Excerpt from A Pirate’s Revenge
Tonight was the full moon. Tonight he’d turn into a vampire. Tonight, for the first time, he’d be forced to suck human blood.
William O’Brien rested his head on his arm against the Green Parrot Inn’s window. It had been a month since he, his brother, and the Soaring Phoenix’s crew had battled the Fiery Damsel. Kane had granted the crew shore leave at Tortuga while repairs were made, the wounded healed, and supplies gathered.
The glowing sun sank lower and lower behind the mountains, changing white clouds to purple, yellow, and orange. Blue sky dimmed, turning to a light gray. He’d always loved watching sunsets, the clouds, the soft colors. Until now. His heart pounded hard, and with each thump, he knew he was alive, he knew he was human. But with each beat, he worried it would be his last. Thanks to the demon Zuto, he’d change into his worst nightmare.
The door opened, and William turned around. Doc strolled inside and closed the door behind him. He flashed one of his famous smiles, his white teeth highlighting his black skin. Despite his glowing red eyes, the man still remained jovial. William couldn’t help but smile back.
“Why? So, he can gloat?”
Doc shook his head. “Da capt’n’s worried about you. He’d have been here, but Hannah’s still not fully healed, and after one of Palmer’s men was seen in Tortuga, he’s too scared to leave the lass.” He lowered his voice. “He never wanted you to suffer our fate.”
His warm tone reminded William of a father consoling the youngest son abandoned by an older brother. William didn’t argue. Christ, he knew his brother didn’t want him to be cursed. Hell, William didn’t want to be cursed. He waited for his incisors to lengthen and waited for the undeniable thirst. He’d seen how Kane suffered. Soon food would turn to sand in William’s mouth, and he wouldn’t be able to swallow anything, not even water.
He’d be a roaming corpse, lusting for his next pint of blood. Trying to get his mind off his upcoming gloom, William tilted his head. “Any word on Palmer and his damn witch?”
Doc’s face clouded. “Da devil’s gone into hiding. No doubt da bastard’s stolen another ship. We won’t know who she is until da ship fires on us.”
William placed his palm on the cool window. “Aye, I’m sure of that.” The Soaring Phoenix was anchored in Tortuga’s bay, her sails doused. The crew nailed the last boards to repair the Phoenix’s damaged hull from their recent gory battle with Palmer.
Men mopped and scrubbed the wood while others rolled barrels of water and gun powder onto the deck. Cook was busy hustling in boxes of vittles. “The repairs are almost done,” William said. “And we’ll hunt Palmer down and finish him once and for all.”
“Capt’n’s says tonight’s our last day for shore leave. Tomorrow, we sail out to sea to pursue Palmer, the devil himself.” Doc studied him, the merriment leaving his face, replaced with his intense surgeon’s eyes and tight-lipped mouth. “William, d’ye not feel anythun’?”
William sat on the edge of the bed, tapped his foot rapidly on the floor, and gripped his trousers. He flitted his tongue over his teeth and felt nothing jagged. Maybe he had escaped his brother’s fate. Mother of mercy, he hoped so. “I feel well. Maybe I’m not cursed.”
“Then why would Lark ask for your forgiveness after he cast da spell?”
“How the hell would I know why a witch would ask for forgiveness? Witches are liars and in league with demons.”
Doc lowered his gaze. William winced at his harsh tone. He shouldn’t have spoken to Doc that way, but he was drowning in fear, a fear of what he was going to become. Why had Lark asked for forgiveness? The witch’s face had been filled with sorrow when he uttered nogard. Kane suspected it had been an incantation straight from Coaybay. After Lark had said it, William had twirled around in the air like a tornado. He passed out and remembered no more until he awoke a few days later on board the Phoenix, the battle forgotten. All except that word. It haunted him. Lark’s voice echoed in his mind over and over. What the hell did it mean?
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