Excerpt #1 - DESPRITE MEASURES
The drive into town seemed to take forever.
In truth, it took no longer than any other time, but I was impatient. I’d chosen the Audi Quattro this time—no point making things easy for Liam—and I was frustrated that I could not use all the power the sleek little beauty offered me. Every driver who delayed me by even a fraction of a second had me fuming at the wheel. By the time I turned into the club’s paved driveway, I was as near boiling point as it is prudent for a sprite to reach. A discreet parking attendant, whom I suspected doubled as a bouncer, pointed me to an empty bay, and then directed me to the head of the stairs leading down to the basement club. Not wanting to arrive looking flustered, I paused to gather myself.
Hair still caught in pony tail band. Check. Dress neckline showing equal expanse of skin either side of cleavage. Check. Hem straight and not quite riding high enough to show that I hadn’t wasted mass on fashioning underwear. Check.
Ready to go, I stepped one well-shod foot onto the first step down. And froze. Involuntarily, my body ceased to function. My mind blanked and a chill of fear iced my veins. I gazed numbly at the slender, dark figure lurking at the base of the stairs until he glanced away, freeing me, permitting life to return to the lifeless.
My paralysed brain shot back to working order. Recognition of the figure chilled me all over. Vampire.
Not something you see every day in downtown Inverness, but I’d encountered enough of them in the distant past to know one when I saw one. And to know the horror of being trapped by their gaze, unable to move or even to think.
This one, darkly handsome and with more than a passing resemblance to a youthful Bryan Ferry with his ever-present hint of a sneer, glanced at me again but without interest. Vampires prefer their blood more full bodied than the pseudo-stuff that runs through my counterfeit veins.
Somewhat troubled at finding his sort here, I was, however, still determined to continue with my evening’s plans. I descended, brushing past the cold figure in his immaculate Armani suit. A body-wracking shiver ran down my spine, even though I knew I was in no danger from him.
I wondered what he was doing here. Perhaps it was simply a good place for him to get a carry-out meal.
Excerpt #2 - DESPRITE MEASURES
I stumbled doggedly on. The insistent pull dragged at me, like struggling through treacle. A few more steps and it became impossible to ignore. My body was threatening to come apart without my permission.
A groan of recognition crawled up my throat. Someone was performing a summoning, and that someone was powerful beyond anything I could resist. I could not be certain about the identity of my summoner, but I had a shrewd suspicion.
It became painful. I was being pulled apart, little piece by little piece, and I wouldn’t be able to resist much longer. I kicked off my boots, remembering with a thrill of fear the last time I’d been forced to abandon my footwear. My poor cowboy boots were still out in the forest by Dawn’s home, waiting to be rescued. I tucked this pair behind a tree and added my sweatshirt and jeans. Abruptly, my corporeal form disintegrated. My underwear dropped.
In my native form, colourless and almost invisible, I was drawn by the siren call that vibrated my essence and imparted pleasure and pain in equal measure. I’ve been summoned a fair few times in the long distant past, and each experience has its own signature, wrought by the individual summoner. I got a strong impression that this one wanted to make a point, and it wasn’t just that he could summon me at any time he chose.
Knowing that resistance was, indeed, futile, I ceased to struggle and allowed him to reel me in.
I came to the altar via the river, so it was unlikely the enthralled ladies would make a connection between the sprite manifesting before them and an erstwhile member of their group. It helped that in my native form I look nothing like my human self.
Rising from the water in all my naked glory, with my long hair writhing about my body, I scowled at my summoner.
Gordon, the druid priest.