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RISE OF A WARRIOR
(Immortal Warriors Book 5)
by Denna Holm
Carla Trystan is a half-breed vampire who has spent her entire life running from powerful Hunters—aliens from another world. She is also plagued by nightmares, hearing the same deep, dark voice say night after night, ‘If you wish to live, child, take my hand.’ When she finally meets the man behind the terrifying voice, it is to discover he is one of the aliens she has spent her life running from.
Azrael, an ancient Hunter for the Laizahlian Council, is sent to Earth to track down three rogues from their world. What he doesn’t expect is to run into his lifemate. Azrael senses there is more than vampire blood running through Carla’s veins. He suspects a Djinn is involved, placing them both in great danger.
Their journey will thrust them both into the Fae realm, where Carla must rise up and fight the cruel queen who means to take Azrael as her own.
Excerpt from Rise Of A Warrior:
When she stepped up to the table with a coffee pot, Stripes looked up, and any doubts she might have carried about their species evaporated. His eyes were bright yellow, more like a wolf’s than a person’s. Shapeshifters. Fuck. She dampened her own energy, firming up the mental wall around her thoughts, then breathed a sigh of relief when his gaze shifted to Amber, staying there.
Carla wasn’t worried about Amber. She rarely dated, and certainly never with guys like these two, what she would consider ‘players.’ She might warn off her friend anyway, just to be safe.
“Coffee, gentlemen?” Carla said, pleased when her voice didn’t crack. Her hand trembled a tiny bit when she poured the coffee, forgetting they hadn’t replied to her question. “I’m sorry, boys. I’m so used to people wanting coffee after the bars close. You want something else? I can take this away.”
“Coffee is fine, beautiful,” Stripes said, a hint of a smile forming on his sensuous mouth. The accent was one she’d heard before, causing a shiver to race down her spine.
“Cream with that?”
“No, thank you,” Blue Shirt said, his eyes narrowing slightly as he stared up at her. His deep voice had a musical quality she might have enjoyed if she hadn’t felt quite so terrified. He started to reach out to touch her hand, but she quickly lifted the pot of coffee out of reach.
“Careful,” she said, pretending to be concerned. “It’s hot. I’ll get you boys a menu and then Amber can get your order, okay?”
“Fine,” Stripes said. He turned back to his friend as she walked away.
They know! Need to run, Carla thought, her instinct for self-preservation screaming to put distance between them. Sneak out the back door. You don’t even need to go home first. Just drive.
And leave Amber here alone. She couldn’t do it. What would her boys do without their mother? She set the pot down on the burner and then walked through the double doors to the back room, shaking badly. “Get a grip, Carla.” She could do this. She’d done it before. Fooled them.
Carla picked up two menus and took them over, placing one in front of each guy. Before she could back away, Stripes reached out and took hold of her hand, his fingers brushing across the inside of her wrist, feeling for a pulse.
“What’s your name, young one? I feel as though we’ve met before.”
She froze, absolutely terrified, his skin much warmer than it should be. None of the other aliens from her past had ever touched her before. Carla pointed at her name tag with her free hand, twisting her hand free at the same time. He had to let go or risk causing a scene. “You boys live around here?” she asked, tipping her head to the side, pretending interest. “I don’t recognize the accent.”
“No,” Blue Shirt said, frowning as he tapped the table with his fingernails. Nails too long, the tips too sharp. “Our home is far away from here.”
“Yeah,” she replied, smiling. “Then I doubt we’ve ever met. I originally came from the Roseburg area. Been here in Bend for about five years now. You ever visited Roseburg? Maybe you saw me down there.” She didn’t like telling these men anything, but if they asked Amber, she wanted their stories to match. Amber probably wouldn’t say anything. She knew Carla liked her privacy, but better safe than sorry.
“Possible,” Blue Shirt said, “though I don’t believe so.”
Cara shrugged, then quickly moved on.
The two strangers stayed for more than an hour, for the most part ignoring Carla, though she could feel their oppressive energy battering at her mental shields. If she’d felt more confident in her abilities, she might have opened enough to let them hear a practiced mental speech, but again her instincts screamed it would be too risky with these two. Better to let them wonder why they couldn’t break inside her mind. Amber, on the other hand, didn’t seem to notice anything strange about them. She teased the two big men, but no more than she teased everyone who came in after a night of drinking.
Only these two hadn’t been drinking. There’d been no scent of alcohol or cigarettes on their person. No cologne or perfume. Only a clean wildness. The worst was when one like them came in smelling of blood. That meant they’d likely killed something . . . or someone.
She breathed a soft sigh of relief when they finally stood to pay for their dinners, neither of them glancing in her direction as they walked out the door. Even without the otherworld energy they exerted, she would have known they weren’t human. The skin was pulled too tight over their angular faces, the cheekbones too high, the strong jaws curving around to an almost pointed chin. Their eyes were set too far apart, a little too round for a human, not to mention the freaky yellow color. The blue-eyed one might have been able to pass for human if he’d cut the long silver and black hair, but not Stripes. They’d both been extremely tall, another giveaway, at least six-foot-four or five, their muscles testing the seams on those expensive western-cut shirts.
It wasn’t their size or their features that scared her though. She worried more about what had drawn them here. And why were two of them traveling together? They always came alone, or with one of the others . . . an even scarier type of alien.
Carla sighed as they walked out the door. She would finish her shift tonight and then drive home and pack as fast as she could. There wasn’t much there, just her clothes and a few pictures and personal items she always carried with her. Toothbrush and hair dryer, a couple towels, a little food. At first light, she would run.
Meet Author Denna Holm
A retired FEI competitor in dressage, she earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze and Silver Medals. After Denna retired from training and showing horses, she decided to try her hand at writing novels in paranormal and science fiction romance.
Denna and her husband Lee make their home in the beautiful State of Oregon with their loyal German shepherd, one energetic border collie, and two very spoiled cats. Denna and Lee enjoy spending time camping and fishing with their children and grandchildren.
Interview with Denna Holm:
Q: Hi, Denna! Tell us about your publishing journey. Did you always want to be an author?
DH: I have always been interested in novels and good stories. I still remember as a young kid getting lost in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series or Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. I could easily put myself in Laura’s place so I could live the story with her. When you have an overactive imagination like mine, it’s not a big jump to move to writing. I wrote my first novel when I was in the sixth grade. I tried my hand at sci-fi/fantasy in seventh grade, so yes, I have always wanted to be an author.
Q: Why paranormal? What drew you to the genre?
DH: I have no idea why, but I’ve always been fascinated by vampires and werewolves, or shifters of any type. Maybe I got hooked on them as a kid by watching TV shows like Dark Shadows. My favorite part of writing sci-fi/fantasy is world building. It’s a challenge to come up with interesting worlds and aliens, their politics, the differences between them and humans, what’s similar, motivations, creating the land, ships, planets, and find a way to make it all sound believable. I want readers to get as lost in my stories as I did with Wilder’s books as a kid. I’m older now, but I still have the same love for a good story, one I can get lost in, forget about my own troubles for a few hours.
Q: For those who are new to your books, what is the story about?
DH: The Immortal Warriors series started back with Soul of a Warrior. Rise of a Warrior is the fifth full novel in this series. Each book can be read as a standalone story, but there is building subplot that will ultimately end with this series and my Raiden Warriors series coming together for a finale. Both are set in the same universe. In Rise of a Warrior, we start to put the pieces together of what is going on behind the scenes. Carla is a half-breed vampire who has no idea she is genetically connected to an alien species. She only knows they scare her, and she usually runs when any of them come close. My hero, Azrael, is an ancient Hunter from the planet Laizahlia. He gave up hope of finding his mate centuries before so is shocked when he runs across Carla. Recently, the ancients have been finding their mates on Earth and no one so far can explain why. It becomes apparent in this story that there are Djinn involved, and they have possibly been manipulating genes in humans to create false mates to try to weaken their greatest enemy, the Laizahlian. Will this matter to the Laizahlian? Their feelings toward these women are as strong as they would be for a true mate.
Q: What is a typical writing day like for you? What inspires you?
DH: I am a workaholic, so writing or editing begins about six in the morning and sometimes doesn’t end until five or six at night. I edit/format for Crimson Cloak Publishing, so my mornings are usually spent with a manuscript assigned by them. My afternoons are spent on my personal material. I like to spend a couple of hours writing, then the rest of my time is spent polishing a manuscript already finished. Each story takes me at least a year or more to complete from writing the rough draft to a finished/polished novel. I can have several writing projects going on at any one time, all in different stages. If I ever get stuck with a plot or characters in one story, I can move on to another one and give my brain time to work out the problems. Some stories are more difficult than others. House of Pain took me four years. I was never completely happy with how the plot was unfolding and kept leaving it to work on other projects. It ended up being one of my favorite stories, a post-apocalyptic western involving demons.
Q: Name a few of your favorite authors or books.
DH: Oh wow. Prolific reader here so I have a lot of favorites, some well-known, and some who deserve to be well known. Of the more famous authors, I would have to say: Stephen King, Laurell K Hamilton, Karen Marie Moning, J.D. Ward, Laurann Dohner, Dean Koontz. Of the not so famous but who deserve notice: Brian O’Hare (Crime Thriller), Rick Stepp-Bolling (Fantasy), Ellen Read (Historical), Don McCann (Horror). It’s such a difficult field to break into. There are so many great novels for readers to choose from these days, but these four writers deserve a second look.
Q: Where can our readers find you? (Social media, website, etc.)
DH: Readers can follow me at:
Thanks so much for hanging out with us!