Philosophy is defined as a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought. Well, my theory is if I can add at least 10 new books to my Wishlist and move at least 5 older Wishlist selections to my TBR list every month, then life is a ice cream sundae. And if I can find those 10 books from at least 5 new blogs each month then that's the cherry on top.


Well, I've made it almost 5 years now, so for better or worse, I continue on. I tend to blog in spurts as the urge to be creative erupts. As I don't have an artistic bone in my body, you will see very few changes in the layouts. Hey, I'm a reader not an artist like so many of the awesome bloggers I follow. I know you don't always have the time but if you stopped and looked, take a half a minute and say your piece. Recommend a book that you have enjoyed or hated for that matter. Thank you to all who visit.
Oh, and I moved my Google Friend Connect info and share this buttons to the top, as without our friends, who are we?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cover Reveal & Giveaway For DAY REAPER By Melody Johnson

Day Reaper
Night Blood#4
Melody Johnson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington/ Lyrical Press
Date of Publication: April, 2018
Number of pages: 414
Cover Artist: Kensington/ Lyrical Press

A dangerous choice for the chance to live.

On the brink of death, Cassidy DiRocco demands that New York City’s master of the supernatural, Dominic Lysander, transform her—reporter, Night Blood, sister, human—into the very creature she’s feared and fought against for months: a vampire. The pain is brutal, she'll risk the career she’s worked so hard to achieve, and her world will never be the same. But surviving is worth any risk, especially when it means gaining the strength to fight against Jillian Allister, the sister who betrayed Dominic, attacked Cassidy, and is leading a vampire uprising that will destroy all of New York City. . .

When she awakens, however, Cassidy realizes the cost of being transformed might be more than she was willing to sacrifice. The overwhelming senses, the foreign appearance of her new body, and the lethal craving for blood are unrecognizable and unacceptable. But if Cassidy hopes to right the irrevocable wrongs that Jillian and her army of the Damned have wrought on New York City, she’ll need to not only accept her new senses, body and cravings, but wield them in her favor.

Irresistible and enigmatic as Dominic is, he no longer has command over the city or its vampires. Only Cassidy has the connections to convince the humans, Day Reapers, and the few vampires still loyal to Dominic to join forces, and maybe, if Dominic can accept her rising power over the coven he once commanded for the past several hundred years, the two of them together might forge a bond more potent than history has ever known. . .


A bird was squawking, and after

several minutes of attempting to ignore its repetitive, 
shrill, bleating, I
came to grips with the fact that it didn’t seem inclined 
to stop on its own. I
snapped open my eyes, prepared to reach out the 
window and stop it myself, with
my bare hands if necessary—I’d never heard such 
an obnoxious bird in my life,
not in the city, not on the west coast, not even 
on my one excursion to visit
Walker upstate—and froze. There was no window. 
And if the vents Bex used to
filter fresh air into her underground coven were 
any indication, there was no
bird. Despite the similarity of the vents to Bex’s coven, 
however, I didn’t
recognize the room as the inviting, well-decorated 
step-back in time that Bex
had created, either: no extra furniture for lounging, 
no scented candles, no
Gerbera daisies, and no kerosene lamps pulsing in 
a hypnotic, romantic beat.

This room contained only sparse

necessities: vents for underground air filtration, 
a bare bulb for light, a
door for privacy, and of course, a bed. I was in a 
strange room in a stranger’s
bed, its dimensions and décor familiar only by 
its unfamiliarity, and suddenly,
the last moments of my memory smashed into 
my brain like a semi.

            Jillian tearing out my throat. Dominic healing me. 

The blood and burning. The transformation.
Someone was speaking in the room

outside this bedroom’s door, and despite the distance, 
the scarred door, the 
cement wall, and my 

disorientation, I could hear every word 

being said, and I 
recognized the voice speaking: 

Ronnie Carmichael.

“Lysander said he would. There’s

no reason to think he won’t, so I don’t think—”
And following Ronnie’s voice was

the squawking of that damn bird.

“Exactly. You don’t think,” Jeremy snapped.
“Lysander said that he would

try,” Keagan said patiently, his voice nearly drowned 
out by the bleat of that
insufferable bird. “His priority is Cassidy and our 
safety. He won’t take
unnecessary risks, like remaining above ground, 
away from Cassidy longer than absolutely

 “Yes, he said he would try,” Ronnie insisted,

but her voice was faint now. “Lysander doesn’t 
say anything lightly.”
he bird squawked even louder, in

time with Jeremy’s audible groan, triggering a 
memory of Ronnie’s little girl
voice and something she had confided in me: 
I never even knew he thought of my
voice as grating. I never knew someone’s annoyance 
had a sound let alone that
it sounded like a squawking bird.

I was right about the bird not

being underground, but unlike anything I’d ever 
heard, the sound wasn’t a bird
at all. The squawking was the sound of Keagan’s 
annoyance at the grate of
Ronnie’s whining voice. Unlike Jeremy, Keagan 
was too well-mannered to audibly
express his frustration with Ronnie, but among 
other vampires, he could no
longer hide his true feelings. His unspoken annoyance 
had a sound—as loud,
obnoxious and obvious as Jeremy’s audible 
hostility—and Ronnie could no doubt
hear it, too, despite the calm, reasonable tone of 
his words. I could hear it.

I could hear the sound of

Keagan’s annoyance.
The weight of the sheets covering

my body was suddenly suffocating. I raised my 
hand to tear them from my body,
but someone else’s hand whipped into the air. 
I gasped at the skeleton-skinny
joints of each finger, the knobby protrusion of 
its wrist and the elongated
talons sprouting from each fingertip instead of 
nails. I ducked under the hand,
trying to avoid its attack and swallow the scream 
that tore up my throat, but
the hand moved with me, moving with my intensions, 
attached to my body. I froze
again, for the second time in as many seconds, 
and raised the hand in front of
my face. It looked lethal. With one wrong move, 
it could eviscerate me. As I
ticked each finger, the long talons swept the air 
as I counted—one, two, three,
four, five—and each moved on my command. 
Like the inevitability of a pending
dawn with the rising sun, I realized that the 
hand was mine. Fear of that hand
turned to horror and then to a kind of giddy 
resignation. Hysteria, more 

I had ducked against the attack

of my own hand. A swift peal of laughter 
burst from my mouth.
            I stopped laughing just as abruptly. 

Even my voice was different: guttural and

sharp, like shards of glass scraping against asphalt.

            The voices outside my door and the 

squawking bird had abruptly stopped, too, 

and in the sudden silence 
 following my outburst, 

an uncomfortable, aching vise circled

my chest. The pain wasn’t physical, but its 
presence triggered a dull burn in
the back of my throat. I had the immediate 
urge to destroy everything, to pound
the cement walls into crumbs with my fists and 
tear the sheets into ribbons
with my nails—my talons—and fight my way 
free from this prison. I held myself
motionless, resisting the urge, and I realized with 
a belated sort of curiosity 
that the aching vise 

was panic. Without a beating heart to pound 

and without a 
circulatory system to hyperventilate, 

I hadn’t recognized the emotion without
its physical symptoms, but even so, 
it felt the same in one way. 
 It felt 

            I took a deep breath to dispel the panic, 

purely from habit, but the action

wasn’t calming. My heart that wasn’t pounding 
didn’t slow, and I couldn’t catch
a breath that I hadn’t lost. The vise around my 
chest tightened. I squeezed my
hands into fists, trembling from the force of my 
will to remain still and
silent. Something sharp pierced my hands, 
and I gasped, the raging panic
stuttering until I looked down at my bleeding fists. 
My talons were embedded in
my own palms. A

door slammed somewhere outside this room, 
further away than the voices directly
behind the door, but I didn’t hear it slam with 
my ears. I felt it slam from
its flat slap against my skin. Never mind that the 
door wasn’t near enough for
me to see, nor in this room, nor the impossibility 
that I could feel its sound
waves, my entire body felt its sting as if I’d been 
smacked from all sides.
            “Why are you just staring?” Despite 

the impatience and aggravation in those words,

hearing his voice made the aching around my 
chest both loosen and worsen.
          The clip of his tread across the cement floor 

stung like the warning barbs of a

wasp. I knew the physical pain on my skin was 
only the tactile manifestation of
sounds— first, the door slam, and now, his 
walking—but that didn’t change the
fact that the sounds really did hurt my skin. I tried 
to rub away the lingering
sting and realized my hands were still fisted, 
my talons still embedded in my
palms, so I just sat on the bed, motionless and 
bleeding, like someone trapped
without an EpiPen, waiting for the inevitable 
swelling, choking and death:
trapped within a body that had betrayed me.
            “Did you have time to—” Ronnie began, but 

her voice was too small and too fragile

not to crumble under the weight of his will.
            “You heard her waken,” he accused. 

“Don’t you smell the blood?”
            I could actually taste the pungent, freshly sliced, 

onion musk of their silence.
            The door swung open, and suddenly, inevitably, 

Dominic entered the room. He didn’t

need permission to cross my threshold, not anymore, 
and he didn’t bother with the perfunctory
acts of knocking or requesting my consent to enter. 

He simply strode inside and slammed the door 

behind him with a final, fatal bee sting.
            He’d recently fed. I could tell, as I’d always 

been able to tell, by the bloom of

health on his cheeks, his strong, sculpted figure, 
and the careful calm of his
countenance, but my heightened senses could 
now also smell the lingering spice
of blood on his breath and hear the crackle of 
it nourishing his muscles. From
the top of his carefully tousled black hair to the 
soles of his wing-tipped,
dress shoes, Dominic was insatiably sexy, but 
his physique was an illusion of
his last meal. I knew his true form. Upon waking, 
before feeding, he appeared
more monster than man. Although not many people 
look their best in the morning,
Dominic by far looked his worst.
            The way I looked now.
            That thought made my fists tighten, embedding 

my talons deeper into my own flesh.
Despite his grievance with

Ronnie, Keagan, and Jeremy for their inaction, 
he too just stared, immobile
after entering the room, but his gaze absorbed 
everything. I felt the slash of
his eyes slice across my face, down my body, 
and eventually, settle with dark
finality on my fisted palms.
He didn’t move, and that I could

tell by the stillness of his throat, he didn’t 
make a sound, but despite his
still, silent stare, I heard the unmistakable 
rush of wind. There were no
windows underground, and in the stagnant 
stillness of the room—the tension
between our bodies like an electric current 
stretching to complete its
circuit—no relief from the heat of his presence. 
The sound wasn’t wind, it only
sounded like wind, but whatever it was the 
sound of, it was emanating from the
only other person in the room.

I blinked and Dominic was

suddenly, but no longer impossibly, beside 
the bed. His movements were just as
inhumanly fast as ever, but with my enhanced vision, 
I could track his 
movement, see his grace and 

fluidity. I heard the slide of air molecules
parting for him, felt the electric snap of his muscles 
flexing, and smelled an 

emotion he wouldn’t 

allow me to interpret on his carefully neutral expression.
Whatever he was feeling was spiced, sweet, 
strong, and dangerous with overuse,
like ginger.

            He reached out and carefully wrapped 

his palms around mine to cup my fists. 
His voice was steady when he spoke, but I 

knew better. The rush of wind emanating

from him heightened, the smell of ginger 
became chokingly poignant, and his
heart that didn’t need to beat to keep him alive, 
contracted just once. I could
both hear the swoosh of his blood being 
pumped through each chamber and taste
the silky spice of that sound.
My hands were injured yet his trembled.
            “Relax,” Dominic murmured. “I’m here. 

I should have been here when you first awakened,

but I’m here now.”

            I blinked at him. With him here, everything 

was somehow simultaneous better and

horribly worse.
            “Mirror,” I growled. I tried to form a complete 

sentence, to demand, Get me a mirror, so

I can see the horror of a face that matches these 
hands! but my throat was too
dry. Even that one word rattled from my 
vocal cords like flint scraping across
steel, and the resulting sparks flamed the back of 
my throat. I sounded 
dangerous and angry and 

monstrous. If I had stumbled upon me in an 

alley, I would have run.
            Then again, I’d stumbled upon Dominic in 

an alley, and look how that had played out.
            Whether Dominic saw my anger or thought me 

a dangerous monster now wasn’t revealed by

his carefully masked countenance. He stroked the 
back of my hand with the soft
pad of his human-feeling thumb. 
“You need to calm down.”
            Calm down? I thought. I jerked my hands 

free from his gentle hold and shook my fists

between us, in front of his face. All things 
considered, this is calm!

            Dominic sighed. “I can’t see your claws from 

inside your palms, but did you happen to

notice their color before stabbing 
yourself with them?”
     I frowned. I had claws, for Christ sake. Claws. 

No, I didn’t take note of their color.
            “I’ll take that as a no,” he said, still gentle, 

still careful, and so fucking infuriating.
            A comforting flood of hot anger blast-dried my 

shock and sorrow. I spread my

fingers, tearing said claws from my palms and ripping 
wide my self inflicted 
wounds, but I didn’t take the time 

to note their color. I swiped at Dominic.
            My movements were lightning. Dominic’s 

movements were just as fast; he leapt back,

dodging my claws. I lunged off the bed after him. 
A familiar sound rattled from
deep inside my chest, a sound I’d heard emanate 
from Ronnie, Jillian, Kaden,
and Dominic, a sound that coming from them had
 raised the fine hairs on the 
back of my neck. 

Now, that sound came from my throat. I was growling.

            Dominic somersaulted out of reach. I 

watched his movements, fascinated by the strength 
of his muscles as he leapt into the air, 

his coordination as his legs tucked

and his arms caught his knees, and his athleticism as 
he stuck the landing and
raised his hands to block my advance. 
He was the epitome of power and grace
under pressure, and with the enhanced ability of 
my heightened senses, I could
actually see it. He wasn’t just a blur of movement 
but a perfectly  
choreographed symphony of muscle, 

control, and honed skill. I watched, and
unlike the jaw-dropping awe of impossibility that 
Dominic’s physical feats
would normally inspire in me, I was 
just inspired.
            I attempted to mimic Dominic’s movements with a matching forward somersault of

my own, but instead of landing on my feet, like 
I’d intended, like Dominic had
stuck so effortlessly, I landed in an awkward, 
bone-jarring, heap, flat on my back.
            Dominic leaned over me, his mouth opened 

with concern, surely about to ask me if I was

all right. My pride was more injured than my body, 
and the hot embarrassment
fueled my anger, as every strong emotion 
could fuel my easily provoked temper.
Taking advantage of his concern and close proximity, 
I raked my claws down the
front of his shirt.

            Buttons severed from their threads, but 

before the pops of their little plastic heads

hit the floor, Dominic was airborne again, back
 flipping away from me before my
claws could do any real damage. I lunged after 
his leaps and twists and rolls,
milliseconds behind his acrobatics, but even
 without the advantage of his fancy
gymnastics, my body’s newfound abilities were 
astonishing. Each muscle contraction burned
beneath my skin, but not like human muscles 

burning with fatigue. Mine sparked to life, 

twitching with power and reveling in unleashed
speed and strength.
I’d never been particularly athletic; my entire life, 

even before being shot in the hip, my skills were

better served in an intellectual capacity—
interviewing witnesses and writing
articles. After being shot, my physical abilities had 
shriveled to the point where I could hardly walk.
Now, I could not only walk, I had the 

potential to fly. 
I was a force in both body and mind, and the 
limitlessness of those abilities
after being physically limited for so long was intoxicating.
            Time suspended. Our battle raged in the 

timespan of a blink, but within that blink,

we fought and danced and completely trashed the 
little utilitarian room in what
felt like years—a lifetime of limitations revealed 
and obliterated with every
movement and newly discovered capability. 
Our movements were lighting, the
evidence of our devastation scattered across the room
—Dominic’s torn clothing,
upended and smashed furniture, pillows gutted 
and their insides fluffed over
the rumpled comforter and upended mattress—
the cause unseen.

I made a move of my own instead

of following Dominic, cutting him mid-leap and 
smashing him face-down into the
box spring. He was vulnerable for the split 
of a millisecond, me at his back,
my razor claws splayed across his shoulder blades, 
his neck bared as he craned
to look over his shoulder at me, and I had him. 
If I chose to, with a swipe of
my hand, I could sever his head from his body. 
My claws were sharp, his skin
was soft, and unlike any other physical battle 
I’d waged in my life, I had the 

            My body’s speed and strength were new to me, 

but the feelings of rage and

intoxicating addiction were not. I knew those 
emotions intimately; they had
been the very core of my personality and shaped 
a person who, despite my former
physical limitations, had unbeatable mental 
strength, evidenced by my winning
battle against Percocet addition and an ability 
to entrance vampires as a night
blood. Memories of addiction and the bone-deep 
reasons I’d fought to overcome
it, kept me grounded when I would have taken advantage of Dominic’s weakness. I nearly let the
 strength and power overwhelm reason, 
but I knew when to stop. I
knew when the need and heat felt too good to be 
good. The rage reminded me that
despite the claws sprouting from each fingertip, 
despite the fact that I might
look like the devil and have the strength of God, 
I was the same flawed person
I’d always been.
I was still me, and despite his

flaws, I loved Dominic.
I jerked my hand from his back, ripping fabric with 
my movement but not skin, and fell to my knees.
Dominic somersaulted over me. He

landed at my back, but I didn’t turn to face him. 
He knew I’d resisted the opportunity to
 kill him. Our battle was over, but mine had just begun.
He fell to his knees behind me,

wrapped his arms around me, holding my hands, 
cradling my body, and it was only
then, with the steady press of his cheek against mine,
 that I realized by the
solid stillness of his arms holding me that I was shaking.

I burst out weeping. The sobs

wracked my body and bathed my cheeks.
Dominic’s arms tightened. He stroked my hands 
and murmured promises into my ear that I knew 
better than to believe, promises
 that no one could keep, but having him hold me, his lips
moving against my ear and the familiar tone of his voice resonating like a blanket cocooned around
 my body, was comforting anyway. I sobbed harder at
first, relieved that he was here, that I wasn’t alone, 
that he’d experienced this, too, and had
 survived and eventually thrived. Buoyed by the knowledge
that I, too, could survive and eventually thrive, I calmed. 
My weeping slowed, the sobs wrecking
 my body lessened, and my tears eventually dried.

I relaxed into Dominic’s embrace—my back flush 
against his chest, his arms cradling my arms, our fingers
entwined. His breath fluttering my hair wasn’t winded, 
and I noted with a detached sort of astonishment,
 that neither was mine. I was suddenly struck by
a wary sort of certainty that my new, debatably
 improved physical form would
continue to astonish for a very long time. I stared 
at our entwined fingers—his
perfectly formed human hands still larger than
 my emaciated fingers but not
nearly longer than my elongated claws—and I 
pulled into myself, embarrassed
that he was touching them.

“Don’t,” he murmured, tightening his hold. 
“Some aspects of the transformation might take 
some getting used to. You're already
 becoming accustomed to your heightened senses 
and increased strength, which is impressive.
 In a few days, you’ll land that somersault, I
assure you. And eventually, you’ll look into a mirror 
and recognize yourself,
but for tonight, let me be your mirror.” He raised 
his hand and urged my face
to the side to meet his gaze. “Let me show you 
how beautiful you are.”

My physical appearance wasn’t the

only aspect of the transformation that shook me, 
but when he cupped my cheek in
his palm and ducked his head, pressing his lips to mine,
 I kissed him back. My lips felt foreign against
 the long protrusions of my fangs, but his lips were
soft and the texture of his scar familiar. His Christmas 
pine scent enveloped us, and with my enhanced
 senses, I felt its chilled effervescence simultaneous
heat and create goose bumps over my body. 
I turned in his arms, angling for
more access, and a rush of blood filled my mouth.
Dominic stiffened. I jerked back, startled by the

blood coating my tongue, a taste which wasn’t entirely unpleasant, was in fact, not unpleasant at all.
 The blood was absolutely delicious, which was also
startling, not to mention disturbing. Dominic had a 
gash across his lower lip,
and I realized that I’d cut him.

I swallowed the blood in my haste

to apologize and choked.
Dominic covered my lips with a

finger and shook his head. His thumb swiped back 
and forth over my cheekbone as
we stared at each other, and before my very 
acute eyes, I watched the intricacy
of Dominic’s body heal. The split sides of his lip 
filled with blood, and that
blood pooled in the crevice of his cut, coagulated, 
scabbed, and flaked to reveal new, shiny, pink
 skin. That skin darkened to a faint thread, and if he’d
still been human, the healing might have stopped there, 
but his body healed the scar, too, until his lips
 bore not one sliver of evidence of my clumsy lust.
What had once seemed to occur instantaneously and magically was now a simple bodily function, but I suppose,
 that in itself was a kind of magic.
I touched his lips, grazing my fingertips

carefully over the perfection of his newly healed skin 
to the divots and pucker of the permanent
 scar gouging through the other side of his lower lip 
and chin, a reminder of his human lifetime
 and for me, a reminder of the few things we
had in common. Although looking at the skeletal, 
talon-tipped hand touching
him—the hand that I controlled but didn’t resemble 
anything I recognized as mine-we had much
 more in common now than I’d ever anticipated having.
He touched my lips with his

fingertips, mimicking my movements with the 
human-looking version of his hand,
and I couldn’t help it. Despite the impossibility of 
this situation and the state of my hands and
 what I could only imagine was the state of my face, I smiked.
“Sorry,” I murmured. Dominic’s

blood had moistened the scratch in my throat, so it 
didn’t feel like my vocal chords were 
 raking my esophagus with razor blades anymore. 
“I’m not myself this morning."
Dominic grinned—full and genuine

and lopsided from the pull of his scar—and the 
warmth and affection in his
expression widened my own smile. I let that warmth 
soak into me, filling my
unfamiliar body with hope, reminding me that I 
could survive. That I wanted to survive.
“No one looks or acts their best

upon waking, not even you when you were human.” 
Dominic reminded me. “Not even me."
I sighed. “I will miss working on

my tan though,” I said, only half-jokingly. The feel 
of the sun’s warmth on my
skin had become a safe haven after discovering the 
existence of vampires. Having become one,
 I supposed the necessity was moot, but that didn’t mean I
wouldn’t miss it.
Dominic grunted. “Many things

about you will never change despite the 
transformation, including your ability
to enjoy the sun and your stubbornness it seems.”
I raised my eyebrows. “My

stubbornness won’t cure a fatal sun allergy.”
“Look at the color of your

claws,” Dominic said dryly.
Despite my said stubbornness and

the urge to resist looking at my claws just to 
defy him, I looked. The skeletal appendages
 coming from my body were long and knobby 
and honestly grotesque, a monster's hands
 with four-inch, lethal talons sprouting from their tips.
And those talons were silver.
Dominic was right, as per usual,

and unfortunately, so was our dear friend, High 
Lord Henry. I was a vampire, but
I wasn’t allergic to the sun.
I was a Day Reaper. 

Melody Johnson is the author of the gritty, paranormal romance Night Blood series set in New York City. The first installment, The City Beneath, was a finalist in several Romance Writers of America contests, including the “Cleveland Rocks” and “Fool For Love” contests. 

Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology, and after moving from her northeast Pennsylvania hometown for some much needed Southern sunshine, she now works as a digital media coordinator for Southeast Georgia Health System’s marketing department. When she isn’t working or writing, Melody can be found swimming at the beach, honing her newfound volleyball skills, and exploring her new home in southeast Georgia.


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