A great big thanks to Roxanne for hosting me and Forever Freed here today! Forever Freed is the story of a reclusive empathic vampire who falls in love with a woman he planned to kill and her young daughter, who must overcome his bloodlust, ancient guilt, lie by omission, and an ancient vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear. In celebration of the novel’s RELEASE YESTERDAY (w00t!), I wanted to offer a little peek into the backstory of the hero, Lucien Demarco.
Because, see, when I first drafted Forever Freed, it was 50,000 words longer than the published book. As I reworked the story for publication, I quickly realized that the first 60,000 words that took the reader from Lucien’s family’s arrival in New York City until the point where he meets Samantha and Olivia Sutton, at the beginning of Forever Freed, were things I as the writer needed to know about Lucien, but not necessarily things the reader needed to know—at least not in that book. So I now have the makings of a verra, verra nice prequel on my hands. It will be called Forever Damned and I will likely self publish it—stay tuned for details!
Lucien Demarco was born on a farm outside of
The following scene from the unpublished prequel occurred on May 13, 1895, just weeks before their intended move:
I came home after midnight from a double shift at the ice company—my third one in a row. The extra money would provide security for our move out to
Utter stillness gripped the heavy, dark air inside the tenement. My feet echoed loudly through the wooden stairwell, and I stopped at the top of the first flight of steps to pull my boots off, hoping to avoid disturbing anyone. I padded down the hall, passed the Grossis’ partly open door, then continued up the steps only half awake, struggling to focus my gaze.
My eyes snapped opened and the fog flew from my brain. I looked around, trying to secure my bearings in the darkness when I sensed someone there. “Cousin?” I whispered loudly. No response.
I jogged up the remaining steps and rounded the rickety banister at the top. At my flat, I searched in the dark for the door, but instead of finding its flat, rough plane, I found a void where the door should’ve been. With my hand out in front of me, I moved into the room, intent on the table where one of the oil lanterns sat waiting.
I pitched forward, my foot catching on something unseen, and landed on a warmfirmness. I was so disoriented that I no longer knew which way to go to find the table. I cursed myself the noise I’d made—everyone was as tired as me from the long work week. I didn’t want to disturb them, but nothing about the layout of the things I found on the floor made sense. Perhaps I’d entered the wrong flat in my exhaustion.
I hit my head and bit back a curse. My hands told me I’d encountered the wooden leg of the table, and I felt my way into a standing position. Palming the surface of the table, I located the box of matches and the lantern. The match flared as I struck it. I lit the wick and turned.
A yowl worked its way up my throat, but a tightening there choked it off. Lorenzo and Alberto lay on the floor, their bodies bent at unnatural angles. Alberto lay face up, neck chewed into a grisly pulp, bulging eyes open but no longer seeing.
My heart slammed against my rib cage. My girls.
The dark barrier flew open just as I reached for the handle.
An odd sensation gripped my body, commanded my muscles to freeze.
The man in the doorway was tall, his short black hair set off skin so pale it seemed translucent, and his face was distinguished by glowing red eyes and flushed wet, red lips. A shadow moved behind him on the very bed I shared with
Dread spilled down my spine like ice water. My sprinting heart jumped into my throat, further choking off my breathing. My muscles strained to go to her, but I was at a complete loss to control my mind or body. The man…creature…held me with his eyes. “Le . . . Le,” I attempted, my head shuddering back and forth in an effort to shake the daze.
A guttural growl rumbled from the bed, distracting the man in front of me, releasing me from his restraint. I charged forward, intent on knocking the crouching creature away from the bed, away from the center of my life.
A stabbing, crushing pain stole the precious little air I had. Broken ribs. The bar smashed into my face then, unleashing a brilliant explosion of white-hot agony as I flew in a heap against the wall. Crumpled against the dirty wooden floor. My blurred gaze passed over Isabetta’s small cot. Empty. I groaned, used the last of my energy coughing up a stream of dark liquid. Lena’s and Isabetta’s names echoed in my dimming consciousness, but I had not enough strength to make my lips move.
Bone-crushing sorrow squeezed my chest, leaked down my face.
My only solace was that we would be together soon.
The lonely darkness closed in on me, but I welcomed it, welcomed what must surely await on the other side.
Then I was floating. A searing pain pierced my neck and radiated in all directions, lifting a bit of the black fog. I was aware of free falling and of the splintering crack of my head against the floor.
Snippets of conversation filtered through the blackness. An accented voice said, “We must go now, Lazar…” An outraged snarl rumbled over me.
Then thick rain was falling on my face, into my mouth. A spicy electric warmth exploded on my tongue. My whole being seized, every muscle contracted. Air fled my lungs. My heart tripped, then thundered.
“Very helpful,” an angered whisper rasped. “Come.” Footsteps thrummed against the wooden floorboards.
Wheezing, choking on my own blood, my body writhed and lurched.
And then I ceased to be.
So, now you know what happened the night Lucien Demarco died and turned.
What do you think? Would you want to know about the prior human life of a vampire hero? Would you want to see those messy first moments of vampiric life?
For more Lucien Demarco:
Thanks for reading, and thanks to Roxanne and Fang-tastic Books!
Find Laura on the interwebz:
Publisher Website: http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=800
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3703867Be sure to take advantage of the 5th Anniversary discount from http://thewildrosepress.com through May 31!