Authors: Dawn Michelle
|Number III of|
|Novel Concept Publishing LLC (2015)|
Book 3 of the
paranormal series by
USA Today Bestselling
author, Dawn Michelle
When Beth died she left behind a lot of pain and humiliation. She'd been rejected, spurned, beaten, and worse. All that was behind her now. Her only escape was into the darkness her new friend offered. A darkness filled with limitless possibilities and the chance to live forever.
But forever can be a lonely place with its own dangers. Between Detroit's nocturnal predators and the over-curious police officer she left behind, Beth is running out of places, and reasons, to hide. When she gets trapped between the people she cares the most for she has to choose who will win, and who will die.
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Book 3: *Lover's Kiss
Blood Kissed – Part Three
Published by Novel Concept Publishing LLC
By Dawn Michelle
All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Cover art © 2014
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The man scurried in front of the slow moving traffic just like the massive insect featured on the shirt he held up. He had several flung over his shoulder, each a deal for only twenty bucks. He stepped up onto the sidewalk and turned, heading down the slow moving traffic a few car lengths before trying to capitalize on the Papa Roach concert that was just getting over.
After several more trips through the traffic he jerked his head up. Another man working traffic further down shouted a warning to him. Two policemen were walking down the sidewalk and heading his way. The shirts disappeared beneath his jacket in the blink of an eye, but to be sure he turned and started walking down a side street and into a parking garage.
The man reached into his shirt and pulled out a cigarette. He lit it and puffed, using the warm smoke to fight off the chilly February night. He kept moving, heading up the ramp into the garage and staying out of the way as cars backed out and drove passed him.
He glanced back, making sure the cops hadn't seen and followed him. He reached the halfway point of the first level and started down the exit ramp. He could hop out the back and slip away on a side street. There were plenty of people leaving the concert. Plenty of opportunity to make a few extra bucks.
He glanced around when he reached the back. Cars were driving and small groups of people were walking to their vehicles. Nobody was looking at him. A lone black man in an oversized Army jacket was the kind of thing nobody wanted to pay attention to.
He took a last drag on his cigarette and flicked it under a parked Audi. Rich fuckers deserved it. He was busting his ass every night trying to sell shit to make a few bucks. The concerts and sporting events were easy, cops just ran people like him off. It was when he had to fall back on selling other stuff that he got nervous. The cops were looking to bust him then, or at least give him a hard time and steal whatever money he made. Then they'd let him go with a warning. Except he'd have no cash to pay for the shit he was selling, and his suppliers didn't give a damn what happened when they came to collect.
He slipped out a gated exit, squeezing through and turning to head down the alley between buildings. The street lights didn't reach back there but he wasn't worried. As long as he stayed in the middle he shouldn't run into anybody. Besides, anyone stupid enough to be squatting in the alley deserved to be tripped over and kicked, it was too damn cold to be out.
The man spun, surprised to hear a voice calling to him. He saw a figure outlined by the lights on the street at the end of the alley he'd entered. It was a woman, he could tell by her boots and stance, even if she wore some kind of long black jacket that hid her figure.
"What've you got?"
He grinned. Dumb bitch gave herself away. White girl, looking for something she shouldn't be. He wiped the smile off his face. Maybe she was stupid, but her boots looked nice. Nice enough that maybe treating her straight would be better for him in the long run. Hell, for all he knew she was one of those crazy white girls that liked what a strong black man like him could give her.
"You a cop?" he asked, checking first to make sure he wasn't going to get himself in trouble. He hadn't heard of any undercover stings going on lately, but he didn't need to be the first either.
She walked towards him, leaving the safety of the light behind her as her high heeled cowboy boots struck the snow covered cement with wet clicks. That made it easier for him to make out her pale face surrounded by dark hair. Her jacket wasn't fastened, revealing a tied off plaid shirt and some denim shorts that were skimpier than the underwear on some of the mannequins in the girly stores at the mall. She flung a hip out and put her hand on it, letting him get a good look at her long legs and bare midriff. "Do I look like a cop?"
"You look like you should be freezing your tits off," he said. "It's fucking cold out! You come from the concert like that?"
"I'm headed in to work," she said. "Need a little something to warm me up first."
He grinned. If she was dressed like that she was either working at one of the casinos or, more likely, a stripper. "All right, what you want, baby?" he asked. "I got it all."
"You got it all?" she asked.
His right eyebrow went up, she kept coming closer to him. A half-naked white girl in a dark alley. He'd been joking to himself about the white chick looking for black dick thought earlier, but now he wondered. There were some crazy bitches out there. "Yeah, I got it. Can you take it all?"
She licked her scarlet lips, rooting him to the spot with the gesture. "And then some."
"Holy shit," he mumbled.
She stepped up to him and reached out, grabbing his jacket and pulling him closer to her. In her boots she was as tall as he was. Strong too. Strong enough to catch him off guard even though she looked like a skinny little thing. He preferred a little more meat on the bones, but now she was up next to him and pushing her great big titties into his chest, maybe she'd do just fine.
"You gonna give it to me, or do I have to take it?" she breathed.
He hesitated as her cool breath tickled his neck and face. She was trying to sweet talk him out of something. Cut a better deal for a snort of coke or some weed. A girl as fine and tight as her wasn't into heroin or crack, she'd end up strung out and nasty looking. Come to think of it, she didn't strike him as the kind of girl that would want any drugs at all, except maybe some ecstasy or something like that.
"What you need, Snow White? I can get it." He leered down at her. No way she getting a special deal, not unless she worked extra hard to earn it.
She pressed herself in close to him and breathed, "You've already got it."
"Wha—" his question turned to a gasp as the side of his neck erupted in flames. The burning needles sunk in deep and, before his body could react and throw her away, the pain disappeared. He stiffened and then collapsed, falling in what seemed like an invisible bed of pillows.
He heard a moan and wondered in the back of his head if it was a sound he'd made. He heard somebody sucking and slurping. His dick, maybe? He groaned again as wave after wave of tingling pleasure swept through his body. He drifted, his thoughts disrupted and chased off every time a new wave burst onto and into him. He was warm and lazy. Content. Happy. His eyes closed and he drifted on the pillows.
Wasn't he supposed to be cold? He felt good. Warm and cozy. He was tired too. He smiled and let out a contented groan. He let out a sigh and let himself go, falling deeper into the pillows. They felt so good and he was so tired. A little nap was all he needed, then he could worry about whatever it was he thought he had to do before. Just a little nap…
Beth stared down at the cooling body of her latest meal. He wasn't a victim, not to her. He was a parasite on society, not that she really cared. In the two weeks since she'd died she'd found herself less and less concerned with the things that used to bother her.
Beth reached into her coat pocket for her compact mirror. She flipped it open and licked off the dried blood on her lips before brushing the rest away with her fingers. She applied fresh lipstick and snapped it shut.
"You're a natural."
Beth turned her head and smiled at the women that served as her mother, her mentor, and her eternal companion. Penny was old— thousands of years— but she looked like she could be Beth's sister with dark hair and a slender build. Penny preferred more height and a smaller bust than Beth, but the two bore a striking resemblance that had nothing to do with their ability to look like anything they wanted.
"I've been meaning to ask," Beth said as she slipped the compact back in her jacket. "I thought vam— um, we— weren't supposed to be able to see ourselves in mirrors?"
"Nonsense," Penny said. "There are several of us that don't like seeing themselves, for whatever reason. Seeing what they've become, perhaps? But others enjoy it. Those stricken with vanity, I suspect."
"I'm enjoying it," Beth agreed and stuck her tongue out at her. "A year of busting my butt in the gym couldn't make me look like this. Now I can look like anything, although I haven't tried the black skin look yet."
Penny smirked and glanced down at her midnight hued flesh. "Most people ignore me unless I want them to see me, but there are a few that see through the glamour. For those this helps to hide me."
"You could always put some clothes on," Beth offered with a wry smile.
"I needed my wings tonight," Penny said. "No need to ruin clothes."
"Good point, I guess," Beth said. She glanced back down at the dead man. "It's so easy, luring him in and taking him. Hunting desperate men is like beginner mode."
Beth grinned. "Sorry, video games are probably a little too high tech for you."
Penny shrugged. "I don't see the point. I played Space Invaders when it came out."
"Oh my go— sorry, habit," Beth rebuked herself for still using the phrase that she'd grown up with. "Space Invaders was before I was even born!"
Penny waved the comment away. Living for over two thousand years made her immune to age jokes. "We need to dispose of the body."
"I know, but I can't fly," Beth complained. "How long until I can try?"
Penny glanced at both ends of the alley and then shifted her shoulders slightly as large wings emerged behind her. They grew until the tips rested on the ground. "It took me a few hundred years, but I figured it out on my own. My creator had grown tired of me and moved on. With me guiding you, a few years?"
Beth let out a soft laugh. "From hundreds to a few? How is that possible?"
"You need to continue changing your body and making it better. Stronger. Not only do you need to learn how, but it is something you have to do over time. Tell me, if you were to jump from the roof of this building down to where we are, how would you do it?"
"How would I jump?" Beth asked, frowning. "I'd just step off the edge."
Penny pressed her lips together. "Of course. But how would you land?"
"Land? Oh," Beth turned and peered up at the top of the parking ramp. It looked like at least seventy feet, maybe more. "It would probably break my legs, but I could heal them easy enough. You'd just use your wings, right?"
"I could, but it's easier to just land and bend my legs. Absorb the fall," Penny pointed out. "No healing or time lost on recovery, you just stand up."
"Bullshit," Beth snapped. She looked up again. "That's a long ways! You'd break them."
Penny smiled. "That's what I mean. You have to learn how to strengthen your body. Make your bones and muscles stronger and harder. The more time you spend on it, the better you get."
"Okay, um, I think I get it. That's a lot of work. And a lot of blood."
Penny nodded. "It will come. We have time."
Beth smiled. "Ok, I trust you. I'll meet you at the club?"
Penny nodded. She looked at the red and white sleeveless shirt Beth had tied off below her breasts. "Cowgirl night?"
"Yee haw!" Beth laughed. "Seemed like a nice change of pace, I haven't seen any of the waitresses in western wear yet, but they've got the uniforms.
Penny smiled and shook her head. She stepped over to the dead man and grabbed him under the arms. The elder vampire turned sideways in the alley and extended her wings. Beth stepped back and watched as Penny bent her legs and leapt upwards, soaring nearly twenty feet before her powerful wings swept down and lifted her higher. She shot up too fast for a mortal eye to see more than a blur and disappeared into the cloud night sky.
Beth turned away towards the entrance of the alley and gathered her jacket around her. She didn't need to fight off the chill, but she also didn't need to fight off the eyes of every person walking or driving passed her. Unlike Penny, Beth had no idea how to make herself less noticeable. Quite the opposite, in fact, she'd focused on making herself stand out more by realizing the hips and chest she'd always admired.
She glanced down and parted her jacket. She had to lean forward to stare past the shirt tied tight around her boobs and ran her fingers over the contours of her abdominal muscles. She'd always wanted abs and now she had them. Visible and lean, the way the models and actresses she'd admired had been. The way Crystal had been, after she'd changed into a werewolf.
Beth shook her head. Crystal was lost to her. Not lost, she was in a different world. She lived in Arkansas, with her pack. Beth had left her behind. She couldn't stand the loss of attention from her best friend. She'd been spurned by Crystal and Stephanie both. The only person who showed any interest was a boy that had been cursed and raped her, all because he thought he could use her to get to Crystal.
Beth pulled her jacket shut and shoved her hands in her pockets. She wasn't that stupid kid anymore. She'd been through hell to get where she was. She'd even died to make it happen. She was strong now. Strong and beautiful. She didn't need a college degree or somebody, man or woman, to love her. She had Penny and that was all she needed. A companion and mentor. Someone who finally understood her and loved her for not only what she was, but who she was.
Beth emerged from the alley and slipped into the parking ramp. She walked, the heels of her stripper-style cowboy boots striking the concrete and drawing a few glances from stragglers finally leaving the concert. She ignored them and made for the main entrance. She had to meet Penny at the club and, as much as Penny had to do, she knew she'd be hard pressed to beat her there.