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CarnalDesire-510 (5)BLURB:  How can Katy McCaully resist Sterling Fox?  At fifteen, she fell in love with a man in apainting, and he looks exactly like that Novgorodian knight.  Even though he’s got the keys to her chemistry set, she mustn’t succumb to his charms.  She’s a forensic psychiatrist working with Scotland Yard.  He’s a high-profile journalist who invades the underworld for a story or broadcasts live at the
scene of the world’s worst tragedies.  Police and media do not mix.  Katy doesn’t know they are both trying to capture the same serial killer.  Modern London doesn’t know that the Vampire Slayer has also killed four vampires.

SCENE:   The hero Sterling Fox has awakened from a nightmare to be summoned to a conference call with the Chief Councilor of the Vampyre and Sterling’s friend Morgan:

“Another vampire is dead,” Lucien said.  “Cabot was destroyed an hour after sunrise.”

“Cabot?  Pity.”  Morgan was probably staring out the window at the night, brooding.  He did a lot of that these days.

Lucien snapped, “You’re an irreverent rascal.”

“And you, Lucien, are a pompous ass,” Morgan said, a piano note chiming in the background.  “Endearments aside, what do you suggest we do?”

“Dispose of the body,” Lucien answered.  “ASAP.”

“No problem,” Morgan said.  “We’ll waltz in and perform a minor miracle.  Poof.  Gone.”

“Where is the body?”  Sterling crumpled a credit card receipt from Cabot’s Café Nuit and tossed it into the brass umbrella stand by the door.

“That’s a problem,” Lucien said.

“How was he destroyed?”  Morgan asked.

Lucien’s voice dived from alto to bass.  “The killer caught him asleep.  A neighbor heard noises, peeked out the window, saw the French doors ripped off their hinges and a cloaked figure running down the street.  She called the police.”

A lighter clicked.  When Lucien exhaled, Sterling could almost smell the smoke from an expensive cigar.

“Cabot was staked through the heart,” Lucien said.  “Immobilized then decapitated.  This psycho mocks us with vampire-like murders, puts our name in bold print in the headlines.”

“A dual of wits,” Morgan said.

Sterling flopped on the bed, crossing his arms behind his head.  “A call to arms.”

“The proof is on a medical examiner’s table in a Whitechapel morgue.”  Lucien’s fingers drummed on his desk.  “We must destroy the corpse before the ME discovers the dead man isn’t your average bloke.”

At dawn, the cadaver would crumble to dust, opening a dangerous Pandora’s box.  Cabot’s body was absolute proof that vampires weren’t a legend.  His altered physiology would alert the medical examiner.  An in-depth study would reveal DNA mutated by a rare virus, red blood cells that mysteriously paled under a microscope.  Research would confirm that the dead man’s diet wasn’t meat and potatoes.

Sterling bolted upright.  “Unglamoured, Cabot’s pupils and fangs will be visible.”

“Damn, you’re right.  This may require a bit of mental tampering as well.  Meet me at the Queen’s Infirmary in Whitechapel,” Lucien commanded.

“Righty-ho then,” Morgan said as if they were off to a cricket match on the palace lawn.  “See you twenty minutes hence.”

“Sterling,” Lucien aimed a parting shot, “you needn’t join us.  You’ll be of no help.”

Sterling didn’t want or need to get involved in Vampyre politics, but Morgan was his friend—Lucien his enemy—a poker hand he couldn’t resist, whether he won or lost.

Seconds later, Morgan opened the door without knocking.  Sterling slid black jeans over his hips and tugged a black sweater over his tousled hair.

Morgan glided to the bedside table, leafed through the pages of a police thriller Sterling was reading.  “What did you think of Katy McCaully?”

Sterling arched a brow.  “Trouble is spelled W-O-M-A-N.”

A memory of Katy in her sleek, off-the-shoulder gown flashed through his mind.  Deep inside, something clicked.  It had been so long since anyone engaged his heart, and he didn’t recognize the feeling.