Monday, November 27, 2017

Cyber Monday! Last day of my box set sale! #paranormal romance #PNR

Children of Ossiria Box Set Sale!


This box set includes OUTCAST, PROTECTOR, GODDESS, MATE, and MOTHER.

These stories are intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Amazon AUS | Smashwords |

Special price of $5.00! First time these books are bundled!

Will be $9.99 on 11/28/2017.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Release Day - MOTHER (Children of Ossiria #5) - plus free bonus! #paranormalromance #vampires

MOTHER - everywhere!


I am Kalana of Ossiria, empress and last of my kind.
I am Carys Taylor, Earth woman.

Carys and William mated eternally and are expecting twins. Being pregnant and giving birth brings out Kalana's mama bear side and she'll stop at nothing to protect her babies against any threat, even one close to home. Her children are the future of Ossiria.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Bethany continue a slow courtship forbidden by the Shadow Knights. Will Sebastian give up his calling for love? Choosing to do so means losing his memories of the past century-and-a-half to protect the Order.

Our heroes will be tested as never before.


This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.

Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | Amazon | $2.99. Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS |

BONUS:

Danger Magnet - Book #4.5 - Smashwords | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Free as of 11/11/2017. Amazon has not matched this price.

Antony is hiding a dark past. Will the truth send Jana running?

Jana is the first person who wants to know all about him. The first to care in a long time, and he shouldn’t let it go any deeper, but he’s helpless to resist her. She makes him laugh, matches him in bed, and loves great food. He doesn’t want to hurt her.

But people die around him.

We briefly met Antony in MATE. Now discover how another exile from The Agency falls in love. This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Children of Ossiria - first time as a Box Set! #paranormalromance Five books for $5!

Children of Ossiria Box Set

This box set includes OUTCAST, PROTECTOR, GODDESS, MATE, and MOTHER.

These stories are intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.


Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords |

Special price of $5.00 for Thanksgiving week only! Will be $9.99 on 11/28/2017.



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Children of Ossiria book 5 coming very soon!

Mother

I am Kalana of Ossiria, empress and last of my kind.
I am Carys Taylor, Earth woman.

Carys and William mated eternally and are expecting twins. Being pregnant and giving birth brings out Kalana's mama bear side and she'll stop at nothing to protect her babies against any threat, even one close to home. Her children are the future of Ossiria.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Bethany continue a slow courtship forbidden by the Shadow Knights. Will Sebastian give up his calling for love? Choosing to do so means losing his memories of the past century-and-a-half to protect the Order.

Our heroes will be tested as never before.

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.

Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords |

Releasing November 13, 2017!


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

#NaNoWriMo is back! Day 1 of this #writing challenge

NaNo Day 1

This year, I'm working on Children of Ossiria #5.

Title is Mother.

I am Kalana of Ossiria, empress and last of my kind. 
I am Carys Taylor, Earth woman.

Carys and William mated eternally and are expecting twins. Being pregnant and giving birth brings out Kalana's mama bear side and she'll stop at nothing to protect her babies against any threat, even one close to home. Her children are the future of Ossiria.

Meanwhile, Sebastian and Bethany continue a slow courtship forbidden by the Shadow Knights. Will Sebastian give up his calling for love? Choosing to do so means losing his memories of the past century and a half to protect the Order.

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations. 

Picks up where Mate ended. Carys and William's twins will be born in this book!

Day 1 total - 7449 words.




The First Vampires - Book #0.5. Read for freeAmazon | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Wattpad | Free everywhere.

Jolana has served the Ossirian god of war as a seer for as long as she can remember. When he chooses her to be his instrument of destruction, she devotes herself to the task—starting with young Isa. 

Isa is a healer and when Jolana comes into his shop, he knows she is trouble but the beautiful Eridae cannot be resisted. Soon, he is drawn into a war between gods that will alter the universe forever.

This story is a prequel.


Outcast - Smashwords | Amazon | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | InstaFreebie | Google Play | Free.

What will you fight for? 

Family? 
Honor? 
The adrenaline rush? 
Because you know no other way? 

Michael is happy being London's resident Agent until he's saddled with helping train new recruits-especially the Malibu Barbie wannabe intent on driving him insane. She's difficult, insubordinate...and soon his first love. But dating another Agent is forbidden, especially when she's a trainee, and there's no denying their relationship when she gets pregnant.

Suddenly, Mike's out on the street alone with only his savings, a duffel bag, and a high school diploma. Where does a freelance demon hunter go from here?

OUTCAST follows the journeys of three paladins doing their best to keep the people they care about alive in a world where monsters are real and there's a very good reason to be afraid of the dark.

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.

*Discover how the good guys came together. Origin story for Michael, Catherine, Bethany, Hope, and more.

Goodreads



Protector - Book #2 - Apple | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Smashwords $2.99.

Carys Taylor has her life perfectly under control until an ill-fated trip to the South American jungle changes her into a supernatural being. Now she's sprouting claws and stronger and faster than any human in existence. She’s overwhelmed by her new abilities until she meets Sarah, a witch who introduces her to a group of do-gooders trying to save the world from the paranormal threats it doesn’t know exists.

William spots Carys in a nightclub and is immediately drawn to her beauty and the exotic scent he can’t figure out. Too bad she’s chummy with his mortal enemies—but Carys doesn’t seem to care. She’s the first human in over a hundred years that hasn’t judged him for being a vampire and he falls for her strength, kindness, and sense of humor, but is frustrated when she keeps sticking him in the friend zone despite their obvious chemistry. Why is she so hesitant to get into a relationship? 

Between dodging a bounty hunter, saving the tribe that created her, dealing with a persistent vampire determined to make her his girlfriend, and meeting her future child, Carys’ first year as a Protector is full of challenges. What does a girl have to do to get a little peace?

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations.





Goddess - Book #3 - Smashwords |  Barnes and Noble | Apple | Amazon | $2.99.

Free of the burden of knowledge about the future, William and Carys start dating, which isn’t without its challenges. Some of Carys’ friends don’t approve of the vampire and Carys is carrying baggage from her previous relationship that rears its head every time she and William get close. Trusting him with her life is easy. Trusting him with her heart is terrifying.

Meanwhile, a new and sinister supernatural threat arrives in Southern California. The Valarakan have been warriors for thousands of years, so our team of heroes will have to be on top of their game to beat them, but discover too late that Carys’ true destiny as Protector is much more life-changing than anyone could've predicted.

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.

*Warning: cliffhanger ending. Proceed to MATE.




Mate - Book #4 - Apple | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | $2.99.

I am Kalana of Ossiria, empress and last of my kind.
I am Carys Taylor, Earth woman.

After the events of GODDESS, Carys sets out to restore Ossiria. Once her orders are being carried out, she returns home to Southern California only to find that weeks have passed instead of days. Convincing William she isn’t possessed doesn’t come easily, but once they’re finally reunited, their relationship solidifies—until a fateful trip to Ossiria.

Caught up in recent insatiable lust, the couple enters into a mating claim on the magical planet, only for Carys to wake up knowing they’ve made an impulsive mistake. Armed with Kalana’s memories, she rescinds her claim on William, putting him in dominance until they’re ready for the consequences of Ossirian magic.

But William has been in a one-sided claim before and it didn’t end well. Will he sabotage their relationship with his vampire tendencies, or are he and Carys destined to become eternal mates? Secrets and surprises will test them like never before.

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.



Danger Magnet - Book #4.5 - Amazon | Smashwords | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo Google Play | $0.99.

Antony is hiding a dark past. Will the truth send Jana running?

Jana is the first person who wants to know all about him. The first to care in a long time, and he shouldn’t let it go any deeper, but he’s helpless to resist her. She makes him laugh, matches him in bed, and loves great food. He doesn’t want to hurt her.

But people die around him.

We briefly met Antony in MATE. Now discover how another exile from The Agency falls in love. This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NEVER TRUST A VAMPIRE by @vivianlanewrite Release Day! #vampires #books #urbanfantasy #fridayreads


Book #1 - Never Trust A Vampire - Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS | 

Paperback | 

Google Play | Smashwords | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo |


The people we save look at us like we’re superheroes, or guardian angels, but we bleed.

We break.

And sometimes, we even die.

When the vampire Adam asks The Agency for Agent Seven's services to rescue children from L.A.’s reigning vampire, Juliet, Agent Seven can’t refuse, even though she doesn’t trust him. Becoming a paladin means sacrifice of self and saving innocents is top priority.

Will Adam prove her wrong, or be her downfall?

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations.

Urban fantasy.

$4.99 ebook, $7.99 paperback.



In the Strange Allies series, Della Garvison has a higher calling, but making sure her mother is taken care of always comes first, and she feels horrible every time she has to lie to her mother about her job. It's been the two of them since she was five years old, so leaving home is painful. Because Della isn't a normal girl, there will be no college graduation ceremony, no wedding to a nice man, and no grandbabies for her mother to spoil, but she'll let her mother hold on to those dreams as long as possible.

Children of Ossiria and Strange Allies share the same world, but can be read independently.


Totally Addicted to Books has teamed up with me to celebrate my brand new release Never Trust A Vampire by giving away some awesome prizes! One winner will get paperback copies of New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’ Midnight, Texas trilogy books: Midnight Crossroad, Day Shift, and Night Shift! Two winners will get a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Giveaway ends Oct. 31, 2017.


Book #2 - Save You, Save Me - Apple | Kobo | pre-order. Coming Soon.

When the vampire Adam starts helping Agent Seven’s cause, she doesn't trust him, especially when her latest case involves her cousin Charlotte.
Charlotte was a high-school music teacher when Nicholae Dragomir found her and charmed his way into managing her career. She’s happy with minor fame until she meets Simon, a mysterious Englishman she’s irresistibly drawn to.
Simon lost his wife Caroline in 1530 to a devastating curse—she’s reincarnated every generation with no memory of him and he spends his days trapped as a statue. If they don’t fall in love again by her twenty-fifth birthday, the search starts all over.
When Simon refuses to divulge his past to Charlotte, it sends her straight into Nicholae’s arms—a vampire in Lady Juliet’s clan—and a path of destruction. If Agent Seven, Simon, and Adam don’t save Charlotte in time, she and Simon will be cursed forever. 
This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations. PNR.


This series will be at least six books.

Bio:
Writer of supernatural badasses

A proud geek *cough*nerd*cough* who likes fashion, interior design, and sports, Vivian Lane is the author of the Children of Ossiria series. She lives in California with her cat Scrapper.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Never Trust A Vampire chapter four #books #vampires #urbanfantasy #fridayreads

CHAPTER FOUR

SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICE OF $2.99!



The people we save look at us like we’re superheroes, or guardian angels, but we bleed.

We break.

And sometimes, we even die.

When the vampire Adam asks The Agency for Agent Seven's services to rescue children from L.A.’s reigning vampire, Juliet, Agent Seven can’t refuse, even though she doesn’t trust him. Becoming a paladin means sacrifice of self and saving innocents is top priority.

Will Adam prove her wrong, or be her downfall?

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations.

Urban fantasy.

Releasing October 3, 2017. $4.99



Chapter Four
Adam

While Simon could find his own way home, I didn’t want the earful I’d receive if I ditched him, so I circled the parking lot until I was sure the paladin was gone, then parked in a different spot and waited. 
Didn’t take long.  He came out with hurried steps.  Opening the passenger-side door, he said, “Hotel.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Never Trust A Vampire chapter three #books #vampires #urbanfantasy #fridayreads

CHAPTER THREE

SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICE OF $2.99!



The people we save look at us like we’re superheroes, or guardian angels, but we bleed.

We break.

And sometimes, we even die.

When the vampire Adam asks The Agency for Agent Seven's services to rescue children from L.A.’s reigning vampire, Juliet, Agent Seven can’t refuse, even though she doesn’t trust him. Becoming a paladin means sacrifice of self and saving innocents is top priority.

Will Adam prove her wrong, or be her downfall?

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations.

Urban fantasy.

Releasing October 3, 2017. $4.99.



Chapter Three
Della

“How many so far tonight, Seven?” Amelia asked through my earpiece.
“Four. They’re sloppy about who they turn in this town.”  Well, not exactly true.  Juliet didn’t control every vampire in the county.  Per orders, I was only dusting the new ones.  She and her minions wouldn’t notice the absence of animals.
“With such a huge population, deaths are expected. Humans are doing enough to fill the morgues as it is.”
“Homesick?”  I set up the scope with thermal optics for my nightly surveillance of Juliet’s HQ.  The vampire was so “genteel” her clan actually had an office building.
Bloodsuckers were all the same, though.  The Bubonic Plague in pretty wrapping paper was still the Black Death.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Never Trust A Vampire chapter two #books #vampires #urbanfantasy #fridayreads

CHAPTER TWO


Strange Allies Book #1 - Never Trust A Vampire - Smashwords | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS | Paperback | Google Play |


The people we save look at us like we’re superheroes, or guardian angels, but we bleed.

We break.

And sometimes, we even die.

When the vampire Adam asks The Agency for Agent Seven's services to rescue children from L.A.’s reigning vampire, Juliet, Agent Seven can’t refuse, even though she doesn’t trust him. Becoming a paladin means sacrifice of self and saving innocents is top priority.

Will Adam prove her wrong, or be her downfall?

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations.

Urban fantasy.

Releasing October 3, 2017. SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICE: $2.99!

$4.99 Oct. 3.



Chapter Two
Adam

Simon raced into the hotel room.  “I found her!”
A long-suffering expression took over my face.  “Not this again. What caught your eye this time: hair, a scent, a smile?”
We had looked for Simon’s lost wife reincarnated for centuries and there had been so many disappointments.  Of course I was skeptical.
I found her, Adam. It’s my wife.”
I muted the television.  “No she is not, assuming you have the right young woman. She won’t know you.”
He glared at me.  “I’m perfectly aware of this curse. Lived with it for five-hundred years. I’m telling you! She’s in this very hotel, just floors above us.”
“How do you know?”
“I ran into her in the lobby. She and a redhead went into the lift and only the redhead came back again.”
I sighed.  “That is only one reason both women did not leave again.”
“You’re a right buzz-kill, mate.”
“So I’ve been told. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Simon, we’ve been down this road before. A thousand times.”
“This is different.”  He practically vibrated with excitement.  “I’ve never been this close before. The redhead told me my wife is a pianist and in town to play a concert. It can’t be hard to narrow down the venue.”
“No, it won’t. Did you get a name, by chance?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
Another glare.  “Will you help me find her or not?”
“As your only friend, what else would I do?”
Best friend.”
“Potato, po-ta-to, old man.”

My skepticism frustrated him, but I had his best interests at heart.  He was the most optimistic man I knew, but the centuries wore on him as he failed over and over again.  How could I stand back and see his hopes crushed?  We’d known each other since 1750.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Children of Ossiria by @vivianlanewrite renumbered for chronological #reading #vampires #pnr

New CHILDREN OF OSSIRIA reading order

The series is now as follows:

The First Vampires
Outcast
Protector
Goddess
Mate
Danger Magnet (novella)
Book 5







Sunday, September 3, 2017

Never Trust A Vampire chapter one #books #vampires #urbanfantasy #fridayreads

CHAPTER ONE

One month to release day!


Strange Allies Book #1 - Never Trust A Vampire - Smashwords | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS | Paperback | Google Play |


The people we save look at us like we’re superheroes, or guardian angels, but we bleed.

We break.

And sometimes, we even die.

When the vampire Adam asks The Agency for Agent Seven's services to rescue children from L.A.’s reigning vampire, Juliet, Agent Seven can’t refuse, even though she doesn’t trust him. Becoming a paladin means sacrifice of self and saving innocents is top priority.

Will Adam prove her wrong, or be her downfall?

This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult situations.

Urban fantasy.


Chapter One
Della

Dodging the man-turned-werewolf, I tucked into a roll, and—yuck—stood with dog poop stuck to my coat.  Couldn’t people clean up after their mutts in the park?  “Note to self: when someone asks you to save the world, say no.” 
I wasn’t some dainty girly-girl, but I hated the muck and grime of the job. 
Three years, and I still couldn’t wait to run to a shower when the night was up.
A noise woke me.  Instinctively, I reached for the sidearm under my pillow. 
My phone.  Groaning, I answered, “Mom?”
My personal phone rang.  Only Mama called that, so I leapt out of bed to get it.
Voice mail…  She hated talkin’ to machines, always hanging up and callin’ right back.  Dreading that it might be the hospital or her doctor, I listened to the message.
“Hey, Della…your mom said she last knew you were in L.A. and guess where I finally am? Let’s catch up, ‘kay? I’m staying at the Biltmore.”
Charlotte.  Talk about a blast from the past.  We were cousins on my father’s side, Charlotte was four years older than me, and I hadn’t seen her since her high school graduation in Oklahoma City.  His side of the family all wanted to “make it big”.  She was the only one that actually did it. 
Guess Mom was keepin’ in touch…weird that Charlotte would want to connect now, though, unless she was merely lonely for a familiar face.  I didn’t know her well.
I’d been an active agent for The Agency nearly a year since right after my high school graduation.  Amelia was my guide—the book, equipment, and patch-her-up lady and thought she was my boss.  Our latest assignment put us in Southern California, going undercover in the realm of a very old and powerful vampire who thought she owned the city.
Mission: Pose as a volunteer at a church-run shelter for runaways.  Assess the current demon-to-human ratio in the city.
Team: Only Amelia and myself.
It was early May and we’d been here a couple weeks, longer than any agent should be.  The Agency should’ve had a new assignment for us.
I called directory assistance to get the number of the hotel, then dialed the front desk to leave Charlotte a message. 
Checking the clock, I’d only been asleep five hours.  “Curse these vampire hours…” I grumbled.  Vamps were the worst cases.  You had to be awake when they were, which meant the complete opposite schedule of any sane human being. 
Charlotte called back late afternoon.  “Are you free for dinner, Della? I have a night off after rehearsals for my performance Friday.”
“Uh, I guess…as long as I’m back by dark.”
“By dark?”
“Graveyard shift.”
Oh. Well, yeah, I guess we should meet up soon, then. I have a suite. Just have them ring me.”  She hung up with the assumption I agreed.
Downtown L.A. was way too crowded for my taste, but that’s where I’d find my cousin.  The Biltmore looked pretty fancy from the outside, but that didn’t prepare me for walkin’ through the doors.  Opulence of several decades ago.  Architectural history wasn’t my strong suit.  Made me very conscious of the old jeans and tee I wore, though.
“Charlotte Taylor’s room, please,” I said to the clerk.
“Is she expecting you?”
“Uh, yes, I’m her cousin.”
“Ah.”  He got that look of oh, the city girl’s taking pity on the country bumpkin.  I’d seen it before.  “Ms. Taylor is in the Music Suite. Take the elevator over there.”
“Thanks.”  So what if everything I wore amounted to forty dollars?
A man dressed in a black suit answered the door when I knocked.  “Yes?”
“I’m Charlotte’s cousin.”
“Reed, let her in,” I heard Charlotte say behind the bodyguard.  Literally behind—I couldn’t see her due to his mass.  Reed let me cross the threshold and Charlotte hugged me.  “Hey, Della!”  She was barely five-feet-tall and fit under my chin.  “Welcome to my temporary home. Do you want to eat out or order room service?”
This was no little hotel room—the Music Suite was bigger than my house and included a baby grand piano.  I didn’t want to think what it cost per night.  “Whatever. You called me.”
“True. I don’t get to spend much time with anyone other than Nicholae and Reed, especially another woman. Your mom said your job makes you travel, too?”  The bodyguard went to a chair in the corner and resumed reading a newspaper.
Did a small-time piano player need a wall of a guy for security?  Twenty-four-seven bodyguards didn’t come cheap unless they were family, so only the rich and famous bothered to keep them.  Charlotte wasn’t famous.
“Uh, yeah. Lots of people in need.”  The windows looked down on Pershing Square.  I didn’t like facing people when I talked about work.  Someone would inevitably figure out I was a bad liar.
“Well, let me know if you need reimbursement for parking. Should be my treat since I asked you here. So, what are your taste buds in the mood for?”
“I can pay my own way.”  Turned back to her.  “Just pick your poison, Charlotte.”
“Okay, then.”  She picked up her purse.  “Reed, I’ll be back in two hours, if Nicholae needs me.”  She opened the door and I took my cue to follow.
“Who’s Nicholae?” I asked in the hall.
“He’s…”  She punched the “down” button for the elevator.  “…my benefactor. He manages my career.”
“So he’s in the music biz.”
“Well, no…”  The doors opened and we stepped into the car.  “He’s not with a record company or anything like that.”
“Then how did you start playing professionally?”
“He opened doors.”  She shrugged.  “I don’t know the intricacies. All I know now is that once word spread, people started asking for me.”
“Lucky.”  My Agency-developed suspicious streak was raising its head, but Charlotte seemed happy, and she was obviously talented if she kept getting offers to do concerts and stayed in luxury suites, so I tamped it down.  Even if it turned out her start was from shady deals, she’d survive.
“Yeah, it was perfect timing. I didn’t know what I’d do for summer work and I was out of my apartment.”  She stepped out into the lobby.  “Where’s your car?”
“Out front. Told the valet I was picking someone up.”
Nice.”
I shrugged.  “A tip goes a long way toward cooperation.”  So did flashing my very-official-looking ID.  The rental was waiting right by the doors.  “I live at fast food joints and diners, so if you want somethin’ else, you’ll have to direct me.”
“If you know of somewhere with a taste of home, I’d be grateful.”  Homesick it was, then.
You wouldn’t believe we were related—besides Charlotte being adopted, the family tended toward the cute and wholesome side.  She was stunning, with a pocket-sized swimsuit model build and a very pretty face.  Her dark curls were in striking contrast to her blue eyes and fair skin.  I always wondered where her parents found her.
“So, have you been out of the country?” Charlotte asked.
“Some. You?”
“Not yet. Well, the Canada side of Niagara, but, no.”  She twisted in her seat to face me.  “You look different than the last time I saw you.”
“That was five years ago. Big difference between fourteen and nineteen.”
“I guess. I just didn’t expect to see you so…”
My eyes slanted toward her.  “What?”
“Trim.”
What did she mean by that?  “You thought I’d look like I live in a diner?”
“I don’t know. You look athletic and I didn’t think you were into sports.”
“I’m not, except for watchin’ football.”  I pulled into a Norms parking lot.  “Hope this is what you were lookin’ for.”
“Della, I’m not trying to insult you. You look great.”  She touched my arm.  “I’d love the number of your personal trainer.”
Oh, good grief.  I got out of the car and went inside.  “Table for two,” I told the hostess.  Charlotte ran in behind me.
At six o’clock in Los Angeles, most of the diners were still older folk and the restaurant wasn’t packed, yet.  We were seated right away.  I studied the menu, letting time pull my cousin’s foot out of her mouth for her.
“So what’s it like working all night?” she asked after the waitress brought our salads.
“Dark. Slow. Quiet. Just like anyone else’s graveyard shift.”  Lie ratio—three out of four.
“Okay, I’ll shut up.”
And now I felt guilty.  Never liked answering questions about myself, though, not since the day Amelia found me.  The less I said about what I did, the less likely I’d give away a secret.  It was safer.  “Don’t know much about your side of the family, but Guthrie’s the same.”
“One big, happy clan?”
“Pretty much.”
“I prefer California. Maybe it’s in my wiring or something, but I didn’t fit back there. Is that why you left, too?”
More like why I was forced away, but I couldn’t tell her that.  “Nah. I just found somethin’ I’m good at.”
“Well, good for you, Della.”
“Yeah.”
With the supper plates we moved on to Charlotte’s career and the music she liked to play.  I didn’t know Brahms from Bach, but I thought I nodded appropriately.  Charlotte insisted on picking up the check, and I took her back to the hotel.
Charlotte opened the front door at the same time a man was coming out. 
They collided. 
Mutual apologies were given.
Then, his gaze fell on her, and his face paled like he’d seen a ghost.  A real feat since he already looked like he didn’t get much daylight.  His eyes traveled over her like he was trying to memorize every detail.  My cousin was too busy blabbering apologies to notice.
“Sir, are you alright?” I asked.
“Er, yes. Forgive me. I’ll get out of your way.”  His accent was English, less upper-crusty than Amelia’s.  He stepped aside.
“Thanks,” Charlotte said, and continued to the elevator.
I felt him watching us leave, and sure enough when I turned around in the lift before the doors closed, he was staring at Charlotte still.  If he didn’t know her, he was definitely intent on remembering her face.
“A fan, you think?” I asked.
“Who?”  She dug in her purse.
“The guy that bumped into you. He was staring.”
She looked up.  “He was? Was he cute?”
I shrugged.  “Kinda good-looking if you like beards, but that’s not the point. You really didn’t notice?”
“Nope. If he’s staying here, maybe we’ll meet again. I haven’t had a date in over a year.”
I shook my head.  Civilians were so clueless.  The things people missed from not being observant…
Charlotte said goodbye at her door.  “Sorry I can’t invite you in, but I have to rehearse before bed. Boss’s orders.”
“Okay. Well, enjoy your stay, and…break a leg.”
She smiled.  “Thanks. Goodnight.”
The man was still in the lobby when I came down.  I walked out of the hotel and so did he.  I turned the corner to go to the car, stopped, and pushed him against the wall when he came around.
“Why are you following me?” I asked, pocket dagger held to his throat.
He held his hands out to the sides.  “Whoa, steady, friend. I only wanted to inquire about your companion. She looked familiar, see?”
“Saw that on your face. What’s it to you?”
“She—”  He leaned away from the knife.  “She resembles someone I lost, is all. Could you point that somewhere else?”
“Chalk it up to coincidence and leave her alone. She’s not stayin’ long.”  I backed off, giving him my best I’ll kick your ass if you hurt my cousin look.
“Oh? Pity.”
The man didn’t look dangerous, and I got no supernatural vibes.  A pulse, skin color…good signs.  Still…  “Look, if you’re a fan, buy a ticket to the Philharmonic like everyone else, okay? She’s just a piano girl.”  Hopefully sufficiently warned off, I turned my back on him and went to the car.
Real threats were out there and I had twenty minutes to full darkness.
Amelia couldn’t fit in at the shelter with her accent, so she was carrying on a daylight role with businesses rumored to be aiding the bloodsuckers.  She was very good at playing bureaucracy against itself.  This week, she was trying to expose the security leak at the blood bank of one of the hospitals. 
Juliet ran her nest like organized crime and had been careful about drawing attention with an excess of dead bodies.  Shipments of blood would get “lost” here and there, and no one noticed if the homeless disappeared.  We couldn’t carry out a direct assault, but we could make life harder for her here until opportunity arose.
I celebrated my nineteenth birthday in April 2007 getting puked on by a homeless drunk after I saved him from being an easy meal.  This suit was relatively new, too.  My first lasted two months last year, until I went toe-to-toe with a werewolf in the Cascades. 
The second, a little longer.  An acid attack from a Khorkhoi demon ate a bunch of holes in the torso armor.  My basic cat-suit still intact, I got a new torso piece and wore that kit until they came out with a new ensemble for all of the agents in January. 
The new material was a lot more durable, most of the armor pieces were part of the suit instead of separate, and it somehow reacted with the wearer’s body temp to keep you cool in hot places and warm in cold climates.  Our boots and coats also had tiny GPS trackers embedded in them now.
Mama thought I was in college.  It was partly the truth.  When I could, I took correspondence courses and traveling had softened my accent.  Amelia spent the first six months of my training blurting out corrections to my Oklahoma pronunciation. 
The story of how I got drafted into the world-savin’ business wasn’t so complicated.  Amelia Thornhill directed a vampire at me.  A normal girl would probably have been killed, drained of her blood and possibly even turned.  Turned out, I hadn’t been normal since my sixteenth birthday.  My touch burned the undead like a cross or holy water.  Don’t ask how, ‘cause I have no clue.  Amelia said they’re researching it.
From Seattle to Sri Lanka, I dusted vampires, put ghosts to rest, captured werewolves, and intervened with victims of black magic.

Could be a worse life.