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TAKERS 1: BLOODLUST
by Nesca Darks
There's a new kind of vampire in the City of Angels.
Los Angeles Homicide Detective Kel Langston finds that out the hard way when he survives a brutal attack in a dark alley only to realize he’s been turned into a monster. As if that isn’t enough, he's forced into hunting the creatures that did this to him, a new kind of vampire humans don't even know exist…creatures known only as Takers.
Something he hates, can’t resist and doesn't know how to kill, stalks him. Will he survive? Will everyone else?
Takers… Your blood is only the beginning.
Excerpt from Takers 1: Bloodlust
He’s just standing there. In the deep shadows I can’t see his eyes, but his body language tells me he’s looking square at me. How it can go so deadly quiet in the middle of LA is not something I can spare a thought for right now. Hand’s on my piece; it’s out and pointed right at him in a flash. I saw him kill that girl and if the blood around her body is any indication, he’s the worst kind of murderer. He doesn’t kill out of impaired judgment. He kills for pleasure.
It’s a typical alley at night in this city: long, not lit nearly well enough, full of every kind of trash from rat shit to bums with empty bottles clutched in their hands. The cement is cracked, worn, wet even though it hasn’t rained in six months. Maybe it’s booze, maybe it’s bodily fluids. Maybe both. Johns and girls and sometimes guys get up to all sorts of shit my job doesn’t let me turn a blind eye to, in alleys like this.
Not the kind of place I’d go, or ask anyone else to, under normal circumstances. But go I do, one foot in front of the other. This is what happens when your partner’s just been killed and you’ve got no immediate backup – you go it alone. A cop doesn’t get to choose his path. The crime and the criminal choose for him. In Andy’s case, it was a bullet from a rapist’s gun.
I feel like that old cliché, a fly walking right into a spider’s parlor – and in retrospect that analogy was more accurate than I could possibly have known. But there I am and there he is, down near where the narrow passageway dead-ends into a skyscraper over twenty stories high, and I have a job to do.
And that’s when he jumps. Jumps, hell – it’s a lot more than a jump. Leaps might be a good word – but soars is better. Like a bat or a goddamned flying squirrel. And even though my gun follows his shadow as it arcs toward me, it’s all so fast that I can’t get off a single shot before he hits me.
I don’t remember much else after that.
Meet Author Nesca Darks
Nesca Darks has been writing since childhood, and one of her favorite things to imagine is dark, creepy horror scenarios, which she claims she comes by naturally because of her name! She likes to change known tropes, which is why the Takers in her breakout urban vampire series aren’t your momma’s brand of vampires. Oh, and they don’t sparkle, either.
When not finding new ways to kill and torture fictional victims, you’ll find Nesca exploring spooky caves and abandoned properties…and maybe even the occasional graveyard. She currently calls Tennessee home along with her vampire kitty, the Pharaoh-in-training named Ramses.
You can connect with Nesca and find out more about upcoming books and short stories at nescadarksvampires.com.
Interview with Nesca Darks:
Q: Hi Nesca! Can you begin by answering the question, why paranormal? What drew you to the genre?
ND: I have been drawn to the supernatural and to paranormal phenomena since I was a child. Longtime favorites of mine are movies such as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir which I find terribly romantic in both the amorous and storytelling meanings of the word. I often enjoy stories involving magic, whether you’re talking Miss Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, or what you see in The Witcher universe all the way through to the magic that exists in what’s usually called the Disney princess musicals, like Maleficent and the fairies in Sleeping Beauty.
Q: What’s your favorite type of paranormal creature and why?
ND: I am a fan of the Moonlight TV series on CBS, but not during its original run. I came upon it much later, binge-watched it and that’s where my fascination with vampires began. Believe it or not, I wasn’t really interested in the vampires of old such as the original Dracula, although I loved any Hammer Horror films and some of those were vampire-related. There just wasn’t anything that appealed to me about them (outside of Christopher Lee!) until my eyes were opened by Moonlight where I saw vampires in modern times and started to understand the challenges of being a vampire now. That is why – at least, at the moment! – I have to say vampires are my favorite.
Q: For those who are new to your books, what is the story about?
ND: The Takers series is, in a nutshell, about Los Angeles Homicide Detective Kelley Langston, or Kel for short. He encounters something one night in a dark alley while chasing a suspect and when he wakes from that frightening encounter, he finds that he’s been “Half-Turned” – a term readers will become familiar with very quickly in Book 1: Bloodlust. He’s still half-human, but he’s now also half-vampire. But my vampires have a twist to them. There’s a reason the tagline is: “Takers… Your blood is only the beginning.” What ensues is his quest to find out what’s happened to him, what he is and what he can do about it. And inadvertently, along the way, he winds up helping others as well!
Q: Tell us about your hero. What motivates him?
ND: At first, it’s his quest to understand the new world he inhabits and maintain his humanity in spite of what he’s become. Slowly he grows as a person and his priorities shift, first to the ragtag bunch of people that congregate around him, then to Los Angeles as a whole and, eventually, to the entire planet.
Q: Where can our readers find you? (Social media, website, etc.)
ND: They can have a look at all four books in the series on my website, nescadarksvampires.com and if they find they enjoy the world of Takers, they’re welcome to join my mailing list, which will net them a free short story I’ve written about the very first Taker on Earth. Just click the blue Sign Up button on the bottom right of the site. There will be more short stories and other fun things to come! The Takers series also has its own Facebook page, where you’re welcome to post. https://www.facebook.com/Takers-Book-Series-100244001873697
Thank you, Nesca!