Gabrielle Bisset

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Author T.C. Archer Guest Post

While I'm out on Blood Avenged's book tour at TWO stops today--Black Velvet Seduction Blog and Dawn's Reading Nook--I'm giving the floor to T.C. Archer.  Welcome!

Hi, Gabrielle, thanks so much for having us on your blog! We’re here to talk about the first book in our Phenom League series. These alternate history/paranormal romances are set during WWII. The League, a group of humans and nonhumans who worked behind the scenes during the war, knew that Hitler threatened more than just world domination. He threatened the very essence of what they were.  

Chain Reaction is the first in the Phenom League series. Our hero, former Chicago Police Detective Jordan Pierce, is a newly made vampire who is head of night shift security for the secret government lab at Chicago University. The race to beat the Germans to the first nuclear reaction is in full swing when Jordan discovers that the woman who stirs what’s left of his humanity is a spy.

Then he discovers that something is stalking her.

I put my hat back on my head, tugged the brim low over my eyes, and scooted along the alley behind the Five and Dime and Jimmie's Drugstore across the street. I stopped and peered between them until I saw Gladys through the window of the automat's glass fa├žade. She sidled along the bank of doors, inspecting the compartment contents. During lunch and dinner, three or four women worked, stuffing portions into empty compartments. At eleven o'clock at night, a lone woman in a blue and white waitress uniform worked behind the little glass and chrome doors.
A car passed as Gladys reached the end. She retraced her steps, running a finger along the doorframes. Halfway down, she stopped, pulled a dime from her purse, and dropped the coin into the slot of an empty compartment. Why had she paid for nothing? As she opened the door, a blonde woman in uniform I hadn't seen earlier stepped up and slid a plate of toast into the cubby. How had Gladys known the waitress would put toast in that empty cubby? She couldn't know, I realized, and jerked my gaze to the waitress. I glimpsed slim shoulders and blond hair in a hairnet as she headed toward the rear of the restaurant.
I cursed and looked back at Gladys. She had withdrawn the toast, yet remained facing the wall. I tensed. Half a dozen heartbeats passed then she shifted and I caught sight of a piece of paper she slipped into her purse before turning and walking toward the tables. There it was. Two spies passing notes.
I watched Gladys slide into a seat near the front window, anger so hot in me I could feel my blood warm. She had to eat the damned toast—good spies played their part—so I had a few minutes. I glanced both ways on the street and skittered across toward the alleyway between the automat and a movie theatre next door.
Once in the shadows, I sprinted to the rear of the automat and discovered the back door had no exterior knob. I couldn't break down the door without alerting everyone inside and if I entered through the front door and demanded to see the waitress I would blow my cover to Gladys. I would wait. Spies at the waitress's level were nothing more than couriers. If I barged in and tipped my hand now, we gained nothing. If I got a look at the note before making any overt moves I might get an edge. I slinked back to the street in time to see Gladys leave. She turned right, toward me and back to campus. I pressed deeper into shadow as the sound of her high heels on concrete grew closer.
I fought the primal urge to taste her blood even as my mind conjured up the involuntary picture of my hands seizing her shoulders and pulling her into the darkness. I could almost taste the salt on her skin, and my mouth watered to savor her tender neck. I hardened with the need to press her body against mine. She was a spy, a traitor to her own people, less human than me. Take her, my lust urged. As when I had been taken, no one would know who attacked her. A growl started deep in my chest.
I staggered back a pace. What had happened to me? I wasn't like the disease-ridden she-creature who had taken me. I was no rapist, no stealer of humanity. I was a police officer, sworn to uphold the law. I froze as Gladys passed along the sidewalk without glancing my way, and kept my gaze glued on her. She was a spy, yet she couldn't be more than just a link. A man, a brutal murderer, was my quarry.
Jealousy shot through me. Could the killer be her lover and the automat worker their go-between? The idea of another man's hands touching Gladys, bringing her pleasure, seared me to the core. My incisors sharpened. Leaning from the shadows, I watched her cross the street. I had to put a stop to the way she made me feel.
I froze at the sight of a lighter shadow materializing between buildings a couple of stores down from me, then skittering across the street behind Gladys. In the last eight months, my eyes had become so sensitive to darkness I could discern things the average human couldn't. Yet, the shadow was how I would appear to anyone watching me when I moved in fast motion. Blood pounded so hard through my veins, I could feel the beat in my toes. Who else but the she-creature who had infected me could move so fast? Fear tightened my chest. Why was she following Gladys?
I shot forward at top speed, crossing the street and coming to a halt behind the nearest tree along the walkway in bare seconds. Fifty yards ahead, Gladys walked at a clipped pace. I scanned the shadows off the lit walkway, between shops.
Movement registered in the corner of my eye and I jerked my attention left as a blurred shadow zipped from behind a tree thirty feet from me. I squinted, concentrating on the shadow before it melted into the deeper shadows paralleling the walkway, and discerned nothing more than a female-like form.
Why couldn't I better discern her shape? Anyone with my super-human eyesight could distinguish my figure when moving at such speed. A chill swept through me. I couldn't see her because she moved much faster than me.
Were the she-creature's skills greater than mine because the disease had infected her longer? Was this what I had to look forward to if I didn't find a cure? What other abilities did she possess? What the hell did I care if this disease could provide the secrets to the universe? The price of becoming nonhuman was too great.
I shot forward, adrenaline pumping my legs faster than I thought possible. I concentrated my vision in an effort to separate the darkness from the subtle shadow difference of my prey. Black upon black blurred between two more trees thirty feet ahead. I glanced at Gladys. She was sixty feet ahead and hadn't seen us yet. I took a deep breath and nearly flew the thirty feet to where I anticipated the shadow's next location. Taking the last few feet in a leap, I landed in her path.
She slammed into me. My arms closed around shoulders and arms. She grunted and a whoomph of air gushed from her. I felt ample breasts being crushed under my arms, breasts bigger than I remembered. Shock immobilized me and my grip loosened. We tumbled down six or seven steps to a below-street-level entrance to a pawnshop. She wasn't the creature. A hard elbow slammed my ribs. I wheezed in pain, grappled for her arm, but she twisted, and had my arm pinned behind my back. I had the strength of four men, but struggled to no avail. Was this woman yet another creature like me? Did she have my strength? How many were there? It was a damn invasion.
She shoved me from her and lunged up the stairs. I swung my legs beneath her. She tripped, landed on her hands and feet like a cat on the sidewalk. I leaped up after her, but she disappeared in a blur, drawing fallen leaves along her path. I looked to the right at Gladys, who clutched her handbag tighter and continued on her way at a faster clip. Then I looked back in the direction where leaves settled back onto the ground along the path the creature had fled. A tiny shadow moved south at high speed, and I raced after the apparition. Two minutes later, I stood on the south side of the campus, breathing heavy, with no sign of the woman.

Former Chicago Detective Jordan Pierce put his life on hold in order to protect America’s secret weapon against the Nazis, The Manhattan Project. But he can’t protect himself as his humanity is eaten away by a mysterious disease that destroys him, while at the same time makes him more powerful than any man he’s ever known. Jordan finds out how much the disease has devoured his soul when he falls in love with the woman who might destroy America and tear apart his last shred of humanity.

T. C. Archer is comprised of award winning authors Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey. They write paranormal and sci-fi romance, and romantic suspense, and are published by Loose ID, Silver Publishing, and Etopia Press.