearing (I would’ve hidden in a closet somewhere, under blankets, in a box…dialing 911…and praying); and it’s doubtful I would’ve been in that first cave to begin with…that depends. J

·         In Blood Awakening , which happens to be my favorite book in the series so far, we are treated to a surprising twist, with the immergence of the daughters of King Sakarias (who was ruler of the Celestial Beings before the Blood Curse). Was this a part of the original series story arc in your mind or an ingenious addition? 
This was not part of the original series. To develop the series, I created the history and mythology; I went into great detail about who the vampires would be (dark v. light) and why. Then, I fleshed them out into 3D color so to speak, breathed life into them, and gave them the reigns. From that moment forward, I’ve followed their characters and the story – most of the time, I have no idea what’s going to happen next. Except for in the epilogue of book four (which will be the main story in book five); I saw that happening early on – just didn’t know when or how.

·         Your diverse publishing history (poetry, greeting cards, academic texts, workbooks for Autistic children and novels) is extremely unique. Which of these did you do first? Which types of media do you still work in?
I wrote poetry (for many years) and greeting cards first, and I think that background is evident in my writing style. I have to really concentrate on not going too far into the nuance and rhythm of the words: remind myself, “this is fiction!”

·         While I’m eagerly (and impatiently) awaiting Nachari and Deanna’s story in Blood Shadows (2/28 release), I’m also curious about the fifth installment. By process of elimination, I assume book #5 will feature the Ancient Master Healer Kagen. Do you know who his female interest will be yet? Have you started working on the manuscript?
Well, let’s see: All I can say is your “assumption” is…not happening. LOL (However, if it’s any consolation, that’s what most of my reader’s assume). Book five is a surprise. It is something I saw happening before I finished book one, but I just didn’t know when or how I would write it.

And yes, as Kagen steps forward just a little bit more in each book, I’m beginning to get a deeper feel for him and where his character may need to go. While envisioning book five, I saw his destiny emerge in my imagination (for the FIRST time). As always, there will be a slight twist – but it won’t be in book five. Smiles.

·         Will the series wrap up with Braden’s story (the apprentice) or will additional characters be introduced?
Again, I have no idea. I do know that a lot of readers are really interested in Braden and would like to see his character mature…and his story unfold. There is a lot of possibility with Braden because he’s so multi-layered. Right now, I don’t have any specific plans…

·         Do you have your own favorite book in the series so far? If so, which is it and why is it your favorite?
Favorite book so far (and it was a total surprise) is Blood Possession. Favorite character: Nachari (so his book runs a close second).

·         Who is your favorite author all-time? Why? Who are some of your current favorites?
I would have to take a month to think about my all-time favorite author, lol. However, I will say that Robert Masello (Blood and Ice) is the best “writer” I have ever seen. I don’t know if his books are great or not because I just get lost in his craft and sentence structure – the flow of his words and the easy perfection with which he wields them. It’s like staring at the Sistine chapel and wondering, how does anyone do that??? Ever? Really!

Some current favorites are Kim Harrison and Anne Bishop.

·         How long did it take you to write Blood Destiny? What was the hardest part for you? Do you start out with a detailed outline or use more of a free flowing style?
I start out with a not-so-detailed outline (like a skeleton), and then I fill in the “flesh and bones” in layers. However, it always changes as I write – sometimes significantly. Have you ever seen someone try to move a donkey that doesn’t want to budge? That’s what my characters do to me when I try to take them somewhere they don’t want to go – or that isn’t entirely authentic for them. They dig in and refuse to go. Surprisingly, even if it’s a “bad” or painful scene, if that’s where they’re going -- that’s where they’re going.

·         Do you track online reviews, rankings and sales figures closely? How do you handle less than complimentary reviews? Are you able to dismiss them and move on or do they get under your skin?
During the first two weeks of a release, I will look at many (but not all) of the early reviews to see how the book is doing as a whole. After that, and as surprising as this sounds, I don’t read them! Really, I don’t. If I (or my publisher) have requested a specific review, then of course, I read every word. And many of my readers will contact me directly to share their reactions, reviews, or questions & concerns (if they have them) – I always read EVERY word my readers write to me, even if it takes me a while to respond.

With respect to negative reviews, every author approaches this differently, so there’s more than one way to go about it. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to single-out and read negative reviews (just as it would be a mistake to single out and read positive reviews). Maybe it’s because I studied so much statistics in college, but for me, I see reviews as a snapshot of the whole, where overall patterns and trends tell us much more than individual postings. Don’t get me wrong, I pay close attention to my editor’s notes; I use a BETA reading group for feedback, and if I noticed a negative theme, trend, or problem from readers (on a bell curve, that would be over 10%), I would definitely take a look to see what’s going on.

Release Date: February 28, 2013
Title: BLOOD SHADOWS by Tessa Dawn (Blood Curse Series, #4)
Availability: Paperback and eBook

Barnes & Noble:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dangerous Waters book trailer update!!

Great news!!

The cast has been finalized for the upcoming March 23rd Dangerous Waters book trailer shoot on the campus of MSU!

And I've got a company lined up to take the raw footage we shoot and transform it into a professional trailer :)

A big, heartfelt thank you goes out to the cast below:
  • Emily / Brooke - Jocelyn Elyssa Cutean
  • Sandy - Zachera Wollenberg
  • Ruby - Maryrose Jakeway
  • Raven - Britney Brown
  • Sienna - Sara Anne Ostrowski
  • Daniel - Chris Coy
  • Travis - Mike Burr
  • Teresa - Kat Orwig (still being confirmed)
  • Alexander - Hunter Lee Eagle
  • Wendy Taylor - Jenn Campbell
We've put together a list of 14 potential scenes we are thinking of shooting. The cast will be working together to iron out the details for each over the coming weeks. Once we finalize the scene selection I'll share the details here :)

While the big screen debut may still be a ways off (Doesn't hurt to dream :) ), it is so exciting to see some of my favorite scenes brought to life!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Guest Blog Post with Kenzie Michaels, Author of Class Reunion

Meet Kenzie:
Kenzie Michaels resides in the Midwest with her husband, three children, and various household pets. Her fifth-grade teacher showed this avid reader how to write the stories swirling in her head, successfully unleashing her imagination upon the written word.
Kenzie is the 'wild child' of author Molly Daniels. They cohabitate nicely inside the brain of a woman in Indiana who's the mother of three and 'Aunt Molly' to the entire neighborhood. A devout chocoholic, her hubby has learned to watch out when the characters in her head take over and not get too upset when the words are flowing and all concept of time is lost. (LOL)

Class Reunion:
After being burned pretty badly by two different women in his past, Brian Vellinger has sworn off romance. Commitment-shy for the past fifteen years, he is stunned by his sudden attraction to a woman he's not seen since the last day of their senior year.
Natalie Collier thinks she's successfully put Brian Vellinger out of her mind. After harboring a secret crush all through high school and into college, she is both alarmed and thrilled when Brian makes his intentions known at their 25th class reunion. But will she succeed in softening his casual, 'sex only' policy, or will she end up just another notch on his belt?

Your exclusive Class Reunion sneak peak !
He tried to be casual about where he was headed; he stopped and joked with others, but his mind and his eyes kept returning to the honey-blonde mass of hair.  Nat had twisted it up in a knot on top of her head, but Brian felt himself growing hard, remembering how it had framed her face as she’d bent over him that morning.
Fuck it…if they talk, they talk.  She’s going back tomorrow anyway; what’s a little gossip going to hurt?  As long as she understands this isn’t going anywhere.  Brian switched tactics and intercepted her, motioning her over behind the enclosed shelter house a few yards away.
He made sure no one was looking and swung her into his arms for a thorough kiss, pressing his pelvis against hers.  He felt her soften as her arms crept around his neck.
“Wow Bri…what was that for?”  She smiled after they came up for air.
“Can’t a man kiss a beautiful woman for no reason?  Besides…your tits are driving me crazy.”  Brian unbuttoned her sleeveless shirt and placed kisses on the gentle curves above her bra cups.  He wasn’t satisfied, and pulled one taut nipple free to drink of her sweetness.  Suddenly he stopped and tugged both her bra and shirt back into place, gathering her close.  “Christ, Natalie…what the hell have you done to me?”
“What do you mean?”  Her words were muffled against his neck.
“I haven’t dragged a female behind a building since the time I kissed Beth Lewis behind the bleachers in the seventh grade.”  He kissed her again and stepped back to rebutton her shirt.  He took a deep breath.  “How much longer do we have to be here, anyway?”
A look of surprise crossed her face.  “People can leave at any time, but I thought you were supposed to stick around until everyone left.  Unless you put Sandy in charge today…she’s the one who pulled all the tables together and made sure this area was reserved.”
“Shit.  I forgot to thank her.”  Brian ran a hand through his dark hair and sighed.  “You’re right.  Will you hang around with me, or do you and Lisa have plans for tonight?”
“No; no plans.  I saw my parents yesterday afternoon, and left the evening wide open for any suggestions.”  Natalie bit her lip and clasped her hands together.
Brian lifted her chin with one finger so she looked him in the eye.  “Good.  How about room service at your hotel?” 

Pre-order Class Reunion here:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sneek peek #3 - Dangerous Waters prologue!!

As promised, here is the entire Dangerous Waters prologue! This is set a few years in the future, and gives you a glimpse of what is to come further into the series. As always, keep in mind this is taken from my draft version :)

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!!


The ornately carved golden doors of the global court swung open, and the raucous crowd settled into their seats. Soldiers outfitted in full battle gear streamed in, marching down the long marble aisle to the raised gallery that formed a half circle behind the five vampire containment chairs. They each carried a knockout stick and a shoulder-fired laser rifle capable of delivering three second bursts of one quadrillion watts. The electromagnetic waves generated by the RF frequency systems in their helmets shielded their thoughts and ensured that not even the strongest of their enemy could hijack their mind.
Once they were positioned, the bailiff typed a code into the touchpad on the wall, and a steel panel slid open. Four hooded figures emerged, surrounded by several more guards who forcefully escorted them to their chairs. Their shackled ankles and wrists were smeared with conductive jelly then attached to electrical leads. As soon as they were seated, metal bands extended around their shins, thighs, chests, biceps and forearms, leaving them unable to move.
None of the prisoners made a sound, knowing that even a whimper would be met with another punishing jolt of current from the collars that adorned their necks, but that did little to lessen the deafening noise in the room. Every seat of the three story grand hall was occupied for this momentous event, with another 750,000 people crammed into Central Park outside. Reporters from around the globe were scrambling to get their last pre-trial clips recorded before the court was called to order.
“Some are questioning the tactics of the global court this morning,” an Austria reporter stated in her native German. “Using vampires and humans as bait in an effort to lure what most people consider to be the Vampire Queen out of hiding. So far their plan doesn’t seem to have worked, as there have been no sensor reports of vampire activity in or around New York, but with the executions moving forward today, things are expected to intensify.”
“All rise!” the bailiff bellowed out through the hall. “This court is now in session. The honorable global court inquisitor O’Callaghan presiding.”
An imposing figure with short, golden locks entered from behind the bailiff, motioning with his hands for people to take their seats. He gathered his floor-length white and purple robes in his left hand, made his way over to the furthest prisoner and yanked the hood from her head.
“So this is the all-powerful Sienna,” the inquisitor mocked, squeezing the bound woman’s cheeks with his hand. “How disappointing.”
Her once beautiful face was disfigured by several charred-black electrical burns, blood and pus oozing out of the open wounds. The pungent salve packed into her broken nose made her eyes tear up, and prevented her from smelling anything.
“Do you have anything you wish to say in your defense before I render my verdict?” the inquisitor asked, deactivating the device around her throat so she could speak.
“This will never work—she knows her life is far more important than mine.”
“It’s possible she’d let you die,” he acknowledged. “But both of her parents, her mate and her best friend? No, I think that’s far too much to expect her to endure. Sooner or later she’ll come, and the world will celebrate her execution.”
Sienna snapped to attention at the news of who accompanied her. “You have no idea what you’ve done—everyone in this building’s going to die.”
The crowd erupted at her outburst, and the inquisitor held up his hand to silence them. “And how exactly is your precious Queen going to manage that? She’ll be welcomed to our fair city by twenty thousand volts from the first alarm she trips. Not enough to kill your kind, but plenty to leave her unconscious until—”
“Sir, a perimeter alarm’s been triggered just outside the north gate,” a soldier interrupted from the gallery.
He wheeled on the man in a fit of anger. “Interrupt me again, and I’ll disembowel you! People have been jumping the fence all day—contact the guards at the gate and have them check it out.”
“We tried sir. Calls have been placed to the guard desk, the three closest perimeter sweep teams and the north tactical unit—they’re not responding.”
“Who’s not responding, you imbecile!”
“Any of them.”
“It’s too late,” Sienna said, gazing at his panic-stricken face. “She’s here.”
“Clear the courtroom and take the prisoners back into custody!” he commanded.
Before anyone could move a massive explosion rocked the third floor balcony, raining debris and body parts down on the crowd below, and filling the auditorium with a choking white smoke. The crowd flooded for the exits, which were soon hopelessly jammed. They started to push and trample each other in a desperate attempt to escape.
The lone set of stairs to the balcony was located outside the courtroom, so the soldiers had no choice but to yield the high ground to their unseen enemy. Feeling trapped, several of them started to fire blindly into the smoke, only adding to the chaos. The commanding officer who’d been talking with the inquisitor raised his rifle—against his will—and sent a chest high laser beam though the entire gallery, cutting several of his fellow soldiers in half. The ones that survived were turned to dust by an energy burst that blew out the entire back of the building.
Moments later a woman dressed in skin-tight black leather swooped down onto the marble floor, drawing two broadswords from the sheaths on her back. The inquisitor took three running steps and dove for a knockout stick that had come to rest a few feet in front of him. His body was suspended mid leap, as if he’d struck an invisible barrier of some kind, then catapulted sideways into the solid steel outer wall of the holding cells.
The vampire advanced but had to break off her attack when a laser tore through the floor inches in front of her black leather boots. In a move too fast to be seen, she coiled and launched herself across the courtroom, landing amongst the small group of soldiers that had fought their way through the crowd. A bright red mist filled the air as she executed her elegant dance of death, moving with the grace and agility of a jungle cat.
By the time she returned the inquisitor had managed to pull his body up into a sitting position and was taking short, labored breaths. She raised his chin with the tip of her blood-covered blade, wanting him to see who it was that was delivering him to hell.
He let out something between a choking sound and a chuckle, spitting blood from his mouth. “Releasing the locks requires an order from me, and the code can only be entered remotely by central command. They’re all going to burn.”
“Don’t flatter yourself—there’s nothing I need from you.” She fixed her gaze on the restraints binding Sienna to the chair. Within seconds they started to rattle, shaking more and more violently until they broke free and dropped to the floor.
His eyes widened with fear. “Wh—what are you?”
“The last thing your wife and three kids are ever going to see.” She flicked her wrist, and his severed head fell into his lap.
Fire was rapidly engulfing the courtroom, sending waves of torrid heat washing over her face. She scanned the entire hall in search of any additional threats. Most of the remaining people had succumbed to the noxious gas that was making her gag. Those that were left were sprawled out on the floor, clinging to the last threads of life. Assured that they weren’t in any imminent danger, she sheathed her weapons and turned toward Sienna. “Hi Mom.”
“I told you not to come.”
She laughed, wiping some of the blood from her face. “You can ground me when we get home. Can you walk?”
“Not far. Your father’s in worse shape though. Brooke, his heart—”
“I know—I can hear it.” Brooke reached behind her back, pulled a sports bottle out of the top of her pants and tossed it to Sienna. “You’ll need your strength.”
“Thanks.” Using both hands, she reset the bones in her nose, then popped the top, poured about a quarter of the bottle over her face and chugged down the rest. Within a few seconds the wounds healed over. They both jumped when one of the rafters crashed to the floor behind them. “I think that’s our cue. Let’s get out of here.”
Brooke concentrated on her hunched-over father’s restraints. As soon as they broke free his body pitched forward into Sienna’s waiting arms, and she eased him onto his back. “Hang in there, David,” she whispered, removing his hood. “We’ll get you to a hospital soon.”
The whirling noise from dozens of approaching helicopters sent them scrambling to free the others. Countless soldiers—an entire brigade at least—charged into the mouth of the blown-out opening just as the last of the restraints fell.
“My God,” Sienna gasped. “There’s too many sweetheart, even for you.”
“I’m what they want,” Brooke said with a resigned nod. “Take my father and head north. Stick to the rooftops until you get outside the city, so you don’t trip any alarms.”
Sienna was appalled. “We’re not leaving you here to die.”
“No fucking way!” the vampire next to her exclaimed. “You’re my wife—I’m not going anywhere without you.”
“Neither am I,” her Goddess of a best friend added, still looking runway-ready in spite of her ordeal. “Like it or not, we’re in this together.”
Seeing her loved ones demand to stand by her brought tears to her eyes. Part of her wanted to say yes, to have them all fight together to the end, but she knew how selfish that was. Three vampires with too weak of a trance ability to penetrate the RF jamming would be all but useless against an army this size, and if she fled with them it would eliminate any chance they had of escaping. She’d resisted the stupid “Queen” title from the moment it’d been forced upon her—the first and only order she’d ever given her family was that they never bow to her—but invoking that authority was the only way she’d get them to leave. Using her telekinetic ability, Brooke pushed them away, knocking her mate to the floor. “As your Queen I command it! Move!”
They all shot her stunned looks laced with an edge of betrayal. Without another word Sienna hoisted David into her arms and disappeared into what remained of the third floor balcony, the other two vampires close behind.
Brooke arched her hands out in front of her, and a glimmering light began to radiate between them. Once it had fully materialized she thrust her arms forward, hurling a ball of plasma into the advancing troops that obliterated the entire first wave. The hundreds behind them closed in, driving her back toward the flames. There was no escape. She defiantly drew her swords before the first blow from a knockout stick sent her tumbling to her knees. The second incapacitated her completely.
When she came to she was in the back of a helicopter, and a soldier was fitting a voice restraint collar around her neck. Her boots had been removed, and her wrists and ankles were bound together with the latest alloy composite, stronger than even she could break with sheer force alone.
“Sir? We’ve got her,” the commanding officer called over his satellite phone. He listened for a few moments then handed the phone back to his first Lieutenant. “Bring me the laser shears.”
“Yes Colonel.” The First Lieutenant relayed the order and soon had them in his hand. “Here you go, sir.”
“Prop her up.”
Two soldiers stepped forward and raised Brooke into a sitting position. The Colonel flipped on the shears, took hold of her chin and shaved off all of her milk chocolate colored hair.
“This cap is packed with Lorazepam,” he said, sliding a black swim cap onto her now bald head. “It’s a potent tranquilizer that’s absorbed through your skin. In a couple minutes you won’t be able to remember your name, let alone trance anyone.”
He started to walk away then stopped and turned back toward her. “And this is a gift from me, for killing over three hundred of my men.” The Colonel removed the guard from the shears and stuck the tip of his combat knife into the beam, heating it to a molten red. The other soldiers moved aside as he bent down over her and burned a large V deep into her forehead. Brooke screamed in agony, causing 5,000 volts to fire into her throat. Her eyes rolled back in her head, and her jaw fell slack.