It's been a long time and I promise I have a good explanation for where I've been. First I want to beg your forgiveness for leaving. How, you say? I will try and earn your love back with a free read from the Summer Reading Trail. I am also participating in Excerpt Monday for July. I'm a little early but if you can find it in your hearts to forgive me I'd appreciate it. Enjoy. ;)
When Darkness Falls
Liya wondered which breath would be her last, as she stared into cold, glowing eyes. His hand like a vice around her throat, his sharp fangs elongated over the soft flesh of her neck.
The midnight air swirled around them, warm and pleasant against her skin, in contrast to the perilous predicament she found herself in.
For years she listened as others whispered about mythical creatures stalking the night, terrorizing people as they drank blood and created spawn. Real fear gripped her and sent shivers down her spine. She struggled to pull air into her laboring lungs as she contemplated her now dim future.
She tried to ignore the horrid images her stubborn brain kept conjuring but found it impossible. Would her end come in one vicious swoop or would he drag it out slowly and painfully? Hell, would anyone even notice if she was never heard from again?
The fact that she could barely see him only succeeded in making matters worse. In the unwavering darkness all she glimpsed was his gleaming red eyes and imposing frame.
His ragged breathing echoed throughout the night as his massive chest rose and fell with each puff of air that escaped his lips. Her mind was a flurry of activity trying to find some way to escape this predicament, but to her despair, the only thing that surfaced was a big fat nothing. Paralyzed with fear, she couldn't even bring herself to put up a struggle for her own life.
She tried not to kick herself for believing that vampires were only a myth and that people told stories about them just to keep their children in line when they misbehaved. She now knew that they were no more a myth than she was. And her body shivered with dread as she realized the price for her disbelief was going to be her life.
* * *
A breeze whisked by and Hawk’s nostrils were filled with the sent of her delicate skin. The smell washed over him and he shivered at the familiar aroma. He closed his eyes and inhaled slowly.
“Jade?” he whispered into her neck. The fragrance lingering on her skin drew him inexorably closer. He felt her body stiffen. He sensed her fear but he couldn't stop. Pulled into another time and place, he remembered loving arms being wrapped around his neck as they made passionate love…
What? He yanked himself out of the memory almost as soon as it hit him and reared back to pin his victim with a hard stare. What’s happening to me? He took a few deep breaths to gather his composure. He couldn't allow himself to be distracted. He hadn’t fed in weeks and was on the verge of losing it.
He shouldn’t care that her scent called to him the way a Siren called men willingly to their deaths. So what if she felt supple and soft under his touch. Having been denied a woman’s touch for an eternity shouldn’t have made any difference. By now he should have pierced her neck, taken what he needed and been on his way…but he hadn’t.
Damn it, he needed to feed. A mix of anger and confusion swept over him as he tried to force his body back to the task at hand. With a sigh he eased his grip on her neck but made no move to release her. He frowned in frustration. Shit…now what?
* * *
As the vampire continued to glare at Liya, something within her began to stir, something untamed and primitive. He appeared to be studying her, learning her, reading her, if that were possible. She in turn was becoming curious about what was behind his harsh stare and wary eyes.
This guy is supposed to be damn near invincible. What could he have to be uneasy about, she wondered, surprised that she was even considering the notion.
Somehow her fear began to subside and she managed to get a good look at her captor. She swallowed, the sound almost deafening in the uncanny silence of the eerie night.
He was exquisite. Enthralled by his smooth mahogany skin, not even a speck of dirt dared touch his awing beauty. His lips were lush and full and his intense red gaze caused a searing heat to develop at the junction between her thighs. She still struggled to breathe but not from fear, from blatant, undeniable lust.
Her pulse raced. Her heart pounded. She was dizzy with maddening desire. Her mind had been fighting to reject what her body was all too willing to embrace. She was insanely attracted to this man. But how? He was a ruthless killer hell bent on wiping humans off the face of the earth. How could she possibly want him?
She tried to resist, but she couldn’t help staring into his magnetic eyes, imagining how good it would feel to take him inch, by slow sinful inch inside of her moist, soft flesh.
At once his expression changed. He looked hungry, but not for food. She could feel the evidence of his arousal graze her thigh as his eyes shifted from crimson to a deep dark azure. A look of confusion swept across his face and his grip on her neck tightened again.
“You dare to look into my eyes? You must have a death wish,” he said in a calm tone. His deep rumbling voice sent shocks of pleasure racing through her. She braced her hands against the cool wall pressed against her back, which was all she could do to keep her knees from buckling under the onslaught of blazing desire overpowering her frayed senses.
“No,” she replied with a ragged breath. Chills consumed her, making her shiver, as luscious sensations stimulated her aroused body.
Under his heated gaze, her defenses collapsed until she was nothing but a pile of raw, smoldering need and he the only one who could bring her fulfillment.
* * *
Her desire was raw, passionate. Any vampire within a fifty mile radius would have been able to sense her arousal. It was managing to over power even his most primal instincts. Hawk’s heart thudded against his chest as he tried to control his lust, but it was impossible. All he could think about was touching her, slipping inside her until she begged him to make her come.
He melded his body with Liya’s rubbing his rigid erection between her parted thighs. Her juices started to flow and she was on the verge of begging him to thrust his hard shaft into her wet pussy.
She was panting now, no longer in control of her body. Her body craved him, burned for him. She closed her eyes in an attempt to steady her thoughts, but it only made matters worse. She envisioned being naked in his muscled arms as he drove into her yielding body again and again.
No, she thought to herself, not like this. Not on the street like some common whore.
He lessened his grip on her neck and tilted her head bringing it level with his own. Her reaction to him must have been surprising. She was sure that any other woman would have tried to fight him, but not her. She was silently begging for more.
“Open your eyes,” he demanded.
She did and their gazes locked.
“Do you not fear me?” he asked in a curious tone.
“No,” she replied through the tightness in her chest, amazed that she could speak at all. He looked stunned at her response, as if no one dared to admit that they were not afraid of him.
“Do you know what I am?” he said with a frown as he cocked his head to one side.
“A…a vampire,” she said with a stutter.
“Yes, a vampire,” he said then licked his sharp canines. “And do you know what vampires do?”
“Drink peoples’ blood and kill them,” she replied.
“Now if you know all of this about vampires, why do you not fear me, human?” he said in a cool deep voice mere inches away from her face.
Because I want to fuck your brains out, she thought, but wasn’t about to make the mistake of saying it out loud. “I don’t know,” she replied instead.
“Interesting.” He smiled as if he knew something she didn’t, then threaded his fingers through her hair and grazed his tongue across her mouth, inviting her to join him.
With that, the last of her resistance crumbled. She parted her lips as he thrust his tongue into her warm mouth, plunging in and out mimicking what she wanted him to do to her body.
She wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders and clung to him as a shattered moan escaped her lips. The kiss was more electrifying than anything she had ever experienced. Heat raced up her spine and exploded all over her body, making her ache to have him imbedded firmly inside her. A soft whimper escaped her lips, as he deepened the kiss, grabbing a handful of her locks and crushing her against the wall.
He used his other hand to explore her writhing, trembling body. His hand slid under her shirt and shifted her undergarment out of the way to gain access to the cinnamon peak of her left breast as it stood painfully erect awaiting his touch. He gently grazed her nipple until she started moving her hips in a provocative rhythm, calling him to mate with her in a dance of extreme fulfilling ecstasy.
As he devoured her lips, his hand continued on its downward journey, caressing her through the thin material of her pants. Her mind was a jumbled mass no longer able to make rational thought. She twisted and moaned with maddening desire begging to be sated.
She didn’t think she could take anymore and then he swiftly unbuttoned her pants, pushed her panties aside and caressed her throbbing flesh. She cried out in ecstasy and dug her nails into his shoulders as he pleasured her in ways she hadn’t known for ages.
The intensity of the feelings building inside her core frightened her. He rubbed her aching clit, increasing his speed has his smoldering gaze met hers. Her hips bucked and swayed as he continued his assault on her body.
A loud moan slipped from her lips, her breath came in ragged, moist breaths, caressing his ear. He shuddered and his body stiffened as if he were taking pleasure from giving it.
He slid one long finger into her warmth and her body convulsed, sending waves of agonizing bliss coursing through her entire being. The earth shattered as she screamed her re1ease, leaving her cream all over his finger. He kept going until he milked her of all of her juices, then withdrew his finger, dipped it between his lips and sucked her essence into his mouth with a satisfied groan.
Taking a large breath, he looked into her face with contentment tinged with confusion, as if searching for answers. Obviously he was as affected by their encounter as she was.
Oh my God what did I just do? Her face filled with humiliated heat. She concentrated on the impossible task of regaining what little composure she had left. She tried to fix her disheveled appearance, while he took a few steps back. Then their eyes met and time froze.
She couldn’t believe she'd just let a complete stranger touch her in such intimate ways, no matter how freakin’ hot he was. This is not me at all! It took all her might not to smack her forehead with the heel of her palm.
Confusion hounded her as she tried to make some sense of the situation. One second she was teetering on the edge of insane terror and the next she was coming all over his finger. Who cared if it was the most amazing thing she’d ever experienced in her boring little life, she never should have allowed it. Only…she had really wanted it. A part of her still wanted more.
What was she thinking? The guy had been this close to killing her and all she could think about was jumping his bones? She had lost her mind, plain and simple. It was either that or aliens had taken over her body. At the moment neither one of those options appealed to her. There had to be another, real explanation for her behavior. Right?
* * *
Hawk’s head spun as their interlude played over and over in his mind. He hadn’t touched a woman in years and now this. He'd been in her presence for what, two seconds? And what really threw him was the fact that he had loved it.
His body was still vibrating from the sensations that had coursed through him as she screamed out her orgasm. He’d never been so hard for anyone in his entire life. In fact, he hadn't been able to enjoy being with a woman since he'd lost his wife.
The affect she was having on him was mind blowing. If he could manage to untangle his thoughts long enough, maybe he could try and make some sense out of their situation. He needed to figure this out, and soon, or he was going to end up in certifiably insane.
Hawk chanced a quick glance at the woman’s face and noticed that she was beet red. Now she was embarrassed? He wanted to smile at her reaction but refrained. She already felt bad enough.
He watched her shift from foot to foot, casting a nervous glance in his direction. God, she was beautiful. Her full lips begged to be kissed. He imagined gripping a handful of her silky, black hair as he drove into her body.
He quickly grabbed a hold of his thoughts, urging his heated body to relax. But visions of her voluptuous curves, naked and writhing beneath him, made it all but impossible. At this rate he was going to take her against the wall here and now, consequences be damned.
* * *
Why the hell was this guy looking at her like he was starving and she was grade a steak. His eyes had turned back to a rich deep blue and he looked as if he was staring clear past her flesh into her soul. She was in over her head with this man and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud buzzing filling the air from behind them. Out of nowhere, she was being tossed over the large shoulder of an unfamiliar man and being carried away. A scream lodged in her throat as fear started to overtake her. Who the hell was this and what was going on? She felt like her head was going to explode. The entire world had gone nuts and she was the last person to know.
Her heart hammered in her chest. Horrifying images of being raped, killed and dumped in a dank alley, passed through her brain. She pulled short quick breaths into her lungs and tried with all her might to pull herself together. This was no time to fall apart, damn it!
All of a sudden the body under her crumpled to the ground and she was scooped up into familiar arms.
“We have thirty seconds to get out of the open or we’re dead,” the vampire said in a dark tone as if he had been through this before.
“Thirty seconds?” she asked, her voice shrill. Anger took over as reason dropped into non-existence. “What the hell happens in thirty seconds?” It was annoyingly impossible to keep her head from banging on his chest. She lifted her head to try and get a good look at him. His face was a stone mask of determination and he was completely blocking her out. Damn him for getting her into this mess.
“Who the hell are you damn it?” she screamed beating at his chest.
“Hawk,” he said in a short tone and that was it. No extra info, no nothing conversation over.
Her body tingled with warning, goose bumps surfaced on her arms. Why did that name sound so familiar?
Without hesitation, he threw her into a large, dark hole that seemed to appear out of nowhere in the ground. She started to think that maybe she would’ve been better off facing whatever awaited them outside, but Hawk, as he’d called himself, had already slammed the door behind them. Seconds later, a cataclysmic explosion shook the very ground around them. The heavy metal door caved with a groan and the walls rumbled in protest.
Her panic reached an all time high. “Oh, my God, what was that?”
“A bomb. Those were your people trying to ‘save’ you from me by kidnapping you and making an attempt to take me out at the same time.”
“Holy shit! This can’t be happening.”
She leaped up and began pounding on the door. “Help me!” she yelled through the hard steel of the impenetrable wall. She prayed to whomever was listening to get her out of this. Her life couldn’t end on such a bad note, trapped in a room with a blood sucking vampire. She just wouldn’t allow it.
“Oh, my God!” she said breathing heavily trying to force air into her burning lungs. She realized that if she didn’t get a hold of herself she was going to hyperventilate until there wasn’t a breath left in her tired body. But how could she relax when there was a dark cloud hovering over her future?
“Everything’s going to be okay,” Hawk said reaching out to comfort her only to have her smack his hand away.
“Don’t touch me,” she hissed, pressing herself against the wall, squeezing her eyes shut in an attempt to quiet her nerves.
He breathed a harsh sigh. “Just try and remain calm. I know it’s difficult, but just try. I need to sort some things out,” he said with a strained look appearing on his face.
Liya ran a hand through her hair, trying to make some since of her situation. Looking at the damage that had been done to this dismal cave of doom, she knew there was no hope of making an escape. The door had partially caved in and the ceiling looked as if it could fall at any given second.
She was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown but realized losing her head would solve nothing. At best she would tire herself out and be too weak to escape if an opportunity presented itself. At worst she’d be stuck here with this gorgeous, sexy vampire and that just wouldn’t do. He was a threat to the nice, safe little existence she had spent too much time building. She didn’t need excitement. She needed her common, day-to-day routine. No, the only option now was to try and get comfortable, to wait it out. God, that really sucked.
Hawk got up and lit a candle on the other side of what appeared to be a very spacious room. There was a small desk in the corner, and a large comfortable looking bed against the far wall. She made her way to sit in one of the cozy chairs located behind her, realizing that she was in some type of shelter.
After a while he looked at her from across the dimly lit room and began to speak. “I know you must have some questions…”
“Gee, no shit, Sherlock…”
“Hold on, Spunky,” he said, shaking his head with a smirk. “Give me a little bit of a break here. A lot of this is all new to me too.”
Even in the gloom of her current circumstances, she couldn’t help but notice how he was trying to make things more comfortable for her. He was keeping his distance from her as she had requested and she could tell that he was holding on to his patience by the way he kept clenching his hands together and pacing back and forth.
She found that she was even affected by the impact of his dazzling white teeth, his now light brown eyes and strangely charming personality. However, none of this excused the fact that he had put her life in danger by accosting her in the middle of this horrible, dreary night.
“Is that a fact? Exactly which part of this is new? The people chasing after you, almost being kidnapped, or damn near being blown to pieces by a very large bomb?” she asked in a voice heavy with sarcasm.
“I’m afraid that all of that is old news for me,” he said, moving closer to caress her face. “But what just happened with you and me…that was all new.”
“Really,” she whispered, unsure about where things were headed between them, she averted her eyes looking anywhere but at him.
“Yes, really,” he returned in a quiet voice, touching her chin to bring her gaze back to him.
He leaned in as if to kiss her, but then stopped short as she stiffened, still uncomfortable with being in such close proximity with him. His brows bent into a frown and he bit his lip. Then he sat back with a sigh.
“I felt something significant pass between us just from the one experience we shared a short while ago and I haven’t felt anything even come close to that in quite some time.”
Thinking that she knew where he was headed, she opened her mouth to interrupt, but he shook his head to silence her.
“Please…just hear me out, before you say anything?”
“Fine,” she replied still feeling unsure about their situation.
“I realize that we know nothing about each other, but there is something between us. Something strong,” he said aiming those beautiful eyes in her direction.
The manner in which he spoke gave her chills. He was so passionate and real. No man had ever professed to have any feelings for her at all, let alone strong ones in such a short period of time. She found it refreshing and nerve wracking all at the same time. How could he be so sure of his feelings when she was having trouble remembering the answer to two plus two?
He appeared to waiting for a response from her before he continued. She gave a nod of approval. “Go on.”
He let out a sigh and continued pacing back and forth. “I would hate to miss out on something good because we were too hesitant to take a chance.” He turned to look directly into her wide eyes. “But before we decide on what to do, there are some things that you should know. I think the best way to handle this is for you to ask me whatever it is you want to know and I’ll try and explain things the best way I can. What do you think?”
She studied him through weary eyes but decided to relent for now. “Okay, fine.”
“Good,” he said, tapping his foot noisily on the smooth cement floor. “Alright then, what’s your first question?”
“Wait a minute,” she said fixing her firm gaze upon his handsome face. “Earlier you said your name was Hawk, right?”
“I should’ve known that was coming,” he said with a slight bit of hesitation, then let out a tired sigh. “Yes, my name is Hawk.”
“The Hawk? The one that’s rumored to have slain over three thousand humans in the past five years? That Hawk?”
“Yes, that Hawk.” He shifted restlessly in his seat.
“So it’s true then, not a rumor?”
“I’m afraid so,” he said looking down at his feet.
As the realization hit, her eyes bulged out of her head, her breath stuck in her throat. She stood and walked to the opposite side of the tiny room. She just needed a some space, that’s all.
“Holy shit,” she said running her hands through her disheveled hair trying not to freak out but failing miserably.
Oh God, I’ve really done it this time. Once again she wondered how in the heck she had gotten herself into this predicament.
One moment she was going along minding her own business and then WHAM here comes some vampire guy and her quiet little life just goes up in smoke!
She whirled around to stare at him, one eyebrow arched in question. “Where did all of this come from?”
“Huh?” He scratched his head, his face turning into a frown.
“Well at first you wanted to kill me and now this? I want to know why,” she demanded.
“I’m not exactly sure…” he began but was cut of by her next outburst.
“What the hell do you mean you’re not sure? Mister…” Damn it, she was so irritated. However the tired glance coming from Hawk’s deep eyes silenced her.
“Please, just be quiet and let me talk,” he said as he stood up and began to walk back and forth. “I hope you’re not always so argumentative.” She cast a warning glance in his direction, but managed to remain silent.
He turned and pinned her with an intense stare. “I really need you to understand that you are safe with me regardless of how you feel about what happened earlier. Now the truth is…” he said, trailing off in mid sentence, his mouth turning down into a frown. “You know it just occurred to me that I have no clue what your name is?” he said then looked at her expectantly.
Her first response was to knock him upside the head with her shoe and tell him that her name was none if his damned business. Then she calmed down a bit and realized that she at least owed him that much for saving her life, even if he was the one that caused all this mayhem in the first place.
“My name is Liya.” Her voice was low in the quiet of their haven.
“Okay Liya, let me try to make it clear. I haven’t fed for over two weeks, which is a long damn time.” He sighed and sat back down. “When I saw you I just lost it. I needed to feed and there you were. But almost as soon as I touched you, I started to feel something odd, like I was connected to you some how.”
He blew out a large breath and scratched his head. “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. To say I was confused would be an understatement and the fact that I could sense your arousal, well, it really wasn’t helping.” He glanced at her his now blue eyes full of unchecked desire as he continued. “It seems you tamed one monster just to bring out another. I needed to touch you. I couldn’t help it,” he said in a smooth silken voice as a visible shudder went through his body.
“You could sense my arousal…but how?”
He cleared his throat as he tried to explain. “Well, vampires have extremely heightened senses, because we’re night dwellers. One thing that I’ve noticed is that every emotion has a scent. Fear and arousal are the strongest among them. And yours is enough to drive a man wild.”
She blushed as a rush of memories from their recent sensual escapade flooded her mind. “Oh.” She took a seat and looked down at the floor, trying to hide her blushing face from his knowing gaze.
He chuckled and shook his head at her response to his last comment. “Well, anyway, does that kind of help you to understand why things happened the way that they did?”
“I guess so.”
“That’s what I said, isn’t it?” she said with a slight roll of her eyes.
“Fine.” He backed off, putting his hands up in surrender. “So moving along, what else would you like to know about me?”
“Um, well there is one thing,” she said, not quite sure about how to ask her next question.
“Hey.” His voice, calm and easy, reassured her. “It’s alright, you can ask me anything. It’ll be fine.”
“Alright.” Her eyes danced around the room as she spoke. “Well you seem like an okay guy…I guess,” she said her lips quirking up at the corners, but she quickly sobered. “I need to know why you have killed so many humans. What did we do that was so terrible you hate us?” She bit her lip, unsure of why she cared so much about his answer.
The look that flashed across his face was so painful, she was no longer sure that she wanted to know.
* * *
Hawk closed his eyes and gave a harsh sigh. Memories he’d kept locked away for an eternity flooded his mind, making him shiver. He had never been able to move on from what had happened and he was afraid. Afraid of what she would think of him after it was all said and done. Would she think that he was a monster?
Doubts floated around his brain as he contemplated how to handle the situation. He didn’t want to scare her off but if he didn’t tell her everything, the secrets that he’d kept would haunt their entire relationship. If they made it that far. No, this was an all or nothing deal. He was going to tell her the whole truth and hope to God that she could understand.
He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “Five years ago I had a wife, and a small son. We were happy,” he said bowing his head at the memory unable to look her in the eyes. “She had just given birth and wanted to spend some time with her mother while she gained her strength back. A raiding party came through and slaughtered every one of them in their sleep. Even my son.” He paused to catch his breath and collect his composure. His chest was burning it had become hard to breath, but he couldn’t stop. Not until he told her everything.
“He was just a baby for Christ’s sake,” he said, rubbing his forehead. On the verge of tears, he opened his eyes to distance himself from his memories and try to gain control of his feelings. He glanced up and noticed that Liya was crying.
Suppressing the desire to reach out and touch her, he pulled his thoughts together to continue on. If he stopped now there was no way he would finish. He needed to do this for her and more importantly for him.
“I was devastated. They had taken away my life, my reason for living. I wandered around like a zombie for days. One night I was at a bar, wasted completely out of my mind. I heard this guy blathering on about this vampire family that he and some of his low life friends had murdered during one of their night raids.”
He was trying to keep his emotions steady but he couldn’t. The crippling memories had become far too potent to keep ignoring. A single tear slid down his cheek as he forced himself to keep going, one agonizing word at a time. “I just lost it. I tore the place apart and anyone standing in my way never had a chance. The story of what happened got out and ever since people have been after me.”
He pinned her with a pleading gaze and grabbed her hands, lacing their fingers together. “Try to understand. I know that I lost it when I was in that bar, but that’s not how I truly am. Yes, I’ve killed a lot of humans, but they came after me, Liya. They were people looking to make a name for themselves among those who’ve decided to hunt vampires just for the fun of it.”
* * *
“Oh my God,” she said as a sob escaped her lips. The horror of what he’d witnessed must have been devastating. The pain in his eyes reached out to her, touched her, called to her. She wanted, no, needed to help heal his wounds, but how? She reached out and caressed his face with a feather light touch. He closed his eyes with a visible shudder.
She searched his face, wishing there was a way she could absorb some if his pain. He’d obviously been carrying these weighted emotions every since that horrible day. It broke her heart to see him like this. He gathered her in his arms and held her close, resting his face against her cheek. “Please don’t cry for me,” he whispered into her ear.
She dried her eyes with a corner of her shirt in an attempt to pull herself together. He needed comfort and here she was falling apart. Their eyes locked and she almost forgot to breathe. His intense stare was like a drug and she was an addict.
© Lauren Murphy, All rights reserved
Thanks for stopping by and please be sure to check out the stories below on the Summer Reading Trail and from Excerpt Monday!
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