Authors: S. A. Archer,S. Ravynheart
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Horror, #Dark Fantasy, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal, #Paranormal & Urban
S. A. Archer and S. Ravynheart
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Copyright 2012 by S. A. Archer and S. Ravynheart
Cover Art Copyrighted 2012 by Ravynheart Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form without permission, except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
(This story begins two weeks before the final scenes in
Scars of Silver: Rise of the Unseelie #2)
“Are you sure he’s Sidhe? Not just some other kind of fey?” The very notion that the four young vampires across from her might lead her to a Sidhe catapulted her heart into a frenzied beat. It was all London could do not to reach across the booth and snatch one of them and demand they lead her to him. Knowing that they might still have a wisp of his magic embedded in their bodies had her fingers curling, wanting to tear open their flesh to get at it. That’s how horribly the addiction shredded her. Even the barest notion of Sidhe magic slashed at her sanity. The Sidhe Touch was the only thing that could give her relief from the growing, aching desire. London hated it. Hated that this obsession possessed her so mercilessly, destroying the life she’d once known, eliminating the freedom she’d once taken for granted.
Digging her nails into her palms, London fought within herself to pull free of the fixation long enough to focus on this conversation.
She leaned forward, her elbows on the more-clean-than-not table. The circle of faint light from the hanging bulb overhead left the corners of the booth in partial shadow. The bar catered to parahumans, so was darker than most. Vamps and weres, with their sharp night vision, didn’t require a lot of light to see by. As a human accustomed to the ways of the parahumans, it didn’t faze London. The place had a stripped down appearance -- all dark wood furniture and paneling, hardy furnishings that didn’t break easily. The seats didn’t even have any cushioning. No pictures or what-nots on the walls that would become debris when fights broke out, less to have to clean up. Clearly a bar owned by weres, rather than vampires. Not that they discriminated.
The young vampires in the circular booth glanced at each other, each waiting for one of the others to answer her question. London knew newbie vampires when she spotted them. The lack of confidence was telling. They were separated into couples, which was another giveaway. In another few decades they wouldn’t waste time playing the boyfriend/girlfriend game.
“Well, they said he was a Sidhe, you know? But for real, how would you know if he’s Sidhe or not? Is there some kind of sign?” Charnel, the blonde girl in the white leather bustier leaned forward, giving London a far better view than she wanted.
“All fey have magic in their blood. But the Sidhe, they are something special. Something more.” London understood parahumans. She negotiated their world almost like one of them. Not like the fey. She’d not been prepared for them at all, especially not the Sidhe. Even this barest thought of them sent her mind tripping compulsively back into unwanted remembrance.
Rico had barely brushed her skin with his fingers and London’s world shattered. Just like that. The bastard did it on purpose. Cursed her to enslave her. To make her work for him. Then he went and got himself killed, abandoning London to this endless torment.
She peeled the label off her bottle of Guinness in strips, gave her hands something to do other than tremble. The craving for the Touch twisted within her worse than anything she’d known. Not even a vampire’s bloodlust seemed to compare. She’d never seen a vamp curl on the floor, hugging themselves and rocking, weeping with the need. Then again, they had lots of prey options. For London, only the Touch of the Sidhe would suffice. Only the Touch would relieve the pain. Wash away the anxiety. Make her feel whole and normal for a little while. But the Sidhe were scarce, all but impossible to find.
The closest thing she could compare the curse to was heroin addiction. Now she understood the way the crawling under the skin made them twitch. The circular thoughts spiraled over and over. The nightmares. So close to the fringes of insanity that keeping it together to even fake normal grew increasingly impossible until all you wanted to do was scream and claw your own flesh.
Every day it grew worse. Rico was gone. If he was still alive she’d do anything… anything for relief. He could send her to face a thousand Changelings with nothing but a pocketknife and she’d do it, just as long as he Touched her again.
Shivering as the memories she tried to bury rose once more, summoned by the addiction, London brushed her lips with her fingertips. Rico kissed her once. Just once. Filled her mouth with magic. Made her inhale it. Swallow it. Seep into her body. Awakened her to a pleasure too intense to endure. She’d felt it change her. Curse her. And now bereft of it, she longed for nothing else but to experience the Touch again. Only the power of the Touch could ease her agony.
She had to have it. She had to have it soon!
Struggling to find composure, London raked her fingers through her hair. No time to play games, she tried the blunt approach. “The Sidhe can Touch you with their magic right through the skin. You don’t even need to drink their blood to get high.”
Immediately, the girls squirmed against their guys. The guys had the “going to get laid” stupid grins. Oh, yeah. The fey they’d been telling her about was definitely a Sidhe. “Where is he? This Sidhe?”
“Well, that’s kinda the trick,” Colin, the shorter and darker of the guys, laughed. He was nearly hidden in the shadow of the booth, his arm around his girlfriend, Brandy. Tattoos sleeved his bare arms. A tiny hoop pierced his eyebrow. “You don’t find him. You get magicked to him.”
“Yep. Zip zap. There ye be.” Colin snorted a laugh, one a little too gregarious thanks to the shots he’d been downing.
Brandy, his girlfriend-slash-translator, rolled her eyes, which was more teen-dramatic with the glittery eye makeup. “There’s this bloke. Rand’s his name. He does the magic. He brings you there and he brings you back. He makes all the deals. Takes the payment. That kinda stuff.”
“Where do I find this bloke?”
Charnel obliged her by using her eye pencil on a paper napkin. She slid it across the table.
London picked it up and then frowned. “What’s this mean? Twelve thousand?”
“That’s what it’ll cost you.” She smiled, fangs flashing.
“Twelve thousand for the location? I don’t think so.” London dropped the napkin, ready to pretend she would walk out rather than pay the ridiculous price.
“No. The cash isn’t for us, it’s for Rand.” She chomped with her sharp, white teeth. “The twelve thousand buys a party.”
London tapped her finger on the tabletop as she thought. “When?”
“When can you get it?” Charnel laughed.
Getting twelve thousand Euros in cash within the hour was not hard, London simply asked Selena for the money. Friends and loans never mixed, but this was a business arrangement. If the twelve thousand was indeed to pay for a party with a Sidhe, then it was going to be a party paid for and enjoyed by Selena. Since Rico’s run in with a Changeling, Selena had been without access to Sidhe blood herself. Seemed as though vampires craved the blood, but other than that annoyance, they didn’t suffer from their craving. Only humans got the raw end of that deal. And what sucked even more? A cursed human couldn’t be embraced and become a vampire. Selena had tried and failed on that score. So London was well and truly screwed, and not in a good way.
Selena wore an elegant white satin blouse and stylish dress pants. She could go from a boardroom to an upscale party to a nightclub and still not look out of place. Selena was talented like that. It was a trick that London imagined she was born with, rather than had learned in her long vampire life. Her sleek blonde hair hung with perfect shine and smoothness. The total package that she presented was very different from London, whose short-cropped, dark hair and white t-shirt and black jeans seemed a poor imitation. Not that such things mattered, especially when the urgency of the addiction had London fidgeting in the seat next to Selena.
On rare occasions Selena pulled out the limousine and tonight was one of them, mainly because they needed to haul more people than could fit in her Town Car. London leaned against the door, peering out of the dark-tinted windows at the streetlamp lit corner in front of The Dog’s Hind Leg, the bar where she’d met with the young vampires. “That’s them.”
“Pull over,” Selena instructed the driver.
London pushed open the door and called to them. “Alright, get in then.”
Charnel climbed in and shouted, “Limo!” Her mini-skirt barely covered her butt as she tried to walk inside the vehicle while bent ninety degrees at the waist. All in white, from her fake fur coat to her stockings and hip boots. What was it with some vampires and wearing white? Did they have a magic formula for getting out bloodstains? Or just liked the look of bright red blood against the canvas of snow white? Charnel looked like a rock star ready for the stage. The other vampires were similarly attired in party clothes. Jimmy held aloft an open bottle of Jack Daniel’s and howled when he climbed in and bounced his bottom down in one of the side facing seats next to Charnel.
Selena shot London a “for real?” look and London just offered a half apologetic shrug.
Brandy and Colin climbed in last. Brandy saw Selena, clamped her lace glove covered hands to her mouth and stifled a fan-girl scream. When the others gawked at her in confusion she waved her hands at her face and struggled to squeak out, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Selena? The Selena?”
London grinned with a little too much amusement at Selena’s expression of “What have you gotten me into?” All four junior vampires jammed in around Selena with copious amounts of idle worshipping and chatter. London excused herself to the couch opposite the huddle and smiled sweetly at her friend, knowing that there very well better be a Sidhe at the end of this ride. At least witnessing Selena hold court among her fans offered some distraction from the craving the gnawed at London.
The Limo pulled into the side alley beside the Fairy Circle Shop, one of those new age kinda shops with so many scented candles, incense, and herbs that anyone breaching the threshold with allergies was doomed to a ferocious sneezing fit. The junior vampires all spilled out. Their laughter and chatter only sped up with their excitement. Selena followed with London bringing up the rear. She’d heard about this place. It fronted for a lot of the drug dealing for the parahumans, magic brews and potions geared for blood drinkers and weres. London hadn’t heard that the place dealt with the fey, too.
London lagged behind a little, letting to others push ahead as she cast searching glances around the dark alley. The vampires went in the back entrance and there was barely room enough for London to wedge in without getting all up close and personal with the fur of Charnel’s coat each time the vampire girl squealed and hopped on her three inch heels.