Author: Melissa Lummis
Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours
Loti Dupree’s meager healing abilities have been more a curse than a blessing. What’s the point if she can’t even save her husband from cancer? Harboring a painful secret, Loti flees the life they had in a small Appalachian town for the ashram, the spiritual retreat where she trained to be a yogini. But she finds herself running from more than grief when an ominous nightmare sets her on a dangerous path of self-discovery that challenges everything she believes, and threatens her life.
While dodging psychic attacks from an unknown assailant, Loti races to understand who and what she is before her enemy can catch up with her. To make matters worse, events throw her into the arms of a handsome but frustrating vampire. Love and light are waiting for her—if she can only figure out how to stay alive.
Loti Dupree fears she may have lost her soul. Harboring a painful secret, she flees her life in a small Appalachian town for the spiritual retreat where she trained to be a yogini. But an ominous nightmare sets her on a dangerous path of self-discovery that challenges everything she believes, threatens her life, and throws her into the arms of a handsome but frustrating vampire. Love and light are waiting for her—if she can only figure out how to stay alive.
What do you get when you mix vampires, yogis and healers? Enlightened!
Vampires and healers and yogis, OH MY! There’s light and love waiting for Loti Dupree, if only she can figure out how to stay alive.
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker. She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer. And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.
The author lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute and a myriad of forest creatures. The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane. Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum. Namaste, dear friends.
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Wolf stared at the full moon as if it might reveal the answers he sought. He dug a pack of Camel’s from his shirt pocket and lit a cigarette with a wooden match. Shaking out the flame, he dropped the burnt stick and returned his apprehensive gaze to the sky. 500 years had not prepared him for what he felt at that moment—the overwhelming urgency and need to go back in the house right now, to her. Taking a drag, he glanced back at the little house; the bedroom lights were still on and his sharp hearing picked up the women’s soft voices. Rachel reassured Loti that she was fine and that the nest at Marksville would help her figure this out. Wolf assured her they were different, she said. How? Loti asked. Wolf closed his eyes and inhaled—he could still smell her. Her unique female scent laced with fear and arousal, her blood salty and sweet, and the something else he couldn’t identify. He had smelled something like this before, but only faintly from another woman; it hadn’t been a one-hundredth of what he smelled now. This was so much stronger, yet delicate. It called to him, coaxing him to return, to stay, to stop, to not walk away this time.
He opened his eyes, looking down at his hands. His fingers thrummed with the sensation of soft skin over firm muscles. And what was that damn jolt every time he touched her? And the other thing? Squashing the barely smoked Camel under his boot, he pinched off the filter and sprinkled the uncharred tobacco in his palm. Holding some between thumb and forefinger, he faced the east, kissing his fingertips.
“Spirits of the east,” he said, extending his pinched fingers, then sprinkling the tobacco. He turned to the right. “Spirits of the south.” He repeated the gesture, addressing each cardinal point in the same way, then lifted another bit to the sky. “Father Sky.” He knelt, touching the ground. “Mother Earth.” His eyes closed, and he touched his chest. “Hear my plea. This creature needs your guidance.” No thoughts in his head, he waited, his spine still crawling. Longing surged through his heart and mind, palpable, pulsing, and heavy.
Flinching, he opened predator eyes. He leapt into the air, racing through the woods like a wraith, his feet barely touching the ground. A blur in the dark, his humanity faded away. The vampire instinct led him to the acrid scent of burning wood and meat, and the sweet smell of human blood. He covered two miles in under 30 seconds. He zipped to a stop ten yards from the firelight, where he held unnaturally still, watching the small group and listening to their conversation.
“I’ll bet you could rig up the batteries two at a time,” one man said.
“Oh, yeah. It’s not hard to do,” the second man responded, taking a swig off a bottle and passing it.
Wolf sniffed. Honey whiskey.
“Especially now,” the woman who took the bottle said. She drank and handed it over. “Well, we can always figure something out.”
Tea tree oil, sour milk? Yogurt, Wolf corrected himself. And mother’s milk. His pupils dilated.
“How much does one cost?”
Lavender and eucalyptus and honey.
“About $550 for the actual generator, but there’s the tower and the battery bank, and the batteries themselves.”
The conversation continued, but Wolf wasn’t listening anymore, his focus on the lactating woman. There were four people sitting around a low fire, and the small breathing sounds of young children came from two big tents twenty yards away. Quite young. Urine. Breast milk. He turned his attention back to the adults, specifically the dark-haired woman, the mother, who was standing up and stretching.
“I need to pee,” she announced. “Where are the headlamps, Max?”
Max pressed something into her hand as she bent to kiss him lightly on the mouth. Adjusting the headlamp he’d given her, she headed for the trees, and Wolf stepped silently behind an oak as she picked her way along a fresh-cut path. She ducked into a copse of Russian olive trees and out of sight. Wolf balled his hands into fists and ground his back teeth together as the smell of her blood, laced with mother’s hormones and milk, taunted him. His fangs clicked down. He waited for the woman to put her clothing back in order, and when she looked up, his eyes glowed with a dark light. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out.
“Shhh,” Wolf soothed, moving toward her.
Paralyzed by fear and his gaze, she didn’t try to run or scream, but her hands began a fine trembling.
“Relax.” His voice filled her chest as he ran his hand along her shoulder to her neck, lifting the heavy curtain of wavy, dark hair. The woman stopped shaking, but she never took her eyes off his as he dragged her to him and spun her around. He tilted her head to one side, exposing her white neck and stretching it into a long, tight line. Resting his mouth over her jumping pulse, he bit. She jerked beneath him, her eyes fluttering and drifting closed. He gripped her tighter, drawing sweet blood in quiet gulps. It was sweeter than usual, and he flashed on a mental image of his own mother: young, strong, dark, and beautiful, but all mothers were beautiful to their sons. Was she as beautiful as he remembered? Or had time and memory worked their magic, softening the rough edges and creating an aura of nostalgia? Had 500 years edited his memory? His mother held a small, dark berry out to him, the sun blazing behind her in a clear, blue sky.
“Taste it, Wolf. It’s perfectly ripe.”
Her voice echoed down the years, waking up his humanity. He yanked his fangs from her neck. What was he doing? He blinked. She was tranquil in his arms, breathing deeply, relaxed in the vampire’s spell. As sharp guilt cut through Wolf, he fortified himself against the warring wants. With a practiced detachment, he licked the bite wounds until the blood coagulated and the skin and tissue knitted back together. By morning it would itch like a bug bite and with the two faint marks, she’d think they were bug bites.
“You went into the woods to relieve yourself and noticed how unusual the moon is tonight,” he whispered into her ear.
She nodded. “The halo is beautiful. What is it?” Her voice thick with magic.
“It’s the wolf moon.”
He nudged her away until she walked on her own, her vacant face tilted up. The spell dissipated and awareness firmed her eyes as she looked to her left then right. She hesitated, looking up at the moon once more and glanced over her shoulder, but Wolf was gone. She had a vague sense of well-being mingled with fear and arousal. What a strange sensation, she thought. He’d taken the memory from her. It was his alone.