ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-741-0 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-768-7 (Paperback)
Disgusted with his long, bloodthirsty existence, Jon Sharpay discovers a fresh challenge—the last living descendent of the arch-enemy who nearly destroyed him a century ago. He travels from New York City to Princeton University to hunt down Kat Van Braam, a curator at the university’s art museum.
But Sharpay is also being hunted, by two men: one determined to avenge the death of his pregnant young wife, the other a foreign agent out to recruit Sharpay’s paranormal skills for an international crime organization.
When Sharpay meets the brilliant and beautiful Kat, his plans for her expand beyond mere revenge. Kat is also drawn to “Dr. Sharpay,” the mysterious Eastern European scholar, until she learns his true nature and identity. She fights his enslavement of her will and vows to succeed where her ancestor failed—to keep this creature from ever harming anyone else.
But will Kat be undone by her own “sympathy for the Devil”?
What Reviewers Are Saying
“One Blood is a spectacular read—4 Cups!”
—Coffee Time Romance
"With One Blood, E. F. Watkins brings a sensual elegance and a wicked sense of fun to the vampire genre. Highly recommended!" —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Rot & Ruin and The Dragon Factory
...Hands in his pockets, he faced the set table. Before Kat’s eyes, all of the silverware—two sets of knives, forks and spoons—rose straight into the air. They all came together about a foot below the pierced-brass chandelier to form a kind of horizontal wheel.
The formation started to rotate slowly in mid-air.
The sight riveted Kat, and for a minute she couldn’t breathe. Finally she gasped out, “Stop it!”
The bits of silverware separated and, with a playful clatter, all dropped back to their rightful places.
She spun around to stare at Sharpay. “Jesus Christ, what are you?”
“Not him, by a long shot.” Still wearing the faint smile, Sharpay approached her. Kat realized he blocked her route to the hall door, and with his abilities, she didn’t see much hope of dodging past him.
Meanwhile, he spoke soothingly. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. I thought you’d be amused! I take my gifts so much for granted, I forget how startling they can be to other people.” He had reached her now. With one large hand, he stroked the side of her face, then turned it up toward his.
She met his eyes. At the centers of those dark irises, the pupils glowed faintly red. Kat caught her breath again, but couldn’t look away. Those lights flickered like flames and lulled her. Soon, she wasn’t afraid any more, just curious…mesmerized.
Sharpay’s chill fingers brushed the side of her throat, and where they passed, the flesh went numb, as if swabbed with an anesthetic. He drew aside the V neckline of her sweater to bare her collarbone and the rise just above her left breast. His other arm slipped behind the small of her back to brace her firmly. She felt his cool lips glide over her exposed skin, spreading the same tingling numbness.
She hardly minded the razor-sharp pinch.
It didn’t compare to what came next.
A powerful force pulled the energy out of her. She knew she must be losing blood, but even that couldn’t be enough to explain this terrible sensation of life draining from her body. She could feel Sharpay’s hunger and intense pleasure as he fed upon her, drawing out something he needed, something that went beyond any physical substance.
At the back of her mind, Kat knew she should try to fight back, but both her body and her will seemed paralyzed. Her heart pounded faster, desperate to make up the loss of blood. She started to slip down into a dark vortex, the room swirling around her. She knew she would have collapsed to the floor, if not for the iron arm holding her.
At the same time, her belly stirred with another sensation—half sexual, half suicidal—to surrender and let him have as much of her as he needed.
It seemed an hour before she felt Sharpay, with difficulty, tear himself away. Released from his grip, Kat tottered and saw stars. He pulled up one of the straight-backed dining chairs and sat her in it.
He left her briefly. Slumped, head spinning, she heard him rummaging in her cabinets. He came back with a juice glass half-filled with a pale gold, acrid-smelling liquid. “Drink this.”
Kat obeyed. The brandy seared her throat until she coughed, but then she drank some more. In a minute, warmth began to seep back into her depleted veins.
Stooped over her, Sharpay pressed a finger against the spot he had bitten. At first Kat thought he was staunching the wound, but then realized he was taking her pulse.
“Much better,” he murmured, in a clinical tone.
She glanced up at him. No trace of blood showed on his lips, and as she watched, the sharpness of his canine teeth reverted to normal. The red light also left his eyes. His face had recovered a healthier color and his hair had darkened again, with silver only at the temples.
He spoke to her now in a cold, crisp tone. “After I leave, eat some of the dinner you’ve prepared and go to bed. You’ll have the weekend to recover. If you have to cancel any activities, make up a plausible excuse. You will come to my house again Monday night. Do you understand?”
Still dazed as a sleepwalker, Kat could only nod.
He gave her a last, tight smile. “You’ll be fine. You have an excellent constitution and a strong will to live. Just what I would expect from a Van Braam...”
Background on... One Blood
The first novel I wrote after I graduated from college was inspired by my love of the paranormal TV soap opera DARK SHADOWS and the other rather romantic vampire tales popular at that time on TV and in the movies. I also was influenced by occasional visits to see my cousin Phil while he was attending Princeton University. I saw Princeton’s gothic, cosmopolitan and intellectual atmosphere as the perfect setting for a different kind of vampire story.
I was tired, though, of seeing worldly, commanding male vampires matched up with innocent and easily manipulated heroines. I wanted to pit mine against a modern, intelligent, strong-willed woman who was almost a match for him...but very sensibly had no desire to become as he was.
My earlier versions of this story went by the titles NO SUCH THING and BLOOD OF MY BLOOD. I sent them to publishers, but back then “vampire romances”—popular as they seemed on the big and small screens—didn’t “fly” with book editors. After a while, even I decided my tale was a bit corny and predictable, though I still loved the central couple.
I later wrote a sequel, DANCE WITH THE DRAGON, which became more of a thriller. Now a formidable team, my hero and heroine set out to rescue a senator’s daughter from an evil cult leader with vampiric powers of his own. DD came out in 2003, decades after I’d given up on the earlier book. Interestingly, a couple of readers and one critic said they wished they knew more about the hero and heroine and how they’d formed their unusual alliance.
That made me consider reviving the prequel, though I knew it would need a lot of updating. To keep it in sync with DD, I have set it in the late 1990s. Because some new plot points involve remote viewing and terrorism, it also works better to have the action take place before the tragedy of 9/11.
By this time, I had an even firmer grasp on the main characters, now called Kat Van Braam and Jon Sharpay. I knew the issues that would divide them and the feelings that ultimately would bring them together. Still, the romance angle posed a bigger challenge now. I’d made them both so strong-willed that getting them “on the same page” became harder than before!
One last note. It’s clear in ONE BLOOD, even more than in DD, that “Jon Sharpay” and “Elias Van Braam” (Kat’s ancestor) are stand-ins for two very well-known fictional characters by another author. Any true horror fan will recognize this in a minute, and that’s great. On the other hand, the book should still work fine for any reader who doesn’t.