CONTEST and guest blog with Erika Lindsen
Erika’s highjacked my blog today to introduce you to her awesome release Soul. She’s also hosting a contest (more on that later).
For now, here’s Erika!!
The bad boys or the sensitive ones?
As readers, especially women, I think we all have a spot in our hearts and fantasies for either the bad boy or the sensitive one. Me, personally, I’m all about the vampire. Why? I think the risk and danger that goes with the “Will they or won’t they?” is sexy and interesting. In my latest paranormal romance release Soul, my hero is definitely a bad boy. Drebin is a seven-hundred-year-old demon sent from Hell. In the opening scene, which you can read below, Drebin is sent to entice his victim to kill herself so he can take her soul to Satan. His edginess and total disregard for human life I found beyond appealing as I wrote him. Dangerous. A man that will tell you how it is even if you don’t want to hear it. Call me crazy, but how sexy can it get?
On the other hand we have the sensitive guy. He doesn’t have to be the nerd in class or the crying type. How about a man that cups your face as he leans in to kiss you? Or lays you down on a warm blanket and makes love to you under the stars? Massages with lotions and oils? Heck yes! We all swoon for him. He can still have the perfect six pack but when he falls in love with your family, children, even your dog, how can you deny this guy?
The perfect man, I feel, is a mixture of the two. The bad boy that will take down any person wishing you harm, but will still sweep you off of your feet and gently hold you throughout the night. Swooning again. Ladies, we need to put our feet down and demand more of the cross-type guy. More chiseled abs mixed with guns and attitude, along with gentleness and kissing. I don’t want to spoil the book, but Drebin goes from one to the other, but never loses his edge. Now if I could only get my husband to be embrace his bad self…
Blood runs across the floor like a winter’s creek. It always puts a smile on his face. As a Taker – a demon sent to entice humans to commit suicide in order to gain their soul for Lucifer – Drebin is at the top of his game. He has already claimed 421 souls and there is no sign of him slowing down. Much like a fine wine, Drebin gets better with age.
Alexia Downer is just a few months into her freshman year of college and still undecided about a career. Ally is more than eager to meet new people and live up to the college stereotypes. But her gentle nature may cause her to put trust in the wrong person.
The stage is set, the hound is released, but Drebin begins to have second thoughts about his next victim, Alexia, his 422nd victim. Her beauty is mesmerizing and her spirit is captivating.
As much as he tries, Drebin cannot bring himself to destroy her, yet he must. He has a higher, more vicious power to answer to, after all…
Chapter One: Drebin’s Mission
A soul—something humans held onto it like it had worth. It was my job to take that wealth, and I did so with a smile.
Blood dripped from her wrist in little plunks of crimson drops. Her life was fading away. I pulled a knife from my pocket and gently scored the blade across my forearm. I couldn’t believe I’d taken over four hundred lives. Tonight was just the end of another day at work.
I looked down at the red puddle growing beneath her. Humans always left behind a mess. Just the sight of her disgusting fluids oozing made the fibers of my being thankful I never had a soul.
“Maybe I should go to the hospital,” the girl whispered.
Gently stroking her cheek, I shook my head.
“I…I can’t kill myself.”
I sighed. “Bethany, we’ve talked about this. Look at yourself; I’ve never seen a girl as fat as you. Cottage cheese has less curd.”
“I could lose weight.”
“My dear, you’ve been saying that for months and yet you grow larger every day. And don’t get me started on the waste of oxygen you are at work; the middle cubicle everyone avoids. Last week, while you were sick, they had a party. The alcohol flowed, and the laughter spread throughout the building. Life was better without you.”
Her blood-soaked palms covered her face, muffling the sobs. I picked up her sweater and tossed it at her. Bethany looked at me, confused.
“Wipe your nose. You look disgusting with snot dripping all over.” I peered down at the blood that gushed from her wrist; it was almost time.
“Drebin? Are you sure this is what’s best?” She was searching for an escape. There was no escaping Hell.
A single tear rolled down her cheek. Her finger pressed against the droplet. As she glanced at the tear, her body started to sway. She was dying.
“Goodnight, my dear Bethany.”
“Thank you, Drebin.”
“Shh. Soon you will be where you belong.”
I smiled, “No, not in heaven. Hell.”
Her eyes widened moments before the light dimmed in them.
Four-twenty-one’s soul was mine. Lucifer, my Savior, would be pleased at my progress. Snapping my fingers, my notebook landed in my hands. I wiped the blood from the floor and scratched off Bethany’s name.
Next on the list was four-twenty-two: Alexia Downer. Not even a prayer could save her.
Chapter Five: Drebin’s Coffee Shop
She was intrigued. Good. I already had her trust, next came interest. She agreed to lunch so easily. Humans believe everything they are told.
The little chick would be mine soon enough. Ever since she saw my face in the alley, she knew there was more to me than a savior. This girl was smart. I would have to work extra hard to keep her close.
Close. It was dangerous to be near to her. Alexia lying in bed, surrounded by satin sheets, nothing between her body and my own; the image repeatedly popped into my head. Of course, I had to be close to her. We had to be friends for her to believe my ploys. Yet, I knew getting close to her would cause problems. I couldn’t seem to protect myself from the effects of her beauty. It shouldn’t be that difficult. If I stayed focused on the task at hand, her looks would never enter the equation. She was human, and I used to be human. I remembered those last days of my life…
“How’d it go?” Sil plopped down on my bed.
“How did what go?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. This new girl…how is she?”
Beautiful. Mesmerizing. “Doomed,” I whispered.
His laugh filled my bunker. Sil enjoyed the thrill of suicide more than anyone else. He lived and breathed it.
I changed the subject: “How is your patsy?”
“How? Slitting of the wrist? Gun in his mouth?”
“Hung himself. It was perfect. I’d been telling him work would be better without him. He was insecure and felt like a failure, so I toyed with him. This morning, he came home early and called me. He informed me that after a meeting, he was fired. It didn’t take much push to convince him suicide was the only way out. He tied his belt around the shower rod and jumped from the toilet.” Sil chuckled. “He dangled like a Christmas ornament.”
Normally, I would have been intrigued. The kill was the ultimate high, like doing a drug. But at that moment, I felt sick. The thought of Alexia swaying from a shower rod curled my stomach. “Strong rod, I guess…” I muttered.
“So,” Sil said, “when are you going to take out your patsy?”
“Just about to call her.” I picked up my cell and dialed her number. It rang twice before she answered.
Her beautiful voice came on the line. “Hello?”
“This is her.”
“Hi. This is Drebin. You know, the guy that saved you.”
Her voice became lighter. “Of course I remember you. How are you?”
A smile started to tug at my lips. I had to turn to keep Sil from noticing. “I couldn’t be better. Listen, I’m calling to see if you’d like to meet me for a cup of coffee.”
“Absolutely! I’m free now. That is, if you are?”
“Yes. We could meet.”
I could hear the excitement in her tone. “Where?”
Not knowing Ally’s college town, I turned the question on her, “Where do you like?”
“Heather’s. She makes the best drinks around!”
“Okay. Be there in thirty?”
She answered, “Deal. See you then!” The phone clicked off.
Sil’s expression was that of a child hoping to get a toy. The hunger oozed from him.
I decided to play dumb. “What?”
“Is she meeting you?”
A low chuckle began in his chest and worked its way up to his mouth. “How fast do you think you can nail this girl?”
I hated his question, but I didn’t understand why. Unless… “Oh, no time at all.” I smiled back. There was no doubt, even though I was feeling differently for this patsy.
* * * *
“Nice to see you again,” Alexia Downer said as she walked over to my table.
I smiled curtly, partially excited to see her as well. “How are you feeling?”
“My leg is really sore and my wrist’s sensitive, but fairly good, considering.”
“Good to see you’re able to get out.” I stood up and pulled the chair out for her. “What can I get you?”
“A frozen hot chocolate, please.”
I laughed, “You come to a coffee shop and get a frozen hot chocolate?”
“It is amazing!”
Her innocence was thrilling. “How can something be frozen and hot?”
She winked. “Guess you’ll just have to try.”
For a moment, I was held by her gaze. Such beauty and depth hidden. With a sigh, I realized it was my job to destroy that. The mission was going to be harder than I expected.
Walking up to the counter, I felt very out of place. The place was predominantly filled with women. There were all ages: young, college type girls, older grandmothers, and of course, burned-out housewives. They sat and talked about the joys of life, yet I could see how miserable they were. Liars hiding behind masks.
I stood behind an older woman at the counter. I watched as she slowly pulled out exact change, one dime at a time. It was painful. When she finally had enough money, she turned to me. Her smile was sweet. I returned it until I saw what was around her neck. A crucifix dangled in front of me. My body trembled, my knees shook and my stomach turned. I could feel my demon soul burning. Concern on her face, the woman took a step closer.
I screamed and fell to the floor in convulsions.
The world whirled around me as the cross hovered above me. I kicked and thrashed, yet each movement brought the woman closer. She touched my hand in a comforting way. It didn’t help. I screamed again. It took all of me not to teleport out of the coffee shop.
Finally, she backed away.
I began to calm. My body relaxed.
“Drebin? Drebin, listen to me! Are you okay?” Ally was kneeling next to me.
The concern in her eyes was interesting. “Yes.”
“Get 9-1-1 on the phone. Now!” Ally yelled to the employee.
I put my hand up in defense. “No, no. I just need some air. I will be quite all right.”
Ally looked at me skeptically.
I answered, “I promise.”
She helped me up. The entire shop was eyeing me. I waved to everyone to let them know I was okay. The woman with the crucifix smiled and took her coffee to a table.
I led Ally to the parking lot. Ally asked, “Are you really okay?”
“Yes. I feel fine.”
“That didn’t look fine. What happened?”
“I don’t know,” I lied.
“Then we need to get you to a hospital.”
Hospitals take blood. Mine was black. “I should just lie down.”
“I’ll drive you home,” she offered.
I live in Hell. “I’ll walk.”
Her face was stern. “Look, Drebin. I will not let you go alone after a seizure.”
I needed an out. “Why don’t I call my friend, Sil?”
Lie. “My roommate.”
She smiled. “Okay, give him a call.”
I pulled out my cell and dialed Sil. He answered in a very “Why are you calling?” tone.
“Hey Sil, can you come pick me up?”
“Drebin,” he responded through the receiver, “why are you calling?”
“I had a seizure and need a ride home.”
“Oh. I’ll be right there. Car?”
“A car I can do. Give me a few.”
I clicked the phone off. Ally had concern and yet some hope flashed across her face. “He’s on his way,” I said.
“Good. I’ll sit with you until he shows.”
To my surprise, she laid my head down on her shoulder. I stiffened, not sure what to do. It was relaxing and took away the pain from the crucifix. I eased into it and allowed her to soothe me. Ally began running her fingers through my hair. Strange, a woman had never done that before. Apart from my mother, no human has ever shown me the kindness Ally now exhibited.
She made my job harder than it had to be.
“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” Sil asked from above me.
I jumped up and lightly kicked at the air out of embarrassment. “I wasn’t feeling well.”
He smiled. “Ahh. So she took away your pain?”
His gaze narrowed on my face before offering to Ally, “Hi. I’m Sil. I happen to be Drebin’s best friend.”
She smiled and held out her hand. “Pleased to meet you.”
Sil eyed it for a moment before taking her hand in his and shaking it. His grip must have been rough, I guessed, due to Ally’s expression. She was uneasy.
I turned to her. “Thank you.”
“No problem. Any time. I owed you after you saved my life.”
Sil cut in, “That’s right. You’re the dog girl.”
I could tell she was ready to be as far away from him as possible. “Listen, Sil. We’d better get going. Ally, it’s been a pleasure even though it was a disaster.”
“Maybe we could do this again some time?”
“I would love that.”
She smiled as she turned to her car. I walked over to Sil’s and got inside. Her yellow car pulled out behind us and I breathed. “That was pure hell.”
“Seizure?” Sil asked.
“Crucifix. Damn thing was dangling in my face.”
He laughed. “Let me guess, an old lady?”
“You are good, my friend.”
“Please don’t call me good.”
I peered out the window. There were so many trees in Ally’s college town. So much life. It was my job to force death. “Sil, where did you get this car?”
“So, my dearest best friend,” he announced, “I’ve never studied your work so closely before. Sure were awful affectionate with the lady.”
“That’s the plan. Become good friends, and then destroy her.” As the words flowed from my lips, I began to feel the nausea again. I didn’t want to think of Ally killing herself. I’m not sure why, but the image tore me apart. Dismiss it, Drebin. You have a job to do or Salem will have your ass.
I remembered the first time I had ever met Salem. Different time…different name…
*** CONTEST ALERT *** CONTEST ALERT *** CONTEST ALERT ***
One lucky commenter on today’s post will win a copy of Erika’s Soul. Woot!!
- CONTEST and guest blog with William Auch
- Guest blog and CONTEST with Stormie Kent!!
- CONTEST and guest blog with Alisa Anderson!!
- CONTEST and guest blog with Willa Edwards!!!
- CONTEST and guest blog with author Lara Nance