Posted by: Jessa Slade
Currently working on: Kicking Book 1 out of the nest. Fly, little Book 1, fly!
Mood: Giddy

October is the release (finally!) of my first book, SEDUCED BY SHADOWS, Book 1 in a new urban fantasy romance series, The Marked Souls, from Signet Eclipse.

Maybe a good way to introduce you to the story is to give you the scene where the hero and heroine meet for the first time. Can you see the spark that will lead to them falling in love? (Hopefully that’s the moment you’ll fall in love too!)

With the traffic of Upper Wacker behind her, Sera started over the bridge, ducking her head against the wind hissing across the black water.

A quarter of the way across, she noticed the man alone in the middle of the bridge.

If she hadn’t been so wrapped up in her own thoughts, she would have seen him earlier. The matte black trench coat silhouetted his height against the slash of silvery night sky. He stood braced against the wind tugging at the hem of his coat.

Born and raised in the city, she had a healthy respect for and no unreasonable fear of downtown dangers. She worked—until recently, of course—in a job with late hours in sometimes sketchy neighborhoods and had had her car broken into only twice. Even with a cane that marked her as easy pickings, she knew her trigger finger on the can of mace was limber enough.

Still, something about the man slowed her steps and ramped up her pulse.

She couldn’t cross the street. She had less faith in traffic’s ability to avoid her than in her own ability to avoid trouble. And running only invited chasing.

She unzipped the side pocket of her bag where she kept the mace. Hell, if he had a mugging in mind, she could toss out the prescription bottle, and any self-respecting junkie would follow it into the river.

Despite her inner bravado, her limping steps ground to a halt.

He stood with his face half turned to the sky, heedless of the wind that couldn’t ruffle his close-cropped hair. Sera expected dark shades and a lot of bling, but when he finally glanced down at her, the only spark came from the violet reflections glancing off his eyes.

Not that there were any purple lights around them—just maybe some chance fusion of red brake lights and the blue-tinged streetlamps. . . .

If she was mugged, she didn’t want her description to the police to gush about the hypnotic violet lights in his dark eyes. She’d have to remember the hard edge of his jaw and the width of shoulders below the mandarin collar of his coat, which tapered to lean hips.

She jerked her gaze back to his.

He frowned in a thoughtful, not-menacing way, at least no more menacing than was necessitated by the austere cast to his features. “This, I did not expect.”

She’d be able to ID him by his voice, if nothing else—dark and rough, with a hint of mostly forgotten Southern sweetness, like pralines carelessly heated past caramelizing to burned ruination.

He drew himself up, and she thought darting into traffic might not be completely unreasonable.

“If I told you something bad was right here, right now,” he asked, “would you listen to me?”

Sera thrust her hand into her bag. “I’d tell it to back off.” The mace canister felt sleek and cold and ridiculously tiny when she held it out in front of her.

The man tilted his head. “It won’t be stopped that way. Only you can deny it.”

“Consider yourself denied.”

Violet flashed again in his deep-set eyes. “I am not the threat.”

“See, that’s what all the homicidal schizophrenics say.”

Amusement curved his full lips in a way that made her finger tighten on the trigger.

Danger, danger.

You can read all of Chapter 1 at my website.

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