Friday, May 31, 2013

The Down Low on EC Hibbs, Author of Blindsighted Wanderer

My Interview with EC Hibbs!!! Be sure to see what all the hype is about!!

1.      Who is EC Hibbs really??
E.C. HibbsI’d basically say she’s quite quiet, but a bit eccentric and crazy on occasion too! She loves her friends, family and cat; has worked with over 70 species of animals; can read the Greek alphabet; and is currently studying her MSc degree in Wildlife Conservation. She’s slightly obsessed with anything to do with Alice in Wonderland, is something of a rocker-cross-hippie, and has never grown out of collecting seashells every time she ends up on a beach. She also has photophobia, which means her eyes are really sensitive to light, and temporarily convinced a number of school friends that she was a vampire!
2.      Got any book boyfriends??
I went through a phase of practical joking as a teenager, and I’ve never grown up so I think I’d get along quite well with either of the Weasley twins! I really like Ceri from the Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan as well.
3.      What can you tell me about Blindsighted Wanderer??
Blindsighted WandererI first got the idea when I was about seven, from a local folktale about a water nymph called the Asrai. I hand-wrote the first draft during February 2007, while I was taking a break from another story. It went through a few rewrites and overhauls before it became the final book, thirteen years after I first heard the legend. The idea of Asrai just really caught my attention. I love mythology and legends from all over the world, and I’d read a lot of fairytales and stories about sea creatures. But the Asrai was so different from typical mermaids and sirens, and I was entranced that this mysterious being was supposed to exist right on my doorstep! So even though the book is set in another world, there are a few nods to its ‘home’. The main one I can think of is Delamere Forest – that’s a real place in Cheshire, and its name literally means “forest of the lakes”.
4.      Do you have any other work in progress that you can share with us??
I’ve got a couple of new novels in the works at the moment, which I’m trying to focus on in-between my assignments for university. One of them is ready to be written and the other is in the last part of the planning/research stage. All the prep work I do for stories means I can get the first draft written very quickly, so I’m aiming to have one of them done by the end of 2013. I’m very excited to see where they’re both going to take me!
5.      What hobbies do you have outside of writing??
I’m a 2nd Dan black belt in Shotokan karate, and I do archery too. I love creating art as well; my main and favourite medium is graphite pencil, but I also do digital photomanipulations such as the ones in the Blindsighted Wanderer book trailer. I also like going to see my favourite bands in concert, watching Disney movies, climbing trees, and generally anything fantasy related or to do with the sea.
6.      You are a published author with Staccato Publishing *SQUEELS* So exciting, how is that going for you??
I’m so happy to be a Staccato author! The journey I’ve had so far has been brilliant; I’ve made amazing friends and my writing aspirations have become reality. I’ll never forget the day I was offered a place in the Staccato family. It was actually the same day that I got my university results and I found out I’d become a Bachelor of Science! They were two dreams I’d chased for about half my life, and I had them both in my hands within 12 hours of each other. Needless to say, my feet didn’t really touch the ground for the next couple of weeks! I can’t wait for my second release with Staccato later this year. It’s going to be living the dream all over again!
7.      Who is your favorite author??
Ahhh, that never has one answer! I’d probably pick Michelle Paver, Neil Gaiman or Philip Pullman. The first time I read His Dark Materials, I was completely blown away. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pin it down to just a single author – there are so many who have influenced my own writing or who I just look up to because they are so amazing!
8.      If you could be any character who would you be and why??
Renn, from Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. She and I have quite a lot in common: we both love animals and nature and we’re both archers – although she can definitely shoot a lot better than me!
9.      Is any of your characters based off someone you know??
I wouldn’t say they’re based on anyone in particular, but aspects of people I know have definitely come out in some characters. I can see bits and pieces of my own personality in them too. But the characters really have a life of their own; if anything appears based on something or someone real, usually it just happens as the story comes along. I very rarely specifically pre-empt characters like that. I prefer to discover who they are, but most times they’ll spring a mirror on me and I’ll see a few reflections of reality in them too!
10.  If you could travel to anywhere, where would you go and why??
There are a lot of places I’d like to visit at some point. I’ve wanted to go to Japan ever since I started karate. Australia is another big one – I really want to explore the Great Barrier Reef. I’d love to visit the Arctic as well; see the Northern Lights and all the wildlife, like narwhals and seals. Plus a load of places in America, and parts of Greece I’m yet to explore!
 Thanks so much Emma for allowing me to interview you!!!
Thank you Lady Amber! :)
Be sure to Stalk EC Hibbs at any of the links below!

Cover Reveal: Trifecta by Kim Carmichael



Title: Trifecta

Author: Kim Carmichael

Genre: Romance, Erotic Romance, Erotica

Publisher: Hot Ink Press

Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours



Book Description:

Two men. One woman. It could ruin a friendship, or bring a satisfying twist to their lives. Artist, Jason Morgan, is used to making magic on the canvas. Now he hopes to do it in the bedroom.
After a failed gallery showing, Jason decides the best way to cure his creative block is to act on his own personal fantasy, and enter into a sexual relationship with his two best friends.
From the time they were in elementary school, Russell Sinclair has been a willing participant in Jason's adventures, but this one goes to a new level. He's intrigued by the idea of sharing one woman, but is challenged by how to fit this three-sided relationship into his traditional life.
Lauren Redmond is no stranger to fantasy. As the aesthetic sales rep to the top Beverly Hills dermatologists, she is responsible for the majority of puffed lips and filled wrinkles in the greater Los Angeles area. She detours from her steady, secure path when she is offered the opportunity to live the dream with the two men who have occupied her heart since college. The fantasy fast becomes a powerful reality, and Lauren must decide if she is willing to give up everything she has worked for to have a bit of temporary decadence.
Trifecta explores the boundaries of love, relationships and convention.




Kim Carmichael began writing eight years ago when her need for graphic sex scenes and love of happy endings inspired her to create her own.  She has a weakness for bad boys and techno geeks, and married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep her all her gadgets running.  When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.


Links:
Website
Twitter
@kimcarmichael4
Facebook

Amazon Page



Cover Reveal: Born of Fire by Amy Erstad



Book Title: Born of Fire

Author: Amy Erstad 

Release Date: TBD

Book Blurb:
Humans are losing their devotion to the Gods. After everything the humans put themselves and others though; faith is still not high on their priority list. Even the Gods would think such things as wars would lead the humans back to them, but it is only a temporary fix. Their devotion still waivers. Other than Ra, no one seems to notice, or they just don’t care. They keep telling him it will get better with time, only it doesn’t. Worse yet, they keep denying his request for an earthly presence. He is sick of watching and waiting, and sick of being denied. He is not going to just stand by and let them keep denying him, he has his own plans. Plans put in place centuries ago, secretly. Now they shall all see what happens when he is forsaken.
                While Ra is making plans of his own, Kenna, on the earthly realm, is figuring out that the people she loves and trusts are keeping secrets from her. She wants to know what those secrets are, and she knows they have something to do with her nightmares, but no one is giving up any information. She is not too worried though. She has Keyara, her best friend, right there beside her. Together they work to try to unravel the mystery that her life has become. Together they stand when Kenna’s life is turned upside down by some handsome stranger. One that is familiar, yet unknown to Kenna. Together they will continue to stand, when the secrets are revealed, and both girls find they have destinies they never would have dreamed of. 


Amy has been married for 16 years and shares two beautiful daughters with her husband. After being a stay at home mother for many years, she went back to school and graduated with her Associates Degree in Business Administration in 2009. When she is not working, she loves being able to travel whenever she can and has had the opportunity to visit several different countries with her family, and has even been able to live in some of them.
While it was never her dream to become a writer, she now loves every minute of her time spent in the writing world, as it gives her the opportunity to live in a world made out of imagination and sometimes dreams. She loves reading paranormal and fantasy books. 




Daniel
I look at my father inquisitively, “You know when I was younger and you told me to imagine blackness in my mind, and then you went on to tell me that you were going to show me something in my mind?  Did that really happen, or did I just dream it?”
Looking slightly excited, dad answered my question. “It was completely real. I am glad you are finally asking about it, as it is time you find out the full truth about whom and what you are.”
“Whom and what I am? What are you talking about? Why do I get the feeling you are going to tell me something outrageous, even for me, for a teenager?”
Dad started snickering at my questions. “It’s all good. I promise.”
“If you say so, I’ll take your word for it, but I’m not promising anything,” I express hesitantly. 
“So where shall we start? Let’s see. You were about five when I showed you the vision. That is the age at which most of us experience the dream spark for the first time, and very few people know or find out what such a thing is.”


Release Day Blitz: The Edge of Darkness by Melissa Andrea



Title: The Edge of Darkness

Author: Melissa Andrea    
 
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Day: May 31, 2013

Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours



Synopsis:
After a tragic accident, Araya Noelle is left with a constant reminder that nothing is forever.

Instead of dwelling over her loss, she plays the hand she's been dealt without complaint. In a world as black as hers, there's no room for bitterness, no time for regret. Sheltered from the outside world, Araya has become suffocated by a life she has no control over. Until Ryland Dare comes crashing into her life.

You don’t know true darkness until you've felt the light…
Like a firecracker, showering her with colorful sparks of freedom, Ryland quickly sweeps Araya away from her dark existence. For the first time since the accident, living in darkness is no longer something Araya wants to do willingly. Unleashed by the shadows of her reminder, being with Ryland, Araya touches light. Together they will learn what it’s like to be alive for the first time.

At the edge of darkness, a ray of light, will dare them both to live.





Melissa started reading in high school when she found her mom's romance book collection and has been hooked on books every since. She became a complete book-a-holic, starting her own collection and improving her reading skills. Most of the time she could finish a book walking around the store, while her mom shopped.

She wrote her first short story in high school for a competition in her writing class. It was a child's book called 'Arnold' - it was about an ant who believed he could do anything. Oh by the way, she won!

She has written many stories since then, but this will be her first YA paranormal/fantasy and the first book she will have published.

She lived in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of six years, and her 3 beautiful daughters. They are her biggest fans and they inspire her everyday. She enjoys spending time with her family, weekend dates with her mom & taking vacations. Hawaii anyone??


Links:

 

Book Trailer: 





I brushed my lips across her neck again and watched as the world around us, spun. Her fingers twisted in my shirt and she pulled my  body closer. I didnt expect you Araya.  I rasped against her ear and my fingers tangled in her hair, bringing her lips up to mine. Her breath was warm and sweet against my lips and I wanted to taste her so bad it hurt.

Blurb:

The Edge of Darkness
After a tragic accident, Araya Noelle is left with a constant reminder that nothing is forever.
She is forced to give up her chance to be the youngest dancer accepted into Julliard & taking over their high society school by a graceful storm of determination is no longer an option. Instead of dwelling over her loss, she accepts the new future she’s been dealt. In a world as black as hers, there's no room for bitterness, no time for regret. Sheltered from the outside world, Araya has become suffocated by a life she has no control over. Until Ryland Dare comes crashing into her life.
You don’t know true darkness until you've felt light…
Like a firecracker, showering her with colorful sparks of freedom, Ryland quickly sweeps Araya away from her grey existence. For the first time since the accident, living in darkness is no longer something Araya wants to do willingly. Unleashed by the shadows of her reminder, being with Ryland, Araya touches light. Together they will learn what it’s like to feel alive for the first time.
At the edge of darkness, a ray of light, will dare them both to HOPE.
DARE them to LOVE
DARE them to LIVE

Cover Reveal: Something Great by M. Clarke

Title: Something Great

Expected Release Date: July 24th

Genre: New Adult

Author: M. Clarke aka Mary Ting (Crossroads Saga)


Synopsis:
She didn’t know what she was missing…until he found her.
Maxwell Knight was positively trouble, dangerously good-looking, and seductively charming. He was everything Jenna didn’t need in her life. Only Max didn’t see it that way. His pursuit was relentless, making Jenna even more determined to push him away. All she wanted was security, a career, and love that was everlasting.
Fresh out of college, life was simple and plain for Jeanella Mefferd, but she liked it that way. Every part of her life was smooth sailing; her friends, her job, and even the guy she’d started dating. Then one night, while at dinner with her best friend, she spotted someone who made her feel things she’d never felt before just by his mere presence—dangerous, heart pounding, breathless heat. Thinking she would never see him again, she brushed it off, but when she started to run into him unexpectedly, all she could think of was how he made her feel with his sweet flirtations. Everything about Maxwell Knight screamed trouble, especially when she found out he was her new boss’s son. Now, heading to a New York fashion show she’d dreamt about since she was a child, would she be able to focus on her career instead of Max, who had been scheduled to attend with her? As much as she tried to forget their encounters, his good looks, charm, smooth words, and determination to win her over gravitated her toward him. The next thing she knew, he was utterly consuming her, mind and body, and in places she’d never thought possible. Would she be willing to step over the boundary and risk her safety net? Was she willing to take advice from her best friend and love hard and risk getting hurt, rather than not really love at all and possibly miss out on finding something great?

Mary Ting
Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing Crossroads was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. It was inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl.


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CrossroadsBook
Blog: http://www.marytingbooks.blogspot.com/
Twitter @MaryTing https://twitter.com/MaryTing




 

Release Day Blitz: Breathe Me by Alexia Purdy



Title: Breathe Me 

Author: Alexia Purdy

Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult

Publisher: Lyrical Lit. Press

Release Date: May 31

Synopsis:
Sometimes the one who broke your heart, needs the most saving.
Piper Sandervale never thought she’d see Sasha Koval ever again. Not since he took her heart, ripped it out and obliterated it from existence. Now, six years have passed and she has run into him once more at the local fairgrounds in Las Vegas. He desperately wants another chance, and he’d do anything to get her back. She’s willing to give him a taste of his own medicine, if this is her chance for payback. But, will she find herself way in over her head?
Something has changed with Sasha and Piper struggles to justify the worth of past hurts to continue her quest for atonement.
Who needs saving now?



Alexia currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada–Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream and she has been writing ever since she can remember. She loves writing paranormal fantasy and poetry and devours books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food.





Author Links



Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale) Facebook Fan page                                                                 


Book Links







STANDING ON THE slick, damp rocks smoothed over by centuries of wind tossed waves, my heart stopped. Piper wore nothing but her swimsuit and the temperature was cool enough to make our noses blush pink. Hunger lingered in her eyes, making my own desire burn through me, the frigid air forgotten in the heat of a deep ache and longing pummeling me unexpectedly. I ran to her, embracing her thin frame and attempted to stifle the goose bumps flaring across her skin. We were on vacation on one of my favorite beaches of the Oregon coast. A place to forget the insanity of college life.
The alcove was a small private beach, free from any barrage of tourists. Leading her over the mess of rocks and sand to the blanket I had set out for our picnic, I carefully cradled her body as we slipped down onto it, our lips devouring each other’s until they felt downright bruised. Hers were bright pink, full and swollen from my assault as I explored them. Our skins had turned from frozen to searing, the wind all but forgotten except for toying with the ends of her long brown hair with unseen fingertips. It lay fanned out underneath us, a warm pillow for her head.
I’d never met anyone like Piper. She was the vision of my dream woman, the one I never knew I had wanted; always spontaneous and filled with a vibrant life force so few possess. I reached over and undid the ties to her bikini, raking my fingers down her sides, desperate to devour every last bit. She was soft and her curves supple against the hard rocks pressing on us. We didn’t care, we were lost to the world. We could’ve jumped up and rushed into the aged beach house a few yards away, where the fire burned warm and the bed creaky but comfy, yet even that was not a concern. All that mattered was kissing her, everywhere, everyplace in every way to make sure some sort of fiery warmth caressed the cold away and our wanting satisfied.
Shivering from my touch, she opened her hooded eyes, glazed with lust and most definitely matching my own. Her fingers curled around my blonde hair, as she whispered my name “Sasha…” before her voice ebbed away and my lips found hers once more. It was there that I gave away my heart, before all the wrong snaked into our lives back home. Before all the flighty decisions and selfishness had sent us spiraling into oblivion, leaving us broken. I wanted it back, all the ‘before’ and ‘once upon a time’s’. I still did, now more than ever before. Salvaging our hearts made me determined, it was the only way either of us could really live again.





Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blog Tour: Bound by Jessica Chase



BOUND (Bound, #1)Title: Bound

Author: Jessica Chase       

Genre: Erotic

Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours



Book Description:
ATHENA MONROE is a struggling author who has just come out of a relationship. RYDER PIERCE is a billionaire who is used to getting what he wants. But when Athena comes into his life, everything changes. Soon, the troubled Athena realizes that Ryder will stop at nothing to get her.











Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Demanding Ransom Book Trailer



Blurb:

Sometimes life takes things away from you.

In nineteen-year-old Maggie Carson’s case, it’s taken more than its fair share.

Determined to move forward, Maggie embarks on her first year of
college, hoping to finally put her past behind her, exactly where it belongs.

But that’s hard to do when the present is just as difficult. And even harder when someone like Ran, the gorgeous paramedic that keeps crossing Maggie’s path, challenges her to face things head on, rather than bury them like she always does.

Ran hasn’t had a perfect life either. But there’s something different about him, and something different about the way he makes Maggie feel. Maybe meeting Ran is life’s little gift for Maggie—a sort of consolation
prize for enduring everything she's had to go through.

But things don’t come easy for Maggie. Why should love be the exception? And just when everything starts to settle, it’s all turned on its head once again.

If there is one thing Ran has taught Maggie, it’s that you can’t sit on the sidelines of your own existence. When life takes something that’s yours, you have every right to demand it back.

Only for Maggie, that is easier said than done.


Check it out on Goodreads!





Megan Squires lives with her husband and two children just outside of Sacramento, California. A graduate from the University of California, Davis, Megan is now a full-time mother, wife, and dreamer--though her characters don't often give her much opportunity to sleep. 


Links:




Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cover Reveal x 3 Plus Surprise!!! Empath Series by HK Savage

Title: Empath (The Empath Trilogy)


Author: HK Savage

Genre: Mature YA

Publisher: Staccato Publishing

Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Empath is now FREE on Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55906

All Staccato ebooks are now available for 3.99 or less!!!


Book Description from Empath:

All she wanted was to disappear…

Claire Martin is an empath. She’s lived her entire life as a slave to a constant barrage of emotions that weren't hers. Off to college she hopes simply to blend with the crowd where she can best hide her curse. Within her first few weeks at school Claire meets Stephen Andrews, a small, fragile looking boy who changes her life forever. 



Stephen, a boy with a secret of his own, instantly recognizes Claire for what she is. It is through Stephen's aid that Claire meets James, a vampire with a talent of his own. As soon as they touch, their abilities connect in a way that has not occurred in over three hundred years forming a bond that cannot be broken.


Follow the trilogy:
Bonded
Secrets


Be sure to check out the other books by HK Savage:
Life Blood
Blood Bound

 


HK Savage has been a voracious reader of anything she could get her hands on going back to the second grade when she would set her alarm two hours early to read before school. Her passion for the written word has continued and flowed into writing going back nearly as far. Her books have fans in twenty countries on six continents with hopes of attracting attention on Antarctica if for no other reason than to check a box.

Currently, HK is a mother, wife and black belt in Karate as well as an avid dressage rider. Her three dogs: a

In addition to editing for the past ten years in advertising, HK has been an editor for several newsletters over the years; her favorite being for Heifer International where her ideas were put into effect and complimented by those on high. Currently her skills are being focused on clients in the writing world.

Paranormal is her favorite genre and science fiction because both address the possibilities we have not yet realized and the darker things we have. Her favorite premise: “what if?”
Doberman she uses for therapy dog work and two ancient Doxies keep her busy when she is not writing or working or whatever else.

Links:
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4522217.HK_Savage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HKSavage
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/HK-Savage/181388721888556?fref=ts
Blog: http://www.hksavage.com/Staccato_Publishing/So_that_you_can_write_and_leave_the_rest_to_us....html
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/HK-Savage/e/B004OU2LV8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


James stood and put his right hand into the air separating our bodies. I looked at it and snapped back up in alarm. “What do you want me to do with that?” My heart started to race. We couldn’t touch. What if he could sense how he affected me? He could do whatever he wanted then and he could just tell Troy and Stephen I’d gone willingly to the slaughter. It would be easy to get me to mirror his thirst.
“I will shield you myself and take it down a little at a time as you learn to pick it up your own. But I will need to know how your ability functions to better work with it. I sense people’s talents, but need to touch you in order to do so. Each person’s is different. I cannot help you to contain or manipulate yours if I don’t know the peculiarities of it.” He held his hand out palm up and wiggled his fingers playfully at me, a grin crept back into his eyes. “You will have to trust me.”
89I stood too, wiping my now sweating palms on my pants, glad I had picked the jeans. They hid the marks so much better than khakis. I raised my right hand and held it palm down a few inches from his. Our bodies were little over a foot apart and my heart started hammering in my chest. My stomach was fluttering and I felt the sweat beading on my back and under my arms. I thought I was having an anxiety attack.
His face was calmly watching mine like this was the most normal thing. “You must learn to settle yourself, we haven’t even tried our first experiment yet.”
“Give me a moment.” I closed my eyes so that I couldn’t see him, then I concentrated on my breathing. With all of my issues I had spent a good amount of time practicing deep breathing and meditation. Taking this moment to “find my breath” as my books had instructed, I found my heart rate coming down and my body responding to my wishes. I reopened my eyes, my body firmly back under control.
James stood exactly as before with a pleased expression. “That was good, Claire. Are you ready to begin then?”
Too frightened to speak, I merely nodded and licked my suddenly dry lips.
Much like my earlier confession, I watched his hand moving toward my own except I felt like it was someone else’s. Mine was some stranger’s body and I was standing beside her, seeing this from the outside. When our palms were about an inch apart, I felt the hum begin, lower and quieter than I was used to. He was different than a human.
My eyes sought his. They quickly became my gyroscope, helping me balance here in this strangest of situations. He saw my surprised reaction to his feel.

“I will be easier to work with because I am not human. My emotions are much more fleeting and almost feel...” Here he became uncertain for the first time since I had met him. “I guess you would say that my body has been dead for so long that my human emotions have dulled. They are in my head, but do not affect my body as your kind’s do.”
Hmm, that was curious. I felt it building, the unstoppable urge to touch him. He’d said no harm would come and that he would help shield me, plus I had to put my hands on his. Again I felt that inexplicable pull toward him, but now it was total. The tug was in my head, in my stomach. I could feel it even in my very skin.
Dropping my resistance, I brought my hand down onto his, lightly then more firmly. I knew instantly that it was too much too soon. His feelings rushed up to me. They were so fast and fleeting that it was hard to focus on what I was getting as they flooded into me. With an incredible sense of relief I also found that with them shifting so quickly they were easy to block. It was like I had a box of his emotional “thoughts” and they were wrapped up with enough cotton that I could choose which one I wanted to grab and analyze once I got used to the pace.
I caught glimpses of faces and places from different times go flashing past me. Fascinating. Would I be able to do this when my training was complete?
Almost as rapidly as I had begun to read him, James pulled his hand back and put it in his pocket. He was breathing hard and his eyes were dark again.
“I don’t understand. That was great! I was able to separate each emotive thought you had and if I had more time, I could have read them.” It was hard to contain my exuberance. This was more than I had ever hoped I would be able to do. It was like mind reading, but more than words, I could feel flashes of what he felt about each person and place though

too complex to understand in the glimpses I’d been exposed to. Realization struck me then and I felt the guilt over what I’d done.
“James, I am sorry, that was intrusive, wasn’t it? I should have warned you. You said you’d shield and I figured I would just go for it. Like ripping off a band-aid.” I couldn’t meet his eyes out of embarrassment.
Just then, the teakettle whistled making both of us jump to our feet. Carefully, so that we didn’t touch again, James carefully stepped around me before turning to go to the kitchen. “Have a seat, I’ll be right back with your tea.”
“I’ll help.” I wanted something to do with myself to help dissipate the awkwardness.
“No,” he said too harshly and too quickly, holding up his hand to me.
The rejection and humiliation burned hot. He offered to help me and when I wasn’t offending him, I bowled him over like an overeager Labrador. I worried this time I’d pushed him too far and now he would take me home.
He seemed to understand how I was feeling. His voice was meant to soothe as he broke into my thoughts. “Claire, you have a stronger ability than I was ready for. It took me by surprise is all. I will be better able to help you if I eat before we continue.”
Instantly, I felt the color drain from my face. My heart leapt into my throat. He was going to eat? Me? No, Stephen said he didn’t do that.
“Relax,” he assured with a small grin. “My supply is in my refrigerator. If you would have a seat and give me just a few moments, I will take care of my needs and return with your tea.”

“Oh, okay. That’s, um, thoughtful.” Well, that was arguably the weirdest conversation I’d ever had. Feeling better about a lot of things, confused about others, I sat down on the couch and pulled my legs up underneath me to wait while James went about his business. Left to my own nosiness, I took the time to look around. What had seemed so clean and streamlined about the house initially I now saw as sterile.
Most people have pictures around their house showing hints of who they are. Pictures of their hobbies, people they know and love, places they’ve been. I hadn’t noticed it at first, but figured out in the lack of what I was seeking that I was hoping to learn more about my handsome tutor. He spoke formally at times, so I thought he was from at least the turn of the century when English got more mixed and slang became more acceptable. Or, maybe he wasn’t American initially and had learned it later. The foreign exchange students I had met in high school had learned what we called “British English” which was way more formal than our own American version. Of course I was also looking for evidence of a girlfriend. She would have to be pretty amazing to get this guy and, I assumed, she would have to be a vampire too, or it wouldn’t be fair because she would be too scared to break up with him.
I had put the cashmere throw on my lap while I was deep in thought about the hottie in the other room who was quickly becoming an incredibly fascinating person. Uh oh, double trouble. Great to look at, better to talk to.
Switching gears for my own safety, I looked around me. This was a comfortable house, I was tired and it was safe here. Relax, I thought as I closed my eyes for just a minute. I could return myself to a steadier place while I waited, thinking we could work that much better when he returned.
It couldn’t have been more than a few minutes that I had been asleep when I awoke to his voice in my ear. “Claire, I should bring you home.”

I sat up with a start, nearly smashing into his face in the process. He must have been right in my ear. Good thing he moved so fast or we’d both have serious goose eggs on our foreheads; well, I would anyway. “No, I’m alright. Please, I’ll be fine after I have some caffeine.”
He didn’t look convinced, but I wanted a chance to prove myself after the earlier debacle. We couldn’t end our session like this or it would be our last. “Are you certain? I warned you these practices can be draining. If you are already tired, I don’t want you to pass out on me.” He grinned teasingly and I felt my stomach flip. His color was closer to human, feeding must give him color as well as warmth, which explained the difference I saw in his pallor earlier as well.
“Let me have a cup of tea and I’ll be among the living again.” I froze and shot a look at him unable to read his reaction. Not sure if I had done damage or not, I concentrated on my tea.
After a few sips I put the cup down, pushed the blanket aside and stood up. “Okay, let’s try this again. I’m ready.”
He stood as well, so gracefully it was inconceivable, mesmerizing even. “Yes,” he agreed cautiously. “But this time, you hold still and I will come to you.”
We both put our palms out again but this time, obediently, I held perfectly still. When we touched, it was not like before. He was completely shielded and I had my first feeling of just someone’s hand. This was just touch. I felt the solidness of his palm, the coolness of his skin. I felt him. I was unprepared for what it would do to me. Before I realized it, I was weeping; uncontrollably weeping.
James instantly pulled his hand back and I heard the confusion in his voice. “I was shielded, you shouldn’t feel anything.”

That just made me cry harder. I couldn’t look at him. Through my sobs, I tried to speak. “I don’t. That’s it; I’ve never felt...nothing before.”
He understood that and closed the last step between us. As I saw his arms coming up, I jerked my face up to his and he saw my panic.
“Trust me. You’ll be safe.” James put his arms around me, letting his shields block out everything and give me peace. I finally felt what it was like to be comforted by an embrace. I wept for everything I’d never had, for the fear that made me cringe from a hug instead of lean into one. I felt him lift me up with one arm, sweeping my legs up with his other and without the slightest indication of exertion, he sat on the couch pulling me up into his lap. I tried to tell myself he’d seen it all before working with people like me and then cast that aside, preferring to think this first embrace was special for more than just me.