Stone Chameleon Teaser #PNR

The best complement an author can receive is when someone in the writing industry is so excited to read the rest of a series, they offer to publish the whole thing! Now I just need to get off my butt and write the rest of the books.

For now, here’s a wee Isaac teaser to wet your appetite.

Stone Chameleon FINAL Large

Stone Chameleon
Ironhill Jinn Book One:  Water

Released August 28th, 2017 with Books We Love

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Smashwords.com

 

CanadaBWLurl

Excerpt from Chapter Four

“You’re no more of a monster than I am,” I said. I was the larger monster in the room in terms of power, but Isaac didn’t appear to have picked up on the insult. “I don’t need to know your people to do my job well. I’ll do whatever it takes to find the truth.”

“You see, lass, herein lies my dilemma. You taste of truth, but also of fear. Perhaps you intend to lead me away from the truth instead of to it, and I canna be sure which it is.” He stopped in front of me, so close his clean-shaven chin blocked the room from my sight. “You stand before me in silk and pearls and dainty heels. Most believe what you said before, that you’re but an average woman, but I’ve seen you bring a hell hound to heel without saying a word. There’s more to you than meets the eye.”

I jumped when his hand brushed my outer thigh and traced the edges of my knife harness through the skirt.

“You hide your true danger from the world, and it comes from something more lethal than a stone blade strapped to your thigh.”

How had he known it was there? I grabbed his wrist, aware of the unbridled power in his body that was so near. “Mind your manners,” I said.

My thoughts twisted into chaos as I reached for words that would get me out of the room alive. I had to phrase my response carefully to avoid an outright lie. “Tell me how I can prove that I’m no danger to you or your people.”

He pressed his hands into the door beside my head, trapping me there with the solid mass of his muscular frame. His hair brushed my bare arm, inducing a rash of shivers, and his voice fell low, intimate. “I need to see what you saw in that tunnel.” A slight twist of his head brushed his lips against my hair, and warm breath washed across my temple.

Lost in the vibrating potential in his body, I trembled, his request registering slowly in my thoughts. “I can’t do what you’re asking.”

He wanted an invitation into my mind, one that couldn’t be ungiven. All I was, every memory since my birth—including my species—would be his for the taking. Although he could breech my mental borders regardless, taking me by force would also provoke a kill order on him, thanks to changes I’d helped bring to the law.

Sweat broke out on my brow at the thought of him injured or dead. My jinn side surged within my soul in response, and I suffered a violent urge to take him and flee. What on earth? Since when did Isaac’s life rank higher than my own?

“If you haven’t committed these crimes, then you have nothing to fear from me.” He gripped my face with strong hands, lining my chin up with his. Nobody could help me. Not Gerry and not Deirdre. Not the earth or my connection to it.

“Please, Isaac. Force this, and you die. Your people need you. There’s nothing in my memory of this incident, or any of the others, that I haven’t told you. Listen to the truth in my voice.”

After another agonizing few seconds, Isaac released my face, dropping one hand that had grown black claws to my chest above my left breast. “As always with you, your truth is clouded. You’re hiding something. If I find my people’s blood on your hands, our relationship over the years will not stop me from ripping your heart out and drinking it down as I watch the light leave your stunning blue eyes. Bring me a murderer, or I’ll take you in his place.”

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The Glass Man has a new cover! #coverlove

I’m madly editing the first darlings I ever shared with anyone outside my family. I have to admit, it’s surreal crawling back into Lila and Liam’s world. There are scenes I remember so vividly they’re carved into my brain, and others I have no recollection of. It’s like going through a box of old photos, laughing and crying at the memories they stir.

Hopefully, if life is kind to me, I’ll be releasing The Glass Man 2.0 in July 2017.

For those who have already read it, I hope you’ll love this shinier edition. Never heard of Parthalan? Well, let me introduce you to someone who adores him as much as I do.

“Adams writes [Parthalan] as witty, arrogant and strangely charming, while still forcing you to loathe him.” ~ Bookshelfery

TGM New Concept Final 7

Back Cover

My name is Lila, the last of the Grays. The Glass Man murdered my family seven years ago, and I’ve been running ever since. He finds me in my dreams and tells me I’m not human. I argue with him, because it’s absurd. So what if I can sense and control other people’s minds and change my appearance at will? It doesn’t mean I’m like him.

I try to save lives, while the Glass Man kills on a whim. When he’s close, I feel our combined potential, like a nuclear bomb with the power to wipe out the human race. Maybe that’s why he’s looking for me. Or maybe he wants to kill me, too. Before my time runs out, I have to find out why mother left me her music box. It holds answers–I know it.

Although I’m tired, I have to keep moving. Keep scrounging for food. Keep dodging bullets. Keep ahead of him. It should be an easy decision, if not for the part of me that wants him as badly as he wants me.

 

Stone Chameleon has a snazzy new cover! #coverreveal #pnr

I’ve been madly editing Stone Chameleon over the last few months so I can re-release this bad boy under my own banner. While the story at its heart remains the same, this second edition is cleaner, meatier, and the story world is far richer than the original.

I’ve learned much since the first edition released, and I’m thrilled to have this one back in my hands.

Check out this new cover. Love it.

Stone Chameleon FINAL

Stone Chameleon (Ironhill Jinn #1)

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Release date: June 6th, 2016

Back Cover

When a series of unusual murders point to Lou Hudson, Ironhill’s monster whisperer, as the primary suspect, she has but one choice: find the real perpetrator before her trial begins or face execution.

Lou, the last of the jinn, survives by hiding her abilities after the rest of the elementals fell victim to genocide. As a preternatural pest control expert and self-proclaimed guardian of the innocent, she’s accustomed to trudging through the dregs of society. Hunting down a pesky murderer should be easy, especially with help from a dashing local media darling and a tantalizing Scottish vampire whose motives are a mystery.

For Lou, though, nothing is ever simple. When she discovers the killer’s identity, to reveal it would unearth her secret and go against her strict moral code, resulting in a deadly catch twenty-two.

Excerpt

Chapter One

There was something peaceful about working in the sewer, despite the rotting toilet stench. Surrounded by stone, I could commune with my element without fear of exposing my heritage to ever-watching eyes. Jinn were subject to a kill-on-site law, and I was the last one, an earth elemental, hiding in the one locale that made survival possible. After all, there was no better place for the boogieman of all races to hide out than Monster City. One ill-informed news caster had coined the catch phrase on air fifteen years ago, and Ironhill suddenly had a nickname that wouldn’t die.

I peered around the corner of the sewer tunnel from the catwalk. The dim lighting didn’t illuminate anything identifiable. Certainly nothing that moved enough to disturb the channel of water running the length of the corridor, other than the trickles of liquid running down the slime-coated stone walls.

A small adjustment of my earpiece reduced the hum of static. “Harper,” I said over the comm, “are you in place at the other end of this tunnel?”

“Locked and loaded in crap shoot number six, Lou. Any sign of this nasty critter yet, oh great and powerful monster whisperer?”

I winced as she knew bloody well I would. “You know I hate that term.”

“Aww, but that cute guy on channel eleven adores calling you that. Like, every night. I think he’s in lurve with you and your badass self.”

Were all TV personalities idiots by nature? I was beginning to think so. “The media is in love with the danger of this job, and it has little to do with me.” I cursed my boss, Blake, for bringing our pest control business into the limelight through a reality TV series, whose camera crew and host had followed me around for a week last year.

The host and two of his staff had been maimed and nearly eaten by a rogue naiad we were hunting in the Kimble River after which I’d put an end to that nonsense. It was the most excruciating and terrifying seven days of my life so far. Given my line of work, dealing with preternatural creatures who were misbehaving in the city, and the constant threat of exposure, that was saying something.

“Can we focus, please?” I glanced back and forth, my spine itching. “Our mark has already killed one and terrified half of the municipal workers who were down here earlier.” They described it as something bluish that moved like water, but also like a person. “Eyes in the water,” one of them had said.

The men had been pale and glassy-eyed after their encounter, but their descriptions had matched when Blake questioned the four of them separately. We’d had them drug tested and found them all to be free of hallucinogens,  a practice we’d adopted to sort out the nutters from those with real cases.

Their story was enough for the case to land on my desk and not on Rudy’s, the gatekeeper of the mundane division of Ironhill Pest Control, or IPC as the media referred to us. I was eternally grateful they hadn’t dubbed us something ridiculous as they had Ironhill, like Monsters “R” Us.

The water swelled as if something large had risen from the bottom, but not far enough to break the surface. The long, winding bulge moved down the channel faster than anything should have been able to swim.

I tightened my wrist sheaths, hoping I wasn’t destined for a dip in the sewage. “Look lively, Harper,” I said through the comm, “it’s coming toward you. It’s gigantic and shaped like a serpent.” I took off after it, my black boots pounding against the grungy cement.

“If it slithers, then it bleeds.”

Clicks sounded in my earpiece, most likely from her guns coming out of safety mode. “Only as a last resort, Harper. We capture if we can—don’t make me remind you again.”

“Yeah, yeah. Nag me later.” Elf females were notoriously feisty, perhaps to compensate for their small stature. I was lucky she was only half elf, or she’d have been completely unmanageable.

I couldn’t see a bloody thing. Every fifty feet, a small cone of brightness shone down from the ceiling, but every other one seemed to be broken. Bringing my own lighting would have painted a target on my head.

“Dom.” I looked up as if I could see where he watched us through surveillance equipment in the van. “Do you see it on the infrared?” My voice jerked in staccato bursts with my footfalls.

“Got nothin’ here, Lou, but that’s not surprising if it’s cold-blooded and under water,” he said around crunches of what I assumed to be his beloved Doritos.

“Then forget the monitors. Gear up because I think we’re going to need—”

Harper’s distant battle cry echoed through the chamber, stealing the rest of my air. Gun shots rang out too close together to be from a single weapon. She never emptied both pistols unless it was a Hail Mary for survival. She’d never leave herself with two empty weapons.

Mercy mother of hellfire.

I ran faster. “Get down here Dominic. Now! Harper, what’s going on over there? Respond.”

Static filled my ear piece. She screamed again, but this one held hints of anger and pain.

A dull thud sounded ahead, and silence fell.

“Harper!” I stopped and listened. She’d been my friend since junior year of high school. If something had happened to her…no, she might have been short and appeared delicate, but she was stronger than anyone I knew, and she’d be fine, as always. I wouldn’t consider the alternative.

A strand of my ebony hair came loose from the bundle at the top of my head as I broke into a run again, flying up with my heavy exhalations. “Harper, talk to me.”

Finally, I neared the end of the tunnel which came to a “T” a short distance ahead. Groaning came from beyond the weak cone of light I approached. I slowed my pace, stalking along in a crouch. “Say something, my friend.”

“Did someone get the license plate of that big-ass bus?” Harper’s words mixed with moans, muffled as if she spoke with something over her mouth. Thank the stars. If she was joking, she wasn’t badly injured.

“What happened?” I approached the form bobbing in the water below with caution. Once upon a time I’d been inhabited by a haven—a species most people mistakenly called demons—when Harper found me in similar circumstances. If she hadn’t shot me in the shoulder to knock me away, I would have slit her throat with my own knife.

“Dunno,” she slurred. “There were butterflies. Butterflies in the water.”

What? “I think you’re confused, Harper. Did you see dead butterflies?”

“No, no. Not dead. Flying. They cut me up, and bullets didn’t touch them. After that, something came out of the water and pulled me into the cesspool, and then launched me against the wall like a freakin’ rocket. Took all three of my babies, too. Bastard.”

By babies, she meant her guns. Two Berettas and a Sig she had elaborate acquisition stories for as if they were pets. Although I found it curious, I didn’t joke about her affection for them unless I wanted a good jab in the ribs for my trouble.

I listened to the cadence of her voice and decided she remained my Harper. To be sure, I asked, “Are you yourself?”

“Think so. No extra voices in my head, just a lot of ringing. Ribs are broken and possibly some fingers. Figures it’s my right hand. Lots of cuts from those razor-winged butterfly things. Won’t know more until my skull stops pounding so I can think.”

“We’ll get you to Dr. Courian.” A few strides took me to where Harper hung from a groove in the channel wall where she’d wedged the fingers of her left hand into the concrete. I bent down at the edge of the waterway and looked her over. Her pale forehead pressed against her crooked elbow as she hung there.

Her long, straight hair flowed behind her, what wasn’t covered in muck shining with the kind of red you’d see on a Christmas bauble, streaked with black—she’d inherited that from her elven grandfather. A dark patch covered what little of her temple I could see around her shoulder. Blood from a blow to the head. Several lacerations crisscrossed her face, and sludge covered her from the neck down.

My gaze remained vigilant for our creature as Dom’s footfalls came from the direction I’d run from, but I found nothing but dirt and stone.

“Tell me again what you saw after the butterflies.” They had to be a figment of her imagination, occurring after her head injury.

“Nothing.” Her head tilted back into the muck.

I reached down and cupped a hand behind her slender neck, searching her feisty winter green eyes for a difference in pupil dilation. “You may have a concussion.” I noted a slight variance in the size of her pupils. “Keep talking to me.”

“Heard water moving and then blam! Lights out. Started to drown and woke up. I really need a toothbrush and a stomach pump. Good thing I’m immune to disease. Thank you, Grandpa.”

I laughed, but it died away under the worry prickling my skin. “What did you hear, then?”

“Oy, um…” She grunted, jerking her eyelids up in an apparent fight for consciousness. “Sort of a whisper, but it didn’t speak any language I know.” She knew many, so that would narrow it down at least. “Then a splash before my face got up close and personal with the wall.”

“Did you hear breathing?”

She remained silent for a moment before answering. “No. Other than you shouting, I heard nothing but the whispers that sounded far away, and then the splash. That’s it.”

“Did hands grab you beneath the surface? Tentacles? Claws?” The more I had her remember while it remained fresh in her mind, the better.

A pause. “Uh…would you think I’m crazy if I said the water kind of wrapped around me like a monkey’s prehensile tail? There was nothing solid. Just the water. My fingers went right through when I went to pry it off. I tried to shoot it, which is when it took my babies.” She snorted and then groaned. “Guess I’m going to have to carry a few extras from now on, huh?”

I smiled and peeled some hairs from her forehead. “I don’t know that your little elf body is big enough to hold any more without you toppling over with the weight of them.”

“Oh, don’t you worry about me, chica. I’ll find a way.”

Of that, I had little doubt.

Dom appeared on the catwalk across the channel, his young clean-shaven face pale, making his blue eyes seem brighter than usual. He’d only been with us for a week so far. This would be his first time participating in the actual hunt, as his primary job was to keep communications open and to be our eyes with the aid of a complex monitoring system.

His jeans had holes large enough to expose his knees, and his black Star Wars T-shirt had orange stains where he’d wiped Dorito cheese from his hands. I’d have to have a word with his grandmother about the contents of his closet, and how did a strapping young man stay so thin when he never stopped eating? Between Harper and her obsession with Pixy Stix and Dom’s chip fetish, I didn’t know which was worse.

“She okay?” He crouched, his gaze bouncing around the corridor and to the ceiling before returning to me. Good, he’d been paying attention. Danger in this city could come from any direction, even from the stone beneath our feet—if the danger happened to be me.

“She’ll live,” I said, “but we need to get her out of here in case the creature comes back. Come on, lift her gently so I can pull her up on the catwalk.”

“What? But where’s the water beast thingy?” Dom’s focus settled on me. “Wait, tell me you’re not telling me to get into that liquid shit.”

“Mouth, Dom. And yes, hurry up.”

“But I paid two hundred bucks for these sneaks in anticipation of my first paycheck, and I am not going in there barefoot. Christ, is that a condom?” He gagged. “You don’t pay me enough to swim in condom and dead rat stew, Lou. No way, forget it.”

“We’ll discuss your salary later.”

A spine curling scream reverberated from farther down the tunnel. It sounded male.

Dom and I stared at each other from across the river of sludge, his eyes as wide as I imagined mine were.

~

Dun, dun, dun! Stay tuned for the rest of the story, coming soon to virtual bookstores near you.

Finding Freedom by Lynn Burke

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO 
 
FINDING FREEDOM & LYNN BURKE!
 
 
Finding Freedom
Found by Fate 2
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Publisher: Roane Publishing
Keywords: Erotic, Romance, Contemporary, Menage, Novella, Series
 
 
Tessa’s life beneath the strict rules of her parents’ cultish church leaves her longing for independence. Her boring, small-town checkout lane job barely covers the bills, let alone fulfill her wants and desires.
 
Until the weekly visits of god-like Trent and Brody have her dreaming of a Tessa sandwich with both sensual men as her bread.
 

Fantasies may be a pastime of the wicked, but when Trent asks her on a date—with both him and Brody—Tessa decides to take a chance, knowing the purity of her soul is at stake. Will these two men be her ticket to freedom – or her one way trip to eternal damnation?

 
 
Excerpt
 
Towel wrapped around me, I peeked out the bathroom door into Trent’s dimly lit bedroom. A T-shirt and shorts lay on his massive, king-sized bed.
 
I tugged the shorts up my damp legs, but couldn’t get them over my bum. More tears pricked as I cursed my too-much body. Trent’s shirt hung to the middle of my thighs. It would have to do.
 
Trent lounged beside the blazing fire pit. The sound of trickling water drew my attention to the right. Brody stood beneath the outdoor shower, his round, bite-able backside flooding my mouth with drool.
 
Tearing my gaze off him, I ambled over toward Trent. He patted the couch beside him, and taking care not to reveal my too-much, naked bottom half, I settled on the cushion and allowed myself another peek at Brody.
 
“Hot, isn’t he?”
 
Trent’s low, murmured words whipped my head around. “What?”
 
“Brody.” He continued to stare at his friend, a smirk on his lips, lust in his eyes. “Just look at that ass.”
 
Unable to help myself, I did as told while trying to wrap my mind around what Trent had said—and the unmistakable desire in his gaze.
 
“What do you think, Tessa?”
 
I swallowed and laced my fingers together in my lap. “I think he’s beautiful.”
 
Trent made a sound of appreciation in his throat as Brody turned, closed his eyes, and tipped his head back, running his hands through his hair.
 
My focus zoned in on his long, flaccid penis. Cock, my whore-mind whispered. I laced my fingers tighter and forced my attention on Trent.
 
He met my gaze and grinned. “Quite the temptation, isn’t he?”
 
“Enough to make me burn in hell,” I admitted with a whisper.
 
 
What people are saying about this title:
 
“This book is hot!!! The passion between these three is off the charts sexy!! I mean what girl wouldn’t want two men lusting after her?? I need more!!” – Alpha Book Club
 
“I loved the interaction between the heroine and her two sexy guys.” – London Saint James
 

“Wish I could be the cheese in this sandwich – 5 stars” – Goodreads Review

 
~~~oOo~~~
 
GIVEAWAY!
 
An ecopy of Finding Freedom and a $10 Roane Publishing gift card!
 


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing’s marketing department.

New Cover Love for Darkside Sun #CoverReveal

I’m so excited to have a new cover for Darkside Sun! This is so Addison, with her plaid shirt and don’t mess with me look.

Check it out!

Darkside Sun New Final Large

For anyone new to the series, here’s the back of the book that began the Mortal Machine’s adventures.

The dead have been waiting for her…
Addison Beckett tries hard to pretend she’s normal, but she’s far from it. Since she was six years old, she’s seen the world around her unraveling, as if someone is pulling a thread from a sweater and it’s all slowly coming undone. When she ignores it, it goes away, so that’s what she does.

Enter her arrogant-but-hot professor Asher Green. He knows all about her special brand of crazy. In fact, he might be just as nuts as she is. Asher insists that the dead from a parallel dimension are trying to possess the living in this one. And since Addison seems to be the only one who can see these “wraiths,” she just might be the key to saving the world.

Addison wants nothing to do with Asher or his secret society, The Mortal Machine. But as their animosity grows, she finds it harder and harder to ignore the chemistry between them. And when she discovers that Machine laws forbid her from touching him, she realizes that’s all she wants to do.Stop the wraiths. Break the rules. Save the world. All in a day’s work.

Normal was overrated, anyway.

~

Here are all my pretties put together. Aren’t they awesome?

Forever Dusk will be out next month. Check out the cover reveal over at Ever After Romance.

Get Wicked with Entangled #giveaway #nalit @entangledpub

EntADS-halloweenbloghop-2014476x286

Happy Halloween week! Welcome to two days full of wicked prizes and hauntingly delightful posts.

MD_Cover500I’m giving away a signed copy of Midnight Dawn, (Mortal Machine #2), to one lucky commenter. My giveaway is international, and I’d love to hear from you, so drop me lots of comments for more chances to win.

I absolutely LOVED Halloween as a kid. The only sucky part was that I lived in the country where my nearest neighbor was a good twenty minute walk, so we had to be driven around.

Still, I slapped on my plastic costume with the creepy face mask and trooped back and forth from the car to each of the neighbor houses through the rain, and even snow some years, into houses that smelled like moth balls. All with a ridiculously wide grin on my face.

I’ve been accosted by geese, crabby dogs, roosters, and even the odd miserable old geezer who was a total Halloween scrooge. Nothing could ruin that night for me, though. There was nothing better than emptying out that pillow case to find homemade caramel corn balls, candy apples, chocolate fudge, and other homemade delights that this generation will probably never receive in their loot bags.

They are so missing out. Big time.

I’d love to hear your favorite Halloween memory, either as an adult or a kid. Please include a way to contact you, twitter/email/facebook, in case you are the winner of my prize. Contact info will not be used for any other reason.

Check out the linky to visit the other stops on this wicked blog tour:

Q&A with the Mortal Machine’s Remy #interview #releaseday

grunge trees

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble  |  All Romance eBooks

I thought long and hard about how to celebrate the release of Midnight Dawn. I could talk about my challenges in writing the book, my inspiration, or the fact that the book is only 99 cents for a limited time, but it’s been done a million times before. Nope, I needed something new and epic.

Yesterday, it finally hit me. I needed Remy in the hot seat. Readers seem to be fascinated with my gentle giant, and I realized I know almost nothing about him.

It took some coaxing…okay, it took a whole load of coaxing and promises of peach pie with a gallon of ice cream, but he finally agreed to talk to me, and to you, the reader. He’ll be answering your questions all day long, so post them in the comments below.

Jason Momoa

 

Casting call: Jason Mamoa would play a great Remy, no?

INTERVIEW

“Hey, Remy,” I asked, settling into the chair across from him, close enough our knees brushed. “Um…why are you trying to strangle your own fingers, big guy? I’m not going to take a bite out of you. We’re just going to talk.”

He lifted his chin and studied me with his bright blue eyes that had a jade star as a mark of his sentinel status. Tribal tattoos covered one whole half of him, cutting his handsome, exotic face in two. Neither side of it appeared happy to be here. “Jus’ talk, huh?” he said in his creole accent of Hawaiian and Canadian English. “Then why you have that look in you eye, Adams?”

I raised a brow and smiled in a way I hoped appeared innocent. “What look would that be?”

“The one that usually come right before you do something nasty to one of us, especially my kolohe, Addison. I should know. I see it lots. An’ where’s my pie?”

I waved him off and sat back. Addison was finally growing into the big shoes she had to fill. Yeah, so I’d put her through hell, but she was strong. “Tell me about the first time you saw Sophia, and we’ll get you that pie.”

Remy sat up straighter, his features softening as they did every time I mentioned the young woman he’d adored in secret for decades. “She was in a tree when Asher an’ me find her. As wild and timid as a cat, and jus’ as skittish. She’d jus’ seen her first wraith, an’ it took me almost two hour to coax her down outta that tree.” He chuckled, and it wasn’t entirely a happy sound. His smile fell flat. “Only eighteen, and her life already full of darkness not even a mind-wipe could erase.”

“But now she has you to turn on the light.”

He half smiled and shook his ginormous head. “Her fadda hurt her, and I have big hands like he did. I scare her, too.”

I leaned forward and patted his knee. “Don’t you worry, big guy. I don’t think you scare her the way you think you do. She just doesn’t know how to be loved yet, because she’s never had that. Just keep being your patient, gentle self, and she’ll come around.”

“If you say so.” His cheeks reddened, and he went back to strangling his hands. “Now get on with this. Ask what you really want to know so I can get back to her.”

I sighed and reached for his hand to stop him from cutting off his own circulation and maybe give him some comfort, but one dark look from him sent me back in my chair. “A sentinel’s gifts are born of their fears, as you know. And Izan chooses his guardians based on their potential to have heightened emotions, which powers the Mortal Machine. Why did he choose you, Remy? What was your childhood like? I know everything about Sophia, but what scares you?”

An unsettling stillness came over him, as if his body had shut down while whatever wound I’d poked my finger into consumed him. I felt like a grade A asshole, but I didn’t take back the question. I needed to know before I wrote the next chapter of his life.

“I tell you if you promise nothing bad happen to Sophia in whatever nasty piece of work you write for us next.”

Ah! Nasty? I swallowed my snappy retort and rekindled my smile. “I think readers would throttle me if I ever hurt Sophia. I can’t promise she won’t shed some tears by the end, but I can promise that everything will turn out okay.”

“You version of ‘okay’ and mine totally different, I’d bet.” After an agonizing few minutes, he finally said, “Water.”

Squinting at him, I waited for more that never came. “I’m sorry, what about water?”

“I don’ like the water, okay?” he snarled. “Now jus’ drop it.”

No wonder he never went swimming. “You know I can’t do that. Why are you scared of the water, Remy?”

His knuckles made a terrible cracking sound as he curled one fist into the other. “My mother jealous my of the time my fadda spend with me. Try to drown me in the ocean when I was four year old.” His eyes iced over as he set his haunted stare on me. “You know what it feel like to have lungs full of salt water? To know the woman who give birth to me try to kill her own child? So yeah, that stick with a man for a good long while. Bring it up again, or you make my Sophia cry for any reason, you an’ me come to blows, you get me?”

My heart dropped at the pain in his voice. “Yeah, Remy. I get you. I’m sorry. You know I love you both to pieces, right?”

He sighed, and the aggressiveness that only moments before made me thankful for good bladder control disappeared as if it had never been. “Yeah, I know you do. Just be good, yeah?”

Good? He clearly didn’t know me very well. A person’s greatness often comes out of the hardest trials, and Remy would find his happy place at the end of his own hard road. Hopefully he didn’t throttle me after he found out what I had in store for them in Forever Dusk. Peach pie could fix anything, even an impending apocalypse. Couldn’t it?

Thanks for helping me celebrate the release of Midnight Dawn. Remy will be sticking around for a while today. If you have any questions for him, post them in the comments below and he’d be glad to answer.