Being an archaeologist and ancient historian, I was exposed to the myths and legends of the ancient world—the Greco-Roman gods and goddesses, and the Celtic and Germanic myths and legends that are peppered with stories of light and dark elves, trolls, giants, dragons and irresistible heroes.
I could imagine a group of people huddled around a fire, somewhere in Dark Age Europe, listening to the mesmerising tones of a story teller—the bard—as the icy northern wind howled outside the chieftain's hall where they were gathered.
Outside, in the dark, evil things roamed and thirsted for human blood. Inside it was warm and light—and safe. And, there were always heroes who stood against the monsters, who rescued the innocent and had their happily-ever-after?
In thousands of years, nothing much has changed. Don't we still love to hear, see and read stories? We can't seem to get enough of them, and just like our ancestors, we like our stories sprinkled with a touch of the paranormal —a fairy here, a witch there, add a dash of vampire or werewolf and mix in a heavy dose of romance. Voila! You have an audience.
I guess then it was inevitable, one day I too, would add my own story to keep the bardic tradition going.
So, without further ado, I'll let the bard in me takeover: here's a snippet from Bloodpledge.
A single tall, metal lamp gave off a weak light in Alec’s room. There were no windows to allow in deadly sunrays, so presumably it predated the time when he became Princeps. The four-poster, wrought iron bed and I were well acquainted since we’d made love in it several times.
Alec wrapped his arm around my waist, and he held me close. With his other hand he tucked my hair behind my ear. ‘We have a little over an hour before the Prefects start arriving.’
‘Let’s not waste it,’ I said. Every minute with him was precious. Three nights ago Jean-Philippe nearly murdered us both and, even though he was now dead, the danger was not entirely over—tonight’s incident a stark reminder of that.
He lowered his head and kissed me with a fervency that left me breathless. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him back. Our tongues meshed in a delicious tangle of desire and passion.
‘What happened?’ I asked between kisses.
‘We had a disagreement…’
I knew what he meant by that. ‘You had a fight.’
‘No avoiding it. Two of them are caged down in the cellar. Cal and Karl are keeping an eye on them till the Pledging.’
‘How many were there?’
‘Five—three men, two women.’
My stomach dropped. ‘You could have been killed!’
‘But I wasn’t.’
‘What if Luc hadn’t arrived—’
‘Shhh’, he sealed his lips over mine again, and as always, I melted in his arms. A while later, he murmured against my mouth, ‘I probably could’ve handled it alone. After the Pledging tonight there should be no more incidents of this kind.’ His lips grazed at my throat.
‘Cross my heart.’ He drew the figure of a cross over his heart. ‘Luc told you about the powers of the rings. If anyone tries anything, they’re ash.’
I nodded. After a previous rebellion, centuries ago, my father forced the surviving Brethren to swear an oath on the Serpent Rings. Those who defied it were killed when the rings flashed fire and destroyed them.
I didn’t want to think about it, let alone witness something like that.
Alec could probably see the anxiety in my eyes, for he smoothed the hair from my face and said, ‘The Pledge worked in the past. No reason why it shouldn’t do so again.’ His confidence was comforting and I breathed out a sigh of relief. ‘Besides,’ he said, ‘Pledge or no Pledge, I’ll kill anyone who dares try and harm you!’ A deadly edge to his voice both frightened and excited me. He lowered his head again, and took complete possession of my mouth with such passion it ignited a painful throbbing in my very core that only he could relieve.
His hands slid down to my waist, untied my sash and I momentarily released him so he could ease my robe off my shoulders. It dropped to the floor, where it was soon joined by my camisole. He touched the crimson vial Luc gave me, nestled between my breasts. It contained three drops of Marcus’s, Antonia’s and Luc’s blood, and it would render the drinker immortal. ‘Luc explained?’
‘Would you take it?’
‘Yes.’ I breathed.
I couldn’t tear my gaze away from his eyes. They were filled with such love, such an intensity of longing I almost wished the curse wouldn’t be lifted so there’d be no chance of my blood becoming normal. Yet, our children, the future…
His mouth claimed mine once again, his tongue probing deeply till I became lost to the sensations he alone could arouse in me.
Slowly he raised his head, released me and pulled his T-shirt off and dropped it on the floor. My breath hitched. No matter how many times I saw his naked torso, still I was awed by his lithe, muscular body—the taut, rippling abs, the clearly defined and powerful pectorals and the strength of his arms. There wasn’t an inch that wasn’t hard muscle. And, he smelled divine—a strong woody scent that went straight to my head. I ran my hands along his chest and my fingers grazed the gold crucifix he wore around his neck, the one he showed me the night we met. And right next to it, on the same gold chain, hung a small key. The same one hung around my father’s neck.
‘The blood-vault key.’ I looked up at him.
‘Good, Luc told you. Things are moving fast.’