Every Sunday I will be putting out snippets from works in progress, so these works are not final drafts. These will be from my stories or guest authors. Today, I’m sharing a sneak peek of the second book in the Legends of the Soaring Phoenix series, A Pirate’s Revenge. My editor is still slicing away at it, but it should be released this summer.
This is William’s story and its starts where A Pirate’s Curse ends. The demon Zuto curses William and William’s worst fear is to be like his brother and change into a vampire during every full moon. But the demon has different plans for William. And he soon discovers, that there are worse things than being a vampire.
Tonight was the full moon. Tonight he’d turn into a vampire. Tonight, for the first time, he’d be force to suck human blood.
William O’Brien rested his head on his arm against the Green Parrot Inn’s window. It had been a month since he, his brother and crew had battled the Fiery Damsel. Kane had granted the crew shore leave at Tortuga while repairs were made, the wounded healed and supplies gathered.
The glowing sun sank lower and lower behind the mountains, changing white clouds to purple, yellow, orange. Blue sky dimmed, turning to a light gray. He’d always loved watching sunsets, the clouds, the soft colors. Until now. His heart pounded hard and with each thump, he knew he was alive, he knew he was human. But with each beat, he’d worried it would be his last. Thanks to the demon Zuto, he’d change into his worst nightmare.
The door opened and William turned around. Doc strolled inside and closed the door behind him. He flashed one of his famous smiles; his white teeth highlighting his black skin. Despite his glowing red eyes, the man still remained jovial. William couldn’t help but smile back.
Doc’s knowledge of medicine never failed to amaze him. He had learned much by way of remedies, sutures, and anatomy, while a plantation slave before escaping his cruel master. “Da Capt’n done sent me to find you lad,” he said.
“Why? So, he can gloat.”
Doc shook his head. “Da capt’n’s worried about you. He’d have been here, but Hannah’s still not fully healed and after one of Palmer’s men was seen in Tortuga, he’s too scared to leave the lass.” He lowered his voice. “He never wanted you to suffer our fate.”
His warm tone reminded William of a father consoling the youngest son abandoned by an older brother. William didn’t argue. Christ, he knew his brother didn’t want him to be cursed. Hell, William didn’t want to be cursed. He waited for his incisors to length and waited for the undeniable thirst. He’d seen how Kane suffered. Soon food would turn to sand in William’s mouth and he wouldn’t be able to swallow anything, not even water. He’d be a roaming corpse, lusting for his next pint of blood. Trying to get his mind off his upcoming gloom, William tilted his head. “Any word on Palmer and his damn witch?”
Doc’s face clouded. “Da devil’s gone in hiding. No doubt da bastard’s stolen another ship. We won’t know who she is until da ship fires on us.”
William placed his palm on the cool window. “Aye, I’m sure of that.” The Soaring Phoenix was anchored in Tortuga’s bay, her sails doused. The crew nailed the last boards to repair the Phoenix’s damaged hull from their recent gory battle with Palmer. Men mopped and scrubbed the wood while others rolled barrels onto the deck filled with water and gun powder. Cook was busy hustling in boxes of vittles. “The repairs are almost done,” William said. “And we’ll hunt Palmer down and finish him once and for all.”
“Capt’n’s says tonight’s our last day for shore leave. Tomorrow we sail out to sea to pursue Palmer, da devil himself.” Doc studied him, the merriment leaving his face replaced with his intense surgeon’s eyes and tight lip mouth. “William, d’ye not feel anythun?”
William sat on the edge of the bed and tapped his foot rapidly on the floor and gripped his trousers. He flitted his tongue over his teeth and felt nothing jagged. Maybe he had escaped his brother’s fate. Mother of mercy, he hoped so. “I feel well. Maybe I’m not cursed.”
“Then why would Lark ask for your forgiveness after he cast da spell?”
“How the hell would I know why a witch would ask for forgiveness? Witches are liars and in a league with demons.”
Doc lowered his gaze. William winced at his harsh tone. He shouldn’t have spoken to Doc that way, but he was drowning in fear, a fear of what he was going to become. Why had Lark asked for forgiveness? The witch’s face had been filled with sorrow when he uttered nogard. Kane suspected it had been an incantation straight from Coaybay. After Lark said it, William twirled around in the air like a tornado. He passed out and remembered no more until he awoke a few days later on board the Phoenix, the battle forgotten. All except that word. It haunted him. Lark’s voice echoed in his mind over and over. What the hell did it mean?
“You should be feelin’ da hunger now,” Doc said. “Your fangs should be gettin’ pointy like this.” He lifted his lip and bared his sharp, elongated, vampire canines.
“I’m not hungry and my teeth are the same. See?” William peeled back his lips and revealed his teeth.
“I don’t understand. This is different than when we were first cursed.”
“I told you, I’m not cursed.” William didn’t know who he was trying to convince more himself or Doc.
Doc raised his eyebrow. “Not bloody likely. Ronan said as long as Lark done wore da yari he was Palmer’s pet slave. So, you think Lark cast da spell an’ you twirled around in da air to fool Palmer?”
Heat washed over William’s cheeks at Doc’s teasing and he wanted to thrash Doc for stating the obvious. Something he didn’t want to believe. Dread nestled in William’s gut. Something evil would happen. He chose to ignore it and hung onto his faith of escaping his brother’s fate.
“Nothing has happened,” William said. “And nothing will happen. You can tell my brother I don’t need a nurse maid.”
Doc put his hands behind his back and cleared his throat.
The sun sank deeper and the sky darkened. “Black magic has cursed us,” William said.
“Not all magic is evil.”
William snorted. A witch didn’t betray the woman Doc loved, either. “Who told you this? A witch?”
“There’s good magic out there, lad.”
“I don’t believe it. Magic is evil. You of all people should know this.” William leaned against the wall. “Look what magic has done to you.”
Doc glanced out the window. “Aye, ’tis not been an easy life,” he said, his voice fading.
William wished he hadn’t sounded so disgusted. Doc deserved better than this life. They all did. Although Kane had taught his men how to drink from humans without killing them, he didn’t want to be like them. They were monsters, bloody parasites, feeding on the living.
A sudden pain throbbed in William’s jaw. He opened his mouth and shut it. He rubbed the side of it. It was swollen. Why the hell was it swollen? His heart beat faster at the realization he was about to shift into a leech.
What do you think William will turn into? If you guess right, I’ll send you an ebook copy of A Pirate’s Curse.