That’s right! Book FOUR! As of this writing, my edits are complete and I’ve heard it’ll be published in March.

March, people! WOOT!

The long wait is finally over!

In honor of the impending (though unknown) date, I’ve updated my bibliography and created a new page devoted solely to the book. If you go there, you’ll see the first scene of the book.

Go ahead! I’ll wait here for you…

Are you done? Sweet!

I’m going to do two more things to celebrate the release of the final Sanguire novel.

First – Book Giveaway!

I mean, how can I not do a book giveaway for this series? The thought is just too ridiculous to consider.

So here’s the deal: comment below and you’ll be added to the drawing. (Only one entry per person please!) In seven days, I’ll pull the lucky name out of the digital hat.

And will that person win a simple book?

Oh, heck no!

I’m giving away the full set — all four Sanguire books!

               

That’s right! The complete set of the Sanguire books, personally autographed to your specification!

But don’t skip down to the end, just yet. I have something else for you.

Second – Lady Dragon Excerpt!

Oh, yeah! Heading over to the Lady Dragon page will net you the first scene, but here’s scene two in its entirety!

There are some new faces in the book, and the following excerpt introduces Jake, Whiskey’s new full-time bodyguard.

Backstory: A few years ago I was involved in an auction for a friend who’d suffered a horrible car accident. One of the things I offered was a character auction — a place in the new Sanguire book. Susan Jacobsen was the winner, and Jake is her character.

“Jake” has been so patient, waiting so long for this book to see the light of day! I can’t thank her enough, not only for her contribution to the auction, but not screaming bloody murder at the long wait before her debut!

Thank you, Susan! You are awesome!

And now, on to the excerpt:


Whiskey watched the door close behind Margaurethe and Castillo with mixed emotions. I wish the Agrun Nam was already here and gone.

“I believe that’s my cue to depart as well.”

She looked at Valmont who had remained standing. “You’d better be here tonight. If I have to suffer through this, so do you.”

Valmont affected injury as he held a hand to his chest. “I would never leave you to the tender mercies of the Agrun Nam alone. Besides, Aiden can be such a bore. You’ll need at least one person to talk to that isn’t interested in etiquette. How droll.” His lips quirked into a smile at her laugh. “I’ll be here with bells on. Five o’clock?”

“Yes. Margaurethe says they’ll be here around three this afternoon. That should give them time to get settled before the reception.” She pushed to her feet and came around the desk. “What are the chances of you getting dressed up for the occasion?”

He snorted at her, taking her offered hand. “Slim to none, I’d say. My days as a dandy have long passed, My Gasan.”

Her smile was a sad one, the melancholy brought on by memories of political receptions past when a much younger Valmont had delighted in the color and splendor of a new outfit. The recollections weren’t hers; they belonged to Elisibet Vasillas, the Sweet Butcher of the European Sanguire. Most of those memories were brutal and unwanted, but occasionally Whiskey uncovered gems of pleasure. It was odd how she missed the Valmont of old though she’d never met him. She shook his hand. “Maybe so, but does it really take you seven hours to prepare?”

Valmont laughed, releasing her. “I’ve been discovered!” He glanced past Whiskey at the woman standing silent behind the desk. “Jake, help me out here.”

Whiskey turned to regard the bodyguard that had been her constant companion for almost three months. She had the same height and coloring as Whiskey, though her hair was prematurely graying and her eyes were hazel. She appeared to be in her late twenties, but Whiskey knew her to be over five hundred thirty years old.

Jake raised an elegant eyebrow at Valmont. “That’s not in my job description, Sublugal Sañar Valmont.”

Valmont grumbled with little heat, a grin still teasing the corners of his mouth. “Since I’ve been thrown under the bus by your protector, I’ll take my leave. I may come early to welcome your guests.” He stepped backward, bowing low as he went. The obeisance usually annoyed Whiskey, which is why he did it. “Until this afternoon or evening, My Ninsumgal.”

Whiskey pointed at him, warning in her tone. “Count on it.” Once he was gone, her humor melted away. She drifted toward the window, staring out at the park across the street and the river beyond.

Soon the person responsible for the two assassination attempts against her would arrive. She’d demanded that the Agrun Nam send three representatives to her and had no doubt that the man would be among them. At least she knew it was a man—the only woman on the council was Bertrada Nijmege, and her goal was to kill Whiskey herself. Whiskey blew out a breath, knowing that Nijmege would probably be one of the representatives, too. The Agrun Nam had spent months attempting to retrieve Whiskey and bring her to Europe. That had failed, which left Nijmege no other choice but to come to her. Arms crossed, Whiskey leaned one shoulder against the window frame. Her stomach twisted, a light reminder of the forthcoming emotional turmoil she’d have to endure as she met people who actively wanted her death. Why did I ask them here again? Oh, yeah. To make things right. That was a laugh.

“You should move away from the window, Ninsumgal. You’re making a target of yourself.”

Whiskey looked at her bodyguard. Jake’s skin was of a lighter hue than hers, but from far enough away that detail wasn’t noticeable. Reynhard Dorst, Whiskey’s security advisor, had recommended Susan “Jake” Jacobsen for this position just after Margaurethe’s kidnapping and rescue, citing that at the very least Jake could double for Whiskey from a passable distance. To that end, Jake had moved forward to mimic Whiskey’s stance, facing her. She did that a lot. It was almost annoying in a younger sibling sort of way. “Are you ready for tonight?”

“Of course, Ninsumgal. I’ve read all the dossiers that Sañur Gasum Dorst has given me. I also receive updated reports regarding the movements of Agrun Nam personnel in this and the neighboring building.” She tapped the tiny wireless radio bud in her ear.

Leaning her temple against the frame, Whiskey studied Jake. “Does Reynhard foresee any trouble?”

“At this sort of function? Doubtful.” Jake stared out the window beside her, eyes scanning every pedestrian, every vehicle passing on the street below. “Whomever has threatened you works alone until he contracts an assassin. He’ll use the reception tonight to gauge the situation—check security, judge the general feel of the people in attendance. He’ll be looking for potential allies and connections. So far he’s been meticulous in his planning, so it’s doubtful he’ll suddenly decide to throw caution to the winds and personally attack you, especially in a public place. He remains secretive to capitalize on your demise; he needs to be officially disassociated from your death.”

Whiskey grinned, turning so her back was against the window frame. “Good. Then you can take the night off.”

Jake smiled, a glint of humor sparking in her eyes as she continued to search for danger. When in a room full of people, she portrayed studious attention or bristled with danger. Only when Whiskey was alone with her did she loosen up, though she never forgot her duty. “Not likely, Ninsumgal.”

“Don’t you get tired of it? Following me around, day in and day out? Never getting to cut loose?”

“No, My Gasan, I don’t. This is what I enjoy doing.” Her smile widened at Whiskey’s scoff of disbelief. “Besides, where else can I get an opportunity to practice my Setswana?”

Whiskey laughed at the reference to the language spoken by Chaniya, the African youngling that had attached herself to Whiskey’s entourage. Whiskey’s pack had become a conglomeration as racially mixed as her board of directors. Whiskey was the youngest of them, the oldest being Daniel at a venerable fifty years of age, and members represented a cross-section of American, European, African, and American Indian peoples. Chaniya had come aboard months ago when her mother had been sent to negotiate with The Davis Group. She’d stayed because her mother, Dikeledi, had joined the corporate board. Chaniya had tutored both Whiskey and Jake in Setswana slang, teaching them vulgar words that Whiskey could never use in her business conversations with Dikeledi.

Using her shoulders, she pushed away from the window frame and returned to her desk. A current photo of Betrada Nijmege looked back at her from the computer monitor. The years hadn’t been kind. Two deep lines bisected her brow, lines that were mere hints in Elisibet’s memories. Coupled with a sharp beak of a nose, the effect was one of a bird of prey, ever vigilant, ever seeking some hapless rodent upon which to dine. And Whiskey was the rat.

Whiskey leaned across the desk, propping her chin on one hand as the other played across the leather texture of the blotter. As she studied the image, her fingers tingled. It took a moment before she realized that she no longer caressed the blotter, instead reaching through the paper and leather with her gift, touching the wood beneath. After months of disappointment, not knowing what psychic talent would manifest once she reached maturity, it had come as a shock to discover she was Gidimam Kissane Lá, a fabled Ghost Walker. That gift had saved her life more than once, and she’d become skilled in its use. These days it was as common as breathing. She jerked her fingers away from the surface of the desk, and the tingling sensation stopped.

A glance over her shoulder showed Jake back in position behind her, staring out the window. That was the good thing about Jake; despite being constantly underfoot, her presence rarely impinged on Whiskey’s senses. It wasn’t that she was invisible, or that Whiskey had simply become accustomed to her constant attendance. Something about Jake made her blend into the background until she was needed. So far she hadn’t been.
Whiskey knew that was going to change very soon.


Whadda Think?

Did that spark your interest?

Okay, I’m out of here. You know the drill! Click below and comment to be included in the drawing for the full set of four Sanguire books.

One entry per person.

Entries ends in one week, midnight Pacific Standard Time on March 6th.

May the best reader win!