Victoria stood in the woods that encased her home and stretched her arms above her head. Her waist-length blonde hair had been tied into a loose bun, and stray blonde wisps tickled against her tan face. Her white sports bra and black basketball shorts contrasted with each other across her tan skin, her bare feet caressed by the morning dew of the grass. She dropped her arms to her sides and slowly widened her stance. She smiled and stretched her legs as she pushed them apart. She had not gone on this type of run in months; she needed to make sure that her body would comply. Adrenaline filled her lungs, and her heart was beating so fast that she almost expected her chest to burst. A low purr erupted from her throat, and she grinned. It was torture to deny her wolf’s freedom for as long as she had, but even her run today would have restrictions. Father approved of the run but without a full transformation. Apparently, Father has a visitor today, and we can’t take any chances of my wolf being exposed.
When transformed, a Decant’s wolf assumed complete control; there were no coherent or logical thoughts, only pure animal instinct. Only fellow Decant remained unharmed by a Decant in transformation, but all other species were in danger if they crossed paths with a fully transformed Decant. A Decant wolf would attack animals, humans, and whatever else she may encounter. That’s why we live outside away from humans. She tilted her face up to the sun and closed her eyes as the warmth of the sun enveloped her body. Only pureblood Decants possessed the ability to shift at will, and the ability to control their shift, but they did still respond to the call of the full moon when the time came; half-blood or turned Decants were only able to transform at the mercy of the full moon, not of will. I wonder if half-bloods or turned Decants feel their wolves like I feel mine.
Victoria was the Heiress to the Decant throne. Her father, Nicholas, was her pack’s current Alpha. Only pureblood Decants were promised the role of Alpha or Luna, since they were the strongest among their kind. Victoria’s mother, Natalie, her father’s Luna, passed away fifty-five years ago, and her father had not taken another Luna since. Decants mated for life, and, when one mate passed before the other, the widowed mate mourned twice. Not only did Nicholas take Natalie as his mate, but Nicholas’ wolf accepted Natalie’s wolf as his mate. Father was so devastated by her death that his wolf didn’t surface again for at least a year.
Victoria was two hundred years old, and still had not found a suitable mate. Her wolf was easy to please because her animal instinct enjoyed the affections of another wolf, but those were just affections to Victoria. She cared for some of her suitors over the years, but falling in love was foreign to her. As Heiress, most of the Decants sought her out for the potential to become her Alpha, to obtain the power that becoming her mate offered. She knew not to commit until her heart, and the person’s intentions, were true, but neither had happened yet. Some were great fucks, though. Victoria grinned as her wolf purred with arousal. But fucking does not mean that the man is fit for the crown. Decants had reached out since Mother’s death, as Victoria’s time to reign approached, but her wall of caution and apprehension never faltered.
Victoria shook her head and her shoulders. The smell of pine needles mingled with grass flooded her nose. Her wolf grumbled with agitation and impatience. Victoria opened her eyes, and their electric blue color converted to a fiery, bright gold as she allowed her wolf to assume control. Her small hands and feet shifted into paws with blonde fur. Her fingernails and toenails were overrun with thick, black claws. Her jaw cracked and widened to allow her canine teeth to push through her gums. Her top two canine teeth touched the center of her chin, and her bottom two canine teeth touched just above her top lip. Her long, slick tongue grazed over her canines lovingly. I’ve missed this, but it’s not near enough. Victoria and her wolf both craved the full transformation like an addict that craved her next fix. Letting her take control is so freeing. Although pureblood Decants could shift at will, the duration of their transformation was the same; Decants remained locked in their wolf forms until sunrise of the following day. The full moon will be here again soon, and then we can play. For now, we run.
Victoria took off in a sprint, and the trees blurred beside her. The crisp air saturated her lungs as she drank in each breath. The grass beneath her feet grew slick as she gained speed. She dropped down and pushed harder as she ran on all four paws. Her claws sank into the morning soil effortlessly and ripped up bits of grass as she ran. She reached a tall maple tree with claw marks at the base that marked the property border. She growled and ran toward the tree even faster. She thrust herself into a leap and landed on the tree itself. Her claws dug into the bark as she climbed into the tree. She turned around and gazed at the path that she had just taken. Her house loomed in the distance. Her wolf whined softly in protest. She doesn’t want to go back, but Father insisted that I was present for his meeting. I need to shower first, but we’ll make the run home count. Her wolf grunted in approval, and Victoria leaped into the next tree. She dipped her head down and allowed her snout to push through her regular nose as she inhaled deeply. Both Victoria and her wolf enjoyed the smells of nature compared to the city.
Victoria leaped to the next tree and her stomach ached with hunger. Decants ate regular food like humans, but this hunger was deeper. She needed a heart. She leaped into the next tree quickly. Decants valued life and refused to hunt for their satisfaction in any living creature, including humans, so they relied on the dead. Victoria had a fresh heart once when she was a child and her transformation during the full moon was not monitored. She had made it all the way into town and killed a homeless man. Victoria jumped between the trees faster, and her stomach gnawed at her. She had been punished for her crime, deprived of a heart of any kind for two weeks. But the punishment was not the problem. The withdrawals were. She had never tasted a heart so rich, so juicy, so perfect before. She had devoured that heart in seconds, and her mother caught her before she could kill her second target. The human heart possessed her with a blood lust like no other craving.
Victoria landed on the ground in front of her house, her feet discomforted by the gravel driveway. She transformed back to her human state as she walked up the large driveway, the two-story brick house a mansion. She walked up the steps to the big, wooden double doors with flower-etched glass consuming the doors, as if the wood of the doors were just a frame for art. She pulled open one of the doors, and the spiral staircase of the house greeted her. To her right sat a long dining table made of solid black marble in the center of the dining room. Five wooden chairs sat on each long side of the table with one chair at the head of the table and one chair at the foot of the table.
Victoria walked through the dining room into the kitchen and was blinded by the bright white contrast. She opened the fridge and withdrew a red mason jar. She unscrewed the lid and pressed her lips to the rim as she drank the blood greedily. To extend the shelf life of the hearts, the mason jars that they resided in were filled with the host’s blood. Not all Decants cared for the taste of blood; some preferred the taste of the heart muscle directly, but Victoria craved both. The slick blood worked its way down her throat, and a deep purr rumbled in her throat as she savored the taste. She cracked her jaw and released her canines as her mouth widened. The heart in the jar slipped into her mouth, and her canines devoured it quickly. As the shredded heart slid down her throat, she and her wolf issued a growl that reverberated off the kitchen walls. Her long tongue slid over her lips and canines as she placed the jar in the sink, then glanced at the clock on the wall. “Shit,” she muttered. Father’s guest is on his way.
Victoria quickly exited the kitchen and rushed up the staircase. She entered her bedroom, her large king bed disheveled in front of her. Maroon silk sheets blanketed the bed, and a white comforter wrapped around her pillows. She entered her closet and withdrew a pair of jeans and a blue halter top with a strapless black bra and black thong. She laid all her clothes on her bed, then entered her bathroom and quickly stripped out of her clothes.
The heat of the shower water relaxed her muscles and soothed her aching body. Victoria had transformed many times in her lifetime, but it never stopped hurting. You just get used to the pain. She tugged the ponytail out of her bun and allowed her long hair to fall freely amongst her body. She washed and rinsed herself off and shut off the shower. She exited the shower and wrapped a white towel around her body. She faced the mirror and began brushing her hair. I wonder who he’s meeting. He usually tells me, but this time he chose not to. Something’s wrong. She looked at herself in the mirror as she finished brushing her hair and set her brush on the counter.
Decant bodies stopped aging after twenty-five years old in human years, but Victoria swore that she looked her age sometimes, mostly when she reminisced on past decades. She quickly dried herself off and slipped into her clothes with a pair of black combat boots. She heard a motorcycle in the distance. Father’s guest. She tied her boots and stood up. The smell of exhaust flooded her nose as the motorcycle entered the property, and the engine cut off as it parked. Burning firewood and musk with a hint of morning dew invaded Victoria’s nose, and she grinned. Why didn’t Father tell me it was him? She exited her room and leaned against the banister of the stairs as her father walked to the door. Once the door opened, the smell struck Victoria in the face as the guest entered the house.
Father’s guest was Jonathon Normand, Master of the vampire race. Jonathon’s six-foot-tall frame had towered over Victoria’s five-foot frame for years. Jonathon had short, black hair, with striking emerald eyes. The swell of his arm muscles teased the strength of his black shirt, his chest muscles damn near perfectly outlined. He had a black motorcycle helmet in his right hand that rested against his right leg. He wore a pair of jeans that gripped his leg muscles tightly, and his combat boots wiped off dirt before he fully entered the house.
The man was gorgeous. Sinfully sexy. We’re two different species, but I’m not blind. I can still enjoy looking at him. She splayed her arms out against the banister and leaned into it as she spoke. “If I could be more damned than I already am,” Victoria said, and Jonathon’s head jerked toward her direction in surprise. “Jonny Normand is at my house. To what do we owe the honor?”