Make me, p.1

Make Me, page 1

 

Make Me
 


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Make Me


  Table of Contents

  Praise for the Demon Underground series:

  Val Shapiro has a secret she’s desperate to keep—she’s lost her slayer powers.

  Other books by Parker Blue

  Make Me

  What Has Gone Before

  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

  Praise for the Demon Underground series:

  “Love, betrayal, vampires, and a mystery. How much better can it get than that?”

  —That Teen Can Blog

  “. . . fast paced, exciting storylines… The ending took me by surprise; I can’t wait for the fourth book to come out!”

  —C.J. Harris, Vampire Librarian

  “. . . big, shocking and intense.”

  —Lara Taylor, Fresh Fiction

  Val Shapiro has a secret she’s desperate to keep—she’s lost her slayer powers.

  As the new guardian of the Encyclopedia Magicka, Val expected the books to give her powers to replace those that disappeared after she lost her “V card” to Shade. But the encyclopedia exacts a price for every spell, making the job of guardian a tricky proposition.

  When a rogue demon kidnaps Val’s roommate Gwen and Micah, leader of the San Antonio Demon Underground, Val is plunged into the middle of a Solomon’s Choice. The rogue wants the dangerously potent Encyclopedia Magicka in exchange for her friends’ lives; the succubus leader of the Demon Underground in Austin is demanding the books be destroyed rather than let them fall into the wrong hands and wants Shade for herself, swearing to do everything she can to prevent Val’s turning over the books.

  The kidnapping isn’t the only crisis Val faces. She’s been betrayed by Fang. Demons and vampires are disappearing. The vamps of the New Blood Movement are forcing Val to keep the terms of her agreement to work for them to combat this new threat. The Demon Underground is challenging Micah’s leadership, and everyone is depending on a now-powerless Val to set things right.

  Val needs all the help she can get. Even if it means forgiving Fang and spending time with a dangerously sexy cowboy-vampire.

  Other books by Parker Blue

  DEMON UNDERGROUND SERIES

  Bite Me

  Try Me

  Fang Me

  Make Me

  Make Me

  Demon Underground Series, Book Four

  by

  Parker Blue

  Bell Bridge Books

  Copyright

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events or locations is entirely coincidental.

  Bell Bridge Books

  PO BOX 300921

  Memphis, TN 38130

  Ebook ISBN: 978-1-61194-114-2

  Print ISBN: 978-1-61194-120-3

  Bell Bridge Books is an Imprint of BelleBooks, Inc.

  Copyright © 2012 by Pam McCutcheon

  Printed and bound in the United States of America.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

  We at BelleBooks enjoy hearing from readers.

  Visit our websites – www.BelleBooks.com and www.BellBridgeBooks.com.

  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  Cover design: Debra Dixon

  Interior design: Hank Smith

  Photo credits:

  Cover Art © Christine Griffin

  Spine and back cover art- C Unholyvault | Dreamstime.com

  :Mmm:01:

  What Has Gone Before

  My name is Val Shapiro, but they call me the Slayer since I’ve made a hobby—and a living—hunting vampires. Up until now, that’s been easy, seeing as how I’m one-eighth succubus lust demon. I call that part of me Lola, and she gives me the power to make men fall instantly in lust with me. While I was still a virgin, I had incredible power, speed and healing ability—all the better for pounding vamps into dust. My mom thought I was a bad influence on my little sister, so my parents kicked me out of the house and the family business a few weeks ago when I turned eighteen.

  It worked out okay, though. I found a new friend in a part hellhound, part terrier mix named Fang. He’s telepathic with demons and keeps the snark level pretty high, but I’m okay with that. I also discovered there was a Demon Underground in San Antonio to help people like me pass in human society. They’re pretty awesome, so it’s almost like having a family again. Almost.

  I worked for a while with the San Antonio Special Crimes Unit hunting vampires and had a thing going on with my human cop partner, Dan Sullivan, until he discovered what I was. He couldn’t deal with it, or the fact that I beheaded his ex-fiancée, even though she’d become an evil bloodsucker herself. And when I reluctantly helped the New Blood Movement, a vein of “good” vampires to identify and eliminate the bad bloodsuckers, that was it for him.

  Luckily, I found a new boyfriend, a totally hot shadow demon named Shade. All you can see when you look at him are the interdimensional energies swirling through his body, unless he’s touching someone. Then he looks like a normal human. So, I touch him a lot. Purely to keep his demon identity a secret, y’know.

  As long as I still had my V-card, I had all my slayer capabilities, but when I gave in to lust and lost it to Shade, I also lost my powers. Now I have this rep as the invincible Slayer with nothing to back it up but Lola. Doing the deed with Shade was kinda awesome, but losing my mojo sucks.

  Anyway, before he committed suicide when I was five, my father gifted me with a set of magickal books, The Encyclopedia Magicka. Someone stole them, but with Shade’s help, I found them again and kicked the thieves—an evil rogue mage demon and his father—into a pocket universe where they can’t do any harm.

  Now the books have adopted me as their keeper, and their old keeper agreed to teach me how to use them and their powers. It’s a good thing, ’cause I lost a bet and promised the New Blood Movement I’d work for them until we could find the books and the Movement revealed their existence to the world.

  One down. One to go.

  Chapter One

  I crouched in the darkness of an ancient live oak, armed with only my wits, listening for any sign of the vampire. Nothing but the rattling of branches and the soughing of the wind through the leaves here on the longest night of the year.

  Creepy.

  I wasn’t hiding out of fear. I just wanted to get a bead on him before he found me first. Now that I’d lost my strength, speed, and healing ability, and I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of any of my new powers as keeper of the Encyclopedia Magicka, I needed any advantage I could get. The live oak, with its leaves and gnarled branches as big around as my waist, shaded me from the revealing flood of moonlight.

>   “Val Shapiiiro,” he crooned, the eerie mocking sound seeming one with the breeze. “Come out, come out wherever you are…”

  Too close! He’d found me.

  Lust for the hunt sizzled through my blood and I whirled toward the sound. “Make me,” I growled.

  He rushed me, inhumanly fast.

  I leapt up to one of the low branches hugging the ground and lashed out with a savate kick, hoping to score a field goal with his head. He ducked.

  Too slow, damn it. I stumbled for a nanosecond on the uneven surface, then regained my balance as he appeared on the bough beside me. His infuriating grin flashed in a sliver of moonlight. I struck out with my fist, hoping to smash the fangs off his face. Blocked.

  I couldn’t let him take the offensive. And though I might have lost my speed and strength, I still had my martial arts training. I battered him with a series of blows, but he was so fast, none of them connected where I wanted. I tried a low blow—a kick to the ’nads, but he stopped that, too.

  Frustrated, I leapt up to grab the branch above me, planning to swing up and over it and use the momentum to knock him off his perch. Instead, he tackled me. I lost my grip and we both hit the hard-packed earth, knocking the wind out of me.

  Taking advantage of my momentary pause and gasp for air, he straddled my waist and hooked his legs over mine so I couldn’t move, then grabbed my wrists and pinned them above my head.

  Crap. He was too strong—I couldn’t get free, no matter how hard I struggled.

  He grinned, looking way too happy with the situation. “Yield, darlin’?”

  Never. I still had one weapon left. I hated to use it, but I hated to lose even more. I called on the succubus inside me and she leapt to the fore, eager for action. The purple eye flash that came with the use of my demonic powers reflected in his eyes as my succubus Lola surged forth and slammed into his chakras, instantly making him my slave.

  His lust for Lola made it impossible to disobey me. I paused for a moment, trying to catch my breath enough to tell him to shove off.

  His smile turned wicked as he released my wrists and his hands started to wander where only one man’s hands had gone before.

  This was so wrong. “Get off me,” I yelled, shoving against his shoulders.

  He took his time rolling off, his lascivious gaze and knowing smile never leaving my face as he hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans.

  I scrambled to my feet, releasing him from Lola’s clutches so fast it made us both stagger. “Seriously, Austin?”

  He looked different without his Stetson… edgier, more dangerous. Alejandro’s cowboy lieutenant ran a hand over his face and chuckled softly. “Hey, you were the one who played your ace in the hole… darlin’.”

  My face heated. Crap. He always made me feel young and foolish. No matter that at eighteen, I’d been slaying vampires for years. No matter that I could make any man alive do whatever I wanted. No matter that brave cops, vampires, and demons feared me as the Slayer. None of it mattered when Austin gave me his knowing look, reminding me he had at least a hundred years more experience than I did. It was as if he gazed deep into the insecurities of my soul and laid them bare.

  I averted my gaze and pretended I was absorbed in brushing twigs and leaves from my shirt and jeans. “I had to,” I muttered. “It was the only way I could win.” He’d already beaten me once. I couldn’t let him win two out of three.

  “I know,” he said softly. “Took you long enough.”

  I shrugged. “I don’t like to use my powers unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

  “And that’s why you lost the first time. If I’d really been out to get you…” He shrugged.

  “I know, I know.” I’d be dead. Thank goodness this was only practice. I didn’t want the word to get out to the general vamp population that the Slayer had lost her powers, or I’d be challenged by every one of them not affiliated with the New Blood Movement. And maybe even some in the Movement.

  “Best two out of three?” I asked. This time, I’d be faster on the draw with my secret weapon.

  “I’ll pass,” he drawled. “Now that you’ve figured out when to play your trump card… well, let’s just say I don’t think either of us would be comfortable doing that again.”

  Boy, make me squirm, willya?

  Someone slammed into me from the side, taking me down again. Another vamp—Luis. I shoved Lola into him so fast, he didn’t get a chance to try anything.

  “Stop. Don’t move.” I scrambled to my feet and, just in case Austin tried anything more, I hooked him with one of Lola’s energy tendrils as well. “You, too.”

  I’d learned my lesson and wasn’t about to—

  Wham. I was down on the ground again. A third vamp? You’re kidding me.

  I shook my head. No problem. I could handle three without even breaking a sweat. I lunged out with Lola to take care of numero tres, and got nothing but a hard slap across the face.

  Crap. It was Rosa. Lola wouldn’t work on her. “Stop her,” I gritted out, sending a surge of power along Lola’s energy strands.

  My two marionettes obeyed instantly, grabbing Rosa and pulling her off me. They looked murderous, so I added, “Hold her—don’t hurt her.” Alejandro wouldn’t be pleased if he found out I’d let two of his lieutenants tear the third limb from limb.

  Rosa—smart girl—didn’t fight them. She just smirked at me.

  “Lucky hit,” I said, rising up on one elbow to feel my jaw. She packed quite a wallop.

  “Not lucky,” she spat. “You, you call yourself the Slayer? If I used my knife, you’d be dead right now. Muerta.”

  I could have pointed out that she’d be one dead undead bloodsucker with a single word from me, but kept my trap shut. After all, they were helping me regain some skill and confidence by sparring with me in private. It was my own damned fault that I’d assumed they’d come at me one at a time. The least I could do was act grateful.

  And I was, I really was. I hadn’t known until tonight that the Movement used the clearing in the center of the woods around the mansion as their private training grounds. But I’d ignored their suggestion to stick to the open space. Instead, I’d taken to the trees, hoping it would give me some advantage. Not so much.

  I cast around with my senses but didn’t detect any more bloodsuckers. “Any others waiting in the wings to take a swing at the Slayer?” I asked before I got up again. I didn’t want to meet the ground up close and personal for a fourth time.

  “No,” Austin and Luis answered in unison.

  Good. I got slowly to my feet. The adrenaline was gone, so I was starting to experience the pain of tonight’s punishment. Dang, it sucked to feel human. It was times like these that I regretted giving up my powers. “Why do you care anyway?” I asked Rosa. She’d sounded so pissed.

  Still held captive by the other two vamps, she rolled her eyes. “Because you need to protect Alejandro.”

  “Why? I’m not his bodyguard. Doesn’t he have, like, a whole vein of bloodsuckers to do that for him?” I knew he thought of me as his personal talisman, but sheesh, that was taking it too far.

  “For when he goes to Austin,” she clarified.

  I glanced at the cowboy vamp, confused. “Goes to Austin for what?” And, realizing the two guys were both still in Lola’s thrall, I let them go, despite Lola’s protest.

  Rosa rubbed her arms and sulked. “Stupid chica. Not him, the city. Maybe you’ve heard of it? The capital of Texas?”

  Oh. But… “Since when are we going to Austin, where I’ll apparently have to watch his back?” I asked.

  Luis folded his arms. “Alejandro hasn’t told her yet.”

  He and the cowboy vamp exchanged an unreadable glance. “Better take her to him,” Austin said.

  I heaved a sigh. Secrets. I hated secrets.

  Luis nodded briefly, and the three of them headed back to the house. They didn’t even look back, just assumed I’d follow them like a good little girl. Hell with t
hat. They could keep their secrets.

  Fang finally trotted up from his place on the sidelines. Part scruffy terrier, part telepathic hellhound, part smart-aleck-bane-of-my-existence, he sat on his haunches and grinned up at me. POUT MUCH?

  We’d decided to have him sit this one out to see what I could do without him. I thought he’d be upset that he couldn’t mix it up with me, but with that snarky comment, I wondered… “Did you enjoy watching them beat the crap out of me?” I asked.

  He snorted. NOT SO MUCH. BUT IT WAS NECESSARY.

  “Maybe,” I muttered. “But is this meeting necessary? Not so much.”

  YOU DID AGREE TO WORK FOR HIM UNTIL THE BOOKS WERE FOUND AND HE COMES OUT OF THE CLOSET.

  I know. I’d found the books, but he hadn’t done the second part yet.

  SO, THIS IS PART OF YOUR JOB. WHAT’S THE MATTER? YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO TRAVEL MORE.

  Yeah, but not as a bodyguard. Okay, yes, I was pouting. So sue me.

  Fang didn’t say a word, just looked at me with reproachful brown eyes framed in his adorably fuzzy face. Dang. He’d pulled out the big guns. I gave up. “Okay, okay. I’m coming.”

  I hobbled toward the house, feeling every ache and pain the vamps had hammered into me. More like eighty than eighteen.

  NEXT TIME, WEAR SILVER, my unfeeling hellhound advised me.

  I’d thought of that, but it seemed like cheating when the vamps were supposed to be helping me. Then again, being a vampire was kind of cheating, too, wasn’t it?

  Fang just snorted, which I took to mean he agreed with me.

  Alejandro’s people had been careful not to create any paths into the woods that would reveal the location of their training ground, but it was easy to follow the lights to the house. I trudged up to their back door where Austin waited for me, holding open the door. He’d put his hat back on, too, so he looked more like himself.

  “I’m coming,” I muttered.

  “I know.” He grinned again, but didn’t move when I passed him.

 
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