Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EXCERPT: Heat Stroke: Night Heat by Kassie Burns

It's midsummer's eve and a sexy vampire is on the prowl ....

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Jalie left the rundown inn where she was staying just as the blazing sun sank into the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The innkeeper had begged her not to venture out. It was Midsummer's Eve, the end of the longest day, the start of the shortest night. According to a thousand-year-old legend, a vampire awoke on this night and stalked the sea shore in the humid summer heat.The land known centuries ago as Europe was ancient and covered with ruins. The best of humanity had fled to new worlds among the stars. Those left behind lived like peasants, grubbing a living from the weary earth. On this night they huddled behind the safety of locked doors, gripping their charms against evil.Jalie had seen many bizarre things on her journeys among the worlds, some strange enough to make her hope the vampire might be real. After all, her immortal existence was unique. The doctors had decided she was a mutation, a genetic freak. They'd wanted to study her, perhaps dissect her, but she'd fled and spent centuries hiding from the hunters they sent after her -- until the loneliness, the constant loss of all she loved, became too much to bear. Now she was a hunter herself, an immortal in search of death.Was the legend that had brought her to this village a tall tale to amuse a tourist from another world, or the truth? Soon enough she'd know. When she reached the beach, she kicked off her sandals and strode barefoot across the white sand. A huge moon hung above the sea, pale as bleached bones. Stars gleamed in a velvet black sky.She stood for a long time gazing out at the ocean, watching the waves come hissing in with the tide, throwing their sea-foamed crests at the sand. A cool breeze molded her long cotton skirt to her legs and dried the sweat that glistened on her skin. Her breasts strained against the thin fabric of her halter top, aching with the need that tormented her.When she turned back toward the land, a shock ran through her, sharp as a blade. A shadow in the shape of a man stood between her and the path back to the village. With legs spread wide and arms folded across his chest, he watched her, motionless, as if he'd risen up out of the sand.Jalie bit back her cry of surprise. A drop of sweat gathered at the nape of her neck and slid down her spine. Was it possible the legend was true?

Kassie Burns
Enjoy the burn!

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