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A life lost, can be a life gained...

The Dead Men Series, Book I

Dead Men Play the Game

Dead Men Play the Game - book coverDead Men Play the Game Book Reviews HERE

© 2015 Jacqui Jacoby, Body Count Productions, Inc.

For a hundred years, Ian Stuart has fought the monster controlling his life. Living as a human among humans, he wants to fill the void that has followed him from one empty, lonely relationship to another other. Ashley Barrow is working the worst murder case in Davenport, Oregon's history. She needs a drink to forget the detailed images in her mind. When she walks into Ian’s pub, Ian knows their lives are about to change, if only for a short while. Vampire and human, their relationships can only last so long. But an enemy from Ian’s past has his own agenda about their future. His sadistic revenge changes Ashley forever, leaving Ian and his long time friends – Travis, Jason, Quinn and Evan – desperate to ease her into her new life and find a way to defeat their enemy.

Enjoy the following excerpt of Dead Men Play the Game:

She got three steps when the figures appeared in front of her on the walkway. Two men. One blond. One dark. One shorter than the other, both smiling at her with smiles defying reality and eyes a weird shade in the dark.
She stopped and stared at them.
            “Hey Stuart,” the blond said.
            She took a step back as they came forward and felt alone and defenseless.
            Behind them, several friends came in the gate creating a barrier of what looked like bad.
Ian’s hand slammed down on her shoulder, yanking her back further than she could imagine, shoving her behind him.
            “Walter?” Ian gasped. His tone said shocked. “Max?”
            “You will never guess who I ran into while I was in San Francisco,” the dark man said. “Had all sorts of questions.”
            “Oh, you son-of-a-bitch,” Ian said, moving backwards, forcing distance between her and them.
            “That is one damn fine looking broad,” Max said. “Where the hell did you pick up something with that kind of class who can give blow jobs, too?”
            Ash paled. Ian took steps back, forcing her to move with him.
            “Fuck,” Ian muttered. “So you’re new best friends. How sweet. Looks like you might have something on your mind. Want to say it and go?”
            “Their faces,” she whispered.
            “I know, honey,” he said, touching her hand as he moved backwards slowly pushing her toward the house. She looked over her shoulder. They were never going to make it.
            The man out in front spoke. “Friends is a strong word. Once you get kicked in the balls by the best you had, you look at what comes next at little more leery.”
            Ian spoke to the crowd while moving them back. “Maybe what you had isn’t what you thought because I can guarantee you never had anything that you think you did and I couldn’t have made it more obvious at the time if I tried. But Max, it didn’t work out but when you left, you left a friend.”
            “Ran out of money. He’s got lots.”
            The man he called Walter sniffed the air.
            “She’s human,” Walter said.
            Ian backed up further. He was bigger than her, blocking her view with his wide shoulders.
            “What the hell is going on?” she whispered.
            “Right now,” Ian said, talking slow. “There are a shitload more of them then there are of me and we’re fucked unless someone inside looks out a window.”
            “Shit,” she mumbled.
            Looking down, she noticed the bulge in his back jean pocket. Smiling a little hope, she pulled out his cell phone and speed dialed three. Speed dial three was Travis. And a second later, she heard Travis answer. She whispered soft against Ian’s shirt.
            “What?” Travis asked.
            “Now,” she whispered and the phone went dead.
            “Who are these people?” she asked, peering around Ian.
            “Guy on the right is Walter Bennett. Asshole. Guy on the left, Max Garcia. Also an asshole. The rest, who gives a fuck?”
            “Hi,” the dark haired man—Max--said. He wore round tortoise shell glasses that actually would have looked good on his handsome face if she didn’t hate his guts already.
            “We haven’t met formally, but I hear you hang out here a lot.” He looked up at the house. “It was always nice here. My room was in the basement but it wasn’t bad. I liked it.”
            “What?” Ash gasped.
            “Is she on the menu?” the man to Walter’s right said. “We haven’t had a bite all day and could sure use a little pick me up.”
            “She’s mine,” Ian said surprising Ash. Break-ups tended to relinquish possession. “Want to try to get near her?”
            “Yeah,” Walter said. “Planning on marrying her from what I understand. You finally found someone to match up to that idiotic list that kept you dateless for decades.”
Human? Decades?
            “What are you talking about?” Ian said.
            “You remember a pretty face,” Max said. “You told her you were going to marry Ashley.”
            “Not an idea I’m opposed to but I never said that,” Ian said.
            A woman walked into the backyard by the same gate, moving slow to stand by Walter, a hand on his shoulder.
            “Sharron? Miss Monte Cruz?”
            “Yeah,” Max said.
            “Picked her up in Phoenix, if you can believe that. Can you imagine living down there with our skin condition?”
            She purred in Ian’s direction. “We could have had so much fun. Goodnight Kisses are so sweet.”
            “A trap, Walter?” Ian snapped. “You set a fucking trap for me?”
            “Yeah, should have known better. Pick-ups never worked.”
            “What the hell was supposed to happen? Me go back to the hotel and then what?”
            Walter laughed. “You never would have made it to the hotel.”
            The backdoor slammed back against the house. Ash looked to see Travis charge through the yard with Quinn and Evan. There was no denying the balance of power shifted.
            Travis grabbed her by the arm rough, yanking her away from Ian and tossing her at the stairs, away from the crowd. “We got this. Get in the house, Ashley. And close the door.”