Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New release coming soon from Crystal Kauffman

I’m really happy to announce the second book in my Guardian series, The Collision, has been slated for a September release from Loose Id publications.

This book starts where the raid on the palace left off (for those of you who have read the first book) when a vampire agent with the Vampire Secret Service, and a Guardian warrior with the San Francisco sect are transported with a slave girl by fae magic to an enchanted prison castle in Romania. What used to be Transylvania, in fact. They battle external dangers while battling amongst themselves, which leads to some very juicy conflict.

Here’s a tidbit to whet your appetite. And if you haven’t read my first book, leave a comment telling me what you think of my excerpt, and you may win a free copy! I’ll be raffling off one copy in the winner’s preferred format. I will announce the winner on Saturday, July 11th.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      Balin pushed to a sitting position and scrambled backwards. He clawed through the confusion leading up to this moment.
      How did I get here? Where is here?
      A vampire stared back at him. Vile creature. The beautiful slave girl knelt beside him, also staring at him with a mask of pure innocence.
      Darkness surrounded them, broken only by an orange-hot spot glowing to his right. Balin blinked his eyes. A fire. The instant he recognized the blurry light he also recognized the frigid cold.
      “Oh good.” The girl’s beauty multiplied a hundred times when she broke into a smile. “I was worried.”
      Balin reached for her. “Come here sweetheart. It’s okay. I’ll protect you.”
      The vampire snorted back a laugh.
      Balin still held up his hand. “Come on, darling. You’re safe now. You don’t ever have to serve the vampires again. We’re here to rescue you.”
      “Some rescue,” the vampire snapped. He shoved to his feet and stalked to the fire. He held out his hands.
      As though the undead thing can feel the cold.
      “And who’s ‘we’?” he asked, turning back with a scowl. “In case you haven’t noticed, none of your Guardian friends came with us.”
      Balin clamored to his feet.
      The slave girl rushed to help him. She caught him around the middle and pressed herself close. She wasn’t much in the way of support, but her contact brought a reassuring sensation to his heart.
      Instinctively Balin circled her with his arms. She felt tiny and frail, but smiled up at him as though nothing at all were wrong. He would have reveled in her touch had he not been so worried about their surroundings, and the wretched company.
      Alone and without his weapons, even a single vampire presented a formidable challenge. And with an innocent to protect, the odds were against him.
      “What is this place?” he demanded, tucking the slave girl tightly against him.
      The vampire shrugged, but didn’t face him. “Haven’t a clue.”
      The girl swiveled her head to look up at him. Her silky hair tickled his arm. “He says you brought us here.”
      “That’s absurd, I...”
      A moment of painful silence ticked by as Balin considered the possibility. He struggled back to his last solid memory. They’d stormed the Palace. Found the enormous room filled with vampires and slaves. Swarmed in, on full attack. The red demon, seconds from ravaging this sweet girl to death.
      He shuddered at the horrific memory and squeezed her tighter against his body.
      Balin only meant to stun the demon with a white-hot ball of power, the only skill he’d learned from his grandfather’s diary. Instead, he’d transported them thousands of miles.
      “Remembering, are you?” the vampire snapped.
      He swallowed. Was it possible?
      The girl tugged him forward. “It’s cold. Come to the fire.”
      He drew her back, looking warily at the vampire.
      The beast tossed a look over his shoulder, his dark gaze flicking from Balin to the girl, and back. He offered with a flip of his hand, but Balin held back.
      The vampire’s brow creased as though offended. “You have nothing to fear from me, Guardian.”
      “Me?” Balin squared his shoulders. “Fear from you? Listen to me, bloodsucker. We came to deliver much overdue justice on your sinful coven. There’s nothing stopping me from handing down your sentence and delivering it right here.”
      The vampire faced him. He gestured with his hands. Bring it on.
      “This girl is a witness to your crimes, and many others back at the Palace, I’ll wager.”
      “He wasn’t at the Palace,” the girl said in a small voice. “I’ve never seen him before.”
      “You don’t have to lie for him. He can’t hurt you anymore.”
      “It’s true.” She pulled away from Balin and reluctantly he let her slip through his fingers. “I’m cold. Please.”
      The void between them rushed in, chilling and dark. She moved to the hearth, crossing her arms at her chest to ward off the cold.
      The vampire removed his leather bomber jacket and draped it over her shoulders. She drew it tight around herself and rewarded him with a million dollar smile.
      Balin stalked over. He glared at the undead, and it sidestepped away. Balin then tossed the leather coat off her and replaced it with his own.
      The vampire smirked at him and picked up his jacket. “So, you gonna tell us where we are?”

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Savanna Kougar said...

Oh! wonderful excerpt, Crystal. I could see and feel the whole scene play out.

Serena Shay said...

Nice excerpt, Crystal! Looks like a test of wills between the two men...who will that sweet slave choose? Congrats on the upcoming release!