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For centuries Nico Harkness knew only immortality and taking lives. Falling for a Spanish witch burned at the stake years ago, he lived with the regret of never falling in love with a mortal again. The memory of it was too painful, even for him. Moving to the city, he adapted to his surroundings. Until someone familiar from his past brought him out of the shadows. Emilia Warren found herself reading to pass the time at the bookstore she worked at. She would always immerse herself in all kinds of stories. Ones that took her to mystical lands and sometimes she felt like she was living in those worlds. One rainy night, she wasn't sure if she was dreaming into one of her many books or living out a fantasy of her own.

Fantasy / Romance
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

September 21
New York City

Nico Harkness shut the door to his abandoned house. Hardly anyone squatted here and no one would even look inside since the outside shown a decrepit nature. No one suspected him then, no one does now. If they had any idea who he was, they wouldn’t, but if they had, let’s just say it would be handled.

He couldn’t forget the ring he wore today walk with. It was like a lifesaver each time. This time a night was personally delicious. He can almost smell the meals walking around as soon as he left for the city. They would never know, they never did, he was that quick, steadfast. Around this time they wouldn’t pose a challenge for him. Although it’s always entertaining when they do fight back, it only makes their blood boil in his favor.

The city was cold but he barely felt it. He didn’t feel much of anything for centuries. Buried in the depths of his past, he preferred it that way. Easier for the lifestyle. The one he grew accustomed to for hundreds of years. Immortality isn’t something to accept lightly. Humans are malleable, they break, they weaken, they feel too much. Life is easier to live without complications. Want. Take. Have. A phrase he does well with as time went by.

He lived everywhere, had many different names, held professions, obtained degrees, and spoke several European languages; being a scholar where he currently lived isn’t unique. New York had a fine history with European life that he found personally gratifying, much more than feeding. Although the exhilarating taste of a human’s blood is like no other. He required and needed it; survive off it like oxygen to humans.

He didn’t remember much of his human life before he was sired, maybe that was a choice or possibly reverting changed something within the chemicals of his brain; therefore rendering his former self dead to now being undead.

This life isn’t for everyone, what he could remember was struggling with the inner blood lust. Savage, slaughtering everything in sight, having no direction. When he was sired he didn’t have a strategic way to maim without being seen, captured, and executed by the town folk. That was then, it was easier to fool mankind without much law and order. Especially in Elizabethan London, quite a time he would say. He almost took a progeny, someone he could say he made like him. But he preferred being alone.

The parts he desired the most, at night, the stalking, prowling, watching; he was an observer. He knew it all, can hear the heartbeats, sense the vibrations pounding against their hollow chests. It’s intoxicating, the enthrall of the chase. It took years to master, he had to teach himself, in the shadows. Watching one by one as a group would scatter, it was always a woman. Males were fine, he had the power to compel anyone to do his bidding. Women were always his main prey by choice.

They were vulnerable, lonely, and needed attention. Most he met, wanted a way out. Whether it was out of their life or something, he gave that to them. Nico had been living this way for so long he didn’t know any other way to be. He embraced being a vampire more than his life as a human. Ironically he was finally living.

He turned his head sharply to the noise coming from the alleyways. The rain had stopped and the streets were glistening on the shiny pavement, puddles galore and droplets hanging from store windows. It was past eleven, he knew the drunkards and junkies were out and about, too easy. He wanted to have a little fun, as he always did. He craved a woman right now.

Prostitutes were a sweet get; far as he was concerned. They lacked better judgment, and families or friends to protect them. In Nico’s eyes, they were asking for it. Rarely did he sleep with them, would be an added bonus. When he was starving he wouldn’t waste any time in staking and executing for his meals. Their blood was never fresh, not like a virgin’s, or a witch’s. The whores always tasted of cigarettes and drugs, but it was enough if he totally drained them and left them for burial in the riverbank. Good thing the wharf was nearly milky with fog, or else someone would have caught him. Then what? Nothing, he’d be too fast for them to even notice.

New York’s frosted weather, even on the first day of Fall, made the temperature of the blood surrounding him lukewarm, no matter who he fed on, it was like somebody reheating an already cooked meal in the microwave. Not the same.

Nico’s newest transformation made him appear like a European model with broken English, non-descriptive English always did the job. No one can resist his charms as soon as he spoke in that British brogue he often projected. He used many accents to lure his prey in, what seemed to work lately was his Irish accent. From what he could recall of his human life, his great ancestors were from the countryside of Ireland. It just came naturally to him. He didn’t use it often, but when he did, people always looked at him like he was an alien and found him appealing.

Human life spans were very short, no one who knew him long enough had survived the years to catch up to his level. No questions were asked, he was practically a ghost.

Then it happened...he spotted a tall, leggy, blonde woman, no older than 25, standing on the corner of an abandoned street corner. It was like she was asking him to take her life. Do these people even care to make the most of their short existences? Nico didn’t understand nor did he care much. She was perfect, right up his alley.

He wanted to make it a personal enjoyment to mess with her slightly, just in case, her blood boils right before he attacked. All his victims were vulnerable, he made sure of that. He was faster than any of them, even the athletic men who clearly ran daily. This one had a doll face, if he had a beating heart, he’d feel bad for her, but he didn’t. He desired her flesh more.

She jumped, large breasts popping out of her halter top, shaking. This wasn’t going to be hard at all, Nico smirked as he looked her up and down, drinking in her image before his ritual. She really was buxom, completely his type, only the dyed blonde hair made her look cheap like she would sell her whole existence for $10 a night. He wouldn’t be surprised if she had. He met many streetwalkers during his early years of night stalking, they were no different, and all bowed down eventually.

“Hey...ya scared me there.” Her voice was meek and musky like she smoked 2 packs of cigarettes every day.

He pursed his lips, peeling his body off the brick building and sauntering over to her. “Wanna get outta here?”

She smiled, enticed. “OK, are you generous?”

“Always.” He said, locking eyes with her suddenly.

His eyes transformed into a soft light piercing blue that drilled its way through her entire body. She came closer to him, clinging to his body as she pushed against him.

“Hmm, you’re so cold, baby.” She purred. “What do ya want?”

He titled his head, “Just you.” He opened his mouth and two puncturing fangs dropped down instantly.

She screamed as he plunged himself into her neck, pinning her against the wall harshly, drawing in his first taste. He brought the aggression before she made any more sounds, his kills were rapid but enough. He made sure to drain until he heard her heart stop beating completely. She tasted shockingly sweet, like nectar and mangoes. He pulled back and licked his crimson-stained lips, getting every last drop.

He looked around swiftly before picking up her lifeless body and dumping it over the wharf docks. Just as he suspected, the fog did its job and made him anonymous. Not that he was worried about being caught. He never got caught and he was never going to. Looking back he had no regrets. The girl was sad, sure, but she asked for it, just like so many that sulk around the streets looking to earn a quick dollar.

He fixed his collar, masking part of his face as he walked away at a normal speed. Nico didn’t realize he was in Manhattan, the last place he wanted to be doing his feeding. As tempting as it was to stalk and pummel the rich and glamorous, he passed for the quiet life in the rough cities. The rich areas weren’t his style, if only for a couple of things standing in his way. He would actually get away with it if it weren’t for those sad-looking husbands that go everywhere with their wives. They normally had bodyguards and massive amounts of power at their disposal. Too many people would know, would go searching, would find out vampires really do exist.

But then, why did he care? He could kill as many people as he wanted, even destroy a whole town and still get away with it if he wanted to.

The mystery was always the key to his, and others like him, prolonged existence. He aimed to keep it that way. The last time any mortal found out who he really was, that was the end of it. He truly didn’t wish to dig up those painful memories ever again. Never again, humans mean nothing to him.

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