Veso, page 1
VLG – Book Four
Vampires, Lycans, Gargoyles
By Laurann Dohner
Veso by Laurann Dohner
Drugged and kidnapped by Vampires, presumed dead by his clan, powerful VampLycan Veso must rely on a creature he dislikes almost as much as the suckheads who nabbed him if he hopes to escape— a human. But when Glenda proves more resourceful than most of her kind, he agrees to see her safely through the Alaskan wilderness. He'll have to fight an overwhelming attraction to the inquisitive beauty every excruciating step of the way.
Glen doesn't know which is worse: learning she's the distant relative of a Vampire who fancies himself a king (um...what?!), or the fact that said relative is trying to force her to birth his queen by mating her with a half Vampire, half Lycan. Veso is scary, has claws, but he's also key to her survival. She just wishes that she didn't notice all his muscles or the way her body responds to his. He has promised to keep her alive but she might lose her heart in the bargain.
VLG Series List
Veso by Laurann Dohner
Copyright © February 2017
Editor: Kelli Collins
Cover Art: Dar Albert
eBook ISBN: 978-1-944526-78-8
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal, except for the case of brief quotations in reviews and articles.
Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is coincidental.
Veso - VLG – Book Four
By Laurann Dohner
Veso snarled low, avoiding the lodge. He hated mating ceremonies. That would never be him, taking a mate. A scent caught his attention and his anger increased as he spun, spying movement along the path.
Brista hurried toward him, a smirk on her lips. “I knew you’d use the path farthest from the event to avoid running into people.”
He didn’t like her but tried to hide his distaste. She always annoyed him. “What do you need?”
She halted, her expression changing to one of frustration. “I thought we could go together. Please?”
“You know I hate those things. No.”
“Come home with me then.”
“I’m never going to test a mating with you. It’s not personal.” He turned away.
“We’d make a good match.”
He turned back around. “I don’t want a mate.”
“I’m the clan caregiver, and you’re as loyal to Decker as I am. Times have been difficult lately since he had to leave. I think he’d be pleased when he returns to find us paired together.”
He studied her closely, wondering if she was testing him. Had he somehow shown his true feelings? He hated Decker and secretly worked with a few of his clan to take the bastard down. “Nabby has been boasting to his friends that if something happens to Decker, he’ll take the clan. You’re worried?”
“Of course not.” Fear showed on her features though. “Decker will find a way to deal with Lord Aveoth and come back to us.”
It was probably true. Decker was devious. The bastard wouldn’t die easily or just go away forever. “I need to go on patrol. Kira is out there and she’s useless.”
“She should die,” Brista hissed. “Isn’t there any way you could get rid of her? I don’t know what leverage Davis uses to keep Decker from outright killing her.”
He somehow managed to force a smile. “I’m always looking for opportunities,” he lied. “Go do your duty and represent the clan at the ceremony.”
“That’s what you should do too. It’s why I sought you out. Nabby isn’t doing us any favors. He’s too immature and letting the power go to his head. He pissed off a few elders last night by ignoring their advice. I fear he won’t want to step down once Decker returns. There are rumors he’s plotting a coup. You need to lead us in his absence, Veso. Nabby fears you.”
“Nabby is an idiot but he’s not that stupid. Decker would bury him. You’re worried for no reason.”
“Fine. At least rid us of Kira. Do that and it will endear you to the loyal.”
“I’ll think about it.”
He spun, hurrying away before he snarled at her. Brista was a bitch. There was no honor in wanting to kill Kira. She was mostly human, and she’d never betray her VampLycan father by exposing what they were to the world. She had also been in love with his friend Lavos’s older brother for years, and Lorn felt the same for her. The VampLycan threatened anyone who looked at Kira wrong with dismemberment and death. Of course, it was forbidden for him to be with her. Decker would see them both dead before he allowed them to mate.
Veso headed toward the section they were assigned to patrol and picked up the scent of smoke, as well as humans other than Kira, and he swiftly unleashed his claws, climbing the nearest tree to get a better view of the area. He spotted the smoke and kept to the trees to get closer.
He shook his head, staring down at Kira and the male humans who’d breached VampLycan territory. She was too soft to kill them. Instead, she threatened them. They didn’t attack her though. He’d have leapt down from where he remained hidden in the trees if they had, ripping them apart with his claws. Instead they grumbled and whined.
“It’s about two miles to where the fence was,” one of them protested. “It’s almost dark.”
“Then I suggest you pack up fast and jog. Did you forget about the other rangers on their way? Smoke travels for miles. They aren’t as easygoing as I am, boys. We’ve dubbed one of them Ranger Rage. He gets super angry over idiots starting fires.” Kira waved a hand toward the flames. “That will set him off big time. Do you know how dry it’s been? Forest fires are a real hazard. He kind of beat the living shit out of the last guy who started one. He said it was worth the three-day suspension because he got to break the guy’s jaw. It amused him, thinking about that poor sucker needing a straw to eat from for a few months.”
Veso grinned. Ranger Rage? He had a feeling she was referring to him. He’d been furious when he’d been assigned to train the little human’ish, but she’d earned his respect.
She got the group of humans packed up and moving in short order. He stayed in the trees, jumping from one to the other, following to make certain they didn’t turn on her. Humans were deceiving that way. Kira stopped following the hunters but he kept with them right until they climbed over the fence. He remained there for a while, watching until they were totally out of sight.
He sighed, taking a seat on a branch. No matter how many times he’d lectured Kira on how to handle trespassers, she didn’t have the heart to kill. Innocent humans didn’t ignore signs to breach their territory. They always brought guns. That meant they were poachers, murderers of animals they shouldn’t hunt. Some of the clan felt she was too dangerous to allow to live. Idiots.
He leaned back, resting his he
He’d also have to report the trespassing if he made Kira aware he knew about it. Which would only make some of the clan more riled about Kira. He didn’t want to get her into trouble. Nabby had appointed himself Decker’s replacement since their leader and his most trusted enforcers had fled to avoid the wrath of Lord Aveoth. He didn’t trust the stupid son of a bitch not to attempt to kill her.
It would blow Veso’s cover if he ripped off Nabby’s head. Everyone needed to believe he was loyal to Decker.
An odd sound had him lowering his gaze, staring over the fence. His mouth dropped open as he watched some dirt lift, bodies coming out of the ground. He recognized their faded heat signatures.
Fucking Vampires. What the hell?
They climbed out of the earth, then took a minute to hide the traces of where they’d buried themselves. Six of them jumped the fence, entering VampLycan territory. The stupid bastards passed right under him but then they stopped. He wondered if they would look up, aware of him after all.
“I smell human,” one of them softly rasped.
Shit. Kira must still be at the campsite. The wind is coming from that direction.
One of them giggled. “I’m hungry.”
“Let’s go feed. We can go hunting on a full stomach.”
They took off, moving in the direction of Kira.
Veso dropped out of the tree. He landed with a thud and the bastards turned, hearing him. He snarled, tearing off his clothes to get them out of the way.
The Vampires gawked at him, either surprised he was stripping or maybe just that he was there at all. He half shifted to unleash his claws and fangs, attacking while he still had surprise on his side.
The closest one froze, terror on his features. Veso ripped his head off, the bastard turning to ash. He lunged at another but that Vamp avoided getting his throat torn out. They could move fast when motivated. He spotted two of them turn tail and run. They weren’t heading back to the fence though, going toward Kira instead.
He needed to kill them all fast and get to her. She’d be no match for Vampires. He’d trained her well but she lacked their strength and speed.
One of the Vampires came at him from the front, the other two moving to his back. The bastards never fought fair but that was fine. The odds weren’t in their favor. Three against him almost made Veso laugh.
He went after the one in front of him, grabbed hold, and punched the son of a bitch in the throat with his claws. They tore through and he twisted his wrist hard, removing the bastards head. Solid body turned to ash and he spun, snarling again.
The guns pointed at him pissed him off. “Cowards,” he spat. Bullets would hurt but they wouldn’t take him down. He rushed at them and they fired, then jumped out of the way to avoid his lethal claws.
The pain was less than he’d expected and he glanced down, stunned at the sight of darts sticking out of him.
They fired again, this time hitting him in the arm and in his side. He snarled, ripping out the darts.
To his horror, his knees gave out. He crashed to the ground.
Drugs. It sank in fast. The suckheads had shot him with tranquilizers or poison. He wasn’t sure which but it hit his system hard.
Another dart imbedded into his ass. He tried to howl out a warning to Kira but his mouth wouldn’t open. His entire body refused to move when he attempted to push up, needing to attack.
One of them bent over him. “That was easier than I thought to find and capture a half-breed.”
“Our two dusted companions would disagree.”
“Better them than us. Damn, he’s big. Who gets to carry him?”
“I’m older. You do it.”
“That makes you stronger.”
“We’ll both do it.”
Blackness took Veso.
Noise alerted Glen that something major had happened. The usually eerie silence was broken by excited hisses. She shivered, knowing it didn’t bode well for whomever or whatever excited the creepers. She walked to the door and peered out into the hallway through the one-inch bars on the small window section of the door.
Candles had once been a romantic symbol but watching the flames flicker from the wall sconces in the rock tunnel had become her only source of light. Her mind blanked when she tried to remember how long it had been since she’d seen daylight. Everything had blurred until her sense of time had been lost. It could have been days or weeks since that horrible night when she’d been kidnapped from her apartment.
The hissing grew louder, the noise scarier than usual, with a menacing quality. She almost backed away from the door but fought the urge out of curiosity. The thick door kept her locked inside the tiny room, but it also protected her from the creepers. They wouldn’t be able to break through the two-inch-thick locked door.
Wheels squeaked and movement drew her attention. A creeper walked backward, pulling a gurney. She hated the sight of those pale, hideous creatures that hissed threatening words and revealed sharp, dark-stained fangs when they came to torment her outside the door. Sometimes they would just scratch at the metal, trying to get inside. She refused to think of them as human.
A large man had been chained down on the mobile table. He was the reason the creepers hissed, which continued as he was wheeled past her door. She got a good enough look at his massive bared chest and his biceps as he strained and fought the shackles that held him. Long black hair hid his features with his head lifted, chin to his chest. He tried to kick at the other creeper by his restrained ankles. They had a blanket thrown over his middle section.
“Sssstop,” that one hissed.
“Fuck you,” the guy snarled.
Glen gasped, jerking away from the door. He hadn’t sounded human with that animalistic grumble. He sure wasn’t a Vampire, his skin too tan. The noise faded and she closed her eyes, fighting tears. She just wanted to wake from the nightmare but that wouldn’t happen. It was all real.
Keys jingled sometime later and she slid along the wall to the far corner, praying the person would just pass right by her door. They’d already fed her the crappy meal she got every day. She was only allowed a bath once a week, when she was taken down the tunnel, but that had already happened the day before. It wasn’t time.
The footsteps stopped right outside her door.
“My dear, dear Glenda,” the singsong voice taunted. “It’s time to meet someone.”
She squeezed her eyes closed, wanting to avoid looking at the thing she’d learned to hate most. She refused to call him a man.
The key twisted in the lock, metal creaked, and she figured her life was finally about to end.
“I see you,” the son of a bitch chuckled.
She opened her eyes, glaring at Vlad. It was highly doubtful that was his real name. He was rail thin, his skin so white it seemed to glow from the candlestick he held aloft with one boney hand. Hatred battled fear inside her as she stared into a pair of sinister dark eyes.
“Leave me alone.”
“It’s time for you to learn what your purpose is.”
“I already know what you’re going to do to me. I’ve heard the screams from other people and their sobbing afterward. One of the women in another cell told me that you monsters bit her and took her blood.” A chill ran down Glen’s spine. “I’m assuming you killed her, since she never came back after the last time.”
He tilted his head at an angle that made it seem as if his neck were broken, really giving him an evil, inhuman appearance. “Not you, beloved. Your bloodline has assured you won’t be cattle to feed the masses. It’s why
“What does that mean?”
“Come with me.” He waved his hand toward the door.
Glen hesitated. She hated the dank room where they kept her prisoner, but leaving it was far worse. Creepers always littered the tunnels, hissing when she passed them to reach the room where they allowed her to bathe, where the tub resembled a cow trough with tepid water. They were always waiting, their dirty clothes stinking of death and unwashed bodies. Vlad had kept them from attacking so far, but she feared they wouldn’t listen to him at some point.
“Ticktock, beloved. Hurry your step. You don’t want to anger the master. He has been patient long enough.”
The master. She’d watched enough movies to know he would be the one in charge. The romance novels she read implied Vampires were sexy and charming. That hadn’t been her experience so far. It would be revolting if Vlad touched her or sank his yellowed fangs into her neck.
She took a few deep breaths, attempting to calm her racing heart. At least it will be over soon, she concluded. Don’t go out with a whimper. Die with dignity. Her shoulders straightened as she pushed away from the wall, jutting her chin out. Fuck these assholes.
“After you, unloved. Why don’t you lead the way?” She was proud of how steady her voice sounded.
His eyes widened. “Excuse me?”
“There’s no excuse for what you’ve done to me and all the others.”
A smile curved his lips, the coldness of it enough to make her almost regret her change in attitude. “There’s a spark of that spirit I saw when you were first brought here and demanded your freedom. It was disappointing to the master when I reported that you seemed broken.”
“It’s called being in shock, asshole. I’m over it.” She’d love to break a chair and stake the master, but especially Vlad. Does that really work? A stake to the heart? Holy water? Too bad I’m not religious and don’t wear a cross. To press one against the awful freak and watch him scream out in pain would have made her smile.
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