The Silverton Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance/Suspense
Publisher: Smart Heart Publishing
Date of Publication: July 31, 2015
Number of pages: 276 print pages
Word Count: 104k
Cover Artist: Ana Grigoriu
When everyone's existence depends on the lies they tell, trust doesn't come easy
Ivy’s neighbors have a secret. They aren’t human. But Ivy has a secret, too. She knows. As long as everyone keeps quiet, she’s happy working as a P.I. by day and chillaxing with her BFF Florian, a vampire, by night. When a routine pickup drops her in the middle of a murder, her two worlds collide. While Florian knows how to throw a punch, deep down he's a softie. His idea of scary? Running out of hair product. It’s time Ivy faced facts. Even with a vampire on stand-by, one gal can only kick so many asses.
For help, she must put her faith in others. A human, who might just be the one. A demon, who will, for a price, open the doors to her heritage. And a werewolf, who wants to protect her from herself.
Torn between these men, Ivy must tread carefully, because one wants her heart, one wants her body, and one wants her dead.
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A shadow peeled off a dark corner and rushed across the road. My thoughts of the unfairness of life lifted, and I smiled. Dressed in his usual muted colors, Florian gave a mock salute. Not even the lack of a California tan detracted from the fact that he was, by all accounts, a handsome devil. But it was his inner qualities that made him my best friend.
I got out and slammed the door shut.
Flo shot me his trademark grin that half begged to be mothered, half promised a naughty night. “Happy birthday, Ivy!”
“Not so far. I think my car’s kaput.” I sent an eyeroll toward the steam escaping the hood.
“Oh?” His forehead puckered. “Let’s see. Did it slug and thud into the drive?” His index finger in his ear, he shook his tilted head, as if to force out some lingering noise. “Check. Is it stinky?” He sniffed the noxious plume surrounding the vehicle. “Check. Broken side view mirror? Check. Well, I can confidently say I notice nothing out of the ordinary.”
“You’re a funny guy, mister. If you’re not too busy doing standup tomorrow night, do you think you could chauffeur me?” I pouted. “I have a work thing, and getting the car fixed might take some time.”
“Aww, come here. Of course I will.” He yanked me into a firm mother-bear hug.
I held tight. His fresh, if powerful, cologne was a scent for sore noses, and I added another couple of gratuitous sniffs. “Thanks. I needed that.”
“I’ll let you get some rest, then. You don’t seem in the mood for a birthday bash. But if you change your mind, you know where to find me.” Despite his curious looks at my front door, he knew better than to invite himself in. With a wave, he turned and crossed the road to the large building he and his siblings called home.
I never let anyone enter my house without at least half an hour’s notice. The metal guards on my walls would reveal my secret. And more than anything, my friendship with Florian was based on mutual subterfuge.
He didn’t tell me he was a vampire. And I didn’t tell him I already knew.
Character Name: Florian Dupree
Character Bio: After many years of intense slacking off, I’ve found a new vocation working with my best friend as a P.I. I’ve never been a scholar, but if you’re as old as I am, you pick up a thing or two. That said, my age is none of your business, although I will confirm I was born in a charming village in the south of France some time ago.
Describe yourself: what is your worst and best quality?
I know how to dress, am always punctual, and try to be the best friend a girl can have. My worst quality? I’m not the most patient of vampires.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
Nothing. Anything I wish people to know, I share.
What is your biggest secret, something no one knows about?
The violent past we vampires carry around with us. But I’m no longer that guy, and every day I try to become a better person.
What are you most afraid of?
Watching my friends grow old and die.
What do you want more than anything?
To see all my friends again in the afterlife.
What is your relationship status?
Searching but eager.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
Excellent. Some people can and should learn style from me. Perhaps I’ll offer an online course at some point.
How much of a risk taker are you?
The worst. I dare to try every new hair styling cream that comes out on the market. Who knows what kind of scalp reaction I could have? And the other day, I wore brown socks with my gray slacks. It was dark when I picked them, but when I noticed, I didn’t get changed.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I’ve been alive for many years, even survived the Great Vampire Hunt, so that’s quite an accomplishment, isn’t it?
What is your idea of happiness?
Watching a romantic comedy with Ivy, my best friend, while munching potato chips.
What is your current state of mind?
I’m sane. That’s all we can ask of people, right?
What is your most treasured possession?
My belt buckle. It’s actually a ‘guard,’ a metal plate that magically protects me against the fatal effect of the sun. I got it from my sire, and he got it from his, so it has sentimental value, too.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I know how to work the ladies. A bright smile will win them over every time. All vampires know how to lay on the charm, of course, but I add a distinctive Florian-ness.
What is it that you most dislike?
Authority other than my own.
Which living person do you most despise?
Lathan, the demon who hurt Ivy.
What is your greatest regret?
Not being able to save my sire when he was banished from our world.
What is the quality you most admire in a man?
To lose gracefully.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
I guess you’re looking for something deeper than ‘available?’ I don’t know. A sense of humor?
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
Buffy’s Spike had a certain flair before he became a love-lost puppy.
Which living person do you most admire?
Probably Ivy. She’s survived a lot and come through it all with her sass intact.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Find a purpose in life. I’ve lived so long, but have very little to show for it.
What is your motto?
Live and love in the moment.
Carmen lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. An avid reader since childhood, she caught the writing bug when her Nana asked her to write a story. She also has a law degree, studied physics for a few years, dabbled in marketing and human resources, and speaks native-level German and fluent Geek. Her preferred niches of geekdom are tabletop games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.
She writes about smart women with sassitude, about pretty cool guys too, and will chase that plot twist, no matter how elusive.
Expect to be kept guessing.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER, Carmen’s first urban fantasy novel, was published in March 2015. To find out more, visit her at www.carmen-fox.com.
Book page: www.carmen-fox.com/guarded