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(Paranormal Justice For All)
by Jane Biteme
She serves vile monsters their due justice. But when she uncovers a harrowing truth, will how much will it cost to get a verdict?
Sloan Reynolds has a passion for putting paranormal killers behind bars. But when her prosecuting partner is promoted to judge, she’s determined not to have a hands-off office job thrust upon her. So when a dispute involving a young boy living with his deadly stepdad comes in, the talented attorney sets her sights on proving her worth in court and saving the child.
As she conducts her investigation, her efforts are thwarted by disappearing evidence, vanishing injuries, and a dead witness. And when a sinister bloodsucker attacks her, Sloan’s fears that peaceful coexistence between the human and magical worlds will come to a violent end.
Can one lawyer save both her career and an innocent’s life that hangs in the balance?
The Trifecta is the first book in the thrilling Paranormal Justice For All legal thriller fantasy series. If you like strong female protagonists, courtroom dramas, and unexpected twists, then you’ll love Jane Biteme’s enthralling tale.
Excerpt from The Trifecta:
You win some, you lose some, but you can always plan on being a different lawyer by the end of a trial. This rule still applies in the Paranormal Court of Justice, perhaps even more so. How different depends on the passengers of the damn struggle bus. As the prosecutor, I’m the driver.
I closed my eyes and counted to three. The energy tracing along my spine told me I better plan on counting to a million if I expected the situation to resolve itself. Chuck—the courtroom’s designated spellcaster—arched an eyebrow at me. I shook my head no. Even if he sat closer than fifty feet away by the mahogany jury box, this was my problem. More accurately, she was my problem.
The thought occurred to me to wait. At least let Joy return before I dealt with Sheila
The moment I stood from counsel’s table and peered over my shoulder, our gazes locked. Sheila blasted out of her seat in the gallery and lunged in my direction. The protective orb—separating the trial participants from the spectators—whirred to life with a soft hum, followed by a piercing zap. Ouch, that sounded painful. When I turned around, I saw Sheila bounce off the orb’s barrier like a dead fly. She wobbled for a second in her yellow vinyl stilettos before falling to the ground.
Like a cat whose human rejects the bloody mouse carcass I dropped at her feet, Sheila's reaction went beyond disappointing. I thought she might change her perspective after the trial.
“Hold on,” I said, hoping she wouldn’t go kamikaze into the orb again. If nothing else, it pained me to watch someone’s last scrap of dignity vanish.
The orb had snapped into action on three prior occasions during my tenure as a prosecutor for the Extra-Mundane Crimes Division. Once again, I had missed the rise of the ethereal aquamarine wave. Everyone said the orb’s activation put on a good show. Its deflective ability didn’t fail to disappoint though. Sheila, with her scowl, did not share in my wonderment at the orb’s capabilities.
Approaching her, I reminded myself I did what I had to do to save her life.
“Are you sure you want to go past that gate?” Chuck asked me as I walked past the orb and into the area of the courtroom reserved for spectators. What did I need protection from now? Sheila? I think not.
Sheila’s coven refused to heal her after another attack by Erle. Therefore, the task of saving Sheila from her blood-sucking parasite of a boyfriend fell on moi. The recollection of that woman writhing in physical agony drove me to charge Erle with attempted murder and illegal blood consumption of a vedma. The same memory made me offer her my hand now, despite my instincts kicking and yelling for me to run. Survival instincts can be such a pain in the ass.
If nothing else, I wanted to smooth things over with her to avoid receiving another complaint with the PCJ Ethics Commission claiming malicious prosecution. Experience taught me those were a bigger pain in the ass.
“You fucking bitch,” Sheila shouted while I helped her to her feet. Her Louisiana drawl didn’t take any of the sting out of her words as they echoed off the black marble walls. She brushed herself off, obviously pissed. Then again, pissed off was better than dead. Didn’t she listen to the evidence? How her disgusting veeri boyfriend was going to suck every last drop from her and move on to the next vedma? Maybe she wanted to throw away her pathetic life, but what about the other potential victims?
“Did you forget I can read your mind, you filthy whore?” Sheila spat.
My bad. I wiped her spittle from my face. In my battle-weary state, I forgot about Sheila’s telepathic abilities as a vedma. This capability made it impossible to put her on the witness stand. Forget asking the court’s permission for Chuck to cast a courtroom-sanctioned spell on her. Not to mention Sheila would tank my case if given the opportunity.
“Erle loved me. He just had a bad way of showin it. But he was good sometimes. You ignored that part.”
And she ignored the fact I could only put on the evidence allowed under the rules. Listening to Erle’s girlfriend prattle on about his high school glory days before he turned veeri didn’t strike me as relevant.
“I’m sorry it had to be this way,” I said. “Sometimes justice takes shape in a form we may not want. At least the case is over and you can move on.” I wanted to say both of us should move on. Especially me. More blood-drinking scum needed quality prison time.
Beneath her flowing yellow sun dress, Sheila’s posture stiffened. Her shoulders squared off. Maybe if I waited and gave her time to speak her piece, she’d go on her way. I tried to block out thoughts about her inappropriate attire for both the courtroom and Boston in late October. The only thing we shared in common was our similar age—early thirties—but her glare held enough hatred for many lifetimes. Her boyfriend must have swapped a lot of blood for venom.
Safe to say, I didn’t think Sheila cared to join me for manicures, pedicures, or pillow fights in our jammies after this.
Angry tears streamed down her face and she stomped her foot. “You fucking ruined my life. I told you I didn’t want to go to trial. Do you know how painful mind-reading has made my life? Do you know what it was like, sitting here, listening to everyone’s thoughts as you shared my personal business?”
I ignored Sheila’s jabbing of her finger in my face. At 5’8’’ in heels, I towered over her.
“Your personal business became mine once Erle almost killed you. You and I both know plenty of veeri who survive on animal blood or synthetics and go on with life. No vedma drinky, no problem. What Erle did was wrong and illegal. You deserve better.”
“Yeah, well, easy for you to say. Erle’s the only one I got.”
I inhaled and exhaled, tried to tap into my Mohave desert well of sympathy and patience. Nada. “You mean other than Buzz, right? He came over every once in a while, too.”
The color drained from Sheila’s face. In an instant, I regretted taking my disgust for Erle and the stupidity of my cop who initially arrested Erle out on Sheila. My cop failed to secure the full DNA evidence required to establish Erle as the exclusive feeder veeri on Sheila. Thankfully, the jury ignored this little factoid after I earned their trust. The cop could be dealt with later. Erle could thank me later too since as I listened to his weepy jail calls to Sheila. At least I didn’t ask for a true death sentence.
Sheila threw another hate-filled glare at me. She opened her mouth before closing it again, clenching her jaw. I waited for more insults. Nothing. Instead, she pinched the bridge of her nose with her eyes closed. Then, she dropped her hand and began muttering something. Her tone scathing. Uh-oh.
Chanting. The air shifted and gave momentum to my growing unease.
Should I run? That seemed like an overreaction. Besides, this skirt wasn’t broken in yet.
A purple ball of smoke formed in Sheila’s open palm.
Sheila’s eyes opened for a split second. Something in my reaction caused her to snicker and she closed them again.
Fuck. Time to blow this paranormal popsicle stand. Party’s over. Spikes of adrenaline began pumping through my veins. But I couldn’t move my legs. An invisible block of ice locked me into place.
The courtroom’s white marbled floors rumbled. The teal vines of electricity climbing up the quartz columns rippled like water splashing. The walls vibrated. She wouldn’t kill me, would she? With a witness here? Not unless she took both Chuck and me out. The ball in Sheila’s hand continued to expand into an amethyst-colored bowling ball.
Nothing came out when I tried to scream for Chuck.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Chuck racing towards us while raising his staff. The bottom tip began emitting red light. The hairs on the back of my neck rose.
“Stop at once. This is a court of law.” Chuck yelled, his arms outstretched.
Sheila opened her eyes and threw a furtive glance at me. Then Chuck. A spark of unabashed delight in her stare made me nauseous.
I heard her next words loud and clear. “Brotos mojor…”
The courtroom doors burst open from a gust of wind.
“Defender iusitia.” Chuck said with authority, but his words only seemed to hasten Sheila’s plans.
She hurled a purple missile at me and bolted. I shielded myself with my arms and braced for an impact. At least I’d die a courtroom victor, but would anyone water my plants? I can’t be killed wearing my lucky underwear, can I?
The sound of two fighter jets colliding made me look up.
I was still alive.
A red flame streaked above me. The purple projectile, misdirected and off course, smashed into the wall, melting. Chuck’s intervention was successful.
I breathed a sigh of relief. The dust from the building’s settling sprinkled on my black suit into my auburn hair. Looking around, Sheila was nowhere to be found. She must have escaped through a crack in the door before Chuck could lock it down. Mind-reading didn’t strike me as so bad when it came to escaping. I started to return to counsel table.
“Get down,” Chuck yelled. “The aftershock—”
Too late. An invisible ripple with the force of a commuter train crashed into me. The last thing I remembered was flying through the air. The back of my head smacked against solid marble. The world faded into black.
Meet Author Jane Biteme
First and foremost, Jane is a human. A sarcastic one. She's not a veeri (vampire) or a vedma (witch). Next, and much to the chagrin of family and friends, Jane takes the word “no” as a challenge. Also, Jane refuses to think the 9-5 grind as a corporate lawyer is all there is to life. In fact, that's her biggest fear: not making the most out of this life.
One day, after some soul searching and while walking her dog Cali (her favorite companion), the idea came to Jane that she should write a book about prosecuting vampires. Why not? Vampires have been running around wreaking havoc on humans for hundreds of years. With all the investigators, hunters, bounty hunters, and detectives, why no prosecutor? What happens to these vile creatures once they're caught and the mystery is solved? Also, while female protagonists in paranormal books are often bloodless, this doesn't explain why some (not all) are brainless. In Jane's humble opinion, they could portray women with a little more depth in certain legal thrillers.
Voilá. “The Paranormal Justice For All” series was born. Despite being told “no” by industry experts, Jane persisted. This is sort of a theme. She was told “it’s been done a thousand times” or “vampires are dead.” Challenge accepted. Gauntlet thrown. In the end, Jane decided the only opinion that matters is YOU, the reader.
Standing Order of “Bite Me” to: (1) promoters of the conventional way of thinking, (2) the patriarchy, (3) people who live off killing dreams or suppressing those who dare greatly (4) people who deprive other humans of dignity, and (5) those who see vulnerability as weakness.
Interview with Jane Biteme:
Hi Jane! Tell us a little about yourself.
Jane Biteme, from Boston Mass where my story takes place, I wrote a paranormal legal thriller because I love urban fantasy, but I also like legal thrillers
Tell us about your publishing journey. Did you always want to be an author?
I am a lawyer and always enjoyed writing, but when I couldn’t get any trials as a litigator and be in the courtroom, I decided to write my own case. However, I didn’t want to base any of my stories on cases so I chose to use paranormal creatures. It always sort of made me mad when I watched paranormal shows that the vampires never went to jail…I mean…I think we’d give vampires due process. So, what would happen after they’re arrested? And, the commit a lot of crimes. I decided to throw my hat in the ring and answer my own question.
For those who are new to your books, what is the story about?
My story is about a prosecutor, Sloan Reynolds, for a secret division within the Department of Justice called Extra-Mundane crimes. She is assigned to a case that really challenges her intellectually and emotionally because it involves a little boy. She has to fight the odds to take the case to trial. And, while she’s doing that, she learns about a more sinister scheme involving the veeri which are my vampires and vedma or witches. She also has a hot trial partner to deal with.
Is any part of your story or the characters based on personal experience?
I would say I tried to bring the courtroom to these books. I see a lot of female characters battling the paranormal physically, but I wanted to create a heroine that could go head to head with the paranormal and men in the courtroom like some of the badass female litigators that have inspired me. One of the strengths that women bring to the courtroom is our ability to connect our feminine energy and nurturing energy with victims. SO that’s what inspired me. Women are always challenged because we get too emotional and in my book that’s sort of what gives my character strength
Name a few of your favorite authors or books.
My favorite authors are Charlaine Harris, Chloe Neill, James Butcher, Anne Bishop, J.R. Ward, John Grisham (obviously) and the god of legal thrillers Scott Turow.
Where can our readers find you? (Social media, website, etc.)
I can be found on janebiteme.com, I’m on Instagram, and facebook.
Thanks for chatting with us today!