Home > Tall, Dark, and Vampire (Dead in the City #1)

Tall, Dark, and Vampire (Dead in the City #1)
Author: Sara Humphreys

Chapter 1

The tantalizing scent filled her head the moment she slipped the key into the front door of her club.

Blood.

The sweet, cinnamon flavor titillated her heightened senses. Olivia’s head snapped up sharply as fangs burst in her mouth. She closed her emerald green eyes and stilled as she breathed deeply and listened to the comforting noises of the night that blanketed her. The chatter of humans passing her on the city streets, cars idling, and horns honking filled her head.

Olivia sharpened her focus on the sounds within her club—her home. What the hell was going on in there? She remained motionless as the sound of light, feminine giggling came from deep within the building.

Her fangs retracted, and she swore with frustration. “Maya, you incredible ass**le,” she hissed.

Olivia threw the lock and pushed open the enormous mahogany doors, slamming them shut behind her with ease as she threw the main house lights on. She stood in the cavernous foyer of the old church with her hands on her hips, while she delivered a withering stare to the young vampire. Instead of looking contrite for being caught, Maya looked rather pleased with herself. As a human, Maya had been a giggling fool who delighted in toying with men, and now, as a vampire, she was in her glory.

She sat demurely on top of a human male, who was currently on all fours, acting as her makeshift throne. Maya’s long blond hair washed over creamy, bare shoulders as her hands remained folded in her lap and her legs crossed sweetly at the ankles. The innocent pose was a stark contrast to the black leather bustier and miniskirt she wore.

She blinked her large blue eyes and laughed again, while the human grunted helplessly beneath her. Based on the look of him, if he weren’t under her spell, he would never submit like this for a woman—ever. He was an enormous muscle-head who likely spent most of his waking hours at a gym in a desperate attempt to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger.

At the moment, he was doing a great impersonation of a bench.

“How many times have I told you? Never play with your food in the club.” She let out a sigh and softened her tone, reminding herself that Maya was still young. “It’s not safe to do things like this, Maya. We don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves, remember?”

Olivia pushed her thick, curly red hair out of her face and shrugged her long black coat off her slim shoulders. She knew that reprimanding Maya was useless, but felt the need to remind her of the rules. She’d only been turned a few years ago and was still in the defiant adolescent phase. Since Olivia was her sire, Maya was her responsibility for the first century of her immortality, but at the rate she was going—it was going to be longer than that.

“Maya?” Olivia folded her arms as her green eyes flashed with impatience at her uncooperative offspring. “Please get him out, and don’t leave any loose ends.”

“Oh, you’re such a poop.” Maya waved dismissively and looked at the pathetic fool beneath her. “We were just having a little fun,” she said, stroking his head the way one would pet a dog. “Weren’t we, baby?”

Maya smacked him on the ass, and he whimpered, a sound that hung somewhere between pleasure and pain. She straddled him like a horse and leaned in, slowly licking the blood that still dripped from the wound she’d made in his neck. Maya looked like a cat playing with a mouse. The poor bastard had probably been toyed with like this all day long, which meant Maya had not slept.

Great.

The smell of blood grew stronger, and Olivia watched Maya lick a trickle of red from his neck as she writhed seductively on his back. He closed his eyes, grunted, and shuddered as the orgasm ripped through him.

Olivia’s fangs erupted, but she quickly willed them away, disgusted by her lack of self-control. It was no wonder this mess aroused her. Between the blood, the sexual energy, and her abstinence, it was bound to happen. Her maker, Vincent, never understood her self-imposed celibacy, although that wasn’t terribly surprising—he’d never been in love. If he had watched the love of his life die in his arms, then he might have a better grasp of why Olivia was unwilling to open her heart again. Most vampires could separate sex and love, but that was one little piece of the vampire world she never adjusted to.

Olivia. She jumped as Vincent’s sharp voice cut into her mind. Just because you haven’t had sex in centuries, that is no reason to start salivating over this childish nonsense.

Speak of the devil. Olivia had not seen hide nor hair of her maker in over fifty years, but given his emotional eavesdropping, he must be back in the city. If he had been more than fifty miles away, he would not have been able to sense her feelings so easily. What can I do for you, Vincent?

Do for me? Nothing, my dear. Can’t a maker check in on his favorite offspring? Olivia tore her gaze away from Maya and swiftly walked behind the bar, creating busywork for herself in an effort to quell the bloodlust and the plain old lust. I’m fine, Vincent. She looked at Maya again briefly, before tending to the stock again. I take it that you’re back in the States? Does this mean that we can expect a visit from you this evening?

Still celibate, Olivia? It’s obviously not doing you any favors. I can smell your sexual frustration from miles away, and it’s really quite unattractive.

Are you coming by the club or not? Olivia shielded the telepathic conversation between them because the last thing she needed was Maya, a youngling vampire, butting into it. Vampires could telepath with their sire, progeny, or siblings, and though Maya was her progeny, this conversation was definitely not for her.

Perhaps. His voice faded as the connection was broken.

Great. She shoved a stray curl from her face and swore under her breath. Maya decided to act up just when her own maker comes to town. What shitty timing.

“Maya,” she said more firmly. “Your boy toy has to get going, and you’ve got to get to work.”

This was her place of business, and she refused to encourage behavior that could jeopardize it, especially by a member of her own coven. She hated to admit it, but Vincent was right. The fact that she had been celibate for almost three centuries was really starting to grate on her.

At least she had sex dreams.

Her lips curved at the memories. She might’ve gone bonkers if it weren’t for her dream lover and his talented hands. Three hundred years ago, he’d been her human lover and the only man she’d ever loved, but he was long dead and now only existed in her dreams. The dreamscape was the one place she could find pleasure after all these years.

There was just one problem. Vampires did not dream.

Aside from the lack of sunlight, the absence of dreams was one of the hardest losses for new vamps to adjust to. After over two centuries of enduring the leaden dreamless sleep of a vampire, Olivia had practically forgotten what it was like to dream, to fall through the mystical dreamscape and revel in fantasy.

Then, almost twenty years ago, out of nowhere, she began to dream again.

The first one freaked her out. It was a sudden burst of color and light after years of slumbering in utter darkness. Her dream lover looked just as he had when she first met him, a young boy entering manhood. Over the years, he aged in her dreams, just as he had when she knew him as a human.

As fascinated as she was by the dreams, as curious as she was to decipher their meaning, she did not dare mention them to anyone.

Olivia had heard of only one instance when vampires could dream—the bloodmate legend. Vincent told her the story soon after he turned her, and it gave her hope that her life would not be forever shrouded in the night. However, when she tried to get him to tell her more, he dismissed her harshly and said he knew nothing. He scolded her for being a foolish child and told her the entire story was made up to placate new vampires while they got used to their new lives.

No one else had ever spoken of it, and the whole legend remained shrouded in secrecy and possessed an air of danger.

When the ghostly visits first began, she did some research online but found little information, and any references to the bloodmate legend were few and far between. According to the tale, when a vampire found a bloodmate and performed a blood exchange, then both became daywalkers.

She rubbed at the tattoo on the back of her neck absently. When Douglas’s ghost began visiting her, she had the symbol of eternity inked on her neck, a private reminder of her lost love and her promise to love him, and only him, for eternity.

Olivia shook her head at her foolishness. Even if there were truth to the whole legend, it was a moot point, since Douglas was long dead. However, dead or not, she kept her pledge of devotion. Maybe the young, innocent girl she used to be lingered inside, because as far as Olivia was concerned, being devoted to someone meant that you did not diddle with anyone else.

Celibacy was a ridiculous notion for many humans, and positively insane for most vampires, at least the ones she encountered.

She sighed as she wiped the bar down and glanced at Maya with her flesh-and-blood plaything. Sympathy for the man tugged at what was left of her heart. Olivia didn’t hate humans, quite the opposite in fact, but she did hate the idea of them being feasted on inside her club.

“Come on, Maya.” She kept her voice even and her eyes trained on the bar stock, noting what needed to be refilled. “You’ve had enough fun for one day. Now, get him out, and don’t forget to glamour him again before you leave him. Why don’t you give him a pleasant memory? He was kind enough to provide you with life-giving blood, so the least you can do is give him a memory that will make him smile.”

“Oh fine,” she pouted. “He’ll think we f**ked like rabbits all day long and that he rocked my world.”

Maya leaned in and licked his wound closed, leaving no evidence behind. She whispered to her prey, erasing all memory of their day together and replacing it with something palatable. He stood slowly and adjusted his crotch, while looking around the empty club somewhat bewildered.

“You better be back here in an hour ready to work,” Olivia shouted. “I don’t want to hear any complaining. You chose not to sleep, so don’t make that choice a problem for the rest of us.”

“My goodness, Olivia,” Maya sang. “Getting cranky in our old age?”

Her singsong tone made Olivia want to smack her, but she could not prevent the smile that played at her lips. Maya was right. She was a little cranky, but three centuries of no sex or intimacy would do that to anyone.

“Cut the chatter, and get him out of here,” she said more sharply than intended. She did not want Maya to know that she had been rattled by the situation, because she would never live it down. Olivia glanced at the human who stood there looking confused and found herself feeling sorry for him. “Seriously, let the poor guy off the hook.”

“Hey… I gotta get going. I’m really tired. I think I should go.” The big oaf babbled absently. “Man, my knees are killing me,” he mumbled.

“Poor baby,” Maya purred in a velvety soft voice as she glamoured the boy, giving him false memories in place of the real ones. “We should probably get going. Come on, kitten. I’ll walk you out, but didn’t we have fun at the park today? You’re such a sweetheart for walking me to work this evening and for giving me multiple orgasms last night. You big stud.”

Maya winked a long-lashed eye over her shoulder at Olivia, as they disappeared into the crisp winter night. Olivia shook her head and smiled in spite of how irritated she was. Maya absolutely loved being a vamp—she genuinely loved it, and there was something refreshing in her enthusiasm. Olivia never found that kind of passion for what she had become, and part of her was a tad jealous of Maya’s love for her vampire life.

At first, Olivia had been disgusted and frightened, but Vincent had been a patient teacher, and eventually she accepted it.

But she never loved it.

Even when she served as a sentry for the Presidium, the vampire government, she did it out of duty, loyalty, and respect. She served her one hundred years as a soldier but retired as soon as her term was up and never looked back. Olivia enjoyed the quiet life of a private citizen, even though she never expected that to include a coven of her own.

As she readied the club for that evening’s patrons, her mind wandered to the night she sired Maya, and her smile quickly faded. She found her in the alley behind the club just before dawn, raped and beaten to within an inch of her life. The dirtbag who had done it dumped her there like garbage, and raw anger still flared at the memory.

Olivia sensed it the moment he dropped her broken body next to the dumpster. Maya would have died if she hadn’t been turned; there was no time for ambulances or hospitals, and even though it had been almost five years since that night, she remembered it like it was yesterday. It was the last time she killed a human.

The memory both sickened and frightened her because when she drained that piece of shit dry—she loved every f**king minute. Olivia relished watching the fear in his eyes as she pinned him against the wall of his bedroom and savored his whimpering pleas for his life as he struggled uselessly. She took pure pleasure in feeling his heart slow, beat by beat, as the life faded from his eyes.

The red haze of rage consumed her, took her over, and blinded her.

Olivia swallowed the bile that rose in her throat, disgusted with her basest instincts and the primal pleasure she took from eviscerating him. She was a monster. A killer. No different from the vicious, pathetic excuse for a man she killed.

But there was a price to pay for her vengeance—there’s always a price.

His blood memories would remain with her for eternity, and that was her penance. The horror and fear of all the women he raped lingered in her memories now, including Maya’s last conscious, horrifying hours as a human.

Monsters don’t go unpunished, and Olivia knew she was no different.

   
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