Monsters & Angels
Author: Anne Marie Andrus
Genre: New Adult Historical/Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: October 11, 2017
Fledgling nurse Sorcha Alden knew she had the skills to save lives, but she never dreamed that her own life would be the one in danger.
Driven by tragedy to honor her family name, Sorcha embarks on a journey that takes her from the bleak but familiar streets of New York, through the sultry and seductive city of New Orleans, and into the brutal jungles of Nepal. Forging friendships and carrying on her mother’s mission of healing was her dream. Plunging into a love affair with the mysterious Dr. Ashayle could have been a fairytale.
Being murdered and waking up as a blood-thirsty monster—became her living nightmare.
Torn away form a life that had just begun, Sorcha returns to New Orleans as a newborn vampire, forced to start over in a cutthroat underworld of devilry and decadence. Complicated politics, bitter rivals and jealous ancestors stand between her and the promises she’s still determi
ned to keep.
In a realm where the boundary between good and evil is as murky as the Mississippi River and immortal does not mean invincible, will Sorcha ever risk her shattered heart and love again? Can the magical harmony of the Crescent City give her enough courage to fulfill her eternal destiny?
Across Canal, onto Royal, past the cathedral, left turn toward the party noise. Strangers saw Raimond and instinctively stepped back.
Sorcha had walked this path as a young woman, steering clear of anyone who looked threatening. Now, it was different. Bombarded by the acrid smell of flesh, she gravitated toward bars spilling out loud music and drunk patrons.
The human pulses vibrated the center of Sorcha’s chest and clobbered her eardrums. Heartbeats.
“This way, we’re going to dinner.” Raimond’s vise grip guided Sorcha down a crooked alley.
Rue Bourbon. Finally.
In the damp courtyard, two disheveled figures stared blankly at a moss covered wall. Raimond blocked her path. “The idea here is to drink enough to quench your thirst—not kill them. It’s a fine line.”
Nausea twisted Sorcha’s stomach. How can I hurt these innocent people? The pounding tempo in each man’s neck overrode her hesitation. Blood threatened to burst out of their arteries. Not a glimmer of fear. “Why aren’t they running?”
“I was here already tonight. They won’t give us any trouble.” Raimond pointed to the inside of one man’s elbow. “Avoid the delicate neck area, for now.”
“Why?” Who cares, I’m famished. She lunged, clamping her fangs into his arm. The skin was as soft as the goat’s, but the blood wasn’t watery. Chocolate syrup meets cherry soda. Drawing her face back to look into his eyes, Sorcha dragged the man down onto the cold stone of the courtyard, latching back onto the limp arm.
“That eccentric heartbeat is your signal to stop.” Raimond needed all his strength to disconnect her jaws from the wilting man. They wound up a tangled heap in a stone fountain, under a dripping gargoyle.
“The drooling goblin—from my dream.”
“What?” Shaking his head, Raimond looked into her eyes. Pale blue had turned into burning sapphire. “You’ll need some practice. It’s not necessary to wear your dinner.”
Sorcha looked down at her blood-soaked shirt. Her face was sticky too but she felt so
alive and powerful, it didn’t matter. Her gaze shifted toward the second man. “Ooo…”
“Pace yourself.” Losing his grip on Sorcha’s arm, Raimond yanked her back by her hair. “Let’s clean up this fella first. He can’t go out onto the street looking like he got bitten.” He sliced his finger on his own fangs, rubbing the blood into the victim’s arm. The sloppy wound started to heal immediately. “You try now.”
Sorcha followed his lead and the scar faded into unbroken skin. “I’m still hungry.”
“Watch carefully.” Raimond bared his fangs, pulling the second human’s head to the side and exposing the bounding pulse in his neck. “Only bite hard enough to puncture the skin, then let the heartbeat drive blood down your throat.”
“Got it—no throat ripping. Why did you put them under such a trance?”
“Would you rather they fight back?”
“Maybe a little.”
Sorcha marveled at Raimond’s skill. Looks effortless. He took two long swallows and disengaged, offering his student an unmarked section of flesh. Blazing red eyes, flexing muscles—and fangs under his smile. Erotic...devastating. Hope I blocked that thought.
Sorcha pushed the images away and followed Raimond’s instructions to the best of her ability. “How was that?”
“Not bad, for a beginner.” Raimond examined the bite, bigger than his and not as tidy. “Practice, practice.”
“Won’t be a problem.” Sorcha’s thirst felt endless. She sliced her finger, covered both wounds and watched them heal. “That’s amazing, but now what—they tell all their friends that vampires ate them?”
“No, that’s the next part of tonight’s lesson. Planting your version of events.” Raimond maneuvered Sorcha until she stared into the first man’s glazed eyes.
“What do I say to make him believe me?”
“I’ll show you.” Raimond traded places with her.
Sorcha watched as the air turned hazy.
“You went out to a party and someone slipped something in your drink. You and your friend passed out behind the bar.”
The man repeated the statement back word for word.
Raimond pointed toward the second man. “You try. Concentrate and make a connection.
Look deeper than his eyes. Force your words into his mind.”
It took Sorcha a few tries to get any results at all. The man seemed confused. He repeated back a story but not the correct one. This needs practice too.
Raimond stepped in, easily planting the correct version and dumping both men on the banquette. He moistened a cloth in the old fountain. “Clean up.” He motioned to Sorcha’s face and neck. “Wear my jacket, your shirt is drenched with blood.”
Stepping over the pile of humans, they emerged from the darkness of the alley. Sorcha reached behind her head, untied the hair ribbon and shook soft waves around her face. She walked down the middle of Bourbon Street as if she owned it, oblivious to the crowds that parted in front of them.
Anne Marie has been an equestrienne, chorale singer, candy-striper, EMT, and baseball fan. Roaming the back roads of New Jersey with her family, she found great respect for antiques, historical locations and the stories they hold. Her current list of favorite pastimes include coffee, bourbon, and Les Miserables--which requires more bourbon. She has been known to attend sporting events just for the flyover. The boat she and her husband christened Glory Days, is her escape from the chaos of everyday life.
The inspiration for Anne Marie's debut novel, Monsters & Angels, is her fascination with vampires and her passion for everything New Orleans. When she isn't writing, she can be found working nights with the critical care team in a busy trauma center.