Blood of Ages, Book One
K. L. Kerr
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Penrefe Publications
Number of pages: 314
Word Count: 100,000
Cover Artist: K. L. Kerr
The vampires of Dayson city are preparing for war. Having lived in constant fear of the Archway Corporation for decades, desperation has forced them into action. Their solution is to bring the First vampire, Alistair, back from the dead, a warrior famed for eradicating entire armies in the name of his kind.
For fledgling vampire Catrina Malinka, the fabled return of some unknown deity falls low on her list of concerns. Between fending off strangers trying to kill her in her dreams and trying to rein in an uncontrollable power that no one else even understands let alone shares, Catrina is forced to fight her assumed role in the war against Archway, which threatens to send her down a path she doesn’t want to travel.
The first book in The Blood of Ages series, “The Genesis” is an urban fantasy about the inescapable nature of Fate and the corruption of power.
Excerpt: The First Feed
Excerpt: The First Feed
Catrina paid little notice to where they were headed, since she was too enrapt in the swirl of streetlights sweeping by the window to listen in on Fox and Rose’s conversation. Her attention broke occasionally when Rose laughed, which she did often. If Fox were the lion, as she’d imagined on their first meeting, that made Rose the hyena.
The nights in Dayson were never truly dark, and the days—which she would only ever be able to recall from memory from now on—were never bright. Skies in varying shades of grey were all that overlooked their fair city, and any break in infinite varieties of rain constituted good weather. Even so, her new eyes could make out the crescent moon floating amongst an ocean of stars as Rose parked the car outside a bar that looked like countless other rundown brick buildings scattered in amongst those made of concrete.
The music pulsed harsh and raw through the open doors, thunderous beats to dance to for those gathered inside the low-ceilinged, dark rooms. Rose left them at the entrance, quickly swallowed up by the mass of bodies.
Catrina followed Fox into the smoky room and was hit by a smell so fierce that it threatened to floor her. Beyond that of sweaty bodies laced with grime and grease from their days of hard labours, the unmistakable scent of blood rose in the air. So much stronger than what she’d sensed from Maria, and in such a tightly packed space, it came inescapably with every breath, like honey-sweet liquid iron sliding down her throat.
The people were all oblivious. No, not all of them. A few stood out, their movements fluid, more calculated. As they slipped through the mass, she noticed the path being created by people was wide enough for them both. The hunger sent sudden, urgent impulses that left her fingers twitching. She barely managed to keep at Fox’s back on the way to the bar, as a mist descended across her vision. So many people and so much blood pumping through frail bodies that seemed barely able to hold it in. Her head ached with the deafening sound of a hundred hearts thumping in time with the pounding bass.
In a far corner, Fox introduced her to a man, his clothes were the same colour as his raven hair, half-blended into the shadows. He didn’t need a name. Fox simply referred to him as “the Moderator.” The Moderator regarded her with hazel eyes too small for his face, tiny glinting gems set in alabaster skin, which snatched her, and the hunger’s, interest from the room’s other occupants. He offered her a hand as though proposing they dance. When she turned to Fox for an answer, he just nodded and left them. With butterflies in her stomach, she accepted the Moderator’s thin hand and let him guide the way.
“This is your first time feeding?” he asked in a soft voice, whispering in her ear to be heard over the music. Painful in its simplicity, the question left her insides churning. She just about managed a nod. “The hunger will torment you until you give it what it needs.” When she winced, he gripped her hand tighter; the pressure alleviated some of the pain. While not an especially attractive man, the Moderator’s presence was all-consuming, and his iron grip and piercing eyes ensured attention stayed on him, before the hunger could release her into the pack of waiting bodies. “I understand your pain, child, but the hunger must be appeased. Despite what you may think, you are not the one in control anymore. The hunger is its own master and you its slave. You will succumb to it when it craves its fill, or else you will both perish. Succumb often, and in careful doses, and given enough time, you will be able to control it completely.”
“And until then…?”
A jester’s smile stretched across the Moderator’s face. “Until then, you will feed like the rest of us.”
As they reached the edge of the crowd, her guide gestured to a man swaying out of time with the music, pupils dilated like saucers and mouth open wide. So this shaggy-haired stallion riding what appeared to be a permanent high would take her vampiric virginity. And while the hunger urged her forwards at the very thought, she saw reason to pause and tightened her grip on the Moderator’s hand.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “The hunger will show the way. And do not concern yourself with our friend’s wellbeing. Observe the skin.” He gestured the man’s shoulder, where she saw scant silver lines tracing all the way up his neck. The thin vest fitted to his shapely, muscled form proudly displayed the scars. “He is a donor. You will find many of their kind in places such as these. I can assure you, he is more than willing.”
When the Moderator released her, the hunger led on. For the next minute, she was no longer Catrina Malinka. She was the hunger. She may have forced the man easily twice her size up against the wall, leaning into him and savouring the musky scent rising from perspiring flesh. If he struggled or resisted, she couldn’t remember. He may have moaned as her fangs sliced through her gums and into the vein. As blood gushed like liquid fire, she too may have moaned, closing her eyes and letting the moment consume her.
New thoughts overwhelmed her sense of reason with each mouthful of blood pumping out of the fissure in his neck, as though for an instant she saw the world through this man’s eyes; the image of their naked bodies tangled together on an unmade bed in what she could only assume was this man’s shoebox of an apartment flashed across her vision.
Spurred, it seemed, by the same thought, he slid a hand up her back, trying to force her closer. But despite his urgency, he had all the strength of tissue paper when put against her. While she revelled in his weakness, the hunger subsided into anger the likes of which she’d never known.
Her dark eyes flashed open and fingers slipped around his shoulder, feeling the top of his spine underneath the thin stretch of skin. One quick twist, and he would be dead. Before she could get her fingers around his neck, strong hands pulled her away, which severed both the lustful thoughts and the absolute desire to destroy him.
The man struggled to breathe as he ran shaking fingers over his neck, but a lazy smile curled his lips nonetheless.
“Our saliva heals the wounds,” the Moderator said as she stared at her first “victim” lurching back into the throng of bodies. “The scarring only occurs from continuously providing donor services, or in cases where the human has been attacked. Here, the donors are safe and aware of what happens to them. Feeding out there—” He gestured to the bar’s entrance. “Is difficult and delicate when you choose not to kill. There will be certain situations where your actions can be more easily dismissed if you choose to feed on someone who does not know what you are.” Such sobering words set her eyes back on the Moderator, who regarded her cautiously, concern stretching lines on his face. “Tell me truthfully,” he said. “How did it feel?”
Without a second thought, she replied, “I wanted to kill him.”
About the Author:
Born and raised close to North York Moors, initial setting of American Werewolf in London, one might be excused for thinking K. L. Kerr's interests might lie with those furry beasts. But she has always preferred monsters of the fanged variety, having written the very first draft of her novel, The Genesis, aged sixteen.
When not writing, Kerr can be found playing the MMORPG, World of Warcraft, or listening to music from video game soundtracks. She still lives in the North of England, close to The Moors (keeping to the roads, naturally), with two cats who--like all cats--think they're people.