Authors: J A Fielding
|J A Fielding|
This is a book written, designed and published by J A Fielding. All character and purely fictional, and any likeness they share with real people are strictly coincidental.
All rights remain copyrighted © to J A Fielding 2012.
This book may not be copied in full or part without the prior written consent of J A Fielding.
Nothing quite rivaled the vision of Nightingale Park in the moonlight.
Or so thought Hathen Noble, the vampire who ruled over the park and its surroundings with a gentle but firm hand.
Years ago, Hathen and his band of incubi had claimed the city of Clearview, Florida, as their permanent home. The mystical place known as Nightingale Park is part of what drew them, and has been their base of operations ever since.
Vampires of the incubi draw their energy not from the drinking of blood, but from visions of beauty, feelings of warmth, and sensations of divine sensuality. It made sense then, that Hathen and his small band were seduced and entranced by the haven of Nightingale; An emerald-grassed park that hosted an elaborate ivory stone fountain as its trademark and center.
Carved into this fountain was the flawless copy of a smiling, round-cheeked cherub; One that seemed to laugh in delight at the spray of crystalline water that rained freely and continuously upon its head.
Although this fountain was a virtual masterwork that amazed Hathen and his friends, they were drawn most strongly to the assortment of florals that grew free and wild in their new home. These stunning samples of roses and lilies grew in all the colors of the rainbow.
Many of the band would shower one another with these fertile floral gems during their continuous search of pleasure and romance. They loved them almost as much as they loved to tumble free across its grasses of emerald green, laughing and feasting sexually on their lovers in the moonlight.
While most members of Hathen’s band treated this park as their sometime home and personal playground, only he seemed to remember that with pleasure came responsibility. And so even as the flying vamp enjoyed an aerial view of the park this night, a night doused in rays of golden moonlight, he kept his gaze trained on its interior, watching closely for signs of trouble.
And, as per usual with his life, trouble seemed to find him.
He immediately noticed the presence of two dark figures situated on the Victorian latticework bench that occupied the north corner of the park.
They may just be making love
, he thought as he flew closer for a better look.
That certainly wouldn’t be unusual given the nature of our little clan here.
His brief smile quickly dissolved however, as he identified one of the two people on the bench. A petite, raven-haired woman whose sculpted face and flawless figure he’d know anywhere.
The vampire Scarlet had been his lover, and the queen of his band for the past year. Coming to their den from a northern clan, she’d instantly captured his attention and his heart.
I haven’t been with another woman since she came on the scene
, Hathen thought, his heart breaking as he came in for a landing. His flight reached graceful completion on the neat and well-tended gem green grass.
Apparently she doesn’t share my feelings, or for that matter, my sense of loyalty
His pain quickly escalated to a flash of pure panic when he identified the other vampire on the bench. It was Clotilde, a twenty-something member of their band whose beauty rivaled even Scarlet’s.
Far from making love to Clotilde, Scarlet had her hands braced on the neck of the younger woman and her fangs bared.
Pinning her body to the bench with her own, Scarlet ignored the girl’s screams for mercy as she swooped down upon her.
Springing to his feet, a stunned Hathen raced to the side of the bench and pried his lover from the body of her victim.
What in the hell are you doing, Scarlet?”
Turning her in his arms, Hathen came face to face with a monster.
Gone was the sweet smile, the warm eyes, the tinkling laughter that had drawn him to her in the first place. Now those captivating dark eyes brimmed with a sense of bare, raw hate that made him cringe with disgust. Her sharpened fangs snapped in his face, as he continued to hold her at a distance.
You’re a blood drinker,” he accused, tone low and disbelieving.
That’s right my darling,” she seethed, her own voice taking on an animal quality that sent chills down his spine. “I am not a weak-minded incubi, the disgrace of vampires.” She spat out these last words with noticeable venom. “I kill to seek nourishment, and to stay young.”
“Is that what you wanted with Clotilde?” he barked, gesturing to the woman who sat trembling on the bench before them. “You wanted the blood of our youngest member to maintain your own youth?”
Scarlet let loose with an evil laugh that steeled Hathen’s nerves, raising his ire in the process.
“Clotilde was only the first,” she snorted, adding with a devilish wink, “I was going to claim all of you, one by one. And you, my love, would be the last.”
For just a moment he stared into her eyes; seeing none of the kindness and passion that had first attracted him to her. As a matter of fact, he saw deep within these ebony pools no semblance of incubi emotion.
“You are not one of us” he whispered, shaking his head. “You’re a monster.”
Um, that would be correct” she chuckled, giving him a look that screamed, “Well, duh!”
She wasn’t laughing a moment later however. Hathen lifted the betrayer in his arms, and launched suddenly into mid air; leaving a stunned Clotilde to look after them in sheer wonder.
Have no worries, my dear,” he regarded the young woman with a reassuring smile. “I’m going to take this creature back to the place from where she came. She will bother us no more.”
Um, hey Dude. Not so fast.”
Hathen froze mid air as his senses were attacked by a loud, sharp voice. These same senses were soothed moments later, the moment he saw the exquisite woman who owned this voice.
Although not conventionally beautiful, the woman’s deep, dark eyes captured him with their warmth and sharpness. Her sturdy, athletic form carried her with grace into the park; and upon closer inspection he couldn’t help but be impressed by her confident movements and strong demeanor.
He wasn’t as impressed by the large gold badge pinned to the lapel of her brown leather jacket; one that shone bright in the moonlight. Nor was he impressed with the barrel of the coal colored shotgun she clutched in her sturdy grasp.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” the woman graced him with a short, sharp nod. “I’m Jess Green, chief of the Clearview Police Department. I also happen to be the head of the department’s new vampire unit.”
Vampire unit?” Hathen inquired, confused.
I know, right?” The woman snorted. “I was hoping to concentrate on traffic duty, but noooo, my loyal citizens insist that I keep a close eye on the vampire population.”
Hathen landed on his feet, heaving a deep sigh as he placed a winded Scarlet gently on the ground beside them.
“Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Hathen Noble, vampire master of the city of Clearview.” He bowed low before her. “Would you believe me if I told you this isn’t what it looks like?”
Jess sighed, pinning him with a look that screamed, “What’s a nice gal like me doing in a place like this?”
“Listen Hathen, I’ve actually heard very good things about you”. She jerked her head toward a nearby curb, where a royal blue police car awaited them. “Let’s all go downtown and have a talk”.
Why do all of these bloody vamps have to be so blasted hot?
This was the main question that crossed Jess’s mind an hour later, as she conducted a most unique interrogation in the confines of her cramped office in the Clearview Police Station.
Hathen Noble, who as it turned out was the master vampire of Clearview, was probably the most gorgeous man she ever had seen. A tall statuesque vampire with crystalline blue eyes. He had carved cheekbones, full sensual lips, bronzed skin, and a long fall of silky blond hair. As it turns out, he would look quite at home on the cover of a romance novel.
Not that I ever read those things,
They’re so out there in content, so far removed from real life.
Hathen’s sculpted, muscular body meanwhile, would make the perfect subject for a saucy layout in a women’s beefcake magazine.
Jess had 'read' her fair share of beefcake magazines. She knew they also pushed some unrealistic standards, but she didn't care.
What really drew her to Hathen, beyond these obvious attributes, was his penetrating stare; One that never left her face as she continued her questioning of him and the two females who accompanied him to the station.
Tearing her eyes away from him, she forced herself to concentrate on the tearful pleas of Clotilde, herself a stunningly beautiful specimen. Clotilde boasted creamy skin, vivid eyes that shone pure violet from a carved sculpted face, and curly blonde hair that fell to her shoulders in a lithe, majestic fall.
Ma’am, please do not arrest Hathen,” her rhythmic voice pleaded with heart felt emotion. “He is like a father to me. He and the den are the only family I have.” Her gaze hardened as she turned to face Scarlet, who sat hunched and expressionless in a corner chair. “I never liked Scarlet. She meant to break up our family, destroy us all.” She inclined her head toward Hathen, shaking it vigorously. “We tried to tell Hathen, but he was too taken by her beauty.”
Welcome to the world of men, young one,” Jess snorted.
Clotilde’s smile was brief and forced.
“Even so, Ma’am, Hathen was the man who saved my life tonight.” She pointed a lithe but accusing finger in Scarlet’s direction. “He saved me from that creature.”
Scarlet remained motionless, only stared straight ahead with dead black eyes.
“Ma’am?” Jess tilted her head, brows furrowed. “Did you try to harm this young lady tonight?”
She is not a lady.” Scarlet continued to stare straight ahead, her voice deep and menacing. “She is an incubi. A walking insult to vampires, a betrayer to the legend of the bloodsucker….”
Listen, I’m not asking for an extended character reference of Clotilde.” Jess snapped, rolling her eyes heavenward. “I’m asking if you tried to do harm to this young woman.”
A chill coursed her spine as Scarlet turned to face her, eyes blazing and fangs bared.
“I want to alleviate the earth of all false vampires!” She bellowed. “And, much like the legend Madame Bathory before me, I yearned to drink her blood to refresh my beauty.”
An unimpressed Jess folded her arms before her. “Yeah well, next time just try Botox. As it stands, Miss, I’m going to have to charge you with attempted murder.”
Letting loose with an unearthly growl, Scarlet soared upward from her corner chair. She flew in a flourish over Jess’s desk, tackling her with bared fangs and sharpened claws.
Jess was prepared. Throwing the marginally smaller woman to the ground, Jess cuffed her with remarkable ease as the room was flooded by a flurry of the officer’s colleagues. Scarlet snarled, as two of the officers escorted her to a nearby holding cell.
“Suffice it to say I’m recommending some anger management courses for the duration of your stay!” Jess called after her, lounging back in her chair and folding her hands behind her head.
Laughing and applauding her with marked glee, Hathen and Clotilde performed a spirited high five before Hathen graced her with a daring smile.
“Madame, that was amazing.” He gestured toward Jess, eyes alight with admiration. “I have never seen a human keep their cool around a vampire.”
“I could say the same about you,” she arched her eyebrows. “That woman almost killed your friend here tonight, and you didn’t kill her, or for that matter, threaten to take her to the police. Instead you said you’d just take her home.” She cocked her head, spreading her hands in a gesture of confusion. “May I ask why?”
Hathen leaned forward across her desk, pinning her with a questioning stare.
“Madame, let me answer your question with a question. Have you, in your official capacity, ever encountered a prostitute who was beaten or sexually attacked?”
Jess bit her lip.
“Unfortunately yes,” her voice barely above a whisper. “It breaks my heart.”
Hathen nodded, stroking his chin in thought.
“And does it also break your heart when she is afraid to press charges against her attacker because she is afraid you will arrest her because of her profession?”
Jess looked down at her desk, nodding slowly in response to his question.
“I would never arrest a victim, only the attacker,” she told him. “However, I do know that there are others on the force who would arrest her as well.” She brought her fist down hard on the desk before her, finishing through gritted teeth, “It’s shameful.”
She felt surprisingly calm as Hathen seized her chin in his hand, lifting her head until her gaze locked with his.
“You are an amazing woman, Jess Green, not to mention very perceptive.” He smiled. “Most of your fellow officers here would have arrested Clotilde and me this evening, throwing us in the same cell with the monster you have in custody.”
Jess shook her head, knowing he was right.
“The two of you did nothing wrong” she uttered.
Hathen met her words with a low, dry chuckle. “As the kids of today would say, true that” he joked. “Yet in the eyes of most mortals, vampires, like prostitutes, are wrong.” He shrugged.
“They have to punish us, not because of what we do, but who we are. I was afraid that if I killed Scarlet, even in defense of my den, I myself would be treated like a murderer.” He looked down at the table, his sumptuous lips drawing downward in a pronounced frown. “And that if I brought her into the police station, I wouldn’t be allowed to leave.”
His eyes flew wide as Jess reached across the table, grasping his hand in hers.
“I can guarantee you, Hathen, that the incubi of this city will know complete and total protection under my watch.” She nodded. “When I assumed control of the city’s vampire unit, it was never my goal to rid the city of vampires, just to make sure that vamps and humans live together in peace.”
And we can, bella” Hathen squeezed her hands, his voice lined with an earnest tone. “None among us drinks blood, and we have a number of human friends.”
Oh, that’s what I’ve heard.” Jess snorted. “I’ve heard you have quite a few female friends in particular.”
For the first time in recent history, Jess Green saw a vampire blush. And blush deep.
“Well, the gentlemen of my den are always willing to offer our protection to any lady who needs it,” he arched a teasing eyebrow, searing her with a seductive gaze. “And anything else she so desires, for that matter.”
Gulping hard, Jess shifted her attention to a giggling Clotilde.
“You are one. Lucky. Woman.” She informed her.
Trust me Miss, I know,” Clotilde grinned, adding with a slight tremble, “That is when some creepy bloodsucker isn’t trying to make me her lunch.”
“One of the goals of the vampire unit is to rid the city of rogue vamps,” she explained.
This is a goal we share,” Hathen said quickly, wagging a finger for emphasis. “Bloodsuckers not only threaten the peaceable incubi, they give us a bad name.” His voice lowered to a tempting purr. “When we bite, love, it’s only for pleasure, not for pain.”
Jess let loose with a nervous giggle, then wondered at this foreign sound.
Police chiefs don’t giggle.
She pulled her hands from Hathen’s grasp as she rose from the table.
And we don’t flirt with vamps. No matter how blasted and unforgivably hot they happen to be.
Aloud she said, “Hathen, I would like to extend an invitation to you.”
“Would you now?” Hathen teased her with a cat-like grin. “Whatever it is, I accept.”
Good” Jess said, squaring her shoulders and returning to her business like self. “Then you will do me the honor of acting as a special adviser on our vampire unit?” She arched her eyebrows. “Our in-house expert on all things, um…” she fumbled for the right word, “vampiric?”
Hathen rose to his feet in a graceful flourish, Clotilde following suit.
“I would be honored,” swiftly answered, “but on one condition.”
Oh I just can’t wait to hear it.” Jess replied, in a sarcastic yet honest tone.
Hathen grinned, nudging her across the table.
“I would like to discuss the conditions of our partnership over dinner tomorrow night.”
Now how did I not see that coming?” Jess shot a knowing wink at Clotilde, who giggled in response. “I would love to Hathen.”