It’s Tuesday so it’s time for another guest spotlight. The wonderful paranormal author A.M. Manay has a very special day today. It’s the release date of the last book of her paranormal suspense series of the vampire November Snow. If you haven’t read her work it is the perfect moment to start.
Livermore author A.M. Manay brings supernatural suspense back to the San Francisco East Bay in She Marches Through Fire, Book 3 in her November Snow Series, due for release on March 28, 2017. You can buy it today at these stores – Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and Indigo.
Psychic vampire November Snow must battle grief, injury, and her own family as she fights evil on all sides. She seeks a cure for the poison sapping her strength and a fairy weapon as powerful as it is dangerous to wield. When it is time to save the innocent and gain justice for her maker, will she find the strength to march through the fire?
November opened her mouth and forced out a hoarse, “Hello? Is anyone there?”
A familiar voice cut through the road noise.
“Welcome back, kitten.”
Fear filled her at the sound of Luka’s voice, and she frantically attempted to scramble away from him. The resulting agony in her leg drew a desperate wail from her aching throat.
“Easy, kitten. You’re a very sick little vampire, and as you can see, I’m in no position to do you any harm even if I intended to punish you. Which I must confess to desiring somewhat more than usual.” He heaved a sigh. “Even so, your suffering gives me little pleasure at the moment. Breathe through it, November.”
She sought to control herself as the pain ebbed. She put a hand to her face. There was a plastic tube sticking out of her nose. She followed it up to an empty bag of blood hanging from a makeshift hook. No wonder my throat hurts. She took hold of the line.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Luka warned with a wince, but by the time he had finished speaking, she had already yanked out the tube, coughing and gagging as she did so.
Moving much more slowly now, November managed to sit up enough to get a good look at her fellow passenger. Her head and leg continued to punish her for her temerity.
Her old enemy was a disheveled mess. Luka’s dark hair stuck up in all directions. His clothes were torn and filthy, and blood had dried on his left ear and down his neck. His ankles were trapped in heavy silver fetters that looked more like stocks than manacles. The device bound his wrists as well, forcing him to lean forward in what was surely an agonizing position, or would have been, if he were human. There was a faint smell of burnt flesh in the air, along with a whiff of the Oubliette.
“Jesus,” November whispered. “What the hell happened to you?”
“My sisters. All three of you,” he replied darkly.
Hector was coming out of his skin, buzzing with rage. “Do you honestly expect me to just sit here and let Luka sleep when I could be tearing his throat out?” he demanded.
“That is precisely what I expect you to do,” was Gul’s even-toned reply.
“And shouldn’t we be calling the in the feds? He committed a terrorist act against the human government,” Jaime insisted. “At some point, he has to answer for that. He could still have co-conspirators out there doing God knows what. We’re harboring a fugitive at the top of the most wanted list. Until a few days ago, I carried a badge. I know I don’t have any authority here, but this whole scenario makes me seriously uncomfortable.”
“November’s been poisoned, we suspect with something William got from one of Luka’s people. We need the antidote. We may also need Luka’s blood. For now, we need him alive and with us. And there is no human jail that could hold him,” Gul explained patiently.
“He murdered everyone I ever cared about!” Hector growled.
“And a great many others besides,” Gul acknowledged. “And I hope, one day, to help you get justice. But today is not that day. November’s life is worth more than vengeance.” Gul paused before adding, “I intend to make Luka pay dearly for any mercy he gets today, I assure you.”
Hector took a deep breath and ran both hands through his shaggy hair. Pine placed a hand on his love’s lower back. “You’re right,” Hector finally sighed. “But I don’t like it. Just keep him the hell away from me.” The werewolf then stalked out of the basement, taking out his anger on the stairs and rattling the whole house.
“He’s not going to be the last person you have to talk out of killing him tonight, I suspect, dear husband,” Raina pointed out sleepily. The eldest vampire in the room, she had just woken, a bit ahead of the others. She quickly disentangled herself from her still-slumbering siblings.
She gave Gul a peck on the cheek and crossed the room to a large suitcase from which she removed an ancient-looking leather case and a pair of black calfskin gloves. “Maybe seeing him in this will cheer Hector up.”
Gul shook his head, amused. “Woman, is there anywhere you don’t haul that along?”
“Well, this time it’s actually useful!” she retorted. “We don’t want Luka slithering off before we’re done with him, do we?”
Gul nodded, and his wife quickly gloved her hands and locked her brother into a set of antique silver stocks. She closed them first around his ankles, then reached for his hands and pulled his inert form forward, binding his wrists into the diabolical device. She searched him for weapons and pulled out his fairy-forged dagger in its leather sheath. “I remember this thing,” she sighed. “Nasty bit of work.” She hung the sheath on her belt, stood straight, removed the gloves, and looked down next at her sister.
“Savita was in a bad way this morning. I don’t imagine dusk will find her much better,” she reported to the others.
“Greg is sleeping in the van. Hopefully he will be able to console her in her grief,” Gul answered.
“It isn’t just that, unfortunately,” Raina sighed. “Apparently William did not just murder his own maker. He also slew mine. Savita knew and kept his secret, to her now-eternal regret.”
Pine whispered, “Holy shit. William killed Queen Marisha?”
Gul’s eyebrow met his hairline, and he shook his head. “What a tangled mess.”
“We excel at that in my family,” Raina replied. “I can’t even manage to hate Savita properly for keeping her mouth shut. William, on the other hand . . . William is in for a reckoning.” Her normally cheerful eyes were hard and determined.
“As I told Hector, justice is unfortunately a job for another day,” Gul said gently. He pulled his wife toward him, and she consented to rest her head briefly against his shoulder.
“Speaking of Hector, I’d better check on him,” Pine said worriedly.
“Could you carry Savita out to the van while you’re at it?” Raina asked. “And shake Greg awake. She’s going to need him when she rises.”
Pine placed Savita over his shoulder and bounded up the stairs two at a time. After the handoff to Greg, he found his boyfriend in the backyard, taking an ax to a tree stump. Chips flew into the air. The western sky was all pinks and oranges behind him.
“Hey,” Pine called. He was careful to stay out of ax range.
Hector left the blade embedded in the wood and turned around to face Pine. “Hey.”
Pine crossed the grass and embraced the larger man. Hector buried his face in Pine’s neck before whispering, “I can’t do this. I can’t look at his smirking face and not bash it in.”
“Yeah. I know. I think we should split up. You and I can go with Greg and Savita, take her to Eden to recover. Let Gul and Raina deal with Luka and finding a cure for November. We’ll be more nimble and attract less attention in smaller groups.”
“I don’t want November to think I abandoned her,” Hector replied, his voice stronger as he regained control of his emotions. “She saved my life.”
“She won’t think that. I’m pretty sure she’ll understand better than anyone. She was there, after all. She saw what Luka did to your people.”
Hector took a shuddering deep breath. “Fair enough.”
“Raina has Luka clapped in silver. Looks like some kind of a medieval torture device. It’s kind of nice to see the tables turned on the smug bastard,” Pine offered tentatively. “You could go throw rocks at him or something. Knives from the kitchen. Furniture. Whatever comes to mind.”
“You fairies, always looking on the bright side,” Hector said, managing a weak smile.
Luka woke, and his body jerked as he registered the presence of the silver bindings holding him helpless on the floor. He looked up at his companions: Pine, Hector, Raina, and Gul.
“Oh, dear,” he commented bleakly.
“Tide has turned a bit, you worthless bastard,” Hector said, unable to resist the urge to needle the man he despised.
“Indeed, it has,” Luka admitted. “The wheel of fortune does turn. One day at the top, and the next . . . Well, here we are. Are you going to torture me, Hector? Make me beg for death?” he mocked, widening his eyes in fake fear.
“He wouldn’t stoop to your level,” Pine replied tensely.
Luka looked from Pine to Hector and back again before a grin spread over his face without reaching his eyes. “My, my. How deliciously perverse. Whatever will your Grandma Hazel say? Did you know she used to keep a werewolf head mounted on the wall of her bedroom? You have to do some kind of special magic on it so it doesn’t turn back into a human one when the creature dies. I’m not really familiar with the details. At any rate, it was quite the conversation piece. Do you suppose she still has it stashed somewhere? In some ratty storage facility in suburban Nevada or something? Can you imagine? That would make a very special episode of Storage Wars, don’t you think?”
“Shut up, murderer,” Hector said, his hands balling involuntarily into fists. His knuckles glowed white against his brown skin.
“And speaking of murderers, dear Pine, has Hector told you how old his father was when I so cruelly had him slain?” A cloud crossed Pine’s face. “He hasn’t? Well, that should make for an interesting tale, indeed, but I don’t think you’ll much enjoy it. Might give you bad dreams. You know, if fairies slept.”
“I know how old Carlos was when you murdered his family and stole his childhood,” Pine managed to reply, in a voice that shook more than he’d intended. “You’re vile.”
“Tell me, Hector, do you mutts still leave your defective children to the elements? Poor little cripples who’ll never turn— freezing to death in the snow, or burning up with thirst? Mauled by vermin? Pecked at by razor-beaked birds before they even expire?” Luka had dropped his pretense of jocularity, his fangs now peeking out of his snarl.
“Enough,” Raina declared. “I need to see to November, and I may need Luka’s help. Savita may need him as well, if Greg will allow it. Nobody is torturing or killing anybody today.”
“What’s wrong with November?” Luka asked, the hostility suddenly gone from his voice, replaced by concern bordering on fear.
“I told you, William shot her,” Raina said impatiently.
“So, you pull the bullet out, and she heals. What’s the problem?” Luka asked, increasingly agitated. “Even a baby can take a bullet or three.”
Gul and Raina exchanged a look. “William poisoned the bullet, which shattered in her leg,” Gul finally explained. “Some exceptionally strong werewolf toxin. I believe you’re familiar with it, since he got it from one of yours,” he added pointedly. “It would be quite helpful if you could give us the antidote.”
Luka looked stricken. “I had plenty of it. In the house. Before it burned to the ground.”
“That is highly unfortunate,” came Gul’s understated reply. “For both of you.”
In addition to her work as an award-winning indie author of supernatural new adult fantasy, A.M. Manay is a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a singer, a yoga enthusiast, and a mother through domestic open adoption. She has a passion for increasing diversity in popular culture and for strong heroines who stand up for themselves, make their own decisions, and don’t depend on romance as their reason for being.
Manay has lived in Livermore for nearly ten years, and she includes a number of regional landmarks in her novels. Local readers will enjoy the thrills she brings to some familiar places, including the Civic Center Library and Springtown.
“I love Livermore. It’s beautiful, diverse, and welcoming, and it’s a great place to raise a family,” Manay said. “It makes me smile to include our town in my work. I also think it’s a nice contrast to have fantastical and dramatic occurrences set in a peaceful suburban location.”
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