GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Exclusive Cover Reveal: Evil’s Avenging Angel (Alexis Black #3) by Jenn Windrow + Chapter one excerpt | I Smell Sheep

Friday, April 12, 2019

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Evil’s Avenging Angel (Alexis Black #3) by Jenn Windrow + Chapter one excerpt

by Jenn Windrow
June 11th, 2019.
Vampire Alexis Black might have won the battle, but can she survive the war?

After flipping her twin brother from foe to friend and staking her sadistic sire, Alexis Black hoped things would become a little less vamp-centric. But when her I-saw-you-die sister, Lysette, shows up alive and allied with her enemy, the vengeful vamp Delano Melazi, Alexis finds herself up to her fangs in undead.

Delano has declared war against humans. With the help of Lysette, now a powerful witch, he plans to turn Chicago into the first vampire-controlled city. Over Alexis’ ashed body. To stop them, Alexis must fight a different kind of battle…one that can’t be won with strength or stakes. If she loses, the outcome wouldn’t simply be death, but the total enslavement of the human race.

Evil’s Avenging Angel is the third book in the award-winning Alexis Black Novels, an urban fantasy series that has everything great about the genre…attitude, action, and ass-kicking.

Pre-order Evil’s Avenging Angel and help save the world today.

Note: This isn’t a fully copy-edited draft yet, but I doubt there will be many changes to it.

Chapter One
Hunting vampires used to require the three Ps: planning, patience, and pointy weapons. But ever since Xavier, my now-dead-by-my-stake sire tried to use an ancient vampire law to force me into unwanted wedded bliss, planning and patience have been replaced with chaos and confusion. Like someone taped a “Kill Me” sign to my back and every supernatural creature wanted to take a whack at the Alexis-shaped piñata.

I may have gone from stalker to stalkee, but I still had a job to do. I hiked up my leather pants and prepared myself for another P. Prison.

The Joliet Correctional Facility to be exact. A boxy, beige building with tall turrets on the sides that added to the bare minimum of architectural efforts. Once home to the biggest badasses in Chicago. Rapists. Murders. Serial Killers. Now nothing more than an empty husk and motel to creepy critters.

Including the two fang-bangers, standing at the bottom of the cracked concrete steps. I think they were supposed to be guarding the entrance from little ol’ me, but I was less than impressed. I nicknamed them Lefty and Righty, since they wouldn’t live long enough for a proper introduction.

Lefty used one hand to hold up his sliding-south jeans. The other hand clutched a well-worn stake, hoping to intimidate me.

He wasn’t successful at either.

Righty stood in the typical tough guy pose. Arms crossed over his chest, legs spread, teeth gritted. He might have been slightly more intimidating if he hadn’t been wearing a too-tight Sponge Bob t-shirt that showed off his gym-rat pecs.

Footsteps coming up behind me crunched the deep November snow and the other three members of my team joined me. One human. One vampire. One ghost. Altogether, three solid PIAs.

“Those wankers are a sodding joke.” Nathan, my own personal perverted poltergeist stood with his hand on his hips like a Goth version of Tinkerbell.

“I’ll show you a joke.” Lefty let go of his pants to wrap the other hand around his weapon. Without any meat on his reed-thin body, they slid to his boots, giving us all a peek of his dingy boxers and one limp noodle.

Pretty sure he didn’t mean he’d literally show us a joke.

André, my twin brother and the newest member of my rag-tag group, didn’t even try to smother his annoyance. “When did the vampire race become so pathetic?”

We were still working on his people skills.

Lefty reached down and grabbed the waistband of his jeans, yanked them up, then tick-tocked his stake between my brother and me. “We know who you are and we’re not afraid of you.”

Every supernatural creature in Chicago knew who we were. After surviving Xavier’s failed fight-or-die grudge match and reducing the competition, and our sire to piles of ash in front of the supernatural community, we were quite memorable. “And yet you’re still pointing a stake at us.”

The vampire’s muddy-brown eyes lit up, and his smarmy smile showed the tips of his fangs. “I’m not stupid.”

He could have fooled me.

André sauntered closer to our new friends. “I think he’s lying, and he’s afraid.”

“I’m not afraid, but you should be.” He elbowed his stoic buddy next to him and let out a loud laugh.

Righty didn’t even crack a smile. Tough crowd.

To think I was wasting my Saturday night standing outside an abandoned prison. Why? I signed a contract with an angel. Protect the human race by hunting down and killing one supernatural creature every night for fifty years, and in return I get to be a real live girl again.

More human, less blood sucker. Seemed worth it at the time. I should have read the fine print.

I looked around at the overgrown property, leafless trees, two lonely vampires and wondered what was supposed to make me shake and quake. “Honey, the only thing that scares me is your buddy’s poor fashion choices.”

His smile faded and flattened. “That’s because all the scary things are kept behind bars.”

The main reason Reaper, the human part of my team, insisted we follow a so thin it was almost see through lead that led us to this particular building. Looked like his ex-VAU agent instincts were right once again.

“Told you.” Reaper always loved reminding me when he was right and I was wrong. It happened a lot more than I cared to admit.

I ignored his I-told-you-so and focused on the vamp at hand. “And they left the two of you out here to guard the inmates?”

He held his hands out wide at his side and spun. His backside wasn’t any more impressive than the front. “No one can get past us.” He stuck his elbow into his partner’s side again.

His confidence was admirable, but totally misplaced.

And of course, I had to prove him wrong.

I pulled Reva, my trusty dagger and favorite vampire maiming tool from the sheath on my thigh. “Let’s see if your theory holds up.”

Lefty gripped his stake and ran at me. His pants fell, wrapping around his knees. He tripped, stumbled, then hit the frozen ground with a loud thud that made me flinch.

With one vampire tangled in a web of his own jeans, I rushed past him to take care of the second obstacle in my path.

Righty uncrossed his arms, revealing a stake he must have had hidden in his armpit. But he didn’t move from his spot at the bottom of the stairs. I continued charging. We were almost nose-to-chest ‑ my nose, his chest ‑ when he lifted his hand, fist clenched, pulled back his arm, and punched me in the throat.

The force of the impact hit me like a southbound L-train, sending me skidding across the ice-covered ground until my head slammed into the nearest tree trunk. Once the imaginary birdies stopped circling my head, I swallowed a few times and hoped my vocal cords were still intact.

“Damn, that bugger packs a punch.” Nathan, the always-annoying ghost, loved to side-seat commentate, but this time he wasn’t wrong.

If Righty wanted to play rough, then it was time to pull out the big guns.

Eddie, feel like kicking some ass? I already knew the answer. The soul of Vlad the Impaler, the original Dracula, whom I called Eddie. The monster who created the monsters. And the soul who shared my body thanks to an angel, a contract, and a dream to become human again, never passed up a chance to take out a few vamps.

Thought you’d never ask.

Eddie stretched like he was waking up from a long nap, then lent me all his King-of-the-Undead power. Scorching heat rushed through my veins like a backdraft after someone busted a window. The branded angel wings on my hip burned. My fangs elongated. And thanks to my now-glowing eyes, the world turned a lovely shade of red.

It was time to introduce the blood suckers to the vampire the world called Evil’s Assassin.

I slid my dagger back into its sheath and replaced it with my stake. Righty had just bought himself a fast pass to hell.

With nothing but the vampire’s death on my mind, I walked over to my prey, stake ready. Lefty tried to scramble into my path for a second round of embarrassment, but I kicked him aside. Let André deal with the riff-raff.

“Wanna tussle big boy?” I flicked my fingers in a come-and-eat-me gesture.

He nodded, accepting my invitation, his steps slow and steady. Eyes laser set on mine. A slight smile finally lifting his lips. He may have gotten in one hit, but he wouldn’t get another.

When he was five feet away, he kicked it into high gear. With his fists clenched in front of his chest, he closed the distance between us, but before he could land a blow, I used my supersonic vampire speed and leapt over his head, landing behind him. My stake was through his back and piercing his heart before he ever heard my feet hit the ground.

His body went up in a ball of flame and then disintegrated into a pile of ash.

I was dusting off Righty’s remains when two boney arms wrapped around my waist and took me to the ground. My stake skidded out of reach, and Lefty sat all his one hundred pounds on my back, trying to hold me down. Joke was on him, I trained with Reaper every night, whose sadistic ass made me lift a Lefty-sized weight as a warm-up.

I bucked my hips, forcing my unwanted passenger to slide to the side and slip off me. When he was eating dirt again, I scrambled for my pointy wooden friend. He grabbed my ankle and started climbing his way up my leg, his lose pants making his movements difficult.

With my other leg, I placed the tip of my boot in the center of his forehead and stopped his forward motion. Then twisted and slammed my stake through his heart.

What a waste of fangs. The Father of all Vampires wasn’t happy with how his off-spring had turned out.

“Someone should have invested in a belt.” Dusting the snow and ash off my black leather duster, I turned toward the dynamic trio currently being less-than-helpful and gave them the stink eye. “Feel free to hop in and help at any time, André.”

My moments-older twin stopped his guy-gossip just long enough to give me a shoulder shrug. “Looked like you had it under control.”

I tried searching for my happy place but couldn’t locate it, and silently wished for another female to share my overly testosteroned nights.

When André had reentered my life after a fifty-two-year absence, I had imagined my days filled with brother and sister bonding. What I got was free porn on constant loop and dirty boxers on the bathroom floor.

There were days I missed living alone.

Clenching my fists at my side, perfectly manicured nails digging into my palms, I stomped over to my brother.

“We’re supposed to be hunting.” I waved my hand back and forth between my motley crew. “All of us.” I was starting to feel like a mother bat.

Nathan rolled his eyes like a tween girl gone bad. “There were two wankers, not like you needed the help.”

It felt like they were missing the point.

“Yeah. André will get the next one.” Reaper, usually a vampire-hating human, seemed to have a new-found appreciation for everything fanged since my brother joined the team.

My eye started to twitch. I couldn’t tell if it was because of the head-on collision with the tree or my current situation.

I was leaning towards current situation.

And that’s when I noticed a glowing green line leading to the front doors of the prison. A green glow surrounding the whole building that hadn’t been there when we arrived. Witch magic.

My tummy tightened.

I knelt in the snow and touched the green path. The magic sizzled under my touch with a tiny tingle. I pointed to what my human partner couldn’t see. “Looks like a wicked witch left us a trail to follow.”

I just hoped the witch who left the trail wasn’t my younger sister, Lysette. The sister I believed André had killed until a few weeks ago. The sister who reappeared as a powerful witch gone bad. The sister who was now my enemy and wanted me dead.

The sister I was hoping to avoid until I worked out my conflicting feelings on the fate of her future.

But lately witches, whether they were blood relatives or not, meant vampires. An unholy union with one common goal. Capture, torture, and kill me…Alexis Black.

“What do you think it leads to?” Nathan joined me in the inspection.

“Nothing good.”

Nathan tapped my head. “What does Vlad think?”

Eddie, any idea what’s waiting for us?

Our connection remained quiet while Eddie used his supernatural sonar to locate anything of the non-human variety who wasn’t pumped full of Delano’s screw-with-me serum. A serum created by Julian, my werewolf-chemist boyfriend, which Delano had stolen and now used to hide his zealots from me.

You killed the only supernaturals in the area.

I looked at my gruesome-threesome. “The Eddie hound dog says it’s all clear.”

“Then let’s check out what was so important it needed bodyguards.” Andre headed toward the entrance.

I followed him, my foot landing on top of one of the dots in the snow. A charge of electricity shot up my boot and played ping-pong through my body. It hurt like liquid hell fire making me stop and pat my body down to make sure I hadn’t spontaneously combusted.

Their witch is extremely powerful. More power than I have felt in many years. Eddie left out two teeny-tiny things. One, that the witch in question might be my sister Lysette, and two, it was an extremely powerful witch who had finally managed to slam a stake through his undead heart and kill him.

“Andre, this magic has Lysette written all over it.”

My brother’s mouth twisted into a wicked smile and I was grateful I wasn’t the sibling on the other end of his serial killer stare. “Good. I’ve been looking forward to a family reunion.”

André had every reason to want Lysette dead. While Xavier, our sire, had him, she injected her magic into André’s blood and used him as her own personal Pinocchio, pulling his strings to do Delano’s dirty work. Payback was going to be a bigger bitch than Lysette.

I looked up at the building towering in front of us, knowing that nothing good could come from walking through the busted front doors. But then again, I never shied away from impossible situations. I was tenacious that way. “Must be something good inside to use magic to hide it.”

Reaper stepped up next to my brother, apparently, his new best fanged friend. “Lead the way.”

I bit back a scathing sarcastic comment of about who was in charge. Me. I rolled my eyes at the sickening amount of male bonding I put up with on a daily basis.

Nathan pushed his way past me and joined the testosterone-heavy group. “Let’s do this.”

This was getting ridiculous.

I cleared my throat, hopefully reasserting my dominance. “Shouldn’t we have some kind of a plan before we barge into what is obviously a trap?” I was starting to sound like Reaper. That wasn’t a good thing.

The guy gang turned to face me. Each one looking at me like I was holding up the party.

“No plan needed. Just go in and kick some serious vamp ass.” André was starting to make my dagger hand itchy. “Unless you’re afraid you can’t handle it.”

He thought goading me would get me to rush the gates. Damn it, he was right.

I pulled my stake out of its hidden sheath in my boot and my dagger out of the other. Then I marched past my team, ignoring my brother’s snicker.

The closer I got to the front of the building, the stronger the magic became. The feeling of electricity buzzed through the air like an electrical charge after scraping your feet along carpet and touching something metal. Zap. Crackle.

The glowing green of the witch magic shielded the human world from whatever shenanigans happened on the other side of the dented doors.

I stopped myself before I grabbed the handle. Eddie, anything?

It’s like the dead zone in there.

Did you just make a pun?

Eddie went silent, not wanting to own up to the fact that after centuries he had finally found a sense of humor.

“If you’re not going to open the door, move out of the way.” André hip checked me to the side.

“You’re trying my patience today.” What I really wanted to say was every day, but I decided it was best to keep my thoughts to myself.

“That’s a big brother’s job.” He grabbed the handle and pulled.

Smoke rose from his hand, the smell of skin burning filled the air, making the last pint of blood in my stomach sour.

André let go before his flesh burned away. “Fucking witches.” He held his singed hand up to his lips and blew.

I smothered my laughter, bent down and scooped up a handful of snow, then dumped it into his still-smoking palm. “That’s what happens when you don’t make a plan.”

“Whatever they are hiding in there must be important.” André shook off his pain and took a step away from the booby-trapped door. “How the hell are we supposed to get in?”

Since I wasn’t placing my hand on the door knob of doom, I said. “I’m not sure we are supposed to.” Then I turned and looked at the only one in our group who could break through barriers we couldn’t. “Nathan, care to do a little recon work?”

“Finally, something I can bloody do that you sodding blokes can’t.” He gave us a middle finger salute and floated through the spelled doors.

Guess that was a yes.

Reaper turned and walked back down the steps. “Let’s see if anyone left a clue out here while we wait.”

Most of the windows were cracked, allowing the trees that had overgrown the property to sneak their gnarled limbs into the building and take up residence. If it wasn’t for the witch magic clinging to the building like a second skin, we might have been able to sneak in.

Reaper came over to me, a pale yellow sheet of paper in his hands. “Found this stapled to a pole. You’re not going to like it.” He held out the wind-wrinkled paper.

I read the headline out loud. “Join Delano Melazi and the Fang’s First movement today! Meetings every Thursday at the Joliet Prison.” It only got worse from there. My fist tightened around the paper, scrunching it into a tight ball. “Fangs First? What the hell does that mean?”

Reaper didn’t have a chance to answer, because Nathan came floating out of the nearest wall. He placed his hand on my arm, the only way anyone but a vampire could see him, and waited until he was corporal.

“We’ve got a big problem.”

I waved him on with a twirl of my hand.

“There aren’t any vampires in there. But the cells are full of dead humans. And they are not fresh.” He waved his hand in front of his nose.

Tonight was Wednesday, that meant the dead bodies in the cells were the leftovers from last weeks meeting. My leather bodice seemed to be cinched too tight. Suffocating me.

Delano saw the humans as nothing more than food to fill a hungry vampire’s tummy. Nothing but cattle to him. Useless. He was the reason the eradication had taken place. The reason the vampires were chased back into the darkness after being allowed to live in the light. He was the reason we were hunted once again.

Ten years ago, Delano Melazi had declared war against the human race. And lost. Now he was back. And I was just the vampire to stand between him and every warm, beating heart in the city.

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About the Author:
Jenn Windrow loves characters that have a pinch of spunk, a dash of attitude, and a large dollop of sex appeal. Top it all off with a huge heaping helping of snark, and you've got the ingredients for the kind of fast-paced stories she loves to read and write. Home is a suburb of it's-so-hot-my-shoes-have-melted-to-the-pavement Phoenix. Where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a slew of animals that seem to keep following her home, at least that's what she claims.

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