Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Sneak Peek at Burn The Night

Burn the Night: The Final Dark Days Series book is due out in less than 52 days (due out June 28) and I wanted to celebrate my count down until the big day with an excerpt from the book. I have to admit that I had a hard time finding a good selection that didn’t give away important events that happened in the other books and was still understandable to readers who hadn’t picked up the series.

If you haven’t read the Dark Days series yet, please click here to read the first several chapters of Nightwalker: The First Dark Days Book.

If you haven’t read the series yet, but would still like to read a bit of Burn the Night, click here for a non-spoilery excerpt.

Warning: If you haven’t read the series yet, the excerpt below (which has been edited due to length) has some big spoilers below. If you have been enjoying the series, I hope you enjoy the excerpt.

Burn the Night description: The Great Awakening approaches…

After eons in exile, the naturi have broken their chains and now roam the Earth bent on revenge. It is the sworn duty of Mira, the Fire Starter, to protect the Nightwalker race—though even she may be powerless to withstand the horrific onslaught. As Mira and her brave lover, the vampire slayer Danaus, stand ready to do battle, thousands of winged shapeshifters darken the skies. The war of ultimate extermination has begun, and the battleground is Mira’s home turf.

The humans don’t yet recognize the doom descending upon them. And the Nightwalkers will surely perish unless they unite with outcast naturi who claim to want peace. But these unexpected “allies” are the same demons who have long worked for Mira’s destruction—and in these darkest of days the lines between friend and foe will blur treacherously before the bloody end of all things.

Danaus found me seated on the floor in the sunny yellow bedroom at my house the next night. A shaft of thick moonlight cut through the open curtains, cutting a square on the ground and glazing the furniture in an ethereal silver glow. After Lily’s death, Danaus and I had personally pulled the sheets and blankets off the bed and washed them. We opened the windows, welcoming in a chilly early spring breeze in hopes of the fresh air washing out her scent. But no matter what we did to cleanse the room, I swore I could still smell her presence in there, even after the past few months. I closed my eyes and drew in a slow deep breath so that the air filled my useless lungs. I held it, picking apart the scents of dust, laundry detergent, lemon-scent cleaning product, and finally Lily.

She had been so briefly in our lives. A child of the street with an amazing gift to see the auras of the people around her, Lily had been special to me. She had spirit and courage. She was quick and resourceful. She should have survived. At that moment, she should have been safely ensconced at the Themis Compound, being taught by the paranormal researchers in a positive environment. Instead, she now lay in a cold grave in a distant cemetery because a bori had used her to get to Danaus and me. We had failed her.

But then Lily wasn’t the only one haunting me. Just down the hall, Tristan’s room remained completely untouched from when he was last in there. When I returned home from Venice in December, I had locked the door to that room and allowed no one to touch his things. I didn’t even go inside, but I could imagine the unused bed slightly rumpled from where he would lay on it as he read. The computer on his desk would be sitting in sleep mode, waiting for its master to return home so he could resume his search for new music. Books and magazines were haphazardly scattered about the room while a pile of laundry lay in one corner, waiting to hit the washing machine. I knew his unique scent would be thick in the air. If I entered his private domain, I would be lost to the horror of our past.

I replayed that night in Venice and doubts ate at me. I couldn’t convince myself that I had done the right thing. Macaire had shattered his mind, so that Tristan would look straight through me, never seeing my loving face or the tears that were streaming down my cheeks as my heart broke in bitter shards. I should have found a way to save him. If I had taken another minute and not been consumed by rage and despair, I might have been able to come up with a way to save him. Vainly I reminded myself that his mind was broken: he had been locked in a world of perpetual torment and it had been my responsibility to set him free. Killing Tristan may have been the kindest thing I could have done for him, but it was slowly destroying me.

Heavy footsteps creaking on the wooden stairs helped to break my destructive train of thought, but it didn’t completely free me of the two ghosts that seemed to be clinging to me. I had come into Lily’s room to hide from the rest of the world as I tried to think about the chaos that was swirling around me. Instead, my thoughts were stuck on my two dead companions.
I didn’t need to reach out with my powers -- I could feel Danaus’s energy swirling up the stairs like the tentacles of a sea creature to search me out. Warm and comforting, they wrapped around me, beating back my demons before he leaned against the doorframe to stare down at me with a frown marring his handsome face.

“What are you doing?” he demanded as I looked up at him.


“I can’t imagine that any productive thinking can be done in here.”

“I never said it was productive thinking. I’m just thinking.”

“About what?”

“All the ways in which I went wrong.”


“No, Danaus, think about it. I mishandled things and now Michael, Thorne, Lily, and Tristan …”
I took another deep breath and slowly released it as I stared straight ahead into the room, trying to force some of the tension out of my shoulders. My ass was getting sore from sitting on the floor for the past couple of hours and my back was stiff.

“Why does it feel as if the world is falling into chaos?” I murmured, talking mostly to myself.

“The Daylight Coalition has decided to strike now, endangering countless nightwalkers and lycanthropes in my own domain. I can’t shake the feeling that they have been drawn to this city because of me. As a result, Daniel has been put into an extremely dangerous situation in hopes of garnering information. To make matters worse, Cynnia comes to me with a plan to get rid of her sister by teaming up with Rowe and the rest of the naturi. It’s the very thing that I swore that I would never do! Ally with the naturi!”

“Enough,” Danaus growled. Pushing away from the door frame, he stepped into the room and stood before me with his feet wide apart and his fists on his hips. “Stop the whining. Stop the complaining. Stop the self-pity.” Grabbing my left upper arm, he hauled me to my feet and then bent low enough to drop me over his shoulder while wrapping his free hand around my legs.

“Danaus!” I shouted, struggling to get into an upright position as he walked out of the room and headed for the stairs. He bounced me once, causing me to lose my balance. I flopped back down so that I was lying over his shoulder. My hair felt forward, partially obscuring my view of his nice ass as we slowly and steadily descended the stairs.

“You need some distraction. Clear your mind.”

“If you want to distract me, we could have stayed upstairs and used one of the other bedrooms,” I suggested.

“This is better,” he firmly said as he hit the ground floor and made a sharp turn around the banister. He paused long enough to open the door under the stairs that led down the basement.

“Better than sex? I really doubt that,” I replied, pushing some hair out of my face as he started to descend yet another set of stairs.

Danaus said nothing in reply. He just silently continued down into the basement. Once in the center of the room, he none too gently dropped me on my ass on a thin mat. I gazed around the room in the bright overhead lighting.

In place of the items of leisure, Danaus and I had ripped up the carpet and replaced it with a covering of thin sparring mats. The walls were covered in a wide variety of weapons and sparring shields. The room was now a big open space for us to practice our fighting techniques. In here, blood was spilled and bones broken, but since we healed so quickly, the wounds were only a temporary distraction before we were back at it again.

As I sat in the middle of the mat, I watched Danaus walk over to the far wall containing the various staves and other blunt objects, all arranged according to discipline. I frowned as he paused, looking over the broad selection.

“What are you in the mood for?” he called out, as his hand passed over a quarterstaff and headed toward the Far Eastern fighting style weapons. As I watched him, I kicked off my shoes and pulled off my socks, preferring to be barefoot on the mat to give me better grip.

“For beating your skull in? Give me the jō staff,” I replied. My aikido was far stronger than some of my other training, giving me what I was hoping was an edge. Danaus picked the jō staff off the wall and threw it at me as I pushed to my feet. I caught it over my head and frowned as Danaus pulled down a pair of eskrima sticks, as I expected. His kali training had proven to be much better than mine when we had both fought with the medium-sized rattan sticks in the past, leaving me with more than a few welts and a broken forearm.

“What? No kalis or bankow?” I mocked, referring to the wavy blade and the spear that were commonly matched with one of the eskrima sticks in a traditional kali fight.

“Just blunt objects tonight. We’re playing a slightly different game,” he said with a smirk.

“Different scoring system? We going to twenty points instead of ten?”

“Better. If a hit is scored, the loser takes off an article of clothing.”

My eyebrows jumped and my mouth fell open as I stared at him for a second. “Strip sparring?”

“You needed a distraction and a way to burn off some steam.”

I gave a small chuckle and shook my head at him as I turned my jō staff over in my hands, getting ready for his attack. “Grand Masters are rolling over in their graves right now.”

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. I’ll be back next month with a look at the new series that I am working on focusing on magic and tattoos.


kyattorney2007 said...

Oh SQUEE!! So good. CAN'T WAIT!!!

Jocelynn Drake said...

Thanks! I can't wait either. And sorry about the funky spacing. I fought blogger and blogger won. Computers don't like me.

Helen Lowe said...

Jocelynn--a nice mix of bathos and humor; it's great!

Bamafever said...

Great teaser. I cant wait.

Sharon S. said...

On my calender! and the new project sounds fun :)

Megan@Riverina Romantics said...

I need to catch up on this series! I've only read the first 3 books!

Tracey O'Hara said...

Very nice - love the new cover too. I am still a couple of books behind this unfortunately. :(

Mary Abshire said...

Love, LOVE, the excerpt. I can't wait to read the book. Thanks for sharing with us, Jocelynn.

Dani Cailin said...

I have been looking forward to this book since two days after the last one came out. This excerpt lets me know it was worth the wait but I still wish it was in my hands now.

Brenda Hyde said...

*snort* I love it! Strip Sparring...BAHAHAHAHA I can't wait to read it:)