Today I am so pleased to welcome Jenn Burke to Joyfully Jay. Jenn has come to share an exclusive cover reveal and excerpt from her upcoming release, All Fired Up. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thanks so much for having me today! I’m excited to share some details of my next major release with all of you. All Fired Up is the first book in my Ashes & Dust series, which is a spin-off in the Not Dead Yet universe. A lot of readers really wanted Evan to have an HEA, so here it is…well, the start of it, anyway. It wouldn’t be one of my books if I didn’t put my characters through some trials and tribulations before they got their happily ever after!
All Fired Up will be available on May 18, 2021! It’s up for pre-order at your favourite ebook retailer now. Read on for the blurb and an excerpt.
As I’d suspected, when I called Lexi, she was totally down with researching what might suck the magic and/or soul out of someone. She started on her own before we met up for a serious research session the next morning.
We sat on the living room floor, me on one side of the coffee table with my laptop as I cross-referenced Anika’s list of names with Google, and Lexi on the other, with her laptop and grimoire, a spiral-bound notebook that never seemed to run out of pages. Weird. But not as weird as the basement space she called her own, with an ever-present tinge of magic that always made me sneeze. It was an apartment perfect for a witch, with a workshop that had herbs growing under UV lights and other spell components organized alphabetically. Plus a comfy bedroom filled with pillows and fuzzy blankets in a rainbow of colors. Lexi was not one to adhere to the witchy stereotype of all black materials, all the time.
Her natural curls were pulled back from her face by a wide, coral-pink scarf, and her floral-print tank top in all sorts of tropical colors looked amazing against her sienna-toned skin. I had to say, she looked happier since she’d left her position as a nurse at one of the local hospitals for a job at a clinic. The hours were way better, and it gave her more time to help us with our stranger cases, a passion of hers.
She frowned at the screen, an expression she’d been wearing off and on the whole time, and made a note in her grimoire, muttering, “I don’t think that’s it, but…”
“Oh, someone suggested a psychic vampire.”
I raised my brows. “There’s such a thing?”
“Apparently. Maybe.” She leaned back against the sofa with a sigh. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s fact and what’s brainstorming on the TWW.”
The TechnoWitchWeb was like the dark web, except for paranormals and witches. It was a way for people to share information without normal humans stumbling onto it. “Have they heard of this happening to anyone else?”
“Rumors only, three times removed ‘a friend of my cousin’s best friend’s sister’ type stuff.”
Ugh. Not helpful. “Anything that looks solid?”
“Maybe the psychic vampire?” She looked hopeful.
“If such a thing even exists.” I had my doubts. Vampires traded their human life force for blood magic right before they died. I could spend hours thinking about how a psychic vampire could come to be and operate, but I didn’t have time for it. “Anything else?”
“Someone mentioned a phoenix, but I’m pretty sure there would be plenty more rumors if a fiery mythological bird was flying around.”
“Fair enough.” I typed another number into my phone, one of Anika’s previous patients who’d attended the retreat.
“How about you?”
I shrugged as I put the ringing phone to my ear. “Nothing yet. Oh, hi, is this Ms. Banerjee?”
One of the things I’d discovered since I started this PI gig is that I was pretty good at pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Maybe it was because I’d always done that to some degree—pretending not to be gay, pretending not to be depressed. Or maybe I should have pursued an acting career.
Nah. I liked carbs too much.
“This is she,” replied a cautious female voice.
“Great! I’m Billy, with Annex Corp. We’ve been hired by Rising Sun Retreat to do a customer experience survey. You were there from August 21 to 27, 2022, correct?”
“Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about your stay?”
“I suppose.” There was still reluctance in her voice, which was understandable, but it was hard to stay aloof when faced with the inexorable enthusiasm and charm of my Billy persona. No one named Billy could ever be up to no good.
I led in with some gentle lobs—how was the atmosphere, what did you think of the accommodations—nothing to give away that I was aware exactly what type of retreat it was. Ms. Banerjee answered in kind, keeping her observations very human-oriented. That was fine.
“And how about the staff? On a scale of one to five, how would you rate their helpfulness?”
For the first time, she hesitated. “I’d say a…four,” she said slowly. “Overall. There was one…”
Oh, now we were getting somewhere. The other attendees I’d called had given rave reviews, five stars across the board, if I could get them to talk to me at all. “Go on?”
She blew out a breath that caught in the receiver. “I don’t know if he was a staff member or not, but he was always around. Watching. It was kind of creepy.”
Creepy was good—sort of. “Do you remember his name?”
“Everyone called him Red. I think because his hair had red tips. He was Asian, in his twenties, if I had to guess.”
Red because of red hair, huh. Original. I managed not to roll my eyes. “I’ll make a note of that. Thank you. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience?”
That was all Ms. Banerjee had to say, so I thanked her and signed off. Of the half dozen calls I’d made, that one was definitely the most interesting.
“What have you got?” Lexi asked, her eyes still on her screen.
“A creepy voyeur named Red.”
She looked up at me, blinking. “I beg your pardon?” I relayed to her what Ms. Banerjee had said, and she grunted. “No one else mentioned him?”
“Nope.” I tossed my pen on the coffee table and leaned back on my hands, arching to stretch my back. When I righted myself, I continued. “Could be that he was another, uh, patient. With issues.”
“If that’s the case, he probably has nothing to do with anything. Okay, so what have we got so far?”
I looked at my list and tapped my pen against it. “Anika’s six patients, plus another fourteen from the three colleagues of hers I spoke to.”
Twenty. Twenty people all told, whose health went downhill rapidly after attending the retreat. We couldn’t say for sure they’d all suffered the same thing as Maggie—only one of the doctors had been asked to visit her patient as he grew increasingly worse, and she wasn’t as gifted with diagnostic spells as Anika, by her own admission. She’d chalked up the man’s lethargy to his ongoing depression.
“What’s the paranormal breakdown?”
“Fifteen shifters, three witches, two vampires.” I grimaced. “Those two vampires are presumed, by the way, since they just vanished.” Dead vampires left no bodies behind. The thought made me shudder.
Lexi returned her attention to her computer, and suddenly straightened. “Oh wait, I got a DM.”
Her eyes scanned her screen. “I don’t recognize the screen name. But they say their aunt has been lethargic since she returned from a week at the retreat.”
“Damn. Can we meet with them?”
“Give me a second,” Lexi muttered, typing. She paused, then let out a huff of breath. “Okay, yep. I’ve got an address and they’re expecting us.”
“I’ll call Anika, see if she can meet us there.”
I wasn’t sure she’d be able to do much, but for all that Lexi was a nurse, her magic wasn’t healing oriented. Anika could at least do the diagnostic spell she’d mentioned in our meeting. It might give us more information. But considering how our luck tended to go, probably not.
Once bitten. Twice burned. Forever bonded.
Don’t miss this riveting and romantic spin-off series from Jenn Burke, author of Not Dead Yet.
Paranormals are dying. All over the city, with no explanation and only one thing in common: their magic is missing.
Vampire and private investigator Evan Fournier isn’t supposed to be taking on paranormal cases, but when the murderer hits close to home, he agrees to look into it. The last thing he expects is to become a target himself—and then to become irrevocably bonded to the man who just tried to kill him.
With his memory gone and his soul bonded to a stranger, former firefighter Colin Zhang wants to be anywhere else. He doesn’t have a damn clue why he just tried to kill Evan, and he didn’t even know about magic until just now. The sooner he can get back to his real life, the better.
But every time either of them tries to leave, pure agony stops them short. Forced to work with Evan or suffer the consequences, Colin must excavate the secrets buried in his missing memories while battling two rising threats: the conspiracy behind the murder, and his mutual attraction to the bond mate he never wanted.
Preorder Link: Amazon
Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she was a preteen reading about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.
Jenn is the author of a number of paranormal and science fiction romance titles, including the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (co-authored with Kelly Jensen) and the fan-favorite series Not Dead Yet, both from Carina Press.
She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.
Jenn is represented by Deidre Knight of the Knight Agency.