Hey girls and boys!
I trust you are all well…
So, today on the blog it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Christian Rogue, awesome author of our latest Bleeding Heart story, The Most Romantic Evening of My Life. You know the drill, if you enjoy Christian’s story as much as we did, don’t forget to let her know in the comments below. And of course enter our awesome giveaway to win free books.
And now, without further ado, take it away Christian…
The Most Romantic Evening of My Life
Zane: Ready for the most romantic evening of your life?
I hit the hold button on my phone. Yeah, right. I know what that means. Some cheap Italian restaurant that he says has character. I’m sure he’s googled it, and it gave him three stars and a groupon. Classic, Zane.
Me: On my way out the door.
I adjust my black beanie and make sure my lipstick isn’t on my teeth. There’s skull earrings and a streak of red in my dark hair. It’s Valentine’s Day after all, might as well go out in style.
Outside, it’s raining buckets. It’s the kind of weather that makes me wish I could wear more sensible rain boots, but my leather ones seem more appropriate for date night.
Zane’s beater car is ghastly. If it were a dog, someone would have rescued it from a shelter because it only had two legs and a missing eye. I slide in, and he’s talking on his phone.
“Right, I have a reservation in five minutes. We’re going to be late-“ he says and let’s out a sigh. “Oh hey, Saph-“ He leans over and gives me a quick peck on the cheek. “Yeah…” He backs out of the steep driveway. Another car honks and just barely misses the bumper.
Zane flips him off, which the guy can’t see because the back window is fogged up, and he’s already gone.
Buzz. Tylie (aka best friend): How’s the date?
Me: Words can’t describe this hell.
“Great!” Zane says, pulls the phone back and hangs up. The car is in the street and ready to go. “Hold on a second. I have to call somebody.” He turns the wheel and drives, dialing and swerving as he goes.
Instead of phone tag, we play people tag instead. I continue texting Tylie to keep from going insane. Giving her the play by play until she tells me that’s she’s watching Game of Thrones and can’t be disturbed. Someone is dying, and she’s absolutely horror stricken.
By then, we’re at the restaurant.
“Sorry, about that, babe,” he says. “Now are you ready for the most romantic evening of your life?”
“Does it come in Vegan?” I ask him.
“Yup,” he says with a smile that insists that I forgive him this instant. “Made sure.” He wiggles his phone at me.
“Picture, so we won’t forget,” I say. It seems proper to memorialize this moment forever. We lean in and the camera flashes. He looks slightly perplexed, and I look pissed. Dorky Zane and shady Saph, the usual.
Inside, it’s cozy like a rom-com and makes me want to puke. There are wooden tables with lacy tablecloths and red doilies. I didn’t think those things existed outside Amish country. Beyond that is an open kitchen where a fat chef makes food.
It’s warm inside, so I take off my jacket, and cross my arms. My hand grazes the skull tattoo with a red flower.
A host stops us at the door.
“Yes, right here. Come with me,” he says and leads us to a table. Zane orders the wine as I check out the menu. There’s a vegan section as promised.
The clunk of a hammer pulverizes meat in the back. Vomit tickles my throat. The chef’s hammering is hard and methodic.
Everyone else in the restaurant is lost in small talk. Their heads are close together. The buzz of a few drinks make the distraction of a man with red-rimmed eyes pounding juicy meat meaningless.
“Yeah, babe?” He snacks on a bread stick and plays on his phone.
“This place doesn’t seem funny to you, does it?”
“Character, Saph. You know, I bet he’s the best cook in town. Some jerk probably wrote a bad review, because they didn’t like the way he dressed or isn’t a…”
“A what?” I raise my eyebrow and kick him in the knee. He grins. “He doesn’t seem funny to you, at all?”
A man coughs in the back.
“Here are your drinks,” says our new waiter. “What can I get for you today?”
Zane orders one of the brick oven pizzas, and I order the vegan pasta. The waiter leaves us.
“We’re running behind in the kitchen…maybe an appetizer?” offers another waiter after a few minutes. Zane is checking the scores for some stupid game on his phone.
The baked raviolis aren’t vegan, so I’m not eating them. He digs in and enjoys them as the guy in the back starts coughing worse. It sounds like his guts are coming up.
“Are you sure you should eat that, Zane?”
Someone else starts coughing too. Then, there’s the repeated sound of the mallet smacking the meat. I feel a migraine coming on as I touch my head.
“It’s fine. Seriously, I’m so hungry,” he says still stuffing his face. It’s eerily lit by the candle and his phone.
“Do you think it’s dead yet?” I demand. He looks up, sniffs, coughs and clears his throat. At first, he doesn’t even know what I’m talking about. Then, he hears it over the coughing. The sound of the hammer hitting flesh.
“Whatever, it smells…appetizing.”
“You’re so sick sometimes,” I mutter. He smiles that smile again, but it’s different, sexier and hungrier. “When are you going to pay attention to me?”
He slides out of his bench into mine, and I know that I’ve got him. I grab his phone while he’s left it unattended.
“Hey!” he says. “Give that back!”
“You like it…” I say and text naughty things on his Facebook. He wrangles it from me. Then, he bends toward my cheek and steals another kiss.
“Ow! You bit me!”
We look up and standing about ten feet from us, is a man in a white shirt with copious amounts of blood soaking through it. He holds his ear, and his fingers are covered and can’t contain the dark red flow.
“Are you okay?” Zane asks.
A moan escapes from the bench where the guy came from. It’s not an I’m hurt moan. It’s more animalistic and strange.
The chef still beats at the meat as if nothing has happened, and there’s not some guy bleeding in the middle of his restaurant.
“Can we help you, sir?” the waiter asks. “Someone call…”
A woman across the room screams. Each shriek is staccato and laced with panic. The woman in the bench with the bleeding man leaps out onto him. She knocks him over and bites into his face. Her lips and teeth drip red as she chows down on the jagged hole of her lover’s face. It’s a make-out session straight out of hell.
I climb onto of the table. My heart is in my throat as she begins digging into his stomach, pulling out guts and jamming them into her mouth like a hungry kid over pasta. I gag and cover my mouth.
“No, no! No!”
“Saph! Saph!” Zane says. “We have to-“ He coughs and not a little cough either. He doubles over. I realize that I can’t hear the meat being beaten anymore. The screaming is too loud. I swallow as panic threatens to overwhelm me in the chaos.
When Zane looks up at me again, I realize I’m not going to get the attention I want tonight. His eyes are red-rimmed and hungry.
I hear another moan, another scream, and the ripping of flesh.
I’m standing on the table with a rabbit scared waiter staring back at me.
Then, I look at the door. Zane slides closer. I feel his breath on my calf under my fishnet stockings.
“Babe…I’m hungry…” he says. His lips tremble. His tongue touches his lips and inhales. “I’m really hungry.”
“Stay away from me, Zane.” I glance at the door, but someone’s eating the host now. Then, I look toward the kitchen. I see the fat chef, pounding away at the meat. There’s a row of butcher’s knives behind him.
Yoga, don’t fail me now. Zane reaches up. His hand grazes my calf.
I leap to the top of the first bench. There’s a shaky moment before I find my equilibrium. The girl looks up from her feast. She has a dark face covered in blood from her chin to her breasts. She smiles at me. She’s ready for more.
She crawls over her man with a strange boneless grace. My foot plants right in the middle of their pizza, and I leap to the next bench top. Then, I jump to the counter. Plates scatter and break. Heads rise and turn in unison to look over the booths.
The screaming has died down. I leap from the counter and charge to the back wall, grabbing two of the butcher knives in each hand.
“Aren’t you hungry?” the chef asks, scratching his thick belly under the stained, white apron. “Not hungry for my food?”
I tighten my grip on the butcher knife.
“Stay back!” I say. His fat fingers squirm.
“I’m hungry for you, Saph,” Zane says. “Only for you.” I look up. He and the woman are on the counter, crouching like animals. Both of their eyes are laced with thick red veins. The girl decides she’s hungrier and dives at me.
I throw the cleaver, and it clunks right into her chest. She looks at it, eyebrows rising. She staggers back into the counter from the force and slides down as she coughs up more blood. It dribbles thick down her chin.
“I’m leaving now. You guys…just stay put,” I say, brandishing the cleaver. The fat chef grabs a poker from his oven. He goes to ram it through me, but I duck and slam the handle of the cleaver into his knee. He staggers.
I grab a knife from his counter. The metal slides across the granite counter top, and I close my eyes when I stab him in the belly. My trembling hand sinks to the hilt of the knife, pressing against him. I stagger away. My back presses against the counter.
He brings one foot under him, flesh jiggling, and he grabs the knife. Blood soaks through the apron. Then, he pushes himself up with a grimace. He slaps me across the face with his meaty hand, and I fall.
Zane dives on him from behind, biting into his fat neck. Blood spurts out, and they’re both covered in it. Zane keeps digging, until I’m sure he’s reached the spinal chord. The fat chef slides to his knees, eyes rolling up into the back of his head, and convulsing.
Zane has flipped from distracted boyfriend to Dexter in seconds. I slam myself into a corner, get myself on my feet, and look around for another weapon. I go for a pot lid. It’s closest.
Shield, axe, demon boyfriend. Right. I’m Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
The chef collapses on the ground, and Zane stands up with a satisfied smile on his face. He looks like a vampire, blood on his cheeks and neck, but he’s no vampire. He’s hungry for meat.
“Not hungry?” I ask him, hopefully.
“Only for you, babe. Only for you,” he says with a twitchy shrug and grins at me.
All’s forgiven, right? Especially when a fast-acting bacterial infection makes you hungry for human flesh. Right, babe?
He charges. “I want you!” I slam the lid into him. He hits me at full force. My elbow bumps the counter, goes numb, and I drop it. He backs away, eyebrows invisible under his soft brown hair. The cleaver is embedded in his chest. Blood gushes from his body and splatters on the white, greasy linoleum tiles.
“Oh! Sorry, Zane!” I tell him. “It was an accident!” He looks at me, and then, at the cleaver. He slides down to his knees. This will be a first, breaking up with a guy via meat cleaver. It’s the most romantic evening of my life.
***AWESOME! We LOVE! Thanks, Christian!!***
About the author…
Christian Rogue currently lives and works in Spain, but her roots are firmly planted in Missouri. An adventurer at heart she’s learning languages and helping people abroad. In the meantime, she enjoys reading and writing anything YA, science fiction, or fantasy. When she’s not writing or working you can find her doing high kicks and sparring at the local dojo.
Her current manuscript is Beastia, a dark contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She enjoys nothing more than challenging the system and turning any and all stereotypes upside down.