SHE WAS THIRSTY.
It burned like a dry desert in her throat. She was hungry for a feed, not diabolically so though. She didn’t feed regularly as she once did. Maturity, training, honing her powers, had taught her to hold off her thirst. Her hunger. But still, it was there—the craving. Possibly ticked off by the temptation of those two daring devils.
She hated that kind. Drained them just for the pleasure of it.
Once again, she mastered the surge of ferociousness, quelled it and shelved it.
That was why she needed the walk. She liked to walk. It relaxed her. Balanced her. She could, of course, only walk when the clouds were blind with the retreat of the sun. When the night sky only shimmered with light from the stars and the moon.
Tonight, the sky was alight with the curve of a half-moon. It lent shadowy mystery to the night; to the creatures that walked under it.
She should have accepted his invitation. She should have lingered with him, enjoyed his struggles to resist her, his helpless surrender that would be inevitable. Amused by her own natural inclination to conquer, Red moistened her lips, tasted again her yen for a drink. And sighed lustily against it.
Then she smelled him. A predator—with unbridled passion. Willing to take without the benefit of consent. And hot, pulsing blood. Releasing the hold over her fury, she turned.
“I hate to presume that you’re stalking me to do me bodily harm.” She kept her voice as cool as the night air and as sultry as the secrets it held.
Seduction was her weapon.
“I have no wish to do you any harm.” Simon swaggered forward, hunter stalking its prey.
“What do you wish then… Simon?”
He became cockier. “A kiss. Maybe a little more.”
“A fool’s request.” She gauged the alcohol content in his blood through his eyes. Negligent. He will do. “Flag a cab, Simon. We will get faster to my lair that way.”
Surprise flickered. He hadn’t expected surrender. To his peril, he erroneously mistook her words for one. “I have my car. Back at the Lounge. I’ll go get it. Won’t be a minute. Don’t go away.”
“No, I wouldn’t. But you might.”
The words were a whisper under her breath.
╬ ╬ ╬
HE ENTERED like a lamb into a lion’s den.
Or a fool where angels would fear to tread. Red decided both comparisons were apt.
“Great place you have here. Not properly lit though.” His wandering eyes haughtily appraised her living room.
“It suits me.”
Seduction was not her only weapon. Mind-control was another. With him, that was what she needed. What she preferred. She wanted his surrender— to her superiority.
It was a command. To be obeyed—with complete compliance.
He turned his head. Their eyes locked. Hers roamed, possessed, conquered. Hypnotised, he moved his feet to do her bidding.
“You want a kiss, don’t you?”
He nodded. Like an eager child.
“I will give you my kiss then.” She touched his face. He quivered beneath her fingers. “Give me your neck.”
In mindless obedience, he threw back his head and arched his neck towards her.
Red whistled out a breath through her parted teeth, sniffed the thrumming blood and breathed in the potent fragrance of it. She reached out and trailed her fingers across his skin. He quivered, shuddered, then moaned involuntarily. Pleased, she bent forward, touched her mouth to the warm crook of his neck and dropping her fangs, sank them into his jugular.
The first taste was sweet, rich… heady. She sank deeper and she drank more.
He reared into her, shuddering with the ecstasy of her suckling; desiring her more even as she drained him. She didn’t need that much but she took, took even more… a punishment for his foolhardiness.
When satiated, she disengaged her mouth and watched as he dropped at her feet, making a mess on her Turkish Antique rug.
She will have to change it.
Inhaling to allow the blood settle and energise, she lowered and with one swift movement, yanked up his body off her rug and turned into the house, the weight of him a feathery bulk in between her hands.
She unlocked a steel door and called out. “Wild?”
The greyish-brown, black-striped wild cat uncurled his sleeping form and rose to saunter towards her. In the semi-dark of his little den, their gaze locked, subject to mistress.
“Dinner.” And she tossed down Simon’s body.
Leaving Wild to feast, she returned to the living room, retrieved Simon’s car key and went out.
She returned much later, having dumped his car at the farther end of the city.
After bagging and disposing what was left of Simon, she walked into her bedroom, undressed, and naked, stood by her French window and stared out at the half-moon.
Once she had not been like this. The un-dead.
Once she had had a life, a soul. A mother. A family. Once she had been like them—human. Alive. Then she had met him and he’d bitten her, drank from her—transformed her. And she’d become one of the others.
She had roamed far, and wild. Drank freely, indiscriminately. She had killed, not out of necessity, but a pleasure. Revenge for what was taken from her; for what she will be no more. She had become a fugitive. A force feared and forbidden. By day, the weakened creature and by night, the powerful hunter.
Then she had started to learn. She had needed to learn.
She learned to control the thirst, the craving for a kill. She learned the rules and made her own. She learned to make money, using her nature, her powers. She learned to invest and to multiply her investments.
Then she left the coven. Abandoned the pack. There might have been safety in numbers, but she preferred the solitude. She had lost her family and she never again wanted any. So she left and travelled alone; hunted alone—lived alone.
She had lived long. Had stopped counting how long. She would live longer. Forever. Immortal. It was the curse. Sometimes, it was a blessing.
Red turned from the window and walked to her computer. It was time to work.
**No.1 of the Vampire Fantasy Quartet. Purchase @ the LS eStore or on Okadabooks**