Rafaela hasn’t seen Dirk in a long time, but tonight she successfully killed off his newest additions to his lair. Understandably annoyed, Dirk still finds himself hopelessly attracted to Rafaela. She won’t admit it, but she suffers from the same problem. She’s back at the B&B where she’s staying, and asks the owner to stitch up a wound.
“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.
© Dellani Oakes 2105