EXCERPT: Nightbred by Lynn ViehlThursday, November 15, 2012 13:00
Lynn Viehl writes nuanced, intelligent characters. When she writes about the Kyn, her version of long-lived creatures who exist on blood, they are believable. You can believe that they have lived for hundreds of years, because they are far more timeless than many others. They take the long view, even when their appearance is that of a young man. They “freeze” in appearance when they turn Kyn, so they may be youthful looking. Jamys is one of those, but he thinks like an ancient being. Even his own kind tend to underestimate him, because he has the appearance of a nineteen year old.
Chris is one of the humans who serve the Kyn and live privileged lives. She has loved Jamys for a long time, but he’s unaware of this. This is a wonderfully tender scene between them, when Jamys gets some inkling of her feelings for him.
Jamys Durand has survived being made an immortal Darkyn, horrific torture, and years of grueling warrior training. But he has no future to offer Chris, the mortal woman he loves, without his own territory. When he learns of a lost Templar treasure, Jamys vows to possess it and win his lady’s heart.
No one knows Chris Lang wants to be a tresora so she can live with Jamys, her secret love. Her superiors offer to make her dream come true, but only if she finds the lost treasure before Jamys can. Working together, Chris and Jamys track the jewels through a shadowy maze of priceless artifacts, decadent secrets, and one ruthless opponent who can possess an immortal’s mind…and will stop at nothing to have Chris.
Now enjoy reading about Jamys and Chris…
Chris held her bleeding hand over the frost-blue bowl of glass that served as the sink, and winced as cold water from the automatic tap washed over the open cuts. Because the Kyn healed spontaneously she hadn’t thought to stock the suite with a first-aid kit; she’d have to wrap some tissue around her hand until she could get back downstairs.
The rough whisper of his voice across the bare back of her neck made her close her eyes briefly. Jamys knew she was hurt because he smelled the fresh blood; the Kyn were almost like sharks that way.
“I cut myself on a piece of glass I had in my pocket.” She reached for the box of tissues, but Jamys had her bleeding hand in his and was examining the small wounds. “It’s nothing.”
His eyes shifted to hers, and she saw a thin ring of glowing amber encircling his pupils, which had begun to contract to thin vertical slivers. “Why hide it from me? Do you think I will feed on you?”
“No, I was embarrassed because I was clumsy.” From the look he gave her it was clear that he didn’t believe her. “I’ve been assigned to you, my lord, and I’m trained to take care of your needs. If you want the blood, I’ll go get a glass.”
Jamys kept his eyes on hers as he slowly lifted her injured hand to his mouth. His dents acérées flashed for a moment before he sank them into heel of his own hand.
Chris caught her breath as he raised his head. Two drops of blood beaded in the small puncture wounds that were already beginning to close. “What are you doing?”
“Healing you.” Jamys guided one of her hurt fingers to his palm, and gently pressed the cut into the blood. Chris caught her breath as she felt the cool mingling of his blood with hers, and then her cut went numb. He repeated the act again with her other finger, and then used a tissue to blot the blood away.
Chris saw both of her cuts had closed, just as fast as the punctures in his palm. “Why did you bother?”
“You are not my food, Christian, or my servant. You are my friend, and I do not want you hurt.” He put his hand to the back of her head, holding it as he pressed a kiss to her brow. “Do you understand?”
“Sure. Friendship works for me.” No, it didn’t, but he wasn’t asking for someone else. At least he still liked her. “Your eyes are doing the cat thing, though, and I know that means you haven’t fed for a while. Or you want to have wild monkey sex. Or both.” Had she actually said that out loud? God, she had. “I’ll, um, go make a glass of bloodwine for you.”
“I do not want sex with a wild monkey.” Jamys removed the long comb holding her hair back and placed it on the counter. As the twist slumped against her nape, he worked his hand through it, releasing the wavy mass. “Your hair was scarlet when I saw you last.”
“Mud brown is what I was born with.” She knew with it down she looked about sixteen, too. “I stopped dyeing it after you left.”
His finger stilled as he found the one hair pin she wore to keep her silver streak out of sight.
“That’s not dyed, either,” she admitted. “I started going gray like an old lady back in high school.”
“Do not hide it.” He spread the strands out. “It does not make you seem older. It is beautiful.”
“I don’t think anyone would agree with you.” As he brought the silvery lock to his lips, Chris forgot to breathe. “You’re kissing my hair.”
“It feels like gossamer.” He smoothed it back and looked all over her face. “Your piercings, what happened to them?”
“No one takes you seriously when you wear rings in your eyebrow, so I let them close up.” Absently she touched a tiny scar on the curve of her lip, and then she understood why he hadn’t recognized her at first. “You were expecting me to look the way I did three years ago?”
“That is how I remember you.” He touched each place where she had been pierced in turn, and when he reached her lip he ran his thumb back and forth over the small dimple. “You seem so different now.”
“I’m not the same girl I was. I grew up.” She ignored the way the cross under her blouse seemed suddenly to weigh as much as an anchor. “Everyone does, even if they’re Kyn and they don’t age. You’ve changed, too.” She eyed the black hair spilling over his shoulders. “You’ve nailed the ponytail look, I think, but how did you get all this new muscle?”
Suddenly he looked tired and unhappy. “I have also been training.”
What was wrong with him? Was she being too much of a pest? Was he sick of her already? “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
He turned his head as a three-tone chime sounded. “What is that?”
“Someone’s at the door. Probably Burke.” Chris sighed. “He worries.”
She didn’t find Burke waiting in the hall; one of the visiting Kyn stood outside the suite. As soon as Chris opened the door the strong scent of almonds wafted over her, and she had to swallow a groan. It was the same troublemaker who had started the brawl in the armory.
Why is he on this floor? “May I help you, sir?”
“There ye are, Pearl Girl.” His lips peeled back from his white teeth and fully-emerged fangs. “The bald one said ye were occupied, but I suspected if I tracked ye I’d find ye alone.” He swiped at her wrist and then frowned when she moved out of reach. “Come, I would have ye before the night wanes away.”
Have me? No Darkyn male had ever come after her demanding blood or sex, and for a second she wanted to slap him. But Burke had warned her that European Kyn did things differently; evidently they expected to help themselves to the household humans. Lucan would have no problem with her refusing him, but he would expect her to do so without turning it into an international immortal incident.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not available to serve you tonight.” Or for the rest of eternity, you pretentious ape. “I’ll be happy to call down to Mr. Burke—”
“I want no other.” He gave her the once-over and breathed in. “Not been taken tonight, then? Be they blind in this stronghold? Never worry, I’ll put ye to good use.” He crossed the threshold, and when she backed away, leered at her. “No need to play shy, Pearl Girl. I know how it is with ye household wenches.” He stopped advancing and frowned past her. “What is this?”
She glanced over her shoulder to see Jamys just behind her, his eyes glowing, his expression as lethal as the long copper blades in his fists. “This would be the reason I’m not available, sir.”