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Ex Catholic priest, Beckett, is out for blood. Vampire blood.
When history repeats itself in the beautiful Katerini he enlists the help of Dr Lane Dearing, herself a powerful vampire, in an effort to save her from a sadistic and viscious Undead. Their struggle leads them from the mysterious mountains of the Brecon Beacons in Wales to an isolated monastery in rural Greece where they encounter one of the Ancient Ones who has his own reasons for wanting Katerini.
Midnight Wine is a vampire tale of love, revenge and sacrifice. Vampires are real. They exist. And they are out there.
Here’s a taster…
It was four in the morning and Beckett was still awake. Insomnia had developed into an art form. He lay on his bed charting the progress of a spider as it made its way across the cracked ceiling, grateful for the diversion from images that made nightmares seem like fairy stories designed to lull the innocent to sleep.
Ten years ago his life had been turned inside out and every which way, and ten years ago all he held dear had been snatched from him. Back then vampires were a product of Bram Stoker’s imagination, now it was different. Now he knew the truth. They existed and they were out there.
He’d walked away that night, away from the priesthood, away from his life and away from God, Father Paul Beckett was now just Beckett. Dr. Beckett to be strictly accurate; a PhD in Psychology was the result of his search for his own sanity.
The telephone at his bedside shrilled, jerking him upright as he made a grab at the receiver. There was sobbing, then a pitiful, “Help me, Beckett.”
He was out of bed the instant he heard her voice, the telephone cradled between his shoulder and his ear, while he dragged on jeans. He hopped from foot to foot wrestling with socks and losing his balance as he kicked the empty Jack Daniels bottle that earlier that night had been over half full.
“Stay where you are, Kat. I’m coming. Understand? Stay put.”
He pushed his fingers through his shoulder length hair, prematurely silver it was a defiant reminder of things he’d rather forget.
He grabbed the roll neck sweater that he’d tossed onto a chair earlier, his slate grey eyes betraying the alarm that rippled through him and those that knew him would see the old pain reflected in them.
“I’m sorry Beckett,” she whispered.
He heard a soft thud as her telephone hit the floor accompanied by muffled sobbing. Tossing the phone onto a chair he snatched his keys from the side table as he wrenched open the door, mentally crossing his fingers that this wouldn’t be one of the times his old Jeep refused to start.
After a couple of graveyard coughs, the dilapidated four by four juddered into life and climbed the narrow road over the mountain from the Welsh market town of Abergavenny to the old mining community of Blaenavon more by Beckett’s will than the power of its old engine. Kat was on the edge and minutes could make a difference. He floored the accelerator, ignoring the plume of smoke that emerged from the exhaust pipe along with the smell of burning clutch.
He slowed down as he turned into the unmade road that wound itself back down from the top of the mountain to her cottage. The whole place was in darkness and the front door stood wide open. Beckett felt his chest tighten.
No. Please don’t have gone out. Not like that. He daren’t think about what may happen if she had. Not again. Not this time.
He stepped inside, not breathing, past images melding with present cold dread.
There was momentary silence before he heard the soft whimper coming from the darkened interior of her sitting room. He exhaled all the air in his lungs in one hit. She was still home. Allowing himself to breathe normally again he stepped softly into the room and over to her side.
She was sitting on the floor, hunched against the far wall leaning forward, hugging her knees and rocking slowly back and fore. He didn’t speak or move, allowing her to become aware of his presence without startling her. She suddenly stopped rocking and became very still. She was in pyjamas and a fleece jacket and Beckett guessed from the spoiled make-up and her usually immaculate, short blonde hair standing in chaotic clumps, that she’d been this way for some time. He picked up the telephone from the floor, put it back on the receiver and switched on the lamp beside it on Kat’s sideboard. She still didn’t move or speak.
“Kat, look at me,” he said, his voice almost a whisper.
He didn’t touch her, knowing that to do so could send her over the edge of her own abyss; he needed to bring her back from her inner world slowly.
Squatting beside her, he said gently, “Kat, it’s me, Beckett. Let me help you up.”
He held out his hand but still he didn’t touch her. She lifted her gaunt face to him, her eyes unable to contain the pool of tears that blurred the amethyst dazzle that had once lived there. Her cheekbones were more prominent and she looked even thinner than when he’d seen her last, barely three days ago. His gut twisted at the sight of her, his worst fears manifest. It was happening again.
“Kat,” he said softly.
She peered at him, struggling to focus and it was several moments before he saw recognition dawning slowly.
“I had the dream again, “she said, “but this time I could taste it. I tasted the blood. I can still taste it. The things I did …”. Her voice was trembling and she balled her hands into fists, pushing her knuckles hard into her temples, as if to block the images that only she could see.
“Make it stop, Beckett. Oh, God, please make it stop,” she begged as she reached out for him.
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