By Blood Written

By Blood Written

by Steven Womack

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At first, it was only research . . .

Author Michael Schiftmann has received resounding critical acclaim for his novels that few people buy or read. The sad truth is that readers aren't interested in great literature—they only want glitz and violence. So that's what Michael intends to give them—shocking stories of a blood-chillingly efficient serial killer that are filled with gore and horror. And to ensure that his books are impeccably realistic in every aspect, he plans to try his own hand . . . at murder.

Soon his fictional killer is a sensation, and Michael is a rich, sought-after celebrity—and his beautiful, rising-star literary agent, Taylor Robinson, is falling in love with him. But there is one serious problem: Michael Schiftmann has discovered that bloodletting feels good . . . and he can't seem to stop.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061137709
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/30/2007
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

About the Author

Steven Womack is the New York Times Notable, Edgar® and Shamus awards-winning author of ten novels, including Dead Folks' Blues and Dirty Money. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is also a professor of screenwriting at Watkins Film School.

Read an Excerpt

By Blood Written

By Steven Womack

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Steven Womack
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061137709

Chapter One

Saturday night, Manhattan

She fought the urge to scream; after all, there were people downstairs.

The blaring music—loud, driving retro punk—and the relentless din of party chatter probably would have covered her cries, but some last, long-buried remnant of propriety wouldn't allow her to let loose.

On his back, underneath her straddled legs, gazing up as she shook and trembled, he knew she was barely holding it in. He felt her thighs tighten, the quadriceps hardening, breath quickening. Her eyes closed tightly, the squint deepening into furrows that would, in another decade or so, be crow's feet. Her blond hair—long, straight, expensively coiffed—danced from side to side as the air in her lungs compressed with the constricting of her chest. She leaned forward and dug her fingernails into his chest, the sharp, manicured edges digging through the first layers of skin and stopping just short of bloodletting.

He smiled at the pain and thrust upward into her. She was delicious, exquisite, all the more intense thanks to the lines of coke they'd done a half hour earlier. She'd matched him push for push, rhythm for rhythm, until the energy swept over her like the tides that foretold a hurricane's leadingedge. And when the storm finally broke, when the air burst out of her lungs like an explosion, there was only the suppressed yelp of her release and then collapse.

She lay on him, exhausted, sliding against him in their sweat. Like posting, he thought. Like steeplechasing . . .

He reached behind her, around the small of her back and below, and dug his fingers into the soft flesh of her hips.

It was his turn now.

He pushed her up then pulled her down, arching his back, jamming himself into her rhythmically, in time with the pulsing energy that was growing within him. Despite her enervation, she struggled to match his pace, to help him find his center. She wanted that, realized she wanted that even more than her own release, and she had wanted release more than anything, she thought. She smiled as she felt his muscles tighten below her.

Once he let go and allowed himself to float free, his moment came as it always did.

When he decided it would.

They rested there a full ten minutes without speaking. She felt herself drift in and out, in that sweet, postcoital languorousness that she had so seldom known. The floor beneath them vibrated with the pounding bass and the frenzied dancing of the party downstairs.

"God," she murmured sleepily. "That was great."

He moaned softly in agreement.

"How do you do it?"

"Do what?" he whispered.

"You know," she said, her voice rising shyly. "You know, go so long . . ."

He smiled. "I like to make it last."

She nuzzled into him, her hair draping over his face, tickling his nose. They were still locked together.

"I like it that you like to make it last."

He shifted under her, moved his arm to wipe her hair out of his face. "Should we get back to the party?" he asked. "We don't want to appear unsociable."

She giggled. "What? You think they haven't already noticed?"

"Probably. Why don't we get dressed anyway?" It was not a question, although she didn't realize it at the moment. She pressed her palms into his chest and eased herself back into a sitting position.

"God," she whispered. "I could almost use a shower, I'm so—"

He brought his hand up from between them. The fingertips were wet, red.

"Oh no!" she burst out. "I'm so sorry! I can't believe this! I'm not supposed to start until tomorrow. Goddamn it, this is so embarrassing."

She turned her head, self-conscious and awkward now, and started to jerk away from him. He felt himself sliding out of her and decided this was not the way he wanted to end it. He grabbed her by the waist and locked her down.

"Hey," he said. "It's no big deal. Really. Doesn't bother me at all."

With his right hand, he touched her chin and pushed it softly, until she faced him again. The effort left a red smudge on the side of her face.

"It doesn't matter," he said gently. "Don't worry about it, see?"

He slid his right hand down his belly, to where the two of them were joined. When he pulled the hand back, it was bright red. He drew a coppery, crimson line down the middle of her sternum, between her breasts, the width of two of his fingers, down to her navel. Then he curled his torso toward her and gently, sweetly, ran his tongue up her chest. He nuzzled her breasts, daubing the wet red over them. When he pulled away, there were sanguineous liquid smears on his lips, his chin, the end of his nose.

"See, no big deal," he said softly. "It's natural. Just a part of you."

Her eyes started to fill and she let herself fall forward into his arms, pressing him down onto the bed.

"God," she whispered. "You're so special."

He stared at the ceiling, his arms loosely around her. "I know," he mouthed silently. "I know."

He had almost drifted off when the pounding started. He came up out of the netherworld between slumber and wakefulness to the spraying hiss of water against tile punctuated by the bass of someone slapping a hollow-core door open-palmed.

"Yeah, hold on," he yelled, half asleep. He grabbed a robe and threw it on. How long had he been out?

He cracked the door of the darkened bedroom and stared out sleepily. The woman on the other side of the door was at least six inches shorter and seventy pounds lighter than he, but her irritation seemed to fill the space around her. Her hands were on her hips, petulance on her face.

"Well?" she said. "I'm really annoyed with you."

He looked down, feigning embarrassment. "Taylor, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to—"


Excerpted from By Blood Written by Steven Womack Copyright © 2007 by Steven Womack. Excerpted by permission.
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