Saturday, June 26, 2010

Taie You to Another World Contest Day #6: J.K. Beck

So today, I'm introducing a brand new author to you, J.K. Beck, who is absolutely fabulous (and not so brand new-- it's the pen name for the amazing, bestselling novelist, Julie Kenner). Julie is a member of my local RWA chapter and a truly terrific person and writer. I've been waiting with bated breath for this trilogy to come out-- and once you read the blurb and excerpt, you'll know why. The first book, When Blood Calls, comes out August 31, so keep your eyes peeled.

Be sure to comment for a chance to win a $15 itunes giftcard.

In When Blood Calls, the explosive first entry in the new Shadow Keepers series, J.K. Beck expertly blends pulse-pounding romantic suspense with an evocative and original paranormal world. The result is a red-hot page-turner. I can’t wait to read more from this author!
Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author

Sara Constantine is one of the country’s most tenacious prosecuting attorneys—and she’s just secured a well-earned promotion. At first she’s thrilled. Then she finds out her new job involves prosecuting vampires and werewolves. And nothing prepares Sara for the shock she receives when she meets the first defendant she’ll be trying to put away: Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.
When Lucius Dragos kisses the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s only hoping to blend into the crowd and avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s following…and planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss to secure his cover ignites into a fierce hunger that leads to an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows Sara will do whatever it takes to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not the monster she thinks he is. And that might mean making the greatest sacrifice a vampire can make.

The judge's body lay sprawled on the ground, eyes still open in surprise and terror. He'd known what was to befall him in his last seconds. Known that his betrayals had finally been avenged, his crimes soundly punished.
Without thinking, Lucius licked his lips, tasting the bitter flavor of Braddock's fear. Fear, but no remorse. Of all the monsters that moved in the night, Marcus Braddock had been among the most vile.
He was dead now. Justice delivered. Fate sealed.
It was over.
Lucius took one last look at the Los Angeles officer, standing stiffly in his uniform and talking rapidly into the radio on his shoulder as the lights from his patrol car painted the drizzled night in red and blue. Nearby, a female sobbed, the foolish jogger who'd discovered the body and called 911, setting the wheels in motion.
Soon more officers would descend. And then the others would come. The ones who would understand what had truly happened here tonight.
The ones who would search for Braddock's killer.
He needed to be gone before they arrived.
And with that thought, Lucius Dragos melted back into the night where he belonged.


"Rain," Tucker said. "You wanna tell me why we're always getting called out in the goddamn rain?"
"Clean living," Ryan Doyle answered, eyeing his partner with amusement as he slid his '63 Pontiac Catalina in beside an LAPD black and white. The flashing lights cast eerie shadows over the thickly wooded park, illuminating an ambulance and two unmarked piece-o'-shit vehicles that had homicide written all over them.

"And that," Tucker said, pointing to the nearest patrol car as he continued his diatribe of bad fortune. "We got cops coming out our a-holes. Now we gotta deal with the whole F'ing system."
Doyle slammed the gear-shift into park. "I'm gonna assume you didn't get laid last night, and temporary celibacy has soured your mood. 'Cause if this is going to be your attitude for this entire investigation, I'm putting in for a new partner."

Beside him, Tucker spread his arms wide, then flashed the smile that had made him a celebrity among all the Division 6 females. "I'm good, man. Don't get your panties in a wad."
Doyle grabbed his umbrella off the floorboards and shoved open the Pontiac's door. "Let's do this thing."

Tucker fell in step beside him, and they slogged toward an officer in a rain-soaked slicker who was currently roping off the area with crime scene tape. The officer stiffened as they approached, his eyes widening like a deer caught in the headlights. Rookie, Doyle thought, as the officer held up a hand. As if that could keep them out.

"You might want to step aside, junior," Doyle said, flashing his badge out of politeness, but not bothering to slow as he lifted the tape and started to slide under.
"I'm sorry," the officer said. "No one passes."
"We got authority here," Tucker said, staring hard at the guy. "So come on, rookie. Get off our backs and let us through."
The officer's face went through the usual jumble of confusion before smoothing out. He smiled, all polite cooperation. "Absolutely, sir. Detective Sanchez is right over there." He pointed to a woman with a heart-shaped ass. "She's in charge."
"Not anymore," Tucker said.

Doyle followed his partner inside the crime scene tape, unable to stifle his grin. "One of these days, you gotta teach me how you do that."
"It's a gift," Tucker said. "Comes in handy with the ladies, too."
"I bet it does. Doubt you could get the ladies any other way."
"You wound me, man," Tucker said, pressing his palms over his heart. "I'm seriously wounded."
Doyle shook his head at his partner's antics, but didn't bother to respond. Sanchez had already spotted them and was on her way over, her Noxzema-fresh face pinched.

"Hold up, hold up," she said. "You want to tell me who you boys are and what you're doing at my crime scene?"
"That's just it," Doyle said, pulling his shield from the pocket of his rain coat. "I'm not so sure it's still your crime scene. I'm Agent Ryan Doyle." He nodded at Tucker. "My partner, Agent Severin Tucker."
She peered at his shield and ID, then met his eyes, her own filled with confusion. "Homeland Security?"

Doyle nodded. Technically, it was true. With the passage of the Patriot Act, his employer — the American arm of the Preternatural Enforcement Coalition — had been formally set up as a division of Homeland Security. A secret division, but there nonetheless. And considering the type of terror the PEC chased, there was a certain circular beauty to the ancient organization's new cover story.
She stared him down. "Are you shitting me?"
"No ma'am," Tucker said. "We at Homeland Security do not have a sense of humor of which we're aware."

She tilted her head and sent Tucker a scathing glance, because despite the soft shape, she was clearly a hard ass. "Since when did killers mimicking some creature out of a bad B-movie cross the line into a federal crime?"
"Sorry, Detective," Doyle said. "That's classified."
"Suffice it to say there's been chatter," Tucker added.
She looked from one to the other, obviously not buying their bullshit. Doyle watched Tucker's face, saw that he was getting the look, and stepped in front of his partner. Tucker's trick came in handy, but he couldn't pull his sort of heeby-jeeby on the whole crew. And while Sanchez might be the only one currently making noise, there were at least seven officers hanging back, circling the body with intent to claim grazing rights.
"We got jurisdiction here, Sanchez. You need confirmation, you call this number and ask for Nikko Leviathin." He handed her a card. "Otherwise, we're gonna go check out our crime scene."
The gal stepped up, getting right in his face. He clenched his hands into fists, fighting a temper that rose like molten lava, ready to explode at any moment. He sucked in air, stifling the urge to lash out and show her — right then — exactly who was in charge there.
"You wanna play who's got the bigger dick?" she said, unaware of the increasing danger. "You go right ahead. But this is my crime scene until my Lieutenant or the District Attorney tell me otherwise."

"Those'll work, too," Tucker said, his hand firm on Doyle's shoulder, the pressure just enough to keep Doyle grounded, to bring him back from the rising danger. "In the meantime —" He cut himself off, then shot Doyle a warning look before turning and heading toward the body.
Doyle drew in a breath, then another, forcing the final remnants of the dark back down before he followed in Tucker's wake. Sanchez looked ready to spit nails, but she hung back, her cell phone now plastered to her ear.

"So what've we got?" he asked, peering down at the ghostly pale form of retired judge Marcus Braddock. By all accounts, the man had been a shape-shifting son-of-a-bitch, but that didn't mean Doyle would wish murder on him. And this particular cause of death was the worst kind of murder. The draining of a human or a para-human was a Class Five homicide in violation of the Fifth International Covenant, and punishable by public execution. Bad shit all the way around.
Tucker was already squatting near the body, his hand reaching for Braddock's collar.
"Do you mind?" a rat-faced little man said, firmly shoving Tucker's hand out of the way.
"Careful," Tucker said mildly. "Do that again, and you'll lose a few brain cells."

The rat hesitated, confused. Then Sanchez stepped up, her expression pure business. "Let him see," she said. "They've inherited this mess. Guess that means they've got access to whatever they want." She faced Doyle head on. "Including my resources, I'm told. At least until your own team arrives."
"And we appreciate the cooperation."
Sanchez's smile was like ice. "I'm sure you do." She nodded toward the uniformed officer. "You're relieved," she said, then smiled at Doyle. "Limited resources." She signaled to the rat with a jerk of her chin. "Go ahead. Show the Feds what they want to see."
Ratboy slid his hand into a latex glove, then tugged the collar down, revealing the ripped flesh and brutalized muscle.

Bloody vampires. Despite the Covenant and the strict laws against contact feeding, it seemed like every time he turned around one of the fuckmongers had sucked somebody dry.
He clenched his fists at his sides, hating their weakness. Disgusted by their lack of restraint. And, yeah, he'd seen all the damn statistics that showed that the vast majority of vampires could control the daemon within. That they didn't feed on humans. That they didn't kill. That they obeyed the law.
That they weren't the walking, talking incarnation of pure, fucking evil that Doyle knew they were.

Statistics be damned. As far as Doyle was concerned, the only good vamp was a dead one.
Marcus Braddock may have been a prick, on and off the bench, but Doyle was going to make sure that the rogue vampire who sucked the life from him went down — either a stake through the heart or an ax to the head.
"I would have said serial killer until you boys showed up," Sanchez said, her comments pulling Doyle back to the moment.
"No ma'am," he said. "This is much worse."
The rat and Sanchez exchanged a glance, and when she nodded, Ratboy cleared his throat. "We found this under the body," he said, holding up a clear evidence bag.
Doyle took it, his eyes not needing the illumination from the flashlight that Sanchez politely held up. A silver signet ring, caked in mud. Even half-hidden by the earth, the intricate craftsmanship stood out. A delicately carved dragon with a ruby eye, the body forming a circle as the beast consumed its own tail.

Tucker leaned in for a closer look. "Isn't that —"
"The Dragos crest," Doyle said, his smile cold and hard. Lucius Dragos, the last Dragos standing. Finally, after all these years, he had his old friend's balls in a vise.
"Holy fuck," Tucker said. "Talk about a gold star evening. All this time without one piece of solid evidence, and now Dragos goes and makes a mistake like this? It's too fucking good to be true."
He squatted beside the body, then tilted his head to look at his partner. "I need to see if there's more."
Tucker shook his head, then looked meaningfully at Sanchez and Ratboy. "You really want to deal with the paperwork?"
Doyle thought of the stack of reprimands and warnings that already peppered his file. Any more, and he was deep in some serious shit. "I'll only get dinged if Division finds out."
"Is there a problem?" Sanchez asked.

"Not yet," Doyle said. To Tucker, he added, "You know I have to do it."
"Aw, hell," Tucker said, then rolled his shoulders in defeat. "Fine. Go for it. What's a little official reprimand between friends, right?"
As Tucker looked deep into the eyes of Detective Sanchez, Doyle pressed his palm over Braddock's forehead. Ratboy's feathers ruffled almost immediately. "Are you insane? You're not even wearing gloves. How can you —"
"I can explain," Tucker said, crouching down next to the man as Detective Sanchez wandered away, suddenly remembering that she had an elsewhere to be. While Doyle concentrated on finding Braddock's last thoughts, Tucker put some mumbo in Ratboy's jumbo and sent the little worm on his way as well.

"I couldn't go deep," Tucker said. "Too risky. So you better find it fast."
Doyle nodded, but didn't speak. He was getting close.
Darkness. Surprise. Pleasure, even. At least until it turned. Shifted.
Then the fear came.
A mishmash. Horror. Pleasure. Pain.
None of it coming together, none of it coalescing into an image.
Just confusion. A jumble of confused emotions and reactions. Nothing to grab.
Nothing to hold on to.
"Come on, come on," Tucker said, as Doyle closed his other hand over the body's heart, trying to get purchase on the fading aura.

Dizzy. Gone.
And death, so cold and familiar.
And then, finally, a face.
The last image of death. The last conscious thought.
Doyle looked. And in his mind saw Lucius Dragos, fangs bared, as he bent close to suck the last vestiges of life from Judge Marcus Braddock.
Doyle's teeth chattered and his body shook as he pulled free of Braddock's mind. But he had Dragos now, had him dead to rights.
Exhausted, he tilted his head up to face Tucker. "We finally got him, partner. And we are going to nail his ass to the wall."
Question of the Day: What's your favorite supernatural creature to read about? I'm partial to shifters-- dragons (obviously) and big cats, as well as witches. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $15 iTunes giftcard.


  1. I've always loved shifters (doesn't matter which type) but over the last couple of years I've really started to enjoy the demon hero.They have been portrayed as pure evil and the villain for so long, it's interesting to see something new.

  2. Even though I sometimes think they're almost getting to be a bit overdone, I think I still like vampires best. I've also read some really hot demon stories. :)


  3. Congrats on the first book in the Shadow Keepers series! It sounds like a great book, very nice cover too! :)

    I'm partial to shifters and I love them all pretty much!

  4. I fall for the lovelorn "Beast" every time! I loved TV's "Beauty and the Beast", where the hero, Vincent, was a golden-maned "Lion Man".

  5. I love reading about werewolves. I think they're my favorite since i was introduced to the paranormal world through them. Plus i love my Remus Lupin.

  6. Werewolves or witches. Primarily werewolves :)

  7. Well, I pretty much like all of them, but I'd say I probably read more shifter stories. I like it when they are wolves or cats. I also enjoy witch stories but there don't seem to be as many of them. I can't wait to read your new trilogy.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  8. I like the cat variety...jaguars, panthers, etc.

  9. That is such a tough question for me to answer... Honestly I love them all but it really depends on the story which one I love at the time.. But if I HAD to choose, like for a life or death answer, I'd choose Werewolves. And sorry girls everywhere, I'm not for team Jacob... I mean, I like the werewolves of Cascadia, ya know, the ones that aren't jail bait!

  10. I really do prefer shifters - cats, wolves, dragons, whatever. There's something so sexy about those animal instincts. Lately I've also been enjoying books featuring the Fae.

  11. I agree love dragon and cat shifters. Plus witches are always good to read about too.

  12. I haven't read many paranormal books. I did enjoy the Twilight books.

  13. I loved the excerpt and am ready for more.

    I went through a dragon phase earlier this year and the books were great. I am partial to shifters, too, especially birds.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  14. I love cats.....yummmmmm.

    mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

  15. My favorites are ghosts and shifter(wolf, cat) stories.

  16. Oooh I love reading about shifters..werewolves, dragons, tigers, lions, jaguars, cougars, eagles...heck I've even read about scorpion shifters...I think it's a wicked cool premise. I love witches and warlock stories too.


  17. I too love shifters...the big cats and wolves. So cute to look at and yet so sexy in both their forms.

  18. There is something about the wolf shifter that just makes you tingle!

  19. I like so many different kinds. Shifters, vampires, cats, wolves, dragons, lions...there are so many it's hard to pick just one kind.

  20. I am a shifter girl, especially love wolves, and the big cats.

  21. i think i wolves have been a favorite, but i love all of them. i will read anything shifter. wolf, dragon, cougar, heck even lisa Hendrix is writing about a bull in Jan 2011 that i will be reading.

  22. Shifters are my favorite. I've always been partial to wolves, but lately I've fallen in love with dragons.

  23. I like vampires the best - but I've run across some dragon shifters that I thought were pretty cool.

  24. I am a vampire fan. Shiloh Walker's The Hunters Series and Cynthia Eden's books got me hooked. A vampire is the ultimate bad boy a good girl should never want, but always does.

  25. I love shifters, especially wolves and big cats.

  26. Like you, my favorites are dragon shifters and big cats--something about all that sleek, muscled power :)

  27. I love shifters and vampires. I first fell in love reading the Anita Blake series and the different depictions of were-animals made me fall in love with them even more.

  28. I am a fan of shifters too. I love the big cats, dragons and wolves.

  29. Judging from my bookshelf, I would have to say that shifters of any persuasion are my favorite. But I do like reading about new twists on the paranormal characters...except I can't seem to get into zombies.

  30. Easy peasy...wolf shifters, and lion/jag shifters. XD

  31. I love reading about shifters! Dragons, wolves, tigers, anything

  32. Shifters are my favorites, esp. cats.

  33. Okay Tracy, you cannot take my answer, lol. I love shifters... big cats! They are just delicious! Thanks for the chance!

  34. I go back and fort between Vampires and werewolves on wich i like more.I'm just starting to love other types of shifters.


  35. Still love wolf shifters but any of the predators can take their turn.

  36. I love to read about shifters of all kinds. I think they are my favorite. Because if well written you can kind of get a feel for what it could really be like.