The Hunter's Bride
Dusk & Dawn Book 1 by Alexa Piper Genre: M/F & M/M Paranormal Romance, Mystery, RomCom
Falling in love with your boss is never easy, especially if he’s a vampire.
Maxim, tall, whimsical, and a vampire, wants to hire a curator for his art collection. Robyn, a newly minted art historian looking for a job, loves fine art and old stuff, and Maxim soon realizes she is not just perfect for the job, but also for him.
Robyn never liked prejudices against vampires, werewolves, or Fae, but the moment she starts working for a vampire, things appear less black and white, especially when she begins to fall for her new boss.
Robyn and Maxim’s young love will have to overcome odds and odd vampires who take issue with the fact that Maxim happens to be a vampire hunter who doesn’t shy away from decapitating his own kind.
Brian seemed to be slipping. He’d called up to tell Maxim of the interviewee’s arrival only about twenty seconds before the elevator had dinged, which barely gave Maxim the time to refresh his memory in regard to her name.
Heath had left a file on his desk titled Interviews, and Maxim had complained at the sheer lack of imagination that was obvious in that title. Heath had used magic marker to write it, though, and Maxim had wondered, out loud, if Heath had missed the developmental stage crayons were clearly meant for. Upon which Heath had broken into verbiage that came odorously dripping from the verbiage gutter. Heath had informed him that he, Maxim, best not pull any of this bodily refuse with the artsy people. They were, after all, artsy people and not likely to enjoy such shenanigans, at least if Heath’s soliloquy was to be believed. It was a shame the creativity he had displayed in his colorful speech had not translated into the simplistic title of the file that had sparked it.
“Robyn with a y,” Maxim mumbled to himself as he walked toward the elevators. “Y, y, y… Why would whiskey-vending witches want vigor with their witchy wits?” He pushed a strand of his hair back behind his shoulder and put on a smile. He could smell the interviewee even before he saw her, some perfume he didn’t know, light and floral, forgettable as Valentine’s Days spent alone. The scent underneath that was sunshine-warmed skin, a slight note of crushed cardamom pods. A shame to hide that with such perfume.
When Maxim laid eyes on the interviewee, he could feel his pupils spill black, and he immediately understood why Brian had taken so long to pick up the phone. Robyn with a y Somerton was gorgeous, though very much on the skinny side, always something that made Maxim’s memories of hunger float back to the surface of his mind, no matter how long ago that had been. Her hair was dark and wonderful, lush ebony, and her gray eyes and pale skin made her deep purple dress look even better on her. But damn it, he had promised Heath.
“Miss Somerton, thanks for coming in for the interview. My name is Maxim Vallois. I believe you talked to my assistant over the phone?” Now, there’s some perfect manners for you right there, Heath. If only that dhampire brat were here to see it.
The shock on her face at seeing Maxim and realizing what he was would have been amusing, should have been amusing, but for the first time in decades, Maxim felt futile fury at the reaction rise inside of him. She did go a shade paler, though, which was pretty.
“Y-yes. About the curator position?” she said, catching herself rather quickly and reining her expression back into normal. Maxim liked her voice. It was calm, not shrill. Heath sometimes brought home shrill, and that was usually headache inducing, rhetorically speaking. Maxim did not actually get headaches.
“Certainly. Please, come in.” Part of him wondered whether she would run. She was wearing terrible heels for that, and because he cared and paid attention, Maxim was pretty sure she was already headed for at least one blister on her left heel. Maxim had never understood heels, nor foot binding. He had understood what it said about having power over women, but he’d loathed that, loathed that society made it necessary for women to give that power.
Not the time to wax philosophical, Maxim reminded himself. Heath, if he were here and not away doing something that had to do with banks and money, would have been seething in the acid of his own glaring stares already. Stares glare glistening staffs of seeping solace. Not my best one, Maxim thought.
Robyn with a y came forward. Clearly she had decided running would be stupid. Mmh, Heath. Did you get me a final girl? Maxim filed that as a nice line for later. When he would tell Heath he wanted Robyn with a y. He wasn’t even sure why. It sure as bodily refuse wasn’t the cheap perfume, and it wasn’t the mildly scrawny look that Maxim found mildly headache inducing. Perhaps it was that stare of not quite fear but close enough to fear. Or lust at first sight? Who knows. Whatever the why, Maxim wanted her.
Of course Maxim couldn’t just spring this on Y Robyn. It would sound as if he were planning to make her a plaything, something Maxim knew good and well vampires did. He could go off on a whole other tangent about that nasty habit. He had to at least give Y Robyn the impression she had won the job, and of course he needed to be able to tell Heath as well, so he led her to the cluttered table he had lovingly prepared for the magic marker interview.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” Y Robyn said when he shook her hand. “You know how fickle the subway can be.”
“I don’t, actually. But it’s no trouble. This way.” He made a mental note of checking out the subway. It might be fun, ethnologically speaking.
When Y Robyn saw his table, she summed it up wonderfully concisely. “Wow,” she said, and Maxim glanced at her saucer wide eyes and at the appealing slackness of her drooping jaw.
The Hunting Party Dusk & Dawn Book 2
Getting married isn’t easy, and a series of creative murders doesn’t help.
Maxim would love nothing more than to marry the woman he loves, in peace and without distractions, but a series of uncanny murders in the hunter’s city demands his attention.
Meanwhile, Heath is excited to plan Maxim’s and Robyn’s wedding. While he does that, he will have to learn to make time for his own budding relationship with Brian.
When Robyn’s bachelorette party ends in more murder, no one is happy. Yet all are willing to combine their efforts to end the bloodshed for good, so the wedding can be had, along with a happily-ever-after.
Gordon and Orrin, vampire and wolf… Is their love impossible, or inevitable?
In New Amsterdam, supernaturals and humans live side by side. That doesn’t mean there are no borders or boundaries within supernatural society. Orrin works to save the living as an NA police detective, and Gordon labors to do right by the dead as a medical examiner. Fear and insecurity foiled their first attempt at a potential relationship. Now, they find themselves pulled to one another once more by a string of gruesome murders.
Prejudice and social conventions don’t make life easy for them, and their own insecurities don’t help. Will they dare to allow love between them while they work side by side to stop a violent murderer?
WARNING: This book contains mentions of violence/assault against minors and animal cruelty though neither are graphically portrayed.
“You got a broadsword,” Gordon said when he came back from taking the ashes out of the oven. The dead vamp offender had burned up nicely.
“And you smell of ash,” Maxim said.
They had been playing Dragon Labyrinth for just a little under two hours, and Maxim was already frightfully good at it. If only speed and acute reactions came with vampirism automatically. All special talents Gordon had noticed in himself was that no matter what color he dyed his hair and how often he changed it, it would stay healthy and free of split ends. Not that I’m complaining about that. Healthy hair is great. Currently, he was a dark eggplant purple with black-blue highlights.
“Well, I’m sorry if --”
Someone knocked on Gordon’s still-open office door and cleared his throat. Gordon turned, and when he saw Orrin standing there, all thoughts that had been ordered in his head became a mishmash of confusion. Confusion, embarrassment, and fear, to be exact.
“I hope you don’t mind, Gordon, I asked Detective Orrin to drop by here with some information he considered important. You two have met, haven’t you?”
Gordon managed a nod.
“We have,” Orrin said. His voice sounded even, not angry, and Gordon wasn’t sure whether he would have preferred angry.
“So what was that thing about a hate crime that you were going on about, Orrin?” Maxim said.
Orrin walked into the room and closed the door behind him. “Yes. Jack the Ripper. That guy who murdered humans and Fae and tossed London into a panic around the 1890s. That ring a bell?”
Maxim paused his game and turned. “Oh, it certainly does. The Fae murders. I wasn’t in London at the time, but I followed the case. I take it you have someone emulating that killer, whoever he may have been?”
Orrin pulled something up on his phone, handed the device to Maxim. “Crime scene photos. You tell me.”
Maxim scanned through the photos slowly as if he were committing all the details to memory. Then he handed the device to Gordon. “Your opinion, Doctor?”
“Uhm,” Gordon said. “I’m not really familiar with Jack the Ripper, other than where pop culture is concerned.”
Maxim shrugged. “There’s a corpse. Don’t be shy. Have a look.”
Orrin crossed his arms. “And we’ll all just pretend I asked for you to consult.”
“Oh, silly Orrin,” Maxim said. “It’s a possible hate crime against supernaturals, which means I get informed, and through the power my position invests in me, I get to consult all the nerdy medical experts I want. And Gordon here happens to be the best, nerdy or otherwise.”
Nerdy. Yes, I guess I am that. Which made Gordon tense. He hadn’t even thought about it, but his office was, well, every collector’s wet dream, and it was really just a small slice of his entire collection, and really, Orrin could probably smell the weed cookies in the Lord Helmet cookie jar. What was he going to think about Gordon now? When Gordon had already messed up before and hadn’t even taken the time or effort or courage to set things straight. Well, fuck.
He tried to focus on the pictures, which had all the many shades of red and darkness, blended and combined to fill a canvas of a dark mind’s imagination. “Strong attacker, right-handed. I could give you a height range if I were there, but not from photographs alone. I see no obvious indicator the victim was anything other than human.”
Maxim beamed. “See? Gordon and his corpses.”
Orrin grunted. “I can get you to consult on the autopsy, but I can’t have the victim brought here. And if you wanted to, I mean, you have other things to do, but I would appreciate another set of eyes on the crime scene.” After a pause he added, “You too, Maxim. Should have a look, I mean.”
Maxim made a moue. “And here I was, just getting fond of the old broadsword and hoping that those dragon knights would bite their thumbs so I could offer them challenge.”
Gordon sighed. “I don’t think you really get video games, Maxim.”
The blond vampire snorted. “You talking about not getting things is a right hilarity, Doctor. Now, let’s go have a look at a corpse, shall we?”
The Hunter's Mummy Dusk & Dawn Book 4
Even vampire hunters should be allowed a break, but murder makes the French countryside less scenic.
Ravelle is looking forward to being back in France. All she wants is to have wine with her daughter-in-law, catch up with an old vampire acquaintance, and get closer to Yanis, who is a breath of fresh air to Ravelle. She is not looking forward to working, and a seasoned vampire hunter like Ravelle should be granted a simple, quiet vacation.
Yet the hunter soon smells murder on the air, and where there’s murder, there is a corpse, and where there's a tenderly wrapped corpse, there tends to be a crime, in Ravelle’s experience. So rather than pursuing wine, Ravelle will have to solve all the mummy's mysteries.
Werewolf Orrin and vampire Gordon want to enjoy their love, but a serial killer threatens the peace.
Orrin and Gordon come from different worlds: Orrin is a werewolf with the New Amsterdam Police, and Gordon is a vampire who likes the quiet of his morgue. Yet, they decided to be with one another even though Orrin’s vampire was at first afraid to commit.
Now, new complications come barreling at the two when Orrin realizes he will have to step up to become a parent to an orphan shifter, while New Amsterdam has become the haunt of a serial killer who targets mixed supernatural and human couples.
Gordon was slow to realize he loves his werewolf mate, but it takes him even longer to figure out he still has his own demons to deal with. A past hurt has left a scar on his soul. Gordon’s werewolf detective might just be what Gordon needs to heal the scars from his past. The only question is whether geeky Gordon is enough for serious and seriously handsome Orrin.
Together with Maxim, New Amsterdam’s bardic vampire hunter, Orrin and Gordon are on the case to save the city from sinking into fear and panic as more murders challenge the peace. Through turmoil and death, Orrin and Gordon must find a way forward.
NOTE: This book contains scenes of assault and kidnapping that may be triggers for some readers.
Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. Alexa loves writing stories that make her readers laugh and fall in love with the characters in them. Connect with Alexa on Facebook or Instagram, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter!
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Hi! My name is Alexa Piper, and I write paranormal romance books that have been known to make people laugh out loud in public. Some stories I write are downright dark though, and if those make you laugh, I compliment you on a singular sense of humor. I started writing fantasy and science fiction several years back and then later branched out into romance. With several series out now, it gives me room to let my characters grow and experience more, which is a lot of fun for me to write about.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Orchids seem to like me. I've been known to get even the lost causes to bloom.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I am a terribly picky reader. If I don't like something about a book, if it's not well written, I can't go on. The more I write, the more critical I become of all media I consume, so I tend to spend time on only things that I really enjoy. Frees more time for making my own stories.
Where were you born/grew up at?
Aw, I love to let people guess, so I cannot give that away! A lot of the time, they guess wrong.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Like I spend a relaxing Sunday: some reading, connecting with friends, take a day trip to a pretty city maybe.
Who is your hero and why?
Whichever person in a room full of people speaks out when they see something wrong happening.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Benevolent Dictator Squid because squids are awesome, and they have many arms. (Being a squid isn't against the rules, is it?)
What are you passionate about these days?
Do not waste my time. No, really; don't.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Sleep, have coffee, make pancakes (and eat them.) And I cannot do all of them at the same time, which is a shame.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
...Benevolent Dictator Squid?
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I sold a poem for actual money.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them! And they would be R-rated and full of great acting and well-made special effects, because my Fae need to look shiney.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I went to the Whiskey Museum in Dublin. That counts, right?
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Benevolent Dictator Squid.
What inspired you to write this series?
The first book was the kind of story that just hits you over the head, nearly fully formed. I wrote it in ten days or so, that's how badly it wanted to be on the page. Even now, there are situations that I see playing out in my head like a movie, and they are usually these hilarious character moments. In the second book, when, uhm, in spoiler-free terms, when Heath puts his foot down before the big highlight event in that book, that was one of those scenes. There are just so many characters in this universe that I love to bits, even if I feel that as an author, it is my sacred responsibility to keep an open mind about possibly having very, very bad things happen to them. (Then I remember I am a Benevolent Dictator Squid, and I try being real nice, but as a result the goat had to die in book 2. Go read it, it'll make sense. Probably.)
What can we expect from you in the future?
More books. In my Fairview Chronicles series, I seem to have discovered the lovely niche of furniture porn since one of my characters is a desk who is very horny all the time, so more of that, but just more books in general. (Since I have not said the word squid in a while, I would like to point out that I have a book with a kraken demon in it, and he doesn't just use his tentacles for tickling, if you catch my drift. It's called Loved by a Kraken. Check it out!)
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in your Dusk & Dawn series?
Sure! There's Maxim, the bardic vampire hunter who loves a pun. Clement is a household guardian called a Lar who spent some time as a poltergeist and is a bit of a misanthrope. Gordon is a forensic pathologist, and one item on his bucket list is probably to dye his hair in all the colors of the rainbow, though I don't know if he has a bucket list. Oh, and if you are into really evil characters, Laurenzio dazzles in all the ways he is despicable. I'm sure there are also level-headed characters who simply have a plan and can handle stressful situations like unwrapping mummies and things, but it looks like I forgot all about them.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I want to know what happens next! I may have a somewhat better idea of that than the reader, but I only find out when I sit down and write it, and that is really the best part!
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Obviously, they all want world peace. After all, I made them in my image, I, your Benevolent Dictator Squid.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I write furniture porn, and there is no denying it, not since the desk had that wet dream about a foursome on top of it.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I know that whenever someone picks up a book from a new author, it's like an advance in trust. I'm grateful, and I'll do my best to earn it! To returning readers: thanks for buying another ticket! I hope you enjoy this ride as much as you did the last!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
They invade my imagination, and a lot of the time, they don't ever leave.
Advice they would give new authors?
You must practice. Writing is like any craft; it can be learned, but it takes repetition and the strength to handle rejection--a lot of rejection--to improve. And let me stress again: you must practice, meaning, sit down and write.
What makes a good story?
Beginning, middle, end.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I'm a pantser, aka discovery writer. This means I just sit down and write the story as it comes to me. It took me some time to realize this, because a lot of writing advice focuses on outlining. I think that advice is useful, but in my case, I had to give myself permission to just enjoy the process of telling the story, and outlining robbed me of that joy.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
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