Sneak Peek at my current WIP

I’ve been working on something new lately, and I thought I’d share just a little peek of it on here. Here’s a section of a new novel, tentatively titled “The Dragon’s Treasure”. Enjoy!

1

Ryder

“I won’t warn you again,” I said, glowering down over the table of young dragons. “All clans are welcome here, and I will not tolerate fighting. That includes trying to incite a battle.”

“Why are you talking to us?” one of them asked. “It was those Tellurians!”

“I have eyes all over the place.” I gestured to the cameras in the corners of the building, able to see every inch of the bar. “Keep this up, and you’ll no longer be allowed to drink here.”

I turned away from the table just as the door swung open. Other than noting he was human, I paid little attention to the male that entered. As I was about to slip behind the counter, a woman with flowing brown hair entered behind him. Something about her expression caught my eye, and I found myself unable to look away from her. She seemed as if she was uncomfortable, and I couldn’t help wondering if it was my bar, or the man she was with.

Granted, my bar was filled with dragons, but the average person would never be able to tell that by looking at them. The men and women inside the bar looked just like everyone else. We never shifted in front of humans, never let them know that we existed.

Her blue eyes scanned the tables, and she said something to the man accompanying her. He in turn pointed to an empty table and reached toward her, wrapping an arm around her waist. I saw her cringe, and move out of his grasp, which surprisingly brought a smile to my lips. As they approached the table, I noticed a ring on his finger. Looking back to her, I realized she wasn’t wearing one. Were they using my bar as a safe haven for their affair?

The woman picked the seat facing the door, and the man sat beside her. She scooted her chair as far away from him as she could get while still facing the door. If this was an affair, she was clearly no longer interested in having it.

“Ryder!” I turned toward Artie, my best barback. “Phone is for you.”

“Thanks,” I responded, taking one more look at the woman. I slipped behind the bar and picked up the phone on the wall. “Ryder speaking.”

“She took off again,” my sister’s voice echoed through the receiver.

I sighed. “Pheebs, you do realize I’m working right now, right?”

“No kidding? I thought you’d be sleeping there. Come on, Ryder! This is serious. She’s gone.”

“Look, she’s probably out with Jake. Just give her some time, and she’ll be back.”

“I can’t believe you aren’t more concerned with your little sister’s well-being!”

Pinching the bridge of my nose, I said, “She’s twenty-two. You don’t need to be so worried about her.”

“You know, you’re right. I shouldn’t be worried that she’s out with a boy during her first fertile period. When she comes home pregnant, you can—”

“You’re overreacting,” I interrupted. “She is a smart girl, and Jake knows what I’ll do to him if he plays with my sister’s heart.” When Phoebe didn’t respond, I asked, “Have you tried texting her?”

Silence. Finally, Phoebe sighed. “I can’t help but be worried, Ryder. With Mom and Dad gone, she’s our responsibility.”

“She’s not a child anymore. It won’t be long before she’ll find a mate, like you should be doing.”

Phoebe laughed. “What about you? You’re nearly thirty, and I don’t see a woman in your life.”

My gaze swept to the brunette from earlier, catching her once again trying to move away from the man. My dragon roared with annoyance, but I held him back, unwilling to break my own rules about fighting in the bar. “Don’t worry about me. Worry about yourself. Text her and ask where she is. I have to get back to work now.”

While I busied myself at the bar, I found myself watching the woman. Actually, I was having a difficult time keeping my eyes off of her. I couldn’t figure out what was drawing me to her. Granted, she was attractive. I’d never considered having a relationship with a human, knowing how fragile they were compared to my kind. Maybe it was the strength I could see under the surface, the fact that she didn’t seem to be giving in to the unwanted advances of the man accompanying her. Even my dragon seemed to want her, as I could feel him pacing restlessly beneath the surface.

The man pushed his drink toward her, and she shook her head, refusing. A moment later, she was out of her seat, and heading in my direction.

Artie moved toward her, but I shot him a look, stopping him. I leaned forward, pressing my palms to the countertop and said, “Hey there. What can I get you?”

“Just a Coke, please,” she answered, leaning against the bar.

I nodded, reaching for a glass. “Designated driver?”

“No. Just not in the mood to drink right now.”

“You came to a bar to not drink?”

She sighed. “I came because I was told all my coworkers come here every Thursday night, but it doesn’t look like that was true.”

As I filled her glass, I said, “I’ve never seen that sleaze here before tonight.”

She smiled slightly. “How do you know he’s a sleaze?”

“He’s wearing a wedding band, and you aren’t. Thought for a minute the two of you might be having an affair, but with the way you’ve been trying to avoid his touch—”

“Wait,” she interrupted. “Have you been watching me?”

Something about her voice told me she didn’t like me watching her, so I explained, “It’s my bar. I watch everything. And when someone is behaving the way he is, it tends to keep my attention.”

“If you can tell from a distance that I’m not interested, I don’t understand why he hasn’t taken the hint.”

“Guys like that don’t respond to hints,” I answered, shaking my head. “Want me to kick him out of here?”

“Thanks, but I can handle it. I just hate that I let myself get into this situation. I should have known better.”

I placed her drink on the counter, then waited for her to reach for it. Before she touched the glass, I took hold of her hand. Warmth flowed through me, and my dragon pushed at my skin, wanting out. I forced him back once more, and said, “Do me a favor, and keep your eye on this.”

She gave a slight nod, but didn’t pull away from me. “Sorry about laying my problems out for you.”

God, she was sweet. I grinned at her, enjoying our conversation. “Bartenders are like therapists for drunk people.”

“But I’m not drunk. I haven’t had anything alcoholic tonight.”

“Let’s keep it that way,” I said, reluctantly releasing her hand. “Let me know if you need anything, like a cab home.”

“Thanks,” she said, lifting her glass and turning away. I watched as she walked back to the sleaze, wondering if she’d felt anything from our encounter.

A moment later, my dragon roared beneath my skin as the sleaze wrapped his arm around the woman’s waist. She shoved at his chest, and just as I was about to leap over the counter and rush him, she tossed her drink into his face and stomped down on his foot. I couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my lips as a feeling of pride settled in my chest.

A tap on my shoulder drew my attention away from the scene. I turned to find Myst, my head of security, standing behind me. “You need to see this.”

I sighed, then turned back in time to see the woman storming out the door. Frowning, I realized I hadn’t even learned her name.

Myst headed into the back room, which was filled with monitors showing every inch of the building and a majority of the surrounding area outside. I’d made it a part of my business to ensure that my bar was a safe haven for each of the four dragon clans in Four Peaks. As leader of the Barnett Clan, my word was law for my people, and was respected by two of the three other clan leaders. The Ripples and the Tellurians honored the peace of this bar.

The Brontes, on the other hand, didn’t care for honor or peace.

I scanned the screens in front of me, my eyes settling on the one showing the beautiful human woman sitting at the bus stop, rifling through her purse. I smiled, wondering if I should go out after her, at least to call her a cab to take her home.

Myst snapped her slender fingers in front of my face. “Are you even listening?” she asked.

“Sorry. What’s the problem?”

Myst glanced to the screen that still held my attention. “You haven’t been able to peel your eyes off of her since she entered the bar. What’s gotten into you?”

“Nothing,” I lied. “What did you need me to see?”

Shaking her head, Myst tapped several keys on the keyboard in front of her, bringing up a new image; on the screen was a young man being attacked by three others. At first, I thought nothing of it, until the attackers started to hover. “Damn it,” I muttered. “Where is this?”

“Just south of Kennebeck and Lake.” Her grey eyes darted to another screen. “Shit.”

“What?” I asked, following her gaze. I cursed as well as I realized the beauty was heading in that direction.

“You going to stop the fight, or stop your woman?” Myst asked.

“Shut up, Myst.”

“I can see why you’re so focused on her. She’s hot. Since you’re being a pussy and didn’t ask for her number, mind if I do?” A growl rumbled in my throat, and Myst chuckled. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

Shaking my head, I said, “I’m grabbing Sawyer and Pierce. Artie and Cameron should be able to handle things for a while.”

As I headed for the door, she said, “You’re not going without me.”

“Myst, I know you’re one of our best fighters—”

“Damn straight!”

“But I need you here.” I pointed to the screen that showed the young Brontes. “These assholes need to be monitored.”

She growled. “You’re really making me babysit some barely-legal punks? Fuck that, Ryder! Pierce can babysit; I’m going.” Before I could argue more, she pushed past me and headed for the back exit.

I sighed, then stuck my head out to the bar. “Sawyer!” The bouncer’s bald head snapped in my direction, and I added, “Need your help. Now.”

Advertisements

First Blood sample

As promised, here’s the first chapter of First Blood, the second book in the Blood Trilogy.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Corbin

Music blared around me, the rhythmic beating overpowering all other noise. I leaned against the bar counter, scanning the throngs of humans dancing and moving about the club in an attempt to locate my brother. Sighing, I glanced to my watch. It was almost two in the morning. He was late, as usual.

I turned back to the counter and nodded to the bartender, catching his attention, then held up my empty bottle of beer. He nodded back. Seconds later, a fresh beer landed on the counter before me. “Thanks,” I said, handing him a ten. I didn’t care that it was more than twice the cost of the beer; it was an assurance he’d keep them coming.

I brought the bottle to my lips and drank, the cool liquid quenching my thirst. Thankfully, I didn’t crave blood, or being in such close proximity with humans would be dangerous.

As I turned back to the dancers, I sensed the presence of another immortal being. I closed my eyes and focused, tuning all my senses to the individual. All sound fell away, leaving only the beating hearts of everyone around me. A little more concentration, and the faster human heartbeats faded. Silence. A vampire had entered the club, not my immortal brother.

I slowly took in a breath, allowing my senses to return to normal. The music once more pounded in my ears, making me regret coming here. I didn’t understand how humans enjoyed places like this, or why Vic did. I hated nightclubs. Every time Vic dragged me to one, I ended up getting into a fight with someone. He blamed it on my drinking. I believed it had more to do with my low tolerance to assholes.

Before I had a chance to scan the crowd and visually locate the vampire, a hand touched my shoulder. I looked to my right to see a tall, thin, blonde-haired woman with dark brown eyes standing beside me. Shit, I thought. Of course she had to be the vampire that walked into the club. I turned away. “Elise.”

If she heard the dismissiveness in my tone, she chose to ignore it. She leaned in closer, her long hair brushing against my arm. “I’ve missed you, Lover,” she said into my ear. “Come dance with me.”

I rolled my eyes and shook her off. “Not going to happen.”

“Oh, come on, Corbin.” She wrapped her arms around my shoulders, pressing her breasts into me. “You know you want me in your arms again.”

“Nope.” I took another swig of my drink, hoping Vic would hurry up. “I’m done with this game, Elise.”

Elise pulled back. “What game would that be?”

Scoffing, I faced her. “Playing dumb? That’s mature. Look, I know what you’re up to, and I’m done.”

She fluttered her eyelashes. “I don’t know what you mean, Lover.”

“Your power play won’t work.”

Elise dropped her arms. “Power play?”

“Zach sees right through you. He’d never allow you to have any sort of command in the coven.”

She shook her head. “Who said anything about wanting to command the coven?” She took hold of my hand. “I just want you.”

“Liar,” I said, pulling my hand away. “Even if you did, I don’t want you. Not anymore.”

“You can’t mean that.”

“You know I don’t lie, Elise.”

Her eyes flashed red with anger. “You do still want me, Corbin. And I can prove it.”

As she stomped away from me, I lifted my beer again. “Good luck with that,” I muttered, knowing she’d still hear me.

A chuckle sounded beside me. I didn’t need to turn to know Vic had finally arrived, and witnessed the entire scene with Elise. “Pissing people off already, I see,” he said, taking a seat beside me.

“Elise isn’t people. She’s a leach.”

“You know she can hear you.”

“I really don’t give a shit.”

Vic shook his head. “Well, do you care that she’s dancing with—”

“Nope.” I swallowed the last of my beer. “She can do whatever the hell she wants.”

Click here for the rest of First Blood Chapter 1

Blood of the Immortal Update

Blood of the Immortal has been given a new cover! I’ve also added a couple chapters to the beginning of the story, and modified the first chapter a bit. Here’s a look at the cover:

Blood of the Immortal full cover-page-001

You can find the new version of Blood of the Immortal here.

With regards to book two, it’s taken me a bit longer to get it finished then planned because, well, life. But it’s close! I’m doing my best to get it out by the end of this year, but with work, my classes for my master’s degree, and four kids (yep, had another boy!), time is hard to come by. I’ll post some teasers for book two soon, though.

Updates

I realized today that I’d been away from the blog for much longer than I intended (not that I’m very good at keeping up with this anyway, but it’s been over two months, so…). So just a quick update on things…

1. Book 2 of the Blood Trilogy is going well. I’m just over half done with it (I know, I know, I should be further along, but…well, certain characters have been fighting me lately. They want to do their own thing, which has made the book go in a different direction than I’d planned. But we’ll get there. I’m really hoping to be finished with it by the fall, but you never know with these things!

2. I have two more book signings coming up in July. One is the Fenton Art Walk, and the other will be at CC & Company in Fenton (no date yet on that one). I’ll have both Blood of the Immortal and Heart of Lavora available at these.

3. As a result of my weird mind that can’t seem to stay on JUST ONE story at a time, I’ve been working on a couple other projects besides just Original Blood (working title for Blood 2). One is the story of the daughter of Eros, God of love. Another is a sci-fi/fantasy romance involving a warrior from another planet looking for a missing princess on Earth. I have a few others in my repertoire that I’ve put a few lines to paper on, but for the most part those are the ones I’ve been working on. I also have plans for Book 3 of Blood, but I can’t really work on that one until Book 2 is finished.

Someone really needs to crack a whip on me and force me to stick to just one project!

Local Author Showcase

In just under two weeks (11 days, to be exact), I’ll be participating in a local author showcase at McFarlan Library. For anyone interested, the link attached to this gives all the information from the library, including times, how to get there (for those that haven’t been before), and the other authors participating. Also, while the link says I’ll only have Blood of the Immortal available (at the time of sign-up for the event Heart of Lavora wasn’t published), I will have both books with me. So if you’d like a signed copy, or a copy of any of the other books from other authors, stop on by and see us!

https://www.thegdl.org/index.php/events/all-events/event/1893-local-authors-showcase

BTW, the physical copies of Heart of Lavora came in today, and they are BEAUTIFUL.

Heart of Lavora is now available!

It’s earlier than expected, but Heart of Lavora is now available on both Kindle and paperback (pages aren’t linked just yet, and the look inside feature isn’t active, but the book is live).

Here are the links.

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lavora-Ashley-Jeffers-ebook/dp/B00UY3LV56/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1426901682&sr=1-1&keywords=heart+of+lavora

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Lavora-Ashley-Jeffers/dp/1508787115/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1426901682&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=heart+of+lavora

Happy reading!