RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER, as you know, is my idea for a 'spring-board' novel to my vampire series THE CORESCU CHRONICLES, which begins with THE JUDGING. Well...since THE JUDGING is at the agent's being reviewed, I need to occupy myself with the next manuscript, and readers of my blog know that I am now polishing the RABBIT manuscript in order to have it self-published hopefully by November 1st.
There is a little pressure to rush and get it out there, but it would be best to keep writing on it, day by day, polishing, editing, proofing, revising, and even getting more pre-reader opinions before I run on down and get it published. The finished product should be as perfect as possible. Now, I might be done by Sept. 31st..that would mean the book could be available for purchase as soon as October 25th. But, like I said, I'm not going to rush. I am adding some details about the Rakum, the vampire-like race of beings in RABBIT; details the reader will like to know...
I am feeling cheeky today and am going to post in this blog a chapter from RABBIT that is late in the game. So few people read this blog now, that I am fairly safe in letting this juicy nugget go by...
Here's the set up... Simon voluntarily donates blood to Javier--a Rakum that he has known for 2 years, and loves dearly. For his own good, Javier leaves Simon behind to go take care of some dangerous business among his own people. Simon is alone now and lonely and is about to be 'picked up' by a rapacious Rakum named Meryl who is up to no good...
Outside Stone’s house, hidden inside his rented Tahoe, Meryl spied on his brethren as they entered the taxi and pulled away. Elder Dawn’s instructions were specific: bring the traitor’s Cow to Assembly by any means necessary. It shouldn’t be too difficult. Meryl was supremely gifted in handling the mortals they all toyed with. Anyway, his superior telepathy picked up everything that transpired with the trio just now, and they were none the wiser. One of the perks of the mental acuity he shared with his twin was advanced mental blocking. If he didn’t want his target to notice his intrusion, they would never be aware of him. Now Meryl focused his attention on the sad little Cow left behind in the dark house. He would be easy to manipulate; easy prey. Meryl switched on the truck and pulled up to Stone’s house. It was time to collect the prize and head on to Assembly. Simon exited the shower in his boxers and towel-dried his short hair. Only Stone’s master bath had linens and a shower curtain. Clean again, now he dripped on the man’s hardwood floor without caring. Javier was gone and most likely for good. What did it matter to him if some bossy Rakum’s floor got ruined? Simon snorted and threw the towel to the floor with a snap.
“That’s some temper you have, little Simon.”
Simon yelped into his fist. Standing in the doorway was a Rakum, a stranger. During his time with Javier he met several of the Brethren, but he also knew each Rakum held their personal Cows jealously. He had never spent any significant time with any of them besides Javier and for the first time, he was alone with a Rakum and Javier was nowhere in sight.
The man in the door watched him and chuckled, his smile friendly and sincere.
“Sorry?” Simon mumbled, standing square, feeling exposed and wondering where he’d left his blue jeans. His mind was blank. It took a few seconds to realize that looking into the Rakum’s gaze was making him lightheaded.
The stranger stepped toward him and stopped a few feet away.
“I’m Meryl. I heard you might be a little lonely.”
Simon opened his mouth to reply but didn’t. The Rakum before him was Javier’s total opposite. Javier’s look was rugged, tall, broad and square-shouldered; not to mention he looked to be at least thirty. But this one, this Meryl, was his age or younger; the same height and weight, but with nearly luminescent oak-colored eyes and coffee-colored skin. The Rakum named Meryl was beautiful—and Simon had never attached that adjective to a man before. Doing it now caused him to blush and Meryl smiled wide revealing perfect white teeth.
“I like the way you look too, Simon.” Meryl said his voice soft. “So you’ve been abandoned? That stinks.”
Simon sighed and nodded his head. “It’s not fair either.”
“No, it’s not.” Meryl agreed and stepped closer. Now he was an arm’s length away and he reached out to put his hand on Simon’s pectoral. “How ‘bout you come with me? I’m not likely to let a guy like you out of my sight for long. What do you say?”
Simon looked at the hand on his chest and swallowed. Meryl was obviously more eccentric than Javier—Javier never laid a hand on him except to receive his blood from his arm. But this one was very forward. Simon gulped but he enjoyed the adoration in the Rakum’s gaze. He nodded his head and gestured for the bathroom behind him. “My clothes.”
Meryl tilted his head to the side and smiled wide again. “Simon, Javier is gone. He is really gone. You know that, don’t you?”
Simon nodded his head reading everything in the Rakum’s expression. Not only was Javier out of his life, Javier would be human soon. It was a disgusting turn of events. But Meryl was regarding him with affection in his enormous eyes.
“Would you be my Cow, Simon? All mine? Just for me? I want to take you places, Simon.” Meryl ran his hand up until it rested on Simon’s left shoulder. “And the first place I want to take you is Assembly. Tonight. Right now. I will show you off to my Brethren. Will you come?”
Simon watched the Rakum’s lips as he spoke. There was a musical quality to his voice that he never heard in Javier’s. But didn’t Roman say he’d be dead meat at the Cave? Simon’s lips parted to voice his concerns but Meryl shook his head, his cool palm now cupping the side of his face.
“How could anyone hurt you when I am there to protect you?” Meryl stepped toe-to-toe with him now, his breath falling on Simon’s cheek. “I am a very covetous master, Simon, and no one will come near you unless I condone it.”
Simon’s head was spinning. He blinked his eyes knowing he was being hypnotized by the handsome devil. But at the same time, he really didn’t object.
Simon rest his hand on the Rakum’s arm to steady himself and nodded his head. “I will go with you, Meryl.”
“I thought you might.”
Simon leaned forward a fraction and fought to keep his eyes open. He saw a flash of movement between blinks; Meryl was holding a knife and bringing it up, out of his sight. When the Rakum pressed the blade into the soft flesh of his neck, Simon barely felt it; his mind buzzed along, the memory of Meryl’s gentle words refracting in his mind.
As Meryl pulled him close by a strong hand behind his head, Simon thought about the bright future ahead. He was still needed. He was still desired by the earth-bound gods he loved. “You’re a good boy, Simon.”
Meryl’s last words before he pressed his mouth over the incision he had made in the valley between Simon’s throat and his shoulder. Simon released a small sound and fell silent, leaning into the strong arms of a Rakum he’d only just met. But this one loved him already. How could they be devils when they were filled with such love?
Standing in his BVDs in a stranger’s bedroom, in the arms of an even stranger Rakum, Simon felt peace. All the pain he thought he would feel at Javier’s departure faded away then and there. As the seconds ticked by, Simon rested his head on Meryl’s shoulder, knowing he was finishing up his impromptu meal. He had to hurry because they were headed to the Cave where everyone would see that he belonged to the most beautiful Rakum in the world. Plainly overhearing his thoughts, Meryl chuckled and pulled away, pressing his thumb against the dime-sized puncture wound. Simon regarded him with sleepy eyes. It was okay if this one read his mind. He did want to run. He was home.