I wanted to write about vampires, but I also wanted my story to be different. So I decided to make the relationship between Nathan and Stephen a symbiotic one. Stephen needed Nathan to drink his blood and Nathan had someone he could feed from without endangering other people's lives. Their relationship goes much farther, however, a sexual one they need to keep hidden from society. Not only that, but also continuing the charade of Stephen, Nathan's master, playing the part of his manservant.
Who would I pit Nathan against? Then it came to me. Who is the most infamous murderer in Victorian history? Jack the Ripper. (Okay, there are others, but I'm going with the most well-known.) And what if Jack the Ripper weren't human? What if he were a werewolf, and only Nathan knew this? So the DI risked his life and all he had to become a vampire and stop the Ripper? But what if he failed?
I explore this throughout the story. The guilt Nathan feels at failing to catch the Ripper and the determination to stop him when he finds the Ripper has come to Louisville, Nathan's new home. Nathan now owns a saloon called The Cloak and Dagger. I wanted a place where he could get information but not resort to making him work as a police officer or as a reporter. Besides, both those jobs would require working in daylight, something Nathan can no longer do. He can go out in overcast weather but direct sunlight will cause considerable damage, even death. And if Nathan dies, so does Stephen and vice versa.
Although this is a first draft, I thought I'd share a short excerpt.Remember, this is from a draft and is not intended to be considered final.
I caught Stephen biting his lower lip, a worried expression on his face. Concern? He needn’t worry. After all, he turned me, knowing a vampire’s strengths and weaknesses. He knew I wouldn’t take foolish risks.
No, it was something else. Stephen hadn’t eaten or drunk much the last couple of days and seemed a bit sluggish and redder in the face, as if stricken with high blood pressure.
Something primal stirred in me. A faint coppery smell triggered an ache in my fangs which dropped slightly.
Our eyes met, Stephen’s blue ones darkening. He rose, pulling the brocade curtains shut against the moonlight and any passersby. We couldn’t risk complacency. To do so could put our lives in danger.
He crossed the room and sat on the sofa next to me. The light from the lamp glinted on his hair, throwing shadows across his face, the bridge of his aquiline nose. But my attention was drawn to his carotid artery. I licked my lips, desire pooling in my body, heightened by his nearness and the smell of blood. As my fangs continued to drop, my need grew and I shifted impatiently, eager to drink.
Stephen leaned his head back. I unbuttoned his shirt collar, pushing it aside to reveal pale flesh at the juncture of neck and shoulder. Leaning in, I breathed in the scent of soap and water, a clean smell.
He made no sound as I licked the skin, readying it. I looked down to see Stephen clench his fists and I wrapped my fingers around his wrist. The gesture served two purposes, to comfort him and to anchor myself against the ecstasy of drinking his blood.
Stephen closed his eyes. My breathing quickened, my heartbeat increased as adrenaline pumped through my bloodstream. In contrast, Stephen’s breathing and heart rate slowed as his heart struggled to pump the excess blood circulating through him.
Again, I marked the spot with a gentle swipe of my tongue, tasting salt. The ache in my fangs intensified and I became heady with passion, both for his blood and his body, which needed to be satisfied in that order.
I bit, incisors pricking his skin. A thin line of blood trickled free and I lapped at it. Within seconds I fed, my mind focused on Stephen and the pleasure this act gave both of us.
For him, it was relief. For me, it became an almost orgiastic experience.
His hand tightened on my leg, fingers pressing into my kneecap as I continued to drink. At first I worried I hurt him. But he assured me the sensation was one of pleasure-pain and far more preferable to the discomfort he felt when his body became gorged with too much blood.