Tori and Tara offer to you the new Midnight Thirsts II, a vampire anthology to satisfy both your monster and romantic cravings. You’ll find horror, romance, suspense, and even humor in this anthology. Why not have both the monster AND the sexy, thoughtful hunk?
Comment for a chance to win one e-copy of Midnight Thirsts 2!
Buy Link for Midnight Thirsts II: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Thirsts-2-ebook/dp/B008FJOJOQ
Blurb for “Night Music” by Tara Fox Hall, from Midnight Thirsts II:
Grieving Krys Markman has come to lose herself in family memories at Letchworth State Park, and try to figure out her next step. Yet the unearthly beautiful music she hears each night stirs her soul to romance. Can its creator, the attractive vampire David Helm, heal her broken heart?
Krys walked slowly toward the low stone wall, the roaring of the falls capturing all her attention as she rested her hands on the cold rock slabs. The view was as magnificent as ever; the towering waterfall spanning the wide river, the trails beside it framed with stone and concrete walls more than fifty feet below. The early spring afternoon felt more like late summer, the air balmy and comfortable, even in her T-shirt and jeans.
Letchworth State Park. The place was exactly the same, but everything was different. Her parents were gone, and now her brother was, too. They’d come here as a foursome every summer and stayed for a week, renting a rough built cabin. It had been bare bones, lacking heat, water, or even a private outhouse. But it had always been a good time to her and Bill: fishing, hiking, playing games, and encountering the wildlife. Each summer, her parents always treated Krys and her brother to one special adventure. For Krys, that had been the whitewater rafting outfit that operated below the lower falls. For her brother, Bill, that had been either horseback riding or a ride over the river via hot air balloon.
They’d had such good times here…
Pretending to brush back her hair, Krys brushed away a tear, conscious of the many tourists still snapping pictures of the falls. Why had she come here? What had she hoped to find?
“Excuse me,” an old woman said, tapping her elbow. “But we’d like to get a picture together. Would you take one of us, please?”
Krys nodded, then snapped a few pictures as the couple posed in front of the falls. Handing back the camera, she hurried inside the Glen Iris Inn, calling herself an idiot. Ringing the bell, she waited.
A desk clerk came in quickly. “Can I help you?”
“Krys Markman,” she said. “I’m checking in. I’m staying in Caroline’s Cottage.”
“Please fill this out.” The woman handed her a form. “And I need a credit card to make an imprint.”
Krys handed over her credit card, then took it back a few minutes later, handing in the filled out form.
“Staying with us all week?”
And probably going to rue it, Krys thought miserably. “Yes.”
“Have you stayed with us before?”
“Yes,” Krys said quickly. “I’ll just need one key.”
The woman began reciting the checkout times and other rules, all of which Krys knew by heart. She fidgeted, then grabbed the key, not replying to the startled clerk as she ran outside. A couple jumped back as she nearly banged in to them.
“Hey!” the man said, throwing an arm in front of his wife to shield her. “Watch where you’re going—”
“Sorry,” Krys stammered, flushing.
The couple gave her another dirty look, then walked upstairs hand in hand. Krys sat down in an empty wrought iron chair, rubbing her eyes.
Enough already. This was her vacation, a long break to recoup before embarking on a new chapter in her life. Relaxing was the first step. Walking was out; the lamps scattered around the Glen Iris Inn were coming on. So it would have to be alcohol instead.
* * * *
Krys sipped her wine flight, while looking around at her setting, marveling that so much was still the same, and still so beautiful. She’d been in these same surroundings so many times, yet they were still magical to her, even as their familiarity soothed her…
“Will you want dinner?” her waiter asked delicately. “Or would you like to try one of the wines you sampled?”
Where had the time gone? Krys had finished all three samples already. While another flight and more reminiscing sounded wonderful, it was better not to tempt fate, not when she had a hell of a climb in the dark to reach her rented house. “Yes.” She chose an entrée at random from the menu, then one of the wines she’d sampled.
As the waiter walked away, Krys noticed a tall man sitting by himself off in the corner. He was writing something by the light of the table candle. What was compelling was he was doing it in longhand in a small paper book instead of via electronic device. The act was so uncommon that she stared at him. Within a few seconds, the man raised his eyes and caught her staring, his dark eyes meeting hers. Krys immediately looked down, flushing. By the time she gathered enough courage to look up again, the man was gone, his seat empty.
The waiter came back, her wine on a tray. “We’re all out of the salmon, Ma’am,” he said apologetically. “Would you like to choose something else?”
The only craving Krys had was to find out who that handsome man had been. Food could wait. “There was a man sitting out here. Do you know who he was?”
The waiter shifted uneasily. “We’re not allowed to give out information on guests, Ma’am. Sorry.”
“So he is staying here?” Krys said hopefully. “Will he be here a few more days?”
The waited leaned down slightly, his expression secretive. “Aren’t you staying for a few days in Caroline’s Cottage?”
“Yes,” she answered conspiratorially.
“They I’d advise you to get to know your neighbor during your stay,” the waiter said meaningfully.
Krys looked at him in puzzlement. “What?”
The waiter straightened, then set down her glass of wine. “Will you have another entrée, Ma’am?”
Comprehension dawned. “No,” Krys said, hastily grabbing her purse. “Put my drinks on my bill.”
* * * *
Blurb for “Partners” by Tara Fox Hall, from Midnight Thirsts II:
Vampire investigator Danial Racklan finds more than his target when the suffering werecougar Theo crosses his path one evening. For Theo is not only a man with a past as tragic as his own, but also destined to give Danial something he’s never had before: a partner he could trust.
A tall, dark-haired man crouched in the cab of a parked crane. The light of the full moon illuminated the many stacks of plywood and two-by-fours that surrounded the machine, casting long steady shadows. Far to the left, a mansion-in-progress stood, its bare wood bones already bleached slightly by the hot summer sun. Close by, to the right, a rough building stood dark, with a port-a-john next to it. No sound stirred the unnatural quiet of the deserted construction site.
Someone or something was causing that stillness, Danial thought to himself, shifting slightly to check his left view from his vantage point. Construction workers rarely were the neatest employees, especially in midsummer. At the very least, the resident rodents should’ve been fighting over the remnants of discarded sandwich ends or the lone left-behind Cheeto.
From beside the port-a-john came the sudden rustle of cloth. A moment later, one of the garbage can lids was lifted.
That was no hungry rat. That was what he’d been hired for. Danial slipped out on the opposite side of the cab, balancing his weight on the crane’s large treads.
The noises stopped. Danial froze, waiting.
There was a stealthy footstep toward him, then another. Danial tensed, his hand going to his semiautomatic at his waist as he prepared show himself.
Here we go…
A loud ring shattered the quiet.
A metallic bang rang out, then a trashcan flew through the air towards him. Danial ducked, the can sailing over his head to smash into the building’s side, showering the smelly contents all over him. Cursing, he stood and fired blindly toward the sound of rapidly retreating footsteps. After squeezing off two rounds, he threw down his gun in disgust.
His cell phone continued to ring, the signature tone telling him exactly who’d ruined his well-planned trap.
Danial wiped the garbage off his face as best he could with his handkerchief, and then wiped his hands, grimacing at remaining smears of rotten meat. Gingerly, he plucked his phone from his cell pocket and answered it.
“This better be good, Dev.”
“It’s not Dev,” a hissing, self-satisfied voice said. “And it’s not good either, Vampire.”
Danial grated his teeth together, trying to control his fangs from growing in his anger. “What do you want, Lash?”
“It’s not what I want. It’s what your brother wants, Danny—”
Danial hung up, then picked up his gun from the ground. Wiping it off, he holstered it, and strode back to his car, thinking.
There was one thief involved so far: amateur level, to have run without a fight. The throw could have been a diversion by a startled male; the industrial metal was much too heavy to be thrown at that velocity and height by a female, even a non-human one. There had been an odd scent around, possibly some type of werecreature. After four hundred years, he trusted his nose more than his eyes.
He might as well get to his campsite. Dawn was only a few hours away.
* * * *
Links for Tara Fox Hall:
Tara's Facebook Page:
Blurb for: “A Living Specimen” by Tori L. Ridgewood (Midnight Thirsts II):
In the clandestine world of paranormal investigators and vampire hunters, the undead are the prey, and it's the job of volunteers like Trisha to find and exterminate them. But a living specimen is what's most needed -- and most difficult to obtain -- in the unending battle between humans and the supernatural. Respected by her peers, and looking forward to a bright future as a vampire hunter, Trisha must use all of her skills to survive on the day her prey finally finds her...in a way no-one could have predicted.
"A Living Specimen" is an exciting, fast-paced thriller about a talented but naive vampire hunter and the unintended consequences when a vampire slips past her guard. It's definitely not your ordinary tale about the living and the undead!
The senior investigator passed Trisha another glass of water.
“Just tell us everything that happened, in as much detail as you can remember.”
Trisha clutched the grey utilitarian blanket around her, and accepted the glass with the other shaking hand. The scarred wooden table before her was littered with crumpled tissues, some smeared with her black mascara.
“I’ll try,” she whispered. Her mouth felt so dry, it seemed as though the water barely soaked in before she swallowed. “Um, a couple of days ago, I was running behind. I didn’t want to disturb the meeting, so I just picked a seat close to the door.”
Trisha slipped inside the sliding oak doors, trying to cover her late arrival. To her left, several members of the Society, mostly senior in the ranks, were sitting on mismatched antique dining chairs around the coffee carafe, within easy distance of refilling their mugs. Beyond them, Myrtle Gray, the white-haired secretary, was sitting in her usual brocade Victorian highback chair, already taking notes on a yellow legal pad. The high, dusty velvet curtains were all closed over the cracked and drafty windows on either end of the long room which doubled as the Society’s library and general meeting place.
Trish knew this meant yet another PowerPoint presentation. Her heart sank.
Barely registering the words being spoken by Bill Sonderburgh, a jovial, middle-aged black man standing before a grand white marble fireplace, Trisha scanned the room, hunting for a place to sit. It would be better to quietly slink along the wall, as unobtrusively as possible, than to waltz straight into the middle area, where a few empty seats remained among a group of younger volunteers, novice investigators and hunters like herself.
Thank God. Mitch had saved her a spot.
She caught his eye just as he raised a hand. His curly brown hair and sparkling blue eyes never failed to make her stomach jump a little in anticipation. He was sitting on a battered old yellow couch, which was pushed closer to the fireplace, probably to catch some of the heat.
It was also part of the front row. That was a problem.
Trisha looked around one more time, before squaring her shoulders and heading in Mitch’s direction.
She took the long way around, passing an unknown tech who was finishing the set up of the Proxima projector, and snagging a brownie from the refreshment table on his other side.
“...The final item on our list of expenditures this week is an antique vampire hunter’s kit.”
Trisha reached the couch just as Bill unveiled a polished wooden box on the fireplace mantle. There was a burst of applause. Trisha made to sit, clapping awkwardly with one hand holding her brownie, but felt a touch on her shoulder that startled her.
“Trisha, would you mind being my model?” Bill smiled at her kindly.
“No, not at all.” She smiled brightly at him, and then passed her snack to Mitch. He was clearly laughing at her. She kicked at his shin and then joined Bill before the rest of the Society for Hunters and Investigators of the Paranormal.
The rules for S.H.I.P. were fairly common sense. Show up on time. Be willing to learn. Have an open mind. Many of the volunteers came from families whose ancestors had also been involved in documenting supernatural activities and putting down creatures of a threatening nature; others, like Trisha, found out about the organization by simply being in the right place at the right time.
She didn’t want to think about what might have happened to her, had she not been willing to join the ranks. Probably nothing -- who would have believed her, after all?
Trisha had been finishing her degree in psychology, working on her thesis concerning the relationships between legend and social behaviour, when she had stumbled onto references about S.H.I.P. in her research. Her curiosity had been piqued. She had done more digging, and discovered that even though it was a clandestine organization, they hid in the open: the official story was that the members investigated hauntings, searched for evidence of the paranormal, and did guest spots on talk shows about their work.
The reality was much more intriguing.
Tori L. Ridgewood is a full-time secondary school teacher, a mother, a partner, and a writer and reader of all things fiction and non-fiction. Tori enjoys writing vampire / paranormal romances, sweet and humourous looks at pregnancy and childbirth, and horror fiction. Tori enjoys writing plays for her students, watching thunderstorms, walking her dog, needlework (quilting, cross-stitching, and embroidery), collecting miniature furniture, traveling, and watching movies. Currently working on a trilogy of adult vampire novels to follow “Mist and Midnight”, Tori also plans to write young adult fiction in the near future.
Ridgewood’s published works include:
“Mist and Midnight” (Midnight Thirsts, Melange Books, 2011)
“Telltale Signs” (Spellbound 2011, Melange Books, 2011)
“A Living Specimen” (Midnight Thirsts II, Melange Books, 2012)
And coming soon...
“Tabitha’s Solution” (Having My Baby, Melange Books, fall of 2012),
“Brain Games” and “Bio Zombie” (A Quick Bite of Flesh, Hazardous Press, date tbd)
“Thy Will Be Done” (Dark Moon Books, date tbd)
Facebook: Tori L. Ridgewood
Midnight Thirsts (also available in paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Thirsts-ebook/dp/B005ME7MDM/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1340240723&sr=8-4&keywords=midnight+thirsts
Spellbound 2011 (also available in paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Spellbound-2011-ebook/dp/B005TOO1UW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340240786&sr=1-1&keywords=spellbound+2011