The City Beneath
Night Blood # 1
by Melody Johnson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Releasing April 28, 2015
As a journalist, Cassidy DiRocco thought she had seen every depraved thing New York City’s underbelly had to offer. But while covering what appears to be a vicious animal attack, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed. Her exposé makes her the target of the handsome yet brutal Dominic Lysander, the Master Vampire of New York City, who has no problem silencing her to keep his coven’s secrets safe…
But Dominic offers Cassidy another option: ally. He reveals she is a night blood, a being with powers of her own, including the ability to become a vampire. As the body count escalates, Cassidy is caught in the middle of a vampire rebellion. Dominic insists she can help him stop the coming war, but wary of his intentions, Cassidy enlists the help of the charming Ian Walker, a fellow night blood. As the battle between vampires takes over the city, Cassidy will have to tap into her newfound powers and decide where to place her trust…
I enjoyed this book and the series looks to be a good one. I wish it had some romance or sex or something more than just the possibility of it, it was not a romance. The lack of any romantic aspects could be because no one trusted each other and with good reason too. This book has me torn but the fact that I kept reading to see what happens was enough for me to give it the score I did.
*Review copy provided by Kensington in exchange for an honest review.
The scar was thin and pink, and it puckered slightly. It tore through his lower lip in a downward pull, and continued diagonally over his chin where it disappeared into the wreckage of his burned flesh. A paramedic finally jogged to us from around the block, but I didn’t recognize him. He was tall and lanky and very young looking—even younger looking than Nathan, which was hard to accomplish—but thanks to Nathan, I knew all too well that young looking didn’t translate to incapable.
As the paramedic approached, he absorbed the scene; his eyes flashed over the victim’s body and his surroundings, and eventually, his gaze locked on my hand holding the victim’s elbow. I resisted the urge to pull my hand away.
“Detective Wahl said you called in a burn victim.” The paramedic snapped on a pair of latex gloves.
I nodded. “Yes, that’s what it looks like.”
The paramedic knelt next to us, hovered over the victim with his ear over the man’s mouth, and trained his eyes on the man’s chest. He pressed two fingers on his charred neck. I winced. After about fifteen seconds of concentration, the paramedic straightened and sat back on his haunches.
“What the hell is this?” he asked. He didn’t make any moves toward actually opening his equipment case. “We have live victims that need tending at the main crime scene.”
I didn’t like his tone, and on a normal night, I would react with a blast of attitude. My short-person syndrome wasn’t becoming any milder through the years. If anything, turning thirty had completely eliminated my ability to tolerate most people. But this wasn’t a normal night, so I played nice and swallowed my temper.
“Yes. Greta did mention that you were busy,” I responded civilly.
“I appreciate you coming away from the main crime scene to tend to this victim.”
The paramedic shook his head. “This man’s dead. You’ve got to return to the police barrier with the rest of the media.”
The anger I’d doused flared in a sunburst. I took a deep breath against the words I wanted to say and spoke through clenched teeth, “This man is still breathing, and I’m farther behind the police barrier than any of the other reporters. I think I’ll stay where I am.”
“You know the drill, Miss . . .”
The paramedic waited for me to finish his sentence, but I just stared right back. Let him finish his own damn sentences.
He cleared his throat. “Look, I’m needed back at the scene, so if this is all you called me here for, I—”
“Are you going to help this man or not?” I finally snapped.
The paramedic stared at me like I was insane. “I told you; this man is dead.”
I blinked at him and then down at the man whose elbow I was still holding. After a moment of silence, I heard it—a faint rattling exhale from a man who didn’t have a nose to exhale with anymore. I shook my head. “He’s been making noises. He’s struggling to breathe.”
The paramedic crouched to listen again with his ear over the man’s mouth. He placed his index and middle fingers over the man’s raw neck for a second time, but after another fifteen seconds of concentration, the paramedic shook his head.
“The man is dead. He’s probably been dead since before you found him.”
“No, I’ve heard the noises. It’s like a strained exhale that—”
The paramedic straightened away from the victim and placed his hand on my shoulder. “They do that sometimes.”
I narrowed my eyes on his hand, and he pulled away.
“This man does not have a pulse,” he said, sounding defensive. “He’s dead.”
A rattle hissed from the man’s chest again, louder than before. He didn’t sound dead. He sounded in pain.
“Listen, I’ve got to get back to the scene, and I suggest you do the same before the police extend their boundaries and catch you tampering with their evidence.”
I pursed my lips. “No problem. Where do we take him?”
“We’re saving cleanup for the day shift,” he said, already walking away. “We’ve got to get the wounded to medical as fast as possible, which means leaving the bodies for later, once the police finish processing the scene.”
“Wonderful,” I muttered, not appeased in the least. My story needed to be submitted by midnight; I had less than two hours until the paper was put to bed. It felt wrong to just leave, but deadlines were deadlines. I squeezed the man’s elbow gently before letting go.
I hoped the paramedic was right. I hoped the man was dead long before I stumbled upon him, and that he’d found a better place than this.
Melody Johnson is the author of the Night Blood series. She graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology. While still earning her degree, she worked as an editing intern for Wahida Clark Presents Publishing. She was a copyeditor for several novels, including Cheetah by Missy Jackson; Trust No Man II by Cash; and Karma with a Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne. Book #1 of the Night Blood series, The City Beneath, is her debut novel. When she isn’t writing, Melody can be found hiking the many woodsy trails in her Pennsylvania hometown or sunning and swimming at the beach. You can learn more about Melody and her work at melodymay.blog.com, Facebook and Twitter.
($25.00 eGift Card to Choice Book Seller and Three iBook Copies of THE CITY BENEATH)