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Final Protocol is up on Netgalley!

Like science fiction?  I’ve got a new JC Daniels book coming out.  Final Protocol is up on Netgalley.  Please note, I have no control over acceptance, etc.

Find it here

Final protocol JC Daniels

 

Tip #1: Don’t get on her bad side. Tip #2: There’s no good side.

 

Her name is Silence. If she was ever known by any other name, she doesn’t remember.She is a killer. If she was ever anything else, she doesn’t remember.

She has an owner. If she was ever free…well, that she does remember. She was free and then somebody gave her to a madman to pay a debt that wasn’t hers. She’s his toy, his pet… and his trained killer. She kills at his whim or she dies.

She has a target. Her so-called owner…the man who makes her life a living hell. If she could kill anybody in the universe, it would be him. But he holds her life in his hands.

And she has a wish—to find a man she barely remembers. A man she knows she once loved. The man who betrayed her and stole away her freedom.

With one final target between her and the tantalizing promise of freedom, she movesin for the kill. There’s one problem. There’s something strangely familiar about her mark. Something that echoes in the void where love used to live.

Warning: One woman with a mission, one evil bastard who lies as often as he breathes, and a man who’ll stop at nothing to find what he lost. Be warned…some questionable consent lies within.

Kit’s Back…

rubberducky

Who would be stupid enough to try and get into a fight here?

Answer: Me.

In my defense, I hadn’t planned on the fight.

It was the crazy-eyed shifter who’d crashed into me at the buffet—she started it.

The buffet was loaded with everything from raw cuts of meat—for the shifters—to the most beautiful sugar-spun pastries you could imagine. I was staying far away from the area where things were still bleeding and focusing on the sweets. The sparkly little ball of puffy dough should have looked too pretty to eat.

I’d eaten five of them before I could stop myself and was pondering a sixth when she moved in front of me.

She was so close, I could feel the ripple of her energy on my skin—way too close and I didn’t like it.

I backed up two inches before I realized what I was doing and then I wanted to kick myself.

I already recognized the feel of shifter—and the feel of bitch.

A smug smile curled her lips and I knew I’d just broken one of the cardinal rules when dealing with shapeshifters.

Never back down until they throw you down or your life depends on it.

I could brazen it out, though.

I can brazen my way through anything. With a bright smile, I met her gaze. “Hello.”

She just continued to stare.

A chill raced down my spine, but I ignored it and selected another sweet, this one a delicate cake that resembled a miniature pumpkin—complete with the grinning jack o’ lantern.

She caught my hand before I could pop the cake in my mouth.

“You weren’t raised very well, were you?”

Her voice grated across my nerves.

The words, too, rubbed me raw, but while I can’t lie and say I’ve accepted my less than desirable upbringing, I had come to grips with the fact that it wasn’t me who screwed up.

With an easy smile, I said, “Nope.”

Then, moving into her grip, I waited and when her grip slackened just the slightest, I twisted away. People never expect you to move in when you’re being forcibly restrained.

Once her hand fell away, I backed up—fast.

She’d already tried to grab me again, but now there was five feet between us—and eyes on us.

Instead of advancing, she flared her nostrils and scented the air. “Human,” she pronounced and she said it the same way I might say dead mouse—with utter distaste.

“Guilty.” I gave her a wide grin. “At least, partially guilty. There’s something more in the bloodline than just human.”

“All that matters is the human,” she said, shaking her head. “No wonder you have no manners. I’m curious just what the Alpha sees in you.”

A few more gazes slid our way. Most people only glanced out of curiosity before looking away, but more than a few started to watch us and the low murmur of voices in the immediate vicinity went quiet.

“I don’t know.” I still held my plate. I dragged my finger through the sugary powder that had fallen onto it, and then, still watching her, I popped my finger into my mouth. “Maybe he likes human.”

“For meat.” She all but purred it.

Meat. What the more asshole shifters called those they considered prey.

“If that was what he was looking for, I think he would have moved on by now.”

“Oh.” She gave a condescending laugh. “Precious, it’s only pity that holds him. Pity. Fascination. He’ll tire of you.”

A heavy, familiar tread came to my ears and I knew he was near. Near enough to hear us both and it sent a twist through my gut.

“He’ll tire of you,” she said again and now she smiled. “You can’t even satisfy his hungers now. Your fear is like a stink in the air. You aren’t even a woman.”

“Alice,” a low voice said.

It wasn’t Damon.

I didn’t bother to look from her to Chang. I just put the plate down and leaned closer.

“Maybe I’m not a woman, but at least I’m not a hyena,” I said, curling my lip at her.

A low, ugly growl escaped her and I saw Chang catch her arm. “Enough,” he said, his voice a biting command. “You will leave.”

She tensed, like she’d ignore him, but then she inclined her head.

I saw the promise of retribution in her eyes, though, as she headed down the buffet, her back turned to both me and Chang. That was a look that promised pain.

I guess that’s why I wasn’t surprised when she circled the far end and slid me a cold smile—then she lunged.

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Hitting some blogs…

Okay, so… Edged Blade comes out in…um, one day???? Eeep!

Justin and Tate

I’m hitting a few blogs with excerpts, Q&A, guest posts…and one of them will have the title for Kit #5.

I will also have prizes.  If you drop in and hit the blogs and say hi and be really nice to me, you can maybe win a Kindle Fire or a cool tea infuser cup & a tea mix like Kit drinks.  Okay, you don’t have to be nice to win, but seriously, I’m giving away goodies…why wouldn’t you be nice to me?

Feb 2:
Spotlight & Excerpt: That’s What I’m Talking About
Interview: Book-a-Holic Anon
Guest Blog: Under the Covers

Feb 3:
Spotlight & Excerpt : Hannah’s Words 
Spotlight & Excerpt : Analysis and Reading
Guest Blog: Literary Escapism

Feb 4:
Interview: Reviews by Crystal
Spotlight Blogging by Liza
Guest Blog: Smexy Books

Feb 5:
Spotlight & Excerpt : Books-n-Kisses
Guest Blog: Fiction Vixen

Feb 6:
Interview: : Rambling Reads
Spotlight & Excerpt : Confessions of a YA & NA Book Addict
Guest Blog: The Bookpushers

 

Some news! Final Protocol

I’ll be having at least one more J.C. Daniels book out this year…but it’s not a Kit book.

It’s not urban fantasy, either.

J.C. is trying her hand at science fiction. SF with a splash of romance.

Here’s a snippet of FINAL PROTOCOL, due out from Samhain in July.

~*~

Some people said that this was what Old Earth would be like by now. Well, except for the population thing.  Aris still had a thriving population.  Disease and war had all but decimated Old Earth.  There were rumors that those who had remained behind no longer even resembled anything that we’d consider human.

Personally, I think human is just another word for animal.  None of us are worth much.  Me, included.

The ariste were a different beast altogether. Some of the kindest, most gentle people I’d ever come across resided here, on this hot, desert planet that travelled too close to its sun.  The people made me nervous and I wanted nothing more than to kick the dust of this planet off my shoes and leave it far behind.

Leave these smiling people far behind.

I had very little use for people in general.  If I couldn’t fuck it, then the only time I was likely to come in contact with anybody was when I was sent a contract to kill.

Like this old man, with his round, cheerful face and his silver eyes—ariste eyes, hidden behind the tinted lenses he wore.

I was here to kill him.

And he knew.

A smile creased his face as I moved into the room, not bothering to conceal myself.

He already knew I was there.  Why bother to hide?

Either he’d called for help, which would mean I had to move things along, or he thought he could handle me myself.

Neither would change the outcome.

He would die, because the alternative was that I would likely die and I didn’t plan on that being the case.

He nodded at the table where he sat.

“Would you join me?”

I paused, my hand on the darts I’d planned to use.  The problem was he hadn’t been on the long, narrow balcony taking his normal walk.  He was ariste, and one of the older ones.  They had a thing about the setting sun.  It was a religious fascination as far as I could tell.  All of the houses had balconies that faced the west, so they could watch as the brutal, burning sun sank below the horizon.  Even the poorest of families would struggle to get a simple opening so the family could face the death of the day.

Cree Ru was far from poor.

Yet he hadn’t taken his sunset walk.

“Come.” He smiled at me.  “Sit.”

I said nothing. I knew better.  My voice could be used to track me, pin me to the crime, if anybody was successful at hunting me down.  I’d evaded capture on a dozen planets in four different systems. This was an amateur’s mistake.

Just like walking in that open door was an amateur’s mistake, I chided myself.

“You will not sit then.” Cree nodded.  “Very well.  I’ll speak a bit.  I’ve time yet.”

He must have sensed something because he slid me a small smile.  “No.  The authorities weren’t alerted.  I sensed you three days ago and had the time since then to decide on the actions I’d take.  First, I had to think about who must have hired you.”

That wasn’t an answer I could give him.

I accepted the money, the job, all from my handler. There were other things I took from him, and some things he forced on me, but he never told me who hired me.  It was essential, he’d once told me, that he protect his clients.  Names were never given.

Cree didn’t let my silence stop him as he leaned back, steepling his fingers together as he looked out into the night.  He had thick, floor to ceiling walls of what the locals called plaris.  It made me think of the pilastene, a manufactured material that was used in almost everything for those who’d settled the New Earth colonies.

The NE colonies weren’t home to me, but many of my tools were NE made.  It was what I was familiar with, what I was used to. Pilastene was nearly unbreakable, safe to manufacture and inexpensive.

Plaris, like ‘stene, was durable, and nearly unbreakable, something that served this volatile planet well, designed to endure quakes that could have leveled cities.  His entire home was made of plaris, and the windows were the clear stuff, the most pricy form of it out there.  Eyes on the night sky, he studied the twin moons and said, “I hated to admit it to myself, but there are only two people who would have done this. Only two who would benefit.  My son and his wife.”

Arching my brows, I edged in closer, searching for weapons.  So far, I’d yet to see a single one.

“I cannot tell if the look on your face is curiosity or merely an attempt to distract me.”  He sighed and then reached out, pushed a plate toward me.  “If you are any good at your job, you’ll recognize this.”

My eyes moved to the plate, a thin disk of what looked like hammered gold.

The sight of the three small berries there made my belly clench, even if I was there to kill him.

Death’s seal, the most poisonous plant in three systems.  Deadly, and outlawed on almost every planet in those three systems.  Just the touch of it on the tongue was enough to kill a child.  Half of a berry could kill a woman my size.  Three berries could kill three men.

“I’m going to make this easy,” he said quietly.  “My son seeks to kill me, thinking he’ll inherit.”

Cree reached for a berry.

“Wait,” I said, the word ripping out of me despite my intention not to speak.  “Why?  If you wish to fight him, then why do this?”

“I don’t wish to fight him.”  He smiled, rolling the berry between his fingers.  “I wish to deny him what he tries to take by betrayal.”  Then he shrugged.  “And I refuse to let him use another in his endless vendetta against me. Do you know…it’s our belief that for every life you take, you must save two more if you want to leave this existence with your soul intact.”

I inclined my head.  “I have no soul left.  You do this for nothing if you try to spare me.”

“If you had no soul, it wouldn’t concern you to see this berry in my hand.”

He smiled at me as he tossed it up in the air.

I don’t know why I did it.

It should mean nothing to me.

I could easily claim his death as my own.  Poison wasn’t unknown to me.  I suspected I even knew who had provided him with those three priceless, deadly berries.

But my hand moved, almost as though it had a mind of its own and the sliver-thin dart stole the berry from the air and I quickly used two more darts to destroy the other two berries.  He could still lick the plate, I supposed, but somehow I didn’t see this regal, elegant man choosing that route.

“Why?” he asked, his voice puzzled.

Staring at the plate, at the thin stalks of the darts, I shook my head.  “I don’t know,” I murmured.  Then I looked at him.  “Do you count now?  As one half of a life?”

By Special Request…Edged Blade

Due out in just a few more weeks, guys!

 

By the time Justin had finished wrapping his mind around what he’d just learned—or at least shoving it into a box until he was ready to deal with it—we were ready to go.

“We’re just going to have to drive through the night,” Justin said, tossing his bag into the car.

“I have a place,” Abraham offered, walking alongside me.

It was somewhat disconcerting to realize his nearness didn’t bother me. It wasn’t any more disturbing than having Scott standing next to me, or Chang.

“We’ll make do,” came Justin’s terse reply.

“You should let me help you,” Abraham said, his voice flat. “You agreed to share information with me. I’ve shared information. You’ve withheld it. That’s not like you, Justin. I can be of help and you know it.”

Justin opened his mouth only to shut it without saying anything.

Abraham pushed his advantage. He looked back at me, then at Tate. “Three of you. You intend to do this with only three of you.”

Justin lifted a shoulder. “With the plan I have, I could do it with two, but I like to be prepared.”

Abraham lifted a brow. “A fourth would be better. I know where you’re going. Don’t be foolish.”

“I got this.” Neither of them looked at me as they argued.

That pointed avoidance had me narrowing my eyes, because I had a feeling I knew why Justin was refusing the offered help.

“We have a mutual interest.” Abraham was one stubborn son of a bitch.

“Yeah, we do.” Justin opened the door, but lingered, eying Abraham. “Look, you wanted us gone, so we’re going. But listen up, I’ve worked with too many vamps before. Once you get the man you want, you’re just as likely to bail and I plan on getting all of them out.”

“I will help you with that—you have my word.”

“Not the issue.” Justin went to climb inside.

“Justin.”

He stilled.

“Do we need another set of hands?” My own hands were slippery with sweat.

“We can handle it,” Justin said. The words were completely and utterly devoid of emotion. He didn’t sound confident but he didn’t sound doubtful. That worried me more than anything.

“That’s not what she asked,” Tate said quietly, moving to stand at my shoulder—not a place I’d ever expected her to be.

I didn’t look at her. “Yes or no, can we use more hands on this?”
Amazon | BN | iBooks

On Christmas…A Damon POV for you

May you have a joyous and blessed Christmas.  God bless.

Christmas

From the end of Night Blade

There were things in my life that had haunted me, but there would never be anything like that day.  I deserved every awful, miserable second and I’d taken a thousand more days like this—if I could take it from her.

She was thin, like it had been months instead of weeks since she’d disappeared.  Kit was so mouthy and arrogant, half the time she made a person think she was bigger than she was, but under all that attitude, she was slender, almost delicate and now, she looked it.  Her skin looked paper thin and her cheekbones were too sharp, jutting up against the hollows of her face.

And she was bruised.

Even though she was clothes on now, I could remember the area of every fucking bruise. Every mark put on her.

The worst of all of it, though, was her eyes.  There was no life in them—almost as if Greaves hadn’t acted in time and she had gone over that edge.

I wanted her to look at me, wanted to find some way to strip that loss of…everything…from her, but she wouldn’t look at me.

Standing there, lost in the trees, I looked at her and waited, watched for some sign that she even knew I existed, knew I was here.  If she gave me any sign, I would have crawled over the frozen ground, broken glass and through the fires of hell.  If she said, kill…I’d storm that fucking fortress and everybody inside it would be dead in a moment.

 

But all she did was sit there, huddling behind Doyle and clutching a borrowed coat around her narrow shoulders.  Doyle had saved her, so I throttled down the need to grab the kid and beat him bloody for daring to be at her side when everything inside me said it should be me with her.

I’d lost that right.   Nobody knew that as well as I did.

But nothing could drag me from that spot there.

If somebody breathed too loud, she flinched and I couldn’t stand it.

This was the mean, ball-busting little bitch who’d once pulled a blade on me.  When she was afraid, she kicked people in the teeth.  When she was nervous, she mouthed off.  And if she was pissed, you better check her hands for sharp objects.

And now…

Red flooded my vision.  A furious roar flooded my head—the one I couldn’t voice.  No matter how many times, I tried to block it out, I kept seeing her as she came tearing out of the big pile of stone behind us.  I’d thought…

No, man.  Don’t go thinking.

 

If I started thinking, I was going to remember what she’d almost done.  She kept darting looks out through the trees and my gut told me if she thought she could, she might still try to just…end it.

And if I kept looking at her, I thought maybe I was going to be the one to lose my mind.  I couldn’t do this. But I couldn’t walk away from this place, either.  Shifting my attention to the fortress in the mountains, I stared at it.  The monster in me stretched his muscles, claws outstretched, teeth bared.  He wanted to come and play–destroy.  He was a mean bastard even under the best circumstances.  And when another broken gasp came to me on the wind, I had to admit…these weren’t the best circumstances.

 

She wouldn’t look at me.  Wouldn’t let me get near her and any time I tried, she backed away like she thought I might hurt her.  The bitch of it all…I even understood that.  If I didn’t do something, I was going to explode.  The monster raging inside me saw to that.

I didn’t bother stripping out of my clothes as I slid off into the night.  The shift took care of them.  They fell in shreds around me and I paid about as much attention to them as I did to the snow blasting again my skin.  I knew it was there, but I didn’t fucking care.

There were only two things that mattered—one of them was behind me…and she didn’t want to see me.

The other was in that huge mausoleum of a house and as soon as he came out, I didn’t care if he was under guard or not, I was going to rip him apart.  I’d bury my claws in his gut and then rip him apart.  I could already smell the acrid, rotting stink of his blood and the burn of anticipation was the only thing that had made me feel good since this nightmare had started.

Hiding myself in the shadows, I looked back at her.  She huddled against the tiger and I whispered, “I’m so damn sorry.”

But it didn’t matter.  I hadn’t protected her.  The one thing I’d promised her and I’d failed.

No wonder she didn’t want to look at me.

I didn’t think I’d ever be able to face myself again, not after this.

Edged Blade

EdgedBladeDraft4

In the year since her life was torn apart, Kit Colbana has slowly rebuilt herself. There’s a promise of hope in the relationship with the alpha of the local shapeshifters and she no longer comes screaming into wakefulness. Life’s not perfect but then again, when was it ever?

When her best friend Justin comes to her for help, there’s little question as to what her answer will be. Witches are disappearing and Justin won’t rest until he has answers. Soon, they learn that it’s not just witches who’ve gone missing, but vampires and shifters, too.

Unlikely alliances are forged as Kit and Justin found themselves drawn into a twisted web of lies and betrayal. As the clock counts down and the culprit behind recent disappearances is revealed, those Kit loves the most become the target of somebody who will kill to protect an ugly secret.

Amazon | BN | iBooks

~*~

There are some people who could get in trouble with a wet bag and a rubber ducky.

I know.

I’m one of them.

There I was, standing with a wet bag, eggs oozing out of it, half of my groceries for tonight all over the ground and a rubber ducky in my hand. I’d dropped one of the bags when a small tornado had almost bowled me over.  I’d held onto the other, although thanks to the smashed eggs, the stuff in it was probably ruined.

Sighing, I looked down at the bag and then the ducky.

 

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