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Parker Blue

Second in the Demon Underground Series

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Bell Bridge Books
March 2010

ISBN 9780984325665


Trailer     Reviews     Excerpt

This part-demon teen vampire fighter and her faithful terrier hellhound are once again patrolling the dark streets of San Antonio, Texas. Val's hunky human partner, Detective Dan Sullivan, is giving her the cold shoulder since she beheaded his vampire fiancée. Vamp leader Alejandro is struggling to keep the peace between vamps, demons and humans. The mucho powerful Encyclopedia Magicka has been stolen, someone in the Demon Underground is poisoning vamps, and Val's inner lust demon, Lola, is getting very restless since Val's now partnered with sexy Shade, the shadow demon with the blond good looks of an angel.



The trailer on You Tube:



Parker Blue plunges us once more into the murky depths of the Demon Underground for another exhilarating tale. She explores a little more of the demon side this time around, so we are able to glimpse exactly what the demons are capable of doing. Val as always is a very capable heroine and we are graced once again with the incomparable Fang. Val faces mystery, sabotage, romance, and so much more to keep us entertained. Parker Blue constructs an action filled maze stopping us with dead ends, redirecting us with detours, and surprising us with a few traps. TRY ME is a wild, fast paced read for all ages. I very much enjoyed reading this story, and I look forward to Val’s next quest. — Melissa Kammer, NovelTalk Reviews


All in all, this book was a fantastic read. The plot was very easy to follow and kept you guessing throughout the book along with the characters trying to figure out whodunit! I recommend this series to anyone and everyone! — Books, Books, and More Books, Five Skulls


     I watched from the trees at the edge of the Texas graveyard, too cowardly to face the people  who grieved for the woman I'd murdered.  They thought she'd been killed in a car accident.  They thought her life had been cut short by the whim of fate.  They were wrong.
      But I didn't plan on telling them anything different.  They didn't really know her, didn't really know what she'd become.  Let them keep their illusions.
       I shivered as a soft breeze with a hint of chill ruffled my hair.  Someone sobbed and it seemed totally weird that the night should feel so serene, the San Antonio cemetery still so lush and green even in November, when the people around the grave were so sad and depressed.
     Once darkness fell, the mourners finally left.  Still, I hesitated in the darker shadow of the trees, rooted in place. It’s not like Detective Dan Sullivan and I had a solid romance thing going on, but we had been more than friends and vampire-hunting partners. Now he was giving me the cold shoulder . . . just because I’d separated his girlfriend’s head from her body?
     His ex-girlfriend, I reminded myself. She and Dan had broken up even before she started dining on people. And he’d said I was right to decapitate her in order to rescue the rest of us, including my step-dad and baby sister. But still.
     I hadn’t heard from Dan for several days. Now I watched from the gnarled oaks and scruffy mesquite trees at the edge of a Texas graveyard, too cowardly to face the friends and family who grieved for his ex, the woman I’d murdered. They thought she’d been killed in a car accident. They thought her life had been cut short by the whim of fate. They were wrong.
     But I didn’t plan on telling them anything different. They didn’t really know her, didn’t really know what she’d become. Let them keep their illusions.
I shivered as a soft breeze with a hint of chill ruffled my hair. Someone sobbed, and it seemed totally weird that the night should feel so serene, the San Antonio cemetery still so lush and green even in November, when the people around the grave were so sad and depressed.
Once darkness fell, the mourners finally left. Still, I hesitated in the darker shadow of the trees, rooted in place. With just Fang and me in the cemetery, everything felt . . . more normal. We were used to working outside the rules of society. Of being alone, and at ease, in the darkness.
Fang—part hellhound, part scruffy terrier, and all snark—nudged me with his nose. Val Shapiro, heap big vampire slayer, afraid of a dead body? he mocked. C’mon, do what ya have to, so we can get out of here.
Did I mention the hellhound part allowed him to read my thoughts and speak in my mind? I was okay with the snarky comments most of the time, but sometimes, it was annoying. Like now.
     I nudged him back, but refused to rise to his bait. I hadn’t hesitated because I was afraid. I hesitated because I wasn’t sure why I was here. What could I possibly accomplish?
     Sighing and hoping to get a clue, I walked over to her grave. As I approached, the cloying fragrance of the lilies overpowered the scent of freshly turned soil and choked the air out of my lungs. “Lily Ann Armstrong,” one trailing floral ribbon read. “Beloved daughter.”
     I felt like gagging. Partially because of the nauseating flowers, but mostly because of the sentiment. Beloved daughter? Depraved fiend was more like it. Or evil bloodsucker.
     Yet someone had loved her, had mourned her passing. But why was I here? Was I here to acknowledge the fact of her existence, to admit that I’d lopped her head off with one stroke of my blade?
     Tell me, what could you say to the grave of a woman you’d decapitated? Hey, sorry I murdered you, but you deserved it?
Fang snorted. That wasn’t murder. You can’t kill the undead—you just complete the process.
He had a point. They thought Lily had died a few days ago at the age of twenty-five, but in reality, she’d died months before, when she’d made the decision to become a vampire. I hadn’t killed Lily—she’d done that to herself, done the unthinkable to stay forever young, forever powerful, forever evil. Yes, she’d deserved it, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. After all, her hunger for power had put all of San Antonio in jeopardy, cost many lives, and almost cost me my family.
     So why had I come? I’d never visited the graves of my other vampire kills. Why was this one different? Because my partner, Dan Sullivan, had once cared for her?
     I didn’t even know how I felt. Happy she was gone, sorry I hadn’t caught her sooner . . . what?
     Fang leaned against me, compassion in his big brown eyes. It’s okay to grieve. But are you grieving for her . . . or yourself?      Good question. Because of Lily, I’d come into my power and unleashed Lola—the succubus lust demon inside me. I still felt mildly connected to the men I’d enthralled three nights ago, still fizzing with the energy I’d absorbed from them. The past three days, I’d felt more vibrantly alive than in my entire eighteen years of existence.
     It was exhilarating . . . yet scary, too. I’d fought against letting my demon free my whole life, but because of Lily, I’d been forced to let the succubus loose to save the people I loved. Thanks to Lily, I now knew what I’d been fighting against, knew how tempting ultimate power was, how powerful it made me. It made me understand her in a way I hadn’t before. She’d felt this seductive power, too, and had given in.
     But I never wanted to be like her, never wanted to give in to the demon inside me. It meant a lifetime of battle between the two sides of my nature, but I was determined to come out on top.
     So, yes, I grieved. For both of us.
That’s okay, Fang said, rubbing up against my leg. It makes you human.
Whoa. For some reason, that really got me, and I felt a huge wave of relief wash through my body. Yes, I was human. Only one-eighth of me was demon. Not enough to make me a monster, no matter how my mother looked at me.
     “Thanks,” I said simply.
     Fang grinned. No problem. Now, can we go kill another one?
I laughed, just as he’d intended. It was what the Special Crimes Unit hired us to do, what I was good at, my reason for existence. “Sure, let’s—”
     I broke off as Fang stared beyond me, wagging his tail. I turned around and smiled at the man who approached. Even in the dark I could sense his good looks. With dark wavy hair that curled around his ears, full lips, and a dancer’s body, Micah Blackburn was the type of guy that girls drooled over. Everyone but me, that was. My succubus demon cancelled out his incubus, and he was the only guy I could be physically close to without having to worry about Lola getting all touchy-feely. He was kinda like the older brother I never had. We were probably related somewhere along the line, so I considered him my cousin.
     Too bad I didn’t look like him, though. He was a total hottie while I was . . . so not. Blah brown hair, blah brown eyes, average height. Ordinary—that’s me. On the outside, anyway. Inside, I was totally extraordinary. If I could figure out how to swap the inside for the outside, I’d do it in a nanosecond.
     Micah smiled. “I thought you might be here.”
     “Why?” I hadn’t known I was coming myself.
     “Lieutenant Ramirez mentioned the funeral. I figured you’d feel the need for closure.”
     Closure. Muscles I hadn’t realized were tense relaxed as I realized Micah had nailed it. I’d come for closure. And now, with the finality of her burial, I had it. I could let go of it all. “Yeah, I guess. Why did you track me down? Why didn’t you just call?”
     “I did.”
     “Oh, I forgot. I turned the phone off so it wouldn’t ring in the middle of the funeral. “I pulled it out and checked it. Sure enough—two calls from Micah, none from Dan or Lt. Ramirez. Damn.
     “What’s the matter?” Micah asked.
     I shrugged and plopped down on the grass and sat there cross-legged, staring at the ground to avoid his knowing eyes.
     Micah joined me, sinking down and looking all loose-limbed and graceful. Wistfully, I wished that was one of the traits of being our kind of demon. But no, it was just Micah.
     “Want to talk about it?” he asked.
     “Not really.” But I knew he’d bug me until I spilled my guts. As the leader of San Antonio’s Demon Underground, Micah had an over-developed sense of responsibility for anyone in his organization. And that included me . . . and Fang.
     Fang snuggled against me. Yep. Might as well spill it now and get it over with. If you don’t, I will.
The hellhound could read the mind of anyone who was part-demon or part-vampire, and project his thoughts into theirs if he chose. Usually, I was the only one he chose to share with. Lucky me.
Hey, Fang protested, Do you know what it’s like reading the mind of most vampires and demons? Like wading in a cesspool. No thanks.
Gee, I guess I should be flattered.
You betcha.
Micah stared into my face. “Val?”
     I sighed. “It’s nothing.”
It’s something, Fang corrected, making it clear he was communicating to both of us. Tell him.
“Okay, okay. Ramirez told me to take a few days off after I . . . stopped . . . Lily.”
     “Because you killed Dan’s former fiancée?”
     “No, because I let Lola fully free for the first time.”
     Micah nodded. “Oh, of course.”
     “Yeah. He wasn’t sure I could handle it.” Heck, I wasn’t sure I could handle it. And though Lola had been fully satisfied for the first time in my life, it didn’t mean she was content to lie back and bask in the feeling. Far from it. Instead, she seemed to want more and more all the time. “You were right,” I admitted. “I should have been feeding her a little bit of lust all along. It would’ve been a lot easier to handle now.” For years, I hadn’t let her feed at all. I’d starved her, then suddenly let her gorge to her heart’s content. In hindsight, neither was a good decision.
     Micah shook his head, looking exasperated. “I told you before, there is no Lola, no separate demon inside you. It’s part of you.
     “I know, I know. It’s just easier to think of my demon nature as a separate person inside me.” Someone to blame my urges on, someone else to take the fall for the lust I had a problem controlling. Too weird that I had men lusting after me all the time and I was still a virgin. “Leave me some illusions, will ya?”
     “All right, but tell me what’s wrong.”
     “No biggie. I got bored, tired of having nothing to do.” When Micah continued waiting patiently, I admitted softly, “Okay, I’ve been waiting for Dan to call, just to reassure me he hasn’t had second thoughts about me. That he doesn’t think I’m a monster, and he doesn’t blame me for enthralling him and everyone else.” And to check out that spark, that closeness we’d felt immediately afterward. “He hasn’t called.”
Yeah, Fang said. All she does is mope.
“Do not.” I paced a lot, too.
     So, I’d gotten on my Valkyrie motorcycle, plopped Fang in his seat on the back and driven off to blow the cobwebs out of my brain. Somehow, I’d ended up here, at the gravesite of the woman who still complicated my life even in her death.
     Micah gave me a one-armed hug. “I thought Dan was fine with . . . Lola.”
     I leaned into the hug, and slipped my arms around his waist., laying my head on his shoulder, feeling warmth suffuse me at the rare contact with a person of the male persuasion. “I thought so, too. But maybe it was just a side-effect of the spell Lola cast over him.”
     “Maybe,” Micah murmured. “But don’t worry, he’ll come around.”
     I wasn’t so sure, but a demon girl could hope . . . “Thanks, I—”
     Fang suddenly spun around, his eyes flashing purple. Vampires, he snarled, and leapt toward the three onrushing forms.


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