Today we have a special treat for you in honor of the third book of the American Vampire series, Tainted Blood, releasing Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Your special treat is a Double Feature Sunday Snippet with a giveaway!! Not only are you getting a bonus snippet from the second novel, Iron Night (see our previous Sunday Snippet) but also a chance to win a copy of Iron Night so you will be ready for the third novel, Tainted Blood. And wait… that’s not all! We are including a tasty snippet from Tainted Blood! Hope you enjoy and stay tuned for our Author Interview and review of Tainted Blood on Thursday, November 6, 2014!
About the Book
Author: M.L. Brennan
Released: January 7, 2014
Perhaps it was a residual bitterness over my lack of real pork products, but Suzume suggested we try sparring after breakfast. Despite the unexpected holiday from Chivalry’s fitness regimen, I agreed that it seemed like a good idea.
We pushed back all of the furniture in the living room to make an open space and centered the rug so that there would be a nice surface to both potentially fall onto and to also muffle the noise to avoid bothering Ms. Bandyopadyay downstairs. Suzume hadn’t bothered to change out of her pajamas, but I’d taken the opportunity to put on my usual workout clothing.
I’d seen Suze in action several times, and had a high level of respect for her ability to kick ass and take names. “Don’t take it easy on me,” I said as I finished stretching out.
Suzume’s sole concession to the workout portion of our morning had been to pour herself a second cup of coffee, which she saluted me with before putting it on the counter behind her and pulling her hair into a messy ponytail on top of her head. “I would never dream of doing such a thing, Fort.”
“No, I’m really serious,” I said, pulling my fists up into the correct fighting position that Chivalry had drilled into me, as we started circling each other. “I’ve been working really hard this summer, and I’m definitely not where I was a few month ago.”
“I have no doubts,” Suzume said. She tossed a lazy right hook at me, which I blocked easily. “See? Last spring we’d be trying to get your nose to stop bleeding right now.”
I dropped my guard just long enough to make an extremely rude gesture, which she laughed at. She then gave a little shrug to her shoulders and threw a quick set of there punches at me, all of which I blocked. She lifted an eyebrow at me, looking moderately impressed, and made another few hits, all of which I also blocked. We were still circling, and her smile was gone, replaced with a slight frown, as if she was working out a small, confounding puzzle. My self-confidence took a distinct step upward, and I felt good about myself, finally seeing some very real payout from my summer of physical misery.
I made a sharp left jab, but she quickly sidestepped the blow. Her frown was now much more pronounced.
“See?” I said, not fighting my own desire to smile.
“Yes,” she agreed, “very impressive.”
Five second later I was on my back with her arm pressed into my throat and her left knee digging into my kidney.
“What the hell has your brother been doing?” she demanded, looking profoundly irritated.
“Guh?” I choked out with the small amount of air I was somehow dragging into my lungs. Suze noticed my distress and took the weight off my throat, at which point I gasped in air desperately.
“Seriously, what is wrong with Chivalry?” Suze continued, undeterred. “You’ve been blocking every punch I threw at you instead of trying to move out of the way, you are doing nothing with your legs except for shuffling, and you were completely unprepared for the most basic sweep I could come up with. What have the two of you been doing all these months?”
I scooted out from under that kidney-jabbing knee before I answered, wary about exactly what would happen if Suze put all of her weight onto it. “This is how Chivalry fights, Suze.”
She gave a derisive snort. “Your brother has all the vampire bennies going on, Fort. Inhuman speed, strength, and accelerated healing. Remind me what you have again?”
I sighed. “A degree in film theory and a can-do attitude?”
Suzume’s expression spoke volumes. “You’ve got at least a century before you catch up with Chivalry and can fight like a Victorian gentleman defending the honor of queen and country. Let’s do our best to keep you alive until then.”
As she gave me a hand up, I had a very sinking feeling in my stomach about the direction that this morning was going in.
“Right.” Suze pulled her hands up again, and there was a distinct gleam in her eyes that boded poorly for me. “Now, this is the kind of gutter fighting that you’ll actually be up against.”
What followed was a forty-minute demonstration of all the things that Chivalry had decided didn’t apply to the way real men fought. It was extremely illuminating and rather painful, given that Suze seemed to direct an inordinate amount of her strikes to my throat, kidneys or knees.
“I’m leaving out most of the groin hits for today,” she said cheerfully at one point, circling me at a safe distance. “But you need to start working on making your height work in your favor.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. I’d finally managed to block her latest attack toward my legs and was feeling a bit better about myself. A second later I made nose-first contact into my rug as Suze slipped behind me, gave me an extremely painful kick on the back of my right knee, and rode me to the floor with one arm wrapped around my neck in the perfect position for a good throttling.
“Well,” Suze said, as I gagged, “I’m shorter than almost anyone I get into a fight with, excluding my own family. This means that if I want to hit someone, I usually have to get inside their strike zone. I use a lot of what I learned from my mother and aunts, but I also took some Krav Maga classes because I liked that the whole point of that style is to end a fight fast instead of being showy. So you’ll notice” –she tightened her arm slightly for emphasis– “that most of what I aim for are the most vulnerable parts of the body. Your face, neck, groin, knee, eyes, and joints are all good spots for me. You” –and after one last, almost affectionate, choking she let go and let me wheeze– “have been aiming punches at the center of my body only.”
“Point taken,” I said as I pushed myself upright again. “Dirty fighting.”
“Not dirty –effective,” Suze corrected. She bounced lightly on the balls of her feet, looking obnoxiously fresh and pleased with herself, in a bizarre reflection of how Chivalry always looked at this point in our lessons. “Also, knock it off with your two-point contact system.”
“This,” she made two quick jabs at me, each of which I blocked. “You’re using just your fists. Have you heard about muay Thai?”
“Does it come with a little umbrella?”
She grinned. “Not quite. It’s a fighting system that relies on eight points of contact – punches, kicks, elbows, and knee strikes. With your freakish height it actually might be a good fit.”
“Let me put that on my to-do list.”
“Good, and while we’re on that–” And with another of those incredible bursts of speed, Suze had dropped to one knee in front of me and I felt a sharp prick just under my rib cage. I froze, then looked down very carefully. An open switchblade was in Suze’s right hand, pressed against my skin with just enough pressure that a single drop of blood had welled up and was slowly staining the fabric of my T-shirt. The heel of her left hand was resting casually against the handle of her knife, innocently placed yet clearly prepared to add an extra boost of muscle to send the blade slicing into some fairly critical organs.
Suzume lifted one eyebrow slowly. “Questions?” she asked.
“One,” I managed, being very careful not to move. “Exactly where did you get that from?”
She gave me a slow, feral smile. “I always try to keep one stashed. You can always try to pat me down and figure out where I had it.”
“I’ll take a rain check on that.” I moved backward carefully, keeping an eye on her. “So I assume that your lesson here was that I should be prepared for anything?”
“It’s pretty hard to be prepared for anything,” she scoffed. “The lesson here is much simpler: always bring a knife to a fist-fight.”
“And in a knife fight?”
Suzume gave me that bright, brilliant smile that made me catch my breath for a second. I told myself sternly that it was just all of the injuries my body had suffered, possibly combined with some head trauma.
M.L. Brennan is generously donating a SIGNED copy of Iron Night to give to one (1) lucky commenter. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form AND leave a comment at the end of this post sharing with us one/some of your most anticipated releases due out before the end of 2014. The giveaway is open during the time specified on the Rafflecopter form. Winner(s) will be chosen at random from all eligible entries. This contest is open to U.S. Mailing Addresses only and where not prohibited by law. Open to participants, 18 years or older, who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor. Prize will be delivered by the author. This blog, its reviewers, and the owner are not responsible for items lost in the mail. By entering this giveaway, participants agree to abide by these terms.
If you have problems with the Rafflecopter form, please email me at twimom227 (at) gmail (dot) com.
And coming SOON…
About the Book:
In the third Generation V novel, Fortitude Scott proves that working with family can be deadly…
Former film student Fortitude Scott is finally gainfully employed. Unfortunately, said employment happens to be with a group of sociopathic vampires—his family. And as much as Fort is loath to get too deep into the family business, when his brother, Chivalry, is temporarily unable to run the territory, it’s up to Fort to keep things under control.
So when the leader of a powerful faction of shifters turns up murdered, Fort finds himself tracking down a killer while navigating dangerous rivalries, longtime grudges, and hidden agendas. Even with the help of his foxy kitsune sidekick, Suzume, he’ll need to pull out all the stops to hunt for the paranormal assassin.
But as he calls on fairies, witches, and ghouls for help, he discovers that the problem is much bigger than a single dead werebear. The supernatural community is preparing for a massive shift in power within the Scott family leadership—and Fort has landed right in the middle of the gathering storm.…
Once I’d decontaminated myself as much as possible, I settled back into the booth where Suze was already flipping through the menu. She’d taken off her parka for the first time that day and now looked much happier.
“If we ever have to do that again, I’m doing it on four paws. My winter coat is all grown in now, and I would’ve been much more comfortable.”
“Plus you could’ve eaten those fish she tossed us,” I noted. “Would’ve saved you the cost of dinner.”
She looked up from the menu, clearly affronted. “What, I sit on a dock all day with you to visit something that is probably going to give me tentacle hentai nightmares, and you can’t even spring for half a pizza?”
When we’d first met, that would’ve had me lunging for my wallet. But I knew Suzume well enough to know how much of her indignation was just an act. “If this is a date, I’ll pay. But if it isn’t, we really should make sure to ask for a split check. You know, so everything’s clear.” I gave her my most agreeable smile, watching her eyes narrow.
“So your argument here is that I should date you to get some free food?”
“I’m just saying that there are some perks.” She made a grumbling sound, and I grinned. “In fact, as a show of good faith, I’ll even get you a beer.”
It was an old joke between us, and she couldn’t hold back her laugh. “Well, that’s the kind of big gesture that can get a woman’s attention,” she teased, deliberately flipping her pigtails.
“Pizza and beer, Suze,” I deadpanned. “I have it on excellent authority that they go together.”
Suze pushed her menu away as the waitress came up. “Large pizza, half vegetarian, half meat lover’s,” she rattled off our standard order as the poor woman, who had only expected to take the drinks, scrambled for her order pad. Suze paused for a moment and looked back at me, tilting her head in that very vulpine way of hers. Not looking away from me, she said, “Split the checks. But,” she amended emphatically, “the beer goes on his.” When the waitress left, she gave me a chiding look. “Don’t try to bribe me, Fort.”
“It’s not a bribe,” I said mildly. “Just an incentive.”