How about a little look at my upcoming vampire romance, Bite Of The Guard! Most of the time, I work on one book at once, but sometimes a snippet of conversation (or a whole chapter) for a different book will come to me at the weirdest time and I'll have to write it before it disappears completely - this is one of those! I wrote this part back in August before book 3 in the series even launched! Read on for a teaser of when Beatrice & Damien meet for the first time!
Copyright 2022 Laura Greenwood
Subject to change.
The bell above the door tinkles as someone pushes through and makes their way into the reception area.
I straighten my spine and put on my best smile. I'm not used to working on the front desk, but Sonia needs the night off to do an errand for Catherine, so here I am.
"Good evening, welcome to the Black Fan," I say as brightly as possible.
I don't recognise the man standing in front of me, but that doesn't say much. I only pay attention to my own clients, it's safer that way.
"Good evening," he replies in a low and rumbly voice.
"Do you have an appointment?" I ask, tapping a few keys on the tablet artfully hidden behind the reception desk. Lady Catherine likes it this way so it gives the customers a chance to feel as if they've stepped back in time, without giving up modern comforts for those of us who live and work here.
Well, modern-ish. It's hard to get hold of the latest tech in the City of Blood, we're mostly running on items that are five or ten years old.
"No one is expecting me."
"That's not a problem, if you let me know what you need, we can make you an appointment to see the right person."
He clears his throat. "I'm looking for Beatrice Myers."
My eyebrows shoot up, but I get my face back under control quickly. "That's me," I say brightly. "How can I help?"
"I'm Damien Sharp." He pauses as if I'm supposed to know who he is from his name alone.
I rack my brain, trying to put some information to his face, but I come up with nothing. Whoever he is, I haven't seen him before, nor is he one of the men the Black Fan has on their list of important potential clients.
He sighs when I take too long to answer. "I was sent here by Philip Peters."
I only just manage to contain my surprise at hearing my brother's name out loud.
"He sent you?"
"In a manner of speaking. Is there somewhere more private we can talk?"
I nod, still trying to cover my shock. "Why don't you come through to the other room. Do you want some blood?"
"That would be good."
I lead him through to the waiting room and indicate towards one of the tables with two comfy chairs on either side. It's more private, like he wants, but I'll still be able to hear the door in case anyone comes in.
Damien takes a seat as I head over to the dresser and pull out a decanter of blood. Maybe I should ask him what his favourite type is, but there's only one here and I don't want to call the kitchens and delay hearing what he's here for.
I set the decanter on the table alongside two crystal glasses and pour us both a healthy serving of blood.
Satisfied I've been the best hostess I can, I take a seat, being careful to let my dress fall in the best way around my legs. I doubt my brother has sent someone to me to be a client, but it never hurts to be prepared for anything.
"So, how can I help you, Mr Sharp?"
"I'm a musician," he says, starting to rub the back of his neck nervously. "A well-known one. On the outside, anyway."
"You're new here," I say.
"Yes, I'm just visiting at the request of the Mayor."
That doesn't seem like the smartest thing to do from where I'm sitting, but it's probably best not to mention that, especially when he's already inside the city walls. The chances of him leaving are slim to complete non-existent. No one gets out of the City of Blood.
Or that's the official line. I know plenty of people who have managed to get out. But I'm not supposed to talk about it.
"I see." So he is here as a client. That's an odd thing for my brother to have sent someone to me for, but I suppose stranger things have happened. He probably didn't know the names of anyone else living inside the city walls.
Damien takes a deep breath. "I need a bodyguard while I'm here."
I blink a few times as the words process. "I don't do that anymore."
"I know. But I need someone I can trust."
"You don't know me."
"That doesn't change the fact you have no idea if you can trust me or not."
"I trust Philip." The earnestness in his voice is hard to ignore. "And he says you're one of the best.
"Why didn't you bring one of your usual bodyguards?" I ask.
"I'm the only one who has a pass to enter and leave the city. Everyone else had to stay behind."
I raise an eyebrow. "You have a pass?" Maybe I'm wrong about whether or not he'll be able to get out again.
"Why did you come if you couldn't bring anyone with you?"
"Honestly? My manager accepted on my behalf when he saw how much money the Mayor was offering for me to come. And I'm curious about this place. It's not what I expected."
A small snort escapes me. "Everyone new says that."
Paranormal Vampire Romance
The Black Fan is a vampire romance series following vampire courtesans in the City Of Blood. Each book can be read as a standalone. Part of the Obscure World.
Heat Level: Low - Relationship Types: m/f - Build: Fast - Point of View Character: Single first person POV, changes between books - Cliffhangers: No - Tense: Present