A male’s voice was what woke me up this time, and I heard him say, “You were a hard one to capture, young Naomi.” Something about his voice… It made my heart beat faster and my new blood to run hotter. Popping my eyes open, I stared directly into a man’s bright yellow eyes.
My first Instinct was to run, but something else, something deep within me, kept me from doing so. A new voice that I hadn’t heard in my mind said, He’s your sire. Although I didn’t understand what that exactly meant, it comforted me and got me to melt in his strange, golden gaze.
His eyes were the color of golden quartz and reflected as if they had been faceted. Those eyes were full of age and wisdom as if they’d seen many years, thousands and millions of years, yet the man owning the eyes looked only to be in his late twenties.
Only a black vest and jeans covered his body, revealing the strong and thick arms that held me cradled to him. He was so strong and tall even as he had me curled into his lap as we sat in a… limousine.
My hand pressed against his chest, and I wriggled around to look at my surroundings. “What the hell?” I whispered. My body was gently released while I sat on his lap, completely forgetting that I was sitting anywhere at all. “Where am I?”
The man leaned against his fist and smiled at me, just a slow curve of his lips, and I was instantly enthralled by his looks. Ah, damn, I thought and wanted to open my mouth until it hit the floor.
He was sensual incarnate. Everything about him was so hot he was on fire. His body? Perfect. His face? Perfect. His clothes? As simple as they were, perfect. The man looked to be chiseled out of the hardest and smoothest granite imaginable. He was a sculptor’s dream, and something I could fantasize about all night long.
“Naomi Roesia,” he stated with a voice as smooth as silk then kissed my hand, “welcome to our world.” Gingerly, he allowed my hand to fall limp at my side, and I felt the need to sit right where I was although I did scoot from his lap to the leather. “A shy one, I see. Interesting. You weren’t so shy when you were at my club.”
My face flushed. I didn’t remember anything about the club aside from its name and a handsome shadow that had started to follow me ever since leaving it the first night I’d appeared there. Was he my stalker? Although I didn’t recognize anything about him, something about him did seem familiar. Maybe, the broad shoulders, the tall frame?
Turning my head away because of the heated way he was looking at me, I muttered, “You’re the reason… Lizbeth wanted me dead.” I couldn’t look at him. Every time I did my head blanked and went off into another dimension. I couldn’t ask him the questions I needed to.
He frowned in the corner of my eye but stated, “I am sorry about that. How was I to know that she was one of the Exorcists?” At my curious glance he added, “There is much for me to teach you, my fledgling. Much that I will teach you, but for now, let’s go to my mansion. I’m sure that you can relax, and we can enjoy blood wine by the pool. It does look so grand in the moonlight.”
Tapping on the window that divided us from the driver of the limo, he leaned towards an intercom and said, “Herald, if you would be so kind as to disobey the speed limit, I would enjoy being in the comfort of my mansion with my new fledgling. She needs to be taken care as soon as possible.”
A voice that sounded like the one that I’d heard in my mind, said, “Of course, my master; as you wish.” My heart sped as the car did in tune to my heart.
While the man poured two glasses of some red concoction that smelt of alcohol and blood, he realized, “I haven’t yet given you my name, sweet child.” After handing me the drink in a wine glass, he added, “I am Durand Radegond, king of the Dracos, and royal cousin to the Chiropterans.” His glass tapped against my own. “To your rebirth and many meals shared between us.”
My heart pumped in my chest. This was not something on my top priority list of things to do right now. I wanted answers. I wanted to know what an Exorcist was. I needed to have Lizbeth’s actions explained to me.
I had been cautious, careful not to expose my glowing eyes, bloody tears, or fangs, but she had still come after me with a loaded gun. Despite the blood on my clothing, there had been no evidence of my feedings. How had she been able to know?
The male named Durand downed a sip of his glass of… blood wine then paused as I only sloshed it around in my glass. “You must still be disgusted at yourself. Many of my fledglings are.” He placed his drink on a table that amazingly held it perfectly steady despite the turns that the driver was making. Sliding closer to me and laying a gentle hand on my knee, he squeezed it. “It’s a natural thing, young Naomi. You will learn to accept it and become strong with it. Rejecting it will only make previous events occur like what happened to that family.”
My eyes grew wide. He knew it was me. Were the cops that hot on my trail? Disrupting my thoughts, he eased, “I had some disposables take the blame. Don’t worry.”
Turning my eyes to the leather seam in the backseat, I muttered, “Disposables?” I could only guess at the connotation that word had in his mind. He was so nonchalant about this, sipping his blood wine and telling me to daydream about a secure mansion and a moonlit pool.
He rubbed my knee, and I finally noticed that it was bare. When Lizbeth had shot me, I was not wearing… I glanced downwards and found a black dress wrapped around me. How could I have not noticed this?
The dress was little more than a towel on me and hugged me everywhere it could. It was designed to flaunt curves, and flaunt it did. My waist was constricted while it made a heart around my breasts. Had he undressed me and put me in this sexy club dress?
“Do not fret, young Naomi. I did not undress you. I had one of my maids do so. That gown was one of yours that we collected from the dormitory you had shared with Exorcist. We also confiscated some of the tapes that she’d videoed of you. It seems that someone had hired her to be more than just your friend. She bugged a lot of your clothing.” He smiled towards the moon roof. “She could have made a very great voyeur if she were interested in such things.”
My face burned a fiery red, but my body did little in anger or embarrassment. Instead, I could only imagine Durand’s eyes on my body as I went about my daily routine. It sent shivers down my spine. To have this handsome creature find me so divine. My heart beat just a tiny bit faster.
The car halted, and the driver, I assumed, opened the door with a bow to the man as he stepped out, holding my hand lightly in his own. “Thank you for getting us here so soon, Herald. I will be sure to give you a pay raise next time your check comes around,” Durand politely thanked his escort then turned to me with the tamed giddiness of a boy hiding behind a man’s mask in a toy store. “I have so much I want to share with you, Naomi. Please, drink the wine. It will only make you stronger.”
My eyes glanced down to the red liquid that reflected my face. Little ripples bounced back and forth in circles inside of my glass, breaking up my reflection as I gazed into the crystal. My face really had changed. Seeing that now, I could understand why Lizbeth would have wanted me dead.
Although I had covered up things about me that were obvious about my change, I hadn’t known about the disappearance of the freckles that used to dot across my nose. Lizbeth frequently told me about how she wished that she had cute freckles like that, but I’d always hid them beneath make up. Now, my skin was perfectly unblemished and silky to the touch. My eyes, though not glowing, were a much more vibrant green like a rose’s stem.
If I had been Lizbeth, I don’t know what I would have done once I’d found me. After seeing my demonic reflection in puddles, I’d known how creepy I’d looked. Blood had soaked my ripped shirt and jeans. My hair was a tangled and dark autumn red colored mess. My claws were bloodied and stained brown from dirt that had also caked around my feet. I looked like a sewer rat with rabies.
Although the blood was gone and the dirt was too, I couldn’t help but be disdained at the looks of myself. I was so much older, more regal looking, like a queen of some wicked kingdom. I didn’t look like the foolish girl that had tasted drugs and alcohol to get a kick out of my boring existence. Oddly, I missed looking like her.
She had the life. She didn’t kill people on accident like I’d done to poor Lizbeth. She didn’t drink people down to the pit of their existence then throw their body away to rampage about her new life. She ran around with her friends, went to parties and clubs with ignorance about the creatures that lurked inside. Her life was so much more pure than the life I lead now, and I was just beginning to scratch the surface of my rebirth.
At my silence, Durand squeezed my hand as he led me up to a large porch that kissed the entryway of his mansion. “Please keep from harming yourself, fledgling. It will only make it harder for you to learn how to prevent future mistakes.”
My eyes rolled at that statement. He had no right to be this sweet to me. Why was he doing it? What was a sire? Why was a sire so important? “Don’t call me fledgling, Durand. It pisses me off,” I bit out to make him smile. I glowered at the sight of that smile. He looked even better when he did that.
As we strolled through the mansion, he randomly dropped his vest to the floor, and my eyes grew wide at the sight of just the bulging muscles in his back. How could one man be this hot? I wondered as I analyzed his body. Plates of thick muscle decorated his body like armor. Just looking at him was like staring into a protective fortress. It was like I could be protected for eternity in his arms.
Once we were outside and in the moonlight, he turned to me and asked, “Would you join me for a swim, Naomi?” My face flushed as I studied his face. He was completely serious.
“Uh. You can, but I’ll just drink my… wine on the side. I’m supposed to be getting stronger. Right?” I tried not to dip my gaze to the plates of muscle along his abdomen and sat myself down on the edge of the pool, dipping my feet in the deep end.
He nodded then disappeared behind a panel to change his clothes. At least, that’s what I thought he was doing. I hoped that was what he was doing.
Alone, I placed my glass off beside me to stare out at the moon. I really wasn’t hungry, and the full moon was much more interesting than whatever creature had spilled its blood for my pleasure. Still, my fangs ached for the drink at my side and my instinct cried out for me to drink it.
Conscience burning, I waved my feet around in the water. It was warm, and just as Durand had said, it was beautiful. I just wasn’t ready to go swimming with some random guy I’d met in a club. It was too awkward.
I wasn’t that dumb girl anymore. I needed to be perceptive, cunning, and predatory. That’s what I was, and if I didn’t embrace it I would only become more of a monster. I needed to develop ways to refrain from killing my prey. Just because I was a monster didn’t mean that I had to act like one.
My mother, father, and brother must be worried sick about me. I know that I would be if my little seventeen year old brother ran off and started slaughtering people for sustenance.
My gaze dipped to the glass. Well, it was better than drinking someone. Deciding to give into Durand’s offer, I tipped the wine glass and allowed the rich taste of blood to soak my tongue and water my dry throat. I would accept what I was and become better than I’d ever been.