No Use Crying Over Spilt Blood

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Portal Keepers Book 2 (The sequel to 'Would You Like Brains With That?').
Danira travels back to the Realm of the Undead to stop humans being used as blood-slaves.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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22. Being Mistaken For a Vampire and a Ring of Salt

 

      “Is this really necessary?” I sighed.

      Leila rolled her eyes. “You want to look nice for your date, don’t you?”

      “It’s not a date!” I cried, knocking the table, nearly spilling nail varnish everywhere. “I have a boyfriend already.”

      “I hope Lord Harlin knows that.” Leila smirked.

      “He does.” I grumbled.

      We were sat in my room and Leila was giving me a manicure. She had burst into the bathroom while I had been having a bath and informed me that she would be helping me get ready for my dinner with Luca.

      “Blow.” she told me.

      I blew at the black nail varnish on my fingernails. “Black, really Leila?” I asked with a sigh.

      She gave me a look that said I-know-what-I’m-doing-trust-me. “It will go perfectly with that black dress of yours.”

      “You’ve been in my wardrobe?”

      Leila gave me a sheepish smile. “I needed to know what I had to work with.”

      “I don’t see what the big deal is anyway. Why couldn’t I have just worn a skirt and a nice top?”       “It’s dinner, Danira, there’s bound to be candles and flowers. You have to look good.”

      Scowling I said. “Don’t I usually?”

      “Of course you do, but you have to look extra good tonight.” Leila told me, patting my shoulder as she stood up and started working on my hair.

      “Good recovery there.” I told her. “Surely if I make an effort then Luca will get the wrong impression?”

      “Ooh, you call him Luca do you?” she giggled.

      I blushed and stayed silent.

      “Oh come on, Danira, don’t tell me you don’t like the attention? Your boyfriend has been gone a while now.”

      Tears formed in my eyes at the thought of Ridge and I hastily blinked them away. “I just don’t want him to get the wrong end of the stick that’s all.” I mumbled.

      It was a bit late for that though.

      I moved my hand to my mouth to chew a nail like I always did when I was anxious and Leila swatted my hand away saying. “No chewing your nails!”

 

      “Make sure he keeps his hands to himself.” Aidan informed me.

      I would have smiled but I was worried about that too.

      As I didn’t know where Luca’s estate was, and Ferriday had told me not to wander around the Castle by myself, I had asked Aidan to escort me.

      “Here we are.” he said as we arrived outside a set of huge metal gates.

      Luca’s mansion was gigantic!

      I pushed the gates open and turned to Aidan. “Thanks for walking me here. I’ll see you later.”

      He looked reluctant to leave me but nodded. I could feel Aidan’s eyes on me as I strode up the long grey path. Luca’s mansion loomed up imposingly in front of me. It had a slightly gothic edge to it and I spied gargoyles up on the roof. The huge front doors were opened as I reached them and stood just inside was a pretty blonde girl who kept her gaze fixed on the ground.

      “This way please, miss.” she said, holding out an arm to indicate that I should come inside.

      I stepped into the wide hallway suddenly feeling nervous as I gazed around at the luxurious decorations.

      Having closed the doors behind me the girl said. “My master is waiting, please follow me.” she set off down the hallway walking at a brisk pace.

      I quickly caught up with her. “I’m Danira,” I told her in a friendly tone.

      She seemed surprised that I was talking to her. “I’m Hannah, miss.”

      I stuffed my sweating hands into the pockets of Leila’s fake fur coat, which she had forced me to wear, and asked. “Hannah, is Luca a good master? Does he hurt you?”

      Her eyes widened in shock and risking a glance at me she didn’t speak.

      “If you’re afraid that he will hear your answer, you can just nod or shake your head. Does he hurt you?”

      Hannah was suspicious but shook her head. Relief flooded through me and I thanked her. We stopped outside a wooden door and Hannah knocked on it before opening it wide.

      “Danira,” Luca grinned when he saw me.

      I smiled and stepped into what seemed to be a dining room. There was a beautiful wooden table with several carved chairs around it, as well as paintings and tapestries on the walls. A massive rug covered the stone floor.

      “I wasn’t sure if you were going to turn up.” Luca laughed.

      I shook my head in disbelief. “You saved my life of course I was going to come.”

      He flashed a smile and helped me take off Leila’s coat. Luca’s cool fingers brushed my shoulders and I heard Hannah give a small gasp. Her eyes were fixed on my collar. She must have mistaken me for a vampire.

      “Hannah.” Luca said, holding out the coat for her to take.

      “Sorry, my Lord.” she whispered, lowering her eyes as she took the coat before disappearing from the room.

      Luca tilted his head as if he was listening to something. “Hannah can’t believe that you’re human. You’re too beautiful and graceful.”

      I frowned. If I had to describe myself using two words, those would not be the ones I would pick.

      Seeing my expression, Luca stroked my cheek. “You don’t believe that you are those things?”

      “I’m not.”

      “We never see ourselves as others see us.”

      I looked away feeling uncomfortable. I had only just got there and already Luca was being too intimate with me for comfort. Maybe I should go...

      “You look ravishing by the way.”

      My eyes flickered up to meet Luca’s. “My friend insisted that I make an effort.”

      His lips twitched in amusement and he went over to the table, pulling a chair out for me. I sat down on it, noticing that there were candles and flowers just like Leila had said there would be.

      Luca seated himself opposite me and poured a red liquid into my glass. “Its wine, I promise.” he told me with a smile. Luca lifted up his own glass, which was filled with blood, and asked. “What shall we toast to? How about to your good health?”

      Nodding, I gently knocked my glass against his before sipping from it. It was wine.

      Luca’s eyes were fixed on my face and he reached across the table, taking my hand in his own. “You’re nervous.” he muttered, a slender finger resting on my pulse.

      “A little,” I admitted.

      The coolness of his touch reminded me of Ridge. My heart gave a pang of longing.

      “Why?”

      I silently brushed a strand of hair behind my ear.

      “You have nothing to fear from me, Danira.” he told me, his tone serious.

      I didn’t believe that for a second.

 

      I was served a delicious three course meal that would have been more enjoyable if Luca hadn’t been watching me the whole time as he sipped from his glass.

      “Give my compliments to the chef.” I told Hannah as she took my last plate away. I wished that she had stayed because I didn’t want to be alone with Luca again. Deciding that I should get going I stood up. “Thank you very much, Luca.”

      He looked shocked as he rose slowly from his seat. “You’re not going already are you? I had hoped to spend more time with you.”

      Luca came to my side and clapped his hands. The door suddenly opened and an orchestra trailed inside. I watched in surprise as they started setting up their instruments in a corner of the room.

      Taking my hand in his, Luca asked. “Can I at least have one dance with you? We didn’t dance at Pegasus’s ball.”

      I hesitated and he took the opportunity to place a hand on my waist, pulling me close. The orchestra starting playing a soothing melody and I found myself following Luca’s lead as he danced around the room. Luca grinned as he span me around and caught up in the moment I couldn’t help but laugh. I fell against his chest and Luca stared at me intently before leaning down.

      I pushed away from him, turning around and hunching my shoulders to deter him from reaching out to me. “I should go.”

      “If that is what you want.” Luca replied, sounding disappointed.

      Hannah appeared with Leila’s coat and Luca helped me put it on. “I’ll escort you.”

      I would have protested but Luca had already put his arm through mine and was leading me down the hallway. Once we were outside I buried my chin in the high neck of the coat. Letting Luca lead the way, it took me a while to notice that we weren’t in the posh part of the Castle anymore.

      “Where are we going?” I asked becoming worried.

      Luca smiled at me. “I thought that a walk would be nice.”

      We passed several vampires who nodded to us in greeting. I wondered how they would react if my collar was visible, or if they paid enough attention to notice my heartbeat. Luca led me up some steps and I realised that we were on the ramparts of the Castle. As I peered over the edge Luca slipped an arm around my waist. My eyes fell on the mass of zombies below and I instinctively leaned against him.

      “They can’t get in.” Luca told me calmly.

      Looking over the edge again I saw the ring of salt that Jayden had told me about. It was several metres wide and thick.

      “Have any of them tried?” I asked, flinching when the zombies’ moans reached my ears.

      He stroked my arm, answering. “Yes, but they don’t get far.”

      “Can we go?” I asked, peering up at Luca.

      The zombies were starting to freak me out. There had to be at least two hundred of them out there. You would need a lot of cauliflowers to play Zombie Bombing with them.

      Luca took me back down the steps and we strolled through the lower town to the posh sector of the Castle. He sighed when we reached the path leading to Ferriday’s mansion. “Our time together always passes too quickly.”

      “Thank you for the dinner, Luca.”

      He smiled charmingly and replied. “It was my pleasure. I hope to see you again soon.” Luca bent down and kissed my cheek, his cool lips hovering for slightly too long.

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