Vampires and wizards and magic, oh my!
It’s October, which means Halloween and thrills and chills and things that go bump in the night, which makes it the perfect month for the release of the final installment of Partnership in Blood. I started the series ten years ago in response to a prompt on a writing group for supernatural stories. Ten years and a million words later, the last chapter is done and ready to share with the world.
It’s been an interesting journey, particularly when I’d never read a vampire book when I started writing. No Bram Stoker, no Laurell K. Hamilton, no Anne Rice, and I deliberately haven’t read any in the time I’ve been working on the series. For better or worse, the vampires in my books are mine and mine alone. And no, they don’t sparkle, I promise. They’re creatures of the night who need blood to survive and they’re not above using sex as a lure to get what they need. Their humanity coexists with their inner beast, nightmare, demon, monster (depending on who’s talking), and they struggle constantly to integrate into society’s norms. Most of the time they succeed, but cross them, give them a reason to come after you, and you’ll find out just how ruthless they can be.
Are they scary? Oh yeah. In Partnership Reborn, Kylian describes Jean as a pit viper, scary to look at but too mesmerizing to look away from because he knows if he does, he’d dead. The first time Raphael meets Jean, he thinks Kylian understate the case. They’re ruthless when it comes to protecting their friends and loved ones, and morals? Those go right out the door if it means seeing to the happiness of those they call their own.
Now throw in wizards and magic and a spell that defies all logic and yet inarguably exists and you have a tangle that has defeated two of the most brilliant minds of their time. Can a new wizard with a new viewpoint on the situation find an explanation that fits the facts and respects the memory of those who have gone before?
Here’s a little sneak peak of the first time Sebastien meets Kylian.
“I’ll have a Courvoisier.”
Nothing in the order itself or in the man’s voice should have caught Kylian’s attention, but he turned nonetheless as the bartender walked away to prepare the drink.
“Not the usual order around here,” Kylian said.
Sebastien turned to face the young man he had been trying to ignore and shrugged. “I learned from a man with expensive tastes.” He ignored the bite of grief at the memory of evenings he and Thierry had spent with Jean, Raymond, Alain, and Orlando, drinking expensive brandy and discussing anything and everything they could think of—from politics to the ancient lore of as many magical races as would talk to them.
“You don’t look old enough to sound that world-weary,” Kylian commented.
Sebastien shrugged again. “Around here, looks can be deceiving. I’m more than five hundred years old.”
Kylian blinked in surprise as that sank in. At all the dinners he’d attended at l’Institut, the vampires had never consumed the offerings, only sat at the tables and talked. “I thought vampires only drank blood.”
“Vampires are only nourished by blood,” Sebastien corrected. He kept hoping that fallacy would fall out of popular belief, but it lingered. “We can eat and drink anything we want.”
“But what’s the point if you don’t feel it?” Kylian asked.
“Spoken like a true youngster,” Sebastien drawled. “A good glass of cognac is about the experience—the bouquet, the friends, the ambiance. Nobody drinks Courvoisier to get drunk, not even to get buzzed. If that’s what you want, stick with cheap wine.”
Kylian bristled, but he could hardly argue his age or even his experience. His twenty-eight years were nothing compared to the vampire’s long life. “If you’re going to be insulting, you can go somewhere else and do it.”
“Last I checked, it was a free country.”
Before Kylian could argue more, the bartender returned. “Here’s your drink, monsieur Noyer.”
Kylian’s ears perked up at that. “Noyer? Like Sebastien Noyer from l’émeute des Sorciers?”
“Yes, what of it?” Sebastien demanded. He had only been at the club for half an hour, and he was already fed up with the fawning. He had escaped much of that after the war, since Thierry had never been one to play at politics, and then they had moved to l’Institut and stayed there for the rest of Thierry’s life. But all his avoidance had come to naught.
“Nothing,” Kylian said. “Nothing at all. It’s just… I grew up hearing stories about you, in history classes or from my best friend, who idolizes the heroes of that war. I never imagined I’d get to meet you someday.”
“We weren’t heroes,” Sebastien replied. It was an old familiar argument, one he had lost far more often than he had won, but that did not stop him from making it again. “We simply did what needed to be done.”
“Isn’t that the definition of a hero?” Kylian insisted. “Someone who does what needs to be done when no one else can or will?”
Sebastien rolled his eyes at that, but Kylian thought he saw a hint of a smile lurking around the corners of his mouth. It only spurred his determination to win a real smile from the taciturn vampire. “What brings you out to a place like this?”
“If that’s a pickup line, you need a new one,” Sebastien said, ignoring the renewed stirring of interest in his gut. Even if the kid was interested, Sebastien could not allow himself to follow through. He had more important things to do than pick up a pretty young piece of ass. “If it’s a conversation starter, find a better one. If you really have to ask, what are you doing here?”
“I’m here because my idiot best friend insisted on coming, and I’m not about to let him anywhere near vampires unsupervised,” Kylian replied without thinking.
Sebastien’s scowl deepened at the implied insult, but before he could take umbrage, Kylian rushed on. “I didn’t mean that the way it came out. I meant he doesn’t have an ounce of common sense. Without someone to keep an eye on him, he’d get himself into trouble without even trying.”
“You definitely need to work on your delivery,” Sebastien said, but his scowl had faded and amusement colored his voice. “If you’d said that to the wrong person, you’d be in a world of hurt now.”
“He’s the careless one, not me,” Kylian replied coolly. He ran his hand along the wooden surface of the bar. It would not rise to his hand the same way earth would, but it was close enough to prove his point.
Sebastien’s eyes narrowed. He had spent enough time in the presence of wizards to recognize the current of magic and the way the wood shimmered. Not only a wizard, but one tied to the earth, if Sebastien had to guess. Thierry would have things to say to the kid for the lack of subtlety in his actions, but it had served its purpose. Sebastien now knew exactly what he was dealing with. “You’re a wizard.”
If I’ve caught your interest, the first seven books in the series are all 50% off in eBook and 25% off in paperback leading up to the release of the final volume. You can find them all here at Dreamspinner Press
Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit, and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.
And don’t miss the free short story in this universe, Partnership Reforged!