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Written By: Robin Badillo
Published by: Devine Destinies
ISBN #:978-1-55487-686-0
Word Count:58500
Page Count: 234
Heat Level:
Price: $1.59
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Palm DOC/iSolo, Microsoft Reader, Hiebook, HTML, Mobipocket, Rocket, Epub, Sony PDF, Sony LRF

    I daydreamed and stared out the window above the sink, but too many things twirled in my head to concentrate on anything specific.
    I shivered as a chill flashed across the back of my neck and I spun around.
    Demetri stood right behind me, his cool breath poured down the back of my neck. Glaring at me, he didn't speak or respond to my startled reaction. He held his empty wine glass and I moved back as he leaned around me to put it in the sink. The gentle brush of his arm against my side made me woozy and my stomach flip-flopped.
    "I... I didn't see you there."
    "You didn't hear me either."
    "I'm sorry."
    "Don't apologize to me. I'm not the one at risk because you aren't paying attention. You are," he declared with a cold matter-of-fact tone.
    "I, um... I'm not used to everything yet."
    "I know that, but still, you should have developed the most basic survival skills within the first twenty-four hours."
    His intense stare bore through me and filled me with a mix of fear and defensive instincts.
    "I fed within the first few moments, even though I was alone."
    "A reptile can do that, Stray," he hissed.
    His hostility stirred something deep in the pits of my gut.
    "A reptile can be lethal at birth, too," I snarled back at the unwarranted insult.
    His eyes widened.
    I couldn't believe I'd snapped at the magnificent creature.
    "Is that so?" He growled.
    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his hand come at me. I deflected the blow, but he grabbed my arm and spun me away from him. He twisted and pinned it taut behind my back. Demetri pushed against me hard, his head bent over my shoulder. I watched his reflection in the windowpane as he growled in my ear. I was trapped.
    "You're such a child," he snarled. "You won't last long if you can't predict when and where an attack may come."
    "I don't plan on putting myself in a position to need protection."
    He loosened his grip, but didn't release me. "With that scent, Stray, you won't have a choice."
    I trembled at the thought that flashed through my mind of Quinton and what Porscha said about him tracking me to claim his creation. A profound shiver of fear rushed through me like a roller coaster.
    "Quinton," I whispered.
    He jerked me around, grasped my shoulders and almost lifted me off the ground. I winced, prepared for another attack.
    "What did you say?" He hissed. His stone cold black eyes locked onto mine with a sinister gaze. I was terrified.
    "I...I said Quinton."
    "What about Quinton?" He moved his snarling face close to my neck area and inhaled deep. His breath was cold. Although his scent was like nothing I'd ever smelled before, my instinct to survive was more prevalent than my urge to succumb to him.
    "I don't know who I am, my memory's gone." I began to explain. "Porscha said there was a possibility my creator may have been Quint--"
    He pushed me back and rubbed his jaw. Tension radiated from him. "Are you saying that Porscha thinks it was Quinton who..." His voice trailed off as he paced and stared at the floor.
    "She doesn't know and I can't remember anything from that night at all."
    I calmed a bit, as he came across more concerned with what I said than he was about me in general.
    "Nothing? You remember nothing?"
    "I don't even know my name, hence the nickname Stray." Sarcasm returned to my voice. I had a natural urge to remain guarded in his presence.
    "Oh, right." He looked up. "Well, if he is...and I'm not saying that he is, you're going to have a fight on your hands."
    "I never thought it would really come to that. I guess so much has happened, he slipped my mind." I stepped forward, but he moved back with his jaw clenched.
    "You can't ever forget the danger. Being a vampire doesn't make you immune to death." He spoke in a quieter voice, but his gaze remained distant.
    I thought of his wife and hoped he hadn't realized I knew how she'd died. It felt like an invasion of privacy. I slowly lowered the wall for a moment, as he appeared so vulnerable.
    "I understand. I'll be careful." I promised. I meant it but at the same time, I was no match for a thousand year old vampire sure to have powers like nothing I could fathom.
    "You must learn, Stray. You may not have time to wait for skills to develop."
    "How?" I didn't even know what my instincts were much less to understand and act.
    He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "I guess, if Porscha plans to keep you, I could show you a few things." He ran his fingers through his neatly kempt hair. "I'm not saying it'll keep you alive, but maybe it'll help." The tension eased a bit, but remained noticeable.
    "If he's my creator, is it even possible for me to resist him if I can't escape?"
    His eyes cut away for a second, as though he pondered the question, then much to my delight, his gaze returned to me. "The best scenario would be to make sure you never come face to face with him. That would be best for everyone."
    "That would be nice. Thank you, Demetri."
    "Don't thank me yet."
    Beauty radiated from him. Even through his anger and the way he'd lashed out, I sensed an unquestionable connection. He was like no man I'd ever imagined. I didn't have my memory, but the inexplicable feeling was deeper than any memory could be.
    He could very well be everything I thought he was the first moment I'd laid eyes on him, possibly much more. I hoped he continued to come around so I could figure out what it was about him that got to me.
    Somehow, I thought I saw something he may not have wanted anyone to see. I didn't know what it was, but my attraction was undeniable.
    Although unrequited, it didn't lessen the flutter of butterflies swarming in my stomach. It was apparent, the more I was around him the closer I came to losing myself.
    Whatever the risk, loss, discovery or outcome, life as a vampire was my reality and I began to embrace it without much effort.
    Terrified and perhaps even angry about the unknown events that led to my creation, for the first time I saw a silver lining as the tides appeared to turn in my favor. Who would have thought that the cold glare of a man I didn't even know could affect me in such a profound way? I couldn't help it, I liked it.

    Waking up in a strange place with no memory is hard enough, but when you unknowingly wake as a vampire with an insatiable desire to drain a stray cat of its life's blood--then you can bet that you're about to take a journey down a very bumpy road. Sydney Chance finds herself a stranger to her new life as well as the one she left behind. On a reluctant mission to uncover her past, Sydney's struggle with bloodlust is magnified when all of her senses draw her to a brooding and intriguing vampire named Demetri Bastian, who seems more intent on fighting her at every turn as he keeps her at arm's length while trying to protect and control. To make matters worse, a sadistic ancient vampire, who makes it his hobby to collect beautiful young women and keep them as pets, has his fangs set on Sydney. Not knowing her own name takes a back seat to the drama that unfolds all around her as she seeks revenge on the vampire who created her, sending her on a suspenseful trail of love, lies, betrayals, twists and turns that could quite possibly destroy her, immortal or not. Who says what you don't know can't hurt you?

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