Okay, this one was supposed to go up yesterday, but internet problems delayed things. But here is your first sneak peek at "Forever Chosen". Enjoy...
Chapter 1 - Not Kosher
There’s something lovely about waking up with your arms around the curves of a beautiful woman, unless you went to bed alone and weren’t expecting anyone. As my mood slipped from sensing the first thing to realizing the second, I opened my eyes and found red-gold hair only inches from my face. “Yekaterina,” I said. I pulled back and got out of bed, wrapping up in my top blanket as I did. I had on boxers, but suddenly, that did not feel like enough.
She shifted position to face me. She was not naked; instead, she wore an ivory satin night dress that was clinging to her in a way that only drew more attention to her form than exposed skin would do. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
“Silly boy. I’m seducing you, what does it look like I’m doing?” Her eyebrows arched playfully over her blue eyes.
“Not that. I’m not being seduced.”
“Why not?” She leaned forward a little, her nightdress gapping slightly in front, revealing more of her pale skin. You might think all vampires have pale skin, but mine is still tan, thanks to the Latin heritage from my mother.
I’m Rafael Jones, and I might have more affection for Yekaterina if it weren’t for the following fact. “I still remember you getting me captured in the first place, which led directly to my untimely demise and undead condition.”
“Are you still upset about that?” She rolled her eyes as if I was being entirely unreasonable. “You’ve had almost a year to get used to it.”
“You’ve had almost a year to push Rasputin overboard during your travels. Have you done that?”
“No, but then it didn’t work when you did it. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten we can fly.”
“Out into the sun, then?” I suggested.
“He’s much stronger than I am.”
“But you could get a couple of thralls to put him outside while he’s sleeping.”
She cocked her head to one side, as if she were seriously considering the scenario, and whether it would play out well. I couldn’t really hold it against her that she hadn’t fully betrayed him yet. That was the thing that made our relationship complicated. She worked with Rasputin, but she didn’t seem to fully want to. She’d been made into a vampire by him, it was obvious, and she feared him but was also attracted to him. I couldn’t really understand that last bit, as I considered him a pretty gruesome specimen, but it was likely his mental powers helped him keep her in his sway. “I need to keep up a little deniability. I don’t really know what it would take to kill him. And besides, if I don’t have you, if I got rid of him, I would be alone.”
“Would that be so bad?”
“We have intense appetites, Rafael. You do, too.” She was not wrong. It didn’t mean I had to do anything about it, though.
“I don’t like our appetites.”
“You’ve hardly tried them, have you?” She tilted her head again, this time, backwards, slowly baring her neck.
“Stop it.” I couldn’t see the pulse fluttering in her vein, because our hearts beat very slowly and our blood is thick. But I could see the faint change in color there, like a black vein just below the surface on a marble statue. “I think you’ll find I’m too stubborn. I stand firmly on many things. Among them is not getting into bed with a woman I haven’t even had a conversation with.”
“That almost sounds like…”
“An invitation to put on a robe, come to my kitchen, and talk over coffee. Do you drink coffee?”
“Yes.” She slipped on an old flannel robe I had left on a chair. “It warms me up. But not as well as other things.” The look she gave me pretty much spelled out what else could warm us up.
To be honest, I didn’t dislike her as much as I claimed. I had a worried sense we had more in common than I was comfortable with. At the same time, some things about her grated on me: a sense of entitlement she seemed to have, particularly how, in connection with her vampirism, it seem to make her comfortable with using people, even killing them. That should make me dislike her a lot. But she resisted her thirst at first, she had tried to help me, and most of all, she had an unpredictable sense of compassion. It didn’t hurt that she was beautiful, tall, slender, and elegant like an Art Deco ideal.