Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Release day for HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE III
Today is the official release day for Holiday with a Vampire III! Here's an excerpt.
copyright 2009 by Bonnie Vanak
He went outside onto the wood deck, relishing the harsh winter wind stinging his cheeks. Squealing, the gremlins rushed over, the pom-pom balls on their Santa hats bouncing. The tallest, only four feet, had tinsel dangling from his pointed ears. Six faces beamed at him, showing rows of serrated teeth.
Snark, oldest of the six brothers, thrust a wrapped package at him. “Merry Christmas!”
Adrian felt a small tug of pleasure as he examined the shoebox-sized package, his first gift in years. It was wrapped in gold and red striped paper that bore faint stains, and the red ribbon smelled like oranges and sour chicken. He raised a dark brow.
“Have you been rooting through the garbage again?”
A chorus of innocent “No’s” with equally innocent looks confirmed his suspicions.
“Open it, open it,” they began to chant.
“We got you exactly what you wanted. Just add water and read the note,” Snark added.
Curiosity consumed him. He headed for the nearby pool house, the gremlins skipping in his wake. Inside, he switched on the soft overhead lights and sat at the wrought iron table. Slowly he began to unwrap the present, wanting to make it last. The gremlins squealed with impatience.
Oh very well. Adrian ripped the paper, tore off the box lid. He lifted a thin layer of tissue paper.
Beneath it lay the ugliest doll he’d ever seen. The smile died on his face. A black, Frankenstein-like scar snaked down the doll’s right cheek, Tufts of hair grew from a balding scalp. She was dressed in a lime green polyester pants suit. A silver bracelet was included in the box, along with a small white card. He read the card.
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE NOW THE PROUD OWNER OF A SALLY UGLY BUNCH DOLL.
“Have fun playing with your gift!” Snark chortled, and they scampered off.
A hollow ached filled his chest as he lifted the doll. His fingers stroked the deep gouges on his left cheek. The doll stared sightlessly back at him, its own scar mocking him. Adrian glanced in the direction the gremlins took.
“I thought you were my friends,” he whispered.
Grief twisted and writhed like hissing snakes in his belly. Primitive rage exploded, making his fangs descend. Adrian shook the doll, his voice a strong roar that echoed through the pool house’s open glass doors and over the five acres of his cliffside estate.
“Damn you!” He threw the doll against the wall.
He froze. Were the gremlins playing another trick? Snark said to add water. Adrian picked up his Christmas gift and marched outside. The pool was heated, and remained uncovered for the gremlins’ nightly swim. Wind billowed his robe, fluttering it open and exposing his strong, muscled legs. He flung the toy into the water.
Shock filled him as the doll began to thrash. Stiff limbs became arms and legs beating the water. The doll grew to life-size, dark hair sprouting from its balding head. No longer a doll, but a woman.
She sank, only to surface again. “Help me,” she choked out, before she went under.
This time she did not surface.
He was no hero. The last time he’d played the part, he’d been left to die. But he was no ogre, either. Shrugging out of his robe, Adrian dove into the pool. He swam underwater, grabbed the woman and dragged her upward. Swiftly towing his gift to the pool’s edge, he then climbed out and hoisted the woman up into his arms.
Inside the warm pool house, he gently laid her down on the tiled floor. He inhaled, taking her scent into his lungs. Fangs exploded in his mouth as a familiar hunger seized him.
Only one woman could cause this kind of volatile reaction. Stunned, Adrian took a closer look.
The repulsive scar was gone, replaced by smooth flesh. Instead of a chubby moon face, bulbous nose and thin mouth, she had full lips, a pert nose, high cheeks and long lashes.
Shocked, he sat back on his haunches. Adrian bent closer. “My beautiful Sarah,” he whispered. “Just as lovely as when you left me. Traitor.”
She lay still as cold marble. Very gently, he turned her head to one side. Adrian straddled her hips. Decades ago, he’d given CPR to a little boy who’d nearly drowned. Now he avoided everyone and was dead inside. But maybe he could give life again.
He compressed her chest. She coughed, and a stream of water spilled out of her lips. Satisfaction filled him as color returned to her cheeks. He did another compression and she coughed again.
The delicate blue vein in her throat throbbed with life. Just as he’d always done in the past, he fought the ferocious urge to take her blood. Instead, he stroked her throat, marveling at the feel of satin skin beneath his caressing fingertips.
Blood pulsed just beneath smooth flesh, calling to him in a siren song. He hadn’t been near a woman in years, not even to feed. Adrian didn’t trust the darkness inside him. His private blood bank took care of his needs.
Clenching his fists, he stared at her lying beneath him. He envisioned Sarah naked, her long legs open, her body sultry and inviting. Flat on her back, the perfect position to sink his fangs, and his body, into her. The strong sexual pull he’d always experienced around her, and never fulfilled, roared to unwelcome life.
Sarah was forbidden. He’d hungered for her, would have given her the world, but destiny promised her to another of her kind. Adrian had honored her chastity, guarding it from all, even himself. He had never even kissed her.
He could not help himself now. His fangs lengthened, echoing the raw desire pooling much lower. Adrian leaned down, and brushed his mouth against hers. Warm, wet lips moved beneath his. She tasted as delicious as he’d imagined.
Enchanted, he deepened the kiss, moaning at the honey of her mouth. Adrian reluctantly drew away. How the hell had she gotten here? He fetched the note from the doll’s box.
“Dear Adreean, (the gremlins never did learn to spell, despite his best efforts to teach them). Puleze accept with thankz thiz fer letting uz stay on yur guezt houze without pay. We finds her after we smells wolfie when letting air out of car tyers in town. Put thee bracelet on her and she cant do magickz. Meerry Chrismes.”
The note crushed beneath his fingers. Adrian smiled darkly as he retrieved the silver bracelet. He had a pretty Christmas present. And he wasn’t about to let her go.
Not until she lured her enemies to his house, so he could destroy them and gain admittance back to his clan. Take his rightful role as his father’s heir and future ruler of the powerful clan of vampires.
As he snapped the bracelet on her wrist, feeling the chilled, but soft skin beneath his fingertips, he only hoped the old feelings he harbored for her would not destroy him first.