At long last, and somewhat miraculously, Nocturne is here!!
It does feel a little miraculous, because life threw stumbling blocks in our way, but we got it done. For those of you who’re just finding The Hours of the Night, the series tells the story of Thaddeus Dupont, a 115-year-old vampire who fights demons for a secret order of the Catholic Church, and his lover Sarasija Mishra.
Thaddeus works for the Church in the hopes of reclaiming his immortal soul, and in return they provide him with an “assistant” to meet his unique nutritional needs. His assistants are always women, so as not to trigger the vampires more “unnatural” urges. The monks made a mistake when they hired Sara…a mistake that ends up being not so bad.
Keep going for the blurb, an excerpt, and a giveaway down at the bottom. At the end of the month, Irene and I will giving away a $25 gift card so some lucky person. Happy reading!!
It’s Mardi Gras, cher, but this year le bon temps kick off with murder…
For generations, the White Monks have treated the vampire Thaddeus Dupont as a weapon in their battle against demons. However, when a prominent matron drops dead at a party, Thaddeus and his lover Sarasija are asked to find her killer. Their investigation leads them to an old southern family with connections everywhere: Louisiana politics, big business, the Church, and an organization just as secret as the White Monks.
Meanwhile, an esoteric text containing spells for demon-summoning has disappeared, Thaddeus is losing control of le monstre, and Sara is troubled by disturbing dreams. These nightmares could be a side-effect of dating a vampire, or they could be a remnant of his brush with evil. As the nights wear on, Sara fears they are a manifestation of something darker – a secret that could destroy his relationship with Thaddeus.
Meet Thaddeus, Sara, and Nohea, the vampire’s business manager…
Nohea’s car had been built for speed, not comfort. The backseat, a claustrophobic nest of black leather, was more of an afterthought than anything else. Sara offered me the front seat, but I refused, and not because I feared sitting next to Nohea. Sara was more adept with the GPS system. He should be the navigator, while I sat in back reciting the Hail Mary.
Because Nohea gave her glossy black vehicle every opportunity to show off its speed.
Once we climbed up onto Route 10, I eased back. “You agreed to compare notes while we drove, and by now, we’ve been to three parties. What have we learned?”
Nohea scooted from lane to lane, dodging slower-moving vehicles. The iPad cast a blue glow over Sara’s features, and the air conditioner surrounded us with stale air.
“Well…” Sara tapped on the iPad’s screen. “In my opinion, Mardi Gras parties can be hazardous to your health.”
Nohea gave him a sidelong glance, while I bit my lip to keep from smiling.
“What? You know it’s true. The first party Aunt Berta died, and this last one Uncle Whose-its almost did, too.”
The traffic around us thickened, forcing Nohea to ease up on the accelerator. “It’s almost always the same people attending, too.”
“I noticed that, and as hard as we try to go Sherlock on them, we’re coming up with squat.” Sara’s phone chirped, and he wrestled it out of his pocket. With a noise of frustration, he thrust it back in.
“What?” Nohea asked.
“My friends are idiots.”
We drove in silence until we neared the bend that would take us over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. This narrow band of concrete ran some twenty miles over open water, carrying us out of the city. Under the cover of the night sky, I allowed my thoughts to wander.
I found it hard to believe all these events were linked. On the other hand… “Paul and Roberta are not related, are they?”
“Not directly, but maybe by marriage?” Nohea said.
Sara tapped on the iPad screen. “Gimme a minute. I saved the family tree from my email.” His phone chirped, interrupting him. “Crap,” he muttered. After a moment, he stuffed the phone away. “Whatever. It looks like Aunt Berta was married to Uncle Paulie’s older brother for a little while, so there is kind of a link.”
“And didn’t someone tell us that Aunt Berta was the head of the family business?” Nohea asked.
I racked my memory, but nothing came to me. “I didn’t know Brother Michael’s family had a business.”
“It’s not”—Sara’s phone chirped again—“dammit.”
“What is it?” Nohea glanced at him, brows drawn as if she were puzzled by his behavior.
The phone chirped again. And again. “Fuck.”
“Sara?” His behavior worried me. “Who is texting you?”
“Josephine and her brother.”
“Josef?” Nohea asked.
He grimaced and nodded.
“What do they want?” I found I didn’t really want to know the answer to my question. While I could not begrudge Sara the opportunity to make friends his own age, I would not have chosen the twins to be his companions.
“They started by asking me to go clubbing, but now Jo’s freaking out on me.” He stared through the window at the glossy black water. “They told me to turn around and come back to the city.”
“They are irresponsible.” I spoke forcefully, then recoiled, hoping I had not quieted him completely.
He shifted in his seat and met my gaze, brows drawn with worry. “Especially since I didn’t tell them we were going anywhere.”
His obvious concern infected me, and the vast empty lake around us left me feeling vulnerable, exposed. The city of New Orleans was a warm smudge behind us, and up ahead was a fainter glow.
“God only knows what those two are up to.” Nohea’s common-sense tone settled both of us.
“You’re right,” Sara murmured.
Our speed increased, and I eagerly anticipated our arrival back on solid ground.
When we reached the far shore, Sara used Nohea’s cell phone to find our destination. We left the freeway, taking smaller and smaller country roads. Our destination was on Monroe Lane, close enough to the lake that slivers of the dark water could be seen from the road.
“Twenty-three thirty-seven…thirty-eight…it should be right up there.” Sara pointed past a clump of hemlock liberally draped with Spanish moss.
“This is it?” Nohea slowed to a stop in front of a small shotgun cabin. The house was raised on stilts several feet off the ground. “Doesn’t seem right.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Well, it’s not like we were friends or anything, but the woman we met at the Gretna store didn’t look nearly country enough to live out here.”
Sara rolled his window down, letting in a wave of moist air. “A little too much corporate shark for out here.”
“She doesn’t appear to be home.” The house was dark, and there was no car in the drive.
Nohea slapped the steering wheel. “Where’d you get this address again?”
“From Z,” Sara snapped. “I told you.” He opened his car door.
He ignored me, climbing out of the car. I had no choice but to follow. “Let me see if I sense anyone.”
“It’s fine, Thaddeus.” Sara strode up the front walkway. “She’ll either be here or she won’t.”
Short of wrestling him to the ground, I could not stop him. Sara mounted the front step and rapped on the door.
An explosion knocked us both to the ground, and the house went up in flames.
To celebrate Nocturne’s release, we’ve had all three Hours of the Night books on sale! The price is going up soon, so get ’em now…
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