For Romance Book Junkies: Halloween Spooktacular 2011
By Syrie James
2 book excerpts + a giveaway!
I’m thrilled to participate in the Halloween Spooktacular, and to tell you about my two latest books—tales of forbidden romance and passion that feature vampires so charismatic, I fell madly in love with them! I hope you will, too. Thanks, Danielle, for inviting me! Please read on for summaries, excerpts, and reviews of both novels, followed by a giveaway.
By Syrie James
SUMMARY: Syrie James approaches Bram Stoker's classic Dracula with a breathtaking new perspective, as Mina Harker records the shocking story of her scandalous seduction and sexual rebirth. Struggling to hang on to the pure love she's found within her marriage to her husband, Jonathan, Mina is drawn into a secret, passionate affair with a fascinating, charismatic, yet dangerous lover—a man she doesn’t at first realize is the vampire Count Dracula.
Although everyone she knows fears Count Dracula and is pledged to destroy him, Mina sees a side to him that others cannot: a tender, romantic side; a man who's taken full advantage of his gift of immortality to expand his mind and talents; a man who is deeply in love, and who may not be evil after all. Soon, they are connected in a way she never thought humanly possible. Yet to surrender is surely madness, for to be with him could end her life.
EXCERPT FROM DRACULA, MY LOVE
Dracula crossed to me then and stopped, touching my cheek with one hand as he gazed deeply into my eyes. "Mina," he said gently, "I swear to you, upon my honour: the only real wrong I have ever done your husband—and I admit it is an egregious one—is to covet the woman he loves."
My breath caught in my throat. He was so near, so very near. I could read the fervent desire in his blue eyes, and I felt an answering need well up within me. All at once, my anger, fears, and doubts evaporated. I did not care if he was lying or not. I did not care whether he was good or evil. All I cared about was that this man's arms should wrap around me, that his body should press close up against me, and that his lips should find mine.
"They are all bent on destroying you," I whispered. "What shall I do? How can I help you?"
"I do not think you can help me, my darling. But do not worry. I can take care of myself."
He drew me close then and kissed me. It was a long and passionate kiss. Desire coursed through me. When his lips left my mouth and travelled down to my throat, I quivered in anticipation, knowing what would come next, wanting it. He promised that I will be safe, I reminded myself. He promised not to harm me.
He unbuckled the velvet band around my neck and tossed it aside. His eyes—now red—met mine; I gave him my silent ascent, waiting in breathless ecstasy as my head fell back.
Then I felt it: the prick of his teeth piercing my flesh, and the exquisite joy as my warm blood pulsed from my body into his.
* * * * * * * * *
It has been seven long years since the first night he came to my chamber, seven long years since the string of haunting, incredible, and perilous events occurred—events which I am certain no one else will believe, even though we took care to make a written record of it. It is those transcripts of our journals—mine, and the other's—which I look at from time to time, to remind myself that it all really happened, and that I did not merely dream it.
Now and then, when I spy a white mist gathering in the garden below, when a shadow crosses a wall at night, or when I see dust motes swirling in a beam of moonlight, I still find myself jumping in expectation and alarm. Jonathan will press my hand and catch my eye with a silent, reassuring look, as if to let me know that he understands, that we are safe. But when he turns back to his reading by the fire, my heart continues to hammer in my chest, and I am overcome not only by the sense of apprehension that Jonathan knows I feel, but by something else as well . . . by longing.
The record I kept—the journal I so carefully wrote in shorthand, and then typed for the others to read—was not the entire truth; not my truth. Some thoughts and experiences are too intimate for others' eyes; some desires are too shocking to admit, even to one's self. Were I to reveal all to Jonathan, I know I would lose him forever, as surely as I would lose forever the good opinion of all society.
I know what my husband wants—what all men want. For a woman—single or married—to be loved and respected, she must be innocent: entirely pure of mind, body, and soul. And so I once was, until he came into my life. At times, I feared him. At other times, I despised him. And yet, even knowing what he was and what he wanted, I could not help but love him.
I will never forget the magic of being held in his embrace, the compelling magnetism of his eyes as he gazed at me, or how it felt to whirl about the dance floor in his arms. I still shiver with delight when I recall the dizzying sensation of travelling with him at the speed of light, and the way his slightest touch could make me gasp with unimagined pleasure and desire. But the most wondrous times were the hours upon hours of conversation, stolen moments in which we revealed our most private selves to each other, and discovered all that we held in common.
I loved him. I loved him passionately, profoundly, from the very depths of my being, and with every beating of my heart. There was a time when I might have gladly given up this human life to be with him forever.
And yet . . . .
All these years, the truth of what happened has weighed heavily on my mind, taking the pleasure out of ordinary things, stealing my appetite, and banishing sleep. I find I cannot carry the guilty burden within me any longer. I must put it all down on paper, never to be seen by other's eyes, but certain that only in the writing will I at last be free to let it go.
* * * * * * * * *
"5 STARS. A perfect read. Fans of Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer will find much to rejoice about in this novel... However, in my opinion, James is a better writer than either." —Much Madness is Divinest Sense
"The rest of the world might think they know everything about the Count from Transylvania, but only Mina Harker, who once fell under the seductive spell of literature's most famous vampire, knows Dracula's true story. James gives readers an intriguing alternate theory as to the events that occurred in Stoker's classic horror tale while at the same time delivering a spooky yet thoroughly romantic love story." —Chicago Tribune
"I loved it! A gripping story, infused with passion, excitement, and emotional turmoil. This vampire can bite my neck any time!" —American Book Center
Order DRACULA, MY LOVE online here:
Amazon Trade Paperback: http://amzn.to/gT9r8p
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/oYnTCU
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/pAEjy2
* * * * * * * * *
EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY:
SUMMARY: When Nicole Whitcomb's car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger. Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension. Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret—or secrets—is he hiding?
Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from—but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her— a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change their lives forever. As the sexual tension between them builds, however, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns her host's terrifying secret, there is nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside, and Michael may be the only one who can save her life.
EXCERPT FROM NOCTURNE
In groggy confusion, Nicole took in her surroundings. She was lying on a couch in a spacious living room decorated with a masculine flair. Muted daylight shone in through a row of tall windows that reached the peaked, vaulted ceiling. Where was she? Then she remembered. The storm. The accident.
A man was bent over the fireplace, his back to her. Nicole’s hand went to her left temple and encountered a bandage. She sat up, an action that caused her head to throb painfully, and the man to whip around in her direction.
“Don’t touch that.” His tone was so sharp that Nicole dropped her hand to her lap. To her surprise he spoke with a refined British accent.
“My head hurts,” Nicole said, staring at the man’s scarred, brown leather boots, which peeked out from beneath dark jeans.
“That’s to be expected. You received a rather nasty blow.”
Nicole looked up at the man’s face for the first time. An unexpected fluttering began in her stomach. He had lovely blue eyes and was extremely handsome. He appeared to be in his mid-thirties and had a lean, athletic build. His light brown hair was combed back loosely from his forehead. The silver buckle that adorned his leather belt looked like an antique or something a cowboy might wear. But cowboys didn’t have British accents—did they?
“Is this your house?” she asked.
“It is. What’s your name?”
“Do you remember what happened to you?”
“Yes. One minute, I was in complete control of my car, and the next I was sliding off the road and flipping over.”
He nodded. “Four-wheel drive doesn’t mean four-wheel stop. The accident happened on the highway just below my house. I saw it when I was out clearing my road. You’d passed out behind the wheel. I dug you out, brought you up here, and cleaned you up a little.” He stepped away with unhurried grace and lowered himself into an easy chair—as far off, she noticed, as it was humanly possible to sit.
“Thank you.” Nicole felt a jumble of contradictory emotions: a rush of gratitude to this total stranger who’d saved her life; the light tingle of her attraction to him; and an overwhelming awkwardness. Although his words seemed to convey an interest in her well-being, his voice and body language implied otherwise. She wished she could leave immediately. But how? Her car was buried in a snowbank and it was blizzarding outside.
“I appreciate everything you’ve done to help me. I’m sorry to be in your way.” She paused, hoping he would contradict her, but he didn’t. “What kind of injury do I have? As I recall, my head was a bloody mess.”
Her statement brought a brief, dark glimmer to his eyes that sent an unexpected chill up Nicole’s spine. She had no reason to be afraid of this man. Did she?
“A small cut on your temple—nothing severe,” he answered.
Nicole’s heart began to beat erratically. Who was this guy? He seemed very cultured, as if he belonged in a palace surrounded by servants. What was an Englishman doing in this remote corner of the Colorado mountains… unless he was hiding from something?
“You haven’t told me your name,” she said.
“Haven’t I? I beg your pardon. Michael Tyler.”
“How is it that you live up here? I thought this was national forest land.”
“It is. But there are pockets of private land scattered throughout.”
“Do you live by yourself, or…”
“I live alone.”
Her questions seemed to annoy him. In an effort to lighten the mood, she glanced at the grand piano and said, “So I take it it’s either you who plays that piano, or the resident ghost?”
A surprised twinkle lit his blue eyes. “Definitely the ghost. She plays at the oddest hours. I deduce that she’s from the previous century, which is strange when you consider that I only built the house ten years ago.”
Nicole laughed. His smile was charming and only enhanced his good looks. Maybe there was nothing to be afraid of after all…
* * * * * * * * *
“Lyrical, lush, and intensely romantic, this infinitely touching, bittersweet story from James (Dracula, My Love) will weave its way into readers' hearts, with its complex characters and compelling emotions sure to linger long after the last page has been turned.” —Library Journal
"Syrie James has done it again with this wonderful combination of thriller, mystery and romance that will greatly please her legion of fans... Bound to keep you turning page after page."—Top Romance Novels
Syrie James puts her own spin on the vampire trend with this tender, character-driven love story. The snowbound Nicole and Michael have so much chemistry that everything they do, from discussing literature to carving wooden music boxes, becomes foreplay. You won't need a snowstorm to keep you glued to your chair, racing through this fantastic novel!” —RT Book Reviews
"A once-in-a-lifetime kind of love... Each incredible revelation kept me turning pages long into the night." —A Simple Love of Reading
"Haunting characters ... A page-turner." —Fresh Fiction
"5 OUT OF 5 STARS! I loved it!" —Good Choice Reading
"Near-death experiences, a charming and enigmatic stranger, concealed dark secrets, forbidden love – Syrie James' latest novel is an exquisite feast of passion, turmoil, adventure, and intrigue. 5 stars!” —Austenesque Reviews
“If you've never read a Syrie James novel you're missing out. Whether you begin with her odes to Austen, Bronte, Dracula, or Nicole and Michael – you will most assuredly read every word she's written and become a true fan for all time." —
Order Nocturne online here:
Amazon Hardcover: http://amzn.to/pBBHZ1
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/njXmGZ
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/ni8p2g
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/exfjC3
Find Syrie Online:
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/syriejames
SYRIE JAMES BIOGRAPHY
Syrie James is the bestselling author of four critically acclaimed novels, including Nocturne, Dracula, My Love, and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, named Best First Novel 2008 by Library Journal. Hailed by Los Angeles Magazine as “the queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings,” Syrie's books have been translated into 16 foreign languages. Her novel The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë has been optioned for film, was honored as a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association, and the audio book won the prestigious 2011 Audie Award in the romance category. Syrie’s short story leads the new anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It. Syrie’s next novel Forbidden, a YA paranormal romance which she co-wrote with her son Ryan, is due out January 2012. A lifetime member of JASNA, RWA, and WGA, Syrie is currently hard at work on a new novel for Penguin Books. Visit Syrie on facebook, Twitter, and syriejames.com.
ENTER to win a signed copy of the paperback edition of NOCTURNE, which includes an exclusive sneak preview at the back of the first two chapters of Syrie’s next book, FORBIDDEN, due out Jan. 24, 2012. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
To enter the contest, tell us what intrigues you about Nocturne and/or Dracula, My Love, and why you’d like to win the book. Don't forget to include your email so we can contact you if you win.The contest ends Nov. 29th