Half Breed Series
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication: 7/21/2014
Number of pages: 315
Word Count: 100,000
Cover Artist: Phatpuppyart Studios
Amber’s succubus desires are driving her, as well as every man within a five mile radius, crazy – and, Irix, the sexy incubus sent to tutor her, isn’t helping one bit. Determined to find some balance in her life as well as get away from his tempting presence, she escapes to visit a college friend in New Orleans.
But the Big Easy is anything but peaceful. Two powerful witch covens are battling for control of the mighty river and the potent ley lines that run through the city. Amber discovers her half-elven heritage may just resolve their differences, but the covens have other, more lethal, ideas. She knows she can restore the elemental energy to balance, but it’s not easy to play peacemaker when her succubus side wants to drown the whole city in a tide of lust.
The tensions between the covens aren’t her only trouble. There’s nowhere Amber can run to escape the siren-call of her demon nature, and nowhere she can run to escape the seductive incubus who won’t seem to take “no” for an answer.
Most people don’t think of sex when they’re sweating in an airport baggage claim, but most people aren’t half succubus. I tried to keep my eyes on the endless parade of identical black bags, but my gaze kept drifting toward the three virile college boys staring back at me. They’d been on my plane, and I’d been all too aware of their testosterone-fueled fascination for the entire two and a half hour flight.
Pick one, my naughty half urged.
Actually she wanted all three of them, but I’d bartered her down to one. Not that I had any intention of screwing anyone in an airport. I’d eventually have to give in to her, but it would be on my terms. I was picky, where she most definitely was not.
Perspiration rolled down my back, gluing the light blue tank top to my skin. The heat had hit me the moment they’d opened the aircraft doors, and the baggage claim wasn’t any cooler than the outside. It was hot enough up in Maryland, but New Orleans was like being submerged in a hot tub. Of course, I would have braved the fires of hell to get away from Maryland – and away from him.
“So, what brings you to New Orleans?”
One of the college boys had finally worked up the courage to approach me. His friends stood back, watching and obviously holding their breath in anticipation of a smack down. Little did they know my succubus side would never give a prospective partner the cold shoulder, and my elf side couldn’t tolerate rudeness in any way, shape, or form.
Did I mention I was also half-elf?
I smiled. It’s not like I could help it. He was just so darned cute, and his attention so very flattering. “I’m here to visit an old college roommate. She transferred to Tulane a couple of years ago.”
“Cool. We go to Maryland – ‘Fear the Turtle’.” He gave a fist pump to emphasize the college’s sports slogan. “We’re here to party. Airfare is really cheap right now.”
Yeah. It’s a million fricken degrees and hurricane season. If I hadn’t been escaping . . . no, I wasn’t going to think of him. Instead of replying I turned to watch the bags circle by, concerned that I may have missed mine. Even my elf etiquette had its limits.
“We’re going to be down on Bourbon Street tonight. Maybe we can meet up?”
Of course they were going to be down on Bourbon Street. But even a first-timer like me realized the futility of trying to vaguely “meet-up” with someone on a street filled with hundreds of bars and wall-to-wall people.
“Sure,” I replied, continuing to watch the bags circle by. “I’ll look for you all.” My succubus side was irritated that I wasn’t already dragging this guy into the nearest alcove and having my way with him. I stalled her again with vague promises, well aware I wouldn’t be able to hold her back for long. I’d need to get laid in the next few days or she’d take control and I’d find myself with a less-than-desirable partner.
College boy seemed to realize the odds of actually running into me on Bourbon Street were the equivalent of winning the Powerball lottery. “We’ll be at Saints and Sinners.”
Channing Tatum’s place. It was on my short-list of places to check out. I gave him another smile. “Okay. I don’t know what my friend has planned, but I’ll try and be there.”
That seemed to delight college boy beyond all reason. He grinned, and walked backward to join his friends. They hooted, and slapped him on the back, casting quick glances toward me as they walked toward the big glass doors. I waved good-naturedly, then turned to see my bag coming down the line.
“Excuse me. Oh, crap!”
I squeezed between two other travelers and reached for the handle, but my fingers slipped off and it dropped back onto the belt of the luggage carousel, firmly wedged between two black suitcases. I watched it move away from me, irritated that I’d need to wait for it to make a whole circuit before I had the chance to grab it again.
“I’ve got it.”
A tanned arm sporting a gold watch shot out and grabbed my bag, yanking it from the belt with a practiced grip. I followed that arm upward with my eyes. Trim guy. Fifties. Mostly bald with close-cut, light-colored hair. Lemon yellow polo shirt paired with khaki shorts. Business man, perhaps? Here for a convention or on vacation? He had nice, friendly blue eyes.
I reached out a hand to take the bag from him, and his eyes darted downward, lingering on my tank-top, or rather on the breasts it was barely covering. The succubus within me awoke, fixing this man with a hungry stare. Desire stirred, surfacing and arching out in invisible tendrils.
No, no, no. I tried to rein her in. This man probably had kids my age. Either way, I could tell he was a nice guy. He deserved better than this, but my baser self didn’t agree. She was hungry.
The man’s eyes left my breasts and rose to meet mine. I saw the lust in them, along with confusion and a bit of shame. I was ashamed too, but that emotion was drowned out by the thought of his mouth on mine, his . . .
Married. Married. It was like an alarm bell, bringing my rational self back into control. I didn’t care how hungry the monster living inside me was, I was not going to be responsible for this man breaking his wedding vows. Besides, he deserved better than a mind blowing fuck in an airport bathroom that would yoke him to me for the rest of his life. He deserved better, and so did I.
I snatched the bag from him and nearly fell in my haste to get away. For Pete’s sake, I was in an airport, surrounded by people, and I was on the edge of having sex with a stranger who had been kind enough to grab my luggage off the conveyor belt. My face burned with embarrassment at the encounter, but I would have felt worse had we wound up naked in a public restroom stall.
I was out of control. Irix had been right, but his solution wasn’t something I could live with. I envisioned his mocking voice, his raised eyebrows when he gave me the “I told you so” speech. I’d heard that speech all too often over the past month, but that wasn’t why I’d left. I could handle bossy, what I couldn’t handle was the way I felt every time he was near.
There. By the doors. A young woman waved at me, her black hair pulled back, highlighting perfect cheekbones and warm dark-brown skin. She bounced up and down on strappy sandals, all long legs and slim hips. I waved back and hustled myself toward her, shrieking as I grabbed her in a tight hug. Darci and I had kept in touch even after she’d transferred to Tulane, but I’d really missed her. My freshman roommate, my best friend – if anybody could help me find the Amber I’d used to be, it was Darci.
“Hurry, I’m double parked,” she said, disengaging and looking around for my luggage.
I grabbed the bag I’d dropped to hug her, grateful to be getting out of the airport. The heat and the excitement of my escape had stirred up the monster inside, and the guys at baggage claim weren’t the only ones I was beginning to have lurid fantasies about. I hadn’t had sex in four weeks. This was New Orleans, a town of indulgences. I’d indulge, then hopefully the desperate hunger would taper off, and I could just relax and enjoy myself – like the old Amber.
We crammed my bags in Darci’s Jetta, and took off, blasting the AC. Darci chatted on about college, a guy she was desperate to go out with, and what was on the agenda for today. She hadn’t been able to get the whole week off work, but I had assured her I could manage on my own just fine. My anticipation built thinking about po-boy sandwiches, Cajun music in the French Quarter, and a hot new dance club in the warehouse district. Already I felt the monster grow tame, distracted by the prospect of nice, normal, human-type activities.
“So. . . tell me about this guy you’re running away from.”
Darci’s inquiry jolted me out of my happy space. Irix. Thick sable-brown hair that fell to his shoulders in back and brushed his jaw in the front, dark golden eyes that seemed to see right under my clothing. He moved like a large cat on the prowl, and his smile held a promise of wicked carnal delights.
“He’s bad for me. And if I’d have stayed, I would have wound up in his bed.”
“Oh, those are the best ones, aren’t they? Bad for you how? Because I’ve never known you to walk away from something bad.”
Only when it was something I couldn’t truly have. “He’s one of those guys who is completely addicting. I’d take it far more seriously than he would. I just don’t need that kind of emotional damage, thank you very much.”
Darci shot me a knowing look. “Oh, the tables have been turned! Amber, the queen of love-them-and-leave-them is in danger of losing her heart to a world-class womanizer.”
What? I was not that sort of girl! Well, I hadn’t been that sort of girl up until recently.
“I’m sorry I ever told you about that Zumba instructor from the gym. One guy does not make me a player.”
That’s when the problem began. I’d been so crazy about him, wanted him so bad. One date, one night of torrid passion, and it was all gone. I didn’t care if I ever saw him again. I couldn’t even remember what his name was. What I did have was the thin trickle of energy he’d supply me with for the rest of his life. And guilt. A whole lot of guilt.
I thought Darci was going to wreck the car from laughing. “One guy? One guy? Seriously, Amber, once you get them in the sack, it’s ‘adios my friend’.”
“I’m not. . . no way,” I sputtered. How could she think that? I’d had plenty of relationships. Yeah, none had lasted very long, but that wasn’t my fault.
“Oh, let’s see. . . Darius, Nick, Brent, Jason.”
“Jason dumped me,” I protested.
“Zac, Scott, Theo.”
“Hey, I dated Theo for a month. That’s not a one-night-stand!”
Darci made a “pffft” sound and waved her hand at me. “It took you that long to sleep with him. Remember, finals? Then he had the flu? Then you went on that ski trip? Once you guys did the nasty, Theo was yesterday’s news.”
My head whirled, and I stared at Darci, open-mouthed. She was right. This problem of mine had been going on longer than I’d thought, I just hadn’t realized it. She glanced over at me, smiling fondly.
“It’s okay, Amber. Doesn’t make you a bad person. Actually, I always thought it was kind of funny. Guys are usually the ones that do this; it was refreshing to see the tables turned.”
No, it wasn’t funny. It was just as shitty as when guys did it to girls. These were nice boy’s that I’d screwed over, that I’d hurt. I hadn’t realized it back then, but now the thought of it devastated me. I’d hidden some things from Darci – things that she would never believe anyway, but I needed to let her know how terrible this made me feel, how I didn’t want to be that sort of person.
“It’s not okay. There’s something wrong with me, Darci. I want to have a long-term relationship. I want to meet someone nice, fall in love, and commit to them. I’ll never have that, and it hurts. It hurts almost as much as how I treated all those guys.”
“You will fall in love. You’ll find the right guy and it will all click into place.” She gave me a quick, mischievous look. “Now tell me all about this sexy scoundrel you ditched up in Maryland. I live vicariously through your tales of sexual conquest, you know. What’s his name?”
“Irix.” I didn’t want to think of him, let alone talk about him, but I knew Darci would never give up until she’d heard all the details.
“Ooo, exotic! Is that his first or last name?”
It was probably one of many names. I’d been told demons have quite a few and are very cagy about letting anyone know all of them.
“I’m not sure. It’s the only name he goes by.”
“Like Madonna, or Sting? How did you meet him?”
Now this was the tricky part. I couldn’t really say my demon parent had sent an Incubus to teach me how to deal with my succubus side.
“My family contracted him as a sort of life coach for me. That’s why I can’t just avoid him. He’s there every day, following me around, pestering me to do this or do that. I told him to go home and leave me alone, but he won’t until he feels like I’ve learned what I need. It’s his job.” And I got the feeling he was getting quite a kick out of it too.
Darci scrunched up her face. “Ugh. Totally hot does not outweigh bossing you around. That sucks. What happens if you just tell him to kiss off and do whatever the heck you want?”
Heat roared through me, I could feel my face redden.
“Oh!” Darci chuckled. “You bad girl, you! Well, no need to worry. You’re safe here from Mr. Sexy Life-Coach, and I’ve got all kinds of fun activities planned for us.”
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
When I was a child I wanted to be a dog. A real dog, with four legs and a furry tail. I’d memorized the entire list of AKC breed characteristics, and had practiced until I had a realistic bark.
That never panned out. Writing was next on my list, although I think if I can find a werewolf willing to turn me, I might just go for it.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
In some ways I’ve always been a writer – as a child, and even as an adult when I did freelance articles for a local city paper. I think it didn’t hit me until that first fan e-mail. The idea that a stranger had found my book among millions, read it, and loved it enough to write me. . . it was like winning the lotto.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
A click of the mouse. Actually it took almost two years. I had an idea, allowed it to germinate, wrote my first draft, and then spent six months in endless re-writes. I thought about submitting it to an agent, but I didn’t want to wait around years for it to see print. Plus, as you can see by my answer to the next question, I’ve got industry and business experience. I’m a corporate gal, and I love being in charge of my own publishing team – from cover, to editing, to coding.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes. I’m an internal consultant for a multi-national, legal and regulatory publisher and software tool developer. I design sales compensation plans, assist in structuring sales process programs, and – hey! Wake up! I know all this corporate stuff is enthralling!
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I’ve got ideas rattling around in my head sometimes for a long time, but once I sit down to think of a plot and begin writing it generally takes me three months. Add in another month for editing and revision, and it’s four months from idea to publication.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I love writing urban fantasy/paranormal romance, but may take a swing at a few other genres in the future. I’ve written a horror short story, and a young-adult romance short story, so who knows what will be next.
There will always be fantasy romance from me, though!
What genre would you place your books into?
At RT this year, a group of romance authors had an open discussion on the grey area between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. I really think my Halfbreed Series fits into that middle ground. It’s first person, with a solid action-driven fantasy plot, but the romance is more central than the usual Urban Fantasy books.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always loved fantasy ever since I was five and convinced the garden in the woods across from our house was populated with elves and fairies.
I grew up watching old horror movies with my mom, and always had sympathy for the monsters as tragic romantic leads. King Kong, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Mummy tugged at my heart. So I’m sure you can see how I find demons terribly sexy!
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
In this series, I just love Irix. Sex demons – what’s not to love?
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I have an office, but I need to write in new environments every now and then. I’ve gone to the library, sat at the bar of a local pub, rocked in the front porch chair, and pounded out chapters on the plane. So, actually, it’s the lack of routine that drives my creativity.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
It varies. Usually the book is half-way done before I come up with a title, but in the case of a series, I try to title all the books at once. Demons of Desire was in first draft before I nailed down the title – which is a bit later than usual!
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
The places are real, modern-day locations, although I sometimes change store or street names, or combine two restaurants into one. I usually determine character names before I start writing, but I’ve been known to change them in revision. Sometimes the character evolves and the name I originally came up with no longer fits!
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I do, but it’s a generalized concept. The actual personality of my characters doesn’t always conform to what I had in mind when I started. It’s one of the curses of being a pantser!
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I’ll admit I bought the Kindle when it was first released, and still have that original version, even though I read on my iPad, phone, and other devices. As much as I love the feel of actual books, moving several times made me realize how many boxes my library was taking up. Plus when I went on vacation, books occupied their own, overweight, suitcase!
So I’m an e-reader gal all the way.
Your favorite food is?
Bacon. Everything is better with bacon.
Debra Dunbar lives on a farm in the northeast United States with her husband, three boys, and a Noah’s ark of four legged family members. Her fantasy novels feature supernatural elements in local settings. In addition to her Imp Series, and Half-Breed Series, she has also published a short story erotica series titled Naughty Mom.