I am currently sharing Christmas and a Vampire FREE on Wattpad. Check it out! Below are the first three pages to whet your appetite.
There’s Nothing Quite So Cheerful as Vampires on Fire
The hungry orange tendrils leaped higher, igniting the centerpiece—three crucified vampires, each with a stake through the heart. Rafaela De Santos stood back to admire her work. Good lines, perfect symmetry, clearly delineated purpose. It was downright festive with the bright splashes of red everywhere. Icicles hanging from the eaves of the crypt, gave it a holiday flair.
The wood was soaked with a flame accelerating mixture of her own concoction, making the fire extra toasty. With another admiring glance, Rafaela watched the headless bodies crumble to ash as the flames licked at them. The vampire Hunter warmed her cold, bloody hands on the blaze.
“Should have brought marshmallows.”
Satisfied the bodies were completely burned, she added the gunnysack of heads. She left nothing to chance and had never believed in half measures. When she killed a vampire, it stayed dead. None of this ridiculous, humanitarian treatment for Rafaela. That might be all right for some of the younger Hunters, but she was Old School. Stake the vamp, cut off the head, burn ’em up and burn the heads. Cheap, effective—permanent.
Satisfied it was a job well done, she headed back to her car. A rustle in the bushes nearby might have been from a hungry fox following blood scent, but she knew better. Arming her crossbow would take too long, so she faced her opponent with her handgun and specially made bullets.
He strode jauntily out of the bushes, dusting his hands on form fitting, black leather pants, the smile, as always, disarming, His slight over bite emphasized the lengthy canines as his full lips drew back.
“Rafaela, I’d know the scent of your lethal brew anywhere. Still as inflammatory as the last time we met?” He moved forward and to his left.
“I’m nothing if not consistent.” She countered his movement cautiously.
“So true. Did you have to burn them all? I’d just added the girls to my harem. Very tasty bits—AB negative.” He licked full lips.
“I thought I caught your stench on them.”
“There was a time when that stench aroused you, Ella.”
She couldn’t deny it. She had found him charming – once.
“Do you ever stop?”
“Stop what? Loving you? Admiring you? Wanting you?” His voice dropped in pitch with each question.
Suddenly, with the inhuman speed of the undead, he was beside her, hand in her thick, black hair. Her neck stretched to one side as his fangs extended. The prick of a sharp point against his ribs, reminded him that Rafaela was no mere human. Her heightened senses and unique abilities had kept her alive nearly as long as he.
“What made you turn on me, Ella? I thought you loved me.”
“I did. Until—Calais. Somehow, when your lover feasts on your entire family, making you watch helplessly, he loses some of his allure.”
He nodded, having anticipated that response. “Mom sends her regards.”
“Neat trick, since I killed her last month.”
He raised an amused eyebrow. “Really? I had no idea you’d caught up with her.”
“Does it give you some sort of obscene pleasure? You destroyed my life, Dirk.”
“You’re ruining my un-death, Rafaela.” The amusement left him.
“My heart bleeds.”
They stood together, eyeing one another with mixed admiration and lust. It was always like this with Dirk, ever since they met, nearly a century before. Rafaela had the skill and power to kill him. He had the blood lust of a demon, bent on creating chaos from order. They stared at one another a few minutes more before turning away.
“One day, it won’t be so easy, Dirk,” she tossed over her shoulder.
“I know, sweetheart.” He disappeared in a puff of brimstone scented purple smoke, a neat trick he’d learned from Houdini.
Rafaela drove back to the B&B where she’d been staying. It had the advantage of being owned and well guarded by werewolves. Not everyone could appreciate that fact, but Rafaela wasn’t like most people. Dirk despised werewolves, so the likelihood of him pursuing her was minimal.
When she got to her room, she stripped off her clothing, putting it in an industrial strength garbage bag. A long, soaking bath got the fanger stench off her and the blood out of her hair. The clothing would end up in the industrial incinerator at home.
After her bath, Rafaela examined herself in the full length mirror. She did this to check for any damage the vampires might have inflicted. Her pain tolerance was off the charts—a plus, when dealing with the undead. However, she didn’t always notice an injury until much later. There was a nasty laceration on the back of her left thigh, a place she’d never be able to reach on her own. Fortunately, the innkeeper was also skilled at stitching people up. Claudette arrived with a full medical kit moments after Rafaela called for her. Her long, black hair fell around her like a waterfall as she glided across the room.
“Successful night?” Claudette drew clear liquid into a hypodermic needle.
“Very.” Rafaela lay on the bed, thigh bared.
“Head count?” She laid out the suture kit with the syringe beside it.
“Only three? You’re slacking off.” Sterile gloves snapped in place. “Let’s see it.” She examined the wound with care, her prodding fingers causing mild discomfort as the drug took effect. “Nasty. What did this?”
“No clue. I didn’t even feel it.”
“It’s filthy, even after your bath. Lie still. I have to clean it before I can stitch.”
She worked quietly for several minutes, tsking over the injury. Thirty minutes later, she declared it done.
“No antics for at least two days.”
“I’m like you. You’ll be able to remove the stitches tomorrow.”
“Why do you hunt them, Rafaela?” Claudette asked as she put her things away. “One day, this will get you killed.”
“Just as you were born Loup Garou, so I was born a Hunter. I come from a long line, tracing back as far as recorded history—probably further. One is born each generation. We have increased longevity, superior speed, accelerated healing abilities, the whole package. Unless I get killed in action, I’ll live forever.”
“Even Garou age. Will you?”
Rafaela rolled on her side, leaning on one elbow. “How old to I look?”
“At how long have you known me?”
Claudette smiled. “At least that long, and you look no different. Must be nice.”
“There are perks.”
“Which of your parents was the Hunter?”
“Neither, we can’t have children. My aunt was Hunter for her generation. My nephew is for his. Each of us takes on the training of the next generation.”
“I don’t envy you, Rafaela. Yours is a life destined to be lonely.”
Claudette gathered her things and left Rafaela to think about what she had said. There was no denying the truth of her words. Ironic that her one true love was a man she was destined to kill.
Tired from being up most of the night, Rafaela decided a nap was in order. She curled up and fell asleep, secure in the fact that she was safe here. Unfortunately, she couldn’t outrun her dreams of blood and death. She always relived her kills in graphic detail. The sights and sounds swirled around her in a Technicolor tornado. This time, she even smelled the blood and smoke. Icy wind stung her cheeks and the odor of damp leaves and burned bodies filled her nostrils.
Snowflakes and ashes tickled her skin, fluttering on her eyelids and lips. Soon, the touch changed to the caress of a lover. Hot breath replaced the chill wind, searing her skin. The rough texture of a tongue traveled from her ear to collar bone.
Her eyes flew open and she sat up in bed. The room was cold and smelled strange. Something was wrong. The usual sounds of the big house were silent.
Rafaela slid silently out of bed, her bare feet chilled by the hardwood floor. Slipping on a pair of jeans, she searched her belongings for a weapon. Gone! Even her secret stash in the wardrobe, was missing.
“What the hell?” she whispered.
“Looking for something?”
His silky voice made her shiver. Rafaela spun around, crouched and ready for his attack.
Dirk licked full lips, glittering ruby drops rolled off his chin. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, leaving red streaks in its wake.
“What are you doing here, Dirk?”
“Nice move, staying with your fuzzy friends. Did you really think they could protect you?”
She had, but didn’t say so. He took a step toward her. Rafaela held her ground.
“Because, really, you should know better, Ella.”
“How did you get in?”
He gave her a patient smile, meaning he had no intention of answering her.
“Did you kill them all?” A sob welled in her throat at the thought.
“You mean this?” He wiped his lips casually. “I don’t enjoy the taste of dog. Their guests, however, were delicious and quite cooperative.”
Which explained how he’d gained access. He mesmerized one of them to invite him in.
“I should have killed you when I had the chance.”
“So you’re always telling me, Ella. And yet. . . .” He held out his hands from his sides.
Quick as a lightning strike, he crossed the room. One hand dug into her hair, the other clasped her spine, not quite paralyzing her. Her neck arched under his grasp, her blood throbbed against her skin. Dirk rubbed his lips up and down as his fangs descended. He inhaled slowly, deeply.
“Delicious, as always. You do this to torment me,” he groaned.
Rafaela shoved him away, breaking his hold on her. Chest heaving, gut taut, she did her best to ignore the fact she wanted him. She always did. Even after he ravaged her family, killing some, turning others, she couldn’t resist his touch.
“I have work to do, Dirk.”
“Why, Rafaela? It’s almost Christmas.”
“No rest for the wicked.”
“And I would know.”
Her smile was tight, forced. He took a step away, shaking his head.
“Thanks to you, I have to find new accommodations. Someone burned crosses on my lawn.”
“What did you do to upset the neighbors this time?”
He turned to her, eyes sad. For a beast of his caliber, the sight was alarming. Rafaela took a step back, stance defiant.
“Must we always do this? Every time we see one another, we fight.”
“Maybe that’s because our vocations are diametrically opposed.”
“Oh, stuff it, Ella. You could kill every vamp in the world, and probably will. It won’t change the fact I love you and you love me. Will you cut a guy some slack?”
“You kill, people, Dirk.”
“So do you, Rafaela. Case in point, three friends of mine only today.”
“They were monsters, just like you.”
“I’m a man. Grant you, an undead one, who feasts on blood. . . . But I’m no more of a monster than you are.”
© Dellani Oakes 2014