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The Immortalis Series:
Becoming a vampire is easy. Living with the condition... that's the hard part. Join Alyssa as she stumbles through the world of the "Unnatural."
Book 4: Soulstone - It’s a desperate time for rookie vampire Alyssa, and her sanity is hanging by a slender thread. Her clan is still reeling from the monumental battle with Aniketos; a battle that claimed the body of Lysander, her sire and lover, and trapped his spirit in a mysterious crystal. A Soulstone. Unfortunately, no amount of magic has been able to release Lysander’s spirit, and the stone is starting to fade. Weeks of effort have proved futile. Her clan, the Peregrinus, have all but given up hope. Only Alyssa still believes her lover can be released. In despair, Alyssa begs the help of the local witch coven, and unwittingly exposes the supernaturals of Boston to unwanted attention from the Acta Sanctorum. The Saints converge on the city and begin their cleansing crusade to rid the world of all things “Unnatural.” In the middle of an all-out war, but no closer to a solution to the dying stone, Alyssa is left with an unenviable choice: save her mate, or save her clan.
*Friday's feature is Katie's most recent release. Here is an excerpt. Be sure to check back for more.
© November 2012 by Willsin Rowe and Katie Salidas
“You really should change that painting on your wall, Derek.”
“Natasha, I’ve asked you many times to call me Dr. Benson.” He leaned over and checked his notes, then jotted something down. Probably a remark about my attitude. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it damn sure won’t be the last.
“No doubt you have, Derek.”
For a shrink, he really seemed stuck on formality, for whatever reason. Some people’s lives are just so petty. I flicked my hand toward the gauche painting in question. “I mean, it’s not calming at all. Thick daubs of acrylic that look like cellulite on the canvas. And what’s with the oranges and blues together? That’s just insane.”
Dr. Benson didn’t appear to get the joke. Simpleton. He pushed his bookish glasses up on his long narrow nose and glared. “Natasha, I’ve been seeing you for a year, now.” His tone was laced with disappointment. “And you’ve made no progress. No change.” He sat back in his vinyl chair. “None at all.”
“Yep, got it, Derek.” I blocked out his face with my watch for a second. The man could talk! I had four meetings scheduled for this afternoon.
He flipped his notebook and it closed with an unusually loud snap. “You’re still control-dependent, and we’ve made no headway with your addiction to sex either.”
I could recite this lecture word for word now. Time was money and these sessions were already costing me too much of both. Apparently with no results to show for them.
I stood and smoothed my skirt. Derek may be a psychiatrist, but he’s still a man. A straight man, judging by the way his eyes scanned my legs. Too bad for him. If he weren’t just a dull, if handsome, shrink, I might have used him for some much-needed stress relief. He could call it addiction all he liked, but for me it was head and shoulders above these damn therapy sessions.
“Well, Derek. Thanks for a wonderful year. I can’t tell you much I’ve enjoyed losing two valuable hours each week, all for nothing.”
He smiled congenially but the strain in his voice was apparent. “If you’d done the exercises as I instructed, you’d have lost six hours.”
I dug my cellphone out of my Louis Vuitton Olive Monogram Antheia Leather Hobo. “Which is why I didn’t.”
“Which is why you’ve failed at therapy and why you are failing at life.”
The deadpan delivery of those words shocked me. Taken aback, I sucked in a breath and, for a moment, considered throwing my phone straight at his stupid smiling face.
“What the fuck did you just say? Have you seen the size of my house? My portfolio of investments? And I’ve failed? If anything it’s you who’s failed, Derek. You’re supposed to cure me.”
Derek folded his arms. “Natasha, we’ve discussed this rudeness of yours.”
“I’m not being rude; I’m being efficient, getting right to the head of the matter, which is your lack of results.”
“There’s a difference between efficiency and rudeness, Natasha, and you are being—”
I dialed Simon’s number. “Bring the car around.” Then snapped my phone closed and turned to leave.
“Derek, I don’t want to appear...efficient, but I have places to be.”
He surprised me by rushing to the door and blocking my exit. I was unprepared for such animation. Standing there filling the doorframe with his arms crossed he almost appeared authoritative. In his khaki pants and black Oxford shirt, and with his blue eyes narrowed behind dark framed glasses he looked like he’d just passed Door Security 101. “So why are you still here?”
The unfamiliar steel of his voice seemed to carry a lilt of taunting. I nodded at the hallway behind him. “I’m hardly going to climb over you.”
“You know what I mean. Why haven’t you gone to yet another doctor?”
Because no-one else will take me. Because I’ve carved a sharp-tongued path through them all. No way I’d expose myself like that. Not to this nobody. He already had too much of me sitting in his notebooks. I pulled out my gold cigarette case and flipped it open. “I really don’t know.”
“Natasha, you can’t smoke in here.”
I rolled my eyes. Tiny lives with tiny rules. “Derek, my company owns this building. One of my companies, anyway.”
He produced a business card from his pocket. “This is it, Natasha. Your last chance.”
I glared at the card, but he didn’t waver. Just held it steady as I blew a stream of smoke into his face. Finally I took the thing and checked it over.
“I see your people are no better than mine. I should proof-read for you.”
Sadly, he didn’t rise to my taunting. He remained remarkably collected, delivering his deadpan statement. “Master Sweet is not a room.”
I tapped the ash from my cigarette into a potted plant by the door. “So what is it? Candy?”
“Radical therapy. I’ve tried the softly-softly, ‘tell me how that makes you feel’ method. It’s had no effect. Clearly you need a more hands-on approach.” He tapped the edge of the card in my hand. “And what you’ll find in that room will gel perfectly with your current…addictions.”