Please give a warm welcome to Susannah, who is guest posting today on BLH. Thank you Susannah, Mirren, Aidan and Will for stopping by today.
Halloween, According to Vampires
Author Susannah Sandlin here. I had the chance to sit down just before dawn with Penton’s vampire leader Aidan Murphy and his two senior lieutenants, Mirren Kincaid and Will Ludlam, to talk about a variety of topics. The subject invariably turned to human holidays, particularly Halloween. What follows is part of our conversation—the part before it completely went out of control!
A quick intro to the guys: AIDAN was an Irish farmer in his human life, which ended when he was turned vampire in 1601, in his late twenties, during the Battle of Kinsale. He’s serious and steady. MIRREN was a Scottish-born Gallowglass mercenary until turned vampire in 1605 Ireland in his early thirties. He’s big, grouchy, and likes to behead wayward vampires with his sword, Faolain. WILL was a 22-year-old college student when he was turned vampire (by his father, no less) in 1969. He’s a total smartass.
Okay, guys! Let’s talk about Halloween.
Mirren: What the (bleep) is Halloween? Oh, never mind. Kids in costumes. Pfffft.
Aidan: Our fams (human familiars—willing blood donors) like to dress up like vampires, which I think is kind of disrespectful. I mean, holy hell, what’s with the bat capes and rubber fangs? They think this is funny?
Mirren: You need to get them under control.
Will: You guys are such killjoys. When I was a kid I’d dress like Casper the Friendly Ghost. We’d put white sheets over our heads and my mom would cut eye-holes for us to see out.
Mirren: You probably looked better.
Will, don’t hit Mirren with your laptop—he’ll break it over your head and who’ll have to buy you a new one? Me, that’s who. So, Will, did you go trick-or-treating?
Will: I did. My mom would take me and my sister Cathy around to the brownstones in our neighborhood. Old Lady Reimer down the street made cake. (Sighs.) I miss cake.
Mirren: I had cake last night.
Aidan: You did not have cake. You fed from Glory and SHE had cake. Not the same.
Will: Hey, I want to try that. Think Glory would mind if—OUCH.
Mirren, please put the sword down—Will’s bleeding. Did you and Aidan have harvest celebrations when you were young, before you were turned vampire?
Aidan: Yes, we had Oiche Shamhna, Samhain, in Ireland to celebrate the harvest and honor the dead. The nearest village would have a big feast, and games for the little kids. My da would let us off the farm chores that day.
Mirren: We called it Oldhche Samhna in Scotland, but same thing.
Will: Mirren, somehow I can’t imagine you as a little kid. Or a little anything.
Okay, okay. Wasn’t Samhain also to honor the dead?
Aidan: It was for us. Plus we’d decide which livestock we wanted to feed through the winter and which ones needed to be slaughtered.
Mirren: We weren’t farmers; we were fighters. But the little kids would dress up in white with our faces covered in black to scare off evil spirits. The grownups would let us spar with the training swords.
Will: Damn. All we had were Casper and witches and cowboys.
Um, Will. I hate to bring this up, but your father Matthias is leading the efforts by the Vampire Tribunal to wipe you guys off the map. I can’t see him handing out candy corn on Halloween.
Will: (face hardens) We won’t talk about him. Not ever.
*Room falls into silence*
Aidan (clearing throat): We’re outta here. Susannah, when you manage to unwedge your foot from your mouth, give us a call.
Well. That was fun.
ABSOLUTION The Penton Legacy, Book 2
By Susannah Sandlin
Release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Montlake Romance
With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.
A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.
To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?
It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.
What was Matthias thinking, throwing a human woman in the cell with a vampire who’d been locked up and starved for over a month?
Mirren waited on the bench, his back against the wall, his head down. Waited until Matthias climbed the steps, slammed the door, clicked the dead bolt home. Waited until he could get control of the hunger that had begun raging the second the woman stumbled down the stairway. She was unvaccinated, and he wanted nothing more than to take her, blood and body, until there was nothing left.
If he did that, he’d be no better than the version of Mirren Kincaid he’d tried so hard to leave behind. He’d be the Slayer again. His hands could too easily remember the mindless sweep of the sword, the heavy fall of the battle-ax, the controlled back-thrust of a heavy firearm. If the cold darkness ever fell over him again, he feared he’d embrace it.
“Mister, you awake?”
Shit. She would have to be a talker. Mirren hated a talky woman. They always expected you to talk back.
He raised his head slowly and caught his breath. She was young, maybe mid- twenties, and pretty in a rode-hard kind of way.
“Your eyes are silver—I’ve seen enough vampires since I was kidnapped to know when your eyes get lighter, it means you’re hungry. But I’ve never seen any like yours. How long has it been since you ate? Umm…Make that how long since you drank?”
If the stupid woman kept walking toward him, he wouldn’t be held responsible. “Stay where you are.” He narrowed his eyes at her, thinking. How could she help him without sending his need so far over the edge he lost control of it?
She eeked when he shifted on the bench and turned his back toward her. “Untie me.”
She stumbled a little when she reached the bench and sat hard. The woman was stoned out of her gourd. He could smell the drugs on her.
“Your wrists are all torn up. That has to hurt.” She sat on the bench behind him, and Mirren breathed in her scent with his eyes closed. Damn, but he wanted to feed so badly his muscles ached.
She muttered as she worked, her drug-addled fingers slipping off the rope. “You’re so big that I’m surprised this rope could hold you. I should be able to…Let’s see here, it’s too dark. Man, this is funky rope.”
“Stop yapping, start untying.” She had that broad, soft Southern accent he found sexy, but she used it way too much.
“Yeah, yeah, okay.” She tugged harder on the ropes, burning his sensitive wrists with each pull. “Sorry, sorry. Why is it burning your skin like that?”
Mirren growled and spoke through gritted teeth. “It’s laced with silver, and I’m a freaking vampire. Just untie me.” Damn, he had to get himself under control, or he’d scare the woman to death and she wouldn’t finish freeing his arms or feed him either one.
“Well, you’ve got the funny eyes, but I don’t see any fangs.”
God help him, he’d show her some fangs. “I said I was a vampire. Now finish untying me.”
Mirren twisted his wrists and felt the rope give way—the woman had gotten it loose enough that he didn’t need her help.
“But wait, how do I know you—”
She gasped as Mirren pulled his wrists apart, popped the rope onto the cell floor, and shifted around to face her.
“Can you…?” She paused and swallowed hard, edging away from him on the bench.
Mirren’s gaze dropped to her mouth. “Can you feed without killing me?”
Mirren nodded slowly. Maybe. Maybe not.
REDEMPTION Book One Penton Legacy series
By Susannah Sandlin
Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.
Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.
But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland. Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars
To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.
Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.
Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night.
A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?)
The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Indie Bound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781612183541
Tour wide Giveaway
1 Kindle Paper White (or $100 U.S. gift card to Amazon, B&N, or Book Depository winner's choice), 5 signed print or audio copies of Absolution winner's choice of print or audio
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