Read Blood Mate Online

Authors: Kitty Thomas

Tags: #Horror, #Dark Fantasy, #Fiction, #Literary, #Genre Fiction, #Literature & Fiction

Blood Mate

Blood Mate

Kitty Thomas

 

Digital Edition

Copyright 2014 © Kitty Thomas

All rights reserved.

 

Digital Edition License Notes

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This ebook may not be resold or shared. If you did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Respecting the
hard work of this author makes new books possible.

 

Publisher’s Note:

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places
and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, is
entirely coincidental.

Disclaimer

 

This is a work of fiction, and the author does not endorse or condone any
of this book’s content in a real world setting. This work is intended for an emotionally mature,
adult audience.

About Blood Mate
...A Dark Fairy Tale

 

Nicole has been happily married to big
shot attorney, Dominic Rose for ten years, but soon after their
anniversary he grows cold—as if she doesn’t exist. Meanwhile,
another man has been pursuing her far too intently for comfort.

August Corinth is a
six-hundred-year-old vampire, cursed to kill and suffer the pain of
his victims each night until he can find the one woman who can resist
his thrall, his blood mate. Once he’s found her, there are no lines
he won’t cross to claim the promised salvation even if it means
taking away everything and everyone she loves.

Chapter One

 

August Corinth jolted from a dead sleep, gripping the cross around his
neck, still rattled that neither the silver nor the holy symbol burned him.
The cross was simple, without ornamentation—a hunting lure. Humans saw
symbols of faith, and they trusted. He’d long thought God would
sweep in and smite him for daring to wear it. But so far… nothing.

His pulse beat against his throat, a dull, steady strumming that wouldn’t
stop no matter what he did. Fire, sunlight, electrocution, stakes, knives,
holy water, garlic—nothing worked. He’d even tried decapitation,
but the damned blade had broken, refusing to cut far enough through
his neck to finish the deed. He was flesh and bone, yet something
magic ran through his veins that made death an impossibility.

The moon shone through the leaded window. It was too bright for a vampire
waking out of a dead sleep, but closing his eyes would make the images of
the nightmare come back. He’d dreamed of being turned and abandoned by
his mad sire. The elder vampire had laughed in victory as he set
himself on fire. That hideous face behind those flames still burned
in August’s memory.

He unfolded his limbs, stretched, and stood in front of the mirror, searching
for a man instead of a monster. As days stretched into weeks, months, years,
centuries, he saw less of himself reflected back. He saw coldness and evil.
But despite that, underneath it all was the guilt, the terror, the pain. And
those he lured? Those he enthralled? They followed him, blissfully trusting
the peaceful energy and lies he fed into their minds.

Whatever brief relief feeding might bring, it created new suffering as the
body count rose ever higher. And unlike a normal predator, the vampire
experienced the pain and fear of each victim down to the depths of
his soul as he took their lives one by one. But it had to be done.

The only hope was an old wives’ tale laid out in the gilded book his sire had
left him—a book straight from the gods who had made the first of his
kind. Vampires were a sadistic experiment, their existence meant to
entertain gods who had long grown bored with their own immortality.

In the book, there was a way out that didn’t involve passing the curse. If a
vampire could find a woman he couldn’t enthrall who would sacrifice herself
to him as his blood mate, he could feed from her and be satisfied
without killing. She would become immortal to satisfy his urges
throughout eternity. But it was a myth—another way to torment those
who’d fallen under the curse of the capricious old gods. In his six
hundred and twenty-three years of life, August had never encountered
a single woman he couldn’t mentally control.

He ran his fingers over the spine of the book, resisting the urge to read
the fairy tale that helped him sleep. The hunger had awakened, gnawing at him,
clawing at him from the inside like a demon that could never be
exorcised. He wrapped himself in a robe and made his way through the
house, stopping at the door to the cellar.

His hand hovered over the doorknob. He could smell them, could hear them down
there whispering amongst themselves, planning unlikely escapes. He took a
long shuddering breath, then turned the knob and began his descent
down the creaking stairs. He heard the humans—like vermin—scurrying
into shadows, their breath slowing to become ever quieter even as
their hearts raced like thundering applause.

In the cellar were seven cages. One for each day of the week. It was always
the worst for the seventh victim after the build-up and terror at witnessing
the others who came before. But the seventh was always the sweetest,
the most fulfilling, even as it ripped out August’s soul, throwing
his humanity down a dark abyss.

There were four left. He brought them food each day, and they each had a
toilet and a sink and a shower and a cot.

He opted not to do the evil villain soliloquy, nor did he indulge in painting
himself a victim for others to pity. Instead, he dragged a woman from one of
the cages. The smell of blood broke through the dank air as she
scraped fingers, grabbing the jagged ground for purchase to keep him
from pulling her out.

August closed his eyes against her begging screams and sank his fangs into her
throat, draining the life from her as she thrashed against him. There was
momentary pleasure in the act of feeding. It was a bright, sweet
point of light in his existence. It was the briefest touch of heaven,
of perfection, and it lasted until the blood ran out.

The body dropped to the ground with a thud, and he dropped right behind her,
picking her up and cradling her. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
His sobs were muffled against her shirt, but she was no longer with
him to hear his broken pleas for forgiveness.

“August?”

The voice was small, but she had seen this show for several nights now.
Fear rolled out of his prisoner like fog coming in off a lake, but she
remained stoic, brave.

“What is it?” He both couldn’t stand for her to talk to him, and needed
her to. Why he kept her alive, he didn’t know. He went down the line in
order, but he’d skipped her cage two nights ago. She tugged at him.

“Talk to me,” she said.

He moved the corpse from his arms—arranging her on the ground in a less
macabre pose—and crawled over to the woman who’d beckoned him. The
remaining victims moved to the back of their cages, one stifling sobs
and trying to remain invisible, the other—a man—rocking back and
forth, screaming about the devil and Jesus returning to make it all
right.

When August got to the cage, the woman reached through the bars to take
his hand. He didn’t know her name. He didn’t know any of their names. He
couldn’t let himself know. It would only make things harder.

Her skin was soft and warm.

“I’m sorry you’re suffering.” She was a rare jewel to end up in one of his
cages. She saw him, through the monster, into the cruelty of what had
been done to him.

He wished the lie about mates was true. He could have kept her for a thousand
years, more, but he could easily enthrall her. It made a part of him want to
kill her now for the unfairness of a false hope.

He scooted closer to the cage.

“W-when you do it, does it have to hurt?”

August squeezed his eyes shut. “Yes.” How could he explain to her the need to
feed, the pleasure of it, the pointlessness of enthralling her beforehand or
the impossibility of stopping once he’d started? It would sound like justification
from a monster, and she’d be right.

“Why?”

“It’s how the curse was formed. It’s how it has to be.”

With his free hand, he stroked her hair, surprised when she leaned into him instead
of cringing away. If he killed this one, if he made her suffer, he’d never recover
from it. Her bravery and compassion in the face of her situation was more than
he deserved or could take.

He wanted to keep her. But what would he do with her? He couldn’t take her as a
lover, it would trigger the feeding instinct. Sex always made the hunger worse
and the killing more brutal. She wasn’t safe here.

He managed to pull his hand out of her silken hair and released himself from her
grasp to take the key from his pocket. He unlocked the cage and stepped
inside. She crumpled against him, trembling, her bravery leaving now
that she thought it was her turn.

His hand lingered on her cheek. “Look into my eyes.”

Her stark gaze rose to his.

“If I asked you to stay with me, if I wanted you to be my mate, if I spared you,
would you stay as long as I asked?”

“Y-yes.”

He peeked into her mind and let out a curse that made her shake more. If he couldn’t
enthrall her, he’d be free. He’d hoped she would say yes but be lying, or that
she’d say no or cry or give any indication that the thought horrified her, but
despite all her fear, she wanted to help him. She was a powerless angel, there to
save him but unable to complete the task for which she’d been sent. It may have been a
survival strategy, but she was willing, and that’s what would have counted if he
hadn’t been able to enthrall her. If the story in the book was true. He’d seen no
evidence that it was.

He took control of
her mind. “You will leave this place and find your way home. Forget
me and everything you saw here. You will not have nightmares or fears
or lingering dread. It will be as if none of it ever happened.”

Peace slipped over
her features, and in a daze, she moved up the stairs and out of the
cellar.

As soon as she was
gone, the two remaining humans rushed their cages. “Please, I’m
sorry for your suffering. Let me out!”

“Please let us
go.”

The woman said,
“I-I’ll stay with you. I-I’ll do whatever you want. Please.”

August’s face
darkened. They hadn’t cared about his suffering five minutes ago.
“No more mercy. I’d have to hunt again, and neither of you is
worth that much added exertion.”

He left the
cellar, slamming the door on their begging and shutting them out to
go back to his warm bed upstairs.

 

***

 

“Stop it,
Dominic!” Nicole choked out between laughter.

“I can’t stop
it, Mrs. Rose. It’s the tenth anniversary, the tickle anniversary.
I’m afraid, I’m obligated by law to tickle you until you puke.”

She managed to
kick him away and get to his side of the king-sized bed. She grabbed
his watch off the night table and held it high in the air.

“Nicole… now
that’s not playing fair. The firm gave me that.”

“All’s fair in
tickle survival. I’ll smash it.”

“You wouldn’t.”

One delicate
eyebrow rose. “Try me.”

Dominic sighed and
held his hands up in mock surrender. “Okay, I give up.”

“That’s good
because my other defense idea was a pillow fort.” She fell back
onto the pillows, her gaze following her husband as he got out of the
bed, all tan and sleek muscle. He smiled down at her, revealing the
dimple she loved.

Dominic Rose was a
big shot attorney, but he didn’t fit the stereotypes. There wasn’t
a thing sleazy about him. He was kind, honest, funny. She pinched
herself, still unsure after ten years that this could be real.

Dominic was the
prize at the end of the dating rainbow—the reward for putting up
with all the douche-y assholes she’d somehow managed to find
herself in bed with before him. Even better? Unlike far too many men,
he didn’t judge her for a single one of the conquests on her list.
She hadn’t had to lie about her number to appease his ego. And he
hadn’t done that asinine man math where you take a woman’s number
and multiply it by some arcane amount known only by the boy’s club
because she must be a big whore no matter what she says.

Men loved to play
with sluts, but when it came time to commit they wanted to think
they’d gotten there first. But Dominic was all about the equal
opportunity. All he cared about was that he had her now.

Nicole crossed to
the dresser and began to brush the tangles out of her long, golden
hair. She wished she could say she was some fairy-tale princess who
naturally had such fabulous color, but it came from a bottle.

“What if someone
from the firm sees us at dinner tonight?”

They’d both
called in sick to spend the day together in bed, hoping no one would
know it was their anniversary, which they’d declared a secret
holiday.

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