Read Phoenix Dead (New Adult Dark Romance) (The Vampire Years) Online

Authors: Ann Vremont

Tags: #New Adult Vampire Erotic Romance

Phoenix Dead (New Adult Dark Romance) (The Vampire Years)

BOOK: Phoenix Dead (New Adult Dark Romance) (The Vampire Years)
12.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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About Phoenix Dead

 

Surviving a brutal attack, highschool senior Lee recovers to find her world turned upside down. She can't eat, she heals quickly and she dreams of nothing but blood. 

She's also wanted by more than one man. Only most of the men want her dead -- for real this time.

Protecting her is Danny, the determined and audaciously hot cop working her case. When her refusal to help him find the vampire clan that attacked her drives a wedge between them, classmate Chris finds his way into her heart.

Then there's Oscar, the shadowy, charismatic leader of the vampire clan. His men want Lee dead, he wants her obedience, starting with her body. 

 

Part One

 

It was the last day of the week, with only ten more weeks until my senior year of high school was over, and I had Chris Kennedy on bended knee proposing to me.

“C'mon, Lee. What do you say?”

"I say we're probably not compatible.” I pushed at his shoulder. “Get up.”

He didn't listen. I was pretty sure he wouldn't get up until I agreed to help him with his report. I already knew that I would, I tutored him seventh hour anyway. But it was nice to have a boy, a very popular one at that, on bended knee in the center of campus begging me when hardly anyone else at school knew my name.

“I'll give you my first Super Bowl ring,” he pleaded.

“Oh, I'm no Rumpelstiltskin.” I pulled him to his feet, trying not to smile and give it away so soon.

“More like Rapunzel.” He grabbed a strand of my waist-length hair, the black strands flashing with blue beneath the Phoenix sun. “Please, Rapunzel!”

“Here, stop begging and carry this for me.” I tossed him my book bag. “I'll help you now and during seventh period.”

“What about this weekend?”

He had a fifteen-page history report due Monday. Graduation and a football scholarship as a wide receiver to ASU were hanging in the balance for him. I shook my head at him.

“My mom's got me on a tight chain.” I left it at that. He didn't need to know how bad things were at my grandfather's house. I'd rather have him think we had a meth lab in the kitchen than know the truth.

Holding the library door open for me, he let the suggestion drop. I walked over to the history stacks. It was an easy enough assignment. He had to profile three explorers.

“You know, this would have been a piece of cake if you'd started on time.”

He leaned against the shelf, his head tilted down so that we were almost touching foreheads. “Then I wouldn't be here in the stacks, alone with you.”

He gave me that smile of his -- the one I'd been trying to avoid all semester long. I turned away, grabbed three books filled with historical biographies and walked to the nearest table. Chris pulled a chair up alongside me, his knee touching mine when he sat down.

“Give me your list of explorers.” He handed it over and I circled three names. “These guys will have enough to fill fifteen pages.”

I pushed one of the books toward him. “Start with Pizarro -- date of birth, where he was born, the kind of family he was born to.”

Opening a second book, I started taking notes on Magellan.

“Hey, Lee…you have this assignment?”

“Uh, not exactly. Some cause and effect paper last term.”

“Too bad.”

I elbowed him in the ribs. “I wouldn't just let you copy it.”

“Nah, I wasn't asking...” He stopped mid-sentence and changed topics. “I'm not making you miss lunch, am I?”

“I'll get something when I get home.” It was a lie, mostly. I might get a pack of ramen -- if my mother Sandy hadn't bought a pack of cigarettes instead.

A hungry growl was building in my stomach and I coughed to cover it.

“You sure?” He poked my ribs with the tip of his eraser. “You're getting a little scrawny. I like the girls I hang out with to have some meat on them.” He pulled up his sleeve and made a muscle. “Like me!”

“I'd hardly call seventh period 'hanging out.'” I didn't like the poke or the “scrawny” remark. It added insult to injury, having to convince people at school that I wasn't anorexic or bulimic without telling them what was wrong -- that there was no money at home and Sandy wouldn't apply for assistance.

Too proud, too stupid -- too something.

I tapped my pencil against his book. “What about Pizarro.”

“Let him find his own girl to hang with.” He wrapped his arm around the back of my chair and gave a lock of my hair a gentle tug.

He offered that smile again. He was probably playing me, ensuring my help, but it didn't matter. The smile still made my pulse beat a little faster.

Rolling my eyes at him, I scooted my chair away. “C'mon, start taking notes. We have twenty minutes before lunch is over and we'll need to check the books out before we leave.”

“I'm skipping--”

“I can't.” I said it before he could ask. I'd missed enough days this term to automatically drop my As to Bs under some bullshit attendance rule. I hadn't been sick for a single one of them -- Sandy had kept me home to watch over her. With five more school days left in the term, I couldn't miss a single class this term if I was going to graduate on time.

Feeling guilty for having to say “no,” I started writing notes faster. By the time I had to leave, I'd filled enough sheets with facts to cover Magellan for him.

“Just follow the same structure for all three.” I handed him the paper. “We'll work on Columbus during seventh.”

“Thanks, Rapunzel.”

I tapped his shoulder with my fist. “No problem. Just bring the books to seventh and don't wait until the last minute next time.”

Lunch was fourth period, Spanish was fifth. The class spent most of the time listening to Mr. Peralta complain in English about how he had property in downtown Dallas and could have retired had he only sold before the market bottomed out. By the time I escaped to sixth period and our reading of
The Tempest
, I was all too ready to drown myself in the waters off Prospero's island.

I had three students to tutor for seventh hour, but only Chris showed up. From the progress he showed me, it looked like he'd spent the last two hours in the computer lab typing madly. I started editing what he'd written so far while he took notes on Columbus.

Once again he was sitting right up against me.

“What are you doing this summer, Rapunzel?”

I pointed at the history book. “Focus on what's important.”

“I am.” He hadn't stopped looking at me and I could feel my cheeks warming in a blush.

“I don't know what I'm doing this summer.”

“Good. We can hang out. I'm getting a car.”

I shook my head. “I don't even know where I'll be living. My grandfather's only letting my mom and me stay while I finish the year up.”

I looked at the wall clock, relieved for once that it was nearing the end of the period so I could stop trying to dodge his questions. Handing his paper back, I forced a smile. “You all set to finish the project?”

Nodding, Chris shoved the paper and books into his backpack, slid his letterman's jacket on and stood. He waited, watching the seconds tick down to the release bell. One hand stayed on the back of my chair.

The bell rang; he bent down, startling me as he brushed aside a strand of my hair.

“See you Monday, Lee.”

And then he kissed my cheek and bolted for the door.

Watching him run out, I touched my cheek. The skin was warm, my entire face flushed. The whole thing had been so quick, I almost felt like I'd imagined it.

“Lee?”

I looked up, wondering when Ms. Fields had gone all wavy. “Ma'am?”

“You're crying, is something wrong?”

I touched further along my cheek, closer to my nose. My fingertips came away wet. She hadn't seen Chris kiss me.

“I'm fine,” I answered. “Just tired.”

Turning away from her, I gathered up my books and tried not to think about Chris. It was just too much -- knowing my days here were numbered and not knowing where I would go next.

 

Chapter Two

 

Sandy was waiting for me at the front of the school. It's where she always met me. Embarrassing -- just a couple weeks from turning eighteen and my mom still walked me to and from school. It was no use protesting. I couldn't deal with her tears when I tried.

Obsessing on this, I wasn't really paying attention as I approached her. I was almost to her by the time I realized that she was not just standing next to an old Ford truck, she was leaning against it. I glanced at the truck's cab, saw a hairy face with an unlit cigarette between the guy's lips and fat sunglasses with silver rims masking his eyes.

Didn't recognize him -- just knew the type.

“You remember Army?” She opened the door, stood waiting for me to crawl into the cab first.

I remembered the name -- it wasn't his real one. But most of my uncle Elliot's friends never went by their real names -- made it harder to report them to the cops. Army dealt drugs, pot and meth, probably more. Elliot bought. That's how most of my uncle's friendships were.

Shrugging, I slid onto the bench seat without looking at him and tucked my arms in close to my body.

She petted my hair. “Army's giving us a ride to Elliot's.”

My chest tightened. I turned to face her but she avoided my gaze. I wasn't worried about going to Elliot's. I was worried that she was lying. I'd spent most of my life not being touched by her -- no good night kisses, no hugs. I had to hit whatever book she had her nose stuck in most of the time when I wanted her to listen to me.

And here she was stroking my hair. I could remember her doing that two other times. The last time I had been in the fifth grade. We'd been at a court house in Mobile, at a truancy hearing. The other time…

She'd lied to me that other time - told me that Paul, my step-father, was dead. Elliot had been in the driver's seat then.

We were on Indian School Road already. Elliot lived on one of the little non-streets fronting Indian School, across from the golf course. But Army kept driving, turning north on Sixty-Third.

I swatted Sandy's hand away from my hair. “We passed it.”

“I said he's taking us to Elliot.”

“No, you said 'to Elliot's.'” I looked at the door. She'd locked it getting in. Army's hand closed around my wrist. I tried to jerk away but he was unshakable.

“Chill out, Lee.” He let go of my hand. “I'm not getting stopped by a cop just because you're freaking out. Elliot'll bust your ass you cause a scene for me when I'm carrying.”

I looked at him but he kept his eyes on the road and the mirrors.

“And he'll kill you if you touch me.” I wasn't boasting. Elliot was crazy, carried a machete in his trunk, had gone through sniper school before he'd been booted from the service. Everyone who hung with him knew that. He was sort of legendary among his crowd for going berserk.

Army just smirked.

I can't say for sure why I stayed, why I didn't try to crawl over Sandy and unlock the door. Maybe because the last time I'd tried it, I'd been pulled back and spent the next nine years atoning for the attempted act of self-preservation. In the end, I think it was because I knew Sandy was helpless without me.

My upcoming birthday and the legal freedom to leave had been a false hope that had kept me sane while it lasted. But in the truck, with them both lying to me, I knew then that I would never be free while she was still alive. I didn't have it in me to leave her. It would be like placing a kitten in the middle of the interstate during rush hour.

We pulled into a drive, the garage door opening from the inside. Army grabbed my wrist again, keeping a tight grip on it even after the truck was parked inside and the door shut behind us.

“Shoulda trusted your instincts, Lee, jumped while you had a chance.” He opened his door, stepped into the garage and started dragging me out.

I threw my legs up, planted a foot inside the cab on each side of the door. Sandy, still in the cab, tried to coax me out.

BOOK: Phoenix Dead (New Adult Dark Romance) (The Vampire Years)
12.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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