Authors: Jade M. Phillips
JADE M PHILLIPS
Copyright © 2015
This book is protected under
the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other
unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein is prohibited.
This book is a work of fiction.
Any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Cover Art designed by Book
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Do you know what heartbreak feels like?
Not the kind where you binge on ice cream and bad TV for a
week poring over old pictures and crying into your pillow. I mean true,
soul-crushing heartbreak. The kind of heartbreak that becomes physical, the
ache so excruciating your body actually convinces your mind you’re dying
And if you’ve been a person unlucky enough to have had this
sort of suffering, you would know it comes without warning, blind-siding you
like a freight-train, each car that slams into your chest, knocks you
breathless over and over again. No matter how strong your resolve, no matter
how much you’d like to think it won’t affect you this way, it does. It
annihilates your very being, crushes your very heart.
You lose hold of yourself like a piece of you is missing.
Unlike an arm or a leg, which can be —perhaps awkwardly— managed without, this
missing piece is a layer of your soul. It leaves you hollow and one
dimensional, a paper cut-out of your former self. You continue through your
days woodenly, waiting for the darkness to suck you in, like some screwed-up
out-of-body experience. The world fades away and loses color, food no longer
holds flavor, and you know deep in your heart you will never be the same. You mourn
the loss of love as you would mourn your own death.
In my former life, I thought I knew what heartbreak was. I
thought I’d witnessed such great loss, but I hadn’t. I had no idea the enormity
of it. I had no idea how it ripped your spirit from your body, leaving behind
the hollow shell of the person you used to be. But I know now what it’s like to
be in love with someone you are forbidden to be with and walk away from them,
knowing it’s the last time you will ever kiss them, or hold them, or look upon
their face. I know now what it’s like to have your heart shattered into a
thousand pieces, unlikely to ever heal.
But that is not what Guy would’ve wanted— my solider, my
enemy, my love— the Captain who I fell for despite our impossible
circumstances. No, he would want me to be happy and continue on this journey,
even without him. He saved my life and wouldn’t want it to be in vain. But despite
my knowing I should be brave and honor his memory, I felt it there calling for
me; the need to slip away, the need to dissociate myself from the world due to
But I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t fall back into the blissful
numbness of loss and regret that I seemed so desperately to cling to. I wouldn’t
let the one thing he admired about me most —my faith— fail. I needed to reel
myself back in and take the second chance given to me, do something with it. I
needed to exist amongst others like me and try my hardest to be accepted in my
new home. I needed to embrace what I was, what I was always meant to be. I
needed to embrace my new life as a vampire.
My imprisonment blazed angry thoughts through my mind, but I
was too weak to do anything about it. I opened my mouth to speak, but my throat
crackled with disuse. I licked my lips, swallowing what little saliva I had
left and tried again.
“Ex— excuse me?”
The two werewolves guarding my cell shifted, but remained
rigid and silent. They were in their human forms but I could smell their canine
“I’m thirsty, hungry. Can I please have some blood?” My
voice rasped, dryer than the desert I grew up in. “Human blood?”
I stifled a gag, knowing I’d never drink it. The stuff made
me choke, and after Wilson’s discovery of me still being half-human, it was
just wrong like a pig eating bacon. Gag. But I needed the female vampire to
come back, the one who’d originally found me at the gates of Tombstone.
Since my being locked up, she’d brought me blood every day
and was the only one I had contact with. And I had a feeling she was the only
one I would get any answers from. I sure as heck wouldn’t get anything from
Humpty and Dumpty other than grunts, snarls, and an odd lingering scent of wet
dog, but who would want that?
As if my prayers were answered, a door opened somewhere in
the building, indicating that it was feeding time. Relief washed over me at the
fact that I would yet again see the young vampire.
Her footsteps padded down the hall, echoing like raindrops.
A candle lit her face as she came into view with a cup in hand and a bundle
under her arm. Her unkempt hair hung in gnarled strands and she wore the same
clothes as the first night she fetched me from the gates, so many nights ago.
Her ripped skirt and faded shirt looked little more than rags and I thought she
resembled a peasant girl from one of the old black and white westerns my dad
used to watch on TV. Disgust coursed through my veins at the sight of her, and
my stomach panged when smelling her unmistakable scent of banana pudding,
something I associated with vampires though tried desperately to ignore.
Humpty unlocked my cell and slid open the bars, allowing the
female vampire to enter cautiously as if I would jump out and bite her. After
being locked up for so long, I couldn’t help but think I just might.
The vampire had yet to say one word to me after having
deceived me with a warm greeting the night I first arrived in Tombstone— The
City of Unfortunate Souls. And for someone so stubborn in their resolve, she
struck me as a frightened mouse, her brown hair hanging over her meek shoulders
as she leaned down to place the cup next to my feet. She cast her eyes downward
as if afraid I’d speak to her. Damn right I would.
“What’s your name?” I asked sharply, causing her to flinch.
I was so done. Done being sucked into the numbness and heartache that overcame
me in the passing days, done letting the darkness seep into my mind, done being
the victim. I would not let Wilson’s memory be in vain. Since I no longer had a
family of my own, the old vampire had become like a father to me, giving his
life to protect me, as well as Guy had done in saving my life.
Just the name of my soldier caused an ache so bad I thought
I might crumble from the inside out. Regardless of my unsated love and broken
heart at having to separate from him— for our love was a forbidden one— he’d
saved my life so I could live free here in Tombstone. Live safe without danger
lurking around every corner.
And for what? For me to waste away behind bars? I shook my
head in anger, gazing at the bars in front of me making slanted shadows on the
ground. Both Wilson and Guy wouldn’t want me to give up. I would never give up.
Ignoring my question, the female vampire pulled the blanket
from my bed and replaced it with a clean one. I almost laughed. So, for
countless days they locked me away with no shred of communication or glimpse of
the outside world, with only a meager serving of blood, but laundry held
priority? I held back a scoff.
“Why am I in here?” I tried again.
Her lashes fluttered as if resisting the urge to look up.
But she did and her timeless eyes landed on mine for one long moment. The girl
looked to be about the same age as me, seventeen, maybe eighteen. But who knew
how old she really was for vampires hid the effects of age well with their
immortality. She quickly dropped her gaze yet again and stuffed the old blanket
under her arm, intent on not responding to me.
“At least tell me how long I’ll be here. I’m getting weak.”
That was not a lie. I hadn’t drank the offered blood since being placed in this
cell, however long ago that’d been, and was beginning to feel the effects.
“Please…” I added, barely above a whisper. My resolve was
Her body tensed at my plea, and my heart lifted in
expectation as she glanced over her shoulder at the guards. They were facing
away, either unaware or uncaring of our exchange.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed, dropping her gaze to the ground.
“It’s protocol. You’ll be released after Horus questions you.”
Fear slid through me like snakes. Questions me? That would
be fine if I were just some normal vampire coming here to seek refuge. But I
wasn’t. I had a past I could not reveal.
“When?” I asked. “When am I to be questioned?” To my
disappointment, the female stood and exited the cell without another word. I
huffed with annoyance when the door closed with a loud clang. Great.
The guards regained their positions, rifles propped up on
their shoulders. God, was everyone around here like this— so cold and unwilling
to talk? Not like I wanted them to greet me with balloons and fruit punch or
anything, but I sure as heck didn’t expect to be thrown into jail like a common
criminal. And with no explanation at that, just rigid silence. I wondered if
all new arrivals were treated with such class, or if I was the only one to get
the creepy-abandoned-ghost-town jail experience.
Wilson’s warning instantly struck me. The old vampire had
cautioned me not to reveal my secret to anyone— the secret that I was a rare
half-breed who grew in strength faster than any other vampire. The secret that
I still retained my humanity and compassion. And the secret that I was still
According to Wilson, somewhere in my family history a
vampire mated with a human, and that gene had been passed down through the
generations landing on, you guessed it, lucky me. I wasn’t quite sure the
science of it, something about my immunity to becoming a full vampire. But
regardless, it had been activated within me when my maker bit me— my maker, who
I’d recently found out was my biological father, Frank, and apparently the
carrier of said vampire gene, though I’d never met him before.
Is that why I was kept in here for so long? Did they know I
was different? Did they sense it? The thought terrified me, making me want to
shirk away and slip back into blissful numbness, ignorant of my scenario.
Instead I sat up straight, vying to keep my wits about me. I would await my questioning
by this Horus creature and, if all went as planned, I wouldn’t become a dead
vampire in the process. I took the cup of blood and poured it down a crack in
the floor like I’d done the past few days. I laid down on the wooden bench and
rested my head on my arm.
Time went by unaccounted for and I wasn’t sure if I fell
asleep or not but the sound of a door opening down the hall had me jumping. I
sat bolt upright, hearing the wolf guard’s nervous murmurs.
“Horus,” one hissed.
“Shut up,” the other one retorted.
I wondered who this Horus was and by the looks on Humpty and
Dumpty’s faces, he wasn’t someone you’d have a merry little chat about the
weather with. Dread tore through me as the visitor approached, the fine hairs
on the back of my neck standing on end. If the guards feared Horus, maybe I