The Book Pushers would like to welcome Alexis Hall back on his blog tour for Iron & Velvet, book 1 of the Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator series. He has kindly offered up an excerpt of the next installment and a contest. If you are a coffee drinker you really want to win this one because the prize just happened to be my favorite coffee. We also have a review of Iron & Velvet going up on our late post today. Enjoy and good luck!
Hello, and welcome to my second ever blog tour, celebrating Riptide Publishing’s release of my second ever novel, IRON & VELVET. Yay! Thank you so much to The Book Pushers for hosting me. And, to you, dear reader, for stopping by. If you’d like to come with me and keep me company on my virtual wanderings, you can find a full listing of when and where I am here.
The fledgling vampires unfolded with an eerie, disjointed grace and started gliding slowly towards me. Four legs or two, living or undead, predators all work the same: the faster you run, the faster they chase you. You want to get out alive, you back away slowly, get something between you and them, and get ready to hit them when they come in. I retreated over the ruins of the front door, crunching on bits of glass and trying not to trip on the shattered wood. At least here in the doorway only two of them could come for me at once.
Two of them came for me at once.
They were half-mad with bloodlust and seemed pretty committed to ripping my face off. I let them run onto my knives. I got one in the neck with the gold blade, and it went down, screaming and hissing. I tried to pull back, but it twisted the knife out of my hand as it fell. I was one for one, but I’d lost the only weapon that could really hurt them, and the second one was already on me. I buried my steel dagger hilt-deep in its chest, but it didn’t even slow down, and we tumbled backwards through the door.
I landed on my back with a vampire straddling my chest. Its fangs flashed in the moonlight as it snapped its head around to bite me. I tucked my chin in and nutted it. There was a crunch of cartilage and a spray of blood, but I didn’t have long to feel smug about it because it yanked my head back and came in for round two. I couldn’t see much with my face full of vampire, but I had a horrible feeling its mates were about to join the party.
It was at times like this that I really appreciated having the option to draw on an ancient wellspring of psychotic faery magic. I reached out to my mother in the Deepwild. She was crouched on top of something helpless, all white teeth and hunger. The air was thick with the sour tang of blood and fear. Part of me kind of liked it. Power coursed through me, and I was just reaching up to bat my enemy away when it suddenly shot into the air, arms and legs flailing like an out of control puppet.
I rolled to my feet. My senses were hunter-sharp, which is how I saw the dark figure crouched on the roof. It smelled of steel and sulphur and something familiar I couldn’t quite place.
The last two vampires came through the door, moving fast. I was ready for them but so was the thing on the roof. It raised an arm. A dart sliced through the air, and one of creatures collapsed on the driveway. Another swift movement, a second dart, and the last vampire was down.
The part of me that was my mother was not pleased to have the lost the kill or the territory. The part of me that was Kate was pleased to be alive but well aware that mysterious ninja assassins aren’t fond of witnesses. I stayed back and stayed wary.
The figure rappelled off the roof and strode towards me.
The instinct to rip its heart out was just about controllable.
No, Kate, it’s not an it. It’s a person, and so are you.
I made myself look at . . . her? It was hard to tell because she was wearing some kind of armoured, black-on-black body suit, all gauntlets and gadgets. Her long dark hair was flowing down her back, and she was talking into a microphone that was so flash I couldn’t see it.
“Situation contained. Minimum three bodies. Proceed.”
As she came closer, the dark glasses snapped back from her eyes and folded into her headset.
“Hi, Kate,” said my ex-girlfriend.
There’s also some kind of contest type thing happening. I had a bit of trouble choosing a prize for this one because most of the things Kate likes (booze, cigarettes, knives, women) are illegal to ship internationally. I thought about a fedora, but then I remembered people had differently shaped heads and there was no point sending somebody an item of clothing they wouldn’t be able to wear. So, basically, that leaves coffee and Bovril and nobody likes Bovril except people from the North East of England. I’m therefore going offer 250g of Jamaican Blue Mountain, the nicest coffee in the known universe, purchased from a wonderful speciality shop, ground or beaned to your specification. If you don’t like coffee, I’ll replace it with an equivalently lovely tea. And if you really want to try the Bovril, I could probably be persuaded to throw that in as well.
If you’d like win this distressingly perishable souvenir please answer the three questions below (clues in the book) and drop me an email. I’ll announce the winner a handful of days after the end of the tour.
2. What is hanging in the study of Aeglica Thrice-Risen?
3. What’s Rule Twelve?
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car. He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.
First rule in this line of business: don’t sleep with the client.
My name’s Kate Kane, and when an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince came to me with a case, I should have told her no. But I’ve always been a sucker for a femme fatale.
It always goes the same way. You move too fast, you get in too deep, and before you know it, someone winds up dead. Last time it was my partner. This time it could be me. Yesterday a werewolf was murdered outside the Velvet, the night-time playground of one of the most powerful vampires in England. Now half the monsters in London are at each other’s throats, and the other half are trying to get in my pants. The Witch Queen will protect her own, the wolves are out for vengeance, and the vampires are out for, y’know, blood.
I’ve got a killer on the loose, a war on the horizon, and a scotch on the rocks. It’s going to be an interesting day.
You can read an excerpt and, y’know, cough, buy the book, if you want, at Riptide Publishing.
Don’t forget to check out the late post to see what E thought and to send your contest entries to Alexis Hall. Thank you again for joining us today.