Greetings and welcome to my blog for this fun Blog Hop, thank you to Jolie Du Pre for organising the whole thing. Do you love vampires and ghosts and all things paranormal? Then this is the blog hop for you. Don't forget to check out the other blogs in the hop, the list can be found over here at Precious Monsters.
Thank you for dropping by, I hope you enjoy the post and please, do enter the competition at the bottom to win copies of Forbidden Soul and the other 2 books in the Soul Reader series.
The Soul Reader Series
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
I have chosen an except today from my series Soul Reader because it is my absolute favourite. It is a series of short stories and novellas, three so far, and it full of vampires and mystical powers. The short stories are permanently FREE, the first novella is 99c. The fourth book is currently being written.
The story is something of a redemption arc for both lead characters, John, my human protagonist and Michael, the vampire. Both are in a dark place and find that each other are the way back.
John knows that at best he can be described as a male escort and at worst as a whore, but it’s what he does and he’s good at it. He sells his body and his clients come with fangs so it’s more about blood than sex. Hiding behind a false smile and his acting skills is the only way he survives, but when he meets one of his latest clients, Michael, his professional detachment is severely threatened, leading him into very dangerous territory.
Forgotten Soul (Soul Reader #1) FREE:
Forgotten Soul (Soul Reader #1) 99c:
Forgotten Soul (Soul Reader #1) FREE:
The except I have chosen is from the second book, Forbidden Soul, and I have chosen it because I think it shows the evolution of John's character and the very deep connection between him and Michael. In this section Michael has managed to convince John to contact and visit the family he hasn't seen in nearly six years, this is their first meeting since John disappeared.
Forbidden Soul - Soul Reader #2 - Excerpt
His mum, his sister, his grandfather and his aunt and uncle were all gathered in the small sitting room. Everyone lived in the area, being a tight knit family, so it wasn't really a surprise they were all there, but it was a bit daunting.
"So," his granddad said before an awkward silence could settle on the room, "you're looking well, how are you keeping?"
It was almost as awkward as the silence, but it was better than nothing.
"Good," he replied, doing his best to smile, "just lately really good."
He didn't have to be all that observant to see everyone's eyes flick to Michael and then back to him. His family were not in the least bit stupid.
"Good guess," he said without trying to hide the fact he had noticed.
That earned him a smile from his sister and some embarrassed shuffling from the other members of the family. It probably wasn't really a great idea to introduce them to the idea that he was bisexual, what with everything else, but he was done with hiding.
"Michael isn't it?" his mum asked, looking at his lover.
"What is it you do?"
"I'm a writer," Michael replied, smiling that disarming smile of his. "I'm in the early stages of putting on a play in London. Been living in Dublin for the last few years before that."
"Is that how you met, because of the play?" Of course his sister had to ask the pertinent question so early on.
"No," John said, but didn't elaborate, because he really wasn't sure what to say.
'He thought I was hired to donate blood and he fucked me senseless first,' wasn't exactly what he could described as a good opening line.
"John helped me out of a rather difficult situation," Michael said, "and so I offered to help him out in return. Things have gone from there."
John's Nan chose then to return with the tray of mugs and began handing them round. It was a welcome respite and John took the time to gather his thoughts while placing his mug on the nearest table. How was he supposed to explain vampires? He had no idea.
"What happened, Love?" his Nan asked him quite straightforwardly after his uncle had moved to let her sit down. "Your place was a complete mess when they found it."
His grandmother was the most sensible member of the family, so he really should have expected her to go straight for the heart of the matter. He looked at Michael, took a steadying breath and dived in.
"I was kidnapped," he said and watched the colour drain out of most of the faces in the room.
The signs had been there, but it was clear that since he had shown up in one piece most of his family had assumed the police's conclusions were wrong.
"Oh, Johnny," his mum said and reached out her hand, "why?"
He took it without thinking and gave her a tight smile to let her know he was okay.
There were many ways he could have replied, many ways to begin explaining, but he didn't want them to think he was crazy. Instead of any long drawn out words he pulled his hand back and held it out.
"Because I can do this," he said and called on the power that seemed to hover just below the surface whenever he was near Michael.
A flame danced on his palm and every eye in the room stared at it.
"Fuck," his sister said.
His uncle's mug bounced across the carpet and his mum put hers down very quickly before it went the same way. Pulling the power back inside, he let the flame go and then waited for someone to say something.
"What the hell was that?" his sister broke first.
"Energy," he said, because he didn't really know how to explain it, "it lives inside me, it judges."
"Judges what, Love?" his grandmother asked gently.
"Souls," he replied and prayed that she would understand. "They called me a Soul Reader, a tool of destiny, and they showed me my power, trained me to use it and sent me out to kill vampires."
He knew it was too much too soon, but what else was he supposed to say?
"Vampires?" His grandfather didn't sound as if he believed that at all.
"Vampires," Michael backed him up and when he saw his grandfather blanch even more he glanced at Michael.
His lover was looking over the top of his aviators and his eyes were glowing gently.
"Bloody hell," was his granddad's succinct opinion on the matter.
Michael pushed the aviators back up his nose and sat back, but everyone in the room was looking at him in total shock and a little fear.
"I judged him," John decided he couldn't leave it like that, "that's how we met. I was sent to judge Michael and two others and he survived. He's not bad."
Everyone was still staring at Michael with outright suspicion and John couldn't take it.
"This was a really stupid idea," he said, standing up.
There was no way his family could understand a world they had no concept of, it wasn't fair to make them try. They knew he was alive, he should have just lied to them. He had to leave.
When he tried to step away he remembered Michael still had his hand, because Michael was like a rock. He half turned and then found himself being dragged back onto the sofa. Then and only then did Michael release his hand, however, he wasn't free for long as his lover placed a hand on each of his shoulders.
"Calm down," Michael told him in a very gentle tone, "everything will be okay."
Nothing would be okay, nothing was ever going to be okay again, John was absolutely sure of it.
"Breathe, Lover," Michael said, "you're safe, everyone is safe, it's going to be fine."
The cold calm bastard he had managed to be for so many years seemed to have run off and hidden just when he needed him the most, but John listened to Michael's words. It wasn't really what his lover said, but how Michael said it that was important and he concentrated on that. Michael seemed so sure and that was exactly what he needed.
"Johnny," his Nan said, touching his arm lightly.
In his anxiety he had missed when she had crossed the room to stand beside him. He looked at her, but refused to bring his eyes up to her face, instead, staring at one of the buttons on her cardigan.
"Sorry, Love," were his Nan's next surprising words, "it's just a bit of a shock."
He did not like the guilt in his grandmother's voice; he was not supposed to be making his family feel like that. This was all his fault, not theirs and he made himself look up.
"I'm sorry," he said, throat tight with all his mixed up emotions.
The smile he received in return was a little strained, but it eased his fears nevertheless.
"Budge up," his Nan said.
It was only a small two seater sofa and John was not sure they could get three people onto it, but his Nan seemed determined. He squawked in indignation as Michael decided to make things easier and just dragged him into his lap. Given that his Nan smiled and sat in the vacated space, he assumed she approved, but he twisted and gave his lover a glare.
"What?" Michael asked in an innocent tone. "It's not as if you're heavy, you need to eat more."
That earned a snort of amusement from his sister.
"I will get you back for this," he promised and Michael just grinned at him.
Thank you for visiting today, I am giving away Forbidden Soul to 2 lucky winners and I will also send both of them the other two books in the series as well so the have all of them in the same place. I can send the books in any of the major formats or via a Smashwords code, whichever is easier for the winner in question.