I've decided to post some excerpts of my upcoming novel Red, scheduled for release with New Concepts Publishing this August. (For those who have already read this excerpt on my website, hang in there, there will be more.) Here's the first:
We went to a few places. Mostly, Kat drank a lot and watched me dance. I love to dance; it’s such an incredible stress reliever. There are some times when stress just calls for physical activity. I’d worked out so vigorously over the past few months that I’d lost ten pounds. But, I was sick of making my punching bag suffer defeat, or slicing and dicing my poor steel dummy in the training room. I needed to do something less violent to calm my nerves ... I needed to dance.
It was very late, or very early, depending on how you want to look at it, when we arrived at the last stop of the night. This club was unusual, to say the least. Three bold letters splashed above the door in massive blood colored brushstrokes said, Red. The moment I saw it, I knew this was the place from my dream, and somewhere inside, was the man I’d been dreaming about.
The inside of the place was dark, with occasional flashes of strobe lights illuminating a path through the crowd of sweaty gyrating bodies. When I say the music pumped, I’m not using a figure of speech. You could feel the rhythm in your chest, like a heartbeat. Like really good sex, the pounding music rattled your teeth. The whole room pulsated with an energy I couldn’t describe. It excited me.
In the time we were there, a variety of music was played and a variety of people were on the dance floor. Some who could dance, others so drunk they thought they could. Kat made her way over to what may have been a stage, but it looked more like an elevated part of the dance floor. She sat at a table there to enjoy watching some drunk guys trying to dance.
“Free entertainment,” she yelled, pointing at the staggering group.
I yelled back that I’d be at the bar for a while, and made my way back through the crowd. I sat on one of the tall leather barstools, and ordered a coke and rum. Unfortunately for me, it took a great deal of alcohol to get me drunk and right then, I wanted nothing more than to lose myself in the wonderful haze of intoxication. I metabolize alcohol at such a fast rate that I can get a buzz, sit down to watch a movie, and be completely sober half way through. Kat saw my high metabolism as a gift from God, until I told her how fast I burned off alcohol.
“No one could ever take advantage of you,” she’d teased, looking scandalized.
I tried explaining to her there are ways of intoxicating the senses besides alcohol. She’d smirked and said, “Yeah, but I haven’t had sex that good in a while.” That wasn’t exactly what I’d meant, but I thought explaining would have been a waste of time.
I stayed at the bar for at least twenty minutes, eventually downing straight shots of rum. The whole time I was there, I sensed someone watching me. I put down my tenth empty shot glass and focused for a moment on the eyes that I could feel on my back. Even through the haze I’d managed to accomplish I knew a werewolf when I sensed one. My heart fluttered, my pulse quickened, and I was suddenly short of breath. It was almost like being aroused.
Someone leaned over me just as there was a brief pause in the music and whispered against my right ear, “Would you like to dance?” His scent was thrilling. He smelled clean, like soap mingled with aftershave, and underneath it all, there was the undeniable scent of a man. I turned enough to see Marco Barak.
“Hello, Red,” he smiled.
I wondered if he’d been waiting till I got drunk enough to accept his offer. I hesitated for a moment, just looking at him. I might have to kill this man one day. But that night, I wanted to dance. I took his hand and led him onto the dance floor through the crowd, and onto the raised platform in front of Kat’s table. We danced for what felt like hours. I suppose you could have called our dancing foreplay. I know many women consider dancing a metaphor for sex. If that’s true, then my God, this man danced well.
Time stood still as we moved together. The touch of his body against mine sent fire through my veins, like small jolts of electric sensuality. I was vaguely aware that Kat had taken out her camera and was snapping pictures between the flashing lights. The room seemed to freeze with each flash, giving me unforgettable mental images. Marco wore black leather pants and a matching shirt that felt smooth to the touch. We looked as if we’d dressed to match.
His hair that I remembered as a dusty blond had darkened into a brown over the years. Through the rain a few weeks ago, I couldn’t tell. After all, everything is darker when it’s wet. But, his eyes were the same deep chocolate brown I remembered. I noticed a light stubble on his chin, as if he’d forgotten to shave, and the beginnings of side burns. Have I mentioned how fond I am of men who look like they’ve been roughed up a little?
He pulled me close and asked, “What are you thinking?”
“That you’re a good dancer.” I paused, looking him up and down. “It’s difficult to find a man with such ... rhythm.” I looked into his dark eyes and saw a passion which could only be described as hunger.
“I was seriously considering asking you to leave with me,” he confessed.
“I was considering doing just that.”
He didn’t seem as surprised as I’d expected. “Are you here with someone?”
“Are you attached to someone in any way?”
“Yes,” I lied. “Are you?”
“Yes, but I’m beginning to regret my choices,” he answered.
He pulled me near, as if to kiss me. Stopping just short of contact, he breathed against my lips, “Let’s get out of here.”
“Let me tell my friend I’m leaving. She’s really drunk and is going to need a cab,” I explained.
“Does she know me?” he asked.
“Yeah, she knows who you are.”
He paused, as if trying to figure out how to word his question. “I mean, does she know--”
“What you are?” I interrupted.
“Yes. She does,” I said simply.
“Will she tell on you?” he asked.
Stepping down from the platform, I walked to Kathryn’s table and tried to explain that I was leaving with Marco. She was very drunk, and couldn't seem to grasp what I was saying. I handed her some money. “You go back to the hotel, don’t take anyone with you, and lock the door. Understand?” She nodded, but still had a blank look on her face.
“But ... isn’t he--?”
“Yes,” I interrupted, “He is.”
She looked around me at Marco. It was obvious what she was thinking. She looked him up and down like he was on a buffet and she was starving. “Oh ... alright then.” I gave her a look that said this was not up for discussion. “How long will you be?” she asked.
I glanced back to Marco waiting patiently and let my eyes roam over all of the places I’d like to put my hands. “This might take a while,” I answered.