Not only does Blood Will Tell have a gorgeous cover, it has a real, official release date!
***July 11, 2007***
And here’s a little excerpt from the very beginning:
The shadows moved.
Cecelia Barnes quickened her pace through the dark parking lot. There’s nothing there. It’s just your imagination.
But the night was closing in on her, airless and fetid like a tomb. Her car was only fifty feet or so away. It seemed an impossible distance.
Why had she let her assistant, Doug, go home? He’d left only half an hour ago. Her work could have waited. Hell, he could have waited.
Then she wouldn’t be alone now, her breath unnaturally loud in her ears and her heart beginning to pound.
Something clanked, metal against cement, to her left. She turned quickly, gasping, the South Florida heat searing her lungs, the sweat on her brow turning ice-cold.
The hubcap on the pavement still vibrated in the foggy steam of the night, as if someone had moved it to climb into the sewer…or out of it.
Running now, she shifted the keys in her hand until the point of her car key protruded from between her index and middle fingers. She’d taken a self-defense class the year before. A key could scratch out eyes, or puncture a windpipe.
Unfortunately, she had not learned how to use a key to attack when grabbed from behind and dragged backward. She tried to scream but was able only to emit a choked-sounding squawk. She writhed against the arms that held her, her hands clawing ineffectually at them, her feet battling to kick or make solid purchase on the pavement.
Three men stood in a loose circle around her, their eyes gleaming as they watched her struggle. Another scream disappeared from her throat when the man closest to her opened his mouth in a wide, open grin, and she saw his fangs.
Ohmygodthey’revampiresohholyshitthey’re FUCKING VAMPIRES—
There was a shout behind her. Cecelia tried to turn her head to see what was happening, but she was held fast. Her thin silk blouse tore as she tried to wriggle free.
Another shout, closer this time. The vampires looked up, tracking the source of the sound. Time slowed as the greedy expressions on their faces turned to fear. The arms holding her loosened, and as she fell to the hard pavement, just before her vision went black, she saw a man with a face like an angel’s leap forward to attack her captors.
* * * * *
That face was the first thing she saw when the world came back into focus.
“You’re the angel,” she said.
The man seated close to her raised an elegant eyebrow. “I know,” he replied. “But we must never speak of it again.”
This struck Cecelia as a rather un-angelic thing to say, and she frowned. “Am I dead?”
“Do you feel dead?”
She struggled to sit up, her elbows sinking into soft fabric. “Not really.”
She frowned again. He might have the face of an angel—his dark hair framed perfect, strong features—but he was definitely not anything but a man.
“What happened? Where am I?”
“Clichés, clichés,” he said, waving a pale, long-fingered hand. “Is this where I tell you that you’re in heaven and the Kumbaya sing-along will start at any moment?”
“Excuse me, but fuck you,” she said. “I’m in a place I’ve never seen before. I’m pretty sure I was attacked. I don’t think it’s untoward to ask where I am. Or who you are, for that matter.”
“But you haven’t asked who I am,” he pointed out. His tone was reasonable and his voice mellifluous, with an accent that hinted vaguely of green fields and stone buildings.
“You’re English,” she said.
“Yes. Is that relevant?”
“I don’t know. Is it?”
“Only if you’d like to discuss the Queen.”
“Well, I suppose it isn’t relevant then. Shall we move on?” She was fascinated by his face as he spoke. His skin was smooth and pale, his large dark eyes expressive. He was at once very, very handsome—she had not been wrong to think he looked like an angel—and very haughty.
He watched her expectantly, his eyes gleaming, like he was waiting for—what? More questions? An accusation? Maybe he was waiting for her to throw off her tattered top and beg him to leap on top of her. Which, she was slightly ashamed to admit, was an option she could consider. He really was devilishly handsome.
“So who are you? And what the hell am I doing here? Where are the police? Did you call them?”
He smiled. His teeth were very white, and his smile changed his face, drove the coldness away and made him look almost wholesome. Her breath caught.
“My name is Julian Mansfield,” he said. “And I saved your life.”
When she didn’t respond immediately, he asked, “What’s wrong? No sharp reply?”
But she couldn’t speak, not at first. It all came back to her, the horror of the dark still night, the vampiric faces in front of her, sharp teeth in cavernous mouths like ivory stalactites gleaming dully in the moonlight.
Not to mention that she’d never in her life met a man with such a flair for the dramatic. Something in the way he spoke made her itch to take him down a peg or two.
“Like yourself much, Mr. Mansfield?”
“As much as I like anyone,” he said. “And do call me Julian. Most women do, when they’re in my bed after I save their lives.”
“You do this a lot?”
“I don’t like to toot my own horn.”
“I seriously doubt that,” she said.
“Tsk tsk. We’ve only just met and you’re already so judgmental.”
Feeling that the whole conversation had somehow become absurd, Cecelia sat up completely. “No more jokes,” she said. “Who were they? How did you come to be there and how did you beat them? And, since you didn’t answer me before, where exactly am I?”
“You were attacked,” he said. “In the parking lot of the Butler Medical Research Center. I’m not sure who they were. I was walking by with some friends and I suppose we scared them off. And you’re at my house, as I mentioned, in my bed.”
“But they were—” She stopped. Were they vampires? Really? She’d never believed in such things. She was a scientist. Scientists don’t believe in vampires.
But she hadn’t imagined those teeth. She knew it.
Julian was watching her expectantly. “They were—?”
She shook her head. She certainly wasn’t about to tell this aristocratic, extremely good-looking man that she thought she’d seen vampires. He would laugh at her.
Then he would try to have her committed.
I had a “real” post planned, but I hope you guys will be okay with waiting for tomorrow, because I am waaay too excited today!
(There is and will be more excerpty goodness over at my new Yahoo group–the link is at the bottom of the sidebar to the right!)