Authors: Jennifer Lewis
Series Part 1
By Jennifer Lewis
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Publisher has strived to be as accurate and complete as possible in the
creation of this book, notwithstanding the fact that she does not warrant or
represent at any time that the contents within are accurate due to the rapidly
changing nature of the Information Age. While all attempts have been made to
verify information provided in this publication, the Author and Publisher
assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of
the subject matter herein. Any perceived slights of specific persons, peoples,
or organizations are unintentional. In practical advice books, like anything
else in life, there are no guarantees.
First Printing, 2012
Printed in the United States of America
Darian said I was the most beautiful girl
in the city and I wanted to believe him. But even if I didn’t, there were more
than enough reasons to let him speak. His dark eyes were one. His silky,
mid-length auburn hair falling across his pale face that held almost delicate
features was another. And the smooth, almost melodious tone from which he
sculpted his words made everything else seem rough and unpolished in
comparison. He had the air of a traveler about him, someone who had visited
many places and learned all of their secrets. His eyes danced as he told them
Though he was effusive with his
compliments, his own appearance made me feel shabby. I straightened my
miniskirt awkwardly and resisted the urge to check my hand mirror. My brown
straight hair was up in a half-knot that I had feared was too formal only an
hour earlier. Now it felt too plain.
“Anna?” his voice interrupted my pity
party. “Anna, are you all right?”
I managed not to jump. “Yes, I’m fine,” I
said quickly. “It’s been a long day at work.”
A long day at work and then a furious rush
to shower, put on makeup, and choose my clothes. A date at the high-rise Heron
Balcony, ten stories above street level, was not an occasion for jeans and a
sweatshirt. I had eventually settled on a pale yellow blouse and a black
miniskirt leftover from a secretary job.
He leaned forward. “That’s quite all right,
dear,” he said. “I think you look absolutely radiant regardless.”
That voice again. I felt a flush of
embarrassment mixed with pleasure as I returned his smile.
“I must confess, Anna, I find you simply
irresistible. One might even say... I’ve become enchanted.”
He exhaled on the last word and a faint
glimmer passed from his mouth. My vision blurred briefly and when it cleared, I
was looking deep into his eyes. For a moment, I thought I smelled fresh roses.
He reached across the table and cradled my
face into his white-gloved hand. Slightly dizzy from the scent and the
unexpected contact already, my heart skipped a beat at the touch of his hand.
After what seemed like an eternity of this,
I remembered that he had paid me a compliment and that it was only polite to
respond. “Why thank you, Darian,” I managed to say. “And I think you’re quite
What was I saying? This wasn’t like me at
all, not to mention the words sounded stupid the second they came out of my
Darian only laughed and dropped my chin,
taking my hand instead. “I know a gorgeous lookout we can see the city from. I
think you’ll quite enjoy it.”
“That sounds lovely...” I murmured,
relishing the touch of his hand.
He drew me up from the table to stand
beside him. “Shall we be off, my dear?” He smiled and offered an arm.
I took it. His arm was cold, almost colder
than the air in the restaurant. I wondered at that for a moment, but the moment
passed and I simply luxuriated in the pleasure of standing beside him as we
turned to leave. He seemed much taller than when he had introduced himself this
Something tugged at my wrist. Oh yes, my
purse. I was always forgetting it. It was so trifling; I wondered if I should
just leave it behind. Then I remembered it was tied to my arm.
Had I done that? I thought, puzzled. What
an odd thing to do. No matter. Feeling a touch irritated by the inconvenience,
I picked it up and threw it over my shoulder.
We walked together through the side
hallway, leaving the bustling restaurant behind us. The ambient music and
dinner conversation faded away. Everything faded away, except for him.
We continued to walk. It seemed we had gone
a fair ways from the restaurant. I tried to remember why that was important,
but just as I started to remember, he smiled again and swept me away on a cloud
of bliss. “Not much further, my dear.” It couldn’t have been important, I
He led me up the stairs to a tall wooden
door, revealing the room beyond with a flourish. Inside was a wide, well
furnished room with a four poster bed and a wide window against a north-facing
As the door clicked shut and locked, a
brief moment of clarity mixed with unease descended on me. But it vanished in
an instant as the man seized me by the arms, his expression shifting into a
predator’s triumphant leer.
“At last!” he said, in a low, menacing
I gasped and struggled, trying to break his
iron grip in vain. My heart raced in terror. He contemptuously tossed me on the
bed like a sack of flour and then climbed on. He straddled me effortlessly and
pinned my shoulders with his arms.
“Don’t worry, my dear,” Darian said with a
hint of civility creeping back into his words as if to taunt me. “Your pain
will be brief and then your blood shall join mine in eternity.”
He leaned closer, gleaming fangs extended.
Trembling, I squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for the inevitable.
The window exploded in a rain of glass
"What? Who dares?" The vampire
cried as he leapt off me, bleeding from several cuts on his face. As he rose,
he grunted once and staggered as three wooden bolts embedded themselves in his
chest. I opened my eyes and pulled myself into a defensive crouch, but his
attention was clearly not on me.
I had just enough time to register Darian’s
open-mouthed expression of surprise and fear before a figure in black Kevlar
flew through the window with a fierce war cry, bearing him to the ground in a
flurry of tangled limbs and tearing cloth.
My hunter and my savior wrestled on the
floor, and at first I could not tell who had the upper hand. I watched, heart
Then, for a brief second, the chaotic match
froze, with the figure in black pinning Darian by the throat against the ground
with one hand. The vampire screamed a shrill and inhuman cry cut short by a
weighty sound of “thunk” as the newcomer drove something deep into his chest.
Darian’s body thrashed and shook, while the
other man rode his chest holding the stake in with both hands. One deathblow
shattered the night table; another snapped the leg off the bed and nearly sent
me to the ground.
Finally, the scene stilled. On his back,
lay Darian’s eyes wide and vacant. Blood oozed from his chest around the wooden
stake driven into it. The armored man panted above the stiffening body.
Starting with the fingertips and working
up, the corpse eroded, dissolving into dust. Sighing quietly in relief, I
rearranged my face into a scowl, "Took you long enough this time,
He only laughed, pulling off the helmet to
reveal a dusty-haired young man with dancing blue eyes. “Not our fault he
strayed from the plan, Siren. He was supposed to use the room above the
“Oh, okay,” I shot back, annoyed. “So it’s
okay that I almost got bitten this time. It’s the vampire’s fault for not
going where he was supposed to.”
“Well, you’re lucky you didn’t leave your
purse behind this time. If we had no way to track you, you’d be drained dry
A sudden flashback to the vampire’s
paralyzing gaze sent shivers up my spine.
He chuckled again at my sudden silence.
“Aww, don’t worry babe. You know I’d never let anything happen to you.” He put
one arm around me in a gesture that he must have imagined was comforting. His
hand touched my ass briefly.
“Hey, don’t get too close you two. I think
Siren’s still under the Charm.” An assertive female voice declared from the
balcony. Tara moved from behind the curtain holding a large wooden crossbow in
both hands. Looking to be in her late twenties, she wore combat fatigues and a
contemptuous smile. Her black hair was cropped ruthlessly short.
I scowled and used the opportunity to step
away from the wandering hand. “I’m not. I’m fine.”
“Oh really? I guess you must be as you’re
not calling everything ‘lovely’ anymore.” Tara snickered.
My face flushed with embarrassment. “Well
excuse me for playing the part too well.”
“Um... guys? I think we should move on.” A
nervous brown-haired scrawny young man wearing thick glasses and a black
headset poked his head up from below the balcony. “This room almost certainly
belonged to our spook and there may be more of them lurking around here. And
they won’t go down nearly so easy without the element of surprise.”
“Good catch, Brett,” said Tony, moving to
sweep me into his arms. He ignored my startled squawk and uncomfortable squirm.
“Let’s move out, people.” He moved to the balcony and jumped out the window,
landing easily on a landing two stories below. Tara followed. “Watch the skirt,
jailbait,” she called to me as she jumped and I hastily covered my knees.
Behind them, the pile of ash on the floor
blew away in the night breeze. The others didn’t seem to notice.
The door to my apartment was jammed again.
I yanked it fiercely and with a shower of splinters, it finally opened. I
staggered into the living room. Elena, one of my roommates, snored in an
armchair in front of a desktop computer. “That’ll kill your back,” I muttered,
before grabbing the ratty blanket from the couch to cover her.
Moving to the bathroom, I flipped open the
light and shooed a silverfish away from the sink. The mirror’s prognosis was
not good; I was a total mess. My mascara was smeared and so was my red
lipstick. Half my hair had escaped from its arrangement and stuck out
everywhere. I switched on the faucet and splashed myself a few times before
burying my face in the remover cloth. After, I loosed my hair and attacked the
knots with a brush.
When I was done, my face was bright pink
and raw and I no longer looked like an abused hooker - just plain old, ordinary
Why vampires were attracted to me was a
mystery. I wasn’t super model pretty, though I cleaned up well enough. My body
was just a shade too curvy. Evan, one of my exes, told me that I should be on a
diet until I was less “squishy.” But even after I’d cut my calorie intake to a
sliver and worked out every day for four months, I had only lost five pounds
and was as “squishy” as ever.
Unbound, my nut-brown hair fell to the
midpoint of my back, framing two cloudy grey eyes. I pursed my lips, still pink
from the scrubbing even after the lipstick had worn off. Round and full, they
were undoubtedly my best feature. One man had even called them “tantalizingly