Saturday, October 21, 2017

RWASD Pied Piping the Muse Songlist and Process

Examples used during today’s workshop:



“Charging Fort Wagner” from the Glory soundtrack by James Horner

Group Challenge Songs:

“Main Title” from Red Dragon by Danny Elfman

“The Yearning/Sirens Suite” from the Sirens soundtrack by Rachel Portman (character)

Suggested Song/CD List

“Main Theme” from the Sleepy Hollow soundtrack by Danny Elfman (dark, fantasy, action, horror)

“Main Theme” from Blood on Satan’s Claw by Marc Wilkinson (horror, witch, historical)

“Ebudae” by Enya (setting)

“La Resa Dei Conti” by Ennio Morricone from the For a Fistful of Dollars soundtrack (western epic, action)

Batman soundtrack by Danny Elfman (dark hero, action)

“Carmina Burana” by Orff (epic action/battle, victory)

“Imperial March” remix by Rage Against the Machine (futuristic, dark, gritty, adventure)

 “An Epitaph to War” (melancholy, epic hero) by James Horner from the Glory soundtrack

“Spanish Guitar” by Bo Diddley (new-wave Western setting or hero)

“Main Title” from Rain Man by Hans Zimmer

“Mail Title” from Pirates of the Caribbean” by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer

“Main Title” from Game of Thrones (epic adventure) by Ramin Djawadi

“The Raiders’ March” (epic hero) and “Truck Chase”? (action/chase, adventure) by John Williams from the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack

“Ode to Joy” choral by Ludwig Von Beethoven

“Anakin’s Theme” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace soundtrack

“Main Theme” from A Dangerous Mind soundtrack (inspirational, Ivy-league setting, a bit eerie)

“Main Title” by Danny Elfman from the Sleepy Hollow soundtrack (horror, menace, scary chase)

“Main Theme” by John Williams from the Schindler’s List soundtrack (major heartstring plucking)

“Hoedown” by Aaron Copeland (western imagery)

“Main Theme” from the How the West Was Won soundtrack (epic western, cowboy hero)

“Main Theme” from the Silverado soundtrack (western imagery)

“Exotica” (mysterious, sensual, modern) and “Something Hidden” (exotic, mysterious, sensual, tragic)   from the Exotica soundtrack by Mychael Danna


“Main Theme” from The Natural soundtrack (mid-western imagery, Americana)

“Main Theme” by Hans Zimmer from the Crimson Tide soundtrack (meltingly gorgeous hero, action/adventure)

“Introduction (Titles)” by Danny Elfman from the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack

“The Imperial March” (epic black moment, menace) from The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack by John Williams

 “You’re So Cool” by Hans Zimmer from the True Romance soundtrack (whimsical romance, innocence)

“Flight to Neverland” by John Williams from the Hook soundtrack (whimsy, innocence, adventure)

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King by Howard Shore (epic action/battles, fantasy)

“Early 18th Century Gypsy Music” by Bubak and Hungaricus found on the Amadeus soundtrack (wild bohemian celebration)

 “Han Solo and the Princess” (epic romance) from The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack by John Williams

“Main Theme” by John Williams from the Born on the Fourth of July soundtrack (tragic hero, sadness, heartbreaking reflections)

“March Past of the Kitchen Utensils” (whimsy) from the Sirens soundtrack by Rachel Portman

“The Chairman’s Waltz” (romantic, tragic, flowing) from the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack by John Williams

“Libra Me” by Elliot Goldenthal from the Interview with the Vampire soundtrack (melancholy, horror, vampire, gothic)

“Cursum Perficio” by Enya from Watermark (action/battle, fantasy)

“Dracula – The Beginning” and “Vampire Hunters”  (menace, horror, vampire) and “The Brides” (dark seduction, romantic horror, vampire) by Wojciech Kilar from the Bram Stoker’s Dracula soundtrack

“Main Title” (epic hero, romance, adventure) and “Promentory” (romance, adventure) by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman from The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack

“Harvest” (melancholy mid-west) and “Days of Heaven” (melancholy mid-west) by Ennio Morricone from the Days of Heaven soundtrack

“Aquarium” by Camille Saint-Saens (atmosphere, dreamy, sensual yet innocent)

“Duel of the Fates” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace soundtrack (epic action/battle)

All of “Requiem, K. 626” by Mozart found on the Amadeus soundtrack (sublime melancholy, action/adventure dark moment, dark forces, aftermath of a mentor’s death)

“Love Theme” by John Williams from the Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones soundtrack (epic romance)

“Progeny/The Wheat” (exotic epic setting), “The Battle” (epic action/battle, epic hero), “Barbarian Horde” (epic action/battle, epic hero) by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard from the Gladiator soundtrack

“Humming Chorus” by Puccini from Madama Butterfly (romance, melancholy)

“Main Title” by Jerry Goldsmith from the Basic Instinct soundtrack (classy, mystery, suspense)

“Main Title” by Ennio Morricone from TheGood, the Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack (mysterious/dark hero, western setting)

“Forrest Gump Suite” by Alan Silvestri from the Forrest Gump soundtrack (mid-western setting, innocence)

“Main Title” (gentle Irish pluck, sweeping romance, inspirational) and “Tryouts” (inspirational action) by Jerry Goldsmith from the Rudy soundtrack

“Overture” by Maurice Jarre from the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack (epic exotic setting, sweeping romance, epic hero, sheik stories)

“Main Title” by James Horner from the Willow soundtrack (swashbuckling action/chase, fantasy, romance)

“Main Theme” by Jerry Goldsmith from the Patton soundtrack (epic military hero)

“Paranoia Prima” by Ennio Morricone from the Grind House/Death Proof soundtrack (eerie, dangerous, bad-ass)

Black Hawk Down soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (intense action/ battle, exotic setting, mournful, soulful farewell)

The Last Samurai soundtrack by Lost Summer (hero, epic battles, eastern influence)

The Passion of the Christ soundtrack by John Debney and Mel Gibson (hero, inspirational, exotic locale)

The Aviator soundtrack by Howard Shore (action, Hollywood/Coconut Grove vibes)

Sideways by Rolfe Kent (jazz, lounge-lizard groove)

Music by Tangerine Dream in general (for instance, Risky Business)  (dreamy, modern, exotic, futuristic)

Music by Vangelis in general (for instance, Chariots of Fire, Mutiny on the Bounty, Alexander)  (dreamy, exotic)

1492: Conquest of Paradise soundtrack by Vangelis (dreamy, inspirational, seafaring)

Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis (dreamy, futuristic, sexy, noir, action)

Music by Brian Eno (for instance, Music for Films, More Music for Films)   (dreamy, modern, exotic, futuristic)

King Arthur soundtrack by Hans Zimmer (hero, epic battles, knights…)

The Ring/The Ring 2 soundtracks by Hans Zimmer (eerie, action and suspense)

Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events soundtrack by Thomas Newman (menacing, playful darkness)

First Knight soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (romance, knights…, heroic)

Congo soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (Africa, exotic, adventure, suspense)

Van Helsing soundtrack by Alan Silvestri (adventure, monsters, menace)

Finding Neverland soundtrack by Nick Ingman (gentle, elegant, old fashioned, tragic)

Hero soundtrack by Tan Dun, Itzhak Perlman, Kodo (heroic, epic battles, eastern influence)

Troy soundtrack (heroic, epic battles, exotic locale, tragic)

The Merchant of Venice soundtrack, David Juritz, leader (historical – Europe, elegant, tragic)

“Main Title” by Hans Zimmer from the Rain Main soundtrack (sexy, exotic, urbane)

Pied-Piping the Muse Notes

The Mozart Effect – This term is based on studies done in the 1950’s with            children who had speech and communication disorders. 

THREE AREAS of concentration for “meditating” to music:
1.     General story brainstorming – overview
2.     Setting – grabbing the details as we live them
3.     Character – seeing someone come alive in our heads

“Rules” for meditation exercise:

1.     Have a partner select music that will focus on your purpose.  (For example—tell her that you’re working on a werewolf story and you’d like it to be seductive, suspenseful, and gothic in tone.)  Partner keeps the title(s) a secret so you can avoid any preconceptions about what you’re going to hear.
2.     Listen to song more than once. 
a. First time – absorb the music by just listening. 
b. Second time – record your impressions in a variety of ways: word pictures (phrases, sentences, words, details), sketches.  Don’t break the flow of your writing!!!
c. Third time – interpret your impressions by adding notes, completing    sentences, and adding more details or deleting what doesn’t fit.
Listen again if needed….
3.     Remember to use the five senses.
4.     Allow yourself to get corny and feel the music.  Live the song.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: NEVER HIKE ALONE

Any Friday the 13th fans out there?

This isn't exactly the next installment in the series, but it's close--and it's about 50 minutes of awesome.

Never Hike Alone isn't a series sequel, reboot, reimagining, or even a recycled version of the "real thing" (whatever "the real thing" is anymore in this cash-grabby world of remakes). It's a quality fan film. It's gory and scary and full of Easter eggs. If for some reason you've never seen a film with Jason Vorhees in it, it's a great entry point, because it includes a quick recap of the "ghost story" that's always haunted Camp Crystal Lake.

In a bloody nutshell, we've got a hiker (who by the way could very well be the younger, nicer brother of Jax Teller, so enjoy!). Hiker vlogs about a trip he's taking into a "preserve" in the Catskills. Then--oh, crap--hiker stumbles over a certain wooden sign that every horror fan will be familiar with...

Never Hike Alone was released on YouTube on--what else?--Friday the 13th, so if you want to watch it, you can do it right here! (Just click on the screen and maximize to a full screen view.)

(Be prepared for some watching-through-your-fingers scenes. Or maybe I was doing that because I had all the lights off!)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Halloween Scavenger Hunt Is On!!!

I've got a Hallowpalooza treat for you! I'm one of the sponsors of the Night Owl Reviews Hallowpalooza Scavenger Hunt.

Over $1000 in prizes!

During this event I'm going to help you find some great new books. Make sure to check my featured title, Hot for a Bite, out along the way.

The grand prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Event Dates: October 12 - 31

Good luck, and happy hunting!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival!

Raise your hand if you've ever been to the Disney EPCOT Food and Wine Festival.


(Er...that's not me in the photo. But I swear I was there!)

I'm going to interrupt my Halloween Movie Binge in order to dish about my recent adventures in culinary and wino paradise, so strap in, rev up your taste buds, and close your eyes for a vicarious thrill...

First off, here is everything you need to know about the Festival. Basics:
* It's once a year at EPCOT, and there are 35(!) booths from different countries, plus food studios.
* You will eat and drink all day.
* If you are a pescatarian like me, there are many, many things to eat, which leads to...
* You will spend way too much money no matter what you are. (Wearing a Magic Band facilitates this, as it acts as your fun credit card. Everything becomes Monopoly Money with a Magic Band.)

Mickey looks so sweet, shiny, and innocent here, but he's going to attack your bank account, smack it around, and you will like it.

Now, you foodies, let me show you the gluttonous swath I cut through the Disney landscape!

1st Stop--Germany!
(Click above for the menu.)
I began with a wine flight of Rieslings, which is a favorite varietal of mine. Note my virgin passport in front of the flight. It is about to get sullied by many stamps and food stains.

2nd Stop--India!
Let it be noted that pairing wine with my food from this point on was pure necessity. (Really!) Also, I didn't go to the marketplaces in order--this meant that I was walking from one end of the park to another, because good girls exercise.

Anyway, here you see Madras Red Curry with Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Carrots, Chickpeas, and Basmati Rice. I paired this with a light, crisp Chenin Blanc. Delicious!

3rd stop--Farm Fresh!
This stand features (Wait for it!)...Farm Fresh food from Florida! I needed something light and refreshing after the heat from the Indian curry (Yes, I'm a heat wimp.), so I ordered a Roasted Beet Salad with Green Beans, Feta Cheese, Vinaigrette, and Toasted Walnuts.

Salads rock.

But the highlight of this meal wasn't the food--it was the bounce-on-my-heels yumminess of the Mango Wine. If you're going to the Festival, this is AWESOME.

4th Stop--Hawaii!
I'll be honest--I was on a roll with the vino, and Pineapple Wine sounded like just the thing. It In fact, for me, it was one of only a few disappointments. Not that I would turn it down. I just wouldn't head straight for this marketplace next time.

At this point, I headed for the food studios...
5th Stop--The Cheese Studio!
Cheese, Glorious Cheese. Check out this trio!

Strawberry Macaroon topped with Pepper Cheese (Sounds weird but tastes great!); Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Shallot and Chive Cheese (I'm swooning even now.); Profiterole topped with Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and Apricot Jam (also divine).

I snarfed up this pretty plate with a Veltliner (barely visible to the left of the cheeses).

Intermission of the Tummy

My Foray into a Wine Seminar
The Food & Wine Festival offers special events, including seminars in which winemakers chat about their craft. Luigi with the Coppo Winery in Italy was our host, and I swear to God, you are looking at one of the best Moscatos I've ever had on the right.

We Now Return to Gluttony

I must confess that this is one of two marketplaces I visited twice (the other being India...which you will soon discover again). My first trip here was for the purpose of delighting in this adorable pallet of cheese:
*Fromager Affirois de Excellence
*Blue Cheese with Apricot Jam
*Toma with Honey
The plate was paired with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Malbec.
One of my faves of the Festival!

At this point I'm scaring even myself. How did I eat so much? DRINK so much? Bear in mind that the Festival opens at 11am and it's now hours later. I've been eating, drinking, chatting, walking, and generally reveling in how lucky I was to be at EPCOT.

Also, you'll notice that the glasses of wine are not exactly mammoth.

I was getting a second wind here with this wine flight, which included a Valdeorras, Rosado, and Monastrell. Rose is a personal favorite of mine, so I liked. Liked a lot.

I will pause again here to mention that almost every time I ordered a wine flight, it rained for about five Florida minutes. So anyone who was caught in a quick downpour that day can blame me and my love of the grape.
So, yes--another flight! This one featured Chenin Blanc, a Pinotage, and Sweet Shiraz. Africa has some kick-ass wines.

This is where I turned into Food Only Girl. I was hungry and had reached the Wine Saturation Point.

What you see here is the best dish I've had inside or outside the Festival. I dream of these Seared Scallops with Truffled Celery Root Puree, Brussel Sprouts, and Wild Mushrooms.
I want to roll around in this dish. I want to propose to it. I want it to remain a lovely memory that will keep me warm on the coldest of nights.

Pistachio. Cardamom. Cake. Chocolate Coconut Mousse.

Head and stomach exploding.

Until the next time, sweet dreams of food and wine, my friends!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: THE INVITATION

This one starts out like an indie movie about people working out their issues over dinner. One of the guests is the hero, who has lost his son, and he's attending this little reunion party at his ex-wife's invitation.

Then the unsettling, ambient music kicks in. It's music that would make anyone want to watch through their fingers, reaching into you to scrape over your nerves.

Then someone plays

That's all you're going to get, but keep in mind that this movie is not what you would expect it to be. It's labeled as a "thriller" at Netflix--a psychological thriller to be exact. Scenes build upon one another, and every time the hero says (or gives a look that means) something is wrong, we all go one step closer to the abyss.

Not a fun scare, but a deep one.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: HONEYMOON

What I love about the digital age is that it's brought back scary movies with a brutal force. There's something for everyone.

Not everything has to be about jump scares, though I love them.

Not everything has to be about slashes, though that's one of my fave horror subgenres.

Sometimes you get movies that are subtle, that creep under your skin minute by minute. They are slow burns (like one of my all-time favorites, SESSION 9).

For HONEYMOON, you need lots of patience. It starts off with newlyweds who go to a remote cabin, and they are totally in lurve. Much time is spent establishing this. Also, if you're a GAME OF THRONES or PENNY DREADFUL fan, you'll be happy to see Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway here.

Then weirdness starts, beginning with the townspeople. After that, something changes for this loving couple, and I'm not going to say what, but...creeeeepy.

Oh, also, if you're looking for a scene that will make you want to barf, look no farther than this flick. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: HOUSEBOUND

Movie Math
HOUSEBOUND = girl under house arrest in possible haunted house (x) (fun jump scares + solid mystery + kinda funny) - (that is not Shailene Woodley on the poster)

I don't know how many times I skipped over this one on Netflix. Totally worth a see, not the least because it takes care of the old "why don't they just leave the house if they think it's haunted?" dilemma with ease. (Family attachment to the house, and as mentioned, house arrest.) Lots of twists and turns, plus some truly fun horrific moments that made me go "Hee!!!"

Check it out:

If you have any recommendations, let me know!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: VAULT OF HORROR

I'm going to let the trailer do a lot of the talking here.

Yes! It's one of these! A classic anthology. (I LOVE anthologies!)

As I mentioned in a previous post, horror movies have circled back around to using short formats. Personally, I feel that this kind of storytelling is horror at its best, and not only with films. Short stories are punchy, like quick scares as you move through a haunted house.

The tales in Vault of Horror aren't necessarily scary, more like macabre and twisty. They're more about developing atmosphere than seeking out a Boo! moment.

Bottom Line: This is Halloween to me--Hammer-style horror, a night with the lights off and the TV on, and creepy organ music and English accents!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: INTRUDER

In the shadows he waits...

Don't ask me why I constantly gravitate toward these kinds of movies in which creepy creeps crawl through houses, spying on the heroines and gaslighting them into thinking they're going crazy. Halloween is approaching, and I need no excuses.

I'm going to give you a super quick run down on this one:
- Single girl
- Multiple yucky men who fondle her with their eyes (AKA, suspects)
- Landlady who goes away for the weekend
- Friend brings cat over (AKA, "Hi--I'm here to dole out some jump scares!")
- Uckie, faceless dude in hoodie hiding under beds and in closets while heroine remains oblivious

Bottom Line: Have a drink every time the heroine narrowly misses catching the creeper. Maybe then you won't mind so much when the lead actress goes from an American accent to a Scottish one, sometimes even in the same scene. Strange!

Stay tuned for: Vault of Horror

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I do love me some found footage movies, and although it seems that THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT is a bit polarizing, I thought it had a lot going for it.

We follow a group who is out to make a documentary about all the haunted houses that pop up around every Halloween. But here's the conceit of the film and the big question the documentarians come across: How can you be sure that some of the people who are trying to scare the poo out of you behind those masks aren't serious psychos?

There were some great jump scares and truly tense scenes as the group tries to track down a shady underground extreme haunted house that relocates every year. As you can see from the movie poster, some of the costumes are fah-ree-kay! I might be in the minority here, but I actually liked the main characters and that means I actually cared about the dangers that awaited them.

Bottom line: This isn't as fun as going to those real houses that October build, but it's still a creepy good time.

Stay tuned for INTRUDER!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: TALES OF HALLOWEEN

Another scary movie down!

I couldn't be happier that horror movie anthologies have experienced a rebound. As you'll soon see, I'm a sucker for the old Hammer-style flicks that contain short stories that are held together by one framing device. In recent years, The ABCs of Death and V/H/S have whet some bloody appetites with their anthology structures. Talking about these movies with friends are extra fun because you can compare your favorite entries (and not so favorites) with others.

Tales of Halloween offers 10 little scares that are threaded together by a very simple framing device--the Fog-like voice of Adrienne Barbeau, coming at you on one Halloween night. Barbeau's presence is only the first of many tributes to horror fans as more genre directors, actors, and creators appear in every tale. I dare not ruin the surprises here, but there are also a couple of homages to higher-profile movies that are pure fun.

Favorite entries include:
1. "Sweet Tooth": urban legend meets Exorcist 3 homage (which, BTW, is one of the scariest things I've ever seen).
3. "Trick": Ooo, a nasty, nasty little tale. Watch very closely...
5. "Grim Grinning Ghost": I love this for its atmosphere as well as the creepy creep factor. If this were a candy, it would be Pop Rocks.
8. "Friday the 31st": You cannot dislike this one if you're a slasher fan. Throw in some Evil Dead for good measure.
9. "The Ransom of Rusty Rex": Just desserts. That's all I'm gonna say.

Bottom line? As with every anthology, there are some stinkers among the good stuff. This flick isn't heavy on scares but on atmosphere, and it's a fun Halloween selection.

Stay tuned for: The Houses October Built

Friday, September 08, 2017

Halloween Movie Binge: The Boy

I haven't done this in a while, but here I go again...

I used to blog quite a bit about pop culture (movies, TV show recaps and live blogs, books, and nerd experiences). Then life got a little tough for a while. I backed away from sharing a lot of my private stuff with the public, and I found that I didn't have it in me to write about anything that wasn't a sales proposal. Also, there were so many other people who started to blog about pop culture, and who cared about what I said anymore?

But you know what? I'm going to give this another go, just for the Halloween fun of it. I need fun. You need fun.

Let's have Halloween fun!

Those of you who have known me for a while have it on good authority that I am a horror movie freak, and I'm going to do some serious scary flick watching since Halloween is my favorite time of year. The following is the shortest review I can manage to do without repeating to death every other review out there.

Shall we begin?

So here's the short version: we have an inexperienced American nanny who is running from something in her past. (Evil Laugh of Dark Secrets!) She ends up in a beautiful yet eerie gothic house on the outskirts of an English village. Then she meets the boy she has been hired to take care of. Since this is in the previews, it is not a spoiler: the boy is a freaking doll.

I'm going to tell you only one more thing about this movie: it's a psychological thriller, so we see most of what happens from the nanny's point of view. We don't know if she's kind of losing her mind or if maybe...just maybe...that doll is alive in some weird way.

It is so awesome.

The Boy has a lot of good old-fashioned scares, and the atmosphere is enough to give you the creepy crawlies on your skin. The creaky hallways of this house are filled with dread. Every shadow on the wall is enough to make you hold your breath. If you're watching for blood and gore, this won't be your thing, but if you're like me and you love to turn the lights out and listen to a good scary tale from the storyteller whose face is lit up by the flashlight under his chin, score for you!

Coming Soon: Tales of Halloween

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Excerpt for HOT FOR A BITE--Out Today!

It's out!

Hot for a Bite is the first book in my two-book Vampire Rogues series. (Bound for a Bite is available for pre-order [click here!] and will be released September 20.) For a limited time, you can buy Hot for a Bite for only .99--but only through Friday, 9/9/17!

These are steamy reads on iBooks, Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and Google Play, and for a sexy taste, read on!

His voice came out of the near-blackness again, his body still hidden. His words swept around her like lethal feathers in the night.

You wandered out here to find me.

“And you were waiting.” She leaned back against a pole to help her stay standing. She shielded the phone behind her leg.

Yes, I was waiting.” Now his voice was inside of her. “For you.”

It was as if the words were stroking her, getting her excited. He had remembered their first bite.

In the back of her mind, she told herself that vampires were dangerous, that this wasn’t a game.

She lazily scanned the area, trying to find the vampire, then tightened her grip on her hidden crucifix and phone that was recording this encounter so she could prove her vampire existed.

A flash of movement snagged her attention from above. She sucked in a breath, recognizing the vampire’s outline as he crouched on some overhead beams, watching her, his hair haloed in the dim light. Gradually, the green of his gaze clarified, as if acknowledging her discovery. Burning green.

What is your name, luv?” he asked, his foreign tone buzzing through every one of her awakened cells.

“Kimberly. Kim.” It seemed as if he’d asked before, but it’d been an entire year, and she couldn’t quite remember. This time, though, she had the presence of mind to ask right back. “And yours?”

He hesitated, and she thought she heard him laugh. Then he murmured, “Rafe.”

She sunk against the pole a bit. Finally, she knew who haunted her. Rafe.

So tell me, Kimberly. Why is it that there is a crucifix in your pocket?

Startled out of her haze, Kim straightened, sliding up the pole. She grasped the silver object tighter, still keeping it hidden. “A crucifix?”

“Yes. I discerned a flash of silver as you came outside. Prepared, aren’t you?” For some reason, his voice seemed clearer now. It was as if she’d gotten a hold of herself and a veil had lifted.

“I’m a very devout girl, Rafe.”

Even in the dark, she could feel, more than see, his gaze brush over her. A sigh caught in her lungs.

“Devout in what way?” he asked, his voice low and knowing.

A sudden spike of fear—a very human, stupid, why-am-I-doing-this-again? sort of fear—thrust into her. But before she could react, he was using that voice on her again, his eyes burning bright, tiger, tiger, in the night….

Tell me, Kimberly. Why the crucifix?

In spite of herself, she was manipulated into talking. “The League.” She slowly blinked. “We chase vampire rumors around Vegas. This place is a paradise for creatures of the night. Twenty-four-hour, everything-is-always-open opportunity. What happens here stays here, and that makes for a bunch of willing victims who find themselves doing what they normally wouldn’t do at home.”

You are a…hunter?” He didn’t sound panicked by that at all. Well, maybe a touch concerned, but that’s it.

“More of an enthusiast.”

When he shifted, the light did, too. It brought Kim that much closer to reality, even though she still felt the need to spill everything to Rafe.


Why,” he asked, “do you find this…investigation…necessary in life?

Oh, his voice. It ran over her like massage oil, aromatic and soothing.

“After my first bite,” she said, smiling, knowing he knew what she was talking about, “I… Well, sometimes I wondered if I’d imagined it.”

Your first bite,” he said, as if weighing the words.

Hearing him acknowledge it sent a splinter of crazed yearning through her. “There were nights when I thought I was out of my mind, that it couldn’t have happened. But I knew I was wrong because I could feel the neck wound where you bit me, even after it healed.” Healed too quickly, within a couple of days. “It was a reminder that it did happen.”

And when the injury disappeared?

“That’s when I started doubting myself for real. I didn’t know who to tell, who’d understand what happened and accept it. There wasn’t anybody.” Not her parents, her friends, and she didn’t really have coworkers seeing as she was a freelancer.

“You are pained,” Rafe said and, suddenly, his voice wasn’t as hypnotic. There was a sense of sympathy there instead, as if he knew just what agony was because he could feel it flowing through her.

“I got over it.” Her lie echoed against the bleachers.

She clutched the hidden phone, wondering if she should lift it in front of her so she could visually record just a glimpse of this vampire. So she could keep him solid instead of a figment of her restless imagination and longing.

Then Rafe dropped down from the beams, arcing smoothly to the ground, where he crouched in the darkness. Now the only hint of him were those green eyes.

Tell me more about why you joined this League, Kimberly.”

“I…” She shut her mouth. She shouldn’t tell him everything, even if he was persuading her to do so.

Tell me, Kimberly,” he said, the power of his suggestive voice overwhelming.

She couldn’t resist him anymore. “That first bite—that’s why I joined the Van Helsing League…  Because I needed people who would understand.”

Van Helsing, named after the most famed hunter in literature.” He sounded amused. “Is this League a dangerous lot?

“We’ve had limited luck.”

With deliberate ease, Rafe stood, so tall she could feel him hovering over her, his broad shoulders coming to block the light. “But your luck is not so limited tonight, Kimberly.”

To have him calling her by name was almost too much. A deep tremble nested in her belly, spreading heat.

This proof you seek of vampires,” he said, stepping nearer, soundless in his movements. “Do you realize that it could erase my existence?

She tilted her head at him. Actually, it’d never occurred to her that a group like the League would have that sort of pull. They were a bunch of amateurs, that’s all. “We’re not out to kill you.”

Perhaps that is not your intention.” Closer. “But this is where the persecution starts, with a few cries in the night. Then the real hunters come. That is why we do not flaunt ourselves in society, that is why we remain discreet.

“Discreet? Someone’s sending women to the ER with a lot less blood than they started with.”

Another pause. “And I am here to put a stop to that. There is another…”

Again, his voice wasn’t as hypnotic. Was it starting to wear off of her for some reason?

There was also something about what he said that poked at her. She opened her mouth to pursue it, but he moved toward her with such speed that her words caught in her throat.

His dark proximity rattled Kim, shook her until she couldn’t even gasp. She slumped back against the pole, the tremble consuming her entire body now. He loomed, bending nearer, his aroma a mélange of leafy scents masking a predator in the night.

This was it—another bite….

He sniffed at her hair, then nestled lower, leaving a path of tingling heat. Kim parted her lips, drinking in the seduction, her eyelids going as heavy and thick as the blood dragging down her limbs.

“A sweet drug,” he whispered clearly, as if remembering her scent. “That is what you are…”

Then he paused, honing in on something that she couldn’t sense. He slipped his hand down, his skin brushing hers as he slid her phone out of her grip. He felt cool to the touch.

He ran his thumb over the device, then crushed it in his hand, casually allowing the pieces to sift to the ground.

She opened her mouth to protest but his low growl stopped her.

“What else do you have?” he asked.

At the change in his tone—from charming to downright scary—Kim’s survival instinct took over. Her pulse raged to fight-or-flight speed, and she brought the crucifix out of her pocket, forcing him to freeze as she backed out of the bleachers and into the moonlight.

What had she been thinking? This was a vampire, not some random hot guy…​

Happy Hunting!