The Undead Space Initiative by Casey Wyatt
sensual vampire science fiction novel (approx 81.000 words)
Release Date: 07/19/2012
Cover Art by Winterheart Design
Cherry Cordial, vampire stripper extraordinaire, spectacularly messes up her life with a single act of kindness. How could she have known when she rescued gorgeous rogue Ian McDevitt that she would be implicated in the vampire queen’s murder? Soon, she faces the wrath of the entire vampire community. To escape retribution, she joins a settlement program to colonize Mars. Her choices are grim: hurtle through space to the red planet to face the unknown and possible death, or stay on Earth and face certain annihilation. To make things even more complicated, a certain gorgeous rogue seems to be shadowing her every move...
Life sucks, then you die. It’s a universal truth. But here’s what’s scarier. Even in death, life can still suck.
Case in point … wait for it….
“Cherry! Get your skinny ass up on stage!” Jonathan barked through my dressing room door. How do I describe him? Pain in my rump? Benefactor? Reason for my current situation? None of them seem adequate. His main occupation? Yelling at me to perform and to make him money. And he’s always interrupting. Never lets a girl have even a moment to think.
“I’m on my way. Geez Louise.” I flung open the door, narrowly missing Jonathan’s long Roman nose. The tops of his fangs peeked out from his full lips as he smiled at me. This was a game we liked to play. I would try to smack him with the door whenever possible.
Okay, it was a game I liked to play. I’ve never managed to nail him in the face. My vampire sire is too damned fast.
Jonathan tsked and crooked his finger. A slow smile curled his lips. “Cherry, I don’t know why I put up with you.”
“Of course you do. I’m your number one performer.” I flashed fang. My pearly whites are nowhere near as long as his, but they can still do the job. Due to feed soon, I tried not to stare at Jonathan’s jugular. I hated needing my sire’s blood to stay strong and avoid overpowering hunger. The kind, if left untended long enough, that made vamps go feral. I buried my nose in a bouquet of fragrant red roses, a gift from one of my many fans.
Jonathan smirked. Damn. I hated when he caught me eyeing him like a roast. Another game we liked to play – I pretended I didn’t need him. And he pretended not to notice. We both knew otherwise.
I needed him.
Crap on toast.
Before departing, I turned, throwing words over my shoulder to my long-suffering thrall, Jayakrishna, “Jay, are my parts all on straight?”
The costume, part Marie Antoinette and part dominatrix, consisted of a cinched waist, a long train, multiple petticoats and a black leather peek-a-boo corset. After I seductively peeled off all the layers, I’d remain in my birthday suit and thigh high stiletto boots.
Parked on my shabby, red velvet divan, Jay gave me a quick once over. “You’re fine.” He stuck his nose back in his book on astrophysics or something equally brainy. He could have been a brilliant scientist or inventor. But he ended up stuck as my immortal servant. Mostly, he’s my babysitter and closest confidant.
“What difference does it make? You’re only taking the costume off.” Jonathan smacked my ass cheek hard enough to leave a red welt. “Now move.”
I complied because I had no choice. Jonathan would have dragged me down the hall and forced me onstage anyways. Seriously, someday, I’d be free of him. Not sure how or when. But someday. That’s the plan at any rate.
I made my way to the main stage, careful not to catch the train on any of the backstage equipment, all while checking the pins on my white powdered wig. Fang Bang wasn’t a run-of -the mill strip joint. A good old fashioned House of Burlesque, we catered to both mortals and immortals. The humans mostly stayed in the sleazier pole-infested front half of the club, watching dances I wouldn’t want my Christian mother to witness if she were still alive.
The exclusive, vampire-only theater was where the real show happened. We Burlesque gals, sang, danced, told jokes and entertained before stripping off the costume. Real old-school, Gypsy Rose Lee style.
Drunken laughter funneled down the hall. I heard the muffled sound of our emcee introducing me. Cheers and catcalls echoed off the concrete block walls. The noise level increased as I approached the corner of the stage. The boisterous crowd stomped on the floor, their footsteps in lockstep unison. A mix of lust and excitement on the other side of the heavy velveteen curtain, all for me.
My anxiety skyrocketed. Acid roiled my stomach. After all the years of entertaining, I still suffered from stage fright.
Ridiculous, but true.
I’m not bothered by removing my clothes in front of a room full of leering men. It’s the fear that, somehow, they can see right through me. Right down to my rotten, undead core. Deep inside, an animal resides. One that views them all as food—vampire and human alike are equally tasty in their own way.
Only a fellow vampire can sustain us long term. Our blood is rich and sweet: a succulent steak dinner with a baked potato, green beans and a slice of cherry pie for dessert. A human is more like a candy bar to tide you over until the next big meal. The energy rush is nice while it lasts. I haven’t lost control in over a century, but the aftermath of my last rampage… cringeworthy.
The chanting intensified. The noise hurt my ears. P.T. Bryson, the emcee, shouted out my introduction, “… Amazing. Entertaining. Y’all behave yourselves for our sweet Cherry Cordial!”
I swiftly moved into position: center stage, arms upraised, hips posed seductively.
My entrance music blared out. Trumpets and low brass instruments played the classic ode — The Stripper. The official anthem of the bump and grind.
The curtain shot upward as if on springs instead of ropes. Applause surged. For a moment, bright spotlights blinded me. The dark edges around the light shielded the faces of the audience.
It was just as well I couldn’t see them. Once the curtain rose, I was the act.
No longer me. I was a character.
Cherry Cordial. The stripper.