Yes, we're all creatures of habit (that goes for humans and vampires--lol!) and there will always be a lot of things in our lives that remain at least partially stable, but when you live forever there's gonna be some changes from time to time.
Fallen Embers (book five in the children of Night series) released this week and it was so much fun to finally delve into the complicated relationship between Conrad and Georgia, and even to hint at some of the reasons for the huge animosity that exists between Georgia and Damian.
Georgia is Conrad's oldest friend. And, out of all the relationships in the series, theirs is the one that has changed the most over the years...er, decades...make that centuries. They went from friends to lovers to strangers to...whatever they have now.
The story of Conrad and Georgia is one of timing--both epically good and tragically bad. It's a tale of regrets, missed chances and divided loyalties. Up until now, Georgia has appeared to be at least partially villainous--don't expect that to change. These are still vampires, after all. They're never going to be squeaky clean. They're also not gonna sparkle, but let's not go there!
Let's just say that, in Fallen Embers, we get to see a few more facets of Georgia's personality. It's been fun letting her shine.
Here's a brief excerpt. Georgia's secret is getting harder to keep. In this scene with Conrad, she almost breaks down and reveals the truth:
“Wait.” As Georgia moved to pass him, Conrad put out a hand to stop her. “Don’t go yet. Come and sit with me for a while. I wish to talk with you.”
“Talk?” Georgia’s eyes widened in alarm. She glanced around in surprise. “What—here?”
Conrad’s gaze followed Georgia’s. There were a handful of wrought-iron benches scattered around the property—mostly holdovers from those days when he had been in the habit of throwing elaborate house parties. They made for convenient dining areas, but were only semi-secluded, not quite what he was looking for tonight.
“Let’s go inside. There’s less chance of being overheard and, if you’re hungry, I can have the servants bring us some food. Come,” he repeated, smiling expectantly. He crooked his arm and waited for her to take it.
Georgia cast another long look around her. “Oh, very well. If you insist.”
Conrad studied her more closely. Was she pouting? Her expression was definitely not happy as she slipped her arm in his. And the sigh she heaved was so unexpectedly mournful, so in-tune with his own feeling of unrest, that it prompted Conrad to reach for her hand where it lay upon his arm He squeezed it gently, offering what comfort he could. “You feel it too?”
Georgia stilled. “Feel what?”
Conrad shrugged. “I hardly know how to describe it. A vague malaise. The rush of time flying past us, perhaps?”
“Ah, that.” Georgia’s mouth tightened. “In truth, I feel it more than you know.”
“Now then,” Conrad said after they’d settled themselves, drinks in hand, in the salon—he on the sofa, she on one of the armchairs facing it. “Talk to me, ciccia. Tell me what’s been bothering you.”
Georgia dropped her gaze to stare into the goblet in her hand. “I don’t know what you mean. What makes you think there’s anything bothering me?”
“Because it’s written all over your face.”
She took a small sip and then replied, “As I told you, I spent the day following up on pointless leads. What you’re seeing in my face is exhaustion. It will pass.”
“Somehow I doubt that’s all it is.”
“Well, I’ve no idea what else you want me to tell you.”
“Tell me the truth.”
“I have just done so!”
Conrad sighed. “How long have we known each other now? And through how many dire circumstances? I have seen you when you’re tired, Georgia, but I’ve never seen you look so careworn. Won’t you confide in me?”
“Careworn?” Georgia’s laugh sounded brittle and forced. “Oh dear, has it really come to that?”
“What do you mean?”
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but is not ‘careworn’ a word men most oft employ when they wish to suggest that a woman’s looks are not to their liking? Does my appearance leave so much to be desired then? I do beg my sire’s pardon. Perhaps it’s my choice of hairstyle that he finds unflattering?”
“My dear, don’t talk such nonsense. Your beauty is intoxicating—as it has always been. And, even if it weren’t, I’m certain you are far too wise to be concerned overmuch with my opinion of such things.”
“Perhaps not when it comes to fashion.”
“Exactly. No, my dear, what I’m asking about is something quite different. There is something in your expression. I cannot find the words to describe it.” He looked her over once again, searching for words. “You look…sad.”
“Sad…” Georgia repeated the word thoughtfully. “Yes, well, I suppose there might be some small truth to that.” A shudder worked its way up her frame; it was small, but not so subtle that Conrad could have missed it. She shook her head. “I assure you, it’s nothing with which you need concern yourself.”
“And yet, I am concerned.” He was also growing impatient. They both knew he could compel her to speak—though neither of them would enjoy it. Was that really what she wanted?
“Conrad, please.” She gazed at him entreatingly. “One might be sad for any number of silly or unimportant reasons. Is a little privacy really too much to ask for?”
Conrad frowned. Privacy was all well and good, but his heart told him there was more to it than that. This helpless, hopeless tone was something new. Whatever was troubling her, it was clearly not the ‘nothing’ she would have him believe. “Georgia…”
“Or if you cannot be dissuaded, can we not at least postpone this conversation for another time? Please, my love. I ask you for little enough. Can you not grant me this?”