What are people saying about Fang and Claw? One beta reader says, “[Markie Madden has created] an amazing world of the future. It’s interesting how [the] integration of the undead and immortals into society is really an expression of our society and what we should be doing for those who are too often seen as ‘others’. I might never have read a book about the undead if you hadn’t given me the opportunity. I think it has the potential to be an exciting book that readers will definitely get into. [You] have an incredible story and I’m eager to read the rest of it.” Another reader claims, “[Markie Madden] will be the next J.D. Robb.” An Amazon 4 star reviewer says, “You haven’t completely converted me to crime drama (still love my romance) but I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. Very good writing, could see everything clearly, clear plot, great characterization and dynamics between the characters.” Find out what all the fuss is about and get your copy today!
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The first review for Fang and Claw is now live on Amazon!
From Lisa Pruitt 9-10-15 4****
“Romance reader here. Never read Crime Drama. This however was a good book to read outside of my chosen genre. The writing was very in depth. Descriptions were vivid but not overdone. Characterization was great. The dynamics between the two main characters was amazing and they are definite polar opposites which makes for great reading. The plot was clear and not too hard to follow yet still held surprises. The “immortals are real, humans know about it, everyone deals with it” part of the plot was believable and the humans need to understand yet still be a little frieghtened by them was dead on. I will most assuredly be reading more of this series.”
From Thanna Avilea Setliff 10-4-2015 5*****
“Well written story of Immortal (and nearly Immortal) cops solving crimes involving other Undead (Immortals). It has a sort of Bones (t.v. series) meets J. D. Robb style of writing, minus the romance and sexual tension. After all, Colton is a Wolf and they mate for life. Lacey, the Vamp, is single for personal reasons. You can actually see Markie growing as a writer in her book. When she comes into her own, she will no doubt rival the biggest names in writing.”
From Madeline Setliff Lockhart 10-9-2015 5*****
“I have just read Fang and Claw an excellent book about crime fighting and the paranormal can’t wait for the next book I give it 5 stars!”
From Rainne 10-15-15 5*****
I loved this book, it grabbed me on the first page and didn’t let go ’til the end.
Set in a future where supernatural beings have been accepted in the human world, a unit of Immortals investigate crimes committed by other Immortal and undead creatures.
The authors portrayal of the world and the law enforcement of the future is well-written, descriptive, and entirely believable.
The characters are complex and dynamic. Lacey and Colton, the two main characters, have a complicated and tense relationship, which adds to their opposing personalities.
The story flows well and throws up a few surprises for the investigating pair, and for the reader.
By Barbara Choffi 10-19-15 5*****
The writing is excellent and I look forward to more from this author!
Colton and Lacey, one a wolf shifter, the other a vampire, begin their relationship as elite members of the newly created Undead Unit for a Texas police department. The search for a killer who leaves no trail leads to frustration and intrigue as the two become accustomed to each other. That journey is filled with bumps and potholes, and as you read, you experience the emotions that both are feeling. Colton and Lacey have intertwined pasts that threaten to destroy the working relationship. Will they be able to find the killer or will they abandon the partnership before their task is completed?
I found the details of this story mesmerizing. Experiencing the emotions of both characters draws you into their developing relationship, not to mention the fascinating details of police work…DNA evidence, filed reports, and hours of leg work that it takes to gather information.
Everything about this book will hold your attention. You are there with Colton and Lacey as they try to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. The writing is excellent and I look forward to more from this author. Well done, Ms. Madden. 5 stars.
By Under the Rainbow 10-21-15 5*****
Fang and Claw is set approximately 100 years in the future. Vampires, werewolves, shifters, zombies, and other supernatural beings have revealed themselves and integrated into human society. Two of those beings, Lacey, a vampire, and Colton, a werewolf, are police officers in the Dallas, TX Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit. The powers that be decide they need a unit dedicated to crimes committed by supernatural beings, but they don’t take into account the cultural differences between the types of supernatural beings when they appoint Lacey as the lieutenant of the new unit with Colton as her second in command. The two officers are left struggling to work together professionally when neither trusts the other. Unfortunately for them, there’s also a new criminal in town who is committing crimes that are right up their alley. Can these two good cops overcome their differences to save innocent lives? You’ll have to read to find out! 🙂
I really enjoyed this book. It was fast-paced and well-researched and the characters were interesting. I especially enjoyed how the author demonstrated how easily even innocuous actions can be misinterpreted as malicious when we refuse to look at things from another person’s point of view. The world Ms. Madden created was also really interesting, and I think the advances she imagined are well within the realm of possibility given the time frame. All-in-all, this was a really fun read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. 🙂
And, the first review from Amazon UK!
From P. A. Williams 10-7-2015 5*****
“A Rip Clawing Good Read! This is my first book by this author and I enjoyed the story from the first page until the very last. A wonderful narration and a fantastic flow as each page was turned. I literally lost track of time as my eyes were focused on the book and the exciting adventure within the pages. I will be reading more from this superb author. FIVE STAR RATING FOR A FIVE STAR AUTHOR”
From Peachy’s Insights:
“I received an ARC of “Fang and Claw” to read and review. It is scheduled for release this weekend and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
“Fang and Claw” is a paranormal suspense crime novel taking place over a hundred years in the future. Immortals have merged into mainstream society, living and working openly among humans. There still some prejudices among humans and supernaturals alike, but society is becoming more accepting of inter-species associations.
In this story Lacey, a vampire, and Colton, a werewolf, are partnered for heading up a new unit in the Dallas Police Department that specializes in crimes involving immortals. They are given a series of dissimilar crimes that both feel are related. Their investigation to link the crimes and find the perpetrator leads them to both personal and professional discoveries.
There is a lot of tension in interpersonal relationships plus police action. It is apparent the author has done a great deal research. Her depiction of law enforcement protocols is realistic. She has a good grasp of how communication technologies may evolve and the way they are utilized in this book for police investigations are believable.
The story is well written, though I did find a few typographical errors in the ARC. None of those errors made the reading difficult and were easy to interpret the meaning.
I enjoyed the book and recommend it to readers who enjoy paranormal or crime novels. I give it a five star rating for the excellent writing plus good character and plot development.
The Undead Unit Series Official Home Page
Over a hundred years in the future, it’s a world where supernatural beings (Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies, and more) live and work among humans. Of course, the government has forced them to take the Undead Oath in order to gain citizenship; they must not prey on humans for food. They’re given tasks in jobs suited for their species, but just as among other minorities, they must struggle to prove themselves.
As if dealing with racial prejudice isn’t enough, there is also a criminal element, just as there is with any group of beings living in society. The Dallas Police Department has introduced an elite new squad made up of Undead officers and detectives. This unit is dedicated to solving crimes involving Immortals. Headed by veteran lieutenant Lacey Anderson, can the Undead Unit overcome its obstacles, both internal and external, or will it be doomed to failure?
Blood Lust (Undead Unit 3)
Now available for pre-order until October 31, 2016! Check out Blood Lust, the third book in the Undead Unit series.
On the back cover: Is the man Lacey loves really a murderer?
Lacey is awakened by a chilling phone call. Her boyfriend, a Vampire, wakes alone in his home, covered in blood, with no memory of what happened. It looks like he’s violated the Undead Oath, and fed on a human.
While he’s in custody, more reports come in from all over the city. Other Vampires, covered in human blood, know nothing about what they’ve done. Lacey and her team struggle to find the person responsible for framing Vampires for murder.
Can the Undead Unit put a stop to the worst hate crime in Dallas’ history, and can Lacey overcome accusing the man she loves of homicide?
You can get Blood Lust now at these retailers:
Souls of the Reaper (The Undead Unit 2)
A rogue Reaper is on the loose in the city of Dallas. Su Xiong is a sociopath with no care for human life. He steals souls whose numbers are not yet up in order to become a more powerful Immortal.
While he’s on the prowl to gain power, his soulless victims roam the streets without morals, without inhibitions, without any code of conduct or social mores. Crime has risen tenfold: petty crimes, road rage, prostitution, drinking, and gambling. But for each soul that he captures and keeps, his own mental stability begins to degrade, a fact that Xiong is dangerously blind to.
Can Lacey and Colton, along with Doctors Matthews and Dilorenzo, find him and stop him, before the insanity inside spoils the souls he holds within?
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The Undead Unit Series Book One: Fang and Claw
Lieutenant Lacey Anderson of the Dallas Police Department is heading up a new elite squad dedicated to solving crimes involving Immortal species like herself. Lacey, a Vampire left for dead hundreds of years ago when her family was slaughtered by Werewolves, still has nightmares about the grievous ordeal.
Detective Colton Scarber is her unwilling partner and second-in-command. He’s a Werewolf, a descendant of those who killed Lacey’s coven mates, a fact unknown to Lacey, who already doesn’t trust him from the start. When the dependence of partnership is shattered, can they learn to trust one another as partners must, or will the Undead Unit be doomed to failure?
A mysterious suspect along with strange, unknown physical evidence leads them to solve a case spanning decades, and leaves Lacey with no other choice than to rely on Colton when her very life is in danger!
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The room was silent except for the occasional crackle of wood in the fireplace. She knew Aegon always preferred to burn pine; he said it had the most pleasant scent of all the available woods. She took in a deep breath, and with her heightened senses, she could smell what he meant. The pitchy odor from the sap of the softwood tree filled the small room, and the warmth of the fire gave it a welcoming feel. Spending time in this room was one of her favorite things. She sat comfortably in the low-slung wooden seat, and gazed about the tiny extension of Aegon’s home, the place where he did some of his finest work.
The room was unique from others in Athens, because of what hung on the insides of the woven grass walls. Aegon was a clothing-maker, a tailor, and there were many different projects scattered about the room in different stages of completion. He was known for making some of the most elaborate himations, cloaks that were fit for royalty to wear, but as he didn’t require much in the way of food or supplies, Aegon always kept his prices low to cater to the peasants living near him.
Several garments were laid out on low work tables, some leather, some of woven cloth, some waiting for the final touches of beads, buttons, feathers, or any number of other decorations. Her fingers itched to reach out and touch them, to examine them closer and learn how they were put together. Aegon was just now putting the finishing stitches on another himation that he had promised would be ready by dawn.
His back was to her, he was busy with a task, so she turned from her inspection of some of his pieces to ask her mentor a question about a cloak, but then she heard the noise. At first, the sound was so quiet she wasn’t quite sure what she had heard. She tilted her head, straining her hyper-sensitive hearing in case it came again. Her entire being was tense, every muscle in her predatory body primed to move at the slightest provocation. Then, it pierced the air again.
This time, she recognized the Wolf song, though she had never heard it before. Wolves were not native to the area around Athens, though they may have lived in some of the wilder, less populated areas of the country. It didn’t matter, her ingrained instincts knew what it was, and all the fine hairs on her body stood on end. A shiver, not quite controlled, ran down her spine. Aegon was still facing away from her, but she saw him tense as well. He, too, had recognized the song. Almost faster than she could see, he turned toward her.
“Stay here,” he hissed. “I’m going to find Abana!” And he left in a flash.
With her hero and mentor now gone, her anxiety climbed enough for her to begin quivering in fear. The sound of Wolves had touched some instinct deep inside her, and she was more afraid than she had ever been in her life. If it were possible, her skin would have a light sheen of fear perspiration. As it was, her skin began to crawl, even though it was dry. She wanted to run, to hide, but she couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing Aegon in that way. She would stay and fight, fight to the death if that was what it took.
He returned quickly, beckoning her to follow as the sound of Wolves drew closer. He brought her through the main part of his home, a two-room structure built of stone. The larger of the two rooms held a stone hearth, a small table built of wood with its accompanying stools, and a low padded bench sitting under the biggest window. Aegon led her through to the smaller room, the room he shared with Abana. She had never been in this room; as they were her mentors, she had always respected their privacy. There were no windows in this room, and the door was made of heavy stone as well; only someone with incredible strength would be able to open or close it.
She expected Abana to be there, but she wasn’t. She looked at Aegon, curiously. He shook his head; it seemed that he, too, had no idea where his wife had gone. A cold mist of fear slicked over her as she fervently hoped Abana wasn’t in the garden she loved, where she tended plants as if they were her children. It would not do for any of them to be left so exposed to the threat bearing down upon them.
The scene shifted, in the way dreams do; now she was watching the climax of the attack. Merope was between the wall and the low bed belonging to their teachers, cowering with her arms covering her head, sobbing; it seemed that the poor girl gave no thought to the fact that she was responsible for this. Phemius lay thrashing on the bed, his dark eyes empty and unseeing, lost inside himself while the illness raged at its peak, and she knew from her own experience that whatever might happen next could not be any worse than the agony he was suffering now.
“Why don’t you get up and help,” she hissed through her teeth at the young woman. “You got us into this mess!”
But Merope only shook her head and continued to sob.
Realizing she would get no help from either Merope or Phemius, she reached under the bed, finding a sword that either Aegon or Abana had, in preparation, left there, and she swung it in her hands a few times, trying to get used to the weight and find the balance of the weapon. She was as ready as she could be. She tuned out Merope’s sobbing cries, and focused all her attention on the howling of the Wolves. They were closer now. So very close….Close enough she could hear not only the song but the snarls as well.
Once more, the scene shifted, and she found herself laying on her side, on the hard floor. Pain stabbed through her body and at that moment, she wished for death. She and Aegon were the two left alive, she, injured, and Aegon, valiantly trying to fight off a pack of ten alone. She tried to get up, tried to roll over, tried to reach for the sword mere inches from her hand. Each movement was agony, and she moaned, hoping to catch the attention of one or more of the Wolves. But through the snarling and the loud bumps and thumps of battle, no one heard her.
At that moment, she was paralyzed, and she could not close her eyes to the horror of what was happening before her. A muffled cry escaped her lips as she watched her mentor, who she had come to know as father, being torn to shreds. The scent of his blood was overpowering. The sound of sinew and muscle tearing was a roar in her head. One Wolf had Aegon by the shoulder, another had teeth sunk deep into his hips. The rest of the pack were darting in for quick slashes of fangs and claws before jumping out of his reach again.
With a cry of distress, the woman sat bolt upright in her four-poster bed, throwing aside the velvety soft bedsheets. The vestiges of the nightmare remained even though her eyes were no longer glazed with sleep. Had it been possible, she would have been drenched in sweat. Had it been possible, her heart would have been pounding. But for her, those things were impossible. Absently, she rubbed the old scars on her arm and tried to push away the memories that had haunted her for so long. For Lacey knew she was no longer in the 17th century.
The Undead Unit Series Book Two: Souls of the Reaper (Release Spring, 2016)
This is the second chapter in the lives of our favorite Undead characters. People in Dallas are walking around in an almost vegetative state. Without a conscious, people are acting in ways they would never behave before. Panic begins to spread throughout the humans in the city. A rogue Reaper is collecting souls out of turn in order to gain more power, but with each soul he steals, his personality becomes more unstable. Can Lacey and Colton track him down before it’s too late?
Chapter 1 Teaser
He gazed past the reflection of himself in the dark, full-length window, watching the city lights below flickering through the drops of rain rolling down the smooth glass. Though it was winter, the temperature rarely dropped to freezing, and when it did, it never stayed there for long. As a result, most of their precipitation fell as rain instead of snow, except for the occasional ice storm that passed through every decade or so and left behind a city glittering under its crystals. Classical symphony music played softly as he bobbed his head in time with the beat.
A quiet, feminine moan drew his attention from the window, and he turned to look at the woman on the bed. Her wrists were tied securely to the bedposts, and her head rolled restlessly on the soft pillow, perhaps reacting to some dream or hallucination brought on by the drug he had slipped into the wine earlier. After a moment, she stilled again, her voluptuous body relaxing under the thin sheet. He clasped his hands together in anticipation. This was going to be fun.
He went to the small table next to the bed and reached into the antique black bag. It had belonged to a doctor over two hundred years ago, and was an affectation that amused him. The case also allowed him to carry his supplies, keeping them in easy reach, and so it served a practical purpose as well. He was, after all, a practical sort of man. He withdrew a syringe and a vial of clear liquid. He drew a old watch from his pocket, glanced at its white face, and smiled. She was almost ready. He tucked the watch back into his pocket, causing the thin gold chain hanging from a belt loop to dance and catch the muted light.
The drug he had given the woman had easily rendered her unconscious, and he had carried her to the bedroom to make his preparations. But what he needed was to catch her at that brief moment just before she returned to awareness. Then he would give her the Valium that would erase her short-term memory of him, and do what he was there to do. When the woman woke, she might have a massive headache, but she would have no idea of what had transpired.
He measured the exact amount of sedative for her body weight. It had taken him a long time to perfect his routine, to determine the correct dosage of each drug so that he could do what he did as efficiently and quietly as possible. He had carefully tested this technique on various homeless people in the heart of the city, and, over time, as medical science had improved, so had the efficacy of the drugs. He was ready. Nothing would stop him from carrying out his plan. He turned to his victim and expertly inserted the needle into a vein on her outstretched arm.
The Undead Unit Series Book Three: Blood Lust (Release TBA)
Lacey’s boyfriend wakes up covered in blood with no memory of what has happened. The Undead Unit responds to a brutal murder in the slums of Dallas, all indications that the death was caused by an Undead, and a Vampire. Can Lacey really suspect that the man she loves is a serial killer?
Dimly, the man began to gain awareness of his surroundings. His brain was in a fog; at the moment, he had no idea who he was, much less where he was. Nothing seemed immediately apparent, except for the fact that he was alone. How he knew with such certainty that he was alone remained a mystery. He felt as if he were waking from a long, enforced sleep.
He was laying on a hard surface, his cheek pressed against the coolness. He began to notice a sharp coppery smell, a scent that, for some reason, tightened his throat with a sense of anticipation. The room seemed cool to him, at least he assumed it was; the wood, which he now realized made up a floor, felt no different in temperature than his bare skin. At least, he knew he was indoors. But indoors where? His perception didn’t seem to extend much beyond a small radius of the area in which he was lying.
Slowly, he regained the ability to focus his eyes, and he could see by a dim light that he was in a small bedroom, laying with his back to a bed with a tangle of white-hot sheets spilling over onto the floor. He was momentarily confused as to why he would be on the floor rather than in the bed; it looked to be a far more comfortable option. But when he tried to get to his feet, he discovered that he was unable to move.
That fact didn’t bother him; he was just as content to lie where he was rather than make another attempt to get up. But the strange scent permeating the room somehow caused a craving in him, and his entire body clenched with craving. He saw one arm stretched out beside him, palm up, pale skin against mahogany wood, fingers curved slightly upward. Distantly, he studied his first finger, as if through the eyes of a stranger. He concentrated as best he could with the clouds of fog flitting in and out of his mind.
He strained in silence, diverting all his will to the first joint of the finger, and was rewarded by a slight movement in the hand. So, he was not paralyzed, after all, but he didn’t understand why he couldn’t move. Sensations were finally beginning to creep in; he realized he was stiff from having been on such a hard surface for what must have been a long passage of time. Slowly, he worked the finger until his entire hand began to move, then worked up the arm until he was able to bend the elbow. Eventually, he was able to discover that his other arm was stretched out behind him in a manner that was becoming more than mildly uncomfortable.
He was finally able to get all his limbs back in working order, and he carefully sat up, taking in the room with a glance. The lights, sensing his motion, rose up to a level just above dim, and he was able to clearly focus his eyes. Nothing seemed familiar to him, and yet, he had none of the feeling of being in a strange place. Besides the rumpled bed, there was a small wooden night table, upon which sat a heavily-decorated lamp, and he recognized that it was this that provided the small amount of light in the room.
There were dark-colored draperies along one wall, behind which he assumed would be a window. Next to a closed door was a tall chest of drawers, and next to that was a pair of smaller doors; these, he knew, should lead to a closet, though at the moment, his mind was so muddled that he wasn’t sure of what use a closet would be. The room itself was paneled in dark oak, a color matching the deep tones of the draperies as well as the thick comforter hanging off the foot of the bed in a rumpled heap.
His clothing felt stiff, and he glanced down at himself, taking in the deep red stains fading to brown that spread like a river all along the front of him. He was curiously detached; for a moment the implications of the colored stain did not reach through the haze in his mind. When the fog finally lifted, and he began to think rationally again, his blood, had he blood, would have run like ice. For Marcell Dilorenzo knew he was in serious trouble.
The Undead Unit Series Book Four: Siren Song (Release TBA)
The fourth installment of the Undead Unit series. Briona Solis is one of America’s most popular music stars. Her voice is acclaimed as the most radiant on the planet, and she has a beautiful figure to match. Avid fans flock to her performances.
While she’s on a week-long tour in Dallas, one of Briona’s fans is brutally assaulted, left in a dark alley, minus his eyes. The Undead Unit picks up the case, struggling to gather information on the unsub, hoping to prevent another assault.
After Briona’s next show, another victim turns up, then another. The only thing the victims have in common is their love for Briona’s music, and their missing eyes. Briona is leaving town soon age her last performance. Can the team find who’s responsible for these heinous crimes, before he disappears?
Chapter 1 Teaser
Music thrummed through the air, loud enough to make the insides vibrate with the pulse of heavy base. Though the crowd was large, they were mostly silent, their eyes riveted on the performer in the spotlight. Heads bobbed to the beat, and many people were swaying in place. Levitt Pavilion in Arlington was, as usual, filled to capacity, perhaps even stretched beyond the recommended maximum. Just 20 miles from the heart of downtown Dallas, Levitt was the premiere venue for outdoor music. Tickets were hard to come by unless money was no issue, and all of the biggest A-listers in music had played there, or were planning to.
The woman in the middle of the stage was one of the most beautiful of human specimens. Long, blonde curls framed a pale, heart-shaped face, and piercing blue-gray eyes sparkled under the different hues of the warm spots. Her centerfold measurements were plain to see in the skin-tight sequined costume dress. The silver color of her outfit and the multitude of rhinestones glowed and flashed with every sway of her curvy hips. The skirt, which fell to just south of the crotch, had a long shiny fringe that spun in continuous motion.
Briona Solis was the top female music star of the United States, some opinions said in the world, during the summer of 2119. She wore a microphone and headset cleverly disguised as gemstone-studded tiara, and her perfect red lips moved in time to the music as she belted out the lyrics of her latest hit Breaking My Heart. Fireworks exploded in the background in time with the beat, shooting up and fading away under a moonless sky winking with bright starlight.
Her band was called Solace, a play-on-words of the way her surname was pronounced, as well as a description of the love songs Briona preferred to sing. Their backup singers, though also beautiful, couldn’t begin to compare with the striking good looks of America’s sweetheart. They wore short black dresses as if to blend into the background and not outshine the star. The two guitarists, keyboard player, and drummer were all typical musicians; long-haired and scruffy of face, and undeniably attractive to people of the opposite sex.
The music reached a crescendo and stopped on a loud beat, and the lights went down except for one directly on Briona. She stood with arms outstretched, head tipped back and eyes closed, standing lightly on her toes in a pose reminiscent of statues of ancient goddesses. Her breasts heaved as she drew in one deep breath after another. The crowd, packed shoulder-to-shoulder and elbow-to-elbow on the lush grass of the amphitheater went wild. Cheers, applause, and catcall whistles surged through the air. Rather than give a bow, Briona offered a quick curtsy to her adoring fans, which only served to increase their fervor. Then, the pavilion went dark!
Shouts of “Encore!” broke out through the people gathered under the stars. Though the concert had started almost five hours ago, and was usually agreed to be a good value for the ticket price, Americans in general and Dallas residents in particular loved Briona and Solace. This wasn’t the first time she’d performed at Levitt, and she was certain to return on a regular basis. Every show she had done at the pavilion had been sold-out, and with her popularity soaring even higher than ever, that trend was sure to continue.
So, after a ten minute costume change, Briona returned to the stage for her signature encore number, a song she had remixed with choruses from all of her very best hits, one that was sure to appease her enthusiasts. For this last act, the backup singers did not appear, and the musicians were not highlighted with spots so they were barely visible to the fans. It seemed as if Briona was alone, lyrics tumbling from her lips as her tremendous and beautiful voice rose and fell in auditory magic.
At the end of the number, the lights faded until only a single pale blue spot shone over her, and Briona held both hands out in front of her as if to appease the audience. With a breathless whisper, she called, “Thank you, Arlington, as always, you’re my number one crowd!” Anything else she might have said would have been drowned out by the roar of humanity, no matter how powerful an amplifier she was using. The huge throng of humanity was still cheering and shouting by the time she entered her trailer parked behind the theater and stage.
Also ahead, books five and six in the Undead Unit Series! Look for these and more, coming soon!
Book 5: Ashes to Ashes