Xavier Deitrech cursed himself the whole way home. The one night he’d finally managed to locate the bitch (quite literally, as she was essentially a female dog) in a dark and secluded area, and some other bastards had beat him to her.
As he parked his car and entered his house, he knew right away that she was there. She was always there, making her attraction to him blatantly conspicuous.
Plus, he knew her father had sent her for a report.
There she was, bathed in the moonlight of the dark living room. Gloria.
Gloria Caldwell, daughter of Mortius Caldwell, the leader of the vampire clan of Duskwood. Many men were enraptured by her beauty, captivated by her mere presence, but she only had eyes for one potential mate.
Too bad he wasn’t the least bit interested.
“Gloria,” Xavier said.
“Xavier. Have you acquired her?”
“Is that your inquisition, or your father’s? And does it look I’ve acquired her?”
“Surely you jest. Of course my father wishes to know if your efforts were futile or not.”
“A phone call would have sufficed.”
“You are too precious, Xavier. I simply had to see you in person.”
Xavier stifled an irritated sigh. Gloria may have come here on her father’s orders, but she had something else on her mind – he could read it as though she were saying the words aloud.
“Gloria,” he said as he walked closer, “we’ve discussed this.”
“Yes, but you know I’m a very persistent woman. Need I remind you that whichever mate I choose will ensure the future of the Caldwell vampires? We are, as you know, the last of that bloodline.”
“I’m aware of that, but there are many others who would be better mates than I. They would be able to fully appreciate you.”
Gloria stood up then, her expression agitated.
“What must I do to get past that cold exterior of yours?” she demanded. “Why is it that the one mate I want is the one who won’t have me?”
“You mustn’t do anything. It’s not something I can control.”
“Perhaps I can convince you to control it.”
Before Xavier could respond, Gloria’s mouth pressed against his with fierce urgency. Dozens of her thoughts flooded his mind as her hands began to wander south of his belt.
Xavier grabbed Gloria’s hands and stepped back.
“Gloria,” he said as she gaped at him in astonishment, “I think you’d better leave.”
Gloria’s brow furrowed. “Only a fool refuses a woman who offers herself to him. And only a complete imbecile would refuse the advances of the daughter of the clan leader.”
“Then I’m a fool.”
Gloria slapped Xavier’s face sharply before she stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind her. Xavier rubbed his cheek where her heavily manicured nails had scratched it, then headed for his bedroom.
This just wasn’t his night. First he’d failed at abducting that dog, then Gloria had once again tried to seduce him, and then she’d slapped him and left in a huff when her efforts had failed. Knowing her, she'd probably run off to tell Daddy.
Xavier changed into some silky pajamas before lying down on his bed, exhausted. He looked at the photo that sat on his nightstand. Scarlet Rivera’s sweet smile looked back at him. She hadn’t deserved to die any more than he deserved Gloria’s advances.
Scarlet had been the first woman he’d ever loved. They’d met in 1902 and it was love at first sight. They spent as much time together as they could, which for them, being vampires, was limitless. They planned to get married and had given their virginity to each other.
But cruel and twisted fate had taken Scarlet from him. The fate was in the form of a vampire hunter, a human with stakes, holy water, crucifixes, the works. He’d managed to take Xavier’s lover, though Xavier had avenged her death by driving one of the hunter’s own stakes into his heart for a good taste of karma. But after he lost Scarlet, Xavier swore that he’d never fall in love again. It just didn’t seem possible, and no one else had ever come close after all these years.
It was said that vampires were originally humans who participated in a blood ritual, where they drank blood and gave their souls to a higher power in order to gain immortality. This happened centuries before any of the Duskwood clan’s time, except Mortius. He had been one of those vampires, and his wife and daughter had followed his path. All vampires could read minds, and of course they had their extra keen senses, but Mortius also possessed the ability to force others to think about him or anything he desired. He could also control the actions of others as well as teleport at will.
It was because of this that several vampires began worshipping Mortius as their master, and so the clan was formed. It wasn’t called the Duskwood clan back then. In fact, it didn’t even have a name back then. But that was how Mortius came to be the leader of that particular clan.
Xavier’s parents had come along around 50 years later, and Mortius had allowed them to join him and his loyal followers. Xavier had been born a year after that, bearing a striking resemblance to his mother. Vampires, contrary to superstitions, were fully capable of breeding. Their children were born just like a human child, except of course it had glowing eyes and fangs. And it fed off blood. The aging process for vampires, however, was exceptionally slow. Xavier himself looked about 22 years old, while his father didn’t look a day past 40. Mortius himself, being almost 500 years old, could pass for someone who was in his 50s. This really helped the vampires blend in with humans.
But Xavier harbored no desire to blend in with humans after Scarlet’s demise. Of course he had to hide the fact that he was a vampire, but that didn’t mean he had to act cheerful. Still, he’d take humans over werewolves any day. At least humans were mostly easy to deal with if they pissed him off.
At last, Xavier retired and fell into a deep sleep. Unlike the legends, vampires didn’t sleep during the day, nor did they sleep in coffins. In reality, vampires were staked to death and laid to rest in coffins in an attempt to seal away their powers. While living, they could sleep like any human.
Any human that didn’t become a meal, that is.
The light of the gibbous moon shone overhead. Crickets chirped a serenade as Allanna discarded her clothes on the ground in front of her and Cynthia’s small shack. She knelt down and gazed up at the sky. Her spine elongated into a tail as she embraced the sweet night under the light of the moon.
Her eyes taking on a glow, Allanna ran through the tall brush. Stars studded the black sky as a gentle breeze swept the land. Leaves rustled and sticks cracked, and still Allanna didn’t stop. She was on a quest – a quest to feed, and a quest to burn off some steam.
The deer grazed in a meadow, lurking dangerously close to…their land. If she dared cross that invisible barrier, especially in her current state, it could be the end of her.
But she needn’t have worried. The fight was short, the kill swift. Allanna sunk her teeth into the deer’s neck, tasting the acrid flavor of blood. But it wasn’t the blood she was after. It was the meat. The sweet, tender, delicious meat. Rare meat was the best.
As she dug her incisors into the deer’s tender flesh, her mind was focusing on that monstrous cretin in the alley. How dare he! She and Cynthia could have easily defended themselves, even if they didn’t transform into wolves. Why had he bothered saving them anyway? And why didn’t he just kill them after dealing with their perverted captors?
Maybe he’d realized he didn’t stand a chance against two werewolves at once. Yeah, that was it.
After she finished her meal, Allanna looked across the water. The town of Duskwood, like usual, was shrouded in mist, but that was good – she wouldn’t have to inadvertently gaze at one of those abominations that were trying to force her kind off their land.
Just the thought of those tyrants made Allanna growl. She pounded her paws across the dirt as she continued to run through the wolves’ territory, the moonlight shining on her back. The thrill of a run, even if it wasn’t for a meal, was hard to compare to.
By the time she got back to her house, Allanna was standing on two legs, her hair falling across her back in tangled mats. Naked as a newborn, she retrieved her clothes from the ground and put them back on before going inside.
One thing about being a wolf – if you wanted to keep your clothes intact, you had to shed them before you transformed. Still, there was nothing comparable to the thrill of transforming into one of nature’s most beautiful creatures.
“How was your run?” Cynthia, who was sitting on the couch, asked as she flipped through channels on TV.
“Great,” Allanna replied as she sat down next to Cynthia, “I needed to blow off some steam.”
“You smell like meat. I didn’t know you were so hungry.”
“I know, I just felt like I had to kill something, and that deer was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“We have plenty of meat here. Why didn’t you just eat it? It’s already rare.”
“It was a split second decision, otherwise I would have just been running. Besides, it really helped me work off some frustration.”
Cynthia just shook her head with an amused look on her face. Then she asked, “What was up with that dickhead who fought our battle for us back there, anyway? Damn filthy leech, I don’t care who might have seen us, I wanted to rip his throat out.”
“Tell me about it. I’m guilty to admit it, but I thought he was hot before I smelled him.”
“Hey, he was kind of hot. But I’d never let him do me. Talk about sleeping with the enemy.”
“Speaking of which, this sucks. I’m a stripper, I’ve got guys staring at me constantly, but is one of them good looking? Hell no. They’re either old geezers who probably can’t get it up anymore or needy college guys who hope to get their rocks off easy. Do you realize it’s been three months since I got laid?”
“Hey, don’t look at me. I don’t swing that way.”
“I don’t know why you don’t like Ace. I’d do him in a heartbeat.”
Allanna rolled her eyes. Ace Phalen was a guy that her parents were trying to fix her up with. He had a bright future ahead of him, plus their parents were great friends. Although, for a werewolf, Ace was sure a goody-goody. He was all about following rules and being in control. He never broke free and just went wild. Allanna had a soft spot for bad boys.
“Ugh, what is up with this shit?” Cynthia said in a disgusted voice as True Blood flashed across the TV screen. “How many TV shows, books, and movies do we need about vampires? Why are people so obsessed with them? There’s this show, The Vampire Diaries, Twilight, and Interview with a Vampire. Why is there hardly anything for werewolves? They’re a far superior species, plus they’re the ones that kill those damn leeches.”
“I have no idea what the attraction is. Yeah, vampires get those shows, and we get…Blood and Chocolate and Wolf Lake. The book was okay but the movie was horrible. And that TV show, I fell asleep after the third episode.”
“Tell me about it. I’ve not once seen a decent werewolf movie, and that book you mentioned is the only good one out there.”
When she and Cynthia went to bed, Allanna lay awake thinking about the bad boys that she seemed to fall for. She’d only been with one guy, her best guy friend Devan Vika, and he hadn’t been very bad. In fact, Allanna’s only definition of bad boys was what she saw on TV, and from a few that Cynthia had described to her.
Allanna, Cynthia, and Devan had all been friends as kids, and when they had turned 13 and got “the talk” from their parents, they’d spent hours talking about the various things their parents had told them about hitting puberty. They were all very curious, but they never went further than talking. At least, not until Cynthia turned 15 and got her first boyfriend, much to the chagrin of her father since the boy in question had been a human, so the relationship didn't last very long.
But when Allanna and Devan had turned 16, they’d developed crushes on each other and decided to try being more than friends, and they eventually went all the way. To Allanna, it wasn’t what she’d thought it would be. She’d found it to be excruciatingly painful, not to mention very fast. She was told that the more one did it, the better it would feel, but she hadn’t had that satisfaction.
Cynthia, on the other hand, being drop-dead gorgeous, had had several boyfriends over the years, and since she turned 15 and had her first, she’d been telling the envious and curious Allanna all about what she’d been missing. The two were both 20 years old now, but their schedules didn’t have a lot of room for relationships, even one-night stands.
At last, Allanna burrowed herself under the covers. Her eyes fluttered shut and she drifted off to sleep, wondering if she'd ever experience the type of love, or at least love-making, that Cynthia had experienced. But instead, her dreams were filled with sandy-brown-haired men with hard muscles and glowing icy eyes.