This week I'm going to share from one of my paranormal romance WIPs. The Awakening (Vamp Wars).
Anneliese Duboux woke with an intake of air. It whooshed through her parched throat and into her lungs, expanding them. The th-thump, th-thump of her heart restarting shook her frame. Her ribcage and sternum being knitted together jiggled her bones. Within seconds her broken torso popped into place, lifting her chest up from the crushed chasm. A deep burn flowed through her body. She settled into the reflex to breathe.
The darkness of her world changed to a haze. She blinked. Her milky vision cleared. Candle light flickered around her, creating the allusion of movement on the stone ceiling above. Disorientated, she attempted to make sense of things. Her head pounded. Truly, her kind never suffered any illness, so the foreign sensation of aching troubled her.
With forced concentration she pushed past the bizarre stiffness, feeling the immobility lift from her body in segments. The sting of a thousand bees started at her feet, drifted up her calves, and kept going….
When Anneliese became aware she could move—her right hand went to her breasts. She strummed her fingertips along the ravaged décolletage of her ball gown, straining to remember. Pain stabbed at her. She rubbed her temples. Closed her eyes. Opened them. Piece, by piece, the incoherent pictures in her mind started to form into distorted images before morphing into places she recognized.
She sat up, legs dangling over the edge of the stone stand. Part of the disintegrating crinoline beneath her dress fell to her feet, followed by discolored lace that dropped from her bodice and came to rest on her lap. She lovingly caressed the delicate fabric. The cream and gold gown she wore had once been a masterpiece, but was now beyond tattered. The images in her head were scattered as she raised her hand and waggled her fingers. The lace fluttered free of her hold and drifted to the ground. Anneliese had more important things to worry about other than her decaying attire.
Below her perch, something caught her eye. She recognized the handcrafted silver and jade handled dagger. She stared at the imposing blade and willed the weapon to rise. It floated up from the floor and stopped inches from her outstretched hand, glimmering within the muted light. With a need to confirm what her mind seemed to be telling her, she plucked the ancient knife from midair, unstuck her dry tongue from the roof of her mouth and licked the remnants of dried blood that remained upon the weapon. The taste of her own essence exploded on her tongue in a burst of flowery sweetness and quickly soured into the bitter tinge of betrayal.
Her fangs descended. The light blue tracery of veins beneath her ashen skin darkened and became more prominent, stippling her angelic face and slender arms with the appearance of bruises. Her vision narrowed and blackness cobwebbed out from her pupils, overtaking the pale, icy-blue green of her eyes, until glassy orbs gave her the night vision of a predator.
She threw her head back and screamed, “Noooo!”
Rage consumed her, burning through her body and quickly surpassed the hunger unlike anything she’d ever experienced.
Brow furrowed, Anneliese tasted the moist atmosphere. The unmistakable stench of old death flooded the space. She was alone. She glanced around the space and flicked the bottom of one fang with the tip of her tongue. She knew the burial chamber. She was in the part of the catacombs that trailed beneath the Abbey on the Duboux land.
Utilizing all her senses, she listened to a steady drip of water as it tap-tap-tapped against a stone in a lulling rhythm from somewhere not too far behind her. She tilted her head. The slinking sounds of millipedes crawled about. The incessant dribbling of wax trickled from the candles. Rats. Bats. Even the faint intermittent hum of something above ground she didn’t recognize tickled her eardrums.
Uncaring if it were night or day, Anneliese hopped off the massive dais her body had been lying upon. She brushed raven-black curls from her face, straightened her spine, and began to walk with a determination that outlined each step.
The chamber filled with the sound of her heeled slippers clacking against the stone floor. High-pitched screeches of protest echoed off the walls in a macabre song as she kicked vermin from her path, giving away her progress through the underground tunnels until silence sliced through the shadows.
With her foot resting on the bottom slab of the stairway leading up to the Abbey, Anneliese gripped the weapon used to impale her, pushed back her need for sustenance, calmed herself, and allowed one thought to enter her mind.
Who removed the dagger from my chest?
Sébastien La Croix was feeding when he felt, her. It had been two-hundred years, but there could only be one reason for what he was experiencing. Growling low in his throat, he roughly removed his fangs from the petal soft neck of his young submissive donor, tearing her flesh. She cried out as dark red blood spurted from the wounds, soiling his sheets—his bare chest.
“Shh….” Sébastien’s long fingers slid along the girls jaw line, slowly. Seductively. She quieted. He licked the tattered tissue on his donor in a perfunctory manner until the blood flow stopped and the gashes upon her neck transformed into pink scars. “Now, go,” he grumbled, unceremoniously shoving the girl from his body. She crumpled next to him on the bed before she lifted her small frame up by using her elbows. “Oh, and, Pet?”
She stiffened. “Yes, milord?”
“You taste a bit anemic; eat red meat before you next come to me.”
She nodded and slinked off the bed.
He smirked, watching her bare ass wiggle as she scurried away. Lorette wasn’t his favorite donor, but she did have a succulent bottom that called to his lecherous side.
“Jacque!” Sébastien yelled, although there wasn’t a need to. Like him, Jacque could hear a pin drop from several rooms away.
He wiped his mouth and chest with the corner of the crisp bed sheet then tore it free, balled the material up, and tossed it into the fireplace. With a quick flip of his wrist, the blood-stained sheet immediately erupted into a twisted inferno of flames. Embers flew up the chimney in a race to escape, setting the fireplace a glow.
Sébastien stretched, flexing then relaxing the perfectly formed muscles on his body, rolled over, then stood up from the bed—completely unconcerned with his naked state. Long blond hair tumbled around his face. He picked a few grapes from the bunch lying on the silver tray Lorette had brought to him earlier and popped them into his mouth before he strode across the room like a gladiator of old.
“My lord?” Jacque inquired when he entered the cavernous bed chamber.
Sébastien grabbed a dressing robe from the back of an armchair and put the garment on without hurry. “Anneliese has been roused.”
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