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Authors: Christopher Buecheler

Blood Hunt

BOOK: Blood Hunt
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Part 2 of the II AM Trilogy

Blood Hunt – Kindle Edition
Copyright © 2011 Christopher Buecheler.
All rights reserved.

http://www.iiamtrilogy.com/
http://writing.cwbuecheler.com/

 

Blood Hunt is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

First Edition: September 1, 2011

 

Cover Art by
Karla Ortiz
Cover Design by Christopher Buecheler

Have You Read The First Book?

 

 

Blood Hunt
is the sequel to
The Blood That Bonds
. If you have not read the first book, there’s good news: it’s free! Head to
http://www.iiamtrilogy.com
to download it – it is available for every major eReader, including Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, and more. You can also purchase the print edition.

Dedication

 

For my parents, Bill and Leslie.

Acknowledgements

As is the case with most books, this one would never have reached its present form without the efforts, enthusiasm and encouragement of many people. It's a privilege to list them here, and I can't thank them enough for all that they've done.

 

  • My wife Charlotte. She is my best friend, my toughest critic, and my muse. Her love and faith in me keep me going on these projects.
  • My editor Lauren, who did double-duty in a very short time-span, hunting down copy errors and suggesting ways to make the book better. If there are any flaws left in the text, be sure that they are my fault and not hers.
  • My cover artist, Karla, who really saved my life on this one, working with a completely unreasonable deadline. I love her vision of Two, and I hope you do too!
  • My trusted readers: Charlotte, Nora, Joost, Trevor, Caryn, Charles, Diana, and Kim (to whom I also owe thanks for some copy-editing of her own). Their feedback helped greatly in identifying what needed to change between drafts.
  • My fans, who've provided constant feedback and support on social networking sites, reviewed my books on the web, and sent me their thoughts via email. It is amazing to me that there are so many of you out there. It's incredibly motivating, and I've worked hard to make sure this book was worth your patience. I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

Part I

Chapter 1
Voices in the Dark

 

Tori Perrault shifted position, arched her back, thrust her hips. Breathing hard, she glanced down. Tangles of dirty-blonde hair, dark and damp with sweat, framed the edges of her vision, swayed with the motion of her body. A droplet caught briefly on her lower lip and trembled there, reflecting what dim light there was in the room, then fell to burst on the chest of the man below her. Occupied as he was, he didn’t notice.

Tori felt him gripping her buttocks, pulling her against him, straining. Her lip curled in an unconscious snarl as she tilted her head back, eyes closed, trying to focus. Trying to
feel
. The sweat, more a response to the room’s heat than to either exertion or stimulation, rolled down her body.

“Oh, Christ, baby …” he moaned, his voice high and weak and strained, and Tori knew he would finish soon. She tried to tamp down her annoyance; he was almost done, almost
there
, and she was still
here
. She was just starting to get into it.

She tried to tell herself that it wasn’t his fault. She required so much effort, so much time. Her body had spent twelve years in a heightened state of sensory awareness beyond human conception; was it any wonder that this return to something resembling “normal” felt empty and dull? It would take time for her to adjust to her current state – perhaps even years. Surely, though, her ability to feel would return eventually.

The lump of muscle below her had short brown hair and dark eyes, and if she’d known his name at the beginning of the evening, she had forgotten it since. Burned away by alcohol, perhaps, or apathy. Maybe he’d never told her. She didn’t care now, knowing that he was nearly
there
– she just wanted it to be over.

Here it was. His hands clenched tight with a pressure that might have been painful to someone else, and he thrust deep within her and held there. His breath caught and he leaned his head back, baring his throat, groaning. Tori could see his veins throbbing.
This is the part where I tear your throat out,
she thought, a bright flash of adrenaline streaking through her, there and then gone.
No, not that. Not anymore
.

He let out a long, groaning exhalation, and Tori felt liquid warmth flood her. A moment more and the hard thing inside her began to go limp. She leaned down, kissed him once, and rolled off without ceremony. She sat staring out at nothing as he groped for tissues, heard the scrape of a lighter as she reached for the bottle of cheap tequila on the nightstand. She drank from it directly, coughing a little.

He tapped her shoulder. “Smoke?”

Tori accepted one of the two lit cigarettes he held, put it to her lips, dragged, still staring at the far side of the room. The sheets pooled in her lap, leaving her breasts exposed; she could feel the man glancing at them from time to time as he sat beside her, saying nothing. Tori sat. Smoked. Stared.

“Good?” she asked after a while.

“God damn, baby.”

“Good. Stop calling me baby.”

“Uh … ‘kay.”

“What’s your name again?”

“Tom.”

“You gonna be here when I wake up, Tom?”

Tom was silent. The right side of Tori’s mouth, the side he couldn’t see, lifted up in a brief smirk.

“That’s what I thought,” she told him. “You left your ring on the sink. Don’t forget it.”

“Oh. Didn’t think you saw that.”

“I see everything.” Tori flicked ash into an empty glass on the nightstand.

“You pissed?”

Not about that
, thought Tori. She told him no.

“Cool.” Tom yawned, stubbed out his cigarette, and rolled over on his side, facing away from Tori. Within minutes he was asleep. Tori sat. Smoked. Stared.

I see everything,
she had told him, and it was true. There was little that escaped Tori’s notice. When your eyes could read newsprint from across the room and your mind could recall events as a series of detailed snapshots, it was hard
not
to notice everything. The trick for Tori wasn’t paying attention, but making herself stop.

She closed her eyes to focus on her body, still stuck in a state of arousal she no longer wanted. Rapid heartbeat, hard nipples, warm and wet between her legs. She supposed she could try to finish the job herself, but the prospect seemed unappealing. She instead went to the bathroom, cleaned off the mess that Tom had left, and returned to the bed without waking him.

Across the room was a window, facing out into an alley. Across the alley was the blank face of a brick wall, illuminated only by the dim glow from a streetlight somewhere near the front of the building. Sitting in the dark, staring out the window, Tori could make out each individual crack in the masonry. She passed the time by counting them.

The warmth between her legs began to fade, finally, and Tori took another swig from the bottle, willing sleep to come. Three quarters of the alcohol was gone, and Tom had barely touched it. A woman her size should have been hanging over the toilet right now, or heading for the emergency room. Tori’s head swam a bit, but she was far from drunk. She smirked again. Drank again. Sat. Smoked. Stared.

She was glad Tom would be gone when she woke up. It was better when it went this way. Tom had what he wanted from her, and Tori had escaped from her parents for an evening without needing to play the awkward morning-after game. She had no more desire to feign any sort of connection with Tom than he did with her.

Somewhere his wife was lying cold in her bed, waiting for him, and he was here, asleep in a motel next to a strange girl he’d just fucked. Tori supposed this should bother her, but it didn’t. She found it difficult to care about the wife, or about Tom, or about anyone else for that matter. She cared for her parents, annoying though they could be. Then there was Two, more of a sister than any biological relation could ever have been. After that, who? Rhes and Sarah? Molly? Surely they were wonderful people, but Tori had known them so briefly that she sometimes had a hard time picturing their faces.

The friends she had once known in Ohio were all new people. Gone or grown. Married. Raising families. Tori had existed in a kind of suspended animation for the past twelve years, and they had passed her by. Her body was still twenty-one. They were all in their mid-thirties. The girl who had once promised to someday stand as Tori’s maid of honor was dead, killed in a car accident. She had left behind a husband, two daughters, and a house.

Tori glanced at Tom and felt guilt, though not about his wife. No, it was for her parents; they would be wondering where she was. Her mother especially. At times like this Tori felt remorse, but it would be a different story when she was home. She was fighting with them more and more often, frustrated by their concern, smothered by their love. It had only been six months since her return after more than a decade of darkness and madness and death. Was it right for her to feel so constrained, so pressed upon, or was it simply a selfish reaction to good intentions?

Tori sat. Smoked. Stared. Eventually her body cooled. Eventually she slept.

 

* * *

 

She woke gasping, sweating, shaking from a dream that she couldn’t remember. It was still dark, still night, and she grappled with panic, disoriented by her unfamiliar surroundings. After a moment, memory filled the darkness: Tom and the motel. Right.

He was gone. She could see that the other side of the bed was empty, but even without the light leaking in from the street, she would have known. There was no warmth there, no sound of breathing other than her own, which was slowly returning to normal.

Tori ran a hand through her long, golden semi-curls, tousled and damp with sweat. A glance at the digital clock on the nightstand told her that dawn was still more than an hour away. Plenty of time to get home, sneak quietly in, and catch a few more hours of sleep before work. This was not an uncommon occurrence; Tori needed very little rest, perhaps four hours of sleep each night. Her body seemed to want no more.

She slid out of the bed and moved to the bathroom, sat on the toilet, relieved herself of the night’s alcohol intake. When she was done she stood for a moment, naked, posing for the mirror. She had the sort of waist and hips that mannequins and magazines made every young woman pine for, though few could ever hope achieve. Bright blue eyes, full breasts, her only visible blemish a strawberry-colored birthmark on the inside of her left thigh. The blood had erased everything else.
Baby,
she thought,
you oughtta be in pictures.

Tori knew she was attractive, and knew she was lucky to be so. She understood this in a way that was detached, not arrogant. It was useful to be attractive, but beyond that it was not of great importance to her. Tori had seen too much, known too much, lived too much to hold such concerns. Far more interesting, in her opinion, were the secrets hidden behind her form. She flexed, looking herself over, searching for any sign of what she was. There was no outward evidence of her interior strength. No bulging muscles stretched her skin, no veins stood out like roadmaps.

There was no indication that the naked woman in the mirror before her, long-legged and shapely, could bench-press nearly four hundred pounds. No sign that she could run a six-minute mile without becoming winded. There was no sign at all of what she had been for twelve years, no exterior hint of the changes that more than a decade of vampirism had made to her physiology. Abraham’s blood had worked within her, changing her, and those changes had not entirely reversed after her return to humanity. It had been too long, the blood too strong, for its marks to be completely wiped out.

BOOK: Blood Hunt
4.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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