Want A Read You Can Sink Your Teeth Into? How about the vamps from my Love Covenant series?
Vampire romance from the pen of romance author
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
I never set out to write a vampire romance series, just a stand-alone title inspired by a late night drive and a stop at a rather creepy rest area this side of Memphis. But it began like this…….
When I turned around and saw him, leaning up against the concrete wall, one boot propped against the building, he looked dangerous. His black denim jeans fit his muscular, long legs as if they were poured over them and left to harden. His boots were black too and studded with little silver spikes that caught the artificial lights of the rest stop to reflect back at me like twinkling stars. As I gaped at him, mouth open like a fish taking the bait, he smiled at me, a slow wicked smile that made my skin grow sensitive as if I had a high fever. That smile made little ripples run along my nerve endings and down my spine.
“Hello, there, darlin’.” His voice came out as dark and sweet as molasses.
I gave him a closer look because my Mama taught me never to talk to strangers. His black hair curled tight against his head, not cropped short but not quite long either and there was a lot of it. Above those tight jeans, he wore a black Western shirt with white pearl snap buttons and over it all, a black leather jacket. Between his hair and clothes, he looked all black and white – his face and hands glowed pale, almost translucent – except for his eyes.
Those eyes shimmered blue, not just a light blue like most people have but a rich, dark shade like sapphires or the clearest, azure autumn sky. He looked at me as if he knew me, as if he could read me like a favorite paperback book, and what he saw, he seemed to like.
I found my voice or really it found its way up out of my throat and into my mouth before I could think about what to say.
“Good morning to you.”
He flicked ash from the cigarillo that he held in his right hand and raised it to his lips. The end of it glowed red like dawn, bright as fire and he exhaled smoke, his eyes never leaving my face. I didn’t even know his name and yet he attracted me, pulled me toward him as the moon draws the tides to shore. Until he spoke, his appeal was physical but his next words captured my heart without a single shot and conquered it. After that, he could own me if he wanted. He knew it, too.
Speak again, bright angel, for thou art as glorious to this night as is a winged messenger of heaven unto the white, upturned wondering eyes of mortals that fall back to gaze on him when he sits bestride the lazy-pacing clouds and sails upon the bosom of the air.
Shakespeare, quoted at a God-forsaken rest area along Interstate 40 somewhere in Arkansas before daybreak, had an immediate effect on my heart. Any man that could quote the Bard without cheating or peeking at a book impressed me and in this unexpected setting, he had me. Romeo’s words, his aside as he watched Juliet dither around up on her balcony, had a heady and intoxicating quality. But I was no Juliet, no thirteen year old virgin pining for love.
I had my big girl pants on so that I could get to Nashville and sing for my supper. I had been before and did nothing but turn around for home, beaten and defeated. This time should be different. I planned it, I saved up money from my nothing job, and I had studio demos. I had contacts in the business and even a room to rent in my best friend Sheena’s grandmother’s duplex. Everything was set for me to make one more run at stardom before I gave up, got married and fat, had three or four kids, and sang karaoke on my nights out on the town.
All my ambitions shifted in that moment and dissolved like a pair of discount store shoes in a flash flood.
I tried to think of something to say, some quote of Juliet’s that might fit, or just something, that would sound sophisticated or at least cool.
What came out of my mouth was, “Who are you?”
He pulled hard at the cigarillo one more time and tossed it. His laughter sounded like church bells ringing or a steel guitar played by someone who knew how to make the thing sing.
“I am either your worst nightmare or your salvation.” That voice purred like a happy cat on a comfortable lap. “My name is Will Brennan and it is a pleasure to meet you.”
That pivotal moment, when would-be singer Cara Riley meets Will Brennan for the first time opens Love Tattoo, now book one of my popular Love Covenant series from Evernight Publishing. The other books, in order, are (so far) Love Scars, Love Knots, and Love Shadows.
Readers fell in love with Will Brennan as fast as Cara did. So did more than a few reviewers. When we were finished with the edits for Love Tattoo, my editor suggested there might be room for a sequel. I considered it and Cara started talking again (the novels are in first person perspective). And she kept on talking.
I still like vampires. In fact, I just signed a contract this week for a brand-new vampire novel with Rebel Ink Press called Comanche Forever. I’ll share the blurb soon – I think readers will enjoy Ned, my new vamp, too.
For now, though, for all you vamp loving fans out there, here are the blurbs and covers for my Love Covenant series beginning with Love Tattoo….
One unexpected late night encounter, one titillating kiss detours Cara Riley from reaching Nashville for a last shot at a singing career and lands her in Memphis. Dark, mysterious truck driver Will Brennan oozes sexuality and Cara finds herself drawn to him. Will quotes Shakespeare and dresses in black. He brings her to a higher level of sensual pleasure than she even imagined could be possible. As their relationship explodes into something real, she learns he has more than a few quirks. He sleeps by day and prowls by night. Their excursions to Beale Street, the Tunica casinos, and downtown Memphis become legendary but her curiosity grows. At his home – a castle – nestled in a wooded area just outside Memphis, she learns just what his sweet love tattoos really mean and must decide if she wants another. Whether or not they find their happy ending is all up to Cara.
From Love Scars
After marrying her sexy undead husband Will Brennan, Cara Riley Brennan thought her happy ending would last forever but she soon learned that the course of true love doesn’t ever run quite that smooth. Just when she thought they were settling into eternal bliss, Sallie Hawkins, the woman who made Will into a vampire in the past, intrudes into their lives. She’s wicked, she’s jealous, and she won’t stop till either Will or Cara is dead. Her psychic presence tortures them both in body and soul but when she arrives outside their home in the flesh things go from bad to worse. Cara and Will realize that confrontation is inevitable. When the three meet for battle, they all may not survive and in the end, who lives and who dies is up to Cara who will do anything to keep her chance at a permanent happily ever after ending intact
After surviving the wrath of a wicked she-vampire bent on revenge, Will and Cara Brennan have a new task – finding Will’s brother that Sallie Hawkins made a vampire centuries ago. Both bear the scars of their battle but they’re glad to be alive and together.
Cara wants to find the only family Will has in this world and so they set out on a search for Seamus that takes them from Memphis to the rough bars of Oklahoma, Las Vegas casinos, to Hollywood Boulevard and to New Orleans. Along the way, their love deepens and the sensual connection they share heightens.
Whether or not they find Seamus isn’t the only issue – they have no way of knowing whether he has gone wicked or if he’s an average vamp like them. The journey defines their love as the story told in the Love Covenant series continues in Love Knots.
Cara couldn’t be happier now that her sexy vampire husband Will Brennan located his long lost brother Seamus. Her new found brother-in-law even has a theater where she can sing - until a vampire named Henri shows up in the audience. He covets Cara but not for a happy ending. The old vampire, far more powerful than Will or Seamus has a bad reputation among the undead.
Back in Memphis Henri demonstrates he can make them suffer at will. A cat and mouse game begins and takes them back to Missouri, then onto Texas for what they hope will be a happy family holiday.
A last minute grocery store run puts Cara in Henri’s hands and leaves Seamus near dead. When Henri takes Cara deep into the mysterious back waters of Caddo Lake, it’ll take more than just Will Brennan and his brother to save her – if they can.
Buy Links for Love Tattoo (and it’s easier to find the other titles from these too)
Love Tattoo Buy links:
From Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Blog: Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/e/B004JPBM6I
“It’s part of the surprise,” he said. “Come, mo ghra.”
We walked away from the highway, leaving the parking area far behind us, and onto the beach. Above us, the February sky sparkled with ten thousand stars, each one radiant and bright. A full-bellied moon rose in the east, promising to bathe us in its rich, silvery light if we remained here long enough. The wind that wafted ashore rippled across the water and ruffled my hair, cooler than Will’s fingers. Anyone else, meaning someone human, would probably have shivered but it felt refreshing to me, clear and clean and good.
My bare toes squished in the damp sand and I liked the feel of it, not icy but still cold. We went right down to the edge of the water where the waves sluiced up onto the beach, gentle for now. I stood, staring at the infinite ocean as it swept out to the farthest horizon, as far west as I could see, spread out north to south as well. The night sky stretched above me, just as endless and vast. I felt so small and yet not insignificant at all but empowered. If I needed a visual to define eternal, to paint a picture of what an everlasting love that I shared with Will, then there could be none better than this moment. I stared; eyes open wide and made a mental image, a brain snapshot to last forever, something to keep and remember always.
I wanted to sweep all of it into my arms, to embrace the ceaseless space, the immeasurable beauty, and the ageless wonder of the sea, the sky by night. I have no idea how long I stood there as the waves washed up around my feet, silent and yet filled with more emotion than I could ever select words to express but Will stood beside me, just as quiet, my hand clasped in his. We were part of this and we remained one. When I turned to him, eyes brimming with joyful tears, heart overflowing with love, he faced me and with his own eyes shimmering with moisture, he spoke words now familiar to me because he used them before.
Now, however, the beautiful poetry resonated with even more meaning for us both,
“And yet I wish but for the thing I have, my bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have for both are infinite.”
The immensity of his love overwhelmed me, the power more enormous than anything, greater than any man made wonder. The scope of it stretched beneath the timeless stars, the wonder of it expanded through whatever heart I possessed, and brimmed over to flood my soul. What I had with Will Brennan, I thought, was worth all I gave up to claim it and whatever I might face at the end of time; I could because of this love.
The truth of that sang in my soul, a greater, stronger song that any I ever attempted to sing before. I wished I knew as much poetry as he did, Shakespeare or otherwise, but instead, the words that came into my mouth came, as usual, from a song. Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman did a song that I loved back in the late 1970’s, vintage but with lyrics I loved so I sang some of them to Will now,
“Our love is alive and so it begins, foolishly laying our hearts on the table, stumbling in, our love is a flame, burning within.”
He opened his arms to me, as broad and open as the vast panorama of water, wind, and sky spread out around us and I walked into them. I came home into his embrace and all the emotion, strong and potent, welled up in me and exploded so that I wept in his arms for a kiss. I sobbed not with sadness but with immeasurable joy, rich feelings too volatile to contain. He wept, too, for I felt the rain of his tears, the tremors of his body against mine. After we spent our emotions, poured them into one another, we sat down on the sand, wrapped together and listened to the wondrous night music of God.
After a long time, secure in our contented silence, he kissed me, soothing and so sweet that I almost wept again. Will brushed the remaining tears from my face with a gentle finger.
“I take it you liked my surprise,” he said, voice soft beneath the pounding thunder of the waves.
“Oh, yeah,” My voice, hoarse from tears, came out in a croak but I didn’t care and knew he would not either. “What’s in the basket?”
“Oh, this and that,” Will told me with such careful nonchalance that I knew the contents would be amazing. “Some wines, some cheeses, and such.”
The such included smoked salmon, gourmet crackers, olives imported from France, chocolate covered cherries, brie, and much more along with two lovely wine glasses. So we sat on the beach as the moon climbed high into the sky, bathing us with amazing silver light, drinking fine vintage wine as we snacked. Every moment tasted as savory as the gourmet finger food and contentment made me purr within like a satisfied cat. I dreamed of some intimate romantic moments when I suggested our getaway but this exceeded any expectation I might have imagined; this felt like perfection.
Moonlight glittered across my rings and I held out my hand, admiring them for their beauty but what mattered most to me was not the diamonds but the meaning. Will can be a romantic man and we shared many sweet moments but this night stood out, a once in a lifetime magic interlude that neither one of us could ever forget. There would be many more beautiful spaces in our existence but this one would remain unique to us both.