5 stars! “Edie is brilliant! I love her snarky characters, the humor, the sex, the incredible story and the perfect narration she is able to spin into a single novel. I was on the edge of my seat while savoring another Ramer masterpiece! This comes highly recommended!” – Aimee Coffee Table Press
Once a dragon…
Saxophone player Noah Long shifted from dragon to human 2500 years ago, but the dragon blood still coursing through his veins has kept him healthy and virile. Now his secret is out, and the man who discovered it will do anything to make Noah’s blood his own. Noah’s only ally is martial arts expert Lila Fox, who heats up the fire in his belly…and his heart.
Twice a killer…
Lila Fox’s first kill was at age sixteen after her stepfather put her mother in a wheelchair. Fourteen years later, she kills another abuser to save a woman’s life. When the man who wants Noah’s blood kills her sister, she can’t let the death go unanswered. She teams up with the strangely compelling Noah, and discovers he’s not all man and has a few tricks of his own.
Normally he moved at a deliberate, almost stately pace, a leftover from his original claw-footed body, but now he ran down the steps. The buzzer droned again. He reached the first floor and turned to the shop. It was already dark out, but the streetlights were on, as were the bars and the cars. His place was never completely dark.
He’d adjusted well. No one would suspect he’d been born in a cave.
Through the glass door, he saw a blond woman, getting an impression of competence and self-confidence. He unbolted all three locks and swung the door open. The woman on the other side took him in with one long look from her brown eyes.
He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. She took his words away. She looked as if she’d stepped out of the pages of a comic book. Tall and strong, with her head held high. Standing on the balls of her feet, ready to attack or feint to the side, whichever was called for. A warrior woman. A goddess. The one they named the huntress.
“Where’s Izzy?” she asked.
“You’re her sister?” His tongue moved slower than normal. He’d heard humans talking about having their lower gums anesthetized as part of a dental process, their tongues numbed, too. That’s how his tongue felt. Frozen and too big for his mouth. “You don’t look alike.”
“We’re half sisters. She takes after our mother. I take after my father. Are you inviting me in?” Her eyebrows rose. Clearly not impressed.
Before he could force words from his mouth or his feet to step back to allow her into his shop, she turned her body toward the street, a prelude to leaving. “Is she gone already?”
He hadn’t been afraid of much for the last two thousand years, but he felt a pang of anxiety. Without thought, he grabbed her arm.
Her breath hissed. She glanced down at his hand, his long fingers curved over her blue jacket sleeve. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her right hand lift up, held sideways, like a slicing knife.
“Let me go or I’ll hurt you.”
As he released her, something strange happened. It crept into his stomach and slithered up his throat, then burst out of his mouth in an eruption of laughter. Loud and boisterous and happy laughter made him lightheaded with glee and sapped the strength from his legs. As he leaned against the doorjamb to hold himself up, he realized laughter weakened a man.
He continued laughing and didn’t care. Not a twinge. This new feeling was euphoric. Blissful.
Lila Fox watched him with no emotion on her face as he acted the fool. Men and women dressed for night clubbing slowed on the sidewalk to stare at him. In their faces, he saw them wonder what the joke was. He couldn’t tell them he was delighted by her bravery and her self-assurance. Couldn’t tell them her certainty that she could hurt him filled him with joy.
His stomach hurt. He was using muscles he hadn’t realized he possessed. The knowledge sobered him and his laughter stuttered to an end. But the bliss lingered inside him, like a note that hummed in the air after the music stopped.
Stepping back, he gestured her into the shop. She leaned down and grabbed a carry-on, a duffle bag strapped to its top. Her oversized purse swinging at her right hip, she brushed past him, her shoulders unbowed, and took a sweeping glance around.
It seemed to him that she saw everything, though he knew it was impossible. A normal human couldn’t see that fast and in the half light.
A meow sounded at her feet.
He peered down at Mystic, who rubbed the side of her face on the jean-clad legs of Izzy’s warrior sister. Mystic reminded him of the beast he once was. A smaller version, without wings and scales, but she had the claws and the attitude.
“A black cat. My favorite.” Lila Fox shoved the giant-sized purse behind her hip and scooted down to rub her fingertips along Mystic’s jaw. Mystic purred, a sound Noah had been trying to duplicate with his soprano sax since he took her in five years ago, and so far not getting it. Almost. Just out of reach for him, like laughter.
He’d been amused before. He’d smiled. He’d even chuckled a few times. But until today he’d never laughed all the way up from his belly and vibrating down to the soles of his feet.
As he watched Lila and Mystic, the two seemed to meld together, woman and cat. One entity. Then she straightened and Mystic swayed away, her tail high. Lila looked into his eyes, her mouth set in determination.
“Where is she?”
“Lila!” The shout came from behind him. “What are you doing here?”
He turned. Izzy stood just inside the shop, the hall door open, the blanket wrapped around her shoulders and dragging on the floor.
Her gaze flickered from Lila to him. “You brought her! How did you—” She gasped and pointed a finger at him, her hand shaking. “My cell phone! You found her number and you called her. You can’t do that. That’s illegal.”
Lila dropped her purse on the floor and swept past him toward her sister. “Aren’t you going to say hi?”
Noah stepped to the side, giving him a three-quarter view of the sister’s face and one-quarter of Izzy’s.
“Why the hell should I?” Izzy crossed her arms over her chest, a truculent look on her face, more suited to a six-year-old than a woman in her early twenties. “You only came to say ‘I told you so.’”
Lila gave her a crooked smile, one side up and one down, her brown eyes sad. “Still the drama queen. Sweetie, you should’ve been an actress.”
“Damn you, damn you, damn you.” Izzy uncrossed her arms and her index finger jabbed the air with every “damn.”
Lila’s mouth twisted, her eyes sadder and darker. “Don’t worry about it, I’m already damned.”
Edie will be giving away an e-copy of either DRAGON BLUES, DEAD PEOPLE or CATTITUDE to 5 commenters. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events , click here.