I have a taste for blood.
No, that’s not entirely accurate. Blood drinkers.
To be exact—hot, sexy blood drinkers.
Like many of us I was raised on films with Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, those unintentionally hilarious black-and-white “horror” flicks that didn’t scare me as much as bore. I actually fell in love with vamps when I read Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire in 1976—I was fascinated by the bizarre love triangle formed by the tortured Louis, careless Lestat and pathetic Claudia.
(Don’t, by the way, bother with any of the films made from Rice’s novels. Like many a book adapted to screen, they disappoint.)
Then came Dracula, the play, in 1977. It originally starred Frank Langella on Broadway, but I was lucky enough to see a production in San Francisco with (sigh) Jeremy Brett, who also gave us one of the most admired portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, another panty-dampening fictional character.
Despite my taste for blood (drinkers) much time elapsed between the moment I started writing my first novel in late 1996 and the moment I wrote my first vampire tale. My guess is that the delay had to do with the kind of books I was writing. In the 90s I wrote “straight” romance as opposed to erotica, which placed vamps off-limits. Since I saw Jeremy Brett’s naked chest on that stage in San Francisco, vampires and sex have been linked in my mind.
And so it is with the Highland Vampires series. My blood drinkers, however, are vamps unlike any others. I imagined vampires if they truly existed among us, absent any supernatural powers. I don’t believe in the supernatural—just in phenomena we don’t yet understand.
So if vamps really existed, what would they be like?
While there are animals that fly, humans and humanoids aren’t among them—unless we get into a plane. I surmised, first, that vampires are humanoid and second, can’t fly without mechanical help.
So they appear to fly, but how? Using their unusual strength—again, not unnatural strength, but unusual strength—they don cloaks and capture the wind, seeming to fly when they jump. And yes, they can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
They live unusually long lives—again, unusual but not supernatural.
And they have a taste for blood. Witness Isobel Kilburn’s first kiss:
Excerpt from Lovers in Tartan:
Edgar’s lips caressed hers and her mind emptied of everything except this
new experience. Isobel wanted to remember everything about her first kiss: the strength of his arms, the warmth of his lips followed by the wetness of his tongue as it slid slyly into her mouth.
His flavor was distinctive, a spice like nothing she’d tasted before, a toothsome relish composed of spring water, mint and honey. The scent of the forest mingled with his aroma, a fragrance that melded good male sweat with an underlying freshness that reminded her of the summer sun glittering on the sea.
His hand trailed down her back to curve over her bottom. He squeezed, and the tingling heat of passion spread from his broad warm palm to encompass all of her. A purr rose in her throat. She slid her arms beneath his and held onto his shoulders from behind.
She pulled him in tight, wanting nothing but this kiss to go on and on forever. Life had become so simple. Their mouths touching, their hands exploring, their bodies pressed against each other were everything. Nothing else mattered.
She sucked on his tongue but still wanted more. She nipped and then, tasting a new flavor, licked the tip. Was it his blood? She didna care. He was delicious.
She sucked harder. Yes, that was his blood seeping over her tongue from the tiny bite, and it was intoxicating… He was intoxicating. He groaned and his grip tightened. She became aware that his muscular body had hardened against hers.
That she’d taken his blood had stirred him. A bolt of pure lust snapped through her. He was aroused by her need and that, in turn, inflamed her.
His hands shifted, roamed, explored…he took her wrists and drew them down to the small of her back. His maleness thrust blindly, seeking her warmth and heat. She pressed herself against him not only with desire but also with a sense of wonderment. She had not known how good he’d feel pressed against her.
He pulled away but she couldn’t reach for him to bring him back. He gripped her shoulders and looked into her eyes with a peculiar intensity. His blond hair swung loose, and she realized what he’d done.
He’d bound her hands behind her back with his leather hair tie.
“What…why did ye do that?” She tried to tug her wrists apart, but he’d tethered them firmly.
“To stop you from running away from me.” His panting breaths stilled, became controlled. He was always so controlled. She hated that.
He wanted to control her, and she hated that even more. “I don’t run from ye. I’m not a’feared of ye!”
“Isobel, you’ve been running from me for five years.” He began to unbutton her blouse.
“What are ye doin? Me da will kill ye!”
“Oh, I don’t think so.” He slipped a hand into her blouse. Her corset pressed her tightly, supporting her breasts, and he pushed his fingers down into the valley between the mounds. Withdrawing his hand, he released one, cupping it, flicking the nipple, watching it tighten.
He’d never touched her breast before. No man had. It felt good, but it was wrong. She raised a knee and tried to jam it into his cods. He twisted, and she struck air instead. Off balance, she teetered.
One hand still tugged on her nipple, an intolerable state of affairs. His hand didnae belong there. No one’s did, but why did his fingers twisting the tip feel so good? He clamped his other hand on her bottom, keeping her upright but holding her close, too close for her to kick him.
She stomped, missing his booted foot. “I’ll bite ye!”
“You already have.” He flicked his tongue out, licking her lips. “Why did you do that, lassie?”
Her face was on fire, like the rest of her. She dropped her head to his shoulder so she wouldna have to look him in the eyes, those bright blue, searching eyes. The eyes that always seemed to gaze into her heart and learn all her secrets. “I doonae ken. It just…seemed right. Ye’re tasty, Edgar. Like the sips of sherry that me mam allows me from her glass.”
Like what you read? Find it here:
(All Romance Ebooks)
About the author:
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press, where she is currently Managing Editor. She also takes private clients.
Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.
A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.
–Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com
–Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sueswift
–She tweets @Suzdemello