Meet the Blood Vine cast
My debut novel Blood Vine is a huge story with lots of characters. When I first began writing, I often heard the advice that new romance authors should keep their books simple and only include a hero and heroine. I tried to follow these words of wisdom, but all the members of the Maras vampire household refused to let me ignore them. Each one stomped their feet or pouted, demanding airtime in the novel. So I gave in to them and I’m glad I did, because wrote their true story, with its intricacies and layers. Now its members are much nicer to me, and rarely pout. Let me introduce you to them:
Andre Maras is an ancient vampire from the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. He has been making wine since the glory days of the Roman Empire, and he is hopelessly old-fashioned about it. Like all vampires in exile, he is slowly wasting away. And when he finds a cure for the disease, he must rescue all the other refugees. When a beautiful public relations executive shows up at his estate, she is a frustrating distraction from his honorable goal.
Zoey Porter is all business all the time. She has no emotional entanglements and she likes it that way, ever since the tragic death of her husband. Although, she does frequently indulge in nights of steamy but passionless sex with her boss Ethan. When Zoey meets Andre, he stirs feelings she would rather keep buried, and so she resolves to complete his P.R. campaign and get the hell away from him as fast as she can.
Pedro Torres is the assistant winemaker at the Kaštel Estate Winery, and a happy-go-lucky human. He has no knowledge of the frightening, violent war between vampires and Hunters, nor does he know he should fear the sexy Lucas, with whiskey-colored eyes, who shows up in the tasting room one afternoon. After they share a searing kiss, Pedro’s world turns upside down.
Lucas Bennett is a Hunter misfit, never at home with the violent mission of the Hunters and never truly accepted as a gay man within that traditional society. After ten years of research, he finally discovers the location of Andre Maras in exile, which provides the perfect opportunity to prove himself to his father and brother, if he can stomach betraying the handsome Pedro in the process.
Ethan Bennett is a successful businessman and a calculating manipulator. His first step in ruling the entire Hunter world is to take down Andre Maras and he wants the aloof Zoey at his side as he ascends. Only, she is unimpressed that he’s the kind of vampire slayer who’s never watched Buffy, and she chooses Andre’s side in the ancient war.
Kosjenic (Kos) Maras is Andre’s adopted son and the perfect right-hand vampire. He is devoted to his father’s mission to save the other refugees. Deeply suspicious of love, Kos is nevertheless amused by the way Zoey turns his father inside out. Less amusing is his father’s disregard for the beautiful servant Lena, who has been besotted with Andre for years. Kos cannot afford to fall for Lena, but she sure as hell needs rescuing from his father.
The view from the parlor at sunset stunned Zoey. A wall of French doors opened onto a narrow balcony and displayed a pink sky, flush against the verdant grapevines that trailed over gentle hills. The landscape was more than enough ornament for the room and Zoey was glad Andre had left the ivory colored walls bare.
He sat chatting with Pedro, and they both stood as she walked in. She had to look a long way up to meet his eyes. Pedro poured wine into three glasses. “I should admit I don’t have much of a palate,” she said.
“Don’t worry, we’ll guide you.” Pedro handed her a glass.
As she lifted it to her nose, Andre watched her. “Hhhmm. It smells so earthy. It’s very unusual.”“Yes, the grapes are from our family vines on Šolta, before they were burned,” Andre said.
“A fire?” How tragic, to lose so much heritage.
Andre sipped his wine before he said, “Yes, that’s why I—why my family came to the U.S.”
“When was the fire?” she asked.
“Eighteen forty-seven,” Andre replied. Her next question had formed on her lips when he added, “It is a very long story. Another time?”
“This wine was produced from the Šoltan vines planted when this estate was founded, and recently spliced onto the vines on my new land.”
“But,” Zoey checked to be certain she understood, “it’s the Zinfandel grape whose name I have no hope of saying in Croatian?”
“Yes, that one.” Andre nodded. “The vineyards we acquired several years ago bear a startling similarity to our vineyards in Šolta and the resulting wine tastes just like the ones we used to make.”
“Were you actually able to taste wines made by your family so long ago?”
He tilted his head. “Able to taste them? Oh, I see. Yes, I was fortunate enough to taste wine made from that vineyard.”
Why did she feel like he was evading her question?
She brought her glass to her mouth and glanced up to find him watching. She lowered her lids and concentrated. When the wine hit her tongue, she opened them wide again.
She ran her tongue along the back of her teeth, searching out words for the astonishing mixture of flavors in her mouth. “It’s as thick as blood…and it tastes like sunshine, raisins and peppery licorice.”
The flecks in his green eyes glittered. “Yes, Zoey, it does.” For the first time, he didn’t call her Ms. Porter. “Your palate is perfect.”He looked delighted with her. She glanced away, her head suddenly light, as if she hadn’t eaten all day. Darting her eyes back to him, his face had gone neutral. She wanted the delight back.
* * *
Blood Vine is now available from Omnific Publishing, and it can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes and Noble in print or e-book. Its sequel Blood Entangled features Kos and Lena, and will be released later this year by Omnific.
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