Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deliverance Excerpt and Giveaway!

*** Swag Bag Giveaway *** 
Giveaway Closed - Sharon is the Winner!
Thanks to all who left comments.

A month from today, Deliverance: Mortal Path Book 3 will be released! I'm so excited, and I want to share an early review and an EXCLUSIVE sample from Chapter 1 just for Supernatural Underground readers. 

Don't miss the end of this post, because I have a great giveaway.

RT Book Reviews has this to say about the book:

"Readers might not know this is the third title in a series, so subtle Banks is at providing comprehensive background information. The story is wonderfully unpredictable, full of breathlessly exciting action scenes. With a little bit of mystery, a troupe of interesting characters not lacking for depth and a very satisfying ending, readers will be hooked till the very last page, and then will rush to pick up the others in the Mortal Path series."

Now straight to the excerpt, appearing here for the first time. (A few teensy words have been omitted to keep this from being an R-rated post.)


 Maliha Crayne placed her feet carefully on the old clay-tiled roof. Freezing rain made the passage treacherous. Xietai, the man she was chasing, seemed as sure-footed as a gazelle. She had already sent a tile sliding to the street three stories below.
It was three in the morning, and although New York never sleeps, the residents of this neighborhood did. Most of them, anyway. As another tile clattered to the sidewalk, a window was flung open and a woman’s head appeared, her neck twisted to look up at the roof.
“What’s goin’ on up there? Think yer Santa Claus or somethin’? Get off my roof!”
             With flat roofs all around, he has to choose one with tiles. Should have gone around and picked up his trail on the other side. Maliha 0, Xietai 1.
Xietai had been in her sights twice before, and he’d eluded her. He ran a human trafficking ring, bringing Asian girls to America, and then sending American girls to Asia. Round-trip profits. Complicating matters was that Xietai was the son of one of Maliha’s dearest friends, Xia Yanmeng. Maliha planned to bring Xietai to justice, but with his record of confrontation, it was possible she’d have to kill him.
Kill Yanmeng’s son. Not sure how he’d feel about that, even though the two of them are estranged. If my daughter Constanta had survived her birth and grown up evil, would I be hunting her?
Maliha came to the end of the tiled roof and paused briefly. Xietai’s footprints led her on into the moonless night. Using her ability to view auras, she could see the outline of his footsteps and the tendrils of red and black twining together, rising from them. Normally she used her aura vision for a few seconds at a time, a quick check to see if someone was lying or to make sure she faced a truly evil person before plunging her sword into him. Constant viewing, as she was doing now to track Xietai, was draining. His aura footprints were clear, but her surroundings were a little out of focus. As long as Xietai kept out of her normal sight, he had an advantage.
Maliha felt a touch on her shoulder, as soft as if she’d been brushed by a bird’s wing. Yanmeng was a remote viewer, and he was signaling her that he was viewing her now. He’d been trying to increase his remote presence to the point that he could move objects. He’d made some progress but it was erratic. She could extend her arm and make an L-shape with her fingers, the sign they’d agreed upon for him to withdraw, and he would immediately stop remote viewing her. At least, she trusted that he would.
She didn’t make the withdrawal sign.
It’s his son. Yanmeng’s not going to like this, but it’s not right to hide it from him.
She swung over the edge of the roof, hung briefly by one hand, and dropped down to an adjacent flat roof. Landing with a forward roll to break the momentum of the fall, she put out a hand to avoid sliding on the patchy ice. She scraped the side of her hand raw on the rough roofing material. She wasn’t an accomplished traceuse—tracer—so her hands weren’t calloused. The man ahead of her was a highly skilled practitioner of parkour, a method of crossing obstacles in the most efficient way and the shortest time.
She ran barefoot, with loose black shorts, a black t-shirt, a belly bag with a few throwing stars secured inside so they couldn’t shift and hurt her, knives strapped to her thighs, with her thick black hair flowing behind her. It was late November, and an icy rain pelted her face and other exposed skin. Maliha wasn’t prepared for this pursuit, but when Xietai crossed her path, she had to try it.
Maliha jumped to a building a dozen feet away. She rolled, then ran and dropped to the fire escape.
Could he be Ageless?
Her bare feet landed lightly on the fire escape’s icy stairs, and at each landing, she vaulted the railing to the next run of stairs. She dropped the last ten feet to the ground. Thin red wisps spiraled eerily up from slushy puddle he’d passed through. She cleared the puddle in a small hop. Ahead a wall loomed. He’d taken her down a dead-end alley. Using the momentum of her run, she stepped up the brick wall to a balcony, used a spring from the rail to power another couple of steps, and then muscled up to the roof.
No good. Blind corner...
Anticipating a trap, Maliha threw one of her knives, then ducked and rolled as a sword swung powerfully where her neck should have been. She lashed out with her second knife, scored a deep gash in Xietai’s calf, and felt the splash of hot blood on her hand.
That should slow him down a little.
Xietai took off into the night, running away before she’d come fully out of her roll. She retrieved her thrown knife from where it had landed. Her opponent took them down to street level. She was gratified to see a blood trail in the pale cone of light from a street lamp.
He bleeds too much to be Ageless.
Then she spotted Xietai on the roof of a run-down theater, standing next to the marquee with its hundreds of broken bulbs. His aura was blacker than the night sky washed by city lights, and the spidery electric red web of his anger had intensified since she’d wounded him.
This is it.
One of them was going to die.
She sped toward an alley a few buildings away on the theater’s left, using a burst of superhuman speed, a remnant of the time she spent as an Ageless assassin beholden to the Sumerian demon Rabishu. When she was a demon’s slave, she could maintain that pace effortlessly. Now she would grow weaker as she used it and have to rest before speeding again.
Melting into the alley’s entrance, Maliha hoped that Xietai hadn’t seen her. At roof level, she paused to make sure her target hadn’t joined her there, and then found a secure observation point on the roof. Xietai was still there, with impatience starting to work on him. The pursuit had changed from a fast traverse to stealthy tracking, and she didn’t have to use her aura vision.
Finally, advantage: Maliha.
Maliha checked the rooftops for possible launching points. The only thing that caught her eye was a dilapidated billboard sign on the roof where he waited. She did the gap jump followed by a drop, her bare feet moving as silently as a sigh, taking her right to the base of the billboard. She climbed a few feet up the cross timbers of rotten wood.
Xietai had moved out onto the metal frame of the marquee, face down on one of the supports, peering around at the ground. He must have thought she was down there on the street. There was a sword fastened tightly across one shoulder blade, slanting toward the small of his bare, muscular back. From where she was, the scabbard looked bent, as though it conformed to his skin, something that would allow him flexibility for parkour.
Maliha had two throwing knives and three stars. She could plant five bladed weapons in his back before he had a chance to rise. She had her throwing knives in one hand and stars in the other when Xietai suddenly rotated onto his back.
Their eyes met. He pulled the sword from its scabbard and it came out in loose sections. A flick of his wrist brought the sections into alignment as a formidable sword, longer than its scabbard.
I want one of those.
He strode onto the roof. Maliha threw her three stars to distract him as she got down to roof level. She saw with dismay that he swatted away the stars with his sword, and had to remind herself that he wasn’t Ageless, just superbly trained. The cloth dripping with blood wrapped around his calf was proof he was mortal. If he was Ageless, blood would have stopped flowing from his wound and it would have healed by now, leaving no trace. She ran toward him faster than his human eyes could follow. Veering away just out of reach of his sword, she swung around him and slashed behind his knees, going for crippling blows. Neither knife connected.
He’d spun around and blocked them.
He heard the rush of the wind when I used Ageless speed. Can’t sneak up on him. I’m in deep trouble.
He began fighting with both the sword and a knife he’d pulled from somewhere. Soon Maliha’s bare legs and arms ran with blood.
Retreat? Master Liu says that humility is the best way to handle being overmatched. But not yet...
On her knees, Maliha saw a way for one of her knives to weave in close to the core of his body. Feinting with the other knife, she closed in. If he didn’t go for the feint, her head would be too close to his knife to think about.
Poor Maliha! Caught up in a deadly fight with the son of one of her best friends, seriously underdressed, running barefoot on icy tiles and stairs, and suffering from sword envy too. There are plenty of dilemmas for Maliha to face in the rest of this book; this is only the start of a story that tests her friendships, her love, and her deeply held morals.

I'm giving away a Swag Bag consisting of a zippered tote bag, three signed books, pens, bookmarks, magnets, and a calculator. Don't ask me why; I just love calculators. All my giveaways are international.

To enter, please leave a comment below that includes your disguised email such as "dakota" -at- "dakota-banks" dot "com" so I can get in touch with you if you are the winner. You can double your chance of winning by following my blog.
+1 Comment
+1 Follow my blog

The last day to enter is Monday, March 5th. Go for it!


Anonymous said...

Squee! Would live to win this, even if I don't, I must read this story! Got me, hook, line and sinker!

My email is: julitaylor90 (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks for the great contest!

Tiffany K said...

I have heard of your books before and seen them on amazon but didn't really look into them. Big mistake on my end this excerpt sounds amazing, and knowing it's book three makes me want to know what the first two and this one are like. Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate to your love of calculators. I have a few TI's in the same exact series just because they were different colors.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to win this swag pack. I wasn't sure which part of your blog I was supposed to follow so I did my email and then google friend connect.

tiffanykrepps @ gmail . com

_yay_ said...

Hello there! Thanks so much for this giveaway...and for making it international. :-)
I have seen your Mortal Path books listed on GR and always wanted to read them / the 1st in the series. The cover of your newest release is awesome. I admit it, I'm into beautiful covers! I have a feeling the story will be just as great.

Sasse (_yay_)

I followed your blog via GFC: _yay_

Best - Greetings from Germany
Sasse @

Roni said...

Amazing giveaway, and that cover does make you want to get the book. And a book with a lot of action is my kind of book. Thanks.
roni42-at-roadrunner dot com.

Eli Yanti said...

wow.. what a wonderful giveaway, thank you so much ;)

follwer of your blog : eli_y83

SandyG265 said...

Thanks for the great giveaway.

sgiden at verizon.net

throuthehaze said...

I can't wait to read Deliverance!

+1 comment
+1 I follow your blog (Throuthehaze)

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

CrystalGB said...

Awesome giveaway. Please count me in.
+1 Comment
+1 Follow your blog (CrystalGB)

Gigi said...

:O ~swoooon~ PLEASEEE count me in! I would love to read this books and the swag is amazing! Following via GFC!

Jessica @ a GREAT read said...

OOOh niiice! I love swag! And books! And bags!


felinewyvern said...

Wow! What a great giveaway. I love books and bags so I really want to win this :D

felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

*keeping fingers crossed*

Anonymous said...

Great giveaway! I would love to win it.

Follow - Andrea I


Anonymous said...

I always love your writing, your books - all of them! Thanks for being an author! :-)


Jacqui R said...

I'd love to be in with a chance to win this please :)

ticklebear2 at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

wow...great a giveaway..so many gift...i really want to win this,,pls pls enter me.. lol

1+ comment
1+ i follower your blog icha09

icha09 at gmail dot com


Bethany C. said...

Awesome giveaway (and I loved Sacrifice)!!!
I'm a gfc follower of your blog Bethany C.


Ashleigh said...

I am so very very excited for this book to come out! And I always love calculators :)

rebakah_cooper (at) yahoo (dot) com

Thanks for the great giveaway!

donnas said...

Congrats on the upcoming release! Cant wait to read it. Awesome series.

Im a blog follower too.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Giada M. said...

Thank you for the excerpt and awesome giveaway! :D Fingers crossed!

+1 Comment
+1 Follow your blog (Giada M.)

fabgiada (at) gmail (dot) com

Llehn said...

I'd love to play please.

+1 comment
+1 following your blog


Sharon Stogner said...

wow! It has been to long since I read the last book. I miss Maliha and this type of story. Nothing like a kick ass UF. Looking forward to grabbing this one. I will spread the word!
+ 2 points for me :)
sstogner1 at gmail dot com

Danielle D said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

could always use a calculator too

+2 points for me

Lisarenee said...

I'd love to read this series. Sounds great.

My email is seducedbyabook(at)gmail(dot)com

I'm a follower.

Elizabeth D. said...

Wonderful giveaway for such an awesome series! Deliverance sounds great, can't wait. :D

hellhounds_lair (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

Karen said...

Enter me! I'm looking forward to Deliverance! And I love the giveaway. Lots of goodies. :D


Christine said...

Thanks so much for thiw awesome giveaway and making it international! I already own the first two books in the series but I´d love to have signed ones!
And, oddly enough, I could use a calculator for my upcoming statistcs exam! :)

tine_86 -at- hotmail (dot)de

traci16 said...

seriously awesome giveaway!!! Haven't read your book yet, but I look forward to the opportunity!!! Thanks again for the giveaway!!!
i_luv_mik16 at gmail(dot)com

alainala said...

that looks awesome!! i would love to win this.. and calculators are awesome!!! and pens.. i have a strange addiction to pens.. lol

alainala AT hotmail DOT ca
\thanks for the chance to win!!

Cate said...

Please include me in tne giveaway! I hope i win! Thanks.

Aik said...

I loved the previous two books and would love to read this one too!

+1 Follower

aikychien at yahoo dot com

bn100 said...

Congratulations on the book! I enjoyed the excerpt.