Sorry for the radio silence this past week, but I've been running around a lot as The Other Me. I wrapped up a big and super exciting editing project, had a short story coup, and on top of that I'm prepping for a new novel release within the next, eh, two months, I'm pretty sure. I've mentioned this before, but seeing as the time is drawing nigh, I figured I'd pop on over here and talk for a sec about what's going on with that, because I think some of y'all might be interested.
|Artwork © 2012 C. Bernard|
This sulky fellow is Liam Corchoran.
He's the "hero" of my upcoming vampire novel (if the blood didn't give that away) as KV Taylor, which is named after him, and part of a larger series called The Family. Although the larger arc of the series is not that of a romance, Liam's book is what I call a love story for monsters. It is messy and dysfunctional and dark and a lot of other things most of my romances as Katey Hawthorne are not. In spite of the main plot being a love story, in essence, it's horror-oriented--these are not friendly vampires, they have no respect for human life, and they regret absolutely nothing. (Eventually.) Their relationships are suitably dysfunctional, because frankly, monsters don't get to have nice boys.
The second book in the series will pick up where Liam leaves off, and it will no longer qualify as a "romance". However, the, erm, special attachment between him and his vampire-maker/boyfriend-lover/what the fuck ever is not only an integral part of the continuing plot (they are, in fact, the core of what becomes The Family), but it is what starts an epic vampire clusterfuck snowballing.
Hence the pen-name difference.
So basically I'm dropping by today to point out that it's a thing and lay an excerpt on you. This is from the still-human Liam's point of view, and a bit more romancey than horrory, in keeping with the usual content of this blog. It happens on the way home from one extremely fucked-up frat party full of voyeurism, beer, hallucinations, weed, and dancing a liiiittle bit too close. (Note to those reading it on an rss feed like goodreads--the formatting might suck. If you want, hop over to the blog and check out the original.)
"You're standing too close." It just came out, but I didn't regret it. It felt like I'd let the pressure out of a bottle that had been about to explode. Muscles I hadn't known were tense relaxed, my skeleton stopped quivering so violently, and I leaned my head against the cold stone wall.
"I was under the impression that you liked it," he said, as if that were a perfectly normal thing to say.
And maybe it was. I couldn't trust my own judgment anymore, clearly. "Things get fucked up when you get close."
Another pause, this one not so long. Then, "I see."
Jesus Christ, what did that mean? He couldn't know how fucked up, of course, there was no goddamn way, but--
"Why is that, do you think?"
I leveled a glare at him. "I don't know."
"Do you want to?"
I started reply with the negative, but paused.
He pursed his lips. "You were about to lie to me again."
"That's a little extreme. Try kissing me."
There was a loud whooshing sound in my ears. I stared, utterly stupid.
"If you want to know," he said, as if this were some kind of school exercise, and I his recalcitrant pupil, "then kiss me."
I swallowed hard. He had every reason to imagine that was what I wanted, though--particularly after tonight. Hell, maybe it was what I wanted. I remembered the hallucination then, heard words he'd never said: I saw you watching me. You know I watched you.
The rush in my ears grew deafening. I choked out, "The fuck kind of thing is that to say?"
"The sensible kind. Whether you like it or not, at least you'll know."
His calmness only made me tense up again. Sweet, sweet anger flooded back into my emotional muddle.
He went on, "Well, my mistake. I believed you when you said you weren't scared. Maybe you're right; I don't know you at all."
"Fucking right you--" But then I realized my options there were either that he didn't know me, or I was scared, and it dissolved into a kind of inarticulate growl.
He didn't move, just stood there, eyes flickering in the dark. Then he licked his lips.
And he saw me watch him do it.
He made as if to push off the wall. "All right then--"
Feeling very much like a fish on a hook, I grabbed his wrist and stopped him with a jerk. "Is this your stupid game? Have you been gambling on me all night?"
His eyes flicked down to my fingers around his arm, then back up, but he didn't make a move to get free. "Not until just now, really. How did you guess?"
"I didn't have to guess." I thought I was bluffing before I said it, but afterwards I wasn't so sure. I had seen him tonight, the real him; I'd known it then, and I was sure of it now. This night was just one big fucking game, and I was sick of it. Sick of feeling scared, confused, mortified, and dizzy by turns. Sick of being turned on and off like a goddamn light switch for his entertainment. This was no hallucination, it was absolutely real, and I was in control, goddammit.
His eyebrows disappeared under his bangs. "I'm starting to think you're the one playing with me."
My free hand balled up into a fist. God, I wanted to do it so badly--
He pursed his lips. "Well now I want to know."
And then he kissed me.
I didn't pull back; I didn't really react at all. I expected it to be like kissing a mannequin, lifeless and hard and boring.
But instead he was very much alive, and his breath on my face a cocktail of the familiar and alien: beer and cigarettes and girl something faintly metallic. His lips gave a little at first, then pushed forward and apart, locking onto mine.
I tensed when I realized I was reflexively kissing him back. But he put one hand at the back of my head, tangled in my hair, and tilted his face to get a better angle. He closed his lips and mine went with them, sealed off the little kiss, then started a new, deeper one all over again.
It happened so fast, the most improbable ten seconds of my life to date, but I was still very conscious of my ability to stop and walk away. There was nothing helpless about it, nothing dreamlike or confusing. Yet I couldn't help thinking that I would snap out of it and see him walking away or making some flippant comment, and realize I'd imagined this, too. The thought made me so angry I just kissed him harder. I pushed in on him, grabbed at his coat with one hand and tightened my grip on his wrist with the other. Maybe to make sure he was really there, maybe to make sure he couldn't get away.
I thought he'd try, but instead he seemed to melt against me. His lips went softer, his mouth opened up under mine. When I tugged at his coat, he came closer. When I bent my head, he resituated to accommodate the new angle. I was lulled by this perfect intuition, totally lost in the warmth and wetness of his mouth and the unexpected thrill it gave me. For one silent, suspended moment, I almost forgot how fucked up it was.
But then I thought of him kissing that girl on the couch, like he meant it. I thought about how I couldn't look away, even though I knew it was wrong. I thought of him licking his lips, purple from wine, sitting on my bed.
And then his tongue flicked out and searched the edge of my bottom lip.
I stopped breathing.
His fingers tightened in my hair, sending a warm, liquid shock through my entire body.
And then it was over. His lips closed, pulled away from mine. I hadn't opened my eyes but I could feel him breathing, so close.
I tried not to pant for air, clutching at him fitfully, head spinning.
"Oh, fuck." He sighed.
I opened my eyes and he was staring straight into them. I don't know what the fuck I expected, but it hadn't been surprise. His eyes were wide, and his mouth--god, it was painfully fascinating now--hung slightly open.
I had just enough presence of mind to think that this new and unguarded expression should not make me desperate to kiss him again.
"Well, there's my answer, at least." His voice sounded stretched tight, but not in an angry way. He swallowed visibly. "How awfully complicated this is."
That did seem to sum things up, yeah.
So if this sounds like your kind of thing, definitely check out the website, where there are updates, other excerpts, character bits, art, etc. And there's an ongoing feature at my author blog where the boys do a kind of vampire movie review thing that is honestly a bit MST3K. I'll come bug y'all again when the pre-order happens, but until then, back to your regularly scheduled superpowering and wingsex. *salute*