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by Marie Kenward
Description: Sometimes, trusting your inner voice can be fatal... He is Mikael macCumail, leader of a vampire clan. The oldest of his kind, he is considered invincible. Deadly. Most fear him, and he's lived unchallenged for over a millennia. Until the night he loses it all. Stripped of his memory, stalked by vampires and vampire hunters alike, Mikael finds an unlikely ally in young hunter Emily Davenport. On the run with no one to turn to and no one to trust, the line between predator and prey begins to blur. In a world of unfamiliar shadows, Emily becomes his only light. Her beauty tempts him, her innocence disarms him. Mikael has waited centuries to find a woman like Emily, but when his past catches up with him and he discovers why his memory was taken, he must prepare to face an enemy he doesn't know how to defeat. An enemy with no physical body, a life form--an entity--that lives inside vampire blood, moving from one body to the next, killing. And now it wants Mikael.
eBook Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc./Black Rose, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: November 2010
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [522 KB]
Reading time: 335-469 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Dover, England, 17 years ago
Whoa. I never asked for the big gun.
Mikael macCumail glared at Vasilios of Sparta, his chief advisor, and stepped inside the humble townhouse. I was with the Kent faction when yer call came in. It was the perfect excuse to slip away.
Shaking the snow from his hair, he strode down the dark hallway. He didnt miss the different sized boots littering the floor, and the coatswith scarves and mittens stuffed into their sleeveshanging on pegs set at various heights along the wall.
When he reached the staircase, he stopped. In the bedroom?
Vasilios nodded and headed up first. Same as always. The stairs squeaked beneath his boots. No sign of a forced entry. No sign of a struggle, and no prints.
The Spartan didnt sound surprised. Neither was Mikael, who almost lost his footing when a small red truck toppled down the stairs. As the toy struck the landing, he winced and lifted his gaze to his friend. Ye can always count on a child to leave toys about. Tis a miracle most parents survive the rearing of their young.
As they reached the upper hallway and headed to their right, the smell of recent death and the stillness in the air stirred Mikaels blood. His chief advisor pushed the bedroom door open. Mikael came up behind him and halted at the foot of the bed. Loathing washed through him.
A couple was arranged on the counterpane. The woman's cheek snuggled against her husbands chest, his arm circled her waist. If not for their unusual pallor anyone would think them asleep.
Mikaels gaze lifted to scan the walls. The bastard responsible for these depravities always left behind his signature mark, usually by drawing two entwined snakes in his victims blood.
There. Vasilios pointed to the far wall.
Mikael walked over to the wall. The drawing was at shoulder level and as large as his fist. He brushed his index finger over it, knowing it was going to be wet and sticky. Any leads this time?
Vasilios answered a gruff, No.
There never was. Mikael sniffed at the blood on the pad of his finger, sighed and rubbed his thumb over it. Two years of this and still no clues. It might as well have been two decades.
He faced the Spartan. His chief advisor looked haggard, more so when he stabbed his fingers through his spiky black hair. Hatred glittered in his hazel eyes.
I want this one, Mik.
Ye will, he said. Tis just a different timeframe where our kind is concerned.
Vasilios shook his head as he stared at the dead couple. And in the meantime we have to keep covering up for him.
Ye know the rules.
I know, damn it. I know. Vasilios began to move about. He shifted objects around, ripped drawers open, and scattered clothes on the floor. It was the same each time the renegade vampire caused trouble; transform what would be a perplexing crime scene into what appeared to be a common robbery.
His chief advisor hated it. Vasilios was as much a pawn as the dead couple on the bed. Well-known in their world for his intellect and getting the job done, hed apparently been chosen as a sparring partner for his nemesis to match wits against.
The phone call came in as it usually does. Same voice, new crime scene. Vasilios knocked a lamp from the nightstand. He looked up. The only pattern? The city I happen to be in. I hate this, Mik.
He wants ye to catch him. He believes yere the only one who can.
Spare me the psych profile. I wrote the sodden thing myself. He smashed his fist into the dresser mirror, then moved to stand over the couple. His jaw set in stone, he bent over the man and tightened his fingers around his neck until bone crunched.
Mikael watched him do the same to the woman. This monster has been leading ye on a merry chase.
Vasilios expelled a sigh as he moved toward the hallway. This monster and all the others like him.
Mikael followed. What about the children?
Thats why I called it in. They werent in the house when I got here. From what I can tell, two boys and a little girl. The beds were slept in and the window in the boys room was open.
In this weather?
Vasilios shot him a glance over his shoulder. I figured they saw something and took off.
Exactly, Vasilios muttered as he moved past a childs bedroom.
Mikael stopped to peer inside. Lace clad dolls lined pink and violet walls. Girlish furniture twinkled with mauve glitter. A pink canopy hung above a bed of rumpled covers. A pair of bunny slippers seemed forlorn and deflated as they lay haphazard on the lilac carpet.
The fresh, clean smell of youth, like budding roses and soap, teased his senses. He crossed the threshold.
His foot settled on something soft. It was a teddy bear. He picked it up and was about to place it on a shelf when a homemade picture frame drew his attention. Surrounded by a border of painted macaroni, an impish face smiled up at him from the photograph. A girl child with large blue eyes, round rosy cheeks and a crooked grin the devil himself wouldnt be immune to.