Vivi Anna's Valorian Chronicles
THE WAIT IS OVER! - Now available: DARK LIESNo one is who they seem in the dark...
DARK LIES is in bookstores and Walmarts now. Get your copy and dive back into the fascinating world of the OCU!

buy at amazon.com | buy at barnes&noble | buy at walmart.com | buy at eharlequin.com
Please use the following ISBN for ordering through your local bookstore: ISBN 9-780373-61773-9


Dear Reader,

I'm thrilled to be able to bring you another tale from Necropolis. The OCU are made up of some fascinating characters, and I'm happy to be able to share their stories with you.

I had a lot of help with this book. I needed this one to be able to live up to Caine's story and I hope I was able to achieve that. I want to give a shout-out to my buddy Jordan Summers (who'll be writing for Blaze in 2008) for holding my hand and helping me flesh out this story and these characters.

I also want to thank my brilliant editor, Tara Gavin, and her amazing assistant, Sean Mackiewicz, for their continued efforts on this series. Their support and valuable insight have made these books shine.

Last, and most importantly, to you, dear reader: I want to humbly thank you for all the wonderful e-mails and support you've blessed me with. I hope that Jace's story invokes the same passion for the Valorian Chronicles that Caine's did.

Happy reading!

All my best,
Vivi Anna




Coming OCTOBER 1, 2007:
Check Vivi Anna's website for an exciting new contest.

www.vivianna.net





PRAISE FOR DARK LIES

DARK LIES"Praise again for Vivi Anna! Once again she was able to write in her smooth style, bringing us back characters from the previous book and introduced new characters seemingly effortlessly. Fans of mystery and suspense will find this story appealing, as will fans of paranormal and urban fantasy. I really enjoy the world she has written and can not wait until the next book comes out. Thanks for continuing the story line and proving once again why you are on my must read list!"
— Cat Smith, PNR

"If it's a book by Vivi Anna, you just know itís going to be good. DARK LIES is spectacular, even better than the first book in the Valorian Chronicles! Long time fans of Vivi Anna will appreciate her signature heat as the attraction between Jace and Tala is sizzling hot! DARK LIES is easily read as a stand alone despite the continuing storyline. Vivi Anna provides all of the necessary information so that one can appreciate DARK LIES without reading BLOOD SECRETS. However, I highly recommend reading both books, simply because they are so enjoyable!"
— Debbie, CK2KWIPSANDKRITIQUES

"When I read BLOOD SECRETS, the first book in the Valorian Chronicles, I fell in love with this world and DARK LIES just drew me in deeper. Vivi Anna has the ability to draw me into her worlds so quickly and totally that I have no idea what's going on around me (just ask my kids) and real life just fades away into the background. The characters in the Valorian Chronicles are so multi-faceted and explored so thoroughly that they feel very real, very 'human'. DARK LIES took me from the crime scene, to the lab, and into the lives and homes of this very talented Otherworld Crime Unit, as well as into those that their lives touched effortlessly and realistically. I can do nothing other than totally, Joyfully recommend DARK LIES. If you love action and emotionally packed stories, I recommend you pick up both installments of the Valorian Chronicles, you wonít be disappointed... just be prepared to lose your connection to real life for a few hours."
— Lyonene, RECOMMENDED READ, Joyfully Reviewed




READ AN EXCERPT

CHAPTER TWO

There was a crowd hovering around the abandoned house when Jace and the rest of the team pulled up to the curb in their black SUVs. Jace had no qualms thinking it was because of the guest investigators and not the murder itself.

Before opening his door, Jace glanced over at Lyra sitting in the passenger seat. She was staring at him.

She smiled and said, "Don't worry, I'll protect you."

"Bite me," he growled back.

Chuckling, she opened her door, and slid out.

He took in a few deep breaths. Already, his chest felt tight and his neck ached from tension. The drive to San Antonio had nearly killed him with the moon winking at him seductively through the windshield. But he had fought the urge to pull over, shift and race across the open land. Although even now, he could feel the moon singing to him.

He was unsure if he could hold it together if he looked up and caught the moon's gaze. He'd have to get out of the truck, grab his kit and get inside with his head down.

Taking in another deep breath, Jace opened the door. The refreshing night air felt like heaven on his skin. The odor of moldy wet wood and putrid waste floated over him. It made him shiver with the need to escape. He jumped out of the vehicle and rushed around back to grab his kit with his gaze glued to the ground. Once he had his hand wrapped tight around the handle of the stainless steel suitcase, he followed Caine, Eve and Lyra up the sidewalk to the dilapidated house.

They passed several uniformed cops going up the cracked cement walkway. Jace could detect a variety of emotions wafting off them. Animosity and fear were the major ones. But there was also curiosity. It smelled sickly sweet like corn syrup. That was the human response he hated the most.

The emotions he smelled now reminded him of the stinking filthy crowds that had paid to see him when he was a child. This crowd shared the same morbid curiosity that the other had as they watched the poor little boy covered in fur stalk around his cage.

Shaking off the memories, Jace kept his eyes on Lyra's back as they entered the house. She glanced over her shoulder and gave him a half smile. He nodded at her in response.

Every since they had met, Lyra could always sense his moods. If the forensic team was a family, Lyra would be his little sister. They never missed a chance to rib each other, but when it came down to it, he knew he could always count on her to be there for him.

More cops were standing around as they moved through the rundown house. Jace hoped they hadn't contaminated the scene and that they were just there for a show. He hated when the cops traipsed through evidence without realizing what they were doing. It was a tough enough job collecting the primary evidence when they had to pick through all the irrelevant stuff left by clueless law enforcement personnel.

The smell hit him like a sledgehammer in the face when he followed the rest of the team into what would've been the living room of the gutted house. Blood. Death. Despair. And something else that he found odd. Sulfur. It was faint, but it was there.

Spotlights had been set up around the room in a triangle. All of light pointed in one direction, up, toward the center of the room. Jace heard Lyra's gasp and knew she had looked at the primary crime scene at the same time he had.

The victim, a young woman, was suspended from the ceiling upside down by a rope wrapped around her ankles. Her slender arms hung lifeless, the tips of her long blond hair skimmed the wooden floor. Her throat had been slit. Magical symbols adorned her naked torso. No blood pooled on the floor beneath her. It had obviously been drained from her and taken away. Just like in their last case.

Jace stepped in closer to the scene and stood next to Lyra. They were waiting to get the go ahead from Caine to examine the scene. The chief was talking to another man, a human. It was Captain Morales from the San Antonio crime lab. He had been Eve's boss when she worked for the humans.

Behind him, stood a couple of uniformed cops. The stoic looks on their faces radiated a sense of rivalry and territoriality. Something Jace knew quite well.

Caine shook Morales's hand. "Good to see you, Hector."

"You too, Caine." He turned to Eve. Smiling, he shook her hand. "You look good, Eve. I wish it were under different circumstances, seeing you again."

"I think we all do, Hector," she answered.

Hector turned toward the crime scene. "Does this look the same?"

Caine nodded. "Except for the elevation. Our guy siphoned the blood with rubber tubing for quicker results. Draining the blood this way would've taken a little longer. A couple of hours, I'd say."

"Well, he would've had it. This neighborhood is mostly abandoned. A few residents live in the apartment complex across the street. But none that would speak up even if they did hear anything."

"Any ID?" Caine asked.

"No. Nothing on her. We'll run her prints at the lab."

"How was she discovered?"

Hector sighed. "Some young girl came in here to smoke up, must've seen the body and ran out screaming. A patrol car almost hit her, a block over, when she jumped out in front of it waving her arms and sobbing."

"Where's the girl now?" Eve asked.

"At the hospital. The patrolman said she went into shock."

"I'll go to the hospital to see if she's talking," Eve suggested.

Caine nodded. "Good idea."

"Do you have someone that can take me, Hector?"

Captain Morales nodded, and then glanced behind him to the female officer. "Officer Sanchez, take Eve with you to the hospital."

Jace could hear the officer mumbling under her breath. It was in Spanish, but he didn't need to know the language to understand the meaning. He glanced over at the others to see if they could hear her. Caine's steely eyed gaze convinced Jace that he had heard her loud and clear.

Before Eve could take two steps, Caine grabbed her arm and pulled her to him. He hugged her tight, and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. Jace knew he did it as a show of possession. Showing everyone in the room that if anything happened to Eve someone would pay dearly.

It was a purely lycan thing to do. Jace had always wondered how much of him, if any, had rubbed off on Caine. Obviously, something had over the years.

Eve followed the reluctant cop out of the room. Before she passed through the doorway, she looked back and nodded to Jace and Lyra. "Good luck."

Lyra raised her hand to wave. Jace just nodded back, the sounds and smells swirling around him too intense to do much else. He wanted to get at the body. The urgency to do his job sent pulses like electricity through him.

"Do we have a TOD?" Caine asked.

Hector nodded. "The corner pronounced time of death to be between 9:00 p.m. and midnight."

"Are you sure we're not stepping on your toes, here?"

"Hey, this is way out of my league, Caine. The minute I saw her, I knew you had to come in on this. Don't worry about stepping on anything, as long as we get this one solved." Hector scratched his chin, a five o-clock shadow was starting to sprout. "The sheriff has given me some leeway. I've managed to quadrant off a section of the lab for your team. You'll have a couple of techs to do the grunt work, but you'll have plenty of privacy."

"Thanks, Hector. I appreciate that."

Hector nodded. "Also, one of the officers discovered a metal drum in the backyard. Looks like something was burned in there recently."

"Okay. We'll start with the body and work our way out back."

Caine turned and looked at Jace. He could sense Jace's impatience. Caine nodded. That was all the acknowledgement he needed to start moving. Setting his kit on the floor, Jace took out gloves and plastic shoe covers.

Once he took a step forward, Lyra followed suit. She was outfitted in two seconds flat and went straight to the body.

"Can we bring the body down, please?" Lyra asked.

Already anticipating the request, one of the uniforms rolled a scaffold ladder toward the victim so he could lower her corpse to the ground.

Jace started his evidence collection around the body, in a circle. Burnt black candles made this direction easy to follow as they were placed two feet from each other in seemingly perfect symmetry.

Taking up his camera that had been around his neck, Jace snapped pictures of each candle as he walked around the scene. Sulfur came to his nose again. Maybe it was just the result of the matches used to light the candles. But for some reason, he didn't think so. Matches did have a certain sulphureous scent, but not like this. Not this strong.

He glanced at Caine. "Do you smell that?"

"The sulfur?"

Jace nodded.

"From matches, maybe?"

"I don't know." Jace stepped back to his kit. "I wish we had something to collect the scent, an absorbent agent."

"Your nose is good enough, Jace. I trust it."

Once they had the corpse down, they moved it away from the actual crime scene and onto white sheeting they had placed on the floor a few feet away. Lyra took her pictures then raised her hands over the body and felt for a magical signature.

While Lyra was doing that, Jace bagged the candles one by one. When he picked one up on the northeast side of the circle, he found something imprinted on the floor in wax. He fixed his flashlight on it. It was a partial shoe print.

Setting a measuring card beside it, he snapped off a couple of pictures. "I got a shoe print."

"Can you lift it?"

Jace shook his head. "I'll have to cut out the floor and take it with us."

Reaching into his kit, he took out a sharp pocket knife, opened it up with his thumb and cut a six-inch square around the wax imprint. He lifted out the thin plywood and slid it into a paper evidence bag, labeling and sealing it.

"Good eyes, Jace," Caine said from his perch beside the head of their victim. He was busy inspecting the neck wound. "There's no evidence of bite marks. If this was a vampire's work, he wasn't thirsty." He poked at the neck with his finger. "These look like slash marks."

Jace's head came up. "What?"

"Take a look." Caine stood as Jace came around the body and crouched.

His stomach flipped over as he inspected the deep slash in the victim's neck. It indeed looked like a claw mark and not a knife wound.

He cursed. "This looks bad, Chief."

"I've got a signature," Lyra said as she took a step away from the body and put her hands on her hips. "It's the same."

"Are you sure?" Caine and Jace asked in unison.

She nodded, and then rubbed at her nose with the back of her gloved hand. "I'm positive. I memorized that signature. The feel of it is the same."

"But that's impossible," Jace remarked. "We got the guy remember? Mel Howard confessed to the murders and he's dead."

She glared at Jace. "And I'm telling you it's the same."

Caine raised his hand to stop the impending argument. "Okay. We'll file it as evidence and see what we get with the rest. There's an explanation and we'll find it."

Nodding, Jace went back to searching the floor grid, but he couldn't shake the sensation of dread rushing over him like adrenaline. If it was the same magical signature then something was going on that none of them had faced before. Something even outside the Otherworlder realm. Which was not a comforting thought at all. If they were supposed to be the monsters, then what in hell had killed that girl?

Bending down to bag a dark fiber, the hair on the back of Jace's neck rose to attention. A charged sensation skimmed the surface of his skin. He'd experienced feelings like this before, but only within the confines of Necropolis. And usually when he was around his lycan pack.

He stood and waited for the sensation to pass, but it didn't. It seemed to intensify with every passing second. Was there a storm in the area? The sky had been clear when they drove into the city. DARK LIES

Glancing around, Jace tried to determine where the sensation was radiating from. He looked at Lyra. Was she doing a spell? Is that what he was sensing, her magic? But when he watched her, he noticed that she was busy pulling fibers and whatnot from the mouth and nose of the victim, not incanting a spell.

So if not magic, what?

Captain Morales stepped into Jace's peripheral and cleared his throat. "When you're done and need to go back to the lab, I have your police escort here. She's on loan from another department." He glanced behind him. "This is Tala Channing."

A lithe young woman stepped around Hector and nodded toward the team. Her generous green eyes flashed like emeralds in the glaring spotlights.

Jace found he couldn't breathe.



Read the FIRST CHAPTER online at www.valorianchronicles.com.


DARK LIES is in bookstores and Walmarts now. Get your copy and dive back into the fascinating world of the OCU!

buy at amazon.com | buy at barnes&noble | buy at walmart.com | buy at eharlequin.com
Please use the following ISBN for ordering through your local bookstore: ISBN 9-780373-61773-9


Coming OCTOBER 1, 2007: Check Vivi Anna's website for an exciting new contest.
www.vivianna.net