A kidnapped child, a young woman in charge of protecting her, a newly created vampire, and a city cast in darkness. Three innocent lives are about to change.
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Amara loves her job caring for Felicity, the child stolen from her parents by the vampire queen. Gifted with more power than a child should possess, Felicity escapes to look for her mother and father, and takes Amara with her. Thrust into a strange, dark world, Amara’s loyalty and caregiving skills will be put to the test.
Dusty hoped to finish college and become a biologist. Until a sadistic vampire kidnapped, tortured, and turned him. When he’s taken out to find his own victim, Dusty’s chance to free himself arrives in the form of a bright white flash, a beautiful young blonde, and a small child with the ability to incinerate anything and anyone with merely a thought. As the three work together to find Felicity’s parents, Dusty and Amara discover a deep affection for each other.
Can their budding relationship survive the power struggle between warring vampire factions?
“My name is Dusty Ryder, and I am twenty years old. My parents are Alan and Eleanor Ryder. I have two sisters, Alana and Leah. I’m going to attend MIT to become a biologist.
“My name is Dusty Ryder, and I refuse to give in. I won’t let them win. They will not beat me down. I am stronger than that.”
Yet it was so tempting to give in, to slip into a comatose state, to tuck his mind away to a better place where animals didn’t torture and starve and beat humans, a place with bright sunshine, green grass, and a warm summer breeze...
That was exactly what they wanted.
So he fought to stay sane, to keep even a small portion of himself alive.
He shivered in the cold cell he’d been kept in for months now. No use asking for a blanket. They wanted to make him as uncomfortable as possible so he would eventually break.
He should never have stopped to help the young woman with the broken-down car on the side of the road. But she had been all alone at night, with the nearest city miles away. It would have been wrong of him to drive away. Dusty wished he’d known it had all been a ploy to capture him. That three vampires waited in the trees, ready to jump him. He hadn’t even known such creatures existed.
He knew differently now.
The jingle of keys startled him. As Dusty curled in a ball, tucking himself as tightly to the wall as possible, the door swung open.
“Hello, my boy.”
No, not him. Please, anyone but him.
The door clicked shut. He refused to look up.
“I’m told you’re refusing the blood that is being brought to you.”
Don’t look into his eyes, don’t acknowledge him, and maybe this time he will go away. Yeah, right.
The bed creaked, giving way to the pressure of the body sitting on the end. Dusty inched a little closer to the wall, wishing desperately he could melt into it.
“Have they told you what happens to vampires if they don’t feed?”
He didn’t care. He just wanted him to go away.
“Have you ever seen a drug addict go through withdrawal? It is very similar, only the lack of oxygenated blood in your system causes your mind to go a little crazy. Because the moment you drink a vampire’s blood, it takes over, killing off the human blood that remains in your system. Vampire blood has less oxygen, hence the sickly gray color. As long as you drink the blood, your body is okay, but the instant you cut off the supply, your body goes into a state of frenzy and starts killing off brain cells. And if that weren’t bad enough, your lust for blood grows tenfold encouraging you to do anything to get it.”
Icy fingers grabbed his chin, forcing him to look into cold yellow eyes. “Including ripping open a human to drain it as quickly as possible. Is that what you wish to have happen to you, my boy?”
“I’m not your boy,” Dusty spat. He refused to show the pain he felt when the nails dug into his face.
“Oh, but you are. The instant you drew my blood into your veins you became mine. It has been some time since I was treated to virginal blood. Yours was exactly what I needed to rejuvenate myself after that infidel, Fritz, kept me drugged and locked away. I feel so much stronger now, and I wish you to feel the same way.”
“Go to hell!” My name is Dusty. I’m twenty years old. I’m going to MIT. I’m human, I’m—
“So be it.”
The vampire slammed Dusty’s hand against the wall. A glint of silver blinded him right before a knife pierced his palm. He screamed. His vision blurred and bile rose to sting his throat.
“Now, do you wish to drink, or shall I do the same to the other hand?”
His throat burning, he managed to swallow the vomit threatening to spill. “Go to hell!”
“Have it your way.”
Another knife jammed into Dusty’s other hand, and this time he couldn’t keep it down. Hot vomit spewed from his mouth, and darkness clouded his vision.
The sting of a hand slapping across his face drew him back. “Drink?”
“Please. Why are you doing this to me?”
“Because I can.”
“I won’t give in.” Those long, icy fingers squeezed his throat, and as he looked into the face of his tormentor, the man’s lips parted into a grotesque smile. His free hand lifted, and he twisted the knife in Dusty’s palm.
He screamed, he cried, and he begged. “Okay, okay, please make it stop.”
“I knew you would come around.” The creep released the handle of the blade and pressed a wrist to Dusty’s mouth.
Though Dusty wanted to refuse, something inside, something unfamiliar, pulled at him and made him crave what he couldn’t understand. Looking down at the arm in front of him, alien instinct compelled him to take it. He clamped his teeth into the flesh, and though he wanted to vomit as the skin tore under his teeth, the thirst took over.
His name was Dusty Ryder, and he had given in.
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