(oh...and GOOD LUCK to all the entrants...make sure you tell ALL your friends!!)
1. Follow this blog and you'll be entered in this contest once.
2. If you’ve already read my book Elfin Blood, e-mail me at email@example.com with CONTEST in the subject line and answer the following question:
What tattoo is on Julija’s hand?
(Your name will be entered in the contest 5 times.)
3. Purchase a copy of my book, Elfin Blood, and send me a copy of the receipt at firstname.lastname@example.org with CONTEST in the subject line. There are several buy links where Elfin Blood can be found, depending upon your haunt…Here are several of them (click on the name to be directed to the link):
Noble Romance Publishing, Lybrary.com, AllRomanceeBooks, ereadable.com, diesel-ebooks.com, Powell’s books powells.com, ebookpie.com and OmniLit.com. (Your name will be entered in the contest 5 times.)
To gain additional entries: You can gain 5 additional entries to the contest by reposting this contest and tell me where the link was reposted.
Contest runs until March 5, 2010. Good luck to all entrants!
Below are the first three chapters of Elfin Blood and reviews from other readers and/or reviewers:
G.R. Bretz reviewed Elfin Blood and I love this comment by him: “Stopping in the middle of this story would have been as feasible as stopping in the middle of sex.” To read the complete review, go here.
Sheila Deeth reviewed Elfin Blood and said: “Gracen Miller creates an interesting cast of characters in Elfin Blood, and fills their world with delightfully intriguing
surprises. Very nicely done Gracen, and definitely not your granny’s or granddaughter’s romance.” To read the complete review click here and scroll down to the first comment.
Deb at Dark Diva Reviews reviewed Elfin Blood, gave it 5 Delightful Divas and a Recommended Read, and said: “Elfin Blood is pure Magic! It is a story worth reading over and over again.” To read the complete review, go here.
Julija squinted against the sun’s harsh rays. Not even her darkly tinted sunglasses entirely cut the glare. The frames slid down her sweat-slick nose. She pushed them back up and looked around, her impatience rising. For the fifth time in as many minutes, she glanced at her watch. Two minutes left. She resettled her gaze on the odd-looking house across the street.
The structure looked more like a fortress than an actual home and gave her the creeps. It was too gothic, too dark, and contrary to her light-imbued life.
Made from slate, the house reached high into the sky like a castle with its domed ceilings. Gargoyles carved from stone rested above the windows, as if offering protection from demonic entities. With a vampire in residence, perhaps they did.
She shuddered to think of it as a home, but the richest, most powerful man in the city of Veil—Landau Jamieson the IV or V or something along that order—considered it such. The man was the sole reason she stood here, or rather the vampire disguised as a man was the sole reason. Ironically the city’s residents considered him royalty. Hell, more like Batman of Gotham in these parts.
Priceless. Absolutely priceless. For no other purpose other than to make herself feel good, Julija rolled her eyes beneath the thick shades.
The vampire had stolen the Ivory Elfin Book of Lore. The ancient tome detailing every creature in existence, including the fey, had been entrusted to the Elves at the dawn of creation. Whoever possessed the book also possessed great knowledge, expertise that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. Ownership of the book also ensured great power, power she could not allow a vampire to keep.
For a week now, Julija had watched him and tried to gauge the best time to strike. Failure was not an option for the best thief among the Elves. Secretly, she was proud of her talent; it had served her people well. Elves were renowned for their light step, and it just so happened her fingers were stickier than most of her kind.
Security systems could not deter her; she possessed enough magic to nix the best system in the world.
She would retrieve the book, once she figured out how to bypass the perceptive vampire and his minions. One thing still puzzled her—how had the vampire stolen it to begin with when only Elf Royals were allowed to touch it? Another dilemma for her since she was not an Elf Royal.
Her best chance to retrieve it would be in two days when the vampire attended the depot dedication of Veil's newly renovated train station. Feeling melodramatic about the event, she rolled her eyes again. How humans loved to waste money. The homeless lived near the train station, beneath the bridges in cardboard boxes. Died there too, while the station went through elaborate renovations for the wealthy and elite.
Julija glanced at her watch again as the black limousine rolled to a halt in front of the vampire’s home. Like clockwork, the man left for work every day at precisely the same time. Talk about being a creature of habit!
The vampire in question strode about as blatant as he pleased in daylight. Daylight! Vampires and daylight mixed like metal and acid. Daylight and acid were supposed to vaporize vampires and metal, but apparently not so with this vampire.
Every cocky step he took reeked arrogance. While she pondered how he managed to keep from melting beneath the sunlight, he lifted his head. Their gazes locked.
Cool as ice, and trained for confrontations, she returned his gaze. While not the most skilled fighter, she possessed some ability in that area.
Landau’s stylishly cut, dark blonde hair gleamed like gold beneath the bright sun. The man was tall, broad shouldered, and athletically built. The charcoal gray business suit, tailored precisely to fit his frame, bespoke wealth—not money, but wealth. Even from this distance, he oozed pheromones and drew her like an addictive narcotic. That could be dangerous for her elfin libido—inordinately high in comparison to other fey creatures.
The vampire tossed her a crooked grin before sliding into the back seat, leaving little question in her mind he’d spotted her. Unmoving, she watched as the limo pulled away.
Perfect. He knows he’s being watched.
Although gone from the residence, unfortunately that didn’t mean Landau left his home unguarded. Oh, no, nothing could be that easy.
Flagrant to her elfin eyes, his home embodied magic. Translated, that meant he’d opened the Ivory Elfin Book of Lore and was, in fact, utilizing the spells in the book. In all likelihood he’d used the same witchery to protect himself from the glaring sun.
Because of this, she’d have to kill him once she had the book in her possession again.
* * * * *
Landau adjusted the black sunglasses on his face and glanced out the limousine window.
The woman on the bench appealed to him with her pale, almost white, blonde hair. Through her thick shades he’d assessed her eyes to be pale blue with barely a hint of color, rather albino in nature. Her milky white complexion had looked softer than satin. He wondered how such delicate skin would bruise.
But she had an agenda. Either she was a reporter—not likely—or up to no good. Bingo! Landau couldn’t wait to find out the no good part. A long time had passed since he’d enjoyed himself.
Although he’d tried, he couldn’t read her mind. She possessed one of few human minds he couldn’t penetrate. Or she wasn’t human. The phenomena lent her an air of mystery. Even though he couldn't glean her thoughts, he knew her mind worked at top speed, planning, scheming, and devising until a perfect little blueprint had been mapped out in her mind. Her eyes were too shrewd to suggest otherwise.
He’d tossed her a snarky little grin before entering the limo, just to let her know he knew she was stalking him. That should leave give her something to think about. He chuckled then addressed his bodyguard. “Find out who she is.”
“Immediately,” Edward, an Abecedarian—a fledgling, in human terms—agreed and then tipped his nose in the air and sniffed as if in disdain over being assigned such a menial task.
Alberic, the Ivory King—a pain in the ass old geezer in Julija’s opinion—greeted her at the hotel door. “I assume the man followed the same routine as before?”
“Yep,” she replied, ambling past him and collapsing onto the sofa. Julija set her feet down on the coffee table, crossed her ankles and looked up at him.
With arms crossed over his chest, he sent her a disgruntled gaze. Long, white-blonde hair fell to the middle of his back, interspersed with a braid of ebony on the right side of his head . . . the mark of the Ivory King. Alberic looked twenty, but was more like twenty thousand years old. He’d been around since the beginning of creation. Because of his age, he thought he knew every fucking thing about the universe. In Julija’s opinion, very few things were worse than dealing with a self-professed know-it-all.
“Have you conceived a plan?” he asked.
Why must he always talk down to her? Who said she needed a keeper anyway? If she found out who, she’d strangle the cretin when she returned home. She was a thief, not some freaky highborn elf with truly scary abilities, and she hungered to do her job without every move being questioned.
To piss him off, Julija shrugged. The subtle white-flare in his eyes suggested she’d hit her mark. “I figure the Depot dedication is the best time.”
“Figure?” He arched a snowy eyebrow.
She wanted to rip the blasted thing off and shove it down his insufferable throat.
Yeah,” she replied, trying to sound bland and fooling herself into believing she didn’t give a damn about her impertinence. To push her point, she arched her own eyebrow. A ballsy move, but Alberic’s elitist attitude rubbed her the wrong way.
“And if you’re wrong?”
Talk about playing the devil’s advocate. “I’m not.”
“But what if you are?”Alberic persisted.
“Look.” She sat up and rested her forearm on a knee. “I’m the thief. Allow me to do my job, will ya?”
“It doesn't feel right, Julija.”
“Is that your hocus pocus talking?” She shot back, waggling a finger.
“This is our future.”
His impatience grated on her nerves.
“Need I remind you he’s elfin kin?” he added.
Julija shot to her feet, fisting her fingers into her palms. “Have I ever let you down?”
The white eyebrow rose again. Really she ought to be promoted to sainthood for having to deal with the Ivory King.
* * * * *
Landau relaxed in his office chair and flipped a pen through his fingers when Doreen and Edward, his Abecedarian vampire children, entered his office. Doreen’s hand was laced into the crook of Edward’s elbow.
The sun had dipped below the horizon. Spells from the Ivory Elfin Book of Lore had provided Landau with a means to endure sunlight, had granted him freedom from the night’s slavery. He’d not divulged his secret to any other vampire and had only protected Edward from the sun because he needed his assistance during the day.
Doreen’s short, glossy black hair curled around her pixie face, and her sable eyes were enhanced by her dark makeup. Gracefully, she perched on the edge of her chair, crossing her ankles daintily. Edward stood behind her in full military stance.
“Find anything?” Landau asked.
“A name only,” Edward responded.
“You like her?” Doreen drew her mouth into an orchestrated pout.
“She intrigues me.” No human had the ability to hold his fascination. “Her name?”
“She checked into the hotel as Julija Sinclair.”
Edward shrugged. “She’s a ghost.”
She wasn’t a ghost. History existed about her somewhere; it was a matter of finding it. “Family or friends?”
“Some chap is holed up with her.”
He delivered Edward a direct stare, an indication for him to continue.
“He’s not registered at the hotel, but I did discover one other bit of information. According to the hotel clerk, Julija likes to patronize Ravens.”
Landau rubbed his temples. Ravens was a nightclub that catered to individuals with a taste for debauchery.
“What’s the name of their hotel?"
“Veil Suites Inn, room 486.”
A low-end establishment. Landau frowned. Could she be after money? Did she hope to extort or blackmail him in some way?
“Does she visit other locations with regularity?”
A smile curled Edward’s lips. “Other than your home, that is?”
“Yeah, smartass,” he said with a grin.
Ravens. Wow. The girl had an itch to scratch if she frequented the hardcore-not-for-the-faint-of-heart club. Landau rubbed his chin. Tonight would be a good night to pay a visit to Ravens.
Landau entered the dimly lit club a little before midnight. A wave of rambling thoughts flooded him. With concerted effort, he managed to push them back and focus on the singer and the strangled words:
Oh, Dark Angel of death
Come feast upon my breath . . . .
The bottled-blonde, needle-loving singer belted out the lyrics in an ear-screeching howl. The blaring music pulsated inside Landau’s head, and the walls seemed to swell with the cumbersome beat. Horrible stuff. He preferred the Jazz Club up on Dixon Avenue.
While people from all walks of life danced to the music, he mentally probed the room, hoping his stalker would be here tonight.
Is that Landau Jamieson? He heard the thought from someone’s mind before pushing it aside and sifting through those open to him.
Wham! He winced when his mentalism struck a blockade. Again, he probed and again, wham . . . blocked.
With his gaze roaming the crowd, he felt the blood pulse through his brain. A satisfied grin tilted the corner of his lips. Ah, there she was.
Landau’s hunt had come to an abrupt halt.
Julija’s white-blonde hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail. He decided her eyes were ice blue without the shades deepening their hue. Her outfit displayed her dicey curves.
A man sat across from her with his back to Landau, his bearing rigid, almost regal. The stiff line of his spine suggested he found this hellhole highly offensive.
With her fingertips, Julija massaged her temples. Landau slid up to their table.
“Hello, darling,” he drawled, drawing Julija’s gaze.
His little stalker merely glared at him. Landau leaned an elbow on the table, blocking her view of her male friend. Her gaze grew frostier.
“Careful, careful.” He waved a finger at her and dropped his voice to his most charming tone. “You don’t want to give me frostbite.”
She looked at her companion, and Landau thought he saw irony in the icy-blue depths of her eyes. He smiled before canting his head around to take stock of her friend. The man stared into his eyes with a tight, knowing smile.
Landau stumbled back a step. Realizing he’d reacted unseemly, he planted his feet and found himself gawking at the strand of black braided hair and the silvery white eyes. “To what do I owe the honor of the Ivory King’s presence in my fair city?”
“Ivory what?” Julija echoed in feigned disbelief.
“Save it, love,” he said with a killing glance, mocking her lie. “And why are you stalking me?” Clearly, her features were elfin.
“Oh, do beg off.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m not stalking you.”
“Your life’s in danger,” the highborn elf said.
“What?” Landau narrowed his eyes at the royal cretin. “And I suppose you’re here to protect me?”
The snot inclined his head.
Landau scoffed. “Bulletin! I’m a vampire.”
“Save it, love,” Julija shot back at him.
Landau whipped his head about and raised his eyebrows.
She gave him a tight smile. “Call yourself whatever you like; you’re still a Crimson Elf.”
He felt his nostrils flare. “Yeah,” he said with a sneer, his incisors exposed. Under normal circumstances, he could conceal them, but from the moment he’d caught sight of Julija he’d been unable to contain them. “That didn’t seem to matter when the rest of you fucking elves decided to eradicate us. Don’t expect me to believe you suddenly care.”
“We allowed your race to survive.” The sardonic comment came from her snotty friend.
“So you have.” His sarcasm should have knocked the breath from their lungs.
His people shouldn’t have been exterminated. They hadn’t asked to become a new elfin race, driven by bloodlust, never to see the sun again, never to screw again. Of all the curses to choose from, he wasn’t sure which had been the biggest blow. Elves were known among other races for their high libidos. In the end, his elfin kin had turned against their own kind.
Landau raked his gaze over the elf-man. “I believe I recall you from another time.”
Before Landau became a vampire at Chaos’ whim, he’d known the Ivory King well, and this elf wasn’t king then. The elf cocked his head to the side, awaiting further comment.
“Do you like what you see?” Landau turned his attention to Julija instead of elaborating, snubbing the royal elf.
Julija sputtered. “I b-beg your . . . um . . . pardon?”
“You were studying me.”
“No.” She sniffed and scrunched her nose as if his scent offended her. “I wasn’t.”
He found the situation amusing and called her bluff with a knowing grin. Intrigued, he watched her eyes focus on his fangs before she licked her lips. Her gaze felt like a caress. Hell, even his cock responded with a twitch, a fascinating reaction. Not simply because he’d been impotent for ten thousand years, but also because she was an elf. Lust was an oddity. Being aroused by an Ivory Elf—an enemy—was ludicrous.
“Would you care to dance?” Landau surprised himself with the request.
She flicked a nervous glance in the direction of the man-elf. She swallowed hard and replied crisply, “I don't dance.”
“Good,” Landau purred. Cool fingers clamped around her wrist and yanked her to her feet. She squawked like any human would and stumbled to catch her footing. “Then I'll have the pleasure of teaching you.”
Smiling by the time he reached the dance floor with his unwanted partner in tow, he turned to her and said, “Let’s tango.”
She glared up at him, and all Landau could think about was her sexy curves. Her hands hugged her hips, the bright red painted nails stark against her pale flesh. The low-rider jeans exposed a swath of skin where her pants and buttercup shirt gapped. Her belly was flat, her navel pierced with a dangling glitter of rubies. Elves loved sparkly trinkets. Her divine top fell into a deep V, exposing the swell of her full breasts.
Although he hadn’t taken a woman since his transformation, he burned with the desire to fuck her, and the whore-inspired clothing clinging to her body implied she was easy.
Even in heels, she barely reached his chin, and he could easily lift her up and screw her against the wall. While everyone watched. If only he had the capability.
“What part of ‘I don’t dance’ don’t you get, vampire?”
Angry, she fairly spat the word vampire. Her feral eyes gleamed and turned him on, as did the fury smoking her voice.
“How about the part where I don’t give a damn?”
“Go to hell!” Her eyes sparked again and Landau found it sexually fascinating.
“You’re making a scene.”
Julija glanced about the bar. Several other patrons stared in their direction, but she shrugged, confirming his suspicion that she didn’t give a shit. “Your problem; you’re the prince here, not me.”
She turned to walk away, but before she took a step he clamped his fingers around her upper arm and snatched her around. He snaked his other arm around her waist as he drew her to him.
Her nostrils flared.
Supremely satisfied he’d gotten a rise out of her, the next thing he knew his mouth claimed hers. Their teeth met and she moaned, no doubt from pain, but he hoped from pleasure, as well.
He moved his hand up her lower back and grabbed a lock of her hair in his fist. With a tug, he tilted her head back and her mouth slipped open so he could worship her with his tongue.
Julija stood immobile in his arms. She didn’t fight him. She didn’t do anything as he tasted her. He sensed her surprise, suspected he’d shocked her into silence.
She tasted like nectar from the gods. He hadn’t planned to accost her, had merely intended to get her away from that haughty highborn. Her defiance now dared him into action.
He hadn’t kissed a woman in ten thousand years, hadn’t desired to kiss a woman in all that time either. In awe, he realized an erection had sprouted from that simple kiss—his first boner in eons.
Once he tasted her, he wanted more than just her body. He wanted to taste the warmth of her flesh beneath the pressure of his fangs, wanted to taste the stickiness of her life against his tongue.
And, oh, so easily, his fangs would burst forth, as easily as he could imagine her papery flesh giving way beneath them. Her coppery blood would spurt . . . .
Landau shoved her aside. He’d been so close to taking her right there on the dance floor while the highborn and humans watched. So close to draining her too.
Struggling for control, he slammed his eyes shut and focused on the unnatural shake of his hands. The depth of his uncontrollable emotions alarmed him. If not for the last fleeting moment of lucidity, he would have taken her blood and filled her body with his right there.
The rushing sound of blood pumping through her veins filled his ears. The beating of her heart pulsed in his head. She was frightened and had good reason to be. He wanted her; had almost lost control of himself. The thought frightened him.
Opening his eyes, he met her dazed gaze. Her fingers pressed against her slightly parted lips. Her eyes were wide, expressing confusion.
The highborn stepped through the crowd—hell, to be frank, the crowd parted for the bastard—that had encircled Julija and him. Painfully, Landau’s heart pounded and he couldn’t swallow past the knot in his throat.
The male elf stepped into his path, placed himself directly between them, and glared into his eyes. “You’d be wise not to repeat the offense,” he said haughtily.
“Why?” Landau barked. “She your elf?”
Julija regained a portion of her composure and stalked up to the highborn. Amused, Landau watched as her anger eliminated her ability to hold her present form and she shifted. Her ears became pointy, a distinct elfin trait he’d have recognized had she not been in human form. The elf birthmark slid into view on her left temple—a curly-Q squiggle identifying her as an Ivory Elf. All elves possessed such a mark somewhere on their faces. The highborn would have one too, but he was still in enough control to mask his elfhood.
Anger sparked in her eyes, and her luscious, pouty lips formed a straight, hard line. She nudged her friend aside and slapped Landau with all the strength she could muster—quadrupled, powerful fey strength.
Landau’s head snapped back and he growled. He stared her down—or tried to—while the stinging in his cheek burst to life like a torch.
The highborn smirked, but did nothing to intervene. Landau felt the fire in his eyes and knew they’d recognize how he struggled to leash his power.
He’d have to kill her now. Too bad, such spunk could have proven entertaining in bed, particularly after such a long interval of impotence. He had little doubt he’d find a wealth of pleasure in her sexy body. But no one, absolutely no one, struck him without provocation, and one kiss was not provocation.
Landau inhaled a calm breath and tamped down his anger. Yes, such a waste that he wouldn’t feel her body writhing beneath him while he fucked her to climax.
“Until we meet again, Jewel.” Landau uttered the endearment between teeth clenched so hard, his fangs pierced his bottom lip.
“Not if I can help it,” she snarled.
He allowed her to have the last word now, but soon he’d have the final one.