A supernatural war is brewing in New Orleans, threatening to expose the existence of vampires, werewolves, and Gatekeepers to the wider world . . .
Ritually staked and hidden for two hundred years, Juliette de Grammont, voodoo priestess and vampire, is found and revived. Just days after she is freed, still coping with a world she could never have imagined, she loses her sire and vampire coven in a fire. Confused and alone, Juliette seeks the help of the city’s powerful Grand Master, but dark elements within the city are conspiring to topple that regime. Soon Juliette’s struggle for survival places her in the middle of a supernatural war for control of the city.
Josh Bouchard, former Texas Ranger now vampire and coven lieutenant, is drawn into the conflict and appoints himself Juliette’s protector over her objections. They must enlist the help of both the city’s werewolf pack and the Gatekeepers—a shadowy group dedicated to keeping the paranormal world secret from humans—to forge a coalition to save New Orleans from the powers that seek to destroy it.
After traveling extensively with wanderlust struck parents, Tracie Provost settled down to small town life in rural Georgia. There she teaches history at a small university and writes to keep her cats in the luxury to which they have become accustomed.
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.51(d)|
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IN MY DREAM I heard voices. One sounded masculine, familiar, while the other was higher, the voice of a boy not yet mature. It was pleasant to hear things that were not the howl of the wind, the lash of the storm.
"Juliette, my beautiful Juliette ..."
And then I felt a pain like no other as the stake was pulled from my heart.
The hunger rose in me.
So weak, so terribly hungry.
Opening my eyes, I fought to focus them as someone lifted me into a sitting position. I hissed my need as I turned my head toward my savior. My fangs descended. My vision cleared. The metallic scent of fresh blood caressed my senses.
A very young, white man stood close to me in the dim light. He held his bleeding wrist out, saying, "Mistress, I am a gift for you. I am here to serve you."
His words had barely left his lips when my mouth latched onto his proffered arm. The sweetness of untried youth filled my mouth. I heard a moan but was unsure whether it had come from me or the boy. I was stronger now, more in control — or so I thought. The boy wobbled. I put my arm around his waist and drew him closer.
Wanting his blood faster than his wrist could provide, I looked at his long neck. The slow, rhythmic thump of his heart beat in his throat like a siren's song. I raised my lips from his wrist and used my tongue to close his wound. I drew his unresisting body onto my lap. His face was angelic; my mouth descended, and my fangs pierced soft, white flesh. The warmth of his blood delighted me. Like the sweetness of cherries at the height of summer.
I drank, and I drank, and I drank.
I knew I should stop. Killing is wrong. Killing leads to questions. Still, I drank.
The boy stopped moaning or even moving. His essence filled me and gave me strength. I felt his pulse slow and waver under my lips. As his heart gave its last beat, I ripped my lips from his throat in horror.
Mon Dieu! I have killed the boy.
I pushed the boy from my lap and stood abruptly. I wobbled a bit on unsteady legs. How long have I been in my enforced sleep? Where am I? This was not our bedroom in Andre's house. I looked around: stone floors and walls, waist-high biers. How cliché. After staking me, the Hunters had placed me in a crypt. Not the Grammont Crypt; it was not this large. Perhaps this was a different crypt in the St. Louis Cemetery, although I could not recall any of this size. Have I been moved from New Orleans altogether?
"My sweet," the masculine voice said as he placed a hand on my shoulder. "I am sure you have many questions, but we should leave."
The voice from my dream. Andre, my sire. I recognized it now and turned to him.
I nodded, still a bit disoriented. "What about the boy? Will he be missed?"
Andre's lips curled into a smile. "Always the worrier, concerned for the cattle. Don't be. The boy was for you, as he said. A sacrifice, if you will."
I flinched. I had never heard Andre refer to humans so callously. Nor had he ever denigrated the retention of my humanity. I wondered where his had gone.
I bent to pick up the boy and place him on the bier I had vacated. With my strength, the boy weighed almost nothing.
"Leave him, Juliette. He is unimportant."
I ignored my sire. I placed the body gently on the stone platform, crossing the boy's arms over his chest.
"Juliette ..." Andre's voice was laced with impatience.
"He deserves my respect, Andre. I will not just leave him in a heap." The boy's death worried me. Even as a newly turned vampire, I had never killed while feeding. One of the cardinal rules of vampire culture was to leave no evidence of our existence. I suspected that I had long lain in this tomb, so the discovery of his drained body was unlikely. But someone might miss him. He was too well fed and clean to be an urchin. His clothing was odd. I had never seen britches like these, and the fabric was unfamiliar. A shirt with no buttons or laces?
How much time had passed?
I said a quick prayer over the body. When I finished, I turned back toward Andre. He glowered at me. "You are too soft-hearted, Juliette. It will not serve you well in this era. Come. I dislike the dankness of this place."
I followed without comment as he led me out of the crypt. Andre pushed the heavy, bronze doors open, and I stepped into the humid night air.
"Where are we?" I asked as Andre took my arm and led me through the maze of mausoleums and graves. None of this looked familiar to me.
"We are in Metairie Cemetery."
"Metairie? We are no longer in New Orleans?"
"Actually we are still in New Orleans, but the city is much bigger than what you remember."
"Andre, how long have I been gone?" I heard the panic in my voice.
He stopped and turned to face me. Because I was barefoot, I had to look up at him. Gently he caressed my cheek. "You have been gone a long time, my sweet." He hesitated, and then said, "You have been in torpor for nearly two hundred and twelve years."
I staggered, but he caught my arm, steadying me.
Two hundred and twelve years? Torpor was the vampire body's mechanism for dealing with great strain. I had a vague memory of grappling with a Hunter before he had managed to drive a stake into my heart. I shuddered.
"I am sorry, my love," Andre said. "I am a cad." Gathering me in his arms, he pulled me to him and kissed me deeply. He tasted of brandy and blood. I was soon light headed again ... but for a completely different reason. As he set me back on my feet, Andre's voice was laced with regret. "We should leave. It is unsafe here. You are weak and there is evidence that Hunters are in the city again."
I allowed him to lead me from the cemetery. I was stunned. How had I lost over two hundred years? I took no notice of my surroundings until Andre helped me into the low-slung, horseless carriage; an automobile, he called it. He fastened a harness across my chest and carefully folded my full skirts into the small passenger compartment before closing the door.
When he slid into what I assumed was the driver's seat, I said, "I do not understand any of this."
"I will explain it all in good time, my dear. Right now I need to inform our Grandmaster that, after these long years, I have finally found you."
"There is a Grandmaster now?" Before my staking, the vampire population had been too small in New Orleans to warrant a Grandmaster. After all, we were but a colony, and only three of the five covens were represented because the entire Salamand coven had been killed by Hunters.
"Is Claude the Grandmaster?" I asked. Claude Lefevre was master of the Gnome coven or at least had been. He and Frederique Deroche, Mistress of our coven, the Aether, jointly ran the city in the 1790s. Relations between the covens were amiable because there was plenty of prey. Our concerns came from the outside. Human Hunters had followed us from the Old World, determined to kill us all.
"Claude is dead. He was killed soon after the city became American. The current Grandmaster is Marc Gautier. He is, of course, Gnome," Andre sneered.
I was silent for a long time, looking out the window and trying to make sense of all that I saw. It amazed me. A raised roadway took us into the brightly lit city filled with buildings taller than I had ever seen. Once we arrived in the Vieux Carre, buildings began to look slightly more familiar, but so much had changed. The speed at which we traveled prohibited close examination, but it was obvious that little from my time remained. I felt the same trepidation I had when I first set foot in New Orleans after fleeing St. Domingue.
"Who from our coven is still here?" I asked.
"We'll discuss that later. After I present you to Grandmaster Gautier, we will go and see Frederique. She will be greatly relieved to see you." Andre exited the automobile and then came to let me out. Unable to unfasten the harness myself, Andre had to help me before extending a hand so I could exit the vehicle.
Andre led me to the front door and pushed a lighted button. Within a few moments, the door opened and a formidable man nodded to Andre. "Mr. de la Croix. I did not realize you had an appointment with Mr. Gautier tonight," the man said in English.
"I don't, but it's a matter of some urgency. Might he have time for us?" Andre asked.
"Please, come in. I will see what Sophie can do with his schedule."
We entered into a grand marble foyer. Directly in front of us, a sweeping staircase led to the second floor and reminded me of the one at L'Esperance, my childhood home. The butler gestured to an elegantly appointed sitting room to the right. I entered the room, but Andre did not follow. While pretending to examine the room, I listened in on the conversation between my lover and the servant. I understood English, and could speak it with some proficiency, but French was my mother tongue and Andre and I had been conversing in a Creole patois.
"Who is she?" the man asked.
"My childe, Juliette de Grammont. She has been missing, staked since 1797. I have been searching for her since my own return."
"Ah. I will explain this to Sophie and she can apprise the Grandmaster."
Andre entered the parlor a moment later and crossed to an elegant mahogany bar. He poured himself a glass of red wine and walked to one of
the room's many windows.
The parlor was opulent. Countless oil paintings hung below intricate crown molding. I did not recognize any of the works, but they were quality. No expense had been spared. A cream settee was flanked by two rich, wine-colored, wingback chairs. Light from the crystal chandelier glinted off the highly polished mahogany coffee table.
As my toes sank into the deep pile of the priceless Persian rug, I realized how shabby I must have looked. The dark brown of my gown hid much of the dust and dirt, but I could clearly see the mud caked along the hem, as well as the water stain reaching halfway up the skirt. I shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
I noticed a sizable hole in the bodice of my dress, and the formerly white corset, now yellow with age, was clearly visible, but even that was dirt streaked and bloodied from the young man I drank from earlier. I hoped there was no blood on my chin. When did I become such a messy eater? Probably about the same time I killed my first human.
I ran a hand through my hair and encountered a veritable rat's nest. For as long as I had lain in that crypt, rats may well have nested in my hair. I crossed my arms over my chest in an attempt to cover my torn dress as I stared daggers at Andre. He was cool and comfortable. The wine glass dangled carelessly from his elegant hand. He wore black leather pants and a crisp white shirt. He looked like the lord of the manor, while I appeared as the lowest of field slaves. The once fine velvet of my gown was crushed and matted; the delicate lace of my petticoat was in ribbons. I was not even wearing shoes. I shifted my weight again.
Andre turned to me, holding out the glass of red wine. "Here my sweet, have some wine."
He stared at me for a moment as if seeing me for the first time. His gaze traveled the length of me, twice, and then I saw him draw a breath. His patrician nose wrinkled in distaste. "You're a mess, and you smell like a wet dog. I did not think to take you somewhere to freshen up first. I am sorry. Perhaps the Grandmaster's steward can help."
Andre's musing was cut short by the entrance of a beautiful blond woman in a scandalously short dress hurrying into the room. "Monsieur de la Croix, how good it is to see you again," she said as she held out her hand. Andre shook it and said, "It is always good to see you, Sophie. May I present my long lost progeny, Juliette de Grammont. Juliette, this is Sophie La Tellier. She is the Grandmaster's steward."
My curtsy demanded that I drop my arms, but there was no help for it. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Madame La Tellier," I said in halting English.
Sophie smiled, crossed the distance between us, and took my hands in hers. Raising me from my curtsy, she kissed both of my cheeks and said, "Please, call me Sophie."
"Thank you," I said, slightly bemused by the effusive greeting.
My hands still in hers, Sophie half turned to Andre and said, "I am afraid that it may be quite a while before Mr. Gautier can see you." Then, turning to me, she asked, "Madame Grammont, would you care to come upstairs to freshen up?"
I dropped my eyes in embarrassment but nodded my head. Perhaps I could do something with myself before the audience. It was bad enough that the Grandmaster's steward had seen me so disheveled, but to present myself to the city's ruler in such a state was unthinkable.
"I'm an unthinking fool, bringing her here without any regard to her appearance. My only excuse is my excitement over finally having found her."
"I'll take good care of her, Monsieur de la Croix. There is nothing to worry about." She whisked me from the room.
Sophie led me up the grand staircase to the family quarters. Once we were upstairs, she turned to me and said, "Forgive me if I overstepped back there, but I thought you might want a few minutes alone to compose your thoughts."
I smiled. "If that is the polite way to say I look a sight and would I like to repair myself before seeing the Grandmaster, you are correct."
Sophie laughed. "I know any lady of your stature would be uncomfortable appearing in public in anything less than your best. Monsieur de la Croix might not think of such things, but it is my job to. Come, we will go to my suite and make you feel like yourself again."
I found myself liking Sophie. There was no trace of condescension in her voice about my appearance. She led me through a maze-like series of corridors. Expensive paintings periodically dotted the walls. Finally Sophie paused and pulled a keychain from her pocket. She unlocked the door and ushered me inside. I stepped into an elegantly appointed sitting room decorated in cream and navy blue. An overstuffed settee sat in front of an unlit fireplace. It was flanked by two comfortable looking chairs. The floor was covered by a light Persian rug. I skirted the carpet as I entered the room, careful not to place my dirty feet on it.
"Don't worry about the rug. It has had much worse than a little mud tracked over it," Sophie said when she noticed my hesitation. "Come through to the bathroom."
She led me through a bedroom and into another good-sized room. One wall was dominated by a long counter with dozens of small bottles of various shapes and sizes. Above the counter was a large mirror. A grand tub with a glass door next to it was along another wall. At least I assumed it was a tub; I had never seen one so large. Doors dotted the remaining wall.
Sophie walked to one of these doors and opened it. Drawing out several thick blue towels, she placed them on the counter. "Here are some fresh towels. Please make use of any combs, brushes, lotions, or other toiletries you can find in here. I will have some refreshments brought up and see if I have something to repair your bodice with."
So marveled at the brilliance of a built-in closet, I nearly forgot my manners. "Thank you. I do not wish to be any trouble."
"You aren't," she promised. Sophie turned to leave but thought better of it. "I nearly forgot that you have never used a modern bathroom."
She walked to the counter and I noticed an inset basin with a spout and two handles above it. Sophie turned one of the knobs and water poured from the faucet. She turned it the other way and the flow stopped. "Right knob is cold water and left is hot. If you find straight hot too unpleasant, just turn the right knob a bit. The hot and cold will mix automatically."
"This is wonderful," I said, more than slightly in awe.
Sophie laughed. "Modern conveniences make life much easier now. Everything from electric lights to indoor plumbing. There will be many things for you to explore and learn. I will leave you for a few minutes, but just call if you need anything. I will just be in the next room." With that, she left, pulling the door shut behind her.
I walked to the mirror and saw that I looked as bad as I had expected. The creature staring back at me was gaunt and gray with matted hair and tattered clothes. Grimacing, I set about making myself more presentable. I had washed the grime from all visible skin and was trying to drag a comb through my hair when Sophie returned bearing a tray holding a wine glass and a decanter.
"I thought you might be hungry," she said as she poured thick, red liquid from the decanter into the glass.
Excerpted from "Under the Blood Moon"
Copyright © 2017 Tracie Provost.
Excerpted by permission of BelleBooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The idea and basic world building were good, and the story was a good idea. Unfortunately the characters seriously fell short. My biggest issue was with the lead. There were too many problems with this character. Starting with she was in a vampiric coma for over 200 years. She went to sleep in 1797 and woke up in 2016 but had no real issues adjusting. She got right in a car without freaking out, walked into a house with electricity without reaction, did not marvel at the indoor plumbing of a modern bathroom at all. Even when those things were thrown at her within moments of awakening. She was able to quickly learn how to use a home alarm system, watch TV, and most incredibly use a smart phone. None of that made any sense. She should’ve been shell shocked and struggled with modern amenities. Also her lover was cold, but she barely brushed the subject. When she went to sleep they were madly in love, and when she woke up he avoided spending time with her and never initiated physical contact. Where was her hurt? Outrage? Need for an explanation? Also she is a woman of color. Her father was white, her mother was free but born of a slave and plantation owner. She herself was a plantation owner. Her physical description and the image used on the book cover are of a woman who is clearly of African descent. America never had a class of people between black and white, like the french did. New Orleans now being American changes the way she moves through the world. Also she mentioned owning slaves, and the free blacks and mulattos of the city in the 1790′s too casually. There needed to be a moment where this was discussed. Also the freedom’s she now has as a woman were sort of touched on, but only in relation to dating. Basically either the author should’ve dealt with these matters, or kept her the same “age” but had her been asleep for a couple of decades, not centuries. Especially since by the timeline she would’ve been a vampire for less than a decade before her sleep. So she wouldn’t have experienced much of life outside of human prejudices for very long if at all. Josh was cool. But I didn’t get what he liked so much about Juliette. He was a ladies man and fickle. All of their interactions were regular, nothing that should’ve inspired him to want to settle down. And she should’ve still been in love with her ex. The story took place over a 2 full moons, a little more than a month passed. Hardly enough time for her to have moved on. There should’ve been a conversation where each explained what they liked so much about the other. The other “good guys” were ok. I liked Jaime and Sophie her new girlfriends. And all of the Gautiers were cool. But we didn’t get to see much of their personalities, and honestly they were easily interchangeable. Finally the bad guys were too much of an afterthought. I realize the ending required some vagueness. But the head bad guy was an old foe. She should’ve appeared sooner and there should’ve been better confrontations. She came across as a jealous mean girl. However statements made and they could’ve to make her a well rounded person. She was a former slave who lost the man she loved to a stuck up. light skinned, slave owner. Her bitterness was probably justified. We never got an inkling as to what her motivation truly was (just speculation by characters not in on her plot at all) and considering the ramifications of her actions it would’ve been nice. This is a series with potential, but a lot of work needs to
I was happily surprised by this novel. As a non-vampire reader, I expected to feel a bit like an outsider looking in on somebody else’s party where everyone else got the punch lines and I didn’t. Plus, this is the first novel for Tracie Provost and I expected to see that reflected in the work. This author blew those expectations away. Under the Blood Moon is thoroughly entertaining. I was so captivated almost from the beginning that I had to set a timer to stop myself from devouring this novel in one sitting. If the second book of The Moon series had been available, I’d be reading it now. It’s that good. This is the enchantment I want to find in every novel. The story begins with Juliette, the protagonist, a vampire, being awakened from a centuries’ long sleep forced on her by an enemy. The city she once knew, New Orleans, had changed so that she described it in terms of those changes, including changes to vampire culture, with fresh eyes. While her immediate survival needs are met, her comfort needs are not. She is presented in a weak and disheveled condition to a distinguished authority and has my immediate sympathy. The beginnings of a power war in the vampire political hierarchy are subtly introduced along with strangers who will become allies and one who will become her lover. The characters are all well-drawn, interesting and either genuinely likable or detestable. The love interest is delicious, as he should be, and the romance scenes are both passionate and suitable for the YA market. The story pace is engaging throughout with no dull patches, yet includes moments of character introspection where the reader can catch a breath. Settings are well-drawn from Juliette’s point of view, richly varied throughout the city, and appropriate to the action of each scene. The writing voice is confident. Endings are particularly difficult and even more so with a novel that is the first of a series. The romance line of this novel feels settled and satisfying. Other plot lines involving political power struggles will continue in the next book and undoubtedly through the series. Still, what is here feels rushed, as if either this novel needed to be longer or these scenes needed to be held to the sequel. Overall quality of this novel earns five stars. Vampire fans and novices alike will enjoy this story. I look forward to the sequel.
This is the first book in a new series titled Under the Moon. This is the first book I have read by this author, and TBH, I’m not sure she has written anything else. I admit that at first after starting this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. However, before long I was very engrossed in the story so much so I looked up at the clock at one point and a whole hour had passed feeling like only a few minutes. Juliette was a very intriguing protagonist, someone from the past who was smart enough to figure out how to do deal with the present, with a few bumps along the way. I also really liked Sophie from the beginning; she was a great foil for Juliette. The other characters weren’t quite as fleshed out, but I did like them. On to the plot, it wasn’t really complex, but enough of one that it didn’t feel too simple, if that makes sense. After the initial unsure feeling, I enjoyed the book quite a bit, and I can’t wait to read more in this series! If you like urban fantasy, give this one a try! Highly recommend! Thanks to NetGalley and Bell Bridge Books for the e-book which I voluntarily reviewed.