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Book One of The Leila Marx Novels
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN 10: 1480021598)
Number of pages: 326
Word Count: 81,000
Cover Artist: Amber Garr
Leila Marx is trying to put her life back together after her fiancé is murdered. Her book illustrating career has limited her social contact and nightmares have trapped her in the past. When a police acquaintance enlists her help with a difficult case, Leila is surprisingly thankful to have a purpose. Not only will this help to keep her mind focused, but she will be able to use her talents as a touch clairvoyant that are frequently dismissed by skeptics. Leila and Detective Garrick Pearson delve into the mystery behind a series of missing teenage girls and mummified corpses while fighting their own growing attraction to each other.
Conner Hoffman is an intriguing lawyer and striking half-demon who enters Leila’s life unexpectedly. Although her visions are terrifying, she is fascinated by his charm and his legacy. When it becomes evident that the murders are linked to a paranormal event, Conner introduces Leila to a world unbeknownst to ordinary society. She suddenly finds herself immersed in supernatural politics, sorcery, and danger as she becomes the killer’s next target. Staying alive will mean relying on friends, accepting the unbelievable, and trusting in her heart again.
What does one wear when they commit the first felony of their life? I probably spent two hours going through my closest trying to find something criminal. It had to be black. Yes, definitely black. I finally settled on a turtleneck, spandex workout pants, and the only pair of black sneakers I’d ever owned. They were left over from my waitressing days and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were still in good shape, even if they did smell a little like grease.
I just finished pulling my hair back into a low bun, like spy girls do in the movies, when the doorbell rang. Conner was here and my heart fluttered instantly. Last night had been a lot of fun and I really enjoyed my evening with Garrick, but this was the first time any man had been to my house who wasn’t a part of the police force since Russ was killed. This was also the first time I’d ever had a half demon in the house, at least as far as I knew. After another quick glance in the mirror, I bounced over to the door.
And as soon as I opened it I realized how much of a dork I must have looked like.
There was Conner, in a regular pair of jeans and a college sweatshirt doing all that he could not to laugh at me. I glared up at him.
“What? No one told me what to wear so I had to improvise.” He started laughing but then choked it back down when I tried to close the door on him. His foot shot out and blocked my attempt.
“I’m sorry. You look good. Really.” He smiled fully at me and then bowed his head as he put his hands together in a prayer-like position. “May I have permission to enter my ninja warrior princess?”
I could see his shoulders shake with amusement again and I refused to be embarrassed. With an exaggerated sigh, I walked back into my bedroom, leaving Conner to let himself in. I decided that he should wallow in uncomfortable silence for a while, although when I came back into the living room and saw him flipping through some of my illustrations, I realized he was unfazed.
“These are really good. You’re quite talented.” I stood there, leaning against the wall for a few seconds trying to judge if he was being serious or not. Just as I started to give him the benefit of the doubt, he arched an eyebrow my way and said, “A much better artist than fashionista.”
I threw the sweatshirt I had in my hands at him and stomped over to the kitchen. His laugh consumed the room and I was surprised to find a smile on my face as I opened the refrigerator.
“Should we take snacks?” I asked. We were going to drive to a spot close to the house and wait until it was clear. I’d been told that it might take several hours and I didn’t want the cambion getting hungry while we waited.
“Sure, if you want. Maybe some water would be good.” It was obvious that he enjoyed my lack of stake-out abilities.
I grabbed one of my reusable grocery bags and filled it up with water, crackers, and Twizzlers. All of the essentials. I briefly considered grabbing a bottle of wine to control my anxiety, but decided against it in the end.
“So, are we ready to go?” I asked as I hoisted the bag on my shoulder and grabbed the sweatshirt back. He studied me for a moment and then pulled an object from his back pocket.
“Not until you put this on,” he said as he tossed something small and black at me. It was a ski mask, one of those ones that covered everything except for your eyes. I pulled it over my head and batted my lashes.
“Am I ready now?”
He laughed and took the snack bag off my shoulder. “Yes, Leila. I think you’re ready for a life of crime.”
About the Author:
Amber Garr spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. She writes both adult and young adult urban fantasies and when not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.
Guest Post by Amber Garza:
Alternative POV - Conner and Leila’s First Date
Human souls still had their appeal and the restaurant vibrated with them tonight. Taking in an extra long breath, I relished in the energy. I may not need to collect them anymore, but I did enjoy identifying which ones I might have marked.
The bartender, for example, would have earned me an extra slap on the back. Beneath his smile and flirtatious act, he hid a dark secret. He enjoyed the hunt as much as me, but what he did to the ladies once he got them home, was unacceptable. Yes, my father would have been happy to acquire him.
A small hand grabbed my shoulder for support. Sara climbed on the bar stool again, body in constant motion. Her excitement made me appreciate what my new life could be. Now that the contract with my demon father was complete, I could fully enjoy living with the humans for the next millennia.
“There she is!” Sara said, jumping down from her seat and rushing over to the door. Her husband, Ben, smiled and shook his head.
“Is she always like this?” I asked.
He laughed before finishing his drink. “It’s why I love her.” Ben patted my shoulder. “Don’t worry, Conner, she’s great.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“Leila,” he clarified. “You’ll like her.”
I nodded. Did he sense my nervousness? I moved here just a few weeks ago, hoping to start fresh. The last thing I wanted to do was go on a blind date, but Ben had been persistent.
“Looks like she’s talking about you,” Ben said, nudging me in the side.
I turned around, shocked at what I saw. My skin tingled and a red tint flooded my vision, setting the cambion senses on alert. Of all the women in Baltimore, I’d been set up with a supernatural.
Ben laughed again, communicating silently with Leila while admiring his wife. Forcing my eyes back to their human color, I took a moment to assess my date. Blonde hair, long legs, great smile, and a clairvoyant. I would have to be careful.
Sara dragged her friend over to us, nearly tripping on her high heels. Knowing this might be trouble, I still couldn’t tear my eyes away from Leila. Her soul hummed with power. I focused on protecting my secret and tried to act human.
“Conner,” Sara said, “This is Leila. Leila Marx. And Leila, this is Conner Hoffman.”
I glanced at her one more time, concentrating so my eyes would not react to her beauty. Her cheeks flushed and she looked down at the floor. Amused at her reaction to me, I smiled.
“Leila, it is very nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much, but to see you in person is truly a delight.”
Gently lifting her hand to my mouth, I kissed it. The touch sent shivers through my body, warning me to be careful but reminding me what it could be like. I wanted to live as a human again, and Leila Marx might be the key to making that happen.
“I didn’t tell him anything,” Ben joked. “I’m going to grab our table.”
Leila looked straight into my eyes, searching for something, before I let go of her hand. I’ve met clairvoyants before, and I guessed Leila’s gift relied on touch. Her forehead creased ever so slightly in confusion. She had tried to read me.
I smiled, knowing I could only hide my secret so long with this beautiful woman.
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