Following the events of Unearthed After Sunset, Archer returns to Phoenix to discover Caroline has a new threat to face, one that puts both hunters and vampires in danger. Unraveling in the Night is set to be released this fall.
If you haven’t read Unearthed After Sunset (Cereus Vampire Chronicles #1) Get it here for FREE.
It’s been over a year since Archibald Gregory Erickson died. He’s shed his human life, and gone on a journey of self-discovery, now Archer is back in Phoenix and finds himself quickly falling back into old habits. When danger strikes, putting Caroline in harm’s way Archer decides to stick around town a little longer, especially when it looks like Santo may be planning something. But things aren’t always as they appear. Archer and Caroline work together to uncover the cause behind a mass of vampire disappearances.
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Rusty mattress springs squeaked as I rolled onto my side. I lay on the floor in an abandoned building. I’d slept in. I liked getting a full eight hours rest as a human, but as a vampire, it wasn’t uncommon for me to sleep ten or even fourteen hours during the summer months. My body wanted to be awake at night, the rest of the time it seemed fine snoozing.
I headed out into the night. A few hours remained until midnight when Caroline asked me to meet her, so I decided to wander around town. Not much had changed in Phoenix since last year. It was the same eclectic metropolitan, a bustling and yet boring city filled with college students but also retirees and homeless.
I passed people of all kinds as I walked down the street. Through the window of a bar, I saw businessmen out for a drink before their ride back to the suburbs. A group of kids loitered at the street corner listening to loud music, and across the street, an old man carried a bag of groceries up his apartment stairs.
Then I saw something unusual. A block ahead, an old black van sat parked on the side of the road with the side door slid open. It waited right outside the butcher shop, and a moment later a tall man with a long face and black hair stepped outside. Dressed in a long sleeve shirt and jeans, with a complexion that hasn’t seen the sun in years, he had all the tell-tale signs of being new to town.
I slowed my pace to watch. I’d spent a lot of time as a vampire watching people, and I’d learned to notice people who were out of place. At first, I thought he was a vampire, but when he turned his head he lacked the tell-tale glow to his eyes, which also meant he wasn’t a hunter. He was human.
A bell tinkled out into the night, as the butcher shop door opened again. An unappealing meat smell drifted on the breeze. A young man in a white apron pushed a five-gallon, sealed, white bucket out on a rolling cart. He was a scrawny kid, still in his teens.
“Right in here?” The kid asked.
The man nodded. “Yeah, right in the van.”
Whatever was in that bucket must have been heavy. The young man strained to lift it. He set it in the van and the man slammed the door shut.
“Hey mister, what do you do with all this cows blood anyway?” the kid asked.
The man turned to him with a cold glare and said, “I make blood pudding.”
He was going to make blood pudding with five gallons of blood?
A moment later he drove away and I jogged up to where the kid still stood outside. He grabbed the rolling cart and pulled it back toward the door.
“Hey, what’d that guy order?” I asked before he slipped back inside. I wondered if maybe I’d heard the kid wrong. Maybe the five-gallon bucket had been filled with something else and he’d only bought a pint of cows’ blood?
“What?” His eyes were wide. “Oh, um, that guy?” He laughed. “He got five gallons of cow’s blood. Don’t ask me what he does with it, but he was here last week with the same order.”
The kid went back inside the butcher shop and I was left pondering what I’d seen. The man in the van wasn’t a vampire. I was sure of that, and even if he had been, a vampire can’t live on the blood of animals. My maker, Lila, had told me that the first night I’d turned. She’d said the blood of animals would make me sick. Then again, I’d never tested the theory myself.
I shook my thoughts free. For all I knew this had nothing to do with vampires. All sorts of people lived in Phoenix. That guy could be into weird ritual sacrifices or hell, really like the movie Carrie. One weirdo didn’t equal trouble.