Friday, August 1, 2014

Blog Tour, Series eARC Review, Excerpt, #Giveaway:The Harcourte Vampyre Society Series by Morgan Kelley





Dangerous Revelations ~ Book 1
Mistress Jolie Harcourte has lived a very long time.
She’s seen things come and go in her eight centuries, but one thing always surprises her- how humans and her kind can’t be left to their own devices.
When someone is killing humans and leaving their bodies scattered all over the town, there’s only one thing to do.
The right thing.
She has to help.
As an expert in deviant behavior, Jolie has volunteered to help the police solve this mess. Or, in this case, lead them astray while she ‘handles’ the situation. With her guardian by her side, she must navigate the slippery slope, that is a fine line between the truth and what goes bump in the night.
Everything seems in control until that fateful moment when she sees him.
Detective Flynn Brogan.
He’s trouble for women, and vampyres alike, but even more dangerous to the Harcourte society.
Why?
Because he’s about to find out the truth.
Now, it all comes down to trusting this man, chancing his betrayal, and catching the vampyre who’s risking them all.
One the truth is out, it can’t be bottled back up.
Dangerous Revelations are coming…
Now it’s a matter of who will survive.

Excerpt

It’s been a long time coming. Here’s Jolie and Jacques’s love story……




      ∞ Prologue ∞



1800’s      

Paris, France

Harcourte Manor



“Mistress, there has been another slaying in the city,” the deep, rich voice whispered into the darkness of the room, waiting for her to offer instructions.
“Is it the same as the others, Jacques?” softly came the reply.
There was a rustling of silk gossamer, but still the mademoiselle remained in the darkened shadows of her sleeping quarters, hidden from even his eyes.
“Yes, my Mistress. The local authorities are in the process of questioning anyone, who may have seen or heard anything on the night that the killing occurred.”
Again, there was a pause and almost a moment of trepidation on her behalf.
“Jacques, please! I must know. Are all of our people accounted for on that evening?” she asked. “I don’t wish to have to come up with another alibi for our society. It’s getting increasingly difficult to not look like we have something to do with these murders.”
“Mistress Jolie, we have all been accounted for on the nights of the slayings. The authorities can’t drop this one into our laps. Surely, we will come across as being free of guilt.”
There was the soft tinkle of laughter. It spoke deeply of what neither of them were saying, but instead thinking.
Both knew that guilt didn't matter.
Not this time, and not ever.
It wouldn’t be the police who hunted them down like animals in the streets.
She continued, “Was all the blood taken from this victim too, Jacques?”
“Yes, my Mistress. There was none found near the victim, and it does appear that it was one of our kind who did it. Someone is feeding from the humans and leaving them for dead.”
That was the worst news they could give her. If one of their species was making a meal of the humans, it was going to come back to haunt them.
It always did.
Jolie had lived a long time and seen many atrocities. There had been some to her people, and some to the humans. Either way, she had learned to never discount fate and what could, or would, happen.
They were all pawns in the game.
“This doesn’t make me happy, Jacques, not at all. We’re hunted to begin with. We don’t need to have a rogue vampyre drawing attention to us.” She paused, choosing her words cautiously before speaking them. The vampyre before her would do anything she asked, and as of late, it was imperative to keep her family safe, him included. “I need to know who it is Jacques, and I need it handled immediately, if you understand what I mean,” stated Jolie.
She had made her decision, hoping their carefully constructed fa├žade would remain intact. If that crumbled, they would have to escape for their lives.
“Ask and it shall be yours, Mistress. You know I’ll handle anything that you require done.”
He spoke the vow which he had whispered so many times and centuries before. “I’m ready to serve you.”
Jolie pondered the ramifications, and she prayed that ultimately, they wouldn’t be the ones who suffered in the end.
It was now or never. 
Making the decision, she set fate in motion. The man before her would undoubtedly handle it. “We must act now, before we are found out and eradicated by the hunters.”
 Jacques knew what was required of him.
“Yes, my Mistress,” he replied, watching as she came into the candle light. Momentarily, he was astounded by her ethereal beauty. It always caught him off guard and made his dead heart quicken. “If it is your wish, it shall be done.”
“See to it, Jacques. I wish for the person doing this to be brought to me. I don’t care what society he or she belongs to. I’m enacting my rights to put a stop to this. We must handle this personally, before the authorities start knocking on our door. I’ve not lived six centuries to have my life ended now, and so haphazardly.”
He understood and was willing to handle it, as he always did. After all, it was his job, his responsibility, and his duty.
Jacques knew his role, and it was to be her personal weapon.
“I shall work on it, Mistress.”
There was no doubt in her mind that he would make sure it was done right. If there was anyone who she could trust, it was the man before her. Jacques wouldn’t let her down.
For now, he was their only hope.
Mademoiselle Harcourt turned to her fireplace. Silence befell the room as she watched the flames burn and the wood spark bright colored embers. Her heart ached for a simpler time, where they would be safe.
It was all that she wanted for her people.
Yet, it was getting harder and harder to find it. As technology grew and time passed, their moments were counted like the ticks of a clock.
Jacques watched her with compassion. Desperately, he wanted to go to her and offer her some sort of reassurance that she was making the right decision.
He knew how heavily this was weighing on her heart, and now it weighed on his too.
“I’ll be fine,” she replied, catching the thoughts that flickered though his mind and into hers. Jolie appreciated how willing he was to offer her some peace.
It simply was his way.
But alas, she was the primus of the city, and it was her job to make sure the humans could co-inhabit with her kind. These atrocities must be stopped before their existences were further threatened. They didn’t need the hunters on their doorsteps.
That meant certain death.
If anything, Jolie Harcourte was a survivor, and she wouldn’t let someone else be her downfall.
It simply wasn’t happening.
“Jacques, call the society together. I don’t want anyone in our inner circle to not see what’s coming. I fear that we can’t wait any longer,” she said, moving toward the man standing in her room.
“Yes, Mistress. Right away.”
“Then, you may go to work and handle it.”
His eyes dilated, and he stared at her emotionlessly. The killer in him was begging to surface. The uncontrollable beast, just below the surface, was willing to comply to her every request. “As you wish, my Mistress.”
Jolie watched her trusted companion close the door. It was her greatest fear that her reign in Paris was coming to an end. She sighed, stepping back into the darkness to begin her evening energy ritual to prepare for what seemed to be the inevitable.  

There was a war coming.
And she was helpless to stop it.



© Copyright 2014 by Morgan Kelley LLC All rights           reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or in an information storage  or retrieval system without written consent from the author. All characters are fictional and any similarity to real life or individuals is coincidental.

Dangerous Choices ~ Book 2
Centuries pass and yet one thing remains the same, we are predators and they are the hunted. What happens when the lines become blurred and the killers are now the only creatures who stand between humans and death?
Jolie Harcourte has taken on the responsibility of protecting those that would stake her in her sleep, since she is one of the most powerful undead remaining. Along with her mates, she has decided to stand up for humans instead of seeing them solely as food.
After being chased from Philadelphia, by a rogue vampyre, she has now moved her family to New Orleans in hopes of just surviving what is coming for them. With Jacques protecting her, and her newly acquired human mate working for the police, they once again have found themselves between the human world and that of the undead.
More bodies are turning up in the streets and fingers are pointing right at them. Now, it's a matter of time before suspicion lands at their doorsteps and they once again are hunted and chased. One thing remains the same, someone has to die, but will it be them or the killers?
May the Dangerous Choices begin…

Excerpt

∞ Prologue ∞



Turning his head to scan the darkness which surrounded him, he sought out the woman who was hunting him.
Her vile scent was unmistakable.
The air around him was fragranced with the smell of gardenias. Oh, how he hated that nauseating stench. It turned his stomach, making him want to wretch. The perfume was so heavy in the air that it reminded him of a funeral.
Everything about it was overpowering, but that was exactly what she wanted. There was no doubt in his mind that she longed to greedily drink in his fear.
All of this was quite obvious.
For this to work for her, the prey needed to be well aware that he was going to be her victim. The vicious bitch was tracking him to his demise. It was her pleasure to play with his mind and, if she caught him, his body.
She was sick, vicious, and out for blood. Unfortunately for her, he couldn’t let her win.
Not now.
Not ever.
He had a family to consider, and his duty was with the woman who owned his soul. If the predator were to catch him, it would be a dagger to his love’s heart.
Their family would crumble, and they would be broken.
That’s why Flynn Brogan had to keep going.
With each step through the fog, he searched for the one way to escape her. As long as he kept trying, ultimately, his death wouldn’t be in vain. The doom enveloped him as he fought valiantly for hope and love.
As if by magic, her name was gone from his mind.
It was like someone was taking away all his memories of her.
No, it wasn’t just her. It was all of them.
The harder he tried to whisper her name, the more difficult it became. It wouldn’t roll from his tongue, but instead burrowed deeper into his mind.
There was no choice.
He had to fight.
Deep down, he knew that if he gave up, it would all be over for him. His heart was telling him to fight on, while his brain told him to quit.
It was hopeless.
Why couldn’t he remember her name or face?
Now, everything about her was slipping away too.
Before this moment, surely it had been burned into his soul for all time, and now…
It was missing.
“Come on,” he muttered, as he fought hard to recall her name. It was right there on the tip of his tongue, waiting for his mouth and brain to work together.
If he could just say it, everything would be okay. Flynn was sure of it. All it would take is calling for her, and this would all go away.
She would save him.
The last piece of her beautiful face slipped from his mind, taken so he couldn’t hold onto any hope. It wavered, and then faded from his thoughts.
Shit!
It was getting harder and harder to think straight.
“Run, Detective!” came her hideously sweet voice. “Run for your pathetic life.”
Laughter.
Her words were like nails on a chalkboard, and he refused to look back. For now, he needed to keep going forward.
There was no way he’d give her the satisfaction of a victory.
As far as he was concerned, he had to get to her, no matter what obstacles stood in the way. His heart demanded it. If he trusted in that alone, he’d be okay.
It was all Flynn had to cling to.
“Damn it! Think!” he muttered to himself, as he kept trudging through knee-deep sludge. It swirled around him in a pungent, bubbling brew, threatening to pull him under. He couldn’t let that happen. Locked in this nightmare, he feared what lived above the water, let alone what was waiting beneath.
“What’s wrong, Detective? Are you feeling a little lost?” she asked, laughing maniacally. 
With each word, there were cold, icy fingers brushing down his spine, wrapping around him. It choked him as tears filled his eyes. Flynn was being bombarded with so much hate, anger, and fear, that it was making each step painful.
Already, his will was weakening.
He didn't have much left.
Soon, he would be forced to wish for death.
Brogan tripped, falling face first into the sludge. It pulled him under as he fought to resurface for air. Something intimately brushed his body beneath the murky mire, and he tensed. So much fear was now gripping him as tentative fingers touched his left leg, and then his hip.
Breaking the surface, he fought to get away. As he opened his eyes and cleared the sludge from his face, a strangled sound escaped his throat. Flynn was almost too afraid to look at what was surfacing around him, but he could hear the water churning.
It was coming for him.
He knew it.
As he looked down, his worst fears materialized in sludge around him.
Floating in the water were corpses.
There were so many tiny broken bodies of children with no life left in them.
He wanted to weep.
Flynn needed to scream.
No, he longed to beg.
But instead, he fought on, refusing to succumb to her madness.
“Christ,” he hissed, trying not to touch them as they floated by with their dead eyes watching him. Flynn silently began pleading for help. In his heart, he knew she wouldn’t let him die like this.
Would she?
Shit!
What was her name?
“What’s wrong, Detective? Does death bother you?” she asked, mocking him wickedly. He was her prey, and soon she would even the score.
It would be his life for the one she lost.
It only seemed fair.
Brogan scrambled away from the floating corpses to head to the bank of land which appeared at his left. He knew he had to get out of the water or he would lose his mind.
That was her intent, and he couldn’t let her win.
He wasn’t done yet.
There was still hope.
            The broken bodies began calling from the water, “Help us, Detective! Save us!” They reached for him, brushing his stomach and hips as he struggled to escape their watery grave. He shook off one clinging child, finally stumbling out of the water. On the ground, Flynn crawled like a crab to escape their tiny fingers, as the little voices pleaded for his help.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” he mumbled over and over again, watching them float away in the murky water. Flynn knew that he was helpless to stop or help them. For now, his survival had to come first.
He needed to live.
For the first time in his career, he chose to be selfish. There was no way he was going back into the water for the dead. It wasn’t happening.
Laughter filled the air, ripping down his flesh like sharp thorns in bramble.
“You’ll be sorry, Detective.”
The voice slithered around him, making his heart jump in his chest. The sick laughter choked the air from his lungs, squeezing the breath from his body.
He was dying.
Scrambling to his feet, Flynn needed to put space between him and the watery grave. As he glanced up the muddy hill, he saw the trees and had hope.
He’d take a foot race through the woods any day.
Despite the odds, there was no other choice. Hope was waning as the predator’s laughter filled his ears and head.
Who would save him?
She would.
He was sure of it.
Now, if he could only call out her name. It would act as a talisman out of this hell. Closing his eyes, Flynn tried to picture her beautiful face to use it as a beacon home.
“Shit.”
He stumbled over something again, as the last of his energy was depleted, draining from his body. He was so tired and didn’t think he could take another step. Brogan didn’t want to wade through death anymore. He just wanted to find her. In his heart, he knew that she would offer him comfort and peace.
He knew it.
“Please save me,” he whispered with so much pain and emotion in his voice.
“She can’t get to you, Detective. You’re mine now.”
 Flynn heard the footsteps coming toward him, but his body was too heavy to care. He looked down toward his feet and saw the bodies of the children. The corpses were dragging themselves from the river and across the mud. They were closing the distance with their dead eyes focused on him.
Flynn knew the truth.
Ultimately, he would die by their hands.
“No!” he screamed hoarsely, as he tried to move out of their reach. His head pounded as more sick laughter inundated him, wave after wave.
“Please help me!” he called to her.
Only he knew the truth.
She couldn’t hear him.
Shaking his head, he tried to break the invisible bonds holding him against his will. Then, he saw the evil bitch materialize in front of him. All the energy shifted around him at her approach.
“We meet again, Detective. You should have let me kill her, and then you could have saved yourself. She isn't worth it, and now you’ll pay.”
Over his dead body would he let that happen. Despite this bitch’s words, he knew the truth. Flynn Brogan would die to keep his woman safe and out of this evil vampyre’s reach.
She stepped toward him, kicking the crawling dead children out of her way as if they were nothing. The sickening crunch of bone and brittle limbs filled the air, as they fell like broken dolls. Yet, still more of the lost kept crawling from the stagnant water toward him, refusing to give up their mission.
Flynn knew he was screwed.
 “Who do you want to kill?” he begged, praying for a clue. He knew she would save him if he could just remember her name.
Think damn it and remember!
 “I need your mistress to pay. She killed my only precious child, and I need to make her suffer. By stealing away what she loves, I can have my revenge. What choice do I have?”
“You have a choice,” Flynn hissed, as he watched her take a dagger from her sleeve. The woman and her army of dead children crept toward him. Their little fleshless hands began pulling at his clothes, as their skinless lips smacked in hunger at the possible meal.
 “No, God! No!” he whispered hoarsely. It couldn’t end like this. Surely, this wasn’t destined to be his final moments. Brogan closed his eyes and used every ounce of his energy to focus on his woman. He sent out a silent plea to her, taking one last chance that she would hear him.
He couldn’t remember her name, but Flynn knew she existed. It would have to be enough.
 “She won’t come for you. She can’t save you, Detective.”
  The children were digging their nails into his body and pain tore through him. The little claws of bone were ripping holes in his arms and legs to find leverage on their climb up his frame.
They were trying to get to his throat.
When he stared at the closest one, he saw that the human teeth were gone, and sharp, pointy fangs had emerged.
They were going to drink him dry.
Brogan was about to give in to it all, letting the horrors win. He was too weak to carry on.
He was lost.
There was no choice but to let it all go.
Just as he whispered goodbye to the nameless woman he loved, there was warmth. It covered him, wrapping around his body in a gentle cocoon. Then, there was her beautiful French tinged voice, and it was the sweetest sound to his ears. She was calling for him from the darkness to be his salvation.
“Please help me,” he begged in response to the warmth.
“Flynn, come to me,” she called, love flooding from her voice to offer him peace.
He opened his eyes and stared down at the dead who were digging into his body. Just her essence was forcing them to scatter and scamper away. Flynn knew that this wasn’t a figment of his imagination.
He could trust her.
She was the one.
This woman was his love.
Glancing up at the hideous killer, he watched as she loomed over him. Her face contorted into an ugly mask of hate. In her cold black eyes, he saw anger and destruction. It was then that her intent was clear. Flynn watched as she lifted the dagger to end his life, and fear flooded back into his body.
“Flynn, come to us,” the voice said, offering peace and the only way out of the nightmare.
“Jolie?”
The name slid into his mind and out between clenched teeth. He heard the woman in front of him scream at the realization that the prey was no longer hers. The dagger started its descent downward in a sickening arch, aimed right at his heart.
“Wake, Flynn. NOW!” she called urgently.
He felt himself being jerked back to consciousness, just as the cold metal of the dagger began piercing his flesh. He fought to sit upright, but his arms were pinned to his sides by some force stronger than him. He opened his eyes fully expecting to look into the face of death, but it was peace which stared back at him.
“Jolie?” he asked again, his voice cracking. Here stood the darkest angel he had ever seen, and she was straddling his body.
He didn't wait.
Sitting upright, Flynn went into her arms and against her body, like a scared child who needed comforting.
 “Flynn, you had us terrified,” she whispered into his ear, as she lovingly stroked his strong back and silky black hair. He was clutched to her chest, holding on for dear life. Jolie left kisses across his flesh in an effort to reassure him that he was indeed safe.
Her heart pounded against his. 
 “Oh God! That was horrible!” He shook uncontrollably against her as Jolie’s hands soothed away all his fears. Flynn stared at the second vampyre sitting beside them as he ran his hand gently over Flynn’s leg in comfort.
“It’s okay, my friend. You’re safe,” promised Jacques, his serene, green eyes offering sympathy.
“We’re here, Flynn. You’re safe now.”
Brogan lay back, still clutching on to her tightly. As he came to rest against the pillows on their shared bed, Jolie curled protectively around him. 
“I have you, Flynn. I won’t leave you,” Jolie offered.
Taking a deep breath, he inhaled the scent of her expensive French bath oils. Instantly, the fragrance began erasing the horrible memories that were replaying in his head. As he buried his face in her throat, she placed as much of her body against him as possible. His Jolie was acting like a warm, protective blanket.
“What happened, Flynn?” she asked.
“She was in my dreams,” he finally said, when the calming ministration began to relax him.
“Who is ‘she’, Flynn? We heard you call for us, and it took us a while to get to you. What happened? What was scaring you so much and keeping you from us?” Jolie inquired.
He relaxed as they both moved to protectively frame his body, building a buffer from anything that wanted to hurt him. The closeness gave him peace.
This was his family.
Flynn had survived, and now he could tell them what he’d learned. Someone had to give them the bad news, and it needed to be him.
“She’s back for you-for us.”
“She?” repeated Jacques, already sure he knew the answer to his own question.
“Genevieve,” he whispered, as if saying her name was forbidden and would conjure the monster into their room.
Silence shrouded them.
Jolie had no doubt that this day would come.
It had only been a matter of time.
Now, it would begin.
Jacques began planning his strategy of keeping his family safe. It appeared that the wicked vampyre was going to hit them fast and hard, but Flynn’s nightmare could be to their advantage.
They had a warning.
“She’s found us through your dreams, and now we’re the hunted,” stated Jolie sadly, knowing what was coming.
Brogan didn't say a word. After what he experienced, he knew that the woman wasn’t just coming for them.
She was wielding the hammer of twisted justice.
Genevieve had one thing in mind.

Their deaths.

© Copyright 2014 by Morgan Kelley LLC All rights  reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or in an information storage or retrieval system without written consent from the author. All characters are fictional and any similarity to real life or individuals is coincidental.


Review


Series: The Harcourte Vampyre Society
by Morgan Kelley
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 8, 2014)

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars





The Harcourte Vampyre Society gives other vampire stories another twist. Morgan Kelley built this alternate world where humans and vampires don't just co-exist, they have a symbiotic relationship. Vampire males are sterile so they need human males to propagate their species. In turn, humans gain protection and an extremely long life.

It's not so very different except for one point I found intriguing: these vampires had guardians. Instead of just living in a societal group or family, the head vampire (the oldest, in this case) had a guardian assigned to them. Rather strange? Oldest usually means strongest so why the bodyguard?

Jolie Harcourte leads her society of vampires and humans, with her oldest friend Jacques at her side as guardian. These two are the most beautiful and graceful beings imaginable, attracting attention wherever they go without even trying. Perfect couple comes to mind.

Doctor Harcourte comes to police attention in the wake of mysterious murders happening all around Philadelphia. Since she's the only psychiatrist specializing in deviant behavior, she's asked to help solve the case, which she does with the blessings of the vampire council - to lead them away from the true source of the crimes while they mete out justice on their own.

Her appearance causes mass mayhem around the police station with the officers being drawn to her without realizing why. All except one who tries to resist her pull - detective Flynn Brogan. He doesn't trust her or the "underwear model" who lives with her, otherwise known as Jacques.

As they draw closer to the real killer, Flynn is good enough at his job to be able catch up despite all their false leads. His tenacity leads to Jolie and Jacques bringing him into their family in order to protect him and save his life. It's Dangerous Revelations one after the other.

One case solved, but one family down. Jolie Harcourte has done so e unforgivable acts while protecting the humans around her and her local council won't have it. They've voted to exile the Harcourte Society and Flynn along with them. With only hours to spare, they must leave or be killed, and fate brings them to New Orleans.

The family settles into a large old estate on the fringes of the city to attract as little attention to themselves as possible. Flynn continues working with the police after securing a transfer to New Orleans. He's got more responsibilities now that he's Jolie's guardian after Jacques was chosen to be her mate. No one reminds him of his responsibilities more than his new partner Lily. There's something about her that bothers him deeply.

The weight of his job brings him down, too. Something is going around kidnapping and murdering children and the perfection of the kill leads him to believe it's vampires yet again. Then there is that little matter of a rival vampire society that wants them all destroyed...

His society is threatened, his lovers are at risk, and his job hangs in the balance. Can Flynn protect them all again? Dangerous Choices must be made, and quickly.

These were two extremely interesting books and Morgan Kelley was able to put her unique spin on the classic vampire meets human story. It's an excellently crafted tale with just the right amounts of intrigue, eroticism, and violence in perfect balance.

There were just two things that bothered me. One is the repeated calling of Flynn as "our detective" by Jolie and Jacques. Why not just use his name? Or wouldn't "our guardian" been more apropos by the end of the first book? I didn't get that at all.

Second, how many times must Flynn die protecting them before they trust him? Granted though, they've been betrayed numerous times by humans during their centuries of life so it might take a tad bit more. I think.

Overall though, these two first books in the Harcourte Vampyre Society series are worth it. There are twists and turns you wouldn't expect and I do love a woman who knows how to take care of herself and her family while thinking of her man (or men!) first. I do hope I can get to read the rest of this series!


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