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A little teaser from Revelations in Blood

I’m working on several books at once right now. Tonight, I put together some of the first chapter of Revelations in Blood. Here’s a little teaser.

The day passed quickly — too quickly for either of them. They shared a small lunch sitting on the patio in the sun. Nic’s stomach was twisted into knots, but he forced himself to eat, knowing full well that he would be given nothing but water by the Conclave. They would offer him blood if he needed it, but he would not take it. He would only feed from Evangeline now.

“I need to ask you for something,” he said softly.

“Anything.”

“I do not wish for any other human’s blood. I should feed before they come for me.”

Evangeline shook her head. “You don’t need to ask me for that any more. Just tell me you need me. I thought we’d covered this days ago?” She approached his chair and straddled him. She’d chosen a scoop neck blouse in a deep emerald green and a pair of loose, white linen pants. On her feet, she’d secured a pair of flat white sandals. Her hair was pinned back away from her face, but she took the time to brush it off of the left side of her neck before she leaned in.

Nic’s fangs descended as he watched the steady beat of her heart under her skin. He marveled at her total acceptance of who and what he was. Her father had long tried to indoctrinate her on the vileness of the vampire race, but her brilliant mind, along with the goodness she’d felt from him when she was a child had allowed her to see the truth. She smelled of gardenia, sandalwood, and coffee. Gently, he scraped his fangs along her skin until he felt the punch of heat that indicated he was over their bonding mark. Evangeline made a small pained sound as he pierced her vein, but quickly relaxed against him. A vampire’s bite was only painful for a split second. Their saliva dulled the pain almost immediately and kept the blood from clotting.

His lips closed over her skin. He took a deep pull, moaning as her sweet nectar flowed over his tongue. Evangeline’s hands settled in his hair. Her hips shifted closer to him. Nic took as much as he dared, leaving her trembling in his arms. With a slow flourish of his tongue, he sealed the wounds. “I am sorry, cara. I took more than usual. Perhaps more than I should have. But I do not know how long it will be until they finish with me.”

“Don’t apologize,” she murmured. Her words were slow, her voice almost drugged. She laid her head on his shoulder. Nic shifted her and gathered her into his arms. Carrying her into the sitting room, he settled her on the love seat.

“Wait here.”

“Uh-huh.” Evangeline closed her eyes, relaxing against the cushions. When Nic returned and lifted her legs to drape them over his lap, the small metallic click had her eyes blinking open. In his hand, he held a pocket knife.

“A few drops of my blood will revive you and help your body adjust to feeding me regularly. I would just bite my wrist for you, but I wish for you to renew the bonding mark on me, as I did on you.”

Evangeline nodded. The blood exchange was one of the most intimate rituals bonded couples could experience, and as such, it figured prominently in the bonding ceremony. She drew the small blade along the scar on the right side of his neck. He would wear this scar, as well as its twin on the left side of his neck, for the rest of his life. It was a symbol of the bonding that they shared. Each had a mark on both sides of their neck, one on each wrist, one on the inside of each thigh, and a larger, deeper mark over their hearts. As a human, Evangeline had no fangs, so in order to make the bonding marks, Evangeline had used a small knife.

Blood pooled against the knife blade and Evangeline leaned in to press her lips to the wound. She took only a single sip, all she needed. Nic’s blood was powerful. Almost immediately she felt the healing warmth spread through her and her head cleared. Vittoria, Nic’s personal physician, hers now too, she supposed, had explained that over time, Evangeline’s body would learn to replenish a loss of blood quickly, but for a few weeks, whenever Nic fed, she might experience more severe symptoms such as dizziness and weakness. He could remedy those effects by letting her feed from him.

Evangeline tucked the knife into her pocket. “What’s it like?” she asked softly.

Nic shook his head. He did not want to tell her. The interrogation chamber was dark, damp, and far underground. He stifled a shudder at how similar it would be to the silver cell that he’d been locked in at the hands of Evangeline’s father.

“Talk to me.”

He sighed. Nic was about to open his mouth when the doorbell chimed softly. A swift knock followed. Evangeline flinched. “I’m scared for you,” she murmured.

“I know. But I will not be harmed. Come with me now.” He rose and offered her his hand. Leading her to the front door, he unlocked it and nodded tersely at the two vampires and human Polizia officer waiting for him.

“Nicola Angliatti. You are hereby ordered to report to the Conclave’s interrogation chambers for the length of time it takes to determine your loyalty to your people. Per your agreement with Luigi Nobile, your sposa has all of the rights and benefits of a vampire life mate, including status as your beneficiary.”

“B-beneficiary?” Evangeline sputtered.

“Only a formality,” Nic reassured her. He brushed his lips over hers. He hadn’t told her that if the Conclave thought him a threat, they could and would end his life.

“Give us your hands,” the human ordered.

“Why?” Evangeline asked.

But Nic had already turned and held out his wrists. The snap of the silver handcuffs echoed on the rough stone steps and Nic groaned softly as the silver leached strength from his limbs.

“What the hell is that for?” Evangeline spat at the human.

It was Nic who answered. “It is protocol. I will be fine, cara.” He slipped his bound hands over her head and pulled her against his body. His mouth claimed hers. His tongue was hot and demanding and though she felt his weakness, his arms held her tightly.

His voice though, was strained as it invaded her thoughts. “You have only to touch the bonding marks to feel my love for you. Remember that. I do not know that my thoughts will reach you. The interrogation chamber is an hour away and far underground. But I will return in a few days. I swear it.”

A single tear plopped onto Nic’s long sleeved, black shirt. The snug fabric hugged the ridges of muscle along his abdomen and the cut of his chest. It would also keep him warm in the cold of the interrogation chamber. Soft black pants draped off of his hips, ending in crisp pleats over Italian leather loafers. He wore no watch, only his wedding ring and his mane of black hair was loose. “I love you.”

Nic allowed her to duck out of his grasp. “You are my life now, Evangeline. My heart. My very breath.” With a single finger trailed along her jaw, he memorized her face: the narrow chin, her wide, rosy lips, high cheekbones, the faint lines of strain that had appeared at the corners of her warm brown eyes, and the soft brows that drew down in worry. She wore no earrings and no makeup. “So beautiful,” he murmured. “I will return soon.”

“You’d better.”

Nic smiled as the vampire guards flanked him and escorted him to the small, black, Polizia vehicle. He was loaded into the backseat and a hood was placed over his head. He knew Evangeline was still watching him and her panic hit him squarely in the chest. “Protocol, cara. Merely protocol,” he sent her. To his guards, he spoke aloud. “Has the location of the facility changed in sixteen years?”

“No.”

“You are aware that I was a member of the Conclave for more than a century, si? I have been to the facility. The hood seems…ridicolo.”

“We have our orders,” came the gruff reply.

“Si. I suppose you do. Very well.” Nic closed his eyes and reclined against the seat for the hour long drive to the facility. There was nothing to be done now but wait.

 

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