HOLIER THAN THOU (The Tome of Bill, part IV)
TEASER 2 (and alternate cover)
There are reasons the undead fear the night...
Bill Ryder - gamer, geek, and legendary vampire - has woman troubles. The girl he wants is deadly to him. The girl who wants him is deadly to everyone else. He’s trapped in the most lethal love triangle he can imagine and it’s only going to get worse.
On the eve of war, The Icon - ancient foe of the vampire race - has arisen. Panic is about to break out within the undead ranks and Bill is caught smack dab in the middle of it. Destiny has placed them on a cataclysmic collision course, but there’s just one small catch: he’s in love with her.
Now he finds himself in a race against supernatural assassins to save the person who’s fated to destroy him. Talk about being damned if you do...
Unsure of his allies and outnumbered by his enemies, Bill must dig deep within himself and find the faith to succeed - because if he fails, it’ll be more than just his social life in tatters.
“Couldn’t have told me in advance about the party, could you?” I glanced down at my jacket and camo sweatpants that contrasted with Sally's heels, tight dress and well-coifed hair.
“Would you have come?”
“Now you know why I didn’t tell you,” she smirked.
“You could have at least picked me up a change of clothes, then.”
She rolled her eyes. “Sorry, Bill, but I don’t answer to the call of ‘attention K-mart shoppers’.” Bitch! “Besides, it fits your story better. You look like you just came in from a training exercise in the field.” She gave me the once-over and sighed. “Well, sorta.”
“You didn’t tell them anything about the Icon, did you?”
“Fuck no. My tongue is golden, but I wasn’t about to touch that one.”
“We can’t keep it a secret forever, you know.”
“I know, but I sure as shit want to try. It’ll be bad enough once they know she exists, but it would be best if nobody found out it was all because of your misguided case of puppy love.”
I glowered at her. She had no idea how deep my feelings for Sheila ran.
“Boston doesn’t know what happened, either.”
“Yep. I didn’t even tell James.”
“Returned to the states a week ago. Gave me a call to see how things were going.”
James is a six-hundred year old vampire and former contemporary of Marco Polo. He’s also a freshly minted member of the Draculas. Leaving out something this important wasn’t usually an option, at least for those of us who cared to keep breathing. I was happy that they didn’t know about the Icon yet, but it would be less awesome once they discovered everything later, especially my connection to her.
“You didn’t tell them anything?”
“I didn’t talk to them, just James. No fucking way was I letting Colin know shit about anything.” Colin was James’s assistant, and a weasely little suck-up of a vampire. The second he learned something, you could be sure anyone who outranked him knew about it, too.
“And you didn’t mention...”
“Relax, Bill. All I gave him was a mundane status report and a quick note that you were taking some time off.”
I stopped and turned to face her. “Really?”
“Yes really. If I told them even the slightest thing, the entire city would be crawling with vampire hitmen by now. I said just enough to make us look like good undead citizens. Hopefully this will give us a little more time to figure things out on our own.”
I had been so busy feeling sorry for myself and trying to keep Christy from finding out, that I hadn’t bothered to consider the vampire nation might take a nuke it from orbit approach. In all likelihood, Sally had saved Sheila’s life.
“Th-thanks,” I stammered.
“Oh don’t get all drippy on me,” she said dismissively. “I’m doing it more for me anyway. I don’t want to have to listen to you whine about it for the next century or two.”
“That’s very...human of you, Sally.”
“Don’t push your luck,” she sniffed and started walking again. “Let’s go, we’re late enough as it is.”
“Think James would have kept it to himself?”
“Doubt it. That’s why I only gave him a status report. Even if he had wanted to keep a lid on things, he’d probably still need to inform the other Draculas, especially Alex.”
My fangs extended and my lips pulled back in a grimace. “Once he finds out the truth, I bet he’ll be creaming his pants knowing that one of his precious prophesies has come true.”
“No doubt, but the rest of the Draculas probably won’t be nearly as pleased. It could cause a panic. Once word gets out, vamps halfway around the world will see the Icon hiding under their bed. With the war looming, they don’t need that crap right now.”
Sheila hiding under my bed? Now there was a thought. Unfortunately, any relationship with her was going to be facing some difficulties in the days ahead. Talk about an understatement. She was capable of frying me extra crispy with just a touch. That made even a handshake, much less anything more intimate, a tad difficult. Hell, that might not even be the half of it. If she was like me, perhaps she also had a few hidden tricks in her arsenal of powers.
I got sidetracked before I could ride that train of thought very far, though. As the building that housed the loft came into view, I realized something wasn’t quite right. The first floor was dark.
“They closed the bar?”
“I heard they’re renovating the place. Probably gonna take a couple of months too. Pity, guess it’ll be nothing but take out for a while.”
Remembering the night I was turned and the others in attendance that weren’t as lucky as me, I wasn’t overly dismayed to see the bar closed. It might mean whatever party Sally had planned would be relatively trauma free (for me and any hors d’oeuvres unlucky enough to be present). All things considered, I found myself hoping that they’d take their sweet-ass time renovating the place.
“Come on, Bill, stop day dreaming,” Sally said, prodding me on. “I don’t know about you, but I could use a few stiff drinks to drown out the dorkitude of the day.”
I stopped dilly-dallying and followed her. Maybe she was right. I probably did need to relax a little. Besides which, it’s not like it would all be torture. There would definitely be some eye-candy on display, and I certainly wasn’t above playing Willy Wonka for an evening. Adding hard liquor to the mix wasn’t bad for that equation either. Hell, a few months back I had walked in on Firebird and Vanessa, two of the looser members of the coven, topless and making out. They had been shit-faced drunk and didn’t care who had watched. Talk about a fang bang. I definitely wouldn’t say no if given a chance to see that show again. The last time had fueled my personal fantasies for quite a few weeks.
For the first time that evening, I allowed myself a genuine smile. Maybe Sally was right. The world could wait for one more night, especially if the night held the promise of seeing some tits.
Sadly, fate took a perverse pleasure in waiting for me to drop my guard just before blowing up in my face. That night was no different...quite literally in fact. Sally and I had just reached the front door when our world exploded in green flame.
Coming soon! (seriously!)