The Brethren Series
Publisher: Bloodhorse Press
Date of Publication: 11/2011
Number of pages: 155
Word Count: 62,640
Brandon Noble thinks the worst is behind him and is ready to begin a new life with the woman he loves. Lina Jones is more reluctant to let bygones be bygones, but agrees to try for Brandon's sake. But just as they look forward to a promising future together, new danger arises -- and Brandon's very nature could threaten to tear them ruthlessly apart.
Lina had never seen Brandon so fully enthralled by the bloodlust before—not without him feeding from her or finding sexual release. It had left him exhausted, flustered and—she realized suddenly—frightened.
Because he’s never seen himself like this, either.
“Brandon,” she whispered, reaching up to press her palm to his cheek. God, he was burning up, his skin hot like the side of a glassworks furnace. “Feed from me.”
Don’t ask me that, he gasped, shaking his head. God, Lina, please. I can’t!
“Yes, you can,” she pleaded. “You have to try. This isn’t working.”
It has to! he cried. Shaking his head his head to dislodge her hand from his face, he then seized hold of her, locking his fingers through hers, pinning her hands down against the bed. You don’t understand, he seethed, his brows furrowed. He leaned down enough for her to see herself—her sudden, visible alarm—reflected in the obsidian pools of his eyes. This has to work—it has to. If I bite you now, I won’t be able to stop. Do you get it? Do you hear me? I won’t be able to stop myself!
The Brethren Series
Publisher: Bloodhorse Press
Date of Publication: 6/2014
Number of pages: 212
Word Count: 130,860
From the beginning, it's been the two of them: Brandon Noble and Lina Jones, against the world...against all odds. But in the end, Brandon couldn't resist his true vampire nature, and the relentless pull of the blood lust drove them apart. Now he's disappeared without a trace and his life may very well be in danger. Can Lina put aside her broken heart to help find the man she loves? Or does Brandon's salvation lie in the hands of the most unlikely hero of all?
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/3KIlWNhpZmk
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Brandon lay spooned against Lina, his chest facing her back, the curves of her body resting in perfect complement with his own. Her hair, a tousled mess of dark, springy curls, tickled the underside of his nose. He had his hand draped lightly over the slim indention of her waist, his fingers loosely twined through hers.
I don’t understand this—any of it, Brandon thought. But he found he no longer had the heart to question it. Because this is what I want—you’re what I want, Lina, he thought, breathing in the scent of her perfume, and kissing her lightly through her hair. You’re what I need.
Although he was loath to leave her, he slowly drew free from their embrace and slipped out of bed. Leaving her curled on her side, her body draped in blankets, he pulled on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Grabbing his cell phone, Brandon padded softly toward the bedroom doorway. Here, he paused, glancing over his shoulder, watching as she dozed, cat-like and comfortable, in a sunbeam.
God, you’re beautiful, he thought, the corners of his mouth lifting in a soft smile. I want this every day, for the rest of my life. I want you.
He wandered through the chateau, and everything was just as he remembered. It had come pre-furnished, courtesy of the Morins, but Lina had added her own touches here and there to the décor: a tabletop sculpture of a moose made from old paint cans, springs and cogs in the living room bought during an outing to an art gallery with Tessa; a framed photograph of her and Brandon taken outside one of the gaudy casino exteriors on the Nevada side of the lake; a bowl of giant pinecones—each bigger than a softball—she’d collected from the yard outside. He gazed out the bay windows in the living room and found everything outside just as he’d known it, too—flawless azure sky, clustered stands of towering evergreen trees, the distant but distinct cerulean plane of Emerald Bay below.
It was a beautiful place, a peaceful place, and as it always did, it made Brandon feel at ease simply to be there, bearing mute witness to its splendor.
He sat down on the couch and looked down at the cell phone in his hand. Again, it occurred to him—floating to mind, as if something rancid bobbing briefly to the surface in a murky pond—that the phone was supposed to be lost.
When Jackson moved out of his mother’s house in Florida, he thought. His head hurt, a sudden burst, a throbbing ache just behind his eyes, and with a frown, he pinched the bridge of his nose. Only I didn’t go to Florida. So I couldn’t have lost my phone there. Besides… He opened his eyes, blinking down at the iPhone in his hand. …I have it right here. That’s proof I didn’t lose it.
He opened his messages as Lina had done, and felt his heart quicken with excitement as he saw Sebastian’s name and number pop up. If losing his phone had been just a dream, then…
Then losing my dad must’ve been one, too, he thought, tapping on the touchscreen keypad, and typing a message: Hey, Dad—are you busy?
For a long moment, he couldn’t send the message, even though he knew it was ridiculous to hesitate. The idea that Sebastian was gone had been so powerful and poignant within him; to realize now that he wasn’t, that Brandon could have another chance—countless chances—to talk to him, text him, interact with him was damn near overwhelming.
But almost as soon as he pressed send, the phone vibrated in his hand, not because Sebastian’s response had been so quickly forthcoming, but because a dialogue box had appeared onscreen: Signal lost. Message not sent. Please try again.
What? With a frown, Brandon held up the phone: no bars, no signal, no reception. He rose to his feet and walked closer to the windows, but still had no luck. He moved around the house, going from room to room; he turned the phone off and on again, but no matter what he tried, he couldn’t get a transmission signal. Shrugging on a lightweight jacket, he stepped out onto the deck to see if the reception was any better. But it wasn’t.
Damn it, Brandon thought with a deepening frown, as he glared, frustrated, at the impotent phone in his hand. It had apparently worked last night—there was the conversation he’d had with his father right there on the screen to prove it. But still, Brandon had no memory of that conversation, not even the distant, dream-like sort in which Sebastian had died, or that he had lost his cell phone. That utter lack of memory did more than trouble Brandon. It pained him.
Because I feel cheated somehow, he thought, as ridiculous as it sounded. He felt desperate now to get in touch with Sebastian, to prove to himself that this was reality, and everything else—all of the half-memories bobbing and percolating in the back of his mind—were dreams. I want to talk to my dad. Even if it’s only through a stupid goddamn text, I want to talk to…
All at once, Brandon’s attention snapped from the phone in his hand to the woods, his brows narrowing, his entire body growing instantly tense. He could sense another Brethren, that distinctive, tingling sensation that meant another like him was nearby. Normally at the Morin compound, this wouldn’t have alarmed him because the only ones there were Brethren. But in that moment, as he felt that unmistakable awareness of other Brethren within his proximity, he realized he hadn’t been feeling it all along as he’d grown accustomed. It was like the entire area was completely empty, at least of other vampires—until now.
Below him, through the tangle of trees, Brandon saw him, a Brethren man looking up at the bungalow—most specifically, at Brandon. His eyes were a clear, nearly lucent shade of blue, like the waters of Lake Tahoe. He reached for Brandon as if desperately imploring, his fingers splayed wide, and his arm had been stripped of any visible flesh, flayed so that the bright red meat of his muscles lay gruesomely exposed. Blood spattered in fat droplets onto the floor and the stark white sheets beneath him were stained scarlet.
Please… the man gasped, and Brandon knew his face, his eyes—his name.
Please… Aaron begged, his eyes glassy with pain, wide with alarm. Don’t…!
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve written stories from the time I was a very young child. It’s always been a passion of mine, and that I have the opportunity to share my stories with others, to entertain them, is such a privilege and thrill for me. I think I’ve always known that no matter what else I did in life, writing would always have a prominent role.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I’ve always considered myself to be a writer. Even in grade school, I remember my writing taking priority for me—I’d carry notebooks filled with stories around with me, and add to them constantly. When other children my age were asking for bikes or dolls, I wanted a typewriter (and later, a word processor) so that I could work on my manuscripts. In high school, I had the opportunity to begin sharing my work with a larger audience than family and teachers by entering different contests, and earning accolades in these competitions helped to cement in my mind that it was what I wanted to do. It took a long time after that for me to be published, and I’ll admit, I still have ambitions of achieving even more in terms of my writing. But for now, I’m pleased and proud of my accomplishments, and feel I’ve definitely earned the right to call myself a “writer.”
How long did it take to get your first book published?
It depends on your point of view. If you mean from the point in my life when I knew I wanted to be a published author, then a long, long time—because I’ve wanted that since childhood. If you mean from the point in which I first began seeking publication at all, then it was several years filled with the typical ups and downs—and rejection letters—I think all authors face. If you mean from the moment I originally conceived of the idea for the Brethren Series—a race of vampires who live in isolated communities on Kentucky horse farms—then it was nearly two decades, because I had the idea in high school. And if you mean from the time I pitched the story to the editor at Kensington to the time I was offered a contract, it was pretty much the blink of an eye—less than two weeks, I think.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in public relations, and worked for a not-for-profit company for more than 10 years in a graphic design, public relations, and writing capacity. As my 40th birthday approached, I had a midlife crisis of sorts, and decided to go into nursing. My mother has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years, and I’d always been interested in the profession—but talked myself out of pursuing it. But I wanted to feel like I had a job that made a difference, not only to others but to myself as well, and with this in mind, I finally bit the bullet and went back to school. I’m so glad I did. Today, I’m an RN and I work in a local hospital in a cardiac critical care unit. It’s an amazing job—challenging, educating, exhausting, and rewarding beyond my wildest imagination. As much as writing feels like an intrinsic part of my life, so too does nursing, and I really feel that between the two passions, I’ve finally found where I’m meant to be in life.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Dark Vengeance Part 2: From the beginning, it’s been the two of them: Brandon Noble and Lina Jones, against the world…against all odds. But sometimes, true love isn’t enough…
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
The first two books in the Brethren Series were published by Kensington Publishing’s Zebra line. The third is available from Double Dragon Publishing, and all of the other volumes since then have been self-published. I love self-publishing, because I’m such a control freak. I don’t think I could ever be satisfied with so-called traditional publishing again, and taking a back seat on so much of the production work.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Honestly, it depends on what else is going on in my life. Two years passed between the publication of Dark Vengeance Part 1 and Dark Vengeance Part 2. I’m embarrassed that it took me so long, but during that time, I was juggling nursing school, working full-time, plus home life with a husband, kids, pets, laundry, and all of that. So by contrast, I’m working on the next Brethren book at the moment, and I’m 55,000 words into it, and it’s only been two months. I’m either remarkably proficient or shamefully slow, all based on how life outside of writing is going.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
My current work-in-progress, the next Brethren book, is sort of a change for me—instead of featuring a heterosexual couple, the story revolves around a gay couple. It’s my first M/M story, but I am absolutely in love with the characters and plot. It’s literally flying from my fingertips. After that, I will be working on the subsequent Brethren book, which will again focus on Lina and Brandon. I left some story points open-ended, some loose ends that need a good old-fashioned climactic conclusion! I have other books outside of the series planned in various stages; when I get to them depends on how I’m able to squeeze them in. I’m also exploring some new (at least to me) online publishing venues like Wattpad and Creepypasta, which I think are amazing. That so many people are so excited about writing, and so actively involved in it, is a wonderful thing.
What genre would you place your books into?
Many of the Brethren books are paranormal romance in the truest sense of the word, while others—including Dark Vengeance Part 1 and Part 2—are more urban fantasy. That’s because Lina and Brandon have already had their more formulaic romance in Dark Thirst, the first book in the series, and in the Vengeance books, it’s more about how their relationship has evolved since then, the new challenges and obstacles they have to face and overcome.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always been a sci-fi/comic book/urban fantasy kind of girl. I’ve also always been a hopeless romantic. For example, as a teen, I collected X-Men comics, and my favorite storyline was without question the doomed love affair between Gambit and Rogue. I like writing stories that combine these same sorts of elements—adventure, excitement, passion, superhuman abilities.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
It’s hard for me to dislike any of my characters. I find something in all of them that appeals to me in one way or another. And my favorite among them all usually depends on which story I’m writing at the time! Of course, I usually find myself most drawn to the heroes—what author doesn’t write about her ideal guy in the leading role?
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Unfortunately, I have no one particular routine. As a mother, nurse, freelance copyeditor, chief cook and proverbial bottle washer in my house, I juggle writing in pretty much catch-as-catch-can. But I do fit it in, because it’s an important part of my life, and it’s enjoyable to me. I have my own desk and computer in our dining room (the kids have their own, so this is my personal, dedicated writing space), and my family knows to interrupt me as little as possible if they hear the keyboard clicking. Since it’s not exactly private, I use my earbuds and a white noise app on my iPhone to tune out outside distractions.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I do. Even the not-so-glowing ones. I try to take away something constructive from my reviews, both positive and negative. Reader feedback definitely helps me to shape where future stories go.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I usually choose the title first. It may evolve over time, but I’m terrible at them for some reason, so I try to get them out of the way as soon as possible!
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
As far as place names, I’m often inspired by places I’ve actually visited or lived. A lot of times the floor plan of houses or apartments in my stories are based on real places either myself or friends or family have called home. My brother-in-law used to live in Lake Tahoe, California, and when we visited him, I fell absolutely in love with the area—that’s why you’ll see much of the Brethren series at least partially set there.
As for character names, this is harder to explain. I will spend a lot of time poring through online name references trying to find the perfect name for my characters, one that “clicks” in my mind. There’s no exact science or formula to it; it’s just a matter of what I feel fits best with the mental picture I have of my character.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
When it comes to character development, I have a basic idea in mind when I begin to write, the foundation of a character’s personality, their most prominent traits, the basics of their backstory. The rest fleshes itself out as I go along, and sometimes, a character will even change from my original conception of them as the story progresses.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Honestly, I love my Kindle Fire. I love having access to so many books in so compact a device. As an author, I know the excitement that comes from seeing your work in print, but as a reader, I have to say hands-down, I’m an ebook girl.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think it depends on the book and the movie. Some books translate better into movies, because the stories rely on action, which is often best depicted visually as opposed to in words. But sometimes, in terms of character-driven stories, the movie version just doesn’t allow the viewer that same intimate viewpoint they enjoy as a reader.
“Definitely an author to watch.” That’s how Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine describes Sara Reinke.
New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards calls Reinke “a new paranormal star” and Love Romances and More hails her as “a fresh new voice to a genre that has grown stale.”
Dark Thirst and Dark Hunger, the first two books in The Brethren Series of vampire romance are available from Kensington/Zebra Books, while the third installment, Dark Passion, is available from Double Dragon Publishing.
The series continued with Dark Passages: Tristan & Karen, Dark Passages 2: Pilar & Elías and Dark Vengeance Parts 1 and 2, from Bloodhorse Press.
Learn more about Sara and her available titles at www.sarareinke.com