Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 10

Christmas and a Vampire coverAfter driving for several days straight, Rafaela and Dirk end up in a dismal motel in the middle of nowhere. As she’s sleeping, Dirk leaves, buying a used car at a nearby garage, before heading back the way they came, into the heart of the Vampire Lord’s territory.

Rafaela woke with a start, a scream forming on her lips. She looked around the darkened room and saw no sign of Dirk. She had expected that. What she didn’t know was Dirk’s motive. Had he set her up from the beginning—used her in a power play between himself and this vampire lord? It wouldn’t surprise her to find out that he had. Though he loved her, it was his nature to use those around him for his own purposes. He’d never done anything quite that underhanded, but she’d been a player in his games before. Never one to be a pawn, she’d made it clear that she wouldn’t be played again.

She gathered her things and left the room key on the dresser. Overnight bag in hand, she descended the stairs by the far stairway. She and Dirk always parked well away from their room. It might slow an escape, but it also slowed those who were tracking them. She circled the upstairs before heading down the stairway. She didn’t sense anyone as she walked purposefully toward the anonymous, brown Ford, so when the attack came, it was completely unexpected.

Three vampires appeared out of the shadows and circled the car. These weren’t newbies either. These had the look of an elite branch—probably the vampire lord’s top warriors.

Thanks a lot, Dirk. I owe you a scourging—If I live.

The vampires tightened their circle, drawing near, fangs bared. Rafaela reached for her weapons, smiling ruefully.

“Only three? I think I’m insulted. Your boss is either a fool or delusional.”

“I assure you, he’s neither,” the woman nearest her said, dropping into a crouch. “And who says there are only three?” She cocked her head to one side.

Rafaela used her special sensing ability to reach out into the ether. She released a seeking spell. What she found horrified her. Three were visible, but a dozen more had her surrounded. She was good, but not that good. She could probably kill or disable at least six, but fifteen was another matter.

“Dirk, you bastard! Where are you?”

The vampires frowned. The woman who had spoken to her took a step back.

“He’s not here?”

They glared at one another, uncertain. Rafaela noted their discomfort. What the hell was going on? She reassessed the vampires. By this time, they should have attacked. Instead, they stood around uncertainly, waiting for something.

“Can we get this over with?” Rafaela asked flippantly. “I have a lot to do. I promised myself a manicure.” She flickered her fingers absently, as if showing off her nails.

The vampires were momentarily distracted by the movement. Their dark eyes focused on Rafaela’s left hand, while her right reached under her jacket. They might be able to handle sunlight in small doses, but she was certain a flash grenade wouldn’t be so easy withstand. Slipping the ring, she put her other hand on the car door and pulled it partially open. Dropping the grenade, she kicked it toward the lead woman. Counting down the seconds, she hopped in her car, shutting the door as she ducked. The flash grenade wouldn’t hurt her, but the bright white light would be dazzling.

Seconds later, the grenade went off. Blinding light illuminated their surroundings. The vampires screamed as the light jarred their senses and seared their skin. Rafaela backed her car out of the parking spot, knocking over at least one vampire as she did. Another fell when she ran it down. A second grenade flew out the window as the vampires tried to regroup and pursue. This one caught them out in the open, not partially shielded by the cars. More screaming followed.

Gunning the motor, she headed for the interstate, taking the curving entrance at top speed. Oncoming traffic barely had time to move out of her way. Instead of waiting, she tore off down the shoulder, tires squealing on the uneven pavement. There were no signs of pursuit, but that meant nothing. It would be easy for them to track her. They had her scent and the make and model of her vehicle. She had to ditch the car and find some way to mask her odor.

“Time to drop off the grid,” she muttered, cutting across all three lanes of traffic.

She roared down the exit and made a sharp turn onto a narrow, country road. She didn’t know where she was, let alone where she was going, she kept going south.

“Dammit, Dirk! Where are you?”

She stopped at a crossroads, uncertain which way to head. Deep in the heart of Georgia, she didn’t know whether to continue south or strike out west. She knew she didn’t want to go east. There wasn’t enough room to run that direction. Ultimately, there was only so far she could go to the south, so she turned right and headed west. Just as the car started to move, a form shimmered next to her and Dirk appeared on the seat. His own momentum slung him into the back seat, where he solidified.

Rafaela slammed on the brakes, grateful that it was late and night and the road was empty.

“Where the hell have you been? Do you know what just happened?”

“Drive,” he muttered. “Drive,” he ordered more loudly.

Rafaela heard the tone of command in his voice, and started driving once more. She glanced at him in the rearview mirror and saw the state he was in. He bled from a dozen different wounds, at least one of which would have been fatal, if he were human. His clothing was torn, his lips caked with blood.

“What train wreck did you walk away from?”

Dirk shook his head, holding his side. Blood seeped through his fingers.

“You need to feed,” she said, slowing the car.

“I did. Keep driving.” The blood from his side, slowed and dribbled to a stop. “I thought if I could talk to him, I could explain.”

“Didn’t go as planned, eh?”

Dirk’s laugh was a bark of pain. “Not entirely.”

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 9

Christmas and a Vampire coverFortunately for Dirk and Rafaela, they’re excellent fighters. Unfortunately for the others, Dirk and Rafaela are excellent fighters. Bloody, but alive, they try to decide what to do next. It’s apparent that the cabin has been compromised, so Rafaela puts it to the torch and they watch it burn behind them as they drive away.

“You’re welcome. Thanks for having my back. I would have been screwed without you.”

“You’re welcome. And I’m the only one who gets to screw you, just so we’re clear on that.”

“I can live with that.” She made a hard left and slowed when the car slid on a patch of ice. Correcting automatically, she eased off the accelerator. “I think we’re far enough away now.”

She stared at the road, tears welling in her eyes once more. “Do you think any of them lived?”

Dirk shook his head. “Knowing that bunch? Doubtful. If you want to check on them. . . .”

“No. If any are alive, they’re being kept as bait for us. They have a pack to avenge them.”

“We can still go, Ella. I know it’s worrying you.”

She shook her head, adamantly. “Your safety is too important. I can’t compromise you.”

“I compromised myself. This is not your fault.”

“Yes, it is. I killed that vampire lord’s daughter. I slept with you—had the audacity to fall in love. This is all my fault.”

Dirk touched her hand, stroking gently. “We can’t choose the ones we love. The heart does that for us.”

Rafaela slowed, pulling to the side. She parked the car and burst into tears. It was so like what Claudette had said, she couldn’t stand it. The idea that all her friends were dead because of her, made her feel like dying herself. She knew that she was simply doing her job, but the vamp whose daughter and son she’d killed, wouldn’t care about that. He’d want revenge, and he would get it any way he could.

“Everyone I care about is in danger now,” she sobbed. “They all will die because of me.”

“Shh, Ella. No, they won’t. We’ll protect them.”

“How? What can I do to assure their safety?”

“Kill the vampire lord—stop the retaliation.”

“Another will take his place—and another. If I kill the leader, what’s to stop the others from attacking for revenge? Your people aren’t known for their even tempers and stoic acceptance.”

“Valid point. Suggestion.”

She nodded, wiping her eyes.

“Kill them all,” he declared.

“What? There could be dozens—hundreds! I can’t kill on a massive scale like that.”

“You can, with the right kind of help.”

“Short of a nuclear bomb, how could I kill off that many vamps?”

“With a nuclear bomb.” Dirk flashed a wicked grin.

“Don’t be facetious.”

“You really haven’t paid attention to me all these years, have you? If you had, you’d know that we infiltrate every government in the world. We hold seats of power everywhere. If I need a nuke, I can get one.” He wasn’t merely bragging.

Rafaela shivered. “But would they strike their own people? Who knows how many innocent people would die.”

“Vampires aren’t innocent people.”

“But what if they’re holding hostages? Or, for that matter, what if there are children?”

“The only children would be Dhampir. I assure you, they are far from innocent, even as babies.”

“A different solution, Dirk. I can’t condone that kind of action, nor could I justify it to my superiors.”

“No, I suppose not.” He hung his head, shaking it slowly. “We’re surely in a pickle.”

Taking turns, they drove the better part of two days, stopping for meals and showers at truck stops. Finally, after another cheap meal at a dismal diner, Dirk took the wheel. Instead of getting back on the road, he pulled around to the small, equally dismal motel. This stop featured a motel, diner and full service garage and gas station.

“You need to sleep in an actual bed,” he told Rafaela.

“What you mean is, you want sex,” she translated with a grin. “Me too,” she added with a saucy wink.

“You said it, not me,” he replied, his full lips twitching.

They took a long shower together and lay down in the queen sized bed. Instead of making love, Dirk pulled Rafaela close, putting her head on his chest. She fell asleep and he lay there with her until he was sure she was deeply asleep. He rose softly, dressing as quietly as he could, and left.

Looking back with deep regret, he headed to the garage. He’d noticed they had some used cars for sale. The man in the garage was easily mesmerized and agreed to sell Dirk a car very inexpensively. He filled out the paperwork and accepted payment with a bemused smile. Dirk took off, driving back the way they had come, back to the heart of the vampire lord’s realm.

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 8

Christmas and a Vampire coverUnfortunately, their quiet time together doesn’t last. Somehow, they were discovered. In the cold light of early morning, Rafaela wakens, thinking that Dirk has left her alone.

In the center of the chaos, she spotted Dirk. He bled from several wounds and was weakening. Three bodies littered her floor. The fourth man was bigger and stronger than anyone she’d ever encountered before. He wasn’t human, nor was he fully vampire. A Dhampir, a human and vampire hybrid. Strong and agile as a vampire, they weren’t susceptible to the silver, although a bullet or stake in the heart would certainly kill them.

Dirk faltered, wavering as he fought the Dhampir. Drawing her pistol, Rafaela aimed carefully, not rushing. Dirk had the Dhampir nicely distracted. Taking a deep breath, she fired, hitting the man in the center of his forehead. He fell backward, landing on the couch, his blood soaking the fabric as his arteries and veins emptied his body of blood.

Roaring, Dirk lunged for the man, his fangs sinking into the bloody stump that had once been his head. He drank deeply from the still quivering body. Rafaela looked away. She didn’t like seeing him like that, but knew he had to feed in order to heal. Once he was done, the two of them bathed and dressed before loading everything they could into Rafaela’s Jeep.

Once that was accomplished, Dirk turned the gas on full as Rafaela poured lamp oil on the staked, beheaded bodies. Without a backward glance, she lit a match, igniting an entire book, which she tossed over her shoulder. The lamp oil took flame nicely, leaving a fiery trail behind her as she strutted across the porch and down the steps. With a whumph, the gas inside exploded into a fireball, that quickly consumed the house.

They drove away rapidly, putting as much distance between them and the cabin as they could before the fire department arrived. Rafaela glanced back once, fondly.

“I’ll miss that old place. It’s been in my family for nearly sixty years.”

“I’m sorry you had to burn it, my love.”

She shrugged, pressing the accelerator further down. “It happens. Next time, remind me not to allow my property to be rented.”

Dirk chuckled. “Obscure rule, but handy. I’m surprised you hadn’t thought of it before.”

“No one ever came after me there before. How the hell did they find us?”

“I’m not sure. I ported there. That can leave a trail, though minimal. You have to know what you’re looking for.”

“I drove, but I was careful.” She shook her head. “So few people even know it exists.”

“Do your werewolf friends?”

Rafaela paused, thinking. Had she ever told Claudette? “Oh, God, yes. She and her family came up for a vacation once, years ago.” She risked a glance at Dirk. “Do you think?”

He nodded. “I’m sorry, my sweet. I didn’t tell anyone about them, but, their existence was bound to be known.”

“Why now?” She concentrated on the road, fighting back the sorrow that chilled her heart.

“One of those vampires you killed at my crypt was the daughter of a vampire lord.”

“And you couldn’t share that bit of information with me?”

“I didn’t know! I swear to you, I would have warned you, had I known. I didn’t put it together until they attacked us. That Dhampir you slaughtered, was his son.”

“His daughter was a full vampire?”

He nodded. “At her request, I turned her. Then you came along.”

“Dammit! We’re in a pickle. Me for killing them, you for helping me.”

Dirk laughed loudly. “A pickle, Ella? Really? My love, I’d say we are squarely fucked.”

Rafaela chuckled, then laughed. She couldn’t deny that he spoke the truth. “Mama did try to keep me from swearing.”

“As did mine. It never took.”

“Nope.” She came to a crossroads, turning right.

“Where are we going?”

“No idea.”

A glance at her rearview mirror showed the orange flames and billowing smoke.

“Good thing it snowed. Might slow the fire a little—I hope.”

Dirk gave a longer, appraising look out the back window. “Perhaps a shade. Not much. That was a hell of a blaze we lit.”

At the next crossroad, Rafaela took a left. She couldn’t see the fire anymore. Shivering, she drew a deep, shuddering breath.

“I thought most Dhampir became Hunters?”

“Not always. Some, like the woman, will become full vampires. Others don’t. They believe that the original Hunters were Dhampir who mated and gradually formed their own race. I don’t know if that’s true, but your abilities and mine are strangely similar.”

“It’s entirely possible.”

“You don’t deny that your people could once have been vampire kin?”

“Why not? There are bound to be common roots somewhere. Whatever the case, our people will always be at one another’s throats.”

Dirk chuckled. “Quite literally. Nice shot on the Dhampir, by the way. Thought the bugger had me.”

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 7

Christmas and a Vampire coverAfter making love, Dirk tells Rafaela how he was turned. He had never told her the story before, in all the years they’d known one another.

The day after Christmas dawned slowly, the light filtering through snow and ice that weighted down the trees. The cabin was chilly when Rafaela awoke. Gathering a blanket around her, she walked to the living room. The fire was still banked. She stoked it carefully and went to dress.

There was no sign of Dirk anywhere. He hadn’t even left a note. He was gone without a word. Angry, she banged around the kitchen, fixing herself a meal. She hadn’t expected him to stay forever, but she’d hoped for more than a couple of days.

“Why should I have expected more?” she fussed as she turned on the gas stove. “He never stays put. Always moving around. Was he afraid I’d get tired of him and kill him in his sleep? Oh, wait! He never sleeps! Next time I see the bastard, I’ll skewer him.” She gestured with the chef’s knife she was using to cut up an onion for her omelet.

The whisper of a sound reached her ears. It might have been an animal on the roof, but she doubted it. Never one to take a chance, she ran to the bedroom and opened her weapon’s locker. She grabbed a variety of weapons before sealing it shut once more. Four stakes went on a belt around her waist. A gun with silver bullets was in her hand. Most people thought silver was only for werewolves, but she’d learned a long time ago that vampires didn’t like it either. It didn’t kill them, but it slowed them down. The last weapon was a strap of knives across her chest. Each was edged with silver. She grabbed one, holding it in her left hand, the automatic pistol in her right.

The sound repeated several times as she armed herself, and she knew someone prowled the roof, hoping for a way in. The only thing protecting her was the law that a vampire couldn’t enter without permission. However, vampires could use humans. They could enter and drive her outside where she would be fair game. A loud thump in the living room heralded the arrival of one or more minions. Rafaela sensed their presence. Sniffing the air, she caught the scent of three, but there could be more. If they found her in the bedroom, she’d be cornered. Preferring to choose her own ground, she moved stealthily from the bedroom, glad that the kitchen was between her and the living room.

Voices reached her ears. Were they complete idiots? Talking to one another? Either that, or they were confident that she couldn’t defend herself. One of them moved to the front door. If he thought he could invite the vampires in, he was dead wrong. She was sole owner of the house. Then, she remembered the way that Dirk had gotten around that law. The property could be rented. If one of the minions had paid a rental fee. . . . She didn’t allow herself to complete that thought.

The voices drew closer. Rafaela shrugged her shoulders and rolled her head to loosen tight muscles. Standing her ground, her back to the bedroom wall, she maneuvered so she had access to the back door, should she need it. She took her fighting stance and waited.

The first around the corner from the living room to the kitchen, was a tall, blond man with dark eyes. The way was narrow, partially blocked by the end of the bar, which was adjacent to the bathroom door. The door opened out, stopping before it hit the wall. They had to come at her one at a time—unless one of them got the bright idea to vault over the bar. She rather hoped they wouldn’t.

The blond vampire stopped when he saw her. His fangs descended and his eyes turned black. “She’s here,” he hissed. He tried to push the door out of his way.

Smiling, Rafaela swung her knife, slicing across his throat. Gagging, he staggered back, into the path of the next vampire. The small, Asian woman shoved him aside as she advanced, climbing over his bleeding body. She didn’t even stop to see how he was, leaving him to die or recover. She took a fighting stance as well, eyeing the gun in Rafaela’s hand.

“That pea shooter won’t hurt me,” she bragged. “Bring it on, bitch.”

Aiming quickly, Rafaela fired, hitting the Asian woman in the chest. The bullet knocked her back, but didn’t hurt her.

“Chest shots are for pussies,” the woman snarled as she lunged at Rafaela.

“So are Kevlar vests,” Rafaela countered. She holstered her gun as the woman advanced, backing into the kitchen, she drew another knife.

“Nice try, sweetie,” the vampire said. “That won’t hurt me.” She jumped at Rafaela, blocking the Hunter’s arms as quickly as she swung.

Another vampire came around the corner. Rafaela threw the silver knife at him, catching him in the chest. He hadn’t been as smart as his companion, and he fell with the handle quivering above his heart. The Asian woman hissed, lunging toward the Hunter once more.

Instead of a knife, Rafaela took a stake from her belt. She fought with the blade, bringing the stake into play as the furious woman advanced. She kicked and punched at Rafaela relentlessly. The feisty Hunter got a few good slices in. The vampire slid in her own blood. Snarling, she leaped across the kitchen, fangs bared, in a last effort to tackle Rafaela. Her foot slipped, throwing off her timing. Rafaela dodged, bringing the stake down and around. She caught the vampire in the back with the stake and sliced off her head.

The blond vampire had recovered enough to try to stand, but he too, slid in his own blood. Foregoing the knife, Rafaela grabbed up the cast iron skillet she’d been using to prepare her breakfast. With a metallic thunk, she hit him in the face. He fell back, tripped over the downed woman and landed on the floor. Rafaela finished him with another stake. The third vampire had removed the knife from his chest, but staggered as the silver sickened him. Rafaela finished him quickly with another stake.

Sounds of fighting reached her ears as she cut off the other two vampires heads. What was going on in her living room? Were the humans fighting one another? She glanced around the corner, only to find total chaos. A whirling, spinning figure leaped around the living room, jumping over furniture and knocking people down. Two were already on the floor, the third barely keeping his feet. Blood soaked her rag rugs and seeped into the cracks in the wooden floor.

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 6

Christmas and a Vampire coverAlthough she’s willing to give him a gift of her blood, Rafaela also has no qualms about telling him when he’s had enough. Dirk has very little self-control in most things, but Rafaela is his addiction of choice.

“Enough! Leave more for later.”

“Why?” he gasped. “You never—”

“Merry Christmas, my love. I had no other gift for you.”

“This is the best gift,” he moaned as his climax neared.

“The best,” she agreed.

They came together with a loud scream. Collapsing on the bed, they laughed as they struggled to pull up the blankets. Both sweaty, they suddenly felt cold in the cool bedroom. Snuggling together, they kissed deeply.

“Thank you, Rafaela. That was a great gift. Alas, I have nothing for you.”

Her fingers stroked him under the covers. “Yes, you do. I’ll take this in abundance.”

Dirk chuckled, pulling her closer. “And I’ll gladly give it as often as you want. Why do we have to be who we are?” he asked, not for the first time. “Why couldn’t we have met and fallen in love without all the inconvenience?”

“Believe me, I’ve asked the universe that question more than once.” Rafaela put her head on his chest, resting her cheek over his heart. The steady thudding comforted her and let her fool herself into believing he was still a human—even for a short time. “You never told me how you were turned,” she whispered.

“I must have.”

“Nope. I’d remember something like that.”

He sighed, rubbing her arm. “Are you sure? It’s not a pretty story.”

“They never are, my love.”

Dirk kissed her forehead. “No, they never are.” He inhaled slowly.

For a moment, Rafaela thought he wouldn’t tell her, but with another deep breath, he began. His voice was so quiet, she strained to hear.

“My kind are attracted to discord and violence. Where blood runs, we’re in the thick of it. We love wars for our kills can go unheeded among the many dead. So it was in April of 1862 when the battle at Shiloh took place. My father wasn’t landed gentry, nor was he slave owner. We had a small holding nearby, and my father, brothers and I went to defend our home.

“I wasn’t trained as a soldier, but I did what I could against the enemy. Little by little, they pushed us back, until suddenly there was a breach in our defenses. We fell back, many dying to ball and bayonet. I was closest to the breach. My family and I lost each other in the battle. A man leaped at me, face frenzied, eyes black as night. He tackled me, sunk his teeth into my neck and drained me dry. I fought him, kicking and biting as I might. . . .”

“And you tasted his blood.”

“I did. Just a drop of the vile brew was all I needed. He left me for dead and went on to rip the throats from my father and two of my four brothers. Another he turned on purpose. The last, youngest, he left unscathed. To this day, I don’t know why. I lay there, unable to move, until the battle was over. I think I passed out from blood loss. When I woke, a medic knelt over me. I could see the vein throbbing in his neck and smelled blood, for he was covered in it. None of it his, but it didn’t matter. He died horribly. I think his death bothers me most of any.”

“More than my family’s?”

Dirk nodded. “I regret that too, Ella. Truly, I do. But at least they knew what I was.”

“They had no chance. You killed them in their sleep!”

Eyes closed, he drew a shuddering breath. “And I regret that too. When will you forgive me for something so long in the past?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps never.”

He chuckled a moment. “That’s one of the things I love most about you. Your tenacity.”

Rafaela kissed him deeply, tasting her blood on his mouth. “I think I forgave you long ago, Dirk. But I can’t forget.”

“No, I suppose not. Would it help to know that it wasn’t personal? I didn’t actually know they were your kin. I was sent by the leader of my coven.”

“Why? What was the point of targeting my family? They were innocent.”

“Because they were the family of a Hunter. It mattered little who they were. I did as I was told, like a good little soldier. I’m sorry. Had I known who they were, I wouldn’t ever have done it.”

“Don’t you think he sent you because he knew about us?”

“I didn’t at the time, but, yes. I’m sure he did. Which is why I killed him a few years later.”

“Good. Saved me having to.”

Dirk’s hands caressed her, tracing the curves of her voluptuous figure. It was obvious he was done talking. Since it suited Rafaela, she obliged him by fondling him in return.

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 5

Christmas and a Vampire coverThis episode gets a little steamy, not appropriate for readers under 17.

Making a guess on where Dirk would go, Rafaela follows her instincts and heads to her cabin in the woods. Upon her arrival, she finds it’s occupied. Entering cautiously, she explores the cabin.

Warm hands snaked around her waist and his lips descended on her neck. The gesture was familiar and welcome. She leaned into his firm body. How could he be so warm when he was stone dead? She’d never figured that out. He had a heartbeat, too. For a reanimated corpse, he was surprisingly lively.

He nibbled the curve of her neck in the way that only he did, dragging his fangs slowly across her skin. He could bite her, feed from her, but never turn her. It was another gift given the Hunters. Were he to take her head, stab her through the heart, or rip her throat out, he would surely kill her. There weren’t many ways a Hunter could be killed and none of them were pretty deaths.

Dirk’s hands drifted upward, cupping her breasts. Rafaela let her own fingers roam, grasping his firm ass with one hand as she massaged the front of his taut thigh with the other.

“I knew you’d think of coming here,” he whispered huskily.

“We’ve had some good times here, Dirk.”

“That we have.” He chuckled, licking her throat. “Perhaps we will be snowed in again. Hmm?”

“Or we could pretend,” she murmured as she turned to face him. Her hands switched positions, continuing to roam.

“We could, indeed. I want you, Ella. So much!” His voice dropped to a bass growl as he tore at her clothing.

Their lovemaking was primal, urgent. They didn’t even make it to the bed, but sated themselves in the living room, on the rug by the fire. Laughing and kissing, they let were carried away by their lust. Sometime later, they stopped for a meal and drank hot chocolate. Hours after that, they fell asleep.

Or rather, Rafaela fell asleep. Dirk didn’t need to sleep. He rested some during the day, but at night, he was awake. It was his nature. For a time, he watched her sleep, mesmerized by her beauty. He never tired of looking at her, even after all this time. Afraid he would wake her, he dressed and went into the living room.

Dirk lit a pipe and sat by the banked fire, remembering how they met. It was on board the Titanic. He hadn’t anticipated the collision with the ice berg, but it helped to conceal his rampage. Back in his earlier life, he’d been unable to control his rage. Rafaela was sent to hunt him. She found him stalking the underbelly of the ship, feasting on the poor and helpless in steerage. He tried to restrict his kills to those who were already sick and dying, but the fear and panic caused by the crash, got his blood lust up.

As the Titanic sank, Dirk made his way through the ship, killing indiscriminately, drinking the blood of rich and poor alike. Rafaela stalked him, very nearly bringing an end to him. A final lurch of the ship as it sank, saved him from an untimely grave. The cold water closed over them both and he was able to escape. Though she couldn’t drown, the freezing water slowed and weakened her. She was picked up by one of the rescue boats. Dirk got away.

Their lives wove around one another, throughout the turbulent times that followed. Their next meeting was on the battlefield during World War I. She shot him twice and very nearly skewered him with a bayonet. Not a stake, but it would have done the job just as well, a fact that most people didn’t know.

Wherever there was trouble, Dirk was in the midst of it. Wherever he was, Rafaela was sure to follow. So it had been for 100 years and so it would be until one of them killed the other. Even if he could convince her to stay with him, he knew theirs could never be a peaceful relationship. Her nature was to kill vampires. It was in her blood. She was as far from human as he, but it was his nature to hunt humans. I was Rafaela’s nature to protect them.

A sound behind him alerted him that she was awake. He rose languidly, turning to face her. “Can’t sleep either?”

She shook her sleep tousled head. “Got cold. Come back to bed?”

He smiled as he walked over to her. “If I do, we won’t sleep.”

“If we don’t, I won’t mind.”

They kissed a long time. Dirk lifted her easily, carrying her to the bed. This time, he made love to her gently, as if she were made of spun glass. The taste of her made him giddy and he longed to bite and feed from her. He knew that she wouldn’t stand for that. Even if he couldn’t kill or turn her, he could weaken her and make her vulnerable. She wouldn’t forgive him for that. If he fed from her now, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself.

“Bite me,” she commanded suddenly.

“What?” he grunted as she clutched him tightly with her thighs.

“Bite—me.”

“But you hate that.”

“But you love it.” She bared her throat, daring him to take her.

Of their own accord, his fangs descended and his eyes darkened with blood lust. “Are you sure?”

In response, she grabbed his head, pulling his mouth to her neck. He bit delicately, groaning as her blood filled his mouth. His lean, hard body pumped against hers as he fed from her. When she decided she’d had enough, Rafaela pushed his head away. He fought her a moment, desperate for more. To make her point, she flipped him over, pinning him to the bed.

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 4

Christmas and a Vampire coverThough she can’t be mesmerized by his vampire skills, Rafaela can still be mesmerized by the man. She’s both sickened and thrilled by the hold he has over her. Then again, she has the same effect on him, which she wields recklessly. It’s a strange and bizarre relationship they have, but it’s theirs.

Rafaela held out her hand to him. Dirk took it, raising her hand to his lips. He drew her to him, kissing her deeply. Rafaela felt her knees go weak. She fell into his kiss as he pulled her closer, his hard body pressing against hers.

A sound downstairs alerted them to the fact that the others were rousing. Dirk let her go, pushing her sharply away.

“Your friends are awake. I’d better go. You’ll join me, though, right? You promised.” He pointed at her and disappeared before she could reply—this time without the special effects.

The door burst open and Claudette appeared with a stake in her hand. She looked around the room, eyes wide.

“Where is he?”

“He left. Are you all right?”

“We’re fine. Even my guests. Just a snack. The bastard! Luis is modifying their memories as we speak. The others are sanitizing.”

“I’m sorry to bring this down on you. I thought I’d covered my tracks.”

“That bastard could find your scent in a hurricane.”

“I’ll get my things together and leave.”

“You don’t have to. No real harm done. And we see where the holes are in our defenses.”

“Dirk can circumvent even the best of defenses. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of him being able to enter without permission.”

“How did he get around that?”

Rafaela dropped her head. “An obscure clause in ownership laws. Because a customer has paid a fee to be here, they technically own a percentage of the home. That does, unfortunately, include being able to invite someone in. Though you and yours can’t be mezzed, the human guests can. I hadn’t even thought of it.”

“As I said, no real harm done. There is no need for you to leave.”

“I’ve changed plans, Claudette.”

“You’re going to him, aren’t you?” Her voice held angry certainty.

Rafaela smiled. “Yes.”

“You let him get to you again. Will you never learn, Rafe?”

“Apparently not.” She smiled, hugging her friend. “Why do I love him, Claude?”

“We can’t pick the ones we love,” Claudette replied. “The heart decides, not us. Were we to use logic, we’d never be happy. We would end up with the wrong person every time.”

“Sometimes, I wonder if my heart can ever love the way a normal person’s does.”

Claudette smiled, hugging her friend. “Honey, there are many shades of normal. You sure aren’t a single one of them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love.”

Rafaela gathered her few belongings and bid farewell to her friends. Her back seat was filled with the gifts they had given her. With a lurch, she realized she and Dirk hadn’t set up a rendezvous point. She wondered where she should go.

Somewhere devoid of people where we can be completely alone. The perfect place occurred to her. Smiling, she made a left turn and headed to the mountains.

The cabin sat in the notch of two hills. Behind, a small lake glittered in the waning winter sun. Smoke curled from the chimney, but no car stood in front of the cabin. Disappointed that the place was occupied, Rafaela decided to ask if she could borrow the bathroom before setting out for another location. She couldn’t imagine who would be staying in the cabin. Her family owned it. Well, specifically, it was hers, but a caretaker looked after it and had permission to rent it from time to time.

Keys in hand, she locked the car and walked to the porch. Lifting her hand to knock, she forced herself to smile. She was tired and needed a restroom. She also desperately wanted to see Dirk. She couldn’t believe how strong the urge was.

The door opened before she touched it. No one stood there. The room appeared empty. Wary, her nerves jangling, Rafaela drew her silver hunting knife, holding it casually by her side. She knew from experience that doors didn’t open by themselves without a reason. There was no wind and the latch appeared solid. The slow, inward movement revealed more of the room. Rafaela pushed it back to the wall, checking around and above her before proceeding further. As she’d anticipated, the door swung shut behind her. Good thing she could kick down a door or break a window to escape.

Moving carefully through the small cabin, she walked toward the kitchen to her left. A long bar stretched across the space, separating it from the main room. A cheery fire crackled in the fieldstone fireplace, warming the room. A cast iron tea kettle steamed on the stove and two mugs sat on the counter, filled with marshmallows and hot chocolate mix—the good stuff, homemade. A cinnamon stick perched in each for stirring. Only one person knew she liked her hot chocolate with cinnamon. Only one person would think of this place, like she had. Only he’d thought of it first.

“Dirk?” She called softly. She didn’t put the knife away—not yet. This house was listed under an alias, but that didn’t make it safe.

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 3

Christmas and a Vampire coverDirk catches up to Rafaela, finding a loophole in the home defenses to get himself inside. As always, he’s pretty adept at breaking through Rafaela’s, too.

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.”

“You killed all my friends and their guests.”

He pointed at her, angry. “An assumption. Yes, I had a snack.” He peeled a dried patch of blood from his chin flicking it away after examining it. “But I didn’t kill anyone. Check for yourself. Your friends are fine. Unconscious, but alive.”

“Then who’s that?” She pointed to the blood stain on his shirt.

“Female guest about twenty-six, busty. O positive with an undertone of A. Very tasty vintage.”

“And you swear she’s alive?”

“Alive and sleeping. I do have some scruples, Ella.”

“Why did you come here?”

“I’m lonely. I thought you might like to spend the holidays together.”

Rafaela rolled her eyes, laughing. Dirk didn’t laugh. His eyes were solemn, his mouth in a soft, full bow. He took her hands, gazing into her eyes, Fortunately, vampire Hunters were immune to mesmerizing, but he still had the uncanny abilities of a human man. Dirk was nearly a hundred and fifty years old. He knew how to get around a girl’s defenses. He’d done it successfully with her for nearly a full century and he knew exactly what buttons to push.

“Please, Ella. I may be a monster, but I still don’t want to spend the holiday alone.”

In point of fact, neither did she. Since she had no idea where most of her family was, she had no one to spend time with. A hundred years of vampire slaying had kept her from making friends with the humans around her. She’d found out the hard way that friendships made you vulnerable and got innocent people killed. She’d forged relationships with other special people, like Claudette and her family, reluctantly. They were better able to defend themselves if an irate vampire came calling.

“You can pretend that you aren’t lonely, Rafaela. But I know you are. Hell, I’m lonely too. What you do is far harder than what I do. I survive, even lead a fairly comfortable existence from time to time. But you—my love. . . . You work so hard, hunting a race who wish only to coexist.”

Rafaela’s face had softened as he spoke, but when he said this last, her expression hardened once more.

“You say that after you devoured my little sister in her sleep? After you ripped out the throat of my brother and turned my parents? You attacked and killed half my family, the other half you turned into monsters like yourself. That is not peaceful coexistence.”

“I didn’t say it was peaceful.” He smirked, raising an eyebrow.

Rafaela rolled her eyes, trying not to smile. “How can you make it into a joke when I don’t feel like joking?”

“Because our existence is a joke, as is life itself. The irony that we should meet and fall in love does not escape me. In fact, it haunts me daily.”

“No, that’s just me tailing you.”

“Why don’t you just end it, Ella? You say you’ll kill me every time we meet. You promise death, yet you don’t deliver it. Why do you string me along?”

Rafaela blinked, drawing herself up as she gazed at him. “You want me to kill you?”

“I didn’t say that.” He flashed a toothy smile. “Please, spend Christmas with me.”

She sighed, shrugging. “Why not? There’s nothing else for me to do. But conditionally.”

“All right.” He sounded dubious, but intrigued.

“No biting.”

He pouted, hands in his pockets. “But you love it when I bite.”

She didn’t address that comment. “You know what I mean, Dirk.”

“Obviously.” He held up his hand as if swearing on a Bible. “I swear. Won’t dine on humans while we are together. But a light snack of stored blood. . . .”

“Is acceptable.”© Dellani Oakes 2105

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 2

Christmas and a Vampire coverRafaela 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.

“Three.”

“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?”

“Twenty-five?”

“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.

“You’re loathsome.”

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

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Christmas and a Vampire, Dellani Oakes

Christmas and a Vampire – Part 1

Christmas and a Vampire coverI started writing Christmas and a Vampire as a prequel to a short story I wrote several years ago, called Vampire Hunter. I found that I had more to explore in the relationship of Dirk and Rafaela. After writing this, I realize that I may have to rewrite Vampire Hunter, because the relationship that the characters display in this story is so strong, I have to wonder what would bring them to that place. Or, more likely, I’ll write another story to bring them to that point.

My husband suggested the name for this piece. He was watching some anime series and each episode was ____ and a Vampire. He said, “You should write a story, Christmas and a Vampire. It’s not two things that you usually picture together.” No arguing with that! So, for your reading pleasure, I present Christmas and a Vampire.

Some of these passages are explicit and not intended for readers under 17. I will do my best to mark them. If explicit sexual situations offend or disturb you, don’t read them. ~ Dellani

Part 1

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.

© Dellani Oakes 2105

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