Hi Lynsay and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Meant To Be Immortal!
Hi Sara! Nice to chat with you again…
To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:
Book #32 is about two new characters to the scene, Katricia’s brother, hematologist Macon Argeneau, and special investigator CJ Cummings.
Mac decides to move closer to family so buys a house in Sandford, a small town between Toronto where his father lives and Port Henry where his sister Katricia lives. Being new in town, he doesn’t expect trouble, but it finds him anyway in the form of a fire that destroys everything he owns and almost kills him. What starts out as a terrible day quickly turns around once he meets the lovely blonde officer sent to investigate his case, CJ Cummings, whom he can’t read.
CJ has a job to do, and it’s definitely not babysitting the stunningly attractive man who managed to make it out of a suspicious house fire alive and well. Somehow now he’s become her responsibility when all she wants to do is get on with her job and stop thinking about him… or at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.
Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:
This was CJ talking to Mac after he insisted she had to be the one to “protect his body”.
“You’re an unarmed civilian with no self-defense training, weak and unskilled.” She clucked her tongue sadly. “Helpless as a baby, really.”
What inspired this book?
Actually, it came from a chat my hubby and I had. He told me the tale of one of the small towns he grew up in (his Dad was a military man which had them moving around a bit as he grew up). This story was about a police officer who liked to pick on the young teenage boys in their town (think beat the crap out of) and how the people in that town responded to it when one of the boys wound up in the hospital. (hint clue, the officer also wound up in the hospital and decided a career change was advisable).
Having grown up spending half the year on a small island myself, and knowing how they responded in similar situations, I wanted to include something like that in a story.
To be clear, I wrote this before everything exploded around the trouble with police, and this is not an anti-police story. In fact, the heroine CJ, used to be a police officer herself before her present position. I think there are good and bad apples in every career. I wasn’t interested in tearing down the police, more in showcasing the way the town got together to handle the situation. So, that was the springboard. . . and then Macon Argeneau stepped forward wanting his own story. (He is the son of Basil Argeneau of Vampire Most Wanted, and one of the older brothers of Katricia Argeneau Brunswick, Teddy’s wife down in Port Henry) I think we’ll be meeting more of Basil’s children in future.
How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?
As for how I got to know my characters…
Marguerite, Julius, Katricia, and Bricker all had a hand in getting to know both Mac and CJ.
Since she was seventeen, CJ had no choice but to handle all the crud life threw at her on her own. As an SIU agent she had to get the truth from uncooperative and sometimes downright obstructive individuals, so was forced to face troublesome people and situations head on all the time. This was the complete opposite of how she handled her personal life where the easiest way for her to avoid getting hurt or her hurting someone else was to keep everyone at arms-length, which was what she’d done until she met Mac and his family.
With twenty-two siblings, Macon has an incredibly large family and an even larger extended family. Because of this there were and always would be a lot of people in his personal space ready to help, even when he didn’t want it. He showed a lot of patience, love and sound judgement even in the face of what seemed like irrational behaviour by those who butted in.
This is a sharp contrast to CJ who lost her parents when she was only a teenager. In her own words, she has no one else in her life.
And my characters did surprise me…
CJ was a pleasant surprise. It became apparent early on how perceptive and quick-witted she really was, like when she figured out what Mac was up to when he kept insisting she needed to “guard his body”. It was also pretty impressive how deftly she turned the tables on him when he suddenly found himself locked up in a jail cell. She’s wicked smart and definitely a good match for Mac.
It’s rare for secondary characters to go off script but Marguerite surprised the heck out of everyone, especially Mac, when she started frantically stripping him of his new clean clothes they’d brought down for him shortly after she, unbeknownst to Mac, had arranged for CJ to take him shopping for new clothes.
What was your favorite scene to write?
This was just ONE of my favorite scenes. By now Mac knew he couldn’t read CJ and he was doing his damnedest to make sure he stayed as close to her side as possible. In the end, she ended up guarding him, but at this point his tactics failed miserably.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Argeneau, but as I told you, I am not guarding you. That’s why I was trying to stop Officer Simpson. As the officer in control of your investigation, he should have seen to your safety before leaving.”
“But he didn’t,” Mac pointed out with a shrug. “I guess that leaves you.”
“The hell it does,” she exclaimed with dismay. “I’m not a police officer anymore.”
“But you used to be, and you did agree to help out tonight,” he pointed out. “Besides, there is no one else.” Arching an eyebrow, he added, “Surely you wouldn’t just leave a poor defenseless citizen to be killed? I mean, how would that look?”
CJ opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again, and then narrowed her eyes briefly on the man. She recognized manipulation when she saw it, and Mac wasn’t even trying to be subtle about it. She got the feeling he wasn’t really worried about an attack, or at all sorry Simpson was gone. She was getting the distinct impression that, for some reason, he just wanted to keep her close, and making her responsible for his well-being would definitely do that. She could hardly leave him here alone with Mrs. Dupree as his only protection. Someone had set his house on fire. If they’d stuck around the scene as arsonists tended to do, they’d know he still lived and might try to finish the job when he left here. On the other hand, if he didn’t leave the police station, he’d probably be safe enough, she thought. The trick was keeping him from leaving.
“You’re absolutely right,” she said suddenly. “You are the victim of a violent crime, and despite the fact that I’m not a police officer, I used to be, and your safety should be my main priority. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“Well, it is late and no doubt you have had a long day,” he said sympathetically. “I am sure you simply were not thinking clearly.”
CJ’s jaw clenched at the words, her annoyance ratcheting up another notch even as she agreed. “Yes. Still, that’s no excuse for losing track of my priorities.” Spinning on her heel, she led the way out of the narrow hall. With Mac following, she turned left, and pushed her way through the large metal door with the little window in it as she added, “I mean, what if I abandoned you here unprotected and went off to go over the notes of the case I’m actually on? And what if something happened after I’d left you alone? Dear God, the guilt I’d feel at leaving a poor defenseless citizen to be reattacked by his attacker.”
“Well . . .” She could hear the frown in his voice even before he assured her, “I am not completely defenseless.”
“Of course you are,” she argued, leading him along the row of cells in this room. There were eight altogether. Four on each side. The first four actually had occupants in them. By her guess, the inhabitants of the first cells on either side of the aisle were both sleeping off an overindulgence in alcohol. One looked like a homeless man, the other was dressed in a slightly rumpled suit, but they were both snoring up a storm on their cots, and smelled like a dive bar’s floor.
The next two cells both held young men in jeans and T-shirts. Judging by the bruises on their faces and the way they were scowling across the aisle at each other, CJ would guess they’d been brought in for brawling. Moving past the occupied cells, CJ continued, “You’re an unarmed civilian with no self-defense training, weak and unskilled.” She clucked her tongue sadly. “Helpless as a baby, really.”
Pausing at the open door of the first empty cell, she turned back to see that her words had made his mouth turn down with displeasure. Judging by the way he scowled, the pitying look she now gave him did not improve his mood. He definitely didn’t care for the idea of her seeing him as weak and feeling sorry for him, she decided when he straightened abruptly, and assured her, “I am not helpless as a baby.”
“Of course not,” she agreed easily, turning to lead the way into the cell. “But as a civilian . . .” Pausing, she turned sideways to watch him walk past her and then took several steps back toward the cell door as she added, “You’re like a turtle on its back. All soft flabby skin, just waiting to be sliced and diced.”
“Flabby!” he squawked. “I am not flabby. In fact, it’s impossible for me to be flabby. I’m all sinewy muscle and—” Halting as he reached the cot attached to the wall several feet in front of her, he whirled back and suddenly yanked up his T-shirt almost all the way to his neck, saying, “Look!” He smacked the hard stomach he’d revealed and growled, “I am not soft and flabby.”
CJ was looking, and stared hard at what was revealed. She’d heard of the hallowed six-pack. Mac didn’t have that. It looked more like an eight-pack to her. Good Lord! The man could have been mistaken for a marble statue. Her eyes slid over his pale, muscled skin and she actually had to fight the urge to fan herself as she was hit by what she could only think was a premature hot flash. Instead of fanning herself with her hand, she used the cell door, swinging it closed firmly enough to create a slight breeze that fanned over her even as the metal door clanged shut.
Mac blinked in surprise at her through the bars now between them, and then his gaze moved down to the square metal panel holding the lock to the cell she’d led him into while distracting him with her words. Raising wide eyes back to her face, he asked with amazement, “What are you doing?”
“Leaving you in protective custody where you’ll be safe,” she said easily, giving the cell door a tug to be sure the lock was engaged. “This is the safest place for you until Captain Dupree can arrange someone to guard you. Maybe even until he finds out who tried to turn you into a shish kebab with that fire. Please enjoy your stay.”
Turning then, CJ headed back along the cells, a smile sliding over her lips as she ignored his shouts for her to return and let him out.
What was the most difficult scene to write?
The most difficult scene was when Mac finally got CJ to open up about her past. It was a difficult, heart-rending topic. He’d made progress, but then she just about shut him out completely after that. Luckily, Bricker overheard and came to Mac’s rescue… sort of.
“You don’t want to be in my life, Mac.”
“I do,” he responded promptly.
“You don’t even know me,” she pointed out with frustration. She’d been rather hoping he’d just take the hint and shut up about this, but it appeared persistence was another quality he had. That was something she normally would have appreciated. Not so much in this instance, though, since it meant she was having to talk him out of something she actually really wanted but couldn’t have. Because CJ was more than interested in the man herself. She had been even before the dream sex that had left her so hot and bothered. But she could not have it.
“I’d like to,” he responded. “I’d like to learn everything there is to know about you.”
CJ’s mouth tightened. “Everything, huh?” she asked bitterly, and then nodded. “Fine, then. You want to know everything? How about this? I like you too. You’re good-looking, intelligent, funny, and considerate, and I find you incredibly hot and sexy. The fact is, I’d love nothing more than to drag you up to my room right now and jump your bones. Hell, I’d even happily jump your bones right here.”
Mac reacted like a bull at the twitch of a red cape. He was out of his chair and pulling her out of hers so fast she didn’t even really see him or even herself move; she was just suddenly upright in his arms with his face lowering toward her. Fortunately, he wasn’t as quick at the lowering his head to claim her lips part and she was able to get her hand up between them at the last minute. Catching his nose and mouth with the palm of her hand, she closed her fingers on his face and forced his head back up, then pulled out of his arms as she said, “There’s just one thing stopping me from doing that.”
She didn’t wait for him to ask what that one thing was, but simply let the word fall from her mouth like the stone it was. The huge honking boulder that had been lodged in her gut for three and a half years. “HIV.”
Mac stiffened, his eyes rounding, and she nodded. “Yeah. I have HIV.” Smiling bitterly, she added, “Bet I’m looking a lot less attractive now, huh?”
“No,” he said solemnly. “I’m sorry you have HIV, but it doesn’t change how I feel. I’m still attracted to you and I still want to know more about you and have you in my life.”
“You mean as a friend,” she suggested quietly.
“As a friend, a lover, a partner,” he countered.
CJ’s heart jumped at his words and her eyes widened. That wasn’t at all what she’d expected and she wasn’t sure how to handle it. She was tempted, but . . .
“You do know what HIV is, right?” she asked with a slight frown.
“I’m a hematologist, CJ. Of course I know.”
“Well, how the hell could you want me after learning that?” she asked with disbelief. She found it hard to imagine anyone would want her knowing that. She herself had felt dirty and tainted since finding out she had it. Counseling had helped a bit, but she still felt like her ex-husband had marked her like a dog pissing on a hydrant, and couldn’t believe Mac didn’t now find her repulsive.
“CJ,” he began soothingly, but she cut him off.
“You’re going to try to sell me that business about safe sex. I mean, yes, I take my antiretroviral treatments, and my viral load is undetectable, and between that and condoms it should be safe,” she said, sure that was where he was heading. “But I don’t have tests every single day—what if the day we had sex was the day it was detectable? Condoms are supposed to protect you, but do you know how many babies are born each year because of faulty or broken condoms?”
“No,” she said grimly.
“You don’t have to worry about giving me HIV.”
“Of course I do. I hate the person who gave it to me. I don’t want you to hate me! And hell, I’d hate myself if I was responsible for giving it to you.”
“You can’t,” he assured her.
“What?” she asked with disbelief. “Of course I can.”
“No,” he said firmly. “You cannot.”
“How do you figure that?” she asked at once.
Mac opened his mouth, closed it, and then frowned as if unsure he should say what he wanted to.
“Because he already has it.”
CJ turned sharply on Justin as he stepped out onto the porch after making that announcement from the doorway.
Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?
Yes, this story is a good example of my writing style. This story is full of mystery, humour, and action and mixed with some great romance. And as usual, the Argeneaus step in when they find out Mac is in trouble. Marguerite, Julius, Bricker, Decker, and Katricia to name a few are drawn into the thick of it when multiple mysterious assassination attempts are made on Mac and his potential life mate, CJ.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want my readers to get so caught up in the story that they’ll end up laughing at, cringing for, gasping at, shouting at, or cheering on Mac and/or CJ without even realizing it. <G>
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
As for what I’m working on…
I recently handed in the proofs for book #10 in the Highland Brides series. It’s called the Highland Wolf and this one has a connection to the first book in the series, An English Bride In Scotland. The Highland Wolf is about Ross and Annabel’s nephew, Bryson MacDonald whom everyone thought was dead. In this story Lady Claray MacFarlane is just a pawn in a plan to get a hold of her family’s land and title. Her greedy uncle intended to force her to marry her awful neighbor, Maldouen MacNaughton. Luckily, she’s snatched away before the nightmarish nuptials could take place. She has no idea why her kidnapper, the infamous Highland Wolf, came for her. The mercenary’s courage and prowess in battle are known throughout the Highlands, and with his handsome face and black-as-sin hair, he was as intelligent and deadly as the wolf he was named for…
And right now I’m working on the next Highland Brides story after the Highland Wolf. However, because I’m in the middle of writing it I can’t tell you too much about this story yet other than to say it’ll be book #11.
As for my upcoming releases…
The next book will be another Argeneau called Mile High With A Vampire, which will come out on September 28th.
This story is about Abigail’s friend Jet Lassiter who you met in Immortal Nights and Pet’s sister, Quinn Peters, who you met in The Trouble With Vampires.
This is Argeneau Book #33 and starts with a deadly plane crash that leaves Jet, Quinn and five seriously injured immortals stranded, miles from anywhere.
Anyone want to guess what happens when an entourage of immortals wake up after being severely injured, and you’re the only blood source within miles? Good luck, Jet!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Two signed paperback editions of Meant To Be Immortal!
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you were immortal and you were trapped in a building on fire, would you…1) risk the very high probability of death by trying to run out through the flames, or 2) dunk yourself in a tub of water knowing you’d be boiled alive but had a better probability of survival?
Excerpt from Meant To Be Immortal:
This is when Julius and Marguerite show up to bring blood to Mac after the house fire almost kills him. The interaction between a very pregnant Marguerite and poor Julius is priceless.
“My aunt is late to everything.”
“I resent that, Macon Argeneau.”
He and CJ both turned to stare at the woman standing in the now open side door of the RV. With long auburn hair, and a wide smile, Marguerite was beautiful, even with a stomach big enough that she could have had a beach ball under the pale blue sundress she was wearing, Mac thought with amusement as the woman waited for the RV steps to finish dropping into place and then gingerly descended them.
“The only reason it has taken so long to get here is because you did not bother to tell Bastien the address you were at, and the phone you called from showed Private Caller so he couldn’t call back to get the address from you,” the very pregnant woman announced with a hint of exasperation as she crossed the backyard to the stairs. “Julius and I have been hanging about for hours while Bastien tried to sort out where you were. It was not until we went to the police station here in Sandford that we were able to find out that you were at the local bed-and-breakfast and get the address.”
Mac had opened his mouth to respond to his aunt, but stopped and turned sharply to CJ when she said her name. He hadn’t introduced them yet, or mentioned her name. Yet, CJ apparently knew it, and judging by the growing pleasure on her face, she knew her personally as well.
“Why, CJ Cummings,” Marguerite said now, beaming at the younger woman and hurrying awkwardly up the stairs to hug her. “How delightful to find you here.” Pulling back, she then grinned at Mac as she admitted, “Although I had a feeling we’d meet here in Sandford.”
Mac’s gaze immediately narrowed on his aunt.
“Why would you think we’d meet here?” CJ asked with obvious surprise. “I live in Mississauga and told you that when we were on Pelee Island.”
“Ah,” Mac breathed as his conversation with his cousin, Bastien, ran through his mind. “Did Mom suggest you rent a house in Sandford?” “What? No. She suggested I look for a house or cottage on Pelee Island,” he’d answered with surprise, and then had asked, “Why would you ask that?” “Oh, it is just that she has a tendency to hook up immortals with their life mates lately, and I wondered— Never mind,” Bastien had interrupted himself. “Obviously she had nothing to do with it this time.”
After Marguerite’s suggestion, Mac had actually looked into Pelee Island as a possible home base. But it was much farther away from his father and sister, and necessitated a boat ride in the summer, or a plane ride in the winter when the lake was frozen and unpassable. Aside from that, though, everything would have had to be flown out to him in the winter, which had seemed somewhat inconvenient, not to mention expensive, since he received almost daily deliveries of items needed for his experiments.
Marguerite distracted him from his thoughts when she answered CJ’s question with, “Because you have been on my mind a good deal this morning. That usually means I’ll see the person soon, and since I plan to be here for a while, that would mean I’d see you here.”
“Oh,” CJ laughed at her words. “I have a friend who’s like that with money. Well, not like that exactly. She swears that any time she has trouble sleeping, a check shows up in the mail the next day.”
“Well, then, for her insomnia pays,” Marguerite said, and both women laughed.
“Well, goodness, I guess I’d best put on more coffee.”
Mac glanced around at that comment from Mrs. Vesper to see that she had joined them on the porch, but it was CJ who held out a hand to the woman and waved her forward, saying, “Oh, no, Mrs. Vesper. First come and meet Marguerite. Marguerite, this is Millie Vesper. Mrs. Vesper this is Marguerite Notte. I met her and her husband—” Head swinging back, she asked, “Julius is here too?”
“Yes. He and the boys went around to talk to that nice officer in the police car about where to move the RV to. I gather it’s blocking his view,” Marguerite explained, but Mac noted that her gaze was focused on Mrs. Vesper with great interest. Perhaps that’s why he wasn’t overly surprised when she said, “My goodness, Millie, you have interesting energy about you. It makes me think of someone else I know.”
“Marguerite Argeneau Notte, I told you to wait for me to escort you.”
Mac glanced toward the RV in time to see Julius Notte rushing toward them around the front of the vehicle with Justin Bricker and Mac’s cousin Decker Argeneau Pimms on his heels. He also noticed that, while Marguerite’s husband’s voice might have sounded sharp, his expression was pure anxiety.
“I’m fine, it’s fine,” Marguerite said breezily, waving away his worry.
“It is not fine, my love,” Julius countered at once, his voice an odd combination of exasperation and affection. “What if you had fallen or—”
“Darling, I’m pregnant, not crippled,” Marguerite said with a laugh, sliding her hand through the man’s arm as he reached her. “You worry too much.”
“You make me worry too much,” Julius countered, retrieving his arm from her hold to slide it around her waist and press her to his side. “You are none too steady on your feet lately.”
“Are you saying I’m clumsy?” Marguerite asked with affront.
“No,” he assured her. “I am saying you are simply not used to this new distribution of weight you are having to deal with.”
“So, you’re saying I’m fat,” Marguerite suggested, eyes narrowing.
“No, no, I would never,” he said at once, his expression becoming alarmed. “You are not fat, my love.”
“I am so fat,” Marguerite argued unhappily. “I’m big as a barn.”
“Sì, but with my child and I love you for it,” Julius argued at once, and seemed to realize his mistake at once when Marguerite’s eyes narrowed on him. “I mean, no. Not as big as a barn, my love. Just round like ripe fruit.”
“Round?” Marguerite asked with dismay.
“Lush, I meant lush,” he backtracked quickly.
“Give it up, Julius,” CJ said on a laugh. “You’re just digging yourself a deeper hole.”
Julius Notte turned to blink at CJ and then smiled widely in greeting. “CJ Cummings!”
Mac watched with amazement as CJ’s face bloomed with a wide, joyful smile that turned her from simply attractive to stunning, and then Julius stepped forward to give her a quick hug of greeting and Mac scowled. He wanted to slap the man’s hands off of her and push him away, but Justin Bricker distracted him by saying, “Marguerite, I thought I heard you say this lovely lady’s energy reminds you of someone else as we came around the RV? Did I hear that right?”
At Bricker’s question, Marguerite turned to peer at Mrs. Vesper again and smiled faintly. “Yes, you did, and she does.”
“Huh,” he said dryly. “Then yet another one bites the dust.”
“Another two,” Decker corrected.
“Sì, you must include Mac,” Julius pointed out as he released CJ.
“Yeah,” Bricker said with a grin. “We drop like flies around Marguerite.”
The men all grunted agreement at that.
“I’m sorry, am I missing something? Who’s biting the dust?” CJ glanced around the group with confusion.
“No one,” Mac said quickly.
“It’s just a family joke,” Decker added, and then his attention shifted to Mac and he raised his eyebrows
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Mac Argeneau knows all too well: immortals can be killed. Not with holy water or silver crosses, but by decapitation or being set on fire. So when Mac’s house bursts into flames—with him inside—he’s sure it was no accident. But who would want to kill a scientist specializing in hematology? There is a silver lining: a blonde investigator appears on the scene and sparks feelings in him that have been dormant for centuries.
CJ Cummings is in town on a special investigation, but she’s been waylaid by the local police to deal with this arson case. The biggest mystery is how this sexy scientist with silvery blue eyes has emerged from a blazing inferno without a burn mark on him. He’s clearly hiding something. Sure, she’d love to see him without his lab coat, but she’s got a job to do—despite his insistence that he needs a bodyguard and…he wants her.
But when a second attempt on their lives puts CJ in harm’s way, it’s Mac who will do anything to safeguard the woman who’s destined to be his life mate.
Meet the Author:
My name is Lynsay Sands and I’m the author of the Argeneau series and many hysterical historicals (as my readers tend to call them). I have written sixty books and twelve anthologies, which probably tells you I really enjoy writing. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to make a career out of it.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads |