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Excerpt: Fanged Love

Excerpt: Fanged Love

Steamy romcom with a vampire!



Why the devil is there a splinter in my ass? Inside the cozy darkness of my coffin, made from the finest oak an obscenely wealthy Transylvanian prince can buy, I uncross my arms and shift from my back onto my right side.

Ouch! With my eyes closed and still half asleep, I wiggle, feeling nothing but rough hard wood beneath me. Damn that Cornelia!

“Neli! Get down here this instant!” Neli is my loyal “human” slave, gifted to me long ago. She is supposed to take care of all the things I do not wish to deal with, which is basically everything. I find her to be lazy and stupid like most humans. For example, I have told her a thousand times not to use the carpenter in our village to refurbish my coffin. He always does such a terrible job reupholstering the cushions, even after I threatened him. And ate two of his three daughters.

It is as if the man has something against me.

I roll onto my bare back once more and sigh. Well, I suppose I will not be getting my beauty rest. A shame because I feel especially tired this evening, as if I have not had a wink of sleep today.

I suppose it is the stress of all those pesky peasants demanding I stop drinking their virgins and taxing them for the privilege to farm my land. Land I inherited when my master, the Great Kylgorii Gillmoreanu, perished in a very unfortunate sunshine accident. Yes, yes, I may have been the one to leave the dungeon escape door open, but it was truly an accident when I also forgot to close his coffin.

It is just that his coat was so velvety. As his squire, who wore rags made from potato sacks, I naturally admired the soft, luxurious feel. He was an early-to-bed sort of man—hitting the coffin at four or five each morning—so I often entered the dungeon to admire his fine clothing before I myself slipped into the pig crate I called home during daylight hours. Imagine my shock when I rose on that fateful night to find he was gone and that I had inherited his title, wealth, castle, and problems. That was years ago—far too many to count—and though I had technically been his slave, I still miss him. The way he could suck a neck and drain a flailing woman in three seconds was amazing.

Oh, Kylgorii. Sorry about the coffin, my friend. If he were here now, he would have Neli whipped into shape. Literally. I myself have never been able to whip, tame, or motivate her to do anything she did not wish to do. I would remove her head for her constant insolence, but she has a way with the villagers.

“Neli!” I yell once again and push on the coffin lid. The hinges pop from the wood, and the lid goes flying to the stone floor.

Very poor craftsmanship, indeed. I will have to speak to the carpenter this evening. Kylgorii taught me that to rule is to instill fear. Let up for one moment, and people will begin to think they have power. Hysterical.

Naked, I hop from my shabby coffin and grab my black satin cape from the hook on the wall. Why so dusty? As I inspect the thing, it disintegrates in my hands and falls to the floor.

What the devil? We must have a moth issue. Very ravenous, from the looks of it. And where is that damned Cornelia? I hadn’t really noticed the cobwebs this morning when I went to sleep, but clearly she’s been neglecting her cleaning duties. The lack of torches is also unacceptable.

I bet she spent the night with that sheepherder again. That does it.

“Neli!” I march up the stone steps toward the kitchen storeroom, where the entrance to my sleeping chamber is hidden. I am hungry, I feel weak from lack of sleep, and I am in no mood for this bear crap! I push on the concealed door.

Hold the scuppers. What is this? I stand in the middle of my storeroom, smelling flour, sugar, and other familiar ingredients, but nothing looks familiar. I see shiny cylindrical containers with very skillful drawings of vegetables on the outside. There are also boxes of something called “pancake mix,” along with many smells I do not recognize.

I crinkle my nose. What sorts of goods are these? Have we started trading with those crazy Saxons? I hope not. They are scary. Very savage.

I push on the outer door leading into the kitchen, and I am hit with blinding lights.

Instinctively, I hiss and throw my arms over my face. It takes only a moment to realize that these lights are not from the sun. If they were, I would be charred by now.

Slowly, I lower my arms and take in the strange objects before me. Large shiny metal boxes that hum like a swarm of bees. Lights that give no real heat. Floors made from polished stones I have never seen.

What sorcery is this? “Neli!”

Suddenly, the door from the connecting parlor flies open.

“Boz?” Neli’s green eyes are wide with shock. “OMG! You’re awake?”

“Yes, girl. Plain to see! Now tell me what the hell is going on. What are these—” I sweep my hand toward the tallest of the shiny metal boxes making all sorts of unnatural noises off in the corner “—objects? And do not tell me you have once again traded my gold for Gypsy trinkets and black magic, or I will skin you alive!”

Neli stands there dumbfounded in her odd-looking clothing—extra-long dark blue breeches and some white shirt that hugs her form, but provides no support. Very indecent. Her long red hair is still the same, however.

“Where is your corset? And, woman, what is on your feet? Put on proper attire this instant!” She appears to be standing on pieces of toasted bread, her toenails painted red and hanging out in the open air. I never!

Neli blinks at me and clears her throat, but words do not leave her mouth.

“Well, girl, do not simply stand there like a speechless Carpathian boar. What do you have to say for yourself?” I cross my arms over my chest. That is when I notice something frightful. My arms are thinner than I recall. I glance down at the rest of my body. I resemble a weathered scarecrow.

I whip my gaze to hers, silently demanding an explanation.

“Sir, welcome back.”

“Wha-where have I been, Cornelia?”

“Asleep, sir. For five hundred years.”

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