Picking a favorite scene is almost as daunting as picking a favorite character but If I must then I must. Maya and Shane’s story is one of the most emotional that I’ve written and I sure hope that translates to the reader. More than one reader who’d read TALL, DARK, AND VAMPIRE (Dead in the City #1) was scratching their head when they heard Maya was the heroine of VAMPIRE TROUBLE.
I get it.
She was a spoiled brat in that book and seemed about as deep as a puddle. How could you possibly root for her? Well, as with most people, there’s much more to Maya than meets the eye. There’s a reason why she’s always hunting human men and toying with them like a cat does with a mouse. I can’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to post any spoilers but let’s just say she’s got a lot going on behind those big blue eyes.
Shane Quesada is a four hundred year old vampire sentry and most readers thought he had the emotional range of a gnat. However, just like Maya, he’s more than he seems. He’s not just a big, hot, sexy, killing machine. He’s much more. And perhaps a spunky little bartender with a penchant for troublemaking is just what he needs to crack that stoic shell.
The scene below is one of my faves because it’s the beginning of Maya’s journey to finding her power, to say nothing of fanning the flames with Shane. In this scene, Maya and Shane are in the Presidium’s armory to get fitted for weapons before leaving the city. Xavier is the weapons master and resident genius for the vampire government.
She held the weapon in both hands and turned it over, carefully inspecting it. It was lighter than she expected and had a long, thin barrel with what looked like a skinny pole running along the top of it. The handle was smooth and as she wrapped her fingers around it, she was surprised at how easily and naturally it fit in her hand.
“How is it?” Shane’s voice drifted over her left shoulder, making Maya jump a bit. He’d moved in behind her without a sound and now stood just inches away. “Is it too heavy or cumbersome feeling?”
“It’s a gun.” Maya lifted one shoulder and looked at the weapon in her hands. “I have no idea how it’s supposed to feel. I’ve never held one before. At least, not since I was turned,” she added quickly. “I couldn’t tell you what the hell I held or didn’t hold when I was human.”
“Well, I doubt you ever held anything like this.” Xavier pushed his glasses up onto his head and pointed one pudgy finger at the gun. “That gun takes standard silver bullet ammo and liquid silver bullets.”
“That’s new.” Shane had moved closer but Maya did her best to focus on what Xavier was saying instead of the way her body was reacting to Shane.
“And deadly to both vamps and werewolves.” Xavier snagged two ammunition magazines from the shelf behind him and held them up. “The black mags contain the solid silver bullets. As you know, they kill only with a shot to the head or heart. The white mags have the liquid silver bullets. As soon as they hit the target, liquid silver is injected into the bloodstream. Given the amount, it’s almost always fatal.”
“You’re a genius, my friend.” Shane reached past Maya and took the ammunition from Xavier. “I’ll hold onto these.”
“Fine with me,” Maya shuddered. “Just being near this stuff is a little intimidating.”
“That’s not what’s frightening,” Shane said as he zipped up his bag before moving in behind her again.
“Oh really?” She looked over her shoulder at him. “Then what is?”
“Like most creatures, you fear what you don’t know.”
In a blink, Shane reached around and wrapped both arms around her. Pressing his body against hers, he spun her so that she was facing the stainless steel wall and could see their combined reflections. He slid his hands along her arms until his fingers were wrapped around hers, which were curled around the gun.
“But we can remedy that.” He kissed her cheek, a featherlight brush along her flesh, making her stomach do that flip-flop thing again. Holding her stare in the mirror-like finish of the wall, he adjusted her grip on the gun and gingerly slid her finger onto the trigger with his. His flesh covered hers at every possible spot and he nestled his head alongside hers as he adjusted her stance. “The trick is to be gentle.” Shane’s voice, quiet but strong, filled the room. His hands remained over hers but they merely rested there, like a caress, guiding her. “You don’t need to apply much pressure to make it fire.”
Maya nodded and did her best to concentrate on what Shane was talking about but having him so close and feeling the hard planes of his body along hers, was highly distracting. The slow burn of desire crackled and simmered through her blood as Shane’s hips pressed against her. If he kept this up, a lot more than the gun was going to fire.
“Your stance should be balanced.” He grinned and slid one boot-clad foot between hers as he gently but insistently nudged her feet apart. “Shoulder width apart. And never, ever take your eye off the target.”
He added the tiniest bit of pressure against her finger on the trigger and a bright red light beam came out of barrel.
“Laser sighting,” Shane murmured, the scruff of his unshaven face rasped enticingly along her cheek as he spoke, creating delicious friction. His voice rumbled in his chest and vibrated through her and around her. “All you have to do is point and shoot.