A sweet story … except for the murder

My love stories don’t tend to be sweet. I’m more into noir weirdos with purple hair (cough, Imogene) than two semi-normal good people. Then, I wrote “Claimed” and was like, “Wow, that was actually adorable … except for that one murder scene.”

Olivia is a super old vampire in Charleston, South Carolina, when someone tries to kill her. To survive, she attacks a young human walking his dog and accidentally becomes linked to Ethan, body and soul. That’s when Ethan’s nightmares start, and Olivia realizes he needs to be with her. Like, forever. Which is a huge problem when Ethan becomes Human Most Wanted for some vengeful bloodsuckers.

“Claimed” is out today in Blood in the Rain 3 from Cwtch Press. The cover is beyond sexy. Here, gaze on its magnificence …

Nom nom nom!!! Now, read an excerpt from “Claimed,” because for once, I wrote a love story about two people who legitimately deserve happiness. (Not that Imogene doesn’t but, well … she is pretty twisted, okay?)


Death came quickly—or would have if not for the human by the palm tree on King Street. He walked a dog that barked at her in fear. Away from the bars of downtown Charleston, they were alone on the sidewalk, alone outside for blocks thanks to the late hour. The human’s voice reached her: gentle murmurings, cautious whispers, and then louder inquiries.

The dog growled and barked some more, and Olivia fell to one knee on the pavement. Her vision dimmed, so she closed her eyes and shook her head back and forth as if that would stop the dead blood from coursing through her veins.

She thought about being at the bar earlier, about seeing Alexander across the room with his own blood-filled glass lifted in salute. Olivia had paid the bartender and left after consuming half a bottle of Age 37, which had apparently been spiked with blood from a dead human.

In other words, someone had tried to murder her.

But then, there he was: the human on the sidewalk with the barking dog. She looked up at his tall silhouette, back lit white by a streetlight. She reached her hand up to him but crumpled into a small undead ball when pain stabbed across her gut. Her lungs contracted and would not expand. She choked on lack of air.

The human’s gentle voice reached her again, but she couldn’t make out the words. She clenched her jaw together to capture a strangled growl when she lost feeling in her legs. Then, his hands were on her shoulders—large, warm hands. The dog continued barking a few feet away, its leash now tied to the base of a palm tree.

Up close, she made sense of his words: “I’m calling an ambulance.”

Before he could call, though, she dragged herself up by the front of his coat. She climbed the front of his crouched body until she could wrap her arms around his neck, and he held her. He told her it was going to be okay.

Olivia’s canines descended, and she bit down hard on the side of his throat. He tried to push her away, but she clung, especially when his blood filled her mouth. It had been a hundred years since she’d tasted fresh human blood, right from the vein. She moaned against his skin as he attempted to scramble back, maybe free the barking dog, but she wasn’t dying anymore. She used her strength to pin the man to the pavement, and the dog barked and barked. The man’s heartbeat slowed.

When she realized what was about to occur, she pulled her teeth from his throat and stared down at him. How old could he be? Twenty? Twenty-one? The only wrinkles on his face were shallow laugh lines around his half-open eyes. He looked at her but didn’t appear to see her because now, he was the one dying.

“No, no, no.” She smacked his cheek. “Oh, my God.” She grabbed for his discarded cell phone, already primed to call 911. She dialed and screamed about a mugging, a stabbing, send help to King Street now.

The man didn’t move beneath her, lips parted for his final breaths.

“Please, come back.”

The dog growled and pulled at its chain.

Olivia rolled up the sleeve of her leather jacket and bit into her own pale flesh, warm with the overabundance of the poor man’s blood. She held her wrist over his lips and let blood tumble drop by desperate drop. Her wound healed almost immediately, so she leaned her head against his chest and listened for the heartbeat that strengthened and strengthened.

She sat up and ran her fingers across his cheeks. “That’s it, come on.”

His eyes opened, irises the color of midnight on the harbor. Brow furrowed, he studied her face as the dog, prevented from protecting its master, whined.

“I’m so sorry.” She fled to the beat of an incoming ambulance.


Read the rest of “Claimed” and eighteen other awesomely sensual vampire stories in Blood in the Rain 3. Click HERE and buy your copy today!! And while you’re shopping, you might as well check out the whole series …

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