Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “vampires”

NIGHT MOVES Meet the Characters: Erin

Today’s Brew: Water, it’s Sunday evening and I have to be up at 4 AM for the first time in a long time.

by Kristen

One of my favorite parts of releasing new books is introducing you to the characters. They’re people who lived inside my head for a better part of a year, talking to me, helping me tell their story. Now they’re ready for the world to meet.

NIGHT SONGS comes out March 26, so I’m going to introduce you to all major players in the book in the next few posts. If you can’t wait to own the book, which I totally can’t blame you for, it’s available for pre-order on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble!

First up: Erin Monticelli

Pink hair and tattoos Erin

Who the hell is she? Erin is Melanie’s long lost best friend from childhood, and she’s also Drake Bonham’s other woman.

What does she do? Erin is a travelling fetish model, a job she created so she could support herself while she traveled with Drake.

Travelling fetish model, you say. Yes. A photographer friend of mine that I’ve worked with forever does fetish work. He tends to work with a lot of the same models, and over the years they’ve become my friends. A lot of the girls book work all over the country, doing videos, photo shoots, conventions, and club appearances. Some of them are pretty famous in the genre. I love their confidence, not only in their bodies, but to pick up and go to where the work is. These are business women. Go ahead, tell me they can’t possibly be making any money. Sex sells, remember? And that trip I took last summer to the UK, you know the two week one? Paid for with the profit from these fetish videos.  I find the whole thing so intriguing, that I created Erin in tribute.  All of the fetishes Erin mentions in NIGHT MOVES are indeed real.

Why I love her: Erin is unapologetically the person she wants to be. Tattooed, pierced, pink haired, and hot, Erin uses this to her advantage to get what she wants. Being a sex bomb takes confidence, and Erin’s got it. It doesn’t always win her a lot of female friends, but the guys certainly don’t mind. Erin also knows that she’s working with a ticking clock. She knows she’s not going to be able to model forever, and she understands what she means to Drake, whether she likes it or not. Erin truly lives in the moment.

Erin from Night Moves. :)

Enough of me telling you about Erin, here she is in action:

“Um, yeah. Mel, you don’t know about the blood?”

“Sort of. I don’t know.” I sighed. “Tell me.”

“Have you drank from Ryder yet?”

I almost spit up my drink. “What?”

She pushed harder against my ear and spoke slowly. “Have you drank his blood?”

I pulled away from her, horrified. “Seriously?”

She dissolved into a fit of giggles. “Girl. Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s like traveling to another dimension.” She almost swooned. I still hadn’t recovered from the shock. “Words don’t describe unless you’ve experienced it. It’s like what ecstasy wishes it could be.”

“I thought people stopped doing E years ago.”

Erin rolled her eyes. “Not the drug, silly. The real thing.” Welcome To The Jungle began to blast from the PA, and the lights fell over the room, delighting the crowd. Erin grabbed my arm a little too hard. “Showtime!”

Erin got up to dance in front of the table, but I wasn’t in the mood. Ryder was in perfect character, joking and teasing the fans in front of the stage, playing the happy band mate, but it seemed obscene knowing how miserable he really was.

And the blood! How could I think about anything else? I could hear my own thrumming through my veins, my muscles clenching at the thought of drinking from Ryder.

“Let’s put on our own show.” Erin snapped me back to reality by grabbing both my arms to guide me out of the booth. I wrestled one hand free so I could bring my fresh drink along. It had been a long time since I’d put on a public performance. Who was I kidding? Before Ryder, I wasn’t even wearing cute underwear anymore.

God. Poor Jamie, he probably wished for death just so he could be rid of me. I had practically been a corpse myself.

Erin raised my hand in hers, spinning me around underneath it. She’d managed to clear out a space near the stage for our dance floor. The guys that surrounded us leered as their girlfriends looked disgusted. I wanted to run back to the table, but I knew Erin wouldn’t let me. She’d drag me right back. She shimmied down the side of my body, placing her hands on my waist to slide back up. I swayed back and forth with the rhythm in an effort to not look like a total ass.

I looked up at the stage. Drake couldn’t take his eyes off of Erin. Of course, four feet above us he had the best seat in the house. Erin’s cleavage swelled out of her black lacy corset top. A big pink bow held her in place like she was a present. I snuck a look back at her, but her eyes were locked on Drake as she nestled her butt into my hips and we rocked back and forth in unison. I looked over at Ryder and rolled my eyes. He just laughed.

I followed Erin’s routine for the rest of the concert. Our dance floor had closed in a bit, as people tired of watching our show and went back to viewing the one they paid to see. After the band took their final bow, a group of girls lingered near the stage, presumably pleading with the roadies to help them meet the band.

“They’re so stupid.” Erin threw her legs over mine. We were back in the booth, finishing off our drinks. The band usually did some sort of meet and greet after the show, so there was no need to hurry back to the bus.

Only three days into this and the bus already felt like a coffin. Windowless, airless, cramped. Of course, I was traveling with the living dead, so it made sense. Maybe Erin didn’t have it so bad in her own car. At least she could open a window.

“Hey, Erin!” A skinny, pretty girl in an off the shoulder T-shirt and torn jeans approached the table, flanked by three of her nervous looking friends.

“What’s up, Catelyn?” Erin’s body language screamed for this girl to go away louder than the fake smile she plastered on her face. “Great show, huh?”

“As always.” Catelyn looked at me, trying to figure out how I played into things. “We were just wondering if you knew about any after parties or anything.”

“Now why would I know something like that?” Erin sat up straighter. I couldn’t tell if she was offended or surprised.

“Well, you know, since you and Drake—”

Erin leaned forward, placing her hand over Catelyn’s. “Drake and I are just friends. Nothing else. I don’t know what he does. I’m just spending time with my girlfriend, like you ladies are. You know, girls’ night out.” There was a bite to her words.

Catelyn’s friends looked at each other, sharing disappointment and maybe a little disbelief. Whatever it was, they weren’t getting what they wanted at this table.

“Right, girls’ night,” Catelyn repeated, her face falling a little. “Have fun, ladies.”

The group left us to our own devices.

“Who the hell were they?”

Erin fell back, drink still in hand, rolling her eyes. “Oh they’re Soul Divider super fans. I’d call them groupies, but even Tommy won’t touch them. The band hides when they see them. They’re so pathetic. They’ll sit outside anywhere they think the band is, for hours.”

“Like we used to do?”

“Fuck no. Mel, we were never pathetic. Those girls are in their thirties. I think some of them still live at home. This is all they’ve got. I mean, at least we have reaped rewards for our hard work. They must love being frustrated. Unless they’re doing one of the roadies, gross, they certainly aren’t getting anything here.”

“Maybe that’s not what they want.”

“What the hell else would a bunch of cougars follow a band around for? I mean, don’t they want their fantasy to come true? After five or so years following them around like pathetic little puppy dogs, they should have moved up from the meet and greet line or moved on.”

“Well–” I don’t know why I felt like I should defend these girls I didn’t even know, but for some reason, I kind of felt bad for them. They obviously wanted something. From somebody. “Maybe this is their fantasy. And there are five guys in the band, and how many women trying to get in their pants? Not everyone can be successful. If everyone could have them, no one would want them.”

“I guess you’re right.” Erin slid out of the booth and smoothed her denim mini skirt. “But it’s still pathetic. I’m going to call it a night. I have a shoot in the morning.”

“In Milwaukee?”

“Nope, just outside of Chicago. That’s where you’re headed in a few hours.” She kissed my cheek. “Have fun tonight. I’ll meet up with you at the hotel tomorrow.”

“Promise you’ll be careful? This all scares the hell out of me.”

“I will. I’ve worked with this producer before.”

“Producer? Are you sure it’s not porn?”

“Porn doesn’t really have a definition.” She giggled. “You just know it when you see it.”

I gasped. “Erin!”

“No, it’s just some silly little video. You’d be shocked what gets guys off.” She turned to walk away, but looked back and me and smiled. “God, I love the sickos.”

Advertisements

NIGHT MOVES COVER REVEAL (AND PRE-ORDER!)

Today’s Brew: I haven’t even had my coffee yet!

by Kristen

Today is one of those days where the hours and hours of sitting on the couch with the computer on my lap, listening to what the voices in my head have to say and capturing it all pays off. BECAUSE THE NIGHT ends…unresolved. So without further ado, I give you NIGHT MOVES:

NIGHT MOVES COVER

Night Moves–The Night Songs Collection #2–Coming March 26, 2014

We bonded in darkness, over darkness.

Melanie Vaughn’s job ruined everything. Her social life, nonexistent. Her relationship with her boyfriend, a hostile roommate situation. She resolves to fix everything one snowy afternoon, but instead comes home to discover her boyfriend is already exploring other options. Blonder, bustier options. Rage drives Melanie to do the unthinkable.

When Soul Divider was on the top of the world, so was Ryder Maddox. When the band faded into obscurity, Ryder’s luck plummeted with it. In a last ditch effort to rekindle the band’s heyday, Soul Divider teams up with powerful vampire clan leader, Talis de Rancourt. In return for her services, the band pays the ultimate price for never ending fame.

Now on the run, Melanie meets Ryder in a middle of nowhere hotel. She never expected her teenage rock star crush to be as lost and as in need of a companion as she is. Their connection is all consuming, even before they find they share another kinship: murder.

The newly turned vampires in Soul Divider still have a lot to learn. The police and public begin to connect the girls that go missing or die in sync with the band’s tour schedule. Back at home, clues are also adding up against Melanie as well. Between constant media coverage and unrelenting attention from the authorities, Melanie and Ryder find themselves in uncharted territory.

NIGHT MOVES will be available March 26, 2014. My, ahem, birthday. So if you were wondering what to get me, the gift that keeps on giving is right here, baby. Add it to Goodreads!!  

UPDATE: You can also pre-order NIGHT MOVES on Smashwords!

I know what you’re thinking right now. Who the hell are Melanie and Ryder?  What about Callie, Tristan, and Blade? NIGHT MOVES continues the story of The Night Songs Collection from a bit of a different angle. Callie, Tristan, and Blade all make appearances in NIGHT MOVES, and the characters are going to come together in the next book to tell the conclusion of the story. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy meeting these new characters and going on tour with Melanie and Soul Divider!

RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY News!

TODAY’S BREW: Mint chocolate coffee and  BOOZE.

By Julie

I started writing the sequel to RUNNING HOME around this time:

AND NOW. IT IS COMPLETE. Like my organs and brain development. I’ve come a long way since the above photo.

Now I shall embark upon the journey of editing and wondering if this thing is worth a goddamn or not, but I think it is. I do. But I’ll still wonder if the last 6 months were really just a lot of ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY.

Me, maybe.

While you wait for the this sequel that features a boiling hot Irish rebel, a defiled saint, a god of creation, my friend Chynna Blue Scott, and all of our old friends that are now experiencing the dark night of the soul,

YOU CAN GET RUNNING HOME FOR ONLY  99 CENTS!

That’s right! For the price of a cup of coffee, and not even Dunkin Donuts coffee, but that sub-par Cumberland Farms gas station coffee, you can own the fruits of my first labor! (Sidenote: I quite enjoy Cumberland Farms coffee & all of its glorious creamer options.)  (Second Sidenote: “The fruits of my first labor” refers to my book, not my child.)

 

https://deadlyeverafter.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/857a2-runninghome-cover.jpg

BUY ME, LOOK AT HOW PRETTY I AM. http://t.co/QOJxBFmimo

“Running Home has a dark beauty which entwines the mundane and the magical.”
~ J.C. Michael, author of Discoredia

“I can’t remember a time I’ve enjoyed a vampire novel so much. The blend of self-aware characters and unique, fresh mythology made for an engaging, addictive read. I believe I have found my new favorite urban vampire story.”
~ Frances Button, Opening Line Literary ‘Zine

IF YOU ALREADY OWN A COPY OF RUNNING HOME, THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for buying it, reading it, hopefully leaving a review on it (hint hint), and for believing in me. Writing is the thing that makes me me. You make it worthwhile for me. You help me show my kids and other writers that there’s value in this storytelling thing. You make it true that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself.

Now, I have some celebrating to do. Thank you all! Happy reading!

(P.S. If you want a signed copy of RUNNING HOME, leave me a comment, tweet me or email me.)

 

 

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.

 

Flash Fiction Friday: THE WICKED ONES

TODAY’S BREW: More hot beverages than you can shake a stick at before that stick freezes. It is 9 degrees out.

By Julie

For this Flash Fiction Friday, I dragged a chapter of THE WICKED ONES SAGA out of my good friend, Mr. Jackson’s, grasp for today. He keeps his work a little too close to himself for me. Once you read this, you’ll wonder how fast you can get your hands on more of his words, too. Enjoy this excerpt, and be absorbed.

THE WICKED ONES

The tears began to flood out of me. Attempting to hold them back proved ever so futile. As I held her in my arms, I knew my existence would never be the same. Never. She was absolutely, the most beautiful wight I’d ever laid eyes on. 
“I would love to name her Elizabeth.” My eyes now focused on the only being that could have brought such euphoria. My love, my partner…
“Please, don’t stop. Go on, I’d love to hear more.”
I opened my eyes seeking to shake the memories from my mind like it was an etch a sketch, I could only respond with the cold reality, the truth. “Those were of happier times. We need not speak of those moments.”
 Although my voice was firm, inside I was still reliving the pain I tried for so many years to erase. “I do apologize Iris, but I must beg your pardon. Perhaps we can continue this another time.”
Confused and discontented, Iris responded weakly, “Sure, no problem, Justin.” I watched from the parlor window as she entered her car and drove off.
Tonight was not the night for such emotion. I needed to feed and get Iris as far away from me as possible.
“Why did I agree to a meeting in the first place?”
Smarten up or deal with the consequences’.” The voice of my grandfather was so clear. It had been days since I last fed and the memories I was conjuring up would not mix well together. I needed to be alone.
  I have never spoken to another being regarding that day. For years I’ve pushed and pushed, until the pain was buried deep within my cold heart. I circled the parlor glancing at the piano, that once played such beautiful music. Soft melodies that encased raw emotions, allowing the soul to dance and swell up with such revelry, it would almost feel felonious.
I closed my eyes to listen closely to those amazing notes. “Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful, Eliza.” The smile on my little angel’s face was more than enough to illuminate any corner of the world. Moreover, it never failed to melt the ice around my heart.
“She has your ear for music.” I welcomed the words being whispered into my ear as two warm, loving arms slid over my shoulders to embrace me from behind. “I believe you may be correct in your assessment of our little angel. She’s progressing quite rapidly. However, it pales in comparison to the heart that she has, which is all your doing.”
 As I turned to face my queen and thank her for the greatest gift in the world, I was met by my dear old friend, loneliness. Here I stood, staring at my reflection in the mirror, not sure who was the man staring back. The black in my eyes served as a reminder that I was in dire need of feeding or I was going to lose myself. Losing myself was not an option, not in this town, or anywhere for that matter. I’ve managed to stay under the radar of people’s suspicions of my kind, or any other being for that matter, for quite some time now. I was simply a young man who loved music and would teach all who desired to learn. No one needed to know what I really am.
However, tonight a few unfortunate individuals would find out. Lamentably, they would not get the chance to tell another soul of their discovery.
The night air was crisp. Seeing my breath in front of me reminded me of Elizabeth. She would always, with a tilted-up head, blow up to the sky and say, “Did you see that, Daddy?”
I shook the image from my mind and continued down the lane, which led to many businesses. Most of which were closed to patrons many hours ago. Only the taverns and nightclubs would be open at this time of night.
It took all of a second to pick up his scent. Around the back of the White Pony stood the lead guitarist of the local band chosen to open up for Cold World. I recognized the face from the town flyer promoting tonight’s concert. The burning began in my throat. My eyes seeing the horror about to unfold. It was too easy to get what I was craving.
I drained him of every last drop. Quickly and quietly.
Wiping the blood from my chin, I ventured inside the White Pony for course number two. My recent meal had awoken quite the frenzy in me. A jolt of adrenaline was flowing through me. Trying to not rip through the throats of every single person in here was becoming increasingly difficult. All efforts were proving to be pointless until I heard her voice. “Justin? I thought you wanted to be alone tonight?”
Sounding ever so unhappy, with the posture to match, there stood Iris.
Truly surprised, I connected my eyes with hers and tried to excuse myself. “Hey, wait a minute. Where are you going?” Iris would not let me just cut this chance meeting short.
“I do apologize for earlier Iris. I just needed some fresh air and as I walked, my feet led me here. Must have been the music.”
Looking to seize the opportunity for more conversation Iris asked, “Wanna go outside?”
“Sure, Iris, lets do that.”
“So what’s the deal? Do you always push people away?”
The words were sharp, yet genuine. Iris was an amazing woman to me, and I knew she would not benefit from having me in her life.
“Iris, I’m rather complicated. You should keep a healthy distance.” If only she knew that I was referring to my desire to rip her throat wide open and indulge in her sweet smelling blood. Her blood was singing to me and I was loving every note.
“I can’t do that Justin. I am completely drawn to you.”
A feeling of regret flushed through me as the words hit my ears. What she wanted I could give her, but she would need to know everything. Everything.
“You wanted to know why I push people away. Truth is, I’d rather push than have them pulled away. You should know that I wasn’t always so cold and distant. I’ve loved and knew happiness. The world isn’t as good as you think it is. There are many faces of evil among us.”
Iris never moved her eyes away from mine and her body seemed so relaxed. No fear in her body for me. “There is no evil with you Justin.” So innocent was Iris. It kind of scared me.
Stepping closer to me, Iris was not making my desire for her blood go away. I was fighting with all I had. “What are you fighting to protect? What scares you?” As her eyes began to slightly water up, Iris began to speak again. “You can tell me everything when you are ready. I just need to tell you that I love you. I’ve loved you for some time now, Justin.” Softly crashing into my chest, Iris softly rubbed her head just under my chin. “You are always so protective of me. I want to take care of you. I just feel so attached to you. No harm or hurt will ever find you again. I promise.”
Finally overcoming the desire to drain her of every last bit of her sweet, melodic blood, I was now filled with a new emotion. As I held her close, Iris whispered softly into my ear “I would die for you.”
A small grin formed as I responded, “Are you ready?”
GO FOLLOW @FANOFBLOOD RIGHT NOW ON TWITTER, AND TELL HIM YOU WANT MORE.

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.

 

Eliza and the Bethlem Royal Hospital: Julie Gets Choked Up

TODAY’S BREW: Something from Costa Rica. Or Target.

By Julie

THERE IS A BIT OF A RUNNING AWAY  SPOILER IN HERE. IF YOU ARE AFRAID, TURN BACK NOW.

I’m hot and heavy into the sequel to RUNNING HOME, and RUNNING AWAY has become a part of me. Eliza has grown, transformed, and her new life has been forged in a lot of suffering. When writing this book, I needed to pay close attention to keeping the tone and themes of it as dark and complex as Eliza has become, so when I wrote the scene of her first feeding as one of the Shinigami vampires, I needed to make it more than just a bloodfest. Embracing a little darkness when writing a vampire scene isn’t always hard, but keeping it a thing of beauty and depth without any form of eroticism is a bit more difficult. It needed to be significant, symbolic. The first feeding needed to carry a lot of the tone of the book, and so I took my sweet ass time working on it.

I knew where I wanted her first feeding to occur, and there is plenty of reason for it which I won’t be so cruel as to divulge to you now. It had to be a place that had patched-over horror, hidden ugliness in plain sight. It needed to be dank, riddled with ghosts, melancholy and be the variety of dirty that can’t be cleaned. And I wanted a pinnacle of light and glistening freshness in the middle of it that couldn’t escape her fate, no matter how brightly she glowed in its dimness.

http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

Inspiration for my Bethlem Royal Hospital scene. The Kitchen. http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

I was so disturbed by the research I did on the Bethlem Royal Hospital of London (http://wp.me/p2x7oj-j7 ) for our March Madness blog series last year that it never left my thoughts. I wanted to do more to commemorate what had happened there, to show my respect for this terrible piece of history the best way I knew how; to write about it. When the idea hit me to make it the scene of Eliza’s first feeding, it worked itself in so perfectly that I breathed a mental sigh of relief to write it. Now that it’s done, and the end of the book is just a series of falling dominoes, my pride in this scene is a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m kind of a jerk about it in my head. I love this scene and all the subtext to it, the meaning it has for all the characters–I just can’t wait to share it.

This Flash Fiction Friday, I’ll let you see it. I’m desperate to share it, and also entirely horrified about letting go of it. It still feels so much a part of me, entrenched in me. But I promise to loosen the grip, and give you some of this scene come Friday. Unless you don’t want me to. Then say so and I shall cling to it like a tiny life preserver for a while longer.

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY!! Bones by Tammy Farrell

TODAY’S BREW: This Columbian Something or Other that benefits Save The Children. BECAUSE I AM SO KIND.

By Julie

I LIED! This post isn’t really by me, because today is FLASH FICTION FRIDAY!! And true to our roots, we have a vampire story for you, by the wonderful Tammy Farrell. We’re fans of Tammy’s on Twitter (follow her @TamzWrite), and we’re both really excited for her novel THE DARKNESS OF LIGHT to come out on January 28th!! I mean, LOOK AT THIS COVER.

The Darkness of Light (The Dia Chronicles) by Tammy Farrell (Jan. 2014)

YAAAAAAY!  (Trust me, add her on Goodreads here https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18628472-the-darkness-of-light). For now, enjoy her short story, Bones!

  Bones

The scent of lilacs and orchids swept over me, but it wasn’t from her hair anymore. That surely faded some time ago. Now the aroma came from the vibrant bouquet atop her headstone, mixed with the musty odor of damp soil and a rotting corpse.

I dug deeper, using all of my immortal strength to reach the coffin. The dead were a definite six feet under in those days, sure to keep the plague from rising up. My dark trousers and white cotton shirt were torn and filthy from my frenzied digging.

There wasn’t much time left before dawn.

I swept a strand of black hair from my face, completely unaware of the wretched monster I’d become. What did it matter? No one was around to see me, not at that hour.

Two years had passed since I last saw Clara’s angelic face. She was the picture of innocence at 17, and from the first moment I saw her, I knew I wanted her. The last night of her life, was the first night I went to her. There was no need to glamour her then, for my alabaster skin and fair brown eyes were mesmerizing enough.

She made no sound when I entered her room, and she watched me with large blue eyes as I closed in on her, stepping to the rhythm of her mortal heart.

I wanted her. I wanted her blood, and I wanted her spirit.

“Be with me forever.” I whispered in her ear. “Be my bride.”

She smiled—even in the face of a night demon—she smiled.

I ran my fingers through her precious golden hair, and her perfume coiled through the air until it was all around me. Then I cupped my hand on her warm cheek, and with my sharp thumb-nail, I grazed the smooth texture of her skin.

She let me wrap my arms around her as I leaned in to bite. She was to be mine. Soon I would not only taste her sweet blood, but give it back to her and make her my immortal companion.

My immortal bride.

When I pierced her flesh she gasped, and I drew at the pulsing life that flowed over my tongue like a thick, delectable syrup. While it coursed through my veins I became entranced by the heavenly light that came with her blood.

I was lost in her.

When I finally pulled away it took several seconds before the light faded from my eyes and I was able to see my princess. She was limp on the bed, her eyes were open in a vacant stare and the swell of her bosom no longer rose and fell with each breath. I waited for her to move, but her arms hung at her sides like a fallen branches.

She was gone.

The next week I visited her grave, anguished at my ravenous attempt to make her mine, but instead, like a fool, I took her life.

I watched the freshly dug mound as if she might break through at any moment, but all was silent. Even the little bell attached to her headstone, used by those who had been buried alive, was still with death.

“My darling,” I sobbed into the ground. I was certain I was alone, but my moment of anguish was soon interrupted when I heard a gentle whisper in my ear.

“William. William,” it said in a voice like a thousand ringing bells.

I perked my ears as the voice called to me.

“William, it is Clara, I am here. I am your immortal princess, just as you desired.”

I wiped the tears of blood from my eyes and peered around the cemetery for the source of the ethereal sound. “Is that really you, darling?” I called out. “How is it I can hear you when you are buried beneath the earth?”

“You wanted me forever, and I am yours,” the voice rang out. “I will be with you now forever.”

“Yes, but I did not want a spirit,” I cried. “I wanted you whole.”

“You wanted me and now I am yours.”

I waited for her ghost to appear before me, to see her face once more, but the night was unmoved and I cursed the God that would send a formless spirit to haunt me.

The following evening I was awoken, not from my nightly hunger, but from the echoing chant of my bodiless bride.

“Wake up, my love. The sun has set.”

“Leave me now, child,” I urged. “Go to the heavens where you belong. I have no need for such a being.”

“You said forever, love, and forever is what you will get.”

This was the first of many nights that her presence would stalk me. Even as I wandered the streets, she would speak for my ears alone, and anyone in my company would retreat from my constant bickering with the air. When I hunted, she spoke to me, spoiling the comfort I might find in the blood of my prey. She was vicious and relentless and would give me no peace.

I endured two years of this torment and no amount of pleading or prayer would drive her away. When I found myself back at the cemetery I was desperate, and resolved to unearth her. It was then I noticed the silence. I dug faster.

Finally, when the sharp blade of my fingernail scraped the surface of her coffin, I almost expected her to scream from within. And when I punctured the lid with my clenched fist, her voice remained unheard. Only the crickets and night owls kept me company.

Through the jagged whole of the lid I saw her skull. The large black holes where her beautiful eyes once rested looked up at me, and the wide, toothy grin seemed to mock me. I lifted her out, thinking the skeleton might come to life, but it did not.

Her body of bones was clothed in a white lace dress that had begun to yellow, and I laughed at the irony of it. Here was my bride of bones, dressed in her wedding gown.

Her remains crackled when I gathered them into my arms and for the first time in two years, I knew peace.

My strides were long and steady as I made my way out of the cemetery, cradling the dress and bones close to my chest. I now had my bride, and her voice was finally hushed. That night I went to sleep for the day as I have every day since then, with my bride of bones tucked close by my side. A small price to pay, I suppose, for my peace of mind.

http://tammyfarrell.com/the-writing-life/    Main web page is tammyfarrell.com.

I Want A Cross Genre Vampire! Shonda Brock Guest Post

Today’s Brew: Orange Juice. Everyone at the DEA organization is illin’ this week.

by Kristen

One of the first vampire enthusiasts I found when I joined Twitter was Shonda Brock, so it’s an honor to have her write for Deadly Ever After!  Shonda’s got a great blog full of vampire-rific posts.  And you can follow her on Twitter.

As a writer, what would I like to see done with vampires that hasn’t been done before? Excellent question!!!!!!!!!

Believe it or not that question propelled me into writing.  I have been avid reader of Paranormal Romance, Horror and Suspense novels for years.  And by no means is this a knock or dig against any author I’ve read, because in truth, they are all where I long to be, a Professional Well Skilled Writer. But for the vampire character, I’ve always wanted more.

True Paranormal fans can tell you the basic lure to a good vampire read. It usually begins with The Dark Prince of Blood who survives on human life, living his immortal existence without sunlight, enduring in sin, lust, greed and loneliness in the shadows of modern civilization. His tortured life continues in this same manner until he lays eyes on the one thing he can not have.

I still want that lustful, needful vampire that every woman craves, but I also want that same vampire to be riddled in the hardship of life found in ‘Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold. Like how does a family continue on after losing a child to an unsolved murder? Or like in my personal favorite Stephen King’s ‘Pet Cemetery’, to project pure horror into the very thing you love and trust the most and then you have to kill it.

The traditional vampire romance novel contains lust and love weaved between suspense which allows the plot to thicken and become a page-turner. But what I want to see is pure terror weaved into it as well. I want to read about a vampire who is complex by matters of life. Where there is no right or wrong moral thing to for the vampires to do, there’s only matter of how do they survive to get to the next moment without losing their sanity.  I still want him to be sexy and alluring, but I also want to be scared out of my wits so that I dare not cut off my lights or go to sleep without garlic under my bed.

I’m reminded of a line from my daughter’s favorite movie “High School Musical 3”. One of the characters’ song said, “I want it All!”

I want to see a cross genre Vampire.

I want the raw edgy suspense of Tom Clancy and the gut retching pain in “A Time to Kill” by John Grisham and the sexiness of Vampire Lestat by Ann Rice. And by all means, please add an extra dose of bone chilling horror by the great Stephen King. PS: can I get a side order of giggles from the Love at Stake Series by Kerrelyn Sparks?

Now that’s My Vampire Story! If only I could write such a beast.

Flash Fiction Friday: The Exception

Today’s Brew: Who cares about the coffee.  It’s peppermint mocha creamer, yo.

by Kristen

To close out our celebration of Because the Night’s release week, I wanted to repost an oldie but a goodie short piece starring Tristan.

Add Because the Night on Goodreads!  Own a copy of Because the Night (The Night Songs Collection) for your very own!!

Shhh. Tristan wants to tell you a story.

“So you think you can handle me?” My tattooed fantasy stood just inches from me, his eyes soft, wearing a smile that said nothing but danger.

I nodded.  I couldn’t speak.  I’d played this very moment out so many times in my mind.  I’d known just what to say to lure him closer.  But it was already a done deal, a negotiation of sorts.

Not what I had imagined so many times before, alone in my house, the car, the shower. You get the picture. What the hell was I doing? I’d only slept with three people in my whole life and here I was, with this larger than life stranger, practically paralyzed.

Now that I was actually here with Tristan Trevosier, my whole body trembled, and I had to clench my teeth together not to fawn over him, profess my love like some pathetic preteen fangirl.

“What’s your name?”  His voice was little more than a whisper.  He took one more step, close enough to touch my arm.  He ran his rough fingers, calloused from playing guitar, down the length of my bare skin.  With his other hand, he tipped my chin up to meet his eyes, which burned with every scandalous thought I knew brewed in his soul.

“Andrea.” Why did I feel so shy now? This was what I wanted, wasn’t it?

“Your husband seems like a nice guy.”

My eyes widened. My guard rose like iron gates around my conscious. I shouldn’t be doing this.

But I had to.

“He’s wonderful.” I gulped.  “Your girlfriend is okay with this?”

“I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“That girl, who was sitting in the room. I’ve seen pictures of you with her online.”

“She’s not my girlfriend, she’s my soulmate.”  He smiled, amused.  “Like you and your husband, we understand each other. What we have to do.”

My jaw, still in his hand, dropped.  I didn’t understand this at all.

“Back to your husband.”  His eyes bore into mine so I could look nowhere else. “What doesn’t he do for you?”

We’d been married for six months, this trip to Vegas technically our honeymoon. We’d hardly had a real fight yet. I’d waited longer than my girlfriends to get married, but Brian had made every minute of that wait worth it. Now, here I stood before this Adonis, barely more than a teenager, who had no problem questioning our marriage right after he asked me my name.

“What do you mean?”

“This is your fantasy, right, Andrea?” Tristan cut me off.  “I want to make it worth your while.  What doesn’t he do for you? Sexually.  I don’t give a rat’s ass if he takes out the trash or puts down the toilet seat.”

Despite the electrical charge in the small space between our faces, I couldn’t help but laugh.  I closed my eyes and swallowed hard. “He doesn’t like to go down on me.”

Tristan rolled his eyes.  “I’ll never understand why some dudes are so stupid.”

He pushed me against the wall in the small room and sunk to his knees in front of me.  I lost my urge to defend Brian’s honor as he pushed up my skirt to my waist and tore my lace panties off of me like they were made from tissue paper.  My breath quickened as I stood in front of him. Bare.  He only used his hands to part my thigh, kissing my pubic bone before moving down, licking, sucking, teasing. His dark hair tickled my thighs. All my muscles pulsed and sang. His hands and mouth held me steady against the wall, or else I might have fallen on top of him in a crumpled heap.

I wanted to beg him for mercy, but I never wanted him to stop. Sanity was overrated.

In a fluid moment, Tristan rose to his feet, his hands sliding up to the waded fabric at my waist.  “Do you understand what Bloodlust is, Andrea?” He breathed into my ear.

I hadn’t expected him to stay in character.  But I couldn’t deny it.  Something pulled me to him. “I do. That’s why I’m here.”

“You don’t know what it is for me.” He kissed my neck, and I stiffened with nerves. “The blood is what gets people like me off.”

He grazed his sharp teeth against my neck.  Weren’t they just part of his costume? He wouldn’t really take it so far and try to bite me, would he?

“It’s real?” I could barely manage the words.

“It’s real. “ I could feel him nod against my neck.  “Relax.  This is why you’re here.”

I didn’t relax. I froze as he punctured my neck.  My mouth opened to scream but nothing came out. As he sucked, I entered an alternate universe, almost a higher consciousness.  My muscles softened and all those little things that mattered just second before didn’t matter now.

“Good girl.” He reassured me as he finished. His hands moved back down to my legs, pushing me up against the wall, entering me.  My god, was he wearing a condom?  The panic seemed separate, like someone else worried about it for me. He sucked on the wounds on my neck as he thrusted in beautiful rhythm, like the musician he was. I exploded, seeing nothing but stars.

Tristan gently put me back down on the floor, back to earth, and adjusted my skirt.  He kissed me on my forehead as he adjusted himself, a bizarrely chaste move after what he had just done to me.

“Go back to your husband, Andrea.”

With that, he walked away from me.  Shut the door behind him as he left the room. The curtain closed on my fantasy.

Real life awaited. I was terrified.

I dug in my purse for my phone.  As I expected, Brian had left me close to a dozen messages.  He waited for me at the bar in the lobby.  Before I ventured out, I stole a quick glance at myself in my compact mirror.  I was still real. My only souvenir to remember my encounter he left me with was two neat little teeth marks.

I peeked out the door into the hallway.  Thankfully, everything was well marked and I was able to find my way back out into the Sin City Vampire Club without having to ask for help.

Brian sat alone on a corner stool, happily sipping some concoction out of a plastic skull souvenir cup.  His face brightened when he saw me, kissing me in greeting. “So, did you do it?”

How could he be so enthusiastic about this? So casual? After all, it was his big mouth that set the whole thing into motion in the first place. “Hey Tristan, you’re the one that I’d let my wife sleep with.  It’s her fantasy.”  He had blurted out in the Immortal Dilemma meet and greet line.  I had wanted to kill him for saying such a thing until Tristan cocked his eyebrow, looking me up and down, and smiled.

I’m sure he’d spend our time apart texting his buddies at home, bragging about what was going on. How would I ever be able to face our friends?

I’d cheated on my husband. And everyone would want to hear every single detail.

I nodded, climbing up on the stool beside him, wincing at my soreness. I could barely look him in the eye.

“So was it hot? Like real vampire sex?” Brian’s eyes blazed. This still wasn’t real to him.

I pulled my hair away from my neck, revealing the puncture wounds.

He ran his fingers gingerly against the swollen scabby marks.  “Wow.”  His tone changed a bit as what happened sunk in.

I folded my hands in front of me and stared at them.

“Do you want a drink, babe?”

I shook my head.

“What do you want to do?

“I just want to go back to the room.”

“Okay.”  He threw some money up on the bar, leaving his skull cup behind as we slid off our bar stools.

We walked back to our hotel, hand in hand, forever changed from how we arrived.

Post Navigation