If you’re like me and love a romance between a sexy, alpha hero and kick-ass heroine, then you’ll love Turned by Random House author Virna DePaul. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Virna regarding her new Belladonna series.
Side note: For those of you who are unfamiliar with Virna’s books, she is the author of the FBI Para-Ops books. Five years after the Second Civil War ends, the team combined of human and otherborn-humanlike creatures with superhuman DNA is charged with protecting both human and otherborn rights. The Belladonna series precedes this time.
So let’s hear what Virna has to say…
Question: “What inspired you to write the Belladonna series?”
Answer: “I wanted to explore the world before the Para-Ops books, one in which vampires were just discovered and the government is faced with the possibility that they may not be monsters. At the same time, what kind of risks are humans willing to take versus what will they do to gain the upper hand? These are the very things my turned vampire hero Ty and my human heroine Ana must struggle with. How does one maintain compassion and humanity while also doing whatever it takes to survive? ”
This book is a keeper for sure! Thank you for stopping by, Virna!
Ty is one of my favorite heroes. Yes, he’s flawed, but his passion for his country, right over wrong, the woman he loves, and his desire to hold on to his humanity reigns supreme even in survival mode. Excerpt:
“With a shudder, Ty returned his attention to the man he still held. As soon as he’d bitten him, the man had gone compliantly silent and even now dangled in his arms. Ty stared at him, his previous thoughts echoing in his ears. The way he’d thought of the man as a mere human, as something weak and existing only for his own benefit, had him stumbling back, his arms falling to his sides.
The man crumpled to the ground, groaning. Blood trickled from the puncture wounds in his neck, but Ty could hear his heart thudding and his blood flowing. He was okay. Ty would leave him here, and the man would never know what had happened. At most, he’d assume he’d been so drunk he’d hallucinated a feral monster attacking him . . .
Shakily, Ty swiped his sleeve across his mouth, noting the light streaks of blood there. He expected himself to throw up, because his thoughts had indeed sickened him. Instead of puking his guts out, however, he felt a renewed energy and vitality zipping through his veins. His senses, already heightened, became even more acute. This was what was intoxicating. Addicting. Even more than the taste of the blood itself, how could anyone resist this feeling of strength? Of sheer power?
He could feel the moisture in the air changing, telling him it would rain before dawn. He could see the fleas on the cat that balanced on a Dumpster thirty feet away.
And he could smell . . .
He took a deeper breath.
He could smell someone approaching. His mind screamed at him to run. With a final glance at the homeless man he’d terrorized and a muttered curse, Ty obeyed. Strengthened by the blood he ran fast. Past his flat. Past Ana’s house. Past anything resembling a residential neighborhood until he came upon a remote warehouse. He jumped the fence and found an unlocked door. As he stepped inside, the cool, dark air welcomed him like a mother’s embrace. Leaning against an interior wall, he sank to the cold concrete floor. Closing his eyes, he cursed what he’d become.
What he’d lost.
Not just his humanity. Not just his chance to have a relationship with a human female like Ana.
He’d lost the only family he had left. His sister, Naomi. She was dead because of him.”
Awe… Poor Ty. The only comfort he could find was darkness and a cold concrete floor, while amidst his staggering blame.
Meet Ana. She’s strong. A survivor. She see’s in Ty what he has yet to recognize in himself. This softens her tough exterior, but at the same time her own weaknesses surfaces. Here’s what she does about that :
“Ty seemed oblivious to her presence.
Gritting her teeth, she reached out and touched his arm. “Ty.”
His head snapped up at her touch. His mouth was closed and she couldn’t see his fangs, but the lower part of his face was still smeared with blood. Louis’s blood. The feral look in Ty’s eyes terrified her. But as she stared at him, she saw the intensity of his regret. She saw his humanity.
Her fear and panic didn’t go away but it did subside.
Swallowing hard, she felt him shake even harder. She squeezed his arm in what she hoped he’d interpret as a reassuring gesture. “Ty, está bien,” she said. “It’s okay.”
“No,” he choked out. “This is what I am now. A monster. A freak.”
It was exactly what she’d thought about him, but she protested anyway. “You’re not a monster. Louis came after us. And you saved me. You saved both of us.”
He didn’t say anything more. Turning his face toward the wall again, he shook and shook. Somehow, before she knew what she was doing, she had her arms around him and exactly as she’d wanted to for so long. She was finally comforting him.
And he let her.
Slowly, his shaking lessened.
She started to pull away. In response, Ty wrapped his own arms around her, pulling her even closer into his embrace. “No. Please. Don’t go.”
He sounded so vulnerable, though he wasn’t. Still, his raw plea awakened long-ago emotions in her, ones she had never wanted to relive. The memories were unbearable.
Gloria had clung to her when she’d crawled into Ana’s bed at night, begging her to keep her safe from the monsters—the ones in the closet, the ones on the street, the ones that their mother brought home with her.
She’d always told Gloria she’d protect her. That she’d keep the monsters away. She wanted to tell Ty the same thing, but she couldn’t. In the end, she hadn’t been able to protect Gloria. Ty knew that. He would come to his senses, ashamed of his moment of weakness.
He was the strong one. Not her. She pulled away again.
“I have to go,” she insisted. “Debemos ir, Ty. Back to Belladonna.”
Thank goodness this is ROMANCE! Virna DePaul is champion of romantic conflict that keeps us rooting for the couple until the very end. So hold your breath and seat for an incredibly smokin’ hot and sexy ride!
To pre-order click Turned