Bitten by Darkness came out this past January, but I wrote it in late autumn. For me, the seasons really influence my writing. When I imagine walking through the woods or down a city street, the wind tells me what season it is. If there are flowers, their color reminds me of spring or autumn. If it’s rainy or cold or snowing, I need to write that feeling of being part of the world into my books. In honor of that visceral sense of season, here’s what I imagined Jasper saw when he first came back home to Earth at the beginning of Bitten by Darkness:
From Chapter Five:
The star-skimmer woke him up at the appointed time. Jasper checked the controls, satisfied when he saw that he was in Earth’s orbit. He knew the technology on Earth had grown at a breakneck pace since he’d last been here, two hundred some years ago, and he’d adjusted the ship’s systems accordingly when he built it. It should be invisible to all but the most sophisticated sensors. If anyone did happen to see it, they would think it one of the small asteroids that passed close to the planet. Harmless. Inert.
It had only been two days since he’d left Dekcol. Two days to cross nearly twenty-one light years. His research had paid off, the grav-lensor functioning perfectly. No one else could travel the stars so fast. No one else would, especially not those vermin he’d left behind. It took them at least a few weeks’ travel, still, to journey from star to star. He knew they’d catch up with him eventually, but he had enough time to complete his plans. To perfect the vengeance he’d hidden so carefully for so long. Everything would happen perfectly in its time. No one would ever suspect his hand when they all died. They would have administered the poison to themselves. He smiled grimly, feeling a sense of peace for the first time in centuries.
He adjusted the thrusters and prepared to enter the atmosphere, first hacking into the planet’s information networks. His computer quickly assimilated the latest information: maps, air traffic control, and possible weather issues. When he was satisfied that he could make a quiet landing, he tapped his screen and entered the command for entry. Then he sat back and tried to enjoy the view. Earth didn’t look much different from when he’d left, except for the proliferation of artificial light. It was rather pretty. He’d kept abreast with all the changes by skimming Dekcol’s classified information databases. Even though the Blood Council told the people they’d stopped all extra-planetary activity, Jasper knew better. He was one of them, after all, a viper in a pit of fat pythons. He smiled again, amused that even his metaphors veered toward native Earth species. Soon he would be home.
Dekcol had been systematically harvesting life from numerous planets for centuries. Earth was just their latest conquest, and of course, the most seductive. Jasper grimaced, tightening his fingers on his harness. He thought about his brother. Ambrose had fallen in love with a native and married her. Had a child that even now Jasper regretted being unable to find and care for, all those years ago. The people here weren’t perfect, but they did their best to care for their children. The Blood Council, on the other hand, enslaved the ones they loved and ate the weak. He’d hated being one of them.
The ship rattled as the atmosphere heated the hull. Jasper closed his eyes. No sense dwelling on it now. He knew there were some Dekcolians left on Earth, blood-drinkers like him, except for one crucial difference: he never, ever took sustenance from a sentient creature. It was not only pointless, it was also unethical and immoral. Living in such a way poisoned the eater. That way lay madness.
Unfortunately, most of the Dekcolians stranded on Earth after the last exodus, when Jasper was forced to leave, thought differently. They believed feeding on humans conferred gifts. Strength. Longevity. Psychic powers. Drinking sentient blood was also addictive. Once begun, there was no stopping.
The ultimate tragedy, as far as he was concerned, was that eventually, all Dekcolians developed the same gifts over time. There was no need to hurry the process and lose whatever sense of compassion they had in the process. At a little over five hundred years old, Jasper was one of the oldest of his people, though some rare few could live to see a thousand. Like Alucard, may he die soon and badly. Jasper had all those gifts of strength and mind and more, as well as the wisdom to use them wisely.
No, they’re not my people. Not now, not ever again, he thought, forcing his eyes open. The viewport was flaming orange as the friction of the ship heated the air’s molecules. Soon enough, though, the fire gave way to soothing darkness. He shut off the automatic protocols and took control of the skimmer.
It was time to go home. He’d programmed the ship to zero in on the North American continent then used the old beacon embedded in the east tower of the mansion to orient himself. The soft, rolling Appalachian Mountains stretched out below him, dark and comforting. As he flew closer to the surface, his heart began to beat faster and faster. Calmly, he told himself as he spotted the light stone of his family’s manor, hidden in the trees that had grown wild over the centuries.
There it is. Home, he thought, dipping the nose of the ship down until he hovered over the flat surface of the back courtyard, protected by the east and west wings of the house. Not even a leaf stirred as he set the ship down, the anti-grav dampeners working just as well here in Earth’s lighter gravity as they had when he was testing the systems back on Dekcol. He sat silently for a moment then shut everything down. He had to force his fingers away from the controls. He felt light, as if he were dreaming, though he knew better. He tapped one last command. The ship’s canopy dematerialized and he took the first free breath he’d had in longer than he cared to acknowledge, lifting his face to the night sky.
He was home.
Click here to read an excerpt.
Shifters/Vampires, Paranormal, Erotic, Sci-fi, Romantic Suspense, MF
Sienna knows she’s different, knows she’s missing some essential part of her soul, and she’s okay with that until she encounters Jasper. Unfortunately, meeting the love of her life for the first time while he’s standing over her wounded best friend in the middle of the woods isn’t the most auspicious beginning.
Jasper is dangerous. Alluring. Everything she should fear, especially when she discovers he’s out for revenge against the vampire who murdered his brother. Her mother warned Sienna to stay far away from the monsters, but how can she let Jasper face them on his own?
Revenant, vampire, slave—darkness is coming for them. Will evil consume Jasper and Sienna, or will love prevail?
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