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from Chapter 7 of Fade to Black

“So, you managed to escape.” The voice travels over my skin, leaving a trail of goose bumps in its wake. I take a deep breath and walk up to him. I wish I had asked Jared to come with me. Then I wouldn’t be alone with him when he attacks. The vampire smiles, exposing his fangs. He’s sexy as hell. Long, black hair falls in waves to his knees. All he wears is a pair of blue leather pants. No shoes. No shirt. His skin is pale, smooth, and perfect. Not a scar or a hair to mar his beauty. His eyes are the color of plums. I long to caress his Romanesque facial features. I catch myself as I step toward him. He laughs, full and masculine. It runs through my body, quelling the pain inside. He’s doing things that normal vampires can’t do.


“A born vampire,” I whisper.


From what I understand, born vampires never started out human. Legend has it that around 250 BC, the vampires decided to try and find a way to reverse the vampire process, to become human again. To say the least, it backfired. The guinea pig of their experiments, Suzara, was the first vamp that showed signs of the change. She gave birth to a son, and that was when the other vamps realized they had created something. Suzara was strong, stronger than they were. She had tricks of the mind that other vampires didn’t have. She could influence your thoughts, to make you come to her. But she was still a vampire nonetheless. She still needed blood to live and she could still change humans into vampires. Suzara started her line with her son. Their numbers stayed small, and

until now I thought that they were a myth. Oh yeah, I was mistaken.


“Who are you?” I growl. You’d figure I would try to run; to live to fight another day. I need to get away, but being stuck in the middle of vampire central prevents that. Besides, sunlight doesn’t affect him. I won’t be able to get far.


“My name is Damian,” he drawls, his voice like silk. His voice holds a hint of an accent of ages past, pre-Christian. An accent lost to us now. Whoever he prays to, their following is long dead.


“Looking for this?” He holds up a ring with a single bronze key on it. The key to the Were leader’s cell. I feel him in my mind, compelling me to come to him. I open my mind to him enough to show him the wolf within. Damian backs off with a grin.


“So much anger for one so young and beautiful.” He throws the key ring at me and I catch it reflexively. I stare at him, wondering what kind of game he’s playing. What the hell is going on? “A trade then,” he drawls. “Jerrikin and Jackilin rule this city. I want it. Your life and freedom for their death. Simple as that.”


I shake myself, refusing to let this conversation be one-sided. “And leave my friends here to die? You must be mistaking me for someone else.” Damian laughs, sending chills up my spine.


“I wouldn’t dream of doing that, pet. Your friends may leave with you as well. I have no desire to kill you. I just desire what the Skyner’s have.”


“Why? Why make me do your dirty work?”


“Why not? You escaped, killed those that hurt your Were friends, and


I stepped up to rule. Simple as that.”


Simple as that? I wonder what is really going through his head. Damian is a born vampire. Faster. Stronger. He can kill them himself. He can already be the ruler of Charleston by now.


No I can’t. His voice enters my mind. Vampire rules are more involved than you know. I need an outside source


“I don’t understand.”


If you knew our ways, then you would understand.


“Then teach me. Teach me vampire politics.” My fear has all but evaporated.


Too much of a trade. You’ll get more. You get freedom and a look into our ways…


“And you get the city and the BMC’s support.” I wonder if he knows what the BMC is. “You just said that we don’t know shit about vampire politics. Teach me.”


Damian laughs. I’ll need one more thing to make me bend.


“I don’t know what you would want.” Fear wells up inside me.


“I want you.” Those plum colored eyes burn into mine“My blood?” I ask, careful not to betray my fear.


“Never. I wouldn’t dream of marring your skin. Come to me.”


I feel compelled to come. I take several steps forward until there is an arms length between us. My heart was pounds to the point that my chest feels ready to cave in.


“I would never hurt you,” he whispers as he wraps an arm around my waist and pulls me close. I have a moment to realize that his mouth isn’t close enough to my neck when he presses his lips to mine. There is a second of silence, just the softness of his lips and the sweet taste of his kiss, then a blast of power takes my breath away.