JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

Even-day series: the Canadian vampires

Yep, there is such a thing. Guess it's technically not a series if there's only two volumes ... more like a novel and its sequel ... but by golly, it's Canuck and it's good so it's getting mentioned here 'cause if Nancy Baker ever came back to fiction writing and treated the world to a third volume about Dimitri Rozokov and Ardeth Alexander I'd be one of the first to buy it. They've got their own unique little spin on the whole vampirism thing.
A domestic scene from "Blood and Chrysanthemums", a little more than I usually quote but it's such a lovely moment between the pair that I hate to truncate it:
When Rozokov looked up from his book, it was nearing four a.m. Ardeth's chair was empty and the light in the tiny bathroom was on. He rose and went to the open doorway, leaning against the frame. She was standing before the spotted mirror, scissors in hand, trimming the fall of her bangs. She was wearing only a white T-shirt that hung to her thighs.
"I'm very glad that hair grows slowly when you're dead," she observed, sparing him a quick smile before returning to her contemplation of her hair. "Otherwise I'd have a serious case of blonde roots by now." She sighed, rumpled her bangs up from their sharp, if uneven, line and looked at him again.
"You look beautiful."
"Flatterer." She glanced back at the mirror and then paused, seeming to focus on her reflection for a long moment.
"I bought you a present the other day," she said abruptly. "Hang on and I'll get it."
She slid by him and he stepped into the bathroom to look at his own reflection in the mirror. He was rather glad the old mythology was not true; he much preferred to be able to tell how he looked even if he did not give it much thought most of the time. He considered his reflection for a moment. He was hardly the dandy he had been, one hundred and fifty years ago in Paris, but he was not the dirty, tangled-haired person he had pretended to be in Toronto either. Still, he should perhaps trim his own grey hair, lest its length become too noticeable.
Ardeth slithered back into the space behind him and held out a bundle of black cloth. Rozokov took it and shook it out. He stared at the words printed in white in momentary bewilderment. "Do you like it? I wasn't sure if you would, so I didn't give it to you earlier," she explained, worry edging her voice, and he laughed, surprised that she would be so concerned.
"Yes. 'Dead People Are Cool.' I do like it." He did despite the fact that he was surprised that she would spend some of their meager cache of money on something as frivolous as a sloganned shirt. He nearly asked her why she had bought it, but something in her bright smile left the question stillborn in his throat. Perhaps it was only another kind of escape.
"Good. Now sit down and I'll give you a trim too. You're looking a little shaggy."
"And I will look less so when you are done?"
"I realize it's not my forte ... but I'm cheap," she pointed out, and he sat down on the edge of the bathtub and let her clip away at the hair hanging past his ears and brows. Her own T-shirt said something, he noticed. "Fear not -- You can only die once." The irony of it made him shiver suddenly and wonder why she had bought it.
He put his hands on her hips and looked up at her face. The white T-shirt seemed very thin; he could see the sharp points of her nipples beneath the cloth. Her gaze shifted to meet his but her eyes were shadowed by the fall of her hair and he could not read whatever emotion lay there. She put aside the scissors and slid her fingers through his hair.
"Dead people are cool," she whispered.
"We are, aren't we," he agreed softly and stood up into her kiss and her weight and the arms and legs she wrapped around him as he carried her into the bedroom, and they did their best to prove that the slogans were more than just words, that dead people did not have to fear.
That dead people were enough for them.

The two Rozokov/Alexander novels are, in order:
The Night Inside (set in Toronto, Ontario)
Blood and Chrysantheums (set in Banff, Alberta)
Tags: bookseries: rozokov_alexander, reading

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