Authors: Cc MacKenzie
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Vampires, #Witches & Wizards
By CC Mackenzie
Get ready to enter the world of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles. A world that's a wondrously realized magical reality, where dark heroes fight to protect the women they love, and us.
Get ready to take part in a battle without end.
Get ready to escape...
Born in poverty, Charlotte Gillespie was not afraid of hard work or fighting for what she believes in.
Now she has a husband who loves her, a great career in medicine and a life most women would envy.
And yet, something was missing from her marriage… intimacy.
Charlotte turns to her new friend the mysteriously exotic Eleanor Pattullo for advice and discovers a world of dark delights…
Clever, compelling and unconventional – Corporate lawyer James Gillespie was no one’s idea of a vampyre.
Life was good.
He had a woman he adored. A stellar career that fed his ferocious ambition.
But James had a problem.
He couldn’t find it within himself to take his wife’s vein and bring her fully into his world…
When he discovers Charlotte’s secret life, James unleashes the beast within with disastrous results.
But then the master of magic, the vampyre Ezekiel arrives badly wounded and begging for help, James must battle not only to save his marriage, but their lives...
Copyright © C C MacKenzie 2015
Published by More Press
The right of C C MacKenzie to be
identified as the author of this
work has been asserted by her
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(Morals Rights) Act 2000
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Apart from any use as permitted under
the Copyright Act 1968, no part
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without the prior permission
of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places and
incidents are either a product of
the author’s imagination or are
used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual people
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New York City, present day
In the penthouse suite of the world headquarters of legal monolith Gillespie, Pattullo and Hindmarch, sixteen vampyres sat around a vast table of hand-carved oak, waxed and polished to a mirrored shine. All members of the board were present and correct, no one would have dared miss this meeting. The air hissed and crackled with a tension that was a lethal mix of grief, hatred and a bloodthirsty need for revenge that coated the tongue and the back of the throat in an oily film, making it repellent to swallow or breathe. The creature who stood before them was a lethal combination of vampyre and witch. Some board members called Ezekiel a chancer, others called him an
, a curse upon their kind.
Chairman of the board, Duncan Gillespie, cast lazy eyes over him. The witch was dressed in the battle-pitted leather armour of a vampyre warrior. His arms, crossed over a massive chest, were so heavily muscled the thick leather creaked. His weight was spread equally between long legs clad in leather dyed the color of claret, the blood of the fallen.
Christ, thought Duncan, he was a good looking bastard.
His hair, the exact shade of an espresso, was oiled and pulled back in a glossy tail that reached to his waist. Pale skin stretched tight across those razor sharp cheekbones along with the hawk like eyes, the nose, forcibly reminded Duncan of a younger, bigger, version of a movie star of old Westerns, Lee Van Cleef. Since the witch had made the choice, the wrong choice, to take the place of his late father and lead the Legion of vampyre witches, why didn’t he proudly wear the colors of his coven, tattoos, on his neck and face?
Ezekiel’s sire (now
been a real piece of excrement) had been tossed unto The Fade kicking and screaming every inch of the way by one Duncan Gillespie. Best day’s work he’d ever done.
To Duncan’s right sat the Italian vampyre prince, Cristophe Pattullo. To his left the English vampyre Lord, Samuel Hindmarch. Samuel was having a hell of a time controlling his vampyre since it was champing at the bit to tear out Ezekiel’s throat. Most of the tension in the room emanated from his old friend and Duncan couldn’t blame him. Not that you’d know it looking at Samuel, who sat absolutely still, like a white-faced, white-haired statue. His unblinking obsidian gaze trained on the witch.
Today Ezekiel had come alone and unarmed into the belly of his mortal enemies. Duncan bet his neck was itching since standing behind him, up close and personal, were eight of their best Centuri vampyre warriors just praying for him to make one wrong move.
Duncan wondered if it was fear, or sheer desperation, that drove him?
He might not have physical weapons, but Duncan was quite certain, Ezekiel had plenty of other necromantic methods of defence up his sleeve.
The witch’s raptor like gaze slowly moved from one vampyre to the other before meeting Samuel’s death stare head on. And Duncan recognized it was neither fear nor desperation in those dark eyes. Like every other living thing on earth, Ezekiel merely wanted to survive.
And that, of course, was why he was here.
The vampyre hierarchy sat up and took notice when two hundred and fifty of Ezekiel’s Legion had their arses spanked and sent to their death unto The Fade. Although, they were having trouble grasping the true nature of the event. A portal had opened from another reality and something that had been nothing more than a horror story to scare the young had stepped through. A soul-eater.
"For God's sake take a seat, Ezekiel, before you give me a crick in my neck," Cristophe's voice rumbled deep his chest, his Italian accent heavy. "That is if you can find a chair to hold you."
The witch ignored the dig about his size, pulled out a polished oak chair and slid a hand around his slick ponytail to bring it forward over his shoulder. His thick leathers creaked as he sat, legs spread, and folded his arms.
Duncan waited until Ezekiel’s limpid gaze met his.
"Before we begin, I need to make one thing clear to you, witch. The next time you kidnap a mated female I will make it my personal mission in life to send you unto The Fade." His Scottish burr rolled his ‘r’s as it always did when he was displeased.
In response, Ezekiel merely raised a black brow in a way that made Duncan’s eldest son Marcus inhale a breath, slow and deep. And he had every sympathy with him since it had been Marcus’s mate, Anais, who’d been taken. An experience that initially had traumatized his new daughter-in-law. Although looking at her now as she sat there, perfectly still, her beautiful face showing no emotion, her dark eyes calmly observing the witch, you’d never know it.
The girl had endured a painful and harrowing experience when she'd become vampyre. She had a backbone of solid steel and Duncan couldn't be more proud. Marcus had chosen well.
"You ignored three requests to meet. The matter is pressing. What would you suggest I do to gain your attention?" the witch enquired in a low voice, in a tone that made the fine hairs on Duncan's arms stand to attention.
He had the impression of a mighty power harnessed by sheer will alone.
The atmosphere fairly hummed with it.
For the vampyres sitting around the desk, the physical experience and manifestation of the skill of sorcery was deeply offensive.
"I suggest," Duncan said in a voice equally soft that made his sons eye him carefully, "you get up-to-date with human technology and use a cell phone or email. The tortured remains of three Centuri dumped from a high height onto our dinner tables does not endear you to us."
The response from Ezekiel was a single nod, which Duncan took to mean the witch agreed with his suggestion.
After a beat, he continued, "We understand you have a slight problem. A soul-eater, I believe?"
The eyes of the witch went hard.
have a problem. The whole world has a fucking problem," Ezekiel snapped back.
Duncan merely stared into those sharp eyes for an unrelenting moment. No one spoke to him in that tone, or used a profanity in his presence, unless it was one of his sons and in private.
However, he kept his voice low, "I would remind you that, in spite of explicit warnings to desist in the practice, magic is your domain. If you have conjured up a monster from who knows where, what exactly do you expect
to do about it?"
Ezekiel’s Adam’s apple bobbed once and Duncan narrowed his eyes fractionally at the tell.
It appeared the witch was... alarmed?
For the first time a feeling of unease tickled the base of Duncan's neck.
"Whether you believe me or not, I speak only the truth.
have nothing to do with what is happening in our world."
Since Duncan hadn't been born yesterday he didn't believe a single syllable of that statement.
"Can you clarify to everyone gathered here today exactly what it is you mean? What is happening in our world that has caused you so much... alarm?"
"Magic. Specifically dark magic. Dark magic is slowly and very carefully being streamed to merge into our world. And it happens every time a portal is opened into our reality."
Duncan waited for one of the vampyres gathered to ask a question of the witch, but everyone stayed silent. The way everyone in the room was holding their collective breath, made him take a moment to extend his vampyre preternatural senses, to absorb the vibe. He felt alarm and shock from the beings gathered. Neither of which was surprising, but he also felt astonishment before at least three vampyres shut down their emotions to him. He couldn't say which vampyres had closed him out since all the feelings and anxieties in the room swirled in a complicated soup. But the fact that some were prepared to exclude him told him a great deal. Now he returned his attention to Ezekiel.
"You sit there and expect us to believe that you have nothing whatsoever to do with magic? Do we look stupid to you?"
Now the witch took a deep breath and closed his eyes, as if trying to find patience.
He opened his eyes and Duncan was stunned by the fire of truth and utter belief burning in those eyes.
"For many months I have found I cannot practice my craft because it attracts the dark side to my presence. These days it is too dangerous for me to become one with nature. I am not responsible for these events."
A vampyre always knew when another vampyre was lying.
Ezekiel might be a tricky bastard, but the bastard's statement appeared accurate.
No one spoke as they absorbed the truth.
Now Duncan gave the witch big eyes.
"No? Then who, or what, is responsible?"
For the first time, Ezekiel broke eye contact to stare at his hands now clasped tightly together on the table.
"I do not know," his eyes lifted and met Duncan’s. "Only a great power, a power beyond human or vampyre imagining, is capable of opening not just one but many portals into our world. However, I have detected a pattern developing. I’ve seen a portal open to our reality and I do not know if it was blind luck or planned that I witnessed the event."
The words, Duncan realized, were utterly sincere.
That feeling of unease tickling his neck now escalated, made him sit up straight.
"Do you expect us to believe you have not been opening portals, experimenting with moving between realities and dealing with demons from hell, or worse?"
The witch merely shook his head, his dark eyes spitting with fury.
"My magic is not black, prince. It is based on the elements of nature. These days I use my magic sparingly for it is too dangerous for me to use it freely."
"Explain," Duncan shot back.
"It appears by using magic I attract the dark to me and my kind. It finds me. Therefore I am unable to avail myself of my power. In many ways, I am helpless."
A snort of utter derision echoed through the room.
"Yeah, right. You’ll be telling us next, for the past two hundred years you've been misunderstood and as harmless as fucking Tinkerbelle," James Gillespie interrupted in a slow drawl, breaking protocol and the vampyre pecking order, both of which was typical behaviour of Duncan's second son.
He flashed James a look, a warning to cease and desist.
James obeyed, even though he didn't take his eyes from Ezekiel.
Saira Pattullo, always one to push her luck, opened her mouth to speak but a beady eye from her father, Cristophe, had her close it with a snap.
A sneer marred Ezekiel’s handsome face as he gave James his full attention.
"I never said my magic was harmless. I said it was not dark. There is a difference. If I were you I’d look to my own behaviour.
have not yet taken your wife’s vein." The stunned gasps of shock that greeted the statement reverberated around the room. Unconcerned that he’d dropped an emotional grenade and pulled the pin, Ezekiel continued in the same clipped tone, "And that leaves Charlotte vulnerable to others of our kind who are desperately seeking a mate. You are a pitiful excuse for a vampyre and do not honor either her or your race in your deplorable endeavour to be human."
A challenge had been tossed on the table.
To his credit, James’s vampyre did not rise to it.
Duncan took a precious second to indulge in a feeling of paternal pride in his second son, until James spoke and broke the moment.
"Well, well, well, marital guidance coming from
," was the carefully enunciated response from James. "Who'd have thought it? Your arrogance and ego are stunning in their capacity for self-delusion. How long did your marriage last? Ah yes, less than twenty-four hours if I remember correctly."
All eyes turned to Saira Pattullo, her beautiful face bone white. The estranged wife of the witch simply stared straight ahead.
Oh what a tangled web we weave, Duncan thought, determined to get the conversation back on track. "You mentioned a pattern in the opening of the portals?"
Ezekiel’s eyes were on Saira and the raw emotions burning in them were impossible to ignore. Possession and lust. But within a blink the expression was gone replaced now by a bored disdain before his gaze met Duncan’s.
"For some years my powers have been increasing exponentially. I can’t put an exact date on the changes. You must understand that on Earth nature requires balance in all things. When a portal opens in the world, I am aware of it. The sensation resembles the shudder of someone walking over one’s grave..."
"I am growing a beard waiting for you to get to the point," Marcus growled.
As if he’d never been interrupted, Ezekiel continued, "In the beginning the feeling lasted for seconds. Now it’s almost a full minute and I’ve noticed each time it occurs there is a corresponding volcanic eruption or earthquake in our reality. The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland is a case in point."
Marcus’s voice went silky, "Are you saying that every time there is an earthquake or volcanic eruption they are caused by a portal opening into this world?"