Of course, there are also vampires in my Brides of Prophecy series and even though the upcoming new release, Melding Souls, features sexy sorcerers, the vampires are heavily featured in this next adventure.
Beau awoke to a weight sinking beside him on the cot.
Aurora’s voice gently tugged him from the black swirl of unconsciousness. “Rise and shine, sleepyhead. You’ve been down for almost twelve hours.”
“Art—” he groaned, struggling to sit up.
“He left with Delgarias at dusk.” Aurora leaned closer and whispered, “Did you make your move yet?”
“He was digging a bullet out of my arm, ’Ror. Hardly the time to ask which team he bats for.” Beau started to roll his eyes, then froze. “What do you mean, Art left with Del? Where did they go?”
“Some hella intrigue going on.” The drummer’s eyes lit with conspiratorial mischief. “Zareth received a letter from the king of Wurrakia requesting for his son to return for a couple weeks, but Zareth thinks Art’s dad is going to ask him to spy on Zareth. That’s why Zareth’s having Del escort Art. A blatant warning of who Wurrakia would be messing with if they decide to get treasonous.”
Artavian had been talking about the political tensions between his homeland and Zareth, but Beau had fallen asleep. Now he wanted to kick himself. How bad was it? Would Art be in danger? What if the Wurrak king refused to give Art back to Zareth?
“Damn it! Art was just telling me how afraid he was to go home.” Beau launched himself from the cot and ran out of Artavian’s chambers, only half-hearing Aurora jogging after him. “Zareth should have refused!”
By the time he got down the spiral staircase and reached the crowded solar, he was too out of breath to call out the King of Aisthanesthai. Even more frustrating was that he’d have an audience. Xochitl was beside her husband, Sylvis stood nearby with Kerainne, who cradled Silas and Akasha’s baby with heart-wrenching tenderness. Then there were all the vampires filling the large room, their eyes glittering with hunger.
Dizziness nearly buckled his knees as an alien thought slipped through his mind. We’re almost all here.
“Beau?” Xochitl appeared in front of him, grasping his shoulders. “You okay?”
“Physically? Just fine. Art is a miraculous healer.” Anger restored the strength to his muscles as he jerked away from Xochitl and strode to her husband. “You shouldn’t have sent him back to his father.”
Instead of lashing out at him with kingly ire like Beau had seen during royal audiences, Zareth only nodded. “I didn’t want to. But I do not want to risk an uprising.”
“Why not?” Beau crossed his arms over his chest, something he couldn’t have done if he’d been treated by a doctor on Earth. “You’re king of this entire world. You can raise an army and crush him. They don’t even use magic in battle.”
“For one thing, I would be a tyrant if I went to war over the loss of an apprentice.” Zareth sighed with impatience. “For another, I have no wish to slaughter Artavian’s kin. Though I’m even less fond of Aylmer than his son is, I do not wish to kill him unless I’m forced to.” Before Beau could respond, the sorcerer continued. “Artavian will return. Aylmer didn’t demand him to be brought home permanently, just for two turns of the gold moon. And in case he ventures down that line of thought, Delgarias will be there to remind Aylmer of Artavian’s importance to me.”
“You could have at least let me go with him.” That way, Beau could have made sure Art was okay. And was Zareth saying that Art would be gone for two months?
Zareth shook his head. “Your presence would vex the Wurrak king further. You know why.”
Because he was gay and Artavian’s country was a heteronormative dystopia. Though there was no judgment in the sorcerer’s voice, Beau cringed. “Why would you take Art back when you think his father wants to use him as a spy?”
“Because I have faith in Artavian’s loyalty to me. He risked his life to help me before.” Zareth reached up with his eerily long fingers to toy with a lock of his long black and silver hair. “This time, he’s in no danger and may be able to provide me with useful information as to which way the wind blows in Wurrakia. War is coming. I will need all of my people to be prepared and cannot have any kingdoms going against my decrees. Mephistopheles will sniff out those sorts of vulnerabilities and exploit them.”
Beau’s eyes widened as he grasped the unspoken aspect of the king’s motives. “You’re using Art.”
I hope you enjoyed the exceprt! Melding Souls will release February 18th!