Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope you’ll join us in welcoming author Greg Howard today, on the tour for his new novel, Blood Divine. Enjoy his guest post and the teaser from the book, and then be sure to check out the details and entry method for the giveaway Greg’s hosting.
Hello everyone! I’m Greg Howard and I’m excited to tell you about my debut adult/paranormal novel, BLOOD DIVINE.
Do you remember your childhood crush? That one person who could turn your prepubescent insides into instant goo? There are usually only a handful of people in our lives who can do that to us, and even fewer who can do it when you reconnect after years of absence.
In this excerpt from BLOOD DIVINE, Cooper has a chance encounter with his childhood crush, Randy. They haven’t seen each other in ten years and there’re a couple of obstacles. Cooper is gay and Randy is straight (or so Cooper thinks). Not to mention the fact that Cooper’s grandmother is missing and Randy is the local law enforcement. I love the dichotomy of emotions that Cooper goes through in this scene when he sees Randy for the first time in a decade. He’s worried about his grandmother, but Randy still takes his breath away.
I still remember my “Randy”. He was older and definitely straight. I’m pretty sure he never knew I was crushing on him so hard when we were young, because he never acted weird around me. But, maybe he did and he was just really cool about it. That’s what I like to think anyway.
I hope you enjoy this partial scene, imagining how you’d feel if you were in Cooper’s shoes. Could you hold it together and focus on the task at hand? Or, would you become that insecure little boy or girl again? I ran into my “Randy” a few years ago and I’m proud to say that I didn’t embarrass myself. I’m older and more confident in who I am now. He was still sexy as hell, but I held it together. For the sake of finding his grandmother, let’s hope Cooper can do the same.
About the Book
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Length: 88,208 words
Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Romantic
Release Date: 24 August 2016
Buy Links: Wilde City Press || Amazon
Blurb: Cooper Causey spent a lifetime eluding the demons of his youth and suppressing the destructive power inside him. But a disconcerting voicemail lures Cooper back home to the coast of South Carolina and to Warfield—the deserted plantation where his darkness first awakened.
While searching for his missing grandmother, Cooper uncovers the truth about his peculiar ancestry and becomes a pawn in an ancient war between two supernatural races. In order to protect the only man he’s ever loved, Cooper must embrace the dark power threatening to consume him and choose sides in a deadly war between the righteous and the fallen.
Cooper paced back and forth across the foyer, the old, wooden floor counting his every step with strained creaks. The constant tapping on the windows along the front of the house grew louder by the minute, a nagging soundtrack to his growing irritation. Pulling back the sheer fabric covering the sidelight, he peeked out. Ice pellets bounced off his SUV in the driveway. He glanced back at the grandfather clock. Where the hell were the police? He’d called them twenty minutes ago. Twenty fucking minutes. No way was there that much going on in this shitty excuse for a town.
After another five laps up and down the hallway, the doorbell sounded a pompous melody about three notes too long for Cooper’s agitated state. Without checking the sidelight to see who it was, he pulled the door open.
A tall, broad-shouldered police officer filled the doorframe. A wide smile full of gleaming white teeth lit his face. The uniform threw Cooper for a second, but the pronounced dimple in the chin and the twinkle in those soulful brown eyes were unmistakable, even after all the years that had passed. A silver nametag pinned to the officer’s chest bore the name Collins, confirming Cooper’s slack-jawed assessment.
“Holy mother of hell. RJ?”
The officer gave a slight nod and tipped the bill of his cap. A few stray ice pellets spilled off and hit the doorsill. “Hey, Coop. Yeah, it’s me. I go by Randy now.” He nodded over his shoulder toward the stormy night. “Can I come in?”
Cooper heard the question and knew he needed to answer. To move. To let the guy in the house and out of the storm, but for the longest of moments, he couldn’t move. Couldn’t speak. RJ Collins, of all people. His brother’s best friend and Cooper’s first crush. He hadn’t seen that face since the day of his brother’s funeral ten years ago. Back then, he might have crumbled under a wave of childhood insecurities if he had to face RJ. Probably would have melted into a pile of goo and panted like a lovesick puppy. Not anymore. And certainly not tonight.
A rush of ice-cold wind blew into the house, reminding Cooper they were still standing in the open doorway. He moved to the side. “Oh sure. Sorry. Come in.”
Removing his cap, Randy brushed the sleet off before he entered. A woodsy waft of cologne followed him in, tickling Cooper’s nose with a decisively masculine scent probably called Liquid Sex or something.
Cooper closed the door and faced Randy, his body stiff as a board. “Thanks for coming.”
“Sorry it took me a few minutes to get over here. Crazy out tonight. Roads are a mess. We’re not used to this kind of weather here. I haven’t seen a winter storm like this in years. But you know how it is around here. Could be beach weather by tomorrow afternoon.”
Cooper didn’t respond. The very last person he’d expected to find behind that door was RJ Collins, and now all he could do was stare. Dirty blond hair cropped close to the guy’s head showed signs of premature gray around the temples. Weatherworn creases framed his eyes, aging him more. Other than that and several new layers of expertly crafted muscle, he hadn’t changed much. Still had that chiseled movie-star face and that magnetic, boyish smile. Randy offered his hand as an afterthought.
“So you’re a cop,” Cooper said with a firm shake of Randy’s sizable hand. “I didn’t even know you were out of the military.” It was his second obligatory attempt at small talk of the night. It was jarring to see Randy, but Cooper didn’t have the time or patience for idle chatter right then.
Randy stood a good three inches taller than Cooper, his thumbs tucked casually in his duty belt, weight resting on his left side. “Deputy Chief, now. I ended up back here after eight years with the SEALs.”
Randy peered over Cooper’s shoulder. “Haven’t been in this house in a long time. Always was a funny old place. Aunt Mae made it feel homey, though.”
Hearing the locals’ nickname for his grandmother brought all Cooper’s concerns to a hard boil. “Yeah. I’m really worried.” Cooper led Randy into the sitting room. “This isn’t like her. Her car is outside. Doesn’t look like it’s been moved in a while. I already checked the house inside and out.”
Randy strode over to the wingback chair opposite the sofa and sat without invitation. He didn’t remove his thick Gore-Tex jacket. Either that was standard procedure, or he thought Cooper was overreacting and that this wouldn’t take too long. Cooper imagined him listening to the call over the scanner and shaking his head. Just whiney, little Cooper Causey. Panicking as usual. Just like when we were kids.
Randy cocked his head and leaned forward in his chair. “When’s the last time you heard from her?”
Cooper sat on the sofa facing Randy and cleared his throat. “She called a few times last night. I missed the calls. She left a message.” Guilt settled in his gut like a rock sinking to the bottom of a river. He pulled his phone out of his pants pocket, pressed a couple of commands into the screen, and handed it over to Randy.
With the phone to his ear, Randy looked down as he listened. Faint traces of Lillie Mae’s voice trickled out into the otherwise quiet room. Cooper silently mouthed each word, the message branded into his memory.
Cooper. Listen to me carefully. Whatever you do, don’t come home. Stay away, do you hear me? Stay away from Georgetown. He’s back, and it’s not me he wants, it’s—
The abrupt dial tone at the end of the message and the alarm lacing her voice was reason enough to defy her wishes. She’d been scared. And who the hell was this he?
Randy handed the phone back to Cooper. “As soon as I got the call from dispatch, I checked the hospital. No luck there.”
Cooper flinched at considering the idea of Lillie Mae in the hospital lucky.
Randy retrieved a small spiral notepad and pencil from the inside pocket of his jacket. “When’s the last time you talked to her?”
Cooper gripped the sofa cushion with both hands and squeezed. “A couple of weeks ago, I guess.” Or more. Too long.
Flipping over to a blank page, Randy jotted something down on the pad. “How did she seem the last few times you talked to her?”
More scribbling in the pad.
Cooper stared down at the well-worn Oriental rug, retreating into its hypnotizing pattern and projecting away his panicky angst so Randy wouldn’t see any trace of the scared, flimsy, little boy he once was. That wasn’t him anymore, and he’d be damned if he would let a childhood crush shake him up tonight.
He looked up and lowered his voice a notch. “I don’t think I am overreacting here. This is not like Lillie Mae. Sure she’s forgetful, but she rarely leaves this house. A trip to Winn-Dixie would be the highlight of her week.”
“Yeah, I see her there sometimes,” Randy said, writing something else in the notebook. “Always keeps me up to date on what’s going on with you.” He looked up, the slightest trace of a smile creeping up on the right side of his mouth. “And I never said you were overreacting.”
About the Author
Greg Howard grew up near the coast of South Carolina, or as he fondly refers to it, “the armpit of the American South.” By the time he could afford professional therapy and medication, the damage had already been done. His hometown of Georgetown, South Carolina is known as the “Ghost Capital of the South,” (seriously…there’s a sign), and was always a great source of material for his overactive imagination.
Raised in a staunchly religious, Pentecostal home, Greg escaped into the arts: singing, playing piano, acting, writing songs, and making up stories. After running away to the bright lights and big city of Nashville, Tennessee with stars in his eyes and dreams of being the Dianne Warren of Music City, he took a job peddling CDs and has been a cog in the music business machine ever since.
Now an adult with a brain, Greg finds the South Carolina coast to be a perfectly magical place where he vacations yearly and dreams of the day when he can return to write full time in the most tastefully decorated beach house on Pawleys Island. Greg has a soft spot for Spaniels and any rescue animal. People…not so much.
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