Eliza Ross believes she is living an isolated life in Montana without family or friends. Then a mysterious stalker turns her world upside down. The cops think she is crazy, but the medical doctors soon discover that Eliza isn’t normal—and they are determined to find out why.
Dmitri Markov is a Druzhina who knows everything about Eliza, but his mission is to make her forget. He will do whatever it takes to keep her alive and deliver her to Shashenka Belyakov. Other elite Druzhinas are sent to assist Dmitri in recovering her from the hospital. They will not fail.
An unlikely friendship with a mortal enemy only deepens the mystery, putting Eliza on a collision course with Dmitri and immersing her in a shadow realm where nothing is what it seems. As the truth unravels, Eliza learns that she must destroy the one responsible for enslaving her, or she’ll never be free—but as she races into the unknown, she unwittingly sends Dmitri into a downward spiral that may doom them both.
Once again, we’re welcoming Lianne over to visit. Today, she’s brought Dmitri from her book Artifice in with her. Dmitri, before we get started, do you have a nickname you’d prefer us to use?
- Dmitri Markov is my name.
Yes, sir. And, since I like to provide appropriate refreshments, I’ll be nosy: What species are you?
- I’m a vampire
Cool. Any special gifts?
- My natural gifts include the ability to influence and alter a human’s mind with a mere look or touch. I’m also highly skilled at enforcing vampiric law and carrying out justice.
I’ll bet that isn’t such a fun job. Will you share with us about your past, and where you’re from?
- I was born in the Rodopi region of Bulgaria in the spring of 1350.
- I grew up in the mountains of northern Bulgaria with my clan; we were hunters, protectors. After the Ottoman Turks invaded in 1362, I joined the ranks of the Haidoucks and we fought back—hard. It was my skill at fighting that gained the attention of the passing Belyakov vampires and resulted in the fateful meeting that changed my life forever.
- [My parents] were good, hard working people who died young.
- [And] I had many siblings; nearly half of them died in childhood and most of the others perished during the resistance to the Turks. Only two died of old age.
You mentioned that you were an enforcer of vampiric law. What type of person is that?
- I would consider myself to be serious, intelligent, passionate, and strong. Oh, and I’m not totally without humor, but most never see that side of me.
Can you define yourself in terms of “good” or “bad”?
- By my very nature I’m consider an evil creature—I must have human blood to live—but I’ve held onto my humanity and live with many of the same morals and scruples that I had as a human.
Sounds like a good person to me, just with a bit of a moral challenge to face every day. Do you feel that has helped you learn how to handle pressure and stress?
- Thanks to my demented master, Shashenka Belyakov, I have been forced to endure endless cycles of torture and torment.
Has that made it hard to work with, or get along with, others?
- Yes, [I am comfortable around] only a select few. I tend to be more reserved around others.
Would you consider Shashenka to be your only enemy, or are there others?
- Shashenka Belyakov and Guillermo Sanchez—both deserve to die for the crimes they commit against those living in this world.
Is there something you would love to see happen to them in the near future?
- The death of Guillermo Sanchez.
Do you have any allies who help you nullify their plans?
- My closest allies are my comrades in the Druzhinas—Vladimir Jagr, Anna Kachida, Kees De Haan, Katherine Zervas, Stephan Vasilou, Victoria Edwards, Justin Walker, Sophia Castillo, Elizabetta Rossellini, and reluctantly Alexander Kozlov. But, I must also count the maxian wizard, Maria D’Arcy, and the werewolf, Matt Wolfe, as my allies now as well.
What do you do if one of your enemies complements you?
- ::cough:: Bullshit
I take it, that doesn’t happen very often. What about the reverse – when a friend or ally insults you?
- Let me guess, it was Matt, right? That mongrel is always finding ways to get under my skin and push me to my limits.
There’s always at least one who does that, right? Tell me, if you were to play the “what if” game, what creature would you turn yourself into?
- I’m fine with being a vampire, but I wish that I had the magic of the maxians or fae.
In reality, what would you choose to change about yourself if you could, though?
- I would erase the years of torture and every scar it has left on me.
I would think that you would be a different person then. Would that allow you to do what you do now, or do you want to be doing something different?
- For centuries I have been a Druzhina—an elite enforcer of vampiric law, a warrior, and assassin. Most of my human life and a good majority of my vampire life has only ever known battle, survival. I’ve never known a life without sword or dagger.
- [No], I enjoy protecting others.
By any chance does that protection extend to a special someone or spouse?
- ::broad grin:: Yes, in fact I married her almost six-hundred years ago.
I’m sure the life you’ve had has led to many secrets and fears. Can you share any of the big ones with us?
- To tell you my biggest secret would be to reveal my deepest fear. I will never give my enemies that type of power over me.
- Pray that you will never find out for I will destroy this world ensure it never happens.
That’s quite a weight to carry around for one person. Do you have anyone who helps you shoulder the burden, and helps make it feel lighter?
- My wife. She is the most beautiful, courageous, and fiercest creature that I have ever known. She is the perfect partner; we work well together as a team and she always has my back—and holds my heart—even under the most dire situations.
If you would like to read more of Dmitri’s story, you can pick up a copy of it over on Amazon.
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