(excerpted from a post originally shared on Jianne Carlo’s site 1/15/15)
The journey for some books is longer than others, and Drinking Partners had by far one of the longest. I was looking through stacks of my old writing journals, which I use to jot down ideas for books, when I came across a concept I’d thought of in the 1990s. You didn’t misread that. Yes, I really said the 90s. Back when P. Diddy was still Puff Daddy and Madonna was reinventing herself and becoming a mommy. So many book ideas run through my brain that some get shoved to the back, and this one finally elbowed its way to the forefront. The idea was simple: two master vampires — both strong alphas, lethal and cunning — fall for each other but have trust issues.
I’ve always loved vampire fiction, starting with writers like Anne Rice and Fred Saberhagen and continuing with Laurell K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, and other great authors today. When I rediscovered my premise for my own vampire book, I couldn’t wait to run with it. Drinking Partners was born. Or should I say reborn?
This book is definitely the darkest and edgiest one I’ve written. I may have watched Kill Bill around the time I was writing it, and there’s definitely a lot of action. The heroine, Alexandra, is a badass with guns and swords and even a machete. She doesn’t go looking for trouble, but because she’s a turned vampire — one considered lower class — plus a member of the “weaker sex” according to the older bloodsuckers, trouble has a way of finding her.
Lucas has his own battles and is ruthless in protecting those he cares about. Once Alex and Lucas team up, she becomes the person he cares about most. And what does a master vampire get his lover when she likes to shoot and decapitate her enemies? Find out in an excerpt from Drinking Partners:
She reached inside for the sparkly handle of a short sword. The hilt was made of walnut as dark and rich as her brown leather coat. The wood had been carved, and centered within each diamond etching was a pale-blue gemstone.
“It’s exactly what I wanted. How did you know?”
“I pay attention to everything that interests you.”
That was a very smooth answer.
“Are those real sapphires?” she asked.
“Blue diamonds.” Lucas traced the curve of her cheek with one finger. “They’re the same color as your eyes.”
Her heart flipped. He’d gotten her diamonds after all.
Alex’s hand trembled as she reached for the exquisite weapon and pulled it free of its sheath. The blade was clean and unmarked and so sharp it sang when she sliced it through the air. It was a work of art.
There was more, though. She reluctantly set aside her new sword so she could pull out the large wooden box that rested next to it. The lid was hinged, and she swung it open to see a matching handgun. He must have had the pair custom-made for her, though she hadn’t a clue how he’d managed to have them done this quickly.
“Do you know what it is?” he asked.
She was practically drooling over the gun. “Are you kidding me? It’s a Colt M1911.”
“You know your guns.”
“My father taught me.” She let the remark slip without thinking.
Lucas regarded her closely. “That’s an unusual thing for a father to share with his daughter. Was he in the firearms business?”
“No, more like a military man,” she said. “This is a beautiful custom-made piece. A collector’s wet dream.”
He barked out another laugh. “You could say that. I knew you’d shoot me on the spot if I gave you some dainty compact pistol.”
The idea didn’t bear thinking about.
A sensual shiver traveled down Alex’s spine when she traced the stylized fleur-de-lis engraved along the slide and frame. The grip panel was made of walnut with the same pattern of carvings and blue diamonds as the sword. She picked it up and felt a smile split her face.
The single-stacked magazine offered her a narrower handle, which was a much better fit than some of the stockier pieces. All those gemstones were cool against her palm and made sure her grip didn’t slide. She liked the weight and balance too. All in all, it felt pretty damn good.
“I’ll get you something else if this doesn’t suit you,” Lucas said.
“Oh, this suits me.” She might never put it down.
Alex kept it in her hand, muzzle pointed toward the floor and finger off the trigger, as she stepped into his body. She tilted her head to press her lips to his and slipped her tongue behind his teeth when he opened for her. He was yummier than any chocolate, with the same amount of dark and sweet in his makeup. If she hadn’t been sure before, she was now. She’d fallen for the vampire.