Read A Kiss Beneath the Veil Online

Authors: Aimee Roseland

A Kiss Beneath the Veil

BOOK: A Kiss Beneath the Veil
4.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




A Kiss Beneath the Veil


By Aimee Roseland


Copyright Aimee Roseland 2012


Chapter One


Daphne passed a fresh box of tissues to the weeping mother
and glanced surreptitiously out her window at the darkening sky. It was now filled
with purple shadows and burnished red clouds. The sun had dipped behind the
mountains leaving the heavens looking like a beaten, bloody mess. She tried again
to wrap up the late session as a creeping sense of dread rose within her.

“All of the information she gave us has been passed on to the
Rockford Paranormal Division,” Daphne said, motioning to her computer and its
banner. “Hopefully this new evidence will help them catch the bastard,”
she offered quietly, settling back and pulling the band from her hair. She scraped
her pale blond curls into a high ponytail and refastened it snuggly. Channeling
was a messy business and she usually emerged looking the worse for wear. This
session had been particularly intense considering
she’d channeled.  

“My little Emma never saw his face? Even when he was...?” the
distraught woman asked, trailing off on a wet sob. Her eight year old daughter,
Emma, was the latest victim of a serial killer that’d been stalking local
children for almost a full year now. Daphne was able to channel her easily.
Unlike some of the ghosts people asked her to contact, Emma had simply floated
in with her mother. No need to call her forth from the space between.

“No, ma’am. Try not to focus on that. Try to remember that
she’s out of pain now-” Daphne tried, but the woman cut her off.

“But she isn’t out of pain! She’s trapped here until we catch
Why haven’t they caught him!?!
” she howled, slamming a fist filled
with damp tissues against the desk.

Daphne flinched and felt the echo of her frustrated rage
vibrate strangely through the room. It was getting way too close to dark.

“They’re trying, Mrs. Berkley. Honestly, you’ve done all you
can for the day. It’s getting late, you really should go home. The R.P.D. will
contact you the moment they have any news,” Daphne said. She stood, trying to
politely escort the woman toward the door.

She should never have accepted a session this late in the
day, but she’d grown desperate to catch the murderer. His victims were an
almost constant stream through her office, and seeing so many dead children had
crushed Daphne’s soft heart. She wouldn’t get a decent night’s sleep until he
was caught. Neither would this poor mother, but Daphne had already stayed an
hour past closing. Night was coming, and with it came other things...

“But, I didn’t get to say goodnight to her. Please, call her
back so that I can say goodnight,” the woman begged, grabbing onto Daphne’s
sleeve and tugging plaintively.

“I’m very sorry, ma’am, I can’t stay any longer. I have to be
getting home,” Daphne said, pulling her arm away.

She ignored the little girl’s dark, pleading eyes and marched
straight through the apparition on her way to the door. A chill ran up her
spine as the ghost snatched futilely at her. But she’d learned not to let them
push her around and pretended not to be frightened of the spirits she could see
now that the Veil had been lifted.

It would be five years this winter since that day. The day
the monsters lifted the Veil and revealed themselves, breaking the locks that
once separated their two realities and shedding light - or shedding
really - on the creatures that walked among them.

Finding out that your neighbor was a monster hadn’t even been
the worst part. The worst part had been finding out that
were a

Like Daphne. She’d never seen a ghost until V’Day. Now she
couldn’t walk down the street without passing through a dozen shades looking
for a medium to tell their story. And most of their stories were pretty bad
ones. That was the reason they were still stuck on Earth. Trapped in a sort of
limbo until their unfinished business was, well, finished, or revealed, or

So Daphne had set up shop as a medium, helping the dead
contact their loved ones, or the authorities, or the local tabloids, as the
case may be. She also helped the living contact the dead when they were still
around. Like the little murdered girl who was floating in the center of her

“I’ll pay extra. Just stay a little longer, please,” the
woman begged, digging through her purse and making Daphne’s heart clench in
sympathy. But fear of the coming darkness outweighed pity any day.

“I’m sorry, but I really have to go,” Daphne said, opening
her shop door and waving the woman forward.

If Mrs. Berkley didn’t leave, Daphne was just going to lock
her in.

The low peal of a giant bell rang across the town. Fifteen
minutes till full dark.

Daphne gasped involuntarily, throwing a quick look over her
shoulder. People began rushing through the deepening twilight, trying to get
home before darkness fell and control of the city was transferred to the night

“So you’re one of those people,” Mrs. Berkley sniffed behind
her. Daphne turned to see the woman gathering her purse together and standing

Daphne knew what “people” she was referring to. The
frightened right-wing groups that’d formed after V’Day, the ones still trying
to unify the “regular” humans against the “freaks and monsters”. They were
constantly evangelizing on TV, trying to get people to stop patronizing monster
owned stores, while selling high priced wards and weapons to protect homes
against monster invasion.

Daphne wasn’t one of “those people”. Well, she might have
sent away for a few of the wards they sold, but she still bought her milk from
the werewolf family that owned the Speedyway in town.

She had other, very personal reasons for avoiding the dark.

“I don’t hate monsters, obviously. I practically am one,”
Daphne said defensively and felt a twinge of shame. If she really saw herself
as one of the monsters, why was she pulling the door shut on the heels of a
woman who’d just lost her daughter? Why wasn’t she helping her say goodnight to
the murdered little girl shimmering at her elbow?

Because there were monsters, and then there were

Daphne shushed her inner debate and locked the door. She
caught the wounded look the poor mother threw at the window, as though her
daughter had been locked inside.

“She’s with you, you know. She has been since she died. Even
though you can’t hear her, she can hear you.” Daphne said, wasting another
precious minute to console the broken woman.

But before Mrs. Berkley’s hopeful expression could manifest
into more questions, Daphne pointed at the ghost of her young daughter, calling
“She’s right there!” and dashed down the street.

She really wasn’t all that frightened of the newest denizens
of Rockford, Pennsylvania. After all, they’d been there the whole time, hadn’t
they? They’d just hidden their true nature. The way Daphne hid what she was
truly afraid of. Everyone knew there were as many monsters that were human as
there were monsters that were, well, monsters.

Like the serial killer. Emma had just revealed that her
killer stumbled when he was carrying her, twisting his ankle and crying out.
That tiny incident was a huge breakthrough and supported Daphne’s growing
suspicion that the killer was human. All of the known monster breeds had a
preternatural grace, so tripping while carrying a child was immediately
suspicious. And even if something had sprung up and tripped them, a twisted
ankle shouldn’t have caused them any pain since they were also exponentially
stronger than humans.

After talking with the other dead children who’d stuck
around, it really seemed like the killer had some very human weaknesses. Daphne
couldn’t mull it over for long though. She’d never walked through a town on the
verge of transfer before, and seeing it firsthand made all thoughts except the
monkey-urge to flee go blank in her mind.

She’d seen this on TV before, but now she was caught right in
the middle of it.

Sanctuaries were starting to open for business, promising
safe harbor to any humans caught out at night. They were glowing at every
street corner, their buzzy neon lights blinking on in the murky twilight. Most
people were scattering like roaches into the recesses of the city, disappearing
behind locked and warded doors while other more adventurous types spilled onto
the streets in laughing throngs, hoping to make it past the bouncers of the
local vampire club.

Some human businesses were closing, their warded shutters
rolling down and exposing magical symbols that shimmered at the corner of
Daphne’s eye. Her own curtains sported very similar designs, spells that
prevented most of the night breeds from entering her home. Of course, there was
really only one person from one breed that she was trying to keep out.

 The transition bell sounded again. It would continue
striking each minute on the countdown to full dark. How many times had it rung
already? Daphne had lost track.

A couple of women ran past, their frightened faces whipping
back to watch her slower progress before they disappeared in the gloom. Daphne
wanted to call out to them,
Never run! It attracts their attention!
she held her tongue. Shouting attracted their attention too.

So did her appearance, come to think of it. Daphne yanked her
pink hoody up over her hair and glanced around. She’d been propositioned more
times than she could count in the last five years and she couldn’t afford
another delay tonight.

Apparently light blond hair and periwinkle eyes were a hot
commodity among the night breeds. They had spotters that worked the daylight
hours, searching for pretty girls who were interested in finding out what a
vampire’s kiss really tasted like.

She already knew, thank you very much.

And if you asked her how it tasted (which you shouldn’t), and
if she answered (which she wouldn’t), the answer would be pretty damned

She was still two blocks from home when the bell toned again.
She’d passed the last Sanctuary two minutes ago and hadn’t even paused. Spend
the night on a urine soaked bench crowded with fear-mongers and paranoid
weird-os when her house was just a few blocks away? No thank you. Rolling
shutters suddenly rattled to life beside her, shocking a startled squeak from
her. They revealed a brightly lit store once hidden safely behind their
lightproof panels. A young man in a white apron shoved the door up the rest of
the way and smiled at her startled face. His mouth was filled with needle-like
fangs and his head sported two curling black horns.

A demon!
Full dark had come.

Daphne took off running, screw whoever’s attention it drew.
She could see the steps leading to her apartment. She was almost there!

Her view of home was suddenly blocked by a giant chest as she
ran full tilt into the man that appeared in her path.

He pulled her to him, holding her arms in a light grip as she
gasped in shock, finally finding the breath that’d been knocked out of her.

No! No! No!
This wasn’t happening! This just couldn’t be happening! She
was never out after dark. Never! Not in five years! And she’d been so close to
home! Why hadn’t she stopped at that nice Sanctuary?!?

Daphne tried to step back, but the man kept hold of her. She
couldn’t force herself to look at his face. The familiar scent of him was
enough to tell her whose arms she was in.

After five years of running, Isaac had finally caught up to



Five years ago, before V’Day, she and Isaac had been dating.
She was falling head over heels for him, and who wouldn’t? He was sweet and
smart and thoughtful and as the icing on the cake, Isaac was
Thick black hair that appeared perpetually wind tousled, pale blue eyes with
lashes a camel would envy, six foot six when he slouched - which was rarely and
with the utmost grace - an accent that made everything he said sound like a
sexual position, and a body that a Greek god would drool over. But, honestly,
the best part was that he had character. Really! He had a sense of humor, but
knew when to be serious. He spoke passionately about the environment one minute
and could laugh at himself the next. The man was perfect! Except he wasn’t a
man, he was a vampire.

BOOK: A Kiss Beneath the Veil
4.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Boiling Point by Watts, Mia
Acid Row by Minette Walters
Hard Candy by Jade Buchanan
Far Country by Malone, Karen
The Man You'll Marry by Debbie Macomber
Mixed Blood by Roger Smith
The Dinosaur Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner