Paranormal Mystery Thriller
Snow Blood (Prequel)
Kane de Medici’s thirst for knowledge leads him into the dark world of vampirism. Working as an apprentice to the great master, Leonardo da Vinci in 1503, he encounters Brogio, one of Florence’s most wealthy bachelors. Their growing friendship, coupled with strange events lead him to uncover Brogio’s inconceivable secret. Brogio is a vampire, the very first vampire.
Kane’s quest for endless learning and his desire for more time to pursue knowledge have him propose that the vampire “turn” him so that he can become Brogio’s first blood son. For millennia, the original vampire has hidden away from most of the world and refused to turn others into blood-sucking monsters. Reluctantly Brogio agrees with the condition that Kane never create another vampire. But, Kane’s uncontrollable blood lust unleashes a plague upon the world and leads Brogio to resolve a perplexing problem. Now that Kane has broken Brogio’s rule, the master vampire will need to fight fire with fire.
This Snow Blood Series Prequel will delight fans of this beloved family of vampires.
Other Books by Carol
1 – The Conversation
Kane awaited his future as he looked into Brogio’s violet eyes. Eyes that shifted in color from red, then back to purple in an unnerving shimmer. Not at all human. Brogio’s fangs extended, and his face contorted as if in pain. Surely opening his jaw that wide was excruciating. A momentary hesitation… Brogio paused and pulled back.
“You’re not ready. Sit. Let’s talk.” Brogio pushed his six-foot-eight frame back a step. One hand swiped back long strands of silver blonde hair from his face. With a disappointed sigh, Brogio walked to the mahogany wood bar and pulled out two glasses and a bottle of wine.
Confused, Kane de Medici rubbed his dark eyes and stumbled to the plush, burgundy arm chair next to the roaring fire in the den of Brogio’s Tuscany wine estate. Brogio shoved a glass of his finest Cabernet into Kane’s hands and sat across from him. He eyed the dark haired young man’s long six-foot-five body. Broad shoulders and a cleft chin were immediate outstanding features. Kane’s dark eyes hinted at his extreme intelligence mingled with devilment.
“Tell me again why you would want to be an abomination like me. You are a descendant of the first bankers to the pope.”
“Yes, the infamous de Medici. A notorious name I’ve tried to avoid all my life… criminals – all of them!” Kane sat down the glass of wine on a small mahogany table nearby and stared at the fire.
“But with you, the name could be synonymous with genius. You are apprentice to the great Leonardo da Vinci. Like da Vinci, you invent, paint and sculpt. You love architecture, science, math and engineering. You are devoted to literature, history and cartography. You have ongoing discussions with da Vinci about anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany and the two of you write together endlessly.”
“Yet here I am, asking…”
“For Gods’ sake, Kane, you’re only 25 years old. Women faun all over you. They love your dandy ways, your elegant clothes, and your precise manners. Why would you want to become a blood sucker, like me?”
Kane’s eyes sparkled above his wine glass. “Immortality. I want time. Time to learn. You know it’s my passion. I want to watch things change and grow through the ages as you have. It’s 1503. Can you imagine what the world will be like in the twenty-first century? The inventions? The science? The literature? The sheer knowledge that will exist?”
Brogio leaned forward. “It was that very genius of yours, and that of your Master da Vinci, that drew me to you. So I do understand. But once again, you must listen. When the blood lust consumes you, it must be controlled. If you run with it, the world will spread like a plague with my kind. If you purposely “turn” others, how long will it take for those progeny to get out of control?”
Kane leaned forward and twirled the wine glass in his fingers. “But, you grew up in an ancient time. You visited the Oracle of Delphin in 580 before Christ! You were here in 854 when Florence and Fieslewere united into one country. Look at how the world has changed since then! I want to see that. I want to be there. For history when it changes.”
Brogio stood and faced the fire. He was silent for a moment then turned to Kane. “After I lost Selene, I slaughtered thousands of people in rage. I didn’t allow any of them to live, except one. That’s when I discovered that I could make others like me. She was beautiful, and I held her too closely, too long. Her companion cut my cheek with his sword when I attacked him. Upon her death, my blood dripped into her open mouth and revived her. I was fascinated by her transformation, but she became an uncontrollable ripper, her blood lust insatiable. I ended her to prevent my own discovery and more needless slaughter.” The vampire ran his long fingers through his silver hair. “That’s when I realized that the destruction of others wouldn’t bring Selene back to me. If you hadn’t discovered my nature, I wouldn’t even consider making you my blood son. If I do turn you, you must allow me to control your blood lust. No one should have this curse without a choice.”
“It was your own curiosity and quest for knowledge that gave you away.” Kane rose and stood beside the vampire. “Why did you break into the Hall of Five Hundred that night?”
Brogio walked to the crystal bar to the left of the fireplace and poured more wine into the crystal goblets. “I had heard about The Battle of Anghiari da Vinci was painting and the running competition he had with Michelangelo. Each creating magnificence on opposite walls... I wanted to see for myself. I didn’t realize anyone would be there.”
“You could have said you were just curious. Why did you flee?”
“Would you have believed it? I was there in the middle of the night.”
“No. But it wasn’t because of the time. Da Vinci and I always work together at night there to avoid Michelangelo during the day. I had never seen anyone move that fast. When I ran outside, you were on the roof and then disappeared. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how you had gotten on that roof so quickly.”
“Too bad you got a look at my face beforehand.”
Kane placed his hand on Brogio’s arm. “Will I be able to move that fast?”
Brogio smiled. “Probably. The ripper I created did.”
“Will this actually work?”
“Turning you? I don’t know. It’s a risk we both take.”
“Why did you seek an audience with da Vinci? Why didn’t you stay out of sight?” Kane sipped his wine and looked around the opulent den with its rich burgundy and blue rugs, beautiful paintings and sculptures, and larger-than-life mahogany furniture.
Brogio smiled, and when he did, his violet eyes shined. “I wanted an audience with you and da Vinci. I thought to commission the master or his pupil to paint or sculpt me a piece of art. But I liked you instantly and returned and stayed for the friendship.”
“You were lonely?”
“Mine has been an isolated existence.”
“You have to hide?”
“I have been cursed by the gods. It took me centuries to learn to control my blood lust. I have created wine estates all over the world to be able to feed off the animals of the surrounding forest. But nothing, nothing quenches that thirst like human blood.”
Both sat back down and sipped their wine. They remained silent as a servant dressed in black put more wood on the fire.
“Thank you, Ian.” Brogio addressed the worker in a mild, familiar fashion.
Kane gave the servant a quick assessment. Ian stood tall, about an inch shorter than Kane. He had tied his long black hair with a rough ribbon that almost resembled burlap. The man’s green eyes looked upon his master’s guest with curiosity but quickly averted them when Kane returned his stare. Like most of Brogio’s servants, Ian was quiet and didn’t draw attention. However, the man displayed a strong, muscular upper body that ended in a V-shape because of his small waist. Strong enough to carry wine barrels, Kane thought. He certainly brought in a case full of wood for the fire with ease.
Ian left as discreetly as he’d come.
The blaze of fire as the wood caught cast strange shadows throughout the large room. A shiver ran through Kane’s body. It was unclear to him if the shadows filled him with excitement or fear.
“You are a hypnotic being, Brogio. I was drawn to you immediately. You have the same love of knowledge, and you have gained so much of it. I wanted to be your friend.” Kane leaned forward. “I want to be your blood son.”
“You have some type of magic in you.” Kane smirked. “I thought you’d be perfect for Emily.”
“Ah, yes. The twins… thought I was lacking in female companionship?”
“Well, you were wrong on that count. I have a broken heart, but it hasn’t quelled my passion for the ladies. I tumble them then dine on them for dinner – never taking enough of their blood to kill them.” Brogio rubbed his chin and smiled.
“Wait, you do drink human blood? How does that work?” Kane sat back waiting for his explanation.
“The trick is to only take enough and to stop. Then, I lick the wound, and it instantly heals. I compel them to forget.”
“You… you make them forget? Could you not have compelled me to forget the suspicions I had about you?”
Brogio’s smile was enigmatic. “Perhaps I wanted you to discover my nature. I don’t know. It’s difficult to hide one’s existence… to not be yourself to at least… to someone.”
“Explain to me again how you will make me like you.”
“The only way I can turn someone is to embrace them. I can either give them my blood before I kill them or take them to the point of death and give them my blood. At least that is what I have deduced from my previous experience. I have chosen never to take someone against their will. That’s why it is important that you are sure you want this. There is no reversal once it is done.”
Kane stood up. “And your blood has healing power, right? Because when Victoria was thrown from her horse that day, I knew her neck was broken! You asked me to take Emily away so she wouldn’t see Victoria in dispose. But I saw you bite your wrist and put it to her mouth. You healed her!”
“As luck would have it, the fall didn’t kill her. She wasn’t near death but would have been paralyzed. I healed her without turning her. And, ever since, you have pressed me about my abilities.”
Kane walked with his hands behind his back, pacing in front of the fire. “So, somewhere inside of you, you wanted me to learn all there is to know about you. Help me to better understand how you were cursed.”
Brogio hung his head. His voice was little than a whisper. “I fell in love with Selene, a maiden in Apollo’s Temple at Delphi when I went for a reading with the Oracle. I stole her heart as well. The cursed god wanted her for himself. Ever since then, all of the gods have been my enemy.”
“Selene? This is the woman you pine for?”
“Selene is more than just a trifle.” Brogio’s eyes flared red.
Kane raised his hands in supplication. “I meant no offense.”
Brogio leaned back in his chair. “Artemis tricked us. She stole Selene from me.”
“You fear I would suffer the same fate?”
“I would never let that conniving deity trick me again.”
Kane remained silent. How many years had Brogio been alone? How many centuries? What had time done to his heart? His mind? “You long for a companion.”
Brogio said nothing.
“All the more reason to make me like you.” Kane stopped pacing. “If we are the same, you will be able to trust me to keep your secret.”
Brogio stood. He took Kane by the shoulders and looked deeply into his eyes. “Are you sure this is what you want?”
“More than anything. Yes. Yes, I’m ready.”
Without hesitation, the vampire’s eyes blazed red as his fangs dropped. He embraced the handsome young man and latched onto his neck. Kane’s brain went numb from the pain.