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Now, Hayden’s hunt begins…
The limousine parked in front of a dingey pub quaking with the vibrations of acoustic drums and amplified bass. According to the posters plastered all over the red-brick frontage, Mobius Wing were playing two sets that night, with only one support act. Reaching the entrance, Seraphina slipped the doorman a wad of cash and I screwed my face up as I narrowed my eyes on her. ‘Hefty cover charge. I’ve seen this band before, and while they’re good, they aren’t exactly high profile.’
She smirked at me. ‘I have an agreement with this and several other establishments. When hunting, I give them hush money. Keeping low key is essential for survival.’
I nodded my understanding and followed her inside the familiar venue. Glancing around, I observed bare steel struts and pillars all over the place, suggesting the building was once a warehouse. The renovations were not entirely finished, although it was possible they were going for an industrial aesthetic. Light splayed out across the tightly packed audience like sunbeams, giving me a glimpse of all the leather, ripped denim, and piercings. The crowd roared with excitement, limbs flailing and long hair whipping about.
Seraphina drew close behind me, pressing her soft lips to the shell of my ear. ‘Look at them all. So much life thriving and writhing in one place, like an all-you-can-eat buffet.’
My mouth watered at the thought of ravishing so much tender flesh. ‘How should I do this?’
‘Go for the ones who give you bedroom eyes. Use their lust to fuel your own and seduce them with everything you’ve got. Once you have a girl in your arms, start by kissing her mouth, then move to her neck. Leave the rest to instinct. I will cover you and tell you when to stop.’
After failing to take a deep breath, I faltered, unable to psych myself up in the usual way.
She whispered, ‘Don’t be nervous, sweetheart. Even as a mortal, you were gorgeous and now you really do have looks that can kill.’
I groaned, but secretly laughed. ‘How do you know my nerves aren’t just due to the whole blood drinking thing?’
Grinning, she kept quiet and gestured toward the platter of people.
Merging with the masses, I searched for my prey. I recognize a bunch of women who ran in the same circles as me, even a few I’d picked up before. They would be easy. Probably not a good idea to go for someone who knows me though. I exchanged a smile with Amy, my last hookup prior to Seraphina, and turned to face blazing hazel eyes and fuchsia hair. Her gaze locked with mine, prompting a rush of heated blood through my veins. How does that even work if I don’t have a heartbeat? Pushing the thought aside, I willed my brain into submission. I had no use for it in this moment after all. With measured steps, I approached the pink-haired punk chick who began licking one of her lip rings. ‘Nice bling.’ Not my best pickup line, but whatever.
Her fingers stroked along the lapels of my jacket. ‘Nice skins. You like to ride?’
I gave her a lopsided grin. ‘Is that an invitation?’
She barked a short laugh. ‘Straight to the point. I like your no-nonsense style.’ Slipping both hands beneath the jacket, she ran them along the ridges of my abdomen. ‘Mind if I sample the goods first?’
If my lungs worked, I would have sucked in a breath. ‘By all means.’ Wrapping my arms around her waist, I pulled her closer, inhaling the pungent scent of jasmine. ‘What’s your name, beautiful?’
‘Sheena.’ Walking her fingers along my chest, she felt the titanium barbells piercing my nipples, and toyed with them.
‘As in the Ramone’s song?’ I rasped, forgetting for a moment I was meant to be seducing her, not the other way around.
When her tongue flicked the left corner of her mouth, I took the hint, and dove in to taste her glossy lips. Strawberries. Sheena’s moans filtered through our kiss and I almost lost control of my libido. Everything about her was a feast to my senses, a delectable dish of sin. Movement behind her caught my attention and I broke the contact to glance at Seraphina, reminding me to stay on task. I’m here to feed on the girl, not fuck her.
Trailing kisses along Sheena’s neck helped me find her jugular, and the blood pulsing through the vein brought my fangs to the fore. As I sank my teeth into her neck, I heard her gasp. Without protest, she yielded, grinding against me. Her lifeforce did not carry the metallic tang I had come to associate with blood, rather she was sweet and juicy like a cherry sauce mixed with the juices of a roast. I drank and drank from her, climbing the high each drop brought me.
‘That’s enough,’ Seraphina insisted with a tap on my shoulder. She flanked Sheena, pressing her own body against the punk’s back.
Lifting my eyes, I held Seraphina’s gaze while feasting on Sheena’s blood. I was not yet satisfied, so there was no way I was about stop.
‘You can get more elsewhere, Hayden. You need to finish up here.’
My brow furrowed as I glared at her. Not gonna happen. This girl tastes too good.
‘If you don’t stop now, you’ll kill her,’ she hissed in a whisper.
Sheena went limp in my arms; still, I could not tear myself away from her, from the rich, viscous drink warming my gullet.
‘Hayden,’ Seraphina warned as she clawed my arms. The pain did little to deter me; in fact, it enhanced the pleasure coursing through me. ‘As your leader and benefactor, I command you to cease your current feeding.’
My head jerked up as if a magnetic lure or invisible puppet strings tugged at me. ‘Wha—’
Seraphina sighed. ‘Another of my powers, one I will only invoke out of necessity.’ She lifted the droopy body and I stared aghast at lifeless eyes until she draped Sheena’s dead weight across my shoulders. ‘Now we have to clean up your mess. Carry her out back.’
Nodding, I obeyed her instructions, feeling the stifling burden of guilt as it clung to me heavier than the corpse in my arms.