I have the honor of presenting an excerpt from Christine Rain's 1301 The Marquis. This novella is book one in an exciting new paranormal romance series by one of my favorite people in the world.
Also, Christine is offering an ebook of The Marquis to one lucky commenter. Winner will be chosen by Random.org, and I'll announce the winner on Monday, December 17.
Excerpt from The Marquis
Marc still had the power to smite new demons. Just barely.
The blackened bones clattered to the ground and crumbled into a pile of dust. The stench of charred flesh was too familiar. Flames licked at old memories. One fiend down. One to go.
“Kiral, get out of here.” Marc didn’t take his eyes off the remaining demon as he addressed his friend. When he didn’t hear any movement, he barked out one more word. “Now!”
Marc heard a muttered “thank you” from Kiral before he left the alley in a stumbling run. Not the usual light-footed walk of the vampire. It was a bad night for him. Bad night for both of them.
The demon stood tense and ready. His jeans were ripped in too many places and his expensive leather jacket was retro 1970s. His eyes flashed red, but he didn’t attack. He seemed to be waiting for Marc to make the next move.
The two demons had pushed a drugged teen on Kiral, tempting the vamp to fall off the wagon. So they couldn’t be high ranking minions. The lithe teen tumbled unconscious to the ground like dirty laundry when Marc appeared.
Light from the street didn’t reach into the alley. A chilly autumn breeze blew trash down the corridor. The walls amplified the scraping and crinkling. Marc stood at the mouth of the alley where the shadows started as if he might be their lord.
“Tempting vamps, demonling? A waste of Hell’s resources if you ask me.” Marc folded his arms as he tried to assess the other’s power. He had him beat on height and muscle, but it wasn’t physical strength that mattered here.
“What do you kno—” The demon frowned, breathed in deeply, and then grinned as the tension drained away from his body. “Ah, well now. The Marquis. Never thought I’d see you again. Especially not looking like a lumberjack’s grandpappy.”
Marc bared his teeth and grit them. He exhaled with a hiss. The last thing he wanted was his former comrades to recognize him. His life now was far from what it used to be. He squinted and his psychic vision flashed, giving him the demon’s identity. He wished he had enough power to reduce the bastard to ashes too.
“Vetis. What did you do this time to be reduced to pushing drugs on vamps?”
Vetis leaned back against the brick wall, crossing one ankle over the other. He produced a cigarette from a pocket, flipped it between his fingers a few times, and lit it with a thought. He chuckled with his exhale.
“What didn’t I do? These tech-loving mortals are too easy to draw into sin. One status update on Facebook and it leads to a string of suicides. I prefer a challenge.” He took another drag on the cigarette. “As for the vamp, Master’s orders. He wants his soul. But it’s too easy. Boring as tending to the fires. You know how that is.”
Marc only grunted in response. He wasn’t here to reminiscence. Vetis had never been his friend. No demon had friends.
Life after Hell isn't more exciting than watching football and fixing a busted pipe. Once a powerful demon, Marc enjoys his quiet existence and a good cup of coffee. With big ambitions to gain his master's favor, a trickster demon named Vetis shatters Marc's peace and vows to deliver Marc's head to the fires of Hell. Not before he destroys everything Marc cares about, of course.
Marc's power has diminished over the years. Heaven will never grant him absolution, and he refuses to return to Hell. Running isn't an option. The city of Carmine is his territory. It's also home to his favorite cafe owner, Mae Hopkins. The dame has a lovely smile, but it's her heart and soul that shine bright.
While his city burns and his love is captured, Marc must decide to surrender or let hate and anger fuel him to become the fearsome beast he so loathes: The Marquis. If the Marquis rises, Vetis can be defeated and Mae saved, but Marc would be lost to his demon forever.
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She also has two novellas and sixteen short stories published.