Special thanks to Krisi Keley for sharing this excerpt of Pro Luce Habere: To Have Before the Light. My review for this outstanding novel is here. The author has generously agreed to give away one free e-copy. Leave a comment before Friday, November 4th to be entered to win.
Keley’s books, Pro Luce Habere and On the Soul of a Vampire are not your typical “vampire” novels. Keley brings depth and meaning to the life of a vampire.
Beaten and dying on the banks of the Jordan in 1216, a young crusader believed his Lord had finally come to rescue him. Instead, it was a legendary creature masked in darkness, and now a boy who had been on fire to serve God must face what he’s become.
As this is a novel about a vampire, it contains violence.
“I see Heaven,” he breathed to me, his voice soft and distant and, it seemed, filled with joy. I tightened my hold on him as he grew more relaxed against me, and I felt his heartbeat speed up in his chest, to a rate even beyond that which my touch had provoked.
I closed my eyes and I knew him. All he was, this man not much older than my own nineteen years, who had nevertheless lived a life just as long. His wish to be free of the family that did not understand the passion in him was my wish, and the music he made to ease his pain and celebrate life, was also for a moment mine. His faith in God gave me back my own faith and for those brief moments that I held him, I believed again with all the fire of my mortal youth. All his dreams, all his hopes, his every wish and fear and desire, they were all mine and they were touchable, somehow made a reality I could hold in my hands. All the pleasure he had ever known and all the sorrow in his knowledge filled me; and I knew the answer to it all was there. Not close, not painfully near and just out of reach, but right there, and a light penetrated my entire being. A light brighter than any sun and a living force of shifting color more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen.
His heart stopped with a final violent beat like an explosion, and his lifeforce seemed to remain there for a moment, uncertain, while I reached out with a part of myself I barely recognized, trying to touch it. Wanting desperately to make it mine as it merged into that light and so make its knowledge and final acceptance my own.
And then it was gone. I held his inert body in my arms – a shell now, it seemed, which no longer contained the thing I’d so badly wanted of it. The thing in him I’d loved with a love I’d never even imagined could exist.
He is dead, a meek, numbed voice spoke inside my head. Dead, dead, dead, and you are the reason.
I lowered his body away from me and rocked forward on my knees, lowering my head to his chest. I stroked it in the place over his heart, as if my touch could make it beat again. Then I lifted my head a fraction, staring at his face, still and serene and at peace. The peace Sebastian should have had, I thought, but he hadn’t, and it did not matter that I’d tried to give it to him through this young man. However I might want to justify what I’d done to recognize I’d taken him to death in great pleasure and erased every fear a dying man might hold in his heart, it changed nothing. He was dead and I was the reason for it and as much as I wished it, I could not bring him back.
I gathered his lifeless form into my arms and I rocked him. For minutes or hours, I didn’t know. All I knew was that this was going to be the result with every human being I touched – for eternity, if Lukios had not lied.
“Oh God, oh please… make it stop,” I whispered once or twice or a hundred times.
My heart constricted so tightly it was excruciating; my breath came in ragged gasps. Then I leaned forward over the man I’d just murdered, the human being whose very life I’d experienced the greatest pleasure I’d ever known to feed on, and I vomited up the blood I’d not long ago drunk with no qualms. The blood that had tasted so sweet in its promise of fulfilled desire.
“Make it stop!” I screamed, rising to my feet and lifting my arms to the sky in desperate supplication. “God, my God, strike me down. Kill me. Please, kill me now!”
But no bolt of lightning struck me; no fiery death rained down from the sky. God did not answer in voice or in action, just as He never had before this monstrous desire made me the killer I’d never believed I could be.
I fell to my knees, vomiting again, and as I fell forward, my hand landed on the dagger I’d just taken a life with – an innocent, beautiful life that I had known so intimately it might have been my own.
Screams were torn from me again, but this time there were no words – just terrible sounds that could not convey the horror which provoked them – and I raised the dagger above my head then slammed it down, driving it through my wrist so forcefully, it pierced my arm completely and pinned it to the ground beneath it.
I pulled it back out and, watching the blood gush from it, I wondered dazedly if I’d have enough strength to do with my right hand what I’d just done with my left.
But then someone was rocking me as I’d rocked the young troubadour’s body, clamping my bleeding wrist in his hand. And as a blessed darkness descended, I heard a soft sob that sounded like “I’m sorry.”
You can purchase Pro Luce Habere (To Have Before the Light) at Amazon.com.
The author is giving away a free e-copy of this novel. Please leave a comment below before Friday, November 4th, to be entered.
copyright Krisi Keley and TreasureLine Publishing