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Authors: Duncan McGeary

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Rule of Vampire

BOOK: Rule of Vampire
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RULE OF VAMPIRE

Vampire Evolution Trilogy #2

By

Duncan McGeary

 

“If you like your undead to be more Fright Night than Twilight, the Vampire Evolution Trilogy will be your cup of gore.” ~ Steve Perry, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Men in Black, The Mask, and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

 

- BOOKS of the DEAD -

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. All characters, events, dialog, and situations in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of reprinted excerpts for the purpose of reviews.

 

RULE OF VAMPIRE

 

BOOKS of the DEAD

 

Copyright 2013 by Duncan McGeary

 

Edited by Lara Milton

Cover Design by Small Dog Design

 

For more information, contact:
[email protected]

Visit us at: Booksofthedeadpress.com

 

* * *

 

 

 

Dedicated to the Farewell Bend Writers Roundtable.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

She didn’t want this. She smelled his blood flowing only inches away and she pushed against him, but he refused to let her go. He was forcing himself on her. She could easily have broken his grasp, but now she didn’t want to. His blood was too near, his frenetic movements too much like prey. Her instincts overwhelmed her reluctance.

The blood that slid down her throat tasted sweet, just as the boy had seemed sweet at first. But there was also a bitter aftertaste.

She held him tight as he struggled, as she felt his life drain away. An overwhelming sadness washed over her.

This wasn’t how she’d wanted the evening to end.

 

#

 

Jamie had been longing for the company of someone her own age, someone nice and cute and fun. Actually, she would’ve settled for someone grumpy and dorky, just as long as he could converse like a normal human.

It was the Fourth of July on the beach in Crescent City, California. The sands were crammed with locals and tourists. At ten o’clock, the fireworks would start. The locals were bundled up, equipped with lawn chairs and coolers and stacks of driftwood prudently collected earlier in the day. The tourists were realizing too late that wood was scarce, that fires on the beach weren’t easy to start, and that they hadn’t brought enough clothing. Some of the out-of-towners were huddled together, crouched over tiny fires, trying desperately to extract warmth from the tenuous flames.

The moment the Pacific Ocean quenched the setting sun, Jamie glided open the sliding doors of her motel room and walked barefoot down to the cresting waves and waited, the freezing water washing over her toes, sucking them down into the sand and then washing over her feet again and again until they were numb.

She wandered alone among the crowds of people, trying to remember what it had felt like to be one of them. It was as if she was a shark swimming through schools of fish. Most of them sensed the danger and shied away from her, moving out of her path.

Even at the height of summer, the wind off the ocean was penetratingly brisk. Jamie couldn’t feel it. To her, the cold was but a tickle. But she wore a hoodie, because wearing something warm was expected of her. And she wanted desperately to fit in.

The young men had come bounding down the beach like puppies, and she had turned away, not sure if she was ready to flirt with so many high-spirited males. One lonely boy––that, she could handle, but not this pack of half-drunken frat boys, hooting at every female they saw. Two or three girls had attached themselves to the group of guys, though they looked a little young to be out carousing.

Calling them frat boys was maybe elevating them a bit above their station. Here on the Northern California coast, the local schools were mostly community colleges. Still, they wandered these beaches like young men wandered all beaches in the summer, looking for fun and action.

One of them broke off from the others and approached her, almost shyly. He was slender and dark, with a cute upturned nose and black-rimmed glasses. He was dressed warmly, which probably meant he was a local, because out-of-towners always underdressed, thinking “beach” and “California.”

“Hi,” he said. Up close, he was even cuter than she’d hoped. She could see that he was trying to think of something else to say, but she rescued him by giving him a bright smile and echoing his greeting.

“Hi…”

“My friends and I are building a bonfire down the beach, and we have some wine. You’re welcome to join us.”

How could a girl resist?
Jamie thought.
Well, easily, actually.
There was a time when she would have been a leery of such a proposition. But when the girl in question was more dangerous than a dozen strong men put together, it wasn’t such an outrageous suggestion.

She walked down the beach with the dark-haired boy to join a rowdy group of young people gathered around a fire. When she walked up, the guys all stared and the girls glared at her. Jamie so outshone them that they nearly faded away. She’d always been pretty, in a girl-next-door sort of way. Her red hair and freckles had always attracted their fair share of attention. But now her baby fat was gone, and the sharply angled bones of her face made her beautiful instead of simply cute.

She focused her attention on Stuart, the boy who had first approached her. He seemed to be the leader of a core group of four guys. There was Pete, who was burly and loud and thought he was funny; Jimmy, who was quiet and watched everything that happened; and Greg, who was friendly and easygoing, and the one who probably held the others together. The rest of the group was assorted hangers-on.

Jamie had learned that she could blend in when she wanted to. But while the others became accustomed to her as the novelty wore off, to Stuart, she became ever more scintillating and attractive.

Their group had built the biggest fire on the beach, and that attracted more and more people until numerous friends and strangers mingled, their social interactions smoothed by the wine. Jamie drew Stuart away from the others, little by little, up into the sheltering logs and rocks. She saw him shiver and impulsively hugged him, even though she knew her skin would impart little warmth.

He froze, as if he wanted this closeness but was afraid to try anything. When she broke off the hug, he was blushing, and she thought,
What a sweet boy.

A couple of policemen came toward them, a Mutt and Jeff pair, and she smiled at them. “Not supposed to have bonfires,” the short, fat one said by way of greeting. But it was a halfhearted remonstration.

Jamie looked up and down the miles of beaches, where there were dozens of fires, and laughed. The taller policeman looked chagrined.

“So how’s that workin’ for ya?” she asked.

“It’s hopeless,” the taller cop said, grinning.

To her surprise, however, Stuart took offense. “What are you hassling us for?”

She turned to him and was astonished to see his face red and his eyes glaring. She was suddenly reminded that he was probably still a teenager.

“Because your fire is bigger than anyone else’s,” the shorter cop answered just as belligerently.
Uh oh,
Jamie thought.
Immediate escalation.
“Like it’s in our face.”

“So, what? You’re going to arrest us?” Stuart shouted.

Jamie was pulling at his arm, trying to calm him down. “It’s all right, Stuart. They’re just giving us a warning––it’s their job.”

As Stuart and the shorter cop faced off, Jamie and the tall cop looked at each other, and it was obvious they were thinking the same thing:
much ado about nothing.
Both of them turned toward their companions and pulled them away, trying to get them to relax. Stuart went off to stand by the fire, and the shorter cop threw up his hands and stomped down the beach.

“I’m Officer Jurgenson,” the tall cop said, looking sheepish. “Robert,” he added, and then seemed surprised to have said it.

“Jamie,” she said, and smiled at him. He was actually kind of good-looking, with dark hair that was graying at the temples, a cleft chin, soft brown eyes, and a kind of weary dignity. This was the man she’d rather spend the evening with, she realized. Someone a little older and more mature.

He winced and pressed a hand to his side.

“Are you OK?” Jamie asked. She’d found that as a vampire, she could sense flaws in humans, could tell when they were sick or injured. It was in her nature now to prey on such weaknesses.

“Just pulled a muscle, I think,” he said.

She nodded, though she knew it was more than that.
None of my business,
she thought.
Too bad. Such a handsome man.

“Well, enjoy the fireworks,” he said cheerfully. He walked away, and she watched him go. He turned around and winked at her.

She sighed and set about trying to smooth things over with Stuart. She didn’t want her entire evening to go to waste. Slowly but surely, she coddled and reassured him until he was back to his calmer self. Again, she drew him away from the others, and soon they were sitting in the dark together.

They chatted about little things; later, Jamie couldn’t even remember what they had talked about. It was enough for her, at the time, just to be talking to another person. He was a younger guy than she ever would have dared flirt with when she was alive, but she was finding she didn’t much care about human judgments and restrictions anymore.

She might have rewarded this young man if the evening had kept progressing the same way, but then the fireworks started, and they fell silent except to echo the
oohs
and
aahs
they heard up and down the beach. When the last shimmering fragment fell into the ocean and those around them started packing up to go, it was as if someone had flipped a switch. Perhaps Stuart had guzzled too much wine while they’d been staring into the sky.

He didn’t lean in toward her, inviting a kiss, as she might have wanted. Instead, he grabbed her, turned her around, and began biting her neck. She winced and almost laughed aloud at the thought of this human biting her in the neck.
Do vampires get hickeys?
she wondered.

He is just overeager,
she thought. She gently pushed him away, but that seemed to anger him, and he grabbed her harder than before.

“Stop,” she said. “Go easy, Stuart. I like you.”

He didn’t say anything, just came on stronger than ever. His playful fondling became insistent and he used his strength to pin her down. The look in his eyes, glinting in the moonlight, was cold and calculating.

“I’ve been playing your little game all evening,” he growled. “You play hard to get, but I noticed you managed to ditch the others…”

“I just wanted to tal––” she started to say.

He put his mouth over hers and began thrusting his tongue into her mouth. Her eyes widened as she wondered if he was going to puncture his flesh on her lengthening fangs.

Then it was too late. Maybe he would’ve backed off, maybe he wouldn’t have, but she’d gotten a taste of him, and it had been too long since she had fed.

Jamie was surprised by how sweet his blood tasted. He struggled weakly, his efforts already undermined by the bottle of wine.

She had taken only a few swallows because she’d thought that wine didn’t affect her. Now she was finding out that, transmuted by a victim’s blood, the effects of wine were magnified and deepened. Underneath it all, she felt sadness at this poor boy’s fate. He was a young man, rash in his actions, who would never grow up to learn wisdom. Perhaps he would have broken off if she’d protested enough, if she’d been the young woman she appeared to be. Perhaps he would’ve come to his senses. But now she would never know.

She left him on top of her as she drained him, his body dead weight. There was sadness permeating her hunger, but for a few moments, there was anger, too. Too many times, when she’d been a living girl, men like this had forced themselves on her. She’d almost come to expect it. But now she had the strength and power to do something about it.

Somehow, even as he was dying, Stuart summoned enough strength to cry out, “I’m sorry!”

Jamie faltered, her fangs receding into her jaws without her being conscious of it.
Finish it!
she heard Horsham say in her mind. Her Maker’s voice was insistent.
You must finish it!

“Are you all right, miss?” she heard someone ask. Over Stuart’s shoulder, she could see the Mutt and Jeff cops returning. They’d heard his cry and had mistaken it for hers. “Is this guy bothering you?”

Stuart moaned, and she pushed him off her. He rolled a couple of inches until he was facedown in the sand. Jamie got up calmly. “He’s had too much to drink,” she said.

BOOK: Rule of Vampire
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