Friday, January 11, 2013

Hot Excerpt from The Color of Dusk, Dark Book 2, by Gail Roughton

In The Color of Seven, rising young attorney Ria Knight meets the man whose image haunts her house. He’s not exactly alive and well, but he’s not dead either, despite the epitaph on his mausoleum in Rose Arbor Cemetery. The Color of Dusk concludes the story of the epic battle that raged in 1888 between Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic, and Dr. Paul Devlin, the man who finally banished Cain to the dank cave out by Stone Creek Swamp. In The Color of Dusk, Ria offers Cain, now resurrected from that cave, his perfect revenge against Paul Devlin. The past, like evil, never dies. It just—waits.

"I am addicted to any book Gail Roughton writes but admittedly I was a little apprehensive (feared it was outside of my comfort zone) to read her first tale in this saga The Color of Seven but was totally blown away and had to know how the story would play out in The Color of Dusk. WOW! Did the story ever play out! I read the end of this one pacing the house and all revved up.
Dusk is a thriller and a very good one at that. Prejudices, good and evil exists in all walks of life and the results can be heartbreaking but rest assured that Dusk will take you on a wild, satisfying ride with a rich story line that is cleverly written to combine the past and the present to an amazing conclusion. You will feel every emotion there is to feel and this story will stay with me for a long time to come.

One of the best purchases I ever made was my Kindle and being introduced to the unique, original and always surprising stories by Gail Roughton." ~ 5 Stars, Long Time DF Fan, Amazon Reader and Verified Purchase

Rose Arbor Cemetery, Macon, Georgia

Paul sat in silence. He’d talked himself out through the night, sharing that summer of 1888 with Ria. Reliving it. Something he hadn’t done in all the long years of his existence. Then again, no living human except Ria Knight had ever tracked him to his mausoleum, watched him rise, and demanded all the details. He savored the warmth of her body through her jacket as she sat with his arms around her. An empty wine bottle and his grandmother’s old crystal goblets stood beside them. From the look of the sky, he’d talked himself out none too soon.
Something wet dropped onto his hand. He raised it slightly, feeling the liquid run over the skin. He smiled and shifted her to one side to gain a view of her face.
“And what are these?” he asked, watching tears stream silently out of her eyes.
“You know very well what they are. God, how did you do it? And still stay sane?”
He shrugged. “Because I had to. Ria, it’s almost dawn. You said you barely slept last night and now you’ve been up all night again.”
“Won’t kill me. I’ve done it before.”
 “And you haven’t eaten a damn thing tonight, either.” He eased her out of his arms. “Wait here.”
“What—” she started. She stopped when she realized she was talking to thin air. She sat and watched the sky. How long till dawn? She watched the pre-dawn traffic speed north toward Atlanta and south towards Savannah. The cars and trucks seemed intrusive, out of place. She felt she’d been transported to 1888. And still hadn’t come completely back.
“Here.” Paul spoke quietly behind her and she started. Then she sniffed and smiled. Fresh coffee and fast food breakfast biscuits. She catapulted back into her own year.
“Sausage or steak?” Paul asked, digging into the bags.
She laughed.
“You,” she said. “Voodoo and bokors and mambos. Tamara and Cain and Blood Drinkers. Sausage or steak.”
He grinned. “And you need to hurry up and decide, ‘cause darlin’, I’m goin’ have to excuse myself in a red-hot hurry in about—” he glanced up at the sky, “twenty minutes, now.”
He handed her the wrapped biscuit and flipped the lid of his coffee cup, drinking quickly. She did the same and almost spewed the liquid back out.
“Damn! That’s hot!”
“Well, yes.”
“You’re drinkin’ it like water!”
“I told you, hot and cold don’t bother me too much.”
They sat and ate in silence for a few minutes.
“Good cover story, you gettin’ killed out west. The body shipped back home.”
“Papa. He did himself proud. I always thought so.”
“So he did recover?”
“He had a few more years.”
“And Joshua?” she asked, referring to Paul’s mulatto half-brother. After the death of Paul’s mother, Paul’s father shared an epic love story with his housekeeper Sadie spanning over twenty years, against all odds and all conventions of the 1800s. Joshua had fallen into Cain’s grasp that summer of 1888, at least until Paul pulled him out of it and paid for doing so with his life. In a manner of speaking.
“We sent him north that winter. Boarding school in Boston.”
“Why do you still use the mausoleum? I mean, wouldn’t a house or an apartment be more comfortable?”
“Too dangerous. Neighbors, you know, unless you’re way out in the country and even then, you have repair people, utility workers. Somebody, sometime, would notice they never saw me in the daytime. Not just seldom, but never. Besides, this is sort of home now.”
“I guess so.”
“I did toy with the idea of getting rid of the coffin, getting a regular bed or at least a mattress, but somehow I never got around to it.”
Ria laughed. “It’s a perverted sense of humor, and you know it!”
“Well, yes. Yes, it is.”
They sat in silence again, both of them watching the sky.
“Paul? What now? You’re not goin’ to just disappear, are you? Never see me again?”
“I should.”
“I don’t see why.”
“Don’t you? You’ve known me for two days and you’ve lost two nights’ sleep already. Real normal lifestyle there. Very healthy.”
 “There’s a reason I saw you, your past in the Orange Street house. So I’d know you when I did see you. I was meant to, Paul.”
“C’mon. I’ll walk you to your car. I don’t have long.” He stood and offered his hand. They moved back up the hill, through the old markers.
Paul stopped at the short wall and spotted her car, parked down a steep hill outside the cemetery walls and gates, the least observable place Ria could think of to park.
“Dangerous place to park all night, don’t you think?”
“Didn’t want to leave it in the cemetery grounds. I don’t think any patrol cars tour through it at night but I wasn’t sure.”
Ria started to jump up on the ledge and Paul stopped her.
He lifted her up easily and sat her on her perch.
“Now hold on.” He disappeared and reappeared almost instantaneously on the outside of the wall and held his hands up to her.
“I got to admit, that does take some getting used to.”
Paul smiled.
“Now, get on home,” he said. “I have to get back. Maybe five minute to sunrise.”
“Paul, wait! You never answered me. Will you come? Tonight? My house? I mean your house? “
“Ria, you’ve got to sleep.”
“I’ll take a nap this afternoon, I don’t have much on the calendar today. And I’ll sleep some tonight. I promise. You’d have called me again if I hadn’t found you, wouldn’t you?”
“Yes,” he admitted. “Knowing I shouldn’t, I’d have called you. But then I was a man passing through town who’d be leaving in a month or so. There’s no point in even trying to pretend tonight hasn’t changed things and you know it.”
“Don’t kid yourself, buddy. If I’d never known Paul Devlin existed, Paul Everett would never have been a casual thing for me, not after the first sentence or two in that book store. And you know it. You felt the click, too, I know you did. Now, will you come?”
“I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.”
“Oh! That thing about having to be invited—”
“Is pretty much a crock, actually. I can go anywhere. As long as I know where I’m going. I can’t just decide to show up somewhere if I have no idea how to get there.”
“Then you shouldn’t have any problems. It’s your house, after all.”
“I’ll think about it.”
That was the best she was going to get, and she knew it. This might be the last time she’d see him. She moved into his arms and raised her face. He kissed her forehead.
She pulled his head down and gently grazed his lips with her own.
“No, don’t.”
He was afraid to kiss, frightened of the sharpness of his incisors.
“You won’t hurt me, Paul. You know you won’t.” She raised her face again and he did kiss her, gently at first and then, gaining confidence, more deeply.
The old legends raced through her mind. The wicked incisors, the fetid odor of the vampire’s mouth. He tasted of new coffee and fresh biscuits, the hot, sage spice of sausage. The trace smell-taste reminded her of sunup, country mornings, open pastures. Paul hadn’t seen sunrise in over a hundred years. He’d never see it again. And the sun was close.
 “Go,” she said. “Tonight. Please.”
“No promises.”
“There’d be lots of fringe benefits. I’d let you use my shower and you wouldn’t have to borrow empty hotel rooms anymore,” she offered.
He laughed at the reference to the night before when he’d proclaimed showers the single greatest convenience of the twentieth century. “That is an advantage I hadn’t considered,” he said thoughtfully. Then he grinned and disappeared.

Copyright (C) 2012 Gail Roughton

~ Available here

~ Also available as a complete set, Dark books 1 and 2 together!

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