Authors: Chloe Hart
Tags: #vampire, #paranormal romance, #vampire romance, #demon hunter, #erotic paranormal romance, #erotic vampire romance, #sexy vampires
a paranormal romance novella
Blood and Absinthe, Book 1
Copyright 2011 by Chloe Hart
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the
U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, without the prior written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places
and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The October night was sharp with the first
taste of winter, but Liz Marlowe didn’t feel it. She was restless
and keyed up and spoiling for a fight, and a hot pulse of anger
kept her warm in her tee shirt and jeans as she hurried along the
crowded Boston sidewalks, past all the college students in their
turtlenecks and jackets, talking and laughing and putting their
arms around each other for warmth.
She was frowning down at the sidewalk, lost
in a snarl of frustrated thoughts, when she went around a corner to
escape the throng and slammed into what felt like a brick wall.
Her reflexes snapped into action and she
recovered quickly, jumping back a few paces as she looked to see
what she’d crashed into.
Not what, but who.
It was Jack Morgan, one of the few vampires
in New England she wasn’t allowed to kill and the only one who
could piss her off just by looking at her.
Which he was doing right now, with one
eyebrow raised and a slight smile on his face. “Well, well, well.
If it isn’t my favorite little ball of hate.”
“Don’t call me that,” she snapped, before
remembering the resolution she’d made the last time she’d run into
Never let Jack Morgan get under your
His smile broadened. “Why not? It’s an
accurate description. Plus it makes your face turn red and steam
come out of your ears, and I never get tired of seeing that. I
suppose I could call you my favorite elf, but since you’re only
one-sixteenth that would seem like stretching the truth, wouldn’t
She forced herself to stay silent, knowing
that anything she said would betray the fact that his shot had hit
home. Liz was the only member of the Green Fae clan with such a
diluted bloodline. Because of that, she’d felt at a disadvantage
among the other demon hunters from the time she was first called as
And Jack Morgan knew it. He was one of a
handful of vampires who had allied themselves with the elven clans,
and he’d been working with them for decades. He probably knew more
about the Green Fae than she did.
He knew, for instance, that in a clan of
warriors known for cold-blooded ferocity and iron control, Liz’s
quick temper was considered a serious shortcoming—and an
unfortunate result of her mostly human ancestry.
That’s why he enjoyed making her angry.
Because he knew how hard she worked to hide her emotions.
“I keep waiting for a vein to pop out,” he
said. “Right here,” he added, reaching out to touch her
A shiver went through her at the feel of his
cool fingers against her skin. Before he could notice her reaction,
she slapped his hand away and took a quick step back.
If Jack ever found out she was attracted to
him, her life wouldn’t be worth living.
She loathed Jack Morgan with every strand of
her hybrid DNA, so it really, really sucked that he was so
goddamned good-looking. He was tall and powerful and built like a
gladiator, with black hair and a wicked mouth and icy blue eyes
that radiated all the deadly competence she longed to possess.
She took a deep breath. “Get out of my way,
vampire. I don’t have time for you tonight.”
He raised an eyebrow. “I hope you’re on your
way to hit somebody. You look like you need to burn off some steam.
Care to take a swing at me, just for practice? You know you want
“And you’ll just stand there and take it, of
“Why not? We both know you can’t hit hard
enough to hurt me.”
She had hit him, once. Several times, in
fact. The fight had been a test, to see if she was ready to
graduate from her training as a warrior, but she hadn’t known
When she and her teacher had come upon two
vampires in a dark alley she’d gone into battle mode without any
hesitation. She’d been fiercely exultant when she seemed to be
winning, until Yana had called out, “Stop!” and Jack had
immediately backed off.
And then proceeded to dissect her fighting
technique in a cool, dispassionate tone that set her on edge as
much as the things he said about her.
“She’ll never be as strong as the other demon
hunters. Her Fae blood is too thin.”
“Absinthe could help.”
“It could also kill her.”
“Not if she takes it properly, and only on
the night of the solstice,” Yana had countered, while Liz kept her
eyes on the vampire who’d just voiced out loud the one thing in the
world she was afraid of.
That she was weak.
Which was why, the day after she’d met Jack
Morgan, she’d gone to her best friend for help. Celia was an eighth
blood Fae and a spellcaster, and she knew how to make elven
She’d warned Liz of the unpredictability and
danger of the brew—too much and you might be pulled into a dark
faery realm, never to return—but Liz didn’t care. If there was a
way to make herself stronger, to close the gap between herself and
the other warriors, she was going to take it.
She and Jack had run into each other several
times after their first encounter, but he hadn’t seen her fight
since then. And during that year and a half Liz had been training,
going on missions, and drinking absinthe once a month.
The alley they were standing in was deserted,
and a glance around confirmed that no one was coming their way.
She dropped her backpack on the sidewalk and
flexed her hands.
“That would be great, actually. I could use a
Jack’s eyes widened and then narrowed, and
the fact that she’d actually surprised the smug son of a bitch gave
her a rush of satisfaction.
“This isn’t the ideal place to—”
“All talk, huh? I knew you were afraid to
Of course that wasn’t true, but just saying
it made her feel pleasantly reckless, knowing she was needling one
of the most dangerous creatures in Boston.
Jack took a step closer, his blue eyes
lasering into hers. “That stupid cockiness is one of your
weaknesses. And someday it’s going to get you killed.”
This was the most fun she’d had in weeks.
“Okay, fine. If you’re not up for a full-on bout, at least let me
take one good swing at you. You did offer, after all.”
He stared at her for a minute, his expression
unreadable. “So I did,” he said finally. “Well, it won’t hurt me
and it might amuse you.”
He took a step back and widened his stance,
smiling coldly. “I’m ready whenever you are.”
She let her eyes rove over his six and a half
feet, every inch of him covered in hard muscle. “I think I’ll go
for the solar plexus.”
He shrugged. “Have at it, warrior.”
Hitting Jack’s abdomen would be like hitting
a brick wall. But she’d taken absinthe just two nights ago, and she
could feel power surging within her. She gave him a sweet smile and
then threw a punch with everything she had behind it.
It hurt like hell, but her warrior bones
could handle the impact. And Jack flew back three feet and landed
hard against the building behind him.
was the most fun she’d had in
“I guess you were right. I really did need to
burn off some steam.” She smiled again, even sweeter than before,
and started to walk past him.
Jack grabbed her so fast she didn’t have time
to react. He jerked her off her feet and slammed her up against the
wall, his hand around her throat and his face just inches from
“The solstice ceremony isn’t for another two
As lethal and terrifying as he looked right
now, Jack wasn’t squeezing her throat. She could still talk, and
she was pleased at how calm, even detached, her voice sounded.
His blue eyes had never looked more arctic.
“So explain to me why there’s absinthe in your system right
She willed herself to be as cold as he was.
“I don’t have to explain a damn thing. I don’t answer to you,
She felt hatred coursing through her veins as
she took a deep breath. “‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend.’
Right? That’s the theory behind the Fae’s alliance with you. The
demons are a mutual threat, and you work with us to fight them.
Maybe some of the Fae are grateful for that, but I’m not. I’m not
fooled by your hero act. In the end, I think your true nature will
come out. I think you’ll work with us as long as it serves your
interests and not a moment more. You’re not in this for the greater
He seemed completely unaffected by her words.
The hand around her throat didn’t tighten and his eyes didn’t so
much as flicker. “I never said I was. And you still haven’t
answered my question. How much of that poison have you been
drinking? You risk death every time you take a sip. Are you so
eager to die? Didn’t they teach you the consequences of—”
She kneed him in the groin, not as hard as
she could but hard enough to make him loosen his hold a little,
allowing her to pull away and put a couple of feet between them.
She faced him now on a hair trigger, her weight forward on the
balls of her feet and her arms flexed and ready.
“They’re my clan, not yours, and they’ve told
me everything I need to know.”
They stared at each other for a few seconds,
Liz breathing hard and Jack as still as a marble statue. After a
moment she started to walk past him, keeping her senses on high
alert in case he tried to grab her again.
He didn’t, but he dropped one word into the
It was a request, not a command. Because of
that she stopped and turned, slowly, to face him again. “You’ve got
“There’s something out there,” he said after
a moment. “Something dangerous. Something we haven’t seen
Liz nodded curtly. “I know. I’m on it.”
The “something dangerous” was the reason she
hadn’t been looking where she was going when she ran into Jack in
the first place. For two days now she’d been trying to hunt down an
unseen enemy that had left at least three dead so far, and she
hadn’t been able to find out a damn thing about who or what was
doing the killing.
Her blood was hot with the instinct to fight,
but her wrath had no target.
With most of her clan in Alberta—Green Fae
from all over North America were gathering to fight a demon horde
in the Canadian Rockies—Liz was without backup for the first time
since she’d been called as a warrior. This should have been the
perfect opportunity to prove herself, to show the clan that she
could handle solo missions and dangerous assignments.
Instead, she’d spent the last forty-eight
hours doing recon and had come up empty. All she knew was that
other creatures were running scared from this thing, leaving Boston
as free of demonic energy as she’d ever seen it—except for this
unknown, nameless threat.
“I think you should alert your clan
“I don’t need to alert them. I told you, I’m
on it. I haven’t learned much yet, but I will. If you know
“Yeah, I know something. Whatever this thing
is, it’s going to be too much for you. If you won’t contact the
other Fae, then you need to let me handle it.”
Liz just stared at him. “Sure, you bet,” she
said after a moment. “I’ll hide in my apartment and watch Gossip
Girl reruns, and you can take on the big bad evil all by
Jack’s dark brows drew close together.
“I’m done listening to you. If you find out
something useful, I expect you to let me know. Otherwise, stay out
of my way.”
She had to walk a few blocks before she
calmed down. Then she checked her watch. Thanks to her encounter
with Jack, she was running ten minutes late to meet Celia.
Music pulsed out of a doorway ahead, and Liz
slowed her angry strides and went inside. The cafe was between her
apartment and Celia’s, and in spite of an annoyingly superior wait
staff they served the best espresso in the city.
Celia was sitting at a table in the corner.
She looked like a student, her red hair caught back in a ponytail
and her cheek resting on one hand as she frowned down at the book
in front of her, making notes in the margins as she read. The place
was a college hangout and Celia fit in perfectly.