UNEDITED – AND COVER REVEAL! (Already appeared on the Facebook page – follow to get them first!)
Restaurant in Old Manhattan
Valerie breathed deep to take in the scent of lilacs and spring drifting over from the indoor waterfall, and she wondered if such a place as this had ever really existed in the outside world. Too much of the world was barren, too much of her life full of darkness and misery.
Sitting here, feeling the high life some had at their fingertips, while others struggled to avoid starvation or to get a roof over their heads, she was reminded why she had to change all that. Why she had taken a stand to see that justice had its day.
A small part of her mind reached into distant memories, a youth long gone, when a scent like this meant a visit to a mountain cottage. Memories of long days spent swimming in a lake and evenings wearing a flowing, flowery dress spinning as she danced with her mother.
But those days were long gone, barely memories at all. She’d reach for them in the dark hours of night, but during the day remembered the futility of trying to grasp a complete picture of what life had been like before she had become a vampire.
So she blinked the thoughts away, focusing instead on the meal before her, and this beautiful setting.
The restaurant had been set up to please the CEOs when they were in town, before Valerie had scared them off and then executed their attack dog, Commander Strake. She could certainly understand why they loved it here—the wall was set up to look like slick rocks interspersed with tropical flowers and the roof overhead was painted orange and purple to feel like a sunset.
“You haven’t touched your food,” Jackson said. He sat across from her with a half-eaten grilled lamb in front of him and a glass of amber ale in his hand, watching as she took in the scene.
She smiled. “I’ll taste it, but…” She glanced around at several other couples eating, noticing more than one set of eyes darting her way. “Is all this extravagance necessary?”
“Is this what you wanted?” he asked. “Had it, what, fed the flames, as you put it?” (more…)