by Rachel Graves
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
A dragon terrified of being discovered by the government, Ravenna Drake is constantly on the move. When the woman who raised her gets cancer, Ravenna trades her nomadic work restoring black market magical goods for a steady job. But her cautious life ends after her name is found at the scene of a werewolf murder.
Dr. Ian Chen, a sorcerer bonded to a powerful relic, works for the government treating supernatural citizens. He insists on investigating when his patient’s body is discovered completely drained of blood. His search leads him to the beautiful but frustrating Ravenna Drake, who refuses to stay away from the case or follow his instructions.
As more bloodless bodies surface, threats from secret societies and corrupt politicians force the dragon and the sorcerer to work together. If Ravenna and Ian can’t catch the killer, the people they love the most may be the next to die.
His foot reached out to blur the circle and the ghost changed. Agony forced every other emotion aside. He couldn’t breathe, a heavy weight settled on his chest. Panic set in as he wheezed, his heart racing the way hers had raced. Was he experiencing her last minutes or just panicking at the emotions? Could he trust himself? Darkness started to crowd the edges of his vision. Not enough air. Sweat broke out along his back. Somewhere, Cloak was saying something, but he couldn’t hear it over the pounding of blood in his ears. He was going to die here. The blackness got closer.
“No.” The flood of emotions stopped immediately, as Drake stepped in front of him. “That’s not how this works. You don’t get to scream at him.”
His head throbbed, stinging like acid dripping down his face, but he could breathe again. The darkness receded. The first thing he saw was Drake moving into the center of the stain, acting as if the blood wasn’t there.
“I’ll give you enough energy to manifest, but start screaming again and I will end you, even if we haven’t heard a damn thing you’ve got to say. Understand?” She paused, then reached her hand out. A shaft of sunlight came in through the window and her hand seemed to glow. Then the end of it disappeared, replaced with a chest. The shape grew outward, a filmy light turning into a woman. The process took less than a minute, and he heard the sheriff whisper to God.
“Dr. Chen, she can talk to you now.” Drake said it with a very deliberate emphasis on the word talk. Whatever the ghost intended, it wasn’t going to stand up to her. A deep surge of gratitude coursed through him.
Rachel Graves writes mysteries that blend the supernatural with steamy, sexy scenes. Her work explores the many shades of gray found between the lines of right and wrong. Rachel’s books focus on strong heroines who take charge of their own fate, their friends, and their families. Rachel is a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and uses research skills honed getting a graduate degree in psychology to seek out rare folklore and magical creatures. Her writing incorporates popular monsters like vampires and werewolves as well as diverse creatures like selkies and yuki onna. Rachel has lived in a cursed town, taken far too many ghost tours, and counts down to every Halloween starting in November. You can read short stories and learn more about her on her website: http://www.rachelgraves.com/.
Amazon.com author page is: https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Graves/e/B011H977D0
Good reads: https://www.goodreads.com/RachelGraves
Personal Blog: http://rachelgraves.com/
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Vanilla chocolate chip, but it has to have the right ratio of chocolate chips to ice cream. I know that sounds silly, but there’s nothing worse than getting two scoops of ice cream with only eight chips in it. (Happened about two months ago, I’m still not over it.) Too many chocolate chips might be equally bad, but it’s never happened to me. There’s also the dreaded mint-chip issue, where I order chocolate chip and they hand me mint chip. An unexpected mouthful of mint isn’t a good time. Sorry if you expected a short answer, I have strong feelings about ice cream!
Which mythological creature are you most like?
I want to say dragon, because I love to horde books, stay alone in my nicely appointed cave, and think of myself as big and strong. But in reality, I’m more of a mermaid – camera shy, solitary, and likely to swim away when faced with a big group. It only makes sense that I’d be a water creature, I grew up on an island – Key West – and thrive when I live near the ocean. Also, I swim in a mermaid tail, called a monofin. It’s a great core workout!
First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
My Aunt got me an unabridged copy of Dracula with full color illustrations when I turned twelve. It was what I wanted, but my father was livid. The black cloth cover embossed with red metallic bats wasn’t his idea of an appropriate birthday gift. I adored it. My fashion sense definitely came from the paintings of Mina Harker and Lucy, and I poured over the archaic Victorian words with a dictionary at my side. I’d always been a little vampire crazy – cutting out articles from the paper, checking out books from the library – but that book put me over the edge. I still have it, decades later, and try to read it every year.
How do you develop your plot and characters?
My plots are very character driven. I plot by asking myself, “what if a person like this was in a situation like that, how would they react?” Exploring deep moral quandaries is one of the best parts of writing for me. I like looking at the contrasts, situations that make people question their decisions and consider totally changing themselves. It’s important to me that my books have a happy ending. I don’t read or write books to be depressed. So, while I’m putting my characters in tough situations where they have to choose between two less than great options, things always turn out okay in the end.
Describe your writing space.
I’m ashamed to admit it but I write curled into one end of a blue couch, usually with a velvet throw blanket over my feet. I do own an ergonomic typing chair, a specially designed keyboard, and a desk perfectly set up for me. I just don’t use any of it. My habits were set ages ago when my writing time came around three or four in the morning. I’d get up in the dark and sit next to my pet rabbit trying to think of what to write next. My bun passed away a few years back, and I’m more likely to get up at six in the morning these days, but the old habits of taking my laptop to the living room haven’t disappeared yet.
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