Friday, May 31, 2013

Trifecta By Kim Carmichael Cover Reveal

Title: Trifecta

Author: Kim Carmichael

Genre: Romance, Erotic Romance, Erotica

Publisher: Hot Ink Press

Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours



Book Description:


Two men. One woman. It could ruin a friendship, or bring a satisfying twist to their lives. Artist, Jason Morgan, is used to making magic on the canvas. Now he hopes to do it in the bedroom. 
After a failed gallery showing, Jason decides the best way to cure his creative block is to act on his own personal fantasy, and enter into a sexual relationship with his two best friends. 
From the time they were in elementary school, Russell Sinclair has been a willing participant in Jason's adventures, but this one goes to a new level. He's intrigued by the idea of sharing one woman, but is challenged by how to fit this three-sided relationship into his traditional life. 
Lauren Redmond is no stranger to fantasy. As the aesthetic sales rep to the top Beverly Hills dermatologists, she is responsible for the majority of puffed lips and filled wrinkles in the greater Los Angeles area. She detours from her steady, secure path when she is offered the opportunity to live the dream with the two men who have occupied her heart since college. The fantasy fast becomes a powerful reality, and Lauren must decide if she is willing to give up everything she has worked for to have a bit of temporary decadence. 
Trifecta explores the boundaries of love, relationships and convention.


Author Bio:


Kim Carmichael began writing eight years ago when her need for graphic sex scenes and love of happy endings inspired her to create her own.  She has a weakness for bad boys and techno geeks, and married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep her all her gadgets running.  When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.








Amazon Page


The Edge of Darkness by Melissa Andrea Release Blitz

Title: The Edge of Darkness

Author: Melissa Andrea

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Release Day: May 31, 2013

Blitz Host: Lady Amber's Tours



After a tragic accident, Araya Noelle is left with a constant reminder that nothing is forever.

Instead of dwelling over her loss, she plays the hand she's been dealt without complaint. In a world as black as hers, there's no room for bitterness, no time for regret. Sheltered from the outside world, Araya has become suffocated by a life she has no control over. Until Ryland Dare comes crashing into her life.

You don’t know true darkness until you've felt the light…
Like a firecracker, showering her with colorful sparks of freedom, Ryland quickly sweeps Araya away from her dark existence. For the first time since the accident, living in darkness is no longer something Araya wants to do willingly. Unleashed by the shadows of her reminder, being with Ryland, Araya touches light. Together they will learn what it’s like to be alive for the first time.

At the edge of darkness, a ray of light, will dare them both to live.



Author Bio:
Melissa started reading in high school when she found her mom's romance book collection and has been hooked on books every since. She became a complete book-a-holic, starting her own collection and improving her reading skills. Most of the time she could finish a book walking around the store, while her mom shopped.

She wrote her first short story in high school for a competition in her writing class. It was a child's book called 'Arnold' - it was about an ant who believed he could do anything. Oh by the way, she won!

She has written many stories since then, but this will be her first YA paranormal/fantasy and the first book she will have published.

She lived in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of six years, and her 3 beautiful daughters. They are her biggest fans and they inspire her everyday. She enjoys spending time with her family, weekend dates with her mom & taking vacations. Hawaii anyone??




Blog/Web:  and




Book Trailer:



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I brushed my lips across her neck again and watched as the world around us, spun. Her fingers twisted in my shirt and she pulled my  body closer. I didnt expect you Araya.  I rasped against her ear and my fingers tangled in her hair, bringing her lips up to mine. Her breath was warm and sweet against my lips and I wanted to taste her so bad it hurt.



The Edge of Darkness

After a tragic accident, Araya Noelle is left with a constant reminder that nothing is forever.

She is forced to give up her chance to be the youngest dancer accepted into Julliard & taking over their high society school by a graceful storm of determination is no longer an option. Instead of dwelling over her loss, she accepts the new future she’s been dealt. In a world as black as hers, there's no room for bitterness, no time for regret. Sheltered from the outside world, Araya has become suffocated by a life she has no control over. Until Ryland Dare comes crashing into her life.

You don’t know true darkness until you've felt light…

Like a firecracker, showering her with colorful sparks of freedom, Ryland quickly sweeps Araya away from her grey existence. For the first time since the accident, living in darkness is no longer something Araya wants to do willingly. Unleashed by the shadows of her reminder, being with Ryland, Araya touches light. Together they will learn what it’s like to feel alive for the first time.

At the edge of darkness, a ray of light, will dare them both to HOPE.

DARE them to LOVE

DARE them to LIVE



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guest Post from Gothic Belly Dancer Laura “Tempest” Schmidt from the Dark Musicals Trilogy by Laura DeLuca

One of my favorite scenes in Phantom includes a belly dance routine. I can't say any more than that because I don't want to give away information about a pivotal scene in the story. But I can tell you a little about the amazing woman who inspired the scene. Her name is Laura "Tempest" Schimdt, and she is a world renowned Gothic Belly Dancer.

I consider myself truly blessed to have not only met Tempest, but to have shared Sacred Space with her on a few occasions. About three years ago, I was introduced to Tempest through my best friend and coven sister, Donna. She was taking her belly dance class at a local gym, and convinced me to come along.  Now, I am just about the most uncoordinated person in the world, and learning even the simplest steps was a challenge for me. But Tempest had the patience of an angel, and always took a few extra moments to try to help me get it right. I was only able to go to few classes before I got pregnant with my daughter and was on bed rest. By the time she was born, Tempest had moved, but those few classes were an experience I will never forget.

In addition to taking her class, I also attended a few professional performances that Tempest arranged in our area. The class was fun, but was nothing compared to watching Tempest perform live. When she begins to move, it’s like she is magically transformed into the Goddess herself. Her movements are fluid and graceful. Her costumes (which she often designs herself) are enchanting. She has created her own version of Gothic Belly Dance that is elegant and breathtaking. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Even as a writer, I find it hard to express just how amazing it is to watch her perform.  Tempest is one of the most beautiful women I have had the privilege to meet. It is a beauty that emanates from her soul and is transferred to the fluid movements of her body. All the wisdom of the ages is expressed in the poetic motions of her dance. She is a true artist.

If you would like to learn more about Tempest, you can visit her website, Darkly Dramatic. There you can find dozens of beautiful photos in her gallery. Both the costumes and the poses are stunning!  If you want to learn how to belly dance, she has several DVDs available for purchase. You can also check outMed Devi to purchase her own unique accessory and costume designs.

Title: Demon (Dark Musicals Trilogy, 2)
Author: Laura DeLuca
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Book Description:
When Justyn and Rebecca set off for the New York School of Performing Arts, they think their dreams are about to come true. To their dismay, they aren’t in high school anymore, and the competition is steep. Rebecca must compete against accomplished singers for a role in the production of Demon Barber, including a stunning Gothic diva with her sights set on Justyn

It doesn't help that things keep disappearing from their apartment or that Rebecca's father refuses to accept that Justyn is an essential part of her life. Yet, all this seems minimal in comparison to the serial rapist terrorizing the campus.
Consumed by fear and obsessed with revenge, Rebecca and Justyn start living the story of Sweeney Todd—both on and off the stage.

 You can also add Demon to your shelf on good reads


Rebecca unwound the silver ribbon. When she lifted the lid, she found two matching pendants, each laced to a long hemp chain. They were shaped sort of like seashells, with an endless spiral pattern that looped out from the center as the chambers grew larger. They were dark brown in color with a few hints of tan along the edges. The stones had been polished and smoothed on both sides, but when she lifted them, she could see that the two pieces fit together perfectly. She swore the halves fought to snap together, like magnets in her hand. There was an energy pulsing and vibrating within the stones that even a novice witch like Rebecca could feel.
“They’re beautiful,” Rebecca whispered as she ran her hand along the intricate grooves.
“It’s an ammonite.” Justyn lifted one of the pendants, brushed her hair to the side, and hooked the clasp around her neck. His breath tickled her skin as his hands moved with graceful dexterity, giving her goose bumps despite the humid August night. “They’re actually fossils that are millions of years old, named after Ammon, an ancient Egyptian deity. When they’re divided in half, they’re perfect mirrors of one another. Some cultures believe that if the two halves are given to lovers, it will bind them together forever. When made into necklaces, they’re often called soul mate pendants.”
“Wo-wow,” Rebecca stuttered. As usual, the sentiment behind Justyn’s gift was even more beautiful than the gift itself. It left her a little flustered. “That’s amazing. How do you know all this stuff?”
“You don’t spend eighteen years living with Darlene without learning a thing or two.”
Rebecca laughed. Justyn’s mother Darlene was definitely something special. EMT, exotic belly dancer, and Wiccan High Priestess were only a few of the titles she claimed. Rebecca knew she was a fountain of earth-based knowledge after years of studying the Craft. As Darlene’s new apprentice, Rebecca greedily dipped into that knowledge herself as often as possible.
“It’s beautiful,” Rebecca repeated, too overcome with emotion to think of anything more eloquent to say. “You certainly know how to make things interesting.”
“Like I told you on our first date, I try not to be boring.” He winked at her. “So … are you going to put mine on for me?”
“Oh yeah … sorry.”
Rebecca giggled as she lifted the hemp chain. She wasn’t nearly as graceful as Justyn. She almost dropped the necklace in the sand three times before she managed to get the clasp locked. When she finally had it secured, he placed his hand over her heart, where the ammonite lay. He did the same with her hands, lifting them to his chest. His dark eyes had lost all glimmer of humor. He met her gaze with a stare filled with genuine emotion. Beneath her fingers, she could feel the gentle, steady rhythm of his heart beating in perfect tune with her own.
“Our love will span both space and time. In this life and the next, you shall be mine. All eternity I will be by your side. For a love so strong cannot be denied. Spirit and flesh merged into one. So mote it be, for all days to come.”
When he was done with the recitation, he kissed her. Not just a gentle brush, but a deep, passionate embrace that left her throat tight and her heart pounding with a familiar  yearning.
“I’ve never heard that poem before,” she said once she’d caught her breath. “Who are you quoting?”
Even in the moonlight, she could see him blush. “I guess I was quoting myself. It was really more of an incantation than a poem though. These necklaces are meant to be a symbol of our love, and it seemed a little spell work could only add to the power of the stones. There is power in words, Becca. Just like there is power in nature.”
“You mean, you wrote that?”
He nodded, but his eyes twinkled, and the playfulness was back in his voice. “Well, actually, I just made it up as I went along.”
“Wow. Actor, singer, and now an improv poet slash chant writer. Is there anything you can’t do, Lord Justyn?”
He smiled and tilted her chin so he could look into her eyes. “I can’t stop loving you.”

Demon, Book Two in the Dark Musicals Trilogy, inspired by Sweeney Todd is available now in both PRINT and eBook!

Title: Phantom (Dark Musicals Trilogy, 1)
Author: Laura DeLuca
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Tour Host: Lady Amber's Tours

Book Description:
The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.

The orchestra tuned for its virtuoso, and Justyn stood ready. But no one else was ready for the magical performance he began. Beside her, Carmen was rambling on about something mundane. Rebecca elbowed her to silence so she could listen to the perfectly thrilling tenor. As she listened to the song unfold, the world around her started to slip away. Gone was the high school auditorium. Gone were the rowdy teenagers. The Gothic stranger on the stage had become the embodiment of Erik, and Rebecca watched him in all his dark glory, belting out his tormented love through the words of his song. And she was as breathless with wonder as Christine herself must have been when the masked stranger serenaded her in the candlelit labyrinth of the opera house. In that moment, Justyn wasn’t just portraying the phantom. Justyn was the phantom.

   “Let the music touch your soul. Let the darkness make you whole. Do not fear what is unknown. Your true path has now been shown. Listen to the words I sing. Embrace the peace that night will bring.”

    As he continued to sing in his deep but somehow angelic voice, Rebecca found that she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. With every line, her heart began to beat faster.  She truly felt the arms of night wrapping her in a warm embrace. She could almost feel the hands of the phantom glide along her body as the words poured forth. The music caressed her. It possessed her—mind, body and soul. Each word left her longing, yearning for more.

    She was gawking so obviously, it was hardly surprising when Justyn felt her eyes on him and steadily met her gaze. She realized her mouth was hanging open in stunned awe, and she quickly snapped it shut. His lips moved into just a small hint of a smile. He never took his eyes off her while he sang the final verse, making her cheeks flush to the point that she felt almost feverish. But it wasn’t embarrassment but excitement, arousal even, which was sending her mind spinning in so many directions.

     When the song was over, and Rebecca had recovered just a hint of her composure, she couldn’t help but burst into a healthy round of applause. A few scattered people joined in, including Debbie and Carmen after she nudged them in the ribs. But only Miss King seemed to truly appreciate the brilliance of his talent as much as Rebecca did.

     “That was amazing, Justyn!” the teacher gushed.

     “Lord Justyn,” he corrected as he stepped down from the stage.

     A few others complimented him as well, but he took in all in stride. In fact, his serious expression never faltered as he stepped down from the stage. He seemed almost bored, like it was all he could do to hold back a yawn, despite the smiles and words of encouragement.

    But not everyone in the crowd was pleased as Justyn glided down the aisle, so ethereal in his dark garments that he still resonated the spirit of the Opera Ghost. Miss King might have been excited about the newest male addition to her cast after being limited for many years, but Tom and his group of boisterous companions glared at him as he passed them by.  Jay sneered and tossed a balled up piece of paper in Justyn’s direction, but the Goth was quick, and caught it in his hand without missing a beat.

   “I think you dropped something,” he said.

   His speaking voice was no less melodic than his singing voice, but something about his tone made Rebecca shiver. He tossed the paper back at Jay, who was nowhere near as coordinated as Justyn. He practically fell off his seat in his efforts to catch it.

    “Hey vampire,” Tom called when Justyn went to walk away. “Are you sure you can handle the competition?”

    Justyn smiled, a cool, sarcastic half-smile, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you?”

    Miss King didn’t notice the short confrontation, and Justyn vanished from the auditorium as quickly and mysteriously as he had appeared. Only Rebecca had noticed the very real tension between the two boys. She wondered if it was a bad omen for them to start off the production with hard feelings and envy. That could only lead to trouble. The kind of trouble that could end with someone getting hurt.  The kind of trouble that Rebecca would do whatever it took to avoid.

If you haven't read the first book in the series, now is a great time to get your copy. To celebrate the release of Demon,  Phantom is now on sale for only $1.99 exclusively on Amazon!

Author Bio:
Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart.  In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.  Her current works include Destiny, Destiny Unveiled, Phantom, Morrigan, Player, and Demon.

Follow the author Website | Facebook | Twitter |GoodReads | Pinterest

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Empath (The Empath Trilogy) by HK Savage Cover Reveal

Title: Empath (The Empath Trilogy)

Author: HK Savage

Genre: Mature YA

Publisher: Staccato Publishing

Reveal Host: Lady Amber's Tours


Empath is now FREE on Smashwords


All Staccato ebooks are now available for 3.99 or less!!!



Book Description from Empath:


All she wanted was to disappear…

Claire Martin is an empath. She’s lived her entire life as a slave to a constant barrage of emotions that weren't hers. Off to college she hopes simply to blend with the crowd where she can best hide her curse. Within her first few weeks at school Claire meets Stephen Andrews, a small, fragile looking boy who changes her life forever. 

Stephen, a boy with a secret of his own, instantly recognizes Claire for what she is. It is through Stephen's aid that Claire meets James, a vampire with a talent of his own. As soon as they touch, their abilities connect in a way that has not occurred
 in over three hundred years forming a bond that cannot be broken. 

Follow the trilogy:

Be sure to check out the other books by HK Savage:
Life Blood
Blood Bound



Author Bio:

HK Savage has been a voracious reader of anything she could get her hands on going back to the second grade when she would set her alarm two hours early to read before school. Her passion for the written word has continued and flowed into writing going back nearly as far. Her books have fans in twenty countries on six continents with hopes of attracting attention on Antarctica if for no other reason than to check a box. 

Currently, HK is a mother, wife and black belt in Karate as well as an avid dressage rider. Her three dogs: a Doberman she uses for therapy dog work and two ancient Doxies keep her busy when she is not writing or working or whatever else.

In addition to editing for the past ten years in advertising, HK has been an editor for several newsletters over the years; her favorite being for Heifer International where her ideas were put into effect and complimented by those on high. Currently her skills are being focused on clients in the writing world.

Paranormal is her favorite genre and science fiction because both address the possibilities we have not yet realized and the darker things we have. Her favorite premise: “what if?”










James stood and put his right hand into the air separating our bodies. I looked at it and snapped back up in alarm. “What do you want me to do with that?” My heart started to race. We couldn’t touch. What if he could sense how he affected me? He could do whatever he wanted then and he could just tell Troy and Stephen I’d gone willingly to the slaughter. It would be easy to get me to mirror his thirst.

“I will shield you myself and take it down a little at a time as you learn to pick it up your own. But I will need to know how your ability functions to better work with it. I sense people’s talents, but need to touch you in order to do so. Each person’s is different. I cannot help you to contain or manipulate yours if I don’t know the peculiarities of it.” He held his hand out palm up and wiggled his fingers playfully at me, a grin crept back into his eyes. “You will have to trust me.”

89I stood too, wiping my now sweating palms on my pants, glad I had picked the jeans. They hid the marks so much better than khakis. I raised my right hand and held it palm down a few inches from his. Our bodies were little over a foot apart and my heart started hammering in my chest. My stomach was fluttering and I felt the sweat beading on my back and under my arms. I thought I was having an anxiety attack.

His face was calmly watching mine like this was the most normal thing. “You must learn to settle yourself, we haven’t even tried our first experiment yet.”

“Give me a moment.” I closed my eyes so that I couldn’t see him, then I concentrated on my breathing. With all of my issues I had spent a good amount of time practicing deep breathing and meditation. Taking this moment to “find my breath” as my books had instructed, I found my heart rate coming down and my body responding to my wishes. I reopened my eyes, my body firmly back under control.

James stood exactly as before with a pleased expression. “That was good, Claire. Are you ready to begin then?”

Too frightened to speak, I merely nodded and licked my suddenly dry lips.

Much like my earlier confession, I watched his hand moving toward my own except I felt like it was someone else’s. Mine was some stranger’s body and I was standing beside her, seeing this from the outside. When our palms were about an inch apart, I felt the hum begin, lower and quieter than I was used to. He was different than a human.

My eyes sought his. They quickly became my gyroscope, helping me balance here in this strangest of situations. He saw my surprised reaction to his feel.


“I will be easier to work with because I am not human. My emotions are much more fleeting and almost feel...” Here he became uncertain for the first time since I had met him. “I guess you would say that my body has been dead for so long that my human emotions have dulled. They are in my head, but do not affect my body as your kind’s do.”

Hmm, that was curious. I felt it building, the unstoppable urge to touch him. He’d said no harm would come and that he would help shield me, plus I had to put my hands on his. Again I felt that inexplicable pull toward him, but now it was total. The tug was in my head, in my stomach. I could feel it even in my very skin.

Dropping my resistance, I brought my hand down onto his, lightly then more firmly. I knew instantly that it was too much too soon. His feelings rushed up to me. They were so fast and fleeting that it was hard to focus on what I was getting as they flooded into me. With an incredible sense of relief I also found that with them shifting so quickly they were easy to block. It was like I had a box of his emotional “thoughts” and they were wrapped up with enough cotton that I could choose which one I wanted to grab and analyze once I got used to the pace.

I caught glimpses of faces and places from different times go flashing past me. Fascinating. Would I be able to do this when my training was complete?

Almost as rapidly as I had begun to read him, James pulled his hand back and put it in his pocket. He was breathing hard and his eyes were dark again.

“I don’t understand. That was great! I was able to separate each emotive thought you had and if I had more time, I could have read them.” It was hard to contain my exuberance. This was more than I had ever hoped I would be able to do. It was like mind reading, but more than words, I could feel flashes of what he felt about each person and place though


too complex to understand in the glimpses I’d been exposed to. Realization struck me then and I felt the guilt over what I’d done.

“James, I am sorry, that was intrusive, wasn’t it? I should have warned you. You said you’d shield and I figured I would just go for it. Like ripping off a band-aid.” I couldn’t meet his eyes out of embarrassment.

Just then, the teakettle whistled making both of us jump to our feet. Carefully, so that we didn’t touch again, James carefully stepped around me before turning to go to the kitchen. “Have a seat, I’ll be right back with your tea.”

“I’ll help.” I wanted something to do with myself to help dissipate the awkwardness.

“No,” he said too harshly and too quickly, holding up his hand to me.

The rejection and humiliation burned hot. He offered to help me and when I wasn’t offending him, I bowled him over like an overeager Labrador. I worried this time I’d pushed him too far and now he would take me home.

He seemed to understand how I was feeling. His voice was meant to soothe as he broke into my thoughts. “Claire, you have a stronger ability than I was ready for. It took me by surprise is all. I will be better able to help you if I eat before we continue.”

Instantly, I felt the color drain from my face. My heart leapt into my throat. He was going to eat? Me? No, Stephen said he didn’t do that.

“Relax,” he assured with a small grin. “My supply is in my refrigerator. If you would have a seat and give me just a few moments, I will take care of my needs and return with your tea.”


“Oh, okay. That’s, um, thoughtful.” Well, that was arguably the weirdest conversation I’d ever had. Feeling better about a lot of things, confused about others, I sat down on the couch and pulled my legs up underneath me to wait while James went about his business. Left to my own nosiness, I took the time to look around. What had seemed so clean and streamlined about the house initially I now saw as sterile.

Most people have pictures around their house showing hints of who they are. Pictures of their hobbies, people they know and love, places they’ve been. I hadn’t noticed it at first, but figured out in the lack of what I was seeking that I was hoping to learn more about my handsome tutor. He spoke formally at times, so I thought he was from at least the turn of the century when English got more mixed and slang became more acceptable. Or, maybe he wasn’t American initially and had learned it later. The foreign exchange students I had met in high school had learned what we called “British English” which was way more formal than our own American version. Of course I was also looking for evidence of a girlfriend. She would have to be pretty amazing to get this guy and, I assumed, she would have to be a vampire too, or it wouldn’t be fair because she would be too scared to break up with him.

I had put the cashmere throw on my lap while I was deep in thought about the hottie in the other room who was quickly becoming an incredibly fascinating person. Uh oh, double trouble. Great to look at, better to talk to.

Switching gears for my own safety, I looked around me. This was a comfortable house, I was tired and it was safe here. Relax, I thought as I closed my eyes for just a minute. I could return myself to a steadier place while I waited, thinking we could work that much better when he returned.

It couldn’t have been more than a few minutes that I had been asleep when I awoke to his voice in my ear. “Claire, I should bring you home.”


I sat up with a start, nearly smashing into his face in the process. He must have been right in my ear. Good thing he moved so fast or we’d both have serious goose eggs on our foreheads; well, I would anyway. “No, I’m alright. Please, I’ll be fine after I have some caffeine.”

He didn’t look convinced, but I wanted a chance to prove myself after the earlier debacle. We couldn’t end our session like this or it would be our last. “Are you certain? I warned you these practices can be draining. If you are already tired, I don’t want you to pass out on me.” He grinned teasingly and I felt my stomach flip. His color was closer to human, feeding must give him color as well as warmth, which explained the difference I saw in his pallor earlier as well.

“Let me have a cup of tea and I’ll be among the living again.” I froze and shot a look at him unable to read his reaction. Not sure if I had done damage or not, I concentrated on my tea.

After a few sips I put the cup down, pushed the blanket aside and stood up. “Okay, let’s try this again. I’m ready.”

He stood as well, so gracefully it was inconceivable, mesmerizing even. “Yes,” he agreed cautiously. “But this time, you hold still and I will come to you.”

We both put our palms out again but this time, obediently, I held perfectly still. When we touched, it was not like before. He was completely shielded and I had my first feeling of just someone’s hand. This was just touch. I felt the solidness of his palm, the coolness of his skin. I felthim. I was unprepared for what it would do to me. Before I realized it, I was weeping; uncontrollably weeping.

James instantly pulled his hand back and I heard the confusion in his voice. “I was shielded, you shouldn’t feel anything.”


That just made me cry harder. I couldn’t look at him. Through my sobs, I tried to speak. “I don’t. That’s it; I’ve never felt...nothing before.”

He understood that and closed the last step between us. As I saw his arms coming up, I jerked my face up to his and he saw my panic.

“Trust me. You’ll be safe.” James put his arms around me, letting his shields block out everything and give me peace. I finally felt what it was like to be comforted by an embrace. I wept for everything I’d never had, for the fear that made me cringe from a hug instead of lean into one. I felt him lift me up with one arm, sweeping my legs up with his other and without the slightest indication of exertion, he sat on the couch pulling me up into his lap. I tried to tell myself he’d seen it all before working with people like me and then cast that aside, preferring to think this first embrace was special for more than just me.