Today, we'll kick things off with an excerpt, from, well, the very beginning. I promise, I'll have this figured out by next week. Until then, happy reading!
If Deiadre McKee knew she’d die in the early hours of October 22, she might have let Bryant Phips go all the way on Saturday night.
Then again, maybe not. Deiadre’s reputation was worse than being known as a fast girl.
Deiadre was the good girl.
She’d carefully built her reputation over her teenage years and now at nineteen was one of the Covenant’s most respected youths. She always blushed and demurred when mothers pointed her out. Told their daughters to be more like Deiadre.
Inside, she always giggled. It was ridiculously easy to fool people if you showed them what they wanted to see.
As she made her way up Dumaine and turned left onto Bourbon, she couldn’t help but chuckle. Dinner at the Crossroads had been exceptionally entertaining, even if it failed to live up to the hype surrounding the weekly gathering. Deiadre was still convinced these dinners were rooted in Jude’s desire to learn who held power in the Covenant. She’d patiently waited for her invitation. After all, she was the most powerful vodoun in the Covenant.
Nobody knew her true level of power, of course-she’d underplayed her power for years. She’d be surprised if anybody had even a clue about the strength of her magic, even Jude, despite the strange looks she’d given Diadre over the course of the evening. But the looks might have been in shock at her manners. Or approval at her attire-Sunday dinner clothes and not the same trash Lies wore.
The cupid bow of her mouth quirked up at the edges and she chuckled again, shook her head, peach colored curls bouncing around her face. Her eyes were doe brown, big and innocent, and she’d batted her lashes at Samuel over the course of dinner. Not out of any interest in him but because doing so obviously annoyed Lies. A task she hadn’t accomplished in regards to Elizabeth.
Deiadre winced as she passed the Cat’s Meow, somebody on stage butchering the hell out of Celine Dion. Her little smile slid into a pout and she crossed her arms over her chest, annoyed all over again. None of her flirtations with Jackson raised even an eyebrow from Elizabeth. She could have given Jackson a lap dance-like she’d do something so disgusting-and Elizabeth wouldn’t have blinked an eye. Only Margot’s appearance next to Rian had caused any reaction at all—and both Jude and Theo simply shook their heads at the exploding pot in the corner.
Deiadre shivered with both delight and disgust. Disgust, because, seriously, Rian? He might have fooled the rest of the Covenant, but not her-once a druggie, always a druggie. Her mouth smoothed out to a prissy line. What Elizabeth saw in him, she had no idea.
But Theo. Theo was some kind of gorgeous. Too bad Jude nabbed him, although they did make a cute couple. Deiadre had been pulling on her coat when she’d caught something out of the corner of her eye. Peering into the shadows, she’d saw Jude and Theo making out like a couple of teenagers. Her exaggerated cough had them pulling apart, but not apologizing.
Jude simply smiled and thanked her for coming while Theo held the door for her on her way out. When she’d turned around to wave one final time, they’d been standing in the door, Jude pressing one hand to her belly where the tiniest of bumps showed. The flash of jealousy died when she remembered child birth meant lots of pain.
She stepped into the center of Bourbon, hugged her jacket tight around her as she drew closer to Conti. Her frown thinned her lips, made her soft features harsh. She hated this part of Bourbon but it was the safest route back home. As long as she stayed in the street, she wouldn’t have to worry about any of the bouncers for the so-called gentlemen’s clubs trying to pull her in.
She turned onto Conti, the noise dropping almost immediately. Only four more blocks and she’d be home in the little house her parents bought her before flying off to Paris. Or Rome. Deiadre’s features smoothed out in puzzlement as she tried to recall just where they’d flown off to, although it didn’t matter. They’d flown off constantly and then one time they didn’t come back. Her au pair at the time stayed for a few more months until she turned eighteen before leaving as well.
Not that she needed adult supervision. She’d spent her first summer alone taking classes at Loyola, aced the next two semesters. More summer school, and she was already in her junior year. Nothing compared to how far she’d advanced in her voodoo and…other magics.
Three more blocks. She tugged her jacket tighter, some of the October cold seeping in through the fabric. New Orleans didn’t get too cold this time of year but the air had a bite. She paused for a moment to button up, keep some of the warmth in.
And heard footsteps behind her.
Shaking her head, sure she’d imagined the noise, she started walking again. Over the very faint music of Bourbon, the sound came again, the slap of footsteps.
Speeding up, she kept her head down, clenched her keys, slid them between her fingers. One quick jab and then she could run. God, I hope I don’t break a heel. It’s so hard to find kitten heels in my size.
At the last minute, she turned right onto Burgundy, away from her house. Didn’t want to lead the pervert there. The footsteps were closer now. Fear crept in and she risked a peek over her shoulder.
The hooded figure grunted and Deiadre whipped her head around, squealed as she broke into a run. There was a corner market only a few blocks up, always open. She’d duck inside, call the police.
She stopped, confused, when another figure stepped out from around the corner at St. Louis. Turning around, she squealed again when the first figure grabbed her arms, gripped them tight. As the second figure walked closer, her eyes widened, her mouth opening and closing in shock.
“But, but…why? Why?”His low chuckle made her tremble, knees buckling. “I desire to live forever.”