Fractured by Suzanne Wright
Deep In Your Veins #5
Since the moment Imani Prince joined the Grand High Vampires’ legion, she’s been drawn to the self-assured and darkly sexual Robert ‘Butch’ Richardson. Although he walked away from her a year ago after a short fling, she doesn’t judge him for his difficulties with relationships. But now he’s in her space, declaring that he wants her back and regrets his earlier mistakes. While Imani’s past is trying to interfere with the present and the threat of a war is looming, she has to decide whether to give him what he’s demanding: all she has to give.
Butch has always struggled to connect with people, but something about the sensual and independent Imani pulls at him until she’s become an obsession that he simply can’t shake. But she was with another male, and watching them together was agonizing. When that relationship ends, Butch makes his move. Now he has to convince her to take a second chance on him, and he won’t leave her alone until she does. As far as he’s concerned, Imani’s his and has always been his. He just needs to make her see that.
Every avid reader knew you didn’t fuck with a girl’s Kindle. You just didn’t. So when the bitch in front of me slammed my purse on the floor and I heard my precious baby crack, things were destined to go to shit.
Initially, I’d ignored Marla’s efforts to goad me into a bar fight. If she’d convinced herself that a certain male vampire rejected her because of me, it was her issue to deal with. Besides, it was easy to dismiss someone who clearly had such a low IQ that it would be surprising if she could pass a blood test.
I mean seriously, who would confront a member of the Grand High Vampires’ legion—especially when that member was sitting with the other six members of her squad? And especially when many others in the bar were part of the legion? It just wasn’t done.
Pissed she wasn’t getting a reaction, Marla had grabbed my purse and slung it in a huff. As a Pagori vampire, she had some serious strength. The impact had broken my baby, which was why everyone at my table slowly rose to their feet.
“You need to go,” Paige hissed at Marla and her nervous-looking cronies. My BFF wasn’t easily riled, but if someone pushed her too far…well, things tended to end badly. That was most likely why Cassie and Alora edged closer to her, ready to hold her back.
Our behaviour reflected on the entire legion. Marla wasn’t a threat to vampirekind, just a dumb shop assistant who was plagued by jealousy issues and needed her roots done badly.
As such, despite that I wanted to lunge at Marla, I dug deep for calm. But as I looked down at my purse and recalled the telling crack, anger pumped through every vein and my fangs descended. That little device had got me through some crappy times; given me the escape I occasionally needed. I’d taken it with me pretty much everywhere; I admittedly had an unhealthy attachment to it. Now it was in pieces, thanks to Marla, and I wasn’t good with that. Not at all.
It just went to prove that I was right and you couldn’t trust people with perfect teeth.
Marla’s eyes narrowed. “What did you say to Butch to turn him against me? He was pretty welcoming last night. Now he’s giving me the cold shoulder.”
Oh it was like she wanted me to hurt her. Butch might not be mine, but I sure didn’t like anybody thinking he could be theirs. Since becoming a member of the legion, I’d learned a lot of ways to kill a person. Those ways were swirling around my head, tempting me to act on the fury riding me.
It was clear that my girls were having similar thoughts, especially since Maya’s jaguar claws had sliced out, Jude had whipped out her knife, and Ava was eyeing Marla with lethal precision. One tiny signal from me would have them all leaping at these bitches.
“You told him about what happened at the store, didn’t you?” continued Marla.
She was referring to when she had accidentally-on-purpose knocked my tub of milk on the floor, causing it to burst open and soak my jeans.
“Yeah, you told him to turn him against me. The legion sticks together, right?” she mocked.
“I said, you need to go,” repeated Paige, her green eyes blazing.
Marla put a hand on her hip. “Yeah? Well, I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to her.”
One of Marla’s cronies grabbed her shoulder. “Come on, let’s just leave.”
Marla shrugged her off and arched a thinly plucked brow at me. “Nothing to say?”
I sighed. “Not really. I like intelligent conversation.”
She smirked, cocky. “You’re not denying what I said because it’s true.”
“You mean that I turned Butch against you? That’s your own paranoia at work. You know he’s a one-night stand kind of guy. If he rejected you, it has nothing to do with me.”
“I don’t believe you. Shall I tell you what I do believe? That the reason he has one-night stands is that you quickly turn him against any female he touches. Yeah, that’s what I believe.”
“Well, everyone should believe in something.”
“Do you think if you get rid of all the competition, he’ll go back to you?” Marla snickered. “How pathetic.”
Paige shook her head. “No, blaming Imani is pathetic. I mean, taking into account your peroxide hair, pitch-black roots, blotchy fake tan, and whiny little voice, it shouldn’t be a shock that he turned you down.”
Marla gasped in horror and slung her drink all over my BFF.
Oh the hell no.
I sucker punched her—no warning, no hesitation. Marla’s head snapped to the side, her knees buckled, and she lost consciousness before she even hit the floor. Gasps came from the little group at her back. As one, they lunged for me. So my squad and I lunged for them.
It was amazing how quickly a bar fight could escalate. None of us used our vampiric gifts. No, this was a true catfight. There was scratching. Punching. Kicking. Screeching. Slapping. Hair-pulling. And dress-shredding.
All the while, male vampires surrounded us, cheering ‘Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!’
It was a great outlet for my anger and actually kind of fun…until my earring was ripped out. Motherfucker. Snarling, I fisted my hand in the bitch’s hair and—
A strong arm curled around my waist and started heaving me away. I knew who it was, because I’d know that masculine scent of dark spices and sandalwood anywhere.
“Put me down, Butch!”
He didn’t, but I kept a firm grip on the long dark hair in my hands—I wasn’t letting go of my prize any time soon. My girls didn’t look any more willing to end the fight than I was, which was why it took the combined efforts of the Grand High Pair’s personal squad to part us all.
Still, I managed to take a chunk of dark hair with me. Smirking, I showed it to the heifer. She waved a hand my way, and it was like something slammed into my head, through my skull…and then I was seriously freaking tired.
“Fuck,” cursed Butch.
Then it all went dark.
- How many more books will there be in the Deep in Your Veins series?
I intend to give Evan and some of the squad members their own book. Sam and Jared will have the occasional chapter of their own within the stories of others.
- Can you tell us a little about the main characters in Fractured?
Imani is honest, loyal, and sarcastic with a habit of falling asleep just about anywhere. Butch is confident, determined, daring, and finds it difficult to connect with others.
- Will any of the Phoenix or Mercury pack get a human as their true mate?
I don’t plan very far ahead, since my imagination swings in different directions all the time. I don’t have any current plans to match a human with a shifter, but I never say never.
- How many more books in the Phoenix Pack series will you write?
Tao, Ryan, Trick, and Dominic will all get their own story, so that’s four more books. I’m currently writing Ryan’s story, which will be released in spring 2016.
- Will there be a sequel to Burn?
Yes, the following two books in the Dark in You series will center round Harper and Knox. Some of the secondary characters will also get their own story.
- Will you be writing anymore contemporary romance books?
Yes, I have some ideas swirling around in my head. I’m just not certain when I’ll put them on paper.
- I’ve written my own book. Can I please send you the manuscript to read?
Congratulations on writing your book! I’m honored that you would be think of me, but there are ethical and legal reasons why I shouldn’t read unpublished work. I wish you the best of luck for the future!
- What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
The benefits are that you have full creative control, you can work on your own schedule, and you're your own boss. The biggest problem I've found with it is that it takes a lot of time away from you that you could have spent on just writing. I didn't realize just how many things there were to consider, but I'm too grateful for the way things are turning out for any of it to bother me. There are many pros and cons to both avenues, you just have to find what works for you.
- How did you get into self-publishing?
I got into it using Amazon's Kindle Publishing Direct. You can access it at the bottom of Amazon home page where it says ‘Independently Publish With Us'. In short, you basically upload your book (using the step-by-step process which does look a little daunting at first but don't let it put you off), fill in an online form where you specify details like title, synopsis, a price etc and upload a cover. Done. It goes up on Amazon a few hours later to buy as an ebook.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Firstly, just read and write and read and write and read and write. Soon enough you'll develop a style that works for you. Secondly, don't let your insecurities or your worries of other people’s reactions hold you back. It's true that no matter what you write or how well you write it, not everyone will like it. Which brings me to my third piece of advice, don't write for other people. Write for you, write something that you would feel proud of and that you would enjoy reading. Of course the hope is that other people will enjoy it too, but if they didn't then at least you were true to yourself when you wrote your book.
Suzanne Wright lives in England with her husband, two children, and her bulldog. When she's not spending time with her family, she's writing, reading, or doing her version of housework - sweeping the house with a look.