Here is a portion of Chapter 1 of “Blood at Stake”…release date is planned for right around Halloween. (*Note: This sneak peek is unedited.)
It was early in the morning when the mating ceremony for Charity and Dragus ended. I said my goodbyes and made my way to the front of the mansion. As I walked toward my car, I noticed the guards scattered outside the front lawn. The men were posted all throughout the grounds. Some were dressed in standard warrior clothing, others in tuxedos to blend in with the mass of people gathered for the occasion.
Security was high tonight for the Krieger wedding of the century. Men were posted on a catwalk that ran the top of the brick wall that surrounded this place. At least I wouldn’t need to worry about my child’s safety.
Charity wasn’t my biological child, but our relationship was damn near close to that. You see, I found her a very long time ago laying in a pile of dead leaves and her own blood. I couldn’t let this young woman die there, so I did something I said I’d never do. I changed her into a creature of the night. I took away her sun. I turned her into a vampire.
Thankfully, she was more happy that she was alive than dead. Over time, we have become as close as sisters, best friends for eternity. Recently, the town we will live in, Port Royal was overrun with Lycans and they attacked many people in the area. Fortunately, we were able to save them with a potion from a local witch. During those horrible few weeks, my Charity had found her mate. The man she’d dreamed of when she was human.
Dragus was a warrior of the highest esteem and was also the head honcho for Port Royal. He’s a perfect match for her and for that I was happy. They deserved each other. The mating was everything she’d hoped for. “A fairytale in the making” was what I heard from most of the crowd here tonight.
For me, I wouldn’t say that I was jealous, but it did sadden me that I was walking out of these gates alone. Who doesn’t get a little depressed when you go to a wedding without a date? Okay, so yeah, I guess you could say I was a little peeved. I mean, I could have asked Dragus’ right hand man, Ashby, but call me old fashioned, he could’ve asked me himself.
The warrior, Ashby, was complete, male perfection. Short blond hair that highlighted his sharp features, his pale, ivory skin was toned…muscular. Although his skin was vampire pale, it was a still beautiful. Many times in the past, I’ve stared at him, when he wasn’t looking, trying to figure out if his skin felt as smooth as it looked. His hands told a story of hardship, from the thickness and strength that radiated off of them. They’re large and everything he handled was with skill. I often wondered how they would handle me. There was something about that warrior that had me feeling drawn to him in some weird way.
I shook myself back to reality and walked toward my car. With a sigh, I tapped the button to release the locks. When I reached for the door, a hand slipped past me and grabbed the handle before I could do it myself.
“Oh,” I gasped. I felt ashamed at my reaction, but Rowland shouldn’t sneak up on people. “Hello, Rowland.”
“Ms. Lydia Duncan,” he nodded while opening my door. “I hope that you had a nice time.” Bless him. Roland was a soft-hearted man, from what I’d learned of him. Although he had a scar that ran from the bottom of his ear and under his chin that ends through his lip, nothing else about the warrior would cause you to be afraid of him. His Krieger tattoo, on the same side of the scar, was placed on top, hiding most of his damage that was obviously given to him as a human. He kept his coal black hair loose and it hung right at his chin. The vampire was stunning despite his obvious deformity. His eyes were different from anything I’d ever seen. They were a stunning crystal blue, but the rims were black as coal, and seemed to thicken depending on his mood. Right now the trim was thinner, more normal.
“Thank you, Rowland. It was a lovely ceremony.” I tossed my purse on the passenger seat and climbed in, “Have a good night, Krieger.” With that, he closed my door and nodded politely. As I drove away, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw Ashby on the porch to the mansion. He was standing there at attention, and boy did he look mad.
Was he mad because Rowland was being nice? Why in the world would he be mad? The man showed no interest in me all of those times that he would escort me to the hospital, or over to Charity’s during the curfew. The thought made me see red. He was plenty nice, and for a time, I thought he may like me, too. But his distance over the past week had me thinking he may have lost interest.
I heard a growl, low and deep, coming from the direction of the house. I checked the porch again and saw Ashby clenching his fist, his body vibrating from anger. “Screw him,” I growled in frustration. When I turned around, I saw the gates to the main road were open. I punched the gas pedal a little too hard and my car jerked forward. I didn’t bother letting off the gas and looking like an idiot. I pressed down harder and sped down the driveway, throwing rocks in the process. My little blue Mercedes would probably have chips in the paint, but I really didn’t care what it looked like. Ashby was being an ass and I needed to get out of there.
Instead of going home, I drove over to the club, Nights, I owned with Charity. The clock on the dash said the time was only two-thirty in the morning, so I had plenty of time to do some paperwork. Tomorrow night we should have a new employee sent to us through the government’s transition program. We helped newly turned vampires integrate into the world, teaching them skills and helping them adjust to being one of us.
The club was vacant because we did not open due to the wedding. I parked and made my way to the back door. The parking lot was lit and for some reason it was almost too quiet. I stopped suddenly, when I heard a slight rustling to my left. My nostrils flared as I tested the air. My superhuman senses realized something wasn’t right. The predator in me automatically tensed in preparation of something bad. Scenting the air again, I realized that it was not a vampire I scented, and definitely not Lycan, or Hybrid, but human.
Suddenly, the hair on the back of my neck prickled. I spun around and grabbed for the door as pain bloomed at the back of my neck. Warmth spread from that point out to my arms and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that I’d been shot.
My eyes blurred as I turned around and found two males coming at me fast. They were definitely human, and they had really big stakes hanging off their belts. One was carrying a black bag, like doctors used to use, back years ago. I tried to reach out, but my right arm didn’t cooperate. I reached up with my working arm and felt the back of my head. From the agonizing burning, I knew the bullet had to have been wooden. My hand came away sticky with my own blood. The coppery smell fired my senses, causing my stomach to clench with the need to feed, to repair my body from the bullet.
My attackers advanced on me as I tried to return to my feet. Blood filled my eyes and my fangs burned as they thickened in my mouth. Humans were not prey, but at the moment, I wanted their blood.