Please help me welcome Author Mimi Sebastian to my blog today!
The Necromancer’s Betrayal
The Necromancer Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: ImaJinn/Belle Books
Number of pages: 226
Cover Artist: Patricia Lazarus
Her powers have been hobbled. Her enemies are growing stronger.
Old loves challenge her. And her worst betrayer may be herself.
Necromancer Ruby Montagne is battling for her life in the realm of demons. Unfairly branded for the death of a fellow necromancer, she’s got to prove her innocence without the full use of her magic. And the real culprit is still on the loose.
While someone is stalking her friends among the witches, Ruby searches for answers inside the dark intrigues of both the demon and necromancer worlds. Ruby must confront this new, sinister threat while reconciling her feelings for her former lover, a demon warrior. Only it’s difficult . . . because a sexy vampire is making it clear that he’d like to be a lot more than just friends.
The competition for Ruby’s trust heats up as the enemy pushes her toward a dark side that could threaten the entire realm. Yet what can Ruby do when she’s not even sure what she is? With the fabric separating the realms at stake, she must decide whom to trust. But will the ultimate betrayal be her own?
A hand I knew all too well rested on my shoulder. “Come dance with me.”
My first impulse was to huff, having watched him with Portia, but I smoothed my feathers and smothered the small fire that had been smoldering all night. If Ewan wasn’t going to bug me about Lysander, then I wasn’t going to disturb this quiet, soothing, if not a bit dangerous peace. It probably helped that I was just buzzed enough to agree, and maybe that had been his devious plan. I let him lead me to the floor and envelop me in his arms for the slow dance. His hesitation joined mine for a brief moment when our bodies connected, melting every nerve ending.
I can’t do this to myself.
I moved away from him, but, sensing my skittishness, he tightened his grip, pulling me against his chest. My breath caught and my body buzzed with longing and want. We danced for a few moments to let the popping world around us settle. I understood why it was so much easier to attack each other, find an irritation to mine, an axe to throw, because all of that was easier than enduring this crippling longing, feeling this gaping hole carved in my chest.
When my heart finally stopped tripping over itself, I carefully settled my cheek on the soft silk of his shirt. He pressed his lips to my ear, and his breath, tinged with whiskey and his spicy demon scent, overwhelmed me and everything, everyone around us melted in a blur. He pressed his thumb against my side, grazing until he found the round swell of my breast. I felt his smile against my cheek when I suppressed a moan. My rebellious arms somehow found their way around his neck.
“You’re insufferable,” I said.
“Charming.” His breath puffed against my earlobe, causing my nipples to harden.
“Confident.” He continued to rub and caught my nipple with one devious flick, eliciting a sharp gasp.
“That, too.” He tightened his arms even more. “Do you know how much I want to throw you over my shoulder, take you to my place, and make love to you? I don’t think you’ll ever understand how much I want you.” His words, whispered into my ear, soft and husky, about undid me.
“This conversation is not a good idea.” But my body screamed, throbbed to hear the rest of what he wanted to do.
“Why? Don’t want Lysander to see me kiss you?” He glided his lips across my jawbone, leaving my skin zinging everywhere he touched. “He kissed you.” His words, tinged with a note of regret, sent a violent shiver through me.
“No. Stop. What if Malthus sees?” I pushed away from him. He loosened his embrace, giving me an extra inch of space, without removing his arms from my waist.
“Maybe I don’t give a damn.”
“I had an interesting talk with Portia.” My words had the intended effect, throwing a bucket of freezing cold water over the conversation. I hated to extinguish the passion I so craved, but our talk had veered into the same morass that led to nowhere but despair.
“That was mean,” he said, his eyes clouding with frustration.
“What? Talking with her or bringing it up?”
“What did you talk about?”
I smirked. “Sharing.”
He quirked an eyebrow. “Maybe I don’t want to know.”
“Do you trust her?”
“It’s wise not to trust anyone for the time being, but I’d be surprised if she was involved.”
“You might try talking to her the next time you’re together.”
“I haven’t been with anyone since you and I made love.” He narrowed his eyes at me. “Guess I can’t say the same for you.”
Ah, back to the pain. It almost felt better. At least we’d enjoyed most of the evening before igniting the white flag. I should have shot back at him with some retort, admonished him for judging me, but I was too buzzed and confused with guilt and readily accepted my role as dartboard for the night.
“So tell me, are you and Lysander serious? Do you care for him?” he asked.
“Yes, of course.”
His arms stiffened.
“He’s a friend,” I added.
His eyebrows shot up in disbelief.
“I’m not dating him. I’m not dating you either. Yes, we—” Frustration stifled my words. “What do you want me to do? Wait nine years? I don’t think our relationship can stand nine years of hurting each other.”
His arms tightened, tightened, tightened and suffocated my thoughts. “He’s using the blood exchange to manipulate you.”
“He’s not manipulating me. You know better than that.”
“Lysander is a very old vampire, and I can assure you, he didn’t spend those hundreds of years in a monastery. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”
“Just like you know exactly what you’re doing with Portia?”
He let me pull out of his embrace. “Sure it is,” I said, before turning away from him. The bar came into view and, needing a destination, I sprinted off before he could prevent my escape. I chanced a glance back and saw Portia had claimed him for the next dance. He whirled her onto the dance floor, but not before locking eyes with me for one last, hard stare.
“See, that’s the difference between demons and vamps. No honor, here.”
I stuttered a laugh. “Demons do not have honor.” I paused. “You have honor. You just don’t want to admit it.”
“Does an honorable vampire lust after the woman his friend desires, but can’t have?”
I laughed, taking his words as typical alpha supe flirtation, but when I looked at his face, my laughter stilled. He wasn’t joking. I dropped my gaze to the deck, and he returned to messing with the sails.
His admission had tainted our breezy conversation, and a salty awkwardness layered the air between us for the rest of the cruise. When Ewan had stumbled upon Lysander comforting me after my encounter with Dominic, I had to lie to him. Of course, that led him to imagine a much worse scenario than the actual truth, which I couldn’t reveal. Now a new, more insurmountable obstacle divided Ewan and me, but the episode with Lysander was almost more unacceptable to Ewan because I’d caused it. And now, Ewan had written our relationship off, and I was sailing in the moonlight on a boat captained by a hot vampire, who used to be a pirate, and who had given me the occasional glimpse into a passion and vulnerability that would be increasingly hard to resist. I was screwed.
We cruised into the Oakland Inner Harbor, heading for the Alameda Marina. He pulled up next to a catamaran and docked the boat. We disembarked and traversed the wooden dock, heading for one of the new oyster bars that signaled the revitalization of the once-industrial area. I clutched my scarf against the chilly air creeping along the waterfront. The nearly-full moon projected an incandescent glow onto the water, providing the only light to dispel the thickening darkness. We left the dock and took a dirt path intersecting a concrete sea wall on our left and a string of warehouses on our right. The only sound came from the water slapping against the sea wall. I darted my eyes around us and sidled closer to Lysander. The shadows lengthened, seeming to nip at my heels as we walked. Shadows didn’t have malevolent intent, did they? These seemed to crouch, ready to pounce; Seemed to whisper, “Come . . .”
Lysander gave me a reassuring look, obviously perceiving my nervousness. The lights of the bar about fifty feet ahead became visible, and I shook off my anxiousness. I was with a fricking vampire who used to be a pirate.
“Not very smooth for a vampire,” I said with a laugh.
He didn’t laugh back. His only response was to stop suddenly and groan. I moved to face him and recoiled at the sight of his face illuminated by the moonlight. “What the hell? You’re turning all Nosferatu on me. I liked the movie and all, but it’s not a look that works for you.”
When he met my eyes, and I saw his confusion and desperation, I realized this wasn’t some normal vampire transformation. His skin was shriveling in sick slow motion before me, prune-like, turning to the color of ash and flaking away as if burning from the inside out. “Oh, Christ. Lysander, what’s happening?”
“I don’t know,” he managed to croak from a throat that was shrinking upon itself.
Whispers, real now, louder, drifted toward us from the shadows clinging to the spaces between the warehouses. No. I’m not going crazy. Someone is out there. “Who’s there? Son of a bitch. Show yourself!”
A soft laugh answered me.
Fuck this. I turned toward the warehouses, but a tug on my pants stopped me. “Blood,” Lysander rasped.
“Where . . . oh.” He meant my blood. “We can’t.”
“I’m dying.” His voice sounded as shriveled as he looked. His skin was no more than a thin layer of plastic shrink-wrapped around protruding bones.
I slapped my head with my palm. Oh God. Oh God. I can’t do this. I wasn’t worried about transforming into a bloodsucker. I knew it took much more than a few blood exchanges to turn someone. My fear came from my own power. Like with Dominic’s lieutenant, the necromancy could taint the blood connection and turn Ly into a zombie. I took another look at him and dispelled my fear. He was dying. Maybe he was stronger than Dominic’s lieutenant. Maybe his blood would resist my power. Please.
I squatted next to him, held out my wrist, and squeezed my eyes, not sure what to expect. Getting sucked on by a vampire was supposed to feel better than ecstasy—that’s why so many people frequented the vampire club—but when the lieutenant had sucked my blood, his fangs had felt like hot pokers ramming into my neck.
Lysander jerked his fangs into my wrist, and I cried out. Okay. No pleasure here. His fangs shook, like he needed his fix bad. He tore at my skin with sloppy slurps. I gritted my teeth at the pain that scorched my wrist. My arm shook, but he held tight and sucked. I didn’t even know if this would work. I didn’t want him to die, but what would I do if he transformed into a zombie? I felt my power murmur inside me, unhappy at the intrusion, but I stamped it down, hopefully before it could taint the blood.
Lysander pulled off my wrist. The force of the movement caused me to fall back on my ass. The air and ground spun around me, and I fought off the nausea with deep breaths. The moonlight slashed across Lysander’s profile, and I sighed, relieved at the pale, vampire tone of his wonderfully tight and unshriveled skin. I reached out my hand, trembling violently, and touched his shoulder. He twisted his head, and I recoiled, seeing the same emptiness in his eyes that the lieutenant had reflected when he’d drunk my blood.
No. No. No.
Available at Amazon
About the Author:
Mimi Sebastian raised herself on books and the strange and unusual, and an unhealthy dose of comics and movies. When a career as a punk guitarist failed to materialize, she completed her degree in urban planning, spent two years in the Ivory Coast with the Peace Corps, and another three years in Brazil. By day, she debates the merits of transport oriented development, by night she writes about necromancers and pirates. She’s convinced she could live off coffee, ice cream, and comic books, but is sure only one of those is good for her health.
She's a member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA. A transplant from the beaches of Florida, Mimi now wanders the desert in Phoenix, AZ, and attempts to balance writing with a day career, fantastic family, and household diva: her Amazon parrot.
A print copy of book one, Necromancer's Seduction, zombie playing cards, and $10 Amazon gift card. Open to US Shipping
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