Whispers From The Dead [The Brimstone Conspiracy Series Book 2]
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by Terence West
Description: Rose Webb wasn't given a choice. Fate, it seemed, had its own plan. After watching her family die at the hands of a trio of demonic Vampires, she was tortured, raped, and killed by them over and over again. There seemed only one way out? But that meant becoming the one thing she loathed above all else: a Vampire. In the aftermath of THE BRIMSTONE BETRAYAL, Rose's life has fallen to shambles under accusations of corruption and collusion with the enemy. Her career with the Brimstone Syndicate is in jeopardy as she's branded a rogue Vampire. Her partners, a Werewolf named Toby and a Goblin called Karl, don't trust her, and it seems everyone is hunting her. In a tale that takes Rose from the underbelly of Las Vegas to the deepest depths of her soul, she must face her past and listen to the whispers from the dead. This is the thrilling sequel to THE BRIMSTONE CONSPIRACY!
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: September 2009
15 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [290 KB]
Reading time: 186-260 min.
"Rose Webb is a tough, down to business character that has a sassy attitude and isn't afraid of getting into a tussle. Her struggle in Whispers from the Dead takes her to entirely new levels in her mind that answers questions on her past, present and her probable future. I enjoyed this book because of the seemingly endless spiral of jams Rose seems to get herself into. I loved how she handled everything down to her breakdown. Not even vampires are invincible and it did show a bit of humanity still clinging to Rose despite her hundred plus years killing to survive. The Brimstone Conspiracy: Whispers from the Dead is a fantastic sequel to The Brimstone Betrayal that can easily stand on its own. However, I would highly recommend this for adults only due to a few explicit sensual scenes, that truly did not seem to belong. Otherwise it is a fantastic read!"_Reviewed By: Kayla Weeks, Howling Good Books
"The Brimstone Conspiracy: Whispers from the Dead is the second book in the series. The writing is imaginative, lively, intriguing and dark. The characters are unique and a joy, from Karl the mouthy Goblin to the slime demon with the caring heart. The bad guys are genuinely bad, the good guys may or may not be good, and Rose herself isn't sure what she is. There are surprises galore and many emotional tugs. It's a dang good mystery to boot." Bitten By Books Reviews
"While The Brimstone Conspiracy: Whispers from the Dead, is part of a series, it is a good standalone novel. I had no trouble following the storyline. Rose's past is given and it is not pretty as she has survived torture and rape before being turned to a vampire by her captors. These scenes, however, are not gratuitously violent and are very low keyed compared to similar scenes I have read elsewhere. They fit in the story and explain why Rose is the way she is. Terence West has handled these scenes well. I still want to read the first book in the series and will definitely read the next book. Excellent job!" Sheila, Two Lips Reviews
April 17, 1906
Wrapping my lips around his throat, as my fangs pierced his flesh and venom was injected, I heard the child whimper. Gently caressing his face, I drew his crimson life into me. It would be over soon enough. His warmth began to spread through my body. Sliding my fangs into the punctures again, I twisted, widening them. As I ran my tongue over the wound, he involuntarily winced. I could feel his blood vessels starting to collapse and his heart slowing. He was not more than three years old and I wondered if his short life was flashing before his eyes. Pulling my mouth free, I tossed back my blond hair and felt the last of his blood run down my throat. The child's head made a hollow thump as I dropped him to the hard wood.
I took away his future, just as mine had been taken. My pain, my heartache, my suffering was thankfully dulled again. Almost euphoric, death was the only thing that brought me peace, the only thing that made me forget myself. It was always fleeting, but I didn't have to worry about that right now. I was alive again and it felt good. Turning away, I almost pranced across the floor.
Grabbing his five-year-old sister by the shoulder, I pushed her out of the high-backed chair where I had deposited her. As she landed in a heap next to her brother, I watched her twitch. She wasn't dead yet, despite the fact I had almost completely drained her of blood ten minutes ago. She was still clinging to life, refusing to shuffle off her mortal coil. Her hand slid slowly and painfully from beneath her as she fought my neurotoxin in her veins. As her fingertips brushed against the flesh of her brother's face, the rigidity of her posture relaxed. Seeing his fate was the same as hers, she finally let go. She didn't have to protect her little brother anymore.
She was too late.
Sinking into the chair, I loosened the laces on my black, strapless corset and tried to wipe a spot of blood off my matching ankle-length skirt. The short jacket I had been wearing messily hung off the mantle. It was unladylike to show this much skin, but I really didn't care anymore. I didn't have to wear layers upon layers of garments, or suffer squeezing into ever-tightening corsets, or pull my hair up into a painful bun on the top of my head all in the name of fashion. I wasn't a slave to society's whims anymore.
I looked with satisfaction over the dying family before me. In the flicker of the gas lamps, their shadows danced on the floor and walls, seeming almost alive. The mother, a brunette almost the same age as I had been when I was turned, was the first to die. She had been kind enough to invite a cold, hungry stranger into her home, and had been repaid with death. The children were next. Stalking them playfully through the house, I captured the son first. As he lay paralyzed, I bled his sister. He watched with wide eyes, unable to help. Seating her in this chair, I took great care to prop her body into a lifelike position so she could watch her brother die in turn. The man of the house had been absent and the kill had come, unfortunately, much quicker than I anticipated.
Still, I had what I came for.
I thought of my own family for a moment, but it was fleeting. As pleasure swept across my brain, the memories vanished. I couldn't seem to hold onto them, couldn't rise above the wreckage of what I had become.
It had become a game to me. Each time I had to up the ante. I started with vagrants and migrant workers, simply killing and leaving the bodies where they fell, but that had simply become boring. I had to find new, interesting ways to entertain myself while still attaining the release I craved. I was an addict looking for my next fix. Others turned to prostitutes or opium dens to quench their carnal needs, but I was a Vampire. My needs were much more--I paused, searching for the right word--substantial than theirs.
"What have you done?"
I craned my head around expecting to see the man of the house, but instead found a familiar Vampire standing in the doorway. "Drew," I greeted him flatly. I wasn't in the mood for a scolding.
Drew, short for Andrew, looked in dismay at my handiwork. His long, brunette hair was pulled into a perfect ponytail, and even though it was raining outside, his midnight-blue overcoat seemed dry and immaculate. But his most striking feature was his sea foam green eyes. They, in the right light, could look almost ivory white, or the richest shade of emerald I had ever seen. Tonight, however, they were dulled with anger. He was my adopted teacher, and at one time, I considered him my savior. He had lifted me from the filth. But there was a vital component missing from him, something he could never truly understand. He was given the choice. I wasn't. This had become the divide I couldn't cross. It was amazing how easily we could knock down the pedestals we placed our heroes on.
"You killed a family?" he asked.
Slipping into the chair next to mine, he let his eyes wander to each of my victims. "Rose," he said my name carefully, "your bloodlust is becoming disturbing."
"Why should it matter?" I retorted. "We can do what we want, Drew. Anything." I stood from the chair and strode to the fireplace. Snatching my jacket, I slipped it on, but left it unbuttoned. "Society's rules no longer apply to us."
"Is that what you truly think?" Slightly uncomfortable, Drew shifted in the chair and sighed. "This isn't who you are. Where is the woman I held crying for days because she had lost her family, her daughter?" Drew asked. "You were forced into this life," he reminded me, "but you had no intention of living this way." He crossed his legs and paused, before saying, "And yet, here we are."
I couldn't hide the hurt and anger on my face. "Don't you dare preach to me. You have no idea what I endured! The Vampires who made me tortured me for months!"
Drew nodded. "And now it's time for a little retribution? Is that it?"
I gritted my teeth. "I lost everything!"
Drew's gaze was unwavering. He showed no signs of disgust or anger. He was simply discussing a topic with me. "Is that how this works now?" he asked, trying to understand my logic. "You lost everything you held dear, so everyone else should too?"
My blue eyes hardened. "Yes."
Sorrow washed over his porcelain features. "I see."
Drew's gaze finally fell from mine. I watched him sitting quietly for a long time, thinking. I wasn't sure what I wanted, but silence wasn't it. Maybe I wanted him to yell at me, even though he had never raised his voice to me, and scold me like a disobedient child? Was this some sort of plea for attention, the sweet release from my pain that I so desired, or simply self-destructive? What did I want?
Drew stood from his chair and straightened his coat. "I am going home."
His words were quietly desperate. Come home, he pleaded. We can fix this if you just come home. Please, Rose, just come home to me...
I didn't respond.
He waited for a moment longer, hoping I would say something. But I didn't. Without saying anything further, Drew walked out of the room. Moving to the window, I looked out onto Market Street and saw him appear on the rain-soaked road. With one fleeting glance, Drew turned and slunk silently into the night. His posture was no longer that of the proud Vampire I knew, had come to love, and despise. His shoulders were hunched and his head drooped.
Not even realizing my own movements, I pressed my hand to the cool glass but slowly let it slip away. I turned away from the window, and from Drew.
Resting my arm on the mantle, I looked at what I had done. In my mind's eye, I saw the family singing, laughing, and playing and my memory again flashed to my own daughter. I remembered watching her take her first tentative steps into my husband's waiting arms, seeing the innocent sparkle of discovery in her blue eyes, and her gentle laugh as she played or learned something new. She was incredible, truly a miracle, and I had taken that away from this family. In my need to quiet my own Demons, I had destroyed their future, and possibly my own.
In my silent grief, I uttered a prayer for the dead, hoping God, if there were such a being, would take these people into his loving embrace and offer some sort of solace. Reaching into my jacket pocket, I produced several coins. I had watched Drew do this a thousand times, but never understood the ritual ... until now. Sliding a coin gently into each of the deceased's mouths, I stood, turned, and left the grim scene behind.
When I wandered out into the night, spring rain fell heavy on my face as I stumbled through the thick fog that had just rolled in off the bay. Wandering up and down the hilly streets, I saw warm golden lights emanating from windows of families living and loving. It seemed a siren's call to me, beckoning me ever closer, yet I knew I only brought Death. He stood at my side, sneering with his evil, toothy grin, waiting for me to deliver more souls into his icy embrace.
How I hated him for it...
I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know where I belonged. I was lost again. It had been so long since I had been at rock bottom, yet here I was again. But I didn't go home to Drew.
Not ever again. * * * *