Anyone who knows me knows that I love paranormal romance. It combines my two favorite fiction genres: Romance and Horror. So much can be found within the pages of a paranormal. Love. Intrigue. Sacrifice. Redemption. And many action-filled scenes capable of inspiring fear in its participants (and in readers). Some of my favorite romance reads feature humans who have unexpectedly been tossed into a paranormal world, leaving them totally out of their element. I love to see how these men and women react to the surreal, to the “This can’t be real.” And I love to see how they cope with the fear such inspires.
In Darkness Dawns, the first book in my Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series, Sarah (a music theory professor) is thrust into a war that erupts between vampires and immortals when she rescues Roland and makes herself a target of the vampire army. Does she fight without fear when the need arises? No. There is definitely fear thrumming through her. But she fights, very valiantly in my opinion, despite that fear. Roland, the immortal hero, has a different fear-related dilemma. He hasn’t felt true fear in centuries, yet finds himself grappling with a fear of his own now: a fear for Sarah’s safety . . . and of falling in love with her when he is destined to lose her.
In Night Reigns, the second book in my series, fear — or rather a lack of fear — is what brings the hero and heroine together. Marcus Grayden, the hero, recently lost the woman he has loved for eight hundred years and, since then, has become . . . well . . . a little too fearless. And a little too reckless. His actions lead the leader of the Immortal Guardians to assign him a Second. (Seconds are human assistants who aid the immortals.) Ami, the heroine, is that lucky Second. Unlike Marcus, however, her problem is an abundance of fear rather than an absence of it. Ami has had a torturous past — literally — and, though she is the most skilled mortal warrior Marcus has ever encountered, she still struggles with the many fears that past has instilled in her . . . as you will see in the excerpt below. :-)
Night Reigns (Immortal Guardians, #2)
Two of the three vampires the immortal had been fighting had fallen. As the immortal halted, the two who had pursued her both fell, limp, to the ground. The sole surviving vampire took in the rapidly decomposing bodies of his companions and fled.
The Immortal Guardian turned to face her.
Ami swallowed hard and looked up at him. Way up at him. At six foot one or so, he towered over her own five feet. Her fear did not lessen, though she knew it should. Immortals were the good guys. Immortals had rescued her from the monsters who had locked her in a hell of their making. Immortals had taken her in, helped her regain her sanity, protected her and given her a home.
But not before those monsters had done irreparable damage to her psyche.
Ami forced herself to lower her weapon, but could not lessen her grip on it or still her trembling.
The immortal studied her in silence. His clothing was torn in numerous places and wet with blood, both his and the vampires’. Though his hands still grasped short swords in loose, comfortable clasps, one arm hung at an odd angle.
“Are you injured?” he asked. His voice, soft and deep, carried a British accent.
Unable to find her own, she shook her head.
“You know what I am, what they are,” he commented, motioning to the deceased vampires with a tilt of his head.
“Yes,” she squeezed past her tight throat. “Are you . . . are you all right?”
He nodded and glanced in the direction of the fleeing vampire. “I’ve one more to take care of.”
“Do you want me to call in reinforcements?”
A wicked smile curled his lips as he began walking backwards in the direction of his prey. “And spoil my fun? No, thank you.”
Something about that smile, the dark anticipation that filled his handsome features, produced a flutter of butterfly wings in her belly.
“Am I correct in assuming you’re a Second?”
She opened her mouth to respond in the negative.
Seconds were humans who worked with immortals and protected them during the daylight hours when they must scorn the sun. All were very carefully screened to ensure their loyalty and underwent extensive martial arts and weapons training. They were also a lot like secret service agents and wouldn’t hesitate to give their lives to save that of their Immortal Guardian . . . which was why Seconds were almost always male. Apparently most immortals tended to be old-fashioned and found the idea of a woman sacrificing her life for them too unpalatable to bear.
The sudden bleating of her cell phone made Ami jump and snap her mouth shut.
She fumbled for the phone.
The immortal looked over his shoulder, his eagerness to begin the chase evident.
When she glimpsed the caller ID, Ami barely suppressed a groan. “Go ahead,” she urged the immortal and waved to the bodies of the vampires, which were shriveling up as the parasitic virus that infected them devoured them from the inside out in a desperate bid to live. “I’ll take care of this.”
Ami brought the phone to her ear and answered in as normal a voice as she could produce after the past nerve-wracking few minutes. “Hi, Seth.”
The immortal’s eyebrows flew up. No doubt his preternaturally enhanced hearing had allowed him to hear the bass-baritone greeting of the leader of the Immortal Guardians . . . as well as the affection that laced it.
“You’re late. Where are you?” Seth continued.
“I, ah . . .” Ami surveyed the bloody clearing, considered how assiduously Seth guarded her safety and thought it best not to worry him. “I . . . just stopped to return the movies Darnell and I rented last night.”
A grin split the immortal’s face, evoking such an appealing transformation that Ami could only stare, speechless.
Apparently reassured by her acquaintance with Seth and Darnell (the Second of one of the most powerful immortals) and titillated by her evasion of Seth’s question, he winked, offered her a cocky salute with the sword in his uninjured arm, then seemed to vanish into thin air as he took off after the vampire who had gotten away.
The tension that she hadn’t realized had tightened nearly every muscle in her body disappeared with him, leaving her with an almost light-headed giddy feeling.
“Everything all right, Ami?”
“Everything’s fine,” she said and meant it.
Not only had she managed to confront a stranger -- a strange man -- without giving in to the panic that usually consumed her in such instances and either fleeing in terror or dissolving into a pathetic, quivering lump; she had actually helped said stranger defeat the group of vampires who had attacked him.
Jubilation laced with tremendous relief flooded her. Seth was right. She really was getting better. Those monsters hadn’t broken her.
“I’m fine,” she repeated, so happy now she could’ve danced. “Sorry I’m running late. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“All right. Be careful.”
“I will,” she chirped and returned the phone to her pocket with a grin.
Darkness Dawns Synopsis:
Once, Sarah Bingham’s biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing wounded stranger, she’s landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control . . .
In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible -- when it means forfeiting the world she’s always known, and the life he would do anything to protect.
Night Reigns Synopsis:
Ami isn't much for trusting strangers. She has a hard time trusting anyone. But she's no coward, and she's no pushover in the protection department either. So when she comes across a mysterious warrior taking on eight deranged vampires on his own, she doesn't hesitate to save his bacon. Of course, that was before she realized what one little rescue would get her into . . .
Marcus Grayden has been an immortal protector of humanity for eight hundred years, and at the moment he's not interested in backup. From the moment Ami arrives in his life, he can't deny that she's strong, smart, and extremely skilled at watching his back. But she's also destroying his protective solitude and stirring desires he can't bear to awaken. After all, whatever her secrets — how can she defeat death itself?
Don’t miss Dianne's big Kindle Contest. She's giving away TWO Kindles (or a Kindle Gift Card if you already have one) to celebrate the release of Night Reigns. See her website for details.
Dianne's Website: http://www.dianneduvall.com
Thank you for joining me! Have a wonderful week!
GIVEAWAY! ONE lucky winner will get a SIGNED copy of Darkness Dawns OR Night Reigns! Winners choice!
You MUST be at least 18 years old to enter this giveaway.
Please fill out the quick form below to enter.
Giveaway open: INTERNATIONAL!
Giveaway ends: January 3rd, 2012
Winner of this giveaway will be chosen via Random.org. If you have any questions, please check my policy page or feel free to email.
Dianne, thank you so much for asking me to be part of the Night Reigns Blog Tour. I am a fan of the series and it's always a pleasure to work with you. I look forward to reading about more of the Guardians and their stories and I look forward to hosting you here on my blog again in the future. Also a HUGE thank you for donating the book for giveaway.