One of my favorite things about writing is research—and I’m not just talking about surfing the Internet or cracking the books. I love to actually go to the settings where my stories take place, if possible.
I was lucky enough to do this with my latest Vampire Babylon book, A DROP OF RED (book 4, out today!). The next three books—a new trilogy with a new story arc that continues where the first “Hollywood trilogy” left off—center on London. Here’s the back cover blurb to tell you a little more:
When a new Underground is found in England, Dawn Madison and a crack vampire-fighting team are dispatched to carry the fight from the flash and dash of Los Angeles to the seemingly staid and stolid streets of London. Dawn knows by now how deceiving appearances can be—and she is about to find out that it’s not only the beautiful people of Hollywood who are willing to bargain with evil…
I’d been to the land of Jolly Ole before, so getting the opportunity to set the story there was a perfect excuse to fly across the ocean again. But this time, instead of being “just a tourist,” I very much had a purpose: to scout locations for action and detecting scenes, to choreograph scenes, to record sensory details, and to get ideas for the full arc of the London trilogy.
Here’s an excerpt so you get an idea of what the story holds….
Dawn stood, going to him. It was as if there was a magnetic pull, a link between a master gone human and her progeny.
A force neither of them could fight.
She got so close that heat vibrated between their bodies. Trembles cascaded down her length, melting her under the skin until need pooled low in her belly, pulsing.
She folded her arms over her midsection, as if to contain her constant desire for him. “When I tricked the Master into making me a vampire so I could exchange with you and save you, I really thought it was the only way.”
“I know.” He touched her hair, which she had worn long and loose tonight, just the way he liked it.
Leaning into his palm, she felt his preternaturally soft skin hiding a harder layer beneath. He drifted his fingers from her hair to her face, to the cheek where she used to have a blazing scar from a fight with the vampire Robby Pennybaker. But becoming a vampire herself, even for a short time, had healed all the outer wounds except for the ones she’d gotten recently.
Yet the so-called healing had also left behind a stain in her returned soul, a heaviness.
She almost gave into the slump of it when Costin used their Awareness to come in to her. He was light, drifting through her head like a brushstroke of bright color.
The old Dawn would’ve closed him off, just for the sake of defending what remained of herself, so she fought the instinct.
As he continued easing into her—now a shimmer, now an invisible spark—her muscles went liquid. Yet this wasn’t anything like the times in L.A. when he’d entered her for sexual gratification, when he’d fed and rooted off of her very humanity. The welcome invasion wasn’t as carnal now. It was…
What? More intimate?
It couldn’t be. She wasn’t built for intimacy, and she’d spent a long time proving it to herself.
As he went deeper, her heartbeat escalated, pushing at her from the inside out.
“Are you still hungry?” she asked. “You didn’t get much blood earlier.”
His fingers skimmed to her eyebrow, where she’d once proudly worn a scar from a stunt gag. A badge from what seemed like another lifetime.
“You are generous for a woman who had to fend off a starving creature less than a half hour ago,” he said.
“I know that you won’t always have to feed so regularly. It’s just another thing we’ll have to trip through.”
He trailed his fingers down to her lips, and she automatically reached up to place her hand over the back of his.
Cool skin, she thought, knowing how she could heat it up. Desperate to do it.
An ache drilled between her legs. His appetite was her appetite.
“I say we try again,” Dawn murmured against his fingertips….
If you’d like to read more from A DROP OF RED, please come to www.vampirebabylon.com. Or you can drop by my other site, www.crystal-green.com, to enter a contest in which I’m giving away a beautiful manga print of an “emerald gypsy.” You can also see more of my London trip if you click this!
But let’s also have our own contest on Romance Junkies: I’m going to send a signed mass market copy of Vampire Babylon, Book One, NIGHT RISING, to someone who comments on this post. You can talk about your favorite places to travel or maybe even tell me about your favorite vampires. I’d love to hear from you! (I’ll be drawing a name tomorrow….)
Thank you for reading, and Happy Hunting!