Originally from the Sacramento Valley, Tory packed up and moved all the way to Southwest Florida in 2004 with her husband (a Florida native) under the premise that ‘hurricanes almost never hit that part of the state.’ That year, 4 blasted the area. 4 more came the following year, and her husband blames her for bringing the hurricanes. She now resides in Jacksonville and is relieved that, thus far, no more hurricanes have followed her around.
She began writing in kindergarten when a turnip wished to be human and, other than a hiatus shortly after getting married, has never stopped. Her love of vampires began somewhere in junior high, and combining the two loves didn’t take long. She loves music, considers herself a ‘book slut’ whose reading habits would break her family financially if given free reign, and is (usually) delighted to be a mommy of twin Shrimpettes (1 y/o this month) and a Shrimp (6 y/o this month).
Blood Rage: The Dream-Walker War book 1
For eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived in relative peace together. That peace is threatened when three bodies turn up less than a mile from the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs in Tampa bearing the signature of vampires who once terrorized Europe.
The Bureau’s chief liaison to the vampires, Dara MacKechnie, learns that the Tampa victims are not alone when her ex-lover, and head of the vampire’s Great Council, Anthony Caldwell comes calling.
The pair discover the lie that separated them two centuries ago only banked their passion, not extinguished it. Dara must decide whether she can trust Anthony with her heart a second time as they try to head off the war that threatens all they hold dear.
From the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs’ FAQ Page: Telepaths
Question: What should I do if I catch a telepath (species unimportant) using telepathy to read my mind and steal my personal information?
Answer: Call your local Bureau office immediately. The Privacy Act of 1974 makes it illegal for anyone to scan another person without a court order. Such orders may be granted to determine guilt or innocence of a crime, if requested by the accused.
“Do you have any idea what time it is?”
Dara rolled her eyes at her assistant’s lazy inquiry as she paced in front of the elevator. “About three hours later than it is here, which means you’re probably in the middle of a date, Ronnie, not in bed.”
A delicate giggle escaped the other woman before she said, “Who says I’m not in bed in the middle of my date, darlin’?”
“Spare me. Just swear to me, one last time, he’s not on the guest list.”
Her assistant groaned loudly, likely for effect on whoever the lucky man was to emphasize her put-upon status. “Dara, you’re calling me at nearly eleven at night to bug me about that man again?”
The elevator doors “swooshed” open in invitation. Unwilling to risk losing her connection because she suspected Ronnie would ignore any subsequent call, Dara shook her head at the car’s occupants and spun to stalk down the hall toward her suite door. “Please, just tell me he’s not going to be here!” She heard the whine in her voice. How could she be so pathetic? Two hundred years of life experience should give me more dignity than this.
She could practically see the other woman’s eyes roll as she said, “According to the Society’s president’s secretary when I talked to her three hours ago in anticipation of this discussion, no. Anthony Caldwell declined his invitation three weeks ago and has made no attempt to reverse that decision.”
Dara’s shoulders slumped in relief. Everything would be fine then. No known child-killers in attendance at the Society’s 80th Anniversary Bash made for a good evening. “All right, thanks,” she murmured in genuine appreciation.
“How’d the LeTourneau dress look when you put it on?”
She blinked at the abrupt change in topic, and her gaze dropped to her half-bared chest where fluorescent lights glinted off the pale, ropy scars that marred the surface. “I feel like an overstuffed sausage, Ronnie. I wore a corset when they were fashionable and hated them. I almost needed one today to get into this infernal outfit.” So she exaggerated, a little.
Ronnie snickered, and Dara heard a low male whisper in the background. “I don’t need my powers, or a picture, to know you’re lying to me. Sarah would never put you in anything that didn’t look spectacular. Go make your speech, darling. Tell me all about it when you get back to Tampa.”
Dara slowly pressed the disconnect button and wandered back toward the elevator with a sigh. Ronnie was right, knowing Dara’s insecurities about her appearance entirely too well. Sarah, the last descendant of her little sister, Caila, had exquisite fashion taste. The LeTourneau dress, the first and only one she’d ever bought from the exclusive werewolf designer, was a new purchase, bought specifically for this party.
Attending the Bash on behalf of the Bureau of Non-Human Affairs certainly hadn’t been Dara’s idea. But when invited as the honoree and keynote speaker, one must attend, especially when one’s boss said to go or be fired. Therefore, she’d allowed the Society to fly her out, put her up in the exclusive Bearings Hotel and Casino for three nights with Sarah, and had agreed to give a single speech and attend a ball afterward in exchange. Overall, it really was a good deal for her. The short, enforced vacation offered her an escape from the wet heat of Florida in late August.
She pressed the down-button on the elevator and tapped her foot with just the first hint of impatience. Less than thirty minutes remained before her speech. As the keynote speaker, she didn’t intend to show up until she had to, to avoid the inevitable attention that would be focused on her. At least Anthony’s absence was assured.
“Would you care for another drink, Mr. Caldwell?”
Anthony looked up from the blackjack table as the leggy blond waitress leaned over to ask her question. He gave her a lazy smile and finished the last of his blood and gin, noting the faint flush that spread across her cheeks. Another lifetime, perhaps he might have asked for her phone number, but not now. Not when his objective of so many years was almost at hand.
“No. Thank you just the same, madam.”
She flashed him a smile that revealed just a hint of fangs and sauntered off. He eyed the long legs for a moment more and repressed a scowl that he felt nothing at turning down what could have been a very pleasurable evening if he’d accepted the implied invitation. What was the world coming to?
“Ante up, gentlemen,” the dealer said.
After a glance at the rose-gold, Atlas watch around his right wrist, Anthony shook his head. “I’m out. Duty calls.”
Duty didn’t call, not yet anyway, but the time was close enough at hand that his conscience didn’t prick him for the slight inaccuracy. If he intended to track down his quarry before they met in the ballroom, he needed to go. His senses, on constant alert in the crowded casino, had yet to detect her, but she couldn’t be much longer. Even she wouldn’t be late to a ceremony intended to honor her.
Then again, when has Athdara Genevieve ever been on time for anything? he thought with faint amusement.
He closed his eyes for a moment to filter through the hundreds of minds pressing in around him from around the casino. For a younger vampire, it would have taken much longer. After more than twelve hundred years of practice, it didn’t present that great a challenge, regardless of the population density.
About to give up the current search, he paused when he recognized her presence. Anthony turned. With little effort, thanks to his height, he looked across the main room to see her just exiting the elevator.
The breath he didn’t need to draw in caught in his throat. It had been sixty years since their paths had crossed, a deliberate move on his part out of respect for the hatred, however well-deserved, she held for him. Sixty long, boring years.
Athdara looked the same of course, eternally twenty-six as a vampire. Unfashionably curvy, lush, and perfect. She’d pulled her long red hair back in an ugly braid. The coiffure failed to detract from the fragile face. So many hours spent brushing that hair. She wore a long, black satin ball gown, LeTourneau if he were any judge, that swished when she moved past a bank of bleeping and flashing slot machines.
Anthony allowed a trace of a smile to curve his mouth upward, and he turned toward the staircase leading to a landing that would give him an unimpeded view of the main room. Now to have some fun.
Coming Soon From Evernight Publishing:
Blood-Mage Rising: The Dream Walker War book 2
In the eighty years since the Great Awakening, humans and non-humans have lived side by side, relatively at peace. In an attack that leaves his wife dead, Jordan MacNaught is caught up in the start of a war meant to turn the other races against the vampires. He knows beyond a doubt the vampires of yesteryear are not involved in the attacks. They’re all dead, except for him.
Jordan asks for Chris Javert’s help in hunting those who murdered his wife. She’s no stranger to hunting vampires. After all, she nearly destroyed Jordan when she ended the reign of his Aristocrats in Europe two hundred years ago.
Despite doubts about Jordan’s innocence, Chris joins forces with him, the man who once tried to kill her, to save the inter-species peace from the New Aristocrats before war consumes them all.
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