Today I have the pleasure of being the stop on the Blood Rite Blog Tour. The author, Melanie Atkins will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter throughout this tour. Please make sure to leave a comment and follow the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances are to win.
You can find all of the tour stops here.
BLOOD RITE Back
Women in New Orleans are dying;
women New Orleans Police detective Nick Marconi has dated. To make matters
worse, they have all been found with vials of his murdered sister’s blood in
their throats. Nick is walking a tightrope between depression and rage. His
superiors are worried about his mental health, so they send him to see
psychiatrist Gracie Simmons.
Gracie is walking a tightrope of her own. She became a psychiatrist because she
wants to help people, and in addition to private practice, she also treats
police and parolees. The extra work gives her flashbacks about her father,
however, a bad cop arrested when she was fifteen. Then a former flame harasses
her, and her best friend turns up dead. Desperate for a distraction, she makes
Nick her special project. Only… he doesn’t want to be saved.
Sounds interesting doesn't it?
Here's our first excerpt:
The crime scene was awash in blood, its warm, coppery scent mixing with the fresh odor of rain that had fallen during the night.
New Orleans Police Department Detective Nick Marconi pulled on a pair of latex gloves and popped a square of mint gum into his mouth. Weary resignation set in as he sidestepped the overturned trash receptacle serving the far corner of the tiny park.
Crime scene techs swarmed the scene, taking pictures and eyeing the rain-dimpled sand for any evidence, no matter how small, the murderer may have left behind.
Even with the icy tang of gum cleansing his palate, the stench of death made Nick’s stomach buck. He cursed himself for not getting the jar of menthol salve out of the sedan.
“Mornin’, Marconi. Got a grisly one for you.” Orleans Parish Medical Examiner, Pal Stewart, bobbed his thick gray head in greeting. “She’s cut from ear to ear and exsanguinated.”
“Well, hell. That explains all the blood.” Nick looked at Pal, who raised his eyebrows.
Then he steeled himself and looked down at the nude corpse. The woman lay on her side facing away from him, her pale hips cocked at an odd angle. Blood had crusted in her spiky blond hair, and a bright silver hoop earring stood out in stark contrast to her purplish right earlobe. The sand beneath her was stained a dull red, made pale by the rain.
“It’s a lot, but not enough.”
“What do you mean?” Nick frowned. “The ground’s saturated with it.”
Pal walked around the body. “He drained her blood here—” He turned and acknowledged a row of metal swing sets behind them. “And took it with him.”
I love how descriptive that was, don't you?
Here's a second excerpt:
Simmons stepped around her desk and rechecked her appointment book for the
fifth time that day. Since lunch, she’d dealt with a woman with bi-polar
disorder, an obsessive-compulsive fireman, and a shy teenager trying to find
herself. Next up was a burned out cop.
Not the best way to wind up the day. She rubbed her tense neck. Her nerves had been on edge
ever since this morning, when she’d met with him. She closed her eyes
and pictured her nurse’s neat handwriting on the crisp new folder. Thirty-nine
year old white male. Presenting with non-specific complaints of depression and
anxiety. The description didn’t even come close.
afraid he was deeply disturbed. His cool, calculated answers to her questions
had scared the hell out of her.
“Dr. Simmons?” Ashley, her part-time
twenty-something receptionist, stuck her head in the door. Her long brown hair
gleamed in the muted light. “Would you like some coffee before your four
“Yes, thank you.” Although it would
take a hell of a lot more than a brimming mug of high-octane java to get her
through her next appointment. She never should have volunteered to handle cases
for the police department while their regular psychiatrist was on military
leave. Her dad had been a cop. A bad cop. And her childhood had been hell
because of it. She certainly had no love for law enforcement professionals,
especially those with problems on the job. If Dr. Myers wasn’t a good friend,
she’d call him back and tell him she’d changed her mind.
pounded. She reached into her drawer for an oversized bottle of ibuprofen.
came in and set a brimming cup of cream and sugar laced coffee on her desk.
“Your patient’s in the waiting room.”
“Already?” Gracie eyed the sunburst
clock on the wall in surprise. She’d expected this guy to balk. “He’s ten
shrugged. “At least you’ll get out of here on time today.”
“Shall I send him in?”
me five minutes, okay?” Gracie picked up her coffee cup and took a small sip.
“I need to do some deep breathing exercises.”
“Sure.” Ashley smiled. “Yoga’s great
when you’re feeling tense.”
to agree. She downed another mouthful of steaming coffee, set down her cup, and
leaned back in her chair. If only she had time to get out her mat and do some
simple stretches. Her body was as tight as a bow string.
her hands in her lap, palms up, and closed her eyes. After a few seconds, she
drew in a long breath, careful to fill her lungs and expand her ribcage. The
stretch relaxed her. She held the breath for another long moment, and then
slowly released a slow, steady breath.
A sense of
calm enveloped her.
She repeated the action three more times, growing
more relaxed with each extended breath. Her neck grew less taut. Breath in, she
told herself. Breathe out.
phone rang. She muttered an ugly word.
After two more rings, she yanked
it from her purse and stared down at the display.
Jerry Howard. The
annoying guy she had dated for a while, and was now trying to blow off. There
was no chemistry between them. No attachment, at least on her part. Why
wouldn’t he take no for an answer?
A brisk knock rattled the door. Gracie blinked, and
struggled to orient herself.
rang out again.
in,” she said, quickly putting the phone on silent and dumping it back into her
purse. She sat up straight in her chair.
opened and Ashley appeared, followed by the most handsome man Gracie had ever
seen. At least, he would be handsome if he got some sleep and maybe shaved once
in a while. He was tall and rugged, with short jet-black hair and glacial blue
eyes. Inky stubble rimmed his taut jaw. His gray suit fit him, but his coat
looked like it had been worn for a week.
“This is your four o’clock,” Ashley
said, her eyes glued to the strapping man beside her despite his dishevelment.
“Detective Nick Marconi.”
there as if rooted to the floor.
“Thank you, Ashley.” Gracie said,
rising. Her mouth was as dry as river sand.
Ashley didn’t move.
full lips curved in a weary, knowing smile that conveyed a world of information
to Gracie. Namely, that he was arrogant, smug, and didn’t want to be in her
I really liked that scene, I feel it really lets us get to know Gracie better and lets us get to know her assistant Ashley a little too:)
Melanie Atkins is a multi-published
author of romantic suspense. Writing is more than an escape for her—it’s a way
of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning
stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and
mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.
She is an active member of Romance Writers of America®, the Magnolia State
Romance Writers (MSRW), the Published Author Network (PAN), the Electronically
Published Internet Connection (EPIC), Sisters in Crime (SinC), the Red Dog
Writers, The Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), Southern Writers, the
Mississippi Writers Guild and the Byram Writers’ Group. She currently serves as
Past President of MSRW.
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