Blood Diva by VM Gautier

Excerpt I – Heat Level — VERY HOT/ADULT

From Chapter 2

The horrible buzzing resembled no natural sound. Alphonsine reached out,

hitting the alarm clock with enough force to send plastic flying like shrapnel.

“Merde,” she said, lifting the lilac-scented sleep mask to survey the

damage.

The thick black curtains were closed and the room was dark, but she

could feel the sun had not quite set. Next time stick to champagne, she reminded

herself. The copious amount of whiskey had left her head pounding. The fruit of

the vine was mother’s milk to her, but she’d never had much of a tolerance for

grain alcohol, and while the effects were not seen on her face, they might be felt,

especially when she awoke before it was time.

But she’d promised Pierre she wouldn’t be late. It wasn’t that she wished

to please him. She simply couldn’t stand how smug he’d become about her habits.

She hated being predictable.

Her headache would be gone if she waited a few more minutes till sunset,

but she didn’t have the patience. She reached into her night table, grabbing a

small glassine envelope, placed a bit of powder on her finger, and snorted just

enough to numb the pain.

She stood up and went to the curtained wall. Despite the stories, her kind

did not implode if out before sundown. It was one of many myths designed to

keep them safe, not much more truthful than stories about not being able to cross

water, needing an invitation to enter a residence, or having an especially strong

aversion to garlic.

Daylight, however, was still to be avoided. They were by nature nocturnal,

and the longing for sleep might weigh obsessively on the mind. One could use

potions to stay awake – drugs in sufficient quantity to kill most mortals, but

nothing could overcome the weakness and vulnerability. Worst of all, sunlight

caused aging, and at an even more rapid rate than for the day-walkers. The

occasional morning stroll, the rare afternoon ride, could over a century add

a decade or more, and when one survived on one’s looks and charms, any

diminishment was perilous. In direct daylight there would be a tingling, a warning

mechanism from the body that would become more intense and unpleasant, but

when it was essential to be seen, her kind could pass.

She opened the curtain revealing the island across the river, the lights of

the city coming on as the orange globe went down. There was something riveting

about watching its power wane. Despite her nakedness, she slid open the terrace

door and stepped out to take it all in. There it was before her, the shimmering

waters of the East River, and beyond it Manhattan, lit up in its glory. She felt the

wind on her face and stretched out her arms. She made a sound halfway between

a scream and a howl, a welcome to the moon. She could feel her energy returning.

It was night, and the night was hers.

Lacking was the music of insects, birds, wildcats with their grumbling

mating calls, the howls of wolves – what her people called night-song. But then,

from the time she first came to Paris at fourteen, she’d always been a city girl, and

cities had their own pleasures.

Her bathroom was en-suite, but could be accessed through a second door

from the living room. Rosa, who came in the mornings to clean, routinely filled

the bath. There was a timed heater that kept the water warm. Alphonsine slipped

into the oversized tub.

She dove under the bubbles. While her kind needed to breathe, they could

control respiration and stay under for hours. She enjoyed soaking this way in

very hot water, allowing herself to think and dream. Her morning kill had been so

unusual, so exciting, she wanted to relive every detail.

She hadn’t been planning to feed that night, though it had been almost

four weeks. She could go five, even six in a pinch, but after that long she felt so

fatigued it was hard to distinguish day from night. Pierre and she were planning

to get out of town to feast together. He often chided her for her recklessness,

pointing out it was not like the old days. Trains, planes, and automobiles made

it easy to place distance between oneself and one’s prey. No reason to kill where

one lived, but sometimes, one couldn’t help oneself.

She had left the party feeling a particular restlessness. At first believing

sex alone might be enough to stave off the hunger, her plan had been to head

downtown or back to Brooklyn to find some pretty thing to hook up with. Then

she caught a scent, felt something unique was waiting. Violent images flooded her

mind as she entered the bar. It was coming into focus – a mortal who killed, not

in war, but for fun. While her telepathic powers were weak – she was after all still

quite young, she could sense emotions, especially strong ones, and he had been a

seething caldron of barely suppressed rage.

Under the warm water, she could still taste it on her tongue, his blood, his

essence – all of that delicious hate, and yet in the intimacy of the death-grip, she

felt more, his humanity, as though they both were spiraling backwards in time to a

moment when even he was innocent.

She’d given him peace. It had been a good death for him. True, she had

frightened him when she jumped out. They said in the best hunts the prey never

suspected, never felt a moment of unease, but allowances had to be made. After

all, he believed he had killed her. She couldn’t let him go to his grave thinking

Blood was more than nourishment. It was a sacrament. Some said the

blood itself contained the very soul. She doubted such a thing existed. She

only knew it had something – a power, a magic like nothing else. Strange how

easily satisfied beings like her were, hardly the monsters depicted in myth. As

pleasurable as it might be to hunt and feast every night, like the noble lion, they

only did so when hungry.

No two people tasted the same – not father and son, nor brother and sister,

not even twins. This she knew from her own experience. Children’s blood had a

sweetness like the candied grapes young men once brought her as tokens between

acts at the opera. There was a freshness to young blood, like apples picked in the

summer at a perfect moment of ripeness. Teenaged girls tasted of secrets, and

boys of lust. Women, pretty ones, whose hearts had been broken had a certain

tenderness and resignation, especially if you came to them when their looks were

fading, and there wasn’t much hope. There were men who had an edge like a wine

with a bitter after taste, while others were warm and smooth. The old, whom she

wasn’t fond of, tasted of sadness, disappointment, and defeat, though they would

certainly do when convenient. Human blood, like the human voice, had different

timbres. Some had the richness and depth of a bass-baritone while others were

light but agile like a coloratura soprano.

A killer, however, especially one who dispatched his own so

remorselessly, this was a rare treat indeed. The essence would hold within it all

whom he had taken. For her to act so boldly, to take so many chances to have

him, was a risk, but what would be the point of immortality without gambles?

And she had always loved games of chance.

When she walked in and saw him, saw those thick arms, the sandy hair,

could already feel what it would be like to fuck him, to take him perhaps when he

was inside her, she knew she had to go through with it. The combination of lust

and hunger made her almost giddy, barely able to contain herself.

Still immersed, Alphonsine began to touch her thighs, working up to her

pussy, replaying the night.

As soon as she sat down at the bar it became clear he had picked her,

imagined her as his next victim. It was too delicious! A chance for play-acting.

Something different and rough.

Alphonsine lifted her head above the water, feeling the urge to breathe.

Her breaths became quick as she felt her release, the first taste of his blood a vivid

memory. Her kind not only felt everything more strongly than mortals, but could

recall in full sensory detail.

It had been everything she hoped. Feeling him draining, feeling his life

force leaving his body, merging into hers. That final beat of his cruel heart. A

rush of something – all his anger, perhaps? It overwhelmed her for a second and

then was gone. And he had looked so tranquil – transformed by death – beyond

the desire to hurt and kill, beyond it all, finally at rest – a gift she had bestowed

She had closed his eyes, and kissed him once softly on the lips before

beginning the task of clean up.

The act of remembering left her not hungry for more blood, but still

unsatisfied.

She went back to bed, and reaching over to the night table brought out a

vibrator, thrusting it in and out until she finally felt normal. It was not unusual

after a feeding to be as randy as a teenaged boy. It was always better to hunt with

a partner, to wake together in each other’s arms, able to satisfy any remaining

urges. It didn’t matter whether the bedmate was male or female, or what one

usually preferred. Often, she and Pierre comforted each other after feeding,

though he was naturally drawn to men, and more like an older sibling. That was

another thing mortals missed, how gentle and loving they could be with each

other. They were, as Pierre had once put it, the bonobos of the supernatural.

When she was ready, she rose from the bed. While her smashed clock was

no help, she was sure she was running late as always. There was an important

opening at the gallery – a group show of new artists, and she herself had made

arrangements for the gala. There would be a poetry slam and a band, and press

of course. She pictured the stern look Pierre would give her when she arrived.

He kept an apartment above the gallery, and had probably been up since late

afternoon, but then a man could afford to look a bit weathered, to pass for forty

rather than twenty-five. She could not.

She decided to wear the red dress that night – the one that looked like the

one worn by Violetta in that modern dress version of La Traviata she’d seen with

Pierre. He’d get the reference.

She pulled her long hair back and expertly twisted it into a single high

braid. After working on her make-up, she stepped out into the main room. It was

about five hundred square feet, large only by New York standards. There was an

open space separated from the small kitchen area by a black granite counter. Rosa

had left the usual items out – the vase with camellias, only three, cut fresh and

sent to her every day, courtesy of an old acquaintance. She grabbed a single one

and pinned it in her hair. There were newspapers – The New York Times so she

could learn what was happening in the world, Le Monde because wherever she

wandered for however long, Paris would always be her home, and the New York

Post because she loved reading about the exploits of the fashionable on Page Six,

where she sometimes got a “shout-out” – or rather her current identity did. To the

world she was now Camille St. Valois.

She pressed the button on her espresso machine and waited for the dark

liquid to fill the cup, as she checked e-mail on her phone. How wonderful to be

living in the twenty-first century, where servants were hardly even necessary,

and anyone could have anything in an instant. She had once lived her life at light

speed. What else could one do when diagnosed with an inevitably fatal illness

while still a teenager? Time had not been an enemy for many years, and yet she

still wanted to fill every night with pleasure.

She savored the odor of the Sidamo beans, recalling an Ethiopian prince

she’d once known. It had made her sad to kill him, but his suspicions were

dangerous and she couldn’t resist his sweet royal blood.

Her kind didn’t need food or drink to survive, but a strong cup of coffee in

the dawn of the evening was almost as essential to her as the life giving elixir that

flowed from the veins of still-living mortals.

Skimming through the New York papers she saw nothing about her

activities the previous evening – neither the gathering she’d attended earlier, nor

her feast. Despite having risen early to avoid being late, she decided to enjoy a

few more quiet moments before rushing out to work.


 
Blood Diva
VM Gautier
 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
 
ISBN: 978-1496027511
ASIN B00MKM072W
Nook 2940150733404
Kobo: 9781501416071
I-Books: 908464724
Number of pages: 435
Word Count: 121,000
Book Description:
The 19th century’s most infamous
party-girl is undead and on the loose in the Big Apple.
When 23 year-old Parisian
courtesan, Marie Duplessis succumbed to consumption in 1847, Charles Dickens
showed up for the funeral and reported the city mourned as though Joan of Arc
had fallen. Marie was not only a celebrity in in her own right, but her list of
lovers included Franz Liszt – the first international music superstar, and
Alexandre Dumas fils, son of the creator of The Three Musketeers. Dumas fils
wrote the novel The Lady of the Camellias based on their time together. The
book became a play, and the play became the opera La Traviata. Later came the
film versions, and the legend never died.
But what if when offered the
chance for eternal life and youth, Marie grabbed it, even when the price was
the regular death of mortals at her lovely hand?
Today, Marie wonders if perhaps
nearly two centuries of murder, mayhem, and debauchery is enough, especially
when she falls hard for a rising star she believes may be the reincarnation of
the only man she ever truly loved. But is it too late for her to change? Can a
soul be redeemed like a diamond necklace in hock? And even if it can, have men
evolved since the 1800′s? Or does a girl’s past still mark her?
Blood
Diva is a sometimes humorous, often dark and erotic look at sex, celebrity,
love, death, destiny, and the arts of both self-invention and seduction. It’s a
story that asks a simple question – Can a one hundred ninety year-old
demimondaine find happiness in 21st century Brooklyn without regular infusions
of fresh blood?

 

About the Author:
VM Gautier is a pseudonym. This is not VM’s first book, but it is VM’s first book with fangs. VM is no one you’ve heard of and is not trying to fool anyone. All will probably be revealed soon, but meantime VM is enjoying the masquerade. 



We are never more ourselves than when we wear a disguise.

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