Vampire Julian Gaston has restlessly roamed the earth for three hundred years, taking his pleasure in the arms of lovely women and at the throats of his human prey. His nature compels him to take the blood of innocent humans, even as his compassion for fragile human life tempers his greed. Rich, handsome and powerful, Julian slips from place to place, yet loneliness is an overriding theme for a man nearly immortal and isolated from his own kind.
Grace Davis has always known there was something "wrong" about her--she has a secret fascination with all things vampire and an unrequited longing for the sweet taste of blood. Abandoned at birth, she doesn't yet know her true nature. When Julian appears in her life, he offers delicious passion and dark discovery.
Julian wrenches Grace from her safe but lonely humanity into something dark and dangerous, yet overwhelmingly sensual and explicit. The whisper of true love beckons but it comes wrapped in blood-soaked cruelty, gossamer sweetness and sizzling passion. Grace is led into sensual submission to a vampire who demands obedience and returns a pure passion in a fiery exchange of power and love.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Sacred Circle by Claire Thompson
Robert Dalton--Elder, Coven of the Red Covenant. It was neatly inscribed on one side of the card. On the other, in a thin angular scrawl he had written, 124 Charles Street. Saturday, 9:00 p.m. Beneath it was a telephone number.
Grace fingered the little card. It was printed on fine, heavy stock, the lettering engraved in embossed shiny red. She was lying in her daybed, staring out the window. Her room was hot, despite the best efforts of the ceiling fan overhead. The little window-unit air conditioner in the adjoining room was wheezing its best effort to cool the place, but the tropical summer balm of New Orleans won out.
Grace sat in her panties and bra, her elegant black dress and high-heeled sandals tossed aside. Lifting her heavy French braid, she piled it on top of her head a moment, letting the wet breeze from her open window blow gently against her neck. The thick, waxy leaves of the magnolia tree outside her window were dripping with the recent rain shower. She'd just missed getting wet as she hurried home from the party, her mind reeling, her heart racing.
Why was she acting this way? It certainly wasn't Robert Dalton. While reasonably attractive--he was not her type. She preferred a more restrained sort of person. Someone more modest and less ostentatious.
No, it wasn't the man.
It was what he had offered.
She knew it was ridiculous. Why was she now suddenly allowing adolescent fantasies to run amuck in her head this way? She'd held such a tight rein for so long on feelings she had almost come to believe were nothing more than the feverish imagination of a young girl.
What had he said? "To spill a little of life's essence." Yes! That's what she felt now. A desperate longing for some of that promised "essence". Her own essence was flattened, she felt--a dried and sputtering spirit, left starving and hollow from years of denial and neglect. His one whisper of the chance for blood had set her body trembling, aching for it.
Yet, surely it was all a game? How could it be more? What was wrong with her? Had she read so many tomes about the creatures of the night that now she actually believed she was one? Ridiculous! Even if they did still exist, surely she would have known such a thing about herself. It would have manifested itself before now. Where were her fangs? The elongated canines reported in legend and exploited in Hollywood movies?
Parting her lips, gingerly she touched the pointed little teeth that could pierce skin and sinew with ease, if she were a real vampire. Lifting a thin white wrist, she bit gently against it, wondering what it would be like to actually puncture another's flesh. To pierce the vein and watch the glorious red tide flow from it, waiting for her special kiss. Was it her imagination, or did her canine teeth suddenly seem longer, sharper?
A bottle of wine stood next to her bed. A half-full bottle of cabernet sauvignon she'd grabbed from the kitchen counter on her way to her bed. She pulled out the cork and poured a glass. Lifting the glass goblet, she tilted her head back to take a long, deep drink, savoring its sweet burn.
Grace sighed, the image of a pale throat offered sliding unbidden into her consciousness, even as her fingers slipped down to her panties. She finished the glass and poured another, drinking it quickly. She realized she wanted to be drunk. To give herself permission in this way to do what she knew she was about to do.
So tight had been her own censorship of her true feelings that she rarely allowed herself the fantasy that was now stealthily easing its way into her brain. That pale throat, bared for her. Dark black hair curled in tendrils around it. The throat was strong, sinewy with corded muscle. It was a man's throat. Whose it was did not matter. It was an image that had floated through her dreams many times before.
Only now did she allow it to come through her conscious thought. She focused on it, imagining the face that would go with such a sensual and exposed throat. A strong jaw, a cruel mouth, but softened when it smiled. Lips ruby red, parting, revealing the elongated canines of her lover...
Her lover! Grace's fingers found their mark now, pushing aside the silky fabric of her panties. Her pussy was wet, eager for her touch. She rubbed and swirled in little arcs against her sex, moving toward the center and then away, wishing it was someone else's touch.
The wine coursed through her veins, giving her permission to explore the secret fantasy more fully. Recalling a half-forgotten dream, Grace closed her eyes. The dream brightened--its colors and feelings vivid in her mind's eye. It became more real than her narrow daybed in her small apartment, or her simple, rather dull life. For just that moment she didn't feel weak or in pain.
She could almost smell her lover now--the scent of exotic lemony spices and heat she'd experienced at the Vampire Ball. The lover of her dreams--with his dark hair and cruel smile.
They were naked, lying together on a large featherbed in the middle of a dark warm forest. He was leaning up on one elbow, kissing her hair, her forehead, her cheekbones, her lips. Slowly she felt his soft mouth edge down toward her throat.
Her golden auburn hair was loose around her head. She moved it herself, giving him access, desperate for what he was going to do. Yes, she thought now, yes, do it. Take me. Claim me. I want it. Grace moaned aloud as she rubbed herself, slipping a finger into her cunt as the dream image of her lover bit her neck, making her gasp.
He suckled at her throat, pressing his long body against hers. She shifted, her mouth watering, as she smelled her own blood on his lips. Silently she told him it was her turn, and he lay back, baring his own throat for her. She leaned over, dropping her head down, covering his face with her hair as she licked his supple flesh. In her fantasy she bit down, while in real life she only moaned, writhing against her own fingers, the sweet rusty taste of blood almost real to her.
As her sharp little teeth pierced the flesh, the impossibly rich red blood gushed like two little fountains of life against her mouth. She pulled back, trying to catch the flow, not wanting to waste a drop of his essence. It tasted better than anything she'd ever experienced in real life. It was more than drink, more than food. It went beyond mere sustenance. It was, quite literally, her life's blood.
Oh! It felt so real, just for that moment.
With a cry she came, jerking in uncontrollable little spasms, as her fingers drew out the last bit of pleasure. She fell on her side and her hand flew out to steady herself, knocking the bottle of wine from its perch, and onto her white sheets. The wine spread in a dark red pool. Grace didn't see--she was asleep, lost in blood-drenched dreams.