Authors: Trina M. Lee
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban
Alexa’s struggle with the turn has sent her straight into the arms of the one man who feeds her madness: Kale Sinclair. Together they wreak havoc on the city and discover why they are so wrong for one another.
When Alexa’s sister, Agent Juliet O’Brien, gets busted covering up Alexa’s kills, she’s arrested by the government op she works for. They offer Alexa a deal. If she turns herself in, Juliet goes free. It’s risky but it just might provide her with an opportunity she never anticipated.
The separation from Arys is starting to weigh on them both. As Alexa’s sanity suffers so do her relationships. A Jekyll and Hyde mentality makes her unstable and unpredictable. If she continues on this path of destruction, her dark side will take her to a place she can never come back from.
Alexa O’Brien Huntress Book 9
Copyright 2015 by
Trina M. Lee
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in Canada.
B. Leigh Hogan
Dark Mountain Books
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Blood. Tears. A heartbeat. A scream. Everything had changed, and so had I.
The taste of death lingered in my mouth. I stared at the man on the ground before me, or what was left of him, and I felt nothing. The silence was especially deafening. There was no traffic, no sirens in the distance. Nothing to indicate the city was alive. But it was. And I shouldn’t have been, but I was too. In some way.
The gentle touch of Kale’s hand on my arm brought me back to myself. “Alexa? Are you all right?”
“No.” I wasn’t ever going to be all right again, but I didn’t say that. Instead I stared at my latest victim, strangely detached from the scene of carnage. I barely remembered the kill. It had happened so fast, as it always did now.
“Come on.” He tugged on my arm, and I let him lead me away. “Don’t look at it anymore. Sometimes it’s better to just walk away.”
Is it though?
I wanted to ask but didn’t.
How can that be?
Five nights. It had been just five nights since I had awoken in The Wicked Kiss as a vampire. Five nights since my greatest fears became my reality. Five nights since I faced the one who had killed me and then fled from him.
I could still see Arys’s face in my memory. The look of concern when he saw what he had made: me, a vampire. Then the look of horror when he realized I saw him in that moment only as my killer.
To be fair, it wasn’t entirely Arys’s fault. Killing me had been an unfortunate necessity. It had to be done. It was the only way to stop Shya. And it wasn’t like I hadn’t known it was coming. In the end, I’d had to force him to do it. His resistance would have ended us all. No, killing me wasn’t Arys’s great sin. What I couldn’t accept, couldn’t get over, was that he had loved it so damn much.
Arys was a vampire, so perhaps it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. But it did. The moment my life slipped away in his arms, I felt it, the true depths of his pleasure at being the one to take it. It wasn’t just that he was a vampire. It was that he desired my death. He got off on it. I was simply not ready to forgive that. The wound cut too deep. And yet, I missed him like crazy.
“What do you need from me?” Kale asked. He was hesitant, uncertain, and treating me like a fragile ornament about to shatter in his grasp.
I need you to let me die
, I thought. But that wasn’t true. It wasn’t what I wanted. The problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted. Kale had saved me from a fiery death. The morning sun had threatened to rise, and I had lain there in wait for it, a quaking mess ready to give up. I was thankful that he hadn’t let me.
“I need you to keep being you,” I said, forcing a small smile, hoping it reassured him. “Relax. You’re so tightly wound. It’s infectious.”
“Sorry.” He didn’t smile. His expression was frozen in a hard frown, thinly veiled worry.
I suspected that Kale now felt responsible for me. He wasn’t though. My bouts of madness were all my own. Blood-driven hunger ruled me now. Coupled with the difficulty that came from being separated from Arys, it was a new kind of hell I had never dreamed could exist. But it did. And I was in it.
We walked away, down the street, side by side, close but not touching. If I didn’t know better, I’d have said Kale was afraid to get too close. Maybe he was. Since the night he’d carried me out of the graveyard and taken me back to the safety of his house, he’d gone out of his way not to touch me more than he had to.
Streetlights flickered as we walked beneath, a side effect of the recently unleashed power that ran rampant through me. The hunger gnawed at me. That last kill had barely scratched the surface of my itch. All it had done was stir my craving, leaving me wanting more. I felt myself slipping back into that strange headspace where I merely acted upon instinct with no conscious thought or sense of right and wrong. I just was, and it was glorious.
Killing in a park in the middle of the night seemed very cliché, something a horror movie vampire would do. Avoiding busy areas and obvious public places was necessary in this day and age of camera phones and fearless idiots. Stalking the quiet park for late night joggers was not my MO. So why was I doing it? Even I wasn’t sure. The FPA would catch up to me either way.
“Why don’t we go to The Wicked Kiss?” Kale suggested. His brown and blue eyes were haunted as he struggled against the dark hunger. He couldn’t resist. Being bound to me made it futile for him to try.
Waking up in the vampire friendly nightclub had been a nightmare come true for me. I wasn’t ready to go back there. I wasn’t able to keep myself from turning it into an all out buffet of slaughter and mayhem.
“We will. Eventually. When I can keep myself from having an all I can eat extravaganza.” I avoided his gaze, not wanting him to see the truth I was about to give voice to. “I’m not ready for them all to see me like this.”
Kale nodded, a quick, sharp bob of his head in my peripheral vision. “I understand. But you know you can’t go on like this much longer.”
I slid him a sidelong glance, a vicious grin curving my lips. “When did you have such a change of heart? It wasn’t so long ago that you were hunting innocents… and loving it.” I made air quotes as I said the word ‘innocent.’ I had once mistaken humans for innocents. It took only turning on the news each night to see that just wasn’t true.
He frowned and seemed to angle himself even further away. “This isn’t about me. It’s about you not having to live with an eternity of regret.”
“I don’t need a babysitter, Kale.”
“Is that so?” He countered, his tone hard and brittle. “Since when is it like you to kill at random without a second thought? That’s not you, Alexa. It’s the hunger.”
“Let’s not do this again.” I laughed him off, receiving a glare that I shrugged off as well. I couldn’t help but find it funny that the only thing that could return Kale’s sanity was my loss of it.
“Yes,” he agreed. “Let’s not.”
I stopped in my tracks, listening to the faint murmur of voices that drifted over to us on the evening air. A man and a woman. Their scent followed, and I breathed it in with the excitement of a kid smelling freshly baked cookies.
Following the scent, I ignored Kale who said my name in a harsh whisper. I was on the trail of my prey, and I would not be deterred. When I didn’t pay him any attention, Kale swore and followed me.
There they were, seated on a park bench, totally lost in one another. The couple oozed desire, which was as tantalizing as the blood pounding through their veins.
My fangs itched with the need to bury them in flesh. I was still growing accustomed to having the two fierce points in my mouth all the time. It was much different from wolf fangs that only appeared when the wolf surfaced. I ran my tongue over one of the sharp points, smiling when I tasted my own blood.
Kale grabbed hold of me from behind, his hand on the curve of my hip. “No,” he whispered in my ear. “We’re not doing this.”
It sounded very much like something I’d said to him not so long ago. So I answered him the way he had replied to me. I pulled away, easing out of the shadows, into the small splash of light from the closest streetlight.
“Looks like we are,” I said, raising my voice to announce our presence.
The couple broke apart, looking at us like the unwelcome interruption we were. I didn’t bother to study them closely: dark hair, wide eyes, audible heartbeats. That’s all I took in before the last of my control slipped away.
I grabbed the woman and dragged her off the bench. The man shouted and reached to stop me, but I flung him back with a flick of my wrist. Without hesitation, I bit into the woman’s neck. Her blood spilled over my tongue, and I groaned. Somehow I managed to restrain myself long enough to thrust her into Kale’s arms.
Agony was short lived in his eyes. Once she was bleeding and screaming in his embrace, he was gone, swallowed up by his own inner demons. I watched the bloodlust take him. From one blink to the next, he became something else, the worst kind of monster.
I watched him run his tongue over the bite mark I’d left. He laughed when the woman shrieked, a low, wicked chuckle that stirred my own desire to life.
The man sprang up again, and this time I stopped him with a look. That was all it took for my intention to manipulate him. Without a word, I sat him back down on the bench and climbed atop him. I straddled him, feeling his immediate reaction and grinning with satisfaction.
“Do you want me to take you?” I murmured into my victim’s ear. “I can take you to places you’ve never dreamed of.”
He nodded, staring at me in dumbstruck wonder. So easily he’d fallen under my spell. While his lady screamed bloody murder in Kale’s arms, just the way Kale liked it, my victim offered me his neck.
I wasn’t ready for it yet. Building his lusty energy into a frenzy of bliss came first. Only when he was ready to explode with wanting would I claim him.
Grasping his energy with a metaphysical hand, I blanketed him with my own energy before drawing his in. It created a dizzying rush that I melted into. Just as I was chasing that downward spiral of euphoria, I felt it, a cold rush I would know anywhere. Arys.
My head snapped up, and I searched the night for him before realizing his presence was inside my head. A storm of emotions slammed through me like a ton of bricks. All of it Arys’s.
He was both delighted and horrified to find me in such a state. He loved it as much as he hated it. And he sure did hate it. Especially once he realized that Kale remained my partner in crime.
However, Arys himself was certainly no saint. The mental door between us worked two ways, and I saw very clearly that he was with Jenner, a woman stretched out between them as they feasted upon her. To be fair, Arys wasn’t as into it as his blood brother was. I got the impression that he’d been dragged along. Still, he was there, doing the same damn thing that I was.
There was the unwelcome sensation of attempted communication. Arys wasn’t content with just a look. But I wasn’t ready to allow him back in. Not yet. I forced him from my mind with more aggression than necessary. His shock and dismay lingered, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth.
The moment had been ruined. My concentration had been broken, and the magic had faded. Arys would come. He could easily find me, and now he would come. I would not be around when he did.
Disappointed that my fun was over so soon, I jerked my victim’s head aside and plunged fangs deep into his artery. There was still a pleasant rush from the spilling of blood and the man’s arousal, though it was a far cry from what it should have been.