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Besides the Darker Shore [MultiFormat]
eBook by Patricia J. Esposito

eBook Category: Dark Fantasy/Romance
eBook Description: To forsake all that is good ? to dive into desire What might the ethical Governor David Gedden give up for one man's exquisite beauty? It's terrifying to consider when the man is a destructive blood prostitute and David is responsible for the state's peaceful vampire community. Blood sales in Boston are up, blood taxes support a thriving new nightlife, neighborhoods have been refurbished, and deaths by vampires have plummeted. David is assured reelection. However, the blood addict Stephen Salando has returned from exile with one unalterable plan: to turn the good governor into a vampire. Stephen is an immortal dhampir, whose beauty obliterates reason, who rouses in David a fierce desire he's ignored his whole life. For David to have Stephen, he must ally with the community's archrival. To have him, he must become a potential killer himself. Excerpt: As Stephen stood to put in his music, he downed his glass of wine, the orange light catching the liquid's flow, streaking Stephen's neck. There was no doubt he was beautiful, his slender silk neck belying the strength of tendons, of arteries that pumped eternally renewing blood. Did he think David could take that blood, could bite into this man whom he could hardly touch without ravishing as a human? "If the intimacy of Stephen frightens you," Arturo said, "think of the eternity I'm offering. You will have time for my villa in Potes, and I will take you there. Time for Italy and India, for Scottish moors and Arabian deserts, for Plato and Lawrence, Prokofiev and Paganini. Arturo's voice was lulling, his smile charming, and David couldn't help a small smile in return. "At night," he continued, "we will skim our hands over Rodin's Orpheus and Donatello's David, stand beside de Chirico's melancholic street and Hopper's slanted shadows, voyeurs to each century and secrets in ourselves." A solitary, sad guitar strummed through the trailer, mixing with the breeze through the slatted window, and Stephen slid on the bench, next to David, while Arturo leaned back into shadows. "This music is lonely," he said, "rain and bare branches and twilight sky. Like Stephen." David's arm was a twitch away from Stephen's. Their legs brushed beneath the table. A drum began slowly beating alongside the guitar, propelling the night, yet holding them still. David sipped his wine, knowing it would taste like Stephen, and realized that what he wanted was entirely selfish. He wanted immunity, to taste all this, to drink only for himself. He looked at Stephen, his dark lashes, sleek cheekbones. He wanted those soft lips parting, the taste of his breath, burgundy-rich, so near his mouth. He tasted Stephen before their tongues met. His fingers burned on the table edge, his heart louder than the music. The breeze pushed him on. Lips on lips.

eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2011

Chapter One

The Closing

The major casualties of my childhood evolved from a loss of innocence. I was a lonely child fighting to find an identity in the wake of my parents' divorce. Everything changed after I met my wife, Val, as a kid in high school. We dated through college and moved in together only minutes from my father's old house and thirty miles outside of Philadelphia. As the days passed, things began to shift. We lived in an apartment that my job at a local investment company could pay for, while Val worked and improved at being a hair stylist. I proposed to her late on a winter's night. One day, in the supermarket, the first piece of everything fell into our lives.

We were engaged and looking for houses, any way to get out of the city we could find. As we walked through the automatic doors, a large rack of identical pamphlets sat in our path. The top of the rack displayed a modern, beautiful house sitting on a serene lake, while a duck worked his way through the water. "Just minutes from your door," claimed the words below it. We grabbed a brochure and went home, thinking nothing of another piece to add to our ongoing research. (I'd go into details of our wedding, if you wanted, but I know what you want. You need to know why and how and ask every question we've answered a million times.)

After our wedding and more advancement in our jobs, we came into enough income to shop for houses and finally create our own reality. The first brochure on the table was the one from the supermarket. That Saturday morning we decided to go and look, choked up at the thought of our first home buying experience.

I followed the map on the form and, of course, managed to get lost. Val flashed her hazel eyes at me and took a sip of coffee from her thermos.

"What?" I said, "I know where we are headed."

"Yeah right, master of directions," she replied. She aimed an air vent directly onto her face and adjusted her sunglasses. "You have five minutes until I call the number."

My dad always said that all roads lead to some bigger road, an ending. He was right. As I crested a hill, a group of structures rose like the Easter Island statues from the fields surrounding the road. Various construction vehicles manipulated dirt and other materials. One home, the model, stood finished, and a small crowd gathered outside around a woman in a power suit. We pulled the car into the last available spot next to the lonely looking curb, if you could call it a curb, considering it was a single concrete band running from our feet through the field.

"Look at these people," Val said. She walked around the car and hooked onto my arm.

"I'm sure it will be a good time," I said.

We walked and sized up the others in the crowd. Four couples stood in a small C shape. One of the couples was pregnant and another had two small boys running circles in the model home parking lot. Their father, Bryan Dean as I would find out later, ran and grabbed them both. They yelled, and he took his place back in the C all in, what seemed like, under thirty seconds.

"Thank you for coming," the power suit looked at us, "and you are?"

We told her our names. She wrote them into a daily planner she carried in her right hand, studded with a large diamond ring. I pointed it out to Val.

"The independence ring," I said. She rolled her eyes.

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