Fools for Love

Hi there, blog-hoppers! Welcome to another fabulous blog hop brought to you by Just Romance Me! As always, if you fall off somewhere along the line, just go to http://justromance.me to jump back on.

I love the theme of this blog hop! As soon as I heard it, I knew just which of my characters I'd be talking about today: Conrad and Damian from my vampire family saga, the Children of Night series. Conrad Quintano is a vampire, but not just any vampire. He's one of a special breed of vampires, the super-powerful Lamia Invitus. He's also the leader of Clan Quintano, the largest and most powerful vampire family in the San Francisco Bay area. When he's faced with the unexpected, in the form of newborn vampire twins Marc and Julie, he knows he needs help, so he reaches out to the one person he trusts more than anyone else, former lover Damian Ysidro Esposito-Montoya (the former Vizconde de Castille).

Conrad and Damian have been separated for a little over a hundred years when fate thrusts them back together. Working as a team to co-parent the twins, they eventually craft an uneasy truce between them.

When I first started writing In the Dark, the first book in the series, I had assumed that the two would remain exes for the rest of their days. After all that time apart, all the other lovers in their lives, all the bad-blood, so to speak, between them...sorry, bad vampire pun...they must be over each other by now, right?

Well, apparently not. As the first book came together, it quickly became obvious that they both still had very strong feelings for each other. And they both wanted nothing more than to reunite. In the end, I couldn't say no. I had to devote most of book two (Old Sins, Long Shadows) to telling their story. And that still wasn't enough for them! I'm working on book five at the moment, and by now I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that they've taken over the series.**

Luckily, readers seem to love these guys as much as I do.

**Not to worry, however. The twins will be stealing center stage away from their parents very soon. But, shhhh. Don't let the boys know that yet!

Here's part of the flashback scene from when they're first reunited. And if you'd like to catch a glimpse of their very first encounter with each other, way back in fifteenth century Sevilla, click on the Free Reads tab at the top of this page and check out Spanish Love Song. Enjoy!

When you live forever, you’re bound to make a few mistakes.

Children of Night, Book 1

1969 San Francisco. World-weary Conrad Quintano should have known better than to fall in love with a human—much less Suzanne Fischer, the barely legal, adventure-seeking hippie beauty known as Desert Rose. And the very last thing he should have agreed to do was to raise her babies and protect them with his life. But even twelve-hundred-year-old master vampires can find it hard to reject a deathbed request—especially when issues of love, guilt and blood are involved.

Present day. Raised in virtual isolation, twins Marc and Julie Fischer have always known they are vampires. But they never knew their parentage—or their unique status in the vampire world—until their “uncle” Damian comes to fetch them home. 

The family reunion, however, isn’t what they expect. They’re thrust into a world for which they’re totally unprepared. And the father they expected to see, Conrad, is missing.
How to find him…and whom to trust? Solving the mystery of betrayal and vampire family values will prove the Beatles had it right. All you need is love…and an occasional side of blood.

San Francisco, CA
Monday, November, 3, 1969
Damian stood on the sidewalk outside the gate of the Italianate Victorian mansion, staring irresolutely at the building before him, trying hard to quell the queasy nervousness he was feeling. So it had been a hundred and thirteen years since he’d last seen Conrad, was that any reason for him to be trembling inside like a virginal debutante hoping she’d be asked to dance? It wasn’t likely the man had changed. No doubt Conrad was still the same tyrant he’d always been. Short-tempered. Overbearing. Domineering. Ruthless…
“So then why are you here, you fool?” he asked himself. Good question. Why had he dropped everything and rushed to Conrad’s side the minute the selfish bastard snapped his fingers? “You’re acting just like the good little lap dog he always wanted you to be.”
But, the answer to that was obvious. He was here because it was Conrad who’d asked him to come. Conrad, who never forgot and never forgave and never took anyone back, who couldn’t possibly be reaching out to Damian now in hopes of reconciling with him…but who could hardly have had any other reason for contacting him, either.
“Idiot,” Damian chastised himself, as he leaned on the doorbell. After all this time, he should know better than to get his hopes up too high. He should have ignored the summons, pretended he’d never gotten the entirely too cryptic message and stayed at home.
Ah, but that was the problem, wasn’t it? Because, however much he might wish it were otherwise, home was still exactly the same place it had always been for him. Wherever Conrad was.
Chi รจ esso?” Conrad’s rich baritone sounded exactly the same, as well—even despite the distortion caused by the intercom. “Who is it?”
Damian’s heart contracted. He bit back a shaky sigh. “Es-es yo,” he replied, his voice faltering just a little. “Damian.”
The intercom shut off with a snap and a buzzer sounded as the gate was unlocked—for all of an instant. Damian grabbed for it just in time and headed toward the house muttering beneath his breath—roundly cursing himself and Conrad and whatever unlucky stars had happened to have been in alignment on the day they’d first met. “I should have never have allowed myself to become involved with such a…with such a peasant.” That had been his first mistake.
The front door was ajar. Damian froze with his hand extended toward the doorknob and his pulse racing with the thought that it could be a trap he was walking into. For just an instant he considered retreating. But, what the hell? He’d come this far, what was a little more lunacy?
Still, as he pushed through the door and stepped into the darkened entrance hall the sound of his own heartbeat was so loud in his ears it drowned out any other sound. “Lucy, I’m a-home,” he called in his best Ricky Ricardo impersonation, almost jumping out of his skin when Conrad growled softly, “Quiet.”
Damian spun around to face him. For a very long moment he just stared, unable to do anything but drink Conrad in, as though his eyes had been starved for the sight of him. Finally, inexcusably late in the day, his self-preservation instincts kicked in. Fear had him drawing back, straightening his spine—even as his insides continued twisting themselves into knots. There was a faint frown on Conrad’s stern face, a wary gleam in his glittering, ametrine eyes. Damian’s own eyes widened in uneasy surprise when the squirming bundles in his old friend’s arms finally registered.
He waved one hand at the babies in a seemingly careless gesture as he joked, “Why, what are these, mi querido? Appetizers? But, they’re so small! You cannot possibly be planning on our making a meal of them?”
Conrad’s eyes blazed with a look that was just this side of insanity. He laid back his lips and snarled savagely, “They’re not food, you imbecile.” Then he turned on his heel and stalked away. “Shut the door,” he hurled over his shoulder as he disappeared down the hallway.
Shaking his head, once again, at his own stupidity—for not leaving while he still had the chance—Damian did as he’d been told and then followed Conrad into the large room that had been intended as the mansion’s formal dining room. Flames leaped and crackled in the ornate marble fireplace. Another unwelcome surprise. Even though today was the first decently overcast day the city had seen in weeks, it was certainly not cool enough to warrant a fire.
Perhaps Conrad had another purpose in mind for the blaze? Fire could serve as a weapon, could it not? Or as a devastatingly efficient means of destruction. But who, or what, might he be intending to burn in its flames tonight?
“Conrad, what the hell is going on?” All kidding aside now, Damian studied his friend with mounting concern. Conrad, his face drawn, sat slumped in an armchair uncomfortably near the hearth, and within arm’s reach of the crib into which he’d placed the two infants. “You look terrible.”
Conrad ignored the question and waved Damian toward a second armchair, on the other side of the fireplace. “Sit down.”
Damian crossed to the chair, but he cast a worried glance at the hungry flames as he did. His nerves were shrieking warnings. What was it that most alarmed him, he wondered; the doubtlessly deadly blaze, or his potentially murderous companion? He’d never seen Conrad in such a mood as this and he didn’t trust it. Standing in front of the chair, he hesitated. “Conrad,” he murmured pleadingly. “What is this? Why am I here?”
Conrad roused himself. Eyes flashing darkly, he fisted one hand on the arm of his chair, leaned forward and fixed Damian with a menacing glare. “It’s a long story. If you want to hear it, sit down!” Their eyes met. As his gaze focused on Damian’s face, it seemed as though a little of the madness left Conrad’s expression. His face relaxed. A small smile appeared and graced his lips. “Please?”
Too surprised to reply, Damian plopped into the chair behind him—quickly, before his legs could give out. It was the shock of being addressed so cordially, he told himself, refusing to even consider the awful possibility that it could have been Conrad’s smile that had once again made him go weak in the knees. No. I can’t. Never again.

For another long moment the two men stared wordlessly at each other. Finally, seemingly satisfied with whatever he’d seen in Damian’s face, Conrad dropped his gaze. He slumped back in his chair and sighed. “It’s good to see you, caro.” And then, again without giving Damian any chance to recover from this latest shock, he launched into his tale. “There was this girl…”

Living forever is hard, but loving forever? That’s damn near impossible.

Children of Night, Book 2

1856, New York City. Moments after Conrad Quintano drives his life-mate away, heartache and guilt descend around his heart like a pall. Convinced that Damian’s hatred is as permanent as the scars Conrad has inflicted on him, Conrad steels himself for an eternity of emotional torture.

Present day, San Francisco. For the sake of vampire twins Marc and Julie Fischer, Conrad and Damian present a united parental front. In reality, their truce is a sham. Conrad, weakened by his recent ordeal, struggles against the urge to bring his mate back to his bed. And Damian misinterprets Conrad’s explosive temper as proof their relationship is irreparably broken.

When an old enemy’s quest to create a dangerous new breed of vampire threatens the twins’ lives—and the precarious state of vampire peace—it’s imperative the estranged lovers put the past behind them. Or the shadows of the past will tear apart everything they hold dear.