It’s Excerpt Monday again! This month, I’m sharing an excerpt from my upcoming Samhain release, Blood and Roses.
The last thing Arjen wants is a vampire in his bed, despite the rest of the world’s obsession with the creatures. Unfortunately, his reticence is precisely what attracts Maikel van Triet to him. After hundreds of years of being adored because of what he is, Maikel is enthralled by Arjen’s apathy.
What starts as a simple arrangement soon becomes something more than either of them expected. But vampires are shallow, fickle creatures, and Maikel could never truly love another. Could he?
I stopped before my door, fingertips resting on the handle, and turned back to him. I held my other hand out, open, palm up. “Is it a tryst you want?” I asked him. “Or to stay the night?” We both of us ignored the fact that it was nearly dawn, and night to him meant the full bright of day.
He laughed a little. “A tryst, no. That’s not what I came for.” He counted guilders into my palm, more than I normally charged for a full night, more even than I’d have asked of him, enough that it was all I could do not to gape in astonishment. When he had finished, he curled my fingers around the coins and held my hand in his, looking up at me with a crooked smile. “I’m Maikel,” he said quietly.
I looked down at the silver glinting between my fingers, enough to turn this whole miserable night into a remarkably profitable one. “I know who you are.” I pushed my door open and led him inside.
“Do you, then?” That odd, bemused half-smile still hovered about his face. He lingered in my doorway, watching as I crossed to my bureau and put his fee in my coffer. “I had wondered.”
“You are Maikel van Triet, and a vampire, and your reputation precedes you.” He knew it, of course. It was not only the brothel whores who fawned over his kind. Some days, it seemed all anybody in Amsterdam cared to talk about.
He closed my door with a muted click of the latch and crossed to the window as I tucked my coffer into the back of a drawer. My view looked out over the canal, and the sounds of conversation and gurgling water drifted up to us on the night’s breeze.
“What will you?” I asked when it seemed he might stand there looking out until the sun rose. “Your reputation has preceded you, but not so much that I know your desires.”
He did not answer me at first, but closed and latched my shutters with deliberate care. When they were shut fast against the approaching dawn, he turned to face me, hands braced behind him on the sill. “I desire a bed until dark,” he said. “And surety that the shutters will remain closed until then.”
My brows climbed my forehead. I stared at him, nonplussed. “That’s all?”
His head fell forward, sending a lock of dark hair curling against his cheek. It didn’t quite hide the slight smile that curved his lips. “And the decency not to send me to bed hungry.”
I had expected he might request something of the sort. Still, I turned aside, crouching to tug at a boot as pretense, for fear my expression might betray me. I was not like the others, who took vampires to bed and proudly displayed their bites the next morning, whispering in rapturous tones of an experience so transcendental it brought them closer to God, or who hoped silently that a patron might one night take too much, and make her one of his own. I did not care to be bitten. But he was a patron, and I had taken his coin.
Barefoot, I straightened and rolled up my cuff to uncover my left arm, the arteries of which were said to carry the sweetest, purest blood, pumped direct from the heart. I crossed to the bed and sat on it, stretched my arm out toward him, wrist turned up.
He sat facing me and took my hand in both of his. His thumbs brushed across my wrist and lingered over my pulse. “You don’t like me, do you?” he asked without a bit of resentment.
He didn’t look away from me and there was no challenge in his gaze, nothing in it daring me to confess. It was simple and direct, an honest request for nothing more or less than the truth.
I shrugged and broke my gaze away. “Not very much, no.”
I had to look back when he laughed, soft and amused. “And yet you would offer me this?”
“You paid for it.”
He kept my hand cradled in both of his, holding it in his lap like something cherished, fingers stroking tenderly. “I believe I am at a disadvantage. You seem to know a great deal about me, but I do not even know your name.” He didn’t look away from my wrist, where fine blue veins drew wandering tracks beneath the skin.
“It’s Arjen,” I said in a voice gone rough and dry.
“Arjen,” he echoed and bent over my wrist.
His hair fell about his face, so I could not see. His lips were warm on my skin, his kiss as sweet as a lover’s. My fingers curled against my palm, then spasmed when his thumb dug into the flesh, finding a vein and pinning it in place. I braced my other hand behind me, fingers digging into the blankets.
His lips parted, breath gusting across my skin like a summer breeze off the water, hot and damp. His mouth formed a seal on my skin, sucking hard enough that I gasped and had to wrestle down the urge to jerk back. His fingers, gentle before, now held my hand with an iron grip. I could try to pull away, but I doubted he’d let me. Fangs pricked my skin like needles, probing. And without warning he bit deep, sinking into me.
I thrashed, unthinking, as agony coursed through me, and realized it hadn’t been greed that made him hold me so tight. I’d have torn my wrist open on his teeth if he’d let me.
He drank, sucking hard at the wound with a rhythm that echoed the thundering beat of my heart. I twisted and tore at the blankets, struggling against the overwhelming instinct to fight.
He bore me down onto my back, his body stretched along mine, and pinned me in place with a surprising strength for someone as lean as he was, so that I could not fight even if I tried. For my benefit, I wondered, or for his? His fangs never withdrew, and his throat never ceased its steady, rhythmic sucking.
I had suffered any number of indignities at the hands of my patrons, and most of them I had done in willing trade for the coin they put in my coffer. But I had never felt as completely helpless as I did then, fully clothed beneath Maikel’s slight weight with his fangs buried in my wrist.
You can find the full list of participants here, or follow some of the links below:
Mel Berthier, Urban Fantasy (PG 13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)
Christina DeLorenzo, YA (PG 13)
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal (PG)
MG Braden, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Cynthia Justlin, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Adelle Laundan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13)
RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal (PG 13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)
Dara Sorensen, Paranormal (PG)
Grace Draven, Fantasy Romance (R)
Cate Hart, YA- Paranormal (R)
Aithne Jarretta, Paranormal (R)
Inez Kelley, Contemporary Romantic Comedy (R)
Kim Knox, Erotic- Sci-fi Suspense (R)
Cherrie Lynn, Erotic- Contemporary Romance (R)
Alina Morgan, Urban Fantasy (R)
Stephanie Adkins, Erotic- Supsense (NC 17)
Evie Byrne, Historical Romance (NC17)
Ella Drake, Sci-Fi Romance (NC 17)
Annie Nicholas, Sci-Fi Romance (NC 17)
Kirsten Saell, Erotic – Fantasy (NC 17)