Thank you for having me here today! I am excited to tell Manic Readers about my upcoming paranormal release TURNED. TURNED is the first book in
my new series called The Belladonna Agency. The Belladonna Agency is an intelligence agency that hunts paranormal criminals. I hope you enjoy the excerpt below and enter to win a Print copy of TURNED.
Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of
conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also
plots to give humans the upper hand.
But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.
Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.
When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has
no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest
desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an
enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.
Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them
into a darkness impossible to escape?
As Ty walked behind the counter and retrieved his gun, Ana got to her feet and sat at one of the larger tables. It took
her a moment to catch her breath, far longer than that to stop shaking. She wanted him gone. Now. But by fighting
him for his gun, she’d tacitly agreed to his terms, so she’d do what she agreed to. She’d hear what he had to say.
Then she’d kick him out and make sure she never saw him again.
Even as she kept her gaze averted, she tried to wipe her mind clean of the memory of his touch. His kiss.
When he stood next to her, however, she had no choice but to look at him. For a second, she swore his gaze dropped
to her mouth and her lips actually tingled. She automatically licked them in an effort to drive the sensation away, but
all she got for her trouble was the faint taste of him on her tongue. Although she managed to stifle a moan, the
darkening of his eyes suggested he knew she’d had to do so. But he didn’t say anything. Instead, he extracted a
business card from a small polished case that he slipped out of his pocket and held it out to her.
Slowly, she took it.
All it had on it was an agency name and phone number. “I’m Ty Duncan. As you can see from that card, I work for
an organization called Belladonna.”
She couldn’t deny how intrigued she was, any more than she could deny her body’s visceral response to his. “Go
“Belladonna is Italian for ‘beautiful lady.’ It is also a plant whose berry juice was used in Italy to enlarge the pupils
of women, giving them a striking appearance. Not a good idea, since the juice can be poisonous.”
“Thanks for the history lesson.”
He sighed. “I’m trying to explain why I want to hire you, specifically. Someone who is both beautiful and deadly.”
She stared at him with her mouth open, then snorted. Right. Like he found her beautiful. Kissing her to distract her
was one thing, but she’d bet the women he slept with spent serious money on clothes, wore silk lingerie to bed, and
sipped tea out of antique porcelain cups in the morning. Plus they probably used endearments like “dahling” or
“Belladonna is a private intelligence agency,” he continued. “Not listed anywhere. We maintain the strictest
confidentiality, for both our clients and our employees. We also mainly employ women.”
Surprise tickled the back of her spine. Whatever she’d been expecting him to say, it hadn’t been this. The only
private intelligence agencies she’d heard of dealt in intellectual property—-corporate secrets, not national security.
Nonetheless, she told herself to play along. To find out exactly what connection this man had to Gloria.
“Why women?” She was relieved that her voice sounded steady, even a little bored.
“Specializing in female agents allows us to maintain a variety of covers. To go where the government can’t.”
“What kind of intelligence, specifically?”
“Intelligence that bad guys don’t want us to have.”
Her mouth twisted and she nodded. “Ah, por supuesto. You’re one of the good guys. Saving the world from
criminals and bureaucratic bullshit all at the same time.”
He grinned and stretched, raising his arms high above his head as if working out the leftover kinks from their tussle.
His sleeves strained to contain bulging biceps and his shirttail lifted, revealing just the slightest glimpse of a ridged,
Oh, God, she silently moaned.
What’s wrong with me? I’ve never been this attracted to a man before.
And it wasn’t just her body that was reacting to him. It was almost as if he’d inserted himself in her mind . . .
But then, she’d never met a man like him before. He was a novelty, that was all. Dragging her gaze away and up,
she narrowed her eyes at the twinkle in his.
He quirked his lips, then lowered his arms and shrugged. “Does it really matter to you whether we’re the good
She hesitated. “Let’s assume for a minute it does.” “In that case, good or bad is a relative term, but yes, I believe what we’re trying to do is for the common good.”
“Good for the world and good for you,” she said.
When he raised a questioning brow, she said, “I’m assuming you get paid well for what you do?”
He tilted his head, his expression almost chiding. “You have a problem with compensation for a job well done?”
She looked away and pressed her lips together, suddenly feeling foolish. Even so, she could still hear the
prosecutor’s words from seven years ago, echoing in her head as if he was standing right next to her.
“Money. A few measly dollars. That’s why she did what she did, ladies and gentlemen. It’s why she stole. Sold
drugs. Preyed on the weak and elderly. For cold, hard cash. Don’t let this young woman’s face fool you,” he’d said
with disgust. “She’s a mercenary through and through.”
“Ana,” the man prompted softly.
She shot to her feet. “Don’t you know el dinero es la raíz de toda mal?”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Money isn’t the root of all evil. Humans and other monsters have that covered all on
their own. Money is just money.”
She ignored the latter part of his statement. “You speak Spanish quite well. I assume you learned in Europe. And
your accent is British. So why aren’t you busy protecting England’s soil?”
“I’m half American on my father’s side. As to why I’m not in England? Because the monsters I’m hunting are here,
“Let’s just say that’s on a need–to–know basis. And until you agree to join the agency, you don’t need to know.”
Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor and national bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. She writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, HQN, and Random House. In her off hours, she loves broadway
musicals, spending time with her family and friends, and connecting with other romance readers.
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Virna is giving one lucky Manic Reader a Print
copy of TURNED! (US & Canada Only)