Blood Lily (Lilith Adams Vampire Series Book 1)

BOOK: Blood Lily (Lilith Adams Vampire Series Book 1)
10.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Blood Lily

By Jenny Allen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F
or

Jason Ratcliff
, who always pushes me to stand up for myself and is the best pseudo-brother a girl could ever have.

Emily Kirk, my first proofreader, who is allergic to latex and therefore knows how to spell neoprene.

Chris Howard, who created the beautiful cover for this book.

My test bunnies, Amanda Clark, Robin Sullivan, Travis
Tramble and Jacob Fisher.

And to all the people that influenced my life which culminated in this book. Thank you.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

I
t actually takes a tremendous amount of force for a wooden stake to break through the sternum and penetrate the heart.   Lilith snapped on the purple neoprene gloves and cautiously stepped into the room, as her mind wandered to the various movies and TV shows that littered pop culture these days.  It always looked so easy, she thought.  A little light thrust for an ordinary human, usually a cheerleader, and bam, no more vampire. It didn’t even need to be a stake, or sharp for that matter. A pencil, a broken end of a guitar, a random twig off a tree, and they turn to dust or explode in flames, leaving nothing behind of the demonic monster.  If only cleanup was that easy. Her job would almost be obsolete. She could trade in her forensics kit for a dustpan and a little brush that sponsored breast cancer awareness.

She chuckled under her breath and looked across the room at the man, or rather,
the corpse, lying on the hardwood floor. There was a rough wooden stake protruding from his chest, like some gruesome scene from a Hollywood movie, except that this was absolutely real. There were no geeks with vials of fake blood waiting in the wings. In fact, there was plenty of real blood; enough to give the air a coppery smell that warred with the ever pleasant smell of early decomp.

The man
was pale even before he died. Of course the rice powder makeup probably accounted for some of that, but she still wouldn’t be surprised to see a Vitamin D deficiency in his blood panel.  If she was correct, his softened bones from the deficiency would have made the killer’s job a little easier. It still would have taken a lot more than a light jab from a 100 pound girl.

His
black shirt lay open, and she spotted a few glints on the ground. Probably his missing shirt buttons. Either his attacker didn’t want to go through the flimsy black fabric or they were sick enough to want to see the stake penetrate the skin. Most likely it showed an intimacy, a personal connection with either the victim or this particular ritual style of killing. Since this was the first staking she’d seen in a couple years, she was betting that whoever did this, knew him.

The man, or perhaps boy would be more accurate, was
far too thin and malnourished, like he couldn’t afford to eat. The sunken chest was smooth, devoid of hair or any real muscles. It was possible that he was underage, probably a runaway from an abusive home, and wasn’t fully developed. Of course, if he had severe enough deficiencies his growth could have just been stunted.

His long hair was
thin even with the harsh black dye job and it was cut in a shaggy mess across his face. Mascara and thick eyeliner ran down his prominent cheeks in watery globs. His pants were vacuum-tight and of course, they were black too. Goths didn’t believe in much color apparently. Yes, bright colors were definitely out of the question. Yellow and orange were limited to the suburban enemy. Red was the only acceptable exception, well that and purple or hot pink for Goth girls, but only in trace amounts. Silver chains draped all over his pants and glistened in the large pool of blood. Yeah, Hollywood would definitely peg this guy for a vampire. He was probably brooding and sorrowful too.

There was a beep from the Bluetooth
in her ear, interrupting her somewhat morbid train of thought.  She slipped little fabric booties over her plain black flats, ensuring she wouldn’t disturb anything, before reaching up and pressing the call button. She picked her way into the room, careful to keep a straight line toward the body.

“Lilith?” the tinny voice of Detective Alvarez actually sounded somewhat bored.

“Expecting someone else to answer?”

His soft chuckle crackled into her ear. She really needed a better Bluetooth. “
Hey, you never know, might just catch you with company one day. Perhaps even male company.”  His voice lost the bored edge, sounding almost energized with its more than slight hint of a Spanish accent.

“Cute. It
take you all night to think that one up?” She smiled as she looked around the room. Nothing seemed out of place, not that she could really tell. The walls were sloppily painted black, with makeshift murals of pentacles and fangs that some asshole in Manhattan might call art. The once grand hardwood floors were covered in globs of paint, scuff marks, gouges, water damage, even candle wax. It was completely beyond any hope of repair. Candles and fishnet clothes littered every possible surface, which included milk crates and mismatched furniture that he either picked up off the street or bought at good will. Runaway was probably an accurate assumption.

Empty pizza boxes warred with take
-out boxes in one corner. There didn’t seem to be a garbage can as much as a garbage pile. Apparently he did eat, guess the self-loathing didn’t extend to fasting. Still, she was willing to bet his fast food diet didn’t involve any vegetables or fruits, which would support her theory of vitamin deficiencies. As she walked past the take-out pile, a few bugs scrambled around the garbage and she swore she heard the squeak of a mouse. The smell now overpowered the blood and decomp, making her cover her nose for a moment. She could never understand how someone could live that way. The thought just made her skin crawl and she suddenly felt the need to scrub herself in a hot shower.

Lilith
wrinkled her nose, trying to get rid of the smell as Alvarez laughed again in her ear. “Always a pleasure. So I’m assuming you’ve reached the scene? Any thoughts?”

“Oh
, plenty of them.  This guy should have sprung for a maid, possibly even a decorator. Though from the looks of his furniture, I don’t think he could even afford to buy a broom much less pay for a cleaning service. I haven’t examined the body yet, but first impressions? Goth kid took his masquerade too far with his friends or his enemies. Seriously, Alvarez, this is about as stereotypical as Goth gets." Lilith stepped past a few vampire novels spread across the floor and crouched down next to the body, carefully avoiding the cooling puddle of blood seeping into the hardwood.

“Well you are the expert of weird.
I’m sure not many forensic investigators get to spend every night examining possible vampire activity with police support.  Especially not support as alluring as my fantastic self.”  Alvarez was in his mid-forties, wife, 3 kids, and the growing belly and receding hairline to match.  He liked to think of himself as a Casanova, even if he was only a mild, average family man. He was all bark.

Lilith knew just how devoted he really was to his wife, Gloria. They immigrated to the states together from Spain just before the Prohibition Era, and they were one of those annoyingly adorable couples that made single people nauseous
, especially when they try to set people up with family friends. That was one annoying habit that Gloria had, and even though Alvarez didn’t share that habit, he knew better than to tell her no. Of course, Lilith could barely bring herself to tell Gloria no either. She just grinned and bared the awkward, nauseating dinners praying for her phone to ring with a new case or a new lead.

“Well, Detective Alluring. Are you gonna chatter in my ear all night or let me do my job?”  Her voice sounded annoyed and impatient, but she was smiling as she popped open the metal case next to her.
She took out a small, thin metal probe and pushed up his bluing lips. It wasn’t necessary but she was curious. Sure enough, the canines were elongated, an obvious dental cap job. He wasted his money though. His gums were a dark red at the gum line. She was no dentist but she was pretty sure gingivitis had already set in. Of course he was dead now so losing teeth was probably a moot point.

“And here I thought you loved the sound of my voice.  I’m wounded. I would hang up out of sheer principle, but I have to have the test result first. Rules are rules.”

“Just getting to that now. So how’s Gloria? She still freaked out about Erica delving into the dating world? ” Her keen olive eyes studied the wound, the puffed red skin around the stake, the drying blood. He was definitely alive when he was staked. She glanced at his hands, his arms. There didn’t seem to be any defensive wounds and no real signs of a struggle. There were no signs of being restrained either. She was fairly certain that enough time had passed for bruising to appear, but the only contusions she saw were around the stake. Lilith carefully reached into her kit and pulled out a pipette, a glass slide, and a tiny vial filled with pink liquid.

Alvarez was more than happy to make small talk, or better yet, rant about the family that he really adored. “She actually wants to handcuff the girl to her bed! I don’t think Gloria remembers being 16, or maybe she really does come to think of it!” His throaty chuckle crackled in her ear as s
he deftly secured a tiny sample of blood from the wound around the stake and dropped it onto the slide. Then she pulled a drop of the pink liquid to dab on top of it. There was no reaction.

“Human.
The Victim, though I think Gloria might have the right idea.” Lilith said simply and stowed the materials back in her kit. “I seriously doubt this had anything to do with us. There’s a metal mallet next to the body and the end of the stake is splintered and flattened.  Let homicide deal with it, it’s a human case. You may want to include that the victim most likely knew his attacker and he was probably drugged or knocked unconscious. I didn’t check for any head wounds, but there are no signs of a struggle and he was definitely alive when someone decided to impale him.”

Lilith tugged off her gloves,
and stowed everything neatly into the aluminum case. Once everything was squared away, she grabbed the case and started to head out of the room, careful to stay in the same straight line path she’d used to get to the body, as Alvarez chirped in her ear again. “Done, sent the info over to them.  Seems to be more and more of these cases lately. Kids staking each other, or getting dental implants and biting each other. All this stupid media hype.  Even my kids are fighting over team vampire or team werewolf! If I have to sit through another of those stupid movies again with that damn Jarrod’s Galleria of Jewelry vampire action figure, I swear…”

“Alvarez.” She cut him off quickly
because the man could really rant when it came to pop culture and their kind. Vampires that is. “Preaching to the choir, man. Though that Jarrod’s Jewelry line was pretty damn awesome. I’m gonna use that. Anyway, I gotta head out, take care and tell Gloria she owes me some cookies for Thursday night.”


Oh come on. Bill wasn’t that bad. He owns his own accounting business.” There was a little defensive inflection in his voice, but she knew it was more about defending his wife and not Bill the accountant.

“He wouldn’t be that bad if I was into balding, awkward creepers. I thought you were supposed to screen Gloria’s setups.”

“I am powerless against her wiles.” He sighed overdramatically and she could hear the smile in his voice.

“She still owes me cookies
, and none of that sugarless, gluten-free crap. I like the curves I have, thank you very much.” Lilith said flatly, trying to hide the amused smile.

Alvarez cackled over the Bluetooth in her ear.
“Gloria has nothing against your curves,
Bonita
. You know her. She gets a bee in her bonnet about the newest fad and makes us all her test bunnies. Don’t worry, I’ll tell her to get on baking some of those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies dripping with unhealthiness that you love so much. You be careful. You’re the single redheaded beauty out in the big bad city all alone. Night, Doll.”

Vampires.
Sometimes she secretly wished it was like the movies. Mind control would be a handy tool. TV vampires were like superhero versions of the real thing. Yes vampires really were stronger, faster, better senses, but not superman level, just…enhanced. Immortality? Well that was debatable. All known vampires were born, some lived very long lives, perhaps even thousands of years, some merely a couple lifetimes, and half-breeds only a couple decades longer than your average human. It all depended on the strength of the racial blood in their veins.  Lilith had strong, rich blood, but she was still young, a mere 27 years old, a blink of an eye to her father.

Bitten vampires, ones turned through a process, were
only a hypothesis. Theoretically, ninety-five percent of them would die during the process. At least that is the number her Uncle Duncan quoted. Personally, she’d never met a bitten vampire or even heard of one. It was like an urban legend that vampires told their vampire kids to scare them into behaving.

Still, Duncan said it was “not beyond the realm of possibilities”.
The human body can evolve to great things, but evolution forced into such a small time frame is next to impossible. It just can’t handle the change. The fever alone usually killed them. The heat of so many chemical reactions, changes in the basic chemistry, would completely disrupt the homeostasis that keeps humans alive and, at the very least, it would cause extensive, permanent brain damage. Still, she’d always wondered if one survived if it would be different somehow. That would definitely be something to study.

Lilith caught
sight of herself in a faded mirror as she headed for the door and let out a soft sigh. Her skin was a soft ivory though dark circles lingered under her olive green eyes. Shoulder-length hair, flaming auburn, was pulled into a hasty ponytail, with stray strands sticking out every which way. She rubbed at her cheeks and reached down to pull the booties off her shoes. She really needed a vacation, someplace sunny and tropical while she was young enough to enjoy it.

BOOK: Blood Lily (Lilith Adams Vampire Series Book 1)
10.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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