MIDNIGHT. IT WAS THE time of the creeps. The time of the rejects. The time when all the night stalkers that hid in the shadows of daylight, could roam free. It was the time when the unforgivable, undesirable, and unmentionable occurred.
Beyond the curtains of black gossamer stood a city that crept with untapped desire. It’s population screamed for a wild adventure, yearning to taste all that the shadows had to offer. Who were they to deny it?
The flesh was their playground. It held so many secrets and desires. It told them all that they needed to know. Oh, how there was so much to learn in this city of sweet, sweet sin.
Red heels clicked on the concrete floors, soft and elegant. It was barely noticeable over the sound of rhythmic rock music. Bodies swayed, and lips parted in sweet moans as heated bodies clashed—and still those red heels echoed.
He focused himself on the conversation before him, trying to tune out the sound of those elegant pumps.
“Pity. Her blood was almost as sweet as her flesh,” the rather wicked Evie said. She picked under her claw-like nail, removing whatever was stuck beneath them. “It’s so hard to find good food these days.”
Evie had been born into aristocracy, and had a sort of way that she carried herself. Her porcelain flesh was unaging, forever held at a youthful twenty-two. A pair of ice blue eyes were enough to unnerve any man, though the way her black-blue curls caressed her cheeks, softened the dagger-like gaze they always held.
“I’m sorry. You were saying something?” He sipped at his drink, barely stomaching its contents.
It had been a while since his last drink, and his stomach was ready to wrench the alcohol. He wasn’t on strike from his thirst, but he much rather preferred a willing victim. It was easier on his conscience.
“Same old Nico. Always daydreaming.” Her eyes scanned the crowd of mortals around them. “At least assure me you were daydreaming about a meal.” She licked her fangs.
His eyes followed hers. “Something like that.” His gaze landed on the red heels, and followed up their host’s long legs. Beautiful. “If you’ll excuse me.” Nico set his glass down on the table.
He stood, and started making his way through the dancing bodies. He followed the sound of echoing pumps, a siren’s call to him.
As quickly as she appeared, she had disappeared. If Nico knew better, he would have assumed she was a vampire— like him and Evie. He knew all the vampires in his proximity. She was not one of them.
He started back to his seat with his companion, when the smell of roses hit his nose. It tantalized him, beckoning him to follow. Oh, how he did.
Nico didn’t do this normally. He behaved. He never drew from the crowd, because he knew what was good for him.
Hunters were everywhere, and knew just how to lure his kind away. Lucky for him, he was far more powerful than a hunter could handle.
Roses still filled his nostrils, and he could hardly think. Those long legs entranced him, and by the gods he would learn who was at the helm of them.
Nico rounded a corner, the sound of music starting to dim. The sound of clicking heels grew louder. They echoed in the long hall, dim lights giving him traces of deep, blood colored hair.
He would have his hands entangled in those lovely locks if it were the last thing he’d do. Nico practically sprinted to her, his food steps silent and swift. She was so close, he could feel the warmth of her flesh. Suddenly, she wasn’t.
“You’re quick,” a sultry voice whispered across his skin. By the gods, the heat was enough to send him over the edge—not that it would take much lately.
Fingertips ran over his shoulders, sneaking beneath the collar of his suit jacket. All at once, he was forced to turn around. He saw her, and all that she was.
The soft glow of her ember eyes were a dead ringer for her kind. Never mind the red hair, or intense body heat. There was no denying that this woman was a phoenix. Very far away from home.
The shoulders of her black as sin dress hung so elegantly off her shoulders. The soft pout of her rose painted lips, teased him. Nico wanted to bite down on them. He wanted to know the taste of her blood, and if it was identical to her scent.
“I’ve been looking for you, vampire.” She licked her lips, the pink little tip catching his eye. “I hunted you for a while, but finally caught your scent here.” She stepped closer to him.
Gods! Her scent was so strong. It drove him crazy. If she wasn’t careful, he’d mark her and keep her for a while. At least until he got bored of her.
She flattened a palm on his chest. Her ember eyes looked him up and down, enveloping him in an invisible, white-hot flame. This woman knew exactly who she was, and what she could do to a man. He didn’t though.
Nico tried to side-step this woman, but she moved with him in unison.
She got closer. “You’re my mate," she whispered into his ear.
He chuckled. “I have no mate.” Nico pushed her aside.
She cocked a red brow at him. “Your mate’s name is Aster the Singed, of the North Phoenix clan. I am Aster.” She met his gaze, seeming to wait for his approval. She wouldn’t get it.
Nico was sure of very few things in his life. That vampires were the most annoying species on the earth. That he had a long, miserable life. Lastly, that he would never have a mate. It was destined for him from the beginning. His mate would be no one, and no one shall be his mate.
She scowled at him. The dim glow in her eyes, caught full flame. Her nostrils flared. “I was warned this would happen. That you would not accept me.” The flame died in her eyes. “I can scent your thirst. Feed.” She offered her neck to him. “After all, it’s my duty to ensure your health and happiness as your mate.” She looked away from him, moving her hair to one side.
Nico knew better than to deny a meal. He snaked an arm around her petite waist, holding her hostage. He dug his fangs into her flesh, and the raging fire in her blood consumed him, filling him with a newfound desire. A desire to claim all that this woman was.