Name: Veronica Fontera
Occupation: Tanner and finisher of leathers.
Speaks: Italian, Latin, German, Russian, and English.
But I have the most trouble with English. I have not been able to master the use of contractions.
Age: A lady should not be required to divulge such things. But I was twenty-five when I was Transformed. That was in 1510.
Hair Color: Black
Identifying physical marks:
A pale complexion and a gaze some humans find mildly disturbing. Andrew chose to record our first meeting in this way:
When I answered the door, the sight greeting me caused me to stop short in amazement. I found myself staring straight into a pair of the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen. I became light-headed for a moment and my heart began to beat such an excited rhythm I feared I’d fly straight into a conniption right then and there. And as I began to recover, she spoke, drawing my attention to full and sensual lips that were a shade of scarlet that would have been scandalous on any other woman, but instead conspired with her eyes and pale complexion in a way that made them seem completely proper.
“I am Veronica Fontera,” said a lightly accented voice. “I have an appointment with Mr. John Pierpont Morgan. May I come in?”
“Yes, yes. Of course,” I said, now fully recovering my senses. “Please come this way.”
As I led her toward Morgan’s office, I repeatedly peeked at her from the corner of my eye, hoping she wouldn’t notice. With her hands concealed by a muff that matched a coat and Russian styled hat of pale fur, she seemed like some fantastic vision floating just above the floor instead of walking as mere mortals must.
Later that same evening, he finally noticed something else about me:
She moved close enough for me to breathe in her perfume, which was heady, exotic and nearly returned me to that state I was in when I opened the door for her. But when was that? It was only a few hours ago and yet it seemed as if far more time had passed since those moments, and the sensation only added to her allure. Then I noticed something else. We’d been staring straight at each other for several minutes, which meant that even allowing for the modest and practical heels of her kidskin boots, Veronica Fontera was nearly as tall as my own six feet.
Only a few short months later, Andrew and I became lovers.
Q: I’m going to name off some things – – kind of an either-or exercise. You tell me which you prefer.
Q:Day or Night?
Q:Single or Taken?
Taken. Especially when taken by Andrew.
Q: Cat or Dog?
Dog. It is one of Andrew’s favorite shapes to assume. And I once leapt into his arms as a Labrador retriever before resuming my normal appearance.
Q:Gun or Knife?
Neither. I prefer fangs along with intellect and my predatory instincts.
Q: Blond or Dark?
Dark. The darker the better.
Q: Downtown or Nature?
Well, Downtown has its attractions, certainly. We Undead enjoy dining on well-prepared dishes in the human way and consuming fine wines. But there is nothing so unrestrained and free as pure nature. It releases all our instincts; it fuels all our desires and sets us on an almost frantic edge. Andrew and I once spent an entire night making ferocious love as a pair of Alpine Lynx in the mountains above Zermatt during the dead of winter. It was glorious!
Q: That brings us to an important one. Love or Sex?
Q: Lips or Neck?
Neither. I prefer the thigh. There is nothing in existence like the sensation of sinking my fangs into the femoral artery of a healthy human male I have rendered compliant and then drinking warm, delicious blood.
Q: Dead or Alive:
Undead, of course.
Q: Silver or gold?
Gold, definitely. Silver is, let us say, a problem for the Undead.
Q: Red or White?
Red. Lovely, delicious, flowing red. Oh, wait – – did you mean wine?
Q: Alright, then. Cooked or Raw?
Raw. Raw, bloody and beautiful.
A few quick quotes:
One is from my old and dear friend, Arkady Baryshev, a Russian Undead. In ‘Night Market’ he remarked to a human that:
“. . . there is a difference between those who thirst for blood as we Undead are bound to do, and those, even humans, who are bloodthirsty.”
And when Andrew learned Graf von Borbek, our enemy, was holding me hostage, he set out on a rescue mission with a most unusual ally. But he recorded his thoughts as he left Venice to come to my aid:
When I was away from the city I allowed full reign to the emotions Veronica’s kidnapping had provoked. I was beyond anger and spoiling for a real fight for once. It might take place in Borbek’s home territory and he might have me outnumbered, but I had things he didn’t. I had the love of a remarkable woman, the friendship of Europe’s best vampire hunter, a loaded Smith & Wesson and enough bad intentions to fill in the Grand Canyon. It wasn’t going to be an even match.
Some Questions and Answers:
Q: For those readers who may not know you, can you tell us some tidbits about your human life?
My human life was marked by a rebellious streak that ultimately led to my becoming Undead. At thirteen, I ran away from the convent school where I had been placed, disguised myself as a boy and got a job at my father’s tannery. The only reason I was discovered was because I quickly became very good at my work.
Later, in 1510, after the Pope had excommunicated the entirety of the Serene Republic of Venice, I sought out Venice’s most notorious figure during Carnivale and became his lover. Because I knew I was already damned, I was determined to immerse myself in the sins of the flesh as compensation. His name was Francesco Sanuto and he was the one who Transformed me.
Q: What did you do before the events in ‘Night Market’?
I hunted. I lived the life of a consummate predator and my prey was human males. It was more than feeding; I reveled in choosing my prey and then making him dependent on me for pleasures they could get nowhere else. I pushed them; I made them crave me so intently they would overthrow all ethics and morality in order to continue enjoying my affections.
All of that changed, though, the moment I fell in love with Andrew. I still hunt and I am still the predator. I still give pleasure to my prey in exchange for blood, but I no longer twist their minds and torment their consciences for my own amusement.
Q: What is your favorite part from the story you have told your author so far?
It would have to be the first night Andrew and I made love after his Transformation. Andrew and I had moved to my family’s palazzo in Venice and it was Carnivale. I had kept him at a distance for months because lovemaking between two Undead is – – is – – well, the book will explain it. Suffice it to say that I wanted our first time together as Undead to be special. And it was. On that evening Andrew and I achieved something rare even for the Undead. That is all I will say.
Q: If you and your author would go on a date, where would it be and why?
It would have to be Paris. And we would dine at ‘Le Jules Verne’, the restaurant 125 meters up the Eiffel Tower. The food is splendid and the views are the most spectacular and romantic in Paris. We would go there because my author responds so well to good food and wine. And since there is so much more of my story to tell, I would use the occasion to set him at ease while I strengthen my hold over him. Some writers have a muse. Hunter Goss has me.
Q: What or whom would you never want to come across again?
I think that would be Otto Kralovec, chief lieutenant of Graf von Borbek, Andrew’s mortal – – or perhaps immortal – – enemy. Kralovec was a torturer in human life and practiced that art on me at the behest of his master after I was kidnapped. Fortunately, Andrew managed to deal with Kralovec and the two Undead who were assisting him. And he did it in a style that was very much his own.
Q: What else would you like to tell us?
‘Night Market’, the first of the stories my friends and I have told through Hunter Goss, is something I am personally proud of. It is a mix of financial and political thriller woven into historic events that many will relate to: stock market crashes, bank failures, bailouts, and the threat of war. It tells a tale of how a single individual was able to act to avert a complete economic collapse, and why we as Undead became involved. But ‘Night Market’ contains more than a little romance, and even romantic mystery, too.
Our tale will continue in Hunter’s next book, ‘Night Transfer’. You can read more about it on his blog:
Genre: Historical/Paranormal Suspense
Where to Get It:
Love, sex, money, stock market crashes and bank failures punctuate the story of how and why the Undead helped John Pierpont Morgan rescue America’s largest banks during the Panic of 1907.
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