The next book in my Two-Natured London series, Her Warrior for Eternity, will come out in May. It’s currently being edited, but here’s an unedited sneak preview from chapter three where my hero and heroine meet for the first time – in less than propitious circumstances. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
The woman woke up faster than Jeremy had thought possible. He had barely got her in the car and the vehicle moving when she jolted awake. One moment she was placid on the front seat; the next she was screaming at the top of her lungs. He almost crashed the car at the sudden sound.“What the fuck are you about? Stop shouting.” She didn’t listen and instead made to open her door. Instantly worried, he locked all the doors, even though she was wearing a seatbelt and wouldn’t have fallen.“Let me out, let me out!” the woman screamed.“Relax. I’m taking you home.”It had no effect. Abandoning the door, she turned to him and began to pound him with her fists, the punches accurate and surprisingly strong.“Ouch. Will you quit that. You’ve nothing to fear here.” He glanced at her and saw pure panic in her eyes. Shit.A tiny pulse of magic calmed her instantly, but only on the surface. He had never met a human who could resist vampire charm that effectively.He pulled over and killed the engine to better be able to calm her down. “You fainted. What was I supposed to do, leave you there?”“You’re a murderer,” the woman spat.Ah, yes. She had witnessed that. “Don’t worry. He wasn’t human.” Renegades were a Circle’s secret, not even other vampires knew about them, but he didn’t mind telling her. He would wipe her memory afterwards.“Neither are you. You’re a vampire, aren’t you.” It was an accusation.He had no idea how she had figured it out. Humans as a race were unable to tell the difference between one and two-natureds, but he nodded. “Trust me, compared to renegades, I’m human. I’m just an improved model.”His attempt at humour had no effect. “You’re going to kill me too, aren’t you?” He could smell her fear and it aggravated him.“For fuck’s sake, will you quit with that already. I’m not going to kill you. I’m taking you home.”“You don’t even know where I live.”“I’m a vampire, remember.” He tapped his forehead with his finger, indicating that he could read minds. He hadn’t actually done it, as she had to be conscious for it. He had simply checked her bag for the address, a UCL hall on Gover Street.She wasn’t assuaged. “And it’s supposed to make me feel better that you’ve violated my mind instead of my body?”“Yes.” He had long forgotten what it was like to have a complete privacy of his mind. When a bunch of people had the ability to communicate with you in your mind, you tended to lose certain inhibitions.“That’s illegal, you know.”“You won’t remember it.” It wasn’t the right thing to say either.“So I won’t know if you rape me?”Her accusation stunned him. “I’m not going to rape you. Why would you believe I would?”“Gee, I don’t know. Maybe because I’m locked in a car with a vampire I just witnessed to kill a man!”“He wasn’t a man.” Jeremy was beginning to lose patience.“Says you.”Jeremy rubbed his face to clear his mind. He needed a shave, but that would have to wait. “Look, we had a bad start. Hi, I’m Jeremy Grayson, a vampire warrior of the Crimson Circle, and I spend my nights hunting the creatures I killed so they won’t kill vampires and hapless human women. Who might you be?”She regarded him suspiciously. She had a nice face, pretty even though she was frowning. A strong, stubborn face. “Can’t you get it out of my mind?”“I can, yes, but I’d rather not.”“Suppose I give you a fake name, then.”“Suppose you do. I’m sure you have a name you give to annoying guys at bars all the time.”A ghost of a smile tugged the corner of her mouth, suggesting that she indeed had a fake name ready. It softened her features, transforming her from pretty to beautiful as her large, moss green eyes lit. Her light brown hair was pulled back tightly, but wisps had escaped and were framing her face nicely. Her sharp nose and dark straight brows didn’t look so severe anymore either.He reached for the inside light and switched it on. His eyes adjusted instantly, but her human eyes were slower to react. “I just realised you probably don’t see me as well in the dark as I see you,” he explained. The light might make her feel more comfortable too.She nodded. She was studying him as curiously as he had her earlier, and he waited patiently. Anything to make her calm down. It was beginning to dawn on him that the situation might seem somewhat different to her than it did him. No wonder she was frightened.“My name is Corynn Sparks,” she eventually said. “Spelt with a ‘y’ and two ‘n’s and no ‘e’ at the end.” He got a notion that it was her actual name, and it delighted him.“I knew a girl with the same name once.”“What, spelt the same way?”She sounded so affronted that he smiled. “I have no idea. People weren’t fussy about spelling those days and, anyway, I couldn’t read.”She stared at him. “The way you said it makes it sound like it was a long time ago.”“I am a vampire, remember.”She was truly curious now. “So how long ago was it?”“You can’t expect me to spill all my secrets at once,” he teased her, and was rewarded with a smile that had almost no fear in it.“Why not? You already told me you’re going to erase my memory.”That was true. “Well, I was born in 1663.” He watched her take that in.“Wow. That’s… You’re really old.”He didn’t feel old. Never had. He looked about the same age he had been when his promise was fulfilled, twenty-six, and if he didn’t feel quite as young as modern men of that age, it was because he had been older than that already before he was twenty. Life had been harder when he was still human, and people matured fast.He shrugged. “I’m young for a vampire.”“I’m twenty-two.”“A veritable baby.”“Hey!” But he just smiled and started the engine again.“Come, let’s get you home.”