Dead Man’s Hand by Lee Jay Stura
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For Denver Sinclair, long-time conman, gambler, and recently-made vampire, there were worse things than sleeping late next to the woman you love, except when it’s close to dawn and the world is crashing down around you. Denver and his partner in crime, Lily Fong, are caught between hellfire and destruction as the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 turns his carefully built life upside down.
He and Lily were so close to freedom from Denver’s Mistress, the cunning and cruel Lady Xue Ying. He’d gambled, stole and smuggled for Xue Ying, holding back a little with each con until he had enough to run far from Xue Ying’s influence, taking Lily with him. Just one more dirty deal on the Barbary Coast, and he could leave San Francisco…and Xue Ying… behind.
It was a dangerous con. The greatest con he would have ever pulled. Despite controlling most of San Francisco’s opium and shanghai trade, Xue Ying longed for more. Her capricious appetites and furious temper meant one thing for Denver; that she would never let him go. As far as Xue Ying is concerned, she’s owned Denver body and soul since long before the night she forced her blood on him and turned him into a vampire.
He had hopes Lady Xue Ying didn’t survive the Earthquake but Denver wasn’t taking any chances. He would take Lily and make a run for it, praying to the God he’d forsaken that they’d make it. With the US Army imploding the city around them and ravenous flesh-hungry ghouls plaguing their every step, Denver and Lily race through the ruined city for the promise of their new life together.
Still, Denver wonders if he’s finally run out of luck and drawn the dead man’s hand.