#TyOnTuesday – The Belladonna Agency Begins with Turned by Virna DePaul
Welcome to #TyOnTuesday – every Tuesday stop by for a snippet of Virna DePaul’s new release, TURNED on sale 4/1/2014 –
About the book:
Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.
Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.
But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.
Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.
When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.
Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?
Intro from the author – here’s Virna DePaul:
Turned, the first book in my Belladonna Agency Series with Random House, opens with a scene that introduces readers to Ty Duncan, a special agent with the FBI who was forcibly turned by vampires six months before. At the time he was attacked, Ty, like most of the world, had no idea vampires actually existed. The same wasn’t true for the FBI, however. In fact, the FBI had already known about vampires for several years and had already started a secret Turning Program, one in which human military vets were voluntary turned. So how was the FBI going to deal with the out of control vampires that were attacking humans and threatening to alert the general population of their existence? That’s where the Belladonna Agency comes in.
In Turned, Ty must recruit Eliana Garcia, aka Ana Martin, a former gang member, to infiltrate a suspected blood slave cult. Unfortunately, Ty is still adjusting to the fact that he’s no longer fully human. He grieves the family he’s lost and he fears the monster that he’s become. He’s certainly not looking to fall in love with anyone, let alone a woman with a past as dark as his own future. Of course, by the time the story ends, Ty accepts his life is still worth living…so long as he has Ana by his side.
I love the themes that are explored in Turned and in Book 2, Awakened. They are the same types of themes explored by shows like The Walking Dead. What kind of risks are humans willing to take versus what will they do to gain the upper hand? How does one maintain compassion and humanity while also doing whatever it takes to survive? How can a man who has darkness and ugliness inside him learn to find light and beauty, not just in the world but in himself again?
These are all dilemmas Ty must deal with, and he does—if I say so myself—with no small amount of angst, but also with bravery and a big ol’ healthy dose of sexy! Please join me every Tuesday between now and April 1 to get deeper insight into my hero, Ty Duncan.
And now, the Prologue – enjoy!
He woke to the ugly whine of a power tool.
Bright lights and shadowy figures hovered above him. His body seemed paralyzed. His mind numb. Caught in that ethereal place between dream and reality.
Still, there was the faintest feeling of unease.
Mental pictures of being with three others—his sister Naomi, Peter Lancaster, and Ben Porter. They’d been on their way to see a movie after work and had been stopped by a group of men. Men who’d turned on them.
Killed them . . .
The sound of the power tool—was it a saw?—grew louder. Sinister.
A scream echoed in the distance, followed by broken pleas for mercy.
So he wasn’t dreaming but rather having a night-mare.
No matter. He’d lived with plenty of those, too. It would end soon, though he had to admit—this one seemed particularly brutal.
“He’s coming to,” a distant voice murmured, but Ty’s vision remained blurred. “Should we keep going?”
Another voice answered, but it was muffled. Unclear. Even though Ty couldn’t decipher the words spoken, he heard the authority behind them.
Then it happened . . . Numbness fled. He felt again.
He hurt. More than he’d ever thought possible.
Was he sick? Had he been in an accident? Was that why he kept imagining Naomi screaming and covered in blood? Not just her blood, but his, too.
That must be it, he thought desperately.
He was in the hospital, maybe even in an operating room. They thought they’d given him enough to put him under, but they hadn’t. Given how heavily he slept, it was ironic that it took a boatload of drugs to put him out for any length of time; he’d woken up during medical procedures too many times to count.
Pain radiated throughout his body. He was made of agony—excruciating, white-hot misery. It wasn’t just his hollow stomach and aching gums and parched throat. His bones were wickedly sharp knives piercing his organs and sawing through his skin. And just when he thought the pain had reached its peak, someone—or something—poked him or cut him or ripped at him, proving he was wrong and making him scream even as he prayed for death.
Help me, he thought. They don’t know I’m awake but I am. Can’t they see my eyes are open? Can’t they hear my screams?
But as more and more time passed, he realized they could hear his screams. And they didn’t care.
He wasn’t dreaming.
He wasn’t in a hospital being operated on.
He was a prisoner. And saving him was the last thing his captors were interested in.
So, unfortunately, was killing him.
Special Agent Ty Duncan’s eyes flew open just as a shrill ringing pierced his eardrums. Blinking wildly, he took several seconds to realize the sound wasn’t coming from a surgical saw. Nor was it the pitiful screeches of men and women in agonizing pain. It was his phone.
His fucking phone.
But the nightmare—no, the memories of his captivity had left him trembling and sweating, gasping for air, barely able to move. His heart slammed against his chest so hard he felt bruised and his stomach roiled with nausea.
It was as if his caller knew what he was going through because the phone just kept ringing.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
When Ty could finally breathe and move again, he picked up his cell. “I’m here.”
“Surveillance is a go,” his new boss, Carly, stated. “We’ve set you up next door with all the equipment you’ll need. You fly to Seattle tonight. You ready?”
“I’ve been ready,” he pointed out, his gaze auto matically drifting to the open files scattered around the room. He didn’t need to see her picture to visualize his mark’s face.
Eliana Garcia, aka Ana Martin.
Former Primos Sangre gang member. Sister to Gloria. A female with long glossy dark hair and large dark eyes, her beauty straddling the line between ingenue and seductress, tempting a man to alternately protect and challenge her even as the ugly scar on her face warned him not to try.
The woman who just might be able to get them where they needed to go.
Soon he’d have more than her photographs to look at. He’d meet her. Talk with her.
He’d do whatever it took to bring her in. He’d do his job.
It was all he had left thanks to the vampires who had captured and tortured him.
It was all he had left now that he was no longer human himself.
After a few more perfunctory instructions from Carly, Ty ended the call. Then he couldn’t help it. He’d memorized Ana’s face but . . .
He found his favorite photograph of her, the one in which she was almost smiling. The promise of that smile was as intoxicating as it was frustrating. Next to seeing her smile outright, there were only two things he wanted more.
To fuck her. Hard.
And to drink her blood while he was doing it.
He slapped the photograph facedown on the table. He was shaking. Shaking with need for a woman he’d never even met. A woman whose past should have repelled him. Instead, he’d been inexplicably drawn to her since the moment he’d first seen her photograph, and now that he’d gotten the green light to go to her, the dark images from his nightmare had been replaced with unshakeable fantasies of taking her and sucking her blood. It wasn’t going to happen. He couldn’t feed from her.
Couldn’t fuck her.
No, it was more than that—he wouldn’t.
Six months ago, he’d been turned into a vampire. Afterward he’d been tortured. First by the vampires who seemed determined to test his immortality and his tolerance to pain. Second by his own body. Anytime his captors left him alone, he’d craved blood and sex. Lusting after them to the point where it was all he could think of. All he was interested in. Eventually, his overwhelming hunger had waned. Now he had a strict abstinence policy. No human blood. No sex other than with his own fist. It was the only way to be sure he wouldn’t sink to the depths he had before.
If only he knew more about being a vampire. How to be a vampire. How to stop being one. All he knew was what the FBI had told him.
Vampires were born. They breathed and they had heartbeats. They very much lived, but they lived in secret, interacting with most humans without giving away what they really were. When they’d been discovered years before, vampire leaders had assured the FBI they were no threat. While they drank human blood, they only drank from a small group of humans who knew what they were and whose ancestors had volunteered for the job for centuries. Moreover, turning humans into vampires, while technically possible, was forbidden as a matter of vampire law and morality. In the end, the FBI had decided it was in everyone’s best interests to keep the existence of vampires a secret.
The FBI, however, was also keeping its own secrets from vampire leaders, the major one being that it had dis- regarded vampire law by employing several vampires— now labeled “Rogues”—to turn human recruits.
Well, surprise, surprise. Even as the Rogues had been turning human recruits in exchange for FBI favors, they’d been running their own operations behind the scenes. Maybe the FBI had suspected as much. Maybe they’d been willing to turn a blind eye to minor infractions. But after Ty, Peter, and Ben had been captured and turned, the FBI had gone into damage-control mode. No more human recruits would be turned—not until the Rogues were contained. Failing to do so would not only put the whole operation at risk, but might alert the general human population about vampires before the U.S. government was ready for that to happen.
That’s where Ty came in.
He was still a special agent with the FBI. Granted, he was being hidden away like a dirty secret, but he was an undeniable asset. Like the born vampires, Ty could move as fast as a cheetah. And like the born vampires, he was unable to tell a lie. But the animal blood that weakened born vampires was more than enough to sustain Ty, and he could survive brief contact with the sun while born vampires burned instantly upon direct contact. On the flip side, he could only occasionally read minds, while born vampires could easily and consistently do so.
Now he had one immediate task—recruit Ana Martin for Belladonna, an off-the-books agency formed by Assistant FBI Director Rick Hallifax. So off the books that the only people who knew it existed were Hallifax, his right-hand man, Special Agent Kyle Mahone, Peter, and Carly, Ty’s boss.
If things worked out the way they wanted, soon she’d be Ana’s boss, too.
About the Author:
Virna DePaul is a former criminal prosecutor and bestselling author of steamy, suspenseful fiction. Whether featuring vampires, a Para-Ops team, hot cops, or swoon-worthy identical twin brothers, her stories center around complex individuals willing to overcome incredible odds for love.