I know it needs some work, like beefing up descriptions and things, but it's not bad. I hadn't realized how hard it would be to weave in details of the first book to bring a new reader up to speed and progress the new story line along. It's definitely a juggling act I'm still learning. But since my first book still hasn't sold, I've certainly got some time!
As I lie here, curled around my husband’s firm body, I begin to wonder: Am I crazy? What in the hell made me think organizing a hunt here at our hotel would be a good idea? Over a dozen supernatural predators are flying in from all over the world, ones who’ve paid an exorbitant price for the privilege of removing their everyday masks and killing one of their own kind. I must be crazy.
I have a feeling this week is going to turn out to be more than any of us bargained for. Self-doubt plagues me as I rise from the warmth of the bed and stroll naked to my closet. The artificial glow of the landscape lighting beams in through the windows, indicating with the changing gradient it’s probably mid-day here above the Arctic Circle.
Part of my nervous edge could be associated with learning to trust the new members of our vampire family, or seethe. The vampires appear upfront and honest, as much as a pack of bloodsuckers can be, but my old habits of non-trust have kept me around for a long time.
The two months since November's tracking and killing of Ivan have been a trial for me. This upcoming hunt week has been a long time in the planning, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Having anyone from the Tribunal of Ancients on our property sucks, especially when I have no idea who they’re sending.
Grabbing the clothes I set out in the wee hours of the morning, I head to the shower in our private suite.
The hot water cascading over me fills my mind with horrible memories of my own first hunt. The group of vampires wore cloth-lined silver skull-caps to thwart my unique vampire-to-vampire mind-controlling abilities. They had orchestrated a hunt to rid themselves of their “pet” manipulator. What started for the group as demented undead fun, ended with a young vampire who surprised them all with her ability to kill ruthlessly and without remorse.
The blood of my seethe-mates once covered my body, as the water does now. Later, I stacked their headless corpses in our old farmhouse before setting the structure on fire. Killing that sick group was the least I could do avenge the murders of my first and second husbands. After all I'd been through under their rule for twenty-six years, I let the bastards off easy. Thankfully, even a vampire can only die once—if it's done right.
The sound of Rafe stirring in the next room pulls me out of my dark thoughts and informs me he’s getting up as well.
“Good morning, sleepyhead,” I call out over the sound of the shower. “Get enough rest?”
“You mean after you ravaged me for hours? Oh yeah, I slept pretty damn sound.”
I turn the water off and wring out my long hair, before leaving the enclosure to reach for a towel. Rafe puts one in my hand before I have a chance to connect with the rack on the wall.
Smiling my thanks, I dry myself quickly. “We’re meeting with the whole seethe in about a half hour. Want me to call the kitchen to send you in something to eat?”
“Isn't Paul on cooking duty?” Rafe grimaces. “No thanks. I’ve got leftovers in our fridge. I’m good.”
“His cooking will get better. Give him some time. It’s been a hard adjustment since he’s made the change and can’t sample his own cooking anymore.”
“Yeah, I know. But it’s a painful process waiting for him to re-learn.”
“That’s the easy part,” I snort. “The real challenge since he became a vampire is in trying to get him not to drain his family whenever he sees them.”
Rafe strips for his own shower and pats me on the bottom as he heads inside the enclosure. “With great power comes great responsibility.”
“Don’t get all philosophical on me. I may not have wanted four new members in our seethe, but I’ll manipulate and train the buggers as best I can.”
The water hisses back on and steam fills the room once more. A muted electronic ringing comes from the bedroom and I head in to answer it.
Asa’s clipped tones greet me on the other end of the line, “Hey, Vivian.” He addresses me, like most everyone at the inn, by my nickname. “I heard water in the pipes. You almost ready for the meeting?”
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