Being a historian by education and career, when I started Alexander and Lavinia’s journey, on top of trying to conquer the vastness of the English Empire, c. 1800, I researched vampires. The results of my findings are in the plot to Her Eternal Rogue.
Interesting how the vampire myth expanded during Middle Ages when the Black Plague rampaged through Western Europe. The “evil” Black Death, a disease spread quickly, decimating families and towns quickly. They often buried the dead in large hastily dug pits and covered the stench with lime and dirt. One night, in Italy, gravediggers found a woman’s body partially exposed, bloated and its mouth wide open with blood stains. Afraid, the workers thought the body came a live at night and fed on the blood of the townspeople and that’s why they were ill and dying. So the diggers shoved a piece of wood in the body’s mouth and decided that’d keep her here – hence the killing vampires with wood began.
Bram Stoker wrote most of the framework vampires have been constructed under for numbers decades. Vampires were awake only at night, their bodies cold, fed on human blood to the point of the victim’s death, couldn’t see their reflection in a mirror, were pale and cold. Lately, a couple stories have broken the rules- in Twilight they sparkled like diamonds so they hid in cloudy Seattle. The Vampire Diaries, Damon and Stefan wear magical rings to keep them from burning in the sun. True Blood, if they drink enough fairy blood, they can step out into the sun but only briefly before they burn.
Originally, the fear was vampires looked like normal people – alive and well – until they attacked and killed you by sucking your blood.
It is these earlier stories that I relied on constructing Alexander and his maker, Tierre. What else can a historian do?
Below is an excerpt when Alexander confesses Lavinia. Enjoy! And then join me and post an excerpt from your novel or wip that pushes the norm to the limit of established “fact”!
The truth is exposed –
She looked at him quizzically. The warmth of the rum spread through her body as he held her, clearing away the last remnants of shock. She realized his embrace, though comforting, even soothing, was not warm but cool. Strangely refreshing in the humid Caribbean heat. But cool also meant he had no body heat of his own. Like death. Her eyes widened.
“I don’t understand.” She disentangled herself from his arms to stand. “You seem so much alive….”
His eyes changed to flat and distant.
“Aren’t vampires,” she swallowed, “dead?”
He looked at her and slowly nodded.
“You’re dead? But you don’t look dead,” she continued, trying to convince herself that this was all a bad dream. “You have color from the sun, and I’ve felt your warmth—”
“My skin was darkened by the sun before I died.” He shrugged. “You remain how you appeared when you breathed your last. I feel warm after I’ve had…” He paused for a long moment. “…fresh blood.”
Blood. An image came clear in her mind. Her hand flew to her neck where she had seen the slight purplish mark. “You bit me!”
He looked at her without emotion, though she caught a flicker of something passing across his eyes. Guilt? He said nothing.
“How could you? You could have killed me.” The accusation was laced with incredulity and anger, and he flinched.
“But I didn’t,” he countered. His face turned stern. “I’ve been fighting it ever since I saw you. The scent… I picked you out instantly. I wanted you badly. The scent of your blood brought me to you.”
He got up and stepped toward her. Pain shone in his eyes. She had nowhere go as he stood before her and tipped her chin up.
“I’ve wanted you,” he whispered. “Not just your blood. I. Wanted. You.”
She gulped, desperate to believe. Inside, she fought the desire for him with fear. How could she want and fear him at the same time. She blinked and stepped to the side.
“I’ve heard stories. Vampires feed on blood, walk at night, can’t be around religious items.” She peered at the crucifix on the wall then back at his cross earbob. “They can’t eat and look hideous.” Her gaze caressed him, though she tried in vain to make it more accusatory.
“Most of the tales are lies,” he stated flatly. “Who started those stories, do you suppose?” He blinked and gave her a pleading look. “Vampires. How do you get your victims to feel safe around you? Not to destroy you? You tell them to look for something other than what you are.”
“And your scars…”
“Prior to my change.”
She collapsed to the floor, holding her head in her hands as it spun. Vampires didn’t exist. They were children’s stories, not real. But before was a man who obviously was one from what she witnessed earlier. Her heart thudded painfully in her breast. Tears streamed down her face as the past few hours hit full force. She was engaged to her childhood sweetheart, a perfect marriage and life waiting for her back home in England. Only to give her heart and herself to this man. This pirate. A vampire, the undead, a demon who could drink her blood at will. Who already had. She felt hurt. Violated. Defiled.
He reached down and pulled her up. Though her vision blurred, she thought she saw pain clearly on his face. His grip wasn’t hard, but she couldn’t find the will to leave. Then he reached for her face, held it gently as he bent closer. She closed her eyes. Stopped breathing. He kissed her. A soft kiss that deepened slowly. The passion overwhelmed her fear, It was far easier to allow it in—at this moment. With a little hesitation, she encircled his neck, and his arms embraced her against him, as if she’d disappear. She was his. They both knew it. Eternity be damned.
He kissed her deeply, long and passionately. It was the touch that broke through her defenses. Scooping her up, he spun and brought her to the bed. Sliding next to her, he looked into her eyes, both silently questioning her and letting her see his longing. Her heart raced from his caresses. At this moment, she lost her will. She gave herself. He grinned as if he could read her mind and kissed her again.
Alexander’s stiff manhood pushed against the fabric of his breeches. She reached between them and unbuttoned his pants. Caressing his arousal, she stroked him down to his balls, squeezing them lightly, then back up to the head, encircling the ridge as she rubbed the slit.
He moaned and pulled at her skirt, raising it to expose her legs. His hand traced over her hip to the apex of her thighs, and let one finger slid into her. Though her lips never left his, she met each thrust with her hips. The primal dance of lovers intensified, increasing in speed. He plunged into her, claimed her and she desired to claim him too as she reached up to greet him. She arched her back, lowering her hips to allow him deeper access until he touched her womb with each movement. She saw the look of joy on his face when he released, as her world shattered in pieces around her.
She caught the amazement in his eyes as he watched her. It made her smile, for it made her feel the same way. She breathed deeply, closing her lids, overwhelmed with emotions. Peace, love, completeness and danger. He was a vampire. Slowly opening them, she dampened that thought and looked at him. He was still inside her, and she felt him move slightly. All this was so real, how could he be dead?
It took a moment before she realized he was silent – smiling but silent. Glaring at him, she punched his chest. “How dare you at least not pretend to be out of breath!”
Laughing, he fell next to her.
“Don’t you laugh at me!” She struck his bare chest again.
“Sorry,” he said between guffaws. He grabbed her wrist before she struck him a second time and pulled her on top of him.
“I will never hurt you,” he whispered. “I promise you.”
She squinted. “And no more biting me?”
He was quiet for a moment. “That’ll be more difficult. You do taste exquisite.”
“Ahh! How dare you!” She tried to hit him again, but his laughter continued. Turning her head slightly, she queried, “Really?”
“Yes, ma chère.” He kissed her. “But I will try…”