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Authors: Trisha Telep

Eternal Kiss

BOOK: Eternal Kiss
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian
Copyright Act 1968
), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Eternal Kiss: Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire, The

ePub ISBN 9781742745244

A Random House book
Published by Random House Australia Pty Ltd
Level 3, 100 Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060
www.randomhouse.com.au

First published in the United States by Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group
First published by Random House Australia in 2009

Copyright © 2009 by Trisha Telep (unless otherwise indicated)

The moral right of the authors has been asserted.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted by any person or entity, including internet search engines or retailers, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying (except under the statutory exceptions provisions of the Australian
Copyright Act 1968
), recording, scanning or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of Random House Australia.

Addresses for companies within the Random House Group can be found at
www.randomhouse.com.au/offices
.

National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication Entry

Title: The eternal kiss: vampire tales of blood and desire / editor, Trisha Telep
ISBN: 978 1 86471 941 3 (pbk.)
Target Audience: For young adults
Subjects: Vampires – Fiction
Other Authors/Contributors: Telep, Trisha
Dewey Number: 823.30108375

Cover design: Ellie Exarchos
Cover photography: iStockphoto and Getty Images

Introduction

Thank heavens you’ve picked up this book.

Would you trade your life for just one kiss?

With the amount of readers itching for vampire stories these days, you can be sure there are more and more that would. Vampires are bigger and tastier than they’ve ever been. They are gorgeous and seductive and dangerous—what more could you ask for? It’s easy to see why everybody is scrambling to get into a pair of fangs. You get to be young and beautiful forever and make out eternally with an incredibly hot member of the Undead.

It seems to me that vampires are the gatekeepers of youth. If you reject their eternal kiss, you say yes to getting older (as well as yes to the sun, yes to eating food on a regular basis, no to blood drinking, etc.). As the editor of this book, I find that fascinating. Do I grow up, or do I refuse to? It’s like Peter Pan all over again, only with pulsing veins and teeth, constant night and scary red eyes. Vampires are all Lost Boys (or Girls). Every one of them. Wandering the earth aimlessly, looking for love and blood.

These crimson-sweet tales, by some of the best living writers in the business of the dead, will satisfy your cravings. Whether your (blood) type is tall, dark and handsome or lonely and gorgeously Goth, you’ll find a choice selection of vampires to quench your thirst.

A kiss may be just a kiss, but a kiss from a vampire is an eternal kiss. It’s a kiss that can mean forever. Death or immortality. Which would you choose?

That is, if you’re even given a choice.

—T
RISHA
T
ELEP

T
HEO WAS LATE
. It had been almost a year since she’d seen him, and he couldn’t even be on time.

Moth growled, shifting her gaze to the moon so she could enjoy the cool rays as they bathed her pale skin. Moonlight was her favorite thing in the world—apart from brown eyes on a good-looking guy. She pulled her sunglasses down onto the tip of her nose and surveyed the alley, wondering what the hell had happened to Theo. She tapped her foot impatiently, enjoying the clicking sound the steel toe-caps of her boots made on the sidewalk.

Anything to avoid thinking about Mom’s memorial service tomorrow. Well, not so much the service itself—she was far more afraid of facing her father. Her lips tightened as she remembered the last time she’d seen him; fatherly love had been the last thing on his mind. Her mother had been gone for a year, and yet her dad couldn’t care less whether or not his middle daughter turned up to remember her.

Moth swallowed and pushed those thoughts away, instead admiring the pure white skin of her slender arms as she stretched them above her head. It wasn’t like she’d ever been
much for tanning, even before she became a vampire. She could still walk in daylight, but not in full-summer and never without some cloud cover or buildings to shade her. As each year passed, she noticed how the sun bothered her a little more; even SPF fifty wasn’t always enough.

Pushing the cheap plastic sunglasses back into position, she leaned against the back door of
Subterranean
and wondered why they couldn’t have met
inside
the club. It was ten-thirty on Saturday night—the place would be crawling with vampires, and she might even see some familiar faces. Despite her desperation to get away from this place, she’d been lonely the past few months.

And then Theo was there, sliding out of the shadows and gliding toward her with the cat-like grace she was so familiar with. His beauty never failed to take her breath away, even though she hated the knowing gleam in his eye as he touched her cheek in greeting.

Moth glared from behind her shades. “You’re late.”

“And your manners haven’t improved.”

“I was in Boston, Theo. Not a finishing school for naughty girls.”

Theo raised his dark eyebrows and grinned his wicked pirate-smile. “Now there’s an idea …”

Moth pushed the sunglasses up onto her head, balancing them among the thick black waves of her long hair. She knew that her silver eyes would be glowing brightly in recognition of her sire, but she couldn’t bring herself to show him how happy she really was to see him. He hadn’t earned that right—not since
the day, ten years ago, when he’d stolen her innocence and made her a monster.

He reached out for the shades and snatched them before she could stop him. “Why are you wearing these ridiculous things?”

“My eyes keep glowing and the contacts hurt.” She nodded up at the moon. “It’s almost full.”

“You haven’t been feeding.” Theo’s tone was filled with reproach. “If you had, you wouldn’t have this problem.” His own eyes were currently light gray, his vampire nature hidden behind centuries of rigid control.

Moth glared. “I’ve fed more than enough.”

He sniffed. “From blood banks. It’s hardly the same thing.”

“You said you wouldn’t push me on this.”

“I haven’t pushed you on your eating habits for almost a decade. Perhaps I should start.”

She scuffed her boot on the ground, deciding that a change of subject might be a good idea. “Why are we standing out here, anyway?”

Theo leaned against the wall and pushed his hands into the pockets of his custom-made jacket. His black hair was shorter than she remembered it, the curls resting neatly around his ears and stopping short of his collar. People often took them for family, which amused Theo. He liked to pretend she was his little sister—it gave him a sick charge.

Just as Moth began to wonder if he was going to answer, he met her eyes. “I don’t want anyone to know you’re back. Not yet.”

She frowned. What the hell was he cooking up now? Wasn’t it enough that he’d dragged her into the city for a meeting, just because he knew she’d be back for her mother’s service? “You promised me a year of freedom, Theo. My time’s not even up, yet. This isn’t fair.”


Life
isn’t fair, my lovely.” His eyes were like stone, his mouth unsmiling.

“But you
promised
,” she said, hating herself for showing weakness. She wrapped her arms around her body, as though she could hold back the pain that began to gnaw at her belly. Being around Theo always made her feel hungry—that was one of the reasons she’d wanted to get away from Ironbridge in the first place.

“I have a job for you,” Theo said, breaking into her thoughts. “It’s something very special. Only my little Moth would do for this one.”

Ten months into her … vacation, and he wanted her for
this
? To steal something? That’s all he ever wanted her for. “This is such crap. You don’t need me—it’s just an excuse.”

His eyes grew wide and mock-innocent. “An
excuse
? For what?”

“To get me back. You’re not happy unless you’re controlling everyone around you.”

Theo’s face hardened and Moth felt the familiar tug of power in her chest. He owned her, body and soul—if she still even
had
a soul—and she hated him almost as much as she loved him. Right now, maybe she hated him more.

“Be grateful that you had as long as you did, child. It’s hardly my fault you came back to cry over your mother’s grave. Now, listen to me. Here’s what I want you to do …”

All this trouble for a stupid funeral urn?
And why was death such a feature on this trip? Moth shook her head as she stomped through Ironbridge Common and avoided a group of kids who were taking turns swigging out of a bottle. She pushed down the sharp stab of envy somewhere in the region of her heart; she would never do those human things again. She sighed, and tried to remember what it had been like to be a “normal” teenager. If she was being honest with herself, it wasn’t like she’d been all that happy back then, anyway.

It was a mild night and the sky was clear. Summer wasn’t far away—she could already smell it in the air and dreaded the longer days to come. Moth flopped onto a bench under one of the old-fashioned iron lamps that lined the pathways. She tried not to remember the distressed expression on Caitlín’s face when she’d left the city, ten months ago. They’d sat in this very spot and said their goodbyes. Moth had promised to call her younger sister as soon as she returned to Ironbridge, but instead here she was skulking around the Common and wondering if there was any way she could get out of doing this job for Theo.

“Hey, what freak show did
you
escape from?”

Two guys were standing in front of her, one of them posing with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. She’d
been so busy thinking about Theo, and the crazy scheme he’d dragged her into, that she hadn’t even smelled them coming.

Moth tried for the friendly approach.
Hey, it was worth a try
. “Nice to see you, too, boys.” She grinned, while still managing to keep her fangs hidden. It was tricky, but possible, although it had taken her several years to master the art.

The boys were probably sixteen or seventeen; only a little younger than Moth had been when she was turned almost a decade ago. They wore blue jeans and long-sleeved T-shirts. One of them carried a jacket that caught her eye—it was soft black leather, covered in zips and pointed metal studs.
Nice
. She wondered how a kid like that could afford such a beautiful jacket.

“Don’t know what you’re grinning at, but you’re sitting on our bench.” This was said around the cigarette, so some of the force behind the words was lost. The guy had short brown hair, narrow eyes, and a
screw-you
attitude. His slightly hawkish nose reminded her of Theo’s.

Leather Jacket Boy nodded agreement as he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his buddy. He clearly thought he was doing a good job at playing the silent, menacing role, but his scruffy halo of soft-looking blond hair ruined the effect.

Moth sighed and slowly shook her head. “Now, that’s no way to talk to a lady, is it boys?” She leaned back and spread her arms out along the back of the bench. The studded bracelets on her right wrist caught the light.

The smoker leaned over her. “I don’t see a ‘lady’ here. And I said, get off our bench.”

“Can’t you find another bench to make out on?” Moth kept her expression neutral, but she could smell the boy’s anger and it was making her even hungrier.

“What are you saying?” Leather Jacket Boy demanded, his face flushing.

Moth stood in a single, fluid movement. She tugged down her short black skirt and cursed as she caught her fishnets on one of her rings. “Crap. Now look what you made me do.” She glared at them both, remembering too late that the expression would be lost behind her sunglasses. She was tempted to give them a good look at her eyes, but Theo would be pissed and she’d only just gotten back. Probably not a wise move.

She reached out to the dark-haired kid, swiping the cigarette from his mouth. Before he could protest, she pressed the burning tip against her other palm and watched their faces as her white flesh sizzled. It hurt like hell, but there was no way she would show
them
that—and the burn would heal in a matter of minutes, anyway. Not that these assholes needed to know that.

Both guys backed up a step. “Shit,” the one who’d been smoking said. “She must be high.”

Moth grinned, not caring if she flashed fang this time. “Get lost.” She threw the butt at them, laughing as they shot fearful glances at her.

“Crazy bitch,” Leather Jacket Boy muttered. He grabbed his friend’s arm and pulled him away from the bench. “C’mon, Todd.”

Moth watched them through narrowed eyes, clamping down
hard on her hunger and keeping the desire to teach these punks a
real
lesson in check.

“Todd” turned back and gave her the finger.

Ah, what the hell
. “Hey,” she called.

She sauntered over to them, swinging her hips and twirling her hair between her fingers. She stood up close to Leather Jacket Boy and ruffled his blond hair. “Nice jacket you got there. Your boyfriend buy it for you?”

“Shut up!” This was from Todd.

Moth ignored him. “Or maybe it was a gift from Mom and Dad. Do your folks know you’re out here, smoking and causing trouble for vulnerable girls like me?”

She grabbed the jacket with ease and made a big show of admiring it. “Lovely piece of work. I bet it was a Christmas gift. Am I right?” She looked at the blond kid and smiled.

“Give it back, or you’ll be sorry.”

“Yeah. Like I was sorry about sitting on your stupid bench,” she replied. “I think I’ll take this with me. Maybe it’ll teach you boys some manners.”

Todd took a step forward. “Give it back, freak.” He lit another cigarette and watched her through those cunning eyes. Moth couldn’t help admiring his bravado—his hands didn’t shake at all. “Maybe we’ll find out how you did that little trick before, see if it works when someone else tries it.” He brandished the freshly glowing cigarette and blew a cloud of smoke at her.

Moth acted without thinking—something she did way too much, according to Theo. Okay, and according to her father
and her “loving” older sister. She closed her mind to dark thoughts of Sinéad and her dad, determined not to see their disappointed faces.

Instead, she grabbed Todd by the throat and pulled him toward her so fast he lost his footing. She was so much shorter than him, it must’ve looked comical. At the same time, she wrestled the cigarette from his fingers and held the glowing tip close to his sweating face.

“Next time, you get this in your eye.” She took a drag on it and blew a mouthful of smoke directly into his face. “From now on, that’s
my
bench.”

Moth shoved him away from her hard enough to dump him on his ass. She dropped the cigarette on him then picked up the leather jacket. Dusting it off while she watched the blond boy, who was gazing at her with terrified saucer-eyes, she felt a surge of adrenalin. Part of her hated doing this, but there was a growing part that enjoyed the sense of power no matter how hard she tried to deny it. It helped that she pictured her father’s face sneering at her whenever she played the tough-girl role.

She shrugged into the jacket, testing the fit and enjoying the feel of the smooth satin lining. It was too big, but that didn’t matter.

“Very nice,” she said. “Thanks.”

Leaving them with their mouths hanging open, Moth walked back to the pathway. Heading back into the city, she tried to ignore the gnawing hunger that made her whole body buzz. She’d have to make an extra stop for blood now, dammit.

BOOK: Eternal Kiss
12.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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