From award-winning British fantasy author Freda Warrington, A Taste of Blood Wine (Titan Books, May 2013) is the first novel of a gothic vampire melodrama.
To celebrate the return of the critically acclaimed Blood Books in collectable paperback and e-book edition, Titan Books and Freda Warrington are serialising two rare and risqué stories set within the universe of the Blood Books across a series of websites and blogs.
We’re publishing the second part of a short story called Little Goose. To read the rest of the tale click here: http://titanbooks.com/blog/freda-warringtons-blood-wine-tour/
Little Goose: Part 2
By Freda Warrington
She was an egg herself. A shell of sophistication, ivory and black diamond and blood-red garnet, sealed around an anxious, striving child. Our love-making was frantic, noisy, wolf-wild; but when I drank the divine raw yolk of her blood, she made not a sound; said not a word, only sighed afterwards, as if what I had done were perfectly normal; or part of some weirdness she had come to expect.
I contented myself with just a little; I never intended her to die, that’s not why I wanted her. In the days that followed she became feverish and obsessive, as the lovers of vampires often do. She said I inspired her…
But I am running ahead of my story. She invited me to the private viewing and I went, eager as a child given free run of a toyshop. Such a press of art critics and journalists, buyers and hangers-on. A casserole of human bodies trussed in tight silks, sparkling gems, feather-soft shawls – ha, and the women equally magnificent. Oh, their gasps of admiration and sycophancy, mostly unfeigned. I smile to remember the feast… although, for once, I took little interest in their blood. Too entranced was I by the artists, father and daughter.
‘Too much nonsense is talked of art,’ I heard him telling the rapt journalists. ‘What’s happened to craftsmanship? This is a craft, a craft. It’s high time we celebrated skill again! Yes, this is a celebration of skill.’
Yet he had the temperament of an artist; intense, flamboyant, obsessive. A face beautiful with age and wisdom, a shock of grey hair, no tolerance for fools. He and Rebecca worked the room together, doting upon each other, feted like stars at a film premiere.
I watched from a distance. This I was compelled to do, since Rebecca refused to introduce me to her father. I must not approach her, she insisted. If she approached me, I must not reveal that I had met her before. Strange, yet I obeyed. From behind the rim of a glass of champagne that I never tasted, I watched them.
De Grise tidied her hair, patted her hands, clasped her against him as he sang the praises of his talented daughter, his apprentice, his protégé. His eyes crinkled with love as she protested no, no, my father is the master, my own work a poor shadow.
I heard the searing whisper of prices. Dealers muttered in strange jargon, not saying exactly what they meant, but with a breathy excitement that signalled hundreds of thousands… perhaps millions…
‘Six months it took him, to make this one. This, a year! So painstaking his work, he can never keep up with demand, never in a thousand lifetimes can he meet the demand. And his daughter almost as sought-after now, and her prices catching up with his…’
Passionate was the talk of money, lascivious their eyes sliding over the gleaming shells of the eggs. Collectors would pay this or pay that, collectors would do anything, there is a woman in Canada who would pay whisper, a Japanese man who paid… gasp!
Father and daughter floated above the coarse talk of value. I looked for a flaw in their devotion, could see none. If she felt he controlled her, there was no sign she minded. She needed the security, perhaps.
‘Since her mother died she has been my life,’ I heard him say, and his gaze was tender upon her. They were golden, bound together, an entity greater than the sum of its parts. Hard, glittering, magical. A glowing duo, mysterious and perfect as their tiny offspring, their bejewelled eggs.
The first book in Freda Warrington’s Blood Books series, A Taste of Blood Wine, is out now from Titan Books, £7.99. To read the rest of the short story Little Goose click here: http://titanbooks.com/blog/freda-warringtons-blood-wine-tour/
© Freda Warrington