Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blog Tour ~ Dirty Blood Series by Heather Hildenbrand ~ Excerpts & Giveaway

Book One

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And Two, I was born to kill them.

“Where are we?” I finally asked.
“My apartment.”
My pulse sped up a little and my breath hitched. For a moment, I forgot all about the fact that Wes had just fought another Werewolf for me, or that I was mad at him, or that I’d caught George making out with my mortal enemy in the school gym. All I could think about was that this was Wes’s apartment, his private space, and we were alone.
I realized Wes was giving me an odd look so I did my best to smooth my expression. “So, what now?”
Instead of answering, Wes set his water on the counter and came around to stand in front of me. He stared down at me for a long moment and then, slowly, his arms came around me so that his hands were tangled in my hair. He lowered his face until it was inches away from mine and then stopped, watching me with a question in his eyes. I held my breath and waited. When I didn’t push him away, or move to stop him, he closed the distance and pressed his lips to mine.
Heat coursed through me, and I felt my muscles go deliciously soft. Wes’s arms tightened around me and he stroked my hair, deepening the kiss. I could feel his body relaxing against me. It was satisfying to know he was affected, too, and I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him closer, not sure how long it would last and not wanting it to end. I could smell him again, woods and wind. His breath tasted tangy, and there was a hint of animal still in him that was both exciting and scary.
Eventually, he pulled away, but he kept his hands on my hair and face. He stared down at me with an intensity that took my breath away.
“You don’t know how long I’ve been wanting to do that,” he said, his voice gravelly.
“When can we do it again?”
He smiled at that, but it was sad. “Soon, I hope. I mean, if you still want to. There are some things I should tell you first.” He took my hand and led me to the couch, pulling me down next to him. When he turned to face me again, the smile was gone, but the sadness still lingered.
“What is it?” I asked, a heaviness forming in my stomach.

Book Two

Wood Point Academy is not at all what I expected. For one thing, it looks like a cross between military school and Buckingham Palace. Everyone stares, the floors shine so bright you can see your reflection in them from a mile away, and no one smiles. Unless they're kicking your butt in the process.

At least I've got plenty to take my mind off the fact that my psycho cousin, Miles De'Luca, keeps calling and declaring his love and promising to come for me just as soon as he's destroyed anyone standing in our way. Wes isn't going to like that idea. So between Miles, Wood Point's evil welcoming committee, and the drill sergeant hottie trainer from hell, I just keep asking myself, how did I end up here?


“Look, you're cute, but you're not cute enough to keep me from going off on you for being an idiot. - Cambria to Alex in Cold Blood

“You’d kiss me back right now if I kissed you,” he said, and I tried to decide whether to even attempt denial. “But then you’d remember him and you’d feel bad for it.”  -Alex to Tara in Cold Blood

Book Three

If I had to choose one word to sum up all of my problems, this would be it.
Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to watch my best friend slowly becoming a monster. Without hybrids, I could let go of the mentality “hunt or be hunted.” CHAS wouldn’t be scouring the Earth, intent on slaughtering and using Alex to do it. Without hybrids, I wouldn’t have to be on guard that losing my temper meant losing my shape. There would be no monster inside me, struggling to get out.

Then again, without hybrids, I wouldn’t have Wesley St. John.

When he spoke again, his voice was rough. “This is harder than I thought it would be.” 
“For me too.” It was easier to talk standing in his arms, without him looking at me. “Alex? Will I see you again?” 
He pulled away, facing me squarely. His hands rested on my arms. “I’m going to tell you something, and then I’m going to walk away because it’s late and also because I don’t want you to feel like you have to say anything.” 
“I love you, Tara Godfrey. I love you so much that I walk around breathless from the exertion. No, don’t talk,” he said when I opened my mouth to respond. “Just listen. I don’t have family. I don’t get attached. It’s easier that way. Which is what I kept telling myself about you, but it happened despite my best efforts to prevent it. It’s not going away and it’s not fading. If anything, it’s gotten worse. 
“I understand you have feelings for me but you love him. The only option that leaves me with is hunting hybrids. And even though you hate the idea, it’s not what keeps us apart.” 
“Alex, I—” 
“No, don’t.” He attempted a smile but it looked pained. “I’ll see you again. I’ll always see you again. No matter how much you hate what I do in between. I also suck at goodbyes. So …” He dropped his hands from my shoulders and buried them in his pockets. When they were safely tucked, he leaned in and planted a kiss halfway between my mouth and my cheek. It was quick, chaste, his expression strained. How much had that cost him? 
“I’m going to head back. Get some sleep. I leave early so you won’t see me in the morning. Bye, Tara.” 
He spun on his heel and began a long retreat down the gravel path that led back to school. I stood there, torn between wanting to respect his wishes and needing to give him what I could. The ache won out. My dress flared up around my legs as I sprinted. I held it down and kept running. 
“Alex, wait!” 
I threw myself into his arms. He staggered backwards before catching his balance, holding me to him and lifting my feet off the ground. He didn’t complain that I’d come after him. 
I wrapped my arms tightly around his shoulders, burying my face in his neck. I breathed in his scent of outdoors and bar soap and committed it to memory. 
“Be careful,” I said when he finally lowered me to my feet. “And—you’re my family, too.” His expression clouded. “I know you said not to respond.” I grabbed his jacket lapels to brace myself and rushed on, not caring whether the gesture was right or not. “I just had to say that, so you know it’s mutual. No matter what.” I squeezed my eyes against all of the rest that I couldn’t respond to and added only, “Always find me, okay?” 
“Okay.” His voice was hoarse. His hands closed over mine, gently removing my fingertips from his jacket front. “I have to go.” 
“See you later, Alex.” I dropped my hands from his. 
This time I let him leave.

Book Four
That’s how many hybrids survived the Hunter attack in the woods after I revived them with an injection of my blood. That’s how many followed me home to Frederick Falls. And that’s how many were now mentally linked to me through a blood bond. 

Two days. Three valium. Fourteen hours of sleep. 
That’s what it took to realize I wasn’t losing my mind as a result of the noise in my own head. 

That’s how many days have passed since I almost killed Alex. That’s how many days I’ve sat by his bedside, waiting for him to wake up. To ease the guilt, to understand his betrayal, to remember the exact shade of brown in his eyes. 

That’s my chances of skating by with Gordon Steppe and the Hunter Council. They want me for questioning. I’m afraid what’ll happen if I give them answers.

“Hey, sleepyhead,” I said into the silence.

Alex’s doctor insisted coma patients had been known to wake up claiming to hear the voices of those who’d visited while they were under.  He’d said I should talk as often as possible. Sometimes, I felt silly doing it, but other times, like today, it was nice to be able to vent without judgment.

Other people’s reactions had a tendency to weigh heavily. I was already carrying an entire pack’s worth of emotion. I didn’t need any more. And this way, I could tell Alex absolutely anything, including things I’d never say if he were awake.
So while I sat, I told him about all that had happened in the last few days: Nick, Vera’s collapse, my expulsion, and the growing certainty that Steppe wanted to do more than dissolve a peace treaty and kick me out of school.

“It’s building toward something,” I said. “And I don’t know what it is, but it’s … close. Like it’s right around the corner.” I looked down at my hands and realized I’d been twisting them together. I freed my fingers and reached out, wrapping my fingers gently around Alex’s.

“Honestly, I’m afraid to look around that corner. I know whatever’s waiting is going to be bigger than me. Bigger than I’m capable of. And it would be so much easier to handle if you were awake. At least then your sarcasm would make me determined to beat whatever this is. But with you like this… I need you to wake up, okay?”

And I need to know I didn’t kill you.

About the Author

Heather Hildenbrand

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. 

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visitwww.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life. 
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