Exclusive Excerpt from Cronin’s Key
by N.R. Walker
Alec let Cronin lead the way, thankful he did so at a human pace. It was dark, downhill and the grass was slippery with dew. “You can see where you’re going, right?”
“Very clearly,” Cronin replied, still holding Alec’s hand.
“You can see everything in the dark?” Alec asked as they walked along a grassy path. “All vampires have super-sight, yeah?”
“Night or day is the same, just a different color,” Cronin explained.
The night looked dark and misty to Alec, nothing more. If it weren’t for the cold, Alec wouldn’t have believed he was in a different country. The smell though, the scent of damp heather as Cronin had identified, was very distinct. It was very Cronin.
Alec really couldn’t see where he was, though as their walk became more even-footed and less downhill, Alec thought he was in what looked like a field. The grass was long and heavy with dew, making Alec’s jeans damp to above his knees. The wet added to the cold, but Alec never complained or stopped walking. Wherever Cronin was taking him must have been important, and even if it weren’t, just being outdoors, walking and holding hands despite the cold, felt wonderful.
Then Alec realized why Cronin had brought him here. He gave his hand a squeeze. “This is where you’re from?”
“Yes,” Cronin said. “I grew up not far from here. The village to the north, but it was not exact where it is now.” Cronin laughed a little. “My brothers and I would go to the River Add and fish for eel. Oh, I’d not recalled that for a long time,” he said. “I’d not given thought to that in so long! My mother would be so cross. We were supposed to toil fields, or collect reeds to be dried, but when the weather was warm, we’d make off, hunting rabbit in the glen.”
Alec could listen to him tell stories all night long. “How many brothers did you have?”
“Two. I was the youngest. They were both bigger than I, strong with black hair. Then there was me, just a wee lad with my mother’s fair skin and red hair.”
Alec grinned at his use of such Scottish dialect. It rolled so beautifully off his tongue. “Hence the name Cronin, I take it. It means red, doesn’t it?”
Alec could see Cronin’s smile, even in the darkened night. “Yes. I don’t recall a great many things from my human years. I do remember my mother would weave baskets. And I remember a town feast, I was very young, but I remember the music and dancing, people drinking and eating, laughing. I don’t recall the cause of such celebration, but I remember that.”
“I can’t even imagine it,” Alec said. “What did you wear? I mean, what was the fashion of the eighth century, Scotland?”
“What did I wear?”
“Fabrics were coarse, woven wool or hemp, some were dyed, some were not,” Cronin said. “We were not wealthy enough to have finery.”
“And your shoes?”
“Leather boots,” Cronin said. “Just a very basic form of what you wear today, bound with leather strapping.”
“I am intrigued by it all,” Alec said, squeezing Cronin’s hand again. “It helps me see who you are.”
“I have not told anyone these stories,” Cronin said quietly. “Of my brothers, of my mother.”
Cronin stopped walking and let go of Alec’s hand. He was quiet, seemingly lost in his memories. He turned in a circle letting the tall grass skim his fingertips. “I’ve not been here for a very long time.”
The mist seemed to float above them and, as Cronin had said it would be, the air was a fraction warmer than it was on the hill. Alec’s eyes had adjusted a little and he could see that yes, they were in a field. There was a dark line about a hundred yards to the west and Alec presumed they were trees. There was absolutely nothing there, yet Cronin had stopped in this particular spot for a reason.
“Why did you really bring me here?”
Cronin looked at Alec then and he swallowed hard. “Because this is where I died.”
About Cronin’s Key
NYPD Detective Alec MacAidan has always been good with weird. After all, his life has been a string of the unexplainable. But when an injured man gives him cryptic clues, then turns to dust in front of him, Alec’s view on weird is changed forever.
Cronin, a vampire Elder, has spent the last thousand years waiting for Alec. He’d been told his fated one would be a man wielding a shield, but he didn’t expect him to be human, and he certainly didn’t expect that shield to be a police badge.
Both men, strong-willed and stubborn, are still learning how to cope with the push and pull of being fated, when fate throws them another curveball.
Rumors have spread quickly of turmoil in Egypt. Covens are fleeing with news of a vampire who has a talent like no other, hell-bent on unleashing the wrath of Death.
Alec and Cronin are thrown into a world of weird Alec cannot imagine. What he learned in school of ancient pharaohs and Egyptian gods was far from the truth. Instead, he finds out firsthand that history isn’t always what it seems.
Available at: Amazon
About N.R. Walker
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.
She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
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