So, I realise that it’s taken me so long to write this book, I am basically George RR Martin. What can I say – life gets in the way, and I had a move to do and a living to earn. But I haven’t forgotten you, Dark Daters – so I thought you might like a taste of the new book.
A word of warning: contains spoilers, obviously, and isn’t the final version so might be subject to change. It also hasn’t been proofed and edited, so is slightly rougher than it will likely be (please don’t feel the need to point out any typos).
If you haven’t read any of the books but want to check out what the fuss is about, you can find Dark Dates (the first book) here.
You ready? Let’s dive in…
It’s never a good thing when the phone rings at 2am. Hell, in these days of texts and DMs and WhatsApp, it’s never a good thing when the phone rings at all. But when you’re naked, a millisecond from orgasm and the best-looking man in London has his head buried between your legs, it’s particularly unfortunate timing.
I made a sound of breathless frustration, but Laclos had me so close to the sweet spot – having taken his slow, tantalising time to tease me to it – that I couldn’t have moved if the house had been on fire. (From the heat coming off me, I thought it might be). So I just scrunched my eyes closed, tightened the grip my fingers had on his hair and focused on the waves of pleasure that were surging through me, drowning out the insistent buzz of my ringtone. Laclos, a far better multi-tasker than I, reached out one arm, fumbled blindly for the aggrieving phone, and with a muffled huff of annoyance swatted it away irritably. His attention otherwise deployed, he didn’t connect with the screen, so failed to switch it off, though he did manage to knock it onto the floor, where it fell among the tangle of discarded bedclothes, which thankfully drowned out its noise until it went to voicemail and I could fully relax once more into the far more compelling matter at hand.
I came hard, a moment later, my whole body shuddering in release as I let out a groan he seemed to have prised from deep inside me. Laclos rolled away from me, gently extricating himself from my now-weakened grasp, though he didn’t make any effort to move up the bed. Eventually I felt his lips lightly graze my hips, one long-fingered hand stroking the curve of my belly, drawing lines in the sheen of my sweat that now covered us both, enjoying the fruits of his labours. When, finally, I recovered enough to regain any bodily control, my eyelids fluttered open and I looked down to see him smiling up at me, smug as a cat, and so beautiful in his sex-ruffled disarray that he almost took away what little breath I had left. We were all contrasts, he and I: his body taut and hard against the softness I had once been so self-conscious about, and pleasingly chill against my skin, which felt super-heated by our exertions, though he was never, these days, quite as cool as a vampire should be. Lushly-lashed eyes glinted playfully in the guttering candlelight, and though he was flushed from his recent feed – he ran an idle thumb across the already-healing seam of a scar on my thigh where he had feasted earlier – he was still ethereally pale, the marble of his skin startling against mine. He grinned lasciviously up at me, that generous mouth swollen by my kisses, strands of his long dark hair plastered to him with my sweat. But just as he opened his mouth to speak, he was cut off by another buzz from the phone: the sound of a text coming in.
I shot him a plaintive look – I wasn’t moving anywhere anytime soon. He gave an impatient roll of his eyes, though in truth he was always delighted by the effect he had on me and leaned over me to get to the phone. It was neither an unpleasant sensation nor a terrible view, and I instinctively reached down and stroked the skin on that lean, muscled back as he searched the pile of sheets and the rumpled duvet to try and locate it.
“This is why I would prefer to conduct our liaisons at my own residence,” he muttered. (Yes, he always talks like that.) “No reception for these infernal devices.”
“No privacy, either,” I responded tartly, but he just raised his head and flashed me a grin so wicked my stomach flipped. One thing Laclos never minded was an audience. Then, grumbling something I couldn’t make out, he resumed his search, emitting a string of invective as he stretched to reach further under the bed. I heard an exclamation of triumph, but at the exact same moment my Sense, lulled by sex and champagne and the very physical presence of one of the world’s oldest vampires, hit me like a cramp in the guts, a surge of adrenalin that felt like strong espresso on an empty stomach, so fierce it jarred me out of my stupor and I sat up, sharply, a feeling of dread spreading through me, replacing the post-coital glow. It took me a minute to realise Laclos has stopped both moving and muttering. He was deathly still, and only stirred when I nudged him.
He sat up, phone in hand, all traces of playfulness gone.
“I believe this requires your urgent attention.”
He handed me the phone like he was expecting me to defuse a bomb. I hauled myself up unsteadily, leaning against the bedhead for support. I had a sudden feeling I would need it.
The information shown on my lockscreen was limited, but it was enough to make my stomach plunge. A missed call and a text, both from the same number – a hunter we had met months before, a man called Jonesy, who we’d nearly seen die. A man we nearly got killed. The text was short, but anyone knows it only takes three little words to stop a heart, to change a person’s world. I stared at the screen, disbelieving, before keying in the code, hoping the full text would be longer. That it would explain more. Laclos watched me, my own curiosity and fears mirrored in his face, mingled with something I couldn’t – didn’t want – to interpret. But my eyes were torn back to the message, its entirety just those three, impossible words.
“We found him.”