Today she brings us Night Therapy.
Vampire Johnathan McCombs has spent the last century isolating from humanity whenever possible, trying to come to terms with a past that haunts him. When he finally realizes he needs help dealing with his issues, he seeks out a mortal psychologist, hoping her ethical boundaries of confidentiality will allow him to reveal his secrets. He tries to ignore his growing attraction for his therapist, but when circumstances throw them together outside the professional setting of her office, will he be able to contain his passion?
Psychologist Stephanie Taylor connects with her clients because personal experience has made her understand what heartache and trauma do to a person. But when her hot new client drops the bomb on her that he is a vampire, she has no idea what to do or how to react. Now she must look at her life in a whole new light. She has inadvertently put her life in danger and become part of a dark world she thought was only pretend.
In one night, everything changes. Old rivals pull Stephanie into their fight, and Johnathan must make a life or death decision. But can Stephanie forgive him for the irreversible choice he makes with her life? Can the couple find peace with their individual problems to have a chance at a lasting relationship? And how will the brewing war between vampires and Hunters affect them?
How About A Sample?
Excerpt: The following excerpts were still being edited when they were submitted for this post and may differ slightly from the finished product.
Nervous agitation shot through Johnathan McCombs as he paced his living room, cell phone in hand, while his sire told him about the emergency Enforcer meeting that had just been called.
The urgency of the situation puzzled Johnathan. “What’s happ—”
Alex cut him off. “Just get up there now.”
“I’m on my—” The line went dead before he could finish.
He shoved the phone in his pocket, grabbed his keys, and bolted out the door. As he tore up the mountain on his V Star, he realized he’d forgotten his helmet in the rush.
The Lansford Strip and the sprawling city surrounding it grew distant in his mirrors until trees finally engulfed the view. Unfortunately, when he came to the winding back roads, he had to slow down so he didn’t scrape metal when he leaned his motorcycle into the turns.
The ride took ages even though he twisted the throttle tight on the straightaways. Hopefully an animal didn’t run out in front of him and cause him to wipe out. Sure he’d survive without the helmet, even heal quickly, but road rash all over his face would not be pleasant.
His heartbeat quickened but his breathing remained calm as he navigated in the afternoon sun. When he finally reached the dirt roads that led to the Evanko Compound, his heart sped faster. He slowed to keep from losing control on the unforgiving terrain, though his vampiric strength and reflexes made it far easier for him than it would have been for a mortal.
The roar of a car’s engine suddenly thundered behind him. As the vehicle bore down on him, the rumbling mingled with that of his motorcycle. It was a familiar sound.
Alex’s Challenger filled his mirrors with black and chrome.
The poor son of a bitch probably hated reining in his Hemi to a crawl behind Johnathan.
The gates to the compound were wide open and the log mansion grew out of the ground as if it had always been there. The green metal roof enhanced the illusion, making the home blend in with the surrounding trees.
Everyone else had beaten them there; the many vehicles already sat empty in front of the oversized garage.
Johnathan parked beside Donovan Evanko’s Escalade, and Alex pulled in beside him. Before Johnathan cut the engine, the gates closed.
By the time Alex exited his car, Johnathan stood at his door wanting answers. “What the hell is going on?”
Alex slammed his door and strode toward the house. “I have no idea. Donovan called and said Olivia wanted us to get our asses up here now.”
“Nice of her to call you herself.”
Alex shrugged, and when he rang the doorbell, Donovan yelled for them to come in.
Inside, Johnathan followed his sire to the great room at the back of the home. It was the normal routine. The Enforcers and their team along with Donovan’s Sweeper Team gathered there for every meeting—at least the ones that didn’t take place at Donovan’s nightclub, Nocturnal Surrender.
Although, something was different this time.
The other vampires in the room sat silent as the Evanko brothers stared each other down. Ever since Bastian Evanko had returned from exile, everyone was on edge. Mixing him in Enforcer business when he obviously held a grudge against them made no sense. Still, the lead Enforcer, Olivia Fournier, had insisted on it. Even though Alex was an Enforcer, too, he had no say in the matter.
Johnathan and Alex took chairs between Donovan and Olivia. And waited.
Donovan eventually turned to Alex. “Thanks for getting here so fast.” He nodded at Johnathan before focusing on Olivia. “Would you like to fill them in or should I?”
The blonde Enforcer avoided Donovan’s eyes. “It was your mission. You can explain.” Her old-world accent almost eased the harshness of her tone, but not quite.
Can’t anyone get along?
If they kept fighting amongst themselves, there would be no way of defeating the Hunters. Sad thing was the ruling Elders and their Enforcers had determined Lansford was ground zero for whatever the Hunters were planning. And this band of misfits held the fate of vampire survival in their hands.
Shit, the fact that I’m involved proves the standards are lax.
Donovan cleared his throat and sat up straight in his leather armchair. “My Sweeper Team gained access to Lansford Biotech and uncovered some disturbing information.” He glanced around the room. “Apparently the Elders were right. The company is a front for the Hunters’ base of operations. Worse yet, they’re working on some sort of biochemical weapon to take us out. All of us around the globe. At the same time.”
Alex coughed. “How could they manage an attack of that magnitude without exposing us to humans?”
The conversation hummed around him, but Johnathan tuned it out. He barely believed what he’d heard. Surely something like that was impossible. It had to be. He hadn’t lived for over six hundred years to lose his life to the Hunters. Hell, he was still a baby as far as vamps went. It had taken him this long to start dealing with his issues from all those centuries ago. Really, he hadn’t begun to live yet. Staring down eternity he’d never felt rushed.
“Maybe they want to expose us,” Johnathan blurted, interrupting his sire mid-sentence.
Silent tension filled the room for a moment until Olivia spoke. “Johnathan may be right. If they expose us, they will have far more help to destroy us.” She finally met Donovan’s eyes. “Are you certain there were no specifics on what type of biochemical weapon they have planned?”
“Oh, I think there are specs, but we need someone to break the government-grade encryption on their computers to find them.” Donovan scrubbed a hand over his face. “We have to accept the fact we are in a different age now. They’ve evolved and we haven’t. There has to be somebody on one of the teams who can hack into their system.”
Kade Delacroix, a member of Donovan’s team, let out a disgusted sigh. “You know most vampires are technologically impaired. It’s not like we adapt fast, and computers are relatively new when compared to our lifespans. Maybe there’s a newly-turned somewhere with skills, but how would we know?”
Bastian jumped up and glared at his brother. “Tell them, Donovan.”
The elder Evanko shook his head. “Not now, Bastian. We’re not wasting time with—”
“Tell us what?” Olivia glowered at Donovan, then turned to his brother. “Go on, Bastian.”
“Put it this way, I had a lot of time on my hands while I was in exile. When you’re not allowed human contact, you need something to occupy you.” Bastian paced in front of the oversized window. “I doubt there’s a better hacker than me anywhere.”
Great, now we need him.
Donovan shot to his feet and stared down at Olivia. “Don’t even think about using my brother—”
“No, Donovan.” Olivia rose, holding up a hand to silence him. “You should not think to question me.”
Within seconds, an explosion of shouting echoed off the high ceiling. Donovan and Bastian argued with Olivia, referencing seemingly personal issues that made no sense. Whatever had gone on between them was affecting work. If they didn’t get their shit together, it could cost the lives of everyone in the room, as well as their entire species.
Before an all-out vampire brawl could break out, Alex stood and stepped between the Evanko brothers and Olivia. As always, his soothing drawl defused the tension in the room before Donovan’s home was torn apart.
Strange thing was Olivia hadn’t pulled rank on either of the brothers to end the fireworks. The looks passing between her and Donovan spoke volumes—hatred and desire mixed. And if a vampire could kill someone with a glower, Bastian would have taken out Olivia.
Johnathan might have enjoyed the show if the situation wasn’t so dire.
We are screwed.
Olivia gestured for the others to take their seats. “I want Bastian on this as of yesterday. We need all the help we can get.” She turned to Donovan. “You can supervise your brother and begin his training—since you are so concerned about his safety.”
More glares shot between the two while everyone else in the room stared, dumbfounded, as if they had missed something.
I sure as hell did.
Donovan conceded with a nod, and Bastian folded his arms over his chest, grinning. The younger Evanko had made no secret of the fact he wanted more involvement in the missions and was obviously satisfied he’d gotten his way.
The meeting continued without any further problems, and a few hours later, the details of each team member’s role in the new plans was hammered out. But with everything riding on Bastian Evanko, Johnathan feared the Hunters would prevail—even though they were human.
When the meeting wrapped up, Johnathan said a hasty goodbye to Alex and the others, avoiding any more personal interaction than he was comfortable with. Although he loved his sire, Johnathan enjoyed the self-imposed isolation he’d been living in lately. Besides, with his past issues slamming into him with a vengeance, he was lousy company.
As everyone meandered to their vehicles, he tore off down the paved drive, slowed for the dirt road until it gave way to asphalt, then gunned it home. He had an appointment to get ready for, and he had decided earlier in the day that tonight was the time to reveal his secrets to his mortal psychotherapist, Stephanie Taylor. Sure it terrified him, but the damn meeting had only strengthened his resolve. If his species—his life—was about to end, he at least wanted a clear conscience beforehand.
Not that he’d resigned himself to death. If they were going down, they’d sure as hell go down fighting.
In some strange way he was actually relieved to know he would be opening up to Stephanie tonight. He could deal with the issues from his past and the new threat to his future.
Glad she’s bound by confidentiality.
Stephanie had been overwhelmingly compassionate over the few months he’d been seeing her for weekly therapy sessions. In that time, he’d explored her mind, took in her emotions, and used every last vampiric power he had to ensure she could be trusted.
The problem was, there were secrets within her that danced just beyond his grasp.
Still, he had no doubt she was a good person. One he’d like to know on a more personal level if not for the professional boundaries she held onto so tightly.
It had been a long time since he’d truly allowed anyone in, and every time he had tried in the past, the asshole inside him came out to ruin the party. Not just with women, but with the men he had tried to befriend, as well. Hell, Alex probably only tolerated him because he was Johnathan’s sire. If Alex hadn’t turned him, the other vampire would probably want nothing to do with him.
Just like everyone else.
He’d been on autopilot the entire ride home, and when he pulled into his driveway, he breathed a deep sigh of relief. The safe haven of his house always eased his tension. He could hide from the world in there.
He could hide from the past.
Here’s another little excerpt with a play on the ride a vampire theme:
“Stephanie, it’s okay. You’re safe now. Alex was right; this isn’t the place to discuss anything. You need to get home and rest.” Johnathan grabbed his helmet and handed it to her. “Here, put this on.”
She looked up at him with confusion in her warm amber eyes. “I…this… We can’t… It’s wrong.”
“I’m only giving you a ride back to your car. We’re not doing anything inappropriate.”
“Yes we are. It’s unethical.”
“What, to let a vampire give you a ride?”
She laughed. “I guess you’re right. This isn’t a normal therapeutic relationship.”
Johnathan opened one of the bikes saddlebags so Stephanie could place her purse inside, then he helped her with the helmet. He swung a leg over his V-Star, settled into the seat, flipped down the passenger floorboards, and reached for her. She slid her hand in his to steady herself as she climbed on. A flash of electricity surged through his body. The softness of her skin, the warmth and tenderness were pleasures he hadn’t allowed himself to experience in decades.
© 2013 Lorraine Pearl
A Little Facetime With the Author
K.S. Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.
Lorraine: I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me. I write erotic paranormal romance—vampires currently—and have published a few novellas to begin my Nocturnal Surrender Series. I love anything with sexy vamps in it, TV shows, movies, and books, and would have to say my favorite vamp so far is Mick St. John from the show Moonlight.
K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
Lorraine: No writing quirks that I can think of, but one good story I have is only from a few months ago. When the author who wrote the book Moonlight was based on re-tweeted one of my tweets, I was so excited. I tweeted back a thank you and he responded to me. Even though authors routinely interact with their fans on social media, I was elated that the man who created the character I loved took the time to promote me and communicate with me. In case you’re wondering, it was author Trevor Munson. I tried not to fangirl too much, but I was a gushing mess inside.
K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
Lorraine: I’ve been a vampire fan for a long time, starting with Anne Rice’s books and growing from there, which made me decide to write my own vamp stories. But it wasn’t until I saw Moonlight, and fell so in love with Mick St. John, that I decided to pursue writing seriously. That character made me want to create my own characters that I hoped people would someday love as much as I loved him. (Oh, and my Alex O’Loughlin obsession started then, too.)
K.S. What genre do you write?
Lorraine: Although I mainly write erotic paranormal romance, I’m also developing an erotic dark fantasy vamp series, an erotic fantasy fairytale series, and an erotic contemporary romance series. Notice a theme there? I get bored with stories that don’t have an erotic element so I can’t imagine writing a book without that element.
K.S. What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
Lorraine: I’d have to say well-developed characters have inspired me most. Characters that draw me in and make me feel for them and love them. Any time I need a little boost of inspiration I’ll watch or read something that I know has those types of characters. If I had to pick a favorite author right now, it would have to be J.R. Ward. She has amazing characters and her writing pulls me in. I love Phury. That is one hot vamp.
K.S. What does your family think of your writing?
Lorraine: At first they were all a little shocked due to the genre—or at least the erotic elements—but now they are opening up to it more.
K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?
Lorraine: Probably the same thing every author says: it’s a heck of a lot more work than I ever thought possible, and marketing takes up as much time as writing. There is one more thing. I was very surprised to learn how supportive authors are with each other. It’s an amazing community.
K.S. What inspires you?
Lorraine: What inspires me most in life is nature, especially birds and deer. If I need a little pick-me-up, that’s the first thing I go to. Even if I can’t get outside, I’ll look at nature pictures and immediately feel a sense of awe and peace.
K.S. Where can we buy your novel?
Lorraine: You can find the purchase links to all my books on my series site at: http://nocturnalsurrenderseries.weebly.com/books.html
K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
Lorraine: My website and blog are together, along with links to all the other places you can find me on the web, at: http://www.lorrainepearl.com/tnss.html
K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
Lorraine: Don’t skip the learning process, no matter how much you want to get your work out there. Read books and websites on the craft of writing, join a critique group, read books in your genre, and write as often as you can. It’s like learning any other form of art; you have to practice to get where you need to be.