By the time I had calmed and settled down I was not sure where I even was anymore. I was wandering in a park of some kind, but it was a human made one. There were paths and lamps, humans jogging and pets running. I would have to find out where I was before I could worry about getting back home. (Tracking my own path there was not interesting when there was a new place to explore.) It was early morning and while the sun weakens us, it was not like a human was going to know that or be a threat to me even so.
Someone caught my attention just then. There was a strange, pale man casually leaning against one of the light poles watching me. He was lighting a cigarette – nasty habit. His interest seemed strange since I didn’t belong here, or even know where here was. I tried to ignore him as I walked on, hoping to find the exit so I could discover where I had ended up.
Unfortunately, walking towards the exit led me past the pale stranger. I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched as I passed him. Still, why was he staring so intently? That’s when it hit me. He wasn’t human! He was like me, a vampire. Great. But, why hang out in the light, at a park? While hunting, parks were often favoured but not with this many people and not in the light. I couldn’t manage to not look at him but refused to make contact. Except, then he did.
He shoved away from the pole, smirking at me as he looked me up and down carefully. I didn’t know if he had void eyes or if he might be another aberration, his shades were too dark. What truly took me by surprise was when he signed instead of speaking to me. “Who are you?”
I stopped and stared blankly for a moment but automatically signed in response as my mind raced. “My name is Anya. Who are you and why sign?” Other vamps though my signing with Declán was bizarre and a waste of time, so why was he signing instead of talking?
His smirk grew into a full on grin, though it still seemed devious somehow. “Jason. At your service miss.” He paused to give me a small bow extending his hand to me. Cautiously I extended my hand to his. He took it gently and bent to kiss the back of it. Straightening, he continued, “Why not sign? I always do. I usually don’t have such beautiful hands to watch,” he teased. Okay, this guy was just plain weird. And they think I’m strange.
“Nice to meet you Jason but I need to be on my way.” Why is he not speaking? Vampires aren’t deaf. It’s not possible – is it?
I started to move off again but he deftly manoeuvred into my path again. Seemed he was not interested in if I wished to talk to him. Harrumph.
“What’s the matter? You look lost. Just thought I might help.” The smirk was back, though there was something compelling about him. Perhaps just the novelty of signing with a non-human. Looking me over, again annoyingly obvious, he continued, “You are beautiful.”
“I look confused. Since you obviously aren’t interested in moving out of my way, maybe you would tell me where I am?”
“You are in my park. The park I like to go people watching.” He gestured around as if I hadn’t seen the park I was standing in. “But you mean a general where, yes? You are in a suburb of NYC.”
“That far? Oh well, won’t take that long to get back home. Thank you for your help.” I again started to move off on my own. Again, he didn’t seem to want to allow that. What was with men lately? Really!
“Don’t run away. Your Master won’t mind you hanging out with a rogue.” The casual stance and smirk were slightly grating but I had never met another vampire that signed. He had made no attempt to speak the entire time. My curiosity was peaked but I so did not need more man troubles.
“My Master?” I replied, face clearly showing my confusion. Communication isn’t just about the signs but about the whole face and body too. Considering I was always so animated, signing with him could get interesting. But what was he talking about ‘Master’?
He looked puzzled for a moment before he shrugged. “Your House leader. You’re not rogue. You’re too . . . interesting.”
I couldn’t help the laughter that burst out of me then. He was trying to convince me to not run home to my House leader? How funny. Seems he didn’t find my laughing at him to be nearly as amusing as his comment had been to me. His smirk faltered and his lips turned down into a scowl. “Why are you laughing?”
Sobering my face as best as I could manage I tried to explain, “No one rules me. I am the head of my House. Thank you. I didn’t mean to offend you though.”
Startled, he quickly took a few steps back from me. His features had gone wild. I had to wonder at his reaction. When he thought I was just some stray he was all into smirking and interrupting me . . . now he looked nearly afraid. “You are that Anya? Wow. The one that nearly destroyed Marcus’ House?” He started looking around quickly like he was worried he would be attacked any moment now.
“Sorry for bothering you. Where is your guard?”
With a smirk of my own I replied, “Marcus? He is lucky he was not there that night or he would not have a head to lead with. As to my guard, Nicholas and Declán are home.” Being he had no choice about following me he was probably still there. “I don’t really consider them my guard. They are my . . . boyfriends.”
Jason took another step back before continuing. “You really hate Marcus. Glad I’m not one of them.” A sudden coy smile played across his lips. “Did you say boyfriends? As in more than one?”
This creature was more and more entertaining all the time. With a grin of my own I tried to explain, “Yes, and yes. How do you know of me but not them? And can vampires be deaf?”
Now it was his turn to laugh. He had that slightly muted sound to his voice that most deaf had, intriguing. “Yes, it is possible, just rare. Just as if a human loses their eyes and then is ‘gifted’ they stay blind, a true deaf person will be a deaf vampire. As to your question about your mates . . . I was told you had a human and a vampire mate but I just thought it was a story to make you more intriguing. Like you need any help to be fascinating?” If I didn’t know better I would swear he was flirting again.
Hum . . . “I should be going. I need to get back before they think I was kidnapped. You wouldn’t like to meet either when angry,” I added as I began to move around him again. There was something unsettling about this conversation, even if the fact he was deaf was so intriguing. But I needed to get back before something bad happened. I shouldn’t have left Nicholas and Louie together . . .
# # #
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And if you have yet to delve into the first book:
Blood's Voice Excerpt:
Entering Kayla’s room, I stopped dead in my tracks. One, two, . . . too many people. Not only were Kayla, Skye, and Nicholas here but so were Peony and Geoff. “Um, what is going on?”
“And why are you all waiting in my sister's room,” Declán added.
“Relax little sis, we are all here because Kayla here came up with an interesting idea for everyone. We are all going to the party together,” Geoff said smiling at me. Nicholas had a confident posture and a wicked grin.
“What party,” asked Declán? “I was planning on taking Anya to a movie actually.”
“Shhhh. . . big brother, we already have both your outfits ready. Just go get changed. Your clothes are on your bed,” she added pushing Declán out the door. “As for you Anya. Skye. . .” Skye grabbed my hand and started pulling me out of the room too.
We entered the large master bath where it seems my clothes were waiting. An embroidered silver satin corset that tied up the back was laid out for me; it was a shorter kind, the type that would leave my lower midriff exposed entirely. Next to it was a long, silver satin hip-hugger skirt with slits up both sides to just above the knee. Seems they even though of footwear for me; there were knee high boots with 3-inch heels, again in silver, sitting on the floor in front of the sink.
“Okay, we are all going out together, that makes me nervous enough, but why do we not at least get to know the where?” This was making me jumpy.
Nicholas just smiled as he drove, “It’s a surprise you two, just relax.”
Declán patted my shoulder, as his arm was around me. His outfit was much simpler but still very nice looking. He was in a basic French-cuff button down shirt – the top and bottom two buttons were undone – with dark jeans. “I’m sure,” Declán said with a gulp, “that Nicholas would not take us someplace dangerous.”
“I heard that Dec, and no, you will be in no danger, other than of having too much fun. Now lighten up we’re almost there.” Nicholas’ grin had not let up this entire time, what are they up to?
As we turned the corner, I noticed something new on the strip. A new club it looked like; to my surprise, that is where we stopped. The sign said ‘Club Eternity’ and it already had, it seemed, a large patronage tonight. “You said party, this looks suspiciously like a club.”
“Well, it is a club, eighteen and up so you can get in,” Nicholas chided. “This is Star’s new toy; she wanted it to be a surprise. Besides, it is a party, an opening night party. Come on you two, smile.”
Declán began laughing and shaking his head. “Come on Anya, it could be fun.”
As the night wore on, we drifted sometimes together and at other times alone around the club. It was something to behold truly. The music was loud and just seemed to inspire dancing. The lights were wild, causing interesting reactions to not only skin like mine but also to the servers – who all seemed to be painted in some kind of shimmer spray – and some of the other patrons. There were two dance floors separated by the large bar.
I spent a long time mingling and observing the humans. They are always so interesting to watch, especially when excited. I turned the corner to head to the larger dance floor when I notice Declán talking to a girl I had never seen before. This would not have bothered me except that at the same moment I saw her I also caught her scent. Not human! Not wanting to cause a scene and draw unneeded attention to what I am, I chose to – against my better judgment – head over without calling to Nicholas or Declán.
“Ah, ah, ah, I wouldn’t do that if I be you,” the strange female streamed, where I could hear but he never could have.
“Get away from him,” I growled in return. She moved away a little but relatively stayed her ground. Moving in to wrap one arm around his waist, I pulled him behind me. “You are not welcome here and especially not near this one!” I was so furious I was vibrating slightly.
“A new pet,” she purred. “You’ve always been such a strange little creature, haven’t you? We just be talking.” She looked amused, maybe she did not understand the danger she was facing. “Weren’t we pet?”
“Mmmm, yesh ma’am,” Declán slurred. “Is okay Anya, we weres just talkin’.” Glancing back just enough to see his face I suddenly became aware of two things; first, he was dazed looking and secondly, he had two small wounds on the left side of his neck.
“You bit him?” I could hear the others converging on our position now. “You will never bite anyone ever again!” I growled. I could feel myself losing control; I needed to get Declán away, quickly.
Shifting into a half crouch, I felt Nicholas slide in beside me doing the same. “Geoff, Peony, take Declán, now, and get him out of here.”
Nicholas put a restraining hand on my arm, “Not here. Out back.”
Fine. “We three will go out back to talk,” I commanded. “Bog leat soith!” I snarled at the female. I could hear Nicholas sigh but did not have time to find out why right then.
‘She’ moved gracefully toward the back door without a pause. Her eyes kept the unfocused glaze my voice often caused even as she turned to face us once in the alley. “This be totally unnecessary. I wouldn’t kill your pet.” I could feel my teeth descend without conscious command as I continued to growl; she finally appeared troubled.
“Why are you here?” snapped Nicholas.
“I be sent to observe her,” she said twitching her chin at me. “I just wanted to know more about her.”
“She bit Declán, Nicholas,” I hissed.
“It just be easier for me to enter their mind and memories that way,” she answered. “It won’t damage him, don’t stress so child.”
“You are dead, do you hear me.”
Lights started flashing around me for a moment and then I was no longer in the alley. Where am I? Looking around, I was in a strange octagonal room. I could feel panic and fear within but with a sort of residual, not quite real sensation. Walls, ceiling, and floors were all a rough silvery metal. I was restrained to the wall at my wrists, chest, waist, and ankles; there was also some kind of strange gag in my mouth. The gag was not painful but it had a protrusion that made it where my teeth were locked in one position. I could smell blood, fresh human blood but could see no one but the same strange woman I was just growling at; she was standing in front of me sneering. The only sound, other than our breathing was when she spoke. “You really should be more cooperative child. It wouldn’t be so painful if you just behaved better.” Searing pain and light. . .
“Anya, Anya!” Nicholas was shaking me roughly and yelling my name.
I could not seem to find my voice; I just stared into his eyes, which reflected the horror I felt in my own.
“What happened Nic?” asked someone, the voice sounded odd in my ears. I could hear others. Star? Geoffrey? Declán? Who was there? …
# # #
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