Kiss Me, Kill Me, Bite Me…Why I chose a title like THIS!
This title might seem unexpected for a romance, but after giving it careful thought, I had to follow my gut instinct and use it. When you’re a reader of paranormal romance, you expect a hero with some bite. Quinn, isn’t your typical hero. He starts the story as more of a villain. This is the story of a woman who finds herself caught between who she is and what she is. It’s a tale of internal struggle and striving for holding onto who you want to be. I loved writing this story. It’s different from any of the other books on my backlist. I normal write about heroes who start out as the good guy, but Quinn makes many mistakes, unforgivable choices. Finding it in your heart to forgive is hard, even when you have eternity to work it out together.
Turned during the vampire war of the 1940’s, Eden lost her family and the only life she’d ever known. Murdered by the man she loved, she resents him to this day.
Quinn died as a human doctor on the European front lines, a victim of a vampire. Discovering his beloved Eden moved on, he does the only thing he can think of – kills her so they can be together forever.
His path has been shaped by her revulsion over what he made her. Her desire for what she lost has made her hate everything about what she is. Can love find away after decades of pain to bring them together again?
I drive past a very large cemetery every day on my way to work. I love paranormal romance and wanted to do something unique with vampires, something a bit darker than my typical work. This story creates an alternative history for our world and gives us a glimpse of what life might be like if vampires ran the world. I enjoyed telling Eden’s story in her own voice, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it too.
I walk alone through the night – smelling the air. I’m surprised as I detect the fragrance of life in this place of death. Something smells delicious and I can feel my hunger roaring within me; I’m starving. I’d not taken nourishment for three days. Usually I abstain as long as possible. Jasmine, my roommate, said I’m the only anorexic vampire she’s ever met. Thinking of Jasmine always makes me smile. She has a way of turning my melancholy into joy. Jasmine loves being what we are. I hate it. It was so long ago that I was a woman who lived and breathed sometimes I cannot remember what it was like to be alive. Jaz always says it is best to forget. She experienced a lot of pain when she was alive. My life was happy. I guess that’s what makes the difference in our feelings on the subject. I love Jaz like a sister, but when she feeds, it makes me sick. I’m sure I’m the only vampire who’s ever blanched at the sight of blood. Seeing how much Jaz enjoyed the feast, taking twisted sexual pleasure in the kill, makes me cringe.
I’ll never be human again. I’d not have chosen this life. While I may be dead, I can still end my existence. I just don’t have the courage. I’ve never taken a life and I hate being inhuman and unholy. Jaz said I’m full of it and that if God hated vampires he’d never have created us; we are like a lion eating a zebra and God doesn’t hate lions. I always bite my tongue, but I know zebras don’t eat zebras so that makes me inhuman.
A virus has created my species and while I understand the science behind my kind, that still doesn’t make it okay or take the stain off my soul. My friends at the blood bank say I’m just overly dramatic and need to stop thinking like I’m a damned monster.
I’ve been a vampire since 1945. Today is my birthday, but I’ve been dead seventy-eight years. If I was going to enjoy what I am, I think it’d have started by now. My birthday makes me sad, as it is also the anniversary of my death.
This morning when I looked in the mirror at my smooth albeit pale skin, I tried to imagine what I would have looked like if I were still mortal. I thought of the wrinkles, the age spots. I’d gladly trade my eternal youth for those wrinkles and the memories they’d have come with. I’m a grandmother; my little girls are old ladies now, too. It is hard to imagine what my little beauties look like by now.
I feel the pain gripping my stomach as I move closer to the delicious scent. In a graveyard on the vampire side of town near the boundary at midnight, any human foolish enough to be here must want to die. Killing humans is against the law; turning humans can only be done in extreme cases, such as terminal cancer. Even with all the paperwork and legalities, there are still humans who long to be what I am. It never ceases to surprise me when I hear of someone who has recently turned.
I was made during the vampire wars, it was a long time ago but humans have never forgiven my kind, I cannot blame them, I hate the one who turned me as much as the humans hate me.
I see the foolish mortal, young and female. She can’t be older than sixteen; the delightful aroma is making it very clear. My mouth waters, my incisors extend, a reflex out of my control. My keening moan of hunger makes the mortal glance around, looking for danger. I’m torn between running away from the girl and running towards her. I want to sink my fangs into her while ripping out her throat to feel her warm delicious blood run down my throat and filling me with her sweet tender life. These thoughts I’ve no control over and it makes me shudder with a monstrous ecstasy. This was not who I want to be. My inner predator is awake and ready, adrenaline spikes in anticipation of the hunt. I’m unable to control the instinct even as my mind rebels against my need.
She’s a dark mortal, one of the kids dressed in black who’s painted her face white wearing black lipstick and black nail polish. I can tell she’s dyed her light hair unnaturally black. They hang out in moody little packs like groupies at the blood bank.
Jaz loves them. She owns one of the hottest underground vampire clubs in the city. Jaz turned in 1899 and that is how she came up with the name of her business. Human hunts take place weekly at Club 99. For the right price, a vampire can purchase a mortal to kill. Her voluntary humans are dark mortals who’ve fooled themselves into believing the sensuality of the vampire is worth death, or that they can convince the vampire who bought them to turn them. Jaz imports most of her humans from poor countries. Some were sold by their starving families. It always makes me sick to see them brought in. Their terror hurts me, even as I feel the same sick desire as the others who watch and long for the chase. Jaz leads them to the mazes where the screams echo as they are murdered.
I love Jaz, but I hate what she does. I owe Jaz a lot; she’s the one who rescued me, and taught me I can eat without killing. I’d have starved to death otherwise.
The little dark mortal is sitting on a gravestone writing in a little book looking unhappy. I want to laugh and cry as I watch her pretend to be a part of my dark, cold world. In the distance, I can hear the whistle of a steam engine and see the smoke. I’ve not been on a train for many years. It is only recently the trains started running again in this part of the country. There is so much death and devastation from the last of the wars. This little morsel of a mortal has never experienced the fear and hunger of war; the last of the terrible battles ended in 1989, the year the first vampire president made the reservations. He signed human protection bills, making random slaughter a crime. Those laws preserve our food source. Without his leadership, the world would probably be a burnt, empty lifeless husk by now.
I watch the girl. The demon within me comes to life. With my unnatural movements, I’m beside her soundlessly. I’m nothing but another night shadow to her. I feel drool running down my face as I salivate thinking of letting myself forget, lost in the bliss of my bloodlust. I battle my inner demons more fiercely than I’ve had to in seventy-eight years.
She is turning and looking at me. I have the sharp night vision of my kind and see her pupils dilating with her sudden fear. I smell the adrenaline in her blood it only seasons the already delicious life flowing in her veins. I want to give in to the beast. I feel my nails piercing the skin of my palms and my own blood dripping down my hands as I fight with myself not to kill the foolish child.
“Do you really want to die so badly tonight?”
She shudders, I can hear her fear and I smell it in her blood.
“I want to be like you and do anything I want. I want to have the power you have and live forever. Please, make me a vampire.”
I laugh. It sounds demonic to my own ears. Her impassioned plea is breaking my heart even as it fuels my ravenous hunger.
“I wouldn’t be able to give you eternal life child, only eternal death. If I let myself taste the nectar of your veins, I’ll kill you. You don’t want to be me.” I hear the menace of my predatory instinct.
She looks so afraid. I feel a little sorry for her, but only a little. Each second she sits there, I want to take the sweet blood her frail human body houses. I finally snap, giving in to what I’ve denied for so long. I lunge, grabbing her hair and yanking her head back, ready. I know later I’ll tell myself it was her fault and I’m the victim of her poor choice. Finding my iron control again, I gritting my teeth and tell her how she can spare herself.
“Don’t run, get up slowly and walk away, backwards so that I can see your very human face. Don’t run until you are far from me, then run back across the border to the safety of your reservation and your parents. I don’t want to take your frail life. There is five hundred feet between you and the safety of your reservation. Once you cross the line, it will be physically impossible for me to reach you. Start now, go.”
Fear causes her to stumbling away. I have to hold back. Inside me, the predator screams and thrashes, desperately wanting to chase the child down and devour her. I remind myself of what I have lost, she could be my granddaughter. That thought reins in the beast, giving the girl a little more time.
I feel my muscles bunching, ready to spring after the meal getting away. I’ve never been on a hunt, but the instinct is natural for my kind. I know what to do. Being a good girl for so long, I deserve to enjoy the snack who’s offered her blood up to me. She is obviously unhappy; I’d be doing her a favor.
I no longer need to rationalize the monster’s in control now. I’ll have her. She’s close to her point of safety I will not have much time to capture her. I feel the predator take over completely. Screaming a primal rage of my inner evil, my voice sounds like a wild cat to my own ears. I spring after the terrified teenager.
She is only a few feet from safety, but I’m fast, motivated, and I can hear her pants of fear and exhaustion. She is close to being out of reach. I push forward finding a burst of speed. I know that she will see my red feral eyes as she dies and I laugh at the thought. She loves the darkness and I am going to love eating her up. I reach forward; my nails have grown more claw-like, weapons to take down my prey. I have her. She’s mine. Victory is all mine to enjoy. I snarl my triumph.
A hard force rams into me and sends me flying. I fall sprawling away from the tender vittles that have just made it safely where I cannot cross. I snarl. Something has stopped me from having what is mine. I’ve come of age tonight. I starved the monster free in my attempt to kill it. I push against the ground something heavy is on my back and I kick and thrash trying to free myself.
Hearing the voice, I wonder if my hunger is causing a hallucination.
“My God Eden, when was the last time you ate something. You’re so thin. I feel like I might’ve broken you. We need to get some nourishment into you.”
Quentin, a nightmare from my past, is holding me down, keeping me from my desired objective. I only hate one person – Quinn, the creature who took everything from me. I am staring into his beautiful blue eyes. Once I cared for him very deeply.
Quinn picks me up as if I weigh nothing. He holds me too tightly for my weak body to escape. My inner monster roars with her angry indignity. How dare he do this? He was the one who first tried to get me to kill. He was the one who wanted me to relish this life, and now, after seventy plus years, I’ve finally let the monster he has planted inside of me loose and he’s decided I’m not allowed to be what he made me? I kick out at him; the rumble of his masculine chuckle only enrages me more, making my hatred grow. I bite down on him hard. His blood rushes into my mouth. Vampires don’t usually drink from each other, too cannibalistic even for monsters, I guess. I remember the taste of him even after all these years. He tastes exotic on my tongue; I’ve ingested a lot of different blood types, but none like his. Strangely, it satisfies the monster in my soul. I hear him moan. I taste the change in him, his desire. Even after all these years, it seems everything I do makes him want me.
Being away from the girl’s blood is clearing my mind. I will still rip her throat out in a second, if given the chance, but I feel my control returning. Feeling lightheaded, I pull my mouth from the wound on his shoulder; my tongue swirls across and closes the two punctures my teeth left in him. I wonder if he’s uncomfortable with his lack of control. He’s never been able to control himself when it comes to me.