Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shadowed Intentions Chapter One

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You can join us on Facebook for some Awesome author takeovers and even better prizes.

To kick everything of right here is chapter one from Shadowed Intentions
 ***Content Below is for Adults 18+***

Opsona Journey Series Book Three
Shadowed Intentions

Tentusa burned below the rolling hills of sweet lemon grass. Even from the slopes on the western edge of the valley I could smell the alluring scent of pure terror. Mortal emotions wafting up from violent flames—fear, desperation, death. Tempting, tempting death. The bouquet of chaos sending chills of arousal through my chest and down to my curling toes. This was just a prelude to what was to come, tomorrow night it wouldn't just be the city in ruined flames, all of the valley would be destroyed. By week’s end the Vrasum Province would be nothing more than ashed corpses completely under my control. There was nothing that could stop me from taking what I wanted. Tentusa had fallen despite all the defenses that had gathered in the city—the gods feeble storm, Rhea, the mortal sensitive I took care of, and even my own sabotage couldn't stop this moment.
They were all minor stumbles along the path that had only one conclusion. Why did I even bother to prevent this? How could I not want this moment with all its perverse accolades? Even if the city’s demise was premature it was still a moment of pride that swelled in my chest.
That was my sin that burned below, something that would have paralyzed me with grief this morning but now filled me with accomplishment. The creature within that I constantly struggled against now had desires that I could align myself with. We both wanted the same thing, and it felt so powerful. I couldn't care less about Ryder's men washing through Tentusa like a violent pledge, nor how many lives would be lost because of what I did in those tunnels beneath the city.
Sliding my fingers over each other I groaned at the feeling of satin that slipped between them. Fresh blood—Vamdari blood wet my flesh with its darkly sweet aroma. Ryder's fear laced scent still clung to my body, bringing me to a high that needed to last.
"Are you enjoying this?" Cret asked with a type of sorrow in his throat. I didn't envy him that emotion, if I never felt anything but this pleasure again, that was fine. It was all I required.
I felt right for the first time in decades, lost in the twisted delight and depravity that had awakened within. Now with the reminder of his presence it was shattered, the ecstasy gone from the moment as I felt the heat of his body next to mine. He brought anger out in me that took the edge away from my high, flooding the rage right to the forefront of my mind. My creature was distracted by him, churning under my flesh like a caged, wounded animal wanting to attack. Not yet. I tried to soothe it, but we had every right to lash out.
I saw it there in his blood as it trickled down my throat, a memory I had lost, a memory of him and not a pleasant one. That single recovered moment was the key to all my suffering but pulled more attention to the recollection of his delicious blood, that rich honey taste of his still fresh on my lips. Running my tongue along the crack of my mouth I made sure I hadn't missed a single drop of his intoxicating blood. He tasted that good. A sinful sweetness I had never partaken before, it made me crave his death all the more, and the powerful knowledge it gave.
Cret's blood had freed me from that damn serum Vondorian made me drink, and I was thankful for that. The way he so openly gave himself over to me, but I wanted more. Not just of his darkly enticing blood but the secrets that were locked away inside his head. I gleaned so much from him in those swift moments as I drank, what could I learn if I took my time. Sipping from him in long, slow gulps, drawing out every last drop from his veins. The images had me panting with anticipation. I wanted his knowledge, his strength.
"You are enjoying this," he growled.
My fantasies of his death shattered, again he destroyed the moment and caused anger to replace it. His blood unlocked more than just my previous desires for his life-force, the second I took my first taste of him, memories unfolded before me—Cret's memories. Ones that included me. Suddenly I could place that familiar scent of honeyed-clove and those haunting emerald eyes. My scarred heart heated with a warning reminder of the hell I had been living, and it was all Cret's fault.
My raven beauty… I had heard that name before. It passed his lips just before he left me for dead all those years ago. He was the one that took my life from me and replaced it with this new one I had never asked for. Cret murdered me.
"Is that a problem?" I asked only to anger him. I wanted him on the same edge—rage coursing through his body like it was mine. "You know what I am Cret. I won't make excuses."
I glanced at him from the corner of my eye, neither of us were hiding anymore. My glamoured mortal appearance had faded long ago. I now stood beside him in all my raw beauty. A dark thing contrasted against the harsh glow of rain soaked clouds and lightning that filtered through the sky instead of striking downward from the heavens in bolts. Where the temperature had been unseasonably cold when we arrived, it now was warmer, thick with humidity that intensified the electricity flowing through the lingering storm. I could see him clench his hands into tight fists as he stared down at the burning city, the intensity of his green stare reflecting the flames below. The thick attire that hid him so well before was ripped and shredded, dirt and shallow cuts covered his body from our daring escape in the tunnels. I was sure I couldn't look much better, but still I felt dark and beautiful. Like an elegant creature on the hunt, preparing for that final pounce.
"Do you have no compassion?" he questioned with a plea to my humanity. "Those people are suffering—dying because you killed a Vamdari."
"You're welcome." I mocked, my eyes never leaving the entertainment below. "If I hadn't killed that Vamdari you wouldn’t be here, and besides they won't all die. When the sun rises I'm sure there will be plenty of survivors left to feast on in the temple."
The thought of hundreds of scared pathetic mortals cowering in the marble palace of the gods brought a twisted grin to my face. Their gods couldn’t protect them any longer. A distant rumble sounded as a flash of lightning filled the sky with harsh light. A protest to my thoughts perhaps? The divine could cry all they wanted, nothing could stop what was coming.
Cret's body stiffened, his fists shook. That was what I wanted, that was the edge I wanted him to be on. His usual causal demeanor was cracking…Good.
"Damn you Serenity, what are you doing? What plan do you have forming in that demoralized mind of yours?"
"What's wrong. Can't read me anymore?" I laughed at him.
Though it was brief, in my taste of him I gained so much knowledge. Learning quickly how to refuse him access to my thoughts. It left me blind to his intentions as well, but at least it made us even. I chuckled at my victory, losing myself in this newfound power, a new rush that had me feeling undefeatable. My creature became stronger, its rage growing more dominant. I could feel myself slipping—I wanted to slip.
"I thought you were different. That you changed." His voice held a tone of disappointment, a hint of heartache and my creature purred in response. "Where is the sorrow and compassion you showed this morning in the temple?"
I clenched a fist to focus, to hold back my need to strike at the reminder of how pathetic my behavior was. This conversation was lasting too long. I wanted him. I wanted his blood, that power it would give me, and also the sweet taste of closure I had been longing for.
"It's gone. I don't want to feel those things anymore. I shouldn't feel those things. While others like me are consumed by their blood-lust, I'm left trapped by my lingering mortality," I growled in response, fighting back from the edge of hysteria. "I'm devoured by these cursed emotions I shouldn't feel. I didn't change. There was no choice involved. I was changed. Left to rot in agony."
My chest was heaving up and down from my rant, the anger inside had built to a level I didn't believe possible and my mortality was slipping away. Fading into the background of my creature that wanted death while my mind filled with pointless questions I wanted answered.
"You did this to me." I growled like a feral beast. There was betrayal there deep within my rage. Cret must have felt it too because his stiffened stance relaxed when I turned my gaze toward him. He softened and guilt replaced his anger, it only made the moment worse.
My mind flashed to the interest and the clear attraction between us, those confusing moments spent in his room and the sorrow he felt seeing Vondorian's brand on me. It had to be an act. Some false game he was playing to get close to me again, that was what sent me racing toward the edge of control. The burning scar over my heart grew deeper and clenched into a tragic reality—he was using me.
I couldn't think on it anymore, the reasons too maddening and I slipped away to the will of my creature. Letting it take me into the depths of revenge that we both so needed, and then it would all be over. My life would return to that time before Cret struck me down in battle. No more internal conflict, no more questioning Master, no more… hell.
The last horror-filled century of my life would be gone, lost in a sea of power driven cravings like it had before. I would take Cret's life and silence the remnants of my mortal soul.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fated Betrayal Chapter One

Book Three of the Opsona Journey Series is LIVE!
That's right, Shadowed Intentions is finally here completing this series of events. Don't worry there is a still a lot more story to come, new locations, new characters all to come.

For now read chapter one of book two, Fated Betrayal.
If you missed yesterdays post you can read the first chapter of book one, Immortal Tempest

***Content Below is for Adults 18+***

Opsona Journey Series Book Two
Fated Betrayal
The once busy center of Tentusa had been transformed into a place of death, a stack of dead bodies burned against the lingering morning, and to my surprise a man was standing there. A stranger I had never seen before.

"What do you want boy?" I asked the person lingering in what was quickly becoming my master's city.

The stranger turned to face me, a slender form of a young man no older than his mid-twenties or even earlier, features masked by a bright red scarf leaving only his eyes visible. Maybe boy wasn't the right term for him, but compared to me everyone was just a child.

He stood there with a gaze of shock plastered on his face, his deep green eyes glued to my figure much like that letch Marcus when we first met, but what reflected in this boy's expression was not lust. It was disbelief.

"What do you want boy?" I said louder, annoyed that my question had not been answered the first time.

"I was summoned," the stranger answered with a confidence his awe struck appearance contradicted. "May I speak with Rhea? She is expecting me."

I knew my gaze faltered for a second and I had to look away at hearing that name again. "She is no longer with us."

It was the only formation of words I could manage to get out in response to his request. I couldn’t say she was murdered, killed, or even force the Opsona's name from my lips. There was no death from that night that struck me deeper than that of hers.

Even with the passing of a week, her death was still fresh. Everything from that night I was unleashed upon this city in all my lusty rage was fresh in my thoughts.

Forty-seven lives were taken in a matter of hours, snuffed out in a violent storm of chaos and left to rot in the streets. I had lost more control in that one episode than I ever had over my long life, including the first time the creature inside me woke. And unlike all those other rare moments when it raged free—the memories from that night were lucid. Burned with intricate detail into my every waking thought were the looks of horror on my victims faces, their fear imaged inside my mind. Each one a memorial to the persons last moments of life. My creature loved it. When my mind would flash through the series of victims from that night I could hear the soft pleasured purr deep within, but despite all of their faces hers haunted me the most.

The scent of her pure Opsona blood with its sweet rose fragrance lingered on my hands swirling around me like a death taunt, an awful reminder of what I was and what I was capable of. Those last words she spoke to me seared in tortuous repetition across my mind, and each time I longed for sleep all I could see were those pale green eyes that pleaded in those final moments.

I always thought less of those who pleaded under my sword or claw, those who begged for their life—instead of accepting defeat with grace. Killing them was an act of kindness to this world, ridding this plane of their pathetic existence, but the plea in her eyes was for me.

She begged the awful thing I was to stop, remarking that I had a choice, that I had options, and then I killed her. She never fought nor drew her weapon, she just died…I killed her.

"In what context?" The boy asked, his emerald eyes expressing a knowing while his question suggested he lacked the intelligence to understand my statement.

Such an odd contradiction between his expressive eyes and awkward clumsy appearance, but even that was out of place in a world full of mortal normalcy. I couldn't tell much about him, just that his ash gray clothing was loose and ill fitting, not unlike a child that had stolen their father's clothing to play pretend. The red scarf wrapped around his face and head left only those haunting green eyes, pools of sparkling emeralds that danced with intensity. They appeared to look beyond me each time his gaze settled across the empty city center in my direction, as if studying something around me instead of the threat I posed right in front of him.

His were eyes set in a rich honey complexion that suggested he could be some simple farm boy who wandered into town, but even the richness of his skin was far deeper than any farmer in these mortal lands.

He wasn’t struggling with lack of intelligence and he completely understood my statement, I could tell by the age reflected in his gaze. This stranger had lived long enough to know more than a simple farmer, there was too much experience there. A look that only came with long years of tortured living. My first estimation about his age was clearly wrong, his youth screamed of someone no older than his twenties, but his eyes corrected me with their aged appearance. This stranger had secrets, ones he was guarding closely by the looks of his outward appearance, but he couldn't hide those tormented years in that gaze.

"Don't worry yourself boy," I said with a grin. A false outward gesture to stifle the ache that had settled in my chest and to lash out in my own grief over his friend's death. "She will return. Isn't that what you Opsona are known for?"

The Opsona were children of the Virtuous Gods where typical races found on the mortal planes were the product of both the Virtuous Gods and the Tainted Divinities, created out of subtle variations of both what mortals often called good and evil. The Opsona contain no essence from the Tainted Divinities, the evil in the world, but they were not the saints logic would suggest. They were crafted by the Deity of Justice to combat things like me, and ensure the mortal plane remained in neutral existence. The Virtues made them strong, granted them knowledge, but left out compassion and empathy. In some ways an Opsona could be more brutal than any dark thing lurking in the Underworld, and they saw the world in only black or white. You were either evil, created solely by the Tainted and needed to be eradicated from the mortal world, or a child of creation. A mix of virtue and impiety brought to life to be ignorant creatures that occupied this fruitful middle world.

They were also granted eternal life. It wasn't like my immortality, nor could I take advantage of it now that my soul had been tainted with Vondorian's blood. My eternal existence was linked to this body which was free of natural aliments. I would age slowly to a certain point then pause in time, and the only means that would ensure my destruction was decapitation.

Opsona had no such worries, their bodies were meaningless to them. They withered and died young and reckless despite the lengthened life spans the Virtues had granted them, but their souls carried on.

When someone of my former kin died their souls did not return to the massive pool of life from which all things were crafted, they were reborn. Placed into another body of the same lineage. When the child entered into adulthood the Opsona preformed a ritual to unlock the past memories, combining the experience and skills of generations into a single being. It was what made them such formidable opponents. Fighting one Opsona was no different than fighting generations.

I often wondered what it was like to have all that knowledge, and I would daydream about who I could have been in my past lives. It was something I would never know since I was stolen away before my memories could be restored.

He shot a cold glare in response to my comment. My words were meant as a reassurance to end the shame I felt in taking her life, and a twisted taunt to appease the darker side of me but also to draw some information out of him. No one ventured into the valley anymore, only a fool or another Opsona would. I had to find out which he was.

Silence became the stranger's new form of answer as he directed his gaze around the city center. I could no longer look at the scenery, I didn't want to see my infection, my sin that had seeped into every crack of the once glowing gem of a city. It was just too much. Instead I focused on this stranger who had so willingly entered into the valley.

Over the last week, since the night I ravaged Tentusa, my master had taken up a new method to his conquest. Using Ryder and her men he created a nightmarish fairytale of "The Beast". A creature which attacked every night both here within the city walls, and the outer villages that littered the rolling hills all in the hopes of luring out the king of this province. Something that was proving to be difficult since Marcus had escaped to the capital, no doubt running his mouth and telling of the awful things that had befallen Tentusa. That sandy-haired letch who was chasing after Lady Victoria while imagining me laid out upon his bed was nothing more than a lucky fool. I was sure Marcus didn’t fully understand what was happening, that vampires had taken control of the city, but more that something dark had gripped this place. Whatever he told the king it was enough to keep him away.

It brought me joy in some small regard to know that Vondorian's plans had stalled thanks to his most loyal subject, because it wasn't me that let Marcus slip through the boarders of the valley.

The day after my unrestrained feast I was being detained in some tomb under the city, locked away in raving insanity until my creature withdrew and my mortal self regained her loosened grip of control. It must have been then, while the others were busy keeping me confined, that Marcus slipped out of the city and headed toward the capital. It was a delightful fuck-up.

That was on Ryder's head, it was her men that guarded the area and her one goal to see to it no one that wasn't approved left or entered the valley. Her failings brought me a tickled feeling of delight in this otherwise death-riddled hell I had found myself in, and now this boy had managed to sneak past her men. I could not wait to see the punishment Master had in store for Ryder, but why did this boy come?

Surely he saw the black storm that hovered over the valley, and anyone that had heard the stories, heard the nightmares from the people whom Vondorian allowed to escape, would never come here willingly. Summoned or not this place had been marked as cursed, and for once the superstitious mortals were right. This place was cursed, so much blood had covered these hills in the last seven days I wondered how the grass remained so vibrant a green.

"Where are you keeping her?" the boy demanded, a hint of anger in his muffled voice. "They wouldn't have allowed you to burn her. Where is Rhea's body?!"

The sting of her name hit me again and I turned away from the strange boy that concealed everything but his clear connection to this Opsona woman. I was done with him, I would let Ryder deal with him and all his silly demands when night fell.

I took a step back to leave when the scent of cloves and honey danced across my nose.

This is familiar. I halted my movements and took a moment to draw in more. I know this scent.

The familiarity clung to my mind as I searched for some memory of the strange aroma which had sparked this feeling. There was nothing, not a single moment I could recall to place this odd mix of cloves and honey, but I knew I had smelled it before and it was coming from the stranger.

Fine, I will play along for now. I relented to that persistent nagging voice in the back of my mind.

"This way." I motioned, turning and folding my arms across my chest. The gesture a silly outward attempt to block out the feelings and hopeless mental ramblings of the living that still lingered in the city.

Their minds were so full of despair, sorrow, and fear that it was affecting me. Aside from my own shame, their thoughts were becoming an insufferable itch inside my head, to the point of altering my state of mind.

That was what I told myself. That was how I explained my sudden intense feelings of tormented guilt which welcomed me out of my creature-driven madness. They were not my own, it was the people around me, the voices I couldn't block out, and the worst part was not even my creature tried to muffle them with its hungry growls.

It should have been rolling in delight from all the fear seeping out of these homes, purring with a deprived greed for more.

Instead it had curled up deep within me and slept in a gluttonous heap since its feast, unphased. Leaving the hardest part, the aftermath of all of this for me to deal with. Just like Vondorian.

Turning me into a murderous beast wasn't enough for his perverse needs, every morning after Ryder and her men played with the mortals I was sent to clean up the mess, acting as the false guardian to the masses. Stacking the dead to burn and assuring the survivors that I was handling the situation, lying to them. Repeating every solemn morning that their lives were the most important thing to me. I wanted to kill them all, to end their suffering but I couldn't even do that. Vondorian's mental chains were holding me at bay.

Damn Vondorian and his special punishments…Damn him…And me.

I couldn't give him all the blame. If I hadn't strayed from his orders—if I had just obeyed then none of this would be happening. Tentusa would have fallen by now, the whole northern half of this province would be overrun with the Vamdari Army and claimed for the Vampire Nation. They wouldn't be suffering like this.

It's all my fault. A thought which weighted heavier on me in the shadow of the temple. A grand polished marble structure that stood out as the last beacon of hope any of these people had. Erected in the lowest point of the valley, it was a most holy place where monks and priests came in pilgrimage to worship their gods and goddesses. There must have been some truth to its importance because it remained untouched by our evil. The darkened gloom that had overtaken the rest of the white stone city did not dirty these polished walls. It was here they housed the injured and her.

"The temple priests have been looking after the body. You will find your friend inside," I said looking over my shoulder at the stranger, surprised that he had followed so willingly. He must have known how much danger lingered around the city, the signs were too pronounced not to and still he followed.

This stranger was a mad man driven by his weak heartfelt emotions to do right by his friend, or maybe his intentions were less transparent. Either way I would have to inform Master like the good loyal servant I had surrendered myself to. I would do anything to avoid this special form of punishment ever again.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Immortal Tempest Chapter One

It is almost time for Shadowed Intentions to go live, and don't forget to come party with us Saturday. There will be so many chances to win shiny prizes.
Until then read where the Opsona Series starts.

***Content Below is for Adults 18+***

Opsona Journey Series Book One
Immortal Tempest

Thick black clouds carried along the lake’s breeze greeted us as we stood above the small valley, looking down on the next in the long line of unfortunate cities. Another part of the larger conquest to reclaim the mortal plane for the once powerful Vampire Nation, and aid in my master’s growing status among the lords. His wrath would consume this land just like the storm rushing in from the water’s edge, welcoming us and our darkness to the land of milk and honey. A natural reaction to our unnatural presence. Perfection now infected with our wrongness, our disease of death. If the people of Tentusa were smart they would spot our silhouettes against the setting sun, close the gates, and raise the flag of war.
They wouldn’t. No one ever did. My master was so cunning and he had me, his faithful yet reluctant servant that would do anything for him. Not because I adore him, admire him, or even fear him, but because my mind would allow me to do nothing more. This white stone city that glowed against the darkening clouds would have to fall because of what I lack. It would crumble like the many that had come before it, shift into rubble slowly, painfully until my master could lay complete claim to it.
This mortal world was two steps out of the Great Dark-Age that had left it in disarray. Advancements in magical combat, weaponry, and the way of living had halted a decade ago when war spread across the lands. Each province engaged in battle that was antagonized by a warlord demon. This plane that existed in neutral space between the territory of the Underworld and the Ethereal planes of the divine was coveted. The mortals would know their dark ages as war times, of senseless killing in the name of some great leader or king. In reality it was the will of darker creatures to take control of their world in the hopes of infecting the unreachable spaces of the heavens just beyond. These years following that time were to be golden and peaceful, full of thriving advancements and intellectual growth, but instead our darkness was creeping through the fractured boundaries between the planes the wars had caused. Allowing our nation new opportunities to take control of this mortal world.
“Drink,” my master whispered against my ear. His closeness was not required, with my senses I could hear that whisper from the next world yet he demanded the close contact.
A scent of bitterly sweet vanilla passed on the breeze mixed with a faint iron note. Blood, his blood. The crimson gift he only gave to his most trusted and loyal minions. What they didn’t know, his loyal subjects, was that it enabled his complete control of them. Though Vondorian, Lord of the warrior elite vampires known as the Vamdari, had no need to control his subjects. They all adored him, worshipped him, and in some cases lusted for even a single glance of their admired Lord. Except me.
“Drink!” he growled, this time sending his voice ringing through my sensitive ears. His perfectly tanned wrist flew into view, bright red liquid oozing out of the gash he had created in otherwise flawless skin.
“I don’t need it.” My reply was disobedient, filled with edge as my fangs ached under my gums. My body so aware of his firm chest just inches from my back, the long unruly strands of raven-colored hair that dangled free down the length of my back danced against the subtle breeze. Moving between my master’s toned, sinful body and the smaller curved female frame that crafted mine. I heard him inhale as the breeze brushed through my hair again, and that bitterly sweet scent of his assaulted me with a hunger and need for his blood, his touch.
Thick strong fingers laced into my long black hair, the touch so soft before the grip tightened on the strands, yanking my head back. The harsh way he commanded my body had ignited desire that hardened my nipples and caused an ache for more sensual violence.
“I will not have you faltering,” he hissed. “I know the draw this land has on you, and I will not compete for your loyalty.”
Master knew me well, so much better than I could ever understand myself. This place was once my home, a place I had swore to protect even as an innocent child. Our travels had taken us up from the southwest across the snowcapped mountains that divided Tentusa from the rest of the kingdom. A familiar sense of home had overtaken me once we descended into the lush valley littered with farms that eased into large rolling hills of tall lemon grass, before dipping down into the valley before us where Tentusa nestled against the vast lake of Rouren. In my former life the temple that lay in the city walls was my whole world. This land wedged in the northern part of the kingdom was—is—sacred ground. Gods and goddesses placed their feet upon these grassy fields and some considered it the looking glass of the heavenly world, a reflection that joined the mortal plane to that of higher beings. Whatever this place actually was Master was right, it did have a draw for me.
“Now drink before I make you!”
He jerked my head back even more ripping at the strands of hair he tangled among his relentless fingers. To lose a handful of hair was nothing, but the allure of his blood and the tantalizing pain I could not ignore. Not with his scent so strong, my need so great, and my fangs burning inside my mouth. His wrist didn’t make it to my lips before I latched on, sweet bitter vanilla exploded in my mouth. Every natural and unnatural sense in my body sparked to life, need pooling in my core for more of him. More of everything he could offer. His voice pierced through my mental walls whispering to me seductive promises as I feasted on his immortal power.
This was my undoing. With Vondorian’s blood coursing through my body I would not be able to refuse him. It was the collar around my neck labeling me as his and his alone. His life force made my senses strong, but it made my will weak.
His grip in my hair eased until his fingers traced through the long raven strands, smoothing out the damage he had done. As if the gesture could right every wrong he had ever done to me. An involuntary moan escaped my lips as I suckled at his flesh.
“That’s my girl,” he whispered aloud instead of inside my weakening mind.
This is the last time.
I lied to myself like I did every time he forced his blood on me. I couldn’t stop the creature inside me, the thing he had put there, from craving him.
The satin of my hair brushed against the exposed crook of my neck offering it to the coming night. Cool chilling lips pressed against the warmed skin sending a thrill through my body, causing it to respond in a way I couldn’t allow. My fangs retracted and I ripped from his grasp nearly stumbling to my knees, dizzy from his intoxicating power.
“One day,” he warned from behind my trembling body. “One day you will no longer have the will to fight me.” I could sense his smirk, that evil one he gave when he knew it all came down to the passage of time. Vampires as old as him knew the value of patience. He could wait centuries. Could my will last that long?
Lightening broke the coming darkness of night, thunder followed. Small droplets of rain cooled my heated body that coursed with the vampire lord’s blood, bonding me to him. The gods’ protest had begun.

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