This Novel Magic post takes us back to our normal haunts–this time with vampires! L.A. McGinnis’s Shadows of Ghosts. Oh, and by the way–Scottish Vampires!! Read on for a bonus peek at the second book in the series.
Here’s the blurb!
Driving to South Carolina to claim an inheritance from a total stranger didn’t figure into Logan Dean’s long term plans. But she’d be a fool to pass up an opportunity, and her mother didn’t raise any fools. Now she’s a pawn in a vampire war and fighting to stay alive. Thankfully, she’s discovered an ally in mysterious Ian Grant. As her feelings for Ian grow, Logan comes to realize if she wants the love she deserves, she’s going to have to fight the demons of her past.
For over a hundred years, cynical Ian Grant swore to never love another woman. But from the first time he saw Logan, he knew an ancient part of his history had come back to haunt him, and the one thing he doesn’t want becomes the one thing he has to have.
Two irreconcilable lives, five hundred years of history, and all they have to do to live happily ever after is defeat the evil that threatens to tear them apart.
MMM! I can already taste the blood–here’s a little more.
“Why were you talking about me?” Logan countered. Ian walked towards her, but she didn’t back away, fueled in part by curiosity, but mostly because nobody pushed her around. When his golden eyes locked on hers, a strange, sweet feeling swept through her.
The man simply…dazzled. With his fallen angel beauty framed by hair the color of copper and a body that flowed as gracefully as smoke. But it was those eyes, she decided, eyes as gold as Midas that did it for her, slanted above a smile as dangerous as a predator’s.
A wondrous feeling blew through her, like she’d missed him, like her heart had been broken a thousand times and now was finally whole. He was how home smells when you don’t even know how much you’ve missed it until you come through the front door and there it is. Waiting for you.
“Who the hell are you, Grant?” She managed, as he stopped a few inches away. The fierceness of his gaze set off another sensation, and as need curled through her, she reeled. It was as if she knew. Knew what his mouth tasted like. Knew his weight on her body. Because she’d felt them before. Staggering forward, Logan found herself caught by capable hands. “Oh God, what’s happening to me?”
Warm breath feathered her ear. “You’re curious, aren’t you? You feel it, don’t you?”
Logan stood helpless, held in place not by him but by something inside her that made it impossible to leave. And when he reached out and tucked a stray hair behind her ear, a gesture so tender, yet so achingly familiar, she couldn’t breathe. “You always had the most beautiful hair.”
“What kind of games are you playing, Grant?” Logan managed.
“Unfortunately for us, Miss Dean, this is not a game.” Clouds covered the sun, cutting off the nimbuses that fractured the gloom, plunging the room into shadow. It was a sign, she thought, of something momentous. Or at least, she was going to take it as a sign, which meant pretty much the same thing. Right about then she realized they weren’t alone.
“What the hell is going on here, Ian?” Face burning, she stepped away from him immediately. Busted. Robert carefully looked between the two of them, a growing awareness on his face.
Grant smoothly took over. “I just drove out to see Bart’s old place. I’d hoped Miss Dean might be interested in selling.” Just like that, he became completely detached. Gone was any trace of whatever had happened between them. The moment felt stolen, instead of real. He didn’t want Robert to know. Know what, she wasn’t sure, but she did remember Robert’s final words yesterday…get the hell out of here, Ian… Her legs were still a little shaky, but as the distance opened between them, her bearings came back. Fine, she thought, two can play at that game.
“Mr. Grant was explaining to me his plans for Aviemore.” She felt Grant’s jolt of surprise behind her. “I’m afraid I’ve…” she went on sweetly, “…fallen in love with the old place, too. So, of course I can’t sell.”
It was a small victory to see that coolness crack for a second. “Then I believe I won’t waste any more of your time.” Footsteps echoed down the empty hall.
Logan held up a hand to Robert. “Give us just a sec, will you?” She waited on the porch until Ian opened his car door before calling out. “Why did you come out here, Grant?”
“You don’t want the kind of answers I’ll give you, Miss Dean. Trust me.”
She bit back a laugh. “Yeah? Well, sometimes those are the only kind you get.”
To Get Your Own Copy:
A little bit about L.A. McGinnis
Shadows of Ghosts is a debut paranormal romance from L. A. McGinnis. Laura is a graduate of Kent State University, and has been writing full time since 2007. She belongs to both the RWA and the NEORWA and has attended the Sanibel Island Writer’s Conference, as well as the NEORWA Writer’s Conference, and participates in their yearly writing retreat. She is currently working on the third book in the Shadows series, as well as an urban fantasy series.
L.A. McGinnis’s website: https://lamcginnis.com/
We have to know things so we asked L.A. a few personal questions.
Do you listen to music as you write? Share some of your favorite writing music with us and tell us how it influences your writing.
I listen to Florence and the Machine, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Stone Temple Pilots, NIN, Rob Zombie, Disturbed, Kaleo, Bishop Briggs, lots and lots of Led Zepplin, Audioslave, mixed in with classical. Pretty much an eclectic mix of stuff, depending on my mood and what scene I’m writing. There’s a definite correlation between subject matter and my musical choice of the moment.
Sorchia’s Universe is an unofficial but enthusiastic promoter of all things single malt Scotch-ish. Do you have a favorite tipple—with or without alcohol? What is it and how did you discover it?
I worked my way through about everything in college and now drink rum and cokes, or as my friend likes to call them, Cuba Libre’s, exclusively. At the moment, my favorite rums are Ron Matusalem and Zaya, both produced in the Caribbean. I think I like them because they taste like vanilla, and I have such a sweet tooth!
We love the kilts here in S’s U. and we do a fan-girl dance over anything Scottish. Do you have an unnatural affection for a particular country or region or time period? Tell us what tickles your fancy about that place or time. Does this translate to your writing?
McGinnis is actually my mother’s maiden name, and I literally grew up knowing what our clan plaid looked like, although my grandmother’s all-time favorite plaid was the Black Watch. When I was about six, I loved to wear this little kilted skirt that she’d brought back for me from the UK. As a matter of fact, I think I wore it until it fell apart! Being fascinated both with Norse mythology, and Scots legend, I always knew I wanted my first book to have a strong, Scottish hero, paired with a modern, American, spunky heroine. Ian Grant, who is very much an alpha male, hails from the area surrounding Inverness, along with the antagonist.
Scottish history is a veritable treasure trove, always offering up ideas and setting that seem to be more romantic than any other place on earth. I have woven as much Scottish history and legend into each of my books as possible, with the final climactic battle of Book 1 taking place in Scotland, in a crofting cottage on the North Sea. Book 2 has several pivotal scenes set in the Orkney Islands, and I set the third book primarily in Scotland, in the area stretching from Wick down to Inverness, on the east coast of the UK. Moving the time backwards to the 1560’s allowed me to explore more of the country from a historical perspective and play with time travel. Hopefully I have done this beautiful country justice in my books!
Do you have a new project in the works? Can you give us a sneak peek?
I am in final edits on Book 2 of my series, which continues the saga of Logan and Ian. The heat level is hot, and there is strong language, but no strong triggers. Here is a sneak peak at Chapter One of Reflections of Your Heart:
“Between the dreams of night
and day there is not so great
Dreaming, Logan woke. Tonight was colder than usual, the air smelled sharp, like razorblades and ice, almost too cold to breath, cold enough to bite. Her breaths flew out in white crystal puffs, while her numbed fingers fumbled at the door, but she couldn’t turn the knob far enough to disengage the locks. “You can’t get out, you’ll never get out.” That deep, rumbling voice, dripping with malice and rich, southern nectar, made her vaguely nauseous.
“Shut up Bart, just shut up.” She had to get the door open before the sound of the drip, drip dripping grew any louder.
“You brought this upon them. It’s your fault, Logan Dean. You had to stick your nose in, didn’t you? You had to interfere. Just like always.”
“I didn’t stick my nose in, Evan’s my brother…” Was. Was my brother, she quickly corrected herself. Eight years gone now, eight years dead.
“Not any more he isn’t.” Trapped among the dead bodies, swimming in their blood, Logan Dean shuddered, Bart’s evil laughter wrapping itself around her.
Cold, helpless hands slipped from the knob as the dripping turned into a gushing sound. Felt the blood begin to creep in around her feet, filling in the gaps between her toes with its awful, warm wetness, then the hot, heavy finality as it closed about her ankles like chains. Still, she fumbled at the door, but all was useless now. He had her trapped in the dream, and there’d be no escaping it.
“Com’on, please God, let this thing open.” She felt her stomach twist as the blood encased first her legs, then her torso in its sickly, warm embrace, inching up faster and faster.
The room seemed to pulse with a heady moistness as the air took on a reddish tint, mixing with the salty, metallic smell of old, dirty pennies. Soon she’d be drowning in it and then the light would disappear altogether. Desperate, Logan turned and locked onto the faces of the dead; Mary’s face, then Ben’s blue eyes before they were swallowed by thick, black-red gloss. All the while, a clawing fear rose inside of her, immobilized her.
“What do you want, Bart?” Logan forced herself to face him across the carnage, across the impossibly rising red tide that filled the space between them. Locking eyes with her nemesis, she could almost believe this dream was real, that she was back there, amongst all that death. And that Bartholomew Virgil Duncan, the vampire she’d destroyed two months ago, had returned from the dead.
“For you to watch this, over and over and for me to see it.” The smile that twisted his face was almost charming. Almost.
“Fine. Enjoy it while it lasts, because until your eternal return this is all you’ve got going on.” The blood had almost covered her mouth when she took a last, deep breath before sending her parting shot. “Me? I’m gonna wake up in the morning and make pancakes. So screw you.”
She emerged from the dream the way she always did. Sweaty, sickly terrified, twisting against the tangled sheets and darkness. These last few weeks, the dreams had taken longer to slide off of her, sometimes even hours for her to find solid purchase after the images faded away. “Good God, Logan, what the hell…?” Somehow, impossibly, in the darkness, in the real, waking world, Ian’s strong, capable hands were on her, trying to capture her flailing while she fought and twisted. “Com’on baby, it’s me…come back now, Logan, it was only a dream, it’s over. You’re okay.” Holding her tightly, he rocked her gently while murmuring soft assurances, over and over, while she trembled and shook, noting that not all that trembling was coming from herself. “You’re okay now, love.”
Logan went limp, the dream fading away into a gauzy, intangible thing, wondering how, miraculously, he could be back? Her anchor. Her life. And then it didn’t matter, as she clung onto him like a lifeline. “What’re you doing here? I didn’t think you were coming back till tomorrow?” He smelled as he always did, of spice and strength and that scent brought her back like nothing else could have. “Oh my God, Ian, I just…”
“How bad?” Turning her gently to face him, Ian clicked the light on and he was teetering on the razor edge between anger and fear. “How bad would the dreams have to get before you’d tell me?”
“They’re…it’s not…they’re only bad when you’re gone.” How much should she tell him, she wondered?
“I’ll save you the trouble of deciding.” Pressing his hands to her, he paged back through the dream like a book, seeing everything she’d seen, and through their bond, feeling everything that she’d felt. Finishing, his voice was on just this side of a growl. “Damn it Logan, you should have told me he was back.”
“What can you do? I can’t keep him out of my head and I have to sleep sometime. It’ll be better now that you’re back.” It would have to be better. She could feel everything good slipping away. Reality was mixing with illusion and there were days she wasn’t sure she could tell the difference between them anymore. Burying her face in the crook of his neck, she whispered, “Don’t let me go crazy, Ian, please? Tell me I…won’t.”
“You’re not going crazy, love.” He gathered her against him, following every curve with his hands, reassuring himself she was intact and whole. “It’s going to be alright, Logan. We’ll talk, in the morning. But right now?” His intent turned pure male. “Let me show you how much I’ve missed you.”
He became a wave rolling over her, filling her, completing her, chasing away the dark with a darkness of his own. Undulating, they fell into a well-practiced rhythm, waves breaking against each other, smooth and even, and a craving began to boil in her, the burning need that it seemed only he set off. And only he could quench. In a smooth, languid motion, Ian slid into her and filled her.
He was gentle. And careful. As he had been for these two months since New Orleans. Logan wanted it to be like it was at first. She missed those teeth, the roughness of his hands, the urgency, the shuddering intensity, but, he insisted, this was how it was going to be. He’d take care to put those memories out of her mind and not do anything to bring them back. It was sweet, the way he touched her, it was controlled and it was tender. And it had limits, ones he wouldn’t go beyond. But he was back and she sank into his warmth, grateful to let him take everything away before she fell into a final, solid sleep next to him.
How come everything always seems so much better after a night of great sex? Ian Grant was sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee and watching the river out the back windows when she came downstairs. His coppery hair was slightly mussed, his favorite jeans hung loosely from those spectacular hips of his. She nuzzled against the stubble of his beard as she yawned. “Good to have you back. I missed you.” So damn much, she didn’t even have words for how much that was.
“You finally slept. How long had it been?” He kept his eyes fixed on the river below, so she couldn’t quite see his face.
“A day.” She lied. “Okay, three days. Sorry. I know I told you I was fine, but…I don’t need you worrying over me, I’m doing enough of that for the both of us. And besides, you know how I hate being this needy.”
Still couldn’t see his face. “What do you want me to do, Ian?” She spread her hands in supplication. “Because I just don’t know how to fix this. I’m fine when you’re here, but when I’m alone, I just implode…or something.”
“I want you to be happy and I want you to be whole.” Yes, but after what had happened, she felt like Humpty Dumpty.
“And I’m trying to be. But after New Orleans…it’s just harder for me to focus these days, harder to keep it together.” Unless you’re here with me. Because you’re my world.
“You told me it would be like this, didn’t you?” He spun around and she saw he hadn’t slept at all. “You told me that. But I thought that if I stayed with you, we’d get through. That it would get better. But this? When I found you last night, you were fighting something I couldn’t even see, and it took me too long to get you to come back. I was,” he swallowed, “…scared, damn it.”