New Experiences :: Vampire romance short story

in #vampireficton3 years ago

Here's something I had published back in '12, and never really see any approval of. I think it's worth some time reading.

If you enjoy my work, and would like to buy any of my novels, please consider visiting my Smashwords page.

experiences.jpg

I’d wait one more song, then go home. Elysium was dead. Deader than normal, with only twenty people here, and I’d yet to see Colin. By midnight, the vampire would normally have worked through three girls. Apparently the rain was keeping him at home too.

Unless one of the bad drivers had lost control on slick streets and crashed into him. Most Las Vegas residents didn’t handle rain well, and could easily have caused an accident. My imagination went wild with how the scene would look.

*Sodium lights cast their stark white light over everything, even drowning out the neon lights. Rain pours down, each drop flickering in the street lamp before hitting the wrecked cars below.

A horn blares continuously, though weakened by the damage to the front end. The metal of the old Buick is crumpled and twisted, a distorted version of the once stylish vehicle. One headlight is dead, the other pointing off at an angle.

The other car looks worse. A modern compact, made of fiberglass and crumple zones, it’s a jagged mess, nearly unrecognizable. Bystanders speculate as to the driver’s survival, none of them able to reach the person trapped inside.*

I took a long drink of my Coke, banishing the wicked images. My friend called it my writer’s curse; the merest suggestion of something sent my imagination running with my creativity. Scenes unfolded before my mind’s eye, tweeking and correcting as I pondered the words necessary to get it in print. It was handy when penning a story, but sometimes caused undue worry.

Not that I considered it a curse. Even when I was wondering if bad things had happened to the handsome vampire, I had no desire to do away with such strong creativity. It gave me such a boost when participating in my Friday meme on my blog, or when I needed to put a quick twist on a story prompt. The runaway imagination gave me an edge over other writers, allowed me to have a bunch of words ready to go at any given time.

But even a brilliant, albeit unknown, author such as myself could become blocked.

So my best friend had recommended I go to Elysium to recharge my creativity. Considering I had been trying to write a vampire story, the goth-themed club had seemed a good idea. Wearing all black and a little eyeliner, I’d trooped off to see what all the fuss was about.

Expecting to just take in the culture, to my surprise, I’d managed to find a vampire amidst all the death-obsessed patrons.

Colin didn’t wear a sign or anything. No cape, no fangs, no glowing eyes. He favored old-fashioned morning suits and slicked-back hair, but wasn’t unusual in light of the various, and sometimes elaborate, outfits of the regulars.

Not a single thing about him said vampire, but I’d known it. I’d seen it in his posture, his movements, in his very waltz. In the hungry smiles, and the way the girls threw themselves at him.

I saw it in the sharpness of his blue eyes the one time our gazes met.

He was quite attractive, even to my eclectic tastes, with sweeping cheekbones and a strong jawline. Everything about him was a little square, from his lean shoulders and chest to his perfect hairline. Yet there was just enough softness to make him beautiful and unreal. Colin had immediately piqued my interest, and I started playing out sanguine stories with him as the primary hunter.

*They flock to him, coquettish and full of desire. None of them know what he is, and he loves it that way. He smiles at them, keeping the fangs hidden, and they love him all the more for his mystery.

She knows what he is, and she doesn’t hide behind silly lust. She strides boldly up to him, aware of how different she looks from all the others. No facade to her, no wild costume, no displays of death. She is simply herself, and that catches his attention like none other.

“I would know more of you,” she says. No preamble is needed with him; he can pick up her intentions with the simplest of thoughts. He grins, revealing his fangs, and she knows she has been accepted.*

The song changed, and still no sign of Colin. I finished my drink and set the empty glass down with a sigh. The vampire should have been here by now. Weeks I’d been watching him, and he was always one of the first to arrive, one of the last to leave. If he wasn’t at Elysium feeding by now, I had no hopes for seeing him tonight.

My research had been bringing me back for almost three weeks now. I’d gotten very few words down on paper, but my imagination was more active than ever. It was simply focused on Colin and vampires and blood.

Not that any of the women I talked to helped me much. They were always in their early 20s, same as me, and came from a cross-section of the crowd. Some were Victorian goth, some industrial, some just poseurs. Colin had no particular type, and seemed to put no effort into getting them on his line. They fell like wheat before his smile and suave charm.

And none of them ever remembered what happened while he had them back in the kissing booths. Heavy velvet curtains cut him off from the dancing crowd, and my prying eyes, giving him plenty of privacy to feed. Twenty minutes here, thirty minutes there, and then the young lady was released, dizzy and euphoric, back into the crowd.

What was happening back there? The obvious answer was biting and feeding, but I wanted details. I needed details for my writing. With the glut of fanged leading men in the book market these days, everyone put their own spin on the genre. I wanted to know the truth, and I hounded Colin’s lovely victims in an attempt to get my answers.

But those answers weren’t coming tonight. The rain was keeping the star of my melodrama at home. I had braved crazy streets for nothing.

I turned to leave, and fell into the brilliant eyes of my target. “Hello, Rebecca,” he said in his soft accent, mere inches from me. Had he been skulking for a surprise feed?

*She stands at the rail, one hip cocked as she surveys the dancers. The lights flash in time with the music, washing her pale skin and dark hair in various colors.

Pulling her tresses over one shoulder, she exposes most of her long neck. The ruffle of her poet shirt rests low, accentuating her shoulders, framing the nape of her beautiful throat. No earrings, no necklace, nothing to deny him access.

He wraps his arm around her waist, and she melts back with a sigh. She gives no protest, immediately offering herself. She moans when his mouth falls to her vein, running a hand into his hair. He chuckles, claiming his prey.*

I blushed, realizing I’d been staring at Colin like a dumbstruck fool. Even aware of my behavior, I couldn’t stop. Not when a handspan separated us, his scent working deep into my nostrils, his eyes boring into my soul.

Colin wore no pomade tonight, and his mahogany hair curled loosely to his shoulders. His morning suit was charcoal gray with black lapels, turning him into a tall shadow looming over me. A shadow that I’d been trying to get closer to, that had now come to me.

A shadow that knew my full name.

My pulse raced with that new knowledge. I wasn’t very outgoing, didn’t normally talk to a lot of people, but when I did, I only went by Becc. Most of the victims I’d interviewed were too dazed to remember my name, or even who I was. The bartender might know my full name, but he’d stopped looking at my ID after the first few nights. So where had he gotten Rebecca from?

Why should an experienced hunter not be able to figure it out from the diminutive? Reassuring myself that there was nothing untoward going on, I licked my lips and calmed myself. “Hello,” I replied, voice barely audible.

He smiled, and his entire face lit up. I’d never been this close to him, had never gotten to observe the details of his expression before. Blue eyes sparkled as they crinkled, and his lips curved toward pronounced cheekbones. Colin was handsome, maybe a little beautiful, and my vision swam as I was overwhelmed by his presence. “I didn’t realize my stalker was quite this shy.”

What exactly was I supposed to say to that? I was clearly tongue-tied, and had yet to make a charming response. My curiosity over Colin had caused me to lurk in the shadows and watch him, to question the dizzy women he released back into the club. My imagination had given me multitudes of ways to introduce myself, but when reality set in, it abandoned me. Perhaps it was a curse.

Colin’s smile deepened, and he leaned back enough to offer me his hand. “Perhaps a dance will loosen her tongue.” I laid my hand in his before I could balk. I needed to be as bold and forthright as any of the characters in my stories.

Our skin met, and I gasped in shock as a sharp jolt passed through me. Hot and fast, it rocked me to my core, and I thought I was dreaming. Colin’s touch filled me with arousal and longing, and with a sense of belonging. And something else, some reaction I couldn’t identify.

There was nothing particularly odd about his touch; his hand was pleasantly strong, not calloused and ragged, but not femmie soft. The vampire was only three inches taller than me, but his fingers seemed enormous as they engulfed mine. Everything about him was about to engulf me, and I wanted it like I wanted to breathe.

His eyes widened momentarily, his smile faltered, and he swayed slightly.

*Entrancement is all either of them can feel. The world is meant only for them, and falls quiet out of respect. Their hearts beat as one, a better hallelujah than any choir of angels. Joy and beauty and harmony belong to them, are defined by them. No one has ever been as in love as these two.

She trembles, flushing with innocence, and waits for him to make the move. Hazel eyes darken with desire, plump lips parting with a sigh. She’s never been told it will be like this.

He hungers for her, but not for her blood alone. The blazing soul waiting inside her calls to the emptiness in him, offering solace against all the dark nights. He’s never thought to find a companion in anyone.*

We continued staring when my mental vignette ended. I was in no rush to go anywhere else. Imagination continued to speak of love at first sight, and even the rational part of my mind was willing to agree. Not that I could say for sure what was passing between the vampire and I, but a meeting of souls seemed like a good explanation. Perhaps with his years of experience, he knew what had happened.

Colin said nothing about the little shock, simply led me to the dance floor. My hand trembled in his, which he thankfully ignored. I was numb, barely aware of my limbs as he positioned us for a waltz. The vampire held my gaze while settling his free hand on my waist, and I managed to get my free hand onto his shoulders.

The music didn’t matter; a box step fit almost anything. Especially with as skilled a dancer as Colin. He guided me smoothly, though I barely knew how to dance, making my body move and answer him while my mind still reeled. He kept an inch between our bodies, not letting us touch, and I began to relax and gather my thoughts.

Such as they were.

Waltzing with a vampire, did it get more surreal? I’d watched him dance with many of his girls, but I’d yet to think about us together. Why hadn’t my imagination come up with this yet? There wasn’t a much better seduction than old-fashioned dancing with a fabulous looking man. Bodies moving as one, yet never touching. Skin heating in the few places contact was attained. Rhythm guiding partners so they need not think, need only exist for each other.

He hadn’t taken his eyes off mine yet, but I didn’t think he was playing any mind games on me. Whatever shock he’d felt at our first touch had faded, leaving a calm and collected mask on his wonderful features. Colin’s unblinking stare wasn’t the least bit unnerving; I could live in his eyes for days on end.

“Is my beautiful Rebecca ready to tell me why she’s been stalking me?”

He spoke softly, barely louder than the music, yet every accented tone curled through my ear and to my core. Heat stirred at his words, making me bold. Words I didn’t expect came from my mouth. “Because I want to know if you’re a vampire.”

Colin finished a step and drew me hard against him. The gap had barely existed, but it seemed enormous now that we were touching. Every curve of mine melded to every plane of his. My breath died in my chest as his mouth hovered over mine, his hand strong and possessive in the small of my back.

“Do you truly think it wise to hunt vampires?” Colin’s breath was rich with clove cigarettes and copper.

I trembled at the implication, but did nothing to escape. Scenes like this had played out two score times in my head; now was my time to win him over with my wit and charm. “I’m not hunting you.” Gah, what a horrible ice breaker.

He smiled deeply, revealing the barest hint of fang. “I thought you might have been a slayer at first. But I could smell no blood on you, and you merely watched. And watched. And watched.” Colin began the dance again, slow and drawn out, keeping me pressed against him. “I decided it was time to force your hand.”

Blood drained from my face, and I lost touch with my body. Without saying it directly, Colin had just told me I was right. He was a vampire. I had been stalking a vampire, questioning his victims, wanting to get close to him.

Could I get much closer than this?

“So, what is it that makes my shy Rebecca watch me so intently?” With his mouth so close, I felt the motion almost as if it was on my skin. The vampire’s thumbs moved very slowly, stroking my hand and the small of my back, making my nerves extra sensitive. The unexpected intimacy of dancing with Colin stole my thoughts, made me feel shy like the first day of school again, like I was an awkward virgin teenager again.

“I’m a writer.” Better to blurt out an answer, any answer, than get caught up thinking of the best possible statement. I’d already come across as shy, putting me at a disadvantage. Time to start digging my way out of the hole. Once the conversation really started, then I could shine.

Colin’s brows drew together, his lips pursing with curiosity. We continued to dance, though with smaller steps, our bodies rubbing pleasantly together. I had no qualms about staying like this for the rest of the night. Conversation seemed unimportant as his clove and copper scent wrapped me tighter, and his entrancing eyes bored into my very soul.

“What kind of writer?”

“Fiction.” I licked my lips, managing to hold his eyes. “A vampire author.”

One brow shot up, angled like a raven’s wing. “You’re not one of those silly girls making tales of brooding heroes waiting for a girl to save them, are you?”

The accusation in his voice stung my pride. “Of course not.” My words came out strong, defensive. “I can’t stand sparklepires, and the way they never really drink blood. Or the emopires who are constantly moping about, wondering why they can’t be human again. Nor do I write about fruit bats, all glam and fabulous and just wanting attention.

“I want real vampires, and not the slavering beasts. I want to make a mark with my stories, want to have a decent product that’s unlike anything else out there. I don’t want to write about just another hot guy who happens to have fangs.” My breath was rough and ragged, and I was satisfied with my answer.

He grinned. He stopped our dance. He laughed, releasing my hand but keeping me pressed to him. “You stalk me because you seek my expert opinion?”

I blushed so violently, I thought I would faint. Ducking my head, I tried to slip out of his embrace. “It sounds stupid when you say it.”

Colin locked his arms around me and pressed his mouth to my ear. “Have a drink with me.”

*She stiffens, heart in her throat. She is about to be alone with the vampire. At least in a public place, she is safe from so many things. In private, she knows not what he’ll do. But hasn’t she wanted this? Hasn’t she longed for this?

He is relentless, hands roving beneath her shirt, mouth hot against her neck as he positions for the bite. Sharp fangs pricks tender skin, and she begins to struggle. The vampire only growls-*

“A drink and some conversation. Nothing more.” Colin’s lips were tender as they slid against my ear. My breath came rapidly as I broke from my imagination. He’d given no indication he was going to drink my blood. I needed to keep my head on straight, stay focused on the here and now.

It should be easy to sit and drink with him. No need to flirt with him, and apparently no need to impress him. Colin wanted to talk to me, wasn’t driving me away for being a silly bint. I still had my chance to pick his brain.

Colin released me, and I realized we were near the back of the club, at the booths. The kissing booths, where he fed from five or six girls a night. Maybe it wasn’t going to be just talking. Maybe I had offered myself up on a silver platter.

I couldn’t back away now, couldn’t give up the opening I’d been craving. Sliding into the booth, I kept my eyes down, positioning myself a body width away from the edge. Didn’t want to look too much like part of me still wanted to flee.

The vampire entered the booth smoothly, showing off the practice and grace he did everything with. He came a third of the way around the booth. It was small enough that he could still reach me if he wanted, but I had enough room to not feel trapped. Intimate wasn’t supposed to be a cage, but that’s how I reacted beneath the dim lights.

I drew a deep breath and looked up, but my turmoil wouldn’t stop. Colin was attractive and kind, had been a gentleman so far. Yet, now that I knew he was a vampire, I couldn’t help but fear him a little. A fear I hadn’t felt when I merely suspected him. Everything was fine and safe when it was merely fantasy. Yet he’d done nothing to put me on my guard, or treated me suspiciously. He hadn’t even closed the curtains of the kissing booth, leaving me a view of the dance floor and possible escape.

Our waitress arrived before we could say anything. Four shots of clear alcohol, a bowl of lemons, and a long view of her cleavage. Colin winked at her in a familiar way, and she waggled her leather-clad hips as she left without charging him. Not surprising the vampire kept a tab when he practically lived here. Maybe he even had a regular relationship with the waitress, feeding from her as well.

Colin slid me a shot. “Thank you, intrepid Rebecca the author, for joining me.” He picked up a lemon wedge, claiming one of the shots for himself. “Would shy Rebecca the stalker have ever approached me?”

I claimed my glass and took a lemon when he proffered the dish. It would be nice to declare proudly that I was simply one night from walking up to him and introducing myself, but I knew it wasn’t true. “No,” I whispered, shaking my head slightly.

Now that I’d admitted it, my obsession came across as unseemly, unhealthy. All the furtive conversations and staring, all the nights making mental notes of how he danced and smiled, all the longing and fantasy, it all became dreary and sad. A pathetic way to spend my time, and not at all like the unique and talented artist I portrayed myself as.

Of course, a unique and talented artist would never have hidden from their subject of interest.

His brows drew sharply together. “Is shy Rebecca returning?” Colin’s tone was a mix of teasing and rebuke, and it pulled me from the brief maudlin cloud I’d formed.

I arched one eyebrow as I forced my shoulders back. I was intrepid. I mean, how many young women would stalk a tiger right into his lair, knowing he liked to eat little girls? Resolve was the name of the game, and I’d learn to play it right now. “Of course she isn’t.” I lifted the shot, pausing with it near my mouth, holding Colin’s gaze. “And I go by Becc.” With a crooked smile, I knocked back the shot, Colin doing the same.

Except the vampire didn’t sputter and gasp at the shock of the vodka.

“Bite the lemon. Quickly.” Colin pushed my other hand up, and I blindly lifted the citrus wedge to my mouth. Tears burned, and I struggled to draw air. Biting the lemon, the rush of sour juice restored my breath.

“Oh, wow,” I managed, leaning back against the bench. My mouth still tingled, and warmth spread through my chest. I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not, or even if I was going to survive it.

Colin bit his fruit slowly, smiling at my reaction, then lowered his lemon wedge and licked the remaining juice from his lips. His tongue was pale pink, almost like a rosebud against his well-shaped lips. It was so distracting and lovely, I didn’t realize lemon juice spilled from my mouth to my chin.

The vampire reached across the table to wipe up the drop. Whatever breath I’d just regained meant nothing; it died in my lungs as Colin’s eyes consumed me.

“You are a storyteller with a dearth of experiences?” Colin’s fingers traced my jawline, then dropped away slowly.

“Maybe,” I said softly. I wanted his touch so much that I couldn’t think properly. Not that I’d made the best of impressions or most intelligent of conversations so far. What was another stare, another wordless pause from an innocent girl? How did he manage to turn back the clock on me like this? Even my first time with a man hadn’t been so awkward.

Setting the rind aside, I called on my confidence again. Enough simpering and acting like a ditz. I had been on the proper path just before the drink, and there was no reason to fall from it so quickly.

“It’s just that my experiences don’t exactly help with my stories.” The empty glass made an odd sound as I slid it across the table. “My parents took me to the Grand Canyon. My cousin died when I was eight. I’ve struggled to pay my rent. I...” My voice trailed off.

Colin laid his hand on mine where it rested on the table. “I suppose that wouldn’t be of help telling the tales of hunters.” He ran his thumbnail along my wrist, and goosebumps raced painfully up my arm. “What would you offer me for my answers?”

My heart skipped several beats, and I lost myself in his eyes. What would I offer him? I hadn’t exactly thought of this part, had nothing prepared, had no idea what he would even want. “I could...” I lifted my free hand to my hair, brushing it away from my neck.

The vampire kept his hand on my wrist as he moved closer, eyes intense. “You believe offering to feed me is enough? I didn’t think you were like the other girls.”

Blood rushed to my cheeks in yet another blush. How many times was I going to turn red in front of him? “I’m not like the other girls, but-” I swallowed hard, wanting to drop my gaze when my vision blurred. “I don’t know what else to offer.” Intrepid, bold, and charismatic were just not in my personality tonight, it seemed. I didn’t think my best friend would even recognize me right now.

Colin smirked, looking at where he held me. “My Rebecca the author doesn’t value herself very much.” He pushed the other drink my way, shifting his grip on my wrist. “Certainly seems she doesn’t think much of my wants.” He turned my hand over and touched the veins on the inside of my wrist, eyes intent on the play of skin and blood vessel.

“What is it you desire?”

Blue eyes darted up to meet mine through his long lashes, and his lips curved in a slow and wicked smile. “Desire?” Nails pressed harder into my wrist, sharp like little teeth.

*Heat and tension build between them like a summer storm. It rolls and crackles in the air, raising the hair on their bodies, stealing their breaths. Neither knows what to do with the desire eating at them, but neither try to escape it.

She leans forward, lips parted and flushed, and lays a hand on his shoulder. Lowering her eyelids, she continues leaning, closing the gap between them. He holds still, allowing her to do as she wishes.

Their lips meet, and the storm of passion breaks. With a groan, he grabs her close, crushing her into a deep kiss. She clings to his shoulders, wraps her legs around him, wanting to join with him completely. Her heat can only be quenched by his strength.*

“I desire to know more about the quiet woman who watches me from the shadows.” Colin inched closer, eyes sharp like a hawk. His nails slipped from my wrist to my palm, then along my fingers. “I desire to find the temptress behind those hazel eyes.”

A sigh fell softly from my lips, and I leaned closer. Colin had entranced me, lulled my nervousness, was drawing out the strong character from deep inside. But there was still my naivete and inexperience to contend with. “How do I show her to you?”

Colin reached for me with his other hand, motioning me to scoot closer. I did my best not to make any embarrassing noises as I shifted along the leather seat. The vampire slipped his arm around my shoulders, pulling me tight against his side in a sudden movement that left me staring up at him like a starry-eyed girl.

Only once I was snugged against him did he release my gaze and my hand. I leaned against him, trying to calm my racing heart. Colin was solid and stable, his scent powerfully strong this close, and my hands ached to rest on him. Shyness was replaced with heated desire, leaving me speechless for an entirely different reason.

“Continue drinking and talking with me.” The vampire reached behind us for the pull string, drawing the curtains closed. I gulped hard now that we were cut off from the rest of the club. I was trapped in a velvet and leather cave with the beautiful tiger. “Start with this one.” Colin pulled the liquor and fruit wedges closer.

I lifted my glass. In my lustful haze, it was easier to simply do what he said. Trust was simple to come by, even though I was dealing with a womanizing predator. I tingled where his arm rested around my shoulder, and I subconsciously waited for him to take advantage of me. Looked forward to it, actually.

He lifted a lemon wedge, but I kept my eyes on my shot. “Drink.” I knocked back the vodka. “Bite.” He placed the lemon against my lips, and I took a big bite of citrus. Colin pulled it away too soon, and juice spilled down my chin. “Close your eyes.” I did so, the heat of the alcohol still spreading.

Colin kissed me savagely. Still reeling from the drink, I was unprepared for his mouth on mine, especially the force behind it. My lips parted beneath the pressure, and his tongue quickly moved past them. The vampire cupped my cheek with his free hand, and I whimpered as I submitted to him.

He held me tight, tongue dancing across mine as he plundered my mouth. I kissed him back as best I could, unsure of myself as desire pulled at my thoughts, burning all the way to my core. My hands found their way to his chest, then under his coat to grip his shoulders. If I didn’t cling to his strength, I would be lost on the mad tide of passion.

Colin ran his hand through my hair, then made a fist at the base of my skull. Chills raced up my spine, wringing a whimper from me. If he wasn’t holding me against him, I would have collapsed. I wanted to collapse, wanted to be helpless to this sensual onslaught.

I’d never been kissed like this, hadn’t even imagined it was possible. My mind was thankfully quiet, offering no scenarios of where this was going to go. Instead, I devoured every detail, recording it for later, keeping track of a new experience.

The vampire paused the kiss, keeping his fist in my hair as he withdrew. I cried out, pulling at his shoulders, needing his mouth again. “So greedy,” he whispered, lips brushing across mine. His accent was stronger, voice husky.

“Yes,” I replied, cracking my eyes. I burned with passion, breathing raggedly, delirious with hunger I’d never felt before. “Greedy for you.” Air was hard won, my chest heaving. I’d never known bosoms really could heave because of a kiss. I wanted all he would give me and more.

“There’s my temptress.” Colin growled lowly before plunging back into my mouth. I ran my hands up into his hair, pulling at it as he bent my head back. The vampire’s tongue explored the depths of my mouth, giving me no time to respond. I stopped trying to keep up and gave him full access to me.

With a deeper growl, Colin pulled me into his lap. His fist in my hair didn’t hurt, but was immensely reassuring. He guided me with it, and I never wanted him to let me go. I was mostly limp, barely aware of my limbs, but we managed to get me straddling him. I wrapped my arms around his neck, breasts trapped against his chest, trying to get as close to him as I could. The vampire locked his other arm around my hips, pulling me tight to his erection with a hard thrust.

Another whimper when I felt his excitement, and only his fist kept me upright. I shook with lust, and the vampire gave a shudder as well. He wanted me, wanted my body. I groaned, suddenly wondering if he was going to have me right here on the table.

The curtain was closed. We were effectively alone. No one would bother us until we opened it. Colin could ravage me in whatever way he deemed necessary. I ached for his touches, needed to know what he would do to me. No one, even in my imagination, had elicited such a response in me.

Surprising to react like this to just a kiss. But what a kiss.

Colin pulled my head back, groaning as our mouths parted. “No,” I cried, trying to kiss him again. I pulled against his grip, pulled at his shoulders, let my tongue dart out towards him. He was implacable, however, keeping my head still. Though, his hips pumped against mine, announcing how difficult it was for him to stop.

His breath was ragged, a growl lingering on the exhalation. His arm twitched and trembled around my waist, fingers digging into my hip as I writhed against his manhood. I parted my eyelidss and found his cheeks flushed, mouth open to reveal sharp fangs. Fangs he wanted to drive into my flesh.

“Yes,” I whispered brokenly, focused on those ivory daggers, opening my eyes farther. They could be in my neck, drawing my blood. Colin could be plunged into me, deep and hard, giving me ecstasy with something so simple. “Please.” Apparently I wasn’t above begging.

Colin’s head fell back, mouth open to keep those lovely fangs exposed. I struggled to lean forward, to put myself on them, but his hand was tight in my hair. He kept me in place, his arm trembling against my hips.

My hands fluttered up his neck and to his mouth. I had to have him. I had to know what his bite felt like. I touched his lips, then his fangs, trying to prick myself.

“Rebecca, stop.” He groaned and kissed my fingers, eyes squeezed closed. The rosebud tongue danced across a fingertip, his lips clutching at my skin. The vampire fought to keep my fingers from his fangs yet draw them into his mouth. “Becc, you’re not one of my chippies. Stop.”

I went slack, dropped my hands from his face. Colin released my hair to draw my head to his shoulder. He trembled beneath me, still hard against my sex. We clearly both wanted each other, so why had we stopped?

A sob rose, and suddenly I was crying. Thwarted desires turned to depression. Clearly I wasn’t good enough for him. I wasn’t the kind of girl he spent his time with. Biting my lip, I was consumed by my sorrow.

“No, Becc, no.” Colin stroked my hair, tried to turn me to face him. I wouldn’t open my eyes, couldn’t stop crying. “Please, my beautiful Rebecca, look at me.”

When I still wouldn’t stop, he kissed my tears away, cradling the back of my head.

The tenderness of the moment caught me by surprise. Stunned by such an action, I lifted my head, sob dying as I opened my eyes to the vampire’s expression.

Colin’s cheeks were still flushed, his fangs peeking from behind parted lips. He continued to hold me close, and his breathing was ragged. All signs pointed to a man on the edge of control, but his eyes told a different story. His eyes were bright and hard, boring deep into mine, full of concern.

Keeping one arm around my hips, he used the other hand to brush away the last of my tears. “Please don’t cry.”

“Why-” A hiccup interrupted me, and I lowered my eyes. “Why didn’t you...” I couldn’t finish. Why was I disappointed he hadn’t used me?

Colin lifted my chin and kissed me softly. A brief touching of lips, tender, fleeting, like a butterfly’s wings. I stared, confused, not a thought in my head. The vampire frowned, his mouth working, but no sound coming forth.

“You’re different,” he finally said. The cockiness and lust I’d heard just before were gone. His voice was almost empty, a ghost of the vampire who’d drawn me to the booth. “I refuse to treat you like a floosie, because I know you’re not. You deserve better.”

*She is emotionally wrung out, but her heart knows what it wants. “I love you,” she declares, cupping his face as her eyes peer relentlessly into his soul. Every ounce of emotion she can bring to bear is flung at him, at his unyielding heart. “I’ll always love you.”

He smiles, tears of joy filling his eyes, barriers broken beneath her loving onslaught. “You’re the woman I’ve dreamed of. Thank you for finding me.” He touches her tentatively, clearing disbelieving that this is happen. How can anyone this wonderful exist in this wretched world?

Elation fills them as they kiss, their very souls joining. Nothing will keep them apart now that they have found each other. Love will bind them for eternity. They now have all the time in the universe to explore the heights of their union.*

Taking a shuddering breath, I looked away from the vampire. I still straddled him, and he seemed in no hurry to get me off his lap. His hard member belied his soft words, but I wasn’t going to press the point. Sleeping with a stranger wasn’t my thing.

Even if my imagination already had ideas of unending love.

“So what now?” I asked in a surprisingly strong voice. Wild emotions weren’t normally a trait of mine, but I also didn’t normally take shots and make out with vampires.

Colin set both his hands on my hips, did nothing to draw my gaze up. “You would still care to get to know me, yes?”

I nodded. “But I haven’t thought of a barter for your experiences.” It was a good thing he didn’t think of me as a floosie, that he wouldn’t let me trade my flesh for his thoughts. The logic did nothing to quell the ache in my body, however.

He squeezed my hips, and I dared to meet his gaze. “We’ll have time to figure that out. But neither of us will feel right if we do this in this manner.” There was an edge to his voice that suggested his decision was as difficult for him as it was for me.

“But you take so many girls,” I pouted. Just like a dog with a bone, I would not give up on his rejection. Although rejection was really more of a pause.

“Mere chippies. Meaningless fluff to pass a night. I haven’t learned one of their names in six or seven years. I couldn’t even tell you the hair color of any I was with last night.

“But my Rebecca the vampire author...” He smiled, lifting a hand to touch my cheek. “You discerned my nature, and it only made you curious. That same curiosity fills me. I would like to get to know you. All of you. Not just a lusting girl in a club booth.”

I smirked, strengthened by his words. “You desire me?”

He returned the smile, eyes glittering with renewed boldness. “Very much so.” Colin kissed me again, cupping my cheek.

Instead of a raging wildfire, threatening to consume us, we were lit by something steady. There was still passion, and a need to explore each other’s body, but it was controlled. Low burning and banked, this was a fire that would last through the cold watches.

We parted slowly, Colin keeping his hand on my face. His pupils were dilated big enough to swallow the irises. “Meet me tomorrow night. We can get to know each other then.”

“Can’t we start tonight?” I played with a strand of his hair, ignoring the petulance in my voice.

His words came out in a heated whisper. “If we remain here, my resolve will break.” The vampire leaned toward my neck, a barely audible growl coming forth.

“Would that be so bad?”

“Temptress.” Colin dove for my neck. His mouth seared my skin, teeth hard over the vein. I cried out in surprise, stiffening briefly. I waited for pain, for fangs and a gush of blood, but nothing came.

He nipped my neck without breaking skin, breath warm across the back of my neck, and I relaxed completely. Colin was moments from piercing my flesh, from sharing intimacy with me. I wasn’t going to fight, was going to give him everything. Sighing, I cupped the back of his head, pulling him closer.

There was a flurry of movement, and then I was alone, lying on the table. My heart lodged in my throat, I looked around, confused. Colin was gone, the curtains rippling in his wake.

Sitting up, I felt a wet spot where his mouth had been. I touched my neck, and pulled my hand away to see a tiny drop of blood. He’d broken skin, had had my taste on the tip of his tongue, and had still pulled away. Amazing resolve Colin had. Way more than I did.

I made my way to my feet, dizzy and breathless. The vampire had left in a rush, without feeding on me. Not that it was a slight to me; the stinging spots on my neck could attest to my desirability.

And he’d been calling me his Rebecca. For a man who didn’t learn the names of his hook-ups, he was awfully possessive about me. Any doubts that might try to take hold could be banished by that simple word; my. Claimed and taken even before we’d been truly intimate, and I couldn’t complain.

The crowd in Eysium had thinned down to less than ten, and I was able to make a hasty retreat. If the few remaining patrons stared at me, I didn’t notice. All I wanted was to be outside, away from Colin’s feeding grounds. I didn’t want any of his flock mistaking me for one of them.

Stepping outside, I drew a deep breath of the rain-scented night in an attempt to clear my head. All I wanted was to be back in Colin’s arms.

*Approaching her car, her eyes are wild as she scans the dark parking lot. With the street lamp out, there are many shadows for an attacker to hide in. If she isn’t careful, someone could sneak up on her.

He doesn’t bother to sneak. She spots him half-way across the lot, sauntering closer. Biting her lip, she scurries to her car, seeking its safety.

Until she recognizes his outline. She sighs and waits, allowing the vampire to close the gap. He whispers her name before he claims her, mouth sharp on her neck.*

Driving on rainy streets while my mind wandered wasn’t smart, but I couldn’t get Colin out of my head. His sexiness, his charm, his superb blue eyes. The taste of his fabulous mouth when he kissed me. The feel of his hands on my hips, or his arm around my waist, or the tightness of his fist in my hair.

Weeks of studying him at the club had paid off, in a most spectacular fashion. Colin had agreed to help me with my writing, to give me a vampire’s perspective. With my creativity and his realism, I could become more than just a great author. Maybe I’d become a best-selling author.

*She’s nervous as she opens up her email. This is for the best-seller list. The best-seller list. Her agent hasn’t told her anything, has let it be a surprise. Stomach roiling, she’s not sure she wants to know.

He lays his hands on her shoulders, love suffusing his action. She smiles over her shoulder, ecstatic that he’s here with her. “Where else would I be?” He’s always been able to read her unspoken thoughts.

Bolstered by his love, she opens the email. Tears immediately spring to her eyes as her hard work is justified.*

I turned onto my street, gritting my teeth to banish my latest fantasy. I always played with the idea of being a famous author, of being the next big thing. Adored and loved, and read by everyone. Fans begging for my every word, rereading each novel umpteen times. A cultural phenomenon to last the ages, to bury those who might sully the genre.

But I’d never thought up a partner. It was always a solo affair. I was a success because of my words, because of my skill. Support was good, but everything I’d been doing had been on my own so far. I didn’t need a relationship to be the supreme author that I knew I could be.

So why was Colin invading my thoughts so deeply? It wasn’t just for his good looks; I’d seen him for weeks and had yet to fantasize about the vampire like this. Some standard playful thoughts, sure, which kept me warm on a lonely night, but no hints of us being a real couple.

The sexual images would be understandable right now, if those were what came up. Colin’s kiss was one of the most fabulous moments ever, not just a top-ranked snogging. After our thwarted liaison, I was still throbbing with lust, aching with longing.

Yet my mind wanted to think about love. Not just hot and heavy sex, or even a passionate and long affair, but love and companionship. All from one intense embrace.

*He brings her a mug of tea, setting it on the corner of her desk. The keyboard clicks furiously beneath her flying fingers, and she is too intent on her screen to acknowledge his presence.

Not that he lets it bother him. She has a passion for storytelling, and needs to get it out. Insanity would come if she didn’t create, and he respects her genius.

Unless she needs a break. He can always tell when she is frustrated, when her mind has ignored her body too long. Her blood calls to him, and he lays his mouth to her neck. With a desperate moan, she collapses into his arms.*

I parked in my driveway, and slumped over the steering wheel. Colin’s clove and copper scent clung to my hair and skin, and I missed him. I missed our brief time together, wished we could have had longer together.

But I only had to wait until tomorrow night. I’d be talking to him, getting to know him, getting closer to his bite.

Leaving the car, I touched the mark on my neck. I had no idea what to expect. How much pain, how much pleasure? Would it be messy? Would I be able to move?

These were the questions I needed answers to in order to improve my writing. I could go with what was established in the genre, but there was no consistency. There wasn’t just one mythos to base off of.

And now I had an expert, could get the real truth.

*He whispers in her ear, hands slowly undoing her pants. “Are you certain this is how the scene is to play out?”

She grips the chains hanging from the ceiling, biting her lip. “Yes. A slow pushing of her boundaries until she begs for release.”

The deep chuckle is his final response. Cold hands trace her hips as he lowers her slacks, and she gasps-*

“It occurred to me what you have to barter.”

Giving a little shriek, I dropped my keys and whirled toward the voice. I had no porch light, and a trellis of honeysuckle made the portico black as pitch. Lost in thought, I hadn’t even checked to see if someone was standing behind the plant. Adrenaline filled my veins, and I wondered if I was about to be assaulted.

Then the words and voice sank in. “Colin?” My query shook with fear.

He stepped closer, but it was too dark to make him out. “You smell delicious when startled.” The vampire’s low purr curled around my skull, heat dispelling some of my fear.

Not all of it, though. I kept my back to the door, shaking slightly. “You followed me home to tell me this?” The tremor would not leave my voice.

Colin continued to approach, the street light now illuminating him. His swallowtail coat and waistcoat were gone, and his shirt hung open to his navel. “I didn’t follow you home.” The vampire reached for me. “I already knew where you lived.”

My blood turned to ice. How much did the vampire know about me? Why had I ever thought myself safe, or that it was a good idea to approach a hunter? I didn’t think my pulse could race much faster, but somehow it did. Dizziness threatened to drive me to my knees.

He groaned, turning his head away. “Your blood calls to me. I can’t get the taste of you out of my mouth.” We were arm’s distance apart, and his scent came to me, almost lost against the honeysuckle. “I couldn’t wait to see you again, had to share my idea with you.”

I moved away from the door, less scared, although my heart still hammered. “What is it I can give you?”

Colin reached for me, but didn’t try too hard to grab me. “Your words. Your story.” He whispered, low and gravelly, hand near my shoulder.

“How do you mean?” I asked, taking a step forward and claiming his hand.

The vampire yanked me against him, mouth pressing briefly to mine. “I will answer every question you have about me in exchange for you writing about proper vampires. Your words and my knowledge against all the sparklepires and fruit bats and other pretenders that are diluting the truth.”

Elation filled me, driving off the last of my startlement. “That sounds like a wonderful arrangement.” I grinned joyfully and tried to kiss him.

Colin tightened his arms, kept our lips from meeting. “Then the first lesson starts tonight.” He flicked his tongue across my lower lip. “Would you like to feel hunted?”

Skin prickled as his presence wrapped around me, and my heart started racing again. “Yes, I would.” Without thinking, I turned my head, offering the vampire my neck.

He growled, nails digging into my back through my shirt. “You have a five second head start. Then I will hunt you down and-” He took a long sniff along my collarbone. A touch of tongue to neck told me what would come after that.

I trembled when he released me. “One.” It was like I was in a dream. Or one of my stories.

“Two.” I scooped up my keys and unlocked the door. This was not how I’d thought my night would go; this was a lot better.

Colin stood directly behind me, mouth moving near my ear. “Three.” His hunger put a deep rasp to his voice. I almost didn’t want to open the door.

“Four.” I stepped into my small house, biting my lip. Where to go? There were no hiding places, no strong locks. Under six hundred square feet, it wouldn’t take Colin long to get me.

But that was part of the hunt. “Five.”

I spun around in my tiny living room to face the door. Colin wasn’t there. My heart stumbled, and I whimpered softly. Rainy Vegas night was all I could see. The vampire made no sound, left no trail. Was he inside, or skulking around outside?

Before my imagination could kick in, Colin was pressed hard against my back, hands wrapped around my upper arms. I squeaked in surprise, and barely kept my feet. “My Rebecca doesn’t know how to hide very well.”

With a snarl, he dove for my neck.

Colin bit me, but without fang. His teeth clamped tightly on the side of my throat, bearing down on tendons and vein. I cried out, leaning hard against him. Pleasure raced from his bite to my very core. Nipples ached and my sex burned. I hoped he wouldn’t abandon me again.

The vampire wrapped one arm around my waist, cinching tight, holding me up as my knees began to buckle. He growled again, and the sound rattled through my chest. I was losing myself to pleasure, fired up by his fangless bite.

I writhed and moaned, wanting to be naked with this nightstalker. His kiss was exquisite, his bite was unbelievable, so how fabulous would sex be? Colin could certainly turn me into an insatiable sex kitten.

He stopped, releasing my neck, breathing hard in my ear. “She needs to try again. Hide, my Rebecca. Run.” Colin shoved me away, and I stumbled several steps.

There still weren’t any places to hide. Escape seemed impossible, but I’d try. Experience the chase, find out how it would end. I could bolt out the door, see if he’d pursue me in public.

Colin stood in the entry, head down with eyes locked on me, and slowly closed the door. So much for that idea. Breaking eye contact, I bolted for my bedroom.

Only after I’d taken two steps did I realize where I was escaping to.

I closed and locked the door behind me, even knowing it wasn’t going to help. A flick of the light switch brought on two small reading lamps. Their yellow light made it very intimate in my room. A pleasant place that was about to be invaded.

My heart raced with a welter of emotions. Lots of desire, plenty of lust, and only a tiny dose of fear.

There were reasons for the adrenaline, and any sane woman would be frightened of the hunter in her house. I didn’t know Colin. Not well enough to play cat and mouse with him, for certain. The vampire could be playing a deeper game, one where I lost in the end.

Metal groaned briefly before the lock snapped. I whirled toward the door, heart leaping to my throat. My bed took up most of the room, and I was already right next to it. Breathing hard, I waited for Colin to enter.

He pushed the door open slowly. His head was still tilted down, like a tiger tracking prey, blue eyes peering from beneath dark brows. Colin’s soft pink tongue teased his lower lip, slow and sensual, and I wanted it on my flesh.

“My little author wants to be found, doesn’t she?” He took one step into the room, hands loose as his sides. “Why else would she just stand in the open like this?”

I moved back and almost fell onto the bed. Keeping my eyes on Colin, I moved up onto the mattress, heading for the gap on the far side. It would cause something of a delay, if nothing else.

The vampire took two more steps, one corner of his mouth lifting in a feral grin. “Does she believe she will be safe beneath the covers?”

“Would it count as hiding?” My voice was so tiny, I hardly believed I’d actually spoken. I hardly believed Colin was in my room, about to have me.

Colin’s grin deepened, fangs touching his lower lip. “Care to find out?” Several strands of hair curled across his forehead, adding to the wildness of the vampire. His shirt was untucked and open all the way, revealing his pale strength. Long gone was the debonair gentleman who seduced half a dozen women a night. This was all lustful beast, intent on passion and sensual fulfillment.

Passion and lust meant for me. Colin had told me he didn’t even know the names of his meals, but he’d called me his Rebecca all night. The possessive way he said my full name gave me tingles, made my heart warm, and my womanhood hot.

Keeping his gaze locked with mine, I sank down on the mattress. It was unmade, the sheet and comforter tangled at the foot, easy for me to pull the covers up and over my head.

It was childish, but that didn’t bother me. Especially not when Colin mounted my bed. I stayed under the sheet as the vampire pulled the comforter off. Almost nothing stood between us.

Colin straddled my lower legs. I sighed when he rested his hands on my thigh. “This is hardly a hunt, but you’ve got my hunger raging.” Strong fingers dug into my leg, working up to my hip. His voice quaked, dark with need. Need that called to my desire, made my blood boil.

He clung to my hip, leaning down to rub his face on my back, then my arm, then stomach. Colin was marking me like a cat, covering me in his scent and making me his. As if I weren’t already.

“Becc. My Rebecca. My brilliant author who wants me to teach her.” His voice resonated through me, and I moaned. “Have you learned anything today?”

Staying under the covers, I shifted so that I lay on my back. Colin’s breath caught briefly, coming out as a groan. He dug his hands into my hips, nipping at my stomach through sheet and shirt. “I’ve learned I’m special enough for you to learn my name.”

He chuckled slightly, raspy and wild, and began nibbling his way up my torso. “The temptress has buried the shy one again.” Colin’s hands slid up my side, and I arched up against him. “I like this one. She wants to know so much.”

“What else would you share with me?” The vampire and I started to pull the sheet from my face at the same time. Our eyes met, and I fell hard into his gaze. I wanted to be nowhere else, would happily dwell in his arms and eyes forever.

“Perhaps I should show my Rebecca what a bite really means.” Loose curls of hair surrounded his face, and his eyes darkened with lust. Colin’s lips were flushed and parted, absolutely kissable.

Soon to be at my neck.

“Yes, please.” I worked my hands out from under the blanket and into his hair. Colin sighed and closed his eyes, letting his weight settle. It was a comfort to have him on me, to be pinned beneath him and between his arms. “Colin, I must know.” My voice broke and rose as I plead with him.

The vampire leaned down to lick my neck, and I turned my head for him. Colin groaned, opening his mouth over the vein. “My beautiful Rebecca.” I writhed at the huskiness of his voice, ran my nails along the back of his neck. “Are you ready to be my victim? Do you want to hang in my mercy? Feel your heart slow as your blood sustains me?”

I wanted to wrap my legs around him, cling to him, but the sheet prevented any such movement. The way he straddled me worked against my desires as well, keeping me pinned. I yanked at his hair and shirt, clawing at his shoulders. “I do, Colin. I do. Take me. Have me.” My voice continued to rise higher, and I didn’t care that I was begging for something so very sexual.

He placed his fangs on my skin, sharp tips causing my nerves to sing. Colin gripped me, one hand cupping the back of my head, the other between my shoulder blades. I was completely cradled by the vampire, ready for him to take me.

But Colin didn’t bite. His fangs dug in further, a little painful, but they didn’t break skin. I moaned as his tongue toyed with my skin. Shivers raced through my body, pleasure coming from the slightest touch.

This was a night of firsts, of never-befores, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner. Colin was in no rush. He guided and led, giving me a chance to keep up, but neither did he coddle or shelter me. He was going to share this experience with me, no matter how scary it might be.

He growled, arms locking tighter around me, lifting me from the bed. My heart raced, and I clung to the vampire, ready to go wherever he wanted to take me. “Please,” I whispered, pressing my neck up to his mouth. A single tear fell from squeezed closed eyes.

With a savage snarl, Colin ended my waiting.

I cried out, awash in sensation. Fangs tore into my neck, white hot and sharp, but too swift to be actually painful. Colin was inside me, piercing me, fangs filling me. My body went limp, but somehow my hands stayed around his shoulders. My breath caught in my throat, and I didn’t care if it ever started again.

Then he bit deeper, hands hard as he kept me in place. Colin groaned, swallowed my blood, and pressed our bodies together. I was his, all his, and he wanted everything. The vampire would get no complaints from me.

Words didn’t exist to describe what was happening. Pleasure and rapture were too pale compared to the overwhelming forces Colin brought out in me. My nerves ached with it, and my body was helpless to move. I moaned, Colin echoing the sound, and I went limp in his grip.

Colin pulled me from the bed, rearing back on his knees. His excitement dug into my belly, his hands dug into my spine and skull. My arms fell back, so I hung in his strong embrace. The vampire growled, biting deeper, and I was lost to orgasm.

Relentless and powerful, the waves of ecstasy pulled me into blackness. Neither my body nor time meant anything. Physicality had no place in such a rapturous moment. There were no thoughts in my head, and no need for them. Colin could have been killing me, and I didn’t care.

None of the books or movies had prepared me for this. Descriptions of pleasure didn’t encompass the totality of the event. This was part of what I’d needed to learn to top the genre, but I’d lost so many details already, unable to keep track of what was going on. I’d been enjoying myself too much to pay any mind to my writing.

Fortunately, the vampire and I could practice until I got it right.

The bite was so intense I didn’t realize when it was over. Blackness faded to be replaced by breathless moans and cradling arms. Colin rested on his back, my head tucked beneath his chin. He shuddered with aftershocks of pleasure, and I weakly tried to move my head. It wasn’t worth the effort, and I gave up.

“Oh, my Rebecca.” He could only whisper, his voice wavering as he pulled me closer. I put a leg across him, finding the strength to finally move. “Beautiful, innocent, greedy...” He sighed and shifted to kiss the top of my head. “I have so much to teach you.”

I smiled, floating on a cloud of euphoria, sated, glad I’d braved the rain.

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My favorite part is the violent blush because I never thought a blush could be like that but it adds depth to it.