Today I am so pleased to welcome Ari McKay to Joyfully Jay. The authors have come to talk to us about their latest release, Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
Hi, everyone! Thanks for joining us at Joyfully Jay today! Here is an exclusive excerpt for you from our latest release, Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun, The Guardians of Gaia Book Two!!!
If there was one thing Adam had never expected, it was to wake up again. To find himself actually being rescued… well, if he didn’t feel like — to borrow an expression — death warmed over, he might think he’d died and somehow made it to heaven. He’d held on by focusing on one day destroying Elizabeth. If she was gone — and she must be, if they had come to let him out — then he was quite prepared to die in peace.
“Adam Carson, open your eyes and look at me.” The voice was that of the older, dark-skinned woman. There was something powerful about her, something deep and hidden that forced him to obey. He felt weak, almost drowsy, and he knew that the little bit of blood they’d forced on him wouldn’t keep him conscious for much longer. But he opened his eyes and looked at her, surprised to see compassion in her gaze.
“What?” he asked.
“I understand your desire to end your existence,” she said. “But we would like to ask you some questions.”
“Are you from the military or the U. S. Government?” He didn’t think so, and he wasn’t surprised when she shook her head. “Adam Carson, Captain, United States Army Air Forces, serial number 43144247.”
“Carson.” A new voice, quiet but somehow familiar, entered the conversation, and a man stepped closer, moving into his view. “Remember me?”
Adam stared upward, frowning, at the red-haired man who stood at the edge of his vision. There was no mistaking who it was: Tyr, one of the shape-shifters who’d tried to rescue the group of POWs Adam had been in. Adam had always had a thing for redheads, but more than that, he’d seen the man turn into an enormous tiger when their group had been ambushed by Elizabeth’s vampires. It was hard to forget something like that.
“It’s you… Gustavson.” His voice was cracking, and he tried to clear his throat. “Is the war over? Who won?”
“The human war is over,” Tyr replied, his knuckles turning white where he clutched the sides of Adam’s coffin. “The good guys won. Hitler is dead.”
“Good.” One more bit of closure, another task that had been completed. Then he remembered something else, something about the abortive escape and the night the world went mad. He looked at Tyr somberly. “I am sorry about your lover. He was brave, and he died like a warrior.”
Tyr’s face tightened, and he looked away, swallowing hard. “Yes.” Tyr’s voice was ragged and laced with pain as if the loss was still fresh. “He did.”
“I’ll give him your regards, if I see him.” Adam closed his eyes again. “Who has the stake?”
“We aren’t going to stake you,” the dark-skinned woman said firmly. “My name is Marielle Du Lac. I am the leader of the theriomorphs. We are shape-shifters, like Tyr and Aaron, who attempted to rescue you and the other POWs in 1945. Regrettably, many years have passed since then, and we are still at war.”
Adam’s eyes flew open. “Gustavson said the war was over!”
“He said the human war is over, and it is. Well, that particular war is over, at least,” she amended with a small, sad smile. “But our war with Elizabeth Bathory and her kind continues.”
There was something very wrong here, and Adam looked at her suspiciously. “You told me Elizabeth was dead. That’s the only thing that matters to me. My wars are over. I’m dead already. You’re just finishing what Elizabeth started.”
“I said Elizabeth is gone, and she is,” Marielle corrected him gently. “We hope she is off the board for good, but she isn’t dead. Her daughter Anna has taken up where she left off, and so our war continues.”
It wasn’t over after all. Adam wanted to scream, to throw things, to express the depth of his anger at having thought his nightmare was over and finding out it wasn’t. He was ready to let go, and now… now he couldn’t.
“So that’s what you want me for? That’s why you woke me up?” he asked. “You want me to kill her?”
“No, we found you by sheer luck. We are hunting ghouls, and we found this prison.” Marielle reached out and rested her hand on his arm. “We have another vampire fighting with us, one who was turned against his will. We would welcome your assistance if you would rather fight than die.”
“I’ll fight.” He didn’t want to, but he would. He’d promised himself that he’d see Elizabeth dead. He’d repeated it over and over inside his head as he lay in this damned coffin. It was the only thing that allowed him to keep his sanity, and he owed himself to see it done. He narrowed his eyes. “But I won’t drink blood from a person. That’s what she wanted. I’m not a leech or a parasite, and I won’t act like one.”
Tyr looked shocked at that statement, but Marielle just nodded matter-of-factly. “That won’t be a problem. We can provide blood bags. The donors will be shape-shifters, not humans, which means you won’t need to drink as often.”
“Great, the supernatural Red Cross,” Adam said, but he was relieved they seemed to understand. Then he paused. “How long has it been, anyway? Not that I could let my family know I’m like… this.”
Marielle’s expression softened into sympathy, and she stroked his arm. “It has been seventy years since you were imprisoned.”
A shaft of pain lanced through him. His mother, his father, all his siblings, his friends… they would all be dead now. He pushed the feeling away, telling himself it didn’t matter. He’d been on borrowed time from the moment his plane went down anyway. And he had a mission, one he’d fulfill or die trying. It would be enough.
“I guess my war bonds are worth a fortune now,” he replied.
Tyger tyger, burning bright…
As theriomorphs in the service of Gaia, Tyr Gustavson and his lover Aaron fought against the vampires aiding the Third Reich during WWII. But even the fierceness of Tyr’s tiger form couldn’t save Aaron from being torn apart when a mission went horribly wrong. Lost in his pain, Tyr remained feral until he was unwillingly recalled to Gaia’s service seventy years later.
In the forests of the night…
When fighter pilot Adam Carson’s plane was shot down, he thought the worst that could happen was being sent to a Nazi prison camp. Little did he know there were other monsters in the shadows, and one of them wanted to claim him. But refusing Elizabeth Bathory had a price. Adam was turned against his will and trapped in a coffin as punishment for his resistance.
What immortal hand or eye…
While hunting ghouls, Tyr and his colleagues discover Adam’s prison. Believing he could be an asset, Marielle Du Lac frees him. Adam joins the team and is drawn to Tyr, despite Tyr’s hatred of vampires. When Tyr rejects Adam out of fear, Adam accepts a suicidal mission to find Thrace, the original nosferatu. If their desperate plan works, the theriomorphs could destroy not only Elizabeth, but the sire of all vampires as well. But if it fails, they could unleash a force leading to the destruction of them all… and perhaps of Gaia herself.
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.
- Website: http://arimckay.wordpress.com
- Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ari.
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/AriMcKay1
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/
Cover by Lou Harper
Ari McKay has brought a copy of the first book in the series, Blood Bathory: Like the Night, to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, June 12th at 11:59 pm ET.
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