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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

 

Claws…

Just a couple more days, guys!

chang

“Hello, Kit.”

“Chang.” I cocked my head. “Sorry to crash in like this…sounded like serious stuff. Am I interrupting?”

Chang had an innate courtesy. He’d brush it off. Of course not. How are you, would you like some tea

To my surprise, the only response he made initially was to sigh.

It was a soft, heavy sigh, one that carried a world of weariness. “I had to call a family up north with grim news. An awful sort of call to make.”

“I…” I stopped for a moment. “I’m sorry. Are there…problems?”

An odd question to ask, maybe, but the look on Chang’s face wasn’t one that spoke of somebody who’d lived to see a ripe old age and then died peacefully in his sleep.

From the corner of his eye, he watched me. There was a strange expression to his features, as though he wanted to say something, but then he sighed and said, “No. Sit. I’ll fix tea. You’ll tell me why you’re here.”

There was no point in arguing.

Chang had fallen back on his role of courtesy.

There was no getting out of it now—and no chance of tugging out any details about that phone call, either.

I waited until I had my tea in hand—tea was a personal addiction of mine, almost as bad as the soaps and lotions and other girly things I bought obsessively. Breathing in the sweet and spicy scent, I sighed. I doctored it with sugar and cream. I liked my tea, with just a little more sugar than most people. Or a lot more sugar.

“How you can drink it that way confounds me,” Chang said. “I keep trying to break you of that habit, but it doesn’t work.”

“To each their own.” I shrugged and took my first sip. Perfect.

Chang had a look of amusement and revulsion on his face.

“When you spend a good ten years of your life scrapping just to get enough water and food to fill the hole in your belly, you develop odd cravings.” I shrugged it off.

Chang’s eyes fell away.

I scowled inwardly, wished I hadn’t said anything. I’d dealt with more abuse in my life than most people had ever heard of—I’d come to grips with what my family had done and generally dealt with it, in my own unique sort of way.

Sometimes, I was even able to not be ashamed of it. But it made other people uncomfortable. Honestly, that’s just plain stupid to me—it happened to me—if I can deal with it, then why can’t they?

But then I had to deal with people looking away, or lapsing into silence…or just…fading away.

“Sorry,” I said, my voice tense.

“Why?” Chang said quietly.

I stared at him, opened my mouth—then snapped it shut. “Fuck it. Never mind.”

But he was too insightful, by far. Unlike many shifters I knew, he didn’t just go by what his senses told him. He looked at people. Saw beneath the surface. Sometimes, he saw so deep, it pissed me off.

“I’m not aggravated with you for speaking of your childhood,” he said softly. “In a way, it…humbles me. I know you don’t always speak freely of your past, Kit.”

He rose.

The languid way he moved couldn’t be called pacing, not by any means.

But Chang rarely made wasted moves and the way he moved from the window at the back of his office to his wall of weapons then to his desk to straighten the non-existent clutter there before repeating the circuit was nothing but wasted movement. And it was done with all the elegance, grace and speed he did everything else with. “At the same time, the thought that any soul could treat a child as I know you were treated makes me…”

He looked up.

For the first time in all the time I’d known him, I saw a faint glow roll across his eyes.

The flash was gone so fast, I couldn’t even place it—just a glow of color too light to belong in that dark gaze, and then it was gone. “It angers me. Children should be treasured.”

“That’s how the world works sometimes.”

His eyes held mine. “And sometimes, the world sucks.”

“I’ve found myself thinking that a lot lately.”

“Yet another reason I like you, Kit. You are a wise woman.”

At that, I snorted. “I’m a lot of things—wise isn’t one of them.”

He chuckled and the tension in the air passed. He returned to his seat and faced me. “Let’s discuss why you’re here. Not that I’m not delighted to see you, of course.”

He’d never say it, but I suspected he had things to do, secrets to pass on and people who needed to kill or be killed.

That was his job, after all.

Since I respected that, I didn’t beat around the bush.

“I’m tracking down—or trying to track down—some information. I could use your help.”

He arched a brow as he lifted his tea cup to his lips.

He’d help if he could. I knew that. Just like I knew he’d stonewall me if he couldn’t.

“NHs are disappearing. I need to know about any shifters who have gone missing…specifically some in Georgia. I need information and if anybody has it, it’s you.”

The cup froze at his mouth.

Without taking a sip, he lowered it. Then he put it down and moved behind his desk to stare out the window. “Who have you been talking to, Kit?”

I started to move my knee back and forth. “Am I going to sound terribly childish if I say I asked you first?”

“Sound as childish as you want. But you’re more likely to get answers from me if you cooperate.” His eyes narrowed ever so slightly. Then a faint smile appeared on his face. “You can always ask Damon. However, if you wanted to do that, you would have. You often end up in messes that worry him, a fact I’m sure you’re aware of. This is likely why you came to me instead.”

“You’re telling me this because…” I drummed my fingers on the arm of the chair as I stared at him.

“Only two people possess the information you’re looking for—or possess an in-depth knowledge of it. That I know of. Damon hasn’t spoken to you—he wouldn’t, not about this. If somebody has spoken to you…” He let the words trail off.

“If you’re worried my source might be behind these disappearances, you can draw your claws back in, Chang.”

“My claws aren’t out.” A brow lifted. “Yet.”

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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?”
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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.

 

Read more!

Book tour and Broken Blade Qs

Cross-posting with my Shiloh blog… 🙂

 

brokenbladegiveaway

 

Giving away a clouded leopard (and an ‘adopted’ one)…from WWF.  Basically, the funds help to go protect animals like the big cats and their habitats.  It’s a symbolic adoption, just keep in mind. 😉  There’ also a cuff bracelet that makes me think of Kit. If you want to enter for a chance to win, join in on the blog tour.  Full list here

So far, I’ve hit

Fab Fantasy Fiction 1/6/2014 Interview
Queen of All She Reads 1/7/2014 Spotlight
LITERAL ADDICTION 1/8/2014 Spotlight

Some Qs on Broken Blade, from email, FB, etc

When is the next one/is this the last one?

No, it’s the not the last one.  Book 4 has been fighting me and I wasn’t able to figure out an excerpt to put in the back because I didn’t know if it would change or not.  The title will either be Forged Blade or Edged Blade.

It will probably be out in 2015.

 

Why so long? You only write one book a year?

If I don’t want the quality to suffer, that’s the quickest I can put them out. I actually write several books a year ~ under my main name ~ and the majority of them are contracted works, meaning I’ve already signed contracts and they have deadlines.  As the Colbana books are still a side project, they are done when I’m able to work on them.  I don’t want to rush them and the stories suffer for it, nor am I going to neglect my family to try to put them out more often. There are only so many hours in a day that I can work.  I hope you understand.

 

I’d love to have these in audio!

Trust me, so would I.  But that isn’t up to me.  Self-pubbed stuff doesn’t often get picked up.

 

Is it coming out in print?

Yes, and it’s totally my fault it hasn’t been released already.  Sadly, my laptop starting acting up a few weeks ago and I was holding it together until the end of the year.

I did start working on getting the manuscript loaded on Createspace and left it just in a draft status of sorts.  Using the platform on Createspace requires waiting until you’re ready to release the book.  It looks like there’s another option that’s recently been made available for preorders of sorts, but it looks like a hoop-jumping experience to say the least plus I have to either connect a couple of accounts or open a new account somewhere.  It’s not simple, I can tell that much.

Anyway, my tech issues (ie: laptop really messing up and my new one being a peice of crap that I had to return) all happened the same time I was trying to get it loaded so it would be ready to release this week. Needless to say, it didn’t happen.

The good news is I have everything loaded, the proof part is done (for the most part) so it shouldn’t be long before it’s ready to order.

I’m really sorry it’s taking this long. I know it’s frustrating, but it shouldn’t be too much longer.

 Are you done tormenting Kit?

FYI…I don’t mention anything specific, but I do go into some vague detail here.  Just be warned.  I’m addressing this because the Q has come at me several times.

I didn’t set out to torment Kit. I write her the way she came to me in my head…and despite what people may think, the events in Night Blade threw me for a loop as well. I’m not somebody who sits out and plots books out by the chapter and I see a rough destination, and with these, I see a rough series arc.

I knew there would be a confrontation between Kit and the bastard in book 2.  I didn’t see it happening like that.  I spent the last few chapters in tears.  I’m the narrator of these books and I’m just telling Kit’s story…as I see it playing out in my my head.

Kit is messed up, though, even aside from what happened in book 2.  She sees all of her worth in her sword.  That’s not who–or what–she is, but she wasn’t going to realize that until she was forced to.  No, that doesn’t mean I wrote book 2 so I could kick her while she was down.  Shitty things happen even in fiction.  Kit’s probably my favorite of all my characters and what I’d like is to see her happy. She’s going to get that way, but she needs to figure out all the cracks she has inside, which she finally started to see in book 3.  Until you see where the cracks are, you can’t fix them. That’s where she’s at now.

Plus, I don’t believe in insta-fix.  That doesn’t happen in real life. She went through a nightmare in book 2 and if she went tra-la-la back into life?  That would be BS.

Night Blade Broken Blade were probably the roughest, as far as what happens to her.  At least I hope.

 

~*~

I’ve only read your J.C. books…I can’t wait to try your Shiloh books.

Okay, so this isn’t a question I get so much as a comment I keep getting, and I do wanna warn people…well, first, thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it… 😉  But keep in mind, Shiloh and J.C. don’t write exactly the same sort of books.  If you like romance, paranormal romance, erotic romance, then we’re all good…that’s what Shiloh writes.  A lot of my earlier ones are very heavy on the erotic.

I think I covered most of the ones that I’ve gotten…I think. O.o

 

Thanks for all the lovely comments and the interest and the emails.  You all rock.