People often ask me why I am drawn to writing paranormal romance. I’ve asked other writers this question as well, and many of the answers are the same. They like a world where the rules can easily be bent and reshaped into whatever they want. Vampires exist. All manner of creatures who go bump in the night put on a trench coat and walk the streets after dark. For me, it’s a little different. My attraction to the paranormal began when I was a child, and I can’t really say what drove the interest only that it was always there. I grew up in a world filled with magic.
My grandmother used home remedies that basically amounted to sympathetic magic where pain or any ailment would be drawn from a person and put into an object. She was a devout Baptist but she carried a real rabbit’s foot in her purse until the day she died. I now have the rabbit’s foot. Her husband, a Baptist Deacon, had more than one encounter with things that were there one minute and not there the next. On the other side of my family, my great grandfather was part Native American and could walk so soundlessly, he would easily sneak up on people. There was always an air of magic and mystery in every family gathering, with discussions about strange feelings people got about upcoming events, dreams that ended up coming true and people who could predict the future before it happened with things as simply as “someone is coming to visit” ten minutes before someone drove up.
I grew up in a tiny community of about 2,000 people, and the communities were joined by one main highway, which was about ten miles long. Along that highway, there are several roadside memorial crosses, and each one of those crosses has a story of a life lost, but the story is usually something more than just “hey there was a really bad accident here.” There is one curve in particular that has been home to many wrecks, one involving my younger brother. The night his car went airborne, he and his passengers survived. One of the passengers was thrown from the car and had been wearing a white t-shirt. That shirt has tire marks on it. He was run over by the car in mid air and survived. The Baptist church right down the road from the wreck site had a sign up that night that said “Is the road you are on leading to Heaven?” My brother and his friends survived and slowed down a little since that night.
Several other people have not been so lucky. One of the young men who died was killed in a motorcycle accident. It was probably five years after his death that I was driving home along the highway. It was just turning dark, that weird twilight time of day when things look strange anyway. As I approached the church, I saw someone riding a bicycle in the middle of the road. I thought to myself “Why is he in the middle of the road?” Most bicyclists drive on the shoulder. As I kept driving, I watched the person on the bicycle disappear in front of me. He had been there for maybe 60 seconds, maybe not that long, but he had clearly been there. When I told my dad about it, he said “You probably saw Justin,” without thinking anything strange about the encounter.
In the center of this curve is a yellow house that was reputed to be built “during slavery times” which was a long time ago to anyone whom you ask. I grew up with a guy who lived in that house. The whole community will tell you the house is haunted by the ghosts of slaves who were killed and tortured in the house. In fact, if you hear the legends, they resemble those of the LaLaurie House in New Orleans. The person who grew up in the house never saw or encountered anything weird, and I had been in the house several times in my teen years. The house has been abandoned for maybe ten years, and the last time a hurricane blew through, the front door opened, inviting anyone in who might venture that way. I don’t consider it breaking and entering, even though it was definitely trespassing.
I went into the house with a group of teenagers and a ghost detector. We entered through the side door and immediately saw that the house had seen better days. The floor was caving in throughout the lower level and the walls were peeling and moldy. We made our way up the creaking stairs, which are very rickety but still sturdy enough to hold us. At the top of the stairs is a bedroom and the attic area, which is open and easy to see because so many boards have fallen down. When you enter the master bedroom, you can walk through a door that takes you to the “Secret Room.” This room is one that has spawned many legends but is actually just a remodeled room that still houses a jukebox.
Going back downstairs, we stepped over the hole at the end of the staircase and moved to the right of the staircase to a room whose entire center is sunk in. The room has blue carpet and lets in a lot of light. At this point in my investigation, the teenagers started screaming and my ghost detector started picking up a very strong EMF (electro-magnetic frequency) which means something was going on in the room that was a little different from normal. I recorded the room and quietly made my calculations on my detector while trying to keep the kids from freaking out any further. When we left, I played back my recordings and looked at the readings I had gotten. Every recording was messed up. The sound was draggy and the video was blurred. All the video I had recorded immediately before and immediately after that room was fine.
When I got home, I decided to do some real research on the house. It didn’t take long to uncover the history of the place, including the dates when it was built. As it turned out, the original owner of the house was killed in his sleep by one of his slaves. Does anyone have a guess as to which room was the owner’s bedroom? It was the room with the blue carpet. The original owner is buried on the property, though I have not located his grave.
So why do I write paranormal romance? My answer is because my entire world is paranormal. I grew up around magic and am constantly surrounded by it. Things that are impossible in most people’s worlds are Tuesday in mine. No, I don’t know any shape shifters, and no, I’ve never met a vampire. However, so many things that only happen in paranormal romance happen on a daily basis in the land I call home. So paranormal for me is normal. It is what makes sense in a world where many things don’t make sense at all. That is why I was originally drawn to the paranormal and why I continue to work with it today.
When Genesis Martinez went into Lake Ponchartrain and died, her nightmare was just beginning. Resurrected and soulless, she falls victim to wandering souls seeking a body. Cassius Ramirez went into the Lake sixty years ago and knows he died, but when he woke up in the morgue, everything has changed. Something is killing people in New Orleans, and Cass knows he’s responsible. But when he meets Gen, he knows he will do anything to protect her. Cass isn’t the only man who feels a connection to Gen, and when his brother Craven catches her scent, all bets are off.
Detective Brick Parker has seen a lot of things in his years with New Orleans Police, but he’s never seen anything quite like what’s happening now. Bodies torn to shreds, brains missing, creatures roaming the night, victims with human teeth marks in their flesh. Worse of all, his partner, Jules, has been throwing around a Z word usually reserved for late night horror movies.
As creatures roam the streets of New Orleans, Gen’s very existence is on the line. She’s unleashed a creature unlike any other and now she may have to pay the ultimate price. There’s a cure, but it may cost her even more than her soul.
**Content Warning: May contain explicit content and scenes. Intended for 18+ Audience.
Gen tried not to flinch when he touched her but everything about this situation was setting off alarms in her head. Not to mention what it was doing to her stomach, creating little flip-flops that were making her nauseated. As much as she wanted to pull away from him, his touch was soothing, which in itself should have been enough to send her running. And her tough girl attitude, the one that had saved her so many times and was currently fueled by her Metallica t-shirt, could only take her so far.
She found herself mesmerized by the steady movements of his hands and the gentle way he cleaned then wrapped her arm. His fingers were rough but instead of chafing her skin, the calloused surfaces made her want to purr with delight. Something was definitely wrong with her. Genesis Martinez did not react like this to men, even ones who were built like action heroes with silver eyes that looked entirely other-worldly. His pupils seemed to appear and disappear as he touched her, as if the contact was having an effect on him too. He wore his hair and beard close cropped, neat, no frills, 100% man with definite Hispanic blood in his veins.
He was definitely built like a boxer, with wide shoulders, narrow hips, and thighs that fit very nicely into his jeans. His dark t-shirt hugged against his chest, outlining the proof of hours spent in the gym. He had haunted the few dreams she’d managed to have between ten pm and three am last night, his smile an intoxicating blend of sin and salvation. The man in the flesh was both calming and powerful, a paradox of danger and safety, the kind of man who could really get a girl into all the right kinds of trouble. But Gen already had a working relationship with trouble, and she didn’t need the kind that would come with smoldering eyes and sensual lips.
But the thing inside her wouldn’t let her trust him, didn’t want him to be close. It was almost as if it knew him and was warning her against him. Of course that made sense. The body was in his gym, and the chances that he was the reason for that were pretty solid. Still, he had so much to lose if he were a killer, which would probably explain why the body was so well hidden.
His boxing career was on fire right now, and the odds of him winning his match tonight were very high. The bets had been coming in for a couple of weeks, but the past twenty four hours had seen an influx, enough to pay her rent for a couple of months and have plenty left over. Her business as an online bookie depended on guys like him, but she never imagined she’d be sitting here letting him wrap up an old wound that had popped open in last night’s scuffle.
There was something about him that was extremely familiar, and it went beyond the fact that she could spout off all his stats for the past two years. It was as if she knew him, and not the Cash Money side of him but the man whose hands were making her stomach churn. He looked down at her arm, concentrating on every movement, touching her so gently it made her want to scream at him. When he finally looked up at her, his pupils had disappeared and were just now coming back into view.
It was there, right on the tip of her tongue. She wanted to ask him a question that defied logic, but instead she swallowed it. Do you believe in life after death?
“There,” he announced. “I think that should hold.”
“Yeah.” She pulled her arm away as quickly as possible and slid her sleeve back over it. “Thanks.”
“You look a million miles away. You okay?”
“Just focusing on the pain,” she lied.
“Hmmm.” He leaned back in his chair, his eyes focused on her, making her feel very self-conscious. It felt as if he were looking straight into her, seeing things she never showed anyone. “Sometimes it takes pain to get you through, huh?” It wasn’t a question but a statement, as if he understood exactly what she meant.
“Yeah. Whatever. Thanks.” She stood and tucked the first aid kit under her arm.
“Wait.” She had almost made her escape when his deep timbre stopped her.
Turning slowly, she realized her hands had been gripping the first aid kit to the point of causing numbness in her fingertips. “Yeah?” Her voice was softer than she would’ve liked, and she cleared her throat and set her jaw, steeling herself for whatever he said next.
“You never said what you were doing here.” His long legs made him seem predatory as he walked across the room, his eyes never leaving her face. He made her nervous but at the same time, the sensation was a welcome one. It had been a long time since she’d been touched so gently by someone who she knew could tear her apart if he wanted to.
“Guess I was wrong,” she shrugged. “No. I think you were looking for something.”
For the third time in recent history, she found herself trapped between a man and a wall. Only this time, she wasn’t afraid. She was practically tingling with wanting, wishing he would reach out and touch her again. The way his eyes flashed, she wondered if he could feel it, too. The predatory look on his face should’ve frightened her, but there was something there so familiar she couldn’t bring herself to be afraid.