Tears of Blood (The Blood Chronicles)

BOOK: Tears of Blood (The Blood Chronicles)
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Tears of Blood

Book Three of the Blood Chronicles
By
Tamela Quijas

 

 

 

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

 

This work of fiction is copyrighted material. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded, or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the author and publisher’s express permission.

Criminal copyright while, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/).

 

Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination.

 

Tears of Blood© 2012, Tamela Quijas
Price Publications First Edition

 

In the heyday of young Hollywood, one man wore the title of the darling bad boy of the Silver Screen. Embracing the label, Amado Gianni swept the cinema with his dark looks and sultry charm, and women fell at his feet in adoration.

 

A chance meeting with a dark soul, took everything from him. Left a shadow in the modern world, his existence was in constant combat with the forces of good and evil.

 

Meghan Stanley was a lost soul, battling the inescapable odds mounting against her. Blind, with a human seeking to destroy her, she was unaware of her appeal to the undead.

 

Fate would join them in a battle of survival…one filled with tears of blood.

 

 

 

 

 

To my lifelong friends,
Jan and Chris—
For gypsies, trains, and castles,
For secrets kept and laughter shared,
This is for you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

VanderLyn Hotel
Chicago
Autumn 1926

 

The music swelled around him, the mournful lament a haunting tune made popular over the last six months. He hummed along, the lyrics lingering on his lips, as he stood the top of the staircase leading into the grand ballroom. His dark eyes scanned the gathered crowd, somber and brooding, but his features remained expressionless. He sipped at a fluted glass of chilled champagne, the liquid a welcome respite in contrast to the humid autumn night.

The hotel’s dance floor was crowded, people nearly crushed against one another. Various perfumed scents hung heavy, and a bluish cloud of cigarette smoke hovered in the air. Bawdy laughter, loud voices, and murmured comments flowed as freely as the champagne, almost making the singer’s tune unheard.

It was a shame, he thought, partial to the vocals of Mamie Paul. He adored the woman’s talent and she wasn’t hard on the eyes either, her ebony dark skin accentuated by the ecru floor-length gown she wore. He wanted to shout at the crowd, ordering them to quiet so he could hear her sing of an ideal love.

Love
.

He snorted bitterly, knowing love wasn’t perfect, but Mamie Paul made the emotion sound akin to a treasure worth seeking until the end of time. He hadn’t any luck in the particular field, but found it pleasurable to listen to her smoky voice croon at the possibility.

Amado scowled through the haze, his nose wrinkling, and the silken whisper of the song stilled. He frowned as the singer murmured the title of her next tune, her husky words lost amid the noise of the crowd. His detached gaze drifted over the people and he studied what the assembled guests wore, the need to outdo their fellow man foremost in their minds.

They sickened him.

Why, he didn’t know. Anyone else would’ve been elated with the large gathering, where the season’s stylishness was in outstanding display. The women’s garments were the latest fashions of the year, with feathered plumes dangling from neatly coiffed hairstyles, exposing the graceful curve of their neck and jaw. Their faces were powdered a heavenly shade of white and bright eyes flashed beneath artificially darkened lashes.

Nearly every set of female lips resembled petals of carmine hued tulips, a direct reflection of actress Ruby Lang’s cinema trademark. Pearly shoulders glowed because of the overhead chandeliers, which emphasized the color tinting supple mouths. Beads of luminescent pearls dangled from many a woman’s neck, the long ivory strands drawing attention to the pliable figures beneath fringed dresses.

From where Amado stood, pale arms cloying begged him to do, as he wanted. The night's revelry was in his honor, and each wished
….no, pleaded
…. for his touch, while the overpowering scents of wantonness and sexual satisfaction whispered in the night. He grimaced, and took a long sip of his champagne, unhappy with his thoughts. He missed the innocence, subtle blushes, and guiltless eyes of an earlier decade. He ached for a different time, one rich with simplicity and wonder. He loathed the changes taking place, both in society and in his own life.

He hated the idea behind the gala, held in tribute to his many cinema graphic achievements. In fact, he didn't want to memorialize his on-screen glory, and considered the party a waste of the studio’s money.

He sighed, shaking his head, his vision blurring. He appreciated the adoration he received from fans and colleagues. Their adulation paid the bills and allowed him to live in relative splendor, unfamiliar to those of his background. Yet, after the events of the previous twenty-four hours, he didn’t care to be at the grand VanderLyn Hotel, surrounded by hordes of well-wishers. He wanted to be elsewhere, hidden from the critical public eye.

Amado pressed a shaking finger to his temple, wincing when a painful and throbbing pulse tightened. Aching from his thoughts and a subsequent headache, his heart flipped. He didn’t want to celebrate. He wanted to turn on his heel and run, hiding away from the hundreds of admirers, story hungry press photographers, and fellow actors. He wanted to erase the last year from his life. He wanted a break from memories of his wife, their life together, and her ensuing betrayal.

A fashionable and rising starlet, Louise Darlington, demanded an end to the marriage. At one time, he believed their world contained very similar interests and goals. He presumed she’d be the mother of his children, and share his life with him after they left the cinema’s fickle flame.

All the same, his marriage hadn’t gone as planned and their divorce had been more of a blow to his manhood than his heart. He reasoned that any man would have a difficult time with his wife’s betrayal, and competition was rife and handsome actors were a dime a dozen.

As it was, he would have been more understanding if Louise had succumbed to another man’s charm, but her disloyalty hit harder than he ever expected.

Powerless to control his wince, he remembered she discarded him for a
woman
.

The blow bruised Amado’s heart. Openly, Louise flaunted her new lover, the young starlet Claire Beaumont, on the busy streets of Los Angeles. Seen together at restaurants, often clasped in an embrace, the women exchanged impassioned kisses for the entire world to witness. Throwing modesty to the wind, she laughed aloud about banning him from her bedchamber in the first month of marriage. She fueled the tabloids with the most offensive of declarations, stating how she’d fallen into Claire's arms because he didn’t satisfy her sexually.

The great lover seemed incapable of pleasing his wife.

His spouse scorned him, ridiculed his sexual prowess, and humiliated him. He winced, his headache increasing. Amado suspected people gossiped about how the famed lover of Hollywood's Silver Screen was an abysmal failure in the marriage bed.

He tried to clear his depressing thoughts. He valued his job, his adopted country, and the dreams every immigrant held. He treasured his wedding vow, despite the temptation offered by numerous starlets but, regrettably, his wife hadn’t displayed the same respect.

Even now, there was a mixed assortment of accessible women to comfort and mend his shattered heart. If he’d been another man, he’d take full advantage of the willing arms and fervent lips seeking him, drowning in adoration, and stolen hearts, until Louise’s image vanished.

Rather than succumbing to an act he’d regret, he remembered every woman’s thoughts resembled those of his ex-wife. They desired him, wanted, and dreamed of him as the dashing hero of a fairy tale. They wanted the fantasy presented by the charismatic persona of Armand Gerino. They lusted after the man gracing the motion picture screen, not the person watching them with dark and hauntingly sad eyes.

They wanted the image he couldn’t deliver.

He stifled a mocking chuckle, knowing not a soul understood he wasn't the debonair film hero he portrayed. He was the opposite of everything considered proper for delicate feminine sensibilities ... a twisted and corrupted fantasy.

Sicilian born Amado Gianni, Armand Gerino to his adoring fans, was simply an exotic foreign import, who made young flappers and old women sigh with unrepentant ecstasy.

His first movie, produced six years earlier, the producers released with baited breath. Censorship laws placed the subject of
Spanish Nights
on the list of forbidden films, and with reason. The script called for him to portray a morose Spanish Don and kidnap a dainty flower of American womanhood. As the film unfolded, his character subdued, tormented, and subsequently seduced the young lady.

Granted, the characters fell in love by the final wrap. A bared breast, a hinted rape, and his foreign hands touching a delicate blossom should have caused outrage to echo throughout darkened cinemas countrywide.

To the surprise of the critics, women swooned at the ambiguous actions of his character and the heated kisses exchanged with the leading starlet. Ambulances and medical staff surrounded theaters, and cautionary fliers accompanied every ticket sold. Despite the dire warnings, the film was a success, even as shouts of indignation and protest rumbled in the streets.

The newspapers proclaimed righteous anger and astonishment over the film’s sinful nature. Armand Gerino turned into front-page news from coast-to-coast, just as the studio predicted, his picture beneath the boldly printed headlines of
“Would you allow this man near your daughters and wives?”
Instead of striking fear into so-called delicate sensibilities, the outcry did the opposite result, and women flocked in droves to the premiere
.
While his producers celebrated, journalists bowed their heads in disbelief, and he became an overnight sensation.

Even as men shook their fists, women blew kisses, and sent highly suggestive fan mail.

Still, he accepted what he was…a simple immigrant far removed from the shores of his beloved homeland, a modest dance instructor turned silent film star.

Breathing a disgusted sigh, he came to a distressing realization. Obviously, his wife fell into an equal class as his fans, despite their joint theatrical calling. Louise had been enthralled with capturing the latest heartthrob of Hollywood, the ardent Latin lover worth a fortune, and enveloped in mystery.

However, as a fellow starlet, she possessed financial and publicity oriented goals. Once settled, it didn't take long for her to realize he was only Amado Gianni of Northern Sicily. He wasn’t anything more substantial, despite the imaginative tales woven by his agent. Nor was he the illegitimate son of a forsaken duke, impoverished Italian count, or a prince in a country that no longer accepted royalty.

He inhaled a quivering breath, as twitters of laughter developed into gasps of awe and adulation below him. He cringed, realizing his guests had recognized him, and escape was impossible. He couldn't control his grimace before forcing a complacent smile to his lips. He gave the impression of welcoming the attention but, in truth, he didn’t.

Amado’s brilliant smile, the tilt of his chin, his superior attitude, was the result of exceptional theatrical training.

He wanted to ease into the sheltering gloom, avoiding the over-bright and glittering eyes beneath him. He didn’t though. Trained by the best coaches the studio offered, he inclined his head, and lifted his champagne flute in silent salute. The stiff collar of his starched shirt pricked his neck and he longed to run his finger under the tight fabric, but couldn't. Appearance meant everything in this thriving world of glamor, and tonight's festivities were for him. Everyone, at the excessive price of one hundred and fifty dollars a plate, was present to honor Armand Gerino and his upcoming début in the latest craze hitting Hollywood.

BOOK: Tears of Blood (The Blood Chronicles)
7.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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