[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Virna! Thank you for stopping by!
[Virna DePaul] Thanks so much, Julie and Manga Maniac Cafe, for having me here today!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Virna DePaul] Driven. Passionate. Shy. Quiet. Complex.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Turned?
[Virna DePaul] Yes! Turned is Book 1 in the Belladonna Agency Series. The hero in Turned is Ty Duncan, an FBI special agent who was forcibly turned into a vampire. The FBI uses Ty’s misfortune to its advantage, forming the Belladonna Agency, a black ops organization that tracks down vampire criminals. Ty recruits a human female, Eliana Garcia, aka Ana Martin, who is a former gang member. The hero and heroine are both wounded individuals who are fighting inner darkness. Ana’s darkness comes from her past. Ty’s darkness comes from his turning. But in the end, love saves them both.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Virna DePaul] It started with the idea of female spies with a Charlie’s Angels feel. Then I added a touch of Underworld with the paranormal element—beautiful human females recruited to bring down rogue vampires. Finally, it morphed slightly because I wanted to write a prequel to my already published Para-Ops series. The Para-Ops series began with Chosen by Blood, five years after the second civil war, after the US battled with vampires and other paranormal creatures. Turned jumps back in time, starting at the time vampires were first discovered by the FBI. What bridges the two series is a continuing exploration of the idea of “monster” and how being a monster is a character trait that plagues humans just as much as vampires. And of course, both series have plenty of sizzling hot romance.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
[Virna DePaul] As a former gang member, Ana is extremely tough and guarded. She spent time in prison and she did things in her past to survive that, on the surface, make the idea of her being sexually innocent ridiculous, but yet that’s exactly what she is. I enjoyed writing a female character that is so complex, and pairing her with a hero that fears he’s lost his humanity and is unworthy of love. They truly heal one another in the best possible ways.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?
[Virna DePaul] I Want It All by Queen
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without.
[Virna DePaul] An open mind.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Virna DePaul] My new Apple desktop. LOVE! Notes from a screenwriting class. A speaker that plugs into my iPhone so I can play my favorite music.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Virna DePaul] I continue to re-read Law Man by Kristin Ashley. Wanted by J. Kenner was awesome. I’ve read the novels written by my fellow Lucky 7: Bad Boys Boxed Set authors, Tawny Weber, Caridad Pineiro, Sophia Knightly, Kristin Miller, Susan Hatler, and Nina Bruhns. They are all fabulous storytellers!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Virna DePaul] Watch movies and Broadway musicals. And read…I love to read! Never enough time for that.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Virna DePaul] They can always reach me through my website or social media! I love to hear from them!
Thanks again for having me here today. I really appreciate it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
Perfect for fans of J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh, and Lara Adrian, bestselling author Virna DePaul’s new series of paranormal romances introduces readers to a thrilling world where vampires secretly co-exist with humans, seduction rules the night, and the stakes are nothing less than life and undeath.
Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.
Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.
But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.
Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.
When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.
Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?
Advance praise for Turned
“If you’re looking for a hot, sexy, emotional read, Virna DePaul delivers!”—New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J. Kenner
“A captivating start to a fascinating new series with a hero that’s to die for.”—Bestselling author Rhyannon Byrd
“Virna DePaul creates yummy alpha heroes.”—New York Times bestselling author Tina Folsom
“With Turned, Virna DePaul delivers a sexy and exciting new take on the vampire novel, one that comes complete with a kick-ass heroine and a to-die-for hero. I can’t wait for the sequel!”—Tracy Wolff, bestselling author of Ruined
“Turned is intense, intricate, and insomnia inducing (plan to stay up way too late!). Virna DePaul puts the awesome in the awesomesauce of paranormal romance.”—Joyce Lamb, curator, USA Today’s Happy Ever After
“The chemistry between the two was great and made for some very sexy scenes.”—Fresh Fiction
“This book has everything you could want and so, so much more!”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
“Turned is an intriguing story with flawed characters who I connected with immediately. Fans of paranormal romance rejoice, here’s a compelling new series to sink your teeth into.”—Harlequin Junkie
TURNED by Virna DePaul – Excerpt:
“I want to take you,” she blurted out, her chin held high. “I want you to lie on your back and let me do whatever I want to you. Will you do that?”
He held out his hand. With a small frown, she slipped her hand in his. He pulled her to her feet but didn’t kiss her as she’d expected. Instead, he took her place on her bed.
Lying back on the crisp white sheets, he folded his hands behind his head so his biceps bulged and his abs rippled. The light dusting of hair on his chest arrowed down his torso and disappeared into the waistband of his sleep pants. At his groin, his cock pushed against the cotton seam as if straining to reach her, and her mouth went dry at the evidence of his girth. As she continued to watch, his hips arched, tempting her to action.
Her gaze shot back to his face. She expected him to be smiling again. Maybe even watching her with an arrogant look of triumph. Instead, he looked hungry. Famished. Ready to break down and beg if she didn’t touch him.
She knew exactly how he felt.
With more bravado than actual confidence, she stepped closer to him and pressed her palm against his chest. The strong thud of his heartbeat echoed the throbbing need between her legs. A slight hiss escaped him as her hand made contact. “Yes,” he groaned. “Touch me. Please.”
“I—I am touching you,” she whispered.
“Touch me with both hands. With your mouth. With your body. I need you, Ana. I need you so much.”
The naked vulnerability of his pleas made her breath catch. He needed her?
“Yes, I need you,” he said, making her wonder if she’d voiced her thoughts or he’d somehow read her mind. “And once we begin training, once you learn more about your mission, things are going to change. The way you feel about me is going to change.”
“Why? Are you going to be mean to me?” She pouted, skimming a nail across his nipple as if to punish him for any future transgressions against her.
He jerked. “I’m going to push you, and you’re not going to like being pushed. But more than that, you’re going to see me for who I really am. What I really am. And you’re not going to want me any longer. Not the way I want you.”
Instinctively, she pulled back at his pain-filled words. She had no idea what he meant, but when she opened
her mouth to question him, he shook his head wildly. “Don’t ask me to explain because I can’t. Just know that I want you and need you, Ana. Here. Now. I need you to take me, just like you said. Do what you want to me. Do anything. Do everything.”
Most of the time, sex had always been about what someone else wanted to take from her. On the rarest of occasions, it had been about what she’d been willing to give up. She’d never thought of sex in terms of taking for herself. But now here was Ty, every luscious inch of him, begging her to do just that.
Her fears. Her insecurities. Her questions about what he’d said. They all disappeared as a maelstrom of desire overtook her. For once, she was in charge. For once, she had the power to take what she wanted.
She wanted him. She wanted to take from him. Anything. Everything.
And she was going to.
Faster than she’d ever thought possible, she stripped them both naked. His gaze devoured her bare flesh, but he kept his hands pinned behind his head, giving her total control.