Read Hunters' Game Online

Authors: Denyse Bridger

Tags: #romance, #vampire, #erotic, #paranormal, #dark fantasy, #contemporary, #menage

Hunters' Game

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A Short Vampire
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Hunters' Game

By
Denysé Bridger

Copyright © 2012 Denysé Bridger

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunters' Game

 

Chapter One

The hunt begins…

 

 

Cliantha Alexandros loved the rain,
especially when the fury of thunder and sizzle of lightning tore
the sky to shreds. She glanced upward, wishing the torrent of the
storm would be unleashed. The heavy darkness in the sky had
threatened rain all day, but now, late in the evening, the promise
remained unfulfilled.

But it was there. Like so many other threats
lurking within the shadows.
Threats like you
, her inner
voice whispered, making her smile. The storm-grey above her
deepened, and a gust of wind shredded chunks of white cloud before
tossing them into the emerging maelstrom. Fragments of cloud lost
their airborne wildness, drifted, spiraling downward to nestle her
in a shroud of fog.

Mortal fear tainted the air in storms, and
the terror lit a frenzy in her veins. Her skin tingled, her body
vibrated with awakened urgency. Her mood was quicksilver,
dangerous, and she was eager to indulge all her desires.

Enveloped in the night-cooling, rain-laden
air, Cliantha walked, the sharp, staccato click of her stiletto
heels tapping out each step. She smiled, soaking in all that
surrounded her, both the physical and the internal nuances that
caressed her heightened mental awareness.

Spring loomed nearby, but the chill of
winter dominated the air, keeping it crisp and biting. The streets
of downtown Toronto were always busy at this time. People rushed
through the surreal daylight of glowing street-lights, caught up in
the importance of their fleeting lives. Inwardly, she mocked them,
the doomed prey among unknown predators.

Among the multitude of faces and bodies, she
stood out. Her superiority came as naturally as breathing,
something she accepted without humility. Emerging from the swaths
of cottony, damp mist, minion's thoughts washed over her, their
unspoken words of praise amusing and familiar. Men gazed at her
with longing, women with combined envy and pride for the
magnificent creature who embodied the beauty of their gender.

Snaring the gaze of a staring male, she
forged a passing bond with his mind. Laughing, she relished a
vision of herself through his eyes for fleeting instants.
Blue-black hair, jet-dark eyes, long legs glimpsed with each step
she made.

Cultivated arrogance shrouded her in mystery
and sensual allure. She released her hold on the stranger's
thoughts.

Several young men eyed her, and she read
their calculations as each decided if they were, indeed, brave
enough to approach. Her laughter as her gaze swept over each of
them in turn was all the deterrent they needed.

She knew what she wanted tonight, and her
senses resonated with his presence. Somewhere in this crowded
mélange, Demetri deVerieux was lying in wait, his deviant desires
beckoning to her with invisible fingers. In this alone, was he like
their maker, Stavros, with his ability to lure her into amoral
desires until all that existed was her need to find release.

She paused at a dark corner, closed her eyes
and reached out to the night. A shudder of rapture slid along her
veins at his mental caress. He summoned her to him, taunting her
with waves of memory and promises yet unfulfilled. Their game began
in earnest.

Edgy and eager now, she rubbed her hands
against the velvet of her skirt, her breathing rapid and shallow as
harsh reality bit into her eagerness. Her present life was a
necessary ploy to disarm an old enemy. Despite the pleasures they
shared, her relationship with Demetri served a greater purpose. He
was not the mate she had chosen to spend her eternity serving and
loving.

She seized a seat at a sidewalk café, and
took a moment to pull her emotions together, before he picked up on
her distraction. Or the reason behind it.

She drew in a calming breath and closed her
eyes. Demetri's hunting games always triggered the memories seizing
her heart. Shivering, she opened herself to the past. It was the
only way she could hope to bury her secrets beyond his reach
again…

 

The dreams came, as they always did,
breaths of disjointed, blood-tainted images. Fragmented and
disconnected, the scenes flew across her mind like clips from a
movie in which she was the star. Terror assaulted her, a distant,
abstract awareness, part of her, but not born of her. Within
Cliantha, an unmistakable thrill of excitement awoke—a macabre
delight in the fear that flourished all around her. A reckless
surge of abandon filled her, and she threw back her head. Laughter
filled the night, hers, and
his
.

A shudder penetrated the madness and she
wondered who he
was
. She gazed up, drowning in eyes so blue,
they filled her vision, and he smiled. That fleeting shift of
expression sent a tingle along her spine that made her arch toward
him, her body seeking contact with his. He laughed, sweeping
Cliantha into his arms.

Before she could make sense of whom he was,
the dream/vision skewed again… becoming one of lust and savagery as
images blurred and aroused a hunger she couldn't define. His lips
parted hers and demanded her soul.

She gave it.

His taste and scent filled her senses,
stirring a passion that threatened to make her scream for
fulfillment. Still he teased her, his mouth searching out the most
vulnerable places, plundering her secrets, revealing them to her
with a wickedness that made him all the more terrifying.

When he refused to answer her broken pleas,
she grew angry, and that, too, pleased him.

"Bastard!" she hissed.

"Take what you desire, Cliantha!" He matched
her anger, but still smiled. "You can have anything you want, if
you dare to claim it as your right."

Her eyes swept over the man lying beside her
and she rose to her knees. She stared at him, her passion swelling
to an agony of exquisite need with each caressing shift of her
gaze. With shaking hands, she stroked his silky platinum hair,
while her sensitive fingertips traced the mocking smile that tilted
the corners of his mouth. She parted his lips with a gentle probe
of one finger, and punctured the tip against the razor-sharp edge
of one extended fang. He licked the droplet of blood as she traced
the fullness of his bottom lip.

"I hate you," she murmured, leaning forward
to straddle his hips. Her hands wandered over his smooth, cool
chest, memorizing contours she knew better than her own. Touching
him intoxicated her like a drug, addictive, senseless, and exciting
beyond anything she'd ever known.

It had even ceased to matter that he had
forced her into his bed. His dominance had long ago stripped her of
the innocence she'd once possessed. She let another drop of blood
drip from her finger; it pooled over his heart and she bent to lick
the scarlet stain. This time he reacted, and the tiny shiver
inspired deep satisfaction, making her smile down at him. Pure
hunger blazed within her. A hunger he had cultivated and fed for
decades. A thousand years could pass and she'd still crave his
touch with an insanity that made her despise herself, and him.

"Show me how you hate me, bitch!" His hand
tangled in the waves of blue-black hair that fell forward when he
pulled her to him. She tore away from his embrace and glared down
at him. Amused, he gripped her throat.

She arched her neck, inviting without a
word. His blue eyes grew dark and dangerous. She rose and bent
forward until her lips brushed his, then allowed her tongue to
invade his mouth. Strong, elegant fingers drifted across her back,
waking trails of fire that left her shuddering against him. She
drew away from the bitter sweetness of his mouth and stared down at
him again, her chest heaving with her effort to regain control of
her body's responses.

His hands at her waist shifted, found the
fullness of her breasts and she moaned as he brushed his thumbs
across the hardened buds of her nipples. Cliantha shook her head
and slid back, pushing his hands away as she began to explore his
pale, defined body. When her mouth finished its teasing trek across
his chest, and closed over him, she shuddered at the rise of his
hips.

"Hate me, Cliantha." He was, even now,
unable to resist reminding her that he
allowed
this erotic
torture.

Her head rose and she smiled. Reflected in
his glowing gaze, her fangs gleamed in the silvery haze of muted
moonlight that illuminated the elegant room.

He pulled her to him and rolled, possessed
her body with his, biting into her throat in the same motion. She
spasmed in a shiver of pain and ecstasy. He mirrored her response
when he drew back and she found the softness of his neck.

* * * * *

Cliantha gasped as the mixture of dreams and
memories left her trembling and disoriented. She rose from her
seat, annoyed because this always happened when she permitted the
truth to surface.

Ten years ago, Stavros had reclaimed her
from Demetri, but then Demetri had killed their master.

Demetri now owned her in ways she hadn't
believed possible. What had begun as a game she'd controlled had
become an addiction, a trap from which she made no effort to
escape. Even when the truth had returned to her mind, Demetri's
seductive hold remained unbreakable.

He'd destroyed Stavros, run a burning stake
through his heart. She'd wanted to die that night, but Demetri
refused to allow it. He'd forced her to live, lured her with his
seduction and his passion for the darkest desires she could
imagine.

When she had run to her oldest friend
seeking shelter, Demetri had killed him while she watched. But,
even now, she carried a secret he'd never discovered. He was so
certain of his victory, he'd never questioned her absences.

Demetri had chosen tonight's game, but
before the hunt was over, she'd planned a few surprises for him.
She stepped onto the sidewalk, moving through the throngs of
humanity, and burying the past with determined will.

Chapter Two

Meeting

 

 

Mortal heartbeats pulsed in Demetri's head,
an undercurrent to the steady throb of music reverberating through
the noisy club. A smile curved his mouth, though none who might
have witnessed the expression could ever have understood the source
of his macabre humor. Toying with the glass in his hand, his long,
tapered fingers stroked the smooth surface, tormenting him with
memories of her skin. Clia's flawless beauty never failed to
sharpen his hungers to near pain. His fangs ached, punching through
his gums while the remembered taste of her taunted him.

Young people drifted through the room,
locked in their own worlds. Youth, wild and insolent, full of
deluded certainty that they were immortal and untouchable. They
played at death and immortality, but the truth would terrify them.
The reality he'd show at least one of them tonight would teach a
lesson they'd take to the grave–the price of truth in his
world.

He tapped the glass, an unconscious mirror
of the pounding music. Cliantha was taking her time joining him,
and he wanted her. His muscles tensed, his cock and his fangs
ravenous for her, and anger stirred. She was toying with him, and
he loved and hated it. He'd lured her from hate to devotion over
time. Stavros had chosen a perfect mate in her. Demetri was
fascinated by the duality of her nature, sometimes pliant, other
times exhibiting a stubborn fury that astonished him. He'd
uncovered some of her secrets, but sensed there was much more to
know. The only time he could glimpse her mind was when he had her
writhing in passion, and from those precious seconds of abandoned
lust, he'd pulled hints of betrayal.

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