It’s the year of rebranding for me. I’ve begun re-working my website since I purchased my own logo last year, but it’s still only half complete. So, in 2019, I plan to finish that website, streamline my press website, and to rebrand my books.
And that’s my mission today. Book rebrand number one.
This is Loving Red, the first book in my Loving Red Saga, and since it’s a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, I figured Valentine’s Day was a great time to re-launch and put it on sale. I’m closing in on the end of the second installment, Little Red and the Surly Bear, which is the prequel to the first novel in preparation for the third and last in the saga, Loving Them Both.
I have all three covers for the series, so what better time to share them all with you.
The Official Back Blurb:
Tall, blonde, and charming, a new adventure has blown into Miami.
When Sergeant Severins Bouvier’s wolf senses bring him to a tiny accountants’ office, he unknowingly steps in the middle of a manhunt.
Kaia doesn’t trust Sev, but she’ll have to rely on him once a rogue group of creatures catches her scent.
Now, they’re on the run together, and chasing after her ex is the only way of ending this nightmare.
If you like the dark and sexy plots of the Dark Hunters and paranormal twists of the Anita Blake Series, you’ll love the Loving Red Saga.
Buy Loving Red to start this sweetly sadistic affair today.
If you follow the rest of my Broken World series—which will be aptly renamed The Blood Phoenix Saga, you’ll see these storylines intersect with Ria’s world, as they’ll both come together at the end of each series.
Her books are getting new covers this year, too, when the fourth of five books will be released.
If you haven’t already gotten your hands on Loving Red, get it now for 99 cents. It includes a free ten-chapter short featuring Ria’s best friend, Ari, and a two-chapter sneak peek of the new prequel.
Let me know what you think of the new covers in the comments below.
In the meantime, here’s a new excerpt from Loving Red—Chapter Twenty-Four:
Following Kaia strained Severins’ calm, but her scent clearly marked his way along side the vampire’s Jag. After five hours on the go, they stopped at the North Carolina state border. The Jag seemed out of place in front of the doublewide trailer and monstrous trees.
Severins met Kaia at her car door in his camouflaged pants, offering her assistance out of the car, and she meowed playfully at him before taking in the space.
“Something feels different about this place,” she said, voice soft but spreading across the grounds like an earthquake.
“It’s protected. That’s what you feel.”
A short, frail-looking male swung open his front door and appeared on the square wooden porch. His skin marbled like the bark of an old oak with tints of green. Long and wide eyes assessed Severins and Kaia before his gaze slashed to Kaia’s vampire friend, Kalib. The performance was rather dramatic.
“You said one—a single, human female. Human. That is not human.” The dryad’s twig-finger pointed to Severins with further flair.
“We were lacking in our information. The wolf is no harm to you.”
“No harm. No harm!” His hair sprouted green and miniature ivy fell around his ears. “At best, he’ll piss on my plants. At worst.” The small man’s voice squabbled high and fluttered through the leaves above. “At worst!”
Kalib rolled his eyes, and Severins shook his head. Kaia, however, seem entranced with the dryad’s tirade.
“Eilon. Fucking wood nymphs. Eilon.”
“Oh no, sir. You can stay in your pretty little metal box for that.” Eilon slammed his door again in a giant huff.
Kaia jerked and came back to the small clearing. Her eyes took on a darker green in these woods. “He did not like either of you very much.”
“Tree-folk aren’t group friendly unless there’s a ceremony or an orgy, although they’re practically the same thing to them.” Kalib pulled two long swords from behind his seat—long enough they shouldn’t have fit back there. He strapped them into holsters hidden beneath his loose cotton shirt. “I’ll take first watch.”
“Dryad’s don’t like wolves too much—territorial and all that. Piss in the wrong part of the woods once, and it’s like you killed their elder.”
“Did you tinkle on one of his plants?”
Severins snorted in delight at hearing the word tinkle come out of her mouth. “No, I’m house-trained, beautiful.”
Her giggle lightened up the small dark place, dancing along the trees as though they responded to her presence. She certainly possessed some tie to the magickal world. It explained why she attracted so much paranormal attention—his included.
Kalib hollered through the door at the little man, and Severins leaned Kaia against the side of the sports car.
“Before we go in there with that dry, old lump, give me a kiss.” He leaned into her, moving in seventy-percent of the way and leaving her the other thirty to come to him, but her hands dipped across his chest and stomach as she examined his different tattoos. Her touch stirred his raw need for her.
After a few seconds, she lifted and closed the gap between them.
Opening to him, her responses changed, shifting since their kiss in Wayne’s truck. He took advantage, pressing her closer and stealing her breath.
She drew back with a smile. “I think I’m beginning to like this lifestyle.”
Her nails scraped down his flanks, and he fought his own arousal. Severins pressed into her before backing away, slinging a shirt on to cover himself before following her inside.
The dryad jumped into the room from the kitchen, waving at them. “No, no, no. Shoes off!” Eilon skidded to a stop with his hands out.
“You. Before you enter here, you will make my pledge.”
The ends of Eilon’s knobby fingers grew sharp, and Severins surrendered. “What kind of pledge are we talking about?”
“You repeat after me. I pledge not to piss on any of Eilon Broaddock’s indoor plants.” The little man paused and snapped at him. “Repeat it.”
“I pledge not to piss on any of Eilon Broaddock’s indoor plants.”
“I pledge not to scratch, bite, or chew on any of Elion Broaddock’s precious house items.”
“I promise not to destroy your home. I may be a wolf, but I am also a gentleman.”
“Repeat as I said.” Eilon’s sharp fingers extended further.
Severins sighed. Threatening a wolf with wood wasn’t the fae’s smartest move, but he repeated the pledge instead of provoking his host further. The restraint took enormous effort because the little drama queen was asking for it.
Eilon stepped back and nodded, handing him a towel and returning to his kitchen. “And wolf will not sully Miss Red.”
“You’re venturing outside your jurisdiction, there, Oak Broad Oak.”
The vines of his hair tangled and retreated to a brilliant golden brown. “My stuffed radish. You have your own red, and you’re not to touch Miss Red if yours turns you down. She’s my bed guest, and I will not have her sullied.”
Eilon disappeared into the kitchen, and Severins’ spine whipped straight. Kaia’s face reddened, and she covered her mouth with her hand. “I like him.”
Around the corner again carrying an oversized serving tray filled with a tiny tea set, Eilon resembled a normal guy who smiled like an ornery adolescent. “You, on the other hand, Miss Red and I could share our bed with.”
Severins’ muscles convulsed as he reached for her, but she smiled at him and shook her head. “Sorry, Eilon. It’s going to be a no.”
His slender shoulders shrugged before he walked into the living room, where he set the serving tray on a peculiar and thorny coffee table. In fact, the house defined eccentric. Knick-knacks filled the shelves and displays—many of them were ceramic gnomes and girls in red hoods. At first glance, the rooms seemed to be covered in retro ivy wallpaper, but the place erupted with chirping after Eilon set the drinks. Ivy grew across the walls and vaulted ceilings.
Severins cleaned his feet with the towel the dryad supplied, and Kaia tip-toed to a small white flower, which opened to her from within the leaves. She could have been one of the Swedish fae her grandmother told her stories about. The joy in her stirred the rest of the ivy, presenting her with small, white and yellow flowers, furthering her elation. Turning her brilliance on him, the magick of his world grew more beautiful.
Each of those flowers fluttered open, and an elegant fragrance greeted her. Eilon’s place filled her with wonder. She’d met a few strong and strange creatures, but he was something else—the magick in him derived from more than the mere strength to persevere, it connected to the earth in a way she’d always wanted to be. And yet, the way Sev looked at her, maybe he felt it, too, as a wolf.
Venturing into the room as Sev wiped his feet, she found the seat opposite of Eilon on a wide, leather couch, which seemed at odds with the rest of the decor. Eilon, however, fit the place perfectly. The sharp corners of his smile reminded Kaia of the young men who whistled at her at the university when she visited her cousin or friends for coffee. His beauty had more symmetry than was natural, eyes still wider in this form than the average human’s.
He crossed his ankles and watched Sev sit beside her. “Let’s get through with these hostly duties of mine. Hot beverage? I made hot-lemon tea and local honey.”
The young man poured three cups, taking honey in his own before receding in a wide-armed leather chair. “Well, the bathroom is beyond the kitchen. And since Red doesn’t want to share my bed, you both will share what’s here. Questions? Reconsiderations?”
The deep fantasies in Eilon’s gaze as he posed the question tickled her. “Don’t make me put on my mean-face.”
The tea was sour like hot lemon water, and it desperately needed honey. Sev grimaced as he sipped his own and returned the cup to its saucer. “So, are you a part of the Assetato or a contractor?”
“I have many connections.” Drinking his tea with flair made Eilon seem far more delicate than she believed him to be. “This connection is the repayment of a favor.”
“Do any of your connections hinder you from educating a human about our world?”
Kaia sat straighter, setting the cup and saucer down to keep from spilling it. Grown used to the deeply seated secrecy that came with the other, she wanted to prove herself worthy of the knowledge.
Eilon regarded them both for so agonizingly long that Kaia gave up hope of his saying anything positive when he said, “Not so strictly that I cannot provide her with an introductory lesson. How’s your memory?”
“Sharp but not perfect.”
“Mmm.” He nodded and reached into the small, brightly colored glass and brass tree beside him and pulled a vial hidden away as a flower. Uncorking it, he tapped a drop of pink liquid into her tea. It puffed and bubbled and returned to normal. “That will help you.”
Lifting the cup and saucer in apprehension, Kaia could detect no difference in her drink, and Sev leaned in to smell it before nodding his go ahead. The tea had a nice balance of sweet and sour, but bitterness tainted the aftertaste.
“Be sure to finish that before we’re through or it won’t be so effective.” Eilon stood with his own tea and sipped as he paced along side the curio-cabinets encasing a diverse ceramic gnome collection. He tutted. “Where to begin?”
After another sip of his tea, an idea struck him. “Ah. Let’s begin with this. Zombies do not exist. We have thirteen main species: fae, vampires, dragons, mers, angels, gods, bears, canines, felines, humans, elementals, birds, and equines. Variations happen as a matter of time and preference. But I suppose what’s most important is knowing the majority of mythological creatures that have stories are real. Yes! We are all real but not precisely in the way we are written.”
His hand shot into the air with exclamation. Kaia sipped her tea again, and his stories began. All creatures took on a human form after puberty—although some fae were human-sized to start with—like Eilon himself, they did not always look the same. The more abnormal or larger creatures have grown endangered as the human populace expands because they had fewer places to hide, like the centaurs and dragons. But many of the creatures’ numbers remain small because of the wars between the bosex and the vampires. For thousands of years, they battled each other almost naturally—a family feud, but the first war ended and a second began when the Assetato took hold of a large number of allies and struck against the vampires in the late twelfth century. But the Celampresians had traitors allied against their own, and old ties broke down. The wars have been consistent since—too many battles won and lost on both sides.
Both camps were stationed somewhere in New York, but smaller checkpoints scattered the country and the world. Eilon waved his hand as though he cleared the air. “I know not the infrastructure, but many check points for us are family-owned and ran, or for favors like this.
“But I digress, the camps are only the backdrop for the reality of this world. Yet, still, I must start from the beginning or closer to it. For made creatures—or those that can be both born and made, they hold misplaced magick, spread by the sole remaining god from the Atlantean pantheon, the god of beasts.” Eilon paused with dramatic flair, making himself akin to the pouty bout of supernatural creatures flooding cinematic media.
With a swift transition, Eilon persuaded Kaia of the dangers vampires and bosex had alike—speed, agility, power, and at times, extra abilities, which she’d already seen with the twins and Kalib. Scarlet didn’t show any of her powers, which didn’t bode well for Kaia and Sev in the end. Both races shared a fondness for biting—in affection and in the way they transformed humans. However, vampires were sterile, and bosex were not—who generally had litters at a time, like their full-animal counterparts.
But Eilon did something interesting. He didn’t say they were dangerous, but they had dangerous attributes, and she appreciated that. Kaia had complete faith that none of her men would hurt her. In fact, bosex were more thoroughly integrated in the human world, protecting them and themselves by blending in. And technology has helped the vampires in the recent decades.
Sev flipped her hair through his fingers. The first time she looked to him and smiled, Eilon snapped for her focus again, so she sat forward like a good student and gave him her full attention, although Sev didn’t let up his playful touch.
Beyond the basics, the cultures of each group varied as widely as humans did, yet he knew few of their species were distinctly matriarchal across the board, like dragons. The idea of dragons hiding somewhere in the real world nudged at her every childhood fantasy. Many groups of fae also had female leaders, although not predominately.
Sev leaned up, the front of his body searing along her side, and he draped her hair behind her ear. “You can take control of me any time you want.”
This earned him a sharp swat from their host, and Kaia’s cheeks flared with heat.
Kaia raised her hand, earning a dubious look from Eilon, but he gestured for her to speak. “Can you tell me anything about a pixie named Scarlet?”
“Scarlet, what, my dear?”
Shoot, she didn’t know. “Just Scarlet. She reminds me of Audrey Hepburn—the bun, the pearls, the conservative dress, and the gloves. Her features were more exotic, darker, almond eyes. Can you change physical appearance in your human forms? Or do you get what you get?”
“You get what you get—same as human genetics. Some can change their appearance, but that is rare.”
“That’s probably why she wears the gloves. She can’t change the scars on her arm.”
Eilon straightened, reminding her of an old, Catholic-school nun by the way he looked down at her. “Marusya! You’re speaking of Marusya Negreev—one of Celampresian’s best weapons during her strike against the fae. She single-handedly infiltrated the faerie mound in the Soviet Union just before the Russian Revolution and the fall of Tsar Nicholas the second. Many believe that the fall of the mound influenced the fall of the tsar’s regime, but no one knows for certain. Many fae died without their home to hide within.”
Kaia’s heart broke at the sound of loss in his voice. “Was that your home?”
The barest of nods sent Eilon across the room. He pulled a spray bottle from under the side table and gently sprayed the ivy growing over his walls. Sev sat up again, arm braced around Kaia, soothing her in a way only he seemed able to do.
“You were able to live in a nearby oak, weren’t you?”
Eilon focused on his work for a long time before he peeked at them. “I was a child then.”
With a few more pats and strokes and sprays, the fae spun with a new flourish. “Enough about old times. Enough! I will tell you of The Scarlet Queen, we will have dessert, and then off to bed. Miss Red does not like me to stay up all night without her.”
Kaia giggled and covered her mouth, picturing this small man wrapped around a plush radish. The way Eilon smiled at her made it harder to stop. “Do you actually call her The Scarlet Queen? Like the evil red queen or the queen of hearts? Alice in Wonderland?”
“Yes, like her. She was a bloody queen. Her death toll will remain the highest for all fair folk unless we are eliminated. Extinct. It may come to that some day.
“She is ruthless and dispassionate and has been this way since before she allied with the vampire queen. Her name should have been a sign of what she’d been burdened with, and her family was blamed for much of her bitterness. Names can prove powerful. So powerful to taint the soul. When Marusya gained power in the Soviet mound, she flayed her own parents for her merciless upbringing and proved to the people that she would defeat all who came against her, earning her title as the Scarlet Queen.”
And Scarlet wanted the bear—wanted her and Sev as casualties of war, a means to prove her lack of mercy.
“Did you say flayed?” Sev features drew closed.
“Like butchered? With the big, long knife?” Fear pumped through her, and her fingers dug into Sev’s knee.
“She uses no knife. The power is in her hands. The Scarlet Queen is a powerful spell caster. Flaying is not her only ability. She can perform many gruesome acts with them. I have articles. I will get them for you and bring dessert.” Eilon stood abruptly and left the room.
Kaia gripped Sev harder. “If she has the power to flay us, how do we stand a chance?”
Life’s endless promises seemed severed, the end coming closer and closer with each breath.