Eight days remain until the release of Carmilla’s Ghost, so I’m offering another excerpt. This one takes place two chapters after the last excerpt and occurs when Sam Hain sneaks into the castle’s dungeon, after promising Carmilla she would not do so, and reads from Carmilla’s centuries’ old diary.
I took a deep breath and refocused. The only thing that stuck out in the entries was a name she didn’t mention. It seemed that this Hungarian named Yarono Bertalan arrived in Karnsburg right before everything started and presented himself to the Karnsteins as an emissary and diplomat for Vlad Dracula. Given ‘Milla’s hatred for Vlad, I’m surprised she didn’t mention this guy to me.
Fuck! Just as I found an entry where ‘Milla described what the local newspaper said about the body of one of the murdered girls when I heard footsteps and two people speaking in German. I closed ‘Milla’s diary and crept into the corner between two bookshelves and switched off my phone’s flashlight. As I backed against the wall, I squeaked in surprise when the floorboard beneath my right foot sank. The click of an opening lock followed, and I felt a draft as the bookshelf to my left opened slightly. A secret passage just might have been the thing that saved me from discovery. So, with nothing to lose, I slid behind the bookshelf and closed it behind me, hearing it lock into place.
I switched my phone’s flashlight back on, noting that its battery had dropped to under forty percent. The secret passage quickly became a secretly ascending staircase. I followed until I found a dead end at the top with a lever against the wall. I chuckled and shook my head before pulling the lever. As stone ground against stone, the wall slid open, and I saw that the passage led to Carmilla’s bedroom. I peeked my head from the passage and sighed with relief that she wasn’t in her room. I stepped through the opening, and the passage closed behind me.
As I looked around her room, I heard her voice come from behind me, “Well, this certainly is an unexpected but desirable surprise.”
I spun around with a sheepish grin on my face and a reactionary flush of my cheeks. Leaning against the door frame with her eyes shining like a cat’s in the night, Countess Carmilla Karnstein smirked in my direction. She had already changed into her dressing gown, but a quick peek revealed that she actually wore something underneath. Likely because of Lord Patriarchy’s undesirable presence. “Oh, hey, ‘Milla,” I said as I ran my fingers through my hair, “I didn’t think you’d get here so early. Is it your bedtime already?”
With a raising of her left eyebrow, she set the candelabra on her nightstand. And then she folded her arms across her chest and stalked toward me. Her lips, tinted burgundy from the wine, curled into a smile. She methodically circled me and said, “Yes, and that begs the question, Samantha Blake Hain, of what your purpose is in my bedchamber.”
My breathing stopped as she drew out the pronunciation of my name. A rush of heat spread through my body, and my breathing quickened. I tugged at my collar and replied, “Um, well, with all that’s going on, I had this weird feeling that maybe someone had bugged your home. Since I figured you might have moved to your office to work, I crawled out of bed and came here to search. So far, nothing.”
“Oh,” she said, letting her warm breath brush the back of my neck. Her voice turned into that purr again as she added, “I am grateful. I am unaccustomed to having someone who is not a thrall or a bonded servant serve as a protector. I could, well, grow accustomed to having this feeling.”
I spun around and looked into her eyes. Her chest seemed to heave as mine did, even though she doesn’t breathe. I raised my gaze toward her eyes but stopped at her lips. She licked them, and I saw just the daintiest hint of a fang. And then she reached out and touched my chin with a single finger of her right hand and guided my eyes back to hers. I swallowed hard, causing her to chuckle.
“Sam,” she said, “You know what they say, no? ‘My eyes are up here.’”
I inhaled sharply and bit my lip as my eyes searched the floor for a brilliant verbal riposte. I stepped closer to her, my face inches from hers, and whispered, “But I like the rest of your body too.”
My debut novel, Liam’s Doom, is on sale at all major and minor retail outlets from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to Bookshop.org. I request that you support Bookshop.org, as their site supports local and independent bookstores. The eBook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through my webstore.
Also, you can find my serialized prequel novel Blood/Lust on my website. New chapters go live at noon each Sunday!