Author(s): Melissa Treglia, Nicole Harvelle
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy
"They're watching you. You're in far deeper shit than you realize, detective. If you're not careful... you'll see too much of the wrong thing. You need to bury this case before it buries you."
Griffin Blasko is a young, strong-willed detective for the Toronto police department, with his star on a meteoric rise. He gets pulled into solving what seems to be an unsolvable case, as he's the city's last hope for justice against a killer who still stalks the streets at night. The bodies of the victims have been left completely drained of blood, and there are whispers that it must be a vampire on the loose in the bustling metropolis.
But vampires don't exist. Or do they?
Griffin soon finds himself embroiled in a fight for his life against the monsters the rest of the world considers to be only legend. His sole ally is the intelligent, resourceful Laila... who is also a survivor who has kept her wits—and pulse—in this mysterious underworld of the undead. She's the only one he can turn to when the knowledge he gains costs him dearly.
After nearly having his throat ripped out, Griffin begins displaying the traits of a transitioning vampire. He finds himself hungry, scared and desperate as he begins to slip further and further away from his humanity.
The enigmatic Elder vampire Sekhmet has been called in to retrieve him and take him to see the Council of Elders, a group of ancient vampires whose goals don't have mankind's best interests at heart. And Laila finds herself caught in the crossfire of the Council's murderous intent.
Can Griffin save humanity, the girl... and his soul?
Interested? Here's a sneak peek at what's inside:
22 Years Ago
There was a deep silence in the dank dungeon as Lugh sat on the floor and awaited his fate; the kind of silence one notices before a storm. It sank into his very soul, making him feel like the ground itself were swallowing him up.
Then it was abruptly cut through by the sharp scream of a dying woman, her voice wrenched in agonizing torture, heralding an unfair and horrific death. His eyes closed tightly, incredible pain scarring the features of what would otherwise be a handsome face. The noise reverberated through his skull and tore his heart apart into disparate pieces. His shoulders slumped as a tear rolled hotly down his cheek, his stomach roiling at the severity and finality of it all. Samantha...
A dull scrape shot through the air as the bolt of a lock was drawn open. He was immediately alert to the sound, his form coiling, getting ready to fight if needed. His eyes were hot with bone-deep pain and rage. The heavy metal door creaked open and a pair of high heels clicked against the stone floor as someone entered.
She stood before him now, darkly beautiful, her exotic and regal face grim. He took note of her in her ceremonial Council robes, a simple yet elegant golden ankh pendant dangling from an otherwise unadorned necklace. She held a set of keys in one hand and a sharp wooden stake in the other.
“Come to kill me, Sekhmet?” Lugh snapped at her, his voice gruff and the thick Scottish brogue of his words more oddly pronounced than usual. He stood slowly, glaring through the cell bars at her with a look that would frighten the Devil. He hardly even looked human.
She shook her head and then brandished the keys. She slid one home into the lock of his cell and the satisfying snickt of an opening catch was heard. Drawing the door back, she stepped aside to allow him to exit his prison.
“There is no time to explain,” she whispered softly, her face and tone deadly serious. “You must go, quickly. Before another Elder arrives.”
“But the children – ”
“I will see to them, my old friend. I will make them 'disappear'.” Her voice was calm and resolute as she continued, knowing this was not at all an easy task for the warrior and father before her. “You will see them again one day, I promise you. You just have to trust me.”
Lugh nodded once, his eyes filled with honest regret that was like a raw and gaping wound. “Thank you. Forgive me for this, lass... but you can't be seen to have helped me.”
Sekhmet nodded, her jaw set as she met his gaze. “I know.”
There was brief silence between them before she gave a little gasp, her eyes going wide. The stake had been driven deeply into her lower torso with a single powerful shove, the implement clenched in Lugh's tight fist. As her legs gave out from underneath her, Lugh immediately caught her in his safe and strong embrace. “Go,” she croaked, her breath stolen from her, her face contorting in intense pain. “Now!”
Lugh pressed a kiss of gratitude and benediction against the forehead of his oldest and truest friend, and quickly fled into the night.
The timing could not have been better. A Council aide found Sekhmet moments later, immobile and in a pool of blood on the hard stone floor of the dungeon, with a stake piercing her abdomen.
“Elder!” the aide cried, and immediately ran to her side to remove the weapon.
* * *
It had taken most of the day for Sekhmet to recover from the wound, and the accompanying minor surgery to ensure there were no splinters left behind. When she had healed fully and had fed well, she returned to assist Lugh's two children.
“Why are you sending us away, Auntie?” Kernaghan, the younger of the twin boys, asked her. His brow was furrowed, an expression of consternation that was a faint echo of his father's, though curiosity was in the dark eyes bequeathed to them by their mother. “Don't you like us anymore?”
“It is for your own safety, Kernaghan,” she replied softly. Her glance briefly dropped to the griffin now branded in black ink on the child's left forearm, a cold rage filling her for its genesis, before she marshaled her dignity and calmly returned his astute gaze. His awareness was both exceptional and startling for one so very young.
His twin, Aodhagán, was glaring about as if everything in the world deeply offended him. The boy’s hands were angrily shoved in his pockets. He had been listening but said nothing.
Sekhmet bade the boys to stand before her and then hunkered down to their level to look them both directly in the eye. As she spoke she glanced from one boy to the other. “You must forget me. You must forget what you saw. When you arrive in Toronto you will remember nothing of these past few days, or of me.” Her voice was strangely augmented, echoing inside their heads, like the teasing whispers of a fantasm. “You will not remember the Council, and your memories of your family will be as a dream...”
Mutely, both children nodded, their young and nebulous minds easily twisted into submission by the hypnotic suggestion of the ancient vampiress. I am merely doing this to guarantee their survival, she rationalized to herself, her heart feeling like it was tearing apart. She then set her jaw, pushing away her emotions to do what needed to be done. I am not abandoning them.
“Go now, children. Get on the plane, and get yourselves to Canada. A new life awaits you both there.”
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