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|Wicked as They Come(Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson|
As for me, my days as a nurse are normal and contented, but I’m biding my time.
At night, when I dream, I’m dressed in burgundy taffeta laced up to my chin. I tell fortunes and collect copper pennies and vials of blood. I laugh with the sword swallower and encourage the lizard boy to get more exercise. I sleep in a scarlet wagon, in a bed draped in silk, with a beautiful ruby locket under my pillow. And beside me sleeps my own personal vampire, or the closest thing around.
Sometimes, that’s what I do. Who I am. And I know that no time passes in the other world, that I could stay in Sang and in Criminy’s arms forever. But then I’ll see an old woman in the crowd and touch my own face, feeling the new lines there. Or I’ll gently hold a shriveled hand to read a dark future and remember that my grandmother needs me.
And later that night, Criminy will tuck me into a specially made, well-ventilated box in his trailer. He’ll kiss me softly and give me his love and call me his gypsy queen.
And then he’ll close the door and lock the box with a key he wears on a chain under his undone cravat. He’ll set a small copper snake named Boros on the lid, and the creature’s ruby-red eyes will cast eerie lights on the walls as it spins around and around, guarding me. I’ll lock the inside lock. I’ll fall asleep almost immediately.
And then I’ll open my eyes to my other life and take off the locket for a while.
I’ve made my choice, and for now, my choice is both. And I’m happy.
Except for one thing, hovering on the edge of my thoughts like a bludrat waiting to pounce on an innocent sleeper. There’s only one dream I have in Sang, when the locket is under my pillow and I’m curled against my beloved Bludman. Again and again, unbidden, his glance appears in my head, torturing me, a secret he’s forgotten to unearth.
My glances have always been true.
All except that one.
So each morning when I wake beside Criminy, the first thing I do is check my hands, knowing in my heart that one day, they’ll be covered in black scales and blood.
Just like his.