Authors: Courtney Lyn Batten
Copyright © 2013 Courtney Lyn Batten
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission by the author except where permitted by law.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, or any events or occurrences is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously, as are the places.
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Thank you to my mom for always believing in me, and reading everything I write. Thank you to my husband for always supporting me and encouraging me. Thank you to every teacher who helped me not only learn to read and write, but find love, joy, passion, and solace in books and every word I write.
To my Dad
Who told me I could touch the stars
I miss you
By Courtney Lyn Batten
e was hungry. Starving. Famished. The pulsating hum of vitality, the sweat of the human’s skin, the lust that rolled like a fog through the crowded field grabbed at him. His fangs slipped out, puncturing his lower lip. Two tiny dots of blood wetted the parched flesh. The scent of blood hung heavy in the air. A toxic, suffocating, deliriously inebriating mix. A ravenous feral hunger twisted his stomach.
It was dark now, except for the haunting glow of the moon overhead in the black sky, and the stage that loomed in the distance, vibrating with h
eavy guitar riffs and slurred singing. Decked with multi colored flashing lights and filled with smoke, it was like a beacon calling out to the masses. The grassy field was all mud now, but Samuel strode through it easily enough, blending into the crowd with his usual arrogance. His stride was lithe, predatory, as was his gaze. He scanned the raucous crowd with steely eyes, a ruthless hunter in the night.
Samuel’s lip curled in disgust at some of the sights of debauchery that took place all around him. But he could hardly complain. The drug and sex induced haze that clouded the minds of the humans was perfect
for his purposes. Salivating with hunger and his body weak without blood, his muscles tightened in anticipation. It had been far too long since he last fed.
The hunt should be easy tonight
, he thought.
“Samuel,” a surprised
gasp from a slightly husky female voice sounded behind him. He stiffened. His whole being went unnaturally still. Samuel closed his eyes and slowly lifted his head to the sky. His nostrils flared and her scent—all too familiar— floated across the slight wind, tingling across his body, eliciting memories long since forgotten.
e turned to face her, stricken by how beautiful she still looked. How perfectly young despite the years that had passed since he’d last seen her. Long blonde hair spilled over her shoulders and down her back, shimmering in the moonlight. Her skin was flushed a light, alluring pink. A crown of braided locks encircled her hair with a few wilting flowers sprouting outward.
But the innocence he’d remembered in her once
light blue eyes was all but a memory. Replaced now with dark emotions he could not name. Anger, fear, and a flicker of something else.
Remorse? Longing? Love?
He shook his head.
. She would never forgive him. He was nothing but a monster to her now. A predator. And her blood was his salvation. His redemption. Any traces of his former humanity burned away as hot stinging bloodlust busted inside him.
The memory of her kiss, of his hands tangled in her long hair faded as the memory of her blood, of the powerful elixir it held took its place.
His black eyes locked on hers and he bared his fangs.
“Elaine,” Samuel spat her name
as viciously now as he’d once whispered reverently into her soft skin.
She barely flinched before her lips curled into a defiant smirk. “Now, Samuel. You should know I am not alone.”
A moment later three broad shouldered men with shoulder length hair, bulging muscles and matching tattoos swirled on their arms and chests appeared beside her. They all wore identical grim expressions.
He laughed haughtily. “Is this your wolf, Sweetheart?”
The man next to her growled, a deep low rumbling sound that exploded from his chest, sounding more beast than man. Samuel narrowed his eyes and leaned forward. The three men shifted their weight and bared their teeth, readying for a fight.
But Samuel ignored them an
d locked his eyes with Elaine’s, hers hard and so deep a blue they looked black. Slowly his gaze drifted down and his eyes widened. His lips curled into a sneering grin as he recognized the plump rounded belly beneath her dirty white dress.
Fear flashed in
Elaine’s violent eyes and she wrapped her arms protectively around her mid-section. Samuel looked back up at her face and smiled wickedly.
“You can’t hi
de her from me forever, Elaine,” he warned, leaning forward. She recoiled at his closeness. “And when she has a daughter, I’ll be right there, too. Waiting. Always waiting.”
And then he was gone. Lost to the shadows.
he bar was dark and crowded. The smell of smoke and beer and sweat hung heavy in the stagnant and humid air. Emily was ready to escape the din of the bar. The noise and smells seemed to pulse and throb all around her, making her dizzy.
stood, a little awkwardly, against a painted red wall in the back. It looked almost maroon, like blood, in the dim lighting. She held a small plastic cup, filled with a frothy amber liquid in her hands. But Emily wasn’t really drinking it, just holding it to her lips and chewing nervously on the edge. Her bright blue eyes looked almost luminescent in the shadows as she glanced around the room.
In the corner of the small bar
her friend Kim, who had come with her here tonight, was smiling coyly up at a very cute, very large blonde guy. Her back was against the wall, and he was leaning over her, his hand on the wall next to her head propping him up. Kim’s body was slightly arched into him. They were only inches apart. Kim giggled, and the boy leaned forward, his nose brushed along her jaw line to whisper something in her ear.
could see, even from here, that Kim didn’t blush. Instead, she smirked. The corner of her painted red lips raised just a bit as she quirked her perfectly plucked eyebrow in a flirtatious challenge.
Emily took a quick sip of the bitter dri
nk, her face puckering slightly. She wasn’t even sure why she had come tonight.
s if on cue, a guitar started playing and Luke’s scratchy voice crackled over the microphone. She looked up, her heart leapt at the sight of him. His light brown hair—most of which was hidden under a gray fedora—hung in his eyes. Her breath caught
Luke brushed the strands back with his
hand. Pale gray eyes caught the glittering lights above the stage like moonlight on the water. He crooned something soft and husky, making half the girls sitting at the nearby tables sigh dramatically. Even Emily couldn’t help but swoon as she lost herself to the sound of his deep raspy voice.
had to look for her. He wasn’t even sure why, but the compulsion to scan the crowd, to find her iridescent blue eyes, and her wavy blonde hair among the smoke and shadows was stronger now than ever. A feeling inside him, part dread, part fierce protectiveness, and part something else, boiled inside him.
found her easily enough, standing towards the back of the building, chewing nervously on the edge of her cup.
When she looked up and smiled, he couldn’t even name the emotion he felt. But it might have been something close to whatever had been squeezing his chest being released, and finall
y being able to take a deep breath of air in. Deep inside him he registered the need he felt to make sure she was safe, even if he didn’t quite understand why. She had been living with his family for the last three and half years. In some ways she was like a younger sister to him. Or at least he tried to tell himself that.
he intensity of this emotion he felt whenever he saw her, which had seemed to be growing more and more every day lately, spoke of something else. Something he wasn’t quite ready to admit or acknowledge. Mostly because he wasn’t sure what it could mean. Or what he could do about it. And tonight this feeling, this—whatever it was—surged inside him like a tidal wave. Undeniable. Irresistible. Inevitable.
Emily had to fight to keep her composure when
Luke’s eyes held hers. And then Luke smiled, that slow easy smile that made her heart stutter and her breathing hitch. Clad in ripped jeans, black converse sneakers that had seen better days, an opened, white, wrinkled, button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and the slight bit of scruff that proved he’d hadn’t shaved today, she thought he was the most beautiful guy she’d ever seen.
Just as her lips turned up into a smile, her face slightly flushed, the door to the bar opened, his charcoal eyes left hers, his voice trailing off, as he strummed his guitar, letting the instruments shine for a moment.
Emily followed the direction of his eyes that seemed—at least to her— to light up.
It was his girlfriend
, Lindsey. Emily felt her face burn hot with envy, embarrassment, and anger. Her shoulders slumped in defeat.
Lindsey sashayed into the dingy bar, her dark almost black hair, straight and shiny like glossy satin in the yellow lights, spilled down her back. Luke’s voice came back over the microphone, hitting a high note on the
chorus. His raspy voice cracked a little as he kept his eyes on Lindsey.
e’s practically singing for her,
Emily thought groaning with disgust. This was exactly why she hadn’t wanted to come tonight. Especially without Curtis.
Luke could smell Lindsey’s perfume when she walked in the door. He smiled when he saw her, and tried to push back the thoughts of Emily, even though he cou
ld feel her gaze still on him. The smile he gave Lindsey was forced but he tried not to think about that.
Lindsey was more than cute.
But Luke wasn’t even sure why he was dating her. Every time he kissed her, Emily’s blue eyes were all that he could see.
She sauntered in and flashed Luke a beauty pageant smile, her entourage following close behind. He continued singing, belting out the chorus and strumming his calloused fingers on the old guitar
he’d bought when he was twelve. He swallowed back the thoughts of Emily, tried to focus on Lindsey’s dark eyes, sparkling at him. It didn’t work.
Emily felt her stomach twist. Her chest was suddenly tight, and she swallowed thickly around the lump forming in her now
parched throat. She wasn’t even sure why at this very moment it bothered her so much. But it did and she could feel the sharp burn of tears pricking her eyes. She took a large gulp of her beer and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
Lindsey walked across the bar with her obnoxious gaggle of friends, all clad in short
skirts and skin tight tops, their faces caked with too much make up, and boobs pushed up to their chins. The click of their heels echoed off the paint-splattered cement floor.
One of the girls—
Allison—looked over her shoulder at Emily. The girl’s dark eyes zeroed in on Emily, and her mouth lifted at the side in what seemed like a menacingly wicked grin. Emily never had had any problems with Allison, but there was just something off about her. Something cold and dark. Something fearsome that made an involuntary shiver run up Emily’s spine.