Title: Blood Secrets
Published On: April 22 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published Purchase Links:
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When your life is messed up to begin with, how much worse can it really get?
Heather Ryan's life has never been simple. The latest in a long line of descendants who have made it their mission to hunt down and slay the Ancient Vampire, Marko Pavel, she is also the first born Infected. Up until recently, the biggest downside to living with the Vampyrric Virus was simply that she craved blood, but after receiving a DVD from her deceased Grandmother Sofia and being kidnapped with friend and so called guardian Werewolf, Brendan Daniels, she quickly discovers that she is also the inspiration behind the Vampires’ attempt to create a whole new breed of super monsters—Hybrids.
The truth comes at a cost, but how much does one have to sacrifice to gain success?
Following the breadcrumbs left by her psychic Grandmother, Heather and Brendan find themselves in new territory. Venice is where Heather hopes to find Marie, the second Bloodling of Marko, along with Brendan's three taken Pack members. But an old Peace Pact between the Italian Pack and the Colony means they are left hunting blind, and due to the Italian Alpha's reluctance to believe their story of kidnap and experimentation on Loup-Garous, time is running out. So when help comes from an unlikely source, they have no choice but to accept.
All families have secrets, but blood can't lie.
Caught up in an intricate and complicated scheme spun by the one she trusts the most and the friend of her enemy, Heather soon discovers that she is the pawn in a plan she would never have been able to conceive. But how many of her new allies were in on the game, to begin with?
This title contains explicit language, violence, and some scenes of a sexual nature.
October 15th, 2015
Sestiere San Polo, Venice, Italy
Colours dispersed and the world turned to black once more.
“What did you see, Galen?” Her voice held an edge of expectation.
Lifting my head, I reached out with my mind, collecting the threads of consciousness floating about me, pulling them into myself, and reconnected with my four Bloodlings—Sorina, Leonardo, Kiya, and Carlos—who still stood in the corners of the formal first floor sitting room. Their sight became mine and their focus had remained on Marie still seated on the purple chaise longue opposite me. The crystal wine glass cradled in her hand was half drained, the blood trailing down the transparent surface indicating she had just taken a mouthful a moment prior, but now, her attention fixated on me.
“She is here.” I relaxed into the matching arm chair. “The Ancestor is in Italy.”
One finely plucked eyebrow arched. The muscles in her neck flexed. “When did she arrive?”
The vision had been strong, so much stronger than the last time I had perceived the events to come, but this time, it had been different. This time, I had seen the upcoming events through the Infected Slayer’s eyes and not my own, which meant only one thing—Marko’s Ancestor was close.
The eyelids of my Bloodlings flickered. Scenery flashed through my mind, changing within the blinking darkness. I reached out through them, to the others I had planted around the borders, until I found someone close… “Her feet hit Italian soil almost fifteen minutes ago. She is alone, and she is in Venice.”
I pulled back until my focus returned to the room once more. A smile tugged at the corner of my lips at the sight of Marie sending her wine glass towards the wall on her right. Crystal broke into a thousand small shards. The blood splashed against the gold, paisley-patterned wallpaper before sliding all the way down to pool on the mahogany panelled floor.
Pushing herself from the chaise longue, she twisted in the direction of the closed double doors.
“Emilio!” Her voice bellowed throughout the tall front room.
No doubt the rest of the Colony had heard her throughout the building. Easy to imagine the rage thundering in her voice had sent ripples down the Grand Canal. The idea amused me.
“You are too late.” I laced my palms and laid them in my lap. “She has been picked up already. The Alpha sent someone for her. A human, naturally. The car is already en route, and I would say she has less than ten minutes before she crosses into Werewolf territory…” and out of your reach.
My unspoken words weighed heavy in the air, and I delighted in the fury that sent her perfect posture rigid.
The thick mahogany doors to the left of the room flew open. One panel banged into the corner of the nearby dresser, sending the set of unlit candles and their polished gold holders tumbling onto their sides. The other door had almost blocked out the view I had of the room, but my mind filled with the sight of Leonardo’s hand as he curled his fingers around the edge, stopping the heavy wood before it hit him in the face.
Emilio strolled in. The burly male tipped his head to his Mistress. His dark eyes penetrated her on a level that screamed carnal desire. “You called—”
Marie held up her hand to cut off her Bloodling.
“Why am I only just hearing of this, Galen?” Her head flicked back to me. The loose dark curls that had been purposely left out of her pinned-up hair bounced around her slender face. She moved towards me, one long leg before the other, her black leather pencil skirt rippling like a second skin and the strike of her heels replicating the cool and steady beat of the pulse she didn’t possess. “Why did you not tell me sooner? Marko will—”
“Do not pretend to know what the Master will do.” I unlaced my hands and rested them on the arms of my chair. “The Ancestor’s arrival is as…surprising to myself as it is to you, but then after the recent change in our plans, my instructions were to keep watch over the projects and keep tune to the path that will lead us all to success.”
I moved my focus swiftly and watched through the eyes of Sorina, who stood behind me on the right, as Marie circled round me.
“But do you not think the Slayer is able to ruin our plans? Do you not think it would have been wise for your focus to partly be on her also?”
“I am following the instructions of our Master, but yes, I suppose you are right. Then again, if she had died when she was supposed to—”
“But she did not die, did she?”
“Her survival is not my fault.”
“No, but you never mentioned that her survival was a possibility. Strange in itself, and I am sure Marko will think the same.” She stopped in front of me, a smile creeping along her full lips. “Whatever will he think when he hears that you have neglected to inform him of the girl’s actions for a second time? Anyone would think you wanted her to survive. That you wanted her to—”
“Her survival was always a possibility. Something I have pointed out before, but it seems no one is ever interested in listening to the details. Although, I have to say that our Master seemed rather pleased to hear of her survival.”
A smile graced my lips at the sight of the frown forming on Marie’s face. “So, sadly, Marko will not share your views on finding such matters strange. Then again, he does grasp the details of my gift far better than you ever have.”
Her frown morphed into a scowl.
“It is an extraordinary gift, Marie, but alas, I am not God. If I were, then, and as I assured Marko, everything would have gone to plan, but since I have to rely on others of our kind and their abilities to follow instructions, well, I am surprised we have gotten to this stage of the plan.
“The possibility of the Slayer’s survival had been minimal, which means her death was a very strong possibility, but then due to the spontaneous decision Luca made at the last second, her chance of survival expanded. Luca’s foolish choice to indulge himself cost us time. He did not inform Constance that the Ancestor had followed him to the allocated blood house, meaning Michael was not informed, and therefore, she had a chance to slay all our kind who were present, and her Wolf wrecked the place. Their abduction was supposed to be swift, easy. If it were not for the one surviving Vampire who had the sense to flee and inform Constance, the Slayer would have skipped out of the blood house and we would have lost our window of opportunity to take her and the dog.
“As for Lance, as idiotic as he was in his theories of what she is, he did manage to get the results needed, but the fool clearly did not make the right calculations for sedation when it came to the Werewolf. Ridiculous, since he had been studying their kind long enough, but the proximity of the facilities’ location to the Pack and the full moon played key parts in his failure. It is not my fault that the lower generation are completely incapable of doing as they are told. Trust was instilled to them. They were informed of our goal, and the severity and importance of what we wish to achieve. They were all given a time frame to work in, but Lance took his time and decided to divert from his purpose and that of the Farr facility.”
Lance had been put in charge of finding out if it were possible to reverse the effects of our mutation in Infecteds. There were far too many due to the carelessness of the lower generation not feeding properly, and too many idiots had been given the gift of immortality. The Farr facility had been a holding pen, if anything, for all the Infecteds we had managed to round up in the last ten years. Population control, as it were; not that they wouldn’t serve some use in our cause.
Lance had been instructed to take some DNA samples and run tests, to check the Slayer’s vitals and then dispose of her once we had everything we needed. The secret of her DNA was all we needed. He had been told to get as much Were-gene as possible from the male as we were running low on it, and to send any Loup-Garous they caught to us. He was not told to figure out how the girl had survived for twenty-one years, or to test if she had any of our abilities. Such information could be discovered by testing our theories on any of the Infecteds or whoever was needed, but Lance had always been a curious, sadistic creature who wanted so much to excel at everything. He had taken his role far too seriously and got it into his head that he was solely responsible for our endeavours, that the advancement of our species had been his idea and his alone. His curiosity mixed with his need to prove our theories had been wrong. By conducting his own experiments, he had almost ruined everything. Thankfully, he never had the eye for details. Unfortunately, he had been the only suitable Vampire to put in charge of the Scottish facility, but fortunately, such egotism and reluctance to do as he was told had inevitably cost him his life, and regrettably meant that the Ancestor and her pet had escaped.
“Am I supposed to watch everyone?” I lifted my head, and through Sorina’s eyes, I could see my face was at the right angle to be on level with Marie’s. “Do you suppose Marko blamed my slips in focus when he heard how I had to figure out an alternative path for us, which would not have occurred in the first place if your foolish son could follow the simplest instruction—?”
Her hand was wrapped round my throat within an instant, grip tight considering her slender fingers. Her lips hovered near my ear as she leaned over me. “Do not speak ill of my son, Galen, or—”
I remained still. My connection fixed onto Kiya as Emilio’s men crowded in the doorway. Shifting focus, I looked through the eyes of Carlos who stood to my left; a clear view of the side of Marie’s face came into focus and I noticed her skin ripple across her bones.
Luca was still a sore point. Perhaps he always would be. The idiot had been her only son, and her first Bloodling, and she had suffered greatly at his demise a few weeks earlier; was still suffering from the severed link.
He had deserved to die, though. It only served him right for choosing to indulge in carnal pleasure instead of calling for the United Colony leader, Michael, the instant he knew the Slayer had followed him.
Although Marko hadn’t been pleased to learn that Michael—despite being aware of our plans and knowing full well that Luca was only making an appearance in London as a form of bait to ensnare the Infected Ancestor—had sent some lower generation Vampires out the night before, to kill her. Laughable in itself since the fresher batch of our species were clumsy and driven only by their cravings, but even more so was the thought that the United Colony leader thought he would get away with blaming the oafs for not knowing any better. Luckily, and despite my current argument, I always kept watch. My own Bloodlings were planted in every country throughout the world and therefore at my use to run interference when and if needed. I learned a long time ago that one could never fully trust or even depend on their own species. Unlucky for Michael, neither Marko nor I cared enough for him to divulge that his pitiful existence was going to be cut short, and very soon.
Marie still didn’t understand how events were linked, but that was simply because she forgot the fundamental rule—though Fate was prewritten; we all had our own will, and our choices affected everything and everyone around us. One decision could break an easily made chain of circumstances and a person could veer from the path completely. Fusing those events back into the original plan was never easy, but often possible, especially if the weaver was determined to achieve a particular goal.
We had lost a couple of hours due to Luca’s idiocy, and if Lance had killed the Infected Slayer when he had been told to instead of toying with her at every opportunity, then she wouldn’t be in Italy at this very moment. She wouldn’t be able to ruin our plans.
Sitting straight, I turned my face so my own lips were resting against Marie’s ear. “What do you think you can do? Kill me? Do you know what Marko will do to you, if you were to end me?”
Her grip tightened.
My voice dropped to a rough whisper.
“Kill me, and you will kill all hope of success for our race, for the plan Marko has had for a decade, the plan he clings to as though it were a lifeline.” Pain pinched my fingertips as my nails lengthened. “I was his first Bloodling, or have you forgotten that fact? I am his first, Marie. I am his main lifeline.”
I punched my hand through her stomach, my talons slicing easily through her flesh and muscle. She lurched. Her blood coated my skin as I rummaged round her innards, curling my fingers around her spine. Her body grew rigid. Her hand left my throat, falling to my arm. Nails dug into my flesh as she tried so hard to break my grip.
“Galen.” My name left her lips on a broken whimper. “Ti prego…”
I rubbed my cheek next to hers, the tiniest spark of heat generated at the friction, and I watched through the eyes of my tense Bloodlings as her rich-toned skin paled, as her own pathetic Bloodlings shrank back in the doorway, unsure of what to do.
I kept my voice low, calm.
“No matter how you may see me, Marie, let this be the last time you forget who I am.” I tightened my grip on her spine. A crunch broke through the silence and she trembled. A raw cry scratched her throat. “My body might be small, my persona innocent, but never forget the fact that I am older and stronger than you, and if you ever disrespect me before this Colony, or any other, again, not only will I pull your fangs from their roots, I will also rip your tongue from your throat. Do I make myself clear?”
She nodded, her cold skin brushing against mine once more, the tiny spark of heat so sweet, and yet so unbearable.
Letting go of her spine, I withdrew my hand and beckoned Carlos forth. He removed his white shirt and offered it to me.
Marie stumbled back until her legs hit the chaise longue. The front of her ivory silk blouse was in tatters. Blood, thick and black, oozed from the wound in her midriff, coating her fingers, soaking the expensive, glossy material. She collapsed. Her face was a gratifying picture of shock and mortification—mouth slack, skin paler, eyes wide and glazed.
Emilio rushed towards her, grabbing the glass bottle of blood from the side table. Guiding her head back, he pressed the rim to her trembling lips and poured the crimson liquid down her throat.
Hand and arm clean, I handed back Carlos’ now blood-stained shirt.
“The Ancestor has come to Italy to find you, and you can thank your son for that.” I rested my hands on the arms of my chair and relaxed into the cushions. “Luca gave up your whereabouts in a plea to save his life. Much good it did him.”
Emilio moved back as Marie sat up, the wound in her stomach closing.
“If she is here…” she swiped the blood from her mouth with the back of her hand and looked towards me. “Then she will die?”
A question, as though she doubted her own ability to kill the Slayer. Perhaps she was humouring me, or being coy. Maybe her question was genuine, but no, like her Maker, she gambled too much on the knowledge she was given of the future. Like her Maker, she had never fully understood that Fate didn’t lay out one single, straight path, but a map with many routes. Certain choices could change one’s direction, but then there was always more than one outcome to any situation. Still, some moments were just fixed in time, some events had to happen, some were written in stone, and no matter what choices were brought into play, the outcome would remain the same. Or at least it would if it was a wanted outcome and one had a little insight to give guidance to the necessary individuals. Success was always possible when one had the power to keep an eye on matters.
“Heather Ryan’s life will end here.”