Today’s Deadly Destination is from Ilona Andrews‘s Ascanio on Casino from MAGIC RISES, Kate Daniels #6 (published on July 30, 2013 by Ace). Want to win a copy? Enter via the widget below.
Ilona Andrews’s Ascanio on the Casino from MAGIC RISES
Good morning, gentlemen and especially ladies. My name is Ascanio. Welcome to the New Atlanta tour. Please keep your hands and feet inside the cart. As you can see, we have a pair of lovely shire horses drawing us along; their names are Castor and Pollux, but have no fear, they will not be stealing and ravaging any pretty girl horses. They are steady and reliable, but they do occasionally have to take care of their business and we apologize for the smell in advance. With magic and technology switching on and off, horses are our best mode of transportation.
We’re going to visit Casino today, so let’s be off. Atlanta is about average as far as crime rates go, but it’s not good to linger after dark. When magic floods us, it spawns monsters and they happen to be always hungry. In the event of the monster attack, I may change shape. Please do not be alarmed. I’m a member of the shapeshifter Pack, Clan Bouda to be specific. My species is called Hyaena brunnea, or striped hyena for those of you not familiar with Latin. I may look a bit freaky, but I am a very good-natured beast. In fact, our clan is famous for our accommodating and adventurous nature especially when it come to the fine sport of intimate relationships.
Thank you to the two beautiful blond ladies in the back. I appreciate the giggling.
My pal Mister McBroody-pants, who is giving me his evil stare over here on my left, is a werewolf. His name is Derek and you can be assured that between the two of us, no mythological beasts will get their claws on you.
If I may draw your attention to the ruins of Downtown on your right. Magic hates anything technological. It especially hates tall buildings so it gnaws them to dust until they fall. That’s exactly what happened here. Our mentor calls this “graveyard of human ambition,” which is an accurate description, one I happen to agree with and not just because our mentor has a very sharp sword. Everything our fine technological civilization once aspired to now lies at our feet. All the labor, the materials, the ingenious design, all gone to waste, now sprawled here in heaps of gravel and dust. Kind of makes you reevaluate your life.
If you look to your right, you can catch the first glimpse of our destination. It stand on the site of the Georgia Dome, which had kissed the dust many years ago. If it reminds you of Taj Mahal, that’s by design. It has once been described as “ethereal castle born from a mind of a sleeping wizard dreaming of Arabian Nights.” Beautiful, isn’t it? The white minarets look almost as if they are floating. See those gaunt skeletal looking things on the walls? Those are vampires. Once the Immortuus Pathogen kills its victim, it wipes the slate completely clean. Vampires have no consciousness; they do not think, they do not speak, they have no ability to reason. They exist only to devour. If let loose, they will slaughter anything with a heartbeat. They are like sharks of the supernatural world, except that they do not breed.
In fact, the pathogen pretty much gets rid of any organs that are not essential to the undead’s survival, which includes intestines, kidneys, and surprise, genitals. Did you know that you can tell the age of the vampire by the shrinkage of his penis? Exactly, freaky, right?
I can tell by Derek’s Glare From Hell that I am not supposed to regale you with stories of vampire penises.
Okay, I’ll stop. But please don’t worry, all of the vampires at the Casino are safe. Their minds are controlled by navigators. We call them Masters of the Dead. The Masters telepathically grab a hold of the vampire and pilot them around like remote controlled cars of old. They hear what the undead hear and should a vampire speak to you, it’s not actually the undead having a conversation, it’s the navigator speaking to you from the vampire’s mouth. These particular vampires and the Casino itself are owned by the People. They call themselves that because they think they are the only true people of this new magic and technology age. Snobby bastards, aren’t they? They are all about research and corporate profits, so when you go inside, if you happen to encounter someone who looks like a high priced attorney or a stock broker, it’s probably one of the navigators.
We shall now let you off. Please proceed down this beautiful walkway between the fountains featuring Hindu gods. Don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose. We will be back to pick you up in the morning. Should any of you require rescuing before morning – especially if you are young and female – my number is on the back of the business card. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)
Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.
1 copy of MAGIC RISES by Ilona Andrews
Available on 07/30/2013 by Ace
Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.
Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.
Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…
Read an excerpt
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