Today I am so pleased to welcome Amir Lane to Joyfully Jay. Amir has come to talk to us about their latest release, A Riff of Retribution. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Amir a big welcome!

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Exclusive Excerpt

The rustle of branches interrupted Aleksandr’s soft laugh. Their eyes met for a brief moment. Aleksandr unsheathed the long dagger strapped to the side of his leg, while Hale’s hand settled on his already-loaded crossbow. Guns might have been more practical, but they would have to account for every bullet. It was more trouble than it was worth. The ash bolts were more effective than bullets anyway.

More movement came from Hale’s left. His head snapped in the direction of the sound. 

Two of them?

“Aleksandr,” he said sharply.

“I know.”

With his free hand, Hale found the silver Mjolnir pendant and engagement ring hanging from the leather cord beneath his jacket and kissed them. He rolled his shoulders to let the pelt fall back onto the snow. His eyes were fixed on the tight line of trees. 

Odin, protect us. 

They had been lucky so far. They had survived these hunting trips on and off for eleven years now. Hopefully, this year would make it twelve.

A woman’s voice cried out in the darkness. 

“Help me! Help me!”

Hale ground his teeth against the instinct to find her. He didn’t know if this tactic was something they learned or if it was ingrained into them. The nearest cabins were all empty right now. They had checked before sundown and found no sign of human life. 

That had been several hours ago. Somebody very well could have wandered up into the mountains and gotten hurt or lost in that time. 

Hale doubted it. 

The same cry came from behind him. This time, it was a man’s voice. 

“Help me! Help me!”

Hale stood and raised his crossbow with both hands. Though it was fairly light, he was mindful of the way the weight tugged at the scars behind his left shoulder. In his periphery, Aleksandr sheathed the dagger and raised his own crossbow instead.

This wasn’t right. 

Draug weren’t like European or North American vampires. They didn’t move in pairs. It was likely why Hale and Aleksandr had survived doing this so long. It was always two against one.

They had a strategy. His job was to slow the bastards down so Aleksandr could finish them off. Two of them coming from different directions complicated things. 

“Hale,” Aleksandr said.

Hale knew that tone. 

“Don’t,” he warned. 

“You’ve been a good brother.”

“Fuck off.”

Aleksandr laughed softly. 

“I love you too, Hale.”

Hale’s lip twitched into a smile despite himself. 

“Come on, you fucks,” he muttered. 

The silence was worse than the noise. Had they seen the weapons and retreated?

No—

From his left—

“Hale!”

Hale spun. 

Eyes glowed yellow in the light of the fire. His finger twitched on the trigger. The bolt went wide.

Dammit!

The draug moved fast, too fast for Hale to follow. There was no point trying to see it. He allowed instinct to take over. He turned in the direction of the hairs prickling on the back of his neck as he released the bolt without letting himself think about it. A howl of pain rang through his eardrums. The draug paused long enough that Hale could see the bolt sticking from her thigh. She stared at him with sharp teeth bared and wide eyes a blue so pale, they were nearly white. She was thin enough that he could make out the bones of her skull and collarbones where her torn and bloody clothes hung loose from her body. It was impossible to tell how old she’d been as human.

Jeans and a t-shirt. 

Had she been killed in the summer?

Hale smothered down the guilt before it could distract him. One week a year. That was the agreement. Anything outside that week wasn’t his responsibility. All he could do was put the poor thing out of her misery and keep her from killing anybody else.

His weak shoulder gave out a little as he pulled the trigger again. The bolt stuck between the draug’s ribs instead of her heart. 

“How are you doing, Aleksandr?” he shouted.

The lack of verbal response wasn’t encouraging. 

“Aleksandr!”

“I’m fine!”

Hale slipped his shoulder to the side, narrowly avoiding the woman’s claws aimed for his face. The ash poisoning was slowing her down already. She was too close for the crossbow. He let it fall to the ground and moved his right leg back. 

A sharp cry rang out behind him. 

“Aleksandr?”

Hale made the mistake of looking back. He didn’t see Aleksandr or the other draug. 

“Aleksandr!”

Gods, where was he? Where—

The woman slammed into him. The snow broke his fall, and the pain was muffled by the spike of adrenaline in his veins. He braced his left hand against her rotting throat to keep her teeth from his face. Cold pain pulled at the scars behind his shoulder. The weak muscles quivered with the effort of holding her back against gravity. Her ugly snarl looked even more inhuman in the firelight. 

Hale’s pendants were hot where they’d fallen back against his skin. 

Protect him, you bastards, not me. He’s not a fighter!

Hale could handle himself, but Aleksandr— 

Aleksandr could hold his own. He wasn’t as soft as he looked. Hale couldn’t think of him while the woman’s short claws raked at his arms. She was clearly young enough they hadn’t had a chance to grow long yet. The sleeves of his jacket kept them from breaking his skin. 

Hale shifted to push the woman back a few inches with his good arm. He wedged his knee up between them. His fingers scrambled over his thigh until they found the hilt of his dagger. 

Blood splattered on his face as he drove the blade into the underside of her jaw. She howled and screamed around the metal. He kept his grip on the hilt as she jerked back, dislocating her jaw. She fell back, and Hale was on her in a less than a breath. He dropped his weight onto the dagger. It took two tries to get it between the ribs and into her heart. 

It was concern for Aleksandr that made him stand as the draug woman thrashed on the snow, not the sick feeling that came with watching her die. 

This never did get easier.


Blurb

riff of retributionDead men are filled with life.

Eleven years ago, world-renowned guitarists Hale and Aleksandr learned that monsters were real. Hale lost the love of his life, and Aleksandr lost his brother.

When the carnage was over, they vowed to make sure no one else had to go through what they did.

But since then, another band’s bassist has been killed at a festival, and she wasn’t the only one. Hale suspects a vampire was responsible, and that their drummer — the singer of his new band — knows more about it than she’s letting on. When a member of their new act is also attacked by a vampire, everything Hale has tried to keep in the shadows comes to light.

Hale has made a bargain with the gods for the power to heal. But he can’t save everyone.

The dead are rising. The gods are angry. And even they won’t be Hale’s biggest problem.

From USAT Bestselling Author Amir Lane comes a story of music, magic, and mayhem.

Warnings: Substance abuse, self-harm, mentions of attempted suicide

Universal Buy Link: https://lnk.to/hmhriff


Bio

amir lane logoAmir Lane writes supernatural and fantasy with LGBT+ characters. From the frigid and mysterious land of Northern Canada, Amir is obsessed with loud music and black magic. They spend most of their writing time in a small home office or doing the circuit of local coffee shops. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper.

When not figuring out what kind of day job an incubus would have or what a necromancer would go to school for, Amir enjoys visiting the nearest Dairy Queen, getting killed in video games, and watching cat videos.


Giveaway

Amir is giving away an eBook of “A Falsetto of Fury” with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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