Deamhan Chronicles, Book One
Genre: Adult, paranormal
Publisher: Rainstorm Press
Number of pages: 218
Word Count: 85,000 words
Formats available: Print. E-book
Cover Artist: John Cosentino
Her soft golden skin, her warm smile…these are the only images Veronica Austin has left of her mother who disappeared without a trace twenty years ago on the streets of Minneapolis while researching the Ramanga, the Lamia, the Metusba, and the Lugat. Known only as the Deamhan, they are a different breed from the modern bloodsucking vampire.
A stranger to this world, Veronica’s search for the truth about her mother’s unexplained disappearance takes her into their sinister and precarious world. She gains the trust of the only other human familiar with the Deamhan lifestyle. With his help she finds not only can the Deamhan not be trusted but it’s her own father, president of a ruthful organization of researchers, who has diabolically maintained that distrust.
“You’re back,” a familiar voice said from behind Veronica.
She turned to find the waitress who’d served her the night before.
“You ran out in a hurry the other night,” the waitress stated as she placed a napkin on a nearby table.
“Oh yeah, I-I lost track of time. Sorry about that.” Veronica had no idea why she apologized. She looked over her shoulder. Realizing the twins weren’t following her, she caught her breath and relaxed.
“Wow, you look like you just saw a ghost,” the waitress said.
“I’m fine.” Veronica slicked back her hair.
“Can I get you anything?”
“No, nothing right now. Thanks.”
“You look like you need a drink.” The waitress ignored Veronica’s answer. “I’ll tell you what. We have a new drink. It’s on the house.” The waitress playfully slapped Veronica on her wrist. “It’s called Sensual Appetite, and it’s delish!” She patted a chair next to the table. “Sit and relax.” She leaned toward Veronica and whispered, “My name is Chelsea. If you need anything else, just holler.”
Before Veronica could refuse, the waitress pushed through the crowd and disappeared. A fresh burst of fog spewed from a machine above, engulfing the dance floor. The gyrating crowd cheered in approval.
Veronica’s eyes moved to the back at a small room nestled in the corner directly above the dance floor. A rowdy cheer to her left caught her attention. A group of scantily dressed men and women hovered around a circular table. The light flickered above them. Veronica recognized Alexis; her arms draped around the neck of a man sporting a business suit and red tie. He sipped from a chalice and pointed to the crowd on the dance floor.
Chelsea returned and placed a clear plastic cup on the table in front of Veronica. The dark red drink had no ice, but a hint of blue had settled at the bottom of the cup. “Here you go,” she said, tucking the tray underneath her arm.
“I’m not thirsty.” Veronica pushed the cup away.
Immediately Chelsea latched onto her wrist and pulled Veronica’s hand toward the cup. “Nonsense.” Chelsea’s eyes narrowed in on Veronica. Her eyes turned black and her mouth opened slightly, revealing her fangs. “Now drink up, researcher. Don’t let a good drink go to waste.”
Veronica looked to her left then to her right. The club music seemed low-set as all eyes in the vicinity were on her, including Alexis’. Chelsea released her grip and waited for Veronica to drink.
Veronica grasped the cup, lifting it to her lips. She closed her eyes, paused, and then tipped the cup. When the liquid touched her lips, she opened her eyes. The Deamhan now encircled her, standing close enough that Veronica felt Chelsea’s breasts pushed against her forearm.
“Drink,” Chelsea whispered, “or I’ll drink you.”
Veronica took a long, deep swallow; thick liquid slid down her throat. The wretched taste of iron and blood made her choke, and she dropped the cup onto the floor, gagging. The Deamhan laughed.
Veronica shoved a napkin to her mouth as the liquid circled in her stomach. Her eyes filled with tears and her mouth frothed. She rushed to the bathroom, elbowing her way through the crowd. Her stomach gurgled and heaved. A sudden gust of air pushed her forward, and cold hands grasped her arms and yanked her into the bathroom.
“Please struggle.” The voice of the taller twin tickled Veronica’s ear.
“Yes, please.” The voice of the shorter twin tickled Veronica’s other ear.
With the bathroom door slammed shut behind them, the twins pushed Veronica to the cold, dirty floor. She winced as her ribs smacked the tile; pain shot through her stomach and into her back. She stole a glance under the stalls before she raised her head. They were alone. Bare fluorescent bulbs flickered overhead, giving the room an ominous glow.
The taller twin gripped Veronica’s arms in her powerful grasp. She easily lifted Veronica to her feet and violently slammed her against the bathroom wall. Breathless, Veronica made a dash for the door, but was shoved back. The taller twin wrapped her fingers around Veronica’s neck. Veronica clawed, trying to break free, but the Deamhan was too strong.
Veronica stared into the twin’s dark, menacing eyes. Her vision twisted in and out. The bathroom floor rippled as if water suddenly covered the floor. Veronica’s head swooned and fear dissipated. The drink flowed through her veins, intoxicating her.
It was a high she hadn’t felt since she smoked weed for the first time in her teenage years. A sense of invincibility and relaxation overtook her. She tried envisioning a brick wall in preparation for the Deamhan twins to invade her thoughts, but the tingling sensation never came. Instead she drifted into the furthest part of her mind where she kept sacred memories of her mother carefully hidden from human and Deamhan alike.
“I told you, sister.” The tall twin licked her lips. “She’s ripe.” The Deamhan twins knowingly locked eyes and giggled.
With a handful of Veronica’s hair in her grasp, the taller twin pulled, yanking Veronica’s head violently to the side. She opened her mouth and her canines protruded from her pale gums. “Her scent is strong, Brandy. And her skin,” she said, sniffing Veronica’s neck, “is so soft.” She stuck out her tongue and licked Veronica’s neck from her ear to her collarbone.
Veronica shivered from the trail of wet spittle left on her skin.
“What to do with her.” The tall twin increased her grip around Veronica’s throat. “She doesn’t have the markings of a minion.”
Brandy stepped away from the door. “But, Branda, I heard she is protected.” Her mouth opened, exposing sharper and longer fangs than her sister’s.
“What Deamhan would be stupid enough to give a researcher protection?” Branda scoffed. “Especially one as stupid as her.”
Protected? Veronica struggled to keep her eyes opened. Darkness toyed at her periphery, and she thought she might faint from lack of oxygen.
“I want her first, sister.” Brandy’s eyes widened. “Oh, can I? Can I please have first bite?”
“Sure.” Branda slowly released her grip.
Veronica gasped, her lungs searing as they engulfed fresh air.
“But don’t get greedy.”
Brandy replaced her sister’s stance and shoved Veronica back against the wall. She sniffed the side of Veronica’s face and chortled as Veronica struggled against her. “I like it when they fight.” Brandy closed her eyes and swayed her head back and forth as she spoke in a singsong voice. “Like a fly, caught in a spider web, about to meet its maker.”
“Protected.” Branda huffed, her nostrils flaring. “What a crock of shit.”
A strong wind manifested, and Brandy instantly released her grip. Her head jerked to the bathroom door as it flew open on its own.
Veronica’s legs crumbled. She fell to the floor gasping for air. She looked up in time to see a fuzzy image of the Deamhan twins running out of the bathroom with Deamhan speed and the door slamming shut behind them.
Whatever scared them away had impeccable timing.
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