“The Devil’s Counsel” — Excerpt from NIGHT WATCH (Guardians, Inc.)

Maya Guardian is an interesting woman to write about. She’s an amazing attorney with an impressive record and the professional respect of her peers. However, she’s also very insecure about herself, on a personal level. She doesn’t fit into the societal ideals of a woman of her stature, and her family heritage left her gifted with the ability to pick up on the feelings of others. Tough as nails and unflappable in the courtroom, she shies away from social interaction outside of work, aware of the way people look at her. Of all her siblings, she’s  the least comfortable in her own skin.

Enter Conner Shaw, a business mogul who’s made a point of evading the public eye – for a very good reason. He’s nearly two hundred years old, and as a living vampire, he doesn’t age. If the world found out, he would break the Covenant he swore to abide by, and as a man of deep honor, he’s not about to risk that. But when a recent business merger has left him in the unenviable position of having to become the public face of his new acquisition, he finds himself in need of an attorney whose complete confidentiality and understanding of his situation is imperative.

I’ve been loving writing this story…. These characters are just the kind of human I hope readers will fall in love with… I know I certainly have!  Enjoy!!

 

“The Devil’s Counsel” – Excerpted from NIGHT WATCH (Guardians, Inc.)

Maya Guardian sat half in the shadow of the ballroom, trying to pretend she didn’t see the speculative looks, or hear the cruel whispers of her colleagues.  It was a curse, the Guardian gift she received.  Hearing the unspoken, and the barely whispered, was more of a curse than a gift – as much of a curse to Maya as inheriting the Maxwell genes was.

Maya winced inwardly.  Her mother called her robust, and she was her father’s princess.  She barely held in her derisive snort.  Like she believed that.  Cinderella never wore a size eighteen ball gown.  Maya knew the truth.  She was fat – it was that simple.  That her bone structure was more dense than her siblings’, or that she spent at least an hour every day in the gym of her building, or even that she obsessed away her teenage years trying to starve herself to normal, didn’t make a lick of difference.  She was apparently doomed to her overabundance of curves, and she saw the looks, heard the thoughts of everyone whenever she entered the courtroom.  How could a woman who’d clearly let herself go make such a formidable attorney?

Angry with herself, Maya took a healthy slug of wine, and told herself she wouldn’t regret either the calories or the hangover, in the morning.

“May I remove you from your drink, before you drown in it?”

Maya’s attention jerked around at the Old World cadence of those words, and her throat stalled mid-swallow, leading to the most unladylike coughing fit.  She winced, aware of what society’s elite, all around them, thought.  Slob.  Cow.  She wished she could just close her ears to them all.

“What matter are they?”  Those smooth words, touched with the hint of an accent she couldn’t quite place, murmured near enough to her ear that Maya gasped, shaken to the core.  She turned her head, and found herself face-to-face with a man who put her most vivid fantasies to shame.

This close, she could see the slight imperfections – the scar on his temple, the slight bump that indicated his nose had been broken more than once, the thin lines that feathered his eyes and mouth.  Somehow, though, they all worked.  It just plain wasn’t fair that wrinkles made men distinguished, and women old, she thought perversely.

He chuckled, as if he could somehow read her thoughts.  Her mental snort of derision at her own whimsical nature was cut short when, without missing a beat, he murmured, “Why worry about wrinkles?  I am certain you will age with as much beauty and grace as your sainted mother.”

Her eyes narrowed.  “She’s not dead.”

He inclined his head in apology.  “I know.”

Dread crawled along her spine.  The only people in this miserable city who would know about Eryn Guardian were Para and… “Are you Crucibani?”

That earned her a deep, rumbling chuckle, and his oddly teal eyes sparkled with mischief.  “My dear, dear lady!  If I were to cross their threshold, those so-called holy men would see me strung up by my own entrails.”

Maya winced at the graphic description, but refused to be distracted.  “Which means you’re…”

One sandy blond brow raised, and his mouth quirked in amusement.  “Indeed.”

She waited silently, but he never showed so much as a single nerve.  Instead, he merely inclined his head and intoned, “Conner Shaw.”

Her eyes widened.  She’d heard his name, before.  Her brother, Jason, claimed Shaw was the only blooded, living vampire he’d ever trust at his back.  Still… “What brings you to me, Mr. Shaw?”

“I need some… very delicate legal advice.”

Given what that usually meant for vampires, Maya resisted the urge to bury her face in her hands and groan.  The last thing she needed right now was some renegade vampire with a lust for blood, energy, or whatever the hell he lived off of, making a mess of her life.  She was handling that just fine, thanks.

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