IT”S RELEASE DAY!!!!
Hi, everyone! I want to thank RJ Scott for hosting the Dare To Love Forever Blog Tour release day celebration!
At the end of this post, you will find the buy link, blurb and excerpt, as well as a chance to enter to win some great prizes at the end of the tour!
Check here for links to all of the blogs in the tour.
Yesterday, on the Wednesday Briefs blog, I talked about why I wrote a vampire story when the market is flooded, and how I tried to do something different in this story. One way was to add supernatural/magical elements to an already varied depiction of vampires and their world.
Carson Locke is a rare Tabula Rosa vampire. Tabula Rosa is Latin and loosely translates into blank slate. When he bites another vampire, their mind is wiped clean, erased, creating a reprogrammable, blank slate, which can take on any personality, including mindless killing machines. That is why Carson has been sheltered his entire life and hidden away. In the past, Carson was forced to bite someone he cared for deeply and is haunted by the terror of that memory.
Commander Lincoln Samuels is a Sanatore vampire. In Latin (I love Latin if you hadn’t noticed), Sanatore means healer. Lincoln’s blood has the ability to heal other vampires. However, there is a possible side effect – Lincoln could bond physically and mentally with that vampire. In the past, Lincoln bonded with another vampire with near disastrous results. Now, he must decide if he will save Carson and risk that happening again.
And, then, there is the Salutem vampire…but to get into that would be a spoiler so you will have read the story to find out about that vampire.
Add in a shaman with supernatural powers and the ability to predict the future, and a destiny put into place hundreds of years before Carson was born, and, I hope, this vampire tale will satisfy the most die-hard fans of the genre.
Carson Locke is a Tabula Rosa vampire—a dangerous rarity in the world of vampires. With one bite, he can wipe clean a vampire’s mind, creating a mindless drone. Because of this, Carson has spent his entire twenty-three years sheltered at home. That changes when his entire family is murdered. Now on the run and near death, Carson meets Commander Lincoln Samuels, a beautiful vampire who tries to heal him. In doing so, Carson is bonded to the vampire and turned into something the vampire world has never seen. When Carson is poisoned, he believes that someone wants him dead as well, however there are greater plans for Carson put into motion hundreds of years before his birth.
Lincoln is a Sanatore vampire with the ability to heal other vampires. He heads a team in the New Vampire Justice police force in Utica, NY. Late one night, he is called to a local Vampire Blood Market where a starving Tabula Rosa vampire is about to be executed by one of his officers. Feeling a strong connection to Carson, Lincoln wants to heal the broken man despite knowing the risk in doing so. Healing Carson could destroy Lincoln and cost him the chance to love again. What Lincoln finds is that there is a greater evil threatening to take Carson from him.
Can two vampires who have loved and painfully lost in the past, learn to trust one another, defeat the evil rising against them, and dare to love forever?
Carson Locke was starving. Thoughts of veins and warm blood flowing through arteries clouded his thinking. His stomach had hollowed. His bones protruded and his muscles shook from weakness. His self-control, held by a fragile thread, stretched to the breaking point. When it snapped, he’d turn into the monster he’d avoided becoming for over twenty-three years.
He needed food. He needed blood. Now.
Despite crouching behind a Dumpster in the dark, the cold wind reached Carson, biting at his thin skin. Ten days. Ten days since he’d last eaten. Ten days too long for a young vampire. Ten days since he’d fled his home. Ten days since his mother and brother and uncle had been slaughtered and he’d run for his life. They were all dead because of what he was. Choking back a sob, he forced himself to focus on the back door of the building he’d been watching.
This was his last chance. If he couldn’t get the blood he needed here, that last thread of self-control would snap and he’d attack someone. The memory of the last time he’d been forced to bite—the screaming, the wide, vacant staring eyes, the nothingness—still haunted him. Carson squeezed his eyes tight and drew in several deep, steadying breaths. This task was too important to mar with past horrors he couldn’t rectify.
Two women bundled against the cold and a large, dark-haired man exited the back door he’d been staking out. As the women shuffled off to their cars, the man punched numbers into a keypad, securing the door. Carson clenched his fists as the man pulled out a cigarette and patted his pockets, no doubt searching for a lighter.
“Just leave,” Carson said in a pleading whisper.
Cigarette finally lit, the man moved toward the parking lot. Carson held his breath as the man disappeared around the corner. A siren blared in the distance, startling him. He clenched his teeth, drew air in through his nose and blew it out through his mouth. The beating of his heart threatened to fill the night air. He was terrified, but he was more hungry than scared.
Creeping from behind the Dumpster, Carson pulled his parka up over the lower half of his face. Jumping up, he grabbed the bottom rung of the fire escape and struggled to pull himself up.
His arms shook with the effort. Sweat broke out on his skin as he managed to get a foot on the rung. The idea that vampires possessed superhuman strength was a myth, but damn, he was about as strong as an eight year old. He just had to climb to the roof, drop through the small window, and get the blood. Then he could worry about bigger issues.
Carson climbed over the ledge of the old brick building on shaky legs, propelled by his adrenaline. Without that extra push, he would have been flat on his face. The night before he’d been in this same spot on the roof and had jimmied the lock on the old wood-framed window. Before he could enter, the sound of a door slamming somewhere had scared him away. Being caught trying to enter the VMB could bring certain death, but that was better than starving.
Carson sighed in relief as the window slid open easily. His hands were so cold that he would have been unable to jimmy the lock again. Feet first, he shimmied into the dark room. He was on the third floor and unsure what he would find there. During the three days he’d staked out the building, he hadn’t seen any lights on this floor. Pulling out a flashlight, he surveyed the empty room and located the door.
The blood roared in his ears, and his speeding heart felt as if it would explode as he opened the door. Of course, the damn thing would creak. Stepping lightly, Carson walked down a hallway filled with closed doors. Undisturbed dust covering the floor spoke of the vacant nature of this floor of the building. Within the corridor, the noises of the surrounding city were faint, yet still pushed his heart rate faster. In the floor beneath his boots, the constant hum, like an engine running, vibrated up into his legs. At the end of the hall was a steel door with a small dark window that he hoped led to the stairway. The longer he spent wandering, the higher his chances of being found. Clenching his jaw, he pushed open the heavy door, the cold metal chilling the sweat on his palms. His light flashed over the edge of a railing. He found stairs going down to the left. Walking down one flight, he found another door, but what he needed was on the first floor.
Descending farther, the flashlight flickered. Carson froze. Stopping to shake the light, he could hear the beating of his overwrought heart in his ears, feel the knot of dread expand in his gut. Gods, if he had anything in his stomach to throw up, he would. Right now, he needed the blood that the Vampire Blood Market (VBM) provided. Carson’s teeth had only sunk into a vein once and the nightmare of that moment had forever been burned into his memory. Besides, from what he’d heard, the bite hurt the donor like a bitch. That was mainly the sport of pain sluts and adrenaline junkies who visited bars where biting was still legal. In his isolated world of Gifford, NY, blood had always been supplied. Now, he had to feed himself. Without money, that meant stealing what he needed.
At the bottom of the stairs, he peered through the small window into the VBM. Walls of illuminated refrigerated cases held blood in containers similar to milk jugs. Unfortunately, stealing milk didn’t hold the same consequence as stealing blood.
Ignoring the dangerousness of his mission, Carson grasped the door handle. What he feared would be locked opened freely. Inside the VBM, the refrigerated cases hummed. The air was cooler than in the hallway. Carson’s mouth watered and his empty stomach clenched tight. Rushing to the first case, he pulled open the door. He grabbed the closest opaque white container and ripped the top off. Just as he lifted the container with the lifesaving liquid to his lips, the lights came on and a voice shouted, “Freeze!”
Carson dropped the container and gasped. His heart pushed into overdrive, his breaths barely escaped his throat. He gaped at the three men and two women dressed in black uniforms pointing guns at him. Carson tried to remain still but his feet moved backward without thought.
“Freeze or we’ll shoot!” A man with short black hair, who was larger than a truck, leveled a gun at Carson’s head. The man could end all of Carson’s pain. The fear, the hunger, the uncertainty, the agony of losing his family. Just charge at the giant—or slip his hand into his pocket as if he had a gun—and the bullets would do the rest. But as he ran into the wall behind him, his muscles seized. He was going to die no matter what he did.
“Down on your knees and hands on your head!”
Without thought, Carson went down hard on his knees and rested his hands on his head. His head swam from hunger, and his legs shook. It was all he could do to remain upright. Carson closed his eyes and thought of his younger brother, Caden, and his mom. He just wanted this to be over quick.
“Strip him,” he heard the gruff voice say.
Carson’s chest locked up as hands grabbed him. They ripped Carson’s parka over his head and then his sweater and T-shirt were next. The chill on his skin sent a shudder through his emaciated body.
Please, do it quickly.
Hands held him by his shoulders and arms, as if at any minute he might resist. There wasn’t an ounce of resistance left in him, not an ounce of fight. Tears burned his eyes like acid. Gods, his life had sucked so far. This was the perfect ending.
The large man stepped forward. Heavy black boots scraped the floor. NVJ in large white letters crossed his chest. New Vampire Justice. The vampire equivalent of a SWAT team, there because Carson had been trying to steal blood, an act punishable by immediate death.
“You have been caught in the act of stealing blood from a certified Vampire Blood Market, an act punishable by death by the Vampire Justice Act of 2003. Under the jurisdiction of the New Vampire Justice code number 456.5, I, an enforcment officer for the city of Utica, NY, hereby pass the sentence of death. Do you have anything you wish to say before this judgment is carried out?”
About JC Wallace
JC Wallace started writing from a young age, but took a break for marriage, kids, and college (in that order). He recently rediscovered his passion and ventured out into the brave new world of publishing with his short, Waiting for Snow, and his first novel, Curiosity Killed Shaney. At night and on the weekends, JC writes about all things men, believing there is nothing hotter than two men finding and loving one another, whether for a night or forever. An avid reader of M/M romance, JC loves a good twist of a plot, HEA, HFN, or tragic ending. He also writes what his bestie calls HUNK (Happy Until the Next Kidnapping).
In his daytime hours, JC works with individuals with autism and behavior problems. He is owned by three kids, one grandchild and one on the way, two dogs and one cat. He lives in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in Northern NY.
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