Between Love and Lust

Between Love and Lust

by Nikko Lee

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554046331
Publisher: Carnal Desires Publishing
Publication date: 01/09/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 307 KB

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Chapter One

It wasn't until night fell that the city of Haven truly came to life. While the sun shone, the humans of Haven went about their daily toil, but after the sun set, Mika's kind rose from their resting places and indulged in decadence and delight. Mika had lived in Haven all of her human life, but it wasn't until she was drained of all her blood and had it replaced by the vampiric blood of her mater- and pater-sire that her life truly began. Ten years passed in what seemed like a blink of an eye, and yet, as Mika traced the outline of her lips in a deep shade of crimson, she knew that countless years lay before her: years in which she could explore the nature of her kind and the depths of her own desires.

Her mater-sire had spent Mika's first few years teaching her the ways of her kind and the limits of her undead body. She looked at her reflection in the Victorian brass vanity, which had been a gift from her mater-sire, Miriam. She was reminded of how surprised she had been to discover how far off the mark the movies and stories that had formed her education about vampires had been. Aware that all the foolish stereotypes that she had learned were far from true, she was nonetheless glad to see some kind of reflection. The image was a pale reflection of the stunning undead creature that sat in front of the mirror. In time, as her mater-sire had told her, the image would fade further but never truly disappear.

Mika slept in a lavish apartment above a popular night club. She was not bound to the grave. Other stereotypes, she had learned, were based on partial truths. Sunlight burned, but even the worst pain could be tolerated for short periods of time. She hadheard that holy relics and blessed items attacked the demonic origins of vampiric blood, but since she had never been very religious as a mortal, she simply avoided going to church. Miriam also impressed upon her that immortality did not mean living forever, but it lasted longer than even the wisest vampire could withstand without losing his sanity.

The vampiric blood that kept her body alive offered gifts as well as the curse of hunger. All of her senses were heightened and her emotions accentuated. Perhaps that was why the loss of her mater-sire had struck her so hard.

Miriam's sentence of eternal sleep came at the hands of the only law that bound all of the bloodlines or clans of Haven. The decrees of the Council of Elders formed the only law that all the clans had to respect or risk eternal sleep themselves. The council members, the final arbitrators between clans, were charged with upholding the tenets set forth by the first vampires to roam the earth. The council members had to maintain the balance between mortals and immortals. Their tenets ensured that no vampire killed more than his share of humans, and that the vampires did not overpopulate their cities with undead children.

The Council of Elders held the power to put any vampire that broke the tenets, opposed the council's decisions, or attempted to unseat one of its members to the highest punishment: eternal rest. Once the council ruled that Miriam was guilty of conspiring to kill her sire and clan leader, Dawson Laury, nothing she or her blood-bound companion said could change their verdict. Mika had never shed such bitter tears--not even when her mortal life was ripped from her body, and her soul was infused with the blood of her sires, thereby tainting her soul with demonic essence for all eternity. If Mika stared long enough at her pale reflection, she could see the sadness left by the loss of her mater-sire in the depths of her eyes.

The doorbell chime pulled Mika from her thoughts and reminded her that she still had an eternity in which to honor her lost mater-sire. Fortunately for her, the loss of one sire had brought her closer to Jacob, her pater-sire. He had been the one who first opened her mortal eyes to the night world and had seduced her into the embrace of darkness. His debonair attitude and the boyish mischief that lurked in his green eyes belied his graying hair and full beard. He'd charmed Mika first into friendship, captivating her mind, and then took possession of her body. The sweet longing he generated reduced Mika to begging for his every touch.

Only after Mika grew enraptured by Jacob and his beautiful wife did they reveal the secrets of the night to her. Mika felt blessed to be their playtoy and honored that they chose her as their first childe to embrace and bring into the night world. Once Mika recovered from the brutal change that her body had undergone during the transition from life through death into unlife, Miriam took charge of her education. Jacob remained as mysterious and elusive as he had been when they had first met. Now he visited her on a nightly basis and became the center of her unlife. Before Mika reached the door to her loft condo, it opened, and her pater-sire barged into her living room. He had a knack for appearing and disappearing suddenly, leaving Mika pleasantly perplexed.

"What do you know about the murder of the clan Leonard's founder and namesake?" Jacob asked as he headed straight for the whiskey bottle she stocked especially for him.

"Judging by what I heard, it was an accident." Mika was used to her pater-sire's asking questions to which he already had the answers, just to see her reaction. "A combination of too much ecstasy-laced blood and an early sunrise."

It was common practice for vampires to encourage their human prey to indulge in various drugs to heighten the pleasure of feeding. Each vampire had his own vice that could be traced back to his original embrace, as her pater-sire had once explained. Some vampires longed for chemically-induced euphoria, especially if their would-be sire had drugged them, thereby aiding them to withstand the horror that followed the rapture of the embrace. Others longed to re-create the violent hunt that preceded their transformation.

Mika did not need her pater-sire to explain to her the vice that was her weakness above all others. The memory of her embrace was seared into her soul and her sex. Hunger for blood produced such wanton desires in Mika that her lust would make a streetwalker blush. The feel of a lover's manhood hardening under her grip or her nether lips moistening against his lapping tongue produced a satisfaction that was only paralleled by the consumption of fresh blood.

"Unlikely," Jacob laughed before bringing a glass of the caramel-colored liquid to his lips. "If you believe that story, I will disown you here and now for all eternity."

Mika could only smile at her pater-sire. As much of his blood flowed through her veins as did that of her mater-sire, but it offered her only a little understanding of his nature. Where Miriam's blood had blessed Mika with social graces and charisma, Jacob's had heightened her natural curiosity and love of intrigue. The circumstances of Miriam's sentence of eternal sleep had awakened Mika's need to know and explore what lay beneath the thin veneer of order in which most vampires chose to believe, rather than add to the confusion that being a vampire brought to her once-human brain.

"I have heard that he did not necessarily know that the human slave in whom he was indulging was so heavily laced," Mika added. "Nor that the morning fog that would have protected him on most mornings would be long gone by the time he regained enough of his senses to stagger back to his coven."

Jacob dismissed her with a wave. "All old news. The questions remains: who would be clever enough to lace a human with just enough ecstasy to cloud Leonard's judgment but not completely incapacitate him? And more importantly, why would someone do that?"

With her pater-sire, it was always a matter of remaining patient until he revealed fragments of his true motives for visiting her with these questions. Rarely, if ever, did he visit Mika without some ulterior motive, be it a lesson to be learned or a riddle to solve. Gone were the nights when he would take pleasure in her company and body. His passion-inspiring kisses had ended on the night in which she had become a vampire, and had been replaced with quasi-fatherly gestures that hinted at the desire they used to share: desire now forbidden by the conventions of vampiric society. Mika had accepted the loss of one relationship for the creation of another without regret. Still, she was eager to learn from him about the undercurrents that moved the thirteen clans and ruled the unlives of every vampire in Haven, even if they choose to lose themselves in their indulgences.

"I think I will go slumming," Jacob said, emptying his glass. "Care to join me for some illicit entertainment?"

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