I swivel in my chair as the sliding wall comes to a halt. Tension coils every muscle in my body as I mentally prepare myself for another beating. I know Vivian was within her rights and she could have done much worse to me, but it goes against all my training to take another punishment without defending myself. Fighting back against your master could have deadly consequences—that much, I’m sure of.
Rafe strides through the opening alone. The fear I wasn’t ready to admit to slowly drains away.
“Clean up looks like it went well,” he says by way of greeting.
“Yeah. We had replacements for the equipment in one of the new storage rooms down the hall.”
“Good.” Rafe looks around. “Where did you put Joanna?”
I cringe inwardly at the reminder of what happened. I still stand by what I did at the time, but I can admit, too, it might not have been the only option. “I wrapped her in plastic,” I motion down the hall, deeper under the inn, “and placed her in an unfinished portion of the basement—under the north wing. Where we haven’t run any heat.”
Rafe grunts his acknowledgment. “I know you meant well. But it will take some time for you to earn back trust in Vivian’s eyes. You know that, right?”
“I do now.” I run my hand over my head. Think I feel some stubble, damn. “I really wasn’t sure what in the hell to expect.”
“Call Drew to replace you in here. I want you out on the property tracking Emiko.”
I sit up straighter at the prospect of this new assignment. “Really? Am I hunting her?”
“No. I want you to track her only—and try to manage it without getting caught. Vivian wants to talk to her, but she’s not in the best frame of mind to do so right now. Once we get more data in from Cy we can decide what to do, but keeping tabs on the rogue will be in our best interest.”
I nod in understanding before putting the call in to Drew, then head upstairs to the east wing. The lush tropical plants paired with the steel-drum island music, makes this one of my favorite spots. Today, Matt and Francesca are lounging by the water.
I bob my head in greeting, but don’t hesitate or attempt to engage them in conversation. It will slow me down. I don’t want to waste a moment on what could be an opportunity to redeem myself with Vivian.
The energy coursing through my body since I ingested Joanna’s blood, makes me slightly jumpy and paranoid. But at the same time, I’m infused with enough power to ensure precision in every movement, with added strength to boot. It’s a rush, that’s for sure.
Not anything like consuming Vivian’s blood, but a rush all the same.
I pat my thigh, assuring my gun is still strapped firmly in place. A touch at my hip confirms my back-up clips are stocked. I don the white, fur-lined parka Vivian ordered for those of us going out on patrol during the hunt, and the rest of my cold weather gear as well.
Slipping my ski mask down into place, I use my hip to open the emergency release bar on the sturdy exterior door and push out into the wind-howling darkness. At times, the cold barrenness reminds me of my winter tours in Afghanistan, but at others, like now, it reinforces the harshness of this region as unique unto itself.
Before I’ve had a chance to clear fifty feet from the door, my phone rings. Unzipping a bit, I reach into the neck of my parka and snag the cell in my shirt pocket. I fumble a bit and the phone clicks on before I bring it to my ear.
“Asa? Asa, can you hear me?” Drew’s calm confident tone reaches through the dark.
“Go ahead, Drew. I’m here.”
“We’ve had some separate reports of Emiko sightings from Jet and Stephen come in. Looks like she was last seen over by the family cabins.”
A coldness, beyond what I feel outdoors, grips my heart and for a moment I wonder if this ninja vampire is truly crazy. Would she risk snacking on one of the families and draw out Vivian’s wrath? I don’t think she could be that stupid and have survived as long as she has. So what does this information tell me? Who or what could she be after? Hmmm....
“Where were the werewolves spotted last?” I ask.
“Last report was from when you were still on duty.”
Which reveals something interesting—the wolves were around the cabins right before Rafe came down. I wonder if she could be tracking the wolves in the hopes of cornering one for their more powerful blood? Unless she can split one away from the pack, she’d be taking on a huge risk. I certainly wouldn’t face down six full-grown werewolves on purpose.
“The closest building beyond the cabins would be the bowling alley. I’ll head there to see if I can spot her. Out for now.” Placing the phone inside my inner jacket pocket this time, not my shirt one, I hope it will be easier to retrieve next time. I head the way my gut tells me—near the werewolves.
Running through the darkness has an almost eerie affect on one’s perceptions. Christmas lights festoon not only the stone statues carved in various sexual poses, but all the small evergreens as well. The marble garden between the east and north wings blurs by as I weave along the paved walkway in haste.
Once I pass the guest cabins, I avoid the turn-off for the family ones and head deeper along the trail to the low-slung building used as a bowling alley. Vivian had a huge master plan in place when she designed this place, that’s for damn sure. Between bowling, to skiing, tubing, and skating there doesn’t seem to be a lack of activities for the undead, or their human companions.
Entering the locked front doors of the bowling alley with the help of my master key, I stop just inside the vestibule. The sounds of banging and splitting wood put my senses on high alert as I creep forward, shedding my coat in the process. I crouch down low to peer around the corner, staying out of the line of sight in case someone has a weapon aimed at the entrance.
A naked Jonathan struggling with our fully clothed rogue is certainly not what I thought I’d see. I stifle a laugh when I see the desperation on the Were’s face as he tries to hold the stronger vampire off.
“You’re not listening, bitch! She’ll kill you.” Jon punctuates his meaning with a double kick to the woman’s chest, pushing her back only a few inches.
“I’m cold and hungry—you’ll do fine to warm me up, wolf boy.”
The expression on Emiko indicates she’s past the point of rational thought. I’m betting she has a slight were-blood addiction and she’s not hearing what he’s saying anymore.
The darkened seating area is littered with the remains of broken chairs and tables. The slight vampire drags the Were by his ankles to a clear spot near the empty lanes.
“Vivian does not share!” Jon turns to scramble away but she’s on him in an instant.
Realizing the truth in his words, I can’t stand by and idly watch while she bites him. She’d be signing her own irrevocable death warrant. I leap across the space between us, tackling and ripping her body from his before she can plunge her fangs into the Were’s neck.
The momentum takes us ten feet away, to land in one of the slick bowling lanes.
“Run, Jon!” I don’t look to see if he’s listening, my attention pinpointed on the black-haired fugitive now standing before me.
“Well, well, well... If it’s not another member of Vivian’s seethe. You’re the second one I’ve run into since this hunt started. Makes me wonder how fair this arrangement really is if you two found me so easily. Maybe you placed a tracker on me in the guise of these silver poison bracelets?”
I’m pretty sure she’s referring to meeting Drew in the green house, but I don’t have a chance to ponder it as she turns to pursue the naked wolf. Jon pulls part of a broken chair leg out of his thigh while crawling into the area by the door. I slip a bit on the waxed wood before getting enough purchase to jump at her again, in a tackling attempt.
If I can get her down and subdue her, Jon might be able to change back into a wolf and make a break for it. I land on her squarely, covering her with my body while she lies prone on the floor.
“Take a moment to think this through, Emiko.”
“I have. And I want the wolf.”
She pushes back with her hips, thrusts off the floor with her hands and I fly through the air to land on a rack of bowling balls. She turns to run after Jon and I hurl one of the heavy black globes at her head. My shot lands low, plowing into her back and sending her reeling from the wolf. I stand with my legs apart, braced for her anger when she turns to face me.
“He is Vivian’s only servant, you fool!” I’m not sure if my words are sinking in, but she’s got a clearer look in her eyes. “Do you think Alexandria the Great will share her sole vampire servant? Rethink what you’re doing here or the hunt could be over before you’ve lasted a day.”
A flash of black whizzes by and the thigh holster is torn from my leg.
“Now that we’ve got your pesky silver out of the way, let’s chat,” she says.
Jon is nowhere to be seen and I can only assume he’s left or gone into hiding. The lithe creature starts to circle me in a sideways step to the left.
“Do you know what’s more powerful than Were-blood?” she asks.
“No, I...” I trail off as the answer hits me. She intends to feed on me since Jon is gone. I don’t plan on going down without a fight, that’s for damn sure.
Little by little, the tiny warrior gets closer, occasionally darting in to hit me or tear my clothing in passing. It occurs somewhere in the back of my brain, while I try to land an offensive strike and fail, I’m outclassed as a fighter and slower than the older vamp despite the copious amount of blood I drank from Joanna.
A passing blow lands on my shoulder, spinning me to the right. Pain explodes in my temple as I crash headfirst into the ball return. I stay down longer than needed in a feint to draw her closer.
It works and I turn to land a punch on her. Quick as a wink, she dances out of reach and I’m left struggling to form a strategy against a smaller, faster, and stronger opponent. Throwing the balls worked, but she’s now standing between them and me.
“I’m pretty sure killing me wouldn’t be such a good idea,” I say.
She throws back her head and laughs. “I’m not stupid. I don’t plan on killing you.” She leaps at me in a swiftness I did not see coming and pins me to the wall. “I plan on feeding from you.” I pick up my arm to deliver a punch to the side of her head and she catches my larger fist in her petite hand. “And I’d like to now.”
The tearing of clothes she did earlier has left my chest exposed and part of my thighs as well. I strain with exertion, pushing myself against the wall and away from her open, sharp-toothed maw. She presses her chest to mine, leaving me nowhere to run.
All of our physical actions have taken an unexpected turn, and through no desire of my own, my cock begins to swell in my pants. Perhaps the traitorous body part will not catch her attention and I’ll get out of this with only a loss of blood. Turning my head to the side, I brace myself, every muscle tense for the savage bite I expect to land.
The tiny woman rises up on her tiptoes, hands on my shoulders to boost closer to my neck. “You smell good. Have you fed recently?”
I don’t answer. Squeezing my eyes shut, I try to lock down my mind from what’s about to happen. I’ve heard some vampires feed delicately on a fellow undead; others do not, and go for a more vicious, subjugating experience. After my one and only blood sharing experience during sex with Joanna, I really don’t know what to expect.
“How old are you, muscle-man with the silver bullets?” She sniffs deep near the opening of my shirt, at the neckline. “Hmm... I’d say you’re over five, but under ten years changed. Am I right?”
She gives me a hard shake, but I still refuse to answer. I guess the blood I drained from Joanna’s fifty-year-old corpse has altered my own power signature slightly. Good to know.
If this bitch gets much closer she’s gonna feel...
“Oh! What is it we have here? Does the young vamp like to play rough?” She cups my stiff cock through the tattered cargo pants. “I’m betting with your face turned away, you were hoping this would go quickly and quietly, weren’t you?” She throws me to the slick floor and straddles my hips, feet on the polished wood. Leaning down, she fumbles at my crotch. A rasp of metal on metal and a release of pressure indicate she’s lowering my zipper.
Crap! How in the hell do I get out of this one? She’s hot and I am aroused, but I don’t think I’m supposed to be fucking the enemy and enjoying it.
“I smell another woman on you. You must be a bit of a playboy, hmm?”
Since this evening was the first time I’d been laid in six months, I don’t think the term applies, but I see no reason to answer her question. “Don’t.”
She ignores me, pulling me out of my pants, testing the weight of my cock in one hand. “Very nice,” she says while kneading it. “I think this will be an excellent addition while I feed.”
Without further ado, she steps back and removes her pants. I tense to make a break for it, but she gives me a sharp look, effectively halting me. “Want me to make it rougher? You run and I’ll hurt you—we can do this with you screaming or with you enjoying it. ‘Cause it’s happening either way.”
After the two beatings I’ve taken so far today, I’m inclined to lie still. Guess I’ll have to take one for the home team. Damn.
She plants her feet again on either side of my still clothed hips and squats down while leaning toward my exposed neck. The sharp pierce of her canine cuts the skin above my jugular, sending an electric shock wave coursing through me to my hard, waiting dick. Tight wetness enfolds my erection at the same time Emiko draws her first pull of blood from my throat.
Pleasure seeps into my brain despite my not wanting it. The mutual sensations of her sucking eager mouth at my neck and her clasping, strong pussy on my cock, breaks what little control I have. I reach out to grab her hips and thrust her more firmly on me, impaling her deep.
“Mmmm...,” moans the suckling vampire. But she doesn’t stop feeding.
Her firm, smooth skin beneath my hands marks a sharp contrast to my partially clothed body while I pump. The energy pouring from my wound doesn’t seem to slow me or affect my sensations; the opposite seems to happen.
The compulsion to pump faster and harder into her while she’s locked on my vein drives out all rational thought. I curve my hands behind her hips to her tiny little ass, urging her faster and faster against me. If I cannot control what’s happening to me then I will do my damnedest to finish it sooner.
The end comes crashing on me like a steam train, forcing the release from my body in a long jet of pleasure. The inner walls of my captor spasm slightly around me. She hesitates at my neck, perhaps on a sigh or in response to her own peak, I’m not sure, but I take advantage of it and rip the Asian vamp from my body, tossing her across the room.
“That’s enough,” I say.
She catches herself in the momentum of my throw, turning the force into a graceful landing. Swiping the back of one hand across her bloody mouth, she stalks back to my spot on the floor.
“It will do. For now.” She bends to retrieve her pants, never taking her eyes off me the entire time. “You have power within you, young one. More than you should, I think.”
Like I’m going to spill my guts to this bitch just because she made me come? I snort. Yeah, like that’ll happen anytime soon. I tuck my semi-erect dick back in my pants and scramble up to leave.
“No chatting in our afterglow together? You’d rather pretend you hated it?” In a dismissive gesture, she puts her back to me and cockily stalks away with her pants on. “I have a feeling this week is going to be pretty easy. International Hunters – pah!” She turns to me with a flourish while swinging her coat on. “And now I know whom to stalk when I get hungry again.”
A small pit of something forms in my stomach. An emotion I’m not comfortable with settles itself in deep while she heads casually for the exit.
I was sent to track her and yet she’s made it painfully clear she can best me whenever she desires. This certainly puts a crimp on my orders from Rafe.
The deadly woman slips into the darkness outside. A moment later, Jonathan enters from the men’s room in the hall.
“You never left?” I ask. He’s wearing my parka, naked beneath it.
“It wouldn’t have been right, man. She could have killed you and I don’t think Vivian would have wanted that—or have been happy to hear I’d skipped out if it did happen.”
I hang my head in shame. It was bad enough when I knew of Emiko’s treatment of me, but to have it witnessed feels much worse.
“Dude, you didn’t have a choice. I also stayed to jump in if she tried to finish you off. I may not be a vampire, but I can still deliver a good ass-kicking when needed.”
I don’t want to talk about what happened. It’s still too fresh. The experience borders the line between I wanted it and I didn’t want it way too closely for me to examine right now.
The phone in my coat starts to ring and Jon fishes it out and flips it open.
“Hey Drew, it’s me Jon.”
“Why are you answering Asa’s phone? Is he okay?” Jon looks me over and turns away.
“He got the shit kicked out of him by Emiko, but he’s healing fast.”
“Emiko was there?”
“No, I’m making stuff up to confuse you.”