It's one of our favorite times of year. Leaves are falling, Halloween decorations are going up and we're all eating way too much candy. That means it's also time for one of our favorite events:
Today we'd like to welcome Jenn Windrow, author of the Redeeming Cupid series, to Goldilox and the Three Scares. She's got a short story and a giveaway for you.
Small Sacrifice: a Short Story by Jenn Windrow
Armed guards pulled me from my cell, and dragged me over the blood splattered Astro-turf. They shackled me to the goal post at the end of a football field turned-execution-chamber, stripped me of my last remaining article of clothing and left me to die.
Ten guards stood in a circle around me, machine guns pointed at my head. They thought they were safe. Five television crews hurried around the arena preparing for tonight’s broadcast. They thought they were safe. A priest knelt in front of a vat of water, blessing it. He thought he was safe. I’m a vampire.
No one was safe.
The announcer grabbed my chin with his pudgy, gloved hand. His mouth spread into an ugly smile before he turned and blocked the crowds view. He cleared his throat and spit. The warm glob landed on my cheek and slid down before dropping to the ground. He would be the first to die.
For five days my human captors tortured me, punished me, abused me. I allowed it. Their acts bought me time to plan my escape. The bitter blood of a family of rats who shared my cell kept me alive, their donation helped remove the last trace of poison that coursed through my veins.
Humans. They thought they got lucky catching one of the Seven Sovereign leaders of the vampire race. It hadn’t been luck. I’d been set up. By the six vampires I trusted the most. Betrayed, martyred, and left for dead at the entrance of a Vampire Apprehension Station. Silver injected in my blood to keep me compliant, close to death, to ensure I didn’t slaughter the humans. Sacrificed because I didn’t agree with their vision of the future and refused to cower to a lesser race.
Betrayal was an ugly thing.
But so was revenge.
The stadium lights flickered on and flooded the field in a cold white light. I lowered my head and let my greasy hair shield my eyes from the glare. Soft footfalls approached, bringing the all-too-familiar smell of body odor and peppermint with them. For five nights the same pungent odor visited me to pray for my undead soul.
My gaze followed the priest’s movements. He dipped a chalice into a vat of water, and raised the cup in the air, drops of water sloshed over the sides and fell to the ground. He walked over to me, the beads of his crucifix clicking against the gold cross.
“Delano Melazi, I’ll ask you again. Shall I pray for your undead soul?”
I ignored him tonight as I’ve done the last five times he asked me this question. It wasn’t my soul he needed to pray for, and it wasn’t my body they would be burying this evening.
A moment of silence stretched between us. He huffed and gestured for the guards. Two hurried over. “Hold his head.” Warm fingers dug into my scalp and forced me to meet the priest’s eyes. The twinkle in his baby blues was more devil than saint.
“By the authority of the church, I mark you as one of the damned.” He dipped his index finger into the chalice. The water rippled. He pulled his finger out and pressed it to the center of my forehead. It sizzled against my skin and burned along the two lines the priest traced with his finger. My fangs sank into my tongue, holding back my agonized scream. I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of enjoying my pain.
“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” he finished. The guards dropped their hold on my head and it fell back to my chest.
The holy water cross was meant to weaken me, to stop me from fighting when the executioner came out and the real damage was inflicted. On a less powerful vampire, a younger one, it was effective, but I was almost seven hundred years old. I possessed more power than anyone knew, even the vampires who sent me here.
The Sovereign leaders called my capture a small sacrifice, a peace offering to the human race. I called it a punishment, a crime, an injustice.
Static from the Jumbo-Tron played over the speakers. The announcer’s voice boomed through the stadium. The crowd cheered, excited to witness my demise. And they called the vampires monsters.
“This week, two brave VAU agents captured one of the Vampires’ leaders. Delano Melazi.” The crowd booed and hissed their hatred. “He alone is responsible for the Nightclub Massacre.”
I had nothing to do with it, but let them believe what they wanted. I had no quarrel with them, just like a wolf has no quarrel with a sheep.
Once the crowd quieted down the announcer continued. “A tragedy no human will ever forget. You’ve seen the pictures. Over one hundred and thirty humans captured, tortured, torn to pieces.” He paused and stepped closer. I felt the warmth of his flesh and heard the beating of his heart. “This monster locked those doors. This monster slaughtered your friends and family in cold blood. This monster deserves to pay.”
His words worked the already agitated crowd into frenzy. They raised their fists high in the air and yelled for my death.
Just a few moments more, that’s all I needed. Seconds until my power was restored.
The announcer’s fat fingers grabbed my hair, pulled my head back and forced me to look into the camera. “Tonight he will pay. He will suffer. He will die.” His words echoed around the stadium.
No one heard the handcuffs fall to the ground or saw me twist his head or heard his last breath. No one knew anything was wrong until his head slipped from my fingers and his body slid to the ground.
The crowd screamed.
The guards aimed their guns at my heart, pulled the triggers and let the bullets fly in a flurry of silver and speed, but I was swifter, stronger, superior.
Before the first bullet hit the metal pole that had bound me, I was in front of the final guard in line. Ten beating hearts at my feet. Ten gaping holes in their chest. Ten dead bodies on the earth.
I turned to the closest camera, the red lights still blinking, but unmanned. “I am Delano Melazi.” I raised my voice over the commotion. “And I will seek revenge against those who wronged me.”
The first blast of holy water hit me in the shoulder. It knocked me off balance. The second hit me in the face. The cross the priest had drawn on my head merely irritated me, but the onslaught of blessed liquid burned, weakened and crippled me. It ran down my arm, melted the flesh off the bone.
I had one chance to get out alive. With the last remaining bit of strength still hidden deep in my reserves, I vanished. Teleported, a handy trick only I knew I possessed, away from the stadium and the humans, but not the pain.
Jenn Windrow has a signed copy of Struck by Eros for one lucky winner!
International entries are welcome but winner outside the U.S. will receive a digital copy of the book.
About the Author
Jenn Windrow loves characters that have a pinch of spunk, a dash of attitude, and a large dollop of sex appeal. Top it all off with a huge heaping helping of snark, and you've got the ingredients for the kind of fast paced stories she loves to read and write. Home is a suburb of it's-so-hot-my-shoes-have-melted-to-the-pavement Phoenix. Where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and a slew of animals that seem to keep following her home, at least that's what she claims.
Jenn Windrow's debut novel Struck By Eros (Redeeming Cupid #1) released July 12, 2016.
Jenn Windrow writes sexy like nobody's business! Struck by Eros is fast, fun, and feisty! I loved every word!
-NY Times Bestselling Author Darynda Jones
One jaded woman. Two hot men. A challenge to prove Cupid doesn't always know best.After a lifetime of dating losers, Noel Chase thinks she’s found love with college professor Len Holder. But Cupid's aim sucks worse than his crap-tacular curse, sticking her with supposed soul mate, Grayson Adler. Grayson is gorgeous, Greek, and an exact replica of the man-whores of her past. No matter what the chubby cherub thinks, Noel is sure Grayson is Mr. Wrong with a capital “W.”Forced to do Cupid’s bidding, Noel must spend her days with Grayson matchmaking the unlucky-in-loves, and trying to resist Grayson’s charm and do-me-now sex appeal. But when Cupid tries to match her fiancé, Len, with another woman, Noel must make an excruciating decision. Defy Cupid and hang on to Len? Or succumb to her fate and trust Grayson with her heart?
Add Struck by Eros to Goodreads
The second book in the series, Pierced by Venom, will be out on February 14, 2017.
She’ll willingly travel the highway to hell to bring back the man she loves.Gia Adler had it all—a charmed life and her true love to share it with. But moments after she murmurs, “I do,” her ex-boyfriend delivers a lead wedding present into her new husband’s chest, leaving him in a coma and shattering her dreams.Hell-bent on ruining her future, Gia’s psychotic ex-boyfriend then abducts her, transporting her to an underground world of destruction, drugs, and death. He’s no wicked witch and they’re in no enchanted forest. He’s evil incarnate and she’s submerged in hell-on-earth, a twisted thing of nasty nightmares.Guided by the spirit of her comatose husband, Gia must fight for her happily-ever-after – and her true love – by facing down her ex and the demons of her past.