Excerpt for Daniel: Black Luck (Tales of the Executioners) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.


Tales of the Executioners:

DANIEL:

Black Luck


A short story

By Joleene Naylor



http://www.joleenenaylor.com

Joleene@joleenenaylor.com


First Smashwords Edition, 2017


Copyright 2017 by Joleene Naylor

Published by Smashwords


Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Cover art courtesy of Canstockphoto, and bobloblaw66

Cover by Joleene Naylor


Find Joleene Naylor on Smashwords at: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/joleenenaylor



Ramblings from the Darkness at http://www.joleenenaylor.com

You never know what you’ll find in the shadows…..


Tales of the Executioners:

Aine: Another Complication

Ark: Echo from the Past

Verchiel: Never Ending Question

Beldren: What We Deserve

Byrn: At Christmas

Bren: In the Dark

Lisiantha: Home for Christmas

Cyprus: Future’s Promise

Daniel: Black Luck


* * * * * * * * * *

Other books by Joleene Naylor:

Amaranthine:

0: Brothers of Darkness

1: Shades of Gray

2: Legacy of Ghosts

3: Ties of Blood

4: Ashes of Deceit

5: Heart of the Raven

6: Children of Shadows

7. Clash of Legends

8. Masque of the Vampire

9: Goddess of Night


Also:

Vampire Morsels Collection: 17 Short Stories


101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire by Joleene Naylor


Heart of the Raven Mini Prologue Collection

Tales from the Island: Six Short Stories

Thirteen Guests: A Masque of the Vampire companion

Road to Darkness: A short story companion to Brothers of Darkness


COMING SOON:

Tales of the Executioners




* * * * * * * * * *


Thanks to Chris Harris and Bonnie Mutchler for their ninja-like proofreading skills.



* * * * * * * * * *


What is an Executioner ?

The Executioners are the vampire’s equivalent of special police. They go on “assignments” that The Guild (the vampire government) sends them on, and they don’t have a reputation for being very nice. It’s a reputation that is often well deserved.


For more on Executioners and the universe they live in, check out the Amaranthine series by Joleene Naylor.


* * * * * * * * * *



This is the ninth in a collection of short stories, Tales of the Executioners. Each story is about a different Executioner from the Amaranthine universe.


Daniel became in Executioner in 1770. In 1868 he leaves the Guild with Kateesha. You can read about that assignment and the after math in Vampire Morsels: Kateesha. This story takes place in 1772.


This story may contain violence, strong language, sexual content or other disturbing scenes and is not intended for a young audience.


* * * * * * * * * *


Daniel watched the rain roll down the window. Flaws in the glass made misshapen bubbles in the outside world; strange pockets of deformed darkness.

Lightning sizzled through heavy clouds and he closed his eyes against the flash. He opened them again, to turn back to the house. One large room with a fireplace and chunky, rustic furniture. It looked the same as a hundred others in the colonies – except for the pile of corpses.

A man and woman were on the bottom in a puddle of blood, their throats ripped out. On top of them were four children with similar injuries. Their blood was smeared on the hearth, on the rough table and bench, and on Kateesha’s face.

With dark skin and fiery eyes, Kateesha was the most beautiful thing Daniel had ever seen. She wore her ebony hair up, while a black dress left a spill of heavy cleavage peeping out above the tight bodice. But it was her eyes that were the most intoxicating, like looking into the heart of an open fire.

She caught Daniel’s scrutiny and smiled, licking blood from her hand like a cat cleaning mouse from its paw. “It’s cold, but delicious.”

He knew it would be. The air was so thick with the smell he could almost taste it, but they didn’t have time to indulge. “Whoever did this cannot be far.”

Kateesha moved to him in a swish of skirts, and laid her hand on his shoulder. “If they are? Of what consequence is it?”

His body tightened at her touch. “We are to find and apprehend them,” he murmured.

“Why? What concern is it of ours if they want to play? Do we not deserve some fun ourselves?”

Daniel closed his eyes and struggled for the power to tell her no. “We have our duty.”

She scoffed and motioned his objection away. “Duty? You mean orders, don’t you? I’ve followed his orders for almost a century, and I tire of it. What does it matter if one rogue, or one hundred, run amuck? So what if they butcher humans and leave them lay? There are many more in Europe, waiting to cross the vast ocean and come to this wild land. Let them come, and die. Besides.” She drew close again, leaning in, so that her words tickled his ear. “It’s raining. Even Malick can’t expect us to ride in the rain.”

Daniel tried to hold onto his resolve; tried to ignore the reaction she caused in him. “The rain will not harm us.”

“Perhaps, but it is not as pleasant as feasting here.” The innuendo in her voice hinted at the feast she had in mind; half feeding, half sex, and completely the opposite of what they should be doing.

Daniel gritted his teeth and stepped away. “We must follow our orders.”

Her musical laughter rolled around the room. “I forget that you are new to this life. Two years has it been, since I found you in a house much like this?”

Daniel kept his eyes trained on the window, on the rain running down it. He remembered that night in perfect detail, like one of the paintings in Malick’s chambers. The fire had burned low in the hearth, and the men’s blood was still warm in his mouth. They were brothers, and he’d killed them both, ignoring cries for mercy. There was no mercy here; had never been any mercy.

He’d been human when he’d come to the new colonies in 1695. Cursed with dark luck, six months later he lay on his death bed, burning up with fever. He’d begged God to spare him, to let him return to England, to his wife and his daughters, but it wasn’t God who’d answered his prayers, rather a demon who gave him tainted blood. Vampiredom cured his sickness, but took away his chance to see his family again. How could he make the voyage? And even if he could, how would he provide for them? Care for them? Monsters did not nurture children, they destroyed them.

So that was what he did. For sixty years he and the demon who’d changed him preyed upon colonists and Indians alike; women, children, young, old, it made no difference. When his master tired of him, Daniel struck out on his own, handing out death and misery to anyone he chose. Until Kateesha found him. He’d killed the brothers and was washing in their basin when she walked through the door, her sword drawn, and a smile curving across her full lips.

“Well, well, what is this?” She’d made a show of looking him over. The gleam in her eyes said she found the view satisfying. “Tis a pity I’ll have to relieve you of such a fine head.”

He’d looked from her gleaming fangs to her dark, dangerous eyes and realized she was the same as he was; a demon of night, left to drink blood and wander the earth for eternity.

Though he hadn’t spoken aloud, she threw back her head and laughed. “What melodramatic notions you carry, sir. Demons we are not, but something better. Vampire is the word my master uses. And we are not left to do anything, rather gifted to be above the petty mortals.” She brandished the sword. “Still, there are laws, however pointless they may seem, and you have broken them. For creatures such as us, there can be only one penalty.”

He’d eyed the blade; noted the way the fire reflected on the keen edge, and decided not to fight. What was the point? He’d long ago lost any reason to live. He had no family, no home. Had she not come upon him, he’d have stolen from the house near sunrise to bury himself in the dirt, safe from the sun’s rays. When evening came he would rise, earth caked beneath his fingernails, to seek more blood, and perhaps a bath if he could manage it before the process was repeated. How many more days did he want to pass buried with the worms?

Kateesha had wrinkled her nose. “To remove you from such a life would be a mercy.” She stepped closer, the sword raised, ready to strike. He’d closed his eyes and steeled himself, waiting for pain that didn’t come. Finally, he’d looked to find her face pressed close to his. When he gasped, she sealed her mouth over his and pushed him back against the wall.

He’d never forgotten that kiss, though her amusement said it meant nothing to her. That was when she told him about The Guild, and The Laws, and the Executioners who were tasked with enforcing them. She’d flashed her silver medallion, and explained that killing humans, and leaving their corpses lying in a heap, was against the laws.

“It could lead to our discovery,” she’d said. “Anything that could cause the humans to learn the truth about us is forbidden.”

When he’d asked her why, she’d laughed and said, “Because our masters say so. Now, the hour grows late. The sun will be upon us soon, and I have no wish to stay the day in this squalid place. ‘tis a pity you’re not a whisperer. I believe you’d have made a good Executioner.”

She’d raised the sword, but again lowered it without striking. “Perhaps Father could be persuaded to expand the Executioners beyond whisperers and dream stealers. Surely other talents are just as important.” She’d paused to look him over. “Whatever talent it is you possess.”

So they’d gone to The Guild’s headquarters in New York. There, Malick had tested him, and declared that he was a Puppet Master; a vampire who could control others’ physical actions for varying lengths of time. Daniel had known he had the ability, had even used it on occasion, but hadn’t realized it had a name, any more than he’d realized how organized the vampires were.

Two years later, he was still surprised to discover new intricacies to their laws, and their lives. It was a different existence than he’d lived with his demon master, and sometimes it took all of his self-control not to go back to the way he’d been. Self-control that Kateesha enjoyed testing.

He looked past her to the pile of bodies – the parents and their children – and then to the rainy window. They needed to leave, to find whoever had done this and stop them before they were discovered. That was what Malick had tasked them with doing. If they failed…

Kateesha scoffed. “If we fail, Father will say to try harder next time. Do you think he cares one way or the other? He sends us on these quests because it is the desire of those in Germany that we keep things quiet. Were it in his hands alone, he would say that we should do as we please. And what I please…” She moved closer to trail a finger over his chest. “What I please is to stay out of the rain and enjoy the blood that has already been spilled.”

Daniel shuddered at her touch. Though her words were pretty, he knew that, should they return empty handed, Malick would be unhappy with them. Or at least unhappy with him. As Malick’s favorite, Kateesha would receive no chastisement. Daniel ‘s luck was not so hopeful. Black luck, his grandmother had always called it. The same black luck that landed him on his deathbed too young and brought the demon to his side.

Kateesha leaned closer, her words a whisper, “Join me, Daniel. Do not fear your desires, but know your darkness and embrace it.”

“It is not my desires I fear, but their consequences.

“There will be no consequences to fear.” She took his hand and tugged him towards the bleeding bodies. “Come.” She paused to take a finger full of crimson and smear it across her cleavage. “Give yourself to the darkness, and to me.”

Though he knew he should resist, the blood on her skin, on her lips as she sucked from her finger, was too much, and he surrendered.

***

Daniel stepped into the rain, washing away the last of the family’s blood. Thunder rolled. Water beaded on his naked skin, like the thousand sins he’d committed in his lifetime. The drops grew bloated, until, too heavy to hold, they ran down him in pink rivulets.

He felt Kateesha’s arms slide around him from behind, the press of her heavy breasts against his naked back. “Your thoughts turn toward the melancholy, even after such pleasure.”

He looked up to the heavy clouds and felt the raindrops kiss his face. “’tis the kind of night for it.”

“No, my pet, ‘tis the kind of night for passion and thunder, for lightning and wild pleasure. The storm doesn’t fill me with loneliness, rather brings my blood to life!” She nipped playfully at his shoulder, then laughed as she stepped away. “You are not much younger than I am. You should have let go of your loneliness long ago.”

He watched as she spun in a circle, arms held wide. Rain pelted her naked body and wetted the hair that tumbled around her shoulders. She stopped with a smirk. “Admiring what you see? There is no shame in it, I’m worth admiring. Perhaps even worshiping.” She walked towards him, hips swaying. “Will you drink at my altar, or have you tasted the goddess enough for one night?”

He felt the familiar desire rising, but turned away from it. “We need to dress and leave this place. The sun will rise in an hour.”

“If such is true, leaving is folly. There is no shelter nearby, save what is here. If the death inside disturbs you, we can sleep in the barn.”

“It doesn’t disturb me, not in that way, but to try to rest with the smell…”

Kateesha laughed again, though this time there was more mirth in it. “How right you are. How can one sleep when tempted with desire? Come. We will dress and make bed in the barn.”

He let her lead him back to the house where they used the family’s bedding to dry themselves. Daniel dressed in his dark clothing and hung the black cloak over his shoulders. Black pants, black vest, always black, to blend in with the shadows, to hide them from the eyes of the world, as if there were any eyes to see them in the dark.

The rain had stopped by the time they made their way to the barn. Daniel turned the horse out so it could eat, then made a place for himself and Kateesha to sleep in the corner of an unused stall. She curled her body over his and he carefully heaped clean straw over them, until only his eye peered out. He felt Kateesha’s breathing slow, then stop as the habits left over from mortality fell away into immortal dreams. He could sense the sun rising, see a slender beam shining on a board above his head, and he watched the fading shadows on the wall, until sleep also took him.

Evening bugs chirped when he woke again, alone. Kateesha had risen before him, and was already gone, no doubt to feed.

He brushed straw from his cloak as he wandered outside into the purple haze of evening. He caught a quick sight of his partner’s curvy figure before she disappeared into the trees. He sniffed the sweet summer air and caught the scent of her prey; a deer.

He moved past the house, heavy with the stench of day old death despite the wild lilacs that grew around it, and into the woods. Kateesha was not far ahead, a deer held motionless at her feet by her sheer will. It was not unlike his own puppet master ability, except she could do so much more besides just paralyze a creature. As a dream stealer she could crawl inside their thoughts, and as a whisperer she could make them think anything she pleased. They were skills with unequaled usefulness.

With a smile, Kateesha let Daniel share her meal, then agreed that they should go after the perpetrator, “If only to appease Father.”

They stopped at the house long enough to loot it – no point in letting fine things go to waste, as Kateesha always said. He took a pocket watch and knife, while Kateesha lifted a petticoat, a prayer book, and a handkerchief embroidered with colorful flowers.

Though she didn’t need it, Daniel bade her to take a rest as he set fire to the house. Small flames licked the wood, and he turned to her with a questioning look. “The book is an odd choice. It seems …sentimental.”

Kateesha brandished the worn tome with amusement. “Does it? I assure you I feel no sentimentality, only an affection for the neatness of the printed word.” She sobered for a moment, and her usual mask slipped away to reveal something else – someone else. “It was Malick that taught me to read. The skill was not necessary in my former life, and never offered. There is a magic in it; in seeing the symbols on a page and being able to discern a meaning from them, whether that meaning is something you believe in or not.” She stashed the book in her saddle bag and the seriousness disappeared. “The evidence will burn itself away. Come.”

They untied their horses, and mounted. Daniel let Kateesha lead down the lane made of packed dirt. He watched her sway in the saddle and wondered what her former life had been. It wasn’t something she spoke of often. That Malick was her master, and Jorick her brother in blood, he knew. That they had both been made immortal across the sea, and had come to the wild new continent under orders of the Kugsankal in Germany he also understood, but past that…Past that he knew nothing. He’d asked her more than once, it seemed only fair since she knew his own story, but he’d only been rewarded with her musical mirth.

Not that her laughter isn’t beautiful.

Still, he hoped someday for something more than her laugh. He wanted to see her, the secret garden at her core, to discover her soul and all its thousand intricacies. Maybe, with enough years, she’d let him. Though, if he was honest with himself, he doubted it. She might give him her body and her blood, but her heart – and her soul – belonged to Jorick, the leader of the Executioners, her raven haired god of vampiredom.

Just more black luck to fall for a woman who has already given her love to another, one I can never hope to match.

The thought twisted a bitter expression across Daniel’s face, so he pushed it away. He needed to concentrate on his surroundings. A vampire – or vampires – had killed a family last night, and it was hard to say how far they’d gotten. They could be anywhere, waiting to ambush them.

Despite his worry, they made it out of the trees and into open countryside with no problems. The moon shone heavy and bright above them, and stars played hide and seek with tattered clouds. All ye, all ye come in free, as his daughters had called to one another. Unlike the girls, the stars didn’t come because he called. Not that the children would anymore, either.

They’re probably in the earth now.

That was right. It had been seventy-five years since he’d become this. The girls were dead now; Rose with her curls, Charlotte with her crooked tooth, and Regina with her silly smile. They’d have married, had daughters of their own, and gone on to the grave, believing their father dead in the colonies. Better that than the truth, he supposed.

The melancholy thoughts were as distracting as bitter ones, so he turned them away as well. Why did his mind always seem to twist around dark alleys when he needed it to focus on the here and now?

With a sigh he turned to watching the silent emptiness slip by; trees, plants, an occasional house. Without a trail of death or blood, he wasn’t even sure they were on the right track. He stared at Kateesha’s back, willing her to say something of her thoughts, but she stayed silent. Despite her presence, he moved in solitude. In such conditions, he told himself, how can I expect anything but dark thoughts?

***

As dawn neared, they found an abandoned house, not far from a settlement. Daniel could smell the life in the distance; human and animal, but what was left there was emptiness and dust. The remnants of an English garden – a tiny piece of home on foreign soil – reminded him that someone had once cared for the place, but where they’d gone was a mystery.

“Probably dead of sickness,” Kateesha said as she stopped in the garden, eyes on a homemade trellis.

He moved past her to peer inside the house. “Then they’ve been dead for some time, and their neighbors stripped their belongings.”

“Why shouldn’t they?” Kateesha plucked a heavy flower and brought it to her nose. “Why leave it to be wasted?” She inhaled deeply, eyes closed. Daniel thought he saw her mask slip again, saw into the real her. The moment was fleeting, and she quickly discarded the bloom. “Come. We must make preparations for the day. Tomorrow, we shall head back to Father and tell him that we were unsuccessful.”

The terror of that future was enough to give Daniel nightmares.

***

They slept in the house, their cloaks hung over the small windows. When the sun set, a quick hunt in the dilapidated garden yielded enough blood to get them on their way. With every mile that passed, Daniel’s dread grew heavier. Malick would de displeased, and when he was displeased he turned into something cold and terrifying, capable of anything – and he could do anything he wanted to them. The True Council in Germany might be his overlords, but they were separated by months of travel. In the end, Malick was like their lord – his word and whims were the ultimate law.

It was near sunup when they reached their destination. The building lacked the grandeur and menace that Daniel knew lived beneath it. Simple, with a large wooden door, it was guarded at night by a vampire and in the daytime by one of the human slaves. A stable and other outbuildings provided the things necessary for everyday life, but it was that heavy door that drew Daniel’s eyes again and again, even as he unsaddled his horse and put him away.

Privy to his thoughts, Kateesha rolled her dark eyes. “What do you fear he will do? Destroy us for disobeying?”

“Not us, but me,” he admitted.

“He wouldn’t dare.” She took his hand and tugged him towards his doom. “Come. Best to be finished and ease your mind.”

As if his mind would be eased. Daniel shook his head. She didn’t understand what it was like to be cursed as he was, to live life under a black cloud.

Though it was the last place he wanted to go, he allowed Kateesha to drag him to the doors and then down the stairs. The rooms below had been dug from the earth and lined in rock, giving it the appearance of a medieval dungeon turned palace. Candelabras threw light over heavy drapes and opulently carved furniture. Embroidered hangings covered the walls, and rugs made of thick fur were thrown over the floor. Doorways that led to Malick’s even more lavish chambers, and to rooms for staff, guards, and storage, were closed, their hardware gleaming.

A throne sat in the center of the room, unoccupied. To the right, a table was set up with paper and watercolors. A vampiress, more girl than woman, stood from a stool. She moved towards them in a rustle of expensive silk. With pale skin and a turned up nose, Daniel had to admit she was attractive, though vexing.

“Greetings, little Clara,” Kateesha purred with false friendliness. “I see Father has kept you busy with more playthings?”

Clara’s reply was clipped. “You’ve returned.” Brown eyes said she was better than they were; worth more, as if that was why she remained there as Malick’s bauble, dressed in silks, while they rode horses through the rain. “Master is in his chambers.”

“As is obvious,” Kateesha replied.

“He expected you to return with a prisoner.” Clara sniffed. “No matter, I’ll speak to him first, if you wish, and soothe him.”

Kateesha snickered. “While your offer of intervention is…sweet, it is unnecessary. I can deal with my father on my own terms, as I’ve been doing since before you were born, or made immortal.”

Clara sniffed again and resumed her seat. “Good luck to you.”

“And to you,” Kateesha leaned over her shoulder, and squinted at the picture. “Perhaps when you’ve finished it will be easier to determine what it is.”

“It’s a garden!” Clara snapped, then wadded her hands into fists. “No matter. I refuse to be drawn into your game.”

“How clever of you.” Kateesha motioned the conversation away, already bored with it. “Come, Daniel. We must make our report.”

She took his hand again and dragged him towards one of the doorways. Malick’s presence flooded out and Clara – and the petty competition of two women – was forgotten.

He’s going to be furious.

Dry laughter sounded in his head, followed by a whisper, “Do you think so?”

Daniel cringed. One of Malick’s talents was the ability to crawl inside your mind not just to see your thoughts, but to leave his own. Being in his presence was like being naked and defenseless.

As if you have any defenses that would work against me.”

A short hallway turned into a large room decorated with couches and paintings by masters; mostly paintings of plants and gardens. The portals into imagined greenery helped alleviate the oppressive atmosphere of the underground chambers, but they did nothing against the presence of the master.

Kateesha wound through the room and into the next where a large carved bed was surrounded by tables and wardrobes. In the center of a rumpled silk bedspread, the vampire master rested, a book held aloft in the light of a single candle. His long silver beard glinted, and his dark eyes sparkled in the firelight.

Kateesha stopped at the foot of the bed and bowed. Daniel quickly did the same, staying bent until Malick cleared his throat, signaling them to stand.

He closed the book and set it aside, then drew into a sitting position. “I would ask after the success of your journey, but it appears that I am looking at it. Muddy cloaks and a few odds and ends pilfered from the dead. Have you nothing else to show for yourselves?”

Daniel swallowed hard. He tried to think of an excuse, but the words ran together in a stream of pointlessness. Malick would see anything he had to offer before he could utter it.

“There was a storm, Father,” Kateesha said.

“Yes, I can see that in your mind, and in his.” When he turned the full force of his gaze on Daniel, the vampire’s knees turned weak. For a moment he could see the storm behind his eyes, smell the blood, see it painted across Kateesha’s naked breasts-

Malick’s voice rumbled like the thunder in Daniel’s memories, “A storm you call it, but an orgy would be a better word.” He stood, hands behind his back as he walked towards them. “To give into desire is not so much a sin, child, unless by doing so you must disobey.”

Kateesha raised her chin a notch, “We followed your orders, Father.”

“You know better. Don’t waste time pretending otherwise. And this one.” He turned amused eyes on Daniel. “I see he tried to resist you. Ah, but how could he? To turn away from a dark angel? No.” Malick flashed back to Kateesha. “He is a not so secret admirer, and you knew he would do as you wished. Should I punish him for this – for being your willing slave?”

“He is no slave of mine,” Kateesha said. “But he has done nothing to earn punishment, and neither have I. We only did-”

“Your best?” Malick turned away from them to pace a small circle. When he stopped, Daniel felt the pulse of his anger die down, replaced with something colder. “You have disobeyed me, child, and dragged others down your rebellious paths. That you indulge does not concern me, but you must learn that there is a place and a time for such things. Guards!”

At his shout, footsteps shuffled from the adjoining room, bringing three vampires with them. They came to a stop before the master, saluting.

Kateesha scoffed. “You’re not serious.”

“I am. Guards, take her to the cell. A week or two without blood will teach a lesson my words cannot.”

The guards stepped toward her uncertainly. When she snarled, they drew back, and she pushed past to drop at Malick’s feet. Her upturned face and doe eyes spoke of innocence and remorse. “Father, we did our best – my best. I am only-”

He stepped away from her. “Come now, my child, such coquettish tricks are worthy of Clara, not you. You are not a feeble female who could manage nothing better. Do not pretend to be.”

Her face wadded in fury and she pulled to her feet. “A week?”

“Or two,” he added, then motioned to the guards. The vampires edged toward her nervously, and finally pounced as one, grabbing her arms.

“I don’t deserve this!” Kateesha shrilled. “Wait until Jorick hears what you’re doing to me!”

“Jorick is in Mexico and will be there for some time,” Malick said disinterestedly. “Besides, why would he aid you when your crime was taking another lover? Such rescue happens to the pure feminine flowers, my dear, not the hot wild women of the world. They are left to look to themselves, and they have the strength to do it. Do not look always to your brother to be your savior, or you court disaster and death. Now take her to the cell and chain her.”

The guards dragged her out of the room, kicking and protesting. As her cries dropped away, Daniel dared to look at the master again. If such was to be Kateesha’s punishment, what would his own be?

Malick motioned him closer, and gave him a good once over. “The same can be said to you. Kateesha is blood of my blood, as such I know her well. Do not set stock in her words, or in the pleasure she gives you, for neither mean more to her than the wind. She will trade you for a shiny piece of glass if it pleases her, or for a glance from her brother in blood.” Malick moved back to the bed. “Go now. You may sleep in the guards’ quarters for the day. On the morrow you will leave for Mexico to join Jorick.”

Daniel released the breath he’d been holding. He nodded, bowed, and mumbled a handful of “yes, master, as you wish, master,” as he hurried out the door. When he hit the main room he caught sight of Clara smirking, but he knew better than to engage her. Instead he rushed to the guards’ barracks. The room was small, lined in stone, and plain, but it beat the cell.

A guard pointed him to a wooden box, which he took gratefully. As he slid the lid closed he caught the muffled sound of Kateesha’s cries; her demands to be released. Part of him wanted to help her, to save her from a week – or two – of hunger induced misery. All the same, the hunger wouldn’t kill her, and once she was released and fed she would be no worse for wear. As Malick said, she would trade him for a piece of shiny glass. He had no illusions; the master’s words were true.

Still, her cries were unsettling. Daniel squeezed his eyes shut and thanked the nothingness that by this time tomorrow he’d be on his way to Mexico. Even dealing with who-knew-what and Jorick’s pompous authority would be better than days of guilt.

Better than listening to Kateesha scream.

Maybe his luck wasn’t as black as he thought.

You can find Daniel in Vampire Morsels: Kateesha.


* * * * * * * * * *



Join the Amaranthine mailing list for new book alerts in your inbox:

http://joleenenaylor.com/fbn/newsletter.php


Found a typo? Join The Great Amaranthine Typo Hunt to receive an exclusive free short story!

https://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/the-great-amaranthine-typo-hunt/


* * * * * * * * * *


About the author:

Joleene Naylor is the author of the glitter-less Amaranthine series, a world where vampires aren’t for children. As a compliment to the novel series, she has also written several short story collections and the Amaranthine Files encyclopedia.

In what little time is left she watches anime and updates her blogs, all from a crooked Victorian house in Villisca, Iowa. Between her husband and her pets, she is never lonely, and should she ever disappear one might look for her on a beach in Tahiti, sipping a tropical drink and wearing a disguise.


Ramblings from the Darkness at http://www.joleenenaylor.com

You never know what you’ll find in the shadows…..


Connect with the Author:


Find Joleene Naylor at:


Amaranthine Night, author blog: http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/

Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/joleenenaylorbooks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/joleene_naylor

Official website: http://JoleeneNaylor.com

Good reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3165393.Joleene_Naylor

Pinterest : http://www.pinterest.com/joleenenaylor/boards/

Personal Facebook profile: http://facebook.com/joleene.naylor

Google + : https://plus.google.com/102925915756209535618/posts


Download this book for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-20 show above.)