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Brand New Snippet from A Demon’s Tale WIP

Hello my Lovelies. Here’s a brand new excerpt from A Demon’s Tale, Book Four of the Medusa Consortium series. The Guardian keeps surprising me with unexpected twists and turns, and I keep loving his story. In this snippet, he takes a little revenge for himself while seeking out something far more vital for the Consortium. But can he revert back to his old ways after all he’s been through?

 

A Demon’s Tale WIP: Possession and Revenge

“You’re back even sooner than I expected,” he said without looking at the witch. “Tell me, did you make your excuses to the sea god? Did you tell him there was someone who fucked you better than he?”

 

“You pushed me out.” There was disbelief, there was frustration, there was plenty of rage her in voice, but all of that was negligible. What assured him that he had her exactly where he wanted her was the raw, desperate need beneath that rage, just as he had known it would be, just as he had planned it. When he made no response, when he didn’t even bother to turn toward her, her rage peaked. “You pushed me out without finishing me. You left me … unable to do anything.” The trembling in her body caused tiny ripples along the construct, and he smiled to himself for he knew well the desperation growing in her. “I can’t go to him like this. I had to send one of my maids to make excuses, to say that I was working on a plan and a spell and I could not be disturbed.”

 

With a single thought the construct shifted and morphed around them until the stood beneath the shelter of willow trees hanging heavily around a spring. The catch of her breath told him that she recognized the spot. “You betrayed me here, Circe. Surely you didn’t think I’d forget.”

 

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, falling to her knees, “Gods, I’ve wished a million times that I hadn’t done it.”

 

“Liar.” He barely mouthed the words, but her flinch was a tremor of delight along his nebulous being.

 

“Give me what I want,” she raged, forcing her way to her feet, hands clenched at her side in tight fists. “Give me what I need or I swear I’ll tell him about you. I swear I’ll –”

 

“You’ll what?” He turned on her, his voice so loud now that she covered her ears, a thing that would not avail her. “He already knows about me, and he already knows that he cannot destroy me without destroying the very thing that he desires to possess.” He wrapped his non-corporeal self around her so suddenly and so completely that she yelped, her shocked surprise well laced with fear. Good. He wanted her fear. He delighted in her fear. “If you, my wicked little witch, do not give me whatIwant, then I shall simply destroy the construct and leave you as you are, unsatisfied and insatiable with no relief to be had.” He moved so close to her ear that he knew she could feel his words inside her head, “and you will have no way back to me.”

 

“No! No please!” She reached desperate clawing hands for flesh that was not there, even as he completely surrounded her with himself. “Please don’t do that.”

 

Her trembling in his embrace fed his own hunger, the need raised to impossible heights, desire that would, indeed drive her insane if she found no relief, and he, and only he, could offer that relief. The power of such knowledge swelled within him as surely as arousal swelled and hardened maleness, and oh how he longed to physically know that arousal. “You betrayed me, little witch, and I have a very, very long memory. You betrayed me and abandoned me in this worthless place to languish, a thing you cannot even imagine. I can think of no good reason why I should not do exactly that. In fact, that is precisely my plan.”

 

“No! No Please don’t.” She fell to her knees and reached and groped for any physical trace of him, so very near and yet always just beyond her reach.

 

“Did you think that just because this was a dream construct you could come and go as you pleased, take whatever you desired and I would have no recourse but to play your pet?”

 

“No I didn’t. I didn’t think that. I only wanted –”

 

“Don’t lie to me, Circe.” This time he made himself physical enough that he could shake her until her teeth rattled, and even to that she responded as though he had stroked her breast or fingered her sex. “I know when you’re lying, darling. I know that is exactly what you thought you could do. You thought my prison had rendered me powerless. You thought I would be glad for the distraction. And while I have enjoyed our little rendezvous, I am bored now, for you have given me no reason why I should continue this game now that I have achieved my revenge.”

 

“No! No please! I’ll do anything!” And this time, he let her feel flesh that was not there as she wrapped her arms around his legs, in her subservient position and gave a little gasp at the feel of an erection pressed close to her cheek as she held him there. She even made an effort to take him into her mouth, looking up at him, her gaze limpid, coy, submissive.H e let her service him, for a moment, lingering to relish the thought of what was to come next, for as he curled phantom fingers into her hair and allowed her to feel his pleasure, he knew that she was his, that she would give him what he wanted.

 

“Anything, my wicked little darling, anything I ask of you?”

 

She whimpered and nodded as he gently pulled her to her feet, making sure she felt the flick of a tongue and the nip of teeth over her nipples as he did so. He drew her near and created for her the sensation of naked flesh against naked flesh, of need rubbing up against need, and she shivered and bit her lip until he could smell the blood. He moved in close and took her mouth, sucking at her wound much as he knew his dear vampires did, and he was surprised at how that thought intrigued, aroused him even. He let her feed on his mouth in turn as though she starved for it, for truly she did just such. And then he pulled away and whispered over the rise of goose bumps across her nape. “Then let me wear your flesh.”

“What?” She pulled away startled, eyes wide, the rapid staccato of her heart a constant shimmer along the construct, a constant strumming of his own arousal. “You … you want to possess me?”

 

“Only for a little, my love, and as I do, I shall give you such a release as you shall never forget, such delights as your flesh can barely contain, and indeed, could not without me there lending my power at the core of you. For you see, I am unable to possess mortals without eliciting their deaths far too soon for my pleasure to be satisfied. Only once in my long existence have I been able to come and go in the flesh of another, as I pleased. But before you betrayed me and bound me in this forsaken place, I would have possessed you, for I believed you could house my power in your flesh.” He moved to stand behind her, splaying fingers up over her belly to cup her breasts and tease her nipples to tight peeks. “Can you imagine such power we would possess,” he now shifted and made subtle maddening thrusting motions, which brought his penis in long tentative strokes at the juncture between her buttocks. “Why even the sea god himself could not defy us. And the pleasure I could give you, the pleasure I could give both of us is as nothing you could come close to imagining, even in your many eons of life. If you would do this for me,” he said reaching around to cup her sex and seek out her pleasure point so tender and ready. She cried out and thrust her hips forward as though to force from his exploring fingers what she so urgently needed, but he only chuckled and pulled back a feather’s breath before her completion. As she sobbed out her frustration, he cupped her again and covered her neck and shoulders with kisses. “Do this one thing for me, my wicked little witch, just this one thing, and I will consider the debt you owe me paid and my revenge complete.”

 

“It won’t hurt?”

 

“And what if it does when the pleasure will be as nothing you can even come close to imagining in your fragile little mind. Indeed, I know full well that you find a great deal of pleasure in pain. Giving it,” he bit her ear and she trembled, “as well as receiving it.”

 

“Will you allow me then to come back to you whenever I want?” This time she was bold enough to reach a hand back to pull his hips nearer, as she leaned slightly forward to open herself.

 

But he slapped her hands away and turned her into his embrace, offering her the face that he did not have, the face that he knew would both terrify and enthrall her. “Of course I will, my darling, for I am as in need of entertainment as you are in this prison, and I would delight in the pleasure we can find in each other.”

“All right. Do it.” The strain of her need was evident in the shadows beneath her eyes

and the sheen of perspiration that reeked as much of fear as it did arousal.

 

“Then kiss me, my love, and I will go in through your breath. It will take only a moment.”

 

A Scary Encounter on the Flight Home

As you know, I’ve been in the States visiting family the last three weeks. It’s been a happy time spent playing with the nieces and then later huckleberry picking and road-tripping with my sister. It’s been a restful, healing time away from the Guardian and the interview that, I’ll admit, had me pretty frazzled. The last thing I expected when I boarded the plane to Heathrow for the return flight was an encounter with Magda Gardener. Here’s what happened. 

 

“I know what you’re doing.” I’m instantly wide-awake. For a second I don’t remember where I’m at, but then the flight attendant brushes past me in the aisle and I can just make out the sonorous buzz of a snore coming from the man in the seat behind me. The too warm cabin suddenly feels like the arctic, and my arms prickle in a wave of goose bumps. I feel like my insides have turned to ice and the urge to run is cut off at the pass. I can’t run. I can’t even breathe. And just as panic sets in, the feeling passes and I’m breathing again, gasping like I’ve just run a marathon.

 

 

A warm finger nudges the hair away from my cheek. “Did you think I wouldn’t figure it out?” A breath of a whisper brushes my ear. I recognize the voice and I’m covered in goose bumps all over again.

 

Slowly I turn in my seat to find the empty space next to me filled with Magda Gardner, who’s smiling down at me as though we are just two girlfriends having a chat. “I know what you’re doing,” she repeats in a low even voice. “Though I doubt that you have any idea.”

 

“I figured you’d find out soon enough.” I try to sound like I don’t care, like it doesn’t matter to me one way or another that the woman knows I’m interviewing the demon who lives inside her vampire Scribe. Seriously, you can’t sound anything but bat shit crazy if you say something like that out loud in casual conversation.

 

“And you didn’t think it might be wise to at least give me the heads-up?” Her voice is still ridiculously conversational, bestie casual.

 

“I had no way of giving you the heads-up when I don’t even know how to get in touch with you.” Not that I really wanted that information. I’d prefer the woman forget all about me entirely, but Magda Gardener/AKA Medusa, never forgets anything … or anyone if she has a good use for them.

 

Without being asked, the flight attendant delivers her a whisky in a cut crystal glass. I assume Magda is back here with me because she’s slumming from first class. The attendant delivers me a flute of champagne. Magda Gardener is a lot of things, but she’s not cheap.

 

She thanks the woman, then dismisses her. Once she’s gone back to the first class cabin, Magda lifts her glass. “To lies and the nasty truths they uncover,” then she sips daintily.

 

I go through the motions of joining her in a drink. Enjoying what I’m sure is very expensive champagne is impossible under Magda Gardeners scrutiny. “I didn’t lie,” I say.

 

“Was it Susan who contacted you?” she asks, running a well-manicured nail around the rim of the glass.

 

“It’s not like he could contact me on his own.” I reply.

 

“You should have told her you wouldn’t do it unless I knew.”

 

“He didn’t want you to know. Any good journalist wouldn’t reveal her source.”

 

“You’re not a journalist,” she says, “and he’s not a source. He’s a demon, a monster, and you’re way out of your depth of experience no matter how good you are at what you do.”

 

“I didn’t say I was good.” I was neither smug nor arrogant about a situation that scared the crap out of me from the beginning. I would have gladly turned down the offer if I hadn’t feared the consequences of doing so.

 

“Believe me, there’s no question of your abilities or I wouldn’t have allowed you to write my story and the stories of my people. “But the issue is what contact with him will do to you. It’s already affecting you, whether you’ll admit it or not.”

 

“You owe him. All of you owe him.” The words slip out of my mouth before I could stop them.

 

To this she simply chuckles and sips at her whisky. “I rather think it’s the other way round. He owes us, and he knows it. He’s got a helluva lot to answer for, in case you’ve forgotten.” She waves a dismissive hand. “Of course he loves Susan and Michael, at least as much as a being like him can love anyone. And I dare say he’s very fond of Reese and Alonso too. He wants them to think better of him. His existence is easier if they do.” She waves a hand. “As for what he did in the fight against Richard Waters, he has no choice but to obey Susan’s commands. You wrote the story. You know this.”

 

I stare at my barely touched champagne. I know better than to look her in the face. “You think that’s all it is, he’s just obeying commands?”

 

She doesn’t answer immediately, and for a moment I wonder if perhaps she’s chosen not to, but then she sighs softly, pushes the ever-present Ray-bans up close against the bridge of her nose and says, “I don’t know. But he and I have a long and unpleasant relationship. Neither of us has any real reason to trust the other. But don’t you think a demon like him would take whatever pleasure he could get in whatever from it took, even if he is a prisoner?”

 

“You think I’m the entertainment.” A cold shiver ran down my spine at the thought I’d too often contemplated.

 

“I don’t think anything. But I do know that no matter how completely he’s incarcerated, he’s still dangerous.”

 

“So what exactly is it you want me to do,” I ask. “It’s not like I wanted this job, but then that’s never mattered much to any of you, what I want, has it?”

 

Her lips curl in a smile that’s nearly sentimental, as though in her mind’s eye, she’s fondly recalling all of our encounters to date. “No. It hasn’t.” She downs the rest of her whisky then turns to face me, and like it or not, I feel compelled to look at her, even with the chill creeping over my arms and throat. “As for exactly what I want you to do, first I want this conversation to stay between us. He doesn’t need to know we’ve spoken. Second, I want you to limit your time in his presence when you’re doing this silly interview. I’ve already talked to Talia and she’ll be monitoring you more closely.”

 

“No.” The word comes out lacking conviction and sounding almost like a plea. “I won’t keep our conversation from him. He knows you’ll find out eventually, and I don’t want to be the one caught keeping secrets from him. It seems to me that could be a whole lot more dangerous than being above board.”

 

To this Magda laughs out loud and the woman sitting across the aisle from me looks up from her magazine in irritation. “Choose very carefully which monster you refuse,” she says. “He fears me, and he’s a lot of things, but he’s not stupid.”

 

“The way I see it, my choices are pretty thin on the ground,” I replay.

 

“He would possess you, use you up and spit you out in a heartbeat if he thought he could get away with it,” she said. “Don’t believe for one moment that he doesn’t know exactly what effect he’s having on you. He knows how you crave his company, even as you fear it. He knows how he worms his way into your fantasies, even though you try to deny it. He knows that the longer he drags out the interview, the more danger you’re in. He knows all of this, K D, and he keeps inviting you back.”

 

“I won’t lie to him,” I say, not even trying to hide the trembling that seems to have taken control of me. “If you want me to stop the interview, then you have to put an end to it. Otherwise I’ve made a commitment. Up until now, I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to, in spite of the uncomfortable, and dangerous situation it’s often put me in. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t, but I’m not about to make it worse by lying to him.”

 

The glasses slip down her nose, and I nearly dump champagne in my lap I’m shaking so hard. My heart feels like it’ll beat me to death in its mad hammering. I can just make out the flutter of golden eyelashes before she pushes the glasses back into place. “All right. But we’ll all be monitoring you closely, and if I feel it necessary to put an end to the interviews, I will, no matter what you, or he, want. Is that clear?”

 

“Perfectly.” My voice is little more than a whisper.

 

“Good. Now drink your champagne.” She watches until I swallow it back in a single gulp, wishing I’d had her whisky instead. “That’s a good girl, now get some sleep.”

 

It’s the announcement of the descent into Heathrow that wakes me. The champagne flute is gone and so is Magda Gardener. There’s absolutely no evidence that she’s even been there. I return my chair to the upright position and close the tray table thinking about the encounter. With all that’s been happening to me since I began the interview with the Guardian, I’m well aware that it could have easily all just been a dream. But I’m certain that it wasn’t.

 

Ironing is a Musing

What is it about ironing that’s so damned inspiring to me? I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. And yet, I always seem to get my best ideas while doing the very thing I dislike.

 

Me: I don’t wanna!

 

Muse: (Poking me in the ribs with her big stick) Stop winging and do it already. I don’t have all day.

 

Me: (Glaring at her over my shoulder as I set up the ironing board) I’m busy. I got stuff to do.

 

Muse: (A harder poke. This time in the stomach) Stop wasting my time. And get on with it. I’ve got places to go, people to inspire.

 

Me: (grabbing a very wrinkled shirt and slamming it down on the ironing board – after I catch my breath)

 

Muse: Now, about this story you’re trying to write. Just how does Michael become a fallen angel?

 

Me: (pouting) You tell me. You’re the muse.

 

Muse: (nodding at the sleeve of the shirt) You missed a spot.

 

Me: Right. ( ironing and thinking) Michael. He loses a bet. At Buried Pleasures. That’s how he does it.

 

Muse: Big deal. Lots of people lose bets. Most people lose bets. That’s gambling, that’s not a story. That’s boring. How does he lose? Who is he playing? What does he want?

 

Me: (carefully ironing the seam along a pair of trousers) He’s playing poker with Magda Gardener. He bets his wings.

 

Muse: (rolling eyes and giving me another poke) Cliché much? Pa-lease! Don’t waist my time. An angel losing his wings is the oldest ploy in the book. Tell me the story. Go over it again from the beginning. Out loud.

 

Me: (Starting another shirt) Well, what if he keeps winning, even though he wants to lose.

 

Muse: That’s better. That’s better. Tell me more.

 

Me: (Repeating more slowly the plot so far)

 

Muse: … Aaaaaand …

 

Me: (cramming a shirt on a hanger and grabbing for another – a little more violently than necessary) … And, I don’t know. I don’t know already! That’s my problem, isn’t it?

 

Muse: (Poking me hard in the ribs) Think! It’s what you have that brain for, isn’t it. You might try using it.

 

Me: (Grinding my teeth and rubbing my poor bruised ribs while offering up a few whispered curses to whatever writing god decided to send me the sadistic Muse from hell) Can’t I go for a walk to get inspired?

 

Muse: It’s raining, and you’ll just get distracted. Besides you have to do the ironing anyway. Focus. Focus! What’s more important to an angel than wings?

 

I iron another shirt. My head hurts from thinking. I drink some more tea. I iron another shirt and another, careful to get all the wrinkles out. All the while Muse simply watches me. At last she grabs a glass from the cupboard, pulls out the bottle of Glenmorangie and pours herself a generous amount. She sips and watches and taps the end of her stick on the floor.

 

I iron and iron and iron while I go over the plot so far out loud. I go over it again and again and again.

 

And suddenly it happens — that Eureka moment that, for some dumb-assed reason, comes only when I’m ironing.

 

Me: I have it! I know! (nearly burning my finger with the iron before setting it upright and pushing it away to pace the kitchen a couple of times) I have it! I know what’s more important to an angel than wings. I know exactly what Michael has to lose, and I know that once he loses it, he can never, ever get it back.

 

Muse: (Lifts her glass and salutes me, then downs the rest of the whisky) Good girl. (She never has to ask. She always
knows when I really do have it. She sets down her empty glass, pats my arm and smiles) Now finish up here and get busy. The story won’t write itself.

 

And just like that, she’s gone – off to poke someone else in the ribs and drink their whisky. My Muse may be sadistic, but she’s effective. And suddenly I don’t mind. I got exactly what I needed for the story and the ironing is done to boot.

 

An Unexpected Encounter with Magda Gardener

 

With Blindsided, book 2 in the Medusa’s Consortium series, set to be released September 29th, as you can imagine, my characters and their situations are on my mind a lot. That was never more true than this past ten days while I was in New York City, where Blindsided is set. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was being watched, shadowed even, by someone who has a lot invested in me getting the story just right.

 

I hear that you occasionally encounter celebrities while walking in New York City, though I never have. I’ve never
encountered anyone I even knew – at least not until this time.

 

I was enjoying one of those lovely solitary city walks. I can combine the total pleasure of exploring with a little research along with the chance to be inspired by the walk, which is always a win-win. One of my favorite things to do is walk the bridges. I love to meander down to Lower Manhattan, slip into China Town’s manic hustle and bustle and then step back out of it onto the gloom and concrete of the Manhattan Bridge. Unlike the bright and airy Brooklyn Bridge that feels almost like it’s suspended above the water on gossamer wings, the pedestrian walk over the Manhattan Bridge is flanked by the noisy clatter and clang of the subway. There are no views off to the left, except for the frequent and noisy trains, sandwiched between traffic crawling over the highway above and steel girders plunging into the East River below.

 

 

To the right the river view is compromised by sinister stretches of high wire fence. I keep coming back not for the glorious views, but for the gated off concrete alcoves and pillars that mantle sections of the walkway in deep shadow and drive an overly active imagination like mind into sheer ecstasy at the story possibilities. While I adore the Brooklyn Bridge, it’s not a place of solitude, always jammed cheek to jowl with tourists. The Manhattan Bridge, however with it’s sparse influx of tourists and its tatty, seen-better-days but totally practical look, inspires me to darker, grittier thoughts.

 

I hadn’t gone very far this time until I had that prickly sense of being followed. Not much of a surprise on the darker, more sinister stretches of the bridge. Even in broad daylight, the place feels a little bit dangerous. Those slightly dodgy sections are the reason I love the bridge, the reason it inspires me. A train rumbled by to my left and the feeling intensified. I stepped aside and let two runners and an elderly Chinese gentleman pass me. I was safe here. No need to worry.

 

 

Photos are hard to take on the Manhattan Bridge because of the heavy cross-hatching of the wire fence, so imagine my delight when I came to a spot near the center of the bridge where someone had torn a hole in the fencing just large enough to get a good photo. I was so caught up in capturing images that I forgot all about that feeling of being followed until I felt a sudden chill crawl over me, and for an instant, I could swear I saw my breath rising in icy puffs. It was eighty degrees already, so I knew of only one thing that would put a chill in the morning, or should I say one person.

 

“Magda.” I didn’t turn around. I’m neither brave nor stupid. The air around me warmed and I felt the heat of her body as she sidled up next to me.

 

“KD.” She returned my terse greeting. I could almost hear the smile in her voice. “Thought I might find you here. I’ve heard you’re quite fond of this bridge. I rather like it myself,” she added. “And Desiree, well that bitch has some chilling tales to tell about experiences of this bridge back when it was being built. A walking history book of the city, that one is. Most of it she was there for.”

 

“I sort of suspected she’d been around awhile.” I risked a peek at Magda’s feet, surprised to find her in soft leather sandals, toenails painted a bright shade of coral.

 

 

She followed my gaze, then chuckled. “I do enjoy a little summer heat now and then. I don’t get enough of it in the Lakes.” Then she huffed out an irritated sigh. “Oh for fuck sake, KD, don’t be such a wuss. After all I’ve allowed you to write, if I was going to make a statue out of you, I’d have done so a long time ago, and I certainly wouldn’t be doing it in the middle of the Manhattan Bridge.”

 

“And the little chill?” I asked, still not looking at her. Frankly it took all the courage I could muster to confront her.

 

I felt more than saw her shrug. “Oh that’s nothing, just a friendly little reminder that you’re playing with the lives and the hearts of my people when you tell their stories.”

 

“They tell their stories,” I replied, still trying to keep my knees from shaking.

 

“Exactly my point. As long as you let them tell their stories, as long as you don’t try to rewrite them, you’re perfectly safe with me.”

 

“I’m not Susan,” I commented, finally getting up the courage to glance around at her. “I can’t make something reality just because I write it.”

 

 

“Can’t you?” She took me by the shoulder and turning me to face her, and for the briefest moment, I felt as though the bridge was collapsing beneath my feet. Then the world righted itself and I found myself looking into the face of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen, eyes hidden beneath a pair of Ray-Bans. She wore her long locks in the usual careless black ribbon. Honestly, she could have passed for a tourist in a calf-length turquoise sundress exposing porcelain skin that on any other person would have been sunburnt red in no time. Somehow I doubted that was a problem for Magda Gardener. “What do you think storytellers do, KD? They make what’s in their imagination real.” She offered me a quirk of a smile. “At least to everyone who reads their stories. And that’s a lot of power for one person to wield.” She nodded me forward and we continued on across the bridge.

 

Neither of us said anything as a train rattled by to our left, and when it had passed I asked, “is that why you came to me, to warn me about the power I have?”

 

“Maybe I just like your company,” came the reply. “Certainly I’ve been spending a lot of time with you lately. And anyway,” she added, “I can tell by the sound of your voice you don’t believe you have much power. That’s probably more the reason why I’m here, to remind you that you do. Taking it lightly is just as dangerous as wielding it in the way Susan has, in the way she’s been forced to. There are few things more powerful than the written word. The truth in it, the weight of it, even in fiction, can affect change in ways you never anticipated.”

 

I didn’t respond. She was preaching to the choir here. I always believed that the written language is one of the most powerful tools of civilization and that there’s living, breathing magic in it every time we put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) And sometimes that magic is manifest in words we never expected, or intended, to have any power at all.

 

 

Another train rattled by and a jogger with a Rottweiler on a leash bounded past. “The situation is about to get really hairy. It won’t be easy, what you’ll have to write from now on. You know that?” She said without looking at me.

 

“I know.” My pulse raced at the thought of what I’d have to write next. “I hope I’m up to the task.”

 

“So do I,” she responded. That wasn’t exactly the ringing vote of confidence I’d hoped for. Then she added. “I want you to tell the truth. That’s what I want. I’m not sure all of my people want that. Some don’t have truths they’re proud to share.” She huffed out a little laugh and I swear I saw frost around her lips. “I’m not particularly proud of my truth, for that matter, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want it told.” She nodded. “It needs to be told.”

 

“Even with what’s coming?”

 

“Especially with what’s coming.”

 

As we drew near the end of the bridge, there were more people to dodge, more joggers, a few tourists, several dog walkers. We walked on in semi-comfortable silence.

 

“I’ll be checking in,” she said. “You won’t be left to struggle on your own, at least not for too long.” She looked up and I noticed the black limo waiting at the edge Jay Street.

 

“One of Desiree’s?” I asked.

 

“One of my own,” came the reply. “Where I need to go is too far to walk. Good luck K D.” She turned and headed toward the limo without asking if I needed a ride. But then she didn’t have to ask. She knew I was walking the story, and it would be a long time before I was ready to head back to Penn Station.

 

I watched the driver get out and open the door for her, keeping his eyes straight ahead. For the briefest of moments, I thought I saw a snake slide from beneath the black ribbon and curl around her neck almost like a caress. Then she disappeared into the car, and I continued my walk, finding it a little easier to breathe as the limo drove away.

 

 

Don’t forget, you can still get your copy of my M/M Medusa’s Consortium novella, Landscapes for FREE by following the link. Also if you want a taste of the first Consortium novel, In The Flesh, you can follow the link.  Download! Read! Be happy!

 

A Sneak Peek at Blind-Sided

 

As you can see, I’m working hard on the final rewrite of Blind-Sided, and yes I am a heavy drinker, when I work. coffee — hot and cold, iced tea and water. The clutter, well that’s just a part of my creative process, that and being too tunnel-visioned to notice. All that aside, I’m so excited with the rewrite of Blind-Sided. In addition to our usuals, Alonso, Susan, Michael, Reese, Magda, there’s a whole panoply of new players, and wow, are they fun … and scary.  I thought this weekend I would give you a shameless selfie that involves a bit of a tease from Blind-Sided, book 2 of the Medusa Consortium Series, a tease in which the plot seriously thickens. For those of you who haven’t read book 1, In The Flesh, be sure to check out my book page for a preview. Enjoy!

 

Blind-Sided- Now that I have Your Attention:

I killed someone tonight, Michael. I just snapped his neck. It wasn’t about blood, it wasn’t about losing control. I knew exactly what I was doing. He hurt a friend of mine – tried to slit his throat, so I killed him without remorse.

Susan paused, device in hand. She decided it best not to give details that it was Reese she spoke of and that his throat actually had been slit. She didn’t want to alarm Michael, if Michael actually even read her texts anymore. She continued.

My regret now is the constant reminder that I’m no longer human in that I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Sadly, Susan discovered that vampires couldn’t hide away in shock and sleep through their depression and trauma like humans could. Neither did sedatives or anti-depressants or alcohol work. A good topping up of blood, and lucidity, in all its ugliness, returned with a vengeance. For a long time she sat staring at the text on her iPhone. She could call him, but he wouldn’t pick up. She’d tried to call him, and she got only his voicemail. She didn’t want to trouble Alonso until she could talk to Reese about why he was here. She certainly didn’t feel comfortable bringing her problems to Magda Gardener. As for Desiree, well she’d made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t sympathetic. Susan had never felt more alone, nor more envious of Reese, sleeping peacefully and well healed on the wide four-poster bed she could easily imagine him sharing with Alonso. Desiree had them taken to Hawthorne House, which was in a secluded area on Long Island that felt a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city. Susan had never been there before, but when she arrived a whole new staff of familiars and employees were there to serve, and Millie had already arrived with Doctor Carlson.

Once Susan was certain she’d get none of the easy rest and oblivion that engulfed Reese, once she had changed out of her ruined clothes and showered, she insisted upon staying with him, even though there was little she could do. He was drunk on her blood and sleeping like a baby – as for the wound at his throat, it had healed into a thin pink ribbon of a scar that looked as though he had done it years ago.

“Because he’s the familiar and the lover of a vampire,” Dr. Carlson had said, “he already has better healing abilities than the average human, but, there’s no way he would have survived what happened without your blood.”

Without her blood, her precious fucking blood – all of which she had taken from someone else, including the one who loved Reese, the one who had loved her too, in a different way. She stood and paced, device forgotten in hand. She was a thief now, as surely as Michael was for Magda but, unlike Michael, her survival depended on thievery. She deleted the text and shoved her phone in her pocket.

“You’re beating yourself up.” She turned to find Reese wide-awake watching her pace. “I’ve seen Alonso do it a thousand times. It doesn’t surprise me that his fledgling would do the same, though I suspect you were prone to it before you ever met Alonso.”

He made an effort to sit up, and she came to his side to help. As she rearranged his pillows, he eased his way into a sitting position. He moved slowly at first, as though he wasn’t sure everything would work okay. She realized she’d never seen him without a shirt before. The man wasn’t quite as big as Michael, but he was as well muscled, muscles he’d gotten from hard physical labor. As he shifted and the duvet fell back to reveal the hard ridges of his belly, an image of him feeding from Alonso’s heart’s blood, of him wrapped in her maker’s arms left her breathless with its power and its passion. How could Alonso not love him? She’d always liked and respected Reese, and she knew the extent to which he had fought to make sure their plan for the recapture of the Guardian had worked. He was worthy of Alonso’s love. In every way, he was worthy. Once he was comfortably seated, he cautiously lifted his fingers to his throat, which he cleared experimentally a couple of times.

“How do you feel?” She carefully sat down on the edge of the bed, as though she feared she might break him, strangely close to tears at seeing him like this. At least this one thing she had done right. Alonso would not lose the one he loved.

“Fine, I feel fine. A bit of a blood hangover, but then you know, that’s not a bad thing.” A blush crawled up his newly healed throat, and he rearranged the duvet in his lap to cover the more obvious symptoms. A blood hangover meant a buzz no drug could possibly match, and it made both the giver and the receiver horny as hell when it was shared during lovemaking. Fortunately the exchange had been only one way. She had been in no position to experience anything but the horror of the situation. At least he had been spared that. She’d leave him to take care of himself in a minute, but first she had to ask. “Do you remember what happened?”

“Of course I remember,” he said. “You didn’t shield yourself when you fed me.” His face darkened. “You had other
things on your mind, like saving my life. Oh God! Oh
Christ!” He caught a deep breath and his pulse hammered wildly in his throat just above the scar. For a second she thought he was having some sort of seizure. “It’s Alonso. That’s why I’m here. Alonso’s been taken, kidnapped!” He tried to shove his way out of the bed but she held him.

“Fuck! What? Who kidnapped him? Reese, who has Alonso?” At last she gave up trying to be gentle and shoved him hard against the headboard. “Calm down, and tell me what the fuck’s going on. I can’t help until you do.”

She had just managed to settle him and get him to drink some water when his cell phone rang and they both jumped. It lay on the bedside table where one of the servants must have tossed it when they undressed him. With a move surprisingly fast for a human, he grabbed it and switched it on. The color that her blood had returned to his cheeks left. He nodded to her and put it on speaker.

“It’s as I suspected then,” came a rough baritone voice on the other end, a voice that sounded like whoever it belonged to was a two packs a day sort of person. “Reese Chambers is alive and well in spite of my Myrmidon’s best efforts.” There was a chuckle that sounded more like a cough. “Which is more than I can say for him, from what I understand. Seems like our little scribe of a vampire is not so jealous of her maker’s lover that she wouldn’t move heaven and hell and pull the head completely off my poor unsuspecting servant to save him. But then unlike you, Mr. Chambers, she has another lover. Don’t you Ms. Innes? An angel named Michael, am I right?” Before Susan could respond he continued, “Never mind. You don’t need to answer that, I know all about your angel. You see he’s now keeping your maker company as my guest.”

Susan’s blood turned to ice in her veins, and her nails cut half moon circles into her fisted palms. “Who are you,” she asked, “and what do you want?”

“You may call me Cyrus if you wish. As for what I want, all shall be revealed to you in good time. I’ll expect you to meet me at midnight tomorrow. I’ll let you know the place. Though there have been rumors, Ms. Innes, that you are a vampire who’s able to walk in the daylight. While I’m intrigued by the idea, I prefer the mystique and the magic of the midnight hour, don’t you?”

“It isn’t going to be easy for me to get to the UK and be where you are by midnight tomorrow,” she said.

The chuckle was like a clearing of the throat. “Oh I’m not in the UK. I’m plenty close for you to sleep late, have a nice snack and still be there on time.”

“How do I know you have them? How do I know you’ve not killed them already?”

Susan’s phone rang. She nearly catapulted off the bed and yanked it out of her pocket. “Pick up, Ms. Ennis,” Cyrus said. “Lover boy is dying to talk to you.” There was the laugh again. “Well not actually dying, and he won’t be as long as you two do as I say.”

With fingers icy even for a vampire, she connected. “Susan, don’t worry,” came the blessed voice before she could speak, the voice she’d been desperate to hear, “I’m all right, Susan. Alonso’s all right too. Cyrus has us safe underground so Alonso won’t be caught out and –”

One didn’t have to have a vampire’s preternatural hearing to recognize the sound of a fist slamming against flesh. She roared, and Reese cursed, then Cyrus came back on the line.

“I’m curious, Ms. Innes. If while you’re here, I slit your angel’s throat and restrain you just long enough that your only alternative is to let him die or turn him, could you do that? Could you actually turn an angel into a vampire?” He chuckled to himself. “I would think that would be the ultimate abomination to your god, wouldn’t you?” Susan’s stomach clenched to a painful knot. “Can you imagine such a thing as an undead angel cursed to roam the earth and feed on the blood of those he is sworn to watch over and protect?

“I’m retired,” she heard Michael’s voice in the background, clearly struggling to breathe through the pain of what must have been a gut punch. She swallowed back a sob of a laugh. One of the things she loved about the man was his sense of humor.

And then anger threatened to strangle her. “If you hurt him, or if you hurt my maker, I won’t rip your head off like I did the vermin you sent tonight. I’ll make sure you live long enough to suffer for your deeds.”

For a moment there was silence, for a moment she thought she’d lost the connection, and then Cyrus spoke again. “You may have the blood of your maker in your veins, woman, but he’s such a civilized vampire. You’re not like your maker at all. No, I see you have the barbaric heart of the vile bitch who owns you.” This time there was no chuckle.

“So you know Magda Gardener?” With stealth she supposed came from living among monsters, Reese had moved to her side, holding the throw from the end of the bed around his waist with one hand and shoving his phone close to hers with the other. It was then that she realized he’d been recording the conversation, and her respect for the man, which was already high, went up still another notch.

“Let’s just say she’s … an old friend of the family – one we’d do anything to reconnect with. Which brings me back to our little rendezvous, Ms. Innes. You are to come alone and –”

“She’s not coming without me,” Reese interrupted, pressing in close enough for her to feel his body heat and smell the
scent of him, so like Alonso, and yet so different.

“You may come if you like, Mr. Chambers, though it’ll do you no good. It is only that I wish to meet face to face to tell you my terms. You’ll not be allowed to see your lovers, neither of you. Nevertheless, you will come to me, and the two of you will bring no one else, and you will tell no one. You will most especially not tell Magda Gardener. If you do, I’ll make sure your lovers are delivered back to you in pieces much too tiny for you to resurrect with your vampire blood, Ms. Innes. Do I make myself clear?”

“You’re clear,” Susan growled.

 
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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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