I can’t believe book four of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, ADAM, is out on June 28th 2016. I’ve had the best time writing Adam and Mhari’s story. They are an amazing couple who challenge each other every single step of the way on the path to true love.
Here’s the blurb:
This Book Stands Alone – No Cliffhanger
“We must not be defeated…”
Each night her dreams of him keep the nightmares of her visions at bay. All she sees is his face. All she hears his voice. And she foretells of his death.
Tonight, in a world gone mad, foreseer Mhari MacDonald will behold the man who is both light and dark, redemption and seduction.
He is Adam Gillespie – Vampyre Prince.
And he is hers.
Tonight, Mhari will meet the man doomed to be her mate…
the man her love will destroy…
She’d have killed for a hot bath. A big, deep whirlpool of rose scented oil and foam, or failing that a man with good hands. Hands that knew how to give an exceptional shoulder and neck rub.
Mhari MacDonald passed the time fantasizing about both, while she waited for her boss, Professor Redford, to wind down. Bubbles up to her chin, her hair piled up as she lay her aching head on a soft cushion, and let all the cares of the world simply float away.
A wave of fatigue threatened to floor her, but Mhari kept her eyes straight ahead, and remained standing to attention in her nurses’ uniform; black rubber clogs, navy pants, and a navy blue cotton tunic edged with white piping which denoted her rank. The sleeves were short. Her skin felt tight and raw from the chemical scrub. Her pores reeked of disinfectant, too. She shivered. Jeez, the room was freezing. Seemed the people who ran the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh had cut back on heating for staff offices.
Mhari waited for the axe to fall.
She didn’t have long to wait.
Professor Redford, a tyrant at the best of times, tossed her pen on the desk.
She sat back in her chair, and peered at Mhari over the top of black framed reading glasses.
“You’re one of my best nurses, and now this? I will not accept it,” she said in a high-pitched nasally voice. Today the tone grated on Mhari’s nerves. Nerves shot to hell with the stress and strain of fighting a losing battle with an airborne Ebola virus that had spun out of control. Since Mhari reckoned she had nothing to say in response to the Professor’s statement, she kept her mouth shut.
The only sound in the room was the relentless tick, tick, tick, from the clock on the wall. Another endless moment of being considered by cold grey eyes over the top of those damn glasses, and Mhari MacDonald was barely holding on to patience with her fingernails.
After four weeks as a head triage nurse running a team working hard to contain a disease that scythed without mercy, man, woman and child, Mhari felt she’d learned a lot more than patience. She’d learned the bitter lesson no matter how much a person cared, no matter how much experience and dedication a person brought to bear, there were some battles dedicated medical care and science could not win.
The Ebola virus was one of them.
Mhari shifted from one sore foot to the other.
She’d covered three shifts, which meant thirty-six hours on her feet.
And two hundred and forty-one dead.
Her heart clenched.
In her mind her patient’s heartfelt pleas for help as they passed from life into death broke more than her heart.
She tried not to think of the number.
No human being should die as a number.
Three hours ago, she’d used a permanent marker to write the number on the forehead of a nine-month old baby boy.
Her mind flew back to the precise moment, to the reason why she was standing in front of her boss instead of lying face down on her bed.
Inside the sealed suit, which filtered air into her hazmat headgear, the suck and exhale of her breath had sounded too loud. Two days ago, she’d wept when she’d lifted the desperately ill little body from his dead mother’s arms. When he’d been conscious, Mhari’s face behind the clear plastic helmet had terrified the child. She’d rocked him, held him close as he’d taken his last breath. A child who was one of many in a ward over-filled with the dying. Inside the suit she couldn’t smell bodily fluids. But Mhari imagined she could. Blue plastic shoe covers stuck to human waste on the floor. The progression of the disease that was Ebola; flu like symptoms, headache, fatigue, fevers, and then an escalation into delirium with bleeding from eyes, nose and ears, as internal organs liquefied, which made the corpse and anything it touched incredibly infectious.
After pictures of the dead were taken, the bodies were burned.
In an attempt to speed up the process and control the spread of disease, the authorities had automated body disposal. Crematoriums with vast ovens burning twenty-four-seven had been built in the grounds of every hospital. The sweet smoke of death was a pale grey murk over every city in the land. There wasn’t time to read last rites, or say a prayer. Robots, prototypes made in Japan, lifted and placed the deceased onto a conveyor belt leading directly into the ovens. The dead were cremated with an efficiency not seen since the second world war.
When she’d used a black marker to write two hundred and forty-one on the child’s forehead, Mhari’s eyes had stung.
Her throat closed.
Her hands had been shaking uncontrollably as she’d taken pictures.
But when she’d handed the baby to a robot, that was when Mhari knew she couldn’t do this.
And something inside her cracked.
Now standing in front of her boss, Mhari lifted hands that trembled from exhaustion, and rammed a loose hairpin into her throbbing scalp.
She welcomed the hurt.
The pain told her she was alive.
The pain told her she was one of the lucky few.
Professor Redford, head of infectious diseases at the Western General Hospital, was a martinet for tidiness and order. Hair was not permitted to touch the shoulders of her nurses. The woman herself was neat, and a stickler for the rules.
She reflected it was a pity Mhari was a regular breaker of said rules, disorganized and so far from neat, it wasn’t funny. Her hair was a case in point, and seemed to symbolize her lively personality. There were a variety of shades from a delicate ash blond to rich brown to a vivid red gold. It was long and heavy and hated confinement of any kind. A bit like Mhari herself, it was disobedient and obstinate, yet soft and appealing.
It had been the appeal of Mhari’s somewhat unconventional looks and personality that had prompted the Professor to hire her in the first place. That and her talent of dealing with difficult and complicated cases, plus the way she ran a team.
Professor Redford recognized a natural ability which had the potential to put her department on the map. With the male contingent on her team, Mhari’s face and body were undoubtedly a plus, too. Mhari just had to bat those thick lashes and junior doctor’s rushed to do her bidding. The Professor couldn’t really in all good conscience call Mhari beautiful, but she was spectacular. The girl’s features were sculpted and pointed and undeniably highborn. Fine brows curved over wide, lidded eyes that seemed too big for her narrow face, were a stunning pale violet.
“I refuse to lose you. You are one of the most valuable members of my team.”
In response, the girl’s hands were shaking as she unpinned her little badge of silver wings, a sign of her seniority, and laid it on the desk.
It appeared her nurse was stubborn, too.
Eyes fixed on Mhari’s, she picked up her letter of resignation and ripped it into shreds.
The Professor might be neck deep in a crisis, and have a hospital to run, but she was well aware Mhari had reached the end of her tether. However, she was not prepared to let one of her best nurses walk away when she knew the girl would live to regret it. What Mhari needed was a break. Fair enough. She’d give her one.
On the whole the Professor was pleased with Mhari’s enthusiasm, her intelligence and her energy, but she had a distressing habit of letting her mind drift at times. It gave a sort of other-worldly quality to her features. Plus, she’d soon discovered that in spite of appearances, Mhari had an unfortunate tendency to forget her place, and re-write the rules whenever it suited her. More than once she’d come upon Mhari giving spirited and unwarranted advice to a junior doctor too dazzled to question the girl’s apparently infinite wisdom. When Mhari was reminded of who was the boss here, her smile gave the distinct impression she was enjoying a private joke. Whatever her shortcomings, Professor Redford refused to lose her.
Meanwhile, blissfully unaware of the Professor’s thoughts, Mhari did what she invariably did when her mind wasn’t busy. She let it drift back to the last vision she’d experienced and tried, uselessly as it turned out, to understand the meaning behind it.
Since she’d been a small child, flashes of scenes from the future had occupied her mind. Details of her visions came to her in spurts and starts, and out of time order. With her maternal gramma as teacher, she’d studied her gift, or curse, of foresight. At twenty-one she’d been left without family and virtually no money in the bank. However, she’d continued to work her way through her nursing degree, and supplemented her small income with a variety of odd jobs from a bottle tossing bartender in one of Edinburgh’s hot spots, to a professional dog-walker. She had an affinity with animals. Between her education and employment, Mhari had been left with few moments of free time. Even those had been set aside to work on her gift.
To Mhari, the gift of foresight was a vocation. Her entire life had been guided by a grandmother who, like her granddaughter, was fey. Her gramma used to say they’d been touched by an angel. Mhari didn’t know about that, but she’d had no time for attachments of a personal nature. She was twenty-three now, and people simply fascinated her, but there were very few with whom she could say she’d ever got close to. Her busy brain seemed to enjoy understanding and analyzing complex relationships, and yet her personal understanding of them came about exclusively second-hand. Her gift of foresight gave her work with the sick a quality of keen observation and a surprising depth of empathy, together with an emotional intelligence often lacking in a medical profession more concerned with ticking boxes and achieving unrealistic targets. For the greater part of her life, Mhari’s emotions had found their release in her vocation of caring for others and helping them cope with their pain, be it physical or psychological.
But putting herself last had taken a heavy toll.
The psychic energy needed to help souls cross over the bridge from life to death was depleted.
Mhari MacDonald’s emotional well was bone dry.
She needed to get away from the pain and grief she dealt with every second of every hour of every day.
The world as she knew it and the people in it, her friends and loved-ones, all gone.
There was nothing she could do about it or give hope and solace to those suffering.
This broke her heart, and lowered her spirit.
So she was following her intuition, her gut.
She’d already packed a car with her few personal possessions.
This evening she was planning to head north into the snowy-capped Grampian Highlands of Scotland, to find respite in the tiny bothy that had been in the MacDonald family for hundreds of years.
She was going to find her destiny… and, perhaps, the man who filled her dreams.
It was time.
“I’m sorry, Professor, but I need to go.”
When her boss nodded and smiled, Mhari blinked in surprise.
There was not a lot of love lost between them.
So when the Professor stood, picked up the silver Angel’s wings, walked around the desk and pinned it on Mhari’s lapel, the gesture of support was so unexpected it brought a sting to her eyes.
“Take a break. Let’s say a month or two. And then return to us rested and ready. Do not lose faith, child. A cure or treatment will be found.”
Not soon enough for baby number two hundred and forty-one, Mhari wanted to say.
Instead, she nodded.
“I can’t promise anything.”
The Professor smiled again, this time a curve of the lips that seemed to hold a secret.
A smile Mhari would remember.
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As a busy author, I’m working on The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, book five, CONSTANTINE, as well as a couple of other projects.
My next release will be SEAN, book ten, of The Ludlow Hall Romances (with plenty more to come). And a super-secret project released after SEAN, which I’m incredibly excited about and will share the details as soon as I am able.