By Lizzie T. Leaf
Waking up to discover you’re a vampire then fainting at the sight of your number one food source isn’t healthy.
Billie Joyce’s dream visit to New York City turned into a nightmare. Now not only is she one of the living dead, but she has to contend with a know-it-all vampire who wants to tell her how to talk. Not gonna happen!
About the Author
Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf started life in Kansas, continued her growing in North Carolina, and currently shivers through the winters in Colorado. She has numerous e-books in varying lengths and her first print book, Struck by Lightning, won dual 2007 Beacon awards, in addition to being a finalist in two other contests.
In addition, Making Christmas, a Christmas Historical novella set during the Civil War won Love Romances Café Best Historical for 2011 and is a finalist in the Aspen Gold for Best Novella.
Beyond Magic, the first book in the Magical Love series won the 2012 Award of Excellence Best Paranormal/Fantasy/Sy-Fi, and is a finalist for Best Paranormal in the Aspen Gold. Winners are announced in mid to late October.
Since discovering the fun of writing paranormal, she plays with creating vampires, faeries and other immortals. Her current focus is the DEAD series. Musa Publishing has re-released the first four novellas in the series and DEAD Hot, a new novella, is scheduled to release in October. Emerging Magic, the second novel in the Magical Love series will also release in late October or early November with Passion in Print Press.
When not creating mischief for paranormal beings, she can be found exploring the other genres she wants to write. She also serves as the 2012 President for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers.
Lizzie loves to read, spend time with her family and travel with her best friend husband during her free time, on which most of friends ask…“what free time?”
Connect with Lizzie!
Enjoy the first chapter of Dead Faint and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win your own copy and read the rest of the book! Here’s the link: Rafflecopter
One impulsive decision and here she was, scared enough to wet her pants.
This go-for-it take on life got Billie Joyce Nolan in trouble as far back as
she could remember. “Dumb, girl. You’re just plain dumb, taking what you
thought was a short cut down a dark little street in a strange city. Especially
a big place like New York City.”
Billie Joyce hoped talking to herself out loud would help with the apprehension
tickling the hairs on the back of her neck.
“What made you think this would get you to the hotel faster in the first
place? Granny was right when she said you don’t have the sense to come in
out of the rain.” She quickened her pace. “Now, you know that ain’t footsteps
you hear. Just your imagination playing tricks on you.”
A shudder ran down her body, and once again, she regretted leaving the
safety of the small mountain town where she’d lived all her life. The only
thing she had to worry about when walking alone there at night was running
into some four-legged critter. Instead, something else was stalking her now,
and it was two-legged.
Most of her life she’d dreamed of coming to New York, and now she was
scared spitless. Sometimes it was best if dreams didn’t come true.
Earlier, when she’d come out of the fancy department store, night had
arrived and she had to make her way back to the little hotel. The map she
carried was hard to read under the street lights, so relying on her sense of
direction — which was dead on back home — she’d taken a turn through a
dark passageway. She was sure it would connect with the street she needed
to find in order to get to back to the safety of her rented room.
“Ouch.” She stopped to flex her right ankle. Heaven only knew what she’d
stepped on in this littered little street. She paused to listen, and her heart leapt
into her throat at the sound behind her. Footsteps. Her imagination wasn’t
playing tricks. Probably somebody else as dumb as her for taking this stupid
shortcut, but she wasn’t about to wait around to find out.
Hobbling along, she was swallowed up by darkness.
If she got out of this mess, she was hopping on the first bus home. Yes,
she’d sold Daddy’s little house in town to get the money to check out city life,
and true enough, she’d quit her job at Kmart a year ago to stay home and
take care of Daddy during his last few months of battling cancer. But she still
had Granny’s little farm with its cozy cabin. She could make do living there
and maybe putting in an herb garden or a small vegetable patch to bring in
a few dollars.
No matter how many lights or how much excitement the city had, she’d
figured out in a few hours that Billie Joyce Nolan was a small town girl at
heart. She was plain country folk and a fish-out-of-water in this strange world.
“Hey, baby. What’s your hurry?”
The footsteps were close enough that their owner seemed right behind
her when he called out, and she didn’t like the sounds of it one bit. Dang. Her
sore ankle made walking fast difficult.
“I said, what’s your hurry?”
She gasped when someone grabbed her left arm and whirled her around.
Billie Joyce came face-to-face with a grinning young man, and the glint in his
dark eyes spelled trouble.
“Yeah, baby. Why didn’t you wait up?” Another male, younger than the
one who held onto her arm, came up on her other side. “We just want to
party. Don’t you want to party?”
These two were boys. She doubted they were out of their teens, and she
was old enough to be their mother. Their idea of partying was probably a lot
different than hers. Somehow, she didn’t think sitting out on the front porch
after the sunset, picking, singing, and exchanging stories was the kind of
party they had in mind.
The taller one reached out and traced his fingers along the side of her
cheek as the stockier of the two moved around behind her and pressed against
her back. She held her breath to block the stench. From the smell, neither of
them had taken a bath in a while.
The man dropped his hand from her cheek and cupped her breast.
Oh dear God. They’re going to rape me.
A short marriage in her late teens might have taken away her virginity,
but to have her body violated by these two lowlifes didn’t sit well. “Leave me
alone.” She jerked her face away from the one stroking her cheek.
“Oh, baby. We know you don’t mean that.”
The man behind her slid his hands down to her thighs and started inching
her skirt up. The fear that had settled in the back of her throat bubbled
up and out.
“Help! Help — anybody!” The plea for help turned into a loud, shrieking
“Shut up, bitch. We just want to have a little fun.”
She continued her loud, shrill screams. Billie Joyce couldn’t shut up, nor
did she want to. She jerked up her right knee and planted a blow to the family
jewels of the one standing in front of her.
“Son-of-a-bitch.” He backed off for a second then lunged at her.
Something hard and sharp slipped into her stomach. It took a second to
register she’d been stabbed.
“Fuck! You killed her, man! Stupid bastard! What’d you do that for?” The
companion of the man who struck the knife blow sounded scared. “Let’s get
the fuck outta here! The way’s she’s been screaming every cop in New York’s
going to show up!”
Billie Joyce heard the pounding footsteps as the two took off and she
slipped down onto the concrete. Her eyes fluttered twice before they shut.
She felt the life flowing out of her, and a white light appeared in the distance,
slowly moving toward her.
No. She didn’t want to die. Not now. Yes, she missed Granny and the
rest of the family, but not to the point she was ready to join them right now.
She forced her eyes open, and a face appeared between her and the white
light. An angel. She had to be an angel. Billie Joyce always thought angels had
long, blonde hair and blue eyes like the pictures above the pulpit at the little
community church back home, but this one had short, white hair, and for
some reason she knew the eyes didn’t match the image she’d carried in her
mind since childhood.
“Please. Please, help me. I don’t want to die. I’ve only learning how to live.”
The face came closer, and Billie Joyce smiled, secure in the knowledge
she had a guardian angel who would delay her meeting the rest of the family
in the afterlife.
Wind whipped passed Dovey Divine-Lowell’s ears as she huddled on
the roof ’s edge of the old Victorian brownstone. The sleeping guests
inside the restored bed-and-breakfast wouldn’t slumber so peacefully if they
knew who lurked a few feet away.
That thought perked her up for a moment, but only briefly, and then she
returned to her moody pondering. She’d been in a funk the past few days and
didn’t understand why. Life as a vampire was the norm after almost a year.
Was that the problem?
Next week marked the first anniversary of her becoming one of the
undead. Did one celebrate their creation date like they did a birthday? If so,
she needed to get her ass in gear and get a party planned. Maybe she should
ask Daniel, but somehow she didn’t see the stuffy old vampire celebrating such
an event. From what she’d observed over the past year, “celebrate” wasn’t in
the somber male’s vocabulary.
Or did the fact that her husband had taken off on yet another business trip
contribute to the foul mood that possessed her? For cripes sake, you’d think
a man as horny as Aaron Lowell would stay home with his just as horny wife
for more than a few days at a time. He didn’t have to work after all.
The man was a millionaire several times over. If he needed a challenge,
like he said, then let his challenge be keeping her satisfied.
Nope, that’s not it either. I’m a big girl and can survive on my own when he’s
gone. After all, I have a club business to run, and that keeps me occupied when he’s
in or out of town.
It’s not Aaron’s being gone that makes me feel this way. The thing that’s got me
feeling so down is my feeding. I counted on the urge for fresh blood to grow less with
time, not more. Over the past week, my hunger is almost out of control. It’s only been
an hour and I’m ready to search out another supply. Screw the bottled crap at home
in the fridge.
The traffic on the street below came to a standstill, and irritated drivers
honked their frustration. Over the noise of blaring horns, Dovey’s sharp
ears picked up another sound. She listened intently for a moment. A woman
was screaming, probably a couple of blocks over to her left. Dovey leapt
through the air toward the sound. Landing on her feet at the end of a dark
alley, she detected two people running and also whimpers from a body lying
a few yards away. In the blink of an eye, she knelt beside a female clutching
her stomach with her hands. The poor woman was attempting to stop the
blood gushing from her stab wound. “No, no. I don’t want to die just when
I’m learning to live.”
The words were barely a whisper, and Dovey could understand the woman’s
concern. Her life force ebbed away with each gush of blood. The strong
metallic odor was driving her crazy with the need to feed.
I need to get a grip and stop thinking about my hunger. This woman needs me
to think clearly…and quickly. Okay, if I get her to an emergency room, she’ll be gone
before they figure out how badly she’s hurt. There is no way I can stick around to
instruct them on how quickly they need to act or play fifty questions with a stupid
medical staff, especially after they call the cops. Besides, she probably won’t survive
long enough for me to even get her there anyway.
“What to do? What to do? Aaron where the hell are you when I need you?”
Resentment flared again at her husband’s absence.
“Please, I don’t want to die.”
The words were now barely audible, even to vampire ears. The woman
seemed to either be saying them to herself or praying to God — Dovey wasn’t
sure which. The only sure thing she knew was the thready pulse and fading aura
indicated this pour soul had only a few minutes, if that long, left on this plane.
Oh, what the hell?
Dovey extended her fangs and bit into her own flesh, grateful she had
recently fed. Blood flowed from her right wrist, and she allowed the thick red
liquid to drop onto the dying woman’s lips. When it generated no response
from the woman, Dovey placed the fingers of her left hand on either side of
her new friend’s mouth and forced her lips into a pout that created a small
opening. More of the precious liquid dripped into the open mouth, and a pink
tongue tiredly licked at the life-giving fluid.
Brushing aside the cross that lay on the woman’s neck, the vampire leaned
down and bit into the soft flesh along the side of the barely breathing victim’s
neck. At the same time, Dovey wedged her bleeding wrist against the open
lips, allowing for a blood exchange.
The woman’s blood slowed, and Dovey forced herself to stop. She sat back
on her heels and studied the still face on the ground. Maybe in her late thirties,
the woman had a steak of white in the front of dark hair that swooped along
the side of a heart-shaped face. The porcelain skin had an iridescent quality
to it, which probably resulted from the loss of blood.
“Crap. What now?” Unsure if she’d taken enough or too much, Dovey sat
back on her heels and thought. She had no freaking idea how this conversion
thing worked. This was her first attempt at making a changeling. Aaron was
too far away for a mind-call, but Daniel only lived a few blocks from here.
Maybe he could pick up her cry for help.
Daniel. Daniel, I need you. Dovey focused harder and sent out another plea.
Daniel, can you hear me?
“I hear you loud and clear.”
Startled, Dovey whirled around. Daniel stood behind her. If she hadn’t
been so intent on mind-speak she would have smelled him. He reeked of the
cologne she had asked him to wear so he couldn’t sneak up on her. The strong
sweet scent caused her stomach to roll over in protest. She shoved the need
for a conversation about his over-kill on the scent to the back of her mind.
It seemed men on any plane just couldn’t get things right when it came to
wearing cologne and needed a female to guide them.
“What’s up, Dovey?” Daniel moved around her and stared down at the
body lying in the dirty alley.
“I think I just made my first changeling.”
Dovey didn’t appreciate the edge in his voice. The last thing she needed
or wanted right now was to have to deal with a PMM. It’s bad enough when
my husband has one of his pissy male moments, but why do the other men in my life
feel the need to bless me with theirs too? Especially this one.
She counted to ten slowly to keep from ripping off his lips or something
equally as satisfying before she spoke. “Hey, don’t get an attitude with me.
The poor woman was dying and begging not to. What else was I to do, since
there wasn’t enough time to call 9-1-1 or get her to a hospital?”
Daniel’s dark eyes bored into her. Damn, here we go again. Another lecture
coming my way. The man had become a father figure to her over the past year,
but there were times…
“So, you decided to play God.”
“I didn’t play God. I tried to help someone who pleaded for me to do just
that.” She’d just be damned if she’d let him know how unsure she’d been on
who the woman had pleaded for help from. “All I want is to know how all of
this works. My experience is limited in this area.” She glared at him.
Sometimes males could be such asses.
Shaking his head, Daniel knelt down beside the motionless female. “She’ll
probably be under for a few days while the conversion takes place. We’ll need
to keep her in a quiet place.”
“Any thoughts on that? You know what my living arrangements are like.
The apartment above the club is fine for Aaron and me, but we don’t have a
spare room or, for that matter, a quiet one when the club is open for business.”
Somehow, she didn’t think the blast of music from below would give the quiet
that Daniel said the woman needed while she went through whatever process
one went through in order to wake up dead.
Daniel looked up from his squatting position beside the body. “It’s a good
thing I’m so fond of your husband or I’d tell you to figure this mess out for
“Ah, come on, Daniel, you know you love me too.” Dovey gave him her
best helpless grin and batted her eyelashes. The corner of his mouth twitched,
and she knew she’d won him over.
“Yeah right.” Daniel looked at the woman again. “I have to be out of my
mind to say this, but I have a room that will serve the purpose. She’ll be hungry
when she wakes up, as you know from your own experience, and someone will
need to be there to explain her new life. That part I’m going to leave to you.
I’ll call you when it starts to happen, and you’d better get your ass over as soon
as I do. In the meantime you need to come over and help me clean her up.”
“Yes, sir, Oh Wise One.” Dovey gave him a peck on the cheek. “You know
I always do what you tell me to do.”
“We both know how that’s not the case.” Daniel picked up the woman and
left. Dovey sighed in relief, happy he’d taken over the situation.
Glancing down, Dovey saw the damage to her new shoes. “Crap. I just
ruined a new pair of Jimmy Choos with all the garbage and blood in this alley.”
She thought about trying to clean them, but decided the heels were too far
gone. “I need to wear sneakers to hunt in the future. Oh well, these heels seem
a little tight anyway. Some idiot at the factory must have mislabeled them.”
She shrugged and took one last look around. A tote bag that probably
belonged to her new creation lay in the shadows, and she picked it up. The poor
woman might have her favorite shoes or outfit in there, and Dovey knew what
it was like to miss those essential things. She tossed the bag over her shoulder.
God, I am hungry.
Daniel had things under control, and the cleanup he said was needed could
wait a few minutes longer. Surely Daniel wouldn’t miss her if she stopped for
a quick snack.