Monday, September 27, 2010

Requiem is Available Today

The moment that every author waits for has finally arrived. My book was released.
Requiem is now available from Noble Romance and I couldn't be more excited.

Requiem is the story of Kate, a vampire succubus, who has wandered through life feeding on both the blood and sex of mortals, with an utter disregard for human life. Even that gets boring after a while. But problems don't arise until Kate meets the new “Hollywood Heartthrob,” Aidan Cross.

Aidan is human, which would normally put him on the menu, but Kate finds herself attracted to him in more ways than one and decides to wait before she kills him to see if the allure is something more than his irresistible good looks.

Jack and Kate have a very complicated relationship dating back to the fall of Rome. He's an angel, she's not. One night with her will make him fall and be damned to life in the demon ranks, and she'll become mortal.

With Aidan, she gets a chance to play human. One night with Jack and she'll actually be human, but that also means giving up everything she loves.

Requiem is an unapologetic look into the journey of one vampire--a memoir of sorts. Kate is unrepentant about her lot in life and her need to feed, but instead of being a complete villain, she undergoes a journey of redemption, and learns that life is more the selfish pleasure.

To give you a little taste, I'll give you an excerpt:

If I weren't already dead, I would die of boredom.

In fact, I wondered if I could die again from the crushing wave of tedium the lecturer's words stirred as he droned on about microquasars, primordial magnetic fields, and dark matter. So what was I doing at an astrophysics lecture? I was out hunting. And as soon as the speech was over, I would lure the handsome graduate student two rows in front of me out back to the quiet little alley and drink his sweet life's elixir.

Or at least that's what I would have done, had my phone not started going off in the middle of the lecture. Annoyed, I made a quick exit out of the auditorium. Another missed opportunity. One I was particularly upset about, considering I had already invested a little over one hour of listening to that boring discussion.

The phone stopped ringing before I could answer it. A cool breath grazed the back of my neck. Only one person would call me off of a hunt and play like this. "This had better be good Nick," I said, through gritted teeth. I hadn't fed any of my hungers in nearly a month, and I was ready to tear the head off of a cow if that would've quenched my thirsts.

He materialized in front of me, a mischievous smile on his face.

Nick was a demon from way back, although his exact age I couldn't be sure of. He never would come clean about that. We both usually stopped at the Roman Empire, although sometimes he would hint at knowledge of Mesopotamian culture far beyond what's known in history books.

Unlike the popular culture images of demons, he didn't have scales or claws. Most demons didn't. Nick had a passing resemblance of a young Johnny Depp this century. He was fond of changing his appearance to avoid being recognized, especially if he chose to stay in a city for a long time. One of the first things you learn, as an immortal, was to either stick with really big cities or move a lot, in order to avoid being recognized.

Of course, most of us avoided social interactions with mortals. They tended to have the pesky habit of dying just when you'd finish breaking them in like a pet. It was a lonely existence we led. Most of us were solitary, having brief moments of companionship and no true circle of friends. Immortals tended to have very little patience for other immortals. Perhaps it was the fact that our longevity made us very depressing to be around—we often spent too much time reminiscing about the good old days. Then again, there were always exceptions to the rule.

I think one of the things that endeared Nick to me was that, unlike a lot of other demons I had come across in my years of living, he had at one point been mortal. Like me, he had made a choice that led him to the life he had now.

"I need you to do me a favor."

Not in the mood for what he had in mind, I shook my head and walked out of the building into the cool spring night.

Nick followed behind me, "Kate, please."

"Nope. I'm not interested," I replied, walking briskly down the city sidewalk.

"You know you've been in a bad mood for five years now." He kept pace with my rapid steps, breathing down my neck.

Five years might as well have been a few months the way time passed for us. One of the first things people think of with immortality is how cool it is to know that you get a chance to live forever. You get to see the world change. In actuality, it can grow quite tiresome. The world changes, but you stay the same, locked in an unending cycle.

Sure, you drift along doing whatever you please, but soon enough you've seen it all, then the thrill is gone. Humans have no idea what the phrase "the more things change the more they stay the same" truly means, but I do. I learned the meaning millennia before the phrase was ever created.

God I was bored. Could you have a midlife crisis when you were well beyond a mortal mid life?

I stopped abruptly and did an about face. "What's the favor?"

"Now we're talking." Nick smiled. "There's a party over in West Hollywood at some house. I need to get a few contracts signed."

"Don't you have enough celebrities who have sold their souls?"

"This is not a celebrity. It's some agent who wants to be head of a studio."

I crossed my arms over my chest. "What do you need me for?"

Nick did his best to be charming. "I need you to use that lovely succubus charm of yours to get me in the door."

My succubus charm. I rolled my eyes at the mention. I didn't like using my so-called succubus charm if I wasn't in the mood to use it to feed.

It's a well-known fact that most vampires feed off of blood alone. But the much lesser known fact is that some of us had the ability to feed off of other things, such as emotion, energy or sex.

I could feed off either blood or lust. Unlike my pure-vampire brethren, I got the chance to choose what sustenance I wanted at the moment. It was all because my maker was an incubus, a male vampire who could feed off of lust. So when I died, I got the very same abilities.

It came with some perks. My maker was a very handsome man. His skin glowed milky white, his lips were lush, his hair a rich black. But his eyes were the most beautiful, the most compelling—violet with silver rings around the irises. His incredible looks and mesmerizing eyes were for luring in prey, the succubus and incubus arsenal. Things he couldn't help but give to me when he made me. When I died, everything about me changed, and the people I had known would not have been able to recognize me. Becoming a vampire succubus changed my appearance so much, I scarcely remember what I looked like in my mortal days.

"You know I don't do parties." I sighed. I hadn't been to a Hollywood shindig since the Rat Pack were the Kings of Cool and Marilyn Monroe was still making films.

"Please. I don't ask you for many favors," Nick reasoned. "Besides, it could be fun."

"You know how I feel about today's Hollywood," I reminded him.

"Yeah, and that's why you haven't been to a movie since A Clockwork Orange in nineteen seventy-one."

Knowing what it meant for him as a soul collector, I couldn't hold onto my reluctance for long. Live long enough, and you had a habit of collecting favors that could be cashed in anytime, place, or century. "Fine. I'll help you."

He smirked and pulled my hand, tugging me in the direction of his car.

The party in question was being held in the West Hollywood hills. It didn't matter which decade in Hollywood's history you were in, the parties remained the same. The elite came to rub elbows and network, while young starlet hopefuls acted as eye-candy for the lecherous executives and agents. Although it had to be said, the starlets today were far more forward about the things they were willing to do to fulfill their ambitions than their predecessors had been. Where the infamous couch sessions were kept secretive in the old days, today's hopefuls had a definite exhibitionist streak.

Security at the mansion was tight. So tight that there was no way for a crasher to get in without making a scene. No wonder Nick needed me. Soon I stood before the burly doorman, who'd been assigned to check invitations.

"Your invitation, ma'am?"

I smiled and turned on my preternatural charm and charisma. "Darn, I must have left it at home." I let my voice roll over him like velvet, cloaking any suspicions he might have had. I flashed him another quick smile. One that said, look at me, I'm cute. He smiled back and let Nick and me through the door.

The party was just as I had anticipated—too cool and trendy to really be hip. The room was dim—what they liked to call mood lighting. Truthfully, it was just irritating. My eyes could adjust to any level of light, but I suppose I felt the halfhearted attempt was ridiculous. On or off, was my thing. One or the other, none of this mood crap.

I looked around the party with a hungry gaze. My brain switched over to predator mode, scanning the crowd for a meal. There were plenty of victims . . . err . . . I mean, oh hell, why finesse the truth? I meant victims. I had only to choose the hunger I wanted to feed.

A short man carrying two drinks approached me. He had a shiny bald head that reminded me more of grease than anything else. I found him utterly disgusting as he smiled and handed me the second drink in his hand. I sniffed it, taking in the scents of mint, rum, lime, club soda and sugar. But there was something else in the cocktail no human nose would have detected. A Mickey. The poor, greasy, little bastard was trying to slip me a dose of Rohypnol, a date rape drug, not knowing what I was and that his special cocktail would have no effect on me. I took a sip of the drink and gave him a sensual smile.

He showered me with the usual slimy compliments lowly producers, without any real clout, gave to all the wannabe starlets. The typical, "You are a very beautiful woman", "You ought to be in movies", or my favorite, "I can help you get into the pictures, if you're willing to do what it takes".

I smiled and nodded politely, every so often offering a gracious giggle while I pretended that the drug in my drink was starting to take effect. He examined my tired eyes. His black irises narrowed on my bosom. I recognized that dark glimmer, the vicious stare. He hunted those he felt were weaker, stupider, and more susceptible to what he perceived as charm.

He had no idea I was a predator, too, and that he had just become prey.

I let him usher me out of the party and to his waiting car. He smirked as I pretended to drift in and out of consciousness.

I decided to kill him tonight. I didn't have to kill him to feed, but I wanted to. I wanted to feel his blood run hot down my throat, hear his pathetic whimper as he realized what was happening, and I'd enjoy it. I'd decided from the moment he approached me with a cocktail laced with Rohyphnol that he would die in a painful manner. I would not roll his mind or seduce him into sex to feed. That would make him enjoy it too much. I'd made up my mind, when I decided to kill him, to make him suffer.

He pulled the car into a dark, open field. He was going to rape me—well, attempt to rape me—in the open, away from anyone who could bear witness to his crimes.

That was fine and dandy for me. No witnesses.

Opening my eyes, bright and full, I smirked and moved to the edge of my seat. He nodded and smiled as I placed a hand on his groin.

He unbuckled his pants and wriggled them down around his ankles, before leaning his seat back. I suppose he merely assumed he didn't use enough of the drug to keep me asleep. But judging by the look on his face, he wasn't too disappointed.

I sniffed the foul smell of his sweaty crotch. He disgusted me on every level. But the prize was yet to come. I could smell the blood in his femoral artery, flowing just under the surface of his white-gray skin. It was a smell I knew very well. A smell I relished and enjoyed, especially now that I was starved for it.

A smirk graced my lips as I extended my canines into two dainty fangs. I kissed his thigh, right at the femoral artery, and licked the area, anticipating the scalding release of his blood. He let out a happy sigh. Mustn't play with my food, I thought to myself, just before I plunged my fangs into the meat of his flesh.

He yelped in pain and tried to beat me off of him. I took both of his hands into one of mine and held him firm. His blood was hot as it flowed out of him and into me, filling my belly with its warmth.

When his heart stopped beating and the blood had run dry, I released my grip on him and let his corpse slump in the seat. He had been a good meal, if nothing else.

My hunger satiated, I got out of the car and ran with my superhuman abilities away from the scene. To anyone who might have been passing by, I would have only registered in their subconscious as barely a blip on their radar.

Was I worried that when the cops found the body they'd trace it back to me? Nope. They would find no evidence that I even existed. No remnants of shed hair or skin for them to find. Nothing with a shred of DNA. That sort of stuff didn't really apply when you became an immortal. Like I said, the world around me changed, I didn't.

I, like every other undead creature on this planet, was stuck in a permanent stasis.

Full, I felt better, physically, but my mood was still shitty. And, I was still bored. The kill had been easy, too easy, like everything else in this modern world. I'd had millennia to perfect my techniques, to learn to stalk and truly hunt my prey, but in this modern world of technology and instant gratification, it had all become so easy. There was no thrill of the chase anymore. Hell, there was no chase. Humans had grown soft.

Young vampires relished this culture of instant gratification. This breed of human that was so easy to catch. There was no thrill to it. I remember the days when humans had true warriors who would put up some fight. Sure, they lost every time, but it was a hell of a lot more fun. And people thought these modern days were violent.

I was in a sour mood when I finally got back to my house in Redondo. The home came complete with its own private beach access, a little ways down a hill.

Built in the mission style, with lots of Spanish architecture, the home had attracted my attention and I'd purchased it when it was still brand new during the twenties. I mean the nineteen twenties, although I did buy a little villa in Greece during the year 20 B.C. It's was a nice home in Athens. Unfortunately, it got destroyed in an earthquake and the subsequent fires. Oh well.

I opened up all the windows in the two-story home, with lightening speed, allowing the sea breeze from the Pacific to fill the house. The morning sunlight peeked in, chasing the darkness from each room. It was an old wives' tale that vampires would burst into flame or turn to dust from contact with sunlight. We could be out anytime we pleased; however, in the days of old, it was easier to hunt at night.

I curled up in my favorite chaise and began to read Eugénie by Honoré De Balzac in its original French. Being fluent in most languages, including the dead ones, was one of the perks of having lived for so long, in almost every corner of the world, and not having to sleep as much as a mortal.

Vampires, in general, slept when we felt like it, where we felt like it. Hell, there'd been years where I hadn't slept at all, and then times where I slept for years. I missed the entire American Revolution. I had decided that since I was so bored of that era, I'd find a nice place to sleep it out. I slept for an entire decade between 1776 and 1786 in a mausoleum in France. It was the safest place to be at the time. I didn't need to worry about some overzealous villager or uneducated peasant believing folklore and trying to stake me.

Not that a stake through the heart would kill me. I learned that early in my afterlife. It would hurt, be uncomfortable and plain irritating, but it wouldn't kill me. Very few humans could actually kill an immortal. It took a special breed. They had to be born, but often these natural slayers had no idea they held such special powers. And as time went on, there were less and less demon, vampire, or whatever else-slayers out to kill us. The humans had become so used to our presence, they typically ignored that little voice in their heads that said there was something wrong with the person standing next to them. We were living in an age of political correctness; no one wanted to be the one to point out that there was something different or not right about his or her neighbor, or the beautiful woman sitting at the bar. They didn't want to be stuck with a negative social stigma.

In truth, most of us were thankful for that. Those of us old enough to remember the bad ol' days, where bringing attention to yourself made you a pariah, were well accomplished at blending in with the humans and not arousing suspicion. Sure, there were a few little clues that we were not like them, but for the most part, we looked like any other humans. Even demons and angels blended in well. They shifted in and out of forms when needed.

Do you know how to tell when there is an ageless immortal in the room? It's not the expensive clothing they're wearing—that can be imitated by mortals. It's the jewelry they wear. Those of us who are old tend to collect pieces throughout the years and wear them. Pieces that belonged in museums. Of course, mortals would think they were clever replicas if they had even noticed them to begin with. That little distinction was not enough to cause humans to think we were unlike them.

It was the young ones we worried about. The ones who tended to be reckless and impulsive, bringing attention to themselves by acting out their God fantasies. They were the ones most at risk and who needed to be kept in line. That's why, when a new vampire is made, their sire is around them for a few years, showing them the ropes, even if they don't plan on making them a companion. We weren't completely dog-eat-dog. We did have some sense of moral responsibility. Mainly our code was limited to the whole life in the shadows thing.

Granted, we didn't really live in the shadows, but we were the ultimate secret society. Only a select few even knew of our existence. We immortals, all of us, not just the vampires, liked to keep our existence secretive. We didn't want mortals to spoil our fun and games.

I was just getting comfortable in the chair, reading the book's climax, when I felt a presence in the room. I looked up from my book to see Nick sitting in the chair across from me. He had a glow about him, a glow I'd seen a hundred times before. The glow he got when someone signed their soul away.

Nick had once told me that collectors were motivated to collect souls not only because it was their job, but also because they got a real energy boost from it. It was like a feeding for them. He explained it was similar to the glow and feeling of complete satisfaction I got when I fed on sex and lust rather than blood.

"You know when you sit utterly still like that, it's unnerving. It's like you're a statue or something," he said.

"It takes years of practice to be able to sit like this," I replied. It was true. After being dead for a while, you find you don't really have to do things like move. You never get uncomfortable from staying in one position for too long.

"Centuries, I suppose," he said, taking two tickets out of his jacket's inner pocket. He looked around the living room. "You know there are really only two things you need in here, a refrigerator and a television."

"When I do eat regular food, I eat out. And you know I haven't owned a television since I Dream of Jeannie went off the air." I loved that show with all its kitschy humor. They just didn't make sitcoms like that anymore.

Nick snorted at that. He and I had this discussion a lot, and he knew he would gain no ground. It was always fun to get two very stubborn immortal beings together.

"I've got two tickets here for a movie premiere tonight." Nick fanned himself with them.

"So," I replied indignantly. "I've been to plenty of premieres. None of them have been as much fun as the one for A Streetcar Named Desire."

"You only say that because Marlon Brando was the last celebrity crush you had and you fucked him afterward."

I smiled at the mention of that tryst. "What can I say, Marlon was a good shag. We lasted the whole weekend actually."

"Ah yes." He smiled fondly. "I got an excellent soul out of that deal."

I shagged Brando, and Nick got his soul. Oh, don't feel too bad for the bloke, he did go on to be one of the biggest movie stars of all time and live a long life.

"Come on, Kate. You've been in a rut. Maybe this is just what the doctor ordered." Nick put on his best charming smile. "Besides, there will be plenty of food there."

I frowned and put down my book. "I'm full."

"Oh right, you probably drained that guy you left the party with. But I bet you haven't fed the succubus part of you yet." He no doubt noticed the lack of a glow in my skin.

"I can go years without feeding that."

"But then you need blood more often," he reasoned.

I nodded. He was right, damn him.

It wouldn't kill me to get out and go to the premiere. I just didn't do the whole Hollywood scene anymore. It was hard to keep a low profile in this digital age if you insisted on being at every hot spot or celebrity haunt. The paparazzi were bolder these days, and with everything being recorded for posterity, people would notice the lack of aging.

"All right. I'll go." Nick was one of two people who could get me to go to these sorts of things. I considered Nick one of my only two very close friends. The other one was a very old friend, and was due for a visit very soon.

Nick got up from the couch. "Great. I'll pick you up at five thirty. Movie starts at seven."

"Who's the soul?" I asked.

"Does it really matter? Some bit actress. Let's just say she'll soon be a star." Nick liked working the Hollywood beat. Besides the perks, like movie premiere invitations and award shows, there were lots of easy souls, ripe for collection. Plenty of people would sell their souls for money, power, and fame; Nick was just there to collect. All they had to do was say the magic words, "I'd sell my soul . . . ." or some variation thereof, and poof. There was Nick, contract in hand, ready to have them sign away. And no, it wasn't signed in their blood. It was done with a ballpoint pen, preferably black ink.

I wasn't really in the mood to read anymore. Nick had ruined it with his movie talk. Instead, I decided to go shopping and get a little pampering done. I wanted to look my best if I was going to a big movie premiere tonight. Although, for a vampire who was a succubus, it wasn't really hard for me to look appealing. All I needed to do was smile.

Now that its out, I have to ask you to purchase your copy over at Noble Romance
But stayed tuned, The Witching Hour will be out this November. And don't forget to head over to my website for the virtual release party!

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