The Dead Game
by Susanne Leist Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Linda Bennett leaves New York for the slower-paced lifestyle of Oasis, Florida. She opens a bookstore and makes new friends. Life is simple that is until the dead body washes up onshore. She is horrified to learn that dead bodies and disappearing tourists are typical for this small town. Rumors abound of secret parties held by the original residents in their secluded mansions. Once night falls, the tourist-friendly community becomes a haven for evil and dark shadows. However, this is only the beginning.
Linda and her group receive an unsigned invitation to a party at End House, the deserted house in the forest behind the town, a mansion with a violent history. They are pursued through revolving rooms and dangerous traps, barely escaping with their lives, leaving two of their friends trapped inside.
It is up to Linda and her friends to search out The Dead and find the evil one controlling their once peaceful community. Can they trust the Sheriff and his best friend, Todd?
THE DEAD GAME has begun.
Linda passed the empty tables by the tall windows when she felt her arm being tugged. Before she could react, she found herself being dragged through the open patio doors and onto the isolated garden path. She came face to face with the mighty Wolf and his trusted companion, Hayden. The grounds were deserted. Everyone had left the gardens, and she was all alone with the two wicked vampires.
Wolf glared at Hayden. “Please let go of her arm; we are not animals. We never force ourselves on women.”
“Chivalry among demons—I’m very impressed. Too bad your table manners and choice of dishes leave a lot to be desired,” Linda said. Her hatred of Wolf had just caused her to forget her low position in the food chain; she closed her mouth to stop herself from talking. In the future, she must remember that he was a vampire—the strongest one in the world—and that he could easily destroy her at any time.
Wolf didn’t seem the least bit focused on her. “I didn’t come here to play parlor games with you. I need you to convince Todd to join with us. He can never be human or will ever be accepted by them. He belongs with us. He must stick with his own kind.”
“He’s not like you in any way at all: he cares too deeply for people and is loyal to his friends. On the other hand, you and your kind enjoy killing too much and have no feelings whatsoever.”
“Todd will never be accepted by humans or by his own kind. He will be an outcast with nowhere to go. He must join with us.”
“Todd is human and will always be accepted by humans.”
“Let’s kill her now, boss. She’s going to be trouble. I could take her away and no one will ever see her again,” Hayden said, grabbing hold of her arm again.
Wolf strolled over to her with a wicked gleam surfacing in his eyes.
“I have a much better use for her in the future. When she finally comes to her senses, she’ll realize that she will be better off with a real vampire with limitless powers than with a pathetic human. She’ll learn about intoxicating love and passion—not the games that humans play that pale in comparison.
“Here comes the human. Let her go for now.”
Linda was horrified to find herself wrapped in Wolf’s strong, muscular arms. She became hypnotized by his black eyes and tempted by his deep voice. He seemed perfect in every way. She only wanted to be with him.
“I’ll be back for you.” Wolf held her tight against his body and whispered in her ear. “I love the way you stand up to me with your flashing blue eyes. Soon you’ll be mine, my beautiful ice queen.”
Linda couldn’t move her body. She was stuck in some kind of trance…she couldn’t leave, didn’t want to leave if given the choice. His voice soothed her and made her think of love, passion, and great need: a need that could be satisfied only by him with his expert hands and mouth. She knew that one day she was going to be with him, to be joined with him.
He lowered his mouth onto hers and drew her into a swirling haze of unexpected feelings and desires. His mouth fully covering hers introduced her to a new realm of pure pleasure. His powerful form enveloped her, making her feel feelings that were foreign and untried for her. She couldn’t get enough of him. Linda tentatively began touching his face and then his body with an eager and unrelenting hunger. She didn’t know what she needed, but she knew that she wanted and desired this beautiful man standing right before her. Her past life was washed out of her mind, never to be considered again. Linda begged him to take her with him tonight. In response, Wolf lifted her in his arms, as if she weighed nothing, and turned to leave the party. His beautiful face looked victorious and happy. His black eyes filled with passion. She hoped that it was because of her. He looked down into her small face and gave a hearty roar.
While Wolf carried her in his powerful arms, a dark shadow swooped out of the house and flew directly at them. Linda was knocked out of his arms, and Wolf was thrown across the patio.
She looked up to see who had attacked them. It was Todd, his eyes a deadly shade of green, standing there panting.
Linda backed away in horror. Todd’s eyes cleared and returned to their original dark color. Then he looked at her. “Don’t ever be afraid of me. I’m here to protect you.”
Then he was struck down by Wolf.
Book 2 releasing soon!!
I have always loved to read. I grew up with Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclean and so many other authors who filled my imagination with intrigue and mystery. The TV show, Murder She Wrote, kept me entertained when I was not reading late into the night.
Over the years, my taste in books has expanded to include the supernatural and paranormal genres as reflected in my selection of shows, such as Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals.
My first book, The Dead Game, is a paranormal suspense/mystery. It brings fantasy and the surreal to the simple murder mystery. It has dead bodies and suspects. However, it also has vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to spice up the mix.
What place did you have the pleasure of growing up? If you could, would you move back and raise your children there?
I grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. I don’t believe I would want to live there now. The neighborhood has changed. I have fond memories of my childhood. It is hard to go back and recapture what we’ve already experienced. Since my immediate family has passed on, it is better for me to move forward instead of going back.
What is the first memory you have of books? When did you first realize you could write?
My brother, who was eleven years older than me, loved to read. Since he was my role model, I followed his steps into the pages of mysteries and science fiction. He read Agatha Christie, Isaac Asimov, and Alistair Maclean. And so did I.
I have always done well on reports written for school. I received comments such as insightful and organized. But I didn’t consider writing prose until I helped my daughter with her essays as she applied to college. We spoke about writing about my mother, her blindness, and later her dementia. The words poured out of me. That is when I first realized that I wanted, no needed, to write.
Did you ever enter writing competitions as a child? If so, did you win any?
I never thought of myself as a writer when I was growing up. I was a reader. I studied finance and marketing. I enjoyed science classes but never writing classes.
If you were to choose, would you rather be a vampire or a shape-shifter? Why?
I’ve always found vampires to be sexy and driven by their desires. They’re intriguing in their dark way. I first heard of shape-shifters on the T.V. show, Supernatural. Portrayed as creepy, some of them had extra-long tongues or resembled animals or monsters. I like my vampires to remain good looking until the end.
Which of your favorite TV shows has inspired your writing the most?
It is funny that you should mention this. The show, Murder She Wrote, planted a seed of one day becoming a writer. This seed never took root. I ignored it and went about my life pursuing a business degree. I wanted to be a writer like Angela Lansbury.
How did the character Linda Bennett come about? Which person did you model most of her characteristics after?
Linda Bennett is a form of myself. She desires to be happy above all else. A happily-ever-after seems to be forever out of her reach. But she’s determined to find it.
Most of my characters are based on people I know but with an extra twist or two. Shana loves adventure and finds herself in trouble most of the time. I have a friend like that. But my friend doesn’t cross the line, taking her into abandoned houses or a vampire’s lair.
Which secondary character in THE DEAD GAME are you particularly fond? Would you ever write a separate spin-off series for this character?
You must be reading my mind. I’m fond of Shana. She is going to be the star of the third book in The Dead Game series. My fans like her, and she deserves a separate book.
What were some things you learned about being an author when writing and publishing THE DEAD GAME that you never would've guessed otherwise?
I would never have guessed how hard it is to promote a book. I spend about eight hours a day advertising on social media sites. I’ve opened blogs and a website to share poetry to find an audience. The hardest part is struggling to keep The Dead Game alive on Amazon. Amazon controls the publishing industry. “If you make it there, you can make it anywhere,” to quote the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I’m determined to keep my book #1 in vampire suspense for e-books for as long as I can.
Between horror and romance, which scenes do you find easier to write? Were there any scenes or chapters in THE DEAD GAME that was particularly hard to write?
Chapter One was the hardest to compose. The Prologue flowed through my fingertips. Then I got stuck. It is difficult to introduce a town and its residents while keeping the action going strong.
The romance scenes have always been the easiest. In book two, which I have just finished writing, I included some hot scenes; and they were a lot of fun to write. I had to be careful: no fifty shades of vampires for me.
Is there anything you edited out of this book?
I edit each chapter and then go back to the beginning to make sure all points and plot twists are consistent. I haven’t edited out any significant scenes or chapters.
Besides becoming an author, which you have accomplished, what are some other things on your bucket list?
I would love to travel the world. Unless I win the lottery or become a bestselling author, that isn’t going to happen. I have dreams. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write.
Would you say that writing is an innate talent or an acquired one?
My imagination is innate, but the ability to create scenes and correct sentence structures is acquired. I’m still growing and learning.
Are you working on anything new at the moment? Or are you playing with any new ideas of late?
Book Two of the series should be ready to be released this summer. A group of authors has proofed it along the way. After it goes through an editing program, it will be off to the editor.
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