Please say hello to Shira Anthony with
Blood And Eternity
Blood series #3
Reinventing the Vampire Myth
Thanks, Sandra and company, for hosting release day for the final Blood Series book, Blood and Eternity!The series blends paranormal, fantasy, and time travel themes. Oh, and sexy vampires and vampire hunters, of course. Be sure to read to the bottom to see how you can enter to win a cool unisex bat-themed bracelet!
With the exception of the 3 years before and after I went to law school, I’ve always been a voracious reader. And even during law school and the years after when I experienced the I-can’t-possibly-read-anything-else-or-my-eyes-will-explode angst, I still read a great deal, just not the kind of reading I enjoyed! Above all else, I’ve loved to read romance and fantasy (high fantasy, paranormal fantasy, you name it!).
So it won’t surprise you to hear that vampires featured prominently in some of those reads (although I admit I haven’t read the Twilight series). My favorite book vampires are Anne Rice’s. I’ve also seen many movies and TV shows featuring vampires. I particularly loved the first few seasons of True Blood (based on the Sookie Stackhouse series) and the Japanese animated series, Vampire Knight (based on the manga with the same name).
Ten years ago, a reader asked me if I’d ever write a vampire book. Honestly, I thought about it then, but pushed the idea aside. Vampires seemed stale in both literature and in film. So often, it was the same old myth of vampires who burn up in the sunlight, have super-human strength, can’t walk into a building without being invited inside, turning into a bat, undead... you name it. You know the tropes.
When I started writing the Blood Series for Dreamspinner Press a few years ago, I was bound and determined to put my own spin on vampires in much the same way as I did with my shifter mermen in the Mermen of Ea Series. I didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, though! Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of the vampire myths. But I wanted to write something a bit different, and having fantasy on the brain, some fantasy ideas bled into (pardon the pun) my vampires.
So let’s start with what’s the same? Vampires in the Blood Series can create other vampires from humans by draining the human’s blood and allowing the human to drink the vampire’s blood. Vampires are immortal and immune to disease, but they can be killed by vampire hunters. Not a stake through the heart, but they can’t survive without a head.
What’s different about the Blood Series vampires?
My vampires are alive. Living, breathing creatures with hearts that beat. Vampires (those who are born as vampires, not created) are an entirely different species from humans, although they can breed with humans as well as amongst themselves. Those original vampires are called “ancient” vampires. The ancients are vampire royalty, in a sense. They are leaders and they care for their own. They’ve fought amongst themselves for power, and they’ve also fought humans. In addition to being the most powerful vampires, ancient vampires have special abilities that are more like magic than just superhuman strength.
There are other differences between my vision of vampires and the traditional tropes. Because they are living creatures, they don’t burn up in the sunshine, live in coffins, etc. They are stronger at night, but they’re pretty strong during the day as well. Vampires in the series prefer relationships with others of their own sex, although the ancients will marry to procreate (it’s their duty to do so). The older the vampire, the less need they have for blood. They eat food and derive sustenance from it, but they can survive without food.
My favorite “new” myth? It comes from the old trope of a sexual connection to the taking of blood that goes back many centuries in literature. When the vampires in the Blood Series drink someone’s blood, they see that person’s memories. For them, blood is a window onto the soul. So the sharing of blood is a very intimate act. More intimate than sex (and yes, my vampires like sex just as humans do!). There is little a vampire cannot see in someone’s blood, and many vampires will only share their own blood with someone they trust (for obvious reasons).
I hope you’ll join me in my own vampire universe. If you haven’t read it already, the first book in the series is Blood and Rain. Don’t forget to comment to be entered to win a unisex handmade bat-themed bracelet with a paranormal theme! –Shira
Sequel to Blood and Ghosts and the final installment in the Blood Trilogy
Vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert never dreamed he’d fall for his prey or that his love, Nicolas Lambert, would give him the gift of immortality. But when a hunter bent on destroying the truce between vampires and hunters throws the gauntlet at Adrien’s feet, Adrien must travel through time to save Nicolas, and with him, the entire vampire race.
The time has come to make a choice—one they will live with for eternity.
In this final installment in the Blood Trilogy, Adrien and Nicolas must face their greatest enemy in a deadly last confrontation. But to prevail, they’ll need to master the enemies within.
When Adrien awakens to a future he doesn’t recognize, he faces an impossible decision: live a perfect life with Nicolas in a shattered world, or risk everything to repair a broken past. But before he can challenge vampire hunter Verel Pelletier, he must master the demon who lives in his own mind—and learn to control his ability to travel through time. With Nicolas by his side, he prepares for a final battle against a powerful adversary who likes to play games with the past and future.
But the price of ensuring a future for their loved ones may be an eternity spent alone.
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Excerpt from Blood and Rain:
On the Edge of Forever
SUNSET WOVE fingers of purple and red through bands of clouds and vapor trails that crisscrossed the sky. The scent of exhaust from trucks and cars mingled with the tang of salt from the ocean. People scurried about as they returned from work, trying to finish last-minute errands before dinnertime, all oblivious to the lone figure perched atop the high-rise at the edge of the Miami River.
Adrien Gilbert gazed down at the tiny figures below, vaguely aware of their presence. For more than a century, he had seen generations of humans be born, reach adulthood, start families, grow old, and die as their loved ones watched, helpless to slow time. He had grown numb to the cycle of life—a cycle to which he was immune. He was an immortal, a hunter who had shared the soul of an ancient vampire. His beloved soul.
He closed his eyes, trying to picture that perfect face. It had grown strangely difficult to remember over the years, and yet he could still easily remember the face of his mother, who had been killed when he was just a child.
I won’t forget you… Nicolas.
It would have been far easier to give in, to erase Nicolas from his memory forever. Certainly far less painful than knowing Nicolas was out there somewhere, unable to find the way back to him. Less painful, too, than admitting he couldn’t find his way to Nicolas. He would suffer the pain of knowledge; it was a small price to pay to preserve the memory.
The irony that a hunter sworn to protect humankind would suffer the loss of a vampire so deeply was hardly lost on Adrien. He’d believed that in spite of the treaty between hunters and the hunted, vampires were not to be trusted. He’d believed his duty as a hunter was simple, straightforward: kill those who threatened humanity, tolerate those who did not. But that had been before he’d met Nicolas. Before he’d lost his heart. Before Nicolas had given him immortality.
Adrien had everything a human might wish for. The small transportation business he’d started when he moved to the United States over a hundred years ago had blossomed into an international empire with cargo ships, airplanes, trucks, and dozens of storage facilities around the globe. He owned homes in Europe, Thailand, Japan, the US, and a dozen other places he rarely visited. Despite his prosperity, the men with whom he shared his bed—human, vampire, hunter—rarely stayed long. He had seen to that, with his aloof manner and his cold heart. Only one man had ever touched his soul.
THE EVENING had started, as it always did, on a far better note. Adrien had stopped by one of his favorite haunts, an upscale martini bar not far from the city center. He’d developed a penchant for gin over the past few decades, enjoying the quick work it made of his long-term memory. Three or four martinis and he could forget, even if only briefly.
The bar was small and full of people. A Sinatra song played in the background as he walked over to the stainless-steel bar, filled with men, some of whom he’d already discarded, others new faces. Eager, all of them. He sensed their eyes on him and felt the hunger they didn’t understand. He understood that hunger. The scent of his blood created it in them. The same irresistible scent that had lured many a human to fall prey to the vampires now drew them to him.
He sat down at an empty barstool and nodded to the bartender, who set to work making the driest martini possible with his most expensive gin, dropping in a tiny bit of lemon peel instead of an olive. He handed Adrien the drink without saying a word, and Adrien brought the glass to his lips.
“Nice,” a male voice said from behind him.
The man was beautiful, tall, with shoulder-length black hair and deep green eyes. He wore a pair of tight-fitting jeans and a crisp button-down shirt that emphasized his muscled chest and narrow waist. Late twenties, perhaps. A new face, but a familiar presence.
“It’s not bad.” Adrien took a sip of his drink and pretended not to care. It was easy.
“I wasn’t talking about the drink.” The man lifted his drink to his full lips but watched him intently.
“I wasn’t either,” Adrien replied without missing a beat.
“So you are.”
They left the bar together for his apartment, where his housekeeper had already set a table for two. A bottle of Puligny-Montrachet chilled in a cooler by the table. Between them, they finished that bottle, although Adrien drank very little. Alcohol affected immortals far more than humans or vampires.
After dinner Cole stood and walked over to the railing, looking out over the river below. “You know what I am.” Cole’s voice was as smooth as the wine.
“Yes. I know what you are.” Adrien had sensed Cole was a vampire the moment he’d seen him. No self-respecting hunter would have missed the subtle electricity in the air or the scent of mingled blood. He lifted Cole’s hair off his neck, then trailed his lips over his silky skin. Cole smelled good—an earthy and primal scent that caused the bloodlust to rise in Adrien. Once, he had embraced his lust for blood.
When he’d first become an immortal, Nicolas’s blood had done far more than sustain him. They had shared their bodies, their blood, and their souls. The blood had been their bond, the bloodlust a welcome reminder of Adrien’s love for Nicolas. Now the lust for blood had nothing to do with Adrien’s heart. It was another bitter reminder that his body would not let him perish, even though he cared nothing for living.
It’s been too long.
Cole moaned. The deep, throaty sound made Adrien’s mouth water in spite of himself. Adrien despised his body’s response, but he’d long ago learned he couldn’t fight it. Once, he had gone nearly twenty years without giving in to the call. He’d been weak, pathetic, barely able to think. He’d prayed he would die. He’d lost consciousness, but he’d awoken to find himself drinking his fill. He’d come perilously close to killing the human whose blood he’d feasted on, but he’d managed to stop. However miserable his existence, Adrien would only feed on vampires—he’d not break the oath he’d taken to protect humans when he’d become a hunter.
Adrien licked the skin of Cole’s neck, feeling the blood pulse there, hearing it call to him. Cole tilted his head in anticipation, opening himself to Adrien.
Adrien buried his teeth in Cole’s skin. Blood flooded his mouth and danced on his tongue, sweet and salty. Too long. His body was far more vampire-like in its craving for blood than when he’d first been given the gift of an ancient vampire’s soul. He wondered if it was the same for other immortals.
Adrien tried to ignore the images that flashed through his mind—the sound of silvery laughter, a mother’s loving caress. Cole’s memories. Adrien despised this forced intimacy, but he’d come to see it as the price of blood. Something to be tolerated.
It hadn’t always been that way. When he’d shared Nicolas’s blood, Adrien had experienced great joy. He’d seen himself through Nicolas’s eyes and felt the depth of Nicolas’s love. Each drop of that precious liquid had opened new doors. Each taste offered insight into Nicolas’s heart and soul. A beloved memory. A mystery—the mystery of Nicolas—unfolding with every swallow.
Adrien drank his fill, then claimed Cole’s mouth. This kind of contact he could stomach. He didn’t need sex to survive, but he enjoyed the release. Cole unbuttoned Adrien’s black silk shirt and his cock swelled against Adrien’s thigh. Adrien moaned as Cole skated his fingertips over his chest.
“I have never known a hunter to crave blood,” Cole whispered in his ear. “I thought only we experienced the bloodlust.”
“You were wrong,” Adrien said as he pulled Cole’s shirt over his head and mouthed a pretty pink nipple. Sex was always better after he fed, and Adrien’s cock was already hard at the thought of fucking such a lovely ass. He drew Cole’s body against his, walked backward into the living room, and pulled Cole with him onto the rug. Soon they were naked and he was no longer a hunter or an immortal, he was simply a man, seeking release, seeking pleasure.
ADRIEN LAY there afterward, only partially satisfied. Nothing new. Sex was like the bloodlust—it always left him wanting more. Cole brushed his fingers over Adrien’s chest, then his neck. He licked Adrien’s earlobe, then ran his tongue over Adrien’s Adam’s apple.
“May I?” he asked.
“No.” He would willingly share his blood with only one person.
“Too bad.” The vampire was clearly disappointed. “I would have liked to have known the secrets of your blood.”
Adrien watched Cole dress but said nothing.
“Perhaps another time, then.” Cole turned and smiled at him before he walked out the door.
For at least an hour after, Adrien lay on the floor and allowed the night air to caress his bare skin. He closed his eyes and dozed.
The voice awakened him. Nicolas’s voice again. Why sleep if it only served to reawaken the pain he sought to suppress?
He stood and pulled on his jeans. He walked onto the balcony in his bare feet, then climbed to the roof of the penthouse.
Having reached the edge, he spread his arms. He leaned forward and fell unimpeded, riding the wind like a sigh. The glass of the building sailed by him, the breeze buffeting his face. He hit the water and sank into the cold blackness. He wished he could die.
About the author:
Shira loves a great happily-ever-after and never writes a story without one. She's happy to write what her muse tells her, whether it's fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, or contemporary romance. She particularly loves writing series, because she thinks of her characters as old friends and she wants to visit them even after their stories are told.
In real life, Shira sang professionally for 14 years, and she currently works as a public sector attorney advocating for children. She's happy to have made writing her second full-time job, even if it means she rarely has time to watch TV or go to the movies. Shira writes about the things she knows and loves, whether it's music and musicians, the ocean, or the places she's lived or traveled to. She spent her middle school years living in France, and tries to visit as often as she can. Shira and her husband spend as many weekends as they can aboard their 38' catamaran sailboat, Prelude, at the Carolina Coast. Not only has sailing inspired her to write about pirates and mermen, her sailboat is her favorite place to write. And although the only mermen she's found to date are in her own imagination, she keeps a sharp lookout for them when she's on the water.
Find out more on her website.
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