Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Elle Jasper’s Eli Dupre and Noah Miles from Darklove.
Utterly destroyed, or lost forever?
This is the question that plagues Riley Poe. After her vampire lover, Eli Dupre, was seemingly murdered by a fallen angel, she receives word that he’s actually trapped in an alternate dimension, where hell on earth is revealed and dark forces reign. Riley’s been there before, and it nearly ripped her to pieces.
But her efforts to find Eli are thwarted by a new foe: a powerful, unstoppable vampire is slaughtering humans. Riley knows how to handle a vamp, and with the WUP team by her side, she’s determined to take down the rogue.
But what she finds rocks her to the core, as she discovers a startling connection between the slaughter and Eli, who might not be missing after all—and who might not be the same vampire she fell in love with.
Holiday Shopping Bloodsucker Style with Eli Dupre and Noah Miles
“Come on, bro. Don’t be such a chickenshit. I promise this’ll be a lot less painful than you think. It’s a mall. You know, humans? In and out in thirty.” Noah’s eyes took on a glint that I didn’t much care for. “Trust me.”
My laugh was short and sarcastic. “Yeah. That’s why they call this Black Friday, right? Because its so painless?” I yanked the keys out of the Jeep’s ignition and stepped out of the open door. Shoving my hands into my leather coat pockets, I took inventory of the parking lot. Filled clear back to Abercorn Street with cars, trucks. Shoppers.
“Hey, I advised you twenty minutes ago to swipe that parking spot, Eli.” Noah started walking toward the entrance, and jerked his head for me to follow. I did, and we crossed to the double doors.
“Using vampire mind control on a seventy year-old, Noah? You’ve stooped to an all-time new low.”
Noah laughed as we pushed through the mall entrance, and a wave of department store fragrances smacked me in the face. He tucked one of his escaped dreads back into the leather thong containing them at the nape of his neck and grinned. “She was a vicious seventy year-old, man. In here?” He swept his arm in an arc. “Dog eat dog, and take no prisoners while you’re chewing, Dupre.” He grinned and shoved his hands into his pockets. “That’s how you survive Black Friday in the mortal world. Now stop whining and let’s do this.”
The moment we cleared the entryway we fell into a mob of rabid humans, loaded with shopping bags, holding cups of Starbucks and a mad burnish in their eyes. I got knocked into, shoved, and almost tripped over a kid on a leash. What the hell? I followed Noah Miles’ swindling ass out of the department store and into the belly of the mall—a place I’d sworn never to grace again after last year’s shopping adventure. He turned and grinned, and I wanted to punch him in the face when he did it.
“You’re the one who lost the bet.” He shrugged and pushed out into the sea of shoppers, and I followed on his heels. “Sorry, old man, but the best deals are to be found on Black Friday. It’s a proven fact. You lost. You’re here with me. So shut your pie hole.”
I looked down at the ass I called best friend and frowned. Christmas music droned over the mall’s speakers, and a low hum of human chatter cluttered my head. “You’ll use mind control on a helpless old lady in a Honda to gain her parking spot but not to convince a clerk to lower the price of a leather jacket?”
Noah’s lip curled up as he continued his rather remarkable weaving through the ocean of rabid mall-goers. “It’s not just a leather jacket, dickhead.” His smile widened and he cocked a brow. “It’s a Winchester.” He faced forward and moved faster. “Now shut up and come on.” Noah suddenly cut across the foot traffic and headed in the opposite direction. I was knocked into by bodies on all sides.
“Seriously bro? You’re snaking Dean Winchester’s look?” Noah’s obsession with the widely popular human show Supernatural had become almost as bad as Riley’s. Not only did they tag-team to watch the damn thing live, but had all seven seasons on DVD and had watched at least two episodes every night since returning home from Scotland. If I wasn’t enjoying the hell out of it myself the whole thing would annoy the living piss out of me. Noah simply flashed his teeth.
“Dude’s got style, man.”
Somehow, a floodgate opened and at least thirty people sandwiched in between me and Noah. I aimed for the storefronts, which seemed safe enough from the aisles where the mad shoppers strode with an even madder purpose. Noah ducked into the leather shop and disappeared. I was almost there, just a few more feet.
My hand was grabbed then, and a surprising force yanked me to a dead stop.
“Oh, your skin is so rough and calloused. I’ve just the thing for you.”
My eyes lit on a small female with dark hair and a Santa hat in the center kiosk, surrounded by…products. Lotions. Scrubs. Girly stuff. I yanked my hand back. “No, thank you.”
“How about your heels?” she asked. Her eyes were wide. Clear. Determined.
“My what?” I asked.
All five feet of the little woman shoved me toward a chair near her cart of hygiene wares. My ass hit the seat before I could right myself.
“Your heels, sir. Are they cracked? Her little devilish hands busied twisting the cap off a dark blue bottle of some sort.
I leaped out of the chair. “No. They’re perfectly fine.” My eyes scanned the crowd for Noah. Deep into the leather shop I saw his dreads. Bastard. I made a dash to escape the devil woman. I nearly failed, but soon found myself in the throng of humans, and I was being jostled away from the leather shop. I was big. Bigger than most and definitely had more strength. What the hell was wrong with me? I exerted minimal power and edged out of the train of passersby.
And ended up in a large pink lingerie shop, filled to the gills with wide-eyed demons.
“Welcome to Victoria’s Secret.” A tall, willowy young woman pushed a pink and black tote in my hand. “We’ve got a fantastic sale on panties, just over here,” she grabbed my elbow and pulled me to a mountain of silken drawers. “Seven for thirty dollars.” She smiled widely. “Can’t beat that. Let me know if you need any help.”
The woman disappeared like a ghost, just as a group of girls my sister Josie’s age pushed up beside me and started clawing through the panties. Was I really standing by a mountain of panties alongside teenaged girls? God help me. One held up a scrap of material no bigger than a tissue, then she eyed me with a distasteful frown.
“Excuse me,” she said with force, and shoved into me.
I dropped the basket on the floor and pushed my way to the exit.
And was immediately sucked into the stream of traffic once more. I was determined this time to make my way back to Noah and drag his arrogant ass out of this disaster, so I turned a sharp left and folded in with a group of four teenagers. If anyone had a will to survive in this madness, it was them. I stayed behind them, but before I knew what was happening we were standing in a very crowded toy store. Blocked in by all sides, I was forced down an aisle stashed with baby dolls and little plastic baby beds and high chairs. I tried to turn, but it was no use. One-way traffic only, apparently.
A force hit my shin and I looked down. Again, again, I was hit by this little demon in pigtails holding a drink in one hand as she rammed into my shin bone with a baby stroller. Whack. Whack. She smiled with evil intent. Whack!
I quickly glanced around, then turned my gaze downward.
And morphed into full vampire. Only for a split second, to make her stop.
She let out the tortured howl of a cat with its tail being stepped on.
I jerked around. Damn, she was—
“What did you do to my baby girl!” Whack! “Asshole!”
“Ouch!” I held up an arm to fend away the next wallop from her heavy Macy’s bag. It must’ve contained a coffee maker, or a set of cooking pans. She reared back again. The little demon she called baby girl screamed.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I’d had enough.
I drew in a deep breath, just as the mother’s bag connected with my arm.
And I sent out the mental command. Freeze where you stand!
Blessedly, a deafening silence fell over the entire store. I moved my gaze over the heads of shoppers with toys in their hands. No one moved. Beyond that, into the mainstream mall and the sea of traffic? No one budged. Everyone stood deathly still, just as I’d commanded.
A grin I couldn’t stop lifted both corners of my mouth. Being a vampire did have its perks, I guessed.
My gaze drifted downward to the little girl, relieved her of the cup she held, removed the lid and poured the contents over her head. An icy blue drink slid over her forehead and down her pigtails, and I didn’t feel the least bit sorry for it, either. With ease I made my way out of the toy store and stood amidst the frozen mortals with bags and coffee and pretzels and ice cream in the hands. Christmas music still played, of course, but it was sweeter, more…jolly, now that all the other annoyances were at a stalemate. I began an effortless weave through the statuesque humans, strode back into the lingerie shop and chose a sexy set of red silk bra and panties for Riley, stuffed a hundred dollar bill in the tall willowy woman’s hand and pushed the lingerie deep inside my leather coat pocket. Back out in the aisle and making my way toward the leather shop, I passed Starbucks. I couldn’t resist. With the new order just sitting there on the counter I picked it up and tasted the piping hot liquid. It was smooth and delicious. Peppermint Mocha Latte. My favorite. I dropped a ten dollar bill on the counter in front of the cashier and stepped back into the mall’s motorway.
Noah stood there, sporting his Dean Winchester leather coat, a grin on his ridiculous face. It did look pretty damn good on him, but I’d never tell him that. His ego was already too big for Savannah. “Using your powers on innocent mortals shopping for their loved ones on Black Friday? Tsk, tsk.” He glanced around, nodding, and his grin widened. “I’ve never been more proud.” Then he held his arms out. “Well?”
I shook my head. “Noah, you’re a dick. Let’s get out of here.”
He belted out a laugh. “But a handsome dick, right? Hey, lemme grab one of those before we go. That shit’s good.”
As I watched Noah make his way to Starbucks, I scanned the Black Friday crowd of stone-cold still demons that were humans in full-shopping mode. No one moved. The place was all mine.
Now this is how you shop the holidays.
Meet Elle Jasper!
Elle Jasper spent her youth buried in the pages of Mary Shelly, Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker, and Stephen King. Growing up on the salt marshes of Savannah, Georgia, she was always fascinated by the city’s ancient cobblestones, eerie church spires and Gothic Revival architect—as well as the dark, not-so-publicized side of Savannah, both steeped in tumultuous history. After an education at Armstrong Atlantic University, she forged her love of Gothic literature with an active imagination to pen her own stories. She is now a full time writer and lives amidst the moss and shadows of Savannah.
Want to purchase Elle’s novels?
Dark Ink Chronicles
The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance
Spirited Away (writing as Cindy Miles)
Into Thin Air (writing as Cindy Miles)
Highland Knight (writing as Cindy Miles)
Forevermore (writing as Cindy Miles)
A Christmas Spirit (writing as Cindy Miles)
Please help spread the word: Tweet: #BlackFriday is here! Celebrate the chaos with #holiday #stories and #contests by 26 authors (Nov29-Dec24) http://wp.me/p3SIUp-atz
Thank you Elle for taking part in Literary Escapism’s Black Friday!