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Anita Clenney | Things That Go Bump In the Night

November 1, 2011

Anita ClenneyEMBRACE THE HIGHLAND WARRIORWho doesn’t love a good scare around Halloween? But I think most of us prefer an episode of Ghost Hunters or monsters in a scary movie. The warriors in my Scottish paranormal series are well acquainted with monsters. Part of a secret society created by Michael the Archangel, these warriors are all that stand between humans and the demons who hide among them, sometimes disguised as neighbors and friends as they plot to destroy the world. There are many orders of demons, from Halflings, lesser and full demons, to Demons of Old, who are so powerful they can’t be destroyed or suspended in a time vault, unless it’s by a warrior who has been matched to the demon’s strength. And these warriors are strong. With above average senses and skills, they’re well equipped to fight.

There’s Faelan, the most powerful of the warriors, the only warrior who’s ever been assigned two ancient demons. Born in the 19th century, Faelan was trapped in a time vault and slept for 150 years, waking to a strange world filled with modern technology and even stranger, modern day females. He came from a time when females were to be cherished and protected, not fight alongside him on the battlefield. What’ll they do next, send children into battle? Then there’s Ronan, 6’3 inches of sexy male, better than Robin Hood with his bow, and equally at home with a sword or a pretty lass. Cody is lean and mean, the only other warrior to be assigned an ancient demon. He might have pretended to be the tough boy next door, and he’s good at hiding secrets, but he’ll be stunned when he finds out what’s been hidden from him. Shane is quiet but the fastest with a sword, and Niall is a one-man army, built like a tree trunk. There’s Duncan, and Sorcha, who likes flirting almost as much as she loves killing demons, Brodie, the prankster, and Anna, a beauty who’s determined to be a warrior forever, but destiny has a different plan.

But even the warriors are caught off guard when they realize that demons aren’t the only evil hiding in plain sight. Vampires, enemies of demons and thought to be extinct, have appeared once again, ready to fight for supremacy, and the warrior’s talismans don’t work against the vampires. Each warrior discovers that their destined mate holds more than just the key to their heart. They also hold the key to the battle.

Here’s part of a battle scene from EMBRACE THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR.

Cody gripped his sword and stepped lightly on the forest floor, ears tuned for any sound that didn’t belong. He sniffed, eyes searching the shadows. Something was there; he could feel it. A soft laugh whispered through the trees. He whirled. A man materialized a few yards away, watching him with red eyes. He smiled, and sharp teeth flashed in the dark. Fangs. A vampire! What the hell was it doing here? Before Cody could lift his sword, the man rushed at him like a streak, moving so fast Cody couldn’t track it.

He learned in the battle at Druan’s castle that the only sure way to kill a vampire was beheading or a direct stab through the heart. Talismans didn’t work on them. He swung his sword as the thing zoomed past, but he missed. Whirling, it came back. Just as it slammed Cody to the ground, it went solid again, with fangs an inch long, hitting Cody like a semitruck. He rolled to his feet, grabbed his fallen sword, and braced for the next attack. This time when it struck, he was ready. As he fell, he thrust his sword upward, into its heart. The creature turned to dust in mid-air, particles settling all around him.

Hisses filled the air as more creatures emerged from the trees. They stood out of sword’s reach, their fangs bared. Cody searched out where each one stood, identifying the leader, who stood a little apart from the others, his stance cockier, more sure. When one of the others came at Cody, he turned aside and drove his sword into the leader’s heart. The others hissed and looked at each other. They hadn’t expected him to take the offensive when he was so outnumbered, but he was used to fighting against the odds.

They came at him like bullets, nothing but a blur, until they slowed. He swung left and drove his sword into what he hoped was the thing’s heart, and dust rained down, covering his sword. Two of them hit him at once, flinging him in the air like a rag doll. His bones felt like they shattered, but he clung to his sword. They came at him again, and he rolled painfully to his feet, his blade catching another one in the neck. The swing wasn’t strong enough. The vampire screeched and kept going. If he could just see the bloody things. Cody ducked as another one attacked and then swung harder, finishing off the one he missed. He was tiring, but he had to kill them all before they discovered Shay.

Two were left, but they kept attacking so close together that he couldn’t strike them both. He waited for the first to attack. Using the side of a tree to spring clear, he flipped through the air, leveling his blade at what he thought was its neck. It disappeared, leaving only one.

“Come on, you bastard.”

The vampire stood fifty feet away in human form. He turned his head, looking at the path leading to the cabin, and Cody followed his gaze. Shay stood there, her face pale, eyes wide with shock.

“We’ve found you at last,” the vampire said.

Cody’s blood felt like shards of ice.

“We?” Shay asked, her voice strong. “You’re the only one left.”

The vampire grinned. “Too bad I can’t have a taste of you. The feisty ones are always better. I’ll have to settle for him.” Its fangs lengthened. “No one cares about him.”

Shay’s face darkened; her back straightened; her shoulders squared. “I care about him.”

The vampire turned and streaked toward Cody. Shay ran after the vampire, moving just as fast. She tackled it, and they both rolled into the trees, a mix of swirling colors. Cody stood rooted in place, his mouth hanging open. What the hell? Pushing away his shock, he ran after her. How was she doing that?

The vampire looked as stunned as Cody felt. It attacked again, catching Cody off guard, slamming him into a tree. Through the thick fog pushing at the edges of Cody’s brain, he registered several things at once. The vampire rushing at him, and Shay, farther away, scooping up a stick and running after the vampire. No, what she did was faster than running. She streaked after the vampire, driving the stick right into the middle of it. It went solid, its fangs elongated, red eyes wide with shock. The vampire disintegrated, but Shay kept coming, moving too fast to stop. She hit the ground and rolled, her stick driven deep into the earth, vibrating, four inches from Cody’s face.


My publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, will give away two copies of EMBRACE THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR, US and Canada only, please. My question is: Do you fear things that go bump in the night?

Anita Clenney is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author. She grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel–lasted half a day)…she realized she’d missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense  about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids.

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