A Fall of Water Page 1

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Prologue

Cochamó Valley, Chile

2011

January

“What’s that?”

Giovanni winked over his shoulder as he backed into the living room. “Another bookcase.”

Beatrice rolled her eyes as Gustavo stumbled into the room. “Ha ha. Funny, it sure looks like a piano.”

“And not one that was easy to get here,” Gustavo said.

“Gio, why did you bring a piano to the house?”

“Because we’re going to be here for at least a year, and I like the piano.”

She shrugged and turned back to the fire and her book.

“And I thought maybe you would like to learn, too.”

She glanced over at the two vampires. “I’m not very musical.”

“I know,” Gustavo said. “I’ve heard you hum.”

“Hey!” She tossed a pillow at him, but he only laughed as he and Giovanni maneuvered the piano into a corner of the living room near the bookcases. It was a small upright, shiny black, and blended nicely with the dark wood and wrought iron, which decorated their mountain home. Much smaller than Giovanni’s grand piano at their house in Los Angeles, she knew he would enjoy playing it just as much.

Beatrice heard footsteps crossing the meadow and rose to meet the visitor at the door. It was Isabel, carrying the bench for the piano.

“They forgot this!” she called as she climbed the steps. “I’m amazed it all made it into the valley in one piece.”

Gustavo walked over and took the bench from her. “We didn’t forget it, woman. We may have inhuman strength, but we still only have two hands apiece.”

Isabel sat next to Beatrice and put her arm around the younger woman. “How are you? I haven’t seen you since Christmas.”

“Fine.” She nodded. “Good. I’ve been doing a lot of reading.”

“Ben’s doing well. He and Father are thick as thieves.”

Beatrice smiled. “Well, that’s not a surprise. They’re about the same age, mentally.”

Isabel’s laugh pealed out and Beatrice saw Gustavo look up, watching his wife with a small smile as he helped Giovanni.

“You’re right, you know; you missed the wrestling match. I’ve never... I don’t think there are words to describe that scene.”

“I was sorry to miss it, but I didn’t want to spoil Ben’s fun by, you know, draining him or something.”

Isabel nodded. “Good point. Nice of you to be so thoughtful.”

“I try.”

Isabel raised a knowing eyebrow. “Really?”

Beatrice took a deep breath and swallowed the lump that had risen in her throat. “I’m... trying.”

Isabel leaned over and squeezed her shoulders in a quick hug before she rose from the couch. “I’ll see you later. If you want a break from this one”—she pointed at Giovanni—“just use the radio.”

“Thanks.”

Giovanni scowled at Isabel. “Why would she want a break from me?”

Beatrice snickered as Isabel gave him a dry look, then pulled Gustavo out the door, muttering under her breath about “stubborn, donkey men.”

Giovanni sat next to her on the couch, tossing more flames toward the dwindling fire, even though it was summer. He frowned and looked into the bright flames, which lit the dim cabin. “So, you really don’t have any interest in learning the piano?”

Beatrice leaned into his shoulder and shrugged. “Like I said, I’m not musical.”

February

“I’m sick of you!” Beatrice threw a copy of Moby Dick at Giovanni.

He caught it and slammed it on the coffee table, wincing at the crack of wood underneath the book. “It’s a good thing that was a mass market edition, woman! And I’m not particularly thrilled with you right now, either.”

She stalked toward him, shoving a finger in his chest. He could see her fangs descended in anger and feel her heart racing. “You know, at least you’re not stuck up in this cabin, miles away from any other person. I can’t even visit most of them because I’d probably end up drinking them for dinner! Add to that, I’m awake in here all day with nothing to do but read. You, at least, get to sleep for longer than a few hours!”

Giovanni stepped closer, ignoring Carwyn, who stared at them from the couch with wide eyes. “At least I don’t blame you for things that are entirely out of my control, Beatrice. It’s not my fault that you’re awake most of the day.”

“You don’t even try to stay awake.”

His mouth gaped. “You’re being completely irrational right now. I refuse to continue this discussion—”

“Don’t you use the professor voice on me!”

Giovanni saw Carwyn sneaking toward the door. “I’m just—” the priest stammered, “I’ll be...” He slipped out and they paused, waiting for the sound of their friend escaping through the forest.

Giovanni waited for only a moment before he grabbed Beatrice, lifting her up as she wrapped her legs around his waist. “Nicely done, Tesoro,” he murmured as his lips devoured the skin along her neck.

Her hands were already ripping his shirt. “I thought he was never going to leave.”

“Mmm.” He growled as she nipped at his collarbone. “Why is it so sexy when you yell at me?” They stumbled toward the bedroom and Giovanni nudged the door closed with his hip.

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