Valorian Chronicles - Book One:
Available March 2007
A young human woman is found ritualistically murdered in a downtown Necropolis hotel. It is up to Caine Valorian, a 200-year-old vampire, and his Otherworld Crime Unit to solve the unusual crime, and quickly before the human press can jump onto the story and cause a panic. To add to their already tough case, a new member, Eve Grant, transfers to their lab at the request of the mayor. Not only is she green and eager to impress the boss, but she's human. The first human ever to work in an Otherworld unit. The mayor thought it would be great press especially now with the strange human murder.
Caine has his work cut out for him, especially with his unruly team who don't appreciate any help from a human. Not only is this the toughest case of his career, but he's unusually attracted to the new girl, which can only cause trouble for them all. However, as they sink deeper and deeper into the workings of the case, Caine and Eve become closer and closer. So close that neither of them can see past each other and at the real happenings behind the scenes. The more they poke and prod at the case, the more they realize that something is going on, that this murder is only one step toward a greater purpose. Someone in the Otherworld community is calling on dark forces, in a plot to wipe out the entire human population.
Where was all the blood?
That was the first thought that raced through Caine Valorian's mind the second he entered room 210 of the Black Heart Hotel in downtown Necropolis.
The young woman on the bed had her throat slit from ear to ear. Besides the blood splatter on the graying wall behind the bed, there wasn't another drop on the green shag rug or the mustard colored comforter. Not on first inspection anyway. Maybe with the ALS, alternate light source, he would find traces of it here and there. But for some reason that bore at his mind like a thumbtack, he doubted it.
Immediately, Caine could tell that this case was going to be different. After attending hundreds of cases over the past ten years, he knew when something was amiss, something odd and out of place. For a murder in the undead city of Necropolis, that was definitely saying something.
Popping a breath mint into his mouth, he approached the bed and nodded to Dr. Givon Silvanus the medical examiner for the Otherworld Crime Unit, OCU, as he wrote notes in his logbook.
"Lividity is fixed, rigor in her jaw, neck, and shoulders. I'd say she's been dead between six to eight hours," Givon stated in his matter-of-fact way without looking up from his notebook. "She's all yours."
Caine glanced back at his team anxiously pacing behind him, waiting for the go ahead to examine the body and collect the evidence. Jace Jericho had already taken multiple pictures of the hotel room from every angle, and now he was eager to inspect the body, as there was indication of possible bite marks, his specialty. Someone didn't live their entire life with lycanthropy and not know about the damage a set of teeth could do. Lyra Magice had just finished inspecting the magical symbols etched on the doorframe to the room. Her first inspection ascertained that there were no harmful wards on the door, so the team had been allowed in. She also found bloodstains about knee-high on the doorframe and swabbed it for later analysis.
She was chomping at the bit to get to the body. They were told there were more symbols written in a red substance, most likely blood, on the young woman's chest. Having a full-blooded witch on staff had its advantages, especially in cases like these. Caine was eager to see what his youngest team member could do.
Having been together for the last six years, a brief nod from Caine was the only indication Jace and Lyra needed to move toward the body and begin their evidence collection. "Lyra make sure you look for trace evidence first before you inspect the symbols. I'd hate for us to miss something important."
She nodded, and took out a magnifying glass from her stainless steel crime collecting kit. Before Caine could join them at the body, Captain Mahina Garner of the NPD, one of Necropolis' finest, strode into the room with the swagger of someone very comfortable in her 5'10, 160-pound muscular frame, made even more powerful by her shape-shifting abilities.
"The hotel attendant is an idiot," she remarked as she sidled up next to Caine. "He's a dumb ass blood-sucker that doesn't know the difference between his ass and a hole in the ground." She smiled at him then, straight white teeth gleaming. "No offense."
Caine smiled back, accustomed to Mahina's gruff manner and her prejudice against vampires. "No offense taken. I know my ass from a hole in the ground."
She laughed and patted him roughly on the back. "I know. That's why you're the only one of them that I like."
"Nope. No one heard anything. No one saw anything."
"Not surprising in this neighborhood. The Digs is not the most pleasant of places to be living and working."
She nodded. "I know, but for once it would be nice to be able to start with something."
"Any ID on the body?"
"No." She opened her notebook. "The attendant phoned 911 after he realized he had no more rooms to rent for the hour, and noticed the do not disturb sign on 210. So, he used his master key and opened the door to find, quote 'the bitch lying on the bed dead,' unquote."
"Did he notice her when she went into the room?"
"No. He said he went on a blood break at around 10 p.m., and didn't notice the room's do not disturb 'till around five a.m., opened the door, saw the body, and that is when he called 911." She closed the notebook. "So far his story checks out."
Caine glanced at his watch. It was 6 a.m. According to Givon's estimation, the girl had died around midnight. Therefore, if the girl and her assailant had come to the room during the time the clerk was on a break, they would have had to been busy for two hours before she died. What would you need two hours for? Sex? Likely, as the girl's shirt and bra were torn apart and her skirt was hiked up to her thighs. He didn't need to possess extreme sensory skills to smell the scent of sex as it still lingered over the bed.
Caine looked back at his crew working the scene. "What's the word Lyra?"
"I pulled some burgundy fibers from her shirt, a tiny piece, of what looks like copper wire, and a black hair from under one of her nails."
"Good work. How about the markings?"
She glanced up from inspecting the woman's bare chest and the obscure symbols drawn there and met his gaze. A look of worry crossed her petite features. "Not sure yet, Chief. I don't recognize any of these symbols offhand. I'll need to get pictures and reference them to my textbooks." She held up a Q-tip, its tip tinged in pink indicating blood evidence. "It was definitely drawn in blood though. The vic's I bet."
"Can you ascertain a magical signature from it?"
She scrunched up her face and cocked her head. "I'm trying but it's nothing I've seen before."
"Okay, just log it, and we'll search the signature log when we get back to the lab."
She nodded and went back to work on deciphering the symbols.
"I've got a set of bite marks on the neck," Jace said from his kneeling position beside the woman's head hanging over the edge of the bed.
"Are you sure?"
"Yup. The knife wound tries to mask it, but I can see a partial puncture into her carotid artery. There is no doubt that someone with fangs sucked on this girl's neck."
"Swab everything, maybe we'll get lucky and get some DNA on that partial puncture. Hopefully our guy is a secretor."
"Aren't they all?" Mahina remarked.
"First up in what appears to be a very intriguing and engrossing new series, BLOOD SECRETS totally rocks! Excellent characterization, a gripping storyline, and a developing romance with a substantial amount of heat make Vivi Anna's BLOOD SECRETS a title not to be missed. I eagerly await the next book in the Valorian Chronicles."
- Sinclair Reid
4 Stars from Romantic Times
"Anna has written an absorbing and romantic love story that will not disappoint Nocturne fans. Caine and Eve are beautifully drawn, and their banter is as hot as their love scenes."
Romance Reader at Heart - TOP PICK
"BLOOD SECRETS is a lot of fun as both a crime drama and a vampire tale. Anyone who enjoys crime shows, mystery novels or vampire/werewolf/witch-themed works will love this one! I thought some of the lore was a fresh take on the genre, and the bad as well as powerful characters are interestingly creepy."
- Heather Hiestand
Paranormal Romance Reviews
"Fans of Laurell K. Hamilton (early work), Kim Harrison, and Charlaine Harris now have a new name to add to their must read list, Vivi Anna! She has composed a fabulous world in Blood Secrets with a smooth flowing story line, excellent primary and secondary characters, action and romance. After reading this book it will have you asking Vivi Anna to please write more about the OCU. I for one would love to read about Lyra (especially more about her grandmother) and Jace."
- Reviewed by Catherine Smith
USA Today best selling author, Rebecca York
"If you like CSI, you'll love this smart, sexy and suspenseful trip through Necropolis where the villains are vamps, werewolves and witches-and so are the good guys."
"Strong, sexy Caine Valorian is a vampire to die for. He's also the head of the crime unit that cracks the supernatural cases no human is brave enough to tackle. Except beautiful but businesslike Eve Grant. Sparks fly - in and out of bed - when Caine and Eve pool their talents to fight unspeakable evil."
Best selling author Maureen Child
"Vivi Anna has created an incredible world and filled it with characters you'll love. A fast, sexy ride, The Valorian Chronicles is sure to be a winner! I can't wait for the next installment!"
8/10 - From Eternal Night Review - UK
"A new series begins on a strong note with compelling characters that draw you into their world, showing it to you in a way that explains without bogging down the narrative. This is a solid mystery that is enhanced by the romantic and paranormal elements. I look forward to seeing more from this author."
5 Klovers, CK2SK Wips and Kritiques
"BLOOD SECRETS is a shining gem for the Silhouette Nocturne series as it showcases the phenomenal writing talent of Vivi Anna. Better known for her erotica, Ms. Anna maintains the sensual tone one would expect while combining it with the eerie atmosphere necessary to make the Necropolis work. This reviewer hopes to see more of the Necropolis and its inhabitants in future books. BLOOD SECRETS is highly recommended!"
Recommended Read from Joyfully Reviewed
"Valorian Chronicles is a book that totally captivated me with its intense emotion, mystery and adventure. Every step that Caine and Eve took solving Lillian's murder brought me closer to finding out who the murderer was, but even with the occasional glimpse into the killer's mind and life, as well as the clues that were found, I didn't figure it out until the end. Both the romance and the mystery in the Valorian Chronicles told in this alternate reality felt so real, that I could easily not only see the story as it unfolded, but also felt that I could fly to San Antonio, rent a car and drive right to Necropolis. I have loved every story of Vivi Anna's that I've read, and the Valorian Chronicles is another one that goes onto the top shelf of my keeper bookcase. I loved this book from first page until last and I can't wait until book two comes out!!"
Erica Orloff, Author of Blood Son and Twice Bitten
"From the first page, Vivi Anna creates a world that's totally believable - yet completely out of this world. The Otherwold Crime Unit tackles a case that's dark and grisly - even as the attraction between Caine and Eve heats up. Vampires against humans, a race against time, this book is sure to delight fans of the genre."