A marine biologist in a former life, Allison Pang turned to a life of crime to finance her wild spending habits and need to collect Faberge eggs. A cat thief of notable repute, she spends her days sleeping and nights scaling walls and wooing dancing boys….Well, at least the marine biology part is true. But she was taloned by a hawk once. She also loves Hello Kitty, sparkly shoes, and gorgeous violinists.
She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids and cats, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.
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One of my favorite things about writing the Abby Sinclair books is some of the tongue-in-cheek pokes I make during the snarkier bits (usually involving some sort of pop culture reference.) I’m going to share one of those excerpts today. Just as a quick reference – I *do* tend to tug on the vampire tropes a bit. There are vampires in my world, but they’re only ever referenced off screen. In the below excerpt, Abby is reading from one of her favorite vampire books – which is actually a reference to a private vampirie/angel romance I co-wrote with another writer a while back. While the scene in question doesn’t actually appear anywhere in the bits we wrote, the over-the-topness of it more of an inside joke.
I picked up my book, flicking the book light off and on aimlessly. Unable to help with the driving, there was littlle could do save immerse myself somewhere else for a bit. The events of the last few days continued to roll through my thoughts over and over as I searched for alternate answers or clues in some distant memory.
My gaze slid sideways to where Phin sprawled over the armrest of the bench. Would knowing his true purpose have made my decisions any different? I bit down hard on the side of my cheek. Probably not, but at least I would have understood the stakes better.
After all, I had a sister now. An honest-to-God sister. Who just happened to be a Faery princess. My mouth twisted at the thought. Somehow being her TouchStone seemed a lot like a crappy door prize. Had she known who I was, that first morning when I entered the bookstore?
In either case, I wouldn’t know until I found her again.
For now, though . . .
The vampire raised his head, his lips lightly brushing the inside of her inner thigh, causing her to quiver in heady anticipation. Her skin burned with longing, limbs trembling in thwarted need. “Francois,” she gasped, arching her back when she felt the skim of his fangs prick at the junction of her sex.
“Angel,” he murmured against the taut flesh, the heated velvet of his tongue lapping at the tiny wound, a soft growl escaping him—
“Is this the part where he starts to sparkle?” Talivar snorted over my shoulder. Not exactly a scion of pop culture, the elf still took a great deal of amusement at mortal misconceptions.
“None of your business.” I slammed the book shut, unable to halt the flush of heat creeping into my cheeks. “I like smutty romance. So what?”
“Just filling in the blanks.” He gave no outward sign of acknowledging my rudeness from the night before, but the tactical gleam in his eye suggested he was measuring me up a little differently now. I wondered if I’d managed to squash something good, or if I was going to be subjected to a more traditional sort of hunt.
I shrugged, tossing him the paperback. “Knock yourself out. If you need pointers or whatever, I can highlight the good parts for you.”
The tips of his ears pinked. “I assure you, I need no such instruction.” He paused and then opened the book, his eye scanning the pages rapidly. His brow furrowed for a moment and his lips moved as though he were having trouble understanding the words.
“It tends to get a bit euphemistic,” I advised him. “Let me know if you need a translation for ‘purple-headed warrior’ or ‘gentleman’s relish.’”
The prince sputtered for a moment and I felt the smile creep across my face in return. Not quite all fixed. Not yet. But a good step. I resumed staring out the window. So many questions I wanted to ask my father. Or even my mother, for that matter. Why had she kept him a secret from me all those years? One more thing I’d probably never know.
The top of the manila envelope with the lockbox key tucked neatly inside mocked me from the unzipped pouch of the backpack at my feet. I had a sudden urge to open it and throw the key out the window, the weight of responsibility resting hard and sweaty on my shoulders. A natural leader, I wasn’t.
I swallowed it down, hating the restless rush of anxiety that caused my knees to start shaking. What if the lockbox didn’t hold the answer? What if the Key didn’t work? My inner voice seemed strangely uncertain, and lent me none of its usual sarcastic comfort. Underneath it all was a soft sort of loss, wondering at the other secrets my mother had kept from me. Had she known what was there? Or had my father merely left her something for her safekeeping, under the pretense of coming back to get it?
“That’s not even possible!” Talivar exploded next to me, shoving the book at Phin. “Is it?”
The unicorn squinted at the pages before giving the elf a sly look. “Maybe not for you.”
“That might actually be a bit of a compliment, Phin.” I gently pulled the book out of Talivar’s hands. “Now, if you don’t mind?”
“Suit yourself. Though I would have thought we might focus on something a bit more serious than reading about a vampire doing . . . that . . . to an angel.” Mild outrage still tinged his voice.
I raised a brow at him. “And here I thought you were slumming for ideas.”
His mouth pursed. “Oh, no worries on that account. Now that I know what sort of things you’re into, I’ll tailor my responses accordingly.” His hand reached to gently brush my knee.
I opened my mouth to snap at him, the motion apprehended by Melanie’s chuckle from the front. “What is it?”
“You two. It’s refreshing.”
“Do tell,” I drawled. “Far be it from me to shed light on your only source of amusement.”
“It’s just sort of surreal to be driving down I-95 with you and an elven prince arguing like an old married couple in the backseat.”
Phineas slid off the seat and reared up so that he was resting on the center console. “I could make it even more surreal, if you like.” He leered.
“Don’t press your luck.” She pushed him out of sight. “I think Katy’s mom would prefer it if we kept the seats dry. But you know what I mean.” She glanced at me slyly from the rearview mirror. “Not quite like the romance books, is it?”
“Is that your way of telling us we’ve got more important things to worry about?” I sighed, crossing my arms as I shifted in the seat.
“That and I need to stop soon. Think I’m just about at my limit for driving today. I can find us an EconoLodge or something . . . unless you’d rather sleep in the van.”
“I can drive another shift,” Katy said. “But I wouldn’t mind getting something to eat first. Something real.” Her nose wrinkled at the crushed bag of Cheetos on the floor. “Something that doesn’t taste like it came out of a zebra’s ass.”
“Speak for yourself. I happen to know some very nice zebras.” Phineas sniffed the air. “I think I smell a White Castle nearby.”
“Indeed.” Melanie said dryly. “Let’s see if we can’t find one of those box motels and then we’ll snag supplies.”
Livia says: Kyaaa!! Ugh, I mean, thanks for the excerpt Allison 😀
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