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WolfSinger Publications

Don't Write What You Know;

Write What You Care About -- Passionately!

Blood Bride
- Dana Bell

Dr.  Bertram Hoel had ignored all the women he’d met until being introduced  to Cira Landon at his first Science Fiction convention. Knowing he  should ignore the attraction, he still takes the dangerous step to begin  a relationship, aware that by doing so he is placing her life in peril.

Cira  Landon wrote tales of vampire lovers unaware the handsome scientist  she’d just met actually was one. Drawn to him, she finds her life  threatened by an old enemy who would do anything to exact his revenge,  including kidnapping her and selling her on the black market for rare  blood types.

With  no other options, Dr. Hoel is forced to appeal to the Elders for  assistance, hoping rescue does not come too late for Cira and knowing if  she is found, there is but one ancient tradition that may save her  life.


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Chapter 1

The Con Friday

“Hey, Cira!”

Great.  I stopped and turned my attention toward the main registration table  littered with programs, various items for sale and a stack of lanyards,  the faint smell of chlorine reaching my nose from the inside pool. One  of the volunteers waved me over wearing the normal bright green ‘Staff’  T-shirt.

“Could  you do us a favor and take our Science Guest of Honor here,” she nodded  at the tall, and, I have to admit, good-looking middle-aged man,  standing there with a lost expression on his red bearded face. “Up to  where participants and guests check in?” Her round face gave me a  hopeful look.

“Sure.  I’m headed up there myself.” In fact, I was run­ning a bit late, or  felt like I was. It had been one of those days. I hoped I would make my  first panel on time. Needed to check in first to make certain I knew  which room it was being held in.

“Thanks!”  She turned her attention to the next person in the already long line  filled with folks wearing everything from jeans and T-shirts of their  favorite shows or movies or fandom to those in beautifully handmade  costumes.

“Dr.  Bertram Hoel,” my charge introduced himself stepping away. He looked  like the typical college professor wearing a brown tweed jacket and  dress pants. The Scientist extended his hand.

“Cira Landon. I’m one of the local writers.” I took his hand, noting the odd chill.

“Pleasure to meet you.” He lifted my hand and lightly kissed it.

Okay,  that’s great in romance in novels, but who in real life kisses a  woman’s hand outside of actors at the Ren Faire? Secretly, I loved it  and felt a bit of thrill at the touch of his lips.

“You  as well,” I managed after staring into those amaz­ing golden-brown  eyes. Shaking my head, I reclaimed my hand and motioned. “This way.”

We  walked across the hotel lobby. I’ve been here many times through the  years. Granted, there had been changes. Today the white tile gleamed and  the hotel employees in their smart blue uniforms and gold name badges  smiled, checking in guests, despite the oddly dressed fans wandering  about.

“I  hear this is your first Science Fiction Convention.” Or so rumor said. I  hoped what I’d heard proved correct and I hadn’t just made a fool of  myself.

“I’ve had many invitations. This is the first I’ve accepted.” He had an odd accent. Not quite British, but close.

“Why is that?” I had to gather up my long blue skirt as we started up the dark brown marbled stairs to reach the second floor.

“I’m usually traveling. This is not my first visit to the Mile High City, although I will admit it has changed.”

Right. World renowned scientist in astronomy, biology and other fields  according to his bio in the con program. He’d consulted with NASA and  was friends with well-known international leaders in more countries than  I would get the chance to visit in my lifetime. “You enjoy traveling?” I  asked looking for a way to talk to Dr. Hoel.

“I  did when I was younger.” Briefly he looked very tired. I noticed a few  wrinkles around his eyes and streaks of gray scattered in his light  reddish-brown hair. “I’m starting to enjoy the comforts of being home  more.”

“I  miss traveling.” Hadn’t been able to do much since my ex-husband Paul  walked out on me a few years back. Thinking of him made me cringe. He’d  be at the convention during the weekend and I had been trying to figure  out how to avoid him. The man suffered from the delusion we were still  friends. Personally, I wanted nothing to do with him. Not after the way  he’d treated me while we were married.

“Why are you sad?”

“What?” I glanced at the scientist.

We’d  reached the second floor. My fingers smoothed the satin fabric. I’d  spent many hours working on my Victorian costume and wanted it to look  good.

“You seemed sad.” His eyes searched my face. “I wondered why.”

“Nothing  important.” There are times I hate being an empath. I could tell he  felt concerned, yet underneath it I could sense he was a man used to  holding and wielding power. And below that, an almost predatory nature  that I found unnerving. “The line is here.” I pointed at the straggling  group waiting to check in. I recognized my fellow authors, several local  artists and the normal con folks who helped run panels or other events.

“Thank you.” He gave me a slight bow and waved his hand. “After you.”

I  nodded graciously and took my place, checking my phone for the time,  glad to see I shouldn’t have a problem making my panel before it  started.

Dr.  Hoel turned to visit with one of my long-time friends Dan Palma, an  astronomer at a well-known observatory in Arizona as well as an  up-and-coming Science Fiction writer. I had a panel with him on  Saturday.

“Parties can start now, I have arrived!” echoed from across the cathedral ceiling.

Inwardly  I groaned yet managed to offer the man who’d just arrived a smile and  greeted him with a hug. “I heard you were coming Tom. Do you really have  to make an entrance?” I teased him.

“Of  course!” He grinned impishly at me. One of the most brilliant men I  knew, and he rarely dressed up for any­thing. Today proved no exception.  Ripped jeans and a T-shirt proclaiming his loyalty to a show we all  loved, which had been cancelled by short sighted network executives. I’d  bet they were still scratching their heads over why the program had a  huge cult following.

I  decided to make introductions. “Tom, meet Dr. Bertram Hoel. Dr. Hoel,  Tom William Canyon. I believe you two are on some of the same panels.”  I’d checked the schedule online earlier and had noted who was on what.

The  two men shook hands. “Nice to meet you, Dr. Hoel,” Tom greeted, his  quick friendly smile offered. Hard to believe he had gray at his temples  making his short black curly hair stand out.

“Mr. Canyon.”

“Mr. Canyon was my father. Just call me Tom.”

“Tom,” Dr. Hoel agreed.

They  lapsed into a conversation filled with scientific jargon and I knew I  could ignore them. Finally reaching the small registra­tion desk, I got  my badge, program book and made a hasty exit to go downstairs. I knew  I’d bump into friends on my way to my panel room. We normally greeted  each other with hugs and quick catch-up conversations. Some folks I  maybe saw once or twice a year.

As  I reached the stairs, I glanced back and noticed Dr. Hoel’s eyes  following me. A man hadn’t looked at me with interest for several years.  It both thrilled me and made me very nervous.

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