CHASE ME Excerpt!

Posted May 3 2012, 8:04 pm

In honor of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, an excerpt from my June 2012 Sourcebooks release, CHASE ME:

Once Beddoe was confident his legs would hold his weight, he strode to the front of the building. A roughly carved sign over the door read “Tubby’s.”The door didn’t open when he approached. He extended his arm, clasped the handle, and pulled. 

The building’s warmth enveloped him the minute he entered, but the smells trapped in the room were almost enough to make him turn around and take his chances with the howling animal outside: malty yeast. Primitive liquor. Perfumes and unguents covering sweat and other body scents. The light source audibly buzzed and emitted a noxious chemical odor. He smelled herb, and— 

“Excuse us,” a young woman murmured politely as she and a big male brushed past, hand-in-hand, smelling of very recent sex. 

Vampyr.The male was unmistakably Vampyr; the tingling in his fangs confirmed it. Like recognized like. It had always been so. Near-translucent data scrolled across the bottom of his field of vision. Humanoid male. Humanoid female. 

His data had some very dangerous gaps. 

The couple approached the long, narrow table bisecting the room and spoke to the wildly bearded man standing on the other side. Turning, the man tugged on a lever, dispensing straw-colored liquid—beer— into a drink vessel. While they waited, the couple spoke to a very small woman sitting at the long table. 

The little one didn’t look particularly happy to see them. “Go, sit,” she said. Picking up her own drink vessel, she waved a hand at the large screen mounted over the long counter, where stick-wielding men glided over a hard, white surface on bladed boots. “I’m watching the game.” 

The Vampyr frowned, but once the bearded man placed the brown, malty beverages on the table, he and the larger female departed, sitting at a table for two in the darkened corner. 

Leaving the tiny female all alone. 

His interest was piqued. Despite her stature, she was a woman, not a girl. Her breasts were small but well-formed, her hips slight but rounded in sexual maturity. Her near-white hair was… quite extraordinary, and to a man in his line of business that was saying something. A certain segment of his client base would absolutely love her. 

He could calculate the profit already. 

Clearing his throat, he approached, levering himself onto one of the row of odd backless seats. He left one empty seat between him and the woman, who busily sucked on a small red fruit impaled on a tiny spear.

“What can I getcha?” the giant of a man said from behind the oblong table. His grizzly gray facial hair cascaded to a barrel chest covered by a vividly colored red and black checked shirt. 

Beddoe looked at the row of colorful bottles, at the mechanical levers. The yeasty smell of the beer was making his stomach roll in a most unpleasant manner. What could he drink that wouldn’t make him ill? Gesturing to the small woman, he said, “I’ll have what she’s having.” 

The big man smirked. “One raspberry Cosmo coming up.” As he turned away, he muttered, “Goddamn metrosexuals.” 

“Citiot,” a man down the row said through a cough. 

He recognized the “goddamn” well enough—such colorful curses here on the surface—but “citiot”? “Metrosexual”? Given the men’s body language and tone of voice, the context didn’t seem complimentary.

A trio of trills emanated from a small rectangular device sitting on the table in front of the coughing man, who picked it up and spoke. The device looked enough like the comm unit he’d left behind on the ship that he could probably bring his with him the next time he came down to the surface. 

While the other man prepared his drink, Beddoe observed the room. What an odd mix of primitive and… even more primitive. Dead animal heads, stuffed and mounted, adorned the walls and stared at him with unblinking eyes. Brightly colored signs illuminated with ancient planetary gasses buzzed and popped and hummed. Music throbbed from a colorful box in the corner. A gravelly-voiced man begged someone to pour some sugar on him in the name of love. Up on the screen, men bashed a small, black, cylindrical object with hook-ended sticks.

The music was effective. He felt its pull at his groin—or maybe the pull came from the woman sitting at his right, suckling on the round red fruit with her flexible pink tongue. 

Beddoe tensed. He couldn’t see a weapon, but— 

“You from The Cities ?” the man continued. 

The man stank of herb and frustration, but he didn’t appear to be injured. The Cities? Beddoe remembered the man’s previous comment. Ah.“Yes, I’m a Citiot.” 

The man cleared his throat, and his face turned ruddy. “Sorry about that.” 

The bearded man placed a reddish drink in front of him, setting it on a small absorbent mat. “Gonna watch the game for a while? Opening a tab?” 

Payment.Dia, he’d arrived with empty pockets—not that they’d know what to do with his digital tender anyway. How had Minchin dealt with this issue? 

“Let me get that for ya,” the man said. “No hard feelings, eh?” 

The small female spoke. “Put it on my tab, Tubby.” Her voice was lower and smokier than he’d expected. “Any man who orders a raspberry Cosmo in a northern Minnesota bar either has confidence to burn or a very odd sense of humor.” 

No one had ever accused him of having a sense of humor, but he wasn’t about to contradict her. Not if it kept her talking to him. “Thank you,” he said, picking up the drink and taking a careful sip. Tart, fruity sweetness exploded on his tongue. He narrowed his eyes, nodded in approval, and took another sip. 

“Good, huh?” she said with a tiny feline smile. “These guys don’t know what they’re missing.” 

Before he could respond, a loud cheer suddenly rose from the screen where two warriors circled each other, drawing closer with a great sense of ceremony. They exchanged snarls, words, bumped chests. They threw the sticks, gauntlets, and helmets to the ground with quick, deliberate actions before lunging at each other, trading methodical bare-fisted punches. 

On screen, the crowd roared even louder. “Kick the f*cker’s ass, Walloch!” Tubby called up to the device. “Ivy League p*ssy.” 

The two men fell to the slippery surface and grappled for position, the warrior in dark colors—Walloch—quickly gaining the upper hand. The man on his back fought bravely, but Walloch, clearly dominant, repeatedly smashed his fist into the other man’s face. Blood spurted, staining skin, the man’s garment, and the hard, white surface. 

Beddoe’s fangs tingled. This Lord Stanley certainly had fierce warriors fighting for the honor of his cup.

The men rolled, scrabbling for purchase on the slippery surface, and still, the punches flew. First blood had been drawn. Why did they keep fighting?Just as he thought it, two men wearing black and white striped shirts approached, pulling Walloch up and off the other man by his arms. As the victor was led away, the defeated man lurched to his hands and knees, head hanging, spitting blood. 

On-screen, a melodious voice said, “And Walloch skates to the penalty box. Five minute major.” 

“Walloch couldn’t let that check on his captain go unpunished, Robert,” another disembodied voice added.

 The warrior Walloch grinned, exposing bloody teeth, as he took a seat in a box that any youngling could escape. Beddoe tongued his fangs. All that blood going to waste. 

“Look at that, Vance,” Tubby said, pointing to the screen where several people had joined the defeated man, crawling on their hands and knees, peering closely at the white surface. “Dude lost a tooth.” 

Vance, the man who’d offered to pay for his drink, raised his own glass in a toast. “He should look for his sac as long as he’s down there.” 

The small female rolled her eyes and set her empty glass on the table. “Hit me, Tubby.” 

What? Had she really asked the giant man to strike her? He outweighed her three to one. Why— 

Tubby simply turned and prepared another pink drink. 


Ramping up his glamour, Beddoe gestured to the empty chair between them, asking without words if he could join her. He’d bought and sold more flesh than he remembered, but this woman intrigued him. At her noncommittal shrug, he moved, not missing Tubby’s poorly-disguised disbelief when he set another beverage in front of her. 

“Thanks, Tub.” She turned and met his gaze. “Haven’t seen you around here before.” 

He caught his breath. Her eyes were the color of a Saurian sunrise. 

“I’m Paige,” she said, extending her child-sized hand. 

He took it, kissing her knuckles instead of shaking the hand, his fangs tingling at the sight of the tender veins and capillaries pulsing under the near-translucent skin of her inner wrist. Dia. “I’m…Robert.” 

“Robert,” she repeated with a bemused smile. “Not Bob or Bobby?” 

He shook his head. The name he’d heard the man on the screen call the other one was as good a name as any other, but if her smile was anything to go by, she approved. Her teeth were very small, and very, very white. The TonTon’scustomers always appreciated white teeth and fresh breath, and so did he. Still holding her hand, he gazed into her extraordinary eyes. 

You’re… smokin’ hot. 

Beddoe jerked back in surprise, dropping her hand. He’d heard the words, but her mouth hadn’t moved. Faerie? Here? 

“So you heard me. I thought so,” she murmured. She drank deeply before muttering under her breath, “Damn vamps.” 

She knew. 

“You’re not one of Lorin’s crew,” she continued, skimming those extraordinary eyes over his body. “What brings you to this fine establishment? Opening a cabin for the season? Vacationing?” 

Dia, she was looking at his hands, and he’d forgotten to remove Lorcan’s Ring of Allegiance before coming down to the surface. “Opening a cabin,” he repeated. Whatever that meant. 

She brought the triangular vessel up to her lips, tipped it back as she had the other one, and drained it. He quickly followed suit. “Would you like to escort me home?” she asked, already sliding off the stool. Would you like to feed? 

His fangs shoved down in response. His pulse surged. Suddenly he had a cockstand like he hadn’t had in ages. “Very much,” he said. 

They stood, and he escorted her toward the door with a light touch at the back of her waist. 

“Paige?” the young Vampyr called from his table on the other side of the room. 

“See you tomorrow, Mike,” she said without turning. 

Beddoe pulled the door open and followed her through it, ignoring the feel of the young Vampyr’s eyes boring into his back. Once the door closed behind them, they both took a deep breath of the cold, crisp air. 

Paige laughed, tipping her head back to meet his eyes. “The smell can be a little overwhelming, can’t it?”

 “Yes.” The light buzzing overhead illuminated tiny, pulsing veins. Saliva spurted in his mouth. “Where’s home?” 

“That way,” she said, indicating the dark, tree-lined road. 

He took her hand. “Let’s go.” 

The beacon could wait.

No Comments


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *