Writerly Wednesday presents Beside the Darker Shore by Patricia J. Esposito .
Patricia J. Esposito has been a writer of edgy paranormal fiction for most of her life, but always knew she had a romantic heart. Her most recent fiction and poetry reflect that enduring quest for love and joy beneath the human struggle. She’s had numerous stories and poems published in anthologies and magazines, received honorable mentions in “year’s best” anthologies, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Long-time married to the “boy-next-door,” she has two daughters and works at home as a copy editor, when she’s not off exploring the intoxicating realms of the imagination and chasing the muse.
What might the ethical Governor David Gedden give up for one man’s exquisite beauty? It’s terrifying to consider when the man is a destructive blood prostitute and David is responsible for the state’s peaceful vampire community. Blood sales in Boston are up, blood taxes support a thriving new nightlife, neighborhoods have been refurbished, and deaths by vampires have plummeted. David is assured reelection.
However, the blood addict, Stephen Salando has returned from exile with one unalterable plan: to turn the good governor into a vampire. Stephen is an immortal dhampir, whose beauty obliterates reason, who rouses in David a fierce desire he’s ignored his whole life. For David to have Stephen, he must ally with the community’s archrival. To have him, he must become a potential killer himself.
As Stephen stood to put in his music, he downed his glass of wine, the orange light catching the liquid’s flow, streaking Stephen’s neck. There was no doubt he was beautiful, his slender silk neck belying the strength of tendons, of arteries that pumped eternally renewing blood. Did he think David could take that blood, could bite into this man whom he could hardly touch without ravishing as a human? ?
“If the intimacy of Stephen frightens you,” Arturo said, “think of the eternity I’m offering. You will have time for my villa in Potes, and I will take you there. Time for Italy and India, for Scottish moors and Arabian deserts, for Plato and Lawrence, Prokofiev and Paganini. ?
Arturo’s voice was lulling, his smile charming, and David couldn’t help a small smile in return.? “At night,” he continued, “we will skim our hands over Rodin’s Orpheus and Donatello’s David, stand beside de Chirico’s melancholic street and Hopper’s slanted shadows, voyeurs to each century and secrets in ourselves.”?
A solitary, sad guitar strummed through the trailer, mixing with the breeze through the slatted window, and Stephen slid on the bench, next to David, while Arturo leaned back into shadows.? “This music is lonely,” he said, “rain and bare branches and twilight sky. Like Stephen.”?
David’s arm was a twitch away from Stephen’s. Their legs brushed beneath the table. A drum began slowly beating alongside the guitar, propelling the night, yet holding them still. David sipped his wine, knowing it would taste like Stephen, and realized that what he wanted was entirely selfish. He wanted immunity, to taste all this, to drink only for himself.?
He looked at Stephen, his dark lashes, sleek cheekbones. He wanted those soft lips parting, the taste of his breath, burgundy-rich, so near his mouth.
He tasted Stephen before their tongues met.? His fingers burned on the table edge, his heart louder than the music. The breeze pushed him on. Lips on lips.
1. In three days, all electricity is going to be shut off for a very long time. What items are you going to gather in preparation for this event? Fire and water, paper and pencil, and a lot of imagination.
2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise? I was thinking about all the responsibilities we have in life, about how some days you’d just like to shuck everything and take off on an adventure. But reality sank in: relinquishing responsibilities could have dire consequences. Then I imagined what the consequences might be for an ethical man who served the public, someone like Governor David Gedden whose desire for a mortal addicted to bloodletting can only be fulfilled if he becomes a vampire himself.
3. What do you like to read? I generally read literary fiction, from the classics to modern, but also like fantasy and horror of an atmospheric nature.
4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited? The Escarpment Trail in Michigan’s UP where I thought the wild wind would take me flying. On a smaller scale, it feels like walking the Alps in the final scene of The Sound of Music.
5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself? I go barefoot whenever possible, and if I wear socks, chances are they’re inside out or upside down.
6. What scares you the most? The thought of anything bad happening to my kids.
7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated. Sometimes when it looks like I’m working, I’m actually writing. Shhh.
From Sally – Patricia is such a wonderful and kind person it is hard to imagine her sitting with her socks on upside-down writing a horror tale. Thank you so much Patricia for sharing a bit of your life with us.
Buy the Book! (I just bought my own Kindle copy.)
Keywords: Beside the Darker Shore, Patricia J. Esposito, Eternal Press, vampires, GLBT, Boston, public scandal, horror
Next week Writerly Wednesday welcomes Betty Sullivan La Pierre.