Excerpt from Kill Me, by Alex Owens
The lights dimmed and for the briefest second I found myself alone, in the dark, with Clive behind me and out of my sight line. I had the irrational (or maybe not so irrational) fear that he would take the chance while my back was turned, literally. I turned to reassure myself that he was not preparing to eat me.
Only I couldn’t see him.
That was a bad, bad feeling. Kind of like being a kid and certain that something was hiding in your closet—only it’s dark and you can’t be sure.
“Oh, how I want to,” Clive said, his lips grazing my ear as he spoke, before traveling down the length of my neck in warp speed.
I jumped and almost dropped the violin. While fumbling to regain control of the errant instrument, Clive used the distraction against me. He pulled me down from my perch on the arm of the settee and enveloped me with strong arms and his solid torso. I struggled, but it was like fighting a strait-jacket.
I heard his teeth clack near my head at the same time I felt his body pressing into the small of my back.
My vision clouded red. I was seriously past irritated.
Easy. Stay calm. A duo of voices sounded in my head. I’d become used to hearing my own thoughts and more recently to the voice I assumed was Bette’s, but who was the new voice? I didn’t have time to think about that further, as the curtain parted silently, revealing the stage to the audience.
I calculated that I had less than thirty seconds to pull myself together before I was supposed to start. I inhaled deeply, closing my eyes and relaxing into Clive. It was the first time I tried to borrow someone’s talent on purpose, so I pictured my mental brick-fortress and nudged a few bricks out of place, leaving a hole big enough to let Clive’s talent in. A melody came to me, somber and dark. Gooseflesh spread down my arms.
I felt his hand stiffen on my back, telling me that I’d tapped into his talent just fine for my first official time. Bonus points that Clive didn’t seem to enjoy the connection. Clearly, he was used to being feared, not used. That thought brought a smile to my face as I lifted my eyes, pulled the violin under my chin and prepared to play.
I tapped my foot on the scuffed black stage, counting in to my first note. As the time approached I let myself go, mentally drifting as I heard myself making beautiful music. It was a slow and morose ballad that I’d never heard before. Nonetheless, it felt familiar to my soul. Or maybe that was Clive’s soul?
Yeah, right. Clive didn’t have a soul.
The song undulated around me in a hazy aura of colors that only I could see. I reached the first lull in the song and rested the bow on my lap. Clive shifted ever-so slightly behind me and I could feel his lips brush my ear. I expected him to say something crass or irritating, but he remained silent.
I was overcome with a feeling of sadness and loss. It was like my heart was breaking and I could literally feel it in my chest, cleaving in two. I closed my eyes, willing the pain to recede. Instead, I saw an image, a flickering still-frame from eons ago. A dark haired man cradled a limp child in his arms, wailing up to the gray sky as rain poured down around them. The cobbled street was dark, lit by dim gas lamps every hundred feet or so. There was no one else around to witness the man’s pain. But I witnessed it still.
Clive nudged me and I came back to myself. I wasn’t sure what had just happened, but if my suspicions were correct, I’d just taken a trip down Clive’s memory lane. That’s the one thing that most people, including myself, forget—monsters are not just born, they are created and shaped by experiences.
But enough of feeling sorry for Clive; I didn’t want to let my guard down as far as he was concerned. No matter what he’d experienced in the past or what he’d lost, he was dangerous in the here and now. I’d be smart to remember that.
Claire Adams is the star of the new book Kill Me, by Alex Owens. You can find out more about Claire by visiting the book’s Amazon page, the Blood Chord Series site or the publisher’s site, QuirkyGurl.com.
Blurb/ About the Novel:
Three days ago, Claire was a wife, a mother, and very much alive… then the music called for her.
Claire has one goal for the conference— to land a few whales so that her boss will give her a badly needed raise. She pitches and prays while courting the music industry elite until her plans are derailed by hotness-in-high-heels.
Vampire Bette is at the conference to find someone with untapped supernatural talents that she can control. With her cursed violin, Bette draws Claire in with a song and as the first chord is played Claire’s life is unraveled, her new “talents” emerge and she’s attracted to two unlikely people— Bette and her hunky associate, Gregor. Both can light Claire’s fire, but is either of them the only one?
Unfortunately for Claire, life isn’t all song lyrics and seduction. Tied to darkness by blood and power, Claire must harness her abilities if she has any hope of regaining her former life.
Alex Owens is a woman with little free time, which means she stays up all hours of the night putting pen to paper. By day she's June Cleaver in jeans, and by night she writes. Somewhere in the middle of all that she finds time to tend 'dem babies, fry up the bacon and curl up with a good book (or ten), much to the chagrin of her family. She's currently at work on her Blood Chord Series, with book two due out by the fall of 2012.