Release Day! The Necromancer's Dance by SJ Himes
The Necromancer's Dance
By SJ Himes
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Book One of The Beacon Hill Sorcerer
In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset upon by enemies, both old and new. Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother's boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again drawn back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family's death.
Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues into who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire's attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.
Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead?
Death stalks the streets of Boston's historic Beacon Hill....and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.
“Prohibe eos,” Angel whispered, and the two vamps he held leashed to his will blitzed out, attacking the approaching vamps.
His attackers were not expecting the two vamps they were presumably coming to assist to suddenly turn and attack them—two of the other vamps ended up thrown over the crowd, landing on some tables as they fell to the ground. Drinks and screams spilled out, and Angel’s unwilling defenders spun, knocking back two more vamps closing in on him from behind.
Angel kept the power pouring in, the tear in the veil held open by his willpower and nerves. Humans were screaming, confused, running over each other, pushing back against the tables and the bar, the dance floor emptying. Angel yanked on the blood in the two vamps and pulled them back to him, both of them crouched at his feet, hissing, fangs out and claws extended.
Angel had no idea who screamed it, but the bar was shocked into motionlessness. Everyone froze where they stood, even the vamps in mid-stride coming back for another go at Angel and his new pets. The word necromancer raced across the room, and a hush settled that was creepier than the hissing moments before.
Whispers rose and fell in waves amongst the crowd, people looking at each other with nervous expressions. A rumble of growls, a low, nearly inaudible hum through the room made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Angel sent out more power, tightening his foothold on the vamps at his feet, and they snarled in response.
“All I wanted was to use the restroom, and I get attacked. I want nothing to do with violence, but I will use any means necessary to protect myself. Who is the Elder here?” Angel called out, throwing his voice over the heads of those watching. He might not be a big man, but he knew how to project his voice with authority.
No one moved. Humans and vamps alike stared, and Angel tried to keep an eye on every corner of the bar, searching. For there to be this many vampires in one place there must be an Elder nearby, a vampire to control the lesser undead. He was hoping at least since he couldn’t very well keep his two vamps as slaves and walk out of the bar without having every vamp in the city wanting to kill him.
“Necromancer,” a whisper graced his ear, and the shiver that ran down his spine was involuntary.
Angel tensed, his body instinctively reacting to the presence of a predator. The vamps at his feet hissed and snarled, twisting like snakes in reaction to his nerves. It was all the reaction he let himself show, and he made himself relax and turn to face the vampire that suddenly materialized behind him.
“You the Elder here?” Angel asked, doing his best not to show the pain of his injuries or the strain of holding raw veil-sourced power and two angry vamps to his will. Casting such a dynamic combination of instinctual spells and handling this much power was going to leave him dangerously exhausted if he didn’t end this and soon.
The new vampire was dressed in a black tux and white tie that made him look like a red-headed James Bond. More auburn than true red, but he was hot, and his green eyes arrested a good portion of Angel’s attention. Full sexy lips and a strong jaw, he was absolutely Angel’s type, and if he wasn’t an undead monster Angel was tempted to ask him for his number. He then remembered where he was and what was happening, and frowned.
“I am, necromancer. How are you this evening?” At the smoothly accented words, Angel’s cock made its interest known, twitching and thrumming. The red-head’s lips were unsmiling, but the corners twitched, and his eyes narrowed slightly. He could smell Angel’s blood, not to mention see it as it ran down his neck and shoulder and stained his shirt. The bastard could also smell just how aroused Angel was getting, and that pissed him off even more than the biting and attacking.
“Oh, ya know. Hate Halloween. People always end up acting like idiots,” Angel replied, and for some reason Angel wanted to smile at the older vamp despite his temper, but he restrained himself. “Came to pick up my drunk brother and his bestie, got puked on, decided to wash my boots off in the bathroom, and got molested by the fangheads here.” Angel pointed at his feet, and the Elder’s eyes flickered down for a nanosecond before returning to Angel’s. “I said stop and they didn’t listen. I got …um…. Upset.”
“Ah, so I see. Upset.” The Elder glanced around the room, noting the tables in disarray and the bruises forming on vamps and humans alike, and his lips twitched again. “I wonder what damage you could cause if you were truly angered?” he mused in a soft, low tone that purred within his accent.
It was rhetorical, but Angel answered anyway. “Things get nasty.”
“I’m certain they do.” The vampire looked around the room again, and straightened a cuff link that glittered from his sleeve. “It appears you have an apology due to you.”
“That’s nice of you,” Angel said, and meant it. He was expecting to have to hand out some more threats, maybe blast a few more vamps, but if the old vamp wanted to play diplomat instead of entitled lord of the manor, that was good too.
The old vamp chuckled, but still no smile. Angel didn’t know it was possible to laugh without smiling. “Nice. I haven’t been called nice in centuries.”
“Meh. Nice, smice. So, can I release my newest acquisitions without things getting nasty here?” Angel eyed the crowd, and saw some anger out there, eyes glittering. “After I get my apology of course, and not to mention a promise of no more violence against me or mine.”
“Negotiations. How elegant. When you hold all the power here, necromancer. Two fledglings under your sway, and poisoned by your blood. By rights, you could leave them to die.” The laughter was gone, but Angel saw something in the mossy depths of the master vamp’s eyes. Respect, maybe? He sensed nothing reminiscent of anger. The vamp was as calm as a frozen lake in January.
“I get my apology, I release the two idiots licking my boots, and we all part ways, calm and alive,” Angel loudly enough for everyone to hear. “Oh, and no violence against me or mine.”
“And if I cannot guarantee any of what you are requesting?” The vamp leaned down slightly, his voice low, the sexy burr to his words making Angel’s nerves dance with something other than fear.
“Then I level this building on my way out, with undead bonfires lighting my path.” Angel may not be able to level this building before he was torn apart, but he could certainly end a few immortal lives before he died.
It wouldn’t be the first time he decimated a swarm of undead.
The vamps at his feet hissed, twisting against his will, staring up at the Elder vamp. He stared back at them for a long moment and then nodded his head.
“I am Simeon, Elder of my Master’s Bloodclan. You are?” Simeon was an ancient name and fell out of use over a hundred years ago. That just elevated this vampire’s age in Angel’s estimation.
Angel hesitated, thinking. It wouldn’t be hard to track him down, he knew for a fact he was the only necromancer in the whole state, so withholding his name was pointless. If they wanted to track him down later, they could, especially since Isaac and Greg were in here for hours.
“Angel Salvatore.” Simeon’s eye twitched again, and Angel knew it was because of his name. Simeon recognized it, as did most supernats in the greater Boston area. In fact, most of the fangheads in the Northeast knew his name, and his reputation earned him a wide berth.