An excerpt from BLADE TO THE KEEP

Copyright 2014, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Carina Press


They walked through the gardens, the sound of snow and gravel crunching beneath their feet. She knew Clive was more than capable of walking without a sound and if she worked at it she could too. But it was a waste of power and she relished the humanity of that crunch with each step.

“No one else is out here. Well, apart from the guard over there keeping an eye on us. But he can’t hear. Or he won’t.” She shrugged.

“You’re so sure about that?”

“He’s one of Theo’s. Even if he heard everything the only one he’d reveal it to would be The First. And let’s be honest, if I wasn’t supposed to know about it, he’d have come to you and told you to keep it quiet. Also? We both know you won’t tell me anything that would harm the Nation. So who are they?”

He sighed. “She’s three hundred.” He shrugged. “Not exceptionally old.”

The heavy silence of the things he didn’t say made it clear to Rowan that Victoriana’s maker most certainly was old. “Who was her maker?”

He paused again and she began to get annoyed. She knew he weighed all he knew and would tell her what he could, but she didn’t want to work so hard for it. He should tell her or not.

“Look, like I said, I can get this info on my own. Tell me or don’t, but I didn’t come out here to get naked with you in the snow or anything. If that was your cunning plan you need to remember I don’t do the sex outside. It’s cold and there are bugs. And bark and grass and stuff.”

A strangled sound came from him and she smiled, satisfied that she’d ruffled his feathers.

“I could have had you just minutes ago in your room if that had been my design.” He straightened his lapels and she shrugged.

“But you didn’t. So?”

“Her maker was Italian. Roman to be more specific.”

“Hedging is so boring. It’s like something a decades old Vamp does. I thought you were smoother than this, Scion. So let’s add it all up and move on. She’s not that old, but she’s coming at Theo openly so she’s powerful. She’s young so that means her maker had to be really old. And you say her maker was Roman. Meaning dead now but old then. Meaning she’s most likely old school given her origin. One of the humans are nothing but meat servants crowd I’d wager.”

Most likely an enemy of Theo’s. As her maker was dead and Roman, it would imply a certain worldview. Also, killing a Vampire that old was a rare thing. She’d have remembered if she’d done it herself. She thought hard and seemed to recall some stories about…


  1. Reaping Beautiful Havoc with Alien Masks | Literary Escapism