“Blood and Rain” Contest, Excerpt, and Cover Tease #2

Blood and Rain Part 2I know I’m a tease!!! And if you want another tease, check out the next excerpt from the book below.

Meet Nicolas Lambert, one of the main characters in Blood and Rain, which will be released by Dreamspinner Press on December 15th! Nicolas is an “ancient” vampire – born a vampire, not created from a human. As the younger brother of the head of the Lambert clan, Nicolas offers himself as the price of peace between his clan and the rival Rousseau clan. He agrees to a marriage of political convenience to Rosina Rousseau, whom he’s never met. Worse still, Nicolas has fallen in love with the vampire hunter who agrees to escort him to Paris for the marriage: Adrien Gilbert.

Blood and Rain is the first of three books in the Blood Series, which features three MM pairings. It’s both a contemporary and an historical supernatural romance, spanning more than a century from 1895 to the present day.3621890092_4175cd8c60_z

Each week for the next 3 weeks, I’ll be teasing you with a bit more of the gorgeous cover from Dreamspinner Press cover artist Reese Dante, as well as a long excerpt from the book. I’m also running a cover reveal contest that will end at midnight on October 11th, midnight after the day the full cover is revealed. The Rafflecopter giveaway is here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf0ba9496/ Or you can enter by clicking directly on the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Below is another excerpt from the story, the beginning of Chapter Two. This follows the excerpt I shared last week which you can read here. Also today, I’m sharing the official Dreamspinner Press blurb. Have a great weekend! -Shira

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Blood Series: Book 1

Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.

After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.

Note: This is the first in a series of three anticipated novels tentatively entitled Blood and Rain, Blood and Ghosts, Blood and Eternity. The series it set in France in 1895 and in the present, and features three MM pairings. Books in this series must be read in order.

Tentative Publication Date: December 2014-January, 2015

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Chapter Two: Blood and Rain

Saint-Gervais, France, 1896

Rain fell on the dirt streets, creating rivulets of muddy water that ran unimpeded into the already clogged gutters. Small pools of water and mud had accumulated on the grass surrounding the immaculate houses. It had rained off and on for weeks, ever since Charles Duvalier had arrived in Saint-Gervais.

Charles found comfort in the overcast sky. The chill in the air was an old friend whose welcome would never wear thin. In spite of the beauty of the French countryside and the warmth of the townspeople, the hunger he despised was still there. It clawed at his soul like death come to claim an old man, waiting until he grew too weak to resist.

He would leave before the hunger overpowered him, before his humanity was consumed by the primal urge against which he could not defend. He could smell it everywhere: blood, the thing that brought him so much pleasure and yet threatened to devour all of his humanity, everything he valued, and everything he held dear.

Time to leave. He waited for the cobbler to bring his horse.

There was much about Saint-Gervais that had tempted him. Nestled between the mountains and the river, this small hillside village reminded him of the time when he was human and his heart and soul were still free to dream of a happy future, unencumbered by darkness. The longing for that time returned, unbidden. Charles pushed the memory away.

Nostalgia is for the weak.

Nostalgia alone hadn’t kept him here. Handsome, clever François was the other reason. François, the beautiful man who awakened a desire Charles thought dead forever. The oldest son of the centuries-old Gilbert clan of hunters, François had begun to earn a reputation as a fine swordsman for the Council of Hunters. Charming, powerful, and anxious to know more about the world outside the town where his family worked their hillside vineyard, François had wanted to accompany Charles when he moved on. Charles had been sorely tempted. François’s heart was brave and pure. Over the long centuries he’d wandered, hoping to exorcise the guilt, Charles had forgotten what it felt like to genuinely crave knowledge. François had reminded him. With François, Charles felt truly alive again. Happy.

Old fool! The moment you touch him, you will kill his soul. He’d long since learned that everything he touched turned black. This was no different. He clenched his jaw and tied his bags to his saddle, patting his mare for good measure and whispering in her ear. He was just about to lead her outside when a young man emerged from one of the nearby stalls.

“Monsieur Duvalier?”

“Adrien. I hadn’t expected to see you here.” Charles secured his cloak around his neck and smiled at François’s younger brother. Adrien, with his mother’s pale skin, blue eyes, and hair the color of a wheat field at sunrise, looked nothing like his brother. François had once explained that Adrien had been a sickly child and that after their mother’s death, he had nearly died of a fever that had lasted weeks. So different from François in appearance and personality. They’d been inseparable. Until Charles had come to town.

Adrien did not return Charles’s smile. “You’re leaving without speaking to him.” Not a question. Adrien judged him. Charles knew he deserved this.

Vampires and hunters were not sworn enemies, but many vampires deeply resented the hunters’ interference in their affairs. Millennia ago, the ancients asked the hunters to enforce our law, Charles’s creator had once explained to him. But there are those of our kind who do not recognize the pact between our races. They fancy themselves resistance fighters in a war of their own creation.

François and Adrien’s mother had been a victim of the heretics. And although the ancients and hunters had swiftly punished the vampires responsible, Charles guessed that Adrien had taken their mother’s death particularly hard.

Charles had known Charlotte and Jacques Gilbert well. He’d attended their wedding. He too had grieved Charlotte’s death. After she’d died, he’d seen little of Jacques, who’d been left to care for François, Adrien, and their younger sister, Isabelle. Three small children and a struggling vineyard would keep a man well occupied.

Charles repressed a sigh. “It’s better this way. Surely you know this to be true.”

Adrien narrowed his eyes. “Perhaps now he’ll see you for what you truly are. Heartless and cruel. You used him.”

Charles wouldn’t quarrel with Adrien. Better that François believe Charles had rejected him than follow him and truly be hurt.

Adrien watched as Charles tied his belongings onto his saddle. Charles led the animal onto the muddy street.

“Good-bye, Adrien. No doubt our paths will cross again.”

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