In The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, Vampire David Hilliard asks God to take pity on a vampire. He asks for love. Laura in a desperate moment climbs over the railing of the Brooklyn Bridge. Then she changes her mind and slips.
Laura lost herself, lost her will to trudge another day, lost the hope she always saw in her mother’s eyes. Her heart fluttered. I want to die. I don’t want to be hurt anymore.
She couldn’t stop crying, and the night sky opened up in sympathy. A police siren blared. Its rolling red lights blurred in the downpour like a watercolor painting. Life was washing away. Laura moved one foot into the air as if testing it. Her chest ached.
I don’t really want to die. An ember of hope still burned in her.
She twisted, holding on with one hand, while the other reached. She tried to grasp the rail. Her foot slipped. Her hand released.
Plunging into the darkness, fear rose inside while regret surged. She really didn’t want to die! God, help me! When she hit the wetness, she grasped at nothing. Nothing while the black water engulfed her into its depths.
Drowning hurts. She gasped and fought for air but lost her direction. As she floated down, her head filled with half images of family. Just as she focused on one picture, it would melt away. Her hands grew cold. She couldn’t feel her feet. Her lungs burned.
So this was dying.
“Thanks,” David said as he handed the driver his fare and watched the cab pull away from the curb into the rainy night. The cab’s passenger, an attractive young woman, would wake the next morning with a slight feeling of euphoria but otherwise no memory of their evening together. David grimaced to himself. He could do with some euphoria.
Then he looked across the street and sighed. There it was. A hotel stood in place of the family home his father built in 1857. He missed his mother and brothers. William and George, his older brothers, died in the war. David was supposed to die at Gettysburg, but that vampire . . . He closed his eyes to push away the memory that hurt so much. His honor was robbed that night when his blood seeped into the battlefield. That ghastly, white face stole his humanity with a single bite.
He shook his head studying the building. He took a room there once. He wanted to feel his mother’s gentle presence. He had been desolate. He needed her so the loneliness wouldn’t eat him. But David found nothing. No presence. No feeling the family ever existed.
Heavy rain beat down on him, but David remained untouched by a single drop. Pain, however, still reached through time to touch him.
“You are a deserter. You are no longer my son.”
The image of his little brother Thomas waving from an upstairs window. A hand-painted, wooden soldier David left on the back porch for the boy.
It was over that fast.
David walked down the street in the rain. While his hunger was satisfied, his longing was not. Blood was not enough anymore. Lust for strangers left him empty. David wanted love, and deep in his barely beating heart, he asked, God, take pity on a vampire.
Pain seared through his chest. He fell to his knees. David shook his head knowing vampires did not have heart attacks. Trying to stand, he froze. A vision. A woman falling. Despite the pain, he heard her cries and took to the air, then plunged into the East River.
A million contradictory thoughts ran through his brain, one being that he shouldn’t be in salt water, but he dismissed them all. He had to find her. A flash of gold caught his eye. He rushed toward it, found her, and pulled her to the surface. She didn’t stir. He pressed her face to his. She’s so cold but so soft. He sighed. Her lips are blue! Holding her tightly in his arms, he exploded from the water and minutes later landed across the street from a hospital.
I’ll just give her to them. All I have to do is walk across the street. She’ll be all right. But he didn’t move. She stirred feelings inside him like no one ever had. David didn’t want to let her go. More than anything he wanted her to live, but he sensed the massive injuries to her body. She had hit the water like concrete. Blood seeped from her ears. No. The moment he brushed her golden locks from her beautiful, still face, his heart broke. He cradled her against him like a child. I can’t let her die.
Her eyes fluttered. She coughed. He laid her on the small patch of grass between buildings. She puked, spewing out blood and black water. She wheezed, trying to breathe through shaky gasps.
“Oh, God, how I hurt!”
“I’m taking you to the hospital. It’s only across the street.”
“No hospital. I’ll try . . . again.” Ragged breaths interrupted her words. “I’ll kill myself . . . sooner or later.”
“Please, don’t say that.”
He looked so hurt. Even as her life slipped away, Laura couldn’t bear his pain. It’s a shame I didn’t meet you before the bridge. Her hands and feet were so cold now. She couldn’t feel them. Her heart felt tired, so very tired. The rain had stopped. Even the stars were fading. Her heart slowed so she could measure every beat. The world no longer exists, at least, not for me. She welcomed the release. Maybe in the next world, someone will love me. Maybe in the next world people won’t have to die. Maybe.
When she fell unconscious, David took to the sky again. Dawn was near, and he had to get her somewhere safe. The cemetery on the other side of the river would suffice. In the sheltered dark of the city’s ancestors, David embraced her. He understood the pain she held. As it radiated into him, he knew more and more about her. David could not let her die; he just couldn’t.
Her body was limp, beyond misery. If he didn’t act quickly, she’d be gone. David ripped her blouse to bare her neck, and then pierced the delicate flesh with his fangs. He drew her blood slowly into him and closed his eyes to concentrate. He had to catch that last beat. One, two, three, four. Each grew slower and fainter. Five. Then there was silence. Withdrawing his fangs from the wound, he bit his lower lip and allowed some of his own blood to seep into her. Then he licked the wound to help it close. A tear slid down his face. He mourned for the loss of her humanity and hoped she would accept his gift. The sun came up beyond the mausoleum’s walls, and David wrapped her in his coat. It would be hours before the change, but he would watch over her as if she might awaken any moment.
She was the loveliest creature he’d ever seen with her flowing blonde hair, the pale blue eyes he’d glimpsed just before they closed, the delicate features, and rose petal lips. He so wanted to taste those lips. Was it possible to love someone so completely when you first meet? Was she the answer to his eternal loneliness? He took her sweet hand in his and kissed it. He would wait.
Laura struggled through the dark and burst through a great light. She gasped for breath and it filled her. Warmth spread through her every part, then a surge of energy she didn’t understand. Her heart beat. Differently. Odd. Different from any feeling she’d ever had. Her eyelashes fluttered and then in the dim light of a strange windowless room, she saw a man’s face.
His dark, curly hair framed his chiseled features. What struck her most were his dark, fathomless eyes. I can get lost in those eyes and never want to leave.
She flushed. I hope he can’t hear what I’m thinking.
She sat up, smiling with embarrassment. “You pulled me out of the river?”
“Thank you.” Laura trembled. “I don’t understand. I was dying.”
“You were very badly injured in the fall. I was going to take you to the hospital, but you said, ‘No hospital.’ That you’d keep trying to kill yourself.” His jaw tightened. “I couldn’t bear the idea of your death. Please, forgive me, but I couldn’t let you die.” He gazed deeply into her eyes.
Laura moved her tongue inside her mouth and came across the fangs.
“Oh, my God!” She tried to sit up, but he pushed her gently down.
“Don’t get up just yet. You’re still healing.”
“You made me a vampire?” Every tale she’d heard as a child in New Orleans rushed back to her. Vampires were monsters. “Now I’m a monster!” Anger flushed through her. How dare he make her this! He had no right. She seethed.
“No. You are not a monster. Neither am I. I gave you a life. It’s your choice how you live it.”
Then another emotion unexpectedly filled her, when she gazed up into his eyes. I couldn’t bear the idea of your death. His tender words echoed in her entire being and soothed her broken heart, as if he’d kissed her lips without touching her. She looked at him with wonder, reached up and caressed the young beard on his chin. He smiled and she could see his fangs now. Strangely, she wasn’t frightened.
“We must do the last part.”
Wondering what’s next? For those that can’t wait for the contest, The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais is available in Kindle and Amazon Print at https://www.amazon.com/Stormy-Love-Life-Laura-Cordelais/dp/1493789546
And it’s at Barnes and Noble in print through their website at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stormy-love-life-of-laura-cordelais-susan-hanniford-crowley/1118066352
Now for the Contest!
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The winner gets their choice: one Kindle ebook from the list below, or a signed print copy of Vampire Princess of New York.
The contest ends when the party does! The winner will be announced the next day.
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
NEW: Vampire Princess of New York, Arnhem Knights of New York, Book 2 available in Kindle! And in Amazon Print. Available now in Barnes and Noble Print
Vampire King of New York, Arnhem Knights of New York, Book 1 available in Kindle and Print and Barnes and Noble Print
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Poseidon’s Catch (mythology romance) available in Kindle.
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A Vampire for Christmas,Vampires in Manhattan, Book 3 available in Kindle.
The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, Vampires in Manhattan, Book 2 available in Kindle and Print and Barnes and Noble Print
When Love Survives, Vampires in Manhattan Book 1 available in Kindle and Print, Nook, Kobo and Smashwords.