Okay readers. As promised, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the beginnings of Immortal Obsession, here is a FULL chapter from my latest novel, Eternal Hunger. (Well, 1/2 of the chapter today and 1/2 tomorrow because this is a HUGE sneak peek!) Just to set the stage (or the scene as they say), Michel has opened a night club in Venice Beach, California and Amanda drops by. The club, aptly named Michel’s, is a hangout for vampires and mortals, much like the Gray Wolf in Greenwich Village before it burned down. Much has happened to these two characters since their debut in Immortal Obsession five years ago. I am hoping to publish Eternal Hunger in November of 2016, so please stay tuned and again, I thank you for always dropping by.
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“What is it?” I thought to myself, leaning across the bar as Amanda approached. “You look like you have seen a ghost.” I’d rather she not come here but I knew at times she was so lonely. I guess being a new mother was just not enough to satisfy her.
She leaned forward gently touching my arm. Her warmth soothed me as did the sound of her beating heart.
“Who is with Julien?”
“I left him with Sarah for a bit. I was feeling really restless.” She scanned the room and sat at her usual seat at the bar.
Sarah was her new friend. Sometimes they came here and sometimes they hung out at our cottage. Amazing how similar they were and how Sarah had taken such a liking to Julien.
“You are going to think I am crazy, Michel, but I swear I saw Christian.” She was dressed entirely in black with small diamond stud earrings. Heads turned as she passed but I knew her heart had been given to him and no one could sway her in her devotion to him. I had thought that he loved her too but nothing could sway him from Josette.
“When?” I scanned the room but did not feel his presence. Since we had the same maker I always knew when he was near. I had not felt his presence in months. It was dark and noisy but nowhere near as loud as it would be later on.
“Just a minute ago; I saw him near those tables in the back.”
“Let me take a look,” I sighed, though it was no use telling her I did not sense him. It was not the first time she had thought she saw him here. She described him as having shorter hair and appearing younger. Since we had been made vampire at the age of twenty I did not know how there could be a “younger version” of Christian, but I took her at her word. There was no other vampire who looked like him so that discounted the ‘everyone has a twin’ theory. She said it appeared he wanted her to see him, then quickly disappeared.
I moved through the dancing crowds or rather, they parted for me. I ignored their stares. I was a vampire on a mission, ignoring the young beauties who continually vied for my attention. As I moved towards the tables and chairs that lined the perimeter of the bar, I dreaded telling her once again that Christian was not here. She would ask me if I thought she was losing her mind and I would say no and we would do this dance.
I stopped to scan the catwalk, moving into the shadows where I could watch without being seen. The colored lights played off the walls of the dance floor, leaving traces of colors on the ceiling. Just as they had been in the Grey Wolf, the rooms upstairs were for private parties, so mortals and vampires could carouse together in privacy. I knew every room and studied every door.
It was fairly quiet, yet just as I decided to head back to the bar I saw him. He was moving slowly on the catwalk, his alabaster face shot with colors of red and blue as the lights hit him.
For a moment I thought it was my dear friend, the resemblance was so uncanny. This vampire was younger looking and his hair fell only to his shoulders, yet thick and blonde just like Christian’s. My mind raced, wondering how there could be another vampire who looked so much like Christian, someone who was so striking and unique even when we were children together in Meudon, France.
He searched the crowd until he spotted Amanda sitting at the bar, her back to him. She nursed her glass of white wine appearing nervous and I knew she was wondering where I was. I sensed he meant her no harm as he watched her. I never took my eyes off of him as I made my way around the bar to the stairs and found myself ascending the metal staircase.
I wanted to get closer to see this exquisite creature for myself, but feared scaring him away. As I reached the second floor landing a couple emerged from one of the private rooms, the mortal girl wrapped around the vampire in a hypnotic daze. As the figure turned towards them I stepped behind the open door so as to not be seen. I knew he would sense more than one vampire present yet I waited until the couple passed me. The male vampire was one of our regulars, sated with the blood of his companion who had the trance-like look mortals acquired after having given themselves to us.
I had seen it thousands of times.
I could never imagine what it felt like until I tasted Amanda’s blood. It was an almost ineffable experience and one I avoided again at all costs. I did not want the desire for her blood to confuse my feelings for her and ruin both of our lives. She belonged to Christian and we were both raw nerves, connected to one another by our love for him.
Just as it had been with Josette Delacore ; yet I refused to fall prey to a ménage a trois ever again.
As the couple passed, I took a minute step from behind the door and came face to face with the vampire. He looked so much like Christian, my first instinct was to hug him to me. The resemblance was uncanny and now I understood why Amanda thought she was losing her mind.
“You must be Michel,” he said, his voice filling my head as the blaring music and the din of the voices below fell away and silence engulfed the two of us.
I shook my head in disbelief but Amanda had been right. He was the mirror image of my best friend, with shoulder-length hair and a more youthful face. Just as I tried to formulate a question he handed me something.
I took it automatically and in a moment he was gone.
I dared not waste my time trying to catch him. My inertia over the exchange paralyzed me, and so I ducked into the recently emptied private room to regroup.
The circular room had wall – to – wall mirrors with a burgundy leather couch being the only piece of furniture present in the center of the small room. The idea was all mine – my thinking that whatever one was inclined to do, you could view yourself from all angles. I caught my reflection in the mirror, realizing I looked paler than usual. I sat down and then looked at whatever it was he had given me.
The diamonds caught the light; rays slipping through my hands and bouncing off the mirrors. I turned it over and over, still unsure of myself. It was fragile yet all the pieces remained in place. The time piece was still running and before I turned it over I knew how it would read, for I had given it to her as a gift for her sixteenth, in August of 1788.
IL ne sera jamais asses de temps. M
There will never be enough time.
It was so true at the time.
There had never been enough time for the two of us. She was a married woman and had other lovers, one of them, my best friend, Christian. I thought that this gift of the silver chatelaine adorned with only objects she would understand could encapsulate and quantify my love for her. It was all the rage and I remember how I chose silver and diamonds, for that was how I saw Josette Delacore. The softness of silver was like her heart, yet the hardness and shimmer of diamonds represented her spirit, her élan and grace. Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man and I suppose she was that too.
The chatelaine was heart-shaped with a time-piece that was the central focus. Balancing the timepiece on each side were: a key to her diary, a sheathed tiny blade for drawing blood, a velvet pouch for her writings, a small vile for potions, and a pendulum for making contact with the dead. A small mirror was the last item dangling from the heart-shaped chatelaine, with a silver cover with the initials JD engraved in them. The center of the heart had a secret compartment. It was all so clandestine, like our love affair.
And here it was in my hands again.
Where did this vampire….this vampire who looked just like Christian get such an object? What was he trying to tell me by giving it back to me?
Or was he simply delivering a message for someone else?
I caught myself sounding like Amanda with all this nonsense about Josette still being alive. It was not possible unless she had not died in The Conciergerie in 1794.
The chatelaine was flawless, the Smokey Quartz and diamonds glistening. I carefully placed it in the interior pocket of my jacket and tried to pull myself together. I had to get back to Amanda.
With her psychic abilities she could touch it and read it in a second but did I want her to know any more about Josette right now? Wasn’t she dealing with enough at the moment, a new mother, Christian gone and me just trying to be the good uncle to them both?
As I headed back down the catwalk I paused, scouring the dance floor for this mysterious vampire. I knew he was there watching me. I could sense him. Did he know about Amanda and her precious blood? Clearly she had seen him here before, but was he on a mission solely to give this priceless object to me? I called Amanda from the catwalk, watching her answer her phone, looking around for me.
“I don’t see him, Amanda.”
“Where are you, Michel?” She looked up at me but I blended into the shadows and I knew she could not see me. I felt so stupid, yet if the vampire was here, I did not want him to connect us.
“I am a bit….indisposed at the moment—”
“Damn you, Michel.” She slipped her iPhone back in her purse.
“Why don’t you go home now? I’ll see you later, okay?”
I felt a pounding in my chest then realized it was the timepiece ticking in my pocket. I kept watching Amanda, still at the bar as I tried to compose myself. I wanted her to leave and yet I did not want to draw any attention to her by making a scene.
Something moved in my peripheral vision and I turned only to find her standing beside me. She had to be an apparition or someone who looked so much like my former lover, Josette Delacore. The likeness was uncanny but then I slowly realized it was she, my mortal lover, Josette Delacore, not dead for centuries but very much alive with the blond vampire by her side.
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Come back tomorrow to read the rest of the chapter!