Summer Blog Hop: The Concilium Vampries Book 1 by: Angela Goldsberry
All Michael Blake wanted to do was to have a normal, quiet life. Kind of hard to do, being a 500-something-year-old vampire. Still, he was giving it his best shot, turning his back on the vampire community, and trying to blend in with the mortals. Leaving the fast life of the Big Apple, he moved to Rhode Island, took up teaching art at a small university, and left himself with enough spare time to do nothing but paint.
But someone – or something – just won’t leave him alone. His past comes calling in the middle of the night, threatening to destroy the new life he’s so carefully constructed. His present is being consumed by an obsessed woman who’s giving him the supernatural hard-sell, and just won’t seem to take “no” for an answer.
And his future? His future is laid out for him in a deck of tarot cards, interpreted by a fiery-haired gypsy who haunts his dreams and burns in his blood. Can what the cards say really come to pass? Can this crimson-haired goddess be the indescribable love of his eternal life, prophesied by a fortune-telling parlor game? Can he incorporate her into his “ordinary” life while continuing to outrun the man he used to be? And will she be safe from Michael’s deranged stalker, or will her life be in Immortal danger.
Michael could hear Rowan's heart battering her ribcage like a wild rabbit trapped in a snare. He felt and was thrilled by – her nervous anticipation, but there was an underlying current of fear. Was she afraid of him? Did her gift allow her to sense his inner beast? God, he hoped not.“Look at me,” he said softly. He was tempted to massage her subconscious again, then, thought better of it. That was getting to be a bad habit. That wasn’t how he wanted it to be with them. If she was going to come to him, it had to be of her own volition.“I’m sorry,” she said with a little grimace. “It’s just been a long time since…”TEASER
“Since you were kissed?” He slipped a hand beneath her heavy hair and gently curled his fingers around her neck, right below the ear. His thumb gently brushed her cheek and he felt the subtle instinctive movement as she leaned into him.
“Yes,” she said. It wasn’t an answer. It was consent.
The footfalls on the stairs made every hair on Rowan’s head stand on end. She clamped her hand over her mouth, afraid she wouldn’t be able to keep herself from screaming. When the knock on the door came, she came very close.
“Rowan,” Michael called out, his voice muffled through the door, “we need to talk.”
Rowan stayed as still and quiet as possible. She even held her breath. She was so not home.
“Rowan,” he repeated, a little louder this time, “I know you’re in there. Open the door.”
I don’t hear you, she screamed inside her head. I’m not here!
“So help me, Rowan, I will break down this door.”
He cringed at his own poor choice of words. He hadn’t meant for it to sound like a threat. Unfortunately, that was exactly what it was.
Rowan covered her ears with her hands, trying to block out Michael’s voice. Please, she begged silently, please go –
There was a loud crack as the door jamb splintered beneath Michael’s shoulder. The sofa that was supposed to serve as an additional barricade skidded back several feet as Michael crossed the threshold. Rowan’s small cat sat in the middle of the living room, cleaning herself and watching him, completely unperturbed by the B&E she’d just witnessed. Next to her on the floor laid the silver bracelet, the source of this God-awful mess. Scowling, Michael tossed Rowan’s things on the sofa, pushing it back against the door to keep the calico from escaping. Turning to face the feline, he looked at her expectantly. As if she knew it was her job to escort him to her human, she meowed and scurried off in the direction of the bedroom.
Rowan heard Michael coming, following the tinkling bell on Clover’s collar. The light in the hall went on as Michael neared. She trembled violently as her beloved pet became a traitorous minion, scratching at the bottom of the closet door, purring loudly.
Michael picked the kitten up, scratching her under the chin before sending back to the living room. No sense in the poor thing getting trampled underfoot when Rowan tried to make a run for it.
And run for it she did, as soon as he opened the closet door. He caught Rowan easily around the waist, lifting her off the floor, holding her against his chest, steeling himself for the assault to come.
“No!” Rowan screamed, kicking and flailing with all her might.
Michael stayed silent, absorbing the blows as an act of penance. They didn’t hurt physically, but he deserved them all the same. He did this to her, scared her half to death because he was too much of a pussy to come out of the coffin. He deserved whatever she dished out and more.
“Let go of me!” she raged. “Let go!”
Her fear turned to fury as Michael ignored her demands, keeping her securely in his arms while she continued to thrash and yell.
Remembering the rosary she had clenched in her fist, Rowan reached back over her head, shoving the beads into his face. She expected him to recoil in agony, the way he did when the bracelet touched his back. Nothing happened. She could feel the warmth of his cheek beneath the beads, the scratch of stubble on her knuckles… that was all. Instead of being relieved by the fact that he didn’t burst into flames the instant he came into contact with a holy relic, she only became angrier.
“Rowan, stop.” His voice was low and calm as she continued to struggle. “It doesn’t work that way, muñeca.” He wrapped his free arm around her upper body to keep her from hurting herself as she thrashed about.
“You can’t be here! Get out! I un-invite you!”
Really? Did she really just go there?
“You watch too much TV,” he replied flatly, carrying her over to the bed. He lowered himself onto the mattress, with Rowan on his lap, holding her gently but firmly as she threatened to spiral out of control. After a good twenty minutes of hardcore resistance, she finally started losing steam.
“I know you’re scared,” he murmured against her temple. “But you have to believe that I’d never hurt you. Never, Rowan.”
“Yeah, right! You’re going to bite my neck and drink me like a juice pouch! I’m sure it won’t hurt a bit!”
“Rowan, that’s not what I do. I don’t kill people.”
Not recently, anyway, and not without good reason.
“But, you have to! That’s what you do. I mean… you’re a…” She trailed off. She couldn’t even say the word.
“I am what I am. It doesn’t change a thing.”
Rowan begged to differ. Sidling up to the undead changed everything.
Now, that hurt.
“I’m not undead,” he snapped. He loosened his hold on her. Rowan scrambled off his lap, onto the far side of the bed, looking at him in disbelief. He could read her mind!
Michael saw the dumbfounded look on her face and angrily raked a hand through his hair. He was a jackass to think he could make her accept him for what he was when she didn’t even know such a thing existed until this afternoon? How could he dispel a lifetime of preconceived terror?
“This was a stupid idea. I shouldn’t have come here,” he said wearily.
“Why did you?” Rowan asked warily. If she wasn’t on the menu, what did he want? To threaten her? To make sure she kept her mouth shut about his secret identity? Totally unnecessary. It wasn’t as if she would tell anyone. No one would ever believe this.
He bristled again, her thoughts rubbing salt into an already festering wound. “Do you honestly think I care what you tell people?”
“Stop that!” Rowan yelled. “Stop reading my mind!”
“I can’t help it,” he retorted. “You’re broadcasting your disgust loud and clear.” He rose from the bed, defeated, and headed toward the door. Then, Charlotte Lang’s words echoed in his brain. Stop being a blockhead and tell her. He was being a blockhead, wasn’t he?
He spun on his heel, charging the bed, tackling Rowan beneath him. He kissed her, hot and hard, expecting a fight, receiving none. She ignited like a flare, meeting his challenge, her tongue wrestling with his, her fingers twining in his thick hair.
This is insane, Rowan thought, as her body reveled in his assault.
Ten minutes ago, she was afraid he was going to devour her. Now, she prayed he would. She could feel Michael’s heart pressed against her breasts, pounding with the same intensity as her own. She could feel the heat radiating from his skin, leaving a trail of fire wherever his body touched hers. This was no evil, undead monster. This was a man, a very real, living man, a man who wanted her, without reservation. Did he deserve any less?
“Tell me this is wrong, Rowan,” he whispered fiercely. “Tell me you don’t feel the same and I’ll go. You’ll never have to see me again. It’ll kill me, but I’ll do it. When you’re not with me, I can’t breathe. All the air gets sucked out of my world. I’m in love with you, Rowan. So utterly and desperately in love with you.”
FACEBOOK Author Angela Goldsberry