Oh, the dark Jean-Louis and the blond Nik.
Both of the leaders of the Kandesky Vampire family are delicious and dishy, but after finishing the ninth book in the saga, SNAP: I, Vampire, I had to take a hiatus to wear my other hat…murder mysteries.
As much as I love the international scope, the incredible wealth and the beyond-sexy vampires in the Kandesky Chronicles, I also love the puzzles and suspense of the world of mystery.
I write the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries, a series about a small-town newspaper editor who works to understand the “why” behind dead bodies popping up. This took me—and almost 2,000 others—to New Orleans last week for the granddaddy of all mystery conventions, Bouchercon.
But New Orleans, the home of voodoo, vampires and other undeads. What a draw!
As much as I wanted to sit in cemeteries, search for love potions, spend the night in haunted houses, I was good and focused on mysteries. And was rewarded.
Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Walter Mosley, Alexandra Sokoloff, David Morrell (of Rambo fame), Michael Connelly, C.J. Box, Caro Ramsey, Catriona McPherson, Charlaine Harris. On panels, meeting in the elevators, sitting next to them at dinner. And I can get fan-girl with the best of them.
Whether you’re a writer, wanna-be writer or fan, conventions are a shot of adrenaline. Every fiction genre has them. Sci-fi and fantasy, romance, LGBTQ, thrillers. Throughout the year, fans and authors of these books get together, swap ideas, tell stories, sign books and talk to fans. You’ll come away exhausted but the high will last for days. Pictures of you and your favorite authors, autographed books, programs and announcements, t-shirts, buttons, book bags and books…lots of books.
Unlike other industry get-togethers (the Oscars, Cannes, Grammies), book conventions are places where the authors and the fans come together to celebrate stories, ideas and talk about the written word.
Your feet will hurt, your back will be sore from lugging around a ton of books, but you’ll come away with memories that last…until next year!
I recommend them.
About the Author
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014 from Paranormal Romance Guild. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire .
From SNAP: I, Vampire, Book Nine of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles
Sandor, the chief demon and our sometimes butler, hit a button on the remote and the interlocking metal shutters slid smoothly down.
I started to say, “Wait…” then remembered.
Jean-Louis and I had been lazing in the big bed, the centerpiece of the room, and watching the faintest pink wash across the top of an Alp. Lolling to watch the sunrise had been a part of my life with this man, signaling the end of our time together until night came again. Now the present slammed back to me. My slip of memory was natural. After all, both of us were sleepy and sex-logged.
“Wait for what?” my love, my husband and now my fellow vampire said, raising one eyebrow, stroking my cheek. “Did you forget?”
I buried my head in his chest. “Um humm…”
He pulled my head up and watched me with those glorious dark blue-verging-on-violet eyes. This time, there was a hint of mirth and a slow smile.
“Quit mumbling. Did you forget?”
I had forgotten. My thirty-two years of waking and watching the sun was pulled from my inherent memory. Only for an instant. Even though we’d been lovers for the better part of three years, now was different. Jean-Louis had wanted to marry me. In my mind, that meant I’d have to let him change me. It wasn’t fair to either of us for me to stay a regular.
A few weeks ago I’d said “yes”. Yes, to marriage and yes to change.
We’d had a lush and beautiful wedding at winter solstice and were on our honeymoon…and I was a vampire.
The sun I worshipped all my life in southern California was now anathema. Jean-Louis, like all the others in the Kandesky family, spent most of his time working with regulars. He’d adapted an ability to survive small doses of sun, meaning I wasn’t totally cut off from what had been my passion. I’d exchanged passions. He meant more to me than the sun.
The family members used underground garages; heavily-tinted windows in their Mercedes; drapes over windows; dark, dark sunglasses and dinner parties to conduct business. And business was their business. The Kandesky family owned SNAP, the world’s largest and richest celeb gossip news network with TV and magazines that covered the Western Hemisphere and most of the Eastern one, as well.
Now, I was a family member.
Since Jean-Louis and I had been living together, a honeymoon seemed a quaint ritual. He insisted. “You’ve been through mind-shattering changes.” He held my hand, opened it and kissed my palm. “Thank you for saying yes. I want this to be the best for you.”
Then he licked my palm and gently sucked the webbing of my thumb, leering up at me. “Not to mention all the years we’ll have…” The rest of “in bed” was understood.
Winter solstice was the major celebration for the Kandeskys, the longest night of the year. After the ceremony and reception, with close to a thousand guests, Sandor bundled us into a Mercedes for the short trip to an Alp. Not just any Alp, this was in the Bernese Oberland, with Jungfrau barely looming over us. Jean-Louis knew a guy. He always knew a guy. But this guy owned a chalet on one of the lower slopes.
We were helicoptered in and met by two demons and some servants whom Sandor had sent ahead. After the helicopter left, a storm blew in and we had three days cocooned in rustic luxury and warmth.
“You probably didn’t know I controlled the weather,” Jean-Louis said last night and handed me a glass of Bulls Blood, my drink of choice now. “This was to give us a few days with no interruptions.”
“Do you think we’ve had enough?”
His eyes softened. “A millennium with you wouldn’t be enough,” he said, as he kissed me. Our tongues twisted together, heat soared through my body. I felt as though sparks were streaming from my fingers and toes.
“You have a slight glimmer.” He broke the kiss, smiled at me and carried me to the bed where we spent a few hours exploring every inch of each other’s bodies. I loved his long, expressive hands and what he did with them.
His was a well-muscled body, toned by work more than five hundred years ago. Thighs and calves defined from riding horses, back and arms from lifting heavy bales of cloth. Jean-Louis was in his late twenties when Stefan Kandesky turned him, and maintained his young male body. Even his scent, musky male overwritten with a hint of sandalwood soap and shampoo, made me shiver.
Last evening made me so sated and sex-drugged it was an instinctual reaction to try and stop Sandor from closing the shutters. In my haze, I reverted to my previous life as a sun-worshipper.
Once the shutters came down, Jean-Louis turned on a bedside lamp. “We need to talk.”
We need to talk? Wasn’t that supposed to be my line?
“I thought we’d been talking. What about?”
He reached over to pull my head onto his chest, which was sinful. I could feel his voice as well as hear it.
“Our idyll here.”
I tried to sit up, but he held me. “What about it? Aren’t you happy? I thought this was what you wanted.”
He twisted a hand in my hair and raised my face to give me a soft kiss. “I did. I thought getting us away for a few days on top of an Alp would help you adjust to your new self. I’m surprised you had a flash of your regular life.”
Was he telling me I’d failed some test that I didn’t know was coming? Did he feel my momentarily forgetting was a repudiation of him? Of the Kandeskys?
“No, Maxie. Not that at all.”
Crap, I didn’t think about his non-verbal communication skills. The vampires couldn’t mind-read, exactly, but watched body language, facial expressions and mixed it with a vast collective unconscious. Most times, they used this to communicate with one another. Jean-Louis had been teaching me to control my mind and thoughts, but it seemed I had a way to go.
“Do you want to leave?” In truth, this time was magical and cemented my relationship with Jean-Louis. But I’m a woman of the twenty-first century and need to have adrenaline and stimulation for my mental health.
“I know that, my love. I’ll never be without you, ever. We’ve shut ourselves away for days from our outside lives. I think it’s time we get back.”