The HEA Insurance Policy
Some days, most days, I have a great deal of faith in humanity. Small wonders feed that faith, from stories about random people helping the homeless to the time someone paid for my coffee ahead of me in the drive through. I’m inspired by the good I see in the world every day.
I’m equally heartbroken by the bad. There’s a whole lot of misfortune in the world. Some days it makes us all want to hug our kids tighter, and some days it’s the little things that get us down. Things like having to sit in rush-hour traffic with a headache or the guy next to you in line at the mall who was rude.
Life doesn’t come with too many guarantees, which I suppose is why we have a booming insurance industry.
We know for certain about death and taxes, both of which are generally unpleasant. And we know for certain about the ending of a romance novel, which is generally very pleasant indeed.
Romance novels promise us a happy ever after, a happy for now, at the very least a “they’ll probably go on another date next week.” No matter what else might happen, we know when we crack one open that we’re getting the guarantee of a story that focuses on falling in love, and a guaranteed hopeful ending.
Your HEA, that’s the insurance policy of romance.
For me, when the going gets tough, the tough retreats into an imaginary world. Books are where I go to get away from all that dark and ugly. What I do to keep busy when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, or when I’m in bed with the flu. They’re my happy place, and when I go to my happy place I want the ending to be happy too.
It’s why I read romance, and why I write it.
Hunter by Night is the final book in my Chronicles of Yavn trilogy, and I had a lot of story lines left dangling when I wrote it. Most importantly, a centuries-old human-hating vampire, and a human who wanted to be anywhere except living in a vampire enclave. Those two needed a happy ending.
I think we all need happy endings. In a world full of uncertainties, the HEA in a romance novel is one of life’s few guarantees.
Hunter by Night by Elisabeth Staab
She wants out
Party girl Alexia Blackburn is only hanging around the vampire compound until her best friend—the queen—has her baby. After that, nothing is going to stop Alexia from getting back to daylight, safety, and feeling like a normal human being. But leaving the vampire world has one big catch…
He needs her to stay
Head of vampire security Lee Goram has hated and distrusted humans for centuries. Feeding on vampire blood has kept him strong…but now it’s killing him—and he’s horrified to discover that Alexia may hold the key to his cure. He’d rather die defending his king than admit his weakness, but time is running out for the great vampire warrior…
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He sat her against a bale of hay. Her clothes, soaked with blood and rain and spattered with dirt and tree sap, had seen better days. Still, after everything she’d just gone through, her dark eyes challenged him.
“Are you okay?” She nodded and brought her hand to her face, but he grabbed it preemptively. “Don’t touch. Do me a favor and look to the left.”
She complied. A deep cut across her cheek oozed steadily. Unexpectedly dark and lovely… for human blood.
Lee’s fangs thrust into his mouth. He ignored the pulsing ache in his cheeks and gums. All that life-giving fluid of hers. All… over… her. “I’m going to stop the bleeding.”
A blink and slight nod was all he got in the way of approval. She sat still, even though she probably didn’t know what he was about to do. And he didn’t explain, because around Alexia, he barely kept his will on a leash. Darkness pressed in around them, but she didn’t complain and didn’t act nervous as he pushed against her. His cheek brushed against hers as he swept his tongue over her cut. The smooth, delicious warmth of her human blood slid down his throat and deep into his gut. A throbbing need took root. Merciful heaven.
He’d dealt with his share of human fluid over the centuries. In battles, prisons… The odor pungent and reminiscent of dirty pennies. Alexia might have soft, olive skin and doe-like eyes, but he’d expected nothing more of her blood than the same astringent copper.
He sucked a deep breath and took another swallow, trailing his tongue again gently over warm, wet skin. Alexia’s blood tasted pure. Clean, with hints of all that tea and raw honey she loved to consume. Lee had never perceived anything so refreshing.
“Lexi…” Unable to say anything else, he licked from collarbone to chin, cleaning the blood from her skin. Across her jaw. More. Dear fucking God… like breathing, he wanted more.
Elisabeth is giving away one copy of HUNTER BY NIGHT
Print (US ONLY) or ebook (anyone that can receive an ebook from Amazon or B&N)
Check out what Team Stomp is talking about over at Rabid Reads with Jaye Wells.