Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday's Film Adaptions: The Birds by Daphne du Maurier

The idea for this famous story came to du Maurier one day when she was walking across to Menabilly Barton farm from the house. She saw a farmer busily ploughing a field whilst above him the seagulls were diving and wheeling. She developed an idea about the birds becoming hostile and attacking him. In her story, the birds become hostile after a harsh winter with little food -- first the seagulls, then birds of prey, and finally even small birds -- all turn against mankind. The nightmarish vision appealed to Hitchcock who turned it into the celebrated film.

While in a San Francisco pet shop, wealthy Melanie Daniels becomes attracted to Mitch Brenner, a young lawyer who is trying unsuccessfully to find a pair of lovebirds for his little sister Cathy. Acting on a sudden impulse, Melanie buys two of the birds and decides to deliver them to Mitch's home on an island in Bodega Bay. After secretly leaving the birds in the Brenner house, she is returning to the mainland by motor boat when a seagull swoops down on her, gashes her forehead, and then flies away. Mitch meets her at the mainland pier and brings her back to his home. The next day a group of birds attack Cathy and her friends during a birthday party. That evening hundreds of finches fly down a chimney and terrorize Melanie and the Brenners. Panic in the small town mounts as birds murder a chicken farmer by pecking him to death, create a flash fire at a gas station, and swarm over the local children as they leave school. Following the death of schoolteacher Annie Hayworth, most of the townspeople leave their homes and head for San Francisco. Mitch boards up all entrances to his home and awaits the onslaught. The birds dive against the house, tearing at shingles and gnawing at doors, but they are unable to get inside. When Melanie goes to the attic, however, she is attacked by a roomful of crows who have made a hole in the roof. Mitch manages to rescue her but realizes the house is no longer safe. With the coming of morning, the birds are momentarily quiet. Taking advantage of the silence, he puts Melanie and his family into his car and leaves for San Francisco as thousands of birds watch their departure.

Release dates: March 28, 1963
Running time: 119 minutes
Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels
Rod Taylor as Mitch Brenner
Jessica Tandy as Lydia Brenner
Suzanne Pleshette as Annie Hayworth
Veronica Cartwright as Cathy Brenner
Ethel Griffies as Mrs. Bundy
Charles McGraw as Sebastian Sholes
Ruth McDevitt as Mrs. MacGruder
Malcolm Atterbury as Deputy Al Malone
Elizabeth Wilson as Helen Carter
Lonny Chapman as Deke Carter
Alfred Hitchcock makes his signature cameo as a man walking dogs out of the pet shop at the beginning of the film. They were two of his own Sealyham terriers, Geoffrey and Stanley.


I haven't had the opportunity to read the novella yet but Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds has always been one of my favorites.  I think it's the idea that the winged creatures we see flying around everyday can become such a murderous menace and with no warning.  Then you throw in Hitchcock's own brand of humor into the mix and you have a suspense classic.


Author Bio:
If Daphne du Maurier had written only Rebecca, she would still be one of the great shapers of popular culture and the modern imagination. Few writers have created more magical and mysterious places than Jamaica Inn and Manderley, buildings invested with a rich character that gives them a memorable life of their own.

In many ways the life of Daphne du Maurier resembles that of a fairy tale. Born into a family with a rich artistic and historical background, the daughter of a famous actor-manager, she was indulged as a child and grew up enjoying enormous freedom from financial and parental restraint. She spent her youth sailing boats, travelling on the Continent with friends, and writing stories. A prestigious publishing house accepted her first novel when she was in her early twenties, and its publication brought her not only fame but the attentions of a handsome soldier, Major (later Lieutenant-General Sir) Frederick Browning, who married her.

Her subsequent novels became bestsellers, earning her enormous wealth and fame. While Alfred Hitchcock's film based upon her novel proceeded to make her one of the best-known authors in the world, she enjoyed the life of a fairy princess in a mansion in Cornwall called Menabilly, which served as the model for Manderley in Rebecca.

Daphne du Maurier was obsessed with the past. She intensively researched the lives of Francis and Anthony Bacon, the history of Cornwall, the Regency period, and nineteenth-century France and England, Above all, however, she was obsessed with her own family history, which she chronicled in Gerald: a Portrait, a biography of her father; The du Mauriers, a study of her family which focused on her grandfather, George du Maurier, the novelist and illustrator for Punch; The Glassblowers, a novel based upon the lives of her du Maurier ancestors; and Growing Pains, an autobiography that ignores nearly 50 years of her life in favour of the joyful and more romantic period of her youth. Daphne du Maurier can best be understood in terms of her remarkable and paradoxical family, the ghosts which haunted her life and fiction.

While contemporary writers were dealing critically with such subjects as the war, alienation, religion, poverty, Marxism, psychology and art, and experimenting with new techniques such as the stream of consciousness, du Maurier produced 'old-fashioned' novels with straightforward narratives that appealed to a popular audience's love or fantasy, adventure, sexuality and mystery. At an early age, she recognised that her readership was comprised principally of women, and she cultivated their loyal following through several decades by embodying their desires and dreams in her novels and short stories.

In some of her novels, however, she went beyond the technique of the formulaic romance to achieve a powerful psychological realism reflecting her intense feelings about her father, and to a lesser degree, her mother. This vision, which underlies Julius, Rebecca and The Parasites, is that of an author overwhelmed by the memory of her father's commanding presence. In Julius and The Parasites, for example, she introduces the image or a domineering but deadly father and the daring subject of incest.

In Rebecca, on the other hand, du Maurier fuses psychological realism with a sophisticated version of the Cinderella story. The nameless heroine has been saved from a life of drudgery by marrying a handsome, wealthy aristocrat, but unlike the Prince in Cinderella, Maxim de Winter is old enough to be the narrator's father. The narrator thus must do battle with The Other Woman - the dead Rebecca and her witch-like surrogate, Mrs Danvers - to win the love of her husband and father-figure.

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Women of Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem Author Spotlight: Julie Frayn

Author Bio:
Julie Frayn pens award-winning novels and short stories that pack a punch. And a few stabs. She has published three novels and two short, short story collections. Her work has won two gold medals in the 2013 Authorsdb cover contest, and the Books and Pals 2014 Readers’ Choice award for women’s fiction.

A bean counter by day, Julie revels in the written word. When she is not working or writing, she spends as much time as possible with her two children (grown adults, really), while they still think she’s cool.

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Author's Guest Post:
5 women of mystery, murder, and Top mayhem

There are hundreds of amazing characters, authors, actors, all of them marvelous women of mystery, murder, and (or) mayhem. They author books, or are characters in them, are on television, in the movie theatre. Here is my favourite five of these women, listed in countdown mode (to build suspense of course).

5. Sgt. Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson – Yes, Police Woman. Angie Dickinson’s ground-breaking role hit television screens when I was just eleven years old, but I've never shaken her from my adolescent memories. Yeah, she was pretty. Sure, she was a blonde bombshell. But man, could that woman kick some serious criminal butt! I later learned that as a result of Police Woman, applications by women to real police departments around the US surged. This show, this character, this actress, all paved the way for other hour-long dramatic series with female leads including some other favourites of mine, Charlie’s Angels and Cagney and Lacey. Which leads me to….

4. Christine Cagney – Brought to life by the inimitable Sharon Gless, Christine Cagney, partner to Mary Beth Lacey, was one driven, ambitious, and seriously flawed woman. She grew up wealthy thanks to her mother, but followed in her father’s footsteps and became a cop. She loved her single life and only waxed poetic about love and a family of her own when she had a pregnancy scare. Over the series, her alcoholism was revealed. But no matter what her personal life threw at her, including the death of her father, who she discovered was on the take, Cagney’s ambitions and drive to become the first female police commissioner were front and centre. She was a role model for women in the eighties who were struggling with the choice of career over starting a family.

3. Sara Sidle – This crime scene investigator on the original CSI is one of my favourite characters. She holds a certain sadness in her eyes, in her gait, even in her smile. She never seems fully happy or at ease. I often wondered if the name her character was given was a near-homophone of ‘suicidal.’ But despite that, she perseveres, even leaving for a while and then coming back. This is her calling and she is damn good at it. And she knows it.

2. The women of Criminal Minds – most all of them. Specifically Emily Prentiss for her brilliance and her empathy and her secrets and her past. She’s seen it, done it, lived it, died from it – almost. She is one tough broad. And Jennifer “JJ” Jareau. She snuck in on pretty blonde tiptoes in the early seasons and became a force of nature. Don’t mess with JJ, especially if her son and husband and FBI family are at risk. And don’t get in the line of her gun sight. The woman is a crack shot. But most of all, Penelope Garcia. Because she is odd and brilliant and without her most of the mysteries would remain a mystery. She dives into the ugly day and in and day out and fills her life, her office, her hair, with colour and kitsch and silliness to ward off the evil and to desperately hold onto some sense of good.

1. Agatha Christie – Dame Agatha will remain in my heart as the ruling queen of mystery and murder. She penned an astounding number of books - almost 90 novels, plays, and short story collections. And I read every single one of them before I turned eighteen. I first discovered her in 1977, and within four years had devoured all her murderous plots. A fun weekend for this book nerd was sitting in my room alone with the door closed, and polishing off three Christie paperbacks in a row.

Her characters are those of legend – Hercule Poirot, the petite master of mystery with his mustaches and his pince-nez and his sirop de cassis. Miss Jane Marple, single old lady of questionable means of support. And my sleeper favourites, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford who were the focus of the first Christie work I read, Postern of Fate, and of the book with the best title ever, By the Pricking of My Thumbs.

Many don’t know that Agatha also wrote six romance novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. I tried to like them, honestly I did. But I couldn't make it through even a few chapters of Giant’s Bread. Why not? Maybe because no one died a gruesome death and my teenage lust for blood wasn't satisfied.

I credit Ms. Christie with my adult lust for blood…. Thank you, Agatha. I adore you.

Mazie Baby
When Mazie Reynolds was a young girl, she believed monsters lived under her bed. Now a grown, married woman, she discovers one sleeps in her bed.

Mazie schemes to save herself and her daughter. Her plan will work, if she can out-maneuver the monster who is a master of manipulation and control. She’s got one thing going for her, the one thing she truly owns. Mazie has moxie to the bone. But will it be enough?

(warning - language, violence, sex)

It Isn't Cheating If He's Dead
It Isn't Cheating if He’s Dead is the BigAl's Books and Pals 2014 Reader's Choice Award winner for women's fiction.

Jemima Stone waited four long years for her missing fiancΓ© to come home, burying herself in her job and feeding the homeless. When Gerald is found dead halfway across the country, she is devastated. Detective Finn Wight promises to uncover the truth behind Gerald’s mysterious death.

Delivering sandwiches to her homeless friends, she discovers a newcomer. Though he refuses to speak, his haunted eyes tell Jemima that he is in trouble — hiding from someone or something. Jemima turns to Detective Wight in hopes of helping the man. But uncovering his true identity leads to the discovery of secrets none of them could have imagined.

Mazie Baby
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It Isn't Cheating If He's Dead
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Virgin for the Night by CJ Fallowfield

Title: Virgin for the Night
Author: C. J Fallowfield
Series: For the Night #2
Release Date: Nov 14th 

***For the Night Series ~ Contains Adult Themes ~ Suitable for 18+ Only***

The steaming novella ‘Virgin for the Night’ is part of the ‘For the Night’ series of eight standalone short reads, which fall into Amazon’s new quick hot erotic reads category. The series contains adult themes~ Suitable only for the over 18’s.

My name is Logan Steele. I’m devilishly handsome, seriously ripped, well hung, charismatic and highly sexed. Women just can’t resist me. So when I lost my job in the construction industry and was struggling for cash, I decided to put my assets to good use.

By day I’m a private personal fitness trainer. By night I’m a high class gigolo.

Tell me your fantasy, I’ll fullfil it ~ So, who do you want me to be?”

Virgin for the Night
My next client is aspiring actress Summer Beresford, whose brief for the evening is that she wants to be treated as if she’s a virgin, to be seduced and wooed. I’d already felt conflicted when I’d received her booking form detailing her scenario, as a rule I didn’t do tender gentle love making, women booked me because of my reputation for fucking, hard. To compound my dilemma, I couldn’t stop looking at her damn photograph and had even used an image of her in my mind to get hard and come with another client. Not only was that highly unprofessional of me, it was potentially hazardous to my reputation in case I groaned the wrong woman’s name. I was already treading that very fine line between professional and personal. Before I’d even met the damn woman she had me breaking one of my cardinal rules, Never fall for one of your clients. The more I looked at her photo though, the more I wanted her.

Summer Beresford, I’m about to woo your arse off and have my own virginal experience, making love for the first time.

The novella’s are told in alternating points of view of Logan Steele, and his client, or clients. You can pick up any of them for a complete short burst of heat, however in order to fully enjoy Logan’s development they should be read in the sequence that they are released. Starting from October 2014, I will release one per month.

Strangers for the Night
Virgin for the Night
Filthy for the Night  (12/12/14)
MΓ©nage for the Night
Sophisticated for the Night
Biker for the Night
Dominant for the Night
Actor for the Night .

Author Bio:
 I write contemporary erotic romance, with humour, which are full of emotion and plenty of drama. I am a 44 year old female from the United Kingdom and live in the wonderful countryside of Wales, surrounded by rolling hills, trees and fields full of sheep and cows. Writing aids include chocolate, Ben & Jerry’s and copious amounts of coffee, wine or cider.

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Virgin for the Night

Strangers for the Night

The Austin Series Box Set

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Captured Love by Juliana Haygert

Title: Captured Love
Author: Juliana Haygert 
Publication date: November 10th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

It’s been four years since twenty-year-old Jessica Hayes has been home, but when she discovers her father is dying, she must return to her hometown in South Carolina and face her past. Jessica thought patching up her relationship with her father would be her biggest challenge, but when she runs into Ryan Dawson—the catalyst of all her problems—she wonders if coming home was a mistake.

Ryan knows he screwed up. Hell, he paid the price…with interest. But when he runs into his best friend’s little sister, Jessica, he’s reminded that his debt will never truly be paid. He may h
ave turned his life around, but he can’t undo the damage. So, he does what he should have done all those years ago. He stays away from Jessica, and all the other personal demons that still haunt him.

Jessica thought she wanted nothing to with Ryan, but something is different about him and she needs to know why. When she discovers the truth behind his change, she puts her troubles aside and tries to help him. But is putting her heart back in the line of fire worth disrupting her stable life back in Ohio, or will the past repeat itself, leaving her brokenhearted once again?

     As Luke and Jason chatted about the next race, I leaned against the rail, looking at the stars. After that night under the stars with Jessica, the night she told me I could be anything I wanted to be, I never looked at the night sky the same way. It was like the stars and I shared a secret, as if the night sky knew something about me that no one else did.
     Jason leaned on the rail beside me. “What’s up?”
     “Nothing.” I glanced over my shoulder. “Where’s Luke?”
     “He went to the car to grab a bottle of whiskey.”
     “Oh.” Maybe it was time for me to leave. Seeing the guys drinking whiskey while I had to hold back was probably a bad idea.
     I looked around, trying to remember where I had parked my car.
     “She didn’t come,” Jason said. He must have misinterpreted me and thought I was looking for his sister. “Rachel and Sophie stopped by the house and tried to convince her to come, but since you told her about your past, she’s been quiet. Well, quieter.”
     I frowned. “Why?” He shrugged. “I didn’t tell her so she would feel bad about it. I told her because I realized she would find out one way or other. Better if it came from me.”
     Jason nodded. “I know.” He tilted his head at me. “Are you okay?”
     I chuckled—a sarcastic sound. “Never been better.”
     With a hint of pity in his eyes, he placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “You know I’m here for you, man. Whatever the problem is.”
     “I know, J-man.” I sighed. However, there was nothing to be done. My problem was with the past, and unfortunately, I couldn’t change it. Neither could I let it go.
     Luke showed up with the whiskey bottle. “Dude, it took me a few minutes to find it. I thought I had forgotten it.”
     I glanced at the bottle, then at Jason. Comprehension spread across his face.
     “Luke, maybe we shouldn’t drink that tonight,” Jason said.
     Luke’s face fell, but a second later, he nodded. “Right. Of course.”
     “Nah, it’s okay.” I pushed against the rail. “I have to wake up early tomorrow, so I’m gonna go. But you guys should drink that whiskey and have a good time.”
     “Ryan, you don’t need to go,” Jason started.
     I shook my head. “No, I do.” I wasn’t kidding about waking up early. After all, I had to be at the Habitat for Humanity site at eight sharp. As much as I wanted to stay and drink—Coke—with them, I knew my mood wasn’t great for company. “See you guys soon.”
     Jason and Luke smacked my shoulder as I walked past them. The party went on as I walked by. I smiled, but inwardly, I envied them. I still had a wild night here and there, but if I could help it, they happened rarely. Meanwhile, these people could drink and stay out all night long. They could have fun; they could enjoy themselves, guiltlessly.
     With a long exhale, I slipped into my Mustang and pulled away before I gave in to temptation and joined them.

     The girls stayed until four in the morning, and they only left because, according to our neighbors, we were making too much noise, which was true. We made chocolate popcorn, watched a tearjerker movie, and then sat on the back porch and talked—and laughed and yelled—for a long, long time.
     “Thank goodness, Ryan told you about what happened,” Sophie said.
     “Poor guy,” Rachel said. “He hasn’t been the same since you left.”
     Slimy, thick guilt took over my heart. It hadn’t left me by Sunday evening or Monday morning, and it was because of that guilt that I called Mama in the afternoon and asked her to bake a special Devil’s Food cake. After work, I stopped by the house to retrieve it, and then drove back downtown.
     I parked the truck behind the Mustang. As I expected, the garage was open and Ryan was leaning over the Harley in the same fashion he was a week ago. Damp hair, bare back, jeans, and boots.
     I swallowed. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to come over after all. Before I could chicken out, Ryan turned around and saw me. His eyes widened at first, then narrowed into thin slits. He stood from his crouch as I opened the truck’s door and walked inside the garage.
     “Hi,” I said, feeling incredibly lame.
     “Hey.” He grabbed a towel from one of his toolboxes and wiped his hands.
     “I-I brought you this.” I extended the cake toward him.
     His eyebrows shot up. “Devil’s Food cake.”
     “Yes. It used to be your favorite.”
     “It still is.”
     “Good.” Seeing as he wouldn’t take it from me, I stepped to the side, and left the cake on one of the worktables.
     Ryan stared at me, his hazel eyes completely lost, and I returned the stare. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I wouldn’t back down. I would be here for him, even if he didn’t want me to.
     I sat down on a stool next to his bike. “So, why haven’t you finished this one yet?”
     He picked up the black shirt over one of the toolboxes, hiding his incredible physique, then crouched between the bike and me. “I did spend quite some time away.”
     Damn, couldn’t I have touched a lighter subject? “Sorry,” I whispered.
     Ignoring my apology, he continued, “Besides, I like working on it. If I finish too fast, I’ll have to find another one to play with.” My gaze shifted to the other bike, to his racing bike, destroyed against the wall. “I didn’t fix that one after the accident. It’s a good reminder of how stupid I can be.”
     “Sorry,” I said again.
     He shot me a hard stare. “Stop apologizing, Jessica.”

     She stared at me with misty eyes. “I’m sorry … for what happened and for not being here for you.”
     I took her hand in mine. “Jess, stop apologizing. It wasn’t your fault, and you didn’t know. Even if you knew, I wouldn’t have wanted you to see me that way.”
     She squeezed my hand. “I’m glad you’re okay now.”
     I wouldn’t say I was okay, but I was getting there. “Me too.”
     The corner of her lips tugged up in a sad smile, and an urge to wrap my arms around her, pull her to me, and kiss her until she couldn’t breathe hit me. She was close, too close. Her gorgeous legs two inches from mine. All I had to do was tug her hand and catch her when she bumped into me. Fuck, I wanted it. I wanted her. Bad.
     The desire took hold of me. I raised my free hand and brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear, letting my fingertips linger on her cheek. She took a sharp inhale and her eyes flickered to my mouth.
     Fuck, that was all the incentive I needed. I leaned in.
     And her cell phone rang.
     Startled, Jessica stepped back and looked at her phone. Her brows furrowed, and she pressed the end button. Maybe it was her boyfriend, and she didn’t want to answer it in front of me.
     Shit, she had a boyfriend. Why did I keep forgetting that?
     Jessica picked up the cups from the counter. “I should take this to the girls.” Without another look at me, she rushed out to the backyard.
     Fuck, what had I been thinking? I almost kissed her. I wanted to kiss her. She had a boyfriend. If he hadn’t called, I would have probably kissed her. What was wrong with me? Even if she was spending some time with me, she was unavailable and I would respect that. I would try to respect that.
     Obviously, my feelings for her were still too strong, but I couldn’t go down that road again. It hurt too much. And, one way or another, I would end up hurting her. Because that was all I did. I messed up and hurt everyone who cared about me.
     Grunting, I turned to the fridge, and instead of getting another Coke, I found a beer.

     I drove to Lexington Square, the main park downtown, and the place where Ryan and I kissed for the first time. And many more times. This was the place where the magic had started, and where it ended. This is the place I last saw him before leaving town. This was the place everyone last saw me before I left.
     I cut the engine of the truck in a parking space around the park.
     The sun was setting. Its orange and reddish rays licked the graying sky, only a few clouds spoiling the beauty. It was a gorgeous view, which made me wonder, where was everyone? Oh yeah, at the bike show, silly me. Bike shows were always the main attraction whenever there was one.
     I walked to the northern most point of the park, where a small circular plaza overlooked a fountain. I hid under the shadow of a tree around the circle and sat on the pavement, pulling my legs close.
     I inhaled deeply, letting the air carry the memories to me. I needed to feel them, to see them, to swallow past them. But they hurt more than I remembered. They scorched their way into me, into my heart, and I gasped, fighting the tears.
     I had been too young, too blind, too innocent. If I could, I would have skipped my teenage years. All of them. Nothing good happened until I went to live with my grandma. There, at my new high school, nobody knew me, nobody knew my past, and I was able to start over, to be someone else, someone stronger, wiser.
     I wish I had been stronger and wiser before. Maybe then, things would have been different.
     Did it really matter? I had already admitted to myself that I wouldn’t have done anything different, so why lie to myself? Yes, there were days I wanted to change the past, there were days I wanted to forget, but deep down I knew it didn’t matter. If I could go back in time, I would have done everything the same, down to my last mistake.
     I just wished Ryan had done things differently. I wished my papa had done things differently too. Which was selfish. Ryan and Papa were guilty, but so was I.
     Drowning in my thoughts, I startled when a car cut its lights in the parking spot behind the plaza. I didn’t notice it was dark already, and I didn’t even see it arriving.
     Not in the mood to be found, by strangers or not, I squirmed closer to the tree, hoping the shadows would hide me.
     The person skulked to the plaza, kicking some loose stones, hands buried inside jean pockets. I noticed, by the larger frame, it was a man, wearing a black baseball cap that covered his head. When he stepped into the plaza and looked at the fountain, I recognized that strong chin and that chiseled jaw.
     My heart skipped a beat before hammering against my ribs.
     Trying to be sneaky, I crawled backward, reaching for the tree trunk. I wanted to retreat, hide behind the tree, and tiptoe back to my car before he could even suspect he wasn’t alone in the plaza.
Instead, my foot rolled over a loose stone and I slipped, hitting my head and back hard on the cement ground. I let out a raw yelp and pressed my eyes shut as if the action would send the pain away.
     “Jessica?” Ryan asked.

Author Bio:
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting--but equally gratifying--life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
Co-founder and contributor at NA Alley.

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Cover Reveal: Fight For Me by KA Last

Title: Fight For Me
Series: The Tate Chronicles #2
Author: K. A. Last
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Expected Date of Publication: January 17th 2015
Word Count: 73,000
Cover Artist: KILA Designs

“How can I fight for you when I don’t know what I’m fighting for?”

When Grace Tate became one of the fallen to protect a vampire, it got her into more trouble than she’d bargained for. She’s angry at Charlotte for hiding the truth, and with Josh living in the city and Seth missing, life is harder than ever.

It’s about to get a lot harder…

Grace doesn’t want to leave Hopetown Valley, but when Josh ignores her calls she decides to go and search for him. She doesn’t expect to run into Seth as well.

When she reaches the city, Grace learns that Charlotte is the most hunted vampire in Wide Island. The city vamps want her blood, and the angels are after her soul. Grace gets caught in the crossfire of a battle she never wanted, but to win one war, she has to fight another.

Torn between the one she gave up everything for, and the one who sacrificed everything for her, Grace has to face Charlotte, and the past, if she wants to fight for her future. But how can she fight for someone who doesn’t want to fight for her?

Every choice Grace makes becomes a battle, and in every battle someone has to die.

Ryan moved into the bedroom, keeping an eye on all of us. He had a stake ready in his hand.

I raised my eyebrows.

“What?” He shrugged. “Figured I might be able to help.”

The girl vamp turned towards Ryan and licked her lips. 

I shook my head. “You’d be dust before you took one step.”

She didn’t listen.

I misted and landed in front of Ryan, taking a stake from my belt and driving it into the vamp’s chest as she approached. Dust fell to the carpet in a heap.

Ryan looked over my shoulder from behind me. “That won’t be easy to get out.”

“I did warn her.” I sighed.

The guy vamp stuttered and put his hands up, which only made Archer tighten his hold again.

“You want to end up like her?” he asked. The vamp shook his head. “Then talk. Why are you here? And what happened downstairs?”

I went to the window and grasped the curtain. “We can do this the easy way if you like. But I have more fun with the hard way.” I moved the curtains slightly and muted sunlight filtered through the crack in the middle.

“No, please. I’ll tell you,” the vamp said.

Archer pulled him away from the wall and threw him onto the bed. “Talk.”

“We’re just lookouts. Waiting to see if they come back.”

“Who?” I asked, twirling my stake between my fingers.

“You probably don’t know them,” the vamp said.

“You’d be surprised what I know.” I glared at him. “Do I need to convince you some more?” I ran the point of the stake down his cheek.

“Charlotte. Her name is Charlotte. She has another guy with her I’ve never met before.”

“And why are you watching them?” Archer clenched his fists at his sides.

Good work at being intimidating, I teased him.

You’re the one who ran a stake down his face.

“I don’t know about the guy, but Lucas wants Charlotte,” the vamp said. “Something about her blood.”

“Lucas?” Archer glanced at me over his shoulder.

“Charlotte’s creator,” I said.

Charlotte had told me Lucas was her creator, and he’d seduced her before he turned her. It was all lies. She’d asked him to turn her, but I didn’t understand why. 

“Great, here we go again.” Ryan ran a hand over his face and sighed. 

Charlotte had been an angel, and why she wanted to become a vampire was beyond my comprehension. I understood the fallen and the many reasons why an angel would choose to fall. But to become a monster … I couldn’t trust that what she’d shown me in the clearing after Seth had been taken was the truth. When it came to Charlotte, I had no idea what the truth was, or if her name and the word should be put into a sentence together.

“Didn’t Lucas send that trio of vamps after Charlotte? Wasn’t that why she came to you in the first place?” Ryan asked.

“I don’t know her true intentions,” I said. “There are a lot of things she held back.”

“That’s because you never gave her a chance to explain.”

“Explain what?” Archer asked. “That she’d lied to us? Whose side are you on, Ryan?”

“I’m guessing you want to be on her side,” the vamp said, pointing to me.

“All I’m saying … we need to focus on the real enemy.” Ryan ignored the vamp, frowning. “Yes, you’re both angry at Charlotte. I get it. And I’m angry at Josh, too.” I caught a glimpse of him remembering his time in the forest with Josh. “They’re our friends. We need to set things right. Doing what we do … we could die any moment.”

“Now you know how I feel,” the vamp said.

“Shut up!” Archer and I said at the same time.

“You’re not going to die, Ryan. I won’t let you. And you didn’t have to come,” I said. “I wanted you at home, safe. But you insisted.”

“Someone has to look out for you thrill seekers.” Ryan smiled.

Archer laughed and the sound made me smile as well.

“You’re all crazy,” the vamp said.

Archer rocked back and forth on his feet. “You don’t know the half of it.”

Author Bio:
K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney with her parents and older brother when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam, and fell in love with it. K. A. Last is currently studying her Bachelor of Arts at Charles Sturt University, with a major in English, and minors in Children’s Literature, Art History, and Visual Culture. She resides in a peaceful, leafy suburb north of Sydney with her husband, their two children, a rabbit named Twitch, and a guinea pig called Squeak.

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