BLOG TOUR and Giveaway: The Assassin and the Libertine
The fate of France itself is at stake if these sworn enemies cannot change their ways—and their hearts. Daphne de Duras is a proper French duchess by day and fledgling assassin by night. Her latest mission is to dispatch justice and protect the French aristocracy by executing Étienne de Noailles, disgraced former noble, legendary rake, and vampire emissary to the court of King Louis XV. But Étienne’s alleged crime—the gruesome murder of Madame de Pompadour, the King’s mistress and Daphne's friend—doesn’t quite fit the dashing vampire’s nature. With his immortal days suddenly numbered, Étienne needs to convince his would-be executioner not only of his innocence, but that they should hunt the real killer together—a challenge almost as difficult as convincing himself that he isn’t falling for her. Daphne reluctantly agrees to a temporary partnership when Étienne persuades her that something more sinister is afoot. He can, after all, help her find answers in places she’s unable to go alone. And despite her deep loathing for any and all vampires, she can't help but start thinking of a few other places she'd like to go with him. ASIN: B09BQ51FGZ Publisher: City Owl Press: Mystic Owl (October 14, 2021) Publication date: October 14, 2021 Language: English Print length: 263 pages Check it out on Amazon: http://mybook.to/TAATL Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58722474-the-assassin-and-the-libertine
Nearly jogging, Daphne and I made a sharp right down a narrow street. Only one window at the end of the street flickered with candlelight, casting a dim pool of dingy amber on a stone wall. A dead end. Merde.
I pushed Daphne behind me and faced the men. Two would be no problem. Three would be troublesome. I could smell their newly turned blood, which meant I had the advantage of increased speed and strength. They would probably fight recklessly, as most new vampires did, which made them dangerously unpredictable. I leaned casually on my walking stick, affecting an air of nonchalance.
“Mes amis,” I began, silk in my tone. “Surely you don’t want to fight me for this old slip of a thing? She’s an aging widow, too wizened to survive more than one bite in an evening. Come, take my advice—there are far better meals wandering around tonight.”
“But she’s already right here,” one of them said. “That’s dead convenient.”
The three guffawed uproariously at the wordplay.
I sighed. “So, you aim to take her from me?”
“If you’re too selfish to share, then we’ll have to teach you some manners,” the drunkest said. “Some brotherly love, if you will.”
One of them lunged at me. I sidestepped his charge and tripped him with my walking stick. Before I could turn to him, the other two were upon me. One punched my stomach, and the air left me. I doubled over with a wheeze. The other grabbed my hair and hauled me up, landing a punch on my jaw. I whirled around and grabbed one man’s arm, breaking it easily. He screamed and fell to the ground. The second aimed another blow at my face, but I saw it coming and ducked. His fist smashed into the stone wall behind me and he shrieked. He got back up but froze, stunned by something behind us.
I turned to see Daphne pirouetting gracefully away from the first vampire, then bringing her fist up to smash him squarely in the nose. He grunted with the impact but reached out again, trying to grab the blonde curls that had come undone from beneath her hood. She leaned back, using his momentum against him, and dodged out of the way while he fell forward. Then, with a speed that rivaled any vampire I’d encountered, she jumped onto his back, yanked one arm behind him and bent it upward in an immobilizing hold. She flicked her empty wrist, and a thin wooden stake slid from her sleeve into her palm. She held it threateningly above the prone vampire’s back—exactly above his heart. The whole fight was over in a matter of seconds.
“Enough!” she yelled. “Étienne, are you all right?”
Fierce energy rolled off her crouched form. I’d never desired another woman more.
“You!” She jutted her chin at the man standing next to me. He cradled his broken hand and looked at her fearfully.
“Pick up your friend with the broken arm over there and go now,or this one is dust.”
She started to slowly sink the wooden stiletto into the vampire’s flesh, and he yelled a stream of profanities that shocked even me.
They scrambled down the street at a dead run, not daring to look back.
“Now,” she said to the man. “My friend and I have some questions, and I think you’re in an excellent position to answer.”
“Get drained,” he growled.
Daphne tsked and twisted the stake in farther. The man howled in pain.
“First question: What do you know of Madame de Pompadour?”
“The king’s mistress. The rumors say that she was killed by your kind.”
“I don’t know anything about that!” The man screamed again. Tendrils of smoke began to curl from his wound.
“No? Because we followed the trail of a bleeder to an address around here. Rue des Oubliés. What do you know of it?” Daphne leaned on the man’s arm.
“It’s nearby, but no one goes there!” he shouted. “Please, release me. It burns--putain de merde--it burns!”
“Why does no one go there?” she demanded.
“Ease up, and I’ll tell you. I swear, I’ll tell you,” he gritted out. By the look on his face, he seemed close to passing out.
She lessened the pressure on his arm and slid the stake partway out. The man panted.
“No one goes there because it’s haunted,” he gasped.
Daphne leaned forward again and hissed at him. “Do you think I’m stupid? Haunted? There’s no such thing.”
“Just like there’s no such things as vampires?” he wheezed with a laugh. “Look, lady, I don’t know if it’s real ghosts or not. People don’t go there because they say it’s haunted. Strange noises. Awful smells. Unnatural darkness. It’s a bad place.”
“How do we get there?”
“Three blocks down, then turn right. You’ll know it when you come to it.”
Daphne released the man’s arm and pulled the stake from his back. Brandishing it in front of her, she stood and took her pistol out and held it aloft for good measure. The man got to his feet slowly, threw a curse at the both of us and hobbled away. As he turned the corner to the street, I heard him mutter.
“May the ghosts take you.”
Love the Les Dames Dangereuses series and want to stay up to date on Lily Riley's next release? Follow Lily on Amazon here: author.to/LilyRiley or check out her website: https://www.authorlilyriley.com/
Review from Publisher's Weekly: Scandal, seduction, and supernatural secrets animate Riley’s deliciously decadent debut and Les Dames Dangereuses series launch. In 1765, a blood plague is spreading among the Parisian poor, turning them into vampires. For many, it’s a better fate than starvation as a human. As one of few courtiers infected, “legendary rake” Étienne de Noailles is appointed the vampire emissary to His Majesty. Though he tries to advocate for vampire rights, he’s treated as little more than a threat and a lust object at Versailles. Read more here>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lily Riley is a romance novelist currently focused on historical paranormal books that feature a little bit of cheek and a lot of steam. Her debut novel, The Assassin and the Libertine, publishing under the Mystic Owl imprint of City Owl Press, comes out October 14, 2021. When Lily isn’t writing about dreamy supernatural beings in 18th century France, she enjoys sipping champagne, eating cake, and dancing naked by the light of the full moon. Find more about her at her website: https://www.authorlilyriley.com/ or on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, and Goodreads.