- By Travis Luedke
- Editions: eBook & Paperback
- Published: June 9th, 2014
- Source: Review by Request
- Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance/Vampires
- In a Flutter: Sexy Urban Fantasy with a bite!
Vampires, Mafia & Mayhem: The Nightlife San Antonio is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.
All she wanted was to escape the police. All he wanted was to get laid. They both got more than they bargained for.
EMT on call, Adrian Faulkner resuscitates a beautiful woman after a Mexican mafia shootout. He can’t explain why he picks her up in the hospital parking lot three days later and then ducks the San Antonio police and the Feds. Well, the hot sex might have something to do with it.
She needed to hide. With no memory of even her name, she didn’t know from who. She only knew she wasn’t safe.
Adrian soon learns she is much more than a damsel in distress, and he’s stuck with her. It isn’t long before the past she cannot remember begins to catch up with them both…
Sometimes you finish a book and you’re a little sad that the story is over… Other times you finish a book and a smile stretches across your face because you’ve just discovered a new series. The Nightlife San Antonio left me with the latter feeling.
Oh yes, you can expect me to read the rest of this series as soon as possible.
This book is a standalone, but if it is any indication of the quality I can expect from The Nightlife series, then I think it’s safe to say that Travis Luedke has a new fan.
I was hooked immediately!
You see a lot of former military men in Modern Romance these days, and you see a lot of EMTs. What you don’t see a lot of are sociopaths who are also obsessive germaphobes. Adrian somehow managed to be ALL of these things, which made him an immensely interesting character to read.
While working a shift as an EMT, Adrian resuscitates a woman who has suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He barely manages to keep her from dying on the way to the hospital, and he’s fairly certain he’ll never see her again after turning her over to the team of doctors at the trauma center.
A few nights later that same woman (who should still be half-dead in a coma) convinces Adrian to sneak her away from he hospital. By agreeing to help this poor crazy girl, Adrian gets sucked into a world of violence and corruption which might just get him killed…
LaReina (aka Samantha) wakes up in a hospital room with no idea where she is, how she got there, or even WHO she is… The only thing she knows for certain is that she needs blood, and not the kind being pumped intravenously into her body along with a cocktail of drugs.
Teaming up with the handsome EMT seems like an easy decision. He seems perfectly happy to provide a hideout and meals in exchange for some impressive sex. But this is no honeymoon – it seems half of Texas is hunting her. There’s a price on LaReina’s head, and the only person she can trust is a man she just met.
Along the way they deal with:
This was wonderfully entertaining!
Action packed, ultra-sexy, and thrilling to the last page.
Lots of laughter, lust, and love….
Adrian headed for his Chevy pickup at the far corner of the parking lot, Jose’s fifty dollars tucked into his back pocket. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a pale blue fabric flitting past between two cars. In the strange pallor cast by the parking lot lights, he could’ve sworn he saw a flash of butt cheek from a woman wearing one of those open-backed hospital gowns. He changed course and headed straight for this wisp of fabric, intrigued.
He reached the shadows between two vehicles and paused, a sense of wrongness flashing in his mind. He made an about-face and headed back to his pickup truck. He had learned that it didn’t pay to stick his nose into things not his business. He had a date with a Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress in his air-conditioned apartment.
As he reached the truck, he glanced around once more and considered calling hospital security. A renegade patient was their job, not his.
Without a single sound, she was suddenly there, right next to him, her pale blood-splattered hand on his arm – the gunshot victim, the woman who damn near died in the back of his ambulance.
Her weak grip tugged at his arm. “I need your help. You have to help me.”
Her black hair hung limp, plastered to her forehead. Blood speckled her chin, neck and light blue gown. She must have coughed up blood, which would mean her lungs were not doing so good. Pneumonia, collapsed lung, punctured lung, all the possibilities slid across his mind as he stared at her, perplexed. What the hell was she doing out here? Walking around? The woman had flat-lined a couple of days ago.
“Let’s get you back to the Emergency Room. They’ll take care of everything.” At the risk of ruining his jacket with blood stains and who knew what other bodily fluids, he put his arm around her and pulled her close to hold her weight. She wasn’t wearing anything under the paper-thin gown. The contours of her naked hip fit his hand perfectly. He tried to ignore those thoughts and instead steered her back towards the hospital.
“No, wait, I can’t.” She stopped him from going any farther by turning in his grip to face him.
Shit.“Do you need me to carry you?” Please no. My back can’t take any more tonight.
“I can’t be here.”
Her face, which had held a look of pleading, turned dead serious. Dark eyes bored into his soul with a depth of intensity. “I need you. Take me with you. I must leave now.” There was something fascinating about her eyes. She never blinked even once, and he found he couldn’t look away from her. “You have to help me.”
Yes, of course. He had to help her.
He suddenly understood, and really, it was a simple request. She needed a ride. No big deal. Helping her was the right thing to do. The soldier part of his mind rapidly assessed the risks. The CCTV cameras only covered the entrance area of the hospital. Nobody would know where she went from the parking lot. He glanced around, looking for any sign of a witness to this strange moment. Then he recalled her little issue, she was a mafia target or something like that. He had no desire to become collateral damage on a botched hit job. A saner voice nagged him, get rid of her. No upside in helping her, no upside at all. She stank like old blood and medicine, that sick-hospital smell. She stood in his arms staring at him, unblinking, her dark eyes a well filled with raw, intense need.
Something stirred inside him. Even in her present condition, she was eerily compelling.
He had deliberately trained as a paramedic to help people. The bastard shrink had called him a sociopath, unable to care about people. So, here he was, trying to care, trying to help, trying to be like everyone else, normal. It was his job to help people like her, more so than the police who were probably looking for her right now.
Do your job, Adrian. Prove the bastard shrink wrong.
“Okay, I’ll give you a ride. Come on.” She snuggled into his embrace with a grateful smile on her bloody lips as he pulled her back towards his truck. He reacted to her appreciation low in his groin. Obviously it had been way too long since he got laid. Messing around with patients was a major fail, quick way to get fired and prosecuted.
He helped her up into the truck – impossible not to end up with a handful of her ass in the process. She held his gaze with that creepy look, and a small grin split her lips. Adrian smiled back at her reassuringly, then shut the door and jetted around to the driver side for the packet of Clorox wet wipes on the seat. Without surgical gloves, no knowing what nasty germs he might get from touching her.
She just sat there, blood splattered, in nothing but her paper-thin gown, watching him. She looked so vulnerable, and she had put so much trust in him. He started the truck and navigated out of the parking lot with her furtively watching him all the while. She kept glancing back at the hospital entrance, as if looking for someone in pursuit.
“Shit!” She dropped flat on the truck bench seat as a police car sped past. The car screeched to a stop at the emergency entrance and two cops piled out, jogging into the hospital.
Her huge brown eyes looked up at him. She had laid her head in his lap. The girl might be afraid of the police and everyone else, but she trusted him.
He tried not to think about her face on his thigh, or the complete absurdity of the moment. He just kept on driving up to the intersection at the highway. Then it occurred to him he had no idea which direction to take.
“So, where are we headed? We’re on I-35 and I-37, on the south side.”
Still she just stared at him, head resting on his lap like he had become her personal pillow. Damn, he’d have to wash his jeans with Lysol disinfectant.
She shook her head, rubbing her lank black hair all over his jeans. “I … I don’t know.”
“Look, I understand you’re afraid. I was one of the paramedics who brought you in. Somebody tried to kill you. It’s amazing you can even walk, and you don’t need me to tell you that you need medical attention. You should be in a hospital.”
She shook her head. “I can’t go back.”
He knew she was gonna say that. “If you won’t go to a hospital, then I’ll take you home. I can check your wounds, change your bandages, but I’m not a doctor. I’m not qualified for anything else. Tell me where you live. I’ll get you there, do what I can to help, and then we’re done. We never met. You don’t know who I am, and I don’t know who you are. I could lose my job for this.”
He felt a twinge of something as her emotions flickered across her face. She was afraid. He’d seen plenty of that in Iraq. He stared at her for a minute, until a honking car behind him drew his attention to the stale green light. He took off for the north onramp to I-35. Cruising the highway, he kept glancing down at her. She had her hands over her face, like an ostrich hoping the problem would go away if they simply didn’t see it anymore.
One more exit and they would be at his apartment complex. He tried not to think of the implications. This girl needed to go somewhere, definitely not to his home. “I need a direction, an address, something.”
She uncovered her face and there were dark wet tears in her eyes. Was that blood? Fuck. Why the hell would she be bleeding from her eyes? She choked as though crying. Damn women were always crying.
Adrian hadn’t cried in years. He hadn’t felt that kind of intensity about anything, apart from a few insane moments in Iraq. How could people function when they feel so much? The only thing that got him going, beyond sex, was full-on combat, kill or be killed. The EMT calls got a bit wild once in a while, but not very often.
He reached over to the glove box to find the Kleenex tissues and handed her one. “You’re bleeding.”
She dabbed at her eyes, looked at the tissue and then back up at him. Lost, bewildered, scared, her huge dark eyes raked at him with the urgency of her plight. She choked out the words, “I don’t know where to go. I don’t know anything.”
The problem hit, and he didn’t like the way it made his stomach turn. She wasn’t local. She didn’t live in San Antonio. Where the hell could he take her?
“You don’t have anywhere to go? No friends, no house, no hotel?”
She wouldn’t speak, held her lips tight, as if to stop herself from screaming, and shook her head again.
Damn. He knew he shouldn’t have put her in his truck. No upside to this deal at all. Now, he just wanted to be rid of her. But the woman was still in his lap, looking at him like he owed her something, like he was going to be the one who saved her from … whatever.
Isn’t that why you took this job, to save people? Do your job, Adrian.
“Look, I’ll get you cleaned up, some clothes, a bus ticket, and that’s it. I can’t do anything more. Seriously.”
Huge, wet, doe eyes held his gaze while she slowly nodded acceptance. She covered her face and curled up on his seat, shivering. He turned up the heat, even though it wasn’t cold in the truck. San Antonio spring nights were never really cold. Pulling into the covered parking in front of his apartment complex, he realized he had a new problem.
“Stay here a minute, I’m going to get you a blanket. Just stay low, make sure no one sees you.”
He scooted his thigh out from under her and closed the truck door to peek in through his driver side window, ensuring she stayed down. She stared at him all the while. This was one strange chick. He found it hard to reconcile the Latin goddess who had almost died in his ambulance with this half-naked, crazy chick hiding in his truck. She had looked so beautiful, and fragile, whereas now she was this needy, pushy, intense girl who wanted to dump her whole damn life in the palms of his hands.
Q&A with Travis Luedke
If you were to describe your book in only one word, what would it be?
Obnoxious. Mistik, a Goodreads reviewer, actually said this: The Nightlife San Antonio is a testimony to “obnoxious.”
What would you say inspired you to write it?
Scrolling through Netflix one day, I caught this campy vampire film called ‘Bitten.’ Its a tale of a paramedic who finds a girl half dead in the alley. She’s a vampire and he tries to hide her in his apartment, even while she’s killing off his ex-girl and everyone else around him.
The movie is slightly funny, mostly goofy, and sort of sexy. There’s a scene with Erica Cox in her skimpy panties, humping and grinding on this guy while she sucks his blood till he dies–creepy, dark, but still oddly sexy.
After watching this film and being disappointed, I instantly said to myself, “This would have been so much better if…”
And the storyline of THE NIGHTLIFE SAN ANTONIO was born.
What was your source of inspiration for Adrian?
Adrian basically wrote himself. In the beginning, I had envisioned an everyday man, an average joe. But, the moment I started writing about this ex-military person who decided to work as an EMT, I ended up with a borderline sociopath on my hands.
The thing that scares me, is how much of my true personality is embedded within Adrian’s character. What does that say about me?
What sort of research did you do on cartels and mafia to prepare for Nightlife San Antonio?
Due to my years spent living in Mexico and near the border, I weaved in heavy elements of Mexican cartel politics. Here’s an interesting blog post I did on the subject.
I also did quite a bit of research on the local San Antonio mafia politics and history. Its a fascinating, yet darkly disturbing subject. What I learned is that major cartels from south of the border have been using the US prison systems to recruit and control US-based gang activities of drug distribution, prostitution, and human trafficking.
And yes, there are indeed Texas Aryan Brotherhood who do business with Mexican Mafia members. The gangs are not always rivals. They have a strange partnership at times.
What was your first Erotica reading experience?
Don’t laugh–vampire erotica. You could say that I left the party with the same girl I came with. It was one of Sunny’s novels, Lucinda Darkly. And I think its technically classified as demon erotica–but there are plenty of vampires in the story. LOL.
The books that had the most jaw-dropping impact for me were the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I suddenly realized there was a way to blend the dark, wicked violence I loved about Anne Rice’s vampires with gratuitous sex.
Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
On occasion I hit a block. Not often. I do several things: Read something in my genre, watch a film–either an old favorite or something new, or just sleep on it. I have found that when I sleep on things, I either realize that the idea I was pursuing doesn’t really merit any more trouble, or, I come up with a new angle on the plot and characters.
All that aside, the best thing is to sit with my critique group and ask for ideas. The ladies fill my head to bursting, and I come away from those sessions with a burning passion to get something written.
What is your all time favorite book?
The answer to that question changes year by year. As a teenager, I would have rattled off something from Clive Barker, like Weaveworld, or Imajica or something from Dean Koontz–any number of novels. In my twenties I would have said The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. In my thirties I would have said the Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
Today…Its really hard to say. I don’t think I have found my all time favorite book yet, but, I really enjoy the search.
What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
My only Young Adult novel, THE SHEPHERD, was originally written in 2011. I edited it in 2012 for publication. Then, I put it on a shelf to pursue The Nightlife Series (very adult). Later, in 2013, I came back to my orphaned novel, rewrote it entirely from third person to first person narrative, and then published it, after changing the cover art about ten times.
That book took me three years to finally pin down. LOL.
Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
I now evaluate every book as if I am the editor, and I can hardly shut it off. It starts to ruin the reading experience. I have to consciously ignore my internal editing voice.
And films *shakes head in shame* I am always evaluating the plots and dialogue and finding they are so lacking. Its a rare moment I can find a gem of a film with decent dialogue and storyline. I blame the writer in me, its ruining my ability to be entertained by cheeseball movies.
Was there ever a time, during your work for this book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
Not at all. The Nightlife San Antonio flowed right out the gate. I did have to revise earlier parts of Adrian’s character, because he became an obnoxious asshole later in the story, but he wasn’t really like that in the beginning. Those darn characters are always writing themselves.
What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside from writing?
Beyond attempting to squeeze in a little bit of writing once in a while, I run an empire of Twitter accounts, Facebook, Goodreads, Blogging, and other miscellaneous stuff like Emagazines and social media hubs. Oh, and I am a professional lab rat. All those lengthy side effects disclosures you hear in TV drug commercials? I’m the guy who took the drugs and suffered through the side effects. It sounds noble (or stupid), but I actually get paid good money for taking drugs. LOL.
The rest of my spare time is spent riding roller coasters at Six Flags with my kids. As a teen, you couldn’t get me anywhere near a roller coaster, now, you can’t get me off the damn things.
How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
I sit around with my author friends and plot and scheme about how I’m going to launch a catapult from here to Trollville filled with flaming shitballs, so that every Troll in the world can experience the smell of burnt crap on their front porch.
I cry in my beer, or wine or tequila, and then sit down to write another obnoxious novel. Gotta keep the Trolls in good supply, so they always have new material to trash.
That’s my advice: Take it on the chin, look to see if there might be a gem of useful critique in the flaming crap, and move on to write your next book. Get over it, and don’t take yourself or your writings too seriously.
What are you working on next for The Nightlife series?
THE NIGHTLIFE MOSCOW: Aaron, his vampire lover, his werewolf bloodslave, and a fallen Angel he calls Master, are teaming up with the wolf pack to take on Dmitri, a Russian vampire. Dmitri’s Russian mafia goons are hunting the wolf pack–a kill or be killed situation.
Its a showdown, Nightlife style, wickedly violent, violently sexy, and of course, OBNOXIOUS.
What do you have in store for us in the future? Anything outside The Nightlife series?
I do have plans for another YA novel, an interesting exploration of the unintended consequences of identity theft! I also have plans for an offshoot series of epic urban fantasy proportions. Sort of a Mortal Instruments meets Stargate, but written Nightlife style. Guaranteed obnoxious. And yes, there will be some Nightlife character appearances in this new series!
What made you decide to become an Author?
I was that guy who read so many books, yet found it difficult to get certain kinds of books, so, I decided that I could actually write the book I wish had been written for my entertainment. It just so happens I was in jail at the time, and bored, and lacking for enjoyable reading material. So what did I write? Obnoxious vampire romance. LOL.
What would you say was the toughest part?
Learning what it means to write with strict adherence to a single POV, and editing. Editing a novel into a finished product is far trickier than writing. By magnitudes.
Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting?
I lucked out on editing. I managed to stumble upon Patricia Knight, a samurai editor and highly talented author. Patricia adopted me into her critique group family. Then I found Kayla Stonor, a wonderful British woman who writes dark, edgy, erotic romance with BDSM themes.
Those ladies taught me what it means to write character driven fiction with a breakneck pace and romance that’s real. *Gasp* They even taught me what it means to write sex scenes (that women can stomach reading).
Formatting, I do that myself. Its not really too big of a deal if you know your way around MS word and some of the other tools. I naturally gravitated towards doing my own formatting.
Cover design: I used to draw dragons and long-haired rocker medieval dudes with swords when I was a teenager. That was cool, wasted lots of useless time in junior high, and I was pretty proud of it. But, I would never, ever put one of my Picassos on the cover of a book. I see authors doing this time and time again, and its like watching a slow-moving train wreck. A poorly done cover by an unskilled artist is like taking your beautiful masterpiece of literature and wrapping it up in used flypaper.
I hire cover artists. Sometimes I hire several, and do polls to see which version of cover art is the best. Authors, if you don’t know what you’re doing in digital art, hire a cover artist. Its the cheapest form of advertising there is, and it will keep paying dividends long after you’re dead and gone.
How did you decide who to hire, if you worked with pros?
I looked at portfolios, became the world’s worst coverwhore–cover snob, and then decided I would find the stock images I wanted and cram them down my cover artist’s throat to force them to make the cover I thought was best. When that didn’t work out, I asked the artist what they thought my covers should look like.
When that didn’t work, I went back to the ‘find your own images and force the cover artist to do what you want.’
That seems to work well for me. I am too much of a control freak to let cover artists do whatever they want, so, I hire affordable artists with badass portfolios who are willing to put up with my control-freakishness.
How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to self-pub to when you hit ‘Publish’?
For some projects, that process was only three to four months. For other projects, it took upwards of three years.
Where is your work being distributed, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc? How did you decide which one(s) to go with?
I played with the Amazon exclusive thing for a while, but, I much prefer using Smashwords to publish to all the other retailers. The exclusivity thing just doesn’t do it for me. I have found I get more exposure and sales by having my books available everywhere. The only retailer I am not, is Google PLay. Google has some funky contract clauses that can spark off price wars you have no control over, and, their dashboard for uploading is the most ridiculously unfriendly unintuitive crap I have ever found. I can publish books on three different retailer dashboards easier than trying to upload a single book on Google Play.
Google needs to get with the program, seriously.
If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you? What would you change?
I would have started writing and publishing earlier. Those who had several books available on Kindle in 2011 and early 2012 hit the jackpot. It was a time when ereader users were starved for content, and the books available then got huge exposure that is much more difficult to find now.
If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
I would wish to become Edward Cullen, the sparkling vampire who can’t keep his hands off seventeen year olds. Not. I would probably wish for something ridiculous like world peace, or an end to hunger, or an unlimited supply of Nutella.
If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one thing you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
A Kindle with wifi. I have over 1900 books on my kindle. its about time I started knocking down that monster TBR list.
Name your favorite fruit.
Grapes. They make awesome wine.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee coffee coffee…
How about favorite time of the day?
Evening. I always seem to be able to focus on writing after dinner, in the evening.
Were you a boyscout?
Never. But I went to a Salvation Army summer camp when I was eleven, does that count?
Favorite food for breakfast?
Scrambled eggs with grilled veggies and a little bit of cheese, then pour homemade salsa all over it and mop it up with tortillas. Damn, now I’m hungry.
Latest book you’ve bought and read?
In Her Name: Redemption by Michael Hicks
Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
Kindle ebooks. By the hundreds.
Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Black, like the stain on my soul…
Just kidding: Blue.
Drama or comedy?
How about a dash of both, with a steaming heap of sex and violence?
Have a favorite quote or personal motto?
“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Perhaps this is why my writing is so dark, violent, and sexual?
Cats or dogs?
Dogs! Although I did have a cat named Patcheye. He was a lot of fun, but not a very nice cat. I used to wear a leather work glove to play with him. Then, one day Grandma visited, and she tried to pet the cat. She wasn’t wearing the glove. Grandma never touched that cat again.
Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Clubbing! Definitely. Now, if I could just get my wife to agree…
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Reading the books in my genre, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a big fat bottle of red wine, and a bag of lemonheads.
Favorite Swear Word?
‘Fuck’ and I go way back to my early teens, yet, I often find ‘shit’ is the most useful profanity. But when you combine them, that shit is fucking beautiful.
About the Author
Travis Luedke is a husband, father, and author of Urban Fantasy Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, and Sci-fi. He is currently catching a 3rd degree sunburn in San Antonio, Texas, and loving every minute of it.
As the author of the Nightlife Series novels, Travis lives very vicariously through his writings. He invites you to enjoy his macabre flights of fancy, but be warned: The Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.
Each Monday, Shurrn’s Indie Flutters will showcase a talented Indie Author…
When she’s not contributing a weekly post here, she can be found at The Smutsonian a blog dedicated to Reviews of Modern Romance & Erotica. If you are interested in having your book featured in the Indie Flutters post, please see Shurrn’s Review Request Form.
Thank You & Happy Reading!