Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “new paranormal books”


Today’s brew: Berry Zinger iced tea

by Kristen

This one’s been a long time coming, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share the awesomeness with you!  My vampires are spinning in a different direction.  It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Cirque Macabre and THE FIRE DANCER.

This ain’t a love song…

Meet Holly Octane, a burlesque performer that bursts into flames with any extreme emotion. And there’s a fine line between love and hate. THE FIRE DANCER is my first step away from romance into straight dark fantasy with a touch of horror.  It’s twisty and dark. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a sexy book, but instead of focusing on the romance, it focuses on Holly’s journey and what makes her ignite.  It also features many of the villains from The Night Songs series, and shows you a different side of them.  After all, there is three sides to every story.

First of all, check out this gorgeous cover. I know, I’m talking about my child and everyone’s children are beautiful, but my artists deserve a massive shout out. They knocked it out of the park. I found the amazing Daoyi Liu to do the illustration, and Hang Le knew exactly how to make this cover sing.

THE FIRE DANCER is available for preorder (at the special introductory price of 1.99) and on Goodreads.



At Le Cirque Macabre, Holly Octane bursts into flames five nights a week. The stage is where Holly feels most alive. When she’s there no one can touch her, and everyone adores her.

Brought to Las Vegas as vampire bait, Holly’s connection to the immortals is a mystery. She’s one of a kind– traveling through time and igniting when her emotions get too hot to handle. The only people who understand her are an aunt with a hidden agenda and her fortune teller girlfriend, Rainey, who doesn’t see a future with Holly in it.

Cash Logan needs Holly, but she’s not the reason he came to Vegas. The enigmatic magician seeks Blade Bennett, a vampire that has a power that he shouldn’t have–fire. A power that could determine the future of all of vampire kind. Holly’s the only one who can help Blade control his fire, but their feelings for each other are too fiery to ignore.

Immortals rule the Vegas night, and not one of them trusts Cash or Blade. If Holly lets them draw her in to this world designed to destroy her, she’ll lose everything—the only family she’s ever known, and everyone who adores her.

Las Vegas is her stage, and Holly is determined to set the city on fire.



“How long have you been like this?” His gaze ran the length of my robe, and he didn’t have to clarify what he meant.

As far as everyone knew, I was twenty-four. “Decades. I think.” The concept of time simply made me dizzy.

Cash nodded; my answer didn’t surprise him. “You were born north of London in 1781, in a village called Moorfields.” My knees buckled, and if I didn’t clutch the table, I would have fallen. Even though I knew the answer wasn’t going to be something nice and neat like twenty-five years ago in Memphis, actually having the answer blew my mind.

“I remember things that happened before that.” I couldn’t face him. “And I think I remember you.”

“Do you?” Cash ran his fingers lightly along my hair, never touching my body. At first, I was terrified we’d burst into flames. We’d fireproofed my dressing room, but Cash wouldn’t survive. This information was just the tip of the iceberg. I needed him to stay alive. “What do you remember?”

Images jumbled in my brain as if someone spun a wheel. I saw Cash, bound, bloody, and burned, surrounded by laughing onlookers. His hair was shorter, and it was a different time, but I knew him. His eyes. No matter what humiliation was bestowed upon him, they remained proud. “Chaos.”

His silky laugh almost convinced me I’d been wrong. No one could actually survive the state I pictured Cash in, his skin purple from abuse, weak from starvation, and still have a sense of humor. But those eyes. “That’s about right.” He moved closer to me, my robe pressed against my skin.

I couldn’t let him distract me. “But why do I remember things that happened before that? Like I was there. Is that even possible?”

“If you experienced it, then you made it possible, Holly.” His words were soft, and like time, they made me dizzy. “You’re a Bleed.”

My eyes snapped open. “A what?”

“You’re a Bleed. You age much more slowly than mortals, your immortality extends in all directions. Forward, backward, and sideways if it’s possible.”

I had to turn and face him. Rainey would knock on the door any time now, and I needed to wrap this up before she came. She’d warned me stay away from Cash. We’d been fighting too much lately already. I hated it. “How many of us are there?”

“You mean how many of you are there.” Someone knocked on the door softly. I forced my eyes away from Cash, and he stepped back. The knock repeated, more forceful this time. Rainey would be able to sense I wasn’t alone, even if she couldn’t see Cash. “You might be the only one.”

“Then how do you know so much about it?” I kept waiting for the heat to rise in my body, but it didn’t. All the triggers, fear and frustration, were there, but no flames. The knocking became frantic.

“Because I do.” Cash placed my hat back on my head before he headed to the door. His hand was on the doorknob when he turned back to me. “You’ve been patient this long, Holly. I want you to need me.”




A Little Piece of Silent Night

Today’s Brew:  Too much Diet Coke. My face feels shriveled.

by Kristen

Guys, I’m working on a movie this week. The hours are grueling, it’s in another state, and my alarm is perma-set for 3 AM. I know. Boo hoo. But that’s my excuse for being too exhausted to have thoughts or opinions. Julie was all prolific and I’m trying not to drool. Okay, I do have thoughts and opinions and they’re all I WANT TO GO TO BED.

But next week I have a new book coming out, so that’s pretty cool.  Silent Night is another installment of The Night Songs Collection. It’s my Christmas book that I bill as Pretty Woman meets Dracula at Midnight Mass. It’s a standalone story that shares the vampire mythology and family tree, but if you haven’t read the rest of the series (and if not, why not? I mean, you’re here. You like me. Hopefully. Maybe then I could be working on my own damn movie.) you can pick this one up and not be lost at all.

I’ll tell you more about it next week, when I get to see daylight, but for now, enjoy an excerpt, and if you like what you see…order a copy!

Silent Night Kristen Strassel

Silent Night Kristen Strassel

Aidan had finally settled in a oxblood red recliner. The thing looked ancient, but appropriate for the rest of the room. “Would you like some tea?”

“Sure. You’re into tea, aren’t you?” He’d had it at the diner, too. I didn’t know any men who drank it.

“I am. I like the variety.” He didn’t stay seated for long.

“Don’t you drink coffee?” Somedays, I would probably bleed coffee.

“Too bitter. I like sweet things,” he called from the kitchen. I didn’t feel the need to follow him. I went back to looking at his books. A Christmas Story would be on all night and all day. I knew it by heart anyway, I didn’t really have to pay attention.

For a seemingly manly guy, he had an awful lot of romance books. Interesting. Vampire books, writing manuals, classics, things in French that could have been anything, and more romances.

“Do you want cream and sugar?” Aidan had come in the room with my tea. Again he’d startled me with his silent movement.

“No. I like it bitter.” I set the cup down on the small bit of end table by the couch that didn’t have a book on it. “This is quite an interesting collection.”

He ran his hand through his hair and smiled sheepishly. He was still in his suit, so I felt a little odd wearing his clothes. “Oh yeah. Some of those are for research.”

“For what?” I mean, didn’t most guys just watch porn? Was this guy practicing to be some sort of Renaissance man Cassanova?

“I write.” He looked nervous again. He was probably really sorry he’d saddled himself with me for the night. I promised myself I’d be out as soon as it was light out. We could both put this behind us like it never happened. But that couch was too comfy and those blankets too warm to even think about letting him out of his offer now. He might be weird, but I had even money chances of getting attacked here or out on the street. At least here, I had a slight chance of dying happy. Or even just comfortable.

“What do you write?” My mind flashed to that scene in The Shining, the one when we learn all Jack Nicholson’s character had written was ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy‘ over and over again.

“Romance novels.” He gave me a lopsided smile as he settled back into his chair. He took a sip of his tea before continuing. “Under a nom de plume of course. If word got out a man wrote those books, well, there would be an uprising.”

“Nice. You’re living a double life. Are you going to tell me what name you write as?” He had better, or else I’d spend the rest of the night prying the information out of him. He owed it to me. He‘d already made me cry over my tuna melt.

“Allison Duprois.”

Best selling author Allison Duprois? Holy crap. If this was even true.”No shit. I love those books.”

“You do?” He looked surprised. “I took you as more of a mystery suspsense type of girl.”

“What girl deep down inside doesn’t fall for a good love story?” Allison, or apparently Aidan, wrote about a vampire who’d been searching through the ages for the reincarnation of the wife he left behind when he became immortal. The books were sexy, sweet, and sad, because after a half a dozen or so books he had yet to find her.

Part of me hoped that someday, he would find her, but the rest of me never wanted the story to end.

Roman Effs Up: An Excerpt From Running Home

TODAY’S BREW: I wish I could say it was a Pumpkin Spice Latte but it’s not.

You folks are long overdue for an excerpt from Running Home, so I figured I would give you one full of fun and violence. Enjoy!

“Roman?” I called through the door. “Roman, can I come in?”

In an awful moment, the door flew open. Roman pulled me inside and slammed it shut in one movement. Then he reappeared on his bed, amongst several empty bottles of hard alcohol.

“Please, amuse me with your thoughts on how much better I am than all of this,” he said, sweeping his arm across the disheveled room.

Suddenly, I was not sure why I had come, and wished to God I hadn’t. I knew much of the day Roman had to have been hiding his real anguish, his memories, his victim’s memories. Now he could unleash them the way the blood begged him to, a last alcoholic farewell to a dead man.

“I…just wanted to check on you. Let you know I was thinking of you.”

And in the snap of a finger, he was too close to me, the stinging odor of booze coming in waves out of his body. His hands pinned my arms to my sides, and I struggled to turn my head away from his rancorous breath.

“Thinking of me, were you? Now, what could you have been thinking about me, late at night, alone?” His tongue swirled hard and fast inside my mouth, stifling my cry. His fangs penetrated my bottom lip, hot metallic blood filled my mouth and dripped down my chin. I managed to break free of the forced kiss to whimper, “Roman, stop this,” but his attention was directed to the blood on my mouth.

“Oh,” he groaned. It was like my blood froze and put the rest of my body under Roman’s icy spell. His fingers were bruising my arms, then the back of my neck as he tried to twist my head sideways, to my horror. “Just a taste, then…”

A violent, freezing wind invaded the room, blowing the mess around it, and slamming Roman into the opposite wall, high near the ceiling.

Nicholas’s figure formed seemingly from thin air. He came together where before there was nothing. Thousands of tiny crystals migrated from the cold in the room to one spot, where they joined together to somehow become his sinewy body. The cold had become him with such force that his lips were blue, his face and hands ashen gray, like he had been in a frozen grave.

“Nicholas,” I breathed.

Roman had slid down the wall, falling into a pile of clothes and bottles in a slump. I hadn’t realized how much a vampire can apparently drink.

Fully formed, Nicholas stood, chest heaving, staring at Roman as he lie in a heap on the floor. “What the Hell were you doing?!” he demanded in a growl. His bellowing voice shook the room, dripping icicles fell to the floor.

Struggling to his feet, Roman spluttered and slipped, the blood from my lip still on the tips of his exposed fangs. His gentle face was not meant to wear a snarl like this. I was afraid of him, and for him then. And Nicholas was so terribly angry, the fury showed no sign of compassion for his friend.

“Oh, she wanted it, just not from me,” Roman was stupid enough to voice.

I hope you had fun, and are looking to read more! Thanks for playing!

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