Please welcome Amber Belldene to Parajunkee’s View, celebrating her release day…
It’s release day, and I’m in one of my favorite places—the dining room of the Kaštel Estate Winery in Sonoma County, California, owned by my friend, Andre Maras. This massive oak table is the hub of the household, and I spent hours seated at it interviewing the characters in Blood Vine and Blood Entangled. But now the work is done and it’s time for a party!
A tip for writers: nothing is better for release day jitters than celebrating your book launch with smack-talking vampires. The Maras family is unfazed by anxieties on a human scale. I ask, “Will the book actually appear for sale on the Internet today?” or “Will people actually like it?”
The vampires roll their eyes and shake their heads at me as if they think my trivial concerns are cute. Release days are nerve-wracking, so I find the condescension reassuring! I wouldn’t even mind a pat on the head.
The downside: the Kaštel Estate is strictly BYO when it comes to champagne. They make reds and they only drink Blood Vine. I brought my own cooler of bubbly—it’s going to be a long day! Lena did promise me orange juice for the early start, and she mixes me a mimosa.
I’m gathered with the stars of Blood Entangled, Kos and Lena. And don’t worry, Pedro and Lucas are here too! Of course, Kos’s father Andre is here with Zoey. The rest of the residents and security-types are popping in and out for hugs, Lena’s homemade pastries, furtive swills of my blanc de noir. (Yes, I did see that, Vania!) Everyone here is raising a glass in a toast to you, dear readers.
*Clinks virtual glasses* (Don’t worry, your coffee mug is fine.)
With the greetings and catching up out of the way, we sit down at the end of the long table. Maybe you remember where things left off at the end of Blood Vine? Lena desperate to leave the Kaštel Estate and Kos committed to helping her. Pedro furious at Lucas over what the Hunters did to him.
“Now, no spoilers,” I say. “Be fascinating, but don’t give anything away.”
“Of course, Amber.” Andre crosses his arms. “We will guard the story with care, even though you insist on revealing all our secrets in pornographic romance nov—”
“Erotic.” I huff. “I don’t write porn.” Then his green eyes flash and I realize he’s pushing my buttons on purpose.
I glance at Lena in sympathy for everything Andre put her through when she was trying to seduce him. But she keeps her face perfectly neutral. Sweet thing! She won’t give away a bit of her story. I shift my attention to Kos, who is straightening a stack of cocktail napkins. I pretend to look away, and catch him turning to her with the same tender look he’s always worn for Lena.
Pedro leans over the table. “Please tell me that you left out that thing, about my…” He tucks his chin ever so slightly in the direction of his groin, as if everyone in the room doesn’t already know about that.
“I wouldn’t include that,” I lie.
“So what do you want us to talk about?” Kos asks.
“Let’s try this. What would you say Blood Entangled is about?”
Six pairs of eyes meet in various combinations around the room. I sit back in my chair and sip my mimosa, smiling into my glass. I could watch them do this all day, have many times.
Lena stands, reaches for the orange juice, and pours herself a glass. Only once she screws the cap back on does she reply. “I think it’s about trusting yourself.”
“Or trusting others,” Kos adds.
“Yeah, that.” Pedro presses his shoulder into Lucas’s upper arm in a gesture my writerly brain would call apologetic.
Andre slides Zoey out of the chair next to him and onto his lap as if she weighs nothing. “You are all mistaken. This story is about how love is more important than anything else, even life itself.” He raises his dark brows, casting me a questioning glance. “Correct?”
When Andre looks at me like that, I feel like I’ve known him for all of his millennia-long life, not only these past two years of our acquaintance. But the uncharacteristic humility of his question disarms me.
“Are you deferring to me? I’m only the author. You all made the story happen.” I raise my glass. “To the Maras family, and to love that matters more than life itself.”
KOS MARAS’s orderly life is in shambles—he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night he watches over a temptingly beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. He is convinced love cannot last a vampire-long lifetime and an entanglement will only cause them grief, but he doesn’t have the heart to send her away.
From a long line of blood servants, LENA ISAAKSON is destined to serve a vampire, but a string of humiliating rejections thwarts her pleasure. When Kos shows her kindness, she hopes he will claim her. Instead he proves himself a coward in the face of love and sends her to serve another.
Will the dark seduction of a rakish new vampire finally bring Lena the pleasure she desires or deliver her into the hands of Hunters who want to destroy everything the Maras family has worked for?
Sex, Wine, & Vampires, oh my! Blog Tour for Book Two in the Blood Vine Series !
Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.
Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.