When Donovan St. James’ precocious charge asks him—no questions asked—to tail the doctor who keeps their ragtag team patched up, he wants to refuse. Not because the saucy teen is getting too big for her britches, ordering him around like a mob boss, but because the woman stirs feelings in him he would rather not explore. However, when evil threatens the doc’s life, he realizes he has no choice. Sia saved his life once. He will try to return the favor. He just prays he can do it without losing his heart.

Running from the supernatural entity that has destroyed entire worlds to have her, Sia thought she’d found a haven on Earth with a motley team of warriors protecting the girl destined to save humanity. But when Sia’s found, she realizes something on this plane is more scrumptious than her: that very teen. So, she runs—and Donovan St. James follows. Nothing is more alluring than a scruffy biker with a lacerating gaze. And she vows to tell him that…if they survive.

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

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Excerpt: The Graveside Bar and Grill
By Darynda Jones

Excerpt: The Graveside Bar and Grill

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Darynda Jones comes a story in her Charley Davidson series. THE GRAVESIDE BAR AND GRILL is out this week, and you can read an excerpt below!

She should’ve known better. Actually, she would’ve known better had she not panicked. But she’d lost contact with the others, one by one. She could no longer hear their thoughts. So, when she discovered that Elle-Ryn-Ahleethia—or Charley Davidson as those on this plane knew her—would be tending bar at Donovan’s establishment, she’d decided to take a chance. If anyone could help, it would be a god. A very powerful one from what Zhou remembered. No, not Zhou. Sia. Her name was Sia here. And then she’d seen her. Charley Davidson. The celestial being she hadn’t set eyes on in five years. Whatever Sia had expected to find, it hadn’t been… this. It wasn’t a human where a god should have been.

And the man at the end of the bar with a woman on either arm, what was that about? Was he her husband? The god who’d been tricked by an entity called Satan to create a son? If that was the husband, Charley hadn’t been kidding all those years ago. He was a gorgeous being. Not that he had anything on Donovan St. James, but to each their own.

At least she’d gotten to see Donovan again. That particular human had filled Sia’s dreams with salacious fantasies since she landed on this rock five years ago. It must be the body she now inhabited. She’d found it on the brink of death in a dark alley and waited. Far be it from her to change the woman’s history.

It hadn’t taken long. At the exact moment Dr. Lucia Mirabal’s soul left the woman’s body, Zhou entered it to become the tenacious doctor known to her friends as Sia. Corporeal possession was all in the timing—and nine-tenths of the law.

When she inhabited it, all the doctor’s knowledge had spilled into her, allowing Zhou to pick up where Dr. Lucia Mirabal had left off. After a lengthy hospital stay, that was. The body still had to recover from the wounds the attacker had inflicted.

But all the baggage that came with said body was proving more hindrance than help to Sia now. Humans had these annoying little parasites called hormones that seemed to control both the physical and the mental well-being to an alarming degree. And they were proving far more complicated than a simple ka-zhouah, one who’d spent centuries trapped in a dark void while slowly being drained of her energy, would’ve imagined. But seeing him again, possibly for the last time, was worth the risk of being found out. Of Charley recognizing her and, fearing for her daughter’s safety from a sentient being with a questionable history, vanquishing her before she had a chance to explain.

Either way, Charley was human now. It mystified Sia how that was even possible. How did one go from being a god to a human? Maybe it was a trick of some kind. A mystical cloak to make other preternatural entities only think she was human. If it were, it’d worked. She’d fooled Sia, and Sia was never easily fooled.

One of Donovan’s best friends was working as a bouncer tonight. A biker named Michael. She recognized both him and Donovan’s other best friend, a younger kid named Eric, who looked like a movie star. After a commotion of some kind, Donovan summoned Michael over to the bar. A few seconds later, Michael escorted one of the women to the back. It all looked rather ominous—and became Sia’s cue to leave.

She took one last look at the scruffy biker behind the bar. Or, more pointedly, at his wild, dark hair and impossibly broad shoulders.

“What can I get you, Doc?” Eric asked. He was playing server tonight, which was unusual. Everything about that night was strange, though Eric did look adorable with an apron tied around his waist.

She wondered if Donovan was wearing similar garb. He wore pants so well, surely an apron tied around his hips would look just as magnificent. In fact, she imagined that anything would look good wrapped around his hips—including her legs.

“Would you like some suggestions?” Eric prodded.

She snapped out of her thoughts and punished herself by digging her nails into her palms. She’d lost contact with the only family she’d known for the last twelve centuries and was now sitting in a bar drooling over the biker who’d stolen her heart.

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