Title: Indigo (Scarlet Sins anthology)
Author: Willsin Rowe
Genre: Paranormal erotic romance
Format: e-book and print
Links to buy: Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Scarlet-Sins-Anthology-Vampires-ebook/dp/B00CNT8E5Y/
Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?
Way way back, when I was 18 and freshly moved out of home, I read the first three books of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I actually spent a few weeks wishing to be turned! But then other factors got in the way and I kind of forgot all about vampires. Then I read the stories of a certain Katie Salidas (maybe you know her!) and it re-awoke my fascination. The sensuality and regality of the creature seems to speak to a certain part of most people’s psyches. And, like many other people, I’ve always found music to be an incredibly sensual experience when it’s done right. I approach music from both sides, as a musician and a music lover, so I found the idea of blending the two elements - sensual vampire and brilliant musician - a most appealing prospect.
Tell us about the book cover. How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork?
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to create the cover for the anthology myself. The image was actually provided by the publisher, and I think it brilliantly captures the fantasy of vampire lust! It’s the guy’s expression and the body language of the woman, completely giving herself over to him. But I sank myself into the typography and the effects.
I woke too early, with the sun still pawing at my windows. I tried to settle but could not contain myself. This morning’s tiny taste of Indigo had ignited within me, as it always did. Her music studies would be finished for the day, and she would be making her way home in her usual meandering fashion.
I arose from bed and dressed, taking my time over it, letting the sun’s pulse wane toward the sweet death of night. I took the stairs down to the street rather than the elevator.
There was a reason so many of my kind favored big cities, and it wasn’t for the ready supply of food. That was simply quantity over quality. An enormous trough to dip our snouts in.
No, the beauty of skyscrapers was how little sunlight they allowed at ground level. Dusk and dawn were no longer off limits to me.
The late Autumn twilight had its teeth bared, the cold air making scents just a little harder to detect. Even so, I found hers with little effort. Apricot and honey, just a touch of ocean. Following the faint trail led me into the botanical gardens, among the after-work joggers and cyclists. Fresh sweat, chain grease, stale breath and cigarettes. None of them could overpower the magic of her perfume.
At a junction of two paths I found her. I didn’t need my extra senses, even when her back was to me. The sunset wash of her hair as it spilled from beneath her woollen ski hat was unmistakeable. She was crouched beneath a lamp post, the tails of her thick coat tented around her legs.
I stood under the umbrella of the nearest fig tree, savoring the innocent pleasure of watching her in secret. The pull of her heart pulsed through my body, delicious and enticing. The one taste I had taken from her, months before, had created a need. One which she felt as keenly as I. Given my nine-hundred year record of...finishing every meal, Indigo was literally the one that got away.
It is an incomparable rapture, drinking from a soul until that moment their life blinks out. It is godlike, yet barbarous. A meeting of hearts and minds which gives to the victim almost as much as it takes. For them it is a sensory feast, pleasure and pain, the mental and physical collaboration of two entities.
For me...well, the blood simply fulfils my need. But the death...oh, the death is a delicious conceit, and one which I had never restrained.
She remained crouched for a moment, fiddling with her viola in its case, making final tuning adjustments. Seemingly satisfied, she slipped her coat off her shoulders and folded it, placing it atop her backpack. She pulled the hat from her head and shook her hair, as if it had gotten cramped and needed a stretch. It was a pure delight to watch the natural waves ripple through the air.
When she stood, she had the viola and bow in her hands. She placed the case open in front of her and raised her instrument, stretched her chin up and presented that tempting alabaster throat to me, albeit unwittingly. I felt the prickle of hunger on my tongue as I recalled placing my mouth on her, scraping my teeth across the flawless musculature of her young and tender neck. And that first moment, when I bit in, the urgent gush of lifeblood spilled that took me to heights I could barely have imagined.
How I envied her viola, nestled between chin and shoulder, in the bosom of her throat. I already knew how heady her scent was right in there.
The sweet bite of her bow across the strings pulled me from my reverie. Like her fragrance, her tone was rich. Full and nuanced with a light touch on the vibrato. She began with the third movement of Beethoven’s Concerto in D for Violin, which for my taste sounded so much better transposed to viola. Even when human I had an aversion to the squealing of most treble instruments. Now, with all my extra sensitivity, they were positively unbearable.
I closed my eyes and turned my face just slightly skyward, letting my senses wander across the space between us. Following the hook of her music led me into the resonance of her instrument. Though decades dead, the wood still held echoes of life; its own, of course, but it had taken on Indigo’s too. Through touch, her presence had grown roots…tendrils that filled the wood’s spirit and enriched the tone of the music.
As Beethoven gave way to Strauss, so dusk gave way to night. I stepped from my sanctuary and approached her, tossing a few coins into her case as I arrived. She captured my gaze for a moment and smiled in recognition.
In such close quarters the emotive scent of her hair and skin filled my head and made my fangs tingle. I fisted my hands in my pockets to suppress my urges – culinary and carnal – and watched the stirring ballet of movement and sound as she swayed to the rhythm and melody she was creating.
The city’s human bloodstream trickled past us, yapping into cell phones or using those detestable so-called-music players to isolate themselves. None stopped to listen, preferring their invisible electronic wombs to the soul and captivation of true music.
I stood still with my eyes closed and curled my senses toward Indigo. I rode in on her breath and curled into her chest, wrapping myself around her perfect heart. The wash of her blood had the raucous in-out rhythm of desperate fucking, and the tingle in my tongue shook itself and split, sending tendrils down my spine and into my cock.
Without warning, the music stopped.
“Caleb, are you okay?”
I opened my eyes to see Indigo standing before me, an adorable look of worry creasing her forehead.
“Only you haven’t moved for twenty minutes. You’re starting to freak me out.”
“I’m perfectly fine. Just losing myself in you...and your music.”
“Oh. I’ve never seen anyone stand so still. I thought maybe you were dead but just hadn’t fallen over yet.”
She said it with a smile, which I returned, giving her just a tiny flash of my fangs. Her eyes widened, her heart kicked in her chest. She knew exactly my nature, and there was a primordial excitement that ran through her delightful body whenever I showed my beastly side.
I hunched my shoulders and affected an air of nonchalance.
“So few these days can play as you can.”
She nodded at her viola. “Ray’s the one that sings. I’m just the conduit.”
“You think too little of yourself.”
She wrinkled her adorable nose as she shrugged. “I’ve tried other violas. They don’t sing like Ray does.”
“Then it must be the perfect pairing of instrument and player. I’m sure he only sings this way for you.”
Her smile was so bright and warm I almost felt I should hide from it. Her emerald eyes crinkled in harmony.
“I’m glad you came tonight, Caleb. Truth is, I never play better than when you listen.”
“Then please, do not let me stop you. I could listen for an eternity.”
“Perhaps you could. But not to me.”
I closed my eyes against my temptation. The one thing I swore I would never do: turn another. It was the other reason I took every one of my victims through death’s doorway. Not even a vampire can turn a cadaver.
“Indigo, you don’t know what you do to me.”
“I have some idea, Caleb. I’ve known men before.”
Perhaps that was the greatest source of my attraction to her. That she saw me as a man, not a monster. Even though she’d witnessed me at my hungriest. I could not bear the thought that she would one day be cold ash, cast to the wind. Yet to turn her, to give her immortality, would taint her soul as it preserved her body.
“I know you have, Indigo. But not one man has truly known you.”
She looked sad, even as she smiled. “You have. I’m yours if you will have me, Caleb. My heart, my body, my blood. But I will not be turned.”
“Then we are at an impasse. I...do not trust myself. If I had you, had your throat at my mercy...I fear I would not have the strength to stop.”
“You did so once.”
“Twice would be a miracle.”
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Willsin Rowe falls in love with a scent, a playful expression or an act of casual intimacy more easily than with physical beauty. When confronted by any combination of these he is a lost cause.
He has done many things over and over. He has done even more things only once. He has half-done more things than he cares to admit.
He is intelligent but not sensible. He is polite but inappropriate. He is passionate but fearful. He is honest but reticent. He is not scruffy enough nor stylish enough to be cool.