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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Excerpt: Drop Of Blood


The City Of Blood should be a safe haven for vampire kind, but it doesn't look that way from where I'm standing.

Strict curfews, mandatory check-ins, and the constant threat of being executed, it's almost as dangerous for vampires to live here as it is to be human. And I want to bring the regime down.

One wrong step, and lives will be lost...including my own.


Drop Of Blood is book one of the City Of Blood series, a gritty vampire urban fantasy with a slow burn romantic sub-plot.

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Please note: this excerpt is unedited and is subject to change. Copyright 2020, Laura Greenwood.

Excerpt: Drop Of Blood

I hate rain. Especially this kind. It makes everything wet, but it's not heavy enough to dodge the drops, even with super speed. I sigh and push a strand of sodden hair behind my ear. I need to check-in at the town hall or I'm going to find myself in a sticky situation, rain or no rain.
Other vampires walk the streets along with me, none of us saying a word to one another. That's how it goes here. It's too dangerous to get close to anyone, and no one wants to risk their life for a stranger. The humans in this city think they have it bad, but they truly have no idea.
The worst thing is, I didn't always live here. Vampires live in normal society in the rest of the country. We're represented on the government and have lives that don't involve having to check-in at the town hall every week just so they know we're still alive. I'm sure there's more to it, but I can't put my finger on what.
I run up the steps, taking two at a time with ease. I suppose that's one advantage of living in this place, the blood supply is more than steady. It's plentiful. Though that raises a whole slew of questions about where the blood comes from in the first place. I try my best to consume the ethically sourced stuff, but without taking it straight from the vein, then there's no way to be completely sure. And even then, there are doubts. Forcing people to donate blood isn't unusual here.
I join the line of vampires waiting for their check-in. Some check their phones, others just twiddle their thumbs or strike up random conversations. It's both normal and surreal.
One thing is for certain, this city is nothing like I imagined it was going to be when I agreed to come here. I often wonder if it was a mistake to come.
I shake my head. No one here can read minds, it's not a trick vampires are capable of. But that doesn't mean that no one can read my thoughts from the expression on my face. And in this city, the wrong face is enough to get someone arrested and sent to the cage fights. I'm not ready to die.
And there's too much riding on my success here.
"Next," the bored woman behind the desk calls.
The line moves forward. I don't understand why it always takes so long to do this. They have to do the same thing for everyone, and the same thing day in, day out. Everyone is given a day they have to come, and very few people miss it.
The line moves again.
There's only one more person and then it's my turn. As usual, the butterflies in my stomach kick into overdrive. I should be used to this by now, but instead, I think it only gets worse. And yet, there's no reason for it to. I'm here legally. We thought that bit of the plan through.
"Hi." I flash her the best smile I can, making sure I show off some fang as I do so. She's supposed to check I have them. Which is ridiculous considering we're already proven vampires.
"ID?" Up close, she looks even more bored.
I slide it across to her. She picks it up and scans it through the machine.
It beeps to let us know I've been processed, and then she hands it back to me. "Done."
"Thank you." I smile again, but for no reason, she's already moved on to the next person. This must be the hundredth check she's done for me, but I still don't know here name. It's the same for other people. The less contact there is between people, the less chance there is that someone you care about will be carted off and killed. It's that kind of world.
I turn away from the rest of the vampires assembled and head back out onto the street. The rain has only gotten heavier while I did my thing. Great. All I need. I'm going to arrive at work sopping wet and without a change of clothes. Usually, I'd bring one with me, but it's best not to do anything like that on check-in day.
Water splashes from the pavement to my boots. Everyone around me is doing the same, with very few people opting to use anything else. No one bothers with cars because there's nowhere to go in them. If someone drives past, then they're an official, and it's best to dive for cover. And as for the buses...they're far too expensive for what they are. Which leaves walking.
"Hi Bernice," I say as I push through the door and into the office.
"Hey, Chloe. Check-in today?" she says, eyeing the state of my outfit.
"You should start keeping a spare set of clothes here. That's what I do."
I grimace. It's not a bad idea overall, but it is a bad idea for me. It's best I don't leave traces of myself everywhere. Not that I can explain it to her.
Sometimes, having a double life is tiring. Even more so when I remember it means no friends, no boyfriends, and no place to call home. I don't count my tiny apartment in the city. I didn't choose it, and there's nothing there that truly shows me.
I drop myself into my desk chair, ignoring the squelch of fabric as I do. I kick off my boots too, enjoying at least one part of my body being dry.
"Did you hear about the event this weekend?" Bernice asks.
"Huh, no? What happened?" I act as if I'm not interested despite the fact I am. This is the kind of thing I should report back when I'm called upon again.
"I don't know, but there's an email gone out. I'll forward  it to you."
I want to tell her no, but it's too late. "Do you have the link where I can sign up for stuff like this?" I ask, even though it's out of character. I'm supposed to act as if I don't care about what goes on in the city, but this is too important.
"Sure. But I thought you didn't follow this stuff?"
Damn. I've gone and acted suspiciously.
I shrug. "I just want to know when I shouldn't plan anything. You know how it gets when there's some kind of fight on."
"Ah, good point." She hits a button. "Sent it to you."
"Thanks, Bernice." I turn my attention back to my screen, pulling up my emails. There's a couple from clients, but nothing urgent. Instead, I focus on the two Bernice sent me.
The one with the sign-up link, I forward to an innocuous email address that would bounce around five different servers before hitting the person it needs to. Hopefully, they can then sign up for the alerts and get the intel straight to their inboxes. It'll save some heavily coded messages, that's for certain.
After signing up with my own email address lest Bernice get suspicious, I turn to her other email.
The sick feeling starts in the pit of my stomach. Fights. Lots of them. Which is just a slightly less obvious way of saying executions. Sometimes, I wish they'd simply outright say what they mean, but I understand that's not how it works.
"Are you going?" Bernice asks.
I jump, not realising she was looking over my shoulder.
I shake my head. "It's not my thing." Despite that, I will be there, but under one of my aliases. While my ID isn't a lie, it's not the only name I'm known by in the city. It isn't possible to find out everything I need to while using my real name.
But Bernice doesn't need to know that. As far as she knows, I'm nothing more than her fellow marketing assistant. I do my work and live an ordinary life.
She'll never know how wrong she is.

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