Silver chains painfully bit into my arms and ankles where they bound me to the rigid wooden chair. The air was dank and musky, dampness of the earth sinking through the walls. No windows provided light. The few haggard candles burning in the room, crying wax tears cast ominous shadows like monsters. A raw wood desk with a single drawer was tucked I the right corner while a hard bench was shoved in the other. A simple wood ladder led to the floor above.
I uselessly struggled against the binds as a group clad in black surrounded me, malice poisoning the air.
“You are an abomination,” William, their leader said, a light Scottish accent lacing his words. He stood tall and broad shouldered, his pitch shirt straining against his muscles. His hair curled passed is ears and framed his moss colored eyes that held a wild tint to them. A wicked scar ran down the left side of his neck to his shoulder, four parallel lines—claw marks no doubt. And I had no doubt whatever did that had met the end of his blade. “Not only is your sight unnatural, but you are between two worlds on a path that leads directly to hell. We end this now.”
I scoffed. “You aren’t killing me for the righteous act you claim.” My gaze passed over the six other hunters leering at me behind his massive shoulders. “You are scared of what I know, of what I’ll do. I’ve already wrecked your current plans. You want me out of the way to resume.”
Silence prevailed, not one false denial slithered forward.
William pulled on his coarse beard the color of rusty blood, an ominous sign of my future. “That’s just a plus little witch.”
An unfamiliar laugh tumbled out my mouth. “Oh this is far from the end William. My path of destruction as you call it will not end with me. Your sect is cursed. My next descendant with the gift will be your undoing.”
The crowd bristled restlessly, fear entering their eyes except for William. “You are barely an adult and your life ends in mere minutes. You won’t have any children to pass your devilishness to.”
A small smile curled my lips from the painful secret I kept hidden for months. “She will stop your evil plot. I’ve seen it.”
A malicious sneer morphed Williams face, his yellowed teeth gritting against his chapped lips. He unsheathed a silver dagger from his belt, the candlelight turning it to liquid gold, and approached me with heavy steps. “You are finished girl.” With one swift swipe, his hand arch toward me, slicing the blade through my neck, spilling scarlet blood down my white cotton shirt.
As the life drained out of me I couldn’t help but smile. I’m sure it was an eerie sight to all of them, spurring their hatred. But it didn’t matter. I knew she would come…
I woke up with a gasp, frantically clutching my throat, expecting to feel slick blood pouring out.
There was nothing but a fine layer of sweat dampening my clothes.
Oh man that sucked!
I collapsed back on my pillow, brushing my mangled hair out my face, trying to slow my racing heart. I probably shouldn’t discount this dream. I came clean to Mac and the others about my sorta prophetic dreams. What if this is one? I don’t normally dream about getting my throat sliced opened by hunters and bathing in my own blood.
My stomach churned at the sadistic thought. As if I didn’t have enough nightmares about hunters.
Who was that girl they murdered? What was all that about sight and between two worlds? And they called her a witch. According to Mac witches aren’t real. Did he lie?
Crap. Is this the year of the witch at Highland? Does this dream mean I’m going to get attacked by straw brooms and black cats?
Actually compared to last year with a hunter gone crazy, normal blood seeking hunters, and undead vampires, that doesn’t sound so bad.
My eyes readjusted to the ocean themed colors of my room in Shelby, Florida.
No, Mac and I haven’t been separated again. It was still summer vacation, well for another few days anyways.
I traced the delicate carvings on the ruby and silver bonding ring with my index finger, memories of that private little exchange of promises between Mac and I flashing through my head. No one attempted to separate us again. Mac would fight fang and nail over it. I was his royal mate and in the vampire world after our little impromptu bonding ceremony we were practically married. The concept still had the ability to freak me out on occasion. It hadn’t been our intent, but what’s done is done. That’s exactly what Miranda and my mother said to our fathers regarding the matter.
To say my dad was pissed would be an understatement. He rarely calls Mac by his actually name. Instead he has a few choice nicknames for him—underhanded Casanova, daughter-stealing Romeo, Prince Uncharming were a few of his favorites.
Hey, at least we’ve kept our teeth from each other’s veins. I’m still human—mostly. Our dads can gripe as much as they want, but we haven’t accidently or purposely crossed the line where I change into a full-fledged vampire turning Mac and I into eternal teenage rulers. My goal is to make it to twenty one.
Well, that’s what I tell everyone. By the way our hormones act sometimes I’m hoping to simply make it to my eighteenth birthday. One year.
Yikes. That’s forever in teenage years.
Even though I’m not a vampire yet, due to our bonding I’m now a princess. I’ve endured a few princess lessons with Miranda, which with my awkward nature didn’t go smooth. When she tried to teach me table manners I thought my head was going to explode. Either that or my stomach was going to punch through my flesh and devour the entire tray of finger sandwiches. Finally she advised me to eat a big meal before any public dinner events and I’ll be fine.
She has way too much faith in me.
I sighed, tracing the tiny scars on the side of my abdomen from the undead vampire. The royal guards have been scouring the eastern US for them, putting them back in the grave where they belong. None have been spotted in Shelby and neither have any hunters, yet a whole crew of guards were stationed in town. Rufus and Daedalus were even bunking at my house.
I’m protected up the wazoo.
After the showdown in the woods, the hunters retreated with their tail between their legs. They were probably sour all my blood was destroyed, halting their evil plot to destroy vampires with a weapon fashioned from my weird combo of human and powerful Davenport blood.
It was a relief to not feel as though they were breathing down my neck, but one hunter in particular still made cameos in my nightmares. Declan. The thought of him sent my skin crawling. That obsessive look in his impenetrable eyes haunts the dark recesses of my dreams at night. He’s still out there lurking and possibly salivating over the prospect of trapping me in a room again and tying me up.
A shiver rippled over my spine and I shifted on my side to find another body in the bed with me, warmth chasing the chill away. His back was toward me, but that messy pitch hair splayed out on the pillow gave him away.
Mac snuck into my room!
Heat rumbled through my chest at his courage. My dad warned him if he found Mac in my bed again he’d scalp him.
I snuggled closer, pressing my cold nose into his nape to savor his heady scent. My brows crashed together when I smelled warm, earthy amber instead of a wild forest.
What the hell is he doing in my bed?
A wicked smile twisted my lips as I bent my knees and stuck my icy feet on his back. The Russian shifter was about to get a rude awakening. In one swift motion I pushed him off the bed and he went tumbled onto the floor, a slew of Russian spewing out his mouth.
“What are you doing in my bed Demy?” I asked, leaning over the side as he scrambled into a sitting position.
His inky black hair fell in his tanned, sharp face, obscuring his currently half-lidded violet eyes. One dark brow was pierced with a silver stud while a freckle sat under the other. He was wearing a pair of black sweatpants and a gray Filter shirt. He mumbled something and lithely crawled back into bed. “I’m sleepwalking. I don’t know where I am.” He forced me back and snuggled under the covers again. “It’s dangerous to wake me up.”
I rolled my eyes. “Get out Demy.” When he didn’t budge I flicked the silver stud in his eyebrow.
His violet eyes snapped opened as he hissed. “Damn it Rubi. That hurt.” He rubbed his brow. “You’re a violent little thing.”
I opened my mouth to tell him off when another suspicion began to sink in. “Where’s Mac?”
Demy shrugged innocently. “It’s four in the morning. I’m sure he’s asleep in his room.”
My heart jumped in my throat. “Four? Four what?”
He sleepily glanced at the clock. “Four fifteen. Oh, nope, four sixteen.”
My gasp barely made it out my lips as my bedroom door swung open, revealing my parents lurking in the doorway with a cupcake and lit candle belting Happy Birthday. They did it every year at exactly 4:16 am, the time I was born.
Demy dove under the covers, yanking them over his head as if it would really conceal the six foot something shifter. My mother immediately spotted the giant lump next to me, her eyes flickering to my dad’s currently cheerful face. She probably assumed it was Mac.
My dad made it to the edge of my bed. “Happy…” His dark eyes landed on the giant protuberance that could in no way be blankets next to me and his smile morphed into a snarl. My mother grabbed the cupcake out his hands before he squeezed it into a confection volcano. “What did I tell you about...?” He ripped the covers off to reveal Demy, confusion halting him. “What the…?”
“Dad, just calm down.” My face burned with embarrassment at what my parents must be thinking.
“Calm down?” he screeched. “Why are you in my daughter’s bed? Are you in love with her too?”
I wanted to dive under the bed, monsters be damned.
“Marshall,” my mother crooned, setting the cupcake on my dresser. “I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation.” Her golden honey eyes landing on Demy in curiosity.
He cleared his throat. “Uh—I was sleepwalking?”
My dad growled and gripped Demy’s ear between his thumb and forefinger, drawing him out of my bed. “OUT! Get out of my house.”
Demy could have easily slipped away from him, but he had enough since to let the mere mortal man feel like he had the power in the situation.
“Oh sweetie,” my mom began, gingerly running her fingers through her tousled blonde waves. “You’re not dating both of them are you?”
Now I tossed the blankets over my head. “Of course not!” I groaned. “Thanks a lot Demy. You deserve whatever my dad does to you!”
“Rubi and I are just friends. I heard her through the wall, tossing and moaning like a banshee. I went to check on her and fell asleep.” It was the flimsiest excuse I’ve ever heard.
“Of course if she’d have me I’d gladly be her secret love slave.”
I gasped and shot up, glaring at Demy as he grinned. “You Russian idiot.” I tossed a pillow at him. “Just wait ‘till Mac hears about this. I give him free reign to pummel you.”
Demy had the audacity to blow me a kiss as my father dragged him out the room.
“You sure are popular with the boys these days,” my mother remarked with a wink. “Happy 17th birthday sweetie.”