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—An Unedited Excerpt From The Sweetest Bite—
Kragen’s son brought me back to his place. I really had no desire to spend the night in some strange guy’s place. I fought hard, but he insisted it was in my best interest especially after seeing my apartment.
I loved the large airy rooms and huge windows of my third-floor home. It always received plenty of sunlight.
“You’ve got to be kidding me, cher?” He walked out of the bedroom. “This is a nice place.”
“Thank you.” I was proud of it. I hadn’t worked a pole six nights a week to live in a dump or a coffin.
“For humans,” he said. “This will never work for ya. Too much light.”
“I managed just fine this morning.” I rubbed my arm and remembered sleeping in my closet.
“Okay, let’s say we make it work. I must put up room darkening blinds and curtains to all the windows. Darkening screens and boards will need to go over any window not easily covered. Let’s not forget the skylights. Can’t have those leaking in any light. Then, we need to get you some subtle lighting throughout. Regular lighting is terrible on your eyes.”
I put up my hand. “All right, I get it. We’ll find me someplace else.”
“For tonight, that place is with me.”
Golden Boy lived in a ground floor studio apartment with very few windows. It felt more like a cave or a shoe box not a place to call home. I didn’t even want it to be a temporary abode.
“I’m not sleeping in a box. Ya can’t make me.” I folded my jittery arms and sat on the black leather sofa. The twitching was getting worse. A sure sign the bloodlust was taking hold, and I didn’t know how to fight it.
“I don’t sleep in a box. You’re sitting on my bed.”
Golden Boy was checking me out. Hard. I closed my eyes, and I heard a familiar voice in my head.
She’s exquisite, he thought. My father entrusted me with a job and I can’t fail. But, this girl is such a distraction. She has this raw earthiness about her which is turning me on. I long to caress her fawn colored skin, run my fingers through that dark hair streaked with blonde. But, she needs to eat and soon. Dark circles already making an appearance.
I shuddered. I guessed hearing a person’s thoughts was another vampire thing. It was creepy, but it was kind of nice to know I interested Golden Boy. He wasn’t half bad himself.
Golden Boy pushed away from the granite kitchen counter and opened the fridge. He pulled out a bottle of wine. He uncorked it and the most delightful ambrosia—hints of orange, peaches, and coconut—hit my nose. My mouth watered as he poured a goblet. I snatched it and eagerly drank the crimson nectar.
He pulled the glass away from me. “Ya need to sip it, cher. It’s all about learning control. Without it, ya become a prisoner to the lust.”
I was already cursed. I didn’t care to be held captive by cravings, too. My hand shook as I slowly savored the liquid.
He pushed the hair off my face, and I got a good look at the man. Tousled dirty blond hair, scruffy face, and grayish eyes. He had the rugged appeal of a sexy cowboy. Maybe keeping time with him wasn’t such a bad thing.
She’s so beautiful. I could see why the rogue vamp chose her. Man, his thoughts were invading my mind again. I wanted to click the off switch. If he hadn’t been on a feeding frenzy, would he have kept her for himself? I wouldn’t have let her slip away from me.
My tremors faded away. I was feeling more like myself.
So much better. The color was back in her face. I’d have to make sure she never went hungry. She was too beautiful to be weighed down by the shadows of death.
I passed him the goblet. “Thank you…”
“Yeah, Clint. How do I turn off your voice in my head?”
He looked dazed. “You can hear my thoughts?”
I smiled and noticed my fangs had receded. “Every single last one.”
“Intense concentration sometimes will do it. Or, maybe you’re just one powerful vamp.”
“So, you’re listening in to my thoughts?”
“No.” I wish I could hear your thoughts.
I was glad he couldn’t hear my thoughts, but what made me so special? I pointed at the goblet. “Is this what you do?”
“Pretty much,” he sat beside me.
“Don’t you enjoy the hunt? The pleasure in biting succulent flesh?” I licked my lips. Why the hell did I enjoy it?
“Drinking is easier. More civilized.”
“News flash Clint, you’re not human.”
“Sorry to disappoint ya, but I am human.”
My mouth fell open. How was that even possible?
“I’m only half human.”
“I don’t get it,” I said.
“I’m a dhampir, the offspring of my father mating with a human.”
“It means I get the advantages, so to speak, of being a vampire without the drawbacks. I can go out in the sun without burning up, for example.”
I sighed remembering my incident with daylight. “I kind of found out about that this morning. Sort of sucks.”
“Well, ya have two things I don’t have.”
“The ability to hear thoughts and immortality,” he sounded disheartened.
“Tell me more about this bloodlust.” I didn’t want to keep dealing with it. I needed to know what I was up against.
“Usually a vamp who intends to turn someone, won’t drain their victim. Afterwards, the newly turned is gradually introduced to feeding. You were drained. Plus, there was no one to control your first feeds. So, ya went on a feeding frenzy. Bloodlust. You’re kind of unusual. He drained ya, and you lived. Ya should be dead not undead.”
Undead. I didn’t like the sound of it, but it was my new reality. I was nothing more than a soulless being preying on the living. My eyes stung, yet I wouldn’t shed a tear in front of this man.
“Your dad mentioned the BlackGuard and the Council. What was that about?”
“Think of the Council as our form of government. They’re in charge of all supernatural beings. The BlackGuard is the Unwelcome Committee for rogue beings in town. Ya don’t want the BlackGuard on your back.”
“They have a tendency to show up whenever a rogue gets out of hand. They hunt it down and make them disappear. Permanently.”
I hugged myself. “So, which one am I in trouble with?”
“Neither. Yet. The Council will sit back and watch. Make sure we clean up this mess. The BlackGuard leaves a calling card.”
“A white business card with their emblem on one side and the words ‘we’re watching’ on the other side. Kragen would have been more upset if he’d gotten one of those.”
“Why do you call him by his first name?”
Clint returned to the ‘wine’ bottle and poured himself a glass. He took a healthy swig before speaking. “We’ve got a bad history. It’s all you need to know.”
I shrugged. We all had our secrets.
“Tabitha, sun’s coming up soon. Ya should get some sleep.”
I looked around the room. “Where?”
“Ya can have the sofa. I kind of hang out during the day. I sleep when I need it.”
“Don’t worry about it. Besides, tomorrow you’ve a lot to learn. Might as well rest while ya can.”
©2018 by Avanturine Press, LLC.
The BlackGuard Society novels—a spin-off of the Another Falls Creek Romance series—will debut in 2019. The next book in the AFCR series will release July 6th, Letting Go.
To enter, you need to know that my lucky book number is 10.
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on Team Purple and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!