Authors: Aiden James
A Division of
P.O. Box 2160
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Cover Art by Eugene Teplitsky
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ISBN 978-1-62007-693-4 (ebook)
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Dedicated to those who glory in the dream of life everlasting… on earth.
Rosemary and Becky; two of the strongest examples of love, strength, and ferocity anyone could ask for.
’ll never forget the way the moon looked through my window seat on Racco de Saint Germaine’s private jet as we crossed into China’s airspace from India. A full moon illuminated the thick cloudbank below and obscured the vast depth of the night sky behind it. The beauty of it distracted me from the ever-growing sadness of moving farther away from my American homeland. At least it did until the voice of my newest companion drew my attention from the view.
“I wonder what it’s like to fly through the air at this altitude without manmade wings.”
Tyreen Davenport grinned mischievously as she said this, ivory fangs peering through her voluptuous lips. She was once my roommate at UT, and had been a vampire for only a week. Fortunately, Franz and Armando reached her in time to prevent her transformation into a ‘Chupacabra’ vamp after one of Ralu’s warriors attacked her in the now infamous Knoxville tragedy, where twenty-three UT students and six police officers died.
Unlike the ‘Nosferatu Curse’ that afflicts so many of Ralu’s victims, Tyreen can look forward to an eternity as one of the pretty vampires. Her gorgeous green eyes are now luminescent, and her flawless ebony skin will always be perfect. Never shall she endure the onset of aging or, for that matter, the ill effects of gravity. Her full bosom and the ‘bodacious butt’ the boys back in college drooled over will remain that way for centuries to come. And when my long dark brown hair begins to go gray, her flowing curls will remain jet-black—unless she becomes addicted to frequent hair color experiments like her new peers.
“It would probably be cold as hell and take days to thaw me out,” she said.
I chuckled to let her know I understood her observation wasn’t in reference to me and my human limitations, and gave her half a glare for the brag. Rather it referred to our older and more advanced vampire companions, who can soar through the air at incredible heights when necessary. “As for what it would be like for you, why don’t you ask Garvan?”
“Hmmm… I would say the best way to describe it is exhilarating,” a young man’s voice said from behind me.
Tyreen looked beyond me, smiling coyly as I turned to face Garvan de Sang.
Garvan, a four hundred year-old vampire from France, was dressed like the typical European playboy in a white Armani suit and apricot silk shirt opened at the neck. His fiery emerald eyes peered through shoulder-length blonde hair that fell forward as he served himself a champagne glass filled with fresh blood—his preferred ‘Type O’ kept ready at room temperature. “Unless you forget about the speed… forgetting about that would be bad.
“How so?” I wanted him to elaborate. I could tell Tyreen was even more curious than I.
“Depending on how fast one travels, it’s possible to slip past the earth’s gravitational pull,” he said, his expression playful and his normally rich aristocratic accent muted. “And then ‘poof’, you are no longer part of this world ever again.”
“That would suck for anyone,” I said, as Tyreen’s hopeful smile faded.
Meanwhile, Garvan’s own smile widened, revealing his gleaming fangs. “Yes, that’s a correct assessment.” He moved over to an empty seat next to Tyreen. “But, it’s far worse for a vampire. Imagine for a moment that you were like Tyreen or me, and can no longer easily die.” He paused for dramatic effect. “Can you picture how much fun this could become if one of us were shot out into the vast expanse of outer space?”
“Are you suggesting we wouldn’t just turn into a block of ice out there, destined to orbit the earth until kingdom come?” Tyreen’s sarcastic wit overrode the slight fear I sensed hovering just below the surface.
“Well, I suppose whatever is organic within our vampire bodies would freeze,” interjected Armando from behind us. The accent was almost genteel Spanish, as I suppose the rich plantation owners who occupied Haiti and Cuba after arriving from Portugal and Spain sounded several hundred years ago. “But no vampire likes to spin around anything—definitely not the earth—
I twisted in my seat to face Armando. Like Garvan, he was also dressed like a young jet setter, though with his darker skin and slicked back ponytail he could also pass as the Central Casting version of a Miami drug prince. He was wearing a black jacket and slacks with a burgundy silk shirt. The dark colors might look brooding on another, but the near constant glimmer of amusement in his eye and on the corners of his lips prevented that. My Spanish protector is among my favorite of immortals with his quick wit and unexpectedly light heart. The combination of traits is something quite unexpected to find in an apex predator. If the stereotypical widow’s peak atop his forehead didn’t betray his status as a blood drinker, his unearthly deep blue eyes and prominent fangs would remove all doubt in an instant.
“You two sound ridiculous!”
From the front of the plane, Raquel Meurtrier eyed us with playful contempt. I realized then that an impromptu ‘vampire meeting’ with Gustav must have officially ended. Raquel was, by far, the most diminutive and dainty of my vampire protectors―you might even go so far as to call her petite. Her long hair was crimson and her eyes a deep shade of violet. She was dressed almost casually in simple black tights and a long purple cardigan sweater. The slight smirk on her face told me that she enjoyed my latest admiring nod. Unlike the other female vampires in my close circle of companions, Raquel didn’t gravitate to the latest designer fashions. She preferred a wardrobe featuring elegance crossed with a loose thrown-together feel, and was the closest thing to Lady Gaga we’ll likely ever see in our exclusive society.
In addition to superior sense, the ability to fly, and inhuman strength, the vampires also gained some kind of superb fashion sense. It just didn’t seem fair. Thinking about it, though, it did make sense, as predators to lure their prey, they needed to make themselves more desirable. Part of that is visible, like male birds with their assortment of colorful feathers. I started to wonder if their scents were another part of it, like pheromones. I made a note to myself to investigate this in greater depth later, if given the opportunity.
“You sound more like a pair of real dumbasses, in my opinion,” she said as she sauntered toward us, a more roguish grin tugging at the corners of her thin lips.
“Perhaps ‘dumbasses’ who never considered the combustion of their vampire bodies once this so called orbit brought them face to face with the sun,” added Chanson. She somehow joined our little group without me seeing her entrance into our area. Only her distinctive lilac scent alerted me to her presence. “And it would be a hell of a lot hotter and crueler without the ultraviolet protection from the earth’s atmosphere.”
Reflecting her no-nonsense attitude, she was dressed in a dark blue Armani suit similar to the blazer and skirt laid out for me the previous afternoon and she carried a laptop with her. Chanson sat next to me, grimacing slightly. The look on her face said the meeting she and my other guardians had attended―all save Tyreen that is―had involved some sort of battle… a war of wills, perhaps? This sort of thing usually made me quite uneasy. But, at the moment, the olfactory barrage from their collective presence was of worse concern. Even more than the chilling presence Chanson and Raquel brought with them, since neither one had fed that evening.