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About the author:
Mary Hughes (written Hug-he’s but possibly pronounced throat warbler mangrove) writes smart and sassy stories of action and love. She’s the author of the Pull of the Moon Series, the Biting Love Series, the Ancients Series, and the Lovless Brothers Series.
She’s a bona fide computer geek and performing flutist. (And piccolo, but we don't talk about that.) When this USA Today Bestselling Author isn’t busy finding the missing </> tag or blowing her lungs out, she’s reading or binging on The Flash, Instinct, Wynonna Earp, or Agents of SHIELD…and petting the cats that inevitably end up on her lap.
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MJ Chase is a pen name for a USA Today bestselling author who writes smart and snarky stories of action and love but with language and situations you can recommend to your mother. Or grandmother. Or neighbor. Probably not your worst enemy, though your best enemy is fair game.
Current series are the Vampire Vignettes, but there’s always more going on in this author’s brain. Like this one about a beautiful healer and the strong, sexy last-of-the-wizards mage going together on an epic quest, only she’s angry with him for what he did to her foster father and he can’t show interest in her because that would make her a target to his enemies… It’d be written if not for the pesky day job. Food, shelter, so overrated, amiright?
What inspired you to write your book?
We're inspired by forever love…but can't resist the charm and excitement of that first meet. Vampire Vignettes are short meet-cutes between a vampire master of the city and the woman who charms (or fights or snarks) her way into his life.
Here is a short sample from the book:
I was here. I was in Damien Knight’s palace.
Waitstaff in spiffy black and white circulated like honeybees. One swept down on me with a tray of cut-crystal flutes. I lifted a glass, my excitement as effervescent as the pale gold champagne.
Glass in hand, I floated toward the host table.
“Welcome.” A silver-clad woman behind the table nodded at me. “Club party that way, ballroom dancing that way. Tours start upstairs.” She indicated directions like a flight attendant, tapping two practiced fingers in the air. “Knight Industries tour on the hour.”
My heart thumped faster. Knight was insanely protective of his place. He rarely opened the business floors to outsiders—his home, never. In the time my friend Taunee had lived here, I’d never even visited.
A tour was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could help me land a job with Knight Industries, which paid ridiculous amounts of money. Every time anything remotely suitable came up, I sent in my resume with a link to my website. Gotta brand these days. I’d never made it past the phone interview, as they only hired the best of the best. But even a sub-contractor slot would be lucrative.
Tour it is. I skipped up one of the curved staircases. The air on the nearly empty stairs was refreshingly cool after the packed foyer. I lifted my long skirt and ran up the last of the steps, enjoying the swish of artificial silk against my bare legs.
I might even catch sight of the elusive Damien Knight himself.
An extra little thrill went through me. As master of Chicago, you might think his face would be burned into every citizen’s consciousness. But besides me being new to the city, Damien Knight was more reclusive than an aloof Hollywood star. Maybe a survival mechanism. Centuries of the masquerade, hiding to stay off human radar, had made most vampires good at hiding in plain sight.
I reached the top of the stairs with an exhilarated hop onto the landing.
There, I was hit by a sense of foreboding so intense I froze.
Breathing fast, I twitched my gaze around the landing. Immaculate red carpet swept the large area between the tops of the staircases. To my left was a set of double doors. To my right was an overlook into the foyer, barricaded by a half wall.
Standing beside it was a man.
At first, I only saw his gleaming black dress shoes, pointed at me.
Cautiously, I lifted my gaze.
Shadows seemed to wrap around him despite the brightly lit foyer below.
Or maybe it was his severe dress. Black formal trousers with razor-sharp crease, black cutaway jacket revealing an absolutely flat, hard stomach beneath a dazzling white shirt. Massive chest framed by satin lapels. Perfect white tie. A tuxedo cut to emphasize his potent masculinity.
My heart beat faster as my gaze went higher.
A jaw like a cliff. A face that was all sharp, dramatic angles, the kind that demand you run your fingers over them to see how deep they cut.
Huge. Six and a half feet, minimum. And his eyes…
Dark, brilliant. Piercing.
Hard on me.
My heartbeat stuttered.
Men can be large and handsome, but only one kind of being is that huge, that utterly superb.
I swallowed a big lump of instinctive fear, my heart beginning to race. All vampires are dangerous, even the good guys.
Good-guy vampires. Yeah, even though our fanged kin have been Unmasked for years, that sounds strange.
Vampires are more common now, but I’d never seen one this…everything. Big. Potent. Scary as heck. Dazzling to my eyes.
Words bubbled up inside me. Hi, I’m Adele, nice to meet you, are you married?
I bit them off. This huge male had to be one of the household lieutenants, and an older power at that. Humans showed respect to vamps. A young sucker you respected like fire, giving them a polite “Sir” or “Ma’am.”
An older one you respected like a ticking bomb.
So I tucked my head deferentially and politely waited for him to speak first.
“The ZellisX Group?” His first words, dripping with scorn, speared icicles into my gut. “I know each member personally. You’re not with them. Who are you?”