Hi again! Lots to cover in this post, so let’s get right to it. First up, order links for the paperback and audio edition are starting to pop up for BOTH FEET IN THE GRAVE, the second “Bones point of view” novel. So, you can now preorder the audio from: Audible, Kobo, Apple Books, Libro , B&N (more retailers coming soon!)
This week, I’m attending COASTAL MAGIC CON in Orlando, Florida. If you’re also attending, see my schedule below. If you’re interested in attending, tickets are still available here. If you’re local to Orlando, FL, the group signing on Saturday the 25th is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC from 4pm to 6pm. Location: Wyndham Orlando Resort, 8001 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Not only will I be signing books, I’ll also be giving away fun swag like temporary tattoos of Bones’s cross-bones symbol, bracelets, postcards, and more, so come out if you can!
Here is my schedule for Coastal Magic Con:
Thursday, Feb 23rd. 8pm:
“””UnBirthday Party”” Welcome Mingle. Location: Key Ballroom.
Join us for a our first get together of the weekend. Featured authors will be hosting tables (and may be giving out goodies or playing games!) and welcoming everyone to the festivities. We’ll find out the winners of the 2022 Reading Challenge, and have birthday treats.
Friday, Feb 24th. 7:30pm: AFTER DINNER MIXER. Location: Siesta Room.
Saturday, Feb 25th. 10am. Panel: BITE ME! Location: Sunset Room.
Join Paranormal Romance authors discuss readers’ continued fascination with vampires. Are they good? Are they bad? How are authors keeping the stories fresh and new, and what are readers looking for?” Jeaniene Frost, Kait Ballenger, Jailaa West, Violet Howe
Saturday, Feb 25th. 11am: Panel. URBAN FANTASY 101. Location: Sunset Room.
Authors discuss creating worlds that includes paranormal elements and magical beings, while keeping the story believable for the reader. Chat about your favorite urban fantasy stories and characters.” Authors: Elizabeth Hunter, Jeaniene Frost, Amy Lane, Winnie Winkle
Saturday, Feb 25th. 12pm – 1:30-pm: LUNCH WITH AN AUTHOR. Location: Key Ballroom.
Saturday, Feb 25th. 4pm – 6pm: BOOK SIGNING. Key Ballroom. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC for free.
Saturday, Feb 25th. 7:30-pm: AFTER DINNER MIXER. Game Night theme. Location: Key Ballroom.
Sunday, Feb 26th. 12pm: Panel. WE ARE FAMILY. Location: Siesta Room.
Chat with authors about parents, siblings, and children in their stories. How does the family dynamic affect their characters? Discuss the families (by blood or choice) in our authors’ stories.” Authors: Tawdra Kandle, Melinda VanLone, Jeaniene Frost, Dahlia Rose.
And now, as promised, here is a new excerpt from BOTH FEET IN THE GRAVE. If you missed the other excerpt, you can read the first two chapters here. This excerpt is from later in the story, after Bones first sees Cat at the wedding, and Cat is still trying to pretend that she’s over Bones. But, of course, she’s doing a terrible job of that. Enjoy!
BOTH FEET IN THE GRAVE. Copyright Jeaniene Frost. All rights reserved.
Bones checked on the three survivors. Their pulses were steady, but they’d lost so much blood that they were still unconscious. Best thing, really. Now, they wouldn’t see the slaughter around them and run screaming into the nightclub to get the human authorities involved. That would scare the vampires off, and Cat was right. They needed killing.
“What are you doing?” Bones asked as Cat came back into the room with the dead blond in her arms.
“Piling Miss Pink Toenails in here with the rest of them,” she replied, dropping the blonde’s body further inside the room. “Then, I’m going to wait in the hall until their friends come back, and kill the hell out of them.”
This plan needed improving. “No, you’re going to wash that blood off your hands and arms. Then, we’re going to dance.”
She stared at him. “The hell we are!”
“You’re a professional killer, aren’t you?” Bones mocked. “You can’t hover around that hallway with blood spattered on you and expect to look inconspicuous. But, if you’re dancing with me, then no one will see the blood, and we’ll sneak up behind the vamps and kill them when they return to this room.”
Her lips thinned as his logic left her nowhere to run.
Bones only smiled. “Best hurry. They might return soon.”
Bones took off his jacket and tie while Cat was in the loo. Then, he opened his white shirt at the neck and rolled up his sleeves to just below his elbows. Now, he only looked a little overdressed instead of being noticeably formal for a nightclub.
Cat did a good job washing off. When she was done, only the stains on her dress and its scent remained. She put less effort in the second part of their plan, holding herself stiffly and keeping a broad distance between them on the dance floor.
“Really, Kitten?” Bones said as he pulled her closer. “I know you can do better than this.”
She gave him a single glare but began to move more naturally, although nuns would approve of the distance she kept between their hips. The music’s bass vibrated through him, mimicking the heartbeat he’d lost centuries ago while the lights scattered colors across Cat’s shoulders, throat, and the tops of her breasts. The sight was breathtaking, but he was more interested in her eyes. Thus far, she’d tried to stare anywhere except at him, yet when she did, he caught anguish in her gaze.
He could guess why. The last time she’d been in his arms, she’d wept as she said goodbye. He’d only thought they’d be separated for a few hours.
Instead, it had been years…
“Why are you here?” Cat asked, her gaze suddenly swinging to his. “I thought you’d be busy with Felicity, with how the two of you looked. Unless you’re already finished with her? If so, that’s hardly up to your usual performance.”
Bones had forgotten about Felicity. Cat hadn’t, but her snippy question was merely deflection. As always, she’d rather attack than show how she really felt.
“Did seeing me kiss her bother you?” Bones asked with an arched brow. “Why? I was only doing as you instructed.”
She tried to pull away. He didn’t let her.
Fuck you, her expression said, but pain lingered beneath it. Her directive had hurt her more than it had him because she was still in denial about her feelings, and he wasn’t.
“The men who came to the hospital that day knew what I was, Bones,” she said, finally acknowledging the real issue between them. “My pathology reports tattled on me since they already knew about vampires. The one in charge-”
“Don?” Bones said with a pleasant smile.
Her eyes widened in surprise, but she quickly recovered.
“Yes, Don. He said he’d been looking his whole life for someone strong enough to fight vampires who wasn’t one of them. He offered to relocate me and my mom if I led his team. He also promised to leave you alone. We couldn’t all have survived any other way-”
“Bollocks,” he cut her off.
She stiffened. “We would have been hunted like animals! And my mother would rather have died than gone with you. She’d also rather see me killed than changed into a vampire, and let’s face it, that’s what you would have eventually wanted me to do!”
Her voice rose at that last part, as if she were confronting him with something he’d tried to hide. Frustration swirled like a tornado inside him, and Bones spun her faster than he intended. Cat jumped out of the way to avoid bumping into another dancer.
He yanked her back, still torn between anger and frustration. “That’s what kept you away after you left? Believing your mum that I’d make you turn into a vampire? Bloody hell, Kitten, did it ever occur to you to talk to me?”
“Talking wouldn’t have mattered,” she said stubbornly. “You’re a vampire. I’m not, so you would have insisted on that eventually.”
“No, I wouldn’t have, and when have I ever lied to you?”
“How about when you kidnapped and murdered Danny Milton?” she shot back. “You swore you’d never touch him, but I don’t suppose Danny’s off in Mexico sipping margaritas, is he?”
Bones leaned down until his face was only inches away.
“You made me swear never to kill, cripple, maim, dismember, blind, torture, bleed, or inflect any other injury on Danny, or stand by while someone else did. I did none of those things, and you should save your concern for someone worthy. Danny wasn’t. At least he was finally useful. He told me you lived in Virginia. I’d had you narrowed down to three states, and Danny saved me some time. That’s why I told Rodney to kill him fast and painless, but I didn’t stay to watch.”
“You bastard,” she breathed, seeming angrier at how he’d skirted his vow than she was at Danny’s death.
“Since the day I was born,” Bones agreed.
Shockingly, a tear formed at the corner of her eye.
Bones stared at it in disbelief. “You’re not grieving over that wanker, are you?”
“Not him,” she said in a thicker voice. “I lost a good friend trying to save Danny because I thought it was my job. Joke’s on me, right? I didn’t even realize you were the one who’d kidnapped Danny until weeks later, when I was finally shown the evidence from the scene. My boss sent someone else to the hospital since I was on forced grief leave at the time.”
Bones closed his eyes. She hadn’t reached out to him in Chicago because she hadn’t known about the watch. All his pain, the way he’d ripped himself apart, the colossal mistake he’d made with Annette…all of it had been for nothing.
He opened his eyes. Cat wasn’t looking at him, and she also didn’t speak. Neither did he. Oh, he had many things to tell her, starting with why her concern over him insisting that she change into a vampire was groundless, but right now, he’d shelve that and let the feel of her soothe everything else away.
Yes, she was stubborn, reckless, and clinically in denial over what she was and what she felt, but the pain seething beneath her prickly surface was one he well knew. She might have done it to herself, but that didn’t lessen the sting. Sometimes, it made it far worse.
Either his silence or the music soothed her because she gradually lost her stiffness and began moving with her usual grace. That plus her beauty earned her several admiring glances from the other dancers. Bones didn’t blame them, but it did bring up another sore subject.
“So, how long have you been dating the pet vet?”
All at once, her stiffness was back with a vengeance. “None of your business.”
The blatant hypocrisy made him laugh. “You looked like you were about to ram your knife through Felicity’s heart earlier, and yet you begrudge me this simple question?”
She muttered a curse before saying, “I wanted to kill Felicity because she’s a shallow bitch who pisses me off. It had nothing to do with you.”
Now his laughter was low, deeper, and filled with everything she was trying to deny between them. “Liar.”
He pulled her closer. Her warmth teased him in ever increasing waves, and with every brush of his body, her hands started to tighten on his shoulders. When his hips rubbed hers with a light, sensual graze, she gasped, and her scent bloomed with desire. He let her see him inhale the proof of her arousal while his hands slid down her back in a slow caress.
“Lie all you want,” he murmured. “You did miss me.”