Wow. Such romance. Many demon.

I haven’t posted in a while; sorry! I’ve been super busy getting everything ready for Devil’s Gamble! Remember way back when I told you guys I was working on a book about a half-demon boy and his churchgoing boyfriend? Well, it’s ready!

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Look at the cover, you guys. LOOK AT IT. The artwork is by Mikao, who was lovely to work with and you should all love her.

This one’s coming out July 22, but it’s available for pre-order right now! I’m so excited about this one.

Caleb is a cambion, meaning his father is a demon. Caleb is tired of hearing about his special destiny, and he’s tired of hearing about what’s expected of him when it comes to taking over the family business, which mostly involves making deals for mortal souls. He’s a broody loner who tends to deal with stress with self-destructive behavior like blackout drinking and anonymous sex–a strategy that suddenly becomes unavailable to him when his demon guardian drags him from the city to a tiny little town in central Alabama.

Enter Isaac, the cheerful Southern Baptist who, at the suggestion of the unwelcome angel looking over Caleb’s shoulder, is determined to show the boy that there’s good to be found in everyone. But what is a sweet All-American boy to do when he finds himself having stirrings of more-than-friendly feelings for the boy he’s supposed to be turning from sin? The ring on his finger reminding him that “True Love Waits” is becoming more of a taunt than a reminder.

Did I mention that the angel only approached him because of a bet with his demon lover, who just so happens to be Caleb’s guardian? The stakes are personal, and Caleb’s choices will determine the winner.

So, how’s about a little excerpt?

The dark-haired boy let his head drop with an empty chuckle. “You don’t want to hear what I have to say.”

“I do,” Isaac promised, and he reached out to pry the bottle from Caleb’s hand and lace their fingers together. “Whatever it is, it’ll feel lighter if you share it.”

Caleb glanced down at their joined hands with a furrowed brow, and then he looked into Isaac’s eyes through the darkness. “You kissed me back.”

Isaac’s voice caught in his throat, and he found himself squeezing Caleb’s hand without thinking. “I…I did.”

“Friends don’t kiss like that.”

“Well I…I—”

“Do you want to kiss me again?”

Isaac started and stopped a few times before any words came out. “I don’t know,” he said at last. “It’s…confusing. It’s a sin.”

“Right,” Caleb sighed. He took another drag from his cigarette and stared back out at the pond, but he didn’t try to pull his hand away from Isaac’s.

“Caleb, can I ask you something?” Isaac spoke up after few beats of silence. “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want.”

“I won’t. What is it?”

Isaac hesitated. He wanted to be sure he worded it right. “You…are you only att—you know, attracted to…only to boys?”

Caleb glanced at him out of the corner of his eye while he took a pull of his cigarette. “Yep,” he said as he exhaled.

“How did you…I mean, when did you first know you were…”

“Gay?” Caleb finished for him, and Isaac nodded with heat in his cheeks. “I always knew, I guess. I’ve never been interested in girls.”

“So,” he started, “what…you know, happened? To you.”

“What do you mean, what happened?”

“I just mean, I was just wondering what the…the root was. The reason. I understand if you don’t want to say. I know that a lot of…gay people were, you know…they were abused.”

Caleb stared at him with his lips pressed into a thin line. “Abused.”

“I’m sorry if it’s hard. I just…I want to understand you better.” Isaac dropped his voice, although they were already speaking quietly. “I know you live with your uncle, and I’ve heard that’s sometimes—”

“You’re asking me if my uncle touched me as a kid?” Caleb interrupted. “And if that’s why I’m gay? Are you fucking serious?”

“Caleb, don’t swear,” he said timidly, shrinking back slightly from the other boy.

“What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you think that?”

“That’s just—the Bible says it’s a sin, and in church they told us it’s not natural for a…for a man to be with another man. They say that if you can work through the cause, then you can resist those urges.”

Caleb tugged his hand away with a scoff. “The world isn’t your Bible school, Isaac. Nobody abused me or turned me gay. It’s the way I am. Some people are just born gay. You think straight people are only straight because they dodged the sexual abuse bullet? That’s fucked up.”

Isaac stammered for a moment. “I didn’t mean—that’s just what they told us, and I guess I never—” He stopped and took a short breath. “Shoot, Caleb, I—I’m sorry. I didn’t meant to come off like that. I guess…I guess I don’t know very much about this stuff.”

“I guess you don’t.” Caleb put his cigarette butt out in the dirt and scowled down at his crossed legs for a moment before looking back at Isaac. “Why did you kiss me back?”

“I…” Isaac paused to fidget in his lap, feeling the flush in his face and neck. He had to steel himself before the words would come. “Ever since you kissed me that day in my room, I’ve…thought about you. I think about you a lot.” Caleb seemed to soften slightly, but Isaac couldn’t quite meet his eyes. “I think about…if you tried again, what I would do.”

Caleb inched closer to him, leaning down to try to catch his eyes. “I guess you know the answer to that. And if I tried again now?”

Isaac’s fingers tightened on themselves. “I—I don’t know.”

These two are so cute, I can’t stand it. They’re a perfect pair of little cinnamon buns. I hope you’ll check them out, and I hope you love them like I do!

Are You On My Street Team?

Well, are you? You should be! It’s the place where my very favorite people get first access to cover reveals, excerpts, giveaways, and all sorts of goodies!

You can join the Facebook group here, and make sure you’re following me on Twitter to get hints about what’s coming next. Right now, there’s a contest going on!

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Those prizes sound good to you? Join up and earn them! The contest is running until May 13, so it’s anybody’s game.

Doubleplusgood, Mentor is only .99 until Thursday! You don’t want to miss the book fans are comparing to Supernatural and The Dresden Files. Pick it up today and let Nathan lead you down his path.

BoB Character Profiles: Max Reiniger

Last one! I hope you’ve enjoyed these; I had a lot of fun doing them. These guys and gals are still my babies, two years later. Anyway, here’s Max!

Max is Lukas’s little brother. He’s only 19, and he’s just had his first real Wolfjäger assignment. It’s boring. Max isn’t a hunter like his brother; his job is much more administrative. He’s what they call Botschafter–one of the Wolfjäger who keep records of werewolves in the city where they’re stationed, help to make sure they have steady employment and housing so they stay out of trouble, that sort of thing. They even on occasion pay a werewolf’s bail if it’s too close to the full moon, to avoid risking someone turning into a giant monster in the drunk tank.

He doesn’t take his job very seriously, since he had it handed to him without much effort on his part–the eldest Reiniger, his father, is on the council that leads the whole organization. He’d much rather be playing his DS, watching American TV, or having a beer and flirting with the local girls than doing anything that resembles work, and he usually gets away with it.

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What’s nepotism?

He’s his big brother’s opposite in every way. While Lukas is tall, handsome, and imposing, Max tops out at about 5’6″ and has a cheeky grin that keeps him out of trouble (or sometimes gets him into it). He’s gregarious and flirtatious and can make a joke out of just about anything.

Max was raised at Bärenheim, the Wolfjäger home base in Cologne, after his mother died when he was a child. He grew up being taught that werewolves are definitely monsters, and maybe even demons, and learning everything possible about their history, practices, and weaknesses. Even after a lifetime of training, he’s not the most exceptional fighter, so they gave him an easy gig that makes use of his charming, friendly nature. It’s his job to keep in touch with the wolves in his district and make sure they’re all properly registered and employed. He never seems to have a problem relating to or talking with the werewolves, despite having it ground into his head that they’re evil. He never quite got on the “they’re all beasts who need to be put down” boat, even though Lukas has been the Captain of that ship for some time.

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Some lessons just don’t take.

He loves American culture even though he’s never been there, and he soaks in American television and music like it’s his job. His English is remarkably good and he even uses most idioms correctly, due in no small part to being able to watch episodes of Teen Mom online.

He’s the youngest of four brothers, but he’s definitely closest to Lukas. They keep in touch by phone or by Skype no matter where in the world they are. Lukas even answers his calls when Max forgets the time difference between Cologne and New York and calls him at two in the morning to tell him about this amazing new club he found. He accidentally met Alicia during one of these Skype calls, despite Lukas’s intentions to keep his brotherly side a secret.

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An exact quote.

Overall, Max is a carefree, promiscuous dude with probably the most inappropriate job he could possibly have. Without his father’s influence, he’d probably be delivering pizzas or waiting tables. He might just be happier, too.

BoB Character Profiles: Lukas Reiniger

Lukas is only Lukas to his family. To everyone else, he’s Reiniger–the creepy blank-faced Wolfjäger who nobody wants to be partnered with. He’s a legacy, which means that his older brother is Wolfjäger, his father is Wolfjäger, his grandfather was, and on down the line for generations. Hunting werewolves is practically in his blood. The Wolfjäger are based in Cologne, Germany, and they pretty much have people in every major city in Western Europe, keeping tabs on the werewolves and making sure they don’t step out of line. It’s a fairly totalitarian organization, but they pride themselves on having kept the public reasonably safe from werewolves since the 1500s.

Reiniger happened to hear about Alicia’s story while he was in New York trying to help build a Wolfjäger base in the US, and he thought she’d be a good recruit, so he sought her out. She agreed, and he had himself a new partner, for better or worse. All of his previous partners seemed to have one reason or another for not wanting to be paired up with him. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that he’s a complete sociopath and never expresses anything beyond mild irritation.

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Lukas Reiniger, laughing his ass off.

Everyone stationed with him calls him a creep and a weirdo, but that suits him just fine, since he’d rather spend his time by himself in any case, reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle maybe. He seems to get along with Alicia all right, for some reason–possibly because she refuses to treat him like the outcast everyone insists he is, and so constantly talks to him and probes into his life.

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Even when it’s clearly bedtime.

He’s kind of an odd person anyway, aside from the sociopath thing. He only reads nonfiction books, either historical or political, with the exception of Goethe. He’s secretly a sucker for a Sturm und Drang drama. It’s interesting to him to read about people who have such strong and sometimes violent emotions, since he’s never known what that’s like. He primarily listens to American Blues music for the same reason, though he also keeps this information under wraps. He keeps just about all information about his personal life to himself, partly because it’s nobody else’s business and partly because nobody ever asks. Except Alicia. He actually doesn’t mind it so much, even when she asks questions that are remarkably inappropriate.

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300% done talking about his sex life though.

He’s extremely meticulous about the way he looks, partly from vanity and partly from some strange sense of maintaining order. He always has his clothes tailored, and he never wears jeans. He’s a slacks and button-down guy pretty much every day, and he keeps up with the latest fashions so that he can always look modern and well put-together. It might be a way of fitting in with people he feels no connection with–a way to convince people of his humanity even when he’s not sure of it himself.

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Womp womp.

Don’t feel too bad for him, though. He spends his time being a ruthless werewolf-killer instead.

BoB Character Profiles: Alicia May

Alicia is the first human we’ll be talking about, and she’s our hero. She’s a 28 year old from Colorado who joined the Marines shortly out of high school. She knew what she was getting into with the reputation that women Marines have, but she earned her spot in Ordnance and took no bullshit. (Even being told she couldn’t count above three.) She’s been to Afghanistan and back again, and she keeps on going, always ready for whatever comes her way.

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Alicia on any given morning.

Her problems started when she was home on leave, and she met a handsome stranger in a bar. She liked his drawl and his sexy/mysterious scars, and she was soon to be shipped out again, so she let him take her back to his motel. Since it was Sam (of course it was Sam), he brutalized her so badly that she had to have plates in her legs and left her to bleed out in his motel room. This really shook her up, for obvious reasons, and she was discharged from the Marines due to her extensive injuries and fragile mental state.

That’s when the Wolfjäger found her. The clandestine werewolf-hunting organization was trying to get a foothold in the US, and trying to find Sam led them to one of his few survivors. Despite her slow mental recovery, Lukas Reiniger thought she’d make a good recruit. Once she was convinced that werewolves were actually real and this German dude wasn’t completely crazy, she agreed to join up and hunt down the Beast of Birmingham.

She’s got no time for bureaucracy, and she’s found herself part of an organization that’s made up of very little else, so she’s frequently frustrated. She’s a do or die kind of girl, and she can’t stand to be bogged down by silly things like waiting around for orders. Things don’t always go according to plan, and Alicia always says what’s on her mind, even if she’s mouthing off to one of her superiors.

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She’s lost some decorum since her Marine days.

She’s an All-American girl bunked up with a bunch of Europeans who don’t understand the importance and ritual of a good stake out. In fact, her partner Lukas might be the worst possible person she could have been paired up with, since he’s the picture of stoicism.

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More donuts and Red Bull for me.

She sees the trouble the werewolves cause, and she’s glad to be a Wolfjäger if it means keeping people safe from them, but she’s never going to be happy until she can corner Sam and put a bullet in his heart. She wants nothing more than to be able to face him and make sure he knows that leaving her alive was the worst mistake he ever made.

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Top Five Friday: Character Types

Everybody has a type. That one (or in this case, five) type of person who they can’t help falling for. I freely admit that mine tend to fall into the same category; it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’m going to like the one who’s kind of a dick. Most of these are villains. Shocking, I know. I do have a few variants, though! Anyway, here goes!

Anime Glasses Guy

Japan is really helpful about making sure you know what a character is like at first glance.

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I can tell you immediately which of these guys I’m going to like, because I can tell what kind of person they are just by their character design. The short one is going to be bubbly and cute, the tallest/biggest one is going to be quiet, and the one with glasses is going to smart and reserved and/or cold. I like that one. I haven’t even seen more than bits and pieces of Cute Earth Defense Club Love, and FFXV isn’t out yet, but I can already tell you which character is going to be my favorite. It’s the dick in the glasses.

The Scholar

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Sometimes this overlaps a little with Anime Glasses Guy, but they’re not always the same kind of person. The Scholar comes in a few flavors: the scatterbrained hermit, usually some sort of mage in a tower type; the I-Don’t-Understand-Human-Emotion scientist who pushes the boundaries of ethics; the soft-spoken one who likes books better than people…there are definitely more. I like all of them.

Tough Guy with a Gooey Inside

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I have such a crush on this dude it’s not even funny. The characters who are stoic and deadly but have a soft, gentle side always get me. Even better if it’s just for that one special person who they let see inside. Illya is a particularly good example because he not only has a soft spot, he gets downright nervous, and that is just adorable. Raphael from the Ninja Turtles is another example of this. He’s brash and distant, but when it comes to April, he softens up just a little and always makes sure she’s safe.

The Posh, Ruthless One

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The word “unrepentant” also comes to mind here. Hans Landa was a complete and utter bastard, and Christ, did I love him. Sure, he’s a Nazi, and that’s not okay, but as a character, he’s perfect. Hannibal Lecter also belongs in this list. I love a guy who will tear your guts open and then complain that you got blood on his shirt. That’s my type. Honestly, I wanted to put a picture here of Rainer, from Michelle Kay’s upcoming werewolf-dystopian novel, but IT’S NOT OUT YET. WHY. He’s awful and amazing and I’m super jealous that he’s not mine. Keep a lookout for him.

The Lovable Rogue

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Artwork by Viktopia.

Everybody loves a smartass thief, right? There are infinite examples of this type. Han Solo, Flynn Rider, Malcolm Reynolds, Peter Quill, and, of course, Zevran Arainai. Zevran has literally been hired to kill you when you first meet him, and in the ten-minute conversation you have with him bound and at your mercy, he convinced me to not only allow him to live, but to let him join my party and sleep with me. And he actually sticks by you! He’s the best! (I mean, he doesn’t have to, because it’s Dragon Age, but if he doesn’t, it’s because you treated him like shit.) Anyway, I love a cheeky bastard, and he’s one of the cheekiest and bastardiest.

Let me know who you like! What type makes you swoon, either with love or envy?

BoB Character Profiles: Marcia Grey

Marcy really didn’t ask for any of this. She’s just a Pre-Law college student from a wealthy family with a bit of a penchant for self-righteous rants. She grew up in a happy family with two younger sisters that she loves, and she keeps in touch with them while she does her undergrad work in Atlanta. She’s out to save the world with her Law degree–everything from indigent criminals to pollution. She’s a bit confused about how exactly she’s going to fix the world’s problems, but her heart’s in the right place. All in all, she’s a pretty standard picture of an upper-class white girl with a cause.

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Practicing for her magazine covers.

As he usually is, Sam is the source of her problems. Marcy happened to be in the way when he decided to go for a late night run with David, and she nearly had her arm torn out because Sam was just too excited not to chase down and eat a young woman. It was only because David stopped him that she survived at all, but now she had an even bigger problem–she’d been bitten by a werewolf.

David took care of her while she recovered, and before she knew what was happening, she found herself run out of town because Sam was in trouble with the police, and she had no better option than to follow around the only two guys who could help her adjust to her new lifestyle.

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Staying on her own wasn’t exactly an option.

She got into much more trouble than she bargained for by sticking with Sam and David, but she took to the werewolf idea with surprising grace. Turns out it’s not always such a bad thing to be told you’re going to turn into a giant monster once a month, if that also means you’re going to be stronger, faster, and better in just about every way.

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Not the response Sam expected.

Becoming a werewolf can do funny things to a person, and Marcy isn’t always the sweet and happy girl she used to be. She’s learning to enjoy her new life, even if David is around every corner reminding her not to go down Sam’s road.