Vampires on the prowl: a preview of Relative Strangers - Modern Vampire Story by Helen Treharne
It's not often that a reader has opportunity to read anything more than the first 20% of a book when they're browsing an eBook store, yet it’s sometimes not till much later that the action really starts to hot up.
So, as Roxanne has kindly offered her blog up to my week of book tour promotion bliss, I thought I’d share with you a scene which you WON’T find in the first 20%. Why? Well, why not! Relative Strangers isn’t your typical vampire book, so it seems right to give an atypical preview.
For the purposes of some of our younger readers, I've edited a little to take out some of the profanity, but be warned, there are some references to drugs and it gets a bit saucy! If you want to find out more about these two characters, then I'm afraid you might just have to buy the book.
Imagine the scene. A nightclub. A man, attractive, well groomed but fashionable enters. Pounding trance music fills every dark corner…
"The session had started hours before; it was after midnight, but would continue till after dawn. The mass of people moved across the dance floor like one body, arms high in the air, waving, eyes closed in rapture. Anonymous faces grinned at him as he moved through it. A sweaty guy without a shirt slung an arm around him and mouthed some words which he couldn't hear. He shrugged him off and the stranger carried on dancing, sucking hard on a lollipop from one hand, and waving a bottle of water in the other hand. It was a familiar scene with a familiar set of feelings. For those few hours he could pretend to feel part of something bigger - artificially connected to the hordes around him, while remaining completely and utterly alone.
He weaved his way through the dance floor and made his way up the half a dozen steps to the main bar. A few men were in front of him, cans of Red Stripe and bottles of water in hand. They'd move quickly enough and later on the bar would be practically empty - most patrons would just refill their water bottles in the cloakroom. As he waited to be served, he noticed a woman staring at him at the end of the bar. He didn't smile at her, it wasn't his style.
.... Twisting the cap off the plastic bottle of water he had purchased, he faced her and stared back. She watched him as he brought it to his lips and took a sip. She didn't smile back. Turning his back to the bar, he made his way towards the exit, past the woman. She kept her gaze on the space he had vacated; unmoving, silent, like a beautiful statue. It should have been the moment that she turned, flashed a smile at him and grabbed his arm as if to "stop", but there was nothing....he pushed the metal handle on the door open and stepped into the street. He leaned into the damp wall, reached into the inside pocket of his leather jacket and took out a lighter and a pack of menthol cigarettes. He lit a smoke and sucked on the minty fumes. The rush from the ecstasy was beginning to kick in and he felt twitchy. He'd need to go in and dance soon. He alternated inhaling with a swig from the bottle. Once he'd consumed the remaining water, he threw the bottle on the ground.
The noise of the fire door being pushed open made him jump. He turned to face it and saw the large metal door slam behind the woman as she stepped into the alley. It was her again. Couldn't resist me, he thought. Wearing her high end clothes, she should have looked out of place in the dark, damp side street. But she didn't. She seemed perfectly at home as she slinked over to him. Smooth, elegant legs transported her rhythmically across the cobbles. The artificial light of the street lamp hit her dress, making it shimmer.
Every hair on his scalp stood to attention, every skin cell tingled, every neuron fired.
Warmth spread across his chest. His heart pounded hard in his chest as she finally came to a halt before him, inches from his face. This was a new feeling - excitement maybe? He was aroused beyond his understanding, like the hunger of a starving man. She was stunning. Is this what real desire feels like, or is it the drugs? Had he ever felt this excited before? It was as if he had just been born, experiencing the world and all its sensory pleasures for the first time, all in one hit. The thought that he might not be able to perform under the drug's influence flashed across his brain, but he shook it off; there was nothing that was going to stop him from having her. He didn't care if they were in some dirty, shitty alley, a hundred people could walk past and he wouldn't have given a toss. He would have her, devour her.
The feeling was amazing.
As if reading his mind, she reached up and hooked her slim fingers under the single shoulder strap of her dress and let the silk fall from her body to reveal her nakedness. He reached up to touch her small, perfect, breasts, but she pushed his hand back to his side and forced him back, pushing him against the wet brickwork. Her confidence aroused him even more...With every moan that he uttered, her mouth pressed more firmly into him, more vigorously, more passionately, her hunger for him increasing. Then the pain descended, enveloping him in a rush that was so all consuming and complete that he couldn't fight it. He closed his eyes and submitted."
I’m afraid I’m going to have to end it there – I don’t want to give too much away after all.
To find out what happens next you’ll have to buy the book I’m afraid. There’s plenty to discover – a reluctant 23 year old vampire slayer, an unlikely hero and love interest, a 300 year old vampire and a seductress ready to embrace the urges and abilities her new vampiric status is affording her.
Relative Strangers is the first book in the Sophie Morgan vampire series and is available in eBook and paperback.
A Modern Vampire Story
Sophie Morgan Vampire Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of pages: 301
Word Count: 96,500
Meet Sophie Morgan… practical, Welsh, prone to occasional profanity, and seemingly a vampire magnet.
Sophie Morgan is 23 and has always done the right thing. She’s caused no stress for her family, worked hard through university, has taken a successful leap onto the career ladder and nurtured a reasonably healthy bank balance. It’s no small surprise then when, on a post relationship break-up, mini-break to Antwerp, she pursues a pair of thieves who steal her friend’s handbag. But this is only the start of her world being turned upside down. Ripped from the streets into a dark alley she is violently attacked, barely alive when quirky Irish bar worker, Michael Kelly, stumbles across the scene.
The pair, shocked by their experience and uncertain whether they have killed her attacker in the brawl which follows, go into the night for answers. They get more than they bargained for. Sophie quickly learns that vampires exist, her neighbours back home aren’t what they seem and new boyfriends can be found in the strangest of situations.
Relative Strangers is the first in a new vampire series with a distinctly British flavour, but which will appeal to everyone. Reviews call it " a vampire tale with bite", with "brilliant characters that draw you in" and a very fresh take on the genre. Read it now to find out reviewers are raving about.
Available at Amazon Smashwords iBooks BN
I wakened with a jolt, my heart beating, and my lids heavy. The glowing display of my alarm clock informed me it was four a.m. Had the noise been real, or had I been dreaming? My brain fired up and I took in my surroundings. I'd spent two months living with my mother in my childhood home following my sudden relocation back to South Wales. I'd only moved into my own place a few days earlier and was disorientated. Bed, furniture, dressing gown draped over the chair- all mine, definitely my bedroom, no one else in the room with me, all good. So what the hell was that noise?
My anxiety levels were sky high. It had been a terrible year, one brimming with violence and death. I couldn't take another emotional or physical beating; I hoped my imagination was playing tricks on me. Please don't let this be anything more than a dream, I prayed.
I tentatively reached across the nightstand to flick on the lamp, but quickly retracted my hand. What if there is someone in the house? There could be someone downstairs. You don't want to let them know you're up here. Think Sophie, is that what woke you up, could that have caused the noise you heard - was it a bang, something smashing? It might be better to err on the side of caution. Take a breath, think before you do anything.
Slipping my legs from under the duvet I padded over to the window and quietly pulled the cord to lift the blind. It was dark outside. Dawn wouldn't surface for several hours, but the street lamp at the bottom of the garden afforded me a little light. The town council switched them on early during the winter months.
Everything outside looked peaceful. The gate at the bottom of the path knocked rhythmically against its post in the cold January wind. I must have failed to close it properly.
Another noise. Was it a noise? Did I really hear something? Yep, definitely coming from downstairs. Blood whooshed through my ears as my heart began pumping adrenaline through my body. Someone else was in my house. Someone was moving downstairs. Oh my God, no, not here. How could he have found me? Why now? I've been moving on. I didn't even tell.
My body froze in panic, but something deep in my gut forced my brain into action. There was no way I was going to give in after I’d battled for so long and so hard to stay alive, to survive. Nobody was going to rob me of that, or anything else for that matter. I quickly assessed my options, but they didn’t add up to much.
I could hide out in my room and hope that the intruder would go of their own accord. Perhaps they'd just be an ordinary burglar - they'd be in and out. They'd take my purse, mobile phone and keys which I'd left in the kitchen and escape but I could replace things. At least I'd be alive and unharmed.
But what if I just stayed put and they came upstairs, perhaps looking for things of higher value? Based on my experience, it was more likely that it was some sicko who would then have me penned in. I'd have no escape and be at their mercy. I wasn't ever going to let that happen to me again.
Thoughts machine gunned their way through my brain, but I decided to come down on the side of braving it, going downstairs and confronting my intruder. Maybe, I'd be lucky and it would just be a petty thief, more scared of me than I of him. But on the other hand, perhaps it was him. If so, I was probably dead already, may as well get it over with.
About the Author:
After a successful career in business and career coaching, Helen Treharne returned to South Wales in 2010 to focus on writing, among other things.
Relative Strangers, a modern vampire story featuring an increasingly feisty Sophie Morgan, hits digital bookshelves in 2014. In addition to being the creator of the developing “Sophie Morgan" series, she is an urban poet and social commentator who can frequently be found ranting in the Twitterverse. She knew the degree in Sociology would come in handy some day!
Helen lives with her husband, three cats, an entrenched tea addiction and an increasing collection of stringed instruments. When she’s not writing she spends her time daytime hours working in communications and volunteers for a feline welfare charity. She can't be trusted near stationery and has had more come backs than Cher.
Twitter @Tea_Talks https://twitter.com/Tea_Talks
Facebook : http://on.fb.me/1vOSmXq