This is a teaser from War of Nytefall: Ravenous. It focuses on a character who caught me by surprise. Desirae wasn’t supposed to get as big as she did in this book and the ensuing adventures. Yet, she ended up becoming a key figure for major events. Pick up her debut as a 99 cent eBook or a $12 paperback.
Desirae Duvall adjusts the basin sitting beneath the naked calico, who has been suspended from the ceiling. Feeling an itch behind her pointy ear, the vampiric elf keeps her hands free by stretching her tongue to scratch the spot. She taps her bare foot on the cool floor of the laboratory while she watches blood slowly drink from the groaning woman. Hearing a bubbling from her left, Desirae reaches across the room to snuff out a candle and pours the contents of the heated vial into a vat that changes from orange to pink. The love potion fills the room with a sweet smell that she finds nauseating, but knows that some of her employees need the boost since they are still mastering their seduction skills. Pouring the mixture into a series of bottles, she taps at the calico to see if any more blood will come out of the woman. Seeing that there is still color in the skin, she wraps one of her legs around the nearly dead prisoner and squeezes it dry like one would do to a lemon. Satisfied that she has what her client wants, she uncoils her limb and sheds her gore covered clothes that are tight enough to show off every one of her curves. Donning a white coat that stops at her knees and is missing the top two buttons, Desirae stretches backwards until her head is touching her heels and her back cracks. With a wide swing of her arm, she spreads all of the blinds to let the rising sun enter the stuffy laboratory, but finds that all of the openings are being blocked.
“What have I told you about staying by the windows?” the Dawn Fang asks in a musical voice. Her cheery tone hides her frustration, which is only revealed by a spark deep within her sapphire eyes. “I know you can turn to stone and imitate gargoyles, but you’re not helping the disguise when you sit in front of the windows. All of you mean well and I appreciate the work you do for me. Still, this is a semi-hidden location and I have a business to run down below. Not that down below, but I’d prefer that part of my life not be interfered with either. Our clients would wonder why I’d block the view and I don’t like questions. Please go to the roof . . . Except for numbers eight and twenty-six. You two can come inside for a chat.”
Desirae watches most of the shadows spread their wings and awkwardly jump to the next floor while two remain behind. Enlarging one of the windows, she steps to the side and points at an empty table while the harpies enter. Both of the creatures keep their heads down and give off an apologetic vibe as they repeatedly chirp. A few feathers fall out and Desirae promptly scoops them up to inspect each one before placing them in a glass box. Stretching her arms to stroke her creations’ cheeks, her eyes roll back and she scans their minds. All she can hear is wild screaming and a desire to destroy, which causes her to break contact and pour herself a small glass of brandy. Instead of drinking the shot, she pours it on the feathers and drops a lit candle into the box. Everything bursts into flames and releases a green fume that is sucked out of the building through a vent in the ceiling. With a tired sigh, the Dawn Fang approaches the harpies and wraps her arms around their necks to pull them in for a hug. Whispering soothing words, she plants loving kisses on their cheeks before decapitating them with a savage twist. Tossing the heads into a vat of bubbling acid, she stretches her leg to grab a tasseled rope near the door and pulls it to ring a high-pitched bell.
“It’s always a sad day when I have to retire any of my babies,” Desirae whispers as she stares at the dissolving faces. Once all of the flesh is gone, she reaches in to grab the skulls and shakes the liquified brains onto a tray. “All we can do is examine the remains and make sure this doesn’t happen again. The client wanted us to be discreet and capture the mother of a calico who was turning eighteen. She wants such specific blood types and it’s difficult to do that if people are on the lookout for my babies. That’s why I told you not to kill anyone. Injuries and property damage would garner less attention. Dropping mortals on rocks like you would a tasty coconut is not something I can overlook. Renald! I rang the bell and you still aren’t here. Bring the reports and a marooned sailor!”
Not wanting to start on her work when she is irritated, Desirae takes off her white coat and goes to a chair placed in a rounded alcove. She opens a wardrobe to take out a new shirt and pants, which she pours her flexible body into with a sultry purr. Running her manicured fingers through her chocolate brown hair, the Dawn Fang stops to rub the tips of her ears. She closes her eyes and sways her hips as she remembers the clients that she entertained a night ago. Her tongue slithers out of her mouth to touch at a series of envelopes, each one with a name on top and sealed by a waxy fingerprint. She places them in a cabinet drawer that locks when she pushes it closed, the edge turning white as the packages are teleported to their destinations. Desirae licks her lips and turns on her heels, her eyes gradually opening like she is awakening from a deep slumber.
The vampire nearly screams at the sight of a gray-haired man standing only a few inches away from her. She steps back and puts a hand on her heaving chest while the silent figure places a stack of papers on a nearby table. His dark skin is covered in white scars, which are all fringed with a sickening red. There is no emotion in his face and his eyes are vivid orange orbs that lack pupils, the combination giving him a demonic appearance. Simple pants and boots cover his lower half while his chest is exposed to show that he once had a tattoo that has been reduced to a few patches of black ink between the old wounds. A weathered jacket is draped over one of his arms, its dark blue fabric showing no signs of stitching. Reaching into the garment, the man pulls out the hollowed half of a coconut that contains an aromatic liquid and offers it to the scowling woman. She politely takes the drink and runs her finger around the edge to gather some of the creamy alcohol on her nail. Licking the sour treat, she continues to meet the man’s gaze, but her expression gradually softens.
“I brought this on myself when I made an enforcer who specializes in stealth,” Desirae admits with a seductive coo. Knowing that her wiles have no effect on her employee, she takes a seat and gestures for him to look through the stack of reports. “I trust you to give me the basics, Renald. This has been a busy morning and I’m still tired from last night. We have five more names to put on the blackmail list and another eight who have agreed to share their spoils with our organization. Twenty orders for our specialties need to be filled by the end of the month and we need to restock the Pleasure Shadow’s pantries. Been a long time since I worked so hard, so I will have to read the reports more thoroughly when I’m rested. Now, where do we stand in our more urgent endeavors?”
“I will try my best, but this is not what you created me for,” Renald admits before two more of him step out from behind his back. The three vampires split the stack of papers and read them quickly before combining back into a single entity. “All of the girls are healthy and working on various targets. We are having some trouble with a prince from a small island in Cerascent because he still loves his betrothed. We will administer the love potion to him and a few other difficult patrons to fix the problems. Your finances have surpassed your business rival, but only because she had to rebuild the Scrumptious Siren. We don’t have exact numbers due to the loss of our agent, but the accountant you made in Gaia has given us a good estimate. Aside from the harpies, your babies have earned minimal attention during their errands. The zoo is being moved to an island that I have purchased under one of your newest aliases. It will not make a big impact upon the treasury since I used my own tactics to bring the price down. Can I stop talking like this?”
“You must always be proper when giving me the weekly reports, Renald,” the yawning Dawn Fang declares with a giggle. Not wanting to upset her enforcer, she reaches out to take the papers and places them in her wardrobe. “Thank you for humoring me even though you hate numbers. I need you to bring the next delivery to our hungry client. Bottle what I wrung out of the calico and leave as soon as possible. Take the dread boar if you want, but I’d rather you be discreet. Please have one of your clones stay behind with me.”
“I have told you before that they will not satisfy you.”
“Very few do.”
LikeLiked by 1 person
So interesting that you didn’t think Desirae would have such a big role. It’s great when characters catch you by surprise. This happened to me with a character who was not going to exist beyond one chapter. I wound up writing a whole book about him. It usually makes me wonder why I didn’t see my character the way someone else saw that character. 😊
Did you think the same thing about Trinity’s role in the Windemere?
Trinity was a little different. She was always part of the story through the 10th book. I ended up altering her fate after I wrote ‘Allure of the Gypsies’ and kept an eye out for other alterations.
Desirae was slated for a single book and a vague fate. I considered her coming back for another event when I was at the end of my career. I made the changes in the middle of ‘Ravenous’ when I got a better feel for her.
LikeLiked by 1 person
So cool when characters extend their stay!
Not what I expected which is awesome. I’m not sure what a Dawn Fang is but they sound properly gruesome. Her interactions with the harpies and the enforcer show that she is in control and prepared to do what it takes. These stories should do well.
Thanks. The Dawn Fangs are a species of vampire in Windemere. They’re immune to the sun, have beating hearts, and retain their humanity. They’re still dangerous when provoked though.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Fantastic! This is a series that I need to explore! Marking it down to buy asap. Is there one you recommend to start with or can they be read in any order?
They do go in order. The first book of the series is War of Nytefall: Loyalty.
Pingback: How Do Your Fictional Characters Get Around? by Traci Kenworth – A Dash of Words with Loleta Abi Romance Author