SNAP: Love for Blood<br/>Book Five of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles

Author: Michele Drier
Published: 0000-00-00
Language(s): English
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Action Read Excerpt >

Chapter One


I smelled food.

Or was it just my stomach playing tricks on me?

I was constantly hungry, All I was given to eat was some very thick peasant bread, made from the scrapings off the floor of the gristmill. It was brown and tough and I could feel the sand gritting on my teeth. Twice he gave me a piece of fruit, dried-out apples that were pithy like they’d hung on the tree too long .And water to drink. He brought me some wine once but it was so bitter I spit it out.

“You’ll be grateful for this later, you bitch,” he growled at me and locked the door again.

Was this room a cell of some sort?  Had I been arrested?  No, it wasn’t lavish or comfortable, but was too nice for a cell. There was a bed with a mattress and a single blanket, a small fireplace that didn’t draw very well and left a pall of smoke whenever there was a fire, a chair, a table and a standing mirror.

One window, high up on a wall, was covered by heavy wooden shutters. I’d managed to pull the chair over and wrench the coverings open briefly, giving me a better look at the room. The concrete and stone walls had been so damp that streaks of lime—yellow and gray and black—ran down the walls. The streaks looked scabby and I couldn’t bring myself to touch them so I wasn’t sure how long ago the concrete had bled.

I also used the snatch of daylight to look at myself in the standing mirror. Whoever looked back, it was someone I didn’t recognize. That woman had a rats-nest of hair hanging around her face, a face streaked with soot and dirt, and a filthy black t-shirt and pants. Her clothes had been worn and slept in for what must have been days, given the rank smell. I didn’t know who I was, or who I had been, but I had faint memories of baths and clean clothes and warm beds.

The door screeched open, someone uttered a long snarl and it slammed shut again. Later, it opened again, protesting at being dragged across the rough stone floor, and he came in.

He was pale, not just pale but translucent, his veins a mere blue roadmap. Tallish, maybe 6 feet, with stark white hair and ice blue eyes that froze me when they flicked toward me.

“How’d you get that window open? No matter, it won’t happen again.” He turned to the hall outside and yelled, “Bring a board and a hammer. We need to be able to come in this room during the day.”

A burly, unkempt man dragged a ladder in, climbed up and nailed the shutters over the window, cutting off my glimpses of daylight forever. As he left with the ladder, a woman came in with a tray that she set down on the table. There was a loaf of the brown bread, a carafe of water and a glass, an apple and some grapes.

“Will there be anything else, Leonid?” she said, keeping her eyes on the floor.

“No. Close the door after you.”

Leonid? That name was familiar as were those glacial eyes, but it was a memory that danced just out of reach.

“Now. Let’s try our talk again.”  Those eyes pinned me like icicles. “What does Jean-Louis intend to do with Matthais?”

Jean-Louis. That name brought feelings of pleasure, but I had no knowledge of him. Leonid was watching me closely. “Ahhh, I see that Jean-Louis is pleasure. If I don’t get some information from you, it’s a pleasure you’ll never have again. Tell me what the plan is!”

I stared at him blankly. I couldn’t tell him. I didn’t know. I didn’t know who I was, where I was, where I was from, who this Jean-Louis was, what plan, or even why I would know it.

“I don’t know what you’re asking about.”

He hissed through his teeth “Whatever game you and Jean-Louis are playing, it will not help you to pretend to be the innocent. I will find out. You’re my hostage. If that silly fop thinks I’ll trade you for Matthais, well he’s been smoking funny cigarettes. I don’t much care what happens to Matthais. If he never comes back, I’ll take over the Huszars, which I’ve thought about for years. I’ll be back, I have all the time in the world!”

The door groaned shut and I wolfed the food that had been left. Afterwards, I pulled the blanket from the bed, wrapped it around myself and sat in front of the sputtering fire. Leonid had come in with a torch, which he left in an iron sconce on the wall. Between the two flames, the room had a wavering light, which threw giant shadows on the walls every time I moved. These were amplified and repeated by the mirror. I felt like I was trapped in an endless cycle of something, but I couldn’t name what.

I stared at the fire, trying to make my mind, my memory work, but every time I thought of the name Jean-Louis, my mind slid away. No matter how I tried to approach it, it was like trying to catch sunlight. I finally slept, but even this release from consciousness brought me no closer to answers. I had no dreams and woke with no more understanding.

The door screeched. Was it later that night or the next day? I had no way of knowing. A woman came in with some wood for the fire and said, “Come with me. Leonid’s ordered that you’re to be bathed and dressed and taken to his room.”

I followed obediently down corridors and up stairs until she showed me into a room with a large bathtub. She stripped off my filthy clothes, motioned to the tub and, once I was wet, began washing my stringy hair. I could hear her mumbling under her breath, “It’s only been five days. How could she get so dirty in five days? What does Leonid see in her? There are enough of us already here.”

Clearly, she was upset, but why? 

The bath felt wonderful. I was clean and warm and didn’t smell and the woman dried and brushed my hair until all the knots were gone. Then she dressed me in a short, swingy skirt and a low-cut clinging top and waved for me to follow her.

“Wait,” I said. “I don’t have any underwear.”

She gave me on odd look, whirled and headed down the corridor, checking to see that I was in tow.

We stopped in front of a door, much more elaborate than the one for the place where I was being kept. She knocked and a man opened it. This was a man I’d never seen before, but he leered at me as though we shared some intimate moment, or that he’d like to.

“There you are.”  The man called Leonid turned toward the door and his eyes chilled me, taking away the warmth of the bath. “Come in. We have things planned for you.”





SNAP: Love for Blood ~ Book Five of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles   by   Michele Drier   |   See Bio >
Book 5 of 6 in the The Kandesky Vampires Chronicles Series.
The vampire lures her, but will she become one?

When Maxie Gwenoch snags the job as managing editor of SNAP, an international gossip conglomerate, she's looking for fame, fortune and Jimmy Choos. What she finds is a media empire owned by Baron Kandesky and his family. A family of vampires. They're European, urbane, wealthy and mesmerizing. And when she meets Jean-Louis, vampire and co-worker, she's a goner. 

Maxie believes she's found her ultimate career. She doesn't realize that she's found a family feud like none other, a centuries-old rivalry between vampire families, with her as the linchpin. Bells ring with Jean-Louis, but she doesn't realize they're alarm sirens until she learns that Jean-Louis is second in command of the Kandeskys...but by then it's too late.

In this fifth book of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, Maxie and Jean-Louis come to deeper understandings after her rescue from Leonid, a Huszar strong-man who kidnapped and brutally abused her. They reach a separate peace against the backdrop of the death penalty trial of Huszar leader Matthais, bringing an end to centuries of war between the two vampire families.

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