Blood (Three Days of Oblenite #3) by Jean Lowe Carlson
Brilliant surgeon Aulen Gregoire discovers by an accident of fate that his blood causes patients to survive death. His ability to steal patients from death's clutches turns into obsession, and the blessing becomes a curse as his own vitality is ripped away, craving the bliss of saving lives like a drug. Unleashed like a howling creature, his vast addiction drags him down to the deadly blue lights of the city's most desperate, where Aulen becomes the Angelus of the Catacombs.
And before his need is through, it will cost him everything; his position, friends, family, and his life.
Be advised: The book contains scenes of male rape, sexual coercion
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ABOUT THE TRILOGY
A darkly romantic, gothic paranormal fantasy series, Three Days of Oblenite is rife with superstition, piety, and devious mysticism. The trilogy takes place in a dark, Parisian Victorian atmosphere, and involves three characters desperately cursed with the powers of a dead saint. With torturous undercurrents, their lives collide in lust, obsession, addiction, desperation, and death.
“Breath” follows a woman cursed to celibacy, unable to find love because her kiss kills, all but one night a year.
“Tears” involves a man cursed to feel bliss when he is whipped, and his religious conflict as he finds himself in a relationship with the man who brings him release.
While “Blood” features a surgeon cursed with healing blood, as he descends into a desperate underworld, addicted to working miracles.
A book spotlight for Tears
A book spotlight for Breath
Jean Lowe Carlson writes epic fantasy fiction, dark supernatural romance, and dystopian fantasy. Her sensual, raw worlds remind one of Jacqueline Carey, Clive Barker’s Imajica, Anne Rice, and Robin Hobb.
Jean holds a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and has a keen awareness of psychology and human behavior, using it to paint vivid and emotionally complex characters set amidst the broader scope of nations in turmoil or societies with riveting secrets. Not afraid of exploring all kinds of relationships, including LGBTQ and BDSM, her genre-bending novels are exciting, passionate, challenging, and lush.
For more on the author and her books check out these sites:
EXCERPT FROM BLOOD
They had finally crossed the park and were heading across Rue Blounne in the Gypsun Quarter. Jessup took them left, and then down a broad avenue strung with washlines and colorful clothing that fluttered like flags in the light summer breeze. A dog barked, and a passel of wild
curl-haired children went rushing by, shrieking and giggling. A stout grammère sweeping off her stoop yelled at them and shook her fist heartily, and Aulen’s spirits soared. The Quarter was a-bustle with life on this bright summer day, and his company was good and his tedium seemed far away.
Aulen was trying, and he was doing better than he’d done in weeks. Jessup was good company, and his light demeanor was rubbing off on Aulen. Suddenly, Jessup turned left, and hustled into a little glass-fronted shop.
“Let’s make a quick stop.”
Aulen ducked into the shop behind the younger man, and found himself in a cozy little cigar-store as the bell-charm upon the door rang. The shop was cramped with shelving filled with cigars and baskets of loose-leaf tobaccos, smelling heavenly of herbal smokes of all sorts. Jessup seemed to know the young man behind the glass counter, an affable Gypsun of perhaps his late twenties, and greeted him cheerily.
“Jess! Didn’t think to see you today!” The wiry, dark-eyed fellow ducked out from behind the counter and embraced Jessup with a hearty slap upon the back. Jessup gave a hearty slap back, then broke from the embrace to make introductions.
“Aulen, this is Freder de Merque. Freder, this is Dotorre Aulen Gregoire. He works with Krystof Fausten at Saint Sommes Hospital.”
“Enchanté.” Aulen clasped the man’s hand.
“Likewise!” Freder was cheery and bright, much like Jessup himself, and Aulen could see how the two were fast friends.
“Aulen and I are headed down to the faire. Want to come?” Jessup leaned against the glass case full of cigars and smoking implements.
“Ahh… Dieu de merde!” Freder looked stricken. “I’m supposed to watch the shop today for grandpère.” He sucked his lower lip a moment, then seemed to come to a decision. “Hold on a tic. Go ahead and pick something out if you want, the both of you. I’ll be right back.”
Freder strode to a set of stairs off to the left that led to upper apartments over the small family shop, and was soon gone out of sight. Jessup was already perusing the shelves, picking up cigars and smelling them idly.
“You smoke, dotorre?”
Aulen shook his head, hands in his trouser-pockets, leaning upon the glass case. “Not usually. I don’t tolerate substances well. One whiskey leaves me reeling, and a whole cigar…” He smiled ruefully. “Better have a bucket and a mop handy.”
Jessup looked over his shoulder and grinned his very white and very infectious smile. “So that’s why you only ever have half a pour when you come to the bar! I wondered about that. But you can eat a whole bucket of Marnet’s beignets and have no problems!”
Aulen patted his lean stomach. “Don’t know where it goes…”
At last, Jessup selected a cigar he liked from a tall mahogany rack near the door, just as quick boots trumped down the stairs. Dark-eyed Freder was elated, grinning wide, his smile every bit as infectious as Jessup’s. He extended his arms as he jumped to the landing, like a tumbler after a trick.
“Misseurs! Freder de Merque is at your disposal! Onward, to tumbling and contorting beauties! Grab your cigars and let’s go!”
Jessup twirled his cigar with a grin and pocketed it inside his black linen waistcoat, but Aulen simply pulled away from the glass case with a rueful shake of his head.
But blithe Freder wouldn’t have it. “None for you?”
Aulen repeated his earlier admonishment. “I don’t tolerate drink or smokes well. Really not at all.”
“Come, now!” Freder pushed, his dark eyes mischievous and relentless. “We’re off to celebrate and see hot little acrobat-women! Here, try this one. They’re very mild, and it has an herbal blend you’ll enjoy. Allons!”
And he was shoving it into the inner pocket of Aulen’s taupe waistcoat with a feisty grin. And Aulen found he was grinning back, enjoying the fun, swept up in the joyous enthusiasm of Jessup and his riotous comrade “Alright! Alright! I give in!” Aulen held his hands up,
laughing now as Freder patted his cheeks in a quick rolletunde, then turned and whisked something from behind the glass cigar-case.
Freder held up a pewter flask and sloshed it teasingly, his dark eyes alight with mischief. “For later!”
“You sneaky devil.” Jessup accosted Freder and wrenched it away, unscrewing the cap and sniffing, then took a swig. “Dark’s tits!” Jessup coughed, and his eyes were watering, but he was grinning. “What the Dieu de merde is that?” He threw the flask back to Freder.
Freder gave a cheeky wink as he caught it. “Homemade apricot brandy. Theoretically. Dotorre?”
Aulen started to protest with a shake of his head.
Freder tossed him the narrow pewter flask, and Aulen caught it. The day was fine, and he was out, and they were off to see blithe entertainment. Aulen’s worries and fears had been banished to the back of his mind, and he felt decades younger and lighter of heart than he had been in months. He thought briefly of Christianne, and how much she would smile to see her husband returned home after a day of revelry and distraction from his woes. Oh, how Christianne would smile for him.
“What the hell.” Aulen grinned and unscrewed the flask’s cap. He took a swig, then coughed like Jessup had, his eyes burning like fire along with his poor throat, and indeed, his entire mouth. His belly seared like flame. Aulen threw the pewter flask back, still coughing into his
“Merde!” Aulen managed to croak out, and Freder laughed heartily.
“That’s the spirit!” Freder reached around the glass case once more, and tossed a second pewter flask to Aulen. “Keep that one for me, huh? Jessup drinks shit too fast…” He winked.
“You ballsy baiseur!”
Jessup laughed and launched himself at Freder, and they wrestled a moment like young men do. But Freder was stronger, both broader in shoulder and stouter than Jessup, and managed to retain control of the first flask, shoving Jessup off and running for the front door of the shop. Jessup followed briskly, and Aulen whisked forward, making the door-charm tinkle against the glass as they whisked out of the dim shop and into the sunny, sweat-thick street.
Aulen’s head buzzed nicely even from his sip of the alcohol. The day was muggy and bright, cicadas chorusing for them in the trees as the laughter of the two younger men made heads turn all the way down the laundry-choked street. Dark-eyed women admired Aulen from windows and stoops as he turned. He felt himself flush, rifling a hand through his auburn hair, not used to being attended to in such a way by anyone but Christianne.
But the day was fine and the company was good, and Aulen’s worries were pushed aside. Aulen thought again of Christianne, of how she would smile for him when he came home rested from a day of distraction and in a good mood. He picked up his boots and whisked off down the avenue behind Freder de Merque and Jessup Rohalle, deeper into the Gypsun Quarter in the full sun of the afternoon.
The Common Centrale was one of the largest squares in the city of Julis, its four-block expanse of grey pavingstones adorned with not one but four massive white-marble fountains along its sprawling length. The hub of the Gypsun Quarter, the Common Centrale was normally choked with booths and stalls as a daily open-air market. Flanked by outdoor cafes all along its perimeter, the Common was a place to see and be seen, a place where even nobility from the highest classes of Julis came to take distraction. A site of interest for tourists, the Common was a fixture of the city, and also the starting and ending-point for the annual Rollows parade.
But today, the Common was choked to the hilt with the traveling faire. Massive tents towered over the neighboring four- and five-story brick and stone buildings of the Quarter. Hawkers crowded close, crying their wares with the same blithe and raucous enthusiasm of Rollows-eve, many of them in their Rollows-masques. The square was packed with revelers gawking at faire-entertainers mingling between the booths and tents. The fountains were barely visible through the melee and a riot of colorful silk and high-arching canvas soared over it all.
The traveling faire was the height of artistic mastery and phantasma. As Aulen pushed his way through the crowd after Jessup and Freder, they passed tumblers and acrobats, contortionists and sword-swallowers, fire-jugglers and snake-singers, dancing dogs and a rabbit race. And just when Aulen thought it couldn’t get any more magnificent or bizarre, they stepped aside hastily for a parade of white chargers ridden by lovely dark-haired women, aiming for the central-most of the six massive pavilions.
Freder mock-swooned as the women rode by in their black corsets and dripping black lace. Their costumes sported little else to cover their muscular thighs and black riding-boots, not to mention their décolletage. All of them had dark curls piled high into luxurious cascades over back masques full of cormorant and peacock feathers. Blue and green and silver beadwork edged their corsets, dripping from the lace and accentuating their sinuous undulations as they rode their strong chargers.
“Ma bien-aimée!” Freder stepped to the stirrup of a particularly buxom and healthy woman, pacing at the side of her horse to kiss her boot. She laughed heartily and set her black riding-boot to his chest, pushing Freder off with a twinkle in her eye and a wink as she guided
her white stallion on. But she reined it in suddenly and made it rear, then did a perfect leap in place, her dark eyes flashing to Freder from behind her feather-masque to make sure he appreciated her efforts on his behalf.
Freder swooned backwards into Jessup’s arms, making a show of it.
The woman upon the charger laughed, and the crowd clapped and cheered.
Freder bowed as if he were flourishing a high-topped hat.
There was a ripple of laughter as the crowd dispersed, either following the horses on towards the pavilion where they would be performing, or heading off towards other entertainment in the packed square. Freder laughed his way over to a caramel-nut seller and bought them each a bag of pacanne, then whisked out his pewter flask. They all shared a round of liquor to Freder’s admonishment of, “Drink, dotorre, drink!”
“Over there!” Freder pointed, and Aulen glanced through the crowd towards the sound of drums and chimes and a reedy flute. But Freder and Jessup were already pushing their way through, and Aulen followed, his head reeling nicely.
Aulen made a mental note to wait a while before his next swig.
The day was too bright and too much fun to be ruining his blithe time with drink.
Aulen found the rakish Gypsun duo gawking at the edge of a set of red and purple rugs from Perthe, laid down over the cobbles. Occupied by a small band of musicians at the rear, a trio of dancing women paced the front of the rugs. The women were striking and half-nude, their garments little more than gossamer veils about the hips and something to cover their breasts, with lavish jewelry and semi-precious metals dripping over everything else. Their long, straight black hair was unbound, and they danced with colorful veils of featherweight silk. Winding and weaving through each other, the talented women accented the music with hips, ribcage, arms, wrists, and even head motions.
It was erotic, and Aulen found himself blushing at the edge of the sinuous spectacle, his heart racing from drink. Freder had dropped to his knees, his hands in a prayer of adoration before the women. One of them laughed as she danced, her dark eyes merry at his antics. Jessup put a hand to his friend’s shoulder and hauled him up with a laugh, but sincere apologies to the dancers. But one lithe creature danced close to Aulen and wrapped him in her purple veil. She pulled him close and ran her smooth, full lips over his jaw before pulling away, her dark eyes daring him to do more.
Aulen gaped, his head spinning.
“Dotorre Aulen Gregoire, seducer extraordinaire!”
Aulen vaguely registered Freder at his side, slapping his back heartily and rattling him by the shoulders. The lithe, dark-eyed dancer gazed over her shoulder at Aulen as she went. Sultry, she sashayed back towards the band as the tempo changed into something more brisk with pops and slaps of percussion.
Aulen’s blood raged, watching her go
A flask was pressed into his hands.
Aulen had a long drink, wiping his mouth on his forearm.
He tried to hand the flask back, but it was pressed to his hands again. Aulen took another drink. Someone hauled him backwards with a brisk laugh, and they were off through the crowd again.