Excerpt: Blood Night - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham comes a new story in her Krewe of Hunters series…

Any member of the Krewe of Hunters is accustomed to the strange. And to conversing now and then with the dead.

For Andre Rousseau and Cheyenne Donegal, an encounter with the deceased in a cemetery is certainly nothing new.

But this year, Halloween is taking them across the pond—unofficially.

Their experiences in life haven’t prepared them for what’s to come.

Cheyenne’s distant cousin and dear friend Emily Donegal has called from London. Murder has come to her neighborhood, with bodies just outside Highgate Cemetery, drained of blood.

The last victim was found at Emily’s doorstep, and evidence seems to be arising not just against her fiancé, Eric, but against Emily, too. But Emily isn’t just afraid of the law—many in the great city are beginning to believe that the historic Vampire of Highgate is making himself known, aided and abetted by adherents. Some are even angry and frightened enough to believe they should take matters into their own hands.

Andre and Cheyenne know they’re in for serious trouble when they arrive, and they soon come to realize that the trouble might be deadly not just for Emily and Eric, but for themselves as well.

There’s help to be found in the beautiful and historic old cemetery.

And as All Hallows Eve looms, they’ll be in a race against time, seeking the truth before the infamous vampire has a chance to strike again.

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Excerpt: Blood Night
By Heather Graham

Excerpt: Blood Night

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham comes a new story in her Krewe of Hunters series, out tomorrow! Read a sneak peek below!

He stopped and spread out his arms, indicating the area where they now stood. “There is nothing else in the world like this. The Circle of Lebanon. These magnificent—or magnificently creepy—catacombs we see here, allowed for families to be together. Or individuals to be buried. The Egyptian thing—some people wanted their remains to be above ground. Remember, the Victorians were fascinated by all things Egyptian, so you have Egyptian Avenue, the beautiful arch, the chapel, and so much more. But there are so many types of graves and tombs and mausoleums and catacombs here. Approximately one hundred and seventy thousand people rest here, in fifty-three thousand graves.”

The catacombs or mausoleum that they now entered was fascinating. Coffins lined some shelves, but others were empty. Some were sealed, and some were not. Some lids were broken and hung at odd angles.

“They had an interesting problem here,” Monte continued as they wandered through the crypt. “Victorians believed that death gasses caused disease. And, so, being interred here meant being in a lead-lined coffin. But gasses built up, and they had a problem with exploding coffins. They solved that with pin holes that allowed a small bit of gas to escape, bit by bit, and small fires were lit to destroy the gasses during the first weeks.”

He stopped speaking. “Beautiful and sad. Especially here. You must remember, while restoration efforts have been massive, some things were lost.” He shrugged. “Relatives, for one. Sometimes, there are no descendants to worry about the bodies of loved ones and…coffins break, remains are lost, stones shift. Well, you’ve seen the terrain here. Underground, above ground, things change. That’s nature. And, as you know, Swain’s Lane is steep!”

“Very,” Andre agreed.

They emerged into daylight once again. “I can only imagine what it was like in the 1960s and 1970s before the Friends of Highgate Cemetery stepped in. There’s footage, of course, of the insanity when the vampire scare hit its peak, and people rushed the place by the scores, hopping the gates with their vampire-killing kits!”

He’d been grinning, but his smile faded. He looked at them, intensity in his eyes.

“I guess someone is playing vampire again, in a bloody horrid way.”

“Yes,” Cheyenne murmured.

“Any ideas? I mean, you don’t think a real vampire like old Count Dracula has truly awakened within the cemetery, do you? What with you being with the Krewe of Hunters and all.”

“We’re more into the concept that someone might like to play at being a vampire, or make it appear as if the old legend might be true,” Cheyenne said.

“No deep thoughts on it?”

“We’ve barely gotten started here,” Andre said. “But, again, we thank you. It’s good to visit the cemetery the vampire was known to haunt years ago—and is supposedly haunting again.”

Monte remained silent for a few minutes as if waiting for one of them to speak again, or ruminating on a question of his own.

“Well,” he said at last, “I’ll get you back. Oh, just so you know, it’s still a working cemetery, should you want a plot to investigate. They close down sometimes for funerals. And even where you must be with someone like me, if you have a loved one buried here, you can get a pass to…uh, visit them without the benefit of a guide.”

“Interesting,” Andre said.

“Now, you’re welcome to wander the other side,” Monte said. “Until closing. That will be at five this afternoon. But you need to see Karl Marx. His monument is a giant head!”

He led them back. Cheyenne wasn’t sure what Andre wanted to do. She was pretty sure that seeing the grave of Karl Marx—giant head or no—wouldn’t be the most important part of their day.

Turned out he did want to wander the east side of the cemetery.

They had just started off on their own when Andre said, “He’s following us.”

“Monte?”

“Let’s lose him.”

They did. Thankfully, the winding paths, trails, tombs, and overgrowth of the cemetery allowed them leeway to shake the man.

“Interesting character,” Andre said.

“Suspect?” Cheyenne asked.

“I don’t know, but something was a bit off. Anyway…he’s not lurking behind us anymore, so we need to take up position somewhere.”

“Huh?”

“Didn’t you see her?”

“Her? Who?”

“I don’t know who,” he said. “A woman. About thirty or thirty-five. Attractive, Victorian attire, blue dress, white lace.”

“No,” Cheyenne said. “But if she was on the other side of the cemetery—”

“I think she saw us and noted I saw her, as well. And I believe she started following us. There aren’t people ahead. Let’s take that path and head deeper in. She seems curious about us and might want—and be able to—talk with us.”

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