Author: Ginger Voight
Reese Mackenzie built a life around fantastic fabrication. As a top reporter at an international tabloid magazine, she made headlines with stories that involved mythical creatures in modern settings. Real life was often quite a scary place for Reese, who had battled her entire life against eerie premonitions that always managed to come true.Things get a little too real when the photo of a dead girl right from her nightmares ends up on Reese’s desk. Instead Reese finagles her way all the way to Romania to investigate something a lot safer: a vampire.However once Reese and her co-worker, Brody, hit Bucharest, she makes a disheartening discovery. Her psychic gift – or curse – kicks into overdrive, especially concerning the victims of a serial killer who fancies himself a vampire. Victims turn up completely drained of all their blood from puncture holes in the neck, in some gruesome encore performance of the Transylvania of lore.Instead of limiting themselves strictly to her dreams, Reese’s premonitions begin to arrive via physical contact with future victims. While she tries to piece together her erratic psychic evidence, Romanian police, desperate to find their killer, zone in on her implausible connection to each of the victims.It’s a pathway of clues that could lead her to the killer, or send her completely over the edge.TASTE OF BLOOD is the psychological thriller from author Ginger Voight, whose genre-bending novels like MY IMMORTAL and DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS dig into the macabre to unearth suspense, romance and drama.
Teaser from “Taste of Blood: A Reese Mackenzie Novel”
Dr. Broussard sat across the desk, his sharp blue eyes peering at Reese over his bifocal lenses. They were the kind of blue written about in poetry, but this particular morning they were as unreadable as glass. It jarred her already jarred nerves.She stared back at him with defiance. She didn’t understand the big deal. It was just a few pills. She couldn’t face another night like the last one. After she ran into the mysterious redhead at the drugstore she had to gulp down a half a bottle of forgotten whiskey in the back of her cupboard just so she could close her eyes without seeing what her face looked like the very minute the stranger drew her last breath.She knew what that look was because it had imprinted in her memory from her eerie nightmare. She wasn’t leaving that office without a prescription. She didn’t care how long it took.He leaned back in his chair and tried another angle. “I can’t help you with your dreams unless you tell me what they are.”She shook her head immediately. The last time she fell for that she ended up locked up for six weeks. “I told you I don’t remember,” she lied effectively, with enough truth about it to sell it convincingly. Thankfully many of the details slipped away the minute she opened her eyes.The only thing she could remember was the red hair, the torn corset and plastic nails ripping from her fingers – and that look. It was a look she had seen many times, and quite frankly she was tired of it. “Can’t you just give me another prescription?”“We tried that,” he reminded her. “I can’t think of one pill we haven’t tried. The pattern is always the same. The dreams keep coming back because you’re not dealing with the core issue. Medicine is simply postponing the solution to your problem.”She fell back against the back of her chair with a frustrated sigh. He reached into his drawer and withdrew a tiny silver pen recorder. It wasn’t packaged, it was obviously used, but, like Reese, Dr. Broussard was at the end of his rope. He was running out of magic rabbits to pull from the hat. “Here,” he said as he pushed it across his desk. “Use this to record your dreams the minute you wake up. Even if it’s just bits and pieces it will help us fix the core issue of what’s really going on.”“The ‘core issue’ is I need to sleep,” she told him pointedly. “If you aren’t willing to help me, then maybe it’s time I find another doctor who can.”He linked his fingers on his desk. He didn’t look especially worried. “Running isn’t going to help you, you know.”“All I know is I’m almost really super late for work. Are you going to give me my pills or not?”The issued challenge only went unmet for a moment. His lips drew out in a grim line as he grabbed his blue pad and scribbled out a prescription. He handed it to her but held on to it as she attempted to snatch it away. “This is only for a week,” he said. “Make your next appointment before you leave today, and bring the recorder.”She swallowed her retort. Clearly he wasn’t going to bend, and Martin was already going to have her head on a platter for being so late. She already had her media badge pulled from her purse as she headed for the door.“Maybe all you really need is a vacation,” Dr. Broussard mused from behind her.She spun back. “I’d love to get away,” she smiled sweetly. “But I’m giving all my money to you.”He was undaunted. “You don’t have to leave town. Just take a break from your job. Enough of those horror stories would cause anyone to lose sleep.”“Well, that’s what separates me from a real reporter,” she tossed over her shoulder. “What I cover isn’t real.”She had to smile to herself as she opened the heavy glass doors to her office building. No, alien babies and zombies animated by voodoo weren’t real. Maybe that’s why she loved them so much. It was so much easier to spin fantasy from fact than look at how dirty and ugly fact had truly become. Every now and then she got a local story, but it was up to her to shine it up like a new penny.She didn’t have to tell the truth.She just had to lie fabulously.She sneaked toward her cubicle, a tiny boring box devoid of anything but clippings of her headlines that covered wall to wall. She dumped her purse and tucked away her prescription in her pocket as she spun around to face Martin LaChance, her stout and steaming boss. The vein bulged in his forehead, covered unconvincingly by a bad comb-over.“It is 9:42,” he gritted between teeth she was sure he sharpened on small rodents and naughty children.The office clock audibly ticked over to the next minute, which made him fume even more. “Wanna tell me why I don’t can your ass already?”“Because my feature on Big Foot at Mardi Gras set our circs up twenty-five percent,” she answered. She motioned back to the Global World News cover that showed Big Foot covered in purple, gold and green beads.He grunted and turned back toward the boardroom. She had to smile as she reached down to stow her purse securely in her desk. Her eyes fell on the copy in her in-box. A vivid color photograph was attached to the paperwork by a paper clip. The red hair in said photo was instantly recognizable, and it made Reese’s heart stop.“This year, Mackenzie!” Martin hollered from the boardroom doorway.She ran after him, but significantly more shaken than before. Her mind raced why that particular photo ended up on her desk. She hadn’t uttered a word about it to anyone; she knew better. It seemed like a cruel twist of fate.The boardroom was filled with her colleagues, and the only open spot was by that of resident playboy, Brody Vaughn. She had no doubt that he had either dated or bedded most of the women in New Orleans between the ages of twenty and thirty-five. There were days when his endless charm made her wonder if he had made the move on Martin’s fifty-year old secretary.Brody made it no secret he was a confirmed bachelor and a hopeless ladies’ man. They were currently up to her sixtieth rejection of his advances, but it didn’t seem to make him like her any less.Conversely it didn’t make her like him any more.She had enough on her plate to deal with – being a notch on some playboy’s bedpost was definitely not on her list of short-term goals.Plus he wasn’t her type. He wore his hair spiked like he moonlighted with a grunge cover band. His eyes were brown and lazily hooded, which she read somewhere meant he was inherently dishonest. The way that he tossed such easy compliments her way only reinforced that theory. He was fit, sure. And he always made sure his jeans were tight enough to give any prospective one-night-stand a glance at the goods.But she was above that.At least that’s what she kept telling herself.As she sat he sent her a smile that would have sent a lesser woman to the floor in a puddle. “Hot date?” he whispered to her with a knowing smirk.She rolled her eyes and turned her attention to Martin, who had killed the lights and turned on the projector.They kicked it old school at Global World News.The first frame was a map of Eastern Europe.“Any idea what you’re looking at?” he queried as he looked around the room at his unenthusiastic, but captive, audience. “Come on, guys. Hasn’t anyone here ever seen a globe?”“It’s Europe,” Reese answered dutifully. Being teacher’s pet could only help her if she was going to convince Martin to reassign her latest assignment.“Eastern Europe,” he corrected. “Romania, specifically.”Brody piped up. “What’s in Romania?”Martin answered with a click of a button. A gruesome close-up of a deteriorated vampire’s face filled the screen, making everyone jump.“Shit,” Brody muttered under his breath, slightly embarrassed to be taken so off guard.“We got a lead from someone in Romania that there’s a vampire loose in the land of Dracula.”“Sounds like another one of our psycho fans,” Brody grinned, and a few of the ladies nearby giggled.“Psycho fans don’t produce evidence,” Martin corrected as he switched it to another frame, this time a European newspaper showing a police chief and a big bold headline: A BLOODTHIRSTY KILLER APPEARS IN ROMANIA. “Apparently a victim showed up, bit on the neck, drained of blood. It’s like Dracula himself has risen again from the dead.”He turns the lights back on.“Or a killer who wants to make it look like a vampire,” Brody quipped.“For our publication, it’s a vampire. All the major press junkets are heading over there. It’s a major scoop. So who wants it?”The table full of stunned pseudo-journalists stared at him, mouths agape.“You’re serious?” Reese finally said. Her notoriously cheap boss was about to send to a reporter on a European vacation to write about vampires? How fortuitous – and completely too good to be true.Brody shared her skepticism. “That’s a lot of trouble to go to for a fake vampire story. Not to mention a lot of dough.”Martin just gave him a sly smile. “Anne Rice made millions for a helluva lot less. Imagine it: a real life horror story from the front line, with your own by-line of course. So. Any takers?”Immediately Reese’s hand flew up. She may not have trusted it completely but she wasn’t one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Martin pointedly ignored her as he scanned the room. “Anyone at all?”Brody shrugged. “I dated a Romanian chick once. I could probably fudge around the language. Besides which,” he paused with a smile, “I’m prepared.” He pulled a shiny gold crucifix from under his shirt collar.“You got a passport?”For a moment Reese prayed that he would say no, but apparently that word was not in Brody Vaughn’s vocabulary. “Of course.”It made Reese’s gestures all the more urgent, and all the more ignored by her boss. “Fine. It’s yours. Remember. We’re in this to be number one. Use your imagination. Hell, this is Transyl-fuckin-vania. It sits on one of the strongest magnetic fields in the world. Tap into the local psychics and gypsies. Get in the trenches. Soak up the ambiance. Our readers want a vampire. Let’s give them one.”Brody saluted with a mock gesture. “You got it, boss.”“Martin,” Reese tried to call but he had already turned toward the door to get lost in the throng leaving the room.“Forget it, Mackenzie,” he grunted over his shoulder.She sat back with a slight pout and crossed her arms in front of her chest. It was at that moment she realized Brody was staring at her.“What?” she snapped.“Oh, nothing,” he stated as he gathered his notepad. “I just wondered how many headlines you needed.”She fumed as she stared after his departing back. Every headline she had earned.And she was going to earn this one too.She stalked decisively to Martin’s office, pausing only momentarily to retrieve the photo and the copy from her desk.Flo looked up from her computer as Reese stormed past. She didn’t know who scared her more in this scenario – her formidable boss or this feisty blond dynamo. “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you,” she tried to caution, but Reese wasn’t having it.“I’ll keep that in mind,” she replied as she swung open the door and marched inside to confront her boss where he sat munching on a sweet roll while he scanned the Internet for more leads. “Did I mistakenly use my invisibility spray this morning?” she demanded.He glanced up at her and noticed the copy she held in her hand. “You have a story, Mackenzie. And just as juicy, if you’ll just read the details.”She shuddered. That was the last thing she wanted to do. “I’d rather have the Romania story. Didn’t I ever tell you I’ve always wanted to Bucharest? It’s like a lifelong dream.”He just sent her a look. He didn’t even stop chewing. She took a deep breath and tried again.“Look. Martin. I can’t take this assignment.” She threw it down on his desk, face down.He leaned back. “Okay, I’ll bite. Why not?”“It’s… complicated,” she offered.He sighed as he stood. He grabbed the papers from his desk. “It’s always complicated with you, Reese.”That worried her. He never called her by her first name. Somehow she felt like he was going to tell her she was either dying or she was fired. She kind of hoped for the former.“You’re good. No doubt about it. But let’s face it. Your medical history is a liability. And I can’t afford any liabilities. Not this time.” He handed her the papers in his hand.She wanted to cry that she’d be good, she’d promise, but she swallowed it all back. He had made up his mind. There was nothing else she could do.Flo poked her head into the office. “Mr. LaChance? You asked me to let you know when the contracts arrived.” She held up a white envelope.“Yes, thank you, Flo. Bring them in.” He sent a dismissive glance to Reese. “Miss Mackenzie was just leaving.”Reese skulked out of the room and into the outer office with a pronounced pout. She paused only momentarily when she realized that Flo’s computer was on an airline booking screen.With a brief glance back to Martin’s office, she moved closer toward the desk and slid into Flo’s vacated chair.Passenger information had been filled out for a midnight flight to Romania for one Brody Vaughn. There were two buttons; “click here to confirm” and “click here to edit.”A smile dawned on her face as Reese’s mood drastically improved.
For more information about Ginger Voight, her books and the AWESOME GIVEAWAY this week – see my Author Page for Ginger – CLICK HERE