In the Dark
The Cities Below # 1
November 3, 2014
Lyrical Press / Kensington
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When Soren hears Faith’s terrified screams, he rushes in and saves her life without considering the consequences. Two problems: one, she’s a human and clearly aware of his vampire qualities, and two, the men who attacked her were not men at all, but demons. Their target, his beloved underground city of Balinese. He can never let Faith go home again, but can she learn to love his people...love him?
In the Dark
© 2014 Jen Colly
Soren picked up the purse, a bit tricky to do as he held her limp body, but he refused to set her down, to let go of her. Besides, the only place to put her was in a puddle.
She didn’t have much in her purse. He fished through the little thing, ignoring the English to French phrasebook, the lipgloss, and a small book entitled City Walks: Paris—50 Adventures on Foot. Opening her wallet, he removed her license.
The outdated picture showed her hair at an odd, short length.
Faith. Her name was Faith. How very simple, demure. Human.
She was still unconscious, but beautiful. No specific feature drew him. He just couldn’t describe her any other way. And that alone made no sense.
Soren pulled stray pieces of her wet hair away from her face, smoothed it back with the rest. After he found the knot on her head, relief filled him. It did not bleed. She’d have a terrible headache, but would be fine.
He cursed himself. This wasn’t supposed to happen, not to him. How could he have been so stupid? He hadn’t meant to frighten her. Should have taken the time to seduce her, to draw her in with sweet words and a gentle touch, making him easier to forget. He should be a distant memory, or at most, a story of a romantic encounter. But he’d craved a taste of her so badly he hadn’t attempted to soothe her fears. Fear heightened the senses. She was likely aware she’d been bitten. And that was impossible to explain away.
Not in all the centuries he’d walked the earth had he ever lost control.
“Lurking in alleyways, Soren?” Gustav scolded from the shadows, his off-kilter French accent bending his words.
“Gustav. What took you so long?”
“When all you give me is the name of the street, you’re damn lucky I’m here at all,” Gustav said, stepping into the alley. His goatee hid his face, keeping him blended well with the darkness. “Open your eyes and throw me a number next time.”
Gustav halted before the two bodies splayed across the cobblestones.
“Soren,” he said expectantly. “Who are they?”
“I don’t know. Both attacked her.”
Gustav turned his piercing gaze to him, and the woman he held. “I can see why. I would. So what’s the problem?”
“They’re dead. That might be a problem.” Growling his frustration, he tried to shield the woman from Gustav’s unhurried perusal.
“All right, then. Let’s see what we have.” Gustav lowered himself to the ground in a quick, fluid motion, balancing on the balls of his feet as he examined the two men. The first man’s face was bloodied and smashed. If he’d lived, it hadn’t been for long. But the second... “You shot him?”
Gustav had every right to question him. Not only was this out of character for him, but the entire vampire race firmly disagreed with taking a life.
“That one started moving not long after he hit the wall.” His tone was dark, accusing.
Gustav’s focus shifted sharply to the men on the ground. With the injuries sustained, neither man should have been able to wake. He pulled up the first man’s top lip. Fangs protruded, gleaming white. The man with the bloodied face was the same. Gustav touched the first man’s cheek with the back of his hand, then the second.
“Both are very warm to the touch, even with the chilled rain working hard to cool their bodies,” Gustav mumbled, talking more to himself than to Soren.
The heat should not be there. He silently prayed as Gustav lifted an eyelid on each man, checking the color of the iris.
Gustav shot to his feet, drawing out a short sword tucked under the folds of his coat. “Not in my city,” he snarled with teeth clenched. And with the accuracy of one familiar with killing, he stabbed both men through the heart.
“Yes.” Gustav wiped the thick, dark blood from his sword onto the shirt of one of the corpses. “It’s been two decades since I’ve seen more than one in the same place, and nearly a decade since I’ve seen any of those red-eyed devils.”
“I assumed they were vampire. They look like us. Strange.”
Gustav agreed with a nod. “They can appear either human or ghoulish, but the red eyes don’t lie,” he said as he searched the pockets of the fallen demons. Finding nothing more than cash, cigarettes, and a lighter, he stopped.
Soren was shaken, and though he tried to present a calm demeanor, his short answers and expression would be enough to alert his friend that he had sunk very deep in thought because of the demons, or the woman in his arms.
“And her?” Gustav asked, pointing a finger at the woman.
“She’s mine.” Soren pulled her legs up and cradled her. Now was not the time nor place to discuss what would be done with her. “We’ll talk at your home.” He walked past Gustav, his precious cargo’s limp arm swinging with each step.
“Very inconspicuous, Soren,” Gustav said.
“Let’s see how inconspicuous you are moving two dead bodies.” He left the alley, and his friend.
Jen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires. She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one big fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.
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