VAMPIRE’S HUNGER by Cynthia Garner (Release date: April 1, 2014)
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, civilization no longer exists, and only the strongest survive. The few remaining humans must band together with supernatural beings to battle unspeakable evil-or all hope will be lost.
Kimber Treat is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift: she can raise the dead. As a necromancer who works with the police, she communicates with murder victims to bring their killers to justice. But after a normal session goes horribly wrong, Kimber realizes she's summoned something dark and sinister. She's unwittingly unleashed the apocalypse, and everyone blames her…except Duncan MacDonnough, the devastatingly handsome vampire she can't stop fantasizing about.
As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in,
vows to protect Kimber. He can keep
her safe from others-but not from the insatiable carnal hunger he feels for
her. Now racing to reverse the chaos she's unleashed, Kimber can't afford any
distractions. But even as she succumbs to Duncan 's
seduction, she fears that he has a hidden agenda. And with the line between
life and death starting to blur, his secrets might kill her-or worse… Duncan
As society shuts down and flesh-eating hordes close in,
“What are you thinking?” Aodhán set his sword on the table and rested one brawny forearm along the back of the couch.
She pinched the bridge of her nose and blew out a breath. “What I’m always thinking about,” she whispered. “Them. And that it’s all my fault.”
“Do I have to tell you again what I’ve been telling you for six months, mo chara?” He leaned toward her and took her hands in his. His callused palms were warm against her skin. Aodhán had become her confidant, in spite of the fact he was buddies with a certain irritating vampire, and had taken to calling her “little friend” in his lovely lilting Irish Gaelic. Usually it served as a balm to her battered nerves. But tonight…not so much.
She didn’t need him to repeat the meaningless words. “No, because it didn’t happen to another necromancer, Aodhán,” she said. “It happened to me.” She pulled her hands away from his and stood up. She started to pace. “And I should’ve known…”
When she didn’t go on, he prompted, “You should have known what?”
She pressed her lips together and plopped sideways into the oversized recliner, letting her legs dangle over the padded arm. “There was something different about the Unseen that night. It seemed to…reach for me.” She met his bright blue eyes. “It’s never done that before. Maybe if I’d stopped, if I’d aborted the ritual…” She huffed a sigh and shook her head. “I dunno. I should’ve done anything different than what I did, which was just plow right ahead because I had a job to do. A reputation to maintain.”
He rested his ankle across the opposite knee and stretched both arms along the back of the sofa. “Hindsight is always the clearest. You had no way of knowing what would happen.” He leaned forward, his gaze somber. “And all the coulda-shoulda-wouldas in the world won’t change what happened.”
A smile caught her by surprise. She hadn’t felt like smiling in…forever, it seemed.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
She shook her head. “You are.” When he frowned, she held up one hand, palm up. “I just mean you’re centuries old, you’re a warrior—with a mighty sword, for crying out loud—and to hear you say ‘coulda-shoulda-woulda’ struck my funny bone. That’s all.”
“You know I’m right.”
“Knowing,” she said with a finger tapping her forehead, “and knowing,” she went on with two fingers over her heart, “are two different things.”
“Can’t argue with you on that one.” He reached for his sword and the sharpening stone he always left on the end table.
The key turned in the front door. Kimber and Aodhán both jumped up, he with his sword gripped tight in his right hand, instantly ready for battle.
Duncan walked in. He closed and locked the door behind him and quirked a brow at them. “You think zombies are going to have a key?”
“Shut up.” Aodhán sat back down and started sharpening his sword.
“Kimber,” Duncan said in greeting. He walked over and dropped down onto the end of the sofa. His dark hair was mussed, slight curls flopping onto his forehead. A tire iron hung from his belt loop.
Whatever the infection was that turned humans into zombies, it didn’t work on vampires, at least not from the aspect of turning them into shuffling undead. But it was just as deadly to vampires as it was to humankind, causing the infected vamp to die a horrible and agonizing true death. So they couldn’t use their teeth as a weapon like they would under other circumstances. They’d had to improvise, just like everyone else.
She glanced at Aodhán. He’d been pretty close-mouthed about whether the fey could get infected. She had a feeling they could, or maybe they didn’t know yet. When the Outbreak happened, most fey returned to their own realm, refusing entry to anyone not fey, leaving humans to deal with the problem or be overtaken by it.
At least vampires hadn’t completely abandoned them. Of course, that was probably because humans were their preferred food source. She turned her attention to Duncan and tried to ignore how delicious he looked. And realized that since he was here it meant it was dark outside. Already? Damn it.
“I hate this.” Kimber folded her arms across her chest. “Damned windows all taped up. We don’t know what freaking time it is anymore. We only know that it’s dark because you show up.” Her voice cracked. She cupped her hands around her elbows, not sure how much more of this she could take. It felt like the least little thing would shatter her beyond repair. She needed a good scream. Which she couldn’t have.
The next best thing would be a good cry. Which she wouldn’t do, especially in front of Duncan. She didn’t want him thinking she was weak. And immediately she grew irritated at herself for caring one way or the other what he thought. She didn’t base her choices on what Duncan would think. This wasn’t a What-Would-Duncan-Do world. She let loose a growl of frustration.
“Easy,” Duncan murmured.
She took a deep breath and held it several seconds. “I’m all right,” she finally said. She sat back down and looked at him. “Did you have any trouble getting here?”
He shook his head. “The area’s quiet. For the moment. We must be in between waves.”
Waves of zombies. Hordes. Herds. Gaggles. She stared at their blacked-out windows. She’d heard the living dead referred to in all of those ways, first in graphic novels, never really dreaming one day they would be a reality.
Well, reality sucked.
About the author:
Cynthia Garner discovered her love for writing when her sixth grade teacher told the class to write a story that began "It was a dark and stormy night..." With that Cynthia's love for all things paranormal was born. When she's not working her day job as a mostly mild-mannered Human Resources Manager, she's on her laptop writing or playing way too much Solitaire. Originally from
Northeast Ohio, Cynthia now lives in the desert
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