Tara divides her time between creating domestic bliss and creating hot paranormal romance with the occasional side of kink. When not playing June Cleaver for her hubby and daughter, she can be found at the local Starbucks slamming back Frappuccinos and plotting out her next idea. Or she’s watching the BBC. Tara resides with her wonderful and tolerant family in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. She is currently at work on several projects, one of them being the next book in her In Blood series.
Murder is serious business among vampires. If you kill, so do they. They are the Penitent – a military order among vampire society charged with one task only. Execute the condemned.
Vesper Hyde is a model Penitent. Solitary. Skilled. Deadly. Only once has she ever lost a target, even though it almost cost her life. Now the one that got away is back with a vengeance, and this time he’s determined to finish the job. She needs to overcome the whispers of doubt and let her instinct and training take over to redeem her failure. But on this second time around, she doesn’t expect a sidekick. A very sexy, stubborn, human sidekick.
Homicide Detective Decker Price has seen it all, including the murder of his wife at the hands of a twisted serial killer. When another murder pitches him headfirst into a world of vampires, witches, and sorcery, he is given a chance to mend shattered parts of his soul. But Vesper’s world is as dark and alluring as the Penitent herself and he will come face to face with echoes of his past in order to help her keep a vicious enemy at bay.
If they are to succeed, they will need to push aside both their failings and work together to ensure the balance of their worlds remains unchanged. Redemption comes at a cost – is their love worth the price?
Excerpt from Redemption in Blood
He didn't look like a man who kept secrets, but she knew better. Vesper watched him push around the last few bites of lunch on his plate with his fork and wondered if confrontation was the best option. Would he lie and deny he called his partner or would he be straight up if asked? Would it start a fight? If it did, would she even care? Vesper's heart clenched. Yes. She would care deeply. Decker laid his fork on the plate, wiped his mouth with his napkin, placed it on the table and regarded her with the same cool expression she was giving him.
“You're awfully quiet. You barely spoke to me, chére.” The half-smile was somewhere between smug and sweet and the sparkle in his sapphire eyes only added to the unreadable expression.
She smiled back. “Didn't want to disturb your lunch. You missed breakfast and I didn't want you getting all hypoglycemic on me. I know I'm hell to be around when I'm hungry.”
He patted his stomach appreciatively. “No worries there. Lunch was good. Too good, in fact. If you turned off the lights, I might be forced to nap here under the table,” he chuckled. The rumble in his voice rolled up her spine like thunder. She drew in a deep breath as she sat back in the carved wood dining chair and contemplated how to broach the subject. A hint of spice and chocolate hit her palate as the air wafted over her tongue. Damn the man and damn the scent.
Decker pushed the chair back from the table and headed out of the kitchen to the back stairs. She darted after him.
“Where do you think you're going?” she asked.
He paused on the second floor landing and looked back at her, the hard line across his brow moving his expression from unreadable to mightily annoyed in a flash. “Back to the room. If that's okay with you, chère?” He turned and continued upward, not waiting for a response. He flung the door to her room open and strode inside, not bothering to close it behind him. She stepped inside and kicked it shut.
Decker began rifling though his bag and fished out a clean set of clothes, a few toiletries, and the box of shotgun shells.
“What are you going to do with those?” She crossed her arms over her chest and frowned at him. What in the hell was he up to?
“Presently, I'm going to go take a shower,” he said, taking off his shirt, “since 'your guy' was kind enough to remove the staples this morning.” He looked down at the pink ridge of tissue and kicked off his boots.
“I meant the shells.”
“There's enough time for a trip to town before tonight, so I thought I'd bring along Betsy for insurance.” His hands dropped to the fly on his jeans. Vesper's mouth went dry.
“Insurance?” she croaked.
Decker's face froze into a tight mask. “Yeah.” Those blue eyes locked onto her face. “I'm not letting that bastard get the drop on me again.”
She dropped the bomb. “Is that why you called C.C.? Because you think he's got the drop on us?”
He stiffened. “Are you spying on me?” he asked quietly.
“It's not really spying when you stand in the bathroom with the door halfway open. Spying would be getting up out of bed to peek at you through the keyhole like a nine-year old girl at a slumber party. Overhearing the conversation because you're yakking it up in a tiled echo chamber, not so much. Were you trying to hide it from me?” she asked sarcastically.
“No.” His tone was flat.
“Then you don't need to be defensive, do you?” she finished. The determination in his eyes started to make a few things clear. He was going to find Howard and Victor. And if that meant going behind her back and defying her, he was fine with it. Definitely a departure from his earlier stance. She wondered what other risks he was willing to take for Miranda's memory.
He strode past her with the change of clothes and shut the bathroom door. She couldn't help but think the hard slam of the door meant something.
Miranda. The woman was an enigma. Vesper knew virtually nothing about her. She was beautiful; that much she knew from the photo she'd glanced at on his desk what seemed like ages ago. What kind of woman was she? What kind of woman held so much sway over a man even after her death? And it wasn't just her death. It was everything about her that Decker was clinging to. Just who was she? She thought about the faint line on his ring finger, a line that shouldn't exist after so long. The pale circle on his tanned skin was proof it hadn't been that long since he'd stopped wearing the ring. Vesper closed her eyes. The answer was simple. Miranda was a woman who was still deeply loved.
The muffled sound of the shower spray brought her eyes to the door and she sat down on the edge of her bed, her thoughts drifting from the wife to the widower in her bathroom. Everything was happening so fast and she had fallen into his arms with a swiftness that startled her. Him, too. Maybe it was too much too soon, but they were both on a course to exorcise demons that had long lay buried. Now they were coming to the surface and Vesper was suddenly afraid that what brought them together would ultimately lead them apart.
The blood rushed in her veins and quickened her pulse. This is what I get for dealing with them, she thought. Humans. Their ties to life and death were convoluted and messy. It just wasn't that way with her kind. She was used to survival and propagation. Lust and desire by-products of a function that kept her species enduring for thousands of years. And here she was, a warrior by any number of standards, revered among her kind, bemoaning over a man who couldn't let go of the memory of a dead woman. The knot in her belly twisted some more and she put her heavy head in her hands. Warrior or not, how do you compete with a ghost?
The rush of the water hit her ears again and she swallowed back a harsh sob. Decker was no more than ten feet away, but it felt like he was already gone.
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