Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “excerpts”

Flash Fiction Friday: SURPRISE! EXCERPT FROM RUNNING AWAY

TODAY’S BREW: Autumn Roast. Okay, it’s snowing, but AUTUMN ROAST.

By Julie

SURPRISE! I’M EXCERPTING YOU! BOOM!

For today’s Flash Fiction Friday, and because of last week’s Virtual Book Signing Party (http://wp.me/p2x7oj-DX) for RUNNING HOME, and my incessant babble about the sequel, RUNNING AWAY, I thought I would surprise you all with an excerpt! YOU’RE WELCOME.

I have one week to finish this first draft, and my excitement to get it out to all of you who’ve been so supportive of Eliza and crew is making me insane. I hope this little bit leaves you wanting more.

spring snow

Where vampires are made. Japan, naturally.

EXCERPT FROM RUNNING AWAY

By Julie Hutchings

It was dark, and I had no idea where I was.

“Nicholas? Nicholas?!”

I heard noises, and worse, I felt something. I felt it again, death, lurking around me, as invasive and comforting as always.

My limbs shook when I threw off the blankets and threw my legs over the side of the bed, only to discover the bed was on the floor. The noise of my feet hitting the floor made me gasp.

When my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw thankfully, nothing in the room but for the bed I’d been in and a few very small pieces of furniture. Shadows flitted across the walls from outside, the trees swaying in the winter night.

Japan, I’m in Japan, and in my own room. Nicholas isn’t here.

I steadied my breathing, knowing I was alone, and knowing anything could be waiting for me. The vampires had kept themselves hidden during the day, and now they were out, looking for blood.

No. These are Shinigami. They’re not that.

I needed light of some kind. Something. But there was nothing.

“Perfect time for some crap karate test, Nicholas, for the love of—“

A branch snapped. I could hear it as plain as day, the rice paper walls concealing nothing. Two walls of paper lead outside, and there was enough snow on the ground that a branch would have to be stepped on to snap.

Death was all around me. It was the only familiar thing I had here.

The silhouette of a man appeared on the other side of the door, inches from my face, and I screamed, stumbled backwards, and fell onto the bed.

He didn’t move. Didn’t try to run or come after me. He waited. Like death itself.

Death always knew I couldn’t resist. It owned me.

I stood, and walked to the door, never doubting if I should open it. When I slid the door open, the figure made no movement, and didn’t even blink. The full moon illuminated him.

He was breathtaking in his darkness.

The night made him brighter somehow. A full head taller than me, bare chested with only thin white karate pants the same crispness as the snow. Perfectly chiseled, smooth, strength in every pore. Beautiful and fearsome. He looked down at me with onyx eyes, shining black hair falling around his cheeks and chest, the front held up in a traditional knot.

He smelled like red wine and roses.

Rich, heady and slightly nauseating. The scent of looking into something beyond.

The smell slapped me with memory, one I hadn’t touched since it occurred. I knelt at my mother’s casket, eyes on my father’s next to her. My grandmother leaned over me, wine heavy on her breath, the scent of failing roses succumbing to it from the wreaths and bouquets all around us.

There’s shadows all around you,” she said into my ear. I hadn’t budged.

My mouth was opening and closing, no sound coming out as I stared at him.

He was Shinigami. And he was looking at me with as much wonder as I was him, all in his eyes. The rest of him was rigor mortis still.

A crack resounded, one I knew all too well, and the man was gone.

I think I scared him away.

Snow was drifting in over my bare feet. I shut the doors and turned to run back to the bed, only to smack into Nicholas, making me scream.

“You’re late,” I muttered, and breathed in his cinnamon plum scent. A mix of New Hampshire and my new home, Japan.

“Who was that?” he asked, like I’d answered the door to girl scouts, not a vampire.

“I don’t know. But he was the same vampire from earlier, in the shadows.”

Nicholas flashed to the doorway, and looked out but we both knew nobody was there.

I collapsed back onto the bed, still drained. I could have slept for a month. I didn’t know what day it was, or what time it was. But I knew that Nicholas was in the room with me, and that I wanted him to stay.

Dragging myself to sitting, I pushed away the nothingness I’d been feeling, reminded myself that what had happened all around me was not my fault, and wasn’t his. I tried to make it a fact in my head before I spoke to him.

“Nicholas,” I said to his back. He didn’t move. “I know I’ve been—missing pieces—lately. And I wish it hadn’t been you I saw every time I thought of Kat being dead. But I’m trying really hard to fix it, Nicholas, I promise you.”

His shoulders relaxed some, or they sagged. I couldn’t tell which. I didn’t see him turn around or come to me, but he was there, kneeling at the edge of my bed.

“I’m not a man who needs apologies for everything to be all right.”

“Good. Apologizing is awful.”

“But necessary. I’ve nearly killed myself for you, Eliza Morgan, and you resent me for it. Feelings don’t die any faster than I do, and it’s agonizing trying to kill them.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m dying, and you’re spending the time we have hating me for something I had no control over.”

I stopped breathing.

“What is it, Eliza? All the times you said to me no, it’s not your fault, this is my fate you didn’t mean it? You seemed so sincere.”

“Your sarcasm isn’t making this easier.”

“Nothing is easy! Nothing!”

I was terrified that he was calling my bluff. I was terrified that I’d pushed him too far.

But I was pissed that he was treating me this way, knowing what I’d seen, what I’d been through, and what I was leaving; my life.

“I lost my best friend,” I said.

“And so did I. I spent my immortal life with Roman. Until you. Do I hold it against you? No. Because it’s not your goddamn fault. And for the number of times you’ve said to me through gritted teeth that it’s not my fault, it’s yours, maybe I started to believe you. You and I both know we need this to be somebody’s fault.”

The wind was knocked out of me. It felt like I was losing him, and of course, I was. He was melting into nothing because Roman took Kat’s life and he hadn’t. All this death for nothing, and no explanation except that there was no choice.

“I think we both need to remember what it feels like to be alone,” he said, and in a sickening flash, he was gone.

The only scent that lingered was red wine and roses.

 

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A Slutcracker Saturday Surprise!

TODAY’S BREW: Broke down for a Starbuck’s Peppermint Mocha

By Julie

Thursday night The Undead Duo with accompaniment had the extreme pleasure of seeing The Slutcracker, in which our beyond perfect friend Ludella Hahn performed. (If you don’t know this picture of perfection, find her here. http://t.co/rI9YKEENry and like her on Facebook http://t.co/w7ZhhsTDo9 .)

Photo: Sorry Santa...I think all the cookies are for me. (I'm a naughty elf.)<br />
Photos by Evan Smith Photography. Shot for my cover feature last December in Drive-In Magazine.</p>
<p>www.facebook.com/LudellaHahnFanPage

Because I’m all filled with holiday joy after the “sextravaganza” of The Slutcracker, I’m prickly to present an excerpt from the sexy novel our good friend Jillian Marques is working on.

DISCLAIMER: IF YOU ARE JILL’S MOM, SHE REQUESTS YOU READ NO FURTHER. Everyone else, enjoy some Sextastic Saturday…..

When I had finally calmed I told him the whole story. I could see he was struggling not to get up and find the fiend responsible. But instead he sat and held my hand. Staring intently into my eyes I felt whole. This is what I needed. With a silent signal, he knew.

He undressed slowly… Smirking with a sexy grin, like this is what he had really been expecting. I went to sit up and make room but he shook his head. He stood at the end of the tub and spread my legs. He stepped in slowly and knelt down. I didn’t realize he was hard, or wanted me right now, like this. He laid his chest on top of me not letting his full weight pull me under. He looked so deeply into my eyes; I swear he found my soul. The deepest darkest place inside me was yearning to be found.

He kissed me, slowly at first. But the smoldering embers started to blaze with fire as I felt his tongue, his breath reach inside me. We sank into the water, completely submerged. For once I wasn’t worried about the mess we were making and just let myself go. We breathed in and out with each other. Embraced in this ridiculous position I would never able to move away. I didn’t feel suffocated. I felt free.

I felt his fingers slowly move down my breast to my road to heaven. He slipped in as I let out a moan. He gently massaged and moved his way around as I wiggled to control myself. I needed air so I slowly started to move us up. He never stopped touching me. I let out a gasp as the water dripped down my hair and face. He nibbled my ear and kissed down my neck to my collar bone. He grazed his teeth there and I quivered with anticipation. I don’t know where it came from but I whispered “I’m a beast, unleash me.”

He looked at me, his eyes on fire. He started to move away, getting out of the tub. He wrapped himself in a towel and held a hand out to me. He lifted me, still wet, and I wrapped my legs around him. We bumped into everything on the way to the bedroom. Walls, tables, a lamp, pretty sure its broken. But I didn’t care. It was the here and now. My hair let droplets fall down my body as he laid me down. He unwrapped his towel and lay next to me. I wanted him…

He held my hands down so I couldn’t touch him. I wanted to grab his cock and shove it inside me so I could find my bliss. He lifted his body over me and slid down, his face at my belly button, his hands gripping my ass. He stopped there, using his tongue to trace the line of my hips down to the gates of heaven. He worked his smooth tongue in and out, spreading my legs and squeezing me closer to go deeper. He started to hum, vibrating everything his face, his lips, his tongue touched. I grasped the pillow.

“Fuck!” I let out.

“Oh, really?”

I reached down and pulled him towards me. He softy grazed my body with his and once his lips were close enough to mine I swiftly flipped him over so I was straddling him. I had waited long enough; it was my turn to be in control.

I rubbed his chest up and down as I took in every muscle, every wrinkle, and every hair. As I leaned down I let my nipples brush his chest, his arms, his neck. I put them over his face so that he was surrounded by my overflowing breasts. He squeezed my ass to bring me closer. His hands made their way around my hips underneath my cheeks and he gently started to massage me as he his tongue found my collarbone. He traced the line of it up to my ear and ever so gently nibbled my lobe. How did this man know exactly how to drive me crazy? I let out a heavy sigh, I didn’t want any of it to stop. His hot breathe was in my ear as he whispered “I want you.”

I slowly sat up. He removed his hands from my ass and moved to my front, one on a breast, the other continuing to massage. I lifted ever so slightly and let him fall into me. His shaft filled me and it was excruciatingly pleasurable. I groaned. He kept massaging as I leaned back giving him a better view of all aspects of my womanhood. I could feel the stretch in my thighs and the small of my back. He grabbed my thighs and thrust in to me so hard that I let out a yelp of pain, a good pain and I wanted him to do it again… and again…and again.

He could see how I was enjoying this moment so he gave me exactly what I wanted. He squeezed my thighs harder as he thrust with every hip movement into me. I could feel the intensity building together. I could see the fireworks as the heat flowed from inside me. He quickly sat up to bring me close and without ever losing his touch pulled his knees underneath for more leverage, my legs wrapped around him. He brought himself up with every thrust and I was weightless. I pressed myself against him so I could feel every muscle, every breath. My arms wrapped around his back and let my nails graze the skin next to his spine. His breathe caught and he shivered… success. I smiled to myself as he kissed my neck in a million places. I couldn’t hold on much longer like this but I didn’t want it to end.

I pushed him back and lay completely flat across him. There was not a single part of our bodies that didn’t touch. Our hips gyrated in a single motion as I found myself saying “More! More!” He thrust harder until my groans felt as if they would shake the walls. I exploded with ecstasy feeling him shake beneath me. The joint release was so powerful that we breathed in unison until we could catch our breath. I kept flexing my muscles from the inside and each time his breath caught and he held me closer.

I gently slid to the side, leaving my arm across his chest. He gently stroked my hair and kissed my forehead. I closed my eyes to enjoy this warm, blissful place I had found. This man was real. He made me feel more alive, and more woman than any individual before. I was fairly certain I had completely fallen for this man as I drifted into sleep.

I woke with a start when I could feel Adam slipping his arm out from underneath me.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Stay.” I whispered. He stared at me intently. “Stay.” As I said it my eyes started to well as the reality of the day had come crashing down on me.

He climbed back into bed and laid down facing me. I was embarrassed, but I couldn’t stop myself.

“I won’t let anyone hurt you Janie.” He brushed my hair from my face. “I’ll stay forever if you want me.”

I let the tears flow. I had never felt so free to be this emotional. He wrapped his arms around me and let me extricate myself of these fears.

Flash Fiction Friday: Excerpt from RUNNING AWAY, the RUNNING HOME sequel

TODAY’S BREW: Egg nog coffee! For all the best things in life.

By Julie

I’m trying to breathe here, but it isn’t really working.

I promised you all an excerpt from the Bethlem Royal Hospital scene in the sequel to RUNNING HOME, and here she is! I didn’t give you alllll of it, but hopefully enough to whet your appetite and not feel spoiled. You very briefly meet a new character who I’m inappropriately obsessed with, and see something monumental for Eliza, right when she needs it. I hope you all feel it like I do. Thanks so much for reading.

Excerpt from RUNNING AWAY

*work in progress*

“You’re a Stephen King book waiting to be written, woman,” he said out of the corner of his mouth, nodding at a matronly nurse who looked like she could use a little mental help herself. “But I have to say, I’m impressed with how you’re holding yourself together.”

I tore my eyes away from the doors at the end of the hall, suddenly curious about him. “What was it like for you the first time you fed?”

The scent of old smoke from him. I wondered if it was consuming him or giving him strength.

“Angry. Sad. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to, of course. And the man I killed wasn’t ready. He didn’t want to die.” He was quiet, but the fire in him blazed so much I thought it might singe me next to him. I couldn’t believe the expressionless people around us didn’t feel it.

We went through the set of double doors at the end of the hallway, and I saw the sign for the kitchen. It was all I could do not to run there, leaving every questioning staff member and Kieran behind. I wanted her more than anything in the world.

“You knew the man,” I said before I realized I’d said it. I was transfixed on the kitchen doors, my fangs impossible to retract.

“I did. But how did you know that?” Kieran said from next to me.

“I don’t know. I’m sorry you had to do that to your friend. It should never happen that way.”

The kitchen loomed ever closer.

“You’re creeping me out, Eliza Morgan,” he said, but I couldn’t look at him to see how much he was kidding.

We’d arrived at the kitchen doors. They were as foreboding as all the others we’d passed with droning buzz that opened them.

“Do you want me to go in there with you?” he whispered.

Clara was whistling from the other side of the dingy white doors. I put my hand on the door, and wanted to cry.

“Yes, please.”

I pushed open the door, Kieran at my side.

The hospital kitchen was a jail cell in itself. Water-stained walls brought shadows of metal pipes to life, industrial puppets clanking and banging from within. Cracks littered every ceramic tile on the walls over the sink and stove, discolored and rusty like the slop basins and trash barrels around them. The cabinets would never be white again, the window never quite clear. One wall was cement, blackened in spots with age and damage. Every corner underneath the rusty metal work surfaces was brown with leakage and dirt that could never be hidden. Nobody may be looking there, but the grunge seeped onto the floor, as old as the horror that lived here. It was vacant of scent, not like any kitchen should be; there was no soup boiling, or cooking meat wafting through the air, or even cleaning fluid. Empty. The huge window over the sink housed a sadly spinning fan at the top, high enough that an inmate couldn’t reach it to escape.

And under that streaked window that looked out to nowhere, a gleaming thing in the yellowing disease of this place. Clara stood with her back to us, humming sweetly as her body gently shook with the scrubbing of dishes. Stacks more waited for the same. Stacks had already been done. And still, she hummed, despite the relentless filth here.

“Clara,” I said, not with a whisper. There was nothing to hide from her.

She spun on us, the whites of her eyes the brightest thing I’d seen in London.

“Oh,” she said, her fear spreading to a welcoming smile. She dried her hands as she walked towards us, her shapeless skirt swishing around her, and wiped a tendril of orange-ish frizz out of her eye. “I wasn’t expecting any visitors.” She positively glowed with simple happiness that was too good for the hospital, and yet so desperately necessary.

I hated what I was going to do, and wanted it even still.

“We aren’t really here to visit, Clara,” I said, looking as hard into her eyes as I could while her heart still beat.

Her eyes slid between me and Kieran. Panic set in, making her back away. God only knew the kind of danger she’d found herself in this place. But I would be the last danger she faced.

“What do you want? I don’t have anything,” she pleaded. Kieran was shuffling his feet in my peripheral vision, rubbing his fingers together, wishing he had a cigarette I was sure.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, not knowing what else to say. She laughed at him. She may be sweet, but she wasn’t stupid.

But within a beat of her heart, her shoulders relaxed, and she stopped backing away. She looked at me, confused, but becoming less afraid, until there was no fear there at all. I made to walk slowly to her, but realized that was a human thing to do, a human thing that would frighten her again, make her think I was trying to diffuse the situation.

So I pictured myself next to her, and I was. She gasped, but her eyes remained unafraid as she met mine.

“That smell—“ she muttered.

“What do you smell?” I said. So, this was my first thrall. Designed especially for my victim.

She breathed in deep. “Peonies.”

I went cold at the mention of Kat’s favorite scent, the one she wore no matter what the season or event. Clara reminded me of her; the decided obliviousness to the cruelties around them. That light in them that created happiness wherever they went. Tears sprung to my eyes, and I touched Clara’s hair, remembering Kat’s red locks, and thought Clara’s might be that beautiful if she had the mind to bother with it.

“Clara, I’m so sorry for what I’m about to do.”

Her eyes welled with tears, and something in me responded.

“My mother had peony perfume,” she said quietly. It was hard to say who was more mesmerized, her or me. She gasped suddenly, a tiny noise. “And when she smelled just like that,” she said, pointing her finger at me, “a mix of lemon pie and peonies, I knew she had something bad to tell me. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, she put on a squirt of her perfume, and made me a lemon pie. She hated that pie, said it wasn’t sweet enough. I told her I had all the sweet I needed when I smelled her perfume and saw her smile. We were alone, you see. Always alone, and she was so sick. I loved her more than anything. Even when she had to tell me bad things.”

My throat was thick with tears I couldn’t bear to shed for her. I wanted to hold her, and kill her.

“You have bad things to tell me right now, don’t you?” she asked, entranced.

I closed my eyes ever so briefly, and hoped she had wonderful love in life. I hoped she wouldn’t remember how awful I was in her last breath. I wished it wasn’t all my fault. Kat, I wish it wasn’t all my fault.

“I forgive you,” she said.

And with a roar that deafened only me, I plunged my fangs into her neck.

 

Joe Hart Tells Us Stuff & An Excerpt From THE WAITING.

TODAY’S BREW: Columbian Something On Sale

By Julie

I’m a big Joe Hart fan. I’m a fan of him, personally, as exemplified by our status as roommates on Twitter. I’m as big a fan of his work. (He just tweeted this line from his new work in progress: “He lived a life of seldoms, of almosts, and mostly nevers.” UGH. I want this on a tombstone, but not mine.) The man can write horror the way I want it; classic, all but gore-free, and scaring me to the bone with its chilling implications, imagery and language. More The Shining than Nightmare on Elm Street, you know? His flash fiction is the best in the business, if you ask me, and so when he offered up THE WAITING, his latest novel, for me to read, I put on my little winged shoes and flew to his side of the apartment and grabbed it, slobbering and clawing when he tried to pull it away saying I could only have it if I said please.

Follow Joe’s blog where you can read his brilliant work. http://authorjoehart.blogspot.com/

I asked Joe to tell me where he comes up with this stuff. And he just goes on and on  and on. I had to slap him to get him to stop, but it was the funny kind of slap, not the insulting kind.

HERE’S WHAT HE SAID.

I get asked a lot of the time, ‘where do you come up with this stuff?’ or ‘how did you think of that?’ Sometimes people ask with wonder, and others tentatively, like I might leap toward them and bite their face off if they say something wrong. (Note to self: Quit wearing Hannibal Lecter mask when speaking to readers.)

Ahem.

Anyways, it’s the most common question authors get asked, and sometimes the most infuriating.

What do you mean, ‘where do I come up with this stuff?’ It’s just there, all right? Okay?! Now leave me alone! Jeez!

 

I’m kidding, of course, but I do think these questions test us as writers because it points the mirror at us and forces introspection about creativity in general. Personally I love getting asked those questions because it makes me really slow down and figure out exactly where the ideas do come from.

I guess the simple answer is, I think about things. A lot. I’m always telling a story to myself in my head, always wondering, asking questions- what if? Or, what would this character do? Out of the questions come answers. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes not so good, but that seems to be the process.

In my case, I make up creepy things. And since my genre is the one designed to scare people, my ideas can actually be tracked in a fairly clear way.

I ask myself, what am I afraid of?

This works pretty well because I’m somewhat jaded when it comes to horror. I watched Predator when I was six. I started reading King and Koontz when I was eleven. I used to dare my cousin and get dared in return to walk out in the middle of the night and do a lap around our old barn.

It takes quite a bit to scare me. So if an idea comes to my mind that does give me a shiver, I write it down and make a scene out of it. Sometimes I collect these scenes for months without knowing how they’re going to fit together, or if there’s a story at all. But usually if they start stacking up, I can arrange them in a narrative. Joe Hill once said to start small and write one good scene, then another after that, and just keep going. My process is close to the same. If I can scare myself silly by playing out a scene in my head, I run with it and weave it into the story. I did this several times in my latest novel, The Waiting, which in my opinion is the creepiest thing I’ve written to date.

But even before you can scare readers, you have to make them care. There is no fear if a person has nothing to lose. I’ve asked myself this question over the years: who is the most dangerous person, someone who has nothing to lose, or everything? I would have to side with everything, and for me this correlates directly with a reader’s engagement. A reader has to care about the characters. They have to care about the plot. They have to be emotionally involved in the story, and then you can flip the lights off on them and scream at the top of your lungs. If they don’t care, you can sling blood and guts at them continuously and they won’t move, except to shut the cover.

HEY THERE, IT’S ME, JULIE AND I DECIDED YOU DESERVED AN EXCERPT FROM THE WAITING. I love this because it takes place in a creepy ass basement. I love the idea of finding weird shit in basements, and bet you do, too. So, read:

Evan searched blindly until his fingers met a switch box. Knowing full well if this switch produced no light he would retreat up the stairs, he flipped it up. Three dim bulbsblinked on in a line across the basement, casting everything in a sick glow. He was about
to step onto the basement floor when he looked down—
—and saw a small child standing less than a foot away.
Evan’s feet tried to backpedal, and a strangled moan fell from his mouth as he tripped and landed hard on the stairs behind him. The treads bit into his ass and lower back, but he barely noticed, his gaping eyes locked on the child facing away from him.
Just as he was about to spin and flee up the stairs, already forming a plan to grab Shaun from the couch and haul him to the pontoon, Evan realized that the child hadn’t moved.
He waited, his breath too large for his lungs. His eyes traveled down the back of a little girl with dark hair wearing a purple dress, except something was wrong. Several dark slits were cut into the back of her knees.
Evan sighed and placed his sweating face into one palm.
A doll.
“Shit.”
His voice sounded hollow, but speaking gave him the strength to stand and wince at the throbbing ache settling into his back. Evan moved down the last two treads, his heart returning into the realm of normality as the doll’s face came into view. Its eyes stared across the basement, its mouth covered in duct tape.
The bubbling dread within his stomach that had receded only moments ago began to build again, the hairs rising on the back of his neck. Evan didn’t move any farther into the basement, his eyes fixed on the doll’s face. Visions of its head slowly turning toward him corkscrewed through his mind. If that happened, he wouldn’t just cry out, he would become a scream embodied.
Trying to shove aside the blaring fear within, he bent and grasped the doll’s miniature arm. Its plastic flesh felt cold to the touch, as if it had been soaking in ice water. Evan shuddered, waiting for the frigid limb to writhe in his palm. Even as the rational part of his mind tried to quell the stampeding fear, Evan noticed his hands shaking. He turned the doll over once, studying it. It didn’t look very old or used. In fact, it appeared almost new. When he flipped it over again, he started as its bright blue eyes blinked shut, but realized it was designed to do that when lying flat. He studied the gray tape covering the doll’s mouth, it chubby cheeks visible above its gag. Evan set the doll on the floor beside a stack of cardboard boxes, giving it another sidelong glance before stepping fully into the room.
The basement ran the full length and width of the house, and even with its low ceiling, it felt like a cavernous space. To his right he saw what must have been Jason’s grandmother’s sewing area; a dust-covered sewing machine sat amidst a field of threaded bobbins atop a desk. Beside it, several baskets of yarn lay in bundles, their wrapping sealed and new.
Evan moved forward, running his hand along a workbench that ran along the wall.
A pegboard of hanging tools glinted in the soft light, and numerous drawers lined the front of the bench. A few support beams studded the floor in random places, furthering the feeling of being in a cave.
As he approached the opposite end of the room, Evan saw a wide worktable covered with a white sheet and littered with several stacks of papers held down by oblong brass paperweights. A few sprockets and thin chains were coiled within trails of oil.
Beyond the table stood a massive shape partially concealed by another sheet, this one dark and splotched.
Evan moved closer to the hidden shape, noting the electrical panel in one corner as well as a hulking furnace and water heater. Several cobwebs danced in the rafters above, and gradually the silhouette beneath the makeshift tarp became apparent.
A grandfather clock.
But it was the biggest Evan had ever seen. Rounding the table, he tugged once at the sheet covering its bulk. It fell to the floor, and he stepped back.
The clock didn’t have a single pendulum encasement, but three. The two towers to either side of the center lacked actual pendulums and sat lower, like the shoulders of a crouching giant. The wood frame was dark, stained a deep obsidian, with elaborate molding that swirled and curved on the outside of the frame. Three glass doors covered the pendulum encasements, their handles and hinges cast iron, with the center door being the widest, almost big enough for a man to walk through comfortably. The clock’s shining face was the size of a large dinner plate and had four separate sets of timing hands. Instead of numbers around the outer edges, bunches of delicate, curving lines were etched into the silver plating. The slicing brink of a moon dial peeked over the top of the clock’s face; the crescent moon carved into the steel bore an uncanny malevolent smile, with two empty sockets for eyes. Above the face, the molding came together in two pointed horns that nearly met in the middle.
That’s the scariest fucking clock I’ve ever seen.
Evan frowned. How could a timepiece be scary? He chided himself but couldn’t deny the aura the clock gave off. It hadn’t been engineered to be beautiful. As far as he could see, it was quite the opposite.
Evan’s hip bumped the worktable, and one of the paperweights rolled off the pile it held down. He reached out and stopped it before it plummeted to the floor, marveling at its weight. Only after lifting it close to his face did he realize that’s exactly what it was—
a weight for the clock. Its brass casing shone beneath the light, and a small pulley grew from its top.
Evan spun the little wheel a few times before placing the weight back on the table.
A diagram on one of the pieces of paper drew his attention. Evan picked the paper up and spent a few seconds squinting before realizing it was an inner illustration of the clock’s face, “the bonnet,” as it was apparently called.
“On it like a bonnet,” Evan said to the empty room, as he placed the paper back on the pile. He turned toward the clock, wondering whether or not he should replace the sheet. The soulless eyes of the moon at the clock’s peak gazed at him, almost imploring
him to come closer.
“No thanks,” Evan said, and crossed the basement to the stairway, shooting only a cursory glance at the doll as he passed.
He paused at the light switch, running through different options before sighing and flipping off the power to the lights. The basement plunged into darkness, and with all the restraint he held in his body, he managed not to pelt up the stairs into the welcoming light of the kitchen.

I KNOW, RIGHT?? Go buy THE WAITING right this second. http://t.co/P3IvkebeMa

Flash Fiction Friday: BLOOD BORN by Chynna Blue Scott

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin Spice because cliches.

By Julie
poetic
You are familiar with our honorary third member of The Undead Duo, Chynna-Blue Scott. This young woman has writing chops like nobody’s business. Her words are sorta crack-like for me. Not butt crack, the other kind. I never did crack, but you know. In any case, this beautiful girl mentioned that she wanted me to read a novel she has finished, BLOOD BORN, and she tells me constantly how awful it is. Literally, my fingers could not move fast enough to tell her how much I wanted to read it. She is such a diamond of a thing, and I guarantee her book is, too. I am absolutely honored to give her my input on how to make it gleam and rise above anything else in the genre.

But still, she worries. So I am doing THIS. Here we have an excerpt from BLOOD BORN, the second she has released into the world, and since ignored. I’m posting it because she does amazingly well hearing what people think, and really takes criticism to heart in the right way. Please, leave your comments, and be honest. She wants this, and I know it will hearten her.

Soeth beginneth the excerpt…eth:

The blonde man came to face me, his gaze predatory. His eyes had taken on an ethereal shine, a deadly quality that made their grey seem like ice.
Bloodlust, my brain idly concluded. That was what was causing that sheen, that glow.
“Just a case of wrong place, wrong time, love,” He reached towards me, a cool finger tracing a line down my cheek, stopping at my chin – though his eyes wandered further. “I do hope you don’t hold it against me.”
Oh, no. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of showing how afraid I was. Adrenaline made me reckless. I looked him in the eyes. “Bite me.”
Michael stopped, a look of incredulity spreading across his undeniably attractive features. “Well, would you listen to that! A bleeding invitation!” he laughed.
Jacob also chuckled, the first time that I had heard him make a sound since they had entered. “Interesting choice of words,” his gaze was fixed on me, a small smile playing about his lips.
Michael leaned forward until he was just inches away from my face, cool breath washing over my cheek. Then he smiled. His teeth were pearl-white – perfectly even, excepting two extended incisors that sharpened to glistening points. Darkness threatened to swallow me and I felt myself sway. My God, but he had fangs.
I barely had time to blink before Drew had spun me behind him, one hand holding me still, the other pressed lightly against Michael’s chest – lightly, but dangerously. The air around us grew heavy, as though it had been charged with electricity.
“Don’t even think about it, mate. This isn’t what you came for.”
Michael’s eyes went flat, his nostrils flaring. Right then, I wanted the knife more than anything. It must have flown from my grip when Drew moved me behind him. Then again, who knew what use it would be against a vampire? He might just laugh and then use it to pick me out of his teeth later.
“You want Jim to cooperate with you? Think he will if you bite her? Normally I wouldn’t object, but –” Drew cast a glance at me, “– you need him. And it will be a lot bloody easier to persuade him if you don’t make a meal out of his…waitress.”
I glanced at him, evaluating the pause – did he know Jim and I were related? It wasn’t a secret, but still, the thought made me feel cold inside.
“Christ on a bike, Drew, I wasn’t going to kill her. Hell, she’d probably enjoy it.” He grinned lecherously at me. Not on your life, I hissed mentally, disgusted. Outwardly I stayed silent.
“Even so. I’d rather Jim helped you willingly than unwillingly. It’s not worth the hassle just to satisfy your fancy.”
The two stared at each other, both evaluating the other, tension seeping into the atmosphere like so much testosterone. Then Michael’s gaze cleared, and an easy smile returned to his face. “Right you are then mate, if you feel that strongly about it. Can’t say I care for redheads, anyway. No offence, love.” He tipped me a wink. I blanched, which made him smile even wider.
Drew relaxed, taking his hand from Michael’s chest. They both turned to look at me. Michael’s expression was puzzled, Drew’s thoughtful.
“So, what do you want to do with her?” Michael wondered.
“Nothing. Jim will help you, if you offer him the right price. Let me deal with the girl.”
I followed the conversation with my eyes, oscillating between outrage and wanting to throw up on their nice leather shoes. My mind spun into dark and dangerous places on hearing those words. Let me deal with the girl.
“Don’t let me interrupt your evening then, mate.” Michael grinned at Drew. To me he said simply, “We’ll be back.” He turned to leave, whistling. Jacob was already holding the door open. He was grinning, joking about some club that they were going to later and the girls that would be there. It was evident it wasn’t just a hook-up they were looking for, but I could barely hear what they were saying, the blood roaring too loudly in my ears.
I turned to stare at the dark-haired vampire. How would he deal with me?
He looked at me apologetically. God, his eyes were pretty. “Sorry, love.” He sighed.
My chest gave one final, painful squeeze as I forgot how to breathe. Then everything went dark.

Follow Blue at @chynnablueink on Twitter, and love her blog http://t.co/lgf7zrdInN.

Meet The Animal by Julie Hutchings

TODAY’S BREW: Vanilla Chocolate Cherry thing I made up.

by Julie

I’ve been working on a new novel since mid-December which has seen no air time here at Deadly Ever After, so it’s exciting for me to release a first draft chapter of it! It could not be more different from Running Home, and while I cannot wait to tell you all about it and about my process of writing it, now is not the time. Now is the time for me to make you blush.

Meet Trent Dixon, 32 year old playboy who could make a profession of hiding from himself. But nothing could shield him from the ancient power that would possess him and give him something real to run from. This is The Animal. 

 

I found myself staring at her, becoming angry in a way that was unacceptable, but felt so right.  Stacy dug for something in her battered purse, not noticing that I was salivating at the thought of having her alone.

This animal cruelty erupting in me was not sexual, but it was the only way I wanted it.   Blackness rolled over and over inside me, keeping me hard, and panting.  It was its own creature.  And it needed me.

The train rumbled and pulled to a stop.  Jumping up and pulling her with me, we made it to the door before anyone else.  Stacy was silent, as still as she could be, and I felt her submitting.

A woman with blow job lips and hot librarian glasses stood up from the seat next to the door.  I looked at her, Stacy’s hand still clenched in mine, and growled at her. My teeth gritted, I spat “You’re next.”  She gasped and fell back into her seat.  I laughed under my breath, squeezing the hand of the oblivious Stacy.

“Where do you live?” Stacy asked me as I continued to pull her along the lamplit street.

“Just down here.  Brownstone.”  I couldn’t even form complete sentences, and I was moving fast, still hard, teeth grinding.  Fire boiled my veins, and I felt less and less like myself every second.  More and more like some never before seen sex animal that would fuck and kill everything in its path.

She tripped on a cobblestone but I didn’t slow down.  She began to wriggle her hand out of my grip.  I needed to stop, needed to calm her down.

She could feel the animal, too.

I stopped abruptly, pulling her close to me in a firm embrace, nuzzling into her mousy hair.  Its average smell aroused me more, my mind reeling at the thought of raising this average creature to something divine, naked and trembling.  For that second, I was pure.

“I just want so much to have you,” I mumbled into her flowery hair.

She sighed, loosening.

“What’s your name?”  she asked me, but was not committed to care.

“Trent.”

“Let’s go, Trent,” she whispered into my ear.  And we walked a little slower.

I breathed deep and slow, trying to calm the tiger, trying not to eat her alive before we made it up the outside stairs.  The sex-thing in me cooperated, I could actually feel it give in, knowing that this was the only way to achieve our end.

And I knew that it could have won, if we were to fight it out.

I shut the door behind us, Stacy tripping over the threshold .  I pushed her roughly against the door, my shoes bunching up the Oriental runner underneath us, making me slip and fall into her harder.  We kissed , her lips soft and childlike, chapstick flavored.

And the sex-thing took over, having waited patiently for me to get her home.  It wanted in, it wanted her, and everything around it, drinking it in like delicious poison.  My senses twisted and turned to take it all in, hyperaware of this world, sensitive to everything, loving everything.  Wanting to consume and own and end everything.

My teeth smashed into hers making her grunt, getting me harder.  The button on her pants flew off under my nails, the zipper breaking in half, and I dug into her underwear, cheap cotton, dull, pubic hair curling under my nails.

NOW.

The sex -thing yanked her pants down in a wild flash, my face now level with her untidy pussy as she leaned back against the door, smelling of equal parts fear and arousal.  I buried my face in her, knowing she had only done this three times before, somehow, that the sex-thing would always know these things.  She was tearing up.  I could tell.  I licked and prodded, the hair soft and sweet, new and ready.  My tongue went inside her and she was limp.  Her fear was gone, and now she was mine. I grunted a laugh, and lifted her, wrapping her legs around me, undoing my pants and forcing my cock into her like it was the last thing I would ever do, like fucking her would end the world, and I didn’t care that she yelped in surprise and pain, didn’t care that her head was banging against the door, didn’t care about anything except cumming and destroying her, ruining it all.

“Trent,” she whispered, and I knew she was wondering if she should ask me to stop.  I would not let her.  I smothered her mouth with mine, still tasting her pussy, jabbing my tongue into her, slamming my cock into her warm tight wetness with the force of  hurricanes.

Stacy was going to cum on me, I knew it like I knew my own name.  I knew it like I knew that there was something else inside me now, and I never ever wanted it to leave but could never see it .  She exploded on my cock, the stickiness running onto me, she screamed so loud I think the neighbors heard, and I gritted my teeth, staring at her, she was mine, and she was the first that would have this.  The first of many.  The first to know what sex could do.  The first to be a slave to this feeling, the only power that could create, and now would destroy.  It would finish everything it touched.

She was done, but I was still pumping and pumping, fucking her until she would cry, until I came in a torrent of brimstone and fury.  My muscles clenched and got stronger with every drive into her, my arms pinning her to the door, reveling in the sound of her head against the grain.

I should have been afraid of this feeling.  I should have known it was primordial, otherworldly, evil.  I should have been, but I was not.  I wanted this like death wants to grab and hold you until obliteration.

“Ugh! Trent!”  She was finished, wanted me off, but I was ready and there was no stopping now.

Pure, unadulterated power forced me to orgasm, and it was alive, it had a heartbeat and a mind, and it owned me.  The sex-animal-thing that had taken me over could taste the world this way.  Blackness enveloped my own mind, taken over by the thing that possessed me.

The terror I felt as I came was unlike anything I had ever known.  It was the end of the world in its tiniest stages.  I drank in death as I watched Stacy squirm in all her averageness, fear in her eyes mingled with her own power.

After all, she was the reason I was becoming this right now.

I gently let her go, sweat slick on her legs, my hands trembling.  I felt my senses return to me, become mine again, and I swear I heard the thing inside me laughing as I showed Stacy out the very door behind her.

 

 

 

 

Roman Effs Up: An Excerpt From Running Home

TODAY’S BREW: I wish I could say it was a Pumpkin Spice Latte but it’s not.

You folks are long overdue for an excerpt from Running Home, so I figured I would give you one full of fun and violence. Enjoy!

“Roman?” I called through the door. “Roman, can I come in?”

In an awful moment, the door flew open. Roman pulled me inside and slammed it shut in one movement. Then he reappeared on his bed, amongst several empty bottles of hard alcohol.

“Please, amuse me with your thoughts on how much better I am than all of this,” he said, sweeping his arm across the disheveled room.

Suddenly, I was not sure why I had come, and wished to God I hadn’t. I knew much of the day Roman had to have been hiding his real anguish, his memories, his victim’s memories. Now he could unleash them the way the blood begged him to, a last alcoholic farewell to a dead man.

“I…just wanted to check on you. Let you know I was thinking of you.”

And in the snap of a finger, he was too close to me, the stinging odor of booze coming in waves out of his body. His hands pinned my arms to my sides, and I struggled to turn my head away from his rancorous breath.

“Thinking of me, were you? Now, what could you have been thinking about me, late at night, alone?” His tongue swirled hard and fast inside my mouth, stifling my cry. His fangs penetrated my bottom lip, hot metallic blood filled my mouth and dripped down my chin. I managed to break free of the forced kiss to whimper, “Roman, stop this,” but his attention was directed to the blood on my mouth.

“Oh,” he groaned. It was like my blood froze and put the rest of my body under Roman’s icy spell. His fingers were bruising my arms, then the back of my neck as he tried to twist my head sideways, to my horror. “Just a taste, then…”

A violent, freezing wind invaded the room, blowing the mess around it, and slamming Roman into the opposite wall, high near the ceiling.

Nicholas’s figure formed seemingly from thin air. He came together where before there was nothing. Thousands of tiny crystals migrated from the cold in the room to one spot, where they joined together to somehow become his sinewy body. The cold had become him with such force that his lips were blue, his face and hands ashen gray, like he had been in a frozen grave.

“Nicholas,” I breathed.

Roman had slid down the wall, falling into a pile of clothes and bottles in a slump. I hadn’t realized how much a vampire can apparently drink.

Fully formed, Nicholas stood, chest heaving, staring at Roman as he lie in a heap on the floor. “What the Hell were you doing?!” he demanded in a growl. His bellowing voice shook the room, dripping icicles fell to the floor.

Struggling to his feet, Roman spluttered and slipped, the blood from my lip still on the tips of his exposed fangs. His gentle face was not meant to wear a snarl like this. I was afraid of him, and for him then. And Nicholas was so terribly angry, the fury showed no sign of compassion for his friend.

“Oh, she wanted it, just not from me,” Roman was stupid enough to voice.

I hope you had fun, and are looking to read more! Thanks for playing!

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