Immortal Envy, page 1
A. D. Justice
About the Author
Books By A.D. Justice
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Cover Designer: Cassy Roop, Pink Ink Designs
Model: Daniel Wells
Photographer: Cassy Roop
One woman—the subject of their mutual obsession, but for very different reasons.
The end result will change the New York City vampire clan forever. Immortals can hold a grudge for a very long time.
Ramses Barnett, 1786
The burning need to taste her overcame me as soon as I caught her scent on my nightly prowl. She led the way into the darkened alley, my excitement and thirst increasing with every step. The aroma of her blood stirred the savage animal deep inside me, and my night wouldn’t be complete without having her. Once we were well out of from the main street, she turned and gave me her most seductive smile.
“Shall we take care of business before we get down to business?” she purred.
“Of course,” I replied as I wedged the silver coin between the smooth skin of her ample breasts.
I hiked up her dress and wrapped my hands around her bare ass, sliding her back against the brick wall until she was waist high. It was the perfect height for fucking her while I sank my teeth into the throbbing vein in her neck. While her moans of pleasure filled the air, her inner muscles clamped around my dick, and my fangs drained her blood, we climaxed together just before her body slumped over, and death took her under. It’s called “the dead of the night” for a reason.
But one is never enough for me. That’s always been my problem. My downfall. My vice.
A vampire has to drink blood to survive, plain and simple. My cravings become insatiable at times. I find I must leave the city or risk being discovered because I can’t control my urges. The various scents surrounding me blend into one delicious aroma and send me into a frenzy. My brother, Slade, pushes me to feed on animal blood, deep in the forests where I won’t be discovered. At times, I heed his advice and disappear for weeks at a time, feeding and living as wild and free as I want. The large animals fill me beyond measure and stay my fangs for longer periods than humans do, but animal blood just doesn’t have the same sweet taste as human blood. It doesn’t fulfill the constant craving that drives my immortal obsession.
The vast wilderness that lies outside the main cities in America provides excellent coverage for our feeding habits. Skirmishes with the natives, along with tall tales of their increased activity in the outlying areas, easily explains the humans who are missing, and their family members desperately search for them. The settlers haven’t ventured too far westward yet, but I have. It’s not my first choice, but I can survive on the blood of animals when it’s forced on me.
But tonight, I’m in New York, an up-and-coming new city that’s thriving, growing, and has a heartbeat all its own. Its pulse is so much different from the places Slade and I have spent decades upon decades living in. The vitality of the people, the thick, crimson indulgence that flows through them warms me from the inside out…just a little vampire humor.
I’m determined not to make the same mistakes I made before we came to America. During the hundred years we spent in and around London, we watched the city and people change seemingly before our eyes. With so many people, the city became a living, breathing buffet, and I couldn’t resist having seconds or thirds. For as long as I can remember, Slade has been the level-headed one. The one who looks out for our best interests and drives me to consider all angles before making a decision.
A complete contradiction in terms, but Slade inspires me to be a better person. He’s my younger brother, but he’s always had my back. He has cleaned up after me when my impulsive nature left so many dead bodies our true nature was dangerously close to being revealed. Not that he hasn’t given me the tongue-lashing I needed every single time, but I’ve never doubted his love for me.
* * *
Ramses Barnett, Current Day
Reliving days gone by through reading my old journal used to be one of my favorite things. But not today. Now, it’s much like a silver stake to my heart. Not that silver stakes to the heart will kill a vampire, but I remember how a broken heart feels to a human. The sharp sting of betrayal never leaves me. It’s always in the forefront of my mind, of my thoughts, and my feelings.
Yes, a vampire has feelings—especially toward other vampires. Especially when other vampires are family. Especially when that vampire family member is my brother.
Especially when I’d give anything for that vampire brother to be dead to me, just so I could move on without this hanging over my head and my heart.
But I can’t let it go. I can’t forget my brother. I can’t forget the betrayal. I can’t forgive—it’s just not in me.
The past came crashing back to me tonight like a rogue wave crashing on the shore, rolling over everything and leaving rubble in its wake. I caught the whiff of a lingering scent in the air that has eluded me for too many years. The craving that drives me, the obsession that owns me, the woman who haunts me. The blood aroma was so tantalizing, spellbinding, and addictive, I pushed my way through the throngs of people on the New York City sidewalks at midday to find its source. When I lost track of the scent completely at a street corner, I knew she must have jumped into a taxi and was out of my reach.
But at least now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt she’s here.
While standing there on the street corner today, I vowed I would not rest until I’ve found her.
If it’s the last thing I ever do, I will find her.
And I will make her mine.
That leaves me in my current frustrated state, reading my old journal entries and reliving painful events that awaken the animal inside me. With the fires of my anger stoked and my senses aroused past the point of no return, I can’t avoid feeding and fucking tonight. Not necessarily in that order. Not necessarily one at a time
In a flash, I’m walking the streets, on the prowl for my unsuspecting victim. The blonde who’s a little too tipsy to be out here alone, who temporarily got turned around on her way back to her hotel room, is perfect. I can read her mind as plain as if she’s speaking to me. She’s in town on business, her first trip to the Big Apple, and was hell-bent on taking in the sights with or without her coworkers.
She’s giggling to herself because she’s amused by her predicament. From a small town, she thinks she’s safe with so many people still milling around in the city that never sleeps.
“You’re looking for a little adventure in your life, are you?” I ask aloud but to myself. “I’ll be glad to accommodate you, beautiful. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Lady Luck shines on me like a bright spotlight. A group of guys steps out of an alleyway and into her direct path. The predatory way they eye her from top to bottom stalls her footsteps, and she looks around nervously. I take the opening to swoop in to her rescue and quickly take my place at her side. With my arm wrapped around her waist, I smile down at her confused expression.
“You’re walking too fast, my love,” I tell her. “I told you I had to go back to the table to leave a tip for the waiter.” Holding her gaze makes my point known, and relief floods her eyes.
“I thought you were right behind me, honey. I’m sorry. I guess I had one too many glasses of moscato, huh?”
With a light chuckle, I shake my head affectionately and kiss her cheek. From my peripheral vision, I see the group of young men watching us. From my dark powers, I hear their thoughts and their low murmurs of how they can dispose of me and take her back to their hangout. Their bravado makes me want to laugh out loud. One vampiric glance from me and they’ll all shit their pants and run home to Mommy.
I fucking love this part.
“Hey, gorgeous,” one yells to her. “What’s your name, baby?”
She glances up at me, clearly scared, and I flash her a reassuring smile as I squeeze her to me. “Tell him your name, sweetheart.”
“Jennifer,” she replies.
“Jennifer, you need a real man, baby. Come on over here with me and ditch that pasty-white fucker.”
His taunt is clearly meant to rile me up so I’ll fight him while his buddies jump me from behind. Once they’ve pulverized me, they’ll drag her off and rape her. She’ll be mine tonight, but it won’t be against her will. These young punks haven’t learned the art of seduction yet.
Or the art of choosing their opponents wisely.
“I’m more man than you can handle, junior. You and all your boys combined, in fact.”
His smile morphs into a smug smirk, and his little gang steps up, their chests puffed out. One begins cracking his knuckles, as if that’s scary and threatening. Another one curls his fingers into a fist and smacks his other hand with it. I can’t stop the wide smile that covers my face at his action, or the laugh that follows.
Now that I’ve thoroughly riled them up, it’s time to have a little fun.
In a protective move, I gently push Jennifer behind me as if I’m her personal shield and bodyguard. The young thugs begin hurling expletives at me, threats of bodily dismemberment, and other humorous insults.
“I’ll knock your dick in the dirt and stomp your face in, motherfucker!”
“Shit, you got a big mouth, man. I’m gonna knock all your fucking teeth out.”
Sticks and stones, young ones. Sticks and stones.
Jennifer’s face is buried in my back, and her fingers have a death grip on my jacket. I take this time to show my true self. My nearly black eyes become cobalt blue in a split second. My fangs protract as I bear my teeth. My facial features contort and become fierce, more defined, in an instant. My voice deepens, and I issue my threat to the now petrified group.
“One more word, I dare you. Say one more word in front of Jennifer, and I guarantee it’ll be the last fucking word your ignorant mouths ever utter.”
They scatter to the four winds, unable to speak a single word in retaliation.
No matter—I know where to find the four of them after I’ve finished with Jennifer. They’re too frightened to tell anyone, and they know no one would believe them anyway. Vampires are especially good at keeping secrets. Well, most vampires anyway. I’m obviously an exception to the rule occasionally.
“How—? How did you do that?” Jennifer stutters from behind me.
“They’re just young punks,” I shrug. “If they think they can bully someone, they will. When they get the least bit of opposition from an intimidating man, they run away scared.”
“I’m so glad you walked up when you did. You saved my life, and I don’t even know your name. Saying thank you is hardly enough.”
“My name is Ramses,” I reply. “No need to thank me. It was my pleasure.”
“How can I ever repay you?” Her tone turns seductive, and she bats her eyelashes playfully. Her thoughts scream of her attraction to me. She quickly makes up her mind that a one-night stand with the man who saved her life will make the perfect story to tell her friends back home. A guilt-free vacation fling that will justify her impulsive actions. Only she’s already decided, so it’s not exactly an impulsive move. She’s simply waiting for my suggestion.
I do hate to disappoint.
“Stay with me tonight,” I whisper, my lips against her ear.
“Do you think I’m the type of girl who sleeps with a man as soon as she meets him?”
“I can promise you this, Jennifer. The last thing you’ll want to do, all night long, is sleep.”
After that promise, the name of her hotel falls from her lips, and within minutes, we’re inside her rented room. With the door locked, she turns to face me with hunger in her eyes. But she doesn’t know hunger yet. My fingers weave through her hair and grip the roots tightly as I swing her back to the door. I crush my lips to hers, and my tongue slides into her mouth with fervent need. Her enthusiasm matches mine, and she grinds her hips against the bulge in my pants. Hands fly in every direction as we grope and fumble to remove our clothes. I easily lift her, and she wraps her legs around my waist.
“I can’t wait, Ramses. Fuck me now,” she demands between kisses.
My hips thrust upward as my arms draw her down onto my cock. I slide inside her wet channel, and her inner walls grip me tightly while I continue to surge into her. I thrust mercilessly and repeatedly, and her body quivers and shakes with the intensity of the orgasm that rolls through her. When she hits the peak of her climax, she tilts her head back and fully exposes her beautiful neck.
My fangs sink deep into her skin, puncture the main artery in her neck, and begin to drain the blood from her body. The added sensation brings me to the edge of passion and pushes me completely over, I continue drinking from her as I succumb to my own orgasm. Her body slumps from the blood loss, and I retract my fangs, just shy of killing her. For a moment, I consider turning her instead, but I ultimately decide otherwise.
Jennifer has to die.
I dispose of her body where she’ll never be found. Her eyes still register the shock of the moment. The pallor of her skin leaves no doubt of her state.
Now on to the patronizing thugs who saw my true nature.
I’ll drink my fill tonight.
Alea Dunn, September 1789
Today is my birthday and should have been the best seventeenth birthday a young lady could have asked for. It should’ve been, but it wasn’t. At all.
“Alea, come down to the parlor for a moment, please,” my mother, Frances, called from the bottom of the stairs.
“Coming,” I said as I exited my room.
But I had no idea what I was walking into.
“Alea, you remember Sean, of course,” Mother said as soon I entered the parlor. “You two were nearly inseparable as young children whenever we visited
“Of course. It’s been a long time. How’ve you been, Sean?”
“Very well, Alea. It’s so nice to see you again.” He stood and kissed my cheek in a friendly gesture. His father, Hugh, sat in the chair next to Sean and sported an oddly wide smile.
“Alea, Sean, have a seat. Hugh and I have some good news for both of you.” My father, Clarence, inclined his head toward the vacant chairs.
“I’m sure you’re both wondering why we’re all gathered here. Clarence and I have discussed matters and have come to a conclusion we believe is beneficial to everyone. Sean and Alea, we’re pleased to announce the two of you will be married.”
I suddenly couldn’t breathe. Surely he was kidding. I waited for the room to erupt in laughter. That never happened.
“This union makes the most sense of any scenario we’ve discussed. You’re perfectly matched as far as families are concerned. Combining our businesses will ensure the financial security of both our houses for many generations to come.”
The way Hugh spoke regarding the financial benefits of our marriage made me think he was addressing a room full of investors. He outlined all the ways it made sense, the many ways the companies could be expanded, and how the competition wouldn’t stand a chance against us. Or rather, against them.
My eyes drifted to my mother’s. Though I kept my expression neutral so I wouldn’t embarrass my parents, the torment I felt inside was crushing. When my mother met my gaze, she knew. I could see it in the way she stiffened then squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. She knew I wasn’t happy, but she was powerless to stop the events unfolding before us.
I wanted to run away. I wanted to bolt through the door and never look back.
How selfish was that of me?
“Alea, come walk with me?” Sean asked, bringing me out of my thoughts.
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