Karen’s Killer Book Bench: Kiss Me Before I Die and The Hunter by Rena Marks

Kiss MeThe Hunter

 読書KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!




When an experiment goes wrong, Afton is sent to release the rage built up in her system by a desire-enhancing drug. Once she finds Ethan, head of the vampires, the drug kicks in. His blood calls to her quicker than she can run. What a frustrating predicament, to be trained to extinguish vampires when the king looks like Ethan.

Stargazer Series Book 1


When Kele Frey wakes up, she is completely naked. A thin sheet covers her. She had remembered being stabbed, but the wound at her side is now covered by a thin scar. A crest. And a toe tag marks her foot.

Dante Paris resurrected Kele. He’d asked her permission, just before she took her final breath. But she had no idea what her permission warranted.

To defy death. And to be his forever.

Stargazer Series Book 1


The front door chimed.

“Customers!” Don yelled.

When Kele heard Don’s voice, she hurried out the back. She had to cross the parking lot to get to her truck. The cheap old jerk never let the servers park near the building. And she had to rush, before he started bellowing. If she had any qualms that Tina couldn’t handle it, she’d stay. But she was tired. And Don was just being vindictive.

Dammit, she’d forgotten her purse inside. Good thing she had her keys in her apron pocket. She took a deep breath. If she went back inside for it, Don would make her work past her shift. Her purse should be safe overnight. It was locked in her locker, and she had to be back here for the morning shift anyway. She could get away with it for one night.

And she really wanted to get home to share the whole astounding story with Bay.

She fantasized about Dante as she walked out to her old pickup truck.

“Here, kitty-kitty.”

Kele whirled around to face the truckers from her table earlier.

“What do you want?” she snapped.

The men moved in and surrounded her. Adrenaline surged through her arms and legs, making them tingle. She quickly took a look around. It was dark out, and the lighting was dim. Most of the streetlamps were in the front. The signs from the diner were lit, but they didn’t reach all the way to the back parking lot.

“We just wanna talk. You’re a pretty lil thing.”

The smell of stale booze was strong. They weren’t even close and the sour smell made her wrinkle her nose. They must have drank more since leaving the diner. Who knows what they would pull while drunk? Her heart pounded, and her palms ached. She unclenched her fists and wondered if she could outrun them.

“Get out of here before I call the cops,” Kele threatened.

She didn’t even have her cell phone. It was in her purse. She should have turned around and gone back inside for it.

But a nondescript, black SUV pulled up, the tires squealing as the car doors opened.

“Leave the female alone.”

From the vehicle stepped Dante and his men. He had removed his sunglasses.

“Aww, we weren’t gonna hurt her,” one of the truckers said. “We was just fooling around.”

“I know what you were going to do,” Dante said.

Before she knew it, the older man grabbed her, holding her against him. His hot breath blasted the back of her head. Something sharp pressed painfully into her side.

Everyone froze. Kele’s heart continued to pound. Could it thump hard enough to explode?

“Don’t hurt her,” Dante said. “Relax. We can all turn around and go home. We’ll forget anything happened here.”

“You have no business sticking your nose in ours! Move on your way, or the girl gits cut.”

“You harm her, and we won’t let any of you live.” Dante’s voice was cold, unremorseful. Not at all like the man she’d flirted with in the diner.

Kele screamed when a razor-sharp pain hit her side. It stung like fire before wetness hit, and then it just burned. She slowly exhaled as her knees weakened. She sank, in slow motion, to her knees.

The scene around her erupted into chaos. The six men attacked the drunks. The last image Kele had was of Dante, who rushed toward her. One fist shot out and connected with the drunk who held her. Someone else pulled the old trucker away from her, and suddenly she was free.

In one smooth move, Dante grabbed Kele as she sank slowly to the ground. She raised her hand, twisting it into his shirt, afraid to let him go.

“Easy, sweetness,” he said. “Relax. We’re going to take care of you.”

“I’m scared,” Kele said.

“I’m here,” Dante said.

“How is it?” one of the men asked.

“There’s a lot of blood.”

“Someone shine a light.”

Kele gasped. One of the men raised his hands. An inhuman glow shined from his palms, as clear as a flashlight.

“What?” she gasped.

“We’re Stargazers,” Dante said. “Don’t worry. We’ve got you. We won’t hurt you, Kele.”

So these were the aliens from the news? And she’d fallen for one? How much more damage the truckers would have caused if they’d have known.

“Dante,” one of the men said. “The entry is jagged. The bastard twisted the blade.”

“He pulled it in and out,” Kele said.

Something was wrong with her voice, her breathing. She wheezed.

“Kele, this is serious. But I want you to stay calm. We’ve got this, we’re not going to let anything happen to you.”

But Kele felt the gravity of the situation. The six men, who’d been laughing and joking in the diner, were eerily silent. And every beat of her heart caused her to weaken, as if her life leaked away on each beat.

“No,” she whispered. “It’s too late. You guys leave before you take the blame. Before you get exposed. You know how it is.”

The public would jump to accuse them, not the truckers.

“You’re worried about us?” One of the men snorted.

“People are jealous of you. That causes fear. Prejudice,” she wheezed.

But Kele was slipping fast.

“Kele,” Dante said gently. “Kele, open your eyes. I need you to understand something, sweetness.”

It took effort, but she opened her eyes. Though she couldn’t see much anymore, just the dim image of the handsome man before her. Everything else tunneled into swirls of darkness.

“Kele, do you trust me?”

His eyes were lavender. Lavender. A shade so pretty, it glowed. Her vision must be playing tricks on her.

She knew, without a doubt, she wanted to get to know this man. Her heart broke when she realized she couldn’t.

“It’s too late,” she whispered.

“No, sweetness. It’s not. Hurry up, make a choice. Do you want to be with me or not?”

Her last word exhaled with her last breath. “Yes.”

And then she was completely still, her eyes staring ahead lifelessly.

Meet the Author, Rena Marks… 読書

Rena Marks is the only author who didn’t start writing at the tender age of five. Instead, it was summer of 2006 when she decided to write.

An avid reader all her life, one day she was twiddling her thumbs while waiting for her favorite releases. She decided, “I can do this.” She opened her laptop, clicked on Word, and typed away. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that easy.

Using the internet to learn all she could about writing, she noticed a comment on the blog of urban fantasy writer Kim Harrison.

“How does one begin writing books?”

“Join an organization like Romance Writers of America,” Harrison responded.

It was the best advice she’d ever received.

While she researched writer’s groups, she began to pen her first two novels, Forgotten Kisses (a vampire/werewolf genre she later discovered was paranormal) and Victoria’s Secret to a Happy Divorce (comedy).

She was surprised to find there were more genres in the romance category, as the answers from the other writers ranged from romantic suspense to erotic romance. Also surprising was to find most authors began writing before they could even speak, often penning novels while still in grade school.

With the attitude of better-late-than-never, she took off with a bang, completing four novels and publishing two of the four with Ellora’s Cave by January of 2007. She recently had her book rights reverted and is ready to begin a new self-publishing career.

Her favorite pasttime is writing while gazing at the full moon for inspiration.


Links to Rena’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon Author Page:



Burst_02**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Rena will give away an e-book copy of KISS ME BEFORE I DIE or THE HUNTER (1st in the Stargazer Series) ~ winner’s choice ~ to a lucky reader who comments with WHICH STORY IS PREFERRED AND WHY on today’s **Author Peek** Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog  on Wednesday. Thank you, Rena, for sharing your stories with us

Don’t miss the chance to read these books!

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6 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench: Kiss Me Before I Die and The Hunter by Rena Marks

  1. Lori says:

    I really enjoyed reading the excerpt. I can’t wait to read both books. They both sound amazing!

  2. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Rena, and welcome back. I was really looking forward to sharing this excerpt. It caught me! I love SciFi romance. Thanks for stopping by to share your releases. 🙂

  3. Rose Arbor says:

    Wow! Thanks, Rena. After reading this excerpt, I have to choose The Hunter. I have to find out what happens.

  4. I’ve been reading this genre for years but not Rena’s work, because I had not been introduced. This excerpt rocks, and now I am very curious!

  5. Colleen C. says:

    Oh wow… they both sounds truly interesting… hmm, I am leaning more towards the vampire story, KISS ME BEFORE I DIE…

  6. bn100 says:

    KISS ME BEFORE I DIE or THE HUNTER- haven’t read it

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