Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Giveaway and Excerpt from "Shadow Rising" by Kendra Leigh Castle

Thanks to the wonderful Kendra Leigh Castle for this great excerpt from Shadow Rising and for offering a signed copy to the winner of the giveaway!  Just fill out the form below to enter.  You can also check out my review of this latest book in her Dark Dynasties series here.

      As one of the Grigori, a noble vampire dynasty shrouded in mystery, Ariane has spent her life hidden away in the desert. Like all of her kind, she is a watcher, fated to observe, forbidden to act. Yet when her best friend Sammael vanishes, she defies all rules and flees her safe haven to bring him home.     
     A shape-shifting assassin for the House of Shadows, Damien Tremaine is hired to locate Sammael. His hunt for the wayward Grigori leads him to Ariane, the rogue vamp who stands between him and his bounty. Damien never lets emotion interfere with his work, but a single touch from the sexy, beguiling vampire shatters his self-control. Drawn together by their common goal, they begin an alliance of necessity that soon becomes one of desire. But when the secret at the dark heart of the Grigori comes to light, Damien and Ariane must make a choice that could bind them eternally . . . or tear them-and everything they care about-apart.

Here's an excerpt just for you:
     Slowly, the tension beneath his hand eased, and the woman sank back down onto her stool. Damien released her reluctantly. His hand tingled where he’d touched her. For a moment, her awkwardness vanished, and the woman looking back at him was every bit as cold and ancient as her dynasty mark proclaimed her to be.
     He wondered fleetingly if playing with a Grigori this way was wise, then brushed it aside. He’d lived for centuries doing just as he liked, and it had served him well enough. Why stop now?
     “I’ll stay. For now. But I’m not going to entertain you…cat.” Her gaze dropped to the concealed top of Damien’s right collarbone. There, beneath his shirt, was the mark of his bloodline, a trio of entwined black cats fashioned into a Celtic circle. It branded him as Cait Sith, a cat-shifter.
     And without looking at it, she shouldn’t have been able to tell so quickly.
     “How did you know?” Damien asked.
     The woman shrugged, a dainty lift of shoulders exposed by the sleeveless little black dress she wore. The movement made him look below her neck, which he instantly knew he shouldn’t have done. He could stay distracted for weeks by the wonders showcased by that dress. With some effort, he dragged his eyes back up to meet hers.
     “I’m good at identifying who’s who,” she said, her tone defensive. “I studied.”
     “Really. And what identified me?”
     She turned her head to glare into her drink. “Does it matter? You’re just going to make fun of me, whatever I say.”
     The accusation startled him…more because she was probably right. And for whatever reason, the knowledge bothered him.
     “I won’t. I’m genuinely curious.”
     She didn’t even look at him. “I doubt that. You’re just bored. Go away.”
     Damien watched her face, seeing the frustration likely borne of fumbling her way through modern vampire society without a lifeline for at least a couple of weeks, and something in him softened. He didn’t bother to try and analyze it, but his voice sounded strange to his own ears as he sought to reassure her.
     "I’m not leaving until you tell me. But I’m happy to drag this out if you’d rather.”
     She looked up at him through long, dark lashes with such world-weariness that he had to fight back the urge to pull her into his lap and nuzzle her. The idea had some merit, actually…but Damien was pretty sure that would just put them back at square one. The longer they looked at one another, the more Damien had the unnerving sensation that she was sizing him up, judging him by some measure he couldn’t begin to guess at. The intensity of her focus on him was as pleasurable to Damien as a caress. To his shock, he had to swallow back an inadvertent purr. He didn’t purr for anyone. Anyone. And certainly not for something as cheap as a little attention.
     At last, she relented with a sigh. “It’s your eyes, for one thing. The pupils do some interesting things in the light. They’re very feline, if you look close enough. But mostly it was just the way you move. I’d read about it, but the words didn’t really do you justice.”
     He lifted his brows, surprised by the simple honesty of her answer. “Oh?”
     She nodded, obviously an eager student of a subject Damien was inclined to find ridiculously flattering. He didn’t think any woman had ever remarked on the way he moved before…out of bed, that was.
     “Yes,” she said. “Very graceful, very sinuous. Very…” She trailed off, and it seemed she’d been about to say a lot more than she’d intended. Damien watched her pale cheeks flush again.
     “Well. It’s unique anyway. So…” She looked a bit at a loss, grabbed the martini she’d been nursing, and took a large gulp. Then she looked at him over the rim of the glass, eyes glittering in the dim light, and Damien found himself momentarily lost again. All vampires were beautiful. It actually got boring after a while. But this one was damned near a work of art. Sculptors would have carved her likeness on temples; famed poets would have composed masterpieces extolling her beauty and then drank themselves to death over her. He could imagine it easily.
     Except that she acted like she’d been locked in a closet for the last five hundred years.

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  1. I really enjoyed the excerpt. I think I'm going to really like Ariane. Thank you.

    1. I hope you do like her! She's a great combination of innocence and serious battle prowess:) Okay, I may be slightly biased, but I did enjoy writing her!

  2. I have not been online as much as I've wanted to be, but Kendra, I love all of your books and I can't wait to read this one too!

  3. I love this series and can't wait!

  4. The series is wonderful! Can't wait till this one comes out.

  5. So excited for the next installment of this series!

  6. I'm glad you all liked the excerpt! Thanks for reading:)

  7. Hi
    I have read the first in this series and really enjoyed. I need to get reading to catch up.

    Thanks for the chance.

  8. I absolutely love this series so far and cannot wait until this book is in my hands =)

  9. Love the excerpt! I haven't read this series and am pretty curious. I love anything paranormal so this is totally up my alley!

  10. I absolutely love Ariane! She's so soft, yet so damned fierce! Love, love, love this book♥ This was one of my favorite scenes, of many, from this book :)


  11. I've been hearing about this book, from that young lady there ^^^ (Ana @BeachBumReads) Lol. So I'm definitely looking forward to this xD

  12. Thanks for the great excerpt and congrats on the newest release! I've had such book lust for this series... definitely on the top of my really, really want list ;)

  13. Congrats to Samina! E-mail is headed your way :)

  14. I bought the second book in this series, the one you recommended to me on Twitter!

    Thanks for the recommendations