Please take a moment to enjoy this pretty art the female has licensed for advertisement purposes. Is it not pretty? It was licensed because it’s that pretty.
So, there are teasers! So many teasers! All of the teasers. Enjoy. The final teaser will be from the Vampire of Montana.
It’s a play project. Yes, it will be produced, but the female is currently playing. And she loves it.
So, onto the teasers!
Forgetting to give Wayne Barnes my email address counted as ruthless, but I assumed he could get it from my landlord if he pressed hard enough. Satisfied the wolf would be distracted for at least a few hours, I tested my luck in the bounty hunter system, which had public and private job offers.
To my delight, I had three private offers; one I automatically rejected, as I didn’t play at being an assassin. The other required someone to clean house, and while I disliked theft in general, I rejected that one, too.
The third bounty wanted me to move a male lycanthrope in my area and keep him busy for a period of three days. I’d bag twenty thousand for the work, which caught my attention. Before I could learn more about the target, I needed to sign an NDA, which would prevent me from discussing the job with anyone outside of my hire, and oddly, the target, who could be told limited amounts of what the job entailed, including a confirmation of his safe return after a period of three days.
I could only assume the hire wanted the target out of the way for a few days to make a move on a female wolf they both wanted. Why else hire a female, unmated lycanthrope to remove a male from an area for such a short period of time?
Sometimes, I hated being a single female lycanthrope.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Another frown. “Who’s Jack?”
“He’s this kid who went up a hill to fetch a pail of water and ended up bonking a girl named Jill. It didn’t end well. She got pregnant and was totally ostracized. He left her to deal with the baby by herself. Karma got him, though. He ended up with syphilis. Totally melted his brain.”
“Mal, that is unkind.”
Edna, a ghost with short, finger-waved hair from the thirties, wearing a short cardigan and a tailored skirt, appeared sitting at the round table to the left. She’d been with Mal the longest. She looked at Merrow.
“The phrase means that taking time away from work rejuvenates the body and soul, and Mallory does need it. She pulled too deeply on her power and came dangerously close to death while trying to stop your two countrymen from their plot. But you know this.”
The last was gently chastising.
“It’s been three weeks. Her body is more than able.”
“Perhaps. But this is a request made by those who love her, and she is abiding by her promise to them.”
Mal snorted. “So’la does not love me. He went along because he knew it would drive me nuts.”
Than never dreaded opening doors. He was, after all, the god of death. There was nothing behind any door that could cause him lasting concern. However, he had just brewed the potentially perfect cup of hot cocoa and had yet to taste it.
Therefore, the knock upon his door was inconvenient and opening said door, a terrible annoyance.
The door handle was smooth and cool in his palm, cooler than he would have expected before he had lain his powers down to vacation as a mortal. But then, his days spent in the town for vacationing gods had been peppered with numerous surprises.
Even some delights.
The knocked paused. He knew who was on the other side of the door: a woman who owed him a favor.
He turned the handle and pulled.
Delaney Reed was smiling. She did that a lot around him. If pressed, he might admit he enjoyed that aspect of the woman who allowed and disallowed gods to vacation in this town.
However, if pressed by Delaney Reed on the subject he would undoubtedly find a way to avoid answering her.
It was more entertaining that way.
The alarm on the outer perimeter dinged. Something had just crossed the basic warning working about fifty feet from the house. Bedelia finished pouring her nightly chamomile infusion and waited on the next set of alarms to see if it was the small herd of does that had been moving through the area at dusk. Or an owl. There were owls nesting nearby. One evening, just after the repairs to the house from the recent magical firebombing, the male owl attacked a rabbit exactly atop the middle warning and she nearly expired at the continuous clangor.
As she waited, she added honey to the chamomile infusion. Stirred. Sipped. Patient. Tired of the yard work mama had demanded all evening. She wanted lilies come summer, and the bulbs had to go just, “There, and there, and… no! Not there! Move ’em!”
Bedelia’s back hurt, but the yard looked great and—
The central ward dinged a distinctive set of soft notes, identifying the uninvited visitor who was approaching through the woods in back. Bedelia’s heart leaped. She frowned. Sipped again and calmed her heartrate. Once he was close enough, this particular visitor could hear her heart speed or slow and smell her reactions of any kind. And there was no way she would allow him that satisfaction.
But… Dear heavens, she had missed him.
No, humans, we aren’t telling you which books these teasers are from! You must go forth and grab your copy. We promise you’ll like something in it!
Order your copy of Dirty Deeds today!
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Now… onto the teaser from the Vampire of Montana. This is raw unedited draft, okay? That makes no editing, unless you are the female’s editor, and you’re editing the book. Which has not been to the editor yet, so no editing!
(If you edit, we be forced to stop stealing teasers. Please no editing!)
I couldn’t tell if His Royal Majesty of Montana, also known as my asshole cousin, loved or hated me. Most would have been thrilled to be going on an all-expenses paid trip to Madrid, but my cousin couldn’t trick me. Somehow, he used me as a pawn in one of his little games. Somehow.
Will did nothing without reason, and most of the time, it was a damned good reason.
Why me? Why Madrid? Why economy?
Will would pay for sending me to Madrid in economy class. On my way back, he would be sending me back in a comfortable seat in the front of the plane, where I would enjoy however many little cocktails I wanted for the bazillion hours it took to fly between Madrid and Billings.
I’d find some way to make my cousin pay for my discomfort, especially as my seat, at the very back of the plane, would result in me being the absolute last person to escape from the plane’s cramped bowels.
I had no idea what I’d done to stir my cousin’s ire, but I was sorry.
But why me? Why Madrid? Why had Will deliberately put me through hell flying me economy? There was no way he hadn’t done it on purpose. Worse, the vile rat had paid extra to fly me in an assigned seat deep in the bowels of the wretched plane.
What had I done to piss him off so damned bad?
The Spanish loathed me. I abhorred flying long distances, although my job demanded it of me often. Sometimes, I even flew the damned plane. Flying made the flight tolerable, as I had a intensive and important job to do.
Damnit, damnit, damnit. Why Madrid? The instant the Spanish custom agents processed my passport, they’d be on me worse than flies on shit. Truth be told, I couldn’t blame them for that.
I was who I was, and the last time I’d been to Madrid, someone had looked at my cousin wrong. Wrong looks at my cousin ended in one of two ways: death or arrest.
As a known terrorist had been the one doing the looking, I’d given the Spanish a rather brutal demonstration of how I’d earned the name of the Vampire of Montana. Leeches, the kind that manipulated blood rather than emotions, came few and far between. I’d inherited the kingdom’s entire damned share of the talent.
Half of my family believed I would take over Montana at the rate I was going. My cousin held a different opinion, opting to send me overseas for months at a time, acting like I might be more useful touring foreign kingdoms while indulging in one of my dirtier habits.
Nobody minded when I killed off a few terrorists. They were only terrorists, and nobody missed them. Well, outside of terrorists, but I really didn’t give a shit what the terrorists thought.
Sometimes, I hid the bodies once I was finished with them. Sometimes, I left them where they fell before making myself scarce.
If I had a lot of terrorists to kill at one time, I tended to get the job done and leave a mess in my wake, a mess I rarely wanted to deal with once I’d done my work. As I didn’t want my cousin to come under fire for my terrorist-slaughtering ways, I invented new and creative ways to murder the bastards.
As such, I had an unfortunate tendency to star as a serial killer in various episodes of unsolved mystery shows, which did a good job of getting me in trouble with my cousin. He always caught me, as he tracked my movements almost as closely as he tracked his wife and his children.
Maybe if he stopped sending me to places with terrorists, I’d stop killing the terrorists. Maybe if he stopped sending me to places I might find terrorists lurking around the corner, I wouldn’t be in a position to put an end to them. Maybe if the terrorists stopped terrorizing people, I wouldn’t have irresistable urges to kill them.
I bet my cousin liked yelling at me because I yelled back, so he gave himself every excuse under the sun to yell at me.
Evil twerp of a cousin.
Like the teaser? If you haven’t started reading the Royal States novels, we recommend you start with the first book in series. Here is the series list in chronological order.
Storm Called through Huntress are available in the Beginnings collection.