10 March 2012
It's the big day! Delila #2 is out, and she's a ton of feisty and fun! Here's the opening excerpt:
The impatient drumming of my fingertips on the cool wooden tabletop echoed around the chamber of nervous men as they shifted uncomfortably under my glare. Flickering light from the candles set in odd intervals on the wall created a quite unnecessary theatrical effect, and one which only served to make my irritation that much worse.
"Gentlemen," I said suddenly, making the entire room start in surprise, "surely your leader knows I have much better things to do with my time than sit here and stare at you, lovely as you all are."
A man to my right stood and bowed deeply. "Of course, Delila. Please excuse me. I'll seek him out immediately." He left with a swoosh of his robe and the room fell silent once more.
I glanced around the room again, taking in the vampires who were staring at me. "Would anyone care to give me an inkling of what's so important here?" No response came. "I receive a cryptic letter in the mail, imploring me to come see you in the middle of the frozen tundra, and no one can speak?" Irritation gnawed at me. I had much more important things to deal with back home, namely helping my adopted daughter, Ana, bring her werewolf pack under control.
My cell phone vibrated in my pocket, making a man nearby leap from his seat. His chair tumbled backward, the crash echoing off the cavernous ceiling.
I stared at him with aplomb. "Really, Lucius. It's just a cell phone." Shaking my head, I pressed a button and spoke into the mouthpiece. "Hello?"
"Hello, Delila," said Ana, the very werewolf I was just thinking of. I stood and walked out of the room to talk privately.
"Hello, darling. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"
"Not a pleasure, I'm afraid. My pack has found a dead wolf on my land. It appears he was the victim of a vampire attack."
My anger flared as I stared at a hole in the cement wall across from me. Attacks on werewolves unless provoked were expressly forbidden under my rule, and this was on Ana's estate in Texas. "I see," I replied. "I'm out of the country right now, but I'll be back tomorrow, I anticipate. We'll talk then."
"All right. You should know the pack isn't happy with this. And when they're not happy, neither am I." The line went dead before I could say anything else, and I stared at the phone as though it had sprouted tendrils. What was that all about? I returned to the room to find the men talking nervously in low tones. They immediately stopped and sat up when I entered.
"Don't stop on account of me," I said, smiling.
No sooner had I sat down than the vampire who'd left came sweeping back in with a tall man in tow. His hair, spiked and standing on end, brushed the top of the archway as he entered, and dark green eyes shone out from his pale skin. I rose and extended my hand, which he took and kissed my knuckles while bowing deeply. "Delila," he said in a reverent tone. "It is an honor to be in your presence."
I rolled my eyes before he glanced up. "You must be Otto."
"Yes, I am Otto. Shall we?" He indicated the chair I had just been occupying, so I settled into it and watched him closely. He reminded me of the former Elder vampire Micah, and that was not a good thing. Micah was a cheat and a liar, and left me with a hot, sticky mess.
"For what purpose am I sitting in this dank dungeon?"
"I am afraid," he said, shaking his head, "that someone has been creating vampires in the villages on our outskirts."
This vampire was no more than two hundred years old. Why he was speaking as though he were from the dark ages was beyond my understanding, and thoroughly annoyed me. "Pardon? You summoned me all the way from the United States on a regional concern?" He sputtered for a moment, sensing the mistake. "Do I not have enough responsibility on my shoulders, Otto? Is this a matter you could not have handled on your own?"
"My lady," interjected Lucius, an old friend of mine. "This is not an average vampire. We believe him to be a half breed."
I looked at Lucius from under my eyelashes. "What exactly do you mean by half breed?" The atmosphere changed as the vampires glanced between each other, nervous and hesitant. "Would anyone care to tell me what this half breed vampire is so I can kill it?" I slammed my hand on the table with the last phrase, bringing their attention back to me.
"We--We're not sure," Otto murmured.
I rubbed my eyes on a sigh. "You're not sure. Have you seen it?" I received a chorus of shaking heads. "So all you have are newborn vampires rampaging through your villages."
"They're not rampaging. They're making new vampires," Lucius told the floor. Obviously, he didn't want to look at me.
My chair flipped backward and the candles behind me snuffed out with the wind as I launched out of my seat. "What did you just say?" I asked in a controlled voice. My fists were balled on the table. "How long has this been going on right under your nose?" No one answered.
A muscle in my jaw clenched as I grabbed Otto by the throat and slammed him against the wall. His feet were dangling from the ground as he kicked and struggled. My nails dug into his flesh, drawing blood and a gasp of pain from him. "How long?"
"Three months," he managed before I sent him flying across the room and into a rack of wine bottles, my fangs down and a thirst for blood surging through my veins.
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Thanks for all the support, dear readers, and I hope you enjoy!
Scribbled by Lindsay K.