Authors: Jenika Snow
Tags: #General Fiction
PASSION IN PRINT PRESS
This book is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2010 by Jenika Snow
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
Passion In Print Press
3052 Gaines Waterport Rd.
Albion, NY 14411
Visit Passion In Print Press on the Internet:
Cover Art by Deana C.
Editing by Katriena Knights
This book is licensed to the original purchaser only.
Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines and/or imprisonment.
This eBook cannot be legally loaned or given to others.
No part of this eBook can be shared or reproduced without the express permission of the publisher.
There’s this little cafe on the corner of Bourbon and Amsted called Claret.
It’s a small establishment that is rumored to be a portal to another dimension.
Do I believe in such rubbish?
I live in a world where vampires walk beside me on the street, serve me beer at the local bar, even do my hair at the beauty salon.
They are supposedly myth and lore, fabled monsters straight from a movie or dream, but they are my reality.
I knew people who had been to mythical and occult establishments, had listened to them rant and rave about the exquisite creatures that played there.
None of it had interested me until now.
I don’t know what it was, but something inside of me snapped, as if a beast had been lying dormant within my body this whole time and was clawing its way out.
I wanted to be wild—reckless, even—but most of all I just wanted something unusual and out of the norm.
I feared if I didn’t change something, I would end up being an old woman, trapped in my house, isolated from the world around me.
I was sick of my monotonous and arid life.
That was actually my worst fear—aloneness and sequestration.
I usually keep to myself, spending time at the “mortal” clubs and bars in my area.
One night, while I sat at my usual hangout spot, I decided to visit the elusive and mysterious supernatural bar, Claret.
I didn’t actually know anyone who had gone there, but I assumed one preternatural place was as good as the next.
It was on the rougher side of town, but I was tough, having lived in downtown Denver for more years than I cared to admit.
I knew I could handle myself.
On the night I worked up the nerve to go to the club, the weather was unusually cold for a summer evening.
The wind whipped by me as if it were angry at the world and sought vengeance.
I decided to wear something casual, hoping I could draw the least amount of attention to myself and hopefully go unnoticed.
I wanted to observe what the hype was all about, wanted to be intangible, covert, even.
The closer I got to the small building, the more the tension in my body tightened.
It was as if my inner self knew that where I was going was perilous, portentous.
I shivered, not because of the chilled air, but because of the anticipation and trepidation that coursed through me.
My adrenaline was pumping through my bloodstream, giving me the kind of excitement and high only the unknown can bring.
My heels clicked against the pavement, the sound seeming thunderous compared to everything around me.
I slowed my pace as the tiny building I sought out came into focus.
It really wasn’t anything spectacular, and if you didn’t know what it was, or who was within its walls, you would pass it by without notice.
Thick, gray stone slabs created a cottage dwelling, the scarred, narrow door plain and dull in appearance.
Standing next to the tall, modern buildings in the city, Claret seemed out of place, from a completely different era.
I walked across the street and stopped in front of the door, tilting my head and taking in every nook, every cranny of the club.
I slipped my hand from the warm cocoon of my pocket and reached for the handle.
The metal was icy against my flesh as I gripped the circular knob and pushed the door open.
The wood swung open soundlessly, and at first I couldn’t hear anything, but the smell of cloves and hyacinth was potent as it assaulted my senses.
I stepped fully inside, looking around the barren room.
Strewn tables and chairs littered the ground.
Dust was a thick layer atop the bar counter, a testament that no life had been present for eons.
I knew I was in the right place, but the fact that it was clear no one had been here for quite some time was a truth that I couldn’t deny.
Even with the bar’s appearance, I still couldn’t get over the intense, aromatic scents that assaulted me.
I expected a moldy, murky aroma, not the pleasing, relaxing scents that seemed to slip into my cells.
I idly ran my finger over the leg of an overturned chair.
I gasped and snatched my hand back, staring down at it before I plucked the thick splinter from my flesh.
A red drop of blood welled on the tip of my finger like a glistening ruby.
The bead slid down my skin and splashed against the dirty floor.
I stared down at it for a suspended moment, my eyes riveted to the redness of my blood against the dull backdrop of the wood.
I shook myself free of my trance and turned to leave.
Just before I reached the door, a dizzying rush slammed into me.
It was as if I had walked right into a wall, yet I felt no pain.
I stumbled back and gripped my head, my equilibrium off to the point that the room was spinning, and I thought I would vomit.
I staggered over to a wall and reached my hand out to steady myself.
I dropped my head and closed my eyes, taking several deep breaths and willing myself to be calm.
The quiet and bleakness that surrounded me slowly left.
The sensation was strange, like when a song is slowly ending and another one takes its place.
Music welled up around me, along with the clatter of dishes, laughter, and the distinct smell of cloves.
I slowly lifted my head and opened my eyes.
I first stared at my hand that was pressed against a now silk-covered wall.
I turned around, my eyes widening and my breath halting.
Although my world consisted of the paranormal, the scene before me still had my heart palpitating.
Gone was the twenty-first century I was so accustomed to, and in its place was a representation straight from the roaring twenties.
Flapper girls milled around, their short, shapeless shift dresses moving like liquid as they swayed to the music.
Short, sleek bob hairdos topped their heads, the dim lights above making the strands glisten like satin and silk.
Just as I really started to take in every little detail, everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at me.
My eyes were still wide as I saw the slow shift in their appearances, as if they wore a human mask and their true selves were gradually coming to the surface.
Red eyes flashed behind blue, black, and brown ones.
Strong and aquiline bone structures contorted momentarily to show ones straight from a nightmare.
They all smiled simultaneously, their razor-sharp teeth flashing momentarily as they grinned.
A scream welled up in my throat as I inched my way toward the door.
I turned around to grip the handle, but the door that should have been there was gone.
Panic settled into my bones, and I swallowed roughly.
“You know, panicking is only making this situation worse.”
The low, deep voice behind me had my eyes widening further and my throat tightening.
I slowly turned around, tilting my head back and taking in the massive man standing in front of me.
I stared into a pair of intense green eyes, the color so vivid and so bright it was like fresh-cut limes glistening under the morning sun.
Even in my perilous situation I couldn’t help but notice how baritone and gravelly his voice was, with just the smallest accent thrown in there.
It sent shivers of sexual appreciation down my spine, stopping at the apex of my thighs and making my clit throb.
I swallowed roughly and took a step back.
The man was massive, with bulging muscles underneath a black pinstripe suit.
Even though my thoughts had drifted toward a more sexual nature, I didn’t fool myself into thinking this man couldn’t snap my spine like a toothpick.
“We don’t get many mortal visitors.” His eyes scanned my body so thoroughly that I felt like I was standing naked before him.
He hummed in approval.
“I can’t complain on the selection, though,” he murmured as he took a step toward me.
Logically I knew I should fear him—he could, after all, be a werewolf, demon, or any other being that could overpower me with just a glance.
“Although your fear tempts me, I would much rather taste your pleasure.”
My heart started to work overtime, slamming against my sternum as the full reality of my situation coursed through me.
I’d foolishly thought I could handle myself here, stupidly thought I would go unnoticed.
I could very well die tonight, and no one would be the wiser.
This place truly is a portal to another dimension, another world.
Again, this was my world, so the fact that this information actually shocked me made me feel foolish and ignorant.
“I think you should come with me.”
The haze that had filled my brain slowly cleared, and I blinked rapidly.
I whispered, “Why would I do that?” I wished I could sound stronger, but arousal was a slow burn inside of me that would not be appeased by mere conversation.
He slowly leaned toward me, his breath tickling my skin, sweet and smelling from the alcohol he had just drunk.
We stared at each other for a moment, his mouth slowly widening to reveal long, sharp fangs.
“The only reason you’re still standing and not a blood donor is because I forbid it.
I could easily take the command away, and everyone in this room would be on you before you could inhale.
For your safety, you need to come with me, or stay here and meet their wrath.” He threw his arm toward the crowd.
A buzz of conversation filled the room, and more than once I heard the word “human” and “blood” in the same sentence.
I knew he spoke the truth, knew that every paranormal creature, despite what folklore said, lived off of blood, human blood.
I knew nothing of this man, this vampire, but he was clearly someone of power.
I knew that, for whatever reason, he was keeping me safe.
I could feel the warmth from his body seep into mine, and instantly my nipples throbbed, stiffened, and elongated.
I inhaled deeply, his very essence slipping into my lungs and traveling through my bloodstream.
I watched his pupils dilate, heard his breathing change from slow and steady to fast and shallow.
Oh, yes, he was just as affected as I was.
I didn’t know much, but what I did know was that I wanted this man, wanted him with a ferociousness that rivaled anything I had ever felt.
I nodded despite the twinge of uncertainty that flowed through me.
He straightened, leading me toward a small door off to the side.
I followed him through it, the lighting almost nonexistent as we made our way down a narrow hallway.
He pushed open another door, and I blindly followed him in.
I jumped slightly when the door shut on its own accord behind me.
My mind and body suddenly went into shock when I took in the room I was standing in.
I wasn’t an expert in kinky stuff, but the room I was currently in looked like a showroom for BDSM.
Ropes, chains, swings, and an array of other paraphernalia that I couldn’t even identify littered the walls, ceilings, even the floor.
“Welcome to the oubliette.
While here, you will do what I say, when I say.
You may refer to me as Master, or Erach.
Is what I’m saying clear?”
I stared at him in dawning horror and, I’ll admit, a bit of fascination.
This man—vampire—actually expected me to just submit to him?
I would have laughed like a lunatic if the intense, unyielding expression on his face hadn’t dried up any humor I might have felt.
He was serious, utterly and totally.
“I’m sorry?” Of course I had heard everything he said, but the fact remained that this was starting to turn from a naughty fantasy to a horrid nightmare.
Sure, I had thought about what a little BDSM would feel like.
Had even imagined what it would be like to submit to a powerful man as he pleasured my body the way he saw fit.
But that was all those were: fantasies, thoughts.
“The first rule is you do not question me.
The second rule is you obey me.
If you break said rules, you will be punished as I see fit.
Do you understand what I have just said?”
I shook my head and looked around frantically.
No way did he think I would actually go along with this.
He truly was a madman, a monster.
I think it’s best that I leave.”
His laugh was humorless as he shucked off his jacket and went for the buttons of his crisp, almost blindingly white shirt.
I couldn’t help but stare in shock and, I’ll admit, appreciation at the chest that was revealed when he removed the material.
His skin was as pale and firm as bone china, the muscles and sinew flexing with every inconsequential move he made.
His biceps alone were the size of my thighs, his forearms vein-roped and thick.
He looked awe inspiring, powerful, like a Greek god.
To my disappointment, he didn’t remove his pants, just unhooked the top button so that tantalizing abdominal V stood out in stark relief.