A WHIFF OF IRRESISTIBLE DESIRE and giveaway with Tara Fox Hall


A romantic or sexy scene often includes a sultry song, lingerie, candles, or other props to set the stage for a passionate encounter. Sight, sound, touch, and speech are used frequently in fiction to convey a sense of desire. But what about scent? Too often in romance that is neglected, and only mentioned when there is food or drink of some kind mentioned, or a character is wearing a specific perfume, usually a sultry one.

I hazard the guess that some of a writer’s reluctance to use this sense comes from the idea that people perceive scents markedly differently. While one person may love the scent of a specific fragrance, others will often dislike it if not hate it. I argue that is true for other senses as well. Scent can be an asset to a scene, if used sparingly, and in the right way.
One Promise Me fact is that vampires and shifters have an enhanced sense of smell. Those humans with vampire taint to them—like my heroine Sarelle—take on this vampiric sense as part of their turning. Shortly after she begins a relationship with the vampire Danial, she begins to allude to his scent of nutmeg and cedar, an alluringly spicy mix that she thinks he wears like perfume. Its only later that she discovers that this scent she perceives is the result of her being partly turned. Others also have a scent; Sarelle often alludes in the series about the werecougar Theo’s scent of prairie grass, wide-open skies, and pine trees. In fact, it is how she discovers him after a long separation of years, when she smells that familiar scent out of the blue.
Why did I use the scents above? They are personally my favorite scents, as is the Myrtlewood oil I allocate as the vampire Devlin’s specific fragrance, as seen in this excerpt below:

Devlin’s eyes had been filled with fire and lust, no matter how many times we’d coupled, their radiance undimmed. But they had been most beautiful at the night’s end, when he’d declared his love for me so passionately. I closed my eyes, remembering his kisses, the brush of his fangs over my skin, the whisper of his words as he quoted me poetry, the feel of his body in mine, caressing me so skillfully…

I let out a long wistful sigh. Then I got out of the tub and went to the bathroom mirror, and pulled out a small vial. Settling back in the tub, I inhaled deeply, shivering in pleasure.
I’d never attributed any particular scent to Devlin. In the time I’d spent with him, I’d either been too nervous, scared, pissed off, or in the case of our interlude, overwhelmed with the many other wonderful things I was experiencing to notice one. But when I’d been in the midst of a craft fair with Elle and my mother two days ago, I’d known the singular scent instantly.
It had taken the better part of a half hour to search though the table of scented candles and essential oils where the smell was coming from. Part of that was my instinct to first try scents I considered sexy, like musk, sandalwood, leather, and even Danial’s particular scent, which was like spicy nutmeg and cedar. It wasn’t until I’d given up on the candles and reached the more unlikely named oils that I found what I was looking for: Myrtlewood.
I’d held the vial in my hands, knowing it was a mistake to buy it. I wanted to so badly, desperately. So I had taken one last smell, then reluctantly put it back. Later that day, as we were leaving, my mother had surprised me with the vial as a present.
“I could see you liked it,” she said with a smile, handing me the package. “I know they’re overpriced, but it’s only money.”
“Thanks,” I said, grabbing the bag in my eagerness. “You shouldn’t have.”
The clock chimed in the other room. Reluctantly, I conceded it was past time for bed. I put the vial back, pulled the bathtub’s plug, and put on pajamas. Then I stoked the fire, loading on enough logs to last until morning. The nights were cold now, with winter almost here.

Comment on this post to be entered into a drawing for some Myrtlewood Perfume! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Lathams Landing Anthology and giveaway with Tara Fox Hall

Latham’s Landing is a cursed island mansion that dwells like a sitting spider on a long clear lake in the northeastern United States. The stones that make its skeleton are red granite, bleached in spots to white and pink. Lights form at night in its windows, though the electricity there has been off for some time. Winding out from the isle is a long narrow stone bridge that snakes to a house of glass known as The Sea Room. On some nights, The Sea Room also lights up, burning like a pyre of Hell as it welcomes in new victims.

How many have died on the shores of the island, or within the walls of the mansion is unclear. What is known are the many drownings in the waters just around the island. The shallow water is home to many hidden rocks ready to gore a boat’s bottom. Winds tend to come up out of nowhere, becoming tempests of lightning and rough waves in mere minutes that overturn boats with childish ease. Time passes differently there, the hours slipping away like minutes.

To those that spend the time to research the haunted isle, there is also one other troubling characteristic: the house changes. Return through a doorway you just left, and you may find yourself in a room that you’ve never seen before. What was once a wall may suddenly have a door…and the door you ran to for escape may suddenly disappear. Part of the house is sunken, or so the tales tell. But more than one fisherman has returned with his catch to report a house that sits up on dry land, no contact with water visible. The tides ebb and flow, is what some say. However, no one who goes looking for the proof of that ever comes back.

Disappearances stack up back from the owner’s time. Hans Latham was a shipping tycoon who made his fortune in transport. Some say on foggy nights they hear a clipper ship’s foghorn sound on the lake. Others report a ghost ship covered with algae and flying tattered sails, crewed by a host of skeletons. It is hard to say really, what is truth and what comes from fear. For the isle wears an unspeakable menace like a permanent cloak, and none who come close enough to see anything—and live to tell about it—ever tell all that they have seen.

It is said that the island is able to sense your fears, to reach into your soul and see what most terrifies you…and bring those fears to life. Some people report dead loved ones beckoning to them from the shore. Others tell of haunting music floating on the breeze, plaintive and melancholy. But most report a shadowy male figure that waits on the shore appearing near dusk. He will not answer any mortal’s call, and never leaves the shore. Not long after, a wind often springs up, storm clouds appear on the horizon, and the waves began to heighten. Those who report seeing him—for most everyone agrees it must be Latham’s ghost—don’t fish those waters again, if they make it back to shore. For it is well known the island takes offense with those few that manage to successfully escape its storms, enacting terrible vengeance if they dare its waters again.

What exactly haunts Latham’s Landing? Certainly Latham himself, and also possibly his wife, who died there. A woman is sometimes sighted near The Sea Room, dressed in flowing gauze with ribbons in her short hair. There are two reported sightings of a ghost child within the mansion, a boy with needle teeth who asks for his missing father. There are still more reports of a crying girl with long hair on the shore. She plays a flute stained with blood. Like Latham, it is said these spirit apparitions come in advance of storms.

Strangers come from time to time, looking for paranormal activity. They usually say they have experience; that they know what is waiting for them out there on Latham’s Landing. They bring along lifejackets, just in case they get marooned there. They quote that the police are available with an easy call to 911, and that they are not afraid of ghosts. They go, either with permission or without, sometimes sneaking out with oars in the middle of the night. We find their gear, their boats, sometimes even their personal effects. But we never find them. Not alive, anyway.

You want to go on to Latham’s Landing? Go ahead. Yes, I’ll rent you a boat. I’ve done my duty and warned you. I won’t stop you, though I must insist you fill out this waiver, which says you are liable for any damage to the boat and equipment. Go on, the isle is waiting for you. It already knows you’re coming. I wish you Godspeed where you’re going, and I hope you get there. I don’t think I’ll be seeing you again. If by some 100-1 chance you do survive, you will not be the same. No one is, once they set foot on Latham’s Landing.

Three novella-length tales of suspense and horror of the haunted sunken Isle mansion known as Latham’s Landing.

The Origin of Fear 

Four college friends mount an expedition to Latham’s Landing—an abandoned island estate infamous for mysterious deaths—to gather pictures and inspiration for a thesis on the origin of fear.

All That Remains 

Sandra has come to Latham’s Landing seeking to discover what really happened to her relative who disappeared there years before, persuading her reluctant friend Tina that a little paranormal investigation will be fun.

The Fire Within

A bitter Caroline Stone embarks on a mission to destroy the evil isle estate that took her fiancé, joining with several others also out for retribution. Can the combined fire of their hate triumph over the relentless evil of Latham’s Landing?

It was a clear calm night. Carolyn watched the lake waves lapping the shore, then looked out into the blackness.

The cursed house was out there, waiting. Latham’s Landing. It had killed Rob. It hadn’t been any accident. Tonight she was here to settle the score.

She hefted the three 5-gallon cans and five 1-gallon cans of gas into the boat one by one. It had taken a stop at each station on the long journey here to not arouse suspicion. That last place she’d had to buy three, and the guy had taken her name. That didn’t matter though. By tomorrow, she’d have burned all that stood on Latham’s Landing down to the bare red granite.

It was said if you went to the island, you never came back. That was fine. Without Rob, she didn’t want to live. The fire within her raged, its fury poisonous. She would destroy the cursed house, or die.

***

Hours later, Carolyn swam up to shore, then lurched through the waves, choking and sputtering. Coughing up lake water, she went to her knees on the shore, crawling back onto the dry land, her hair a Medusa’s nest, her clothes sodden.

Nothing had gone as planned. The tides that she’d researched had been off, swinging her around the far side of the island where there was nowhere to dock. Stranger, she’d felt a wind on the mainland shore when she’d launched the boat, yet there had been none on the water.

When she’d finally managed to get on the right side of the island, she’d run out of gas. Bewildered, she’d checked the tank to see it was empty. In the lightening sky, her suspicion was proven true. Her watch revealed that the night had passed in what seemed to her several hours. So she’d turned for the shore with the oars, cursing, figuring to come back the next night.

That was when the wind had begun to blow.

At first it was a soft breeze, lightly tickling her neck with wisps of her hair. Then it became stronger, the force intensifying until the boat was rocking in the choppy waves, her hair plastered to her skull from water and wind. Determined, she’d filled the tank with the spare marine gas she’d brought, then cranked the engine to life.

Where the rocks had come from, she wasn’t sure. But the bottom of the boat had peeled away like a can opener had rent it, water spilling in to cover her feet. She’d jumped and began swimming, sure that she’d end up on the rocks herself, another victim of the island. Instead, she’d made it to shore, disheveled but alive, gas containers bobbing beside her in the waves.

She turned to stare at the house, its red granite rock sparkling in the new dawn. “You haven’t beaten me,” she hissed, shaking her fist at it. “I’ll be back.”

Tara’s giving away an ecopy of the LATHAM’S LANDING ANTHOLOGY & a size large T-Shirt with a copy of the cover.  I’ve read the first two & the’re scary as all get out.  The first flat scared the beejeezus outta me!  What’re you afraid of?  Giveaway ends @12am est 10-25-13.  Good Luck!

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Tara Fox Hall and TAKEN FOR HIS OWN

My latest book is Taken for His Own, the fourth installment in my Promise Me Series. It takes up where the third book left off. Sar had done her best to rebuild her life when her fiancé Theo went missing. She’s partnered with her former vampire lover Danial to raise Theo’s daughter Elle (Elle’s natural mother is dead from childbirth complications). She’s also had a child of her own with Danial, Theoron, and is trying to come to terms with her inevitable turning from human to vampire. When she finds out Theo’s alive, she can’t stop herself from journeying west to find him, and confront him about where he’s been for the last year and a half. This is where Taken for His Own begins. After a passionate reunion and a hasty marriage, the two lovebirds are headed back east. But picking up the pieces is far from easy. While Danial is accepting of Theo’s return, Elle prefers her vampire adoptive father over Theo. More than one enemy is waiting in the wings, making repeat attempts on Sar’s life. Add into the mix Devlin, Sar’s old enemy who’s now turned good guy, and a new paramour for Danial and you’ve got a powder keg primed to explode.

After learning Theo is alive, Sar immediately embarks on a mission to find him. Reunited, the lovers return to New York; Danial, Terian and Theo uneasily combining forces to protect Sar from Al’s assassins still seeking her. But when Sar is taken prisoner in an all-out attack, only one man can save her: her old adversary, Devlin.

“What about what you did to me?” I whispered, gazing at him and biting my lip.
“That wasn’t a whim,” Devlin said, dropping his eyes. “That was my bad judgment. Sadly, it wasn’t the worst mistake I’ve made in my life.”
“What was?”
Devlin didn’t answer. I reached out and took his cool hand in mine.
“When you lead others you must do whatever you have to in order to save your people,” he said with a sigh. “Compromising values should matter less than saving lives.”
“I agree with you,” I said. “If you rule others, you have a responsibility to them above the responsibility to yourself. But even then, I think your family should come first.”
“They should,” Devlin said in a cracked voice. He swallowed hard. “But the past can’t be undone.”
I squeezed his hand. “What happened to Danial wasn’t your fault.”
“Yes, it was,” he said softly.
“How is it your fault?” I said curiously, easing closer to him.
“Because I should have known what the thing was when it attacked. I didn’t know anything back then, except strategy and tactics. I was too concerned about rising through the ranks as fast as possible, so I could leave my family behind and become someone important.”
“What did you want to be?”
“A commander of men, either soldiers or police.”
I was surprised that Devlin would want to uphold the law or spend his life guarding others. Yet it made sense. When he’d taken me from my house years ago, he’d insisted on taking me to Danial, because I wore the choker. He was here putting himself in danger now to keep me safe.
“I knew something had attacked a few people on that road in that last month,” he continued. “I knew that there was a chance we might be attacked transporting the prisoner. But the road was the quickest way to our destination. I’d been assured that if I made the journey in good time, I’d get the promotion I wanted, and Danial would get my old position.”
“You aren’t at fault for what you did. It wasn’t for an evil reason.”
“Yes, I am,” he said despondently. “It was my greed and pride that doomed us.”
Carefully, I reached for Devlin and put my arms around him. He tensed at my touch, then relaxed.
“You did the best you could. You aren’t damned.”
“Yes, I am. You have no idea what I’ve done.”
I shifted uneasily.
“And I wouldn’t want you to,” Devlin added, his arms snaking around me loosely. “My ends have always justified the means, no matter what they were. I’ve done great evil in the hope of averting worse evil. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. Still, it’s likely that given the chance to do my life over, I’d do the same things, make the same choices. I’d find myself here, at this same point in time, a fallen king.”
“In case you’re wondering,” I said deliberately. “I’m waiting for you to add into your speech somewhere that you regret everything you did to me while you were king…um, ruler.”
“I regret hurting you,” Devlin said quickly. “Yet I don’t regret coming for you that night or taking you to Danial.” He looked up at me. “You might not have gone back to Danial after Theo went missing, if I hadn’t. Theoron might not be here. I can’t regret any action of mine that led to him being born.”
I didn’t reply, considering his words.
Devlin laid his head against my chest, and his arms tightened on me slightly. We lay there like that for a few moments, not speaking, then I slipped into sleep.
I woke sometime later when Devlin stirred. According to the bedside clock, it was almost dusk.
“I have only one regret,” Devlin said finally, propping himself up on his elbow, his expression intent.
“What’s that?” I said, covering my yawn with my hand.
“That it wasn’t me you found in your quarry that night,” Devlin said, kissing the back of my hand with cool lips. His golden eyes locked on mine, transfixing me, as he drew my hand away from my face.
He was going to kiss me. My lips parted as my breath caught in my throat.

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I’ve loved vampires since I sawFrankLangellain the first “hot vampire” version of Dracula years ago. That love intensified in my later teens with The Lost Boys, and reading Interview with the Vampire, along with anything vampire I could get my hands on. But I wanted more than the evil monster chasing young virgins; more than the sweet, misunderstood handsome fanged stranger that becomes the perfect mate for the woman who captures his heart after so many lone centuries. I wanted a vampire so well-crafted in detail that I could believe he was real. I wanted something different to happen in the story, other than girl becomes vampire, or vampire becomes dust. I wanted passion, tragedy, romance, suspense, action, and the haunting sweetness of poetry and song floating on a soft night breeze. So I penned my own vampires.

7/24-Manic Readers

7/25-Amanda Master

7/26-Anthony Cowin

7/27-Elodie Parkes

Meet the cast of SHADOW MAN with Tara Fox Hall

Thank you and hugs to Manic Readers for having me again at their site!

What better way to introduce my second book in the Lash Series than a paragraph of introduction by each of the central and supporting characters of Shadow Man, from their own POV? 

 

Lash a.k.a. Trystan Valeras

Weresnake Assassin

 

My name used to be Trystan Valeras. I left it behind, like my old life. Now there is just the careful maneuvering of the world of vampires, trying to help Abraham retain control of his city while not offending anyone above him. I never wanted this life, but I’m getting used to it. Hell, I’m good at it, so I might as well make the best of the easy money. My only gripe is having to deal with that whore Iso. But now that I’ve got Cassy, I’m in the gravy. She might be older than me, yeah, but so what? We understand each other. I’m tired of the party scene, and I’m ready to have a live in mistress. That wasn’t good enough for Nancy, but I can make it work with Cassy. And Abraham…he’s going to have to adapt, or lose me.

 

Abraham Hamilton

Reserved and hardworking Vampire ruler of New Orleans

 

I am Lash’s boss, and the master of New Orleans. Lash is right that it has become recently more difficult to stay off the radar of either Jacob, the state Ruler, or Dalcon, the Ruler of this country. Eli has put us all in an untenable position. I’m sure he seeks to overthrow the existing vampire hierarchy. While they may be corrupt to some extent, I don’t like to think what would happen to my city if Eli got his wish. Lash has taken the job to stop him, but I’m not sure he can handle the sheer numbers of Eli’s followers. And he’s also taken up with that Cassandra Nile. She’s bad news, and I’m sure she’s gotten him using drugs. Lash is not the man I used to trust. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to save him from a fate he’s bent on embracing.

 

Eli

 Vampire Preacher

 

The vampire elite are not to be trusted, no matter what terms they offer. They want to kill me, and enslave all of us to feed their loathsome appetites. We are better than that, or at least, we could be, if an effort were made. So many people’s world ended in the Crash. We have to fight to build something new, something that would be good for us all.

Lash is after me. He’s sworn to kill me, and he’s got the help of another deadly assassin, Burl. They are picking us off in twos and threes. Our last hope is to make a stand, and overwhelm him and his man. I do not like to kill, but the Good Book teaches that there is a season for everything. If Lash forces my hand, I’ll do what I must.

 

Spiderboy

Lash’s Half Faerie teen apprentice

 

Lash took me in when I was living on the streets, after my father died. He didn’t want to at first, but I showed him I could really help. Now he’s taught me practically everything he knows. I’m grateful for that, and for the job that Abraham gave to me. Like Abraham, I’m also worried about Lash. He’s never been serious about a girl…not even Nancy, who I was sure he would mate years ago. This Cassy seems to have him wrapped around her finger. But if Lash is happy, I’m not going to say anything. Besides, I can handle taking care of Hill House and Abraham for him.

 

Nancy

Loyal weresnake mistress of Lash

 

I took Lash’s offer of being his mistress, sure that I could change him and take off his rough edges with a little TLC. It’s obvious no woman had ever given him her affection, only her body. I hoped and dreamed of so many things when I answered his letter, and he asked me to come to him. But he doesn’t want me…or at least, me only. I’m not going to spend my life as someone’s mistress, even if I do care about him. He offered to marry me, but I knew it was because he’d had a close call with death, not because he loved me. If I stay, nothing will change. So I’m leaving, hoping that will galvanize him to come after me. Either way, it’s better than what I have now.

 

Cassandra Nile

Nightclub owner and singer

 

I have to admit, I knew Lash’s desires as soon as I saw him ogling me on the stage. I just had no idea they would be so exhausting. He’s a good guy, and we understand one another, especially our idea of recreation after work is done. He’s saved me from a beating—if not worse—several times already. But our age difference is weighing on me, especially his nightly demands on the weekends he visits me. Together with the club, I can’t keep up. To deal with that, I’ve devised a little plan that will take the pressure off. I just need to find a way to get it rolling.

 

Danial Racklan

 Vengeful Vampire Ruler of Colorado

I have never forgiven Lash for his part in Brianna’s death years ago. I acted the very spirit of cooperation with the Eli situation, as Devlin Dalcon instructed, but once it is over, my man has his orders. Lash will be dead, with no way to trace it back to me. For once, I’ll have gotten vengeance against a monster who sought to take my lover away from me.

 

 

Blurb from Shadow Man:

A renegade vampire begins amassing a flock of true believers, threatening America’s vampire hierarchy. Weresnake Lash partners with old enemy Danial and new allies Burl and Spiderboy to track down and annihilate them. Betrayed and left for dead, Lash reemerges the victor, edging ever upward in the Assassin’s Ranking, and catching the eye of the sultry nightclub singer Cassandra Nile. Drawn into drugs by Cassie, Lash begins to doubt himself, yearning to leave his life of violence, even as enemies close in from every side.

 

 

 

“What’s that smoke?” Spiderboy asked, changing back as he pulled on his clothes as fast as he could. “Something’s burning, and it’s huge!”

My gut clenched like a fist, and I hit the accelerator, swearing to myself.

***

            I drove up to the small town outside Lafayette at dusk. It was smoking, and the grocery store and the diner were partly burned. There was no one in their homes, and no pets to be seen. The old man I’d spoken to years ago was gone, his house empty, the lights on. But something made me curious. By the breakfast plates set out in the kitchen, it was clear that he’d been fixing breakfast this very morning. So how had the vampires come for him in daylight?

We checked the other houses, our guns out and ready. Everyone was gone, though some, by the blood and mess left in the houses, had not gone willingly. By the time we were done, it was full dark.

When we went to the church, we found that it was burned too, to the ground. Standing in the still-smoldering ashes was a three-foot-tall pole, the top covered with a black bag. Spiderboy’s eyes were very wide as he stood, staring, but I just walked up to the pole, and gently took the bag off. As soon as I did, Spiderboy threw up behind me, making mewling sounds.

Stuck on the end of the pole was Jeanna’s head, her mouth lolling open to reveal a tongue that had been split by a knife so it was forked. Her fangs had been pulled out, and her eyes burnt to cinders. The word ‘traitor’ had been deeply burned into the flesh of her forehead.

I stood for a moment, considering the message. The forked tongue meant Eli knew I was spying on him, or that I’d been working with her. The brand of ‘traitor’ and the pulled fangs meant he knew it was Jacob behind this, that Jeanna hadn’t been working just with me. She’d been covered to ensure that the sun wouldn’t be able to erase what she’d suffered before I got a chance to see it.

I didn’t know who’d killed her or tortured her, but someone had come for the humans here in the day, to take them. And there was only one group I knew of that worked for Eli who could walk in daylight: the members of the werecreature church.

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Vampire vs Werecougar? Sar defends her choice and a giveaway

MAKING THE CHOICE

 

Hello. Sar here, of the Promise Me series. I’m here today to talk about Broken Promise, Book #2 of the sereis, and the choice I made within its pages to be with Theo instead of Danial. For those of you who are not familiar with the series, let me add that Theo is a werecougar, and Danial is a vampire. They’ve worked together and been best friends for the last ten years, while Danial oversaw the state of New York and also worked with Theo at Solutions, Inc., Danial’s problem solving company that does everything from corporate espionage to settling scores outside the law. Sound complex? I certainly found it so, when I first met Danial around Halloween. I never thought helping save his life would lead to so many changes in my own. But I’d only seen the supernatural in fiction and film. The real thing was far more seductive. I knew Danial was dangerous, that being with him would put me in danger. I never expected our relationship to move so fast, or that it would end the way it did.

First off, I didn’t want to break up with Danial. I just wanted some time to come to terms with the lies he’d told me. Yes, him being a vampire was part of it, but it wasn’t that I couldn’t accept that he was going to live forever and I’m going to die one day. What upset me was he used that difference between us as his basis for his lies, as if he had no other choice. He had another option: to tell me the truth, and let us decide as a couple if a baby was something we wanted right now. Instead, he took the easier option of hiding his real plans.

Finding out he’d taken up with my hated rival Angelica still pisses me off. Sorry for the swearing, but I really hated her from the first, and I’m sure the feeling was mutual. She was ecstatic that night she surprised me with the information Danial and she were lovers, probably hoping I’d go all to pieces. I know she’s dead—maybe the one good thing Devlin ever did in his immortal life—but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

I also never meant to get involved with Theo. Looking back, I can see that the chemistry was always there, like when I removed his splinter, or the time he was poisoned and I helped him get to an antidote in time. But I’d never have made a move if he hadn’t made one first, and we hadn’t dreamed together. That was also an accident. Terian had dosed me with a spell, hoping that I’d reveal I desired him the way he desired me. Theo arrived after Terian had left, we got into a fight, and he started to change to his animal form. In the book, I said I kissed him to stop the change. But I’m not sure that was the truth. Maybe even then the spell was making me reveal my true feelings about how I cared about Theo. It certainly was the catalyst that brought us together.

Confronting Danial about my relationship with Theo was not high on my agenda. I knew he would be livid, even if he had moved on. I never expected things to go where they did, or that Danial would deliberately hurt me, no matter how angry he was. Yet looking back, all the signs were there that he could be violent. I’m glad that he’s getting help with that, just sad that it had to go that far before he saw he had a problem.

Theo is a wonderful lover, partner, and friend. He hides nothing from me, helps me, and his loyalty is never in question. I can’t believe it took me this long to see that he was the better man. I’m sure we’ll have our share of problems, but we’ll face them together.

Blurb: Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?

“Why didn’t you tell me you wanted children?” I asked searchingly.

“I already told you—”

“Sure, that’s part of it, Danial, but I want to know the rest of it. You didn’t let me know you were even thinking about this, or that it was even possible. Tell me the reason why.”

“Why?” Danial said exasperatedly. “I already told you: out of fear.”

“This was more than you being afraid I might want a baby and you wouldn’t be able to give me one. Tell me the truth.”

Danial sat down and put his head in his hands, all the fight leaving him in one long breath. “I was afraid I’d be able to give you one and you wouldn’t want one,” he murmured.

Our eyes met. The despair in his eyes mirrored my own.

“I was afraid you’d act like you did when I asked you to stay with me the first time you visited. I thought you’d be happy when I offered you a home here, but you reacted as if I’d told you that you had to give up your dogs or something drastic like that.”

“You were asking me to give up something significant,” I replied coolly. “My life, Danial. My life as it was up until I met you. I had a home of my own—”

“I offered you the world,” Danial said bitterly. “You hemmed and hawed, making it seem as if you were giving up a rich life to live in squalor with me, when the exact opposite was true.”

“Life isn’t all about being rich,” I said angrily. “I had to do what was right for me.”

“And I did what was right for me,” Danial shot back. “I know you, Sar. You leap forward for something in the heat of the moment and in the next second, you draw yourself back into your shell. What is this, if not your attempt to run at the first sign of trouble in our relationship?”

“You lied to me, and tried to get me pregnant. Worse, now you’re admitting it was to trap me. What kind of relationship is that?”

“That’s not it at all,” Danial said angrily. “I just didn’t want to be put off by you. I do want a child, our child. I would want it no matter what. We have a chance, Sar. I don’t want to lose it.”

“We have time, Danial.”

His words tore out of him. “No, we don’t, my love. Do you know how short ten years seems to me? Twenty years? It goes by so quickly, Sar. I don’t want to lose you. I can’t make you vampire, can’t keep you with me against the flow of time. I don’t think you’d agree anyway, even if I wanted that. Devlin would have to do it, and then he’d have power over you.” He stepped toward me “I would never give him that, Sar, never.”

I backed away. “I don’t want to be vampire. I told you that from the first.”

“I don’t want you to be, either. But our child, he or she would be part vampire. They would live a long life, maybe even have my immortality, if what the legends say is true. They would be part of you and part of me. I could hold onto you, onto what we had—”

The world I’d built with him was rocking on its foundations. The grey boxes that Danial kept, containing all his mementos and memories from his long immortal life. Pictures and tokens weren’t enough for him to remember us. He was looking to make a living memory, something that wouldn’t fit in a box. We weren’t the same; I was going to die and he was going to live forever. In that split second, I understood that difference more completely than I ever had before.

“—I can’t lose you, Sar.”

“Danial, it’s over between us,” I said tearfully. “We’re over.”

Tara is giving away a print copy of BROKEN PROMISE to one (1) lucky commenter!  What’s your preference, shifter or vampire?  Giveaway ends @12am est 10-26-12.  Winner announced shortly thereafter.

BROKEN PROMISE

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For info on my recently published book The Chalet,  All other works are listed on Amazon as well!

 

Tara Fox Hall Interview

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for Manic Readers, Tara.

Really enjoy your character centered blogs; gives a great insight into them.

Thank you so much, Ivy. I am very happy to be here!  

 

You’re an OSHA certified health & safety inspector in a metal fabrication shop, hold a Bachelor’s in math with a double minor in chemistry and biology. How did these translate into writing? Did you always want to write but figured you needed something more solid to fall back on and pay the bills until you’d achieved your dream?

They actually didn’t, which is why it took me so long to begin writing again. I loved to write in high school, and authored several research papers in college that my professors told me I should try to get published. But my family was not supportive, wanting me to get a solid degree that I could use to find a good job. I can’t fault them for that, as I am grateful they pushed me to excel in the hard sciences, and I did love my math courses, particularly those in linear algebra and differential equations. Right before I graduated, my grandfather died. He had been a father figure to me, so I hesitated to look for jobs out of the area. Using my chemistry minor, I quickly got a job in a marketing firm, and spent the next few years looking into buying a farm of my own, even as I tried to help out with my failing grandmother. I moved into the country in 2000, and when I got married a few years later, I quit my job, in part again to help out my family with fixing up and clearing out several vacant properties we now needed to sell. When gas prices rose in 2005, I went back to work for a local friend who owned a metal fabrication shop. I didn’t know anything about health and safety then, but I was a quick study. My new boss was receptive to my working part time, which gave me enough time to help my family, and some free time. I had always liked to write, but had been too busy up to that point to get more than a page article done. Then my mom got sick, I began writing Promise Me, and the rest is history.  

You’ve said you get a lot of your ideas from your dreams.  Having read ORIGIN OF FEAR I have to say better you than me!  Have enough trouble sleeping as it is.  Which of your books/stories originated in the dreamworld?

 

Almost all the stories from Just Shadows, my horror anthology, were actual dreams, or dreams I elaborated on. The only exceptions were the title story, which comes from an old Slovak legend I was warned about as a child, and Nothing, which I came up with on a dog walk.

All my stories of Latham’s Landing are from dreams. Origin of Fear is from five separate nightmares that I compiled into one story.  All That Remains, a new Latham’s Landing tale, will be included in the upcoming anthology Bedtime Shadows, a coauthored work by myself and my friend and fellow Melange author, Jenny Twist.

Face Recognition, a futuristic short story published in Black Petals Magazine, was from a nightmare.

The first segment of the serial End of Days in Dark Eclipse Magazine is from an apocalyptic nightmare…and so is most of the final segment.

Scarier are the ones that have basis in reality, though.

Saw Man, online at The Halloween Alliance, is based on my finding of an actual saw in my woods when I was first cutting firewood, just as described in the story. While no one got killed on it, it freaked me right out. And yes, the groundhog part of the story is real, too. 

Black Smoke, just published in Cemetery Moon, is based on a family legend that my mother swears is true. Decades ago, she saw the shadow of huge moving bat wings while hanging laundry in the basement, and turned to see black smoke floating a few feet off the ground. No explanation was every found for what she saw, and no one ever saw it again. I think it was either a demon or a vampire that got caught by the sunrise, stayed the day, then got startled when she entered and left quickly after.

If it’s horror or suspense and not a novel…chances are that it was inspired by a dream.  

Can you tell us a bit about your essay, THE ALLURE OF THE SERIAL KILLER?  What prompted this?

I was in the shower, and my husband came in singing the Psycho tune. When I recovered, he told me about a call for papers having to do with the philosophy of serial killers. I was unpublished except for short non-fiction at that time. He said it would be great if we could collaborate on a paper, as he knew a lot of philosophy, and I knew a lot about horror. I threw out the idea of a paper on why people were so attracted to serial killers in film and fiction, when real serial killers damage so many lives. He thought that was a great idea, and worked up a proposal, building our notion into a full-fledged paper. It was accepted by the editor handling the book Serial Killers; Philosophy for Everyone; Being and Killing. I give much of the credit for that work to my husband, though I did contribute a few lines here and there, as well as the section headings.  If anyone would like to read this paper, go to Selected Publications and look for the Allure of the Serial Killer title. 

What do you have going on this year for readers?

The sequel to my paranormal action adventure novel Lash, titled Shadow Man, will publish in late October, just in time for Halloween. The sequel to my vampire romance Promise Me, titled Broken Promise, will be out in late September, followed by the next sequel, Taken in the Night in January 2013. More sequels will follow in both series. Besides Bedtime Shadows with Jenny Twist, there will be several other coauthored works, including a historical paranormal work with T. Fox Dunham, and a Lash crossover with the character Dick Dice with a fellow author and illustrator, Paul “Deadeye” Dick. I am a contributor along with another good friend, Tori Ridgewood, in a vampire anthology called Midnight Thirsts 2 that just released from Melange Books. Tori, T Fox., and I are also all contributors to a zombie collection called Quick Bites of Flesh due out this fall from Hazardous Press.

I also have a bunch of short horror stories under consideration, and hope to publish more short stories in the online e-zine Flashes in the Dark, as soon as I get a chance to write a few more. 🙂

I hope also to schedule some book signings in the late fall and winter 2012-2013, if possible.  Watch Melange Books for details!

You write in many genres. Is there one you especially want to try that you haven’t yet?

I would like to try my hand at mystery…but I’m not sure there is a market for it, or that I have the skill to tell a good mystery. I am also conscious that to be a “Jill” of all writing trades might compromise my mastery of specific genres to which I am better suited. I will more likely instead narrow my existing genres to paranormal action adventure and romantic suspense, while still writing short horror suspense and the occasional nonfiction nature story for my blog. 🙂

Do your characters control the story or do you?  Have things ever taken a totally different path than what you’d intended?

They “have the com” all the way, and yes, stories often turn out different from what I expected. Return To Me was supposed to be horror, not romance. End of Days was supposed to be a short piece, not a 10K serial. Partners was initially much longer and too meandering, so it had to be cut down for a contest…then it was too short and stilted for Midnight Thirsts 2, and had to be lengthened! J But I enjoy that part of writing immensely. If I knew exactly what was going to happen when I sat down to write, I don’t think it would be near so exciting to write first drafts. But I do admit that I likely wouldn’t have the handful of “extra” stories that don’t yet have homes…

What’s the hardest part of writing? Easiest?

The hardest part of writing used to be worrying about if I was ever going to be published. Now it’s getting that first draft done. When I write now, there is sometimes a little voice telling me that what I’m writing isn’t good enough, its crap, the story is going the wrong way, no one will like it, etc. etc.  Ignoring the voice is easy…but sometimes that voice is spot on. The hard part is knowing when it’s lying and when it’s telling the truth.

 The easiest part of writing is the editing after the rough draft is done. That is the fun part, when I am putting in final touches, making dialogue more edgy, ramping up action, working out kinks, etc. This is done at least three separate times for a novel, maybe more, and usually at least twice for a short story. I love it when everything looks perfect, and I can show it to others. The only trouble is sometimes they tell me it’s not interesting, and then it’s back to the rough draft part! 

Is there anything you need to coax your muse?

Music is a big help. I have written story arcs around a single song, when one really moved me. I also like old movies, and history. But almost anything can inspire me. My trouble is usually not lack of ideas, but lack of free time to write 🙂

 

LASH is a weresnake.  Why a snake?

I was deep into the Promise Me series, and I needed someone to be the baddest of the bad, the right hand man of my vampire Devlin Dalcon. I wanted a werecreature of some kind, but in that series I tried to use only werecreatures that were based on real animals native to North America (non-fantasy creatures). I’d already used the cougar, coyote, fox and bears for werecreatures, and werewolves are overused in paranormal books. I needed something new, and singularly frightening. Then I thought, how about a snake? No one’s done a weresnake before. And Lash was born.

 

Do you have a favorite character you’ve created?

I love all my characters from the Promise Me universe: Sarelle, Danial, Devlin, Lash, Terian, and Theo, to name a few. They are like old friends. When I visit to edit a book from that series, or make a new work, it’s supremely hard to tear myself away. But Lash is the only one to get a series of his own, as he was and remains my mom’s favorite character. So you could call him my favorite, too. After all, it’s his name and form I have tattooed on my back. 🙂

Are you currently reading anything?

I am reading three books right now.

America the Book by Jon Stewart, which I go through one page at a time, as there is so much to read on each page. It is hilarious and informative.

A short book of stories by Edgar Allen Poe, as I had never read some of his short works, like “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and seeing the movie The Raven prompted me to pick up the book.

Last but not least, I am reading Theater of the Dragon by Daniel Archer, a fellow Wolf Pirate Project Writer’s Workshop author. This book has a compelling premise.  

Have you read anything you’d highly recommend lately?

Anything I give five stars to is highly recommended. I don’t give that ranking without loving what I was reading, and likely being willing to reread the book again at some point.    I review for Good Book Alert, EK Family Books, and also Fantasy Book Review, and you can also find my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

Can you tell us about Hannibal?  I have to confess I can do a Hannibal. Papa used to have one in his mill. I was always happy to see one take up residence in my yard.

Sadly, I rarely see local kingsnakes, only garter snakes. Hannibal is a California kingsnake, and shortly to be 2 years old. He’s nice most of the time. Here is a pic of him being bad and hiding beneath the dining room table.

Read you like to target shoot. Favorite gun?

A rifle, because I can get accuracy with distance. 🙂

Movie?

The animated version of the Hobbit 🙂

Really?

Finally, what’s this thing you have about chain sawing firewood?  Is it how you exercise or are you stocking up for winter and savor the scent of fresh cut wood?

LOL…Its necessity. We burn wood in the winter to cut heating costs. We have acres of forest, and trees are always falling down, so there is a handy supply. But it is a lot of work. When I first moved to the country, the old owner had cut a lot of trees for a firewood business, then left them to rot. To take advantage of this largesse, a friend taught me to chainsaw, I installed a wood stove, and then together, we harvested as much of the old wood as possible. It really helped my heating bill that first winter, so I kept doing it each year. Now it’s just part of the normal preparation for winter. And yes, it’s very good exercise. Days I am cutting wood, I can eat all the chocolate I want!

 

 

Y’all can find Tara at her website

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and her blog.

 

Meet the cast of PROMISE ME by Tara Fox Hall from their POVs with giveaway

What better way to introduce my novel Promise Me than a paragraph of introduction by each of the central and supporting characters, from their own POV?

 

 

Sarelle McGarran

Independent human heroine  

My name is Sarelle McGarran. I live on an old horse farm in New York, and work part time at a metal fabrication shop. Having lost my husband close to a year ago, I’m just starting to pick up the pieces. My rural life isn’t the easiest, and I admit, turning thirty has put my priorities in harsh perspective. While I admit to liking vampire shows, I really never expected to meet a real one. It wasn’t long before I began falling for Danial…it was so hard to resist him, with the way he swept into my life and gave me hope again. But I’m not sure that everything he tells me is on the up and up. If he thinks he can lie to me and still have me as his lover, I’m going to have to break the reality down to him, with something pointy for emphasis.

 

Danial Racklan

Reserved yet romantic vampire 

I am not usually taken unawares. But my chance meeting with Sarelle (or Sar, as she prefers to be called) was a most fortunate consequence of the attack I suffered. I find her refreshingly outspoken, and treasure her loyalty and forthrightness, so different than most of the vapid social climbing females that frequent the human corporate world. But I fear that if I can’t get her to commit to me soon, I’ll lose her. It is not easy for a human to accept most of my needs as a vampire: the night schedule, the blood donors I must use, the history I have witnessed and lost, my company which I love even as it demands much of my waking time, and the dismal fact that I will likely outlive her. I have no power to make vampires, unlike my licentious brother, Devlin. Will my love be enough to hold Sar to me, to sway her to pledge her promise to be mine?

 

Terian

 Vengeful half-demon 

Danial is not to be trusted, no matter what feelings he professes for Sar. I believe he killed my brother, Keriam, and he tried to kill me. Yes, he did tell me the truth about myself, in our fight that night he came to rescue her from me. But that doesn’t mean I trust him with Sar. She was kind to me, and helped me when she didn’t have to. I owe her for that. She’s also the first human who didn’t look at me like I was an abomination. I’ll do whatever I can to show her the truth that Danial is lying to her, and get her away from him before he gets her killed.

 

Theo

Uncompromising werecougar 

Danial is my best friend. He saved my life years ago, and gave me a place in his business, Solutions, Inc. In the ten years I’ve known him, he always treated me with respect, as a partner. But now all he talks about is this Sar woman. I’m happy that he’s in love, but I’m also worried that she and he aren’t going to work. They have more than a little to overcome, with him being vampire and her being human. Worse, I know Devlin’s going to go after her; he always tries to get Danial’s loves to leave Danial for him, after some feud they had centuries ago. That bastard Terian is just another problem we’re going to have to deal with, too. But keeping Danial safe is my job. Whatever it takes, I’ll find some way to put Terian down for good.

 

Cia

Loyal, reticent werefox 

I’m one of Danial’s werefoxes, assigned with protecting him and his personal effects. Now, Sar falls into that category, as its usual that people looking to hurt Danial goes after whomever they think is his current girlfriend. I’ve never really known a lot of humans, being born werefox. But I’m happy to spend time at her place, guarding her and getting to know her. Sar is accepting of me, and has also been showing me how to bake, something I appreciate, as I am very interested in another of Danial’s werefoxes, Aran. Sar is nice, and treats me as an equal. I’d give my life for her, not just because it’s my job, but also because I’m protective of her. I hope she and Danial make a go of it. She’s the nicest human I’ve ever met.

 

Devlin Dalcon

Seductive and relentless vampire 

At last, the moment I waited for all these last 50 years…my brother Danial is again in love. He hid it from me at first, knowing what I would do. But I am Vampire Ruler here in these States, and it was a matter of time before I commanded that he bring her before me for an introduction. Strangely, my charms failed me the night I first met Sar, and she resisted my efforts to seduce her. I will have to redouble my efforts to win her away from him…perhaps add in some poetry, or flowers, along with my passionate embraces. It shouldn’t take much to have her swooning at my feet, offering her body up for my eager penetration as all his other loves did.

I will never forgive Danial for taking Anna from me those many years ago. Danial’s heart will break once again over the loss of his beloved, just as mine did almost two centuries ago. Is that a threat? No, my darling readers…that’s a promise.

 

Metal shop worker Sarelle “Sar” McGarran is the ultimate tomboy and considers herself capable of handling whatever life throws her way. Recently widowed, she takes refuge in quiet country life until the day she stumbles upon an unconscious vampire on her property. Unable to leave the wounded man, she takes him in.

 Danial Racklan is a sexy bad boy with a complicated past and questionable motives. Yet before long, he has Sar completely captivated. He introduces her to his secret, supernatural world, in the process reawakening emotions and desires she hasn’t felt since her husband’s tragic death. Soon Sar finds herself drawn into a dark, dangerous reality in which her desire for Danial is second only to her wariness that he may break her heart. Yet Sar must soon face there is much Danial has kept from her, even as she begins to love him. When Danial asks her for an Oath of forever, will Sar give Danial his greatest desire?

 

When your lover is a vampire, a promise of forever takes on a whole new meaning…

PROMISE ME  

Danial was dying.

He could feel it in his blood, the burning in his flesh. He pulled the truck onto a side road and accelerated. His pursuer couldn’t be far behind. He glanced at his arm, at the small gash that was even now healing. It might be better for him if he opened it up again. He’d cleaned it the best he could, but it wasn’t like he’d had time to do more than pour water on it. It felt as though a razor had cut him and was working its way deeper into his flesh.

Had to be poison. And no run of the mill arsenic or derivative.

His mind worked frantically. What poison had been on the tip of that arrow? Who had that been in the shadows? Who’d known he’d been working on the Donaldson contract that he’d be there tonight, watching? And most importantly, who had dared attack him?

It was possible the attacker hadn’t known his name. But whoever had done this knew the breed of man he hunted and had prepared a special end for him. He’d gotten a glimpse in the shadows of what had hunted him; red eyes and a masculine form moving at supernatural speed. In his world, that still left a long list of possible suspects. For certain, it had been another of his kind.

He came to a crossroads and went west, then to another and headed south. There were no headlights behind him, at least so far. Best to leave the most complicated trail he could.

With some bitterness, he wondered why he was fighting so hard to survive. His life had been pointless for the last half century. Modern books and novels talked about how fun it was being a creature of the night; so romantic and glamorous. What a crock of shit.  If he hadn’t had his business, he’d have gone crazy. And as for there being so many women who wanted to be with . . . someone like him . . . for the most part, it was a phase girls in their twenties went through. Looking for a bad boy to titillate and seduce them. Not one had been anything of substance. It never lasted very long. But the ones who wanted in for the long haul were worse. There was always the vow of doing anything for him and the promise of eternal devotion. Until they found out that he couldn’t give them what they wanted. Then it was wheedling and hints of what he would do if he really cared for them. He’d stayed away from any serious commitments lately, say the last thirty years. Why bother, when they were doomed to fail?

Enough of depressing thoughts! God, wasn’t death at the end of the night depressing enough? He smiled at that and checked the rearview mirror. Still no lights. His attacker was either a master tracker or an amateur.

Maybe his life wasn’t everything he’d hoped for when he was young. But he’d be damned if he’d give it up without a fight.

He felt a wave of nausea, and swallowed. If there was going to be a fight, it had better be quick. He could already feel himself getting lightheaded, and it was getting worse by the second. He had to pull in somewhere and get out of the open. The night was more than half over. He’d never make it to the campsite he’d planned on, not how he felt.

***

            Terian paused, full of righteous triumph, a wide smile on his face. This was going perfectly. He’d hit his target, and it would all be over in a matter of hours. If he was lucky and had gotten the arrow deep enough, it might be only one hour. That poison was damn effective. Better yet, fate had done him a favor. The killer had been calling on his cell when he’d been hit, and in his shock and rush to get away, he’d dropped it.

Slowly, red eyes gleaming, Terian held the phone in a taloned hand and crushed it to pieces. No help coming tonight.

He still had to be careful. After all, he’d never done anything like this before. This was no time to get cocky. It wouldn’t be over until he’d either seen a body or a nice mound of ashes bathed in daylight.

Better get a move on. The night was already half over and his prey had a big head start.

***

            Where the hell was he?

Danial looked around and saw only cornfields and wooded areas. Small houses were interspersed here and there, some with barns or paddocks. Livestock were in some of the pens; if only that would work tonight.

The muscles in his arm suddenly contracted. He swerved, barely missing a truck coming the other way. He overcorrected, sending his truck almost into the ditch. But then he saw a turnoff. At least, he hoped it was. His eyesight was going dim, and he knew his time had run out.

He swung the truck into the opening among the trees, evoking a loud clank from the front fender. Nothing like a metal chain to scratch paint, not to mention leave evidence of a trail. The road seemed little more than a path, and he maneuvered as best he could; but his strength was failing fast. He slumped over the wheel, and the car rolled to a stop.

He had to get to safety. At least, in the trees there’d be darkness and shadows, where he might be able to find shelter.

Exhausted, he pushed against the door, momentarily forgetting how to work it. He fell against the passenger side door, disengaging the lock, and opening the door. In slow motion, he fell, the ground rushing up to meet him.

The door, at an angle, remained open for a moment, illuminating his body in a pale glow. Then the door succumbed to gravity and swung slowly shut with a soft click, leaving the vehicle and Danial’s still body in darkness.

 

Chapter One

 

            Yawning, I saw it was close to eleven p.m. It was Monday night, and I was curled up on my couch, cats sharing my lap. Sipping a glass of wine, I read the latest DeMille thriller. Jessica, my male cat with gender-identity issues, and my black cat Cavity had persuaded me to stay up past my self-appointed bedtime in order to provide some warmth and company. My slightly feral cat, Asher, was also there, hiding beneath the sofa, while two dogs, Ghost and Darkness, slept at my feet.

            It had been a long day, but I was used to that. Living alone at thirty on fifty-plus acres of both forest and rich-yet-rocky soil with pets and a job, even a part-time one like mine, meant long hours. And the work could be brutal. Today, coupled with visits to both Flora, my pseudo-grandmother, and my best friend, Kat, I was exhausted. But chain sawing and wood splitting tended to do that to me. Worse, this would be an extra hard week for me. That dentist appointment today had upset my work schedule, meaning I’d need to go in on Wednesday this week to make up the time.

            I probably shouldn’t have bought those flowers for Flora, I thought sheepishly. But she loved them, and she was only going to turn ninety-eight once. I could get by with waiting another month to make my first foray back into the dating world. What would it hurt, to wait another month?

            Flora, of course, had taken the opportunity to remind me to get on with my life in her usual fashion: “People come in and out of your life. It’s the time you have here with them that matters, not that they may not be around forever.”

            To make matters worse, Kat had then reminded me that we were both getting older.      I’m worried about you, she’d said, taking my hand. You need to let go, Sar.

            I’m okay, I’d replied a trifle coolly. I feel good.

            We aren’t getting any younger, she’d replied, her tone a little sad. It slips away so fast.

            It matters how you feel. I feel young, and good. I’m okay.

            But the truth was I’d lied. I did feel good most of the time. But I wasn’t okay. When I was twenty-something, I’d thought of thirty as “old.” I’d been sure that by the time I was thirty, I’d be married, with two cats, and maybe even a kid or two. At the least, I’d figured on knowing who I’d be with the rest of my life. I’d found out too late that even the best laid plans could fall in on me like a house of cards with one fateful gust.

            Maybe that was a good sign, that I knew I was missing something, unhappy living alone. I missed having a man around, both in my life and in my bed. I’d lost someone I loved. But I wasn’t dead, and maybe it was time to stop acting like I was. There was that singles thing coming up in town…

            Suddenly, my comfortable and reflective mood was interrupted by distant snapping and crunching sounds. They were faint enough to register with my challenged brain that all wasn’t as it should be. The cats didn’t act as if anything was wrong, but they were unreliable. If the house was burning, they might only move when the heat became unbearable. But the dogs at my feet were motionless, their heads raised. Dogs have ears that don’t fail.

            I stepped to the window just in time to see headlights slowly following the road. That was the sound I heard: a car driving on the property edge, along my neighbor’s access road. Whoever was out there at this time of night was most likely not traveling the road to inspect the gravel pit at the end for safety violations.

            Some jackasses were out looking to have some fun. My neighbors would have no idea that anyone was there, their home being a good ten minutes by foot through the trees, not to mention roughly a hundred feet higher in elevation. Many a truckload of raw earth and gravel had been dug out of the hillside, providing a perfect depression in the land to conceal any telltale lights from anyone’s view but my own. No one else could see them from the road, and even if they could, no one would care. Most people minded their own business out here, unless you wanted to make trouble and were prepared to deal with the business end of a shotgun.

            The decision was now mine: did I want to involve myself with this? Whoever was up there was just going to smoke a little grass or drink a little, or have the kind of fun that involves little plastic square wrappers. But it might well be something worse they were doing, like crack or meth, and that could be dangerous for me to interrupt.

            I cursed aloud and decided I’d better take a look.  Whoever had decided to take a little side route to adventure had first gotten through the heavy steel chain that blocked the access road. Bolt cutters would have been needed to cut through that thing, and who carries bolt cutters in their car? Someone had planned this, and if they were willing to cut a chain, they might be planning worse than some drinking and partying.

            Throwing on some clothes and collecting my waist-length hair in a plastic clip, I gathered a flashlight and my keys. I debated taking a weapon, but I talked myself out of it. Then, on the way to the door, I talked myself back into it, and got my .38 Special revolver. It was loaded. Depending on the size of the car, there could be six people at the most. Six bullets were enough.

            I buckled on my gun belt and knife and went out the front door.  Walking to the barn, it occurred to me that I might be overreacting. But I wasn’t one for hiding in the house, waiting to see if someone would leave me alone. It wasn’t my way and had never been.

            The first fall I’d owned the farm, I’d seen a hunter parked by my barn during deer season. I hadn’t called the police, hoping they would show up before he either left or put a bullet through one of my windows. I’d loaded my shotgun and walked over to his truck. I’d racked the weapon within hearing range, and when his head had whipped around, I’d asked him what the hell he thought he was doing. He’d been properly apologetic and left. More importantly, he’d spread the word, and I didn’t get many trespassing hunters anymore. People who wanted to hunt on my land respected me enough to ask me, and if I thought they hunted with care, I let them.  That was that.

            Tonight, I hoped I could just ask them to leave nicely and have them agree. Most times, despite my worries, that’s exactly what happened. But I didn’t hear the usual sounds I expected: loud talking, music, the sort of giggling that meant sex was a definite possibility but not a surety. Odd that whoever was in the quarry wasn’t laughing it up. 

            I got to the barn. Its outside light was on and welcoming. I slid the door open and walked into the darkness inside. I knew the barn in and out, and I wasn’t afraid. There was nothing that was going to hurt me in there. I’d never been afraid of ghosts. I believed in God, and I had faith. And what my faith couldn’t handle, my .38 Special was sure to be able to take care of.

 

For those with a kindle, PROMISE ME will be available for free download beginning 6-24 @ noon.

 

Tara is generously offering one (1) lucky commenter a print copy of PROMISE ME.  Ends at midnight est June 26th. Winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good Luck, sounds like a good one!

 

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For info on my recently published books click here: Lash and here Promise Me.

No Way Out, Lash on LASH by Tara Fox Hall with giveaway

At his request, I allowed Trystan Valeras a.k.a. Lash to be the one to introduce my newest work Lash, the novel depicting his origin. A heartfelt thank you to him for this, and also a warning: watch the language, and don’t be threatening anyone.   – Tara Fox Hall

 

NO WAY OUT

I’m Lash. Those of you who frequent the Internet might have already heard of me. I’m trying hard to get the word out there about my exploits, promoting my origin book that bears my name as its title. If this is your first time seeing my name, don’t worry. I guarantee it won’t be the last.

My book, Lash, begins in my youth, with my yearnings for a better life. Like a lot of people, I started out poor and had to work my way up. It was hard work, sure, but I was well on my way to getting a decent life, if not a memorable one by the time I was sixteen. In the years that followed, my life became a constant struggle to go straight. My father, Jared, pushed me from the first to join him in his life of crime. I never wanted to be a killer. But no matter how hard I fought to break away, circumstance always found a way to draw me in deeper.

It all began with my father, like I said. When he showed up the summer I turned sixteen, I really resented it. I mean, where had he been all those years when we needed him? I was the one who had to kill a man to stop my mom getting raped. I—along with my brother—helped to support our family, first by hunting, and later by working as servants at the Case hotel. We weren’t rich, but we were finally making it. Then Jared came along with his promise of a better life. My mother went right for it. I can’t blame her; she’d always loved him. I admit I didn’t put up much of a fight, either. Accepting his dirty money gave me my one shot at the beautiful Mara.

Later on, after that all fell apart, I tried again to go straight, working construction to support my mother and sisters. It wasn’t easy; it was a harsh life, especially in the beginning when we didn’t have a house, and my job paid shit. But things got better after that first year, when I had built the house for us, and gotten promoted. If we’d have gone on like that, we’d have all had a decent life. Again, my father drew me back in. He was the one that summoned me, and told me to get weapons training to protect my sisters. And when he died, I went to kill that son of a bitch Kline, for all the grief he’d brought to our lives. Kline would’ve tracked us down anyway, just to get to me.

I don’t regret any of my decisions. How can I? What other choice did I have, then the ones I’d made? There was no way out for me then. All I can hope for is a better future. And if I have to kill someone to get there…hey, it’s not going to be a problem.

Be seeing you in the dark later,
Lash

 

 

 

Scarred from a childhood spent in perpetual indigence after being forced from their home in the Everglades, weresnake Trystan Valeras and his family make their way to the Case Hotel. When his wealthy gangster father arrives the summer he turns sixteen, Trystan’s dream of a better life, along with the lovely aristocrat Mara, is suddenly within his grasp. Instead of paradise, a series of devastating events unfold, leading Trystan to become the instrument of his dying father’s revenge. His violent reprisal instigates a backlash of murder and death, forcing Trystan to flee with the remains of his family to the sultry city of New Orleans where he sells himself into the service of the Vampire Lord Abraham. Becoming the assassin Lash to hide his identity, Trystan finds a measure of peace, even as his skill with killing heightens, bringing to him not only new allies, but also new adversaries

 

 

Tara is generously offering a signed copy of SPELLBOUND to one lucky commenter.  Ends @12am est 5-22-12.

Manic Readers SPELLBOUND review.

 


 

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For info on my recently published work, Lash.

For info on my recently published work, Just Shadows.


Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first full-length action-adventure novel, Lash, published in April 2012. Her vampire series begins in June 2012, with the 1st novel Promise Me. 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.

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