Authors: Christina Quinn
Tags: #Vampire, #Paranormal Romance, #Erotic Paranormal Romance, #Vampire Ballet, #Urban Fantasy
Danse Macabre Copyright © 2015 by Christina Quinn.
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
For information contact;
E-mail: [email protected]
Book and Cover design by R.J. Taylor
Cover Photo by Antonia Glaskova
Print ISBN: 978-1514116654
Digital Edition: August 2015
To my Mother, Sister, and those at AFF who helped
me when I was stuck. To those who were fans before
Danse was finished and those who continue to hound me
for updates. And to Brian, because without your support
none of this would be possible.
I swallowed and sat up straighter with my chin raised, and knees pressed together
. My fingers fluttered over my skirt smoothing the soft gray fabric over my thighs. My lips slightly parted, but not too far. The lights were dimmed and no one was watching me, but still that idea of perfection lurked in my mind. Dancers pirouetted across the stage below me performing Swan Lake; a tale of love, loss, manipulation, betrayal and longing. I was transfixed by the lithe forms twisting, contorting and swirling about. They seemed creatures of fluid more than flesh.
As the Swan Queen Odette danced her goodbyes and went to her death, the whole world seemed to stop for a moment. A small gasp escaped my lips as I watched her fall to that location off stage. At that moment, I was the Swan Queen shedding my mortal coil. I was falling away from everything around me. Then the crowd erupted as the curtain fell and the moment was over and ruined utterly.
There was an instant of disorientation, and during that those few seconds of hesitation, I could have sworn there was a pair of eyes focused on me from the box above. I was the only other seated patron, and so I stood out in the midst of the standing ovation.
I rose to participate standing and clapping along with everyone else. Everyone else except for that lone seated figure in the left box. After smoothing my skirt back into place I clapped until the lights came on and the noise of praise for the dancers had died down.
Following the flow of the crowd I made my way into the lobby where my friends were waiting for me. Kendra and Leslie had been friends since kindergarten. They had been inseparable to the point of starting to resemble one another. Both were dancers and had that lithe, willowy form which seemed to be in the height of fashion at the moment. Their dark hair was swept into almost identical buns. They even wore the same dress, the satin hugging their torsos only to flow loosely around their legs. The only difference was Leslie wore a flower barrette near her ear, that and Leslie’s dress was gold while Kendra’s dress was cream.
“Autumn!” Kendra yelled across the lobby beckoning me over. I came towards them as called and smiled up at my friends, nervously fidgeting with my long, loose, dark curls.
“Sorry about the seats. This was a historic performance, so seats weren’t a guarantee. We weren’t even sitting together and we’re part of the theater’s Ballet Company.” Leslie rambled on as Kendra rolled her eyes.
“Anna got amazing seats though,” Kendra sighed out loud.
“Anna is fucking Cinderella, of course she and her guests got seats.” Leslie sighed out. “As you can tell by her whining, our dear, dear Kendra didn’t get the lead.”
“I’m sorry, Ken.” I patted her on the shoulder and furrowed my brows a little.
Just because you sleep with your director doesn’t mean you’re going to get the lead.
“I know you’ve been killing yourself for the part. But look at it this way, you’ll have more time to spend with us now.”
“I guess.” Kendra snorted.
“We just saw an entire company of Vampires dance Swan Lake. Cheer up. The tickets were a thousand dollars for L27 and back.”
“L27?” I raised a brow as I inquired.
“The cheapest and worst seats here. A little further back from where you were. You can just barely see the stage.” Kendra answered nodding a little. “How was it for a non-dancer?”
“It was amazing; I didn’t know the body could move like that. I know I’ve seen you guys a lot now, but…” I trailed off and shook my head. Words failed me.
“Most of the vampires there were dancing when it debuted. Their Odette is rumored to be the first Odette. I think… it was somewhat transcendent.” Kendra gushed.
“Somewhat?” Leslie cocked her head to the side and with that movement I then realized that I had faded into the background.
“She seemed a little rigid to me.” The flowerless, cream clad brunette critiqued with a nonchalant shrug of slender shoulders.
“I think you’re blind.”
I let them continue their conversation as my attention drifted over the emptying lobby. Only a handful of people milled about now. I recognized a few dancers from Leslie and Kendra’s company. They looked like fairies as they gracefully moved about in their flowing gowns. I smoothed my charcoal gray skirt and then nervously fingered the pearls at my throat. The conversation between my friends continued without me as they argued about the performance as the theater emptied. Ballet words were tossed about, words of which I half remembered from my failed attempt to dance. It was a short phase that lasted until it was clear my breasts would be too large for classical ballet.
“Autumn!” Leslie yelled my name to catch my attention. I turned towards her and found them not standing where they had started the conversation. They were both standing heading towards the back doors that lead to the rehearsal studios.
“Oh, sorry. I thought we were going to dinner?” I started to join them.
“Les split her toe this morning in rehearsal,” Kendra divulged with a slight smirk. I cringed at the thought of it as we wound through the bowels of the theater.
“Are you okay?”
“It happens, I was just an idiot and thought I could handle heels.”
“How was class?”
“It was fine.”
“Ooo, frosty and cordial. Which in Autumn-speak means horrible.” Kendra snickered out.
“It wasn’t completely horrible. I was asked to teach an undergraduate class for a few weeks.”
“And you agreed because you say yes to everything.” Kendra grinned at me smugly. A male figure crossed ahead of us. “Dmitri!” Kendra yelled taking off down the hall, leaving Leslie and I alone in the seemingly endless corridor. Dmitri was their director and Kendra’s bedfellow. I knew it was a more than casual but less than formal relationship.
Faint music drifted on the air and I paused listening to the soft tones flowing through the corridor. Leslie stopped too and cocked her head to the side.
“Someone’s actually practicing this late?” She raised a brow in confusion.
“I’ve picked you up this late before” I commented with a shrug as we started walking again.
“Yeah, but not on the night of a show…” She trailed off as she pushed open one of the banal gray doors. “I wonder if it’s one of the Vampires.”
“Would vampires even need to practice?” I couldn’t help but cock an eyebrow as Leslie tore into her locker. She set her bloody high heel on the small bench between the rows of gray lockers. I looked around for a moment. The room was all gray and white. Cinderblock walls painted pale gray, white floor, gray benches, gray lockers. Being in the dressing room always made me feel like I was in a black and white movie.
My attention drifted back to Leslie as she bandaged her bloody toe and slipped into a pair of dirty, black converse sneakers.
“They have to practice like the rest of us. Granted they probably don’t have to… I dunno. I’m not an expert on them or anything. I’m going to change really quick if you want to see who’s practicing in the room.”
“Alright. Are we still going to dinner?”
“I’m still hungry. I don’t know about Kendra though.”
“Oh, well... I guess that works.” I paused at the door. “Will they be upset that I’m spying?”
“Probably not unless it’s Anna. But if it’s Anna you can always break her ankles or something and make Ken’s year.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” I giggled as I pushed through the door and started to follow the music in order to soothe my curiosity.
My heels seemed to echo off of those painted cinderblock walls so loud it was like a jet engine taking off. I pulled the black faux fur stole tighter about me as I opened the door and let the music wash over me. It was a hauntingly remixed pop song, not what I would consider typical ballet music. I closed the door silently behind me and leaned against it, hiding in the shadow of the black painted half wall. While peering around that dark obstruction my attention fixed on the figure dancing.
The way he moved was hypnotic. He had a sort of boneless grace which seemed surreal, flowing from one movement into the next as he danced across the floor. It was like gravity and the other rules of physics didn’t apply to him. His body moved in a way that defied my comprehension of what a human body was capable of—but he wasn’t exactly human. His skin was a bloodless kind of pale, there was no faint pinkish hue lurking under the pearlescent. Also, his bare chest seemed still as he moved.
Watching him made my mouth dry. My breathing grew a bit shallow as I watched him; I was flustered. Those fingers of mine found their way back to finger the pearls at my throat as I watched the sable haired male dance. My mind wandered as the song repeated and he continued the routine again. I imagined those strong hands on me, his mouth at my neck; those fabled fangs finding that thudding pulse at my throat. I swallowed.
. My thoughts got the better of me as I watched him. I shivered as I imagined his hands possessively sliding over my breasts, down my stomach and easing between my thighs.
These aren’t very ladylike thoughts, Autumn
. Still my toes curled in my heels and I wet my lips.