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Vampire Vacation (The V V Inn), page 1

 

Vampire Vacation (The V V Inn)
 



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Vampire Vacation (The V V Inn)


  Vampire Vacation

  The V V Inn Series: Book One

  C.J. Ellisson

  C.J. is represented by:

  Kristin Lindstrom

  Lindstrom Literary Management LLC

  871 N Greenbrier Street

  Arlington, VA 22205

  703-522-4730

  Email: kristin@lindstromliterary.com

  Red Hot Publishing

  P.O. BOX 651193, STERLING VA, 20165-1193

  First ebook Edition October 2010

  Copyright 2010 C.J. Ellisson

  All Rights Reserved

  ISBN 9780982661017

  Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

  PUBLISHER’S NOTE

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead (or undead ;-), business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  To Peter, for supporting me while I reached for the stars. May you some day get the lake house of your dreams.

  Table of Contents:

  Acknowledgments

  Contributors

  Glossary

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-one

  Chapter Twenty-two

  Chapter Twenty-three

  Chapter Twenty-four

  Chapter Twenty-five

  Chapter Twenty-six

  Chapter Twenty-seven

  Chapter Twenty-eight

  Chapter Twenty-nine

  Sneak peak: Chapter One: The Hunt

  Bonus erotica excerpts:

  Johnny Living Dangerously

  More Than Tolerable

  Acknowledgements

  One of my favorite sayings is the old African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” In my case, it took a social network known as Facebook and a website called writing.com, to bring my book into being. While the actual creating part may have been from me, the critiquing, editing, polishing and general belief in this work came from many, many individuals. I won't have the room to thank them all one by one, but please know I'm grateful, more than mere words can express. You all know who you are.

  No matter where I got the encouragement to finish my first novel, the work never would have been fit for public consumption without my old writing partner, Supriya Savkoor. You helped guide me on this twisted path to publication by sharing all your vast knowledge and experience on writing with me, and I thank you.

  A big thanks to Hope Rice, for being the beta reader who found the most errors in my work. I'll try not to cringe when I think about how clean I thought the manuscript was when I sent it out.

  Special thanks to my agent, Kristin Lindstrom, who believed in me and my book, even when the big publishers passed on us. Here’s to hoping we fare better in the overseas market!

  Big hugs and a shout out to my family, friends, neighbors and book club members who dealt with me talking non-stop about my novel for well over a year. Oh—and an additional thanks, mom & dad, for agreeing to never discuss the sex parts in the book with me.

  Finally, above all, I thank my best friend in the whole world, my husband Pete, for always believing in me and in this book, no matter what. All the achievements I could ever hope to earn would mean nothing without you by my side.

  Contributors

  I held a few contests on Facebook while I was writing this novel. They varied from creating a book cover, naming a character, to even writing a tag line for the cover of the book.

  A few artists did some exceptional work and I'd like to recognize their efforts here: Debi Singleton, Maciej Kijowski, and Melissa Gannon. Thanks for creating some beautiful art inspired by my novel, it was humbling to see such talent expressed on my behalf. If I make some money on this endeavor I plan to send you all gift cards.

  The following individuals inspired names for characters. They either thought the name up, I stole their names because I liked the sound of them, or they supported me so much I wanted to thank them:

  Andy Lipshultz: It started as an April fool's joke, but then I twisted things and named a character after him (and basically stole his name, too).

  Angie Linne: I named a character after her.

  Asa Monson: My nephew, whom I based a character on and stole his name.

  Cali Blackadder, aka Julie Jewell: I based a character on her Second Life persona, and named the character after her.

  Cy Whitfield, aka Michael Stern: My brother, whom I based a character on his Second Life persona, and named the character after him.

  Debi Singleton: I named a character after her.

  Frank Natsuhara: I stole his last name for a character.

  Jerry Stern: My dad, whom I based a character on and stole his name.

  Paul Ocker: I named a character after him.

  Margery Stern: My mom, whom I based a character on and stole her name.

  Michelle Pazdan: I named a character after her.

  Miranda Blevins: I stole her name.

  Rolando Ray: He thought of the name Ivan, which won in an online vote—and I stole his name.

  Romeo LoGiurato: I stole his name.

  Theresa Dowd: I named a character after her and she picked Dria/Vivian's original first name, Ceara, which won in an online vote.

  And a big, BIG thanks to Linda Treese for crafting the superb tag line “In the Alaskan darkness, it's not just the cold that bites.” It still gives me chills when I read it.

  Glossary of Terms and Characters:

  Antonio - a young vampire vacationing at the inn, and member of Liam's seethe.

  Asa - the fledgling vampire sent by Cy, who was turned in Afghanistan while serving in the Army.

  Angie - a human guest who stayed at the inn eight years ago with her first husband, Ivan.

  Blood Coffee - a mixture of half-blood and half-coffee, favored by undead everywhere.

  Blood Bond - a term used to describe the exchange of blood between either a human and a vampire, both ways, or a master vampire and a member of their seethe. It enables telepathic communication between them through the bond, if desired.

  Bob - an employee, he works on the grounds-keeping crew.

  Bonded Mate - a deeper connection than a servant, this bond allows the non-vampire to stop aging and share a significant amount of power associated with the bonded vampire. A complex ritual and exchange of large amounts of blood must take place for this bond to occur. The only way to break the bond is through death or a rare deep mind manipulation severing the link.

  Bunny - Paul's wife.

  Cali - Cy's bonded mate, and a werewolf. She's also Asa's aunt.

  Companion - a human who has donated blood to a vampire and been accepted into the vampire's care for future feedings.

  Cy - Vivian's contact in New York, whom she turne
d when she discovered him close to death in an alley outside his bar over forty-five years ago.

  Debi - an employee at the inn, who also doubles as a blood donor.

  Dr. Margery Cook - the onsite doctor on the property should a problem with a human arise.

  Drew - a loner vamp who has come to the inn on his own to relax, and Angie’s second husband and bonded mate.

  Dria - the master vampire narrating the entire story, aka Vivian and Alexandria.

  Enforcer - a highly skilled vampire assassin, used as an instrument of justice by the tribunal.

  Fledgling - term used for a vampire under the age of five years.

  Francesca - Liam's bonded mate and human spouse.

  Iona - an employee, a maid.

  Ivan - Angie’s first husband and bonded mate.

  Jerry - an engineer and sharp shooter employed twenty years on the property.

  Jet - a master vampire, from Japan, vacationing at the inn with his spouse, Matt, and a human companion.

  Joanna - a young vampire vacationing at the inn, and a member of Liam's seethe.

  John Pierre - the dead guy in chapter one.

  Jonathan - Vivian's werewolf servant and the head groundskeeper on the property.

  Liam - a master vampire, from Scotland, visiting the inn with members from his seethe.

  Liebling - German endearment, meaning darling.

  Manipulator - a rare breed of vampire able to mind control other vampires. Usually hunted down and killed by their own kind to ensure they do not gain power over their fellow vampires.

  Master Vampire - a vampire who heads their own seethe, or is independent of a seethe. One not requiring the blood of a master to gain in power, but has accumulated enough strength to hold their own in a battle where an older vampire may try to drain a younger one for their blood.

  Mate - see Bonded Mate.

  Matt - the bonded mate and human spouse of Jet.

  Michelle - aka “Chelly”, an employee at the inn, who also doubles as a blood donor,

  Miranda - an employee, originally from the UK, who mainly works the front desk.

  Old Blood - a term used to describe the blood a seethe member gets from a master to increase their own power. Contains the added benefit of increasing a vampire’s perceived undead age if the blood is strong enough and consumed regularly.

  Olivia - a companion from Liam's seethe, and the only human selected to travel with them on this trip.

  Paul - a gourmet chef imported from the lower forty-eight, married to Bunny.

  Rafe - Vivian's bonded mate for sixty-five years, and co-owner to the inn.

  Rolando - part of the tribunal of ancients, located in Argentina.

  Romeo - Jonathan's old Alpha, but not the Were who changed him.

  Salvador - a master vampire who has visited Vivian's properties for over fifty years, who currently resides with his large seethe in Washington state.

  Seethe - A vampire family, or group of vampires, with a master vampire at its head.

  Servant - see Vampire Servant

  Sheba - a companion in Salvador's seethe, on a long vacation with a group at the inn.

  Theresa - Salvador's bonded mate and human spouse.

  Tommy - an employee, originally from Australia, who mainly works the front desk and organizes the blood donor list for the guests.

  Tribunal of Ancients - the governing body of ruling ancient vampires, entrusted with maintaining the secrecy of the existence of vampires from the human race.

  Turning - term used for when a human has been changed into a vampire.

  Vivian - the nickname for Dria, a play on words from The V V Inn.

  Were - shorthand for werewolf.

  Vampire Servant - a human, or Were, who has donated to and ingested the blood of a vampire. A mind connection can be established (and broken), allowing telepathic communication. The servant feels a desire to protect and serve the vampire above his or her own needs.

  Vampire Vacation

  “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~ Charles Darwin

  Chapter One

  I open the door to find a body at my feet. The rich smell of blood causes my canines to lengthen. Reaching out in the darkness, I flip on the switches. Light comes on across the room, illuminating the dead guy lying face down in front of me. The whole scene makes me wish I’d stayed in bed today, curled up next to my warm husband.

  “Crap, look at the rug.”

  Okay, out loud that sounds rather dispassionate. Whoever this poor stiff is, he’s dead. I’m the one left with a huge mess on my hands and guests arriving within the hour. Good thing I caught this before one of the maids did. Their screams from the last time were a devil to calm down.

  Reaching out with my mind, I connect with my husband in a soft electrical tingle of sensation. Rafe? There’s a dead guy in suite six. We’ve got to move fast before the next group arrives.

  Rafe’s rugged face appears in my head. My extended consciousness lets me see the room around him as well as hear his thoughts. He’s leaning against the sink in our private kitchen, wearing a robe, a steaming mug of coffee in his hand.

  Does it look like an accidental overfeeding? His mental voice sounds incredulous. We haven’t had one of those in years.

  No, there’s way too much blood. Can you come up here and help me?

  Sure, Dria. I’m fresh out of the shower—give me a couple minutes.

  I step over the body and into the room, closing the door behind me with a soft snick of the catch. I’d rather not have the guests get a whiff of this mess. Some of them would probably think we did it on purpose for “ambience”. But others might not.

  Walking over to the bench at the end of the bed, I sit then look around the suite. A king-size bed, neatly made, gleaming dark furniture and lush brocade fabrics greet me. Nothing but the corpse looks out of place. The stark white face turned toward me doesn’t look familiar. I’m sure he isn’t a mate of one of the vampire masters staying here; I make it a point to meet all of them when they arrive.

  Examining his brown hair and twenty-something face, I don’t recognize him as a vampire servant either. Not many have come to stay with the current crop of undead we’ve got right now. Who else?

  The blood arouses my basic vampire needs while confusing my train of thought. I concentrate, trying to clear my head. Think, dammit, think!

  Could he be a companion? A lot of masters bring “food” with them. Being a full-service hotel we can provide all the needs of our guests, but some still insist on BYOB.

  His oxford shirt and ragged jeans rule him out as an employee. Unless he’s an off-duty new hire I’m unaware of.

  Rafe, have we hired anyone new?

  Not in at least a month. You’ve met everyone. My husband hesitates for a moment. Send me his face and I’ll let you know if he looks familiar.

  I concentrate to project the image from my mind to Rafe’s. My strong ability enables me to share the entire experience with him if I wish. I could send the metallic smell filling the air, the sticky congealing blood pooled about the victim’s head, or the dark essence of death that lingers after a vicious kill, but choose to limit it only to the image.

  No, I don’t recognize him either, Rafe confirms. Damn, Tommy’s flagging me down. Give me a minute and I’ll be right up.

  Hurry, please. We’ve got guests coming in, I glance down at my ever-present watch, forty-five minutes!

  Rafe ignores me. Typical. He’ll get here when he gets here. My muscles tense up while I fight an urge to pace. I’m starting to freak out a bit. Who could’ve killed this poor guy? And why? Why here for that matter? I’ve seen my share of corpses in my long undead life, but in the twenty years we’ve run this inn, there hasn’t been a single murder.

  Okay, okay… let’s see. What should I do? Taking a deep breath in, I try to center my thoughts. Rich, aromatic blood rushes into my nostrils
. That was a mistake. It smells so damn good. Fidgeting in my seat, I feel desperate to do something to distract myself from my desires.

  We can’t call the police in this isolated area of Alaska. Not only would they take hours to arrive, but they wouldn’t be able to help once they got here either. I don’t want to think of the memory altering I’d have to do if they did show up. Instead, I can be the one to take notes and catalog evidence. That seems to work well on the detective shows.

  I pat down my hips, realizing too late the black clingy dress I’m wearing doesn’t have pockets. Where the hell is my notebook? I need it to write this stuff down.

  Rafe! Are you coming?

  No. Not yet, my dear. A masculine chuckle reaches my mind. I’m heading up the stairs now.

  The hotel resembles a large T-shape, with the lobby being dead center where all the wings converge. Not wanting to send him back downstairs, I think about what lies between there and here.

  I need a notebook and a pen to write down all the facts. Can you get them for me?

  I think we need to cut back on the TV, Dria.

  I can hear the smile coming through in his words. He read my mind and knows what I plan to do. Jerk. That man loves to pull my chain and live on the edge.

  Relax, liebling, we’ll handle this.

 
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