What kind of job do you have?
Locals believe I’m a private investigator. In reality I’m a vampire who hunts and destroys malevolent demons, those who crawl from the bowels of hell and attempt to feed on humans. They have a strong craving for vamp females so, hopefully, I nail them before they impregnate our women. If I’m too late, I’m bound to keeping their progeny, demi-vamps, from showing their asses off. God, I hate them and their squirrely red, satanic eyes. Unlike vampires who smell devine, they stink of death.
Describe yourself in three words.
Dead. Cold. Killer. My woman, Armada, thinks of me differently—Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Yeah, those three words work too. She’s a brown-skinned beauty whose mother, a demi-vamp, fancied herself a Haitian voodoo priestess. Makes Armada’s blood mixed, but she’s…she’s different.
Do you like using sex toys?
Damn straight. Especially those that bring pain. I like tying women up, particularly, Armada. She was eager for pain and I enjoyed being the first to explore those desires. She calls me Barr and every time she cries my name when we… Well, that’s not a story to tell here.
How did you and Armada meet?
Split Kryder, a very old and strong vampire who I guess you could say is my best friend, saw to her protection and sought help in keeping the council at bay. Vampires mating with demi-vamps is forbidden and our elders wanted to know who, with such ancient blood, fathered Armada. Since mixed breeds captured by the council were never seen again, Split needed me to help keep her out of their clutches. I wonder why he’s so concerned with her safety?
Do you have any tattoos?
Nipple rings and, damn, Armada loves playing with them. The pain they bring me when she tugs them delights her. I like having others observe me and you know if you keep asking these kinds of questions, you’re not going to like how nasty we can be if I summon her. Want to watch us together?
Would you share the blurb from your story?
Sure, it’s best we change the subject.
Barringer Ganteau has hunted enough demon-mixed vampires to last a million lifetimes. His wish is to see all demi-vamps maimed, preferably dead. Single-handedly, he attempts to vanquish the scourge of mixed breeds from the face of the earth. Then Ringer meets Armada, a demi-vamp with the power to deliver the kind of pain he desires and melt his frozen heart.
Armada comes from Haiti, carrying the exotic heat of the islands and her kind with her. When she faces a cold-hearted vampire, a being superior to her mixed heritage, she vows to hate him as much as he hates her. Armada hadn’t reckoned with the vamp’s ability to use pain to bring out a side of her she had not known existed.
How about an excerpt?
“Something to drink?”
“I’m not drinking your blood.” Armada strained to keep him from seeing her innermost thoughts. Other things he didn’t need to know were locked deep in her mind. So damn deep not even Armada could reach them. Yet she felt them there.
“I’m not offering my blood. I meant a glass of wine.” He leaned over her in the chair and sniffed. “Don’t be nervous.”
“I’m not.” The sound of his laughter grated on her nerves, enticing her to strike at him again.
“Do it. Give me a reason to restrain your sweet ass.”
“I dare you. I’ll…”
It seemed as if his violet eyes could see straight through to her soul. “Shit, honey, you smell like sex happened already; don’t push it or I’ll take you.” He stood, turned from her, and walked out of the room. She listened as his steps retreated toward the back of the house.
He’d do it too, and it was irrational as hell, but the idea of him restraining her, touching her in any way, made her wet. Didn’t help any that the jackass was drop-dead gorgeous. Those vampire violet eyes and the long black hair set her heart stirring. His shoulders were broad enough to take Atlas’s place holding up the world. Armada had a thing for narrow hips, long legs and muscular thighs. Barringer was probably six feet four and he sure had the other parts. She’d eyed his crotch more times than she wanted to count considering she’d known him only a few hours.
And he hated demi-vamps.
Damn. Please don’t let her be attracted to the bastard who killed her kind without a second thought. Armada became so pissed she could spit nails. Why in the hell had Split done this? She didn’t need or want a keeper. Her turning malevolent was as likely as a toad becoming a prince. Her heritage interested the council, and she knew that from Split, but why? They’d get very little from her.
Armada didn’t know her father.
Shaking her head, she remembered her mother believed herself to be some kind of voodoo priestess, and before dying from an unknown disease, she uttered one word repeatedly.
The day after she died, the house burned to the ground.
There was a bank account, and money continued appearing every month, providing Armada the means to build a small cabin on her own. No one visited or cared about the voodoo trash living in the woods. She had spent the next three years living alone and afraid of what was happening to her. Until Split Kryder showed up to drag her to the high desert of California, Armada lived a scared, lonely existence. That was forty-two years ago -- Armada had been twenty.
She didn’t look a day older than she had on the fateful day Split had saved her life.
Armada also didn’t know then what she was or why she craved blood. She had hunted in the dark of night and lived on raw animal meat. Her body became emaciated and she dwindled away to nothing. When Split found her, she sat by a tree in the dark, unable to capture an animal and ease her hunger. She would have died from lack of sustenance. Split fed her his blood, made her healthy again, and taught her all she knew about how a vampire lived.
That was all she remembered. She didn’t remember a childhood, she didn’t remember a man ever visiting, and she didn’t even know if she had a last name.
She’d only learned about the demon blood a few months ago. Hell, she didn’t want to sprout horns or grow a tail. She had witnessed firsthand what a diseased demi-vamp looked like when she hunted with Split. The ragged teeth and yellow skin made her sick.
“Guess I’m not the only one in the room who kills demi-vamps.”
She spun to catch him watching her from the doorway. “Fuck you.”
“Oooh! Go to hell.”
“A place more suitable to your kind.” Armada didn’t grasp the meaning of his glare. Ringer’s voice grew softer. “Come eat, I cooked.”
“Why, when you could fabricate it?”
“Because I like to cook and fabricated doesn’t taste as good.”
“Probably tastes like shit.”
Red circled his violet eyes. She understood that look, having seen it often when Split became irritated. “You can let me know; I’ve never tasted shit.”
She reached for a vase on the table and lifted it to hurl at his head.
“Can you afford to replace that? I will take it out in trade.”
“God, I hate you.”
“Living with me is easier once you understand my rules.”
“I’m not living with you.”
“Yeah, you are.” He strode to stand beside her seat. “One, don’t throw my shit around; two, eat what I cook or fabricate your own shit.” He wrapped a curl of her hair around his finger. “Three, when we fuck, we do it my way or not at all.”
Standing, she walked past him and turned. “I like not at all.”
“Honey, you’ll be in my bed by nightfall.”
He walked to where she stood. “Linen closet is at the top of the stairs. You’ll need bedclothes for the sofa.”
She glanced around the space for the first time. Expensive antiques dotted shiny plank wood floors. The furniture was masculine and in a mix of dark chocolate and red hues. Large windows remained bare of curtains. Probably a voyeuristic jackass. The living room was large and bright. Good thing there was no truth to the fact vampires could only move around at night. Sunlight streamed in the window.
“Only one bedroom?” From the floor plan, she knew upstairs held more than a single room, unless, of course, it was a damn large room.
He laughed and looked over his shoulder. “Only one you can enter.”
“Hope you like baked chicken.” He grinned. “With lots of garlic.”
“I’ll fix a salad.”
She reached the kitchen in time to see him fork a breast and a thigh onto a plate. He followed the chicken with a large dollop of mashed potatoes. “Do I look like a salad fixings kind of guy to you?”
“Jesus.” She yanked open the refrigerator door and peered inside. Closing her eyes, she attempted to bring salad greens to Barringer’s house. Nothing. She could transport, but that was with Split’s help, and right now, he seemed absent from her head. One day she’d get the hang of vampire tricks and be able to use them by herself. Spying an old, spotted apple, she grabbed it. “This will do.”
“Whatever.” He bit into the meat and chewed for a minute. That was followed by a big helping of potatoes. After he’d swallowed the food, he took a sip of white wine. He gazed at her with his head tilted. “You’re thick enough to miss one meal.”
The apple slammed dead in the center of his plate sending the chicken flying into his lap and mashed potatoes covering the front of his shirt.
J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of... Well, since she can't, she would much rather roam where her fictional big cats live—in the high desert of California. She enjoys spending time with her sisters and friends who willingly listen to her ramblings about the paranormal world and anything else that goes bump in the night. They're a captive audience, but she promises to untie them soon!
A multi-published author, when J. Hali's not writing, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a good book, a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.
Favorite saying: Growl and roar—it's okay to let the beast out.
You can visit her at www.jhalisteele.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jhalisteele; or at Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/sovereignkind. She tweets from www.twitter.com/JHaliSteele; and pins to http://www.pinterest.com/jhalisteele. She also blogs on the 5th of every month at www.paranormalromantics.blogspot.com; she sometimes remembers her own blog at www.sovereignkind.blogspot.com, and she answers ALL emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.