Chapter One "Mrs. Oh, what the hell. Anyone who faked his own death in order to ditch a wife and five kids deserved exactly what he got. I think your husband will decide to stay right where he is. The beer was overpriced, the liquor over-iced, and the menu a tarted-up mix of at least three kinds of quasi-ethnic cooking plus the usual grease and carbohydrates.
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Chapter One "Mrs. Oh, what the hell. Anyone who faked his own death in order to ditch a wife and five kids deserved exactly what he got. I think your husband will decide to stay right where he is. The beer was overpriced, the liquor over-iced, and the menu a tarted-up mix of at least three kinds of quasi-ethnic cooking plus the usual grease and carbohydrates. The staff were all young, attractive, and interchangeable.
The clientele were a little older, not quite so attractive although they tried desperately hard to camouflage it, and just as faceless. It was, for the moment, the premier poser bar in the city and all the wannabes in Toronto shoehorned themselves through its doors on Friday night. Henry Fitzroy paused just past the threshold and scanned the crowd through narrowed eyes. The smell of so many bodies crammed together, the sound of so many heartbeats pounding in time to the music blasting out of half a dozen suspended speakers, the feel of so many lives in so little space pulled the Hunger up and threatened to turn it loose.
Fastidiousness more than willpower held it in check. In over four and a half centuries, Henry had never seen so many people working so hard and so futilely at having a good time.
The crowd parted as he moved away from the door, and eddies of whispered speculation followed in his wake. He sat down at the bar, the young man who had been on the stool having vacated it as Henry approached, and waved the bartender away.
To his right, an attractive young woman raised one ebony brow in obvious invitation. Although his gaze dropped to the pulse that beat in the ivory column of her throat and almost involuntarily traced the vein until it disappeared beneath the soft drape of magenta silk clinging to shoulders and breasts, he regretfully, silently, declined. She acknowledged both his glance and his refusal, then turned to more receptive game. Henry hid a smile. To his left, a wide back in a charcoal gray suit made up most of the view.
The hair above the suit had been artfully styled to hide the thinning patches just as the suit itself had been cut to cover the areas that a fortieth birthday had thickened. Henry reached out and tapped lightly on one wool-clad shoulder. The wearer of the suit turned, saw no one he knew, and began to scowl.
Then he fell into the depths of a pair of hazel eyes, much darker than hazel eyes should have been, much deeper than mortal eyes could be. Although he seemed to be looking down at the lights of the city, he was actually watching the reflection of the woman seated on the couch behind him.
Did you convince Mr. Loved her. But as that was a topic not to be discussed, all he said was, "Yes. I hope you scared the living shit out of him while you were at it. Besides," she pushed her glasses back into place on the bridge of her nose, "you said you wanted to be more involved in my business.
He doubted, however, that Vicki had ever read one. Thrilling and exciting life-threatening situations are few and far between. Vicki looked a little sheepish. And you. And anyway, you know those were the exceptions that prove the rule. Tonight, I needed you. Henry Fitzroy, vampire. They mourned him, Henry. Cried for him. And the son of a bitch was off building a new life, fancy-free, while they were bringing flowers, every Saturday, to an empty grave. He owes them. In my book, he owes them big.
And his fear was enough to raise the Hunger. And I know you feed from others. Her pulse leapt under his touch. She tried to stand, but he pushed her back, bent his head, and ran his tongue down the faint blue line of a vein. With a mighty effort, she forced her throat to open and her mouth to work. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Stupid question.
The security chain hung loose, unlocked, arcing back and forth, scraping softly, metal against wood. Holding her breath, she filtered out the ambient noises of the apartment, the sound of the refrigerator motor, a dripping tap, the distant hum of the hydro substation across the street, and noted a faint mechanical whir. It sounded like. She almost had it when a sudden noise drove off all hope of identification. The horrible crunching, grinding, smashing, continued for about ten seconds, then muted.
After demons, werewolves, mummies, not to mention the omnipresent vampire in her life, a Jack-eating giant in her living room was less than impossible no matter how unlikely. She shrugged the huge, black leather purse off her shoulder and caught it just before it hit the floor. With the strap wrapped twice around her wrist it made a weapon even a giant would flinch at. Good thing I hung onto that brick.
The sensible thing to do would involve closing the door, trotting to the phone booth on the corner, and calling the cops. I am way too tired for this shit. Vicki stepped silently into the apartment. Four in the morning courage. Gotta love it. Sliding each foot a centimeter above the floor and placing it back down with exaggerated care, she made her way along the short length of hall and around the corner into the living room, senses straining. The proof would be in the pudding; although she knew the streetlight outside the bay window provided a certain amount of illumination in spite of the blinds and the apartment never actually got completely dark, as far as her vision was concerned, she might as well be wearing a padded blindfold.
Well, not quite a blindfold. She stopped, weapon ready, cocked her head, and got a whiff of a well known after-shave mixed with. The sudden release of tension almost knocked her over.
How long have you had these things sitting around, anyway? Blinking away tears as her sensitive eyes reacted to the glare, she gently lowered her purse to the floor. Detective-Sergeant Michael Celluci squinted up at her from the couch and set the half-empty bag of taco chips to one side.
Yawning, she shrugged out of her jacket, tossing it over the back of the recliner. You need more sleep. Cut to the chase. I thought he left town. A couple of kids found his body earlier tonight behind a bookstore down on Queen Street West.
I understand. Although Vicki was tall at five ten, Celluci was taller still at six four. The fight had barely begun to heat up when a soft voice slid through a pause in the screaming. He clutched a burgundy brocade bathrobe closed with one frail hand and had the other raised as though to snare their attention. When he saw he had it, he smiled into the silence.
Shut up. Vicki felt her ears grow hot. Or less. In the center of the city, eighteen short blocks away from her apartment in Chinatown, Henry Fitzroy lay in his sealed room and waited for the day; waited for the rising sun to switch off his life; trusted that the setting sun would switch it on again. Vicki had spent the day with Henry once, held captive by the threat of sunlight outside the bedroom door.
The absence of life had been so complete it had been a little like spending the day with a corpse. Only worse. In spite of late nights, or occasionally no nights at all, Henry Fitzroy had become a necessary part of her life. Although the physical attraction still tied her stomach in knots and caught the breath in her throat even after a year of exposure, what bothered her, almost frightened her, was how much he had invaded the rest of her life.
If she spent a lifetime trying, she could never know all he was. Now Celluci, she rolled onto her side and layered herself around the curve of his body, Celluci was the yin to her yang. She frowned. Or possibly the other way around. He was a shared joke, shared interests, a shared past.
He fit into her life like a puzzle piece, interlocking and completing the picture. And now she thought of it, that frightened her, too. She was complete without him. Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord. When did my life start resembling country and western music?
Tanya Huff is a Canadian Fantasy Author that has been pursuing her writing career since the late s. The author is said to have shared a class with Robert J. Sawyer, a noted science-fiction writer with whom she collaborated on their final TV Studio Lab assignment. Following her graduation, Tanya Huff briefly worked at a game store Mr. It was during this time that Tanya wrote various novels and short stories. Many of them were subsequently published in the years that followed. This was her first professional sale.
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Gardasar Given my growing dislike of Vicki as a bliod I can only rate this at 3 stars. Meanwhile, the latest villains have been appearing in their own viewpoint sections — a whole group of them this time as there is a doctor who is administrator of the scientific department of Kingston University plus two graduate students, both ;act it seems and both odd in their own way although the female student is a lot odder. I skipped over alot of the gory autopsy stuff, which left me with the story around the characters. Return to Book Page. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics.