Sunday, June 05, 2011

Eternal Hearts Sexy Excerpt and Giveaway

Today as part of Jennifer Turner's Bewitching Book Tour for Eternal Hearts I'm posting a sexy excerpt and a giveaway

Toni Tutoro just wants to go home. Banned from Chicago’s vampiric society after cutting a swath of violence through the city, she must now successfully complete an investigation for the Lord of Chicago to regain the right to live in her hometown again.

To ensure Toni’s safety during her probationary period, Drake Black, a feared assassin, is secretly contracted to protect her. Even with direct orders to keep his relationship professional, and his own personal vow to never get involved with a female vampire again, Drake finds himself drawn to Toni in ways he can’t explain. But unbeknownst to him, he’s tied to one of the people who drove Toni to her night of destruction.

Drake’s legendary heritage holds the key to Toni’s survival and success, but will she be able to forgive his connection to the brutal night that robbed her of those she loved most? Will Drake be able to forget the betrayals in his past and risk taking one more chance? But most of all, can they find a way to reach each other in the darkness?

Excerpt: Eternal Hearts by Jennifer Turner

Toni went quiet for a moment as her dark eyes moved over him, lingering on his face before she traced down one arm, then the other. When she’d finished her poorly disguised appraisal, she made an even slower journey back to meet his eyes. “I like your tattoos.”

Drake looked down at the litany of tribal designs covering his scarred forearms, representing both sides of his cursed heritage. “Thanks. Some are starting to fade though. I need to get them touched up soon.”

“Do they still hurt?”

“Nah. They heal pretty fast. Believe it or not, I have more trouble getting the ink to stick than anything.”

Her gaze slipped from his eyes back to his arms. “I meant the scars.”

He set the empty bottle back on the counter then walked over to the end of the bed. “This one does, sometimes,” he admitted as he tapped the thick, jagged line that ran about six inches down the top of his right forearm. “A Mystic caught me with an enchanted blade she had hidden in her boot.” He pointed out the faded circular scar a little lower. “But this one’s left over from a bullet wound. I barely notice it unless I’m looking.”

She arched a brow. “I know what gunshot scars look like.”

“Yeah?” He couldn’t help but to bait her. “Seen a few on some of your Warrior boyfriends, have ya?”

Her caramel eyes sparked with challenge. “You think you’re a Badass? You wanna play Scar Wars with me?” She kicked her shoes off the side of the bed before she stood up on it. “I’ll play with you.” She walked across the mattress to stand in front of him then tipped her head back. “See this?” she asked as she ran her index finger over the barely there line that spanned her neck. “That’s what happens when you don’t have permission to be in Dallas, and all I was doing was pumping gas.”

He considered the line again, noting how it alternated slightly between thinner and thicker segments. “You got razor wired at the gas station? Did you run the Lord over on your way there or something?”

“No. I’d already talked to the Lord and he said I couldn’t stay. So I stopped to get gas on my way out. I wasn’t exactly ready when the Enforcement Team jumped me.”

Drake looked down at the bed and tried to remember the last contract he’d fulfilled in Texas. “I’m fairly certain the Lord of Dallas is a Tech. Do you have GPS in your car?”

She nodded. “I have a small handheld one I keep in the glove box.”

“That’s how they got you then. He used it to track you.”

Her mouth gaped open. “But all I was doing was filling up my car.”

“Doesn’t matter. Have you pissed off a Tech anywhere else?”

Her face sobered remarkably. “Um…yeah.”

“They’re all networked. So if I were you, I’d stay out of cities where a Tech’s in charge, unless you know for sure that you’re better than their Enforcement Team.” He grinned at her. “So is that it? Is that all ya got?”

She pulled the neck of her black t-shirt down a bit and to the left. An inch or so below her clavicle was a round scar surrounded by a larger ring of raised and discolored skin. “I got this one about a year ago in Miami. I found the Head of Enforcement, but as soon as I said my name she told me to get out. I guess I didn’t move fast enough.” She stretched the neck over to the right, revealing a matching scar just a little higher and closer to her shoulder. “She gave me this one, too.”

Drake sucked in a breath between his teeth. He knew the mottled burn patterns around her gunshot wounds all too well. After all, only one type of bullets could do lasting damage to a vampire, and his own guns were usually filled with them. “Phosphorus rounds, I’ve been there.” He lifted his t-shirt to show her the tight group of three similar scars on his right side, less than an inch below his ribcage. “I got these in London a few years ago.” He pulled back his left sleeve and rubbed the inside of his biceps. “Same with these two. I’ve got two more on my thigh, one on my calf, and one on the top of my foot. They hurt like a bitch while they’re healing, don’t they?”

“Are you kidding? Mine still hurt.” She reached out and brushed a cold finger over the mess of crisscrossed scars on his forearm. “But yours look like they heal a lot better than mine do.” Her eyes slowly trailed up his arm to his face. “I’m guessing you don’t have much trouble feeding though.” He stiffened as she pressed a chilly palm against his cheek. “Nice face, good body, strong heartbeat. How do you stay so warm anyway?”

Drake swallowed hard. Something told him she wouldn’t care
for the explanation of how he maintained his body heat, so instead he offered a fitting option for her. “All you have to do is will your blood to warm, which you could actually do right now instead of using me as your personal heating pad.”

Her nose wrinkled right before she rested her free hand against his other cheek so she held his face in her hands, sending a wave of chills across his shoulders. “I can’t do that. And with how close you are to me right now, I think you know why.”

He’d known since the elevator, but he wondered if she’d actually tell the truth. “Why not?”
“Because using you as a personal heating pad is cheaper.” When he rolled his eyes, she flashed the most disarming smile he’d ever seen. “Because I can’t spare the blood, that’s why. I only eat when I have to. The less I feed, the smaller the chance I’ll make a mistake and earn myself another scar, especially since I don’t have any of those nifty Jedi mind tricks everyone else seems to have.”

Drake had to laugh at the same reference he’d heard Odin use countless times before. “No mental manipulation for you, huh?”

“Nope. I don’t think I’d be very good at it anyway.” She shook her head then slid her hands down to rest on either side of his neck. “Besides, playing with someone’s memories is just wrong, and from what I’ve heard, way too easy to mess up. The last thing I need to do is break the Veil.” She withdrew her hands as shadows flickered behind her eyes. “Then I’d be hunted… instead of just hated.” Her shoulders slumped a little more with each breath that followed, until the worn, apologetic qualities he’d first seen on the sidewalk had returned in full force.

And just like that – she was gone.

The playful woman from only moments before had disappeared, slipped away into some personal Hell where the torturer probably wore her face. A place where every mistake she’d ever made became another lash, and every regret she’d ever felt wove another line into a tangled web of scars that no one else could see.

And he knew where she’d gone, because he’d been there…and it wasn’t a punishment he’d wish on even his worst enemies.

Before instinct could stop him, Drake reached out and brushed his thumb across her icy cheek. He waited for her to move back, expected her to push him away, but when she didn’t, when she shivered at his touch and then leaned into his hand…he knew he was in trouble.

Don’t do it. He knew he shouldn’t, knew what he was about to offer broke every rule attached to a protection contract, but if he could help her regain even a small piece of the life immortality had stolen, for some strange reason that he didn’t understand – he wanted to.

He lowered his hand to rest on her shoulder. “There’s another way to bring back your body heat for a little while without using your blood, but you have to trust me…and I completely understand if you don’t.”

Tears shimmered in her eyes. “Will it hurt?”

“No, it shouldn’t hurt. But it’ll probably feel really weird at first, and it will wake up your beast. Not in anger, but you’ll definitely know the little bastard’s there.”

She chewed at her bottom lip for a few moments before she finally drew a deep breath and nodded. “I trust you. Whatever it is, I wanna try it.”

Drake took a few steps back and prepared himself for the screaming rage of a pissed off vampiress. “Close your eyes and take off your shirt.”

The shadows in her eyes went wild. “What did you just say?”

“I need more skin available.” He motioned from her neck to her toes. “You’re wearing a long sleeved shirt, jeans, and socks. All I’ve got to work with is your face, neck, and hands. I can do it with just those, but it’ll go a lot faster if I have more available.” He lost control of his mouth and broke into a wide grin. “Look at it this way, at least I didn’t tell you to close your eyes and take off your pants.”

She tapped her foot against the mattress. “I told you I’d trust you…please don’t give me something else to regret.” And with that said, she closed her eyes and pulled her shirt up over her head.

All Drake could do was stare at Toni’s body as her shirt fell to the floor. While she certainly couldn’t give him a run for his money in Scar Wars, as she’d called it, he knew plenty of supernaturals who’d lose in a competition against her.

Namely, almost every other female vampire he’d ever met.

Aside from the two she’d already shown him, six more gunshot wounds dotted her chest and abdomen, and that tally would only hold if no others were hidden under her black cotton bra. Multiple single lined scars marred her tanned skin, most ranging from one to two inches, some even smaller. But it was the long, discolored swath of pale skin that ran from just inside her right wrist, all the way up the inside of her arm and over her shoulder that really drew his attention.

Only one weapon left that kind of scar on a vampire…

The sun.

He shook his head. The scar didn’t look like a punishment though. It looked as though she’d opened a door at Noon, which was an amazing feat to begin with considering most vampires her age couldn’t even wake up during the day, let alone stand up and open something.

But why would she test the sun?

Drake let go of the question he couldn’t begin to answer as his eyes moved over Toni’s body again. Standing on the mattress in front of him, not only did she almost match his height, but she defied nearly every truth he thought he’d established for a vampiress.

Not an ounce of make-up painted her face. Her dark hair fell free past her shoulders, not expertly styled or arranged. She didn’t smell of expensive perfumes or exotic fragrances, only mild soap and shampoo. And he was sure the worn low rise jeans and simple black cotton bra that hugged each curve of her athletic body could beat out the finest lingerie any day, hands down.

He swallowed the dry knot forming in his throat as he stared at her closed eyes. No matter what his instincts wanted him to believe, she wasn’t like every other vampire. She stood in front of him not as a perfect vampiress, but as a flawed woman, whose skin told the tale of a life she’d fought to live. A life that probably hadn’t worked out the way she thought it would, but one she’d accepted, and from what he could tell, tried to make the best of.

And making the most of what fate blindly threw at you was something Drake understood in ways most people never would.

He sucked in a deep breath and slowly blew it out. “Are you ready?”

Toni nodded, even though she didn’t know what she was supposed to be ready for. “I think so.” She turned her head when she heard the whisper of something soft hit the carpet. “What was that? What did you do?”

“Don’t worry about it.” His voice was close but quiet. “Just keep your eyes closed and move a little closer to the end of the bed.”

She carefully inched forward until she felt the edge of the soft mattress underneath her toes. The last thing she needed to do was fall off the damn thing. “Now what?”

“I need to ask you a few questions.” His warm breath seared her lips. “And I need you to be as honest as possible.”

She squeezed her eyes closed tighter. He couldn’t be more than a few inches away. “Okay.”
“When was the last time you fed?”

“It was a…” Her thoughts scattered when his strong arm circled her waist and he pulled her tight against him. She searched for words as she made direct contact with his bare chest.

“You took your shirt off.”

His heated lips curved against her cheek, sending a shiver spinning through her. “You fed the last time I took my shirt off?”

“No,” she breathed. “A week ago. I fed a week ago.”

He nuzzled into her ear and whispered, “Human or animal?”

She tensed as his stubble scratched against her cheek. “Human.”

“Were you intimate with your vessel?” His rough fingertips played at the small of her back.
“Did you earn the blood?” He swirled his hot tongue down her neck to the junction of her shoulder, but then tautly rolled her skin between his sharp teeth. “Or did you take it?”

She sucked in a sharp breath as the animal inside her woke with a low growl. Scarlet flames flickered and danced against her eyelids. She struggled to keep her voice steady. “I earned it.”

“How did you feel? Were you nervous?” He caught her right hand and pressed it flat against his solid chest. “Or were you excited?”

She swallowed hard as his heart pounded a frantic rhythm against her palm. The heat radiating off his muscled body seeped into her cold skin, taunting her already stalking beast. “I was…hungry.”

A damningly seductive laugh rumbled through his chest straight into hers. “Okay then.” He paused for a second, as if she’d given the wrong answer. “How did it taste? When the blood touched your tongue, was it hot?” He breathed against her mouth. “Spicy?” The hand at the small of her back slid up her spine and into her hair. “Sweet?”

She moaned when he fisted her hair and pulled her head back, exposing her throat. She fought for control of the monster growing inside her, but with each ragged burst of his warm breath against her skin, every graze of his hot lips across her neck, she slipped a little more.

He sucked then bit at the hollow of her throat. “Well?”

She could barely catch her breath, let alone think. “I don’t remember.”

“You don’t remember?” She felt his fangs grow and scrape her throat just as he pulled his mouth away. “Maybe I can help.”

Toni dug her fingernails into Drake’s chest as the rich, metallic scent of his blood overwhelmed her senses. Her fangs slid into place as the animal roared in her mind. All she could hear was the hammering of his heartbeat in her ears, all she could feel was his hard body pressed against every inch of her, and all she could taste was the unbelievable power of his blood tainting the air.

He used his hold on her hair to tip her head up. “Open your eyes.”

She did as he asked, but all she could focus on was the thin rivulet of crimson marring his bottom lip. He was so close, all she had to do was lean forward and she could taste him. She could taste the man responsible for stealing every ounce of oxygen from her trembling body.

“Toni,” he said, then slowly licked his lip, catching the droplet of blood on his tongue, “you have to let go.”

“I’m sorry.” She closed her eyes as his lips touched hers. “I just can’t.” But that’s exactly what she did when he claimed her mouth with a passionate kiss that sent pure heat surging through her veins. She let go of the animal inside her, forgot about trying to maintain control…forgot about everything but the incredible taste of his tongue as it slipped between her parted lips.
Spicy with just a hint of sweetness, that tiny drop of blood sparked a firestorm of sensations she hadn’t felt since the day she died. Her nipples tingled and tightened against his hard chest. Goosebumps pebbled her flesh. Warmth spread between her thighs. And the steady, thumping rhythm in her ears…wasn’t his anymore.

When he released her hair then slid his hands down her back and grabbed two tight handfuls of her ass, Toni wrapped her arms around his neck and let instinct guide her. She devoured his mouth, meeting each thrust of his tongue with one of her own, wanting nothing more than to drown in the delicious taste of him.

In a matter of hours, he’d gone from a complete stranger to someone she would never forget. Someone who made her laugh, someone who made her feel wanted…someone who made her feel human, even though she wasn’t. And for that, he would always hold a special place in her heart, even if he walked out the door tomorrow and she never saw his gorgeous face again.
She tangled her fingers into his soft hair as he broke his amazing kiss to bite at her lips. “Thank you, Drake.”

He pulled back from her mouth slightly, his dark blue eyes filled with what she could only guess was a strange mixture of curiosity and wonderment. “For what?”

“For staying with me when you didn’t have to.” She brushed her lips over his and lightly sucked at his bottom lip. “For just being here…”

Drake stared deep into Toni’s beautiful eyes as their breath mingled. He couldn’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be at the moment. “Thank you for letting me.” The words had barely left his lips when the doorbell screamed through the room.

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elaing8 said...

I really liked this excerpt.i can't wait to read more about these two.
Please count me in for the giveaway

Estella said...

Sounds great!

kissinoak at frontier dot com

LadyVampire2u said...

I'd like to be included to win this book. Loved the excerpt. Thanks!

LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

Meredith said...

Loved the excerpt! I'd love to read this!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

latishajean said...

This sounds very good would love to read it! thank you so much great giveaway!

June M. said...

Sounds like a really good story. Would love to find out more about what had happened to Toni and about Drake. Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway.

GFC follower: June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

I'd love to win this! I've heard lots about it!

rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com