Ironic Sacrifice

By: Brooklyn Ann

“No. Nothing’s wrong,” she said too quickly. “Well, besides the fact that I’m about to die. It’s kind of a large thing to grasp, if you don’t mind.”

His smile faded, eyes turned serious. “Don’t worry. I will give you time.” He held out a hand. “Come.”

She frowned in confusion. Was he toying with her? Unease trickled down her spine like rivulets of ice water. “What do you mean? Aren’t you going to kill me now?”

Razvan shook his head. “No, I think not. You amuse me too much right now. And I would at least prefer to have you fed and bathed first.”

Her cheeks grew hot in embarrassment. She didn’t think about how badly she must smell to him, having not bathed in a week.

“Well?” He raised a brow.

Shivering in apprehension with a touch of excitement, she placed her hand in his. It was cool to the touch, but not as cold as she had expected of an undead creature. His other hand clamped about her waist as he pulled her body against his. The shocking intimacy made her tremble.

Suddenly, they both began to rise up into the air. Jayden clung to him in support, but as their ascent quickened, the wine, malnutrition, lack of sleep and shock got to be too much for her. Blackness closed over her as she slipped into unconsciousness.

Chapter Two

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Razvan shook his head in incredulous mirth as he laid the unconscious woman down on the hotel bed. Why did he make such a ridiculous bargain? He could have easily fed on both women or spared Jayden by washing all she had seen from her memory. But he had not.

Her offer to sacrifice her life for a stranger’s had both intrigued him and struck a chord within his blackened soul that he had thought long dead and buried. What had spurred her to such a rash action? Was she really so noble, so selfless that she would die for a stranger? Or did she feel that her own life had no value? He had to know.

And then there was her incredible psychic power. He hadn’t encountered a mortal with such strong abilities before in his near millennium of existence. It amazed him, this power. Her clairvoyance could be a near match to his prodigy, Silas’s, and he was well over five centuries old.

Usually his kind stayed far away from any human with even a scrap of psychic power, for their abilities were dangerous to vampires for obvious reasons. Razvan, however, used to seek them out to help him find his missing brother. All had failed... but this woman... Dare he hope?

He looked at her again. She was so dirty and wrapped up in faded worn clothing that it was hard to determine her appearance. It didn’t matter. There was something about this one, something that drew him more than his previous pet psychics.

Before he could think any further, Razvan bit his finger and coaxed her lips open to receive his blood as he recited the words that would Mark her as his property. “I, Razvan Nicolae, Lord of Spokane, Mark this mortal, Jayden Leigh, as mine and mine alone. With this Mark I give Jayden my undying protection. Let all others, immortal and mortal alike, who cross her path sense my Mark and know that to act against her is to act against myself and thus set forth my wrath as I will avenge what is mine.”

The Mark flared between them in an electric blast of hot energy. Razvan stumbled backwards, eyes wide. Was this a normal reaction? He had no way of knowing, for he’d never Marked a mortal before, not even the only one he’d felt a smattering of affection for and later, to his undying regret, Changed. What the hell had possessed him to do this thing, and with such a pitiful scrap of humanity that lay before him? The more he thought about it, the more his chest tightened in near panic. Shaking his head, he forced the disturbing question away. The deed was finished.

With that settled, Razvan went into the bathroom and started running bath water. Amusement curved his lips as he recalled the resort staff’s shocked expressions at the well-dressed gentleman carrying in a vagrant from the streets. When she was bathed, fed, and dressed in new clothes they wouldn’t recognize her.

His amusement faded. A hotel was not the best place, but Razvan couldn’t think of anywhere else to take his new possession. His home wasn’t suitable, especially for one in her malnourished and mentally unstable condition. And, of course, when immediate necessities were taken care of, there were other things that needed to be done.

When the bath was full Razvan returned to the bed and began to undress Jayden. Whether from exhaustion or malnourishment, she had not yet awakened. His breath caught in surprise when he felt a tremor of desire at the sight of her naked flesh. She was much too thin, but he appreciated the sight of her small pert breasts and narrow, yet still feminine hips. Her legs were long and graceful as a dancer’s and her stomach was smooth and flat.

Again, the sense of irony struck him. Though he was a vampire he still had a man’s needs, but not quite so often or intensely. He rarely bedded mortal women, for not only were they food but their ignorance and frivolousness annoyed him. Instead, he found his release with females of his own kind. But this woman… even dirty and half-starved …she ignited his lust more with every second that he looked upon her.