shadows of fire

Well, I got two reviews … on both ends of the spectrum.

Night Owl Romance gave Hearts Afire-May 4.25 hearts. Yay! Vee had this to say about my novella Shadows of Fire

“Shadows of Fire was a creative vampire story. I thought the character development was good and the story line interesting. It held my attention through out. Well done!”

If you’d like to see the complete review click on the Night Owl Romance icon on the sidebar.

The second review I’m not going to share. It was a fair review of my contemporary novella, Divine Deception stating mostly that it’s predictable and the sex is pretty vanilla. It was disappointing and stung a little since that story is meant to be a quick little fun read. It is the only story I’ve written that has no suspense component. It did make me feel a little better when I watched an interview with Quentin Tarantino and found out his last movie totally tanked. I guess I was due. Hopefully that’s only one reviewers opinion and readers find it light and fun.

Beginning tomorrow I’m the featured author for a week at Whipped Cream. I’ve got all sorts of tidbits of wisdom and even some giveaways. I hope you’ll join me throughout the week.

My new book trailer for Bonded by Need is up at Menagerie Authors as well as an interview on their lovely leather couch on Monday. I have no idea what they plan for me, but I’m sure it will be revealing. And of course I’ll be talking about my books.

In the writing realm (because, oh yeah, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing), I continue to work on Bonded by Pride, the second in the “Shifting Bonds” series. Aaron Wallace has been working with Cole in the last two stories. I thought it was time he found his own true love.

I’ve got a couple of other things in the works and hope to have some news on that soon. Hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll be seeing you around the internet.

Hugs,
Nina

I fell in love with my vamps in this hot novella, Shadows of Fire… it’s part of Liquid Silver Book’s 2009 “Hearts Afire” series. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

That did it. He’d been grilling her for the last half hour about the events of last evening and now he was accusing her … of what? A switch clicked and pushed away her confusion. He was accusing her of killing Glenn? She may not be telling him everything, but to think she’d bring any harm to the man who’d loved and protected her dropped indignation over her wounded heart like a shield. Alex jumped to her feet, the metal legs of the chair scraping loudly. She barely noticed. “What the fuck, Reese?” Her hand pointed in the general direction of Glenn’s farm. “Do you think I shoved a stake through Glenn’s heart and started that fire?”

His eyes grew dark, the corner of his mouth curving in a malicious smirk. He straightened and held his palms out, inviting her to rebuke his theory. His silent recrimination filled the air and Alex could hardly draw breath.

She had come here thinking Reese was one of the few people who would understand the pain burning through her veins. She hadn’t expected him to accuse her of murder. “Fuck you, Reese.” The whisper was barely audible through the tension. “I loved him like a father.” Sorrow ripped open the raw wound, bringing a fresh sting of tears behind her eyes, but she refused to give in to them. Alex didn’t need this. Didn’t need him. And she sure as hell didn’t need his accusations–or pity. She’d come seeking solace in Reese’s arms–and his bed. She’d wanted one day of lust to take with her when she left. That had been something else Alex had decided on her way here. She needed to leave and take her secrets with her. “I thought you knew me. All these months … yesterday…” The last word choked out with a sob. Alex turned, intent on leaving the cabin, leaving South Kenton. She’d been mistaken thinking there was something left for her here.

Reese’s hand was on her shoulder before she took more than a few steps. He turned her and pulled her tight to the solid plane of his chest. His mouth came down hard on hers. No soft exploration. No gentle probing. Just raw male lust devouring her mouth. His hands fisted in her hair and she opened herself to him, wanting to fill the void Glenn’s death had left in her heart. She needed to feel alive in the midst of so much death. Her lips parted and welcomed the heat of his tongue. It tangled and danced with hers, teasing and tasting.

“Alex, I’m sorry.” Reese whispered in her ear. “Glenn … the fires … you … it’s all too much.” His lips wandered her face, kissing her lids and her nose, trailing fire down her neck.

She felt the scrape of his teeth as his fangs drew across the tender flesh of her throat. The sensation sent sparks of desire straight to her sex. Despite what he might believe of her, the anger couldn’t keep her heart from wanting this man. “Reese, I’m yours. Take me.”

Her world spun and shifted as he lifted her into his arms and covered her mouth with his. She was dizzy with need and had no idea where he was taking her until his body shifted and his foot kicked closed a door. Without preamble, Reese laid her on the soft mattress of a bed and came down heavy on top of her. Reveling in the sensation of his hands on her body, she didn’t open her eyes. The essence of him permeated the air. The pillows around her head were filled with the thick male scent of him. She wanted to drown in its heady aroma.

Their hands were everywhere at once, tugging at clothes, ripping away buttons. The desperate need to have flesh searing flesh was all that drove them until they lay naked and gasping in each other’s arms. Their lips, teeth, and hands moved in frantic hunger to taste and touch. She couldn’t get enough of him.

Alex’s palms slid down the hard muscles along his spine, pressing into the well of his low back before curving up the rounded arch of his taut ass and digging her nails in deep. Air hissed through Reese’s teeth, a low moan vibrating through the heat of his mouth at her neck. His teeth dragged down her throat and his lips replaced his hand at her breast. His mouth suckled and bit first one aching nipple then the other. The sharp thrill of pain shot straight to her core, clenching her muscles. The thick heat of lust leaked onto her thighs. No man had ever made her so wet.

After a crushing review the first week Hearts Afire-May was released, I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting for someone–ANYONE to say/write something about Shadows of Fire just so I could have another opinion. Really, this is one of those stories that when it was finished I sat back and went “hey, I wrote that … it’s a really cool story”. But I am a little biased.

Anyway … LT Blue at Just Erotic Romance Reviews posted a review this week and it goes something like this …

I really enjoyed this different twist in the lives of vampires. I would have never imagined a story about vampire firemen or O’Malley’s Tavern serving a special wine created for vampires. I enjoyed Reese’s character. He is full of life and while I knew he was a vampire he didn’t (act) like one. Alex was a bit more complex and I really didn’t have her figured out until the very end of the story… the plot and the characters had me smiling the entire time I read Shadows of Fire.

Ummm … yeah and she gave it 5 STARS and an “H” (for HOT-reviewer was forced to find her toys while reading) sexual rating!

THEN (as if that wasn’t squeeeee worthy enough) …

Kristy Bock at ParaNormal Romance said this …

Shadows Of Fire’ is a unique story because there is so much going on in a short time frame. Alex is troubled and her motives aren’t always clear until the end. Reese knows what he wants but struggles to go after it until another man steps in his path. When he does make his move though, the two spontaneously combust. The heat between Alex and Reese is off the charts.Nina Pierce is an author who excels at what she does. For a fast paced read, she pacts so much in the story that you’ll think you read a full length novel. She stands a cut above the rest with the erotic scenes. If Shadows of Fire doesn’t get your heart racing, nothing will.

Oh yeeeeaaahhh … I’m snoopy dancing! (But the neighbors did ask me to put my clothes back on … I think the whole dancing in the backyard nekkid thing wasn’t working for them. LOL!)

It’s been a fairly productive week. I’ve been having a lot of difficulties with my current story. It keeps holding me up. I know I should probably set it aside and work on something else, but it’s about 3/4 finished and I’d just like to get through it and be done.

One of the things for me about this first draft is that I often don’t know exactly how the crime happened, I mean, I have an inkling of who did it and why, but the exact details elude me. In two of my books, I thought a particular person was the murderer, but near the end of my first draft someone else stepped forward and confessed. Wow! It was a shocker! My conscious mind hadn’t known, but because my stories flow organically, I let the characters lead me where they may and someone else emerged as the bad guy. Of course in both instances I had to go back and rewrite portions of the story to keep the villain’s identities a secret and yet make sure were hints for the reader. No one likes to get to the end of a suspense story and be blind sided. Misled, yes … but tricked … not so much!

I do love that part though. If I didn’t see it coming then how could my readers? Since I just got the goooorgeous cover for Heart’s Afire, the firefighter anthology which includes my vampire suspense novella, Shadows of Fire, I thought I’d leave you today with a little excerpt from chapter one. Enjoy! I’m off to see what trouble my wolfies are getting into and make myself finish that sucker!

EXCERPT from Shadows of Fire:

It wasn’t much of a noise, just a dull thud in the night. But it was enough to pull Professor Paul Morgan from his slumber. Heavy with the arms of Morpheus still around him, his blood thick with sleeping medication, Paul wasn’t sure what had roused him. But when it came again, a muffled bang from downstairs, followed oddly enough by the sound of rushing wind, he knew he needed to investigate.

Swiping at his eyes, Paul tried unsuccessfully to push away the last strands of drowsiness still clinging to his mind. Something deep in the pit of his stomach told him what had woken him had nothing to do with Zeus, his mischievous tabby and only companion since his wife had died nearly thirty years ago. Swinging his feet to the floor, Paul stepped into his leather slippers and grabbed his robe from the hope chest at the foot of his bed. Scurrying from the bedroom, fear and urgency pushed him forward.

The eerie orange glow emanating from his den at the foot of the stairs brought bile to his throat. Everything near and dear to him was in that room; his wife’s portrait, the marble Sphinx from their trip to Egypt, the antique bookcase she’d given him when he’d gotten the position at the university-the bronzed baby shoes. His feet barely touched the treads as he rushed down the stairs, caution and prudence gone with the desperate need to salvage his memories.

He came up short at the threshold. Swallowing hard, he tried to dislodge the heart stuck in his throat. A fire crackled safely in the fireplace across the room, the dancing flames sending a ballet of mesmerizing shadows along the paneled walls and casting the room in an otherworldly radiance. Fingers of fear lifted the hairs on the back of his neck. 

A quick glance at his desk in the corner reassured him his research was also safe, but did nothing to assuage his fears. The papers he’d left stacked neatly for the magistrate’s office lay strewn about. The monitor of his computer silhouetted the head of a person sitting at his desk.

“Who are you? Wha … wha … what are doing?”

There was no response save for the clicking of computer keys.

“I’ll call the police.” Paul said. 

A maniacal laugh rent the stillness, sending a chill of terror down his spine.

“No, Professor Morgan. We both know you can not do that.” With a flourish, a hand came down hard on the keyboard. The monitor flicked rapidly through several screens before going black.

“What have you done?” Paul rushed to the desk, a wave of nausea rolling hotly in his chest and bringing water to his eyes. Everything. Everything was on that computer.

I didn’t want it to happen this way.” The words carried sadness, but the face that turned to stare at him was pure evil. A face he barely recognized. “You really shouldn’t have been quite so diligent in your research you know. I’ve sent obvious warnings, hoping to push you from this foolhardy course for months. But you wouldn’t heed the signs.” The clicking tongue scolded him as if he were an obstinate child. Fingers steepled in front of lips thin with hatred. “A shame really. I will miss your friendly manner. But you have become too much of a liability for me to allow you to live.”

“You can’t get away with this.”

“Oh, I think we both know … I have … and I will again.” The monster slowly standing before him wasn’t the amicable person he’d known for decades. This person had morphed into a heinous murderer-a murderer with no conscience and a moral compass that pointed straight to hell. 

Paul threw back his shoulders. Though he understood he would not survive this night, he would accept his fate with dignity. “I’ve already sent a copy of all of that to my lawyer.” His hand waved at the papers on the desk. “He knows. He knows and understands everything. He is painfully aware of our strained relationship. None of this will stop with my death.” Paul was pleased he could push the lie steadily through the panic clogging his throat.

“Please, don’t insult my intelligence.” The murderer gathered the papers on the desk and tapped them on its polished cherry surface, elegant fingers aligning the edges before setting them neatly in a pile. “We both know these are the only copies. And we both understand what is to come is inevitable. Preordained if you will  …” The smile was reptilian as if Satan himself had taken possession of this wayward soul.

“You won’t get away with this.” Paul was repeating himself, but terror had stripped him of coherent thought.

“But I already have.” Something small flew from the long fingers. Blue flames erupted in the fireplace. A ball of fire jumped to the leather chair next to the hearth. Another flew to the Aubusson rug he and his wife had gotten on their honeymoon fifty years ago.

“Stop!”

“What you began … I will finish tonight.”

Paul lunged for the decorative throw on back of the couch, intent on pounding the growing flames into submission.

Another burst of evil laughter split the air as the glass vase on the hearth exploded in the growing heat. “That’s right old man. Try to stop it.”

Paul brought the blanket down hard on the fire spreading like a sickness across the rug. The thick smoke choking the air filled his nose and burned his lungs. It was no use. The flames were spreading faster than he could control them. He needed to get out. Abandoning the blanket, he turned to run.

He saw the small ottoman only seconds before it crashed down on his world.

*copyright Nina Pierce 2009*

Thursday Thirteen is a meme where you get to know a little more about me. So this week I’m going to share with you 13 things that are within arms reach of my computer.

1. The man. Well, not all day, but he spends the evenings next to me on the couch while I write, email, or goof around on the computer. (Sometimes he helps me with a little research 😉 )

2. The phone. I’m on the national “no call” list and still my name is on so many calling lists it drives me insane. I got tired of getting up to check the caller ID in the other room. I keep this little number right next to me.

3. The dog. Since I started working from home, she is wherever I am. No kidding. I love her, but when I get up to pee, does she really have to follow me into the bathroom? I feel like I have little children all over again.

4. Notebooks and paper. I keep notebooks on all my books where I keep pictures and notes of my characters and the places they live. Sometimes for inspiration and sometimes to help me remember if the building is made of brick or logs or whether my hero has blue eyes or brown. (Did I mention my office assistant helps keep them in order?)

5. The TV remote. No, I don’t flip stations, but if I’m not writing I like to have the TV on for entertainment. I’ve completely fallen in love with the “Bonnie Hunt” show. I’m trying to convince her she wants me on as a guest… I’ll keep you posted.

6. My webcam. With Beautiful Girl in Italy we “Skype” nearly every day. It’s kind of funny, we talk more with her an ocean away than we ever did when she lived in Massachusetts.

7. An afghan (and a sweater). I’m cheap. I keep the heat really low during the day when it’s just me. Needless to say … it’s been a looooong winter!

8. A coaster. During the morning I drink the better part of a pot of decaf Hazelnut coffee and my cup sits on that coaster. In the afternoon I drink hotwater. In the evening it usually entertains a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. I like my coaster.

9. Pens and sticky notes. If you’ve ever seen my desk you’d know why these have to be so close. I write on them constantly. Sticky notes cover the edge of my two shelves and the side of my computer tower. And I still miss appointments.

10. One of two cats. We have three of them. But there are two that jockey for my attention. The youngest used to sleep in my lap until he got too fat to fit. Now he has to find his own place to hang out.

11. A metal case full of poker chips. They’re not mine. The man went through a period of time where he was addicted to some kind of poker and the kids bought it for him. It doesn’t fit in the game closet so it ended up next to my desk.

12. Beautiful Girl and Baby Girl’s college class schedules. I like to know where they’re at and what they’re studying.

13. Print outs of all my book covers which brings me to the newest! Did you see I got the cover for the Hearts Afire anthology which includes my vampire firefighter novella, Shadows of Fire? It’s coming out in May from Liquid Silver Books! April Martinez is the cover goddess!

I’d like to say it was easy writing my latest story. I’d like to say the words just flowed onto the page. I’d like to say there was no frustration, or throwing of pens, or late nights…

But that ain’t the case! LOL!

I worked and pushed and forced myself to put sentences together to fill the pages. My characters seemed to take great pleasure keeping their stories hidden from me. I didn’t know who they were or why they needed me to tell their story. Like a personal trainer, I pressed them and kept at them until finally they relented and told me about all their pain and hopes.

Three quarters of the way through, the villain let loose on a rampage that revealed all. Like he had to wait that long? Because that meant I needed to go back and explain it all to the other characters in the beginning chapters. LOTS of rewriting.

But let me tell you … it was worth it!

From all this work, came my latest book, Shadows of Fire. I submitted it to Liquid Silver Books for their fireman series that will be coming out in 2009.

Fortunately, they also liked my novella and offered me a contract! Yay Me! I’m still dancing!

Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes the answer you seek is right in front of you …

ALEXANDRA FLANAGAN didn’t ask to be forced from her human existence as a chemistry student at the South Kenton University in the northern mountains of California into the ungodly world of vampires. But thirty years ago, after nearly dying from a vicious vampire attack, that’s exactly what happened. Saved by the blood of an ancient vampire, she unhappily walks among immortals–facing a hollow existence she never chose.

REESE COLTON has been a vampire for centuries. A man of honor, he is part of an elite military operation known as RISEN that seeks out and eliminates rogue vampires who choose to break the unwritten codes of the immortals and not live complacently among the human population. Under cover as a firefighter at the South Kenton fire department, he and his team have been called in to investigate the unusual number of fires that have ended the lives of several humans–and vampires.

When chemistry ignites passion, Reese and Alex find themselves embroiled in an affair that catches them both unaware. With the number of fires escalating and Alex’s behavior increasingly suspect, Reese isn’t sure whether to follow his heart or the clues. Will Reese find the answers to Alex’s secrets in the Shadows of Fire?

Now, we just have to wait until next year for these bad-boy firefighting vampires to be released into the world!

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