Make sure to stop by TRS to submit your answers--remember, there is an Amazon Kindle up for grabs.
So, how do vampires take their coffee? Read the following excerpt from The Darkness and the Night: Blood and Coffee to find out:
same escort from the night before had come to invite Karen and Billy to John-Michael’s
house for a cup of coffee before church. The two quickly followed the escort across the
stone paths, to the other side of the commune.
John-Michael and his wife, Vivian, sat beside one another on the front porch,
awaiting Karen and Billy’s arrival. John-Michael had short, colorless hair, an unenviable
face, and beady blue eyes. Vivian also had naturally pale hair and eyes, with long hair,
fine features, and a thin, shrewd smile. She appeared to be about half his age. Her
conservative, hand-sewn attire hardly seemed to suit her, just as she hardly seemed to fit
beside John-Michael. Vivian was a goddess and John-Michael was a troll. Neither
seemed to notice.
The escort led Karen and Billy all the way to the porch, then disappeared back down
the path as soon as John-Michael and Vivian acknowledged their guests. Four cups of
hot coffee sat on a small glass table between two sets of wicker chairs.
John-Michael and Vivian stood as Karen and Billy walked onto the porch and offered
their hands in greeting. They both had firm, enthusiastic handshakes, and they seemed
almost too excited to see their guests. The four sat as John-Michael and Vivian
immediately picked up their coffee cups.
“Coffee?” Vivian asked, pointing to the two other cups.
“Thank you,” Billy said as he and Karen politely lifted their cups. They both smelled
a strangely familiar, yet somehow hard to place, scent masked in the coffee as they
moved the steaming cups up to their lips.
Karen hesitated, but Billy went so far as to take a taste. They paused for a moment as
Billy recognized the additional ingredient as soon as it hit his tongue. Blood. They
added blood to their coffee? A regional preference, perhaps? Billy didn’t think too much
about it, finding it added a fullness similar to that achieved by adding milk or cream, but
Karen found it disturbing.
Billy reminded Karen with a quick mental note that there was nothing strange about
blood to these people. A food product was a food product; milk and blood differed only
in that one came from a teat and the other a vein. Upon further consideration, Billy
concluded that the idea was rather novel -- the boost of caffeine combined with a small
snack -- and he wondered why he hadn’t thought of the idea before.
Karen set down her cup, unwilling to try the combination. She didn’t care if John-
Michael and Vivian thought she was rude, nor did she care that even an extra ounce or
two of blood would be an ounce or two less she would need later. Whose blood was it?
Some poor donor’s, perhaps, his wrist slashed and held over their cups, his value to these
people no more than the value a human might place on a disposable milk carton?
Vivian set down her cup, as well, playing the gracious host. A smile spread across
her pretty face as she did her best to address Billy and Karen together, although her eyes
found and fixed upon Billy’s far too many times for Karen’s comfort.
“It’s such a pleasure to meet you. I’m so sorry I was unavailable last night,” John-
Michael said between sips of coffee.
“Jean-Michele tells us that you two only plan on staying for a couple of days,” Vivian
added, her smile fading to a trite look of disappointment.
Karen and Billy thought about the comment for a moment and, to Karen’s surprise,
Billy began to reconsider his desire to leave as soon as planned. This place had its own
history, its own culture, and in a strange, remote way it was the only real heritage he
could claim. His people belonged to an underground society back in the “real world” and
forced to hide who they were and remained scattered to avoid detection. Although no
one in the Xavier bloodline had ever called this safe haven home, he knew deep down
that these were still his people. They had a society to call their own, a place where they
could build a real life -- they could safely raise their child here, if only they were willing
to give the place a chance.
“Our plans aren’t set in stone,” Billy said, smiling back at Vivian. “This coffee is
really good, by the way.” He finished his cup, and then switched it with Karen’s. “You
aren’t going to drink this?” he asked her aloud, although he already knew the answer.
“Take it,” Karen said, feeling her face flush. She mentally asked Billy why he
suddenly had such a change of heart, and he simply responded by telling her he knew
what he was doing and she needed to trust him. She glanced over at Vivian and John-
Michael, and the hair suddenly rose on the back of her neck as she noticed a startling look
of contempt in both of their faces.
“You really should try just a sip,” Billy said. “It’s very good.” He held the cup up,
offering her a taste, but she pushed it away, intentionally knocking it out of his hand.
The cup fell to the wooden floorboards, shattering and sending the hot liquid
splattering in all directions.
Bonus question: I'm offering an additional free copy of any of of my currently available novels to the first person able to answer the following question: Name the character living at the vampire commune who is based on a children's fairy tale.