A found family of supernaturals protects humanity from the stuff of nightmares.
Boggslake, Ohio, might look like a normal city on the surface, but an unseen war is being fought away from the eyes of most of the population.
From their stronghold, Boggs’s Castle, an eclectic team of vampires, werewolves, and other supernaturals fight to keep humanity safe from the things that go bump in the night. More than a team, these men grow into a family, and they’ll need to rely on each other’s strength, because their true enemy is deadlier than they could’ve ever imagined.
I wrote this series with Elizabeth Noble. Instead of co-writing each book, we wrote alternate books . I wrote books 1 and 3, Shades of Sepia and Family and Reflection, and she wrote books 2 and 4, Electric Candle and Shifting Chaos.
It was fun building the world together, working out the overall series ARC, and writing each other’s characters, while foreshadowing and referencing past events. Even though the original series is finished, we’re both writing spin off series in a shared world.
The ebook is currently on sale on Amazon, and available through KU.
The Sleepless City Book 1
To be soulmates they first have to survive.
A serial killer stalks the streets of Boggslake, Ohio. The victims are always found in pairs, one human and one vampire.
Simon Hawthorne has been a vampire for nearly a hundred years, and he has never seen anything like it. Neither have the other supernaturals he works with to keep the streets safe for both their kind and the humans.
One meeting with Simon finds Ben Leyton falling for a man he knows is keeping secrets, but he can’t ignore the growing attraction between them. A recent arrival in Boggslake, Ben finds it very different from his native New Zealand, but something about Simon makes Ben feel as though he’s found a new home.
After a close friend falls victim to the killer, Simon is torn between revealing his true nature to Ben, and walking away to avoid the reaction he fears. But with the body count rising and the murders becoming more frequent, either, or both of them, could be the killer’s next target.
“Cool. I knew you guys were like the Justice League or something.”
Lucas laughed. “I was going more for the Legion of Super Heroes, actually.”
“Yeah, but the League has Batman in it,” Blair began, “and the Legion is—” Luckily, whatever he was going to say was interrupted by the sound of a telephone ringing. Once he and Lucas started on one of their comics conversations, they’d go for what seemed forever.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Forge asked Simon.
“What?” Simon glanced around for the source of the noise. He didn’t get telephone calls and presumed it was coming from wherever Blair was.
“You’re the only one around here who insists on that horrible ringtone,” Forge pointed out, “so it’s obviously your phone.” He’d complained about it ever since Simon had explained—quite logically he’d thought—that if he was to carry a telephone, it made sense for it to at least sound like one.
“Try your pockets?” said Lucas helpfully.
“Oh, right.” Simon fished his telephone out of his pocket. Its screen was flashing with the name of the caller. Simon stared at it.
“You’re supposed to answer it, not stare at it,” Forge said. “Or have you forgotten how to again?”
“I know how to answer it.” Simon poked at the appropriate button, then held the telephone up to his ear. “Simon speaking. How can I help you?”
Forge snickered. Simon glared at him, thought for a moment about retreating to somewhere more private, then realized it would be a waste of time. Damn vampire hearing. Not that werewolves and ghosts were much better.
“Hey, Simon. It’s Ben.”
Perhaps he was calling to say he’d thought twice about meeting for coffee. But why would he take the time to do that? Surely if that were the case, he’d just not contact Simon again at all?
“Hello, Ben.” Simon took a couple of steps toward the door, half turning his back on the other occupants of the room.
“I rang to apologize,” Ben said, his words tumbling out over each other.
“Apologize?” Simon frowned. “Why?” If anyone should be apologizing for the way in which their conversation had ended, it should be him.
“I obviously upset you, and I’m sorry.”
“You didn’t,” Simon reassured him. “I overreacted. I do that sometimes.” He reached for his glass of milk and took a long drink. Feeling a little calmer, he collected his thoughts before breaking the silence. “Would you still like to meet for coffee?”
Lucas and Forge high-fiving was something best ignored, as was the smug expression on both their faces.
“Yeah, sure, that would be great,” Ben answered very quickly. “When and where? I’m working a long shift tomorrow, so that won’t work, but I don’t start until eleven on Thursday.”
After mentally consulting his calendar, Simon nodded. “That would be fine. I don’t have lectures on Thursday mornings. Do you know Hunter’s on West Thirteenth Street? We could meet there at nine.”
“I haven’t been there, but I’ll find it,” Ben said. “See you at nine then on Thursday?”
“Yes. Goodbye, Ben.”
“Bye, Ben,” called out Lucas.
“Bye.” Ben paused. “Hey, who is that?” His voice took on a rather suspicious tone. “Simon, is there someone listening in on us?”
“Unfortunately, yes,” Simon said. “I share my… building… with some friends who don’t understand the concept of privacy. That was Lucas. I’ll explain on Thursday.”
“Goodbye,” Simon said again, this time to a darkened telephone. He shoved it back into his pocket.
“He sounds cute,” said Lucas. “I like the accent.” He grinned. “Can I come too? I want to hear how you explain me.”
Behind the Scenes
One of the things I loved about writing Ben is that he’s a Kiwi from Wellington, so I was able to use Kiwi slang such as ‘sweet as’ and have fun with the reactions he got when he used terms other characters hadn’t heard before. He’s also a huge comic geek with a love of Nightwing. No idea where that comes from *cough*.
The ring tone on his phone when his friend, Ange, calls is Slice of Heaven, a pop classic here, and also the name of a fanfic group I formed with a friend years ago. It was the little things that threw him—and me—with the differences between here and the US where this is set. I couldn’t get my head around creamer in coffee and tea, as it’s not a thing here at all.
As I write historicals, I was able to draw of my research for those to write Simon’s background as he was turned in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and he’s a history professor at Lakeview University in Boggslake, specialising in the early 20th century. One scene has him finishing off a lecture, and it’s on an event that take place in Winter Duet during World War II.
An old friend, Gillian St Kevern, emailed me after reading this book, recommending it, as it reminded her of me, so it was instrumental in us picking up contact again, and we formed the New Zealand Rainbow Romance group together.
The Sleepless City Book 3
When a rebel werewolf and a vampire thief fall in love, only one thing is certain—trouble.
For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Boggslake—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.
Declan has been away from Boggslake for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.
“If someone had told me twenty years ago I’d be having a conversation about something like this with a vampire, I’d have told them they were crazy.”
“You’re having this conversation with a friend,” Declan corrected him. “It doesn’t matter what we are, but who we are.”
“Do you really believe that?”
“I want to.” Declan thought for a moment, wanting the right words. Why was this so difficult? He’d given advice to Jonas and Simon many times without any trouble.
“We’re both as bad as each other, yeah?” Lucas seemed sad.
“Why do you say that, and about what?” Declan let go of Lucas.
“I’m a werewolf, and you’re a vampire—”
“You’ve only noticed that now?” Declan interrupted dryly. He walked back to his chair, adjusting it so he was opposite Lucas and could see his face.
Lucas laughed, but this time it sounded natural, not forced. “I’ve gotten used to living at the castle. I love it here, and the guys are my friends. Most of the time I forget we’re different. They’re family. I don’t care what they are. It’s like you said. The important thing is who they are.” He sobered. “Then crap like this goes down… Why do I suddenly feel as though I’m a part of the pack again and need to follow their stupid rules?”
“You’re a part of whatever family you want to be, Lucas.” Declan knew what he wanted—needed—to say now. “One thing I’ve learned with having a long life is that family is who you choose. I didn’t get on with mine that well. I had a father who had expectations too.” He pulled himself up sharply before he went anywhere near those memories. Very little of what he’d done had pleased his father. “We might be different, you and I, mon ami, but in many ways we’re the same.”
“I kind of get the expectation thing with you guys.” Lucas paused and looked apologetic before continuing. “Simon’s not said much about his past, but I get the impression his father expected him to do stuff he didn’t want to do as well.” He scowled. “Be a good son and carry on the family name and traditions. I’m guessing Forge went through the same thing, but he’s never said anything about it. At least not to me.”
“Why do you get it with us?” Declan figured he already knew the answer but wanted to be certain he and Lucas were talking about the same thing.
“You’re a lot older than I am. I can understand this stuff going on a hundred, or even two—”
“Closer to three hundred,” Declan said.
“Yeah, that. You’re old. No offense.” Lucas waved one hand.
“None taken.” Declan couldn’t help but smile. “I know I’m old. But you know what they say about fine wine?”
“Yeah, and, hey, I’m not complaining.” Lucas took a long drink of coffee. “You interrupted my flow. I was making a point here.”
“So you’re old, so I expect that kind of stuff from you guys. It was a long time ago.” Lucas growled low in his throat. “But us… the pack… we… they’re carrying on like we’re still living in that society. I’ve told my father that he needs to move with the times or the pack will be left behind. Sure, they use technology, but for the rest of it, you’d think we’d only just gotten off the Mayflower or something.”
“It takes a long time for some people to accept change.” Declan leaned over and brushed a lock of hair back from Lucas’s forehead. “Some never do.” He’d seen vampires who couldn’t move past what their lives had been like as humans. Most of them hadn’t survived.
“Yeah.” Lucas swallowed. He shook his head when Declan started to move his chair farther back and away from temptation. “I don’t mind you touching me like that,” he said softly.
“I should…” Declan hadn’t thought, just reacted. He’d meant what he’d said about flirting and had no intention of leading Lucas on. “We’re friends,” he said finally.
“I wouldn’t be talking to you about this stuff if we weren’t.” Lucas looked like he was about to say something but cleared his throat instead. “I know you’re kind of touchy-feely and all that. So am I. So—”
A loud knock sounded at the front door.
“Now what?” Lucas muttered.
Boggs materialized in front of them. He looked annoyed. “There are two gentlemen at the door,” he said. “I don’t know who exactly they are, but I heard them talking before they knocked. They’re from the council.”
“I already apologized about that weird stuff in the garbage,” Lucas said.
“Not that council.” Boggs rolled his eyes. “The other one.”
Behind the Scenes
I love Lucas and Declan together. They’re totally different characters from Ben and Simon, and also have the different dynamic of being a werewolf/vampire pairing. I was able to further explore werewolf society in this story, and advance the series plot.
Lucas, in particular, is a lot of fun to write, especially as he’s so laid back, yet has his serious side too. One of the things I love about this series is the friendships and found family. Forge, Declan, and Simon have known each other for a very long time and it shows.
While Lucas, and more recently Ben and Blair have joined their family, it’s altered the dynamics, but made them all stronger. Mr Boggs, the resident ghost of Boggs Castle is also an integral member of their team and has become a fan favourite.
Another chance to win: I love reading paranormal/urban fantasy which is why I write it. Rec me one of your favourites.