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Yesterday marked the four year anniversary that I self-published The Dark Proposal. Since then, I’ve been taking my sweet time writing its sequel. It’s been a long road working on it, with a lot of doubt mixed in. But I’m happy to say that I’m finally getting somewhere with it, and even have a title in mind!

Actually, I have two in mind. I am split between the two prospective titles, because they both represent the story.

One of them is, Blood Ties, which illustrates how torn Claire is between the vampire world and the human world. She now has vampire blood in her, yet she is trying to hold on to her humanity. As the vampire world becomes more and more troubled, where would her loyalties lie?

The other is Between Light and Dark, which also illustrates how torn Claire is. But in this case, she is also haunted by the mistakes she made that led her to become a vampire and is seeking some hope, hence the light. Furthermore, this title goes hand in hand with its predecessor – light, dark.

The more I write, the more I will figure out the title. Who knows, I might come up with something totally different.

In the meantime, check out this excerpt! Enjoy!

She grabbed her bathrobe, and went to the bathroom. She first started a shower, but switched to the bath once she realized Daniel would want to know why she was doing that. She was a vampire, no need to cleanse herself of anything, including him. So, her bubble baths would have to do. This was something she had begun doing since returning from Paris, and was one of the rare freedoms Daniel allowed for her. These baths weren’t just moments of indulgence for her. They made her feel clean, physically and mentally.

As she stripped off her bathrobe, she caught sight of herself in the mirror. Did she recognize that person looking back at her? That person was a young woman with eyes that seemed as dead as the body she inhabited. Did she know she was staring back at herself?

Repulsion rose again and Claire had to calm down before she smashed the mirror. She let the tidal wave come, and it poured out in silent sobs. The blood tears came and flooded down her face onto the pristine sink. She didn’t care if the tears were really the blood of her victims or not. She just wanted a release.

After a few moments, she gathered herself enough to step into the tub. As she lied in the rosewood scented bubbles, the tears flowed more and she even choked a bit on her sobs. She made sure she did this quietly enough with the faucet running and the shower doors shut, so Daniel’s sharp hearing wouldn’t alert him. Luckily, he probably wasn’t even thinking about her right then.

Tilting her head back against the tub, Claire sighed and shook her head to herself. Her friends and family had no idea what she had become. She had rarely spoke to them since moving in with Daniel. The last time she spoke to her mother was on the phone two weeks ago. It was to wish her a happy birthday while explaining that she was too busy to visit. Her mother sounded frustrated, as she lately had been. But Claire also heard something else: helplessness. Her family had no clue on what was going on with her. It had to be agony for them to be lost like this. But if they ever found out, that agony would be replaced by outrage. She had put them in danger and she was now a monster. That would be it.

The same reaction would come from her two former best friends. Samantha would sound off obscenities while jabbing a finger at her, and Monica would storm off without saying a word. Claire would be left with only to turn to the vampire world she despised.

And she had to accept being a vampire.

She closed her eyes as a sob shook her. There was no way out of this. She had to be a vampire. She had to accept and live what she was now. No use in trying to maintain her humanity. Daniel was painfully right.

Claire’s body tightened. She could still feel him inside of her, using her like a masturbation device.

And she was attached to him for eternity. No matter what, he would be a big part of her life. The mere thought sickened her right to the bone, and she wanted to vomit.

A single blood tear rolled down her face, and she roughly brushed it away. Opening her eyes, she saw the bubbles and the water were tainted with blood. Blood from her tears.

Stunned, Claire stared at the bubbles and water around her. The blood was like ink, with its redness swirling around in the water, or relaxing to dye it faint red. Some of that inky crimson hue was caught in the bubbles. A large one rested near her left knee and it had that thick redness inside. It looked trapped, stuck in endless whirling, with no way of getting out, unless the bubble would burst.

Claire blinked a few times to rid herself of the shock. Even her cherished baths were blood stained. Her life was now bound by blood. Blood would be everywhere for her. Her very existence will be consumed by blood, and she will consume it, too. Blood and her were forever entwined. There was no more room for denial.

She gritted her teeth. There was no way she was going to live her life like that. She was so much better than this. She was not the sadistic killer Daniel wanted her to believe. She was not going to relish in human blood, no matter how much her new nature insisted. She was not going to embrace her vampire self.

Claire unplugged the drainer and stood to turn on the shower. Using her supernatural speed, she rinsed herself off of the ugly bubbles and water. Not only didn’t she want Daniel to hear the shower and get curious, but she also wanted to be rid of the redness as soon as she could. Claire’s anger began to crash down her regret and gain more steam. She was angry at Daniel and herself, and that anger was getting stronger with each rough stroke of her skin.

Once relieved of the bloody filth, she turned off the faucet. Glancing down at the floor of the tub, she saw the remaining bubbles and water were not fully rid of their redness. Worse, the tub’s porcelain now had a faint pink hue and might need some cleaning to be white again.

An ache suddenly came from her upper arms and torso. When she looked, she saw she had scratched herself while rubbing her skin in super-quick speed. Thin lines of blood had formed on her arms, stomach and chest.

Claire’s anger disappeared as quickly as the water going down the drain.

Letting out a sigh, she hung her head.

She was unsure of what to do that very minute, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year…

The only thing she was certain about was to lower herself onto the floor of the tub, pull her knees up, bury her forehead on them, and lose herself in her thoughts.

Blood had bound her to this world is more ways than one. She didn’t want either, but had no other choice. Only she didn’t want to follow through on that choice.

But what else could she do? There was no way out of this. It was permanent, and likely eternal, whatever that meant. She would never again be human, no matter how much she wished she still was.

All she could really do was get used to it.

But how?