Monday, August 7, 2017

**GIVEAWAY** Showcase - The Lost Vampire by Kate Baxter

It's my pleasure to Showcase, Kate Baxter's The Lost Vampire, #5 in her The Last True Vampire series that also stands well on it's own. Brush up on your Vampire knowledge then be sure to enter for a chance to win a copy for yourself, sponsored by Kate's publisher, St. Martin's Press.
Enjoy!
ISBN-13: 9781250125415
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 08-01-2017
Length: 384pp
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/IndieBound
ADD TO: GOODREADS
OVERVIEW:Once one of the oldest dhampirs in existence, Saeed now faces a treacherously uncertain future as a vampire. He believes that the only thing that can restore his position within his coven and tether his lost soul is the flame-haired fae who is destined to be his mate.
Cerys Bain is a soul thief. She is feared by those who dwell in the supernatural realm--and hopelessly bound to the ruthless mage Rinieri de Rege. The raw, sensual vampire who enters her world is both a threat and an intoxicating temptation: No one has ever made Cerys feel the way Saeed does. But to claim their fate as soulmates, Saeed must first find a way to free Cerys from Rin. Is their desire worth the risk of certain destruction--and eternal doom?



St. Martin's Press is sponsoring a Giveaway of
One Print Copy of The Lost Vampire US ONLY
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter
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Excerpt courtesy St. Martin's Press––

CHAPTER
1

The bright lights of the Seattle cityscape appeared like stars in a vast universe as the 747 made its descent. The Space Needle jutted into the skyline like a sentinel, alien in its shape and form in comparison to the structures surrounding it. As alien as Saeed Almasi felt now, surrounded by humans who might have looked like him but, in truth, couldn’t be more different.
A woman watched him from across the aisle. The scent of her anxiety and fear reached his nostrils. The color of his skin, his features that so clearly identified him as someone from the Middle East, put her on edge. He didn’t have to hear her thoughts to know what worried her. Saeed turned toward her with a tight-lipped smile. The urge to grin and flash the dual points of his fangs overwhelmed him. She feared the color of his skin, his dark eyes and hair, and the possibility of his intentions. What Saeed wanted to tell her was that there were far more dangerous things in this world than a man from another country or a man who spoke another language. She sat across from a vampire, not a terrorist. And had his thirst been overwhelming, the scent of her blood would have awakened the predator in him.
Luckily for the woman who continued to watch him, and every other person on the flight, he’d fed before takeoff, glutting himself on Sasha’s blood in an effort to keep his thirst at bay. Closed up in a metal tube with little ventilation, he might as well have been trapped within the confines of an all-you-can-eat buffet with strict orders not to eat.
Saeed turned his attention from the woman and her judgment and focused his gaze on the city beyond his window. The two and a half hour flight hadn’t been long, but to Saeed, centuries had passed. He’d taken enough of Sasha’s blood to manage his thirst, but it seemed that lately no amount of blood could keep him from the memories that plagued him. For months, Saeed had given himself over to the Collective, the memories of every vampire that had ever existed, transferred through blood at the moment of a vampire’s turning. With practice, and regular feeding, the memories became nothing more than white noise in the back of a vampire’s mind. No more distracting than music in an elevator or the chatter of small talk in a crowded restaurant. To Saeed, the Collective had become a lifeline that connected him to the only thing on earth that could save him.
Through the memories of vampires long since dead, the Collective had shown him the female that would tether his soul.
The members of his coven thought him mad. Sasha and Diego, his most trusted advisors and friends, considered him lost. He’d made them vampires, just as he’d promised Mikhail he would, and when he’d been assured of their stability, he turned the leadership of his coven over to them. It was a decision Mikhail still wasn’t happy about. The vampire king wasn’t burdened with the matter of Saeed’s soul, however. Mikhail Aristov’s singular concern was that of replenishing the vampire race. As far as Saeed was concerned, Mikhail could turn every dhampir in Los Angeles. He certainly didn’t need Saeed’s help for that.
The plane touched down and Saeed said a silent prayer of thanks. He could remember a time when the only modes of transportation were horses, camels, or boats. The modern world moved much too quickly. Jets, sports cars, bullet trains all designed to get you from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time. He supposed humans had no choice but to move quickly. After all, their lives were so short. They had so little time on this earth, it seemed foolish to waste even a single second.
Saeed’s life had spanned millennia. Before his turning, he’d been one of the oldest dhampirs in existence. Now, he was nothing more than a fledgling vampire. As new in this world as a child. Perhaps it was his soulless state that kept him from feeling even an ounce of wonder over any of it. He was empty. Hollow. As void and black as the night that stretched out before him. It seemed odd he’d be concerned at all for the return of his soul in his seemingly apathetic state. But Saeed wasn’t simply concerned, he was obsessed. So obsessed, he’d relinquished control of his coven and flown to Seattle to reclaim what had been taken from him. He wasn’t even sure if he’d find what he was looking for in the Emerald City. But he had to start somewhere, even if he was following the inarticulate ramblings of a child Oracle.
The plane taxied slowly down the runway and came to a stop at its gate. Impatient to get on with their very short lives, the people around him hustled to retrieve their carry-on bags from the overhead compartments, only to waste more of those precious minutes standing in a line. Saeed sat, hands folded neatly in his lap, gaze cast straight ahead. He’d waited this long to begin his search, what was ten more minutes when compared to the eternal soul?
“Excuse me? Would you mind if I stepped past you?”
Saeed looked up to find a woman no more than twenty-four or twenty-five years of age staring down at him. Young. Pretty. Her expression pleasant. Her dark auburn hair was piled in a haphazard mass on top of her head, and the thin white cords of her earbuds dangled from either side of her head.
“Of course.” Saeed held out his hand in invitation and scooted his legs to the left. She gave him a sweet smile, her dark brown eyes sparking with interest as she looked him over one last time before sidling past.
Humans were such easy prey. Drawn to predators like Saeed. It really was a shame their blood didn’t offer more sustenance. In reality, vampires needed dhampirs to survive and vice versa. Like the delicate threads of a spider web, their existences were intertwined. Dhampirs couldn’t thrive without drawing from a vampire’s life essence and likewise, vampires often fed from dhampirs to keep their organs and bodily functions from going dormant. The stronger the creature, the more powerful their blood. Because Saeed had fed from Sasha—a vampire—before leaving, it would be at least a couple of weeks before he would need to feed again. With any luck, he’d find his mate before then.
The fae with hair like fire.
Saeed had seen her in the Collective so many times her features were ingrained in his memory. Throughout time and history, from memory to memory, he’d tracked her. Italy, Spain, England, and Mongolia. Australia, China, Russia, and Africa. There wasn’t a corner of the earth she hadn’t occupied, nor a space of time when she hadn’t been present. Sasha doubted her existence and thought her dead but Saeed knew better. The fae would tether Saeed’s soul. He needed only to find her to prove it.
As the last human shuffled down the narrow aisle to exit the plane, Saeed rose from his seat and retrieved his bag. A thrill raced through him. He was a predator after all, and this was the ultimate hunt. Seattle was a vast city, nearly as large as L.A. But the supernatural community was much smaller, narrowing the scope of Saeed’s hunting grounds. He would find her. Because he had to. His soul, his very sanity, depended on it.
* * *
A shiver of anticipation raced down Cerys Bain’s spine as she crossed East Denny and headed north on 10th Avenue East. She gave a quick look over her shoulder. Nothing. Electricity charged the air and caused the fine hairs along her forearms to stand on end. Fatigue tugged at her eyelids and weighed down her limbs. Gods, she could sleep for a year if only Rin would give her the opportunity to rest. A soft snort escaped her lips. There was no rest for the wicked, and Rinieri de Rege was as wicked as they came. Cerys supposed that as his property, and under his command, that made her wicked by default. She’d certainly carried out enough wicked deeds for him over the millennia to warrant the opinion. Too bad she didn’t have a soul to gauge the severity of her offenses one way or the other.
At least tonight’s errand wouldn’t take too much out of her. True, Rin wanted retribution from the shifter that had cheated him, but the mage must have been feeling magnanimous tonight. When she found the shifter, he’d walk away with a few scratches, maybe a broken bone or two, which was much better than the alternative. Cerys would say he could thank her later, but in truth, it would be Rin who would receive the shifter’s gratitude.
Cerys guessed she could say she hated her job, but that would require her to get the benefit of an actual paycheck from the wily mage in order to make the complaint in the first place. Slavery had its benefits she supposed. Sure, she didn’t have cash in her pocket, but she didn’t have to worry about things like covering her rent, paying her bills, grocery shopping, car insurance … Rin took care of everything. She was his collared pet, his property, the tool that carried out his will. She was certain her position seemed a hell of a lot more prestigious than it actually was.
It wasn’t like he kept her in a kennel or chained her up in a basement when she wasn’t being put to good use. On the contrary, Cerys lived a fairly lavish lifestyle. Rin provided for her. Fed her, put a roof over her head, made sure she had clothes to wear and outfitted her with the finest weapons. But even a prized poodle ate filet mignon every now and then. Cerys knew her place, knew what was expected of her, and Rin had made certain a long time ago that she would never bite the hand that fed her.
Another tingle of anticipation danced over her skin. She was much too seasoned for nerves. Too hardened for anxiety of any kind. Something was coming. And Cerys had a feeling that whatever it was would stir up all kinds of trouble.
She stopped on the sidewalk and looked up at the sign that read The Caged Canary. She snorted. The name was sort of fitting considering her situation. The club was primarily a supernatural hangout, which meant Cerys wouldn’t have to operate with too much discretion. Fine by her. Duplicity had never been her thing. She threw her shoulders back as she walked through the entrance. The bouncer, a rough-looking werewolf she’d seen around, gave her a once over and took a cautious step back. Most every supernatural creature in Seattle knew she worked for Rin, but that’s not why they tended to give her a wide berth. No, it was because Cerys was an enaid dwyn, a stealer of souls, and that’s why she was regarded with a certain level of fear. The notoriety should’ve been a nice boost to her ego. Instead, it only made Cerys long for autonomy.
From across the bar she spotted the shifter hanging out at the pool tables near the back of the building. As if he sensed her eyes on him he looked up and met her gaze. He stood up straight and dropped the pool cue to his side. His eyes darted from one end of the club to the next as though looking for a route of escape.
Sorry buddy, there’s only one way out and that’s through me.
Cerys made a beeline for the pool tables. She was tired and not a little hangry. She just wanted to get this business over with, scarf down a burger, and go to bed.
“Cerys, what’s up? I was just getting ready to go see Rin.”
She rolled her eyes. Sure. That’s what they all said when they were caught. “I don’t have the patience to deal with your bullshit tonight, Derek. You know what Rin wants.”
Derek shifted his weight from one leg to the other. He was getting ready to bolt. It wouldn’t do him any good. There wasn’t anywhere in the city he could go that Cerys wouldn’t find him. “I need a few more days. I can pay him interest.”
“No interest. No leeway. You owe Rin thirty large, due immediately. You have it or not?”
Derek’s fear thickened the air. It settled on the back of Cerys’s tongue, thick and cloying like honey. She knew what he thought. What he assumed she was here to take. Cerys didn’t have friends, hell, she didn’t even have acquaintances. No one could stomach her company for more than a few minutes because they were too busy being afraid of what she had the potential to do. That, coupled with the notable absence of remorse, made what she was about to do to Derek that much easier.
So fast the movement was a blur, she grabbed Derek by the wrist and pinned his hand to the pool table. She might have been nothing more than a diminutive fae, but Cerys’s strength surpassed even the most stalwart of males. Derek cried out, the sound high pitched and frantic.
“Don’t do it!” he screamed. “I’ll pay Rin tomorrow! Every damn cent! Don’t take my fucking soul!”
Cerys reached for the dagger sheathed at her hip. In one fluid motion, she pulled the blade free from the scabbard and stabbed down, severing Derek’s pinky finger at the second knuckle. She released her hold on his wrist and he fell backward to the floor. He cradled his injured hand, his frantic, sobbing breaths reaching her ears over the din of the dated nineties music. A smirk curved her lips as she scooped up the severed digit and tucked it into her pocket. He was damn lucky to be walking away tonight having only lost a finger.
“Tomorrow.” Cerys pointed the dagger at Derek to drive her point home before cleaning the blood off on her pants and sliding it back into the sheath. “Thirty-thousand, delivered to Rin, in person. If you don’t show up by midnight you’ll be seeing me again and it definitely won’t be a pleasant experience.”
She took Derek’s incoherent blubbering as a positive affirmation. She gave him one last appraising look before turning on a heel and leaving.
Cerys paused at the door. She waited for a string of profanity, angry shouts, the threats that should’ve inevitably followed her out the door. The only sounds to fill her ears were that of the retro dance tracks pulsing around her and the murmur of voices as she walked past. She pulled open the door with a derisive snort and stepped out into the cool spring air. The scent of rain filled her nostrils as she took a deep breath and held it in her lungs before letting it all out in a rush.
Just once she’d like to see someone treat her with open hostility and disdain rather than cower in fear. Or perhaps have someone look upon her fondly, offer up a genuine smile, or treat her as a friend for no reason other than they enjoyed her company. Over the course of her existence, Cerys had learned there was nothing more hurtful than being feared. But as long as she remained Rin’s property, she would never be regarded as anything other than a creature straight out of a nightmare.
Soul stealer.
Reaper.
And thanks to Rin, she deserved every bit of it.

The Series



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Meet Kate:
Kate Baxter is a die-hard romantic with a thing for Shakespeare. She lives in the great northwest where she hides away to write about all things fanged, furry, and undead, including the Last True Vampire series (The Warrior Vampire, The Dark Vampire).










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31 comments:

  1. Something about vampires has always intrigued me, and I enjoy finding new stories about them. This sounds pretty good! Hugs...RO

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    1. I know me too RO. What's your favorite series?

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  2. Back when I read pnr I was all about the vamps...and shifters

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  3. I haven't read any books by Kate Baxter. This novel sounds unforgettable. Thanks for this lovely feature and giveaway.

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  4. I need to get this series. Great review.

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  5. I haven't read this author but you had me at vampire.

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  6. I love the Seattle setting. This is a series I need,to try

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  7. I really need to try Kate. I've read some of her stuff under a different name. I've met her in person at RT15 and RT17. She is a sweetie.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

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    1. Oh I didn't know about that. Thanks Melanie I'm going to check it out.

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  8. I have only read this series by Kate and I am loving it!

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  9. I haven't read any of Kate's books yet but I do look forward to doing so in the future.

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  10. I haven't ever read a Kate Baxter book, but in the last month I've had several reader friends tell me that I must add her to my list of books to start before the year is out.

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  11. No, but I did pick up The Dark Vampire to try out. ^_^

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  12. I hate to say this but I haven't read any of Kate's books yet. I don't know how I didn't know about them sooner considering I love paranormal romances.

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  13. I haven't read Kate before, but my friend keeps telling me to give her vamps a try!

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