In a desperate effort to halt her transformation to vampire, and stop her longing for the sultry Devlin, Sarelle willingly takes a drug to kill her desire, even as Danial prepares for the introduction of their son Theoron at a Vampire Gathering on New Year’s Eve. Faced with Theo’s betrayal at the eleventh hour, Sarelle must either trust in Danial to save her, or join forces with Devlin, revealing her secret desire for him.
The clock chimed eleven. Worried, I glanced outside, wondering if Aran would call to cancel. He’d said he’d be going by on an errand for Cia, but the sky was dull white now. The impending storm forecasted for noon might begin at any moment.
There was no sign of him.
We were supposed to get a foot or more, something that irritated me. We’d gotten three feet so far this season. With no warm days to melt any of it, the drifts were huge, surrounding the plowed driveway like tall mountains.
I let out a yawn, blinking my eyes. With the completion of the cookies, despite my eagerness earlier, my utmost desire was a long nap under a warm blanket. Grinning, I made a deal with myself that as soon as the snow flew, the couch was where I was headed. Until then, I needed to keep on track. I hurriedly did some light cleaning and laundry. I was just putting the vacuum cleaner away when the clock chimed twelve.
I cast a look outside. Snowflakes had begun to fall. Soon, they were falling fast and furiously, obscuring my view of the barn.
“C’mon, Aran,” I said, scanning the drive. “You don’t get here shortly, I’m walking down those cookies to the mailbox and you can eat them frozen.”
All of a sudden, the snow-dampened roar of a motorcycle was heard in the silence. Aran drove down the driveway, his lone headlight catching the snowflakes in its circular light as they fell. He was dressed in his usual black leather.
“You’re crazy,” I muttered, throwing cookies into a plastic bag quickly. “Maybe werefoxes don’t get as cold as normal humans did, but you still have to be cold in that.” I closed the bag, then headed for the front door. “At least it’s something between you and the pavement.”
Aran pulled up in front of the deck and parked the bike, but didn’t turn it off. He faced the house for a moment. As I opened the door, he gestured around him, then pointed to my house.
I opened the door and yelled to him, “Sure, you can stay ‘til it stops. I’m glad of the company. Go to the bottom garage, I’ll let you in!”
He nodded, the visor of his helmet and his shoulders already covered in snow. He drove on as I shut the front door and ran downstairs. Pressing the button, I raised the overhead door and he drove in.
Shivering in the cold blast from the door, I quickly shut it as he parked his Harley and shut off the engine. He began brushing the snow off himself.
“Why’d you bring the bike today of all days?” I said, giving him a sarcastic smile. “I told you it was going to storm. Now you’re stuck here. Cia’s not going to be happy.”
Aran got off his bike and continued to brush him and it off, melting snow creating puddles on the concrete floor.
“Why don’t you give me your coat, and I’ll put it near the fire. If you want, we can watch a movie or something. I was planning to head to the couch any—”
Aran unbuckled his helmet and in one smooth motion pulled it off his head. Gold curls and waves fell almost to his shoulders.
This was not Aran.
This was Devlin.
He stepped off the bike, and came toward me. I was lost from the moment I looked into his golden eyes.
Brief Interview with Danial, of the Promise Me Series
Thank you very much for having me at Book Consumed Diva today!
In keeping with my excellent host’s short style of posts, I offer the following short interview
with my tall, dark, and handsome detective hero of my Promise Me Series, the vampire Danial Racklan!
First, tell us all about yourself, using only five sentences.
Danial (laughs, showing a flash of fangs):
I’m a vampire that runs a business called Solutions, Inc., settling corporate disagreements, among other business world issues. I’m also what you’d call a Ruler: a vampire who oversees a state, making sure the well-behaved vampire inhabitants are kept safe, and those that do not toe the line are disciplined. I have an adopted werecougar daughter, Elle, and a dhamphir son, Theoron, who I cherish. My beloved Sar—what we vampires term an Oathed One, because of the vow spoken as part of the vampire-human bond—is Theoron’s mother, but she is also the wife of my best friend, Theo. She is also Oathed One to my brother, Devlin.
Sounds like you’ve got quite the little ménage going on there.
I do not appreciate your indication that there is anything tawdry about our arrangement. Everything is in the open now, and this shared relationship is one of love and respect, not secret dalliances.
But isn’t the title of the book Her Secret? There must have been a secret at one time…and a pretty big one at that.
Danial (shifts in his chair):
True, my brother’s love for Sar, and her feelings for him are what the title alludes to. Theo has had a hard time with it. I admit being surprised myself. Sar and Devlin were something like enemies when they first met, which was mostly Devlin’s fault. But they act very much in love now, something I’m pleased to see.
So you enjoy sharing a woman with your brother and your best friend.
Sar’s protection is paramount, as Devlin and I have many enemies. And we all have our own interests, our own passions.
Danial, you’ve been a very patient man in the last few books of the series. In Promise Me, you weren’t. You were the first to meet Sarelle and fall in love with her. You had rights over the other men who came into her life after you, didn’t you?
Danial (cool gaze):
I have rights under the Oath Sar and I share, but Devlin has those same rights. Sar has broken with me several times, due to her worry over our differences, particularly the difference in our lifespans. But she and I understand one another much better now, from the time we’ve spent over the years facing not only terrible tragedies and attacks, but also our own worst fears. Theo had a hard time adjusting, as I’ve said. But as that is moot, things are better now between us four.
Sar lives in a persistent half-turned state, allowing her to age very slowly. She has the markers of a turning vampire in her system, yet she remains human, because of her own unique resistant blood. That same blood, coupled with her exposure to demon blood, was what allowed her to carry our son Theoron to term, something that had never been done before. But she needs regular infusions of vampire blood from my brother and I to keep her in that state. Without it, Sar will die. So Theo must accept that Sar’s vampire lovers are necessary to her survival—
Interviewer (raises eyebrows):
Couldn’t you give her blood without the sex?
That is none of your business, human. And as to my patience, I am always patient and practical, unless the person in question is being an idiot.
My last question was going to be “when exactly did you change to your more laid back permissive self that is present in the later books,” but I can see that you really are exactly the same vampire as you were in the first book. So I’ll substitute another question. Do you like you new role as referee of the group?
I am not the referee, nor was I appointed one by any of those involved. But I will do my best to see that any difficulties my “group” as you call it faces are solved by the four of us working together, as all partnerships and relationships that are successful do. And this interview is over.
Tara Fox Hall received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University.
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romantic drama She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series, the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series, and the transgender erotic Grow a Pair series.
Her horror stories have appeared in Deadman’s Tome, Flashes in the Dark, Ghastly Door, The Halloween Alliance, Black Petals, SNM Horror Magazine, Microhorror, Dark Eclipse, Cemetery Moon, and various anthologies, including the recently published charity work Shifters.
She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) and authored the essay “Paradox in Film and Fiction,” published in Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence’s special issue Paradox and Mind (Taylor and Francis, 2013).
Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.