Chloe and Oscar's romance is probably the slowest burn I've written, but it was so worth it in the end (at least for me!) Between the constant threat of death, blood rationing, and living in a totalitarian city, it makes total sense for them to have taken their time! Read on for an excerpt of the second time they meet! The City of Blood series is complete.
Copyright 2020 Laura Greenwood
I bow my head and start to walk away as quickly as I can. The sooner I get home, the sooner I'll be able to get out of my soaking clothes and into the shower. After that, I'll have to work out what the best use of my time is. I hope the weather gets better, the rain makes it difficult to investigate anything, especially as there isn't anyone on the streets.
As if summoned by my thoughts, a shadowy figure catches my eye. I glance up, but no one is there. I'm getting paranoid, and need to be careful not to let it affect my judgement.
A chill wind joins the rain, causing a shiver to run down my spine. I pull my jacket closer to me, glad I thought to bring it, even if it isn't as waterproof as I'd like it to be right now.
"Hello, Chloe," a familiar voice says.
I whip my head up to find the man from the cage fights leaning against the wall up ahead. I glance around, checking to see if there's anyone else around. While there's no rule against spending time with one another, most vampires and humans stick to their own kind. It creates less complications. And most of the humans are up and about during the sunlit hours, particularly in the summer. It's safer for them that way. Though technically it's illegal for a vampire to kill a human, I doubt they'd be punished if they did.
"The coast is clear," the man says. "I already checked."
"You'll have to forgive me if I want to make sure of that myself," I respond curtly.
"Don't you trust me?" A wide grin takes over his face, giving him a more boyish edge than he's had previously. Which is surprising, considering he looks to be about my age.
"Why would I do that? You've cornered me outside work in the pouring rain and not explained how or why you know my name." I cross my arms, wincing at the wet squelch of my jacket. I need to get a waterproof one that's lightweight enough for summer if this weather continues.
I brush back a strand of hair that's started to clump on my forehead, annoyed that the rain only seems to be making the human look better, while I get progressively more bedraggled.
"I see your point. But you should trust me. You haven't been arrested yet." He shrugs as if that's proof of anything.
"It's hard to be arrested when I've done nothing wrong," I bluff, proud of how steady my voice is, especially when I keep cracking in front of Catherine.
He steps closer to me and leans in, his lips inches away from my ear. "We both know that isn't true," he whispers.
I scowl and step back. "That's a heavy accusation to throw at someone."
His impish grin returns. "Have you thought about meeting with the people I told you about?"
"I have." And I still haven't made up my mind, something I'm not about to admit to him.
"What's in it for me?" I raise my chin and flash him the most defiant look I can.
"A chance to make a difference."
They're dangerous. Catherine's voice rings through my mind. Though there is a chance he isn't talking about the resistance at all, and I'm simply being over-cautious about the whole thing.
"I can take you there now, if you want to," he suggests as he slips his hands into his pockets.
Headlights flash against the side of a building in front of me, and the two of us freeze in position, waiting to see if we need to hide so the car can go past without raising any suspicion about us. One thing is for sure, having a conversation with a stranger in the pouring rain is a good way to look guilty.
I hold my breath, only letting go of it when the lights fade and the car heads down a street that isn't ours. We're safe. For now. We need to get out of the open soon, or we were going to end up attracting the wrong sort of attention.
Why am I thinking of us as a unit already when I don't know anything about him.
"I still don't know your name," I blurt.
"No, you don't."
"Are you going to tell me it now?"
"That depends if you'll agree to come with me," he returns smoothly.
I raise an eyebrow. "How am I to even know if the name you give me is real? For all I know, you'll give me a fake one."
"That's why we'll only use our forenames."
A snort escapes me before I can stop it. "Are you trying to tell me you know my first name, and where I work, but you don't know my surname? I'm sorry, but I don't believe it." I unfold my arms and place my hands on my hips, staring him down. If he thinks I'm some kind of wilting flower, then he has a hard lesson to learn. I may not be doing a good job of holding my lunch down at cage fights, but that doesn't mean I'm a pushover.
"Fair point. But I promise I'm the only one who knows it." He holds up his hands in the universal term of surrender.
I narrow my eyes as I try to get a measure of him, but it impairs my vision too much with the rain.
"All right. Fair is fair. I'm Oscar Bell."
"That sounds like a fake name," I counter.
He shrugs. "I can show you my ID if you want."
"Because they can't be faked," I quip, thinking of my own stash hidden back at the apartment. I haven't had a reason to use one of them yet, but I have no doubt they'll pass even the most rigorous of inspections. No doubt any fake ones he has will too.
"So, are you going to come with me?" he asks.
I consider for a moment, weighing up everything I know about him. There's a chance this could be some kind of elaborate trap, but I don't think so. It's my job to find out as much information about the city as possible, and can I really do that without learning about the resistance? If that's the case, then I have to say yes to him.
Besides, it's only a meeting. What harm can come from that? So long as I don't sign up to do anything before I can talk to one of my employers about it.
"Yes, I'll come with you," I say after a moment.
His grin spreads wider. "You won't regret it."
No, Oscar, I hope I won't.
Urban Fantasy Dystopian, Complete Series
An urban fantasy dystopia series following vampire, Chloe, as she works to take down the vampire run City Of Blood. Part of the Obscure World.
Heat Level: Low - Relationship Type: m/f - Build: Slow - Point of View Character: Single first person POV, same throughout the books - Cliffhangers: Yes (complete series) - Tense: Present