Greetings to all, and welcome to the second Bloody Valentine Blog Hop.
A place where the red roses have died and the chocolates are poisoned.
So down with love, and on with the fun!
I have a variety of dark treats for you on this stop of the hop, plus as part of the celebration I'm holding a contest to win some books and some artwork. And don't forget to check out the other hoppers when you're done here. There's a list at the bottom of this post. Just scroll way down to find it.
First up on the menu is a devilish assignation. This story features my character, the demon Balthazar, from Killers and Demons (and the upcoming sequel, Killers and Demons II: The Return). Here he's visiting an old romantic acquaintance:
His thin hand lifted the wine to his lips and he sipped, savouring the flavour. A delicious vintage, a perfect complement to the company. Balthazar smiled at his companion, the attractive creature calling herself Mrs. Crocker.
“A lovely red, my dear.”
“A French vintage.” She returned his smile.
The pair sat in chairs facing each other, perched on the velvet upholstery of Mrs. Crocker’s parlour. The crystal decanter rested on the table between them, and a cozy fire crackled in the hearth.
“It’s been a long time, Balthazar. Not since that mess in Ireland. I’m looking forward to rekindling our acquaintance. The last time was quite… rigorous.” She laughed softly and licked her plump lips. “It was also quite memorable.”
“Yes, it was that.” An odd note of sentimentality crept into his voice, “I always had a weakness for you, Hala.” He stopped smiling and set down his half-empty wine glass.
“However, renewing our familiarity is not why I sought you out this evening.” He stood. “You know, I believe I may actually regret this. That will be a first for me.”
He could see the fear forming in her eyes; the grip on her glass tightened and she shivered.
“What’s going on, Balthazar?”
“He knows, our mutual employer knows. About your transgressions. And he sent me here to punish you.”
He snapped his fingers, and in a breath, demon fire engulfed her.
With horrific screams she burned, her body shuddering, flailing, sizzling, but for once Balthazar took no pleasure in a death. He simply watched stone-faced, until she became nothing more than ash scattered over the unsinged blue velvet of her chair and the parlour floor. Her wine glass fell, cracking, and left a red stain on the carpet.
With a sigh, Balthazar took his leave.
For the second course a small bite of a marriage ending in tragedy:
Sally Benson prepared herself to die. She stretched out on the bottom of the lifeboat and closed her eyes. The water lapped against the side of the boat, the air passed over her with the faint scent of salt and fish. And in the distance, she heard the sound of a motor.
Two months later, she finally felt comfortable at home; a remarkable recovery from her ordeal everyone told her. Her rescue from the bobbing waves of the ocean by the Coast Guard had become a media sensation. She was heralded a hero, the lone survivor of the sinking of the yacht, and given deepest condolences on the tragic death of her husband.
Through her tears, Sally put on a good show with a brave smile. She answered the questions of the Coast Guard and the police, giving them the answers they wanted to hear, relieved when they ruled the sinking an accident.
Sally just wanted the truth to stay buried, submerged on the bottom of the ocean with her cheating, murderous rat of a husband. She didn't want anyone to know how her husband rigged the boat to sink, how he tried to kill her, tried to make her death look like an accident. She escaped though, even if the life raft she chose had a busted motor. Her bad luck she picked the wrong one.
And she needed one more truth to stay hidden. The truth she beat him at his own game of murder. The truth that a poisoned glass of champagne trumped a sabotaged boat.
And to finish, we end with some poetry:
this taste on my tongue
as your fine chocolates
melt in my mouth.
I hear the strains of music,
a gift from you.
I breathe in the scent
of the soft, red roses
you gave me yesterday;
“My Valentine,” you said.
But, that was yesterday
when I believed,
when I lived the lie,
before this morning.
Before I watched you
Now I wait for you
with my bittersweet love
and my gun.
You gave me a rose
black as night, to match your heart
and I am alone
Here's the Contest:
Enter by the rafflecopter entry widget below for a chance to win a prize pack of four of my Smashwords ebooks, Fairy Tale Fusion, Reflections of Poetry, Killers and Demons and Gothic Cavalcade, plus some of my Bloody Valentine digital artwork, including the Black Rose poem seen above.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's a list of participating bloggers and what the hop's all about.