Happy Sunday! It’s beautiful weather here, with a high today of about 78–really cool for this time of year. It won’t last but we’ll enjoy it while we can.
I’m kicking off DARK SECRETS week here at the blog (don’t worry, Readers Choice will be here as usual tomorrow), and each day will highlight one of the six novellas the anthology includes. On Wednesday, there will be a video that is REALLY funny.
All the stories in the anthology are quite different, as each of the authors has interpreted “Paranormal Noir” in a different way. I’ll start today with my contribution to the book, THE CONSORT.
This is a story set in Faerie and in New Orleans. It has loose ties to the Sentinels series but there’s no knowledge of the series required. When I first think of “noir,” I think of movies, particularly movies of the 1940s like “The Maltese Falcon.” I think of hardboiled detectives and dark alleys and vampy women.
But at the heart of “noir,” I think is the character who is a reluctant hero. Who minds his own business and has a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality. Who doesn’t want to get involved until something happens–usually a something of the heart–that forces him to become a hero. So that’s how I view Faulk, the captain of the Fae Hunters who are an often brutal team of enforcers charged with guarding the veil between Faerie and the human world, and hunting down the fae who cross illegally.
“Well?” Faulk cocked his head and studied her far too closely for her comfort. “I assume you wouldn’t seek out the home of the Captain of the Hunters if you didn’t have a plan.”
“This is your home?” Lia glanced at the stairwell, then at the doors along the hallway.
“Don’t change the subject, Liandra. Tell me why I should not return you to Florian immediately and save myself a hell of a lot of trouble.”
Lia took another gulp of wine.
“I heard you last night,” she said softly. “You asked yourself how you could ever send me back to him. I…” She finished the glass of wine, its warmth burning along her throat and reminding her how long it had been since she ate anything of substance. “I thought of something that might keep Florian from wanting me back.”
“Did you now.” It was more statement than question, and Faulk motioned for her to stay as he went to retrieve the bottle of wine and pour more into her glass. “Don’t drink that too fast. So tell me, Lia. What do you think would make Florian back off?”
She took a fortifying sip and raised her gaze to meet his. “I want you to take me, to be my lover. If I’m no longer a virgin, Florian won’t want me.”
“Ah, my sweet Liandra.” Faulk reached across the table and took her hand. “I’m afraid that won’t work.”
“Why not?” She twined her fingers through his—a bold move, she thought.
He pulled his hand away, leaving hers lying alone and vulnerable on the dark wood. “Because Florian’s original deal for you is off the table, Lia. He will see you ruined physically and emotionally, and then he will see you dead.”
Taking another sip of beer, he studied her with an expression she couldn’t read. “My orders aren’t just to catch you. They are to take you as hard and as often as I want, then share you with any other Hunters who care to partake.”
“Oh.” Lia had no answer for that, and the horror of her fate sank on her like the heaviest anchor at sea. Her face burned so fiercely, she thought it might spark flames if touched.
“He doesn’t want you physically marked when I return you to him.” Faulk leaned across the table, his eyes unreadable. “But he does want you broken.”
If you’re a Sentinels reader, you’ll recognize the name of Florian from Pirate’s Alley. His brother Christof appears briefly in THE CONSORT as well.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at MARION, MISSING, the DARK SECRETS story from the awesome Rachel Caine! Remember, the anthology releases on Sept. 29, and the ebook is currently pre-order priced at 99 cents. The price will go up to $2.99 at some point so best to grab it cheap! While the print version isn’t available for preorder we hope to have it up by the release date. I’ve put the links here (in red) for Amazon, but it’s also available at Kobo, ARe, and going up soon for Nook and iBooks.
Winners! I’m running a month behind in mailings (blame AAD, deadlines, and, mostly, the day job) so be patient. Email me at the contact tab at the top of the page if you see your name….
LIZ won a TBR mystery book for commenting on Playlist Day.
MARY PRESTON and GALENA both won TBR mystery books for putting very funny words in my grandfather’s mouth…Thanks to everyone for playing along on the Caption Contest!
MARIE-CLAUDE won this week’s Readers Choice giveaway and chose Serpentine by Cindy Pon.
Thanks for playing along! See you tomorrow with a new Readers Choice.