Excerpt & Giveaway: Kristen Painter’s Dead Man’s Hand


Dead Man's Hand by Kristen PainterIt’s not exactly a secret that the VBC team digs on the sexy supernatural novels. Sometimes we like ’em in single-sitting servings. That’s why the Sin City Collectors novellas are such a good fit for us. All the sexy, all the action and all the paranormal goodness we want. The latest in the series is Kristen Painter’s Dead Man’s Hand. It just came out on Tuesday, and, well, we think you’ll like it quite a bit.

So much so that we snagged an excerpt and are giving away one digital copy of the book. Here’s your taste of Dead Man’s Hand:

He tapped the envelope once on the counter, tore a strip off the short end and blew into it to open it up, then tipped the contents into his hand.

The playing card he’d been expecting slid onto his palm. It was queen of diamonds, but the queen’s portrait had been replaced by an image of a teenage girl, all hand painted and all very much in the style of famed Las Vegas artist, Javier Bares. With a frown, Ares looked into the envelope but there was no other information.

If this was his intended Collection, it would also be the first assignment he’d turned down. He studied the card. An address out in the ritzy section of Henderson and a time, less than an hour from now, were delicately painted beneath the girl’s portrait. Even though the girl was dressed like an adult, she still looked young, maybe fourteen, fifteen. A child. Shaking his head, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed.

Romero answered on the third ring. “Ares. I take it you got the card.”

“I’m not doing this Collection.”

“It’s not what you think—”

“No children. You know my rule.”

“Like I said, it’s not what you think. The kid is Dahlia Bares.” Romero rolled the R in Bares. “Javier’s fifteen year old daughter. She’s run away from home for the second time and Javier is extremely worried and very unhappy, as you can understand. You know the Boss loves Javier’s work so he offered you up to help find her.”

“I am sorry for Mr. Bares’ troubles with his daughter, but my skills don’t lie in tracking and recovery. You must have another Collector better equipped to—”

“We don’t.” Romero’s response was terse and clipped. He either thought Ares should just shut up and do the job, or he wasn’t happy with the Boss sending Ares out on such a low level task. “Everyone else is on assignment. Or about to be. The Boss wants you on this.”

Which meant there was no further discussion. Ares ground his back teeth together. This wasn’t going to be fun. “Understood.” He wasn’t going to give Romero grief over what was out of the man’s control. Ares flipped the card in his fingers. “I’ll be at the address listed at the appointed time.”

“Thank you. We expected nothing less. Javier’s assistant will fill you in on anything else you need to know when you arrive.” Romero hung up.

Ares put his phone and the playing card on the counter next to each other. Searching for this kid was going to mean dealing with not only Javier’s assistant, but also talking to supernaturals and humans. That meant full leathers to avoid accidental contact. He had less than fifty minutes to get to the address on the card by the time indicated.

Time to suit up. And on this Collection, try not to kill someone.


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