Friday, April 26, 2013

Death's Servant by C.J Ellisson - Interview and Review


Jonathan Winchester has clashed with his alpha one too many times. After another argument he leaves the Manitoba pack, his only home since the werewolf attack that changed his life. He returns to his home state of Virginia to start a new life free of pack politics. Jon finds work and meets a young waitress, Raine, who appears to be a lone werewolf, too.

As their relationship progresses, Jon’s embroiled in more intrigue than he bargained for and a danger bigger than he can handle. He's running scared until his own alpha tendencies surface, making him unable to leave the pretty werewolf’s problems behind. The young man is desperate to save Raine—even if his efforts may lead him straight to death.

Journey along in this first prequel novel involving the favorite characters from the bestselling V V Inn series. Written at reader demand, this stand-alone story explains how the beloved Jonathan came to serve the deadly redheaded vampire, Dria.


Death’s Servant
Chapter One

“Jon!” Romeo’s deep voice follows as I stride quickly down the hall. “Get back here.”

I round the top of the stairs and descend at full speed, skipping steps in my haste to leave. Anger pulses like a living beast beneath my skin. If I don’t get the hell out of here, my alpha and I will come to blows.

The urge to fight, to answer the call of my inner wolf, colors my vision, tinting the werewolf pack’s large home in a wash of red haze. Claws itch to descend through my clenched fists, and the brush of fur waiting to erupt tingles my skin.

“This is not over.” Romeo’s booming shout thunders through the house. “Get back here now, or don’t ever come back!”

This time he’s getting what he threatens. What’s so crazy about suggesting a support network for wolves? Why am I suddenly the object of scorn and ridicule? Is organizing packs somehow a threatening concept to our way of life?

A tiny voice inside whispers, Your suggestion of such a change goes against everything a werewolf pack stands for.

Could that be true? Would instilling communication among hundreds of Weres hurt us as a species?

I block the denials I’ve heard for months. Doesn’t make sense. Could Romeo’s resistance stem from something bigger? Should I listen to the gossip saying I’ve evolved into an alpha faster than anyone expected? There is only one male alpha per pack, not two; one mated pair deciding the fate of their wolves, and those who don’t agree must leave. Or fight for supremacy.

I barrel out the front door and sprint toward the detached garage, where a few of the single wolves have bedrooms in the space above the cars. I throw open the door, the heavy steel bouncing off the siding in my unchecked rage. I need to talk to Lori, my werewolf girlfriend in the pack. I’m ready to leave and want her with me.

My inner beast gnashes its teeth, ready for a challenge, eager to return and face the man who saved my life less than a year ago. Tamping down the temptation, I rush the inner stairs three at a time. The scent of half a dozen wolves lies heavy in the confined space, confusing the rational part of my mind struggling to remain in control.

I recall our past in an effort to still my raging desires—I owe this man my life. Romeo found me lost and afraid when I awoke in the hospital, uncertain of what I’d become. Elsa, his wife, sensed immediately I was different, discouraging her mate to allow me into their pack. Romeo didn’t care. He recognized me for what I truly was—a scared college kid who didn’t know what the fuck happened to his well-ordered life.

When I reach the upper hall, I’m jolted out of my calming reverie by sounds of passion. I smile, wondering who Kotsana has lured to his waterbed now.

“That’s it, baby,” a familiar female voice coos softly. “You know I like it good and deep.”

The instant anger near the surface of my mind threatens to overwhelm me. I stop cold—leaning a hand on the wall, gasping to catch my breath—while my packmate screws my girlfriend beyond his shut bedroom door.

Hello C.j and welcome back! It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to talk about the V V Inn series! I’m so thrilled to be part of the blog tour. Let’s not keep anxious people waiting.

Death’s Servant was written by reader request from many fans, how did it make you feel knowing that readers truly related to Jon and wanted to know more about our Alpha wolf?

I was thrilled! I've always had all the character's pasts in my mind, so when I did a survey and started getting emails I figured "why not?" I really enjoyed writing it and am glad I started doing prequels.

In Jon’s story we see that he’s not stuck in the traditional ways of the pack. This both helps and hinders him in his path. His ideas involving change aren’t well accepted by the pack, but it helps him realize that he’s got what it takes to eventually be his own pack Alpha. Those revelations about Jon guided his decisions. How did that affect his actions throughout the story?

A lot of my stories involve acceptance. Whether that involves accepting yourself, your actions, your fate/destiny, whatever, it's there. Our lives are a journey and we're always living and changing as we learn and grow to fit the situation. I think Jon's journey involved him facing truths about himself he may not have been ready for, and learning about who he is inside through decisions he had to make.

He unwittingly heads back toward “home” and winds up meeting a cute gal – Raine. I liked her at first… I was kind of sad when events turned out unfavorable for her. What made you choose things to play out the way they did for her?

She was a catalyst in the story for Jon. While I did come to like her as a character, she never had a big place in the vision I'd had for his past. Jon needed hard situations presented for him to see the way he needed to choose. Her eventual fate in the story helped to enhance that for him.

Jon finds he’s bitten off more then he can chew in the circumstances. How did he go from trying to hunt the bad guys to finding a vampire who will help him?

I'm not so sure he ever intended to "hunt" the bad guys. After his attack he knew he was in way over his head. When he couldn't get help from his old pack, or find a nearby pack to help, he came to the conclusion he'd need someone more powerful to help.

Did Dria know all along that Jon was watching (Horny lil’ Were that he is)? And why didn’t she react to knowing he was there?

It's hard to say for sure. I wrote the story from Jon's perspective and didn't delve too deeply into what Dria may or may not have know. I think it would be safe to assume that a creature with heightened senses would know when they were being watched. Whether they perceive the person spying on them to be a threat or not might be a decision made on instinct.

I loved how Rafe was willing to help Jon’s cause and even gave him pointers on how to “coax” Dria into helping. What was his rationale behind siding with Jon?

Rafe states his reasons clearly in the story. He wanted his wife safe and strong -- and to do that she would need a werewolf's blood. He was willing to put his personal feelings behind for what he deemed to be a greater purpose.

Jon seems to be a little squeamish with all the head rolling that Dria is serving up. You’d think a were wouldn’t mind the blood. What is it about her powers that ultimately scare him?

It was the matter-of-fact way she doles out death with no hesitation. He may be a werewolf, but he was never a murderer.

What can readers expect in the next story in the VV Inn Series?

I plan on writing the next book following the original series, picking up were Big Game left off. It will reveal more of the danger facing Dria/Vivian and how the couple plans to solve the issues presented. I'm not sure if the existing story arc will be wrapped up in the next book, or by book five. I'll know for sure after I finish plotting it.

If your readers and fans put in a request for a character you hadn’t given much thought to (a secondary one perhaps) would that potentially become something for your fans to read, but not be published?

I'd be very happy to write the past stories and exploits of other secondary characters. More than likely, if it's a story I put time and effort into, I would publish it. I have no problem with giving work away, but I'd prefer to make any story long and rich enough to stand on its own and be sold as a novella. After all, I've got a lot of medical bills to pay ;-)

Eventually, I'd like a forum on my website where I can encourage fans to try writing their own adventures with the world I've created. I've always thought fan fiction was a great way for readers who love a series to create their own stories and for them to delve into writing without a lot of pressure.

Thanks for taking the time to stop in C.j! It’s been great to have you back and help spreading the word about your books. Take care and come back soon!

Thanks for having me here today, Sara! You had some great questions!

About the Author

C.J. Ellisson is the USA Today Bestselling author of the NYT Bestselling book, Vanilla on Top, the bestselling V V Inn series, and several erotica shorts. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband, two children, two dogs, and a fluffy black cat who makes her sneeze. Unlike most full-time authors, she's also battling severe chronic illness. C.J. works daily to put her Lupus into remission and continues to fight numerous bacterial infections while her immune system slowly attacks her body. She turned to writing when she could no longer work outside the home and claims the escape of penning contemporary fantasy, erotica, and erotic romance has helped save her sanity.

To learn more about C.J. and her other books, please stop by the author's website or visit her on facebook.


as I've already told CJ in her Street Team (CJ's Seethe) FB page, this story shed Jon into a whole new Light with me after reading his tale. I used to think of his as an overprotective horny were who couldn't get over his Master, Dria. Especially if you know about their relationship in the other books. After reading Death's Servant that changed COMPLETELY!!!

I'm going to try and do a spoiler-free review, but given what happens in the novella that is going to be very difficult. So read on with caution if you haven't read the story already you are in for a shocker! Nuff said!

Jon is a pretty high raking wolf in Romeo's pack, but his latest idea intended to help the pack was not received well by other pack-mates, causing him to become the object of ridicule. He ends up only getting angered and his internal Alpha is Howling to snap his jaws on someone. Rather then risk loosing his temper to the pack Alpha and coming to blows he rushes out the door. He's starting to cool when this go from bad to worse... the one female Were he thought he had a chance with is "busy" with another Wolf!

Jon's fed up at this point and leaves in a hurry. Not knowing where he's going and what he's going to do he hits the open roads and drives. On'y to find he's gone back toward his human home. He stops for food and a cute waitress catches his attention. But she's throwing mixed signals. And once Jon talks about a relationship, she freaks and avoids him...or does she?

Jon doesn't understand women, especially the Were kind. and his Were is telling him something is up. When he trails her outside of town he doesn't know whats about to hit him! He ends up getting caught by a most unlikely group and when he finds out that a whole pack is nearly dead his Alpha is howling to seek vengeance. Only with the help of his waitress does he manage to get out and try to find another pack to intervene, but finds none. What next? Oh yeah, hunt for the bad guy himself, but in a HUGE city of millions, he'd have a better chance of finding the needle in a haystack, but he doesn't give up...a pack depends on him!

After trying to hunt them on his own for a few days and not finding a trace of them, he needs to find help...and fast! He knows some of those Were's are nearing death and if help doesn't come soon the pack is doomed. His thought, find a different person to help. Knowing the signals he's looking for he goes hunting near a Memorial and follows a pair to a secluded garden area. Waiting for his chance to make his presence known, the couple begin to get entangled, until Dria spots Jon hiding. Being caught sends Jon running for the time being, until the next night he finds their hotel and meets with the woman. She hears him out, but is reluctant to help believing the "group" haven't broken the laws of their kind. However what is happening still sits poorly with her, she tells him to return in 2 days.

Knowing time is running out, Jon returns early and meets with Dria's husband, Rafe. Rafe knows she'll do the right thing, but getting her cooperation is not going to be easy. He gives Jon a few pointers on how to get her on his side. Jon is skeptical of his tactics, but goes along with it. Shortly later Dria steps in and confronted by both, She's hungry and is very shocked at what Jon proposes to offer her for her help. Rafe steps out knowing Jon will win her over. Eventually she caves and accepts even though she doesn't believe Jon knows what he's getting himself into.

With a plan in place they set out to help. When the "group" headman is confronted and finds out who Dria is he is shocked, but quickly gains his composure. Trying to placate her he offers her the services and she is disgusted! What happens next can best be described as pandemonium. Dria knows this guy is far to gone to stay alive, she uses her powers and kills him, knowing his cronies are just as bad off...she sets out to find them while Jon's gets the Were's to safety. But his waitress is missing yet. As they come upon the last crony Jon's shocked at what he finds and it nearly has his alpha seeing red and unleashing his fury on the crony. But Dria has things under control as Jon takes his waitress to be with the others. Once everyone is out Dria calls in Rafe for reinforcements and to help in getting rid of the house. Dria does her best to help the Were's and cover their memories of the horrors they've endured. Eventually things are settled and the remaining Pack are free to return back to their homes. Where is home now for Jon?? Where else, but with Dria and Rafe...Alaska.

*Le sigh* See now Jon is the ultimate loyal and helpful, but protective and fierce alpha. He just had to be on his own to let his inner wolf out. C.J. does a excellent job at giving up a look into Jon's world and what he goes through, only to come out stronger and more an alpha then first thought. What girl wouldn't want that in her Alpha wolf? ;-) I know I do, and Jon is all that and more! But you have to read the rest of the V V Inn series.

C.J was exceedingly generous and has sent out Swag galore! I have6 sets of swag to give away. If interested in swag please enter the giveaway. If I have less than 6 entrants I'll give it to all who entered, after 6 entrants it becomes a drawing for the swag sets. Good Luck and thats for stopping in!

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