Blood & Bone Book Four is almost here!
I’ve been teasing a follow-up novel to The Symbiotic Law for a while now. I began drafting a fourth book in the series all the way back in February 2015 but it’s been a crazy couple of years between life getting in the way and other projects cropping up to steal my attention. But I’ve really excited to say that FINALLY, finally book 4 is almost here! In fact, it looks like it might be out as early as the first week in November.
Last week I released a bonus novella that bridges some of the time between books 3 and 4 in the series, which you can pick up a copy of here: Blood & Bone 3.5 Remainders.
Book Four Cover Reveal
A Sanguine Solution picks up very soon after the end of the main events in Book 3 and will hopefully answer some questions about how Ethan and Patrick finally found their happy ending together. It also includes several familiar faces from the previous books such as Detective Sabira Mallory, as well as Vector Clanahan and Lachlan Graham who were introduced to the universe in their own trilogy, The Profane Series. A passing familiarity with The Profane Series will be make some things in A Sanguine Solution more clear, but ultimately this book is about Ethan and Patrick dealing with their evolving relationship.
Sneak Peak at A Sanguine Solution
And lastly, over the next two weeks I’ll be releasing snippets from Chapters 1 and 2 of A Sanguine Solution. Keep reading for the first of these snippets and make sure to follow me on twitter (@LiaCooperWrites), my mailing list, or here at the blog to find out as soon as Book 4 is released!
The beginning of December 2012 – Patrick
It was the way every story began: with a death, a murder, blood on the streets. Only this time there wasn’t any blood. To spill it would have been a waste.
“Why is it always a dead girl?” Detective Patrick Clanahan muttered under his breath.
The temperature had dropped down just above freezing, settling in at 33F—all thanks to the thick clouds that had blanketed the city of Seattle through the evening and after moon rise. It made the night dark, blocking out the moon and stars, what little you might have seen of them past the city lights, and turning everything a dull grey. The faces of the patrol officers taping off the crime scene were washed bone white under the cop lights.
At least it hadn’t started raining.
The victim might have looked serene, laid on on her back, head propped up on one bent arm, face relaxed even in death, but for the fact that she had been found drained of blood in the alley behind a 24 hour adult entertainment shop.
“Some sort of…hook-up gone wrong?” asked a young man in the black SPD patrolman’s uniform, glancing up at Pat.
Pat frowned at the officer’s tone and gestured for him to step aside so that he could get a closer look at the body. The body. She had been a living, breathing person just a couple hours ago and now she was a husk: drained, dead, and discarded.
He fucking hated vampires.
“I thought you went home,” Pat said over his shoulder.
Captain Jordan Augustas’s heels clicked to a stop next to him. He could just make out the distinct note of the handmade soap she favored, wafting over top the smell of dirt, oily water, and the earliest stages of decay.
“I had. But then I heard the call on the scanner.”
“You should really turn that thing off when you’re not on duty.”
She snorted. “I’m never off duty. Especially when someone drains a human and doesn’t even try to hide the body.”
“You’d rather they try?”
“I’d rather our perps didn’t work quite so hard to write the P-I’s headlines for them.”
Pat huffed under his breath. He startled when Jordan laid a heavy hand on his shoulder.
Pat stood and shrugged her off.
“That wasn’t what I was going to ask. Are you sure you have time to take this one?”
“With all due respect, sir, why the hell wouldn’t I?”
Jordan tucked both hands in the pockets of her fawn colored wool coat. “I was going to file his request in the morning, effective immediately. I was just relieved to see him take the step without the Review Board needing to be involved.”
“My—” Pat bit his lip and glanced over Jordan’s shoulder.
“The time off will be good for him. For both of you. I’d understand if you want to pass on this one.”
He knew what she had to be thinking. The way this looked. They had been here before, or close enough to leave a cold weight in his chest even now more than a year later. But it would be too easy to accept her offer and pass the buck to someone else.
“There’s no doubt this falls on my desk, Captain. I’ll handle it.” Case closed, end of story: he only hoped his tone made that clear to her.
“Fine. I’ll trust your judgment, but I just wanted to put the offer out there.”
“We’re all too busy,” Pat replied, hunching his shoulders against the icy wind rolling off the Puget Sound and down Seattle’s dark streets. “You should go home, like you were planning.” He checked the time on his phone and glanced up the street. “The Medical Examiner will be here in a few minutes and we’ll get everything processed before 9 AM.”
“Sounds good. See that you do,” Jordan said, nodding brusquely. She hesitated and said, “Drop by my office tomorrow when you have a spare minute. There’s something we should discuss,” and then left, click clicking back to her unmarked off duty car.
It always happened this way, getting called out of his bed at half past midnight to oversee the careful dismantling of death. Not that he’d been soundly sleeping before the call. A sound sleep was hard to catch these days, his mind and body too aware of the tension that gripped his mate and left the other man restless at all hours.
Ethan—Detective Ethan Ellison—had hardly left Pat’s townhouse in the weeks since the incident on board his uncle’s boat. He’d hardly slept either. These days, Pat usually found the mage tucked into a corner of his living room sofa, staring at a book for hours without turning a single page.
And he knew that he didn’t have the words to bring Ethan out of his own head. He never had the right words for anything it seemed, let alone a delicate situation like this one. Instead, Pat was reduced to watching quietly from the sidelines as his mate sank deeper and deeper into his internal maelstrom, withdrawing a little further each day.
He was pulled out of his own thoughts by the arrival of the ME, Doctor Janice Lynch, and her assistant. Lynch gave him a lingering look from head to foot—“Good morning, Detective.”—before getting down to work next to the body, measuring and scraping and indicating where she wanted a particular picture taken.
And it was just like Pat promised, they had the scene wrapped before the sun rose much past nine in the morning. Lynch drove off with the body and a weak estimate that she’d have some preliminary findings before the end of the day. Not that he needed her to tell him cause of death: the two jagged puncture marks on the victim’s neck were testament enough.
Lynch would run the bite through their fang database but he had his doubts that they’d find anything. Too many vampires and too few on record for the database to be much more than a department joke. And the science supporting the Unique Fang Theory was spotty at best. They weren’t fingerprints and the wounds often involved the kind of trauma that made accurate comparisons difficult.
He met his junior partner back at the station. Detective Sabira Mallory had a cup of coffee in either hand and a long wool coat on over her suit jacket, still buttoned against the winter chill.
“You look rather ragged,” she murmured in her clipped English—by way of two transplanted Lebanese immigrant parents—accent. “How early did you get in?”
“There was a homicide.”
“You might have rung me.”
“Figured one of us should be well-rested.”
Her eyebrows shot up her forehead. “Oh, yes, of course. Here, I brought you coffee.”
Pat took the steaming cup with a heartfelt thanks and gulped a few mouthfuls before the heat burned his mouth. He flicked his department issue computer on and logged into the system to check his email—it looked like Toby was on the ball that morning, he’d already forwarded copies of the crime scene photos to Pat’s account.
“Our victim is a twenty-two year old female, name of Jocelyn Linetti, she’s a college student at the University of Washington. Her death was reported to Dispatch by an anonymous tip from a blocked number a little past 4 AM this morning. I got the call half an hour later and arrived on the scene before five.”
Mallory suppressed a yawn while she slipped out of her winter coat and hung it from the wobbly coat rack next to their desks. He couldn’t remember when that particular rack had appeared, suspected it had been an addition brought in by Mallory herself. He’d never seen her throw a single article of clothing over the back of her chair, lest it wrinkle.
His partner sipped her coffee while her computer rumbled to life, nodding along to his description of the scene.
“No mistaking it then,” she murmured.
“I’d say so, but obviously we have to wait for Lynch’s report to confirm. Did you get the photos?”
Mallory nodded, her eyes darting over her computer screen, one hand deftly maneuvering her mouse while the other remained occupied with her coffee.
“You know, I’ve never met a vampire before,” she said.
Her dark eyebrows inched back up her forehead.
“Yes. What about the tip?”
“I’m submitting a request to the phone company. We talked to the businesses that were open when we got to the scene but so far no one’s admitting that they saw anything. Sadly, not shocking.”
“I’m amazed you found anyone hanging around to talk to at all—not at this address. You know there’s a new club about three blocks away from the scene? Did you check there?”
“How do you know that?”
“Google,” Mallory said dryly. “So did you?”
“Didn’t go that wide. You want to check it out?”
“I’ll touch base with Janice first. For confirmation. Just to make sure we’re asking the right questions. You look like you could use some sleep. Maybe you should go home for a couple of hours? I can pick you up around noon and—”
“I’m fine,” Pat interrupted. He cracked his neck and concentrated on sipping his hot coffee without burning his mouth until Mallory stopped studying him like a perp she needed to extract the truth from. “I’ll just go to bed early tonight. This was really good,” he said gesturing with his cup.
Mallory hmmed in agreement. “A new place opened in the storefront below my flat. You seem to have developed a better appreciation for good coffee lately, I thought you might enjoy it.”
“Yeah,” Pat said quietly.
His partner picked up her phone. “I’ll just call Janice. Then we can get going.”
“No one’s going to be left at a club at ten in the morning.”
“I’m sure there will be someone. Those floors don’t mop themselves.”
“Maybe at the clubs you frequent.”
Mallory smiled wanly and tucked her cell between her cheek and shoulder, grabbing their garbage to throw away while she waited for the ME to pick up the phone downstairs.
Pat tapped his fingers against the hard line of the shiny new cellphone nestled against his right thigh. When he saw Mallory turn, absorbed in whatever Lynch was saying, he slipped it out and thumbed it on to check his text messages, saying a half-prayer that there would be something from—
But there was nothing, no texts, no voicemails, no notices of any kind. Pat sighed and turned the device face down on the desk, rubbing at the tension gathered behind his dry eyes.
“Janice can confirm, it was definitely a vampire. You ready to go?”
“Yeah.” Pat grabbed his gun out of his desk drawer and holstered it under his left arm.
“You should let me drive.”
Pat opened his mouth to argue, but she cut him off with a raised finger.
“Ah, now, three and a half months working without my partner I think is enough to say I’m no longer ‘The Rookie,’ which means it’s completely reasonable that I do the driving, especially when you look like that.”
“I don’t look that bad.”
She clapped him on the shoulder. “You really do.”