SERAFINA AND THE SILENT VAMPIRE (Serafina’s, Book 1)
By MARIE TREANOR
Ebook available 28th August from Amazon and B&N
She felt her way around two intertwining apple trees and found Tam.
She stopped dead with shock. His large frame was unmistakable in the flashlight beam, but she’d never before seen it slumped in the brutal hold of an attacker who seemed to be strangling him or squeezing him to death. Which would be quite an achievement considering the size of Tam’s muscular body. And the fact that his opponent, although about equal in height, was far lighter and leaner in weight. And wearing a kilt, as if he was, or was pretending to be, one of the Bells’ guests. Tam’s arms flailed as if trying feebly to fly free. That was terrifying in itself: Tam the Tank physically helpless.
Sera’s hand wavered, and the beam from her flashlight shifted over a shock of dark chestnut hair. There was a tiny instant when she imagined she’d steeped herself too deeply in this vampire nonsense, because it almost looked as if the stranger had his face buried in Tam’s throat. It sent a weird, almost sensual shiver down her spine before she yanked her brain back into line.
Who the hell was this? Ferdy’s stalker? Sera didn’t wait to find out. As he began to turn his head, granting her a glimpse of his shadowed face and gleaming eyes, she hurled herself at him feetfirst. Both her boots connected jarringly with hard flesh; her whole being jolted as if she’d been shot.
It took an instant to realize that she lay on the ground on her back, winded, while Tam’s attacker, and Tam himself, remained upright. Jesus, she couldn’t have lost her touch to that degree! She’d slammed into him. She should at least have knocked him off balance! But then, she should have landed on her feet, not her back, and been ready to jump him before he recovered.
As she struggled to rise, her blurred vision cleared enough to show her, by the crazily waving beam of the torch, that the kilted thug had released Tam, who leaned one massive shoulder against the tree, shaking his head as if to clear it. Thank God, at least the bastard hadn’t killed him. And now they were two against one, however strong this maniac was.
“Tam! Now!” she commanded in an urgent stage whisper and ran at the curiously still figure of the enemy.
Tam muttered something that might have been, “Don’t, Sera.”
Her quarry sidestepped her with a blur that surely spoke more for the intensity of her previous winding than for his genuine speed. Whatever the cause, it was enough to unbalance Sera. Fortunately, Tam leapt and caught her in his muscled arm—all that prevented her from falling over again.
She whirled around, poised to face a counterattack, snatching the only weaponry she carried in her pocket—one of the ridiculous pointy sticks—and for the first time looked into the shadowed face of her enemy. Remembering belatedly about her flashlight still clutched in her bruised left land, she shone it directly into his face. The eerie crisscrossing of shadows on his skin disappeared in the golden glow, but he made no effort to hide from the light. Two large, dark brown eyes stared at her from a lean, still face. There was no doubt he was good-looking enough to turn heads, with a high forehead, long, thin nose, and full, expressive lips, all framed by a shock of thick, dark hair streaked with auburn. The combination of high, broad cheekbones and leanness gave him a slightly cadaverous look that somehow didn’t detract in the slightest from his male beauty.
All these jumbled impressions Sera absorbed in an instant. But chiefly what caught and held her attention was the trickle of red blood running from the corner of his mouth and down the side of his chin.
“Oh for f…!” Sera hurled the pointy stick to the ground. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she raged. “This is our show.”