Myths and Legends

It's Spring! Well, okay, not really. But it feels like it today, or at least it looks like it, what with the sun finally coming out from behind the clouds and the cherry trees in bloom. I love cherry blossoms. In fact, I think I may need to get my son to add some falling cherry blossoms to my tattoos.Hmm...

Cherry blossoms make me think of cherries--which I love, btw--and that reminds me of cherry trees, and that reminds me that tomorrow is President's Day. Which might seem an odd train of thought to a lot of people because you just don't hear the old story about George Washington and the cherry tree much anymore. With good reason, I might add, since it's completely fictitious. Not, of course, that there's anything wrong with fiction!

I guess it must be coded in our DNA, this urge to create not just stories but myths, legends, fables...or, as some might term it, lies. But a made-up story that pretends to be real created to teach children the importance of telling the truth? I know it's early and I haven't had much coffee yet today, but my mind is seriously boggling.

As luck would have it, I've been working this week on a story about three people who are all lying, mostly to themselves, but to each other as well. And, no, I'm not going to share anything from that one just yet because I'm just not that far into it.

Instead, I'm going to share a snippet of Old Sins, Long Shadows, the second book in the Children of Night series and the sequel to In the Dark. I wish I could share the cover with you all as well, but I can't yet. Trust me, however, it's gorgeous!

This series is about vampires, so it fits in well with the whole "myths and legends" title of this post. In this book, a lot of the focus is on Conrad and Damian: how they met, how they fell in love, how they fell apart and came back together again. I have several more books planned and there's still a lot that hasn't been revealed about their respective backgrounds--and, oh, the reviews I'm going to get about all the loose ends I've left hanging! I can only imagine. *sigh*  

Still, I'm as satisfied as I can be with this book. Maybe too satisfied as I'm having a little trouble letting it go so that I can work on other books. So, I'm going to post the blurb and a bit of an excerpt here, and then go back to working on...I don't know...something else. Look for this book to be available on May 3rd. Just a little over two months away. I can't wait.

For the sake of vampire twins Marc and Julie, Conrad and Damian present a united parental front. In reality, their truce is a sham. Conrad struggles against the urge to bring his estranged mate back to his bed. Damian misinterprets Conrad’s explosive temper as proof their relationship is irreparably broken.

When an old enemy’s quest to create a dangerous new breed of vampire threatens the twins’ lives, it’s imperative the estranged lovers put the past behind them. Or the shadows of the past will tear apart everything they hold dear. 

“Ah, there you are!” Damian swept into the kitchen, startling Conrad, who was seated at the table. “Good. I’ve been looking for you.”

Conrad fumbled the PVC blood bag he was holding, nearly dropping it. He bit back an oath and glanced up, scowling. Damian was dressed as though he’d just come from the gym, and all in black like a damn cliché. His dark hair was pulled away from his face and the scent of exertion still clung to his skin. Conrad’s fingers clenched more tightly around the bag in his hand. His heart pounded with a savage rhythm. Of all the people he could not bear to be this close to right now, with his hunger running rampant and his self-control at low ebb, Damian undoubtedly topped the list.

“What do you want?” he growled, frustrated by his inability to tame the simmering need that even now was urging him to grab Damian by the throat, slam him against the nearest surface, bury his fangs in his neck and reclaim what was his. He buried his fangs in the bag instead and felt his gut heave at the faint chemical taste.

It tasted wrong. It was always going to taste wrong. And it was never going to be enough to satisfy either his hunger or his thirst.

“I need to talk to you about something.” Seemingly oblivious to Conrad’s foul mood, Damian pulled out a chair and seated himself. He was close enough to Conrad they could have clasped hands on the tabletop had either of them been so inclined. Close enough that they might speak softly to each other and not be overheard. Entirely. Too. Close.

“Very well then. Talk.” Forcing himself not to recoil, Conrad swallowed another mouthful. Another tremor wracked his frame. He tried not to imagine the pitiful picture he must be presenting. He would survive it. His pride had taken worse hits than this over the centuries.

Damian made no answer. Conrad glanced impatiently at him. “Well?”

Damian waved a hand at the bags heaped on the table. “What are you doing here with all of this?”
It was so stupid a question Conrad refused to even dignify it with an answer. “Is that really what you came down here to talk to me about? I would have thought you’d have better things to do with your time.” He drained the pouch in his hand, tossed it aside and was reaching for another when Damian put out a hand to stop him.

“Espere,” he said. “Querido, wait.” His fingers closed on Conrad’s wrist and time stalled.

A low growl rose from Conrad’s throat as he stared, transfixed, at the hand on his arm. His control began to slip. Furious, he lifted his gaze to Damian’s face and the hand was hurriedly withdrawn, but Conrad’s skin still burned from the touch. With his eyes locked on Damian’s, daring him to try and interfere again, he picked up a new bag and deliberately sank his teeth into the plastic.

Damian’s nostrils flared. “Honestly, if this is all you’ve been eating, it’s no wonder you’ve yet to regain your full strength. You need fresh food, Conrad. Living food. Shall I find you some?”

Conrad sighed. He knew exactly what he needed and didn’t need, as well as what he could and could not have. He drained the second bag and reached for a third, forcing himself to speak calmly. “No, this is not all I’m eating. But, this early in the day… I fear I do not always find myself in the proper frame of mind to attempt anything else.”

He toyed with the unappetizing bag while he considered his options, coming quickly to the same conclusion he’d already drawn. There were none. By later this evening the edge of his hunger would be blunted. The worst of his venom would have been reabsorbed. He would have more choices. Until then, no matter how much he wished to feed from the living, he would not do it. He couldn’t take the chance of damaging one of the staff. That would only cause trouble, start rumors and end badly. As for attempting to take nourishment from one of his own… Appealing though the thought of it was, as an option it was even less acceptable.

His gaze following his thoughts, he cast a glance in Damian’s direction. His eyes cut to the scarf knotted at Damian’s throat. Anguish flared. Did Damian mean for it to serve as a constant reminder to him of the injuries it covered—injuries Conrad himself had inflicted—or was that just a happy accident?

He forced his gaze back to Damian’s face and inquired coldly, “You weren’t by any chance thinking of offering yourself for the purpose of slaking my thirst, were you?” As he’d expected, Damian’s face blanched. One hand crept protectively toward his neck. Conrad sneered, cruelly amused by the sudden increase in the tempo of Damian’s pulse. “No. Not such a pleasant thought, is it?”

Damian swallowed hard. He placed both hands on the table and deliberately folded them together. His face impassive, he met Conrad’s eyes with a steady gaze. “You still aren’t sleeping well, are you? Is it the nightmares again?”

Above all else, Conrad hated that Damian should know him so well. That he could so unerringly pinpoint the exact location of every weakness, every fault line, every flaw. “Yes.”

“What can I do to help?”

Conrad sighed. “You can tell me whatever it is you came here to talk to me about and then you can leave me to finish my meal in peace.”

Damian frowned crossly. “Very well, then. We need to do something about the twins. They’re having a little more trouble adjusting to life here than I’d expected. I thought, perhaps, if I could explain to them—”

Conrad put up a hand to silence him. “No. Absolutely not.”

“Just enough so they can understand why—”

“I said no!”

“You did not even let me finish.” Damian’s dark eyes narrowed in annoyance. “How do you know what I was about to say?”

“It really doesn’t matter, does it?” Conrad asked in what he hoped was a reasonable tone. “I know you’re hoping I’ll change my mind about something, that I’ll agree to do things in a different way—your way. I have no intention of doing so.”

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