Timeline: Centuries before Lost Wages of Sin
Characters: Dante and Ava
Length: 523 words
Note: I know the dialogue in this snippet is an anachronism to the time. Forgive me. I just can't unhear them like this.
There were three things Dante knew with absolute certainty. Blood tasted best off a fresh kill, never tell anyone where you slept, and he was going to die.
Granted, he hadn’t known the last part very long, but rather the last ten minutes. How it had happened, he didn’t now. One moment, he and a group of local vamps feasted on the blood of a sadist, and the next he was on the ground, a holy man waving the business end of a torch in his face. He could be wrong, but Dante was certain everyone would calm down if one of the bastards currently whipping iron spikes into his flesh would stop long enough for someone to explain. Vampires weren’t careless creatures, at least not the ones who wanted to live more than a century or two. Death came to those who deserved it, and no one deserved it more than a defiler of the innocent.
It was a rather large step for Dante, who rarely gave a fig about anyone’s head save his own. The man who had met death by his fangs tonight had merely been at the right place at the wrong time, with the wrong sort of blood on his hands. Child’s blood. A girl, by the scent. A girl whose death had come only after her body had suffered horrors beyond the wickedest imagination.
Dante hadn’t been the only vampire present, but he had been the first to notice the man. And he had been the first to lunge. The others had merely followed suit.
And then they’d been ambushed by men of God.
Anger, fear, and doubt polluted the climate, ensuring no one felt safe in their skin. Perhaps these righteous lads currently intent on beating him to death didn’t know the difference between monsters. Either way, Dante was sure he was about to die. Silent screams stilled in his throat, his hands burning from holy water and his skin weeping blood. It would come soon. The vampire at his left had disappeared, burned to a rapid crisp after the torch’s flames dug into his chest. It would soon be over, and then—
And then nothing. Nothing at all. The thunderous cries around him silenced without warning, and the blows to his body came to a halt.
He didn’t want to open his eyes, but somewhere he found the courage.
At first he thought himself dead, for standing above him was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Ribbons of dark red hair fell over her shoulders, playing against soft, smooth skin and drawing his attention to the rather large sword in her grasp. She wore black, but he swore she was an angel, and the fire in her ember eyes stirred something in his chest he hadn’t known existed.
And then she opened her lips and spoke.
“If you plan on staring at me all night, you’re better off diving onto one of those torches.” She indicated the fallen flame at his side. “Or is this your first holy war?”
“My God,” Dante panted, drinking her in. “I think I’m in love.”
Sinners and Saints Book I, Lost Wages of Sin. Coming soon from Liquid Silver.