It's paranormal day! So pleased to announce the re-release of my MM(M) sci-fi/paranormal romance Roadhouse Reds, in which a crash landing in a corn field reveals to one character that not only are things around him more than what they seem, but he isn't exactly who he's always beleived himself to be.
Grabbing a water pitcher, Jason headed for the east windows to fill the glasses of two ladies who were deep in conversation.
“Preacher Fisher thinks that it was Satanists, Petunia. What do you think of that?”
“Preacher Fisher thinks everything wrong in this town is because of Satanists or a cult. He’s got half the folks thinking they’re going to be murdered in their beds or sacrificed to the devil.”
“Well, not me, thank you very much. I sleep with my cross in one hand and my Colt .45 beneath my pillow.”
Jason about spilled the water when he heard that, his eyes sweeping over the weathered lady with the silver hair and steel-gray eyes.
“Don’t look so surprised, young man. Why when I was your age I could blast a bottle off a fence post two hundred feet away.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jason replied hastily.
“I can still hit the target when I go to the range. No, Lord, no one’s murdering me in my bed.”
“No, you’ll just shoot yourself in your sleep,” Petunia added.
“Least the Satanists won’t get me.”
Jason took their empty plates and beat a rapid retreat, desperate for a cigarette or, even better, a couple of joints.
Note: Below trailer is from Original Release, Roadhouse Reds is has now been released by Encompass Ink.
Trajin, Pandya, Bakari, and a bleary-eyed Jason came down as the sun was setting, and Jason was shocked to find himself surrounded by his friends.
“She told them,” Jason said softly, moving to take a step back, but Bakari was behind him and there didn’t seem to be any moving that wall of cold muscle.
“Yes, she told us.” Clyde stood from his chair and moved in front of Jason, but he didn’t touch him, waiting instead for Jason to raise his eyes and look at him.
Ever defiant, when Jason finally did, his expression was fixed into something between neutrality and indifference. “What? Getting a good look at the freak?” Jason muttered.
His words drew a grumble from Bakari and a narrowing of the eyes from Pandya.
“You will not disparage our heritage in front of us,” Bakari told Jason sternly.
Jason had the good grace to look chagrined. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But he’s staring at me like, like he’s....”
“It’s concern, nothing more,” Clyde assured him. “We’ve all been concerned since we heard what was happening.”
“Yeah, well, don’t stand too close,” Jason quipped, an edge of bitterness to his tone. “I might decide to go all Mt. Saint Helens or something.”
Dan chuckled. He couldn’t help it; nor could he help stepping past Clyde to lay a careful hand on Jason’s shoulder. “You’re our family, you stubborn little shit. So get used to being stuck with us, explosive personality and all.”
A small smile tugged at the corners of Jason’s mouth.
“Come on and eat. I didn’t cook it so it should be safe,” Dan quipped.
Jason did laugh then and followed the pair to a large table that Pat had already set. Jason sat between Bakari and Pandya, across from Dan and Clyde. Genna still hadn’t moved from the bar, and being unable to coax her away from her drawing, Pat sat beside her to eat.
“Mmm, so good,” Jason muttered after the first bite of spaghetti and meatballs. “Thanks, Pat.”
“Yeah, yeah. You wanna really thank me, you and your water elementals there can do the dishes,” Pat grinned. “Just don’t scorch the plates; they should probably let you dry.”
Pandya’s jaw dropped before he burst out laughing at Pat’s words, and even the ever-stern Bakari let a chuckle slip through. Jason’s eyes were alight with laughter, and he had to resist the urge to hug Pat for making everything feel okay.
So much of Roadhouse Reds was inspired by all of the time I spent in bars, little side of the road dives, and darkened taverns all over the East Coast. I learned to bartend and loved waitressing and even working behind the grill in the back if the need arose. It provided me with countless hours to people watch as well as to interact with folks that otherwise, I’d likely never have talked to. I knew plenty of people in those days who preferred working on the weekends because that’s when we were busiest, but for me, the best part of the week to work was Monday through Thursday, because that was when the ‘real’ people came in, not the party goers or the college kids or the idiots looking to blow off steam because they’d had a shit week. You could talk to people in between pouring beers and refilling coffees and sometimes a simple conversation could spark the wildest of daydreams.
The last time I worked in a bar and grill it was mostly in the kitchen, where I had a pretty boring view of the field next door. Mostly sheep grazed in it, which wasn’t very amusing, but add in an active imagination and a lot of reading at that time about haunted places and alien sightings and well, Roadhouse Reds was born. Still it took about ten years from the time I wrote the first scene until the time I wrote the ending and in between the ideas shifted and changed quite a bit. I’d thought it would be something sweet, oddballs at the roadhouse teaching the alien how to fit in. Maybe see him trying to mix drinks behind the bar or cook in the kitchen, experience his first crush on a human and how cute and awkward he’d be.
Let me just say that nothing about Ano ki is cute or awkward, nor would sweet be a word that I would use to describe him, and yet, in all the changes and evolution the idea of him underwent, Jason also changed quite a bit too. In the end, I felt like I had as much of a beginning as I did an ending, and plenty of room to write more stories featuring these guys.
I love shapeshifters, all different kinds, but snakes just called to me, and thus, Serpent's Kiss Was born. If you fancy snakes or are curious about the world of the Serpenmatas, then you can find it here. https://www.amazon.com/Serpents-Kiss-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B06Y2RM5J3
When I first sat down and began working on Darian’s story, I really wasn’t sure where it was going. What I saw in my head was a bounty hunter tale, but what Zaiden turned it into when he dropped into Darian’s life, was a tale of political backstabbing, betrayal, and love.
I’ve long had a love for the snake shapeshifter myths, especially the Nagas, and those old myths and legends really inspired Serpent’s Kiss, the Rhumba the characters live in, their society and the Serphenmata as a whole. The idea that someone can look human but take another shape has always fascinated me, but a deeper fascination has always been the duel forms where an individual displays both human and animal traits. In Serpent’s Kiss, I was able to mix both and create a world where serpent traits, both physical and metaphorical could be woven into a story that wasn’t just intrigue and wasn’t just romance, but a blend of both.
The deeper I delved into myth, the more the idea cemented in my mind to build them a society of their own, rather than blend them with human society. The little cavern I envisioned ended up growing into multiple societies over different regions with Serpent’s Kiss being the first stand alone of several that I have planned for this world. I hope you enjoy exploring their world as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.
Excerpt from Serpent's Kiss
Gesturing with his hand for the minister to lead the way, Karim directed them away from the drafty auction space and back toward the warmth of living quarters through a series of twisting tunnels. They bypassed a cavern filled floor to ceiling with weapons and for a moment, Darian forgot to move. Mouth hanging open, he studied the blades and other close quarter weaponry, surprised to not see bows or guns.
Karim grinned, and stepped closer to Darian, though he did not attempt to touch him this time, for which Darian was grateful. The bodyguard was confusing. He might even be easy to like if he didn’t work for Tihara’s crazy ass.
“Impressive, aren’t they?”
“Hell yeah,” Darian remarked without thought, quickly realizing his mistake. “Sorry, but if ever a moment called for cursing, this was it. Holy…seriously, this one amazing armory.”
“This is but a small collection, the true armory if kept far from here. Perhaps, if you cease to annoy my mistress she will allow us to spar with a few of them, if you believe you are capable.”
“I’ve done my share of playing with knives.”
“Good, then I look forward to testing just how much play you are capable of.”
Darian flicked out his tongue, licking along his upper lip, deliberately teasing the same way it seemed as if Karim was teasing him. For a moment, the minister was forgotten as he locked eyes with Karim and saw the interest flicker in the other man’s eyes.
“I love a good challenge,” Darian remarked. “Let’s just hope you’re as good as you seem to think you are.”
“I am afraid your little sparring session will have to wait,” Minister Valero interrupted. “There is much I need you to look into tonight.”
“Yes, sir,” Darian replied, not wishing to displease the man and risk confrontation, especially when the vibes rolling off the minister weren’t ones of violence, or cruelty. Unfortunately, the minister did not seem to be the type to be easily manipulated, and from his physical stature, he looked like he’d put up quite the fight. Not good for his chances of escape. There’d likely be plenty of time for sparring Karim in the future.
Karim led them the rest of the way to a lavish suite of rooms without further interruption and handed the minister the key.
“There is chocolate syrup in the refrigerator along with milk, drinking a combination of it seems to help him recover after a vision,” Karim explained. “There is food in the refrigerator and supplies in the pantry should you wish anything additional. I am to retrieve him tomorrow morning at ten, until then, he is yours.”
The minister gave Karim a dismissive wave, his attention entirely on Darian. He’d hardly looked at the room, and it made Darian wonder just how much time they would spend in the common areas. He hopped the man would allow him to eat and drink, at least, or it would make for a very long evening.