If I had the sense God gave a gnat, I wouldn’t be approaching this dark house in an isolated section of Dublin, Ireland by myself…at night…armed with nothing but an Ipad and a recorder. Not that a gun or sword—or hell, a freakin’ nuclear bomb—could protect me from what waits on the other side of this door. Let’s face it. If the creature I’m here to see is in a bad mood, I’m screwed.
And soooo not in a good way.
One more knock on the door. Just one more, than story or no story, I’m outta here…
A petite, slim female with long, dark hair stands motionless inside her open doorway. Eyes the color of brilliant lightning stare at me, unblinking. Measuring. As if determining which of my body parts she should cleave off first.
Sinéad, the cruxim—the Black Angel—who hunts in the territory of Dublin for vampires, the cruxim’s mortal, or rather immortal, enemies.
And the person—using that term veeery loosely—I’m here to interview.
Sinéad: (crossing her arms) Well aren’t you brave?
Me: Umm…excuse me?
Sinéad: Just showing up here… And assuming I won’t kill you on sight.
Me: Er, uh…wow. I think that’s against the rules…isn’t it? I’m human. You protect me, not slice ‘n dice me.
Sinéad: (shakes her head) You chroniclers. You totally miss the meaning behind “secret race”. And for the record, I don’t protect you. I hunt and execute vampires who just happen to find you a tasty snack. Let’s face it, if they decided to become vegetarians tomorrow, there would be a surplus in crops and you’d be on your own.
Niiiiice. I would respond, but as she shuts the door and turns around, the sight of the scabbard strapped across her back with the hilt of a silver gladius jutting out steals my voice. Nervously, I circle my throat with my hand and heave a silent sigh of relief. Whew. Still intact.
Me: (clearing my throat) Duncan MacLeod has a watcher, you have me.
Sinéad: (snorts) Turn off your fear, chronicler. The stink of it is offensive. I haven’t killed you…
“Yet” hangs in the room like a string of gaudy Christmas lights in mid-February. I swallow—hard—and try to summon a smile and hide my fear. Snicker. Riiiight. I’d forgotten the female is an empath as well as a fierce warr—
Me: (gasp) What the hell?
Sinéad: (whirling around in a crouch, her hand reaching behind her head) What? What?
Me: (horrified, pointing to the table in the living room) Potato chips. Cereal? What the hell? You drink vampire blood not, not…snacks! And what’s that on television? Television? Since when did you start watching—what is that? Twilight?
Sinéad: (slowly straightening and grumbling something totally unintelligible) Mimeumingow.
Me: What did you just say?
Sinéad: (whirling around with a snarl) I said, I’m human now. All I do is sit on the couch, eat and watch television. And cry at those damn Hallmark commercials.
Maybe my face says all the WTF racing through my head because she huffs out a breath and shoves a hand over her head. Another shock. On any other woman the gesture would be frustration, but cruxim don’t do frustration. They’re emotionless. They don’t do…anything.
Sinéad: Stop moving your mouth up and down like a fecking fish. Shite.
Fecking? Shite? Fu—Ohhh. The Irish accent through me off for a bit… Then the import of all she’s confessed rolls over me like that first wave of 4 am Black Friday shoppers at Walmart.
Me: Good. God. You’re, uh…I mean, what happened?
Sinéad: (sigh) A wounded hippogryph male. Blood. The only kind act I’ve ever done in my life and now I’m…this. Humans are right. No good deed goes unpunished. Now I’m a damn walking meat suit.
God. I feel so sorry for her. So sorry I don’t even take offense at being called a “walking meat suit”. I probably will be later, but not now.
Me: You should be out hunting. But obviously…
Sinéad: (viciously rubs the heels of her palms over her eyes. I can’t help but wince) All I’ve known for three hundred years is fighting, killing…blood. Now I’m in an unfamiliar body, with out-of-control emotions and an appetite for flat, deep fried potatoes. I’m so. Damn. Lost.
Me: (whispering) Are you scared?
Sinéad: (drops her arms and stares at me) I’ve never been afraid. Never feared dying. I still don’t. But I am terrified of every morning when the sun rises and it’s another day in this skin. Another day when I can feel my soul screaming…
As she trails off an uncomfortable silence fills the room. She’s probably horrified at the display of emotion, and I… Well I just don’t know what to say. Hallmark doesn’t have a card for “I’m sorry your life just went to hell in gasoline drawers. Thinking of you!” Yeah. Words are pretty much inadequate. Really there’s only one thing I can give her...
Me: Your secret’s safe with me. I won’t tell anyone.
Sinéad: (her eyes narrowing) A chronicler? Not telling a story?
Me: (shaking my head) Not this one. It’s yours to tell.
There’s a slight softening on her face that I would have never thought I’d see on one of these Black Angels.
Sinéad: (bows her head) Thank you then.
Me: No problem. I’m going to, uh, y’know, go. Leave you to your (I do a finger crinkle at her snack buffet and television marathon) whatever.
I turn around to leave, but damn… I just have to ask. I have to!
Me: One thing. (she arches an eyebrow) Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob? (My eyes widen as she slowly reaches for the sword behind her back) Gotcha. Nunya, right? Nunya bizness. Okay. See you, um, well. Yeah. See you.
I rush out of the room and the house as quick as my boots can slap the floor. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I need a drink.
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Dark Judgment, Book Two
A brutal attack left Bastien Sarris for dead. But a chance encounter with a mysterious female drags him back from the brink of death—and transforms the hippogryph healer into a monster he doesn’t recognize. Now a terrible hunger consumes him—one that is becoming impossible to satisfy. Desperate for a cure, he hunts the cruxim who cursed him to a hellish existence. But the petite warrior ignites a fierce desire for her body that overwhelms the sweet call of blood.