We have daffodils springing up all over the place. I love daffodils. They shout the spring’s news. When I was in Texas last year I saw the last of the bluebonnets, and I guess they do much the same thing. They look a bit like our bluebells, drifts of heavenly lavender-blue like they’re reflecting the sky.
But now it’s very windy. Trees are toppling on to cars and roads are closed. Small potatoes to those of you who are fighting gales, but a bit scary all the same. Our cat has taken to hiding in people’s beds, so you have to be careful when you sit down! He hates the wind, it drives him wild.
I’ve not done much this month except prepare for my annual trip to the States and write. Lord, I’ve written a lot, but for once the words have flowed. I’ve just completed the next “Emperors of London” book, and I’m about to start Julius’s book. We had a few problems with the title, though, and I’m waiting to hear on that. Apparently “Born to the Purple” doesn’t scream historical, so we’ll see which of the alternatives they like better!
Danger Wears White is on presale. It comes out in July, and has a lovely cover. It’s about the younger of two brothers, whose family has a difficult history. His mother married for duty and produced the son, then when she was widowed, she married for love. Our hero, Antoninus, is the product of that marriage. Having left the army, he rushes off to do Julius a favour and finds more than he bargained for in the spirited daughter of an impoverished man. He’d given all his money to the Jacobite Cause, as so many in Lancashire did, and now she is stuck trying to keep what remains going. She lives in the fictional version of a house I fell in love with a long time ago, and still love it today, Little Moreton Hall.
The US Amazon presale link is here.
The other historical series is also going strong, and Samhain have been kind enough to contract another book from me. It’s Mars’ turn this time!
And oh, the build up to Waterloo! It’s very exciting. I’ve got two novellas coming out to commemorate the event, so more about those next month, since they’re both releasing in time for the commemoration on June 19th. Over here, the commemorations are getting under way. It’s one of the dates that schoolchildren know. 1066 and 1815. Apsley House has been gussied up, and there are special exhibitions and websites springing up all over the place!
And to this month’s release. Wow, that sounds as if I have a release every month, doesn’t it?
Rubies of Fire is a Department 57 re-release. It’s Andreas, a vampire. It seems an awful long time since I’ve written a vampire, and I miss them!
Rubies of Fire is a re-release, so if you have the Loose-Id version already, you’re probably best not picking this up unless you want a brand new copy with pretty new cover art!
Extract and New ReleaseBuy and read excerpt here:
Barnes and Noble
Note that these links may change over the next couple of days, because Amazon got the author wrong. But you can still get there with the Search function! I’ll update on my website as soon as they are available.
Vampire and full-time field agent for the CIA, Andreas’s only loyalty is his job with Department 57. Until he sets eyes on sexy Roz Templeton. He already hates his assignment to pose as the office wolf, but he hates it even more when he realizes Roz is also a vampire.
Roz is out to discover who killed two members of her family, and when she does, the culprit will die. Andreas is a distraction. And she can’t understand why she’s drawn to him, anyway–he’s a sleaze. But she can’t resist.
Drawn into a passion neither can fight, they set fire to the night, and then some. For a young vampire, Andreas is fully versed on how to keep a woman happy in bed, even one that is centuries older than he is, and as dominant and demanding as any man. From their first steamy kiss in the elevator on the way to work, to bed and beyond, Andreas and Roz can’t get enough of each other.
But that passion may be a deadly distraction when Roz’s life is on the line.
The lobby was just as nondescript. Indifferently cleaned, tiled in fake marble, it might have been noticeable in a smaller town, but it seemed to know it didn’t stand a chance in this city of architectural marvels. Roz liked it. It was like her, trying to get by without drawing too much attention to itself.
Unlike Andreas, who stood by the elevators, waiting for the car to arrive. She was surprised one hadn’t arrived by now, but perhaps he’d let a couple go without him. She felt targeted, and not without reason. His smile of greeting barely creased his lips, but the warm look in his eyes intensified. “You busy today?”
“Kinda.” Closer to him, Roz felt a prickle of awareness. She wished she’d stayed with Nancy, but she hated the idea of lurking around just because he was there, waiting to step into the elevator on his own. She had as much right to use the elevator as he did.
She shifted her briefcase to her other hand, the one closest to him. Keeping a distance.
A light ping heralded the elevator’s arrival, and she watched the steel doors slide open. With a sideways glance at Constant, she walked forward, and he followed. Nobody else did. That came of getting to work half an hour early. She’d hoped to catch up on some paperwork she’d been too tired to finish last night and to avoid the rush when the other employees arrived.
She wouldn’t make that mistake again. She’d wait for the rush or make sure she got in the elevator on her own.
The elevator wasn’t large, but there was room for them to stand with half an arm’s length between them. Not that Constant even tried. He reached across her on the pretext of pressing the button. Instead of leaning back, he looked down and smiled. It warmed his eyes. “We have to stop meeting like this,” he suggested, his light, musical voice tinged with amusement.
Roz didn’t smile back. “We do indeed.” Unlike him, she meant it.
He smelled too good, something citrusy and himself, a spicy, masculine odor she found herself drawn to. His crisp white shirt revealed a slight shadow underneath. Chest hair and the suggestion of a nipple. Hell, wasn’t she supposed to tempt him with her nipples? Not that there was a chance of that under her buttoned-up suit jacket and light knit top, not to mention the lacy but substantial bra underneath.
“Or perhaps not.” He lifted his long, strong hand and touched her chin, urging her to look up at him. “You’re single. I’m single. What’s the problem?”
“Getting better acquainted. Knox wants us to work together, so maybe we should try it.”
Somehow, she didn’t think her boss had this in mind when he asked Andreas to join the team.
She stared up into his eyes, hoping she wasn’t betraying her speeding pulse and heightened senses in any way. This wasn’t what she was looking for. Not at all.
“You’re suggesting a date?”
His slow smile spoke of sin and wickedness. He reached over and pressed a button. The elevator came to a sudden, jolting halt, urging her against him. He pressed a few more buttons, and she knew he’d keyed in the code that stopped the security alarms going off. She was trapped in an elevator with him. So why wasn’t she screaming the place down? She didn’t need to look too hard inside herself to guess the answer.
He took the invitation she hadn’t meant to give, curling the arm not braced above her head around her waist. “Now, don’t you think it would help if you learned to relax around me?”
She stayed perfectly still. “I’m as relaxed as I need to be.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Why do you think he wants to see us first thing?”
She shrugged, or tried to. “Because something new has turned up. Maybe he wants to take you off the assignment. Why would he want you on the case? Your security cover is really low. You’re a grunt, a clerk.”
If she’d hoped to deflate his ego, she failed. He only grinned and moved closer. “Because I’m the only person who’s met Cristos, been inside Department 57. You need me.”
“Not for long.”
He laughed. “We’ll see. Cristos is a slippery customer. He’s evaded the authorities for years. Do you think he’ll be easy to catch? This operation could go on for a while, baby.” He touched her chin, stroked his fingers down her throat, and paused at the base. She stayed where she was, kept his gaze, but seethed at that “baby.” She was nobody’s baby. “We’ve been dancing around each other for the past two months. Don’t you think I’ve been patient?”
His heat, his closeness, all seeped into her as though her body was just waiting to welcome him home. Yet he’d never even touched her before, just watched her, talked to her. Roz was no longer sure if she was excited, nervous, or panicked. No one had ever made her feel like that before. She needed time to think.
She didn’t get it. When he lowered his head and that sinful, sexy mouth grew closer, she rose up to accept him, almost without thought. Natural, like breathing.
His lips caressed hers, gently moving where she had expected fierce passion and rough treatment. His gentleness unnerved her, but her whole being lifted to him, begging him for more.
She didn’t even like him. Andreas Constant moved and behaved with a confidence that amounted to arrogance, especially considering his lowly status as a clerk in the Department of Internal Business. He probably made love the same way. The thought both attracted and repelled her, and she couldn’t be sure which was the stronger emotion.
Before she quite realized it, she’d opened for him and let him taste her. His tongue slid into her mouth, his control absolute, so it was a slow, gentle seduction instead of a fierce taking.
The kiss turned deeper, and wildness curled low in her belly. She should have called a halt, turned in his arms, and hit the button to start the elevator, but she didn’t. She wanted more.
She wanted him. Now. Personality, hell. The man had the body of a god.
As though he heard her, his hand slid smoothly around her body to her breast, pushed aside her jacket, and stroked through the thin knitted silk and bra.
At the same time she felt something insidious slip into her brain. She froze. That was a psychic link, small but obvious to one of her kind. With Andreas caressing her, she had trouble concentrating, but the small, sharp, highly skilled query had been evident for a brief moment before the probe had withdrawn. It couldn’t have been Nancy. Roz knew her signature, the feel of her. She wasn’t sure it was Andreas. The probe felt impersonal, and she couldn’t get a bearing on its origin.
Besides, Andreas was stroking her to a fever of want, the need rising inside her and starting to take over every sense she had.
When he slid the jacket off her shoulder, she gasped, and he pulled back just enough to speak.
“You want it, don’t you?” That sounded like a statement, not a real question. A statement of intent. And crude.
He’d given her her second wake-up call, and for a girl fond of the Snooze button, her last. A chill swept through her when she realized how close she’d come to screwing a colleague in an elevator. The reminder was like a bucket of water dumped over her head. That and the psychic invasion killed the mood and brought her back to reality. “We can’t do this.”