Blood Vengeance (Blood Curse Series Book 7)

BOOK: Blood Vengeance (Blood Curse Series Book 7)
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Blood Vengeance

 

 

 

 

by Tessa Dawn

 

A Blood Curse Novel

Book Seven

In the Blood Curse Series

Credits and Acknowledgments

Ghost Pines Publishing, LLC.,
Publishing
 

GreenHouse Design, Inc.,
Cover Art 

Lidia Bircea,
Romanian Translations 

Reba Hilbert,
Editing

 

Blaze of Glory –
by Bon Jovi

House of the Rising Sun
– This song was recorded several times by various artists prior to the most-recognizable version by the Animals in 1964 (sung by lead singer, Eric Burdon). There is some controversy as to who wrote the lyrics, with one theory being George Turner and Bert Martin. The song is in the public domain.

 

To Becky M ~ for being my son’s most formidable sentinel.

The Blood Curse

In 800 BC, Prince Jadon and Prince Jaegar Demir were banished from their Romanian homeland after being cursed by a ghostly apparition: the reincarnated Blood of their numerous female victims. The princes belonged to an ancient society that sacrificed its females to the point of extinction, and the punishment was severe.

They were forced to roam the earth in darkness as creatures of the night. They were condemned to feed on the blood of the innocent and stripped of their ability to produce female offspring. They were damned to father twin sons by human hosts who would die wretchedly upon giving birth; and the firstborn of the first set would forever be required as a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of their forefathers.

Staggered by the enormity of The Curse, Prince Jadon, whose own hands had never shed blood, begged his accuser for leniency and received four small mercies—four exceptions to the curse that would apply to his house and his descendants, alone.

  • Though still creatures of the night, they would be allowed to walk in the sun.
  • Though still required to live on blood, they would not be forced to take the lives of the innocent.
  • While still incapable of producing female offspring, they would be given one opportunity and thirty days to obtain a mate—a human destiny chosen by the gods—following a sign that appeared in the heavens.
  • While they were still required to sacrifice a firstborn son, their twins would be born as one child of darkness and one child of light, allowing them to sacrifice the former while keeping the latter to carry on their race.

 

And so… forever banished from their homeland in the Transylvanian mountains of Eastern Europe, the descendants of Jaegar and the descendants of Jadon became the Vampyr of legend: roaming the earth, ruling the elements, living on the blood of others… forever bound by an ancient curse. They were brothers of the same species, separated only by degrees of light and shadow.

Prologue

Tiffany Matthews cleared away the remaining scattered toys from the front parlor of Prince Phoenix’s suite of rooms. She took several steps back and skimmed the wide-planked, hardwood floors, her eyes searching up and down each slat of wood, one at a time, scanning for the missing
Bobee
, a stuffed purple dragon that Phoenix clung to like glue. The child needed the dragon to sleep—or at least he thought he did—and as of three o’clock that afternoon, Bobee had gone missing.

It was an utter catastrophe in the making.

She furrowed her brow and glanced beneath the formal settee. Nothing there. She spun around and checked beneath the mission-style end tables. Nothing there, either. She got down on her hands and knees and tried to view the room from a child’s point of view—still nothing reared its dragon-head.

She sighed. She had two financial reports to
peruse
before morning, a ledger full of new accounts to enter into the computer database, and here she was, on her hands and knees like a ninny—or a nanny, to be exact—searching for a purple dragon.

“Still nothing yet?” Brooke asked, stepping quietly into the room. The queen was as tired as she looked, considering the fact that Phoenix had not taken a decent nap all day. “Napolean says he picked up the dragon in Romania the last time he was there to check on things at the University—he can’t possibly get another one here in the States.”

Tiffany rolled her eyes and huffed in annoyance. “Great. Just great. I don’t suppose the child would settle for Barney?”

Brooke drew back, appalled. “Oh gods,” she uttered. “Just the thought of it. I think he would have a royal meltdown.”

Tiffany laughed, and then she clutched at her forearm. “Agreed.” She scratched her wrist and stood up from the floor. “I swear; I have looked everywhere, even in the most ridiculous of places, like the refrigerator, the bathtub, and the pantry, just to rule it out. Where the heck is Bobee?”

Brooke rubbed her tired eyes and slowly shook her head. “You looked in the refrigerator?”

Tiffany squared her shoulders and leveled a warning glare at her best friend. “Don’t go there, Brookie.”

The queen looked off into the distance. “I think Bobee’s dead.”

“No!” Tiffany nearly shouted, spinning around on her heels. “Watch your mouth,
milady
.” They both giggled at Brooke’s formal title. “To even speak of it is treason.”

Brooke held up both hands in surrender. “
Sorry
. Hey, why don’t you go ahead and make your way to the guest house. It’s already going on six o’clock, and I know you have a lot of work to do for DMV Prime. I’ll keep searching for the missing toy, and I’ll let you know if I find it.” She breathed a plaintive sigh. “Who knows: Maybe someone will send a ransom note, and we can pay for Bobee’s safe return.”

Tiffany laughed wholeheartedly. “Oh, if only we should be that lucky.” She tucked her arm to her chest, rubbed it against her shirt, and headed toward the front door of the parlor. “Now, if I could only find my car keys.”

“You lost them
again
?” Brooke asked.

Tiffany moaned. “I swear; I would lose my head if it wasn’t firmly attached to my shoulders.” She squeezed her left forearm with her right hand and absently began to rub tight circles over her wrist with her thumb.

“What’s with your arm?” Brooke said, frowning. She gestured toward the cradled limb.

Tiffany frowned. “I don’t know.” She held it up and turned it over in order to take a closer look. “I think I must have bumped it against the furniture.” She noticed several red welts, swelling near the junction of her elbow, and winced. “Or maybe it’s an allergy of some sort, a really bad rash. Maybe I came in contact with some dust or pollen, trying to hunt for Bobee.”

Brooke gave her a mock look of insult. “Are you saying my house is filthy?”

Tiffany chuckled. She waved her hand around the room and smirked. “House, Brooke? Your son has a
suite
of rooms. This is a mansion, not a house.” She angled her chin in a playful, haughty manner.

Brooke sneered at the amusing gesture. “Don’t change the subject. Are you saying my
less than humble abode
is dirty?”

Tiffany curtsied. “No,
milady
.” She laughed. “Although I might be saying it would help if you would quit firing your cleaning staff.”

“Who?” Brooke demanded in a surly voice. “Please tell me you are
not
referring to MaryAnn, the so-called human servant?” She made disdainful air quotes around the words
human
servant
.

Tiffany regarded her with mirth.

“Oh dear gods,” Brooke clipped, “the woman was trying to seduce Napolean.”

“You don’t know that for a fact,” Tiffany said.

“She was dusting the furniture in the nude!”

Tiffany burst out in laughter and tucked a lock of her short blond hair behind her ear. “Well, maybe she was just being
organic
.” She snickered then. “Besides, can you blame the poor woman? She’s human. It must have been like being restricted to a really bad diet of celery and tuna, and then all of a sudden, you stumble across a huge chunk of meat, filet mignon: fresh, juicy, and right off the grill. What was the poor woman to do?”

Brooke stepped forward and punched her friend playfully in the arm. “Yeah, more like filet Mondragon.” She winked conspiratorially and laughed. “Besides, Carlotta is still with us.”

Tiffany knew the human servant well. She belonged to a kind, loyal family, one who had served the Vampyr for almost nine generations, and she was an invaluable asset to the house of Jadon. “Yes, but she’s a governess and an all-around magician, not a housekeeper.”

Brooke rolled her eyes, apparently refusing to take the conversation any further. She was just about to turn away, start searching for Bobee again, when she eyed the raised ridges on Tiffany’s wrist
again
. “Tiff, that is really flaring up. Let me see.”

Tiffany held out her arm and grimaced.
Yikes, it did look bad
. Well, not in a gruesome sort of way, but there were dozens of little lines crisscrossing along her skin like a cryptic diagram, parallel points that intersected in such a way that it almost looked like two dancing kids linking arms. “Maybe I should take some Benadryl.”

All at once, Brooke’s mouth shot open, and she took an unwitting step back, still grasping Tiffany’s arm.

“Hey, that is attached, you know,” Tiffany protested.

Brooke gazed up at her friend in blank stupefaction, looked down at her wrist once more, and then gulped.
“Tiffany… ”

“What?” Tiffany’s voice rose in alarm. “You think it’s something serious, don’t you?”

Brooke ran her fingers over the bright, mysterious lines and blanched. “I think… I think… ” She covered her mouth with her hand.


What
?” Tiffany insisted, staring down at her arm in concern. Holy crap, there really was something funky going on.

“That’s not a rash or an allergy, Tiff. It’s a constellation.
A celestial
deity
.”

“What do you mean?” Tiffany said, her voice rising with distress.

Brooke slowly shook her head as she took another look. “Correction. That would be celestial deities, as in plural. That’s Gemini, the twins.”

“Gemini who?” Tiffany shrieked, squeezing her arm with her hand. Her face suddenly felt hot, and her stomach felt queasy, although she didn’t quite know why. Well, other than the fact that she was dying of the plague. “Oh, God. How do you catch Gemini? Is there a medication for it?”

Brooke held both hands out in front of her and toggled them up and down as if to say,
Okay, let’s just calm down
, and then she gaped at Tiffany’s arm once more. “You are so not following me right now, Tiff.” She began to speak slowly and evenly, measuring her speech as if she were talking to a child, while over pronouncing her words. “The-mark-on-your-arm-is-the-sign-of-a-Blood-Moon. It’s a replication of a deity, one that belongs to a male from the house of Jadon. A vampire. Tiffany, it’s the mark of a vampire’s
destiny
.”

There was no need for the moron’s version of CliffsNotes, nor the repetitive explanation—Tiffany heard her friend loud and clear—although, the full meaning of the words did not quite sink in. And not because Tiffany was too slow to process the English language. On the contrary, she heard it, understood it, and moved right past understanding to
denial
.

No way.

No how.

Not today.

Not even tomorrow.

She marched very calmly to the nearest window, pulled back the blinds, and peeked up at the moon. As her eyes struggled to focus on the bloodred orb that hung like a neon sign in the heavens, her mind swirled around in a dizzying maelstrom, trying to dissect the far-too-obvious clues: mainly, the brilliant cluster of stars and meteors, the complex network of lines and planes, all coalescing in a unified pattern to form the image of a set of twins, two young children, linked at the wrist, staring off into space at a blackened sky.

Gemini
.

Tiffany looked down at her arm.

Then she looked back up at the moon.

Then she looked back down at her arm—

And she let out an appalling string of curse words.

“Who is it?” she demanded, all hints of good nature gone from her voice.
This wasn’t funny, not in the least.
This was beyond upsetting. It was horrific.

Impossible.

It simply was not
happening
.

Brooke strolled to Tiffany’s side and glanced at the sky.

For a moment, the beautiful brunette simply stared at the stars in awe, and then she fell into immediate formal protocol. “We need to go find Napolean.” She spoke softly and deliberately. “Whoever the male is, he has to be close by. Close enough to find you… if he searches.”

Tiffany spun around on her heels, her eyes darting back and forth across the room like frenetic lasers. She half expected to see Count Dracula himself hanging from the ceiling. “No!” she exclaimed, to no one in particular. There was absolutely no way they were going
to
go find Napolean
in order to offer her up as the virgin sacrifice to a vamp. Okay, well, not necessarily a virgin, but a sacrifice just the same. “That is not going to happen.”

Brooke nodded gravely and lowered her voice. “Okay, so what would you like me to do?”

Tiffany glanced around the room and shuddered. “Give me your keys, Brooke. I need to get out of here.”

“And you want to take my car?”

Tiffany glowered at her best friend, and if looks could kill, Brooke would have been six feet under, with rigor mortis already setting in. “Damnit, Brooke! I’m not playing around. The guest house is three miles away! Do you want me to walk?” She spun around again and eyed the back door of the parlor, the passage that led to Phoenix’s private portico. “
Give me your keys
.”

Brooke took a slow step backward and sighed. “Sweetie,” she nearly crooned, “I get it—you’re scared. Believe me, I understand. But you and I both know that you can’t run away from this. What we need to do is—”

“We?” Tiffany cut in. “Seriously, Brooke?
We
?” She took several steps back, gravitating toward the door. “No. There is no
we
in this. And I get it, too: You’re in love with the vampire king, and your life has been a thousand times better since Napolean claimed you, since you came to Dark Moon Vale. Bully for you.” She sighed, trying to catch her breath. “And so has mine—I’ll be the first to admit it—but
that
is as your graphic designer, your best friend, and your son’s impromptu nanny. Not as some creature’s
destiny
.”

“Some
creature
?” Brooke looked mildly offended.

“Don’t do that, Brooke,” Tiffany said. “Seriously, not right now. That’s not even fair. You know I have supported you… and Napolean… and Phoenix.” Her voice rose in proportion to her angst. “Hell, I’ve committed myself to living in Dark Moon Vale, knowing full well that I can never go back, not now that I know about the Vampyr, not now that I’ve placed myself under their protection and care. But”—she held up her hand to silence any protest before one could be made—“but
this
I cannot do. I will not do. I’m not you, Brooke. These guys scare the hell out of me on a really primitive level, if you know what I mean. So please.
Please
. Just give me your keys.” She held out her hand and waited.

Brooke looked positively ill. The turmoil in her eyes was unmistakable, the angst on her face, excruciating. “Oh, Tiff,” she whispered. “You are my best friend in the entire world.” She straightened her spine and raised her chin, although her confidence didn’t register in her voice. “And there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, but what you’re asking… ” She glanced at the door to the hall and then the door to the portico, each one in turn. “As your friend, as someone who
loves
you, I know that you’re in danger if you go off alone.” She sighed. “And as Napolean’s mate, a member of the house of Jadon—hell,
as the queen
—I also know that whoever this male is, if I help his
destiny
escape—”

“His
destiny
?” Tiffany interrupted, hardly able to believe her ears. “So is that what I am now?
His
destiny?”

“No,” Brooke argued. “I mean,
yes
, obviously, but—”

“Don’t,
milady
. The indecision does not become you.” Tiffany knew she was being cruel, but she just couldn’t help it. She was also running out of time. Gritting her teeth, she steadied her resolve and changed tactics. “At least tell me this: Who’s here, at the manse, right now? Which of your
subjects
? Which one of the males?” She instantly regretted the sarcasm, but it was too late to take it back.

Brooke looked momentarily stunned, perhaps even hurt by the sharp delivery, but to her credit, she collected herself and tried to answer honestly. “Um… I don’t know.” She shrugged her shoulders in exasperation, her soft blue eyes clouding with distress. “There’s no one… no meetings… no counsels.” She dropped her head and ran her hands through her hair, as if physically seeking the answers from her mind. “The only one who stops by this time of night, unannounced, is Ramsey Olaru, the sentinel. He sometimes drops in to compare notes with Napolean, but it all depends on what’s up.”

BOOK: Blood Vengeance (Blood Curse Series Book 7)
13.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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