Read Fate of the Vampire Online

Authors: Gayla Twist

Fate of the Vampire

Fate of the Vampire
Vanderlind Castle [3]
Gayla Twist
(2014)

Fate of the Vampire Just when Aurora and Jessie start to date like a normal couple, things go horribly wrong in the town of Tiburon, Ohio. People are disappearing, and Aurora knows it’s all her fault. She is, after all, in love with a vampire.

Fate of the Vampire is the final book in the Vanderlind Castle trilogy.

Call of the Vampire (Book 1) and
Heart of the Vampire(Book 2) are already available.

Fate of the Vampire

 

GAYLA TWIST

 

Copyright © 2014 Gayla Twist

All rights reserved.

ISBN:

ISBN-13:

 

DEDICATION

To my darling Q.

Prologue

My hair is a curly tornado, and it’s always a challenge to see if I can subdue it without causing myself injury. I was upstairs in the bathroom giving it a triumphant final spray when I heard the doorbell chime.
“I’ll get it!” I shouted, sprinting for the stairs like a madwoman.

My mom stepped into the hallway as I raced past
, and she barely had time to get out of the way to avoid me barreling into her. “Slow down,” she called after me in her best motherly tone. “You don’t want to be too eager.”

I was always eager to see Jessie—like, rip the door off the hinges eager to see him—but what I really wanted to do was answer the door
before my mom did. In fact, I needed to be the one to answer the door so that I could invite the gorgeous and enigmatic Jessie Vanderlind into our home. His coming over was a huge step forward in our relationship.

The lock on the front door gave me a bit of trouble
. I’d opened the door a hundred thousand times in my life, but my fingers were having trouble obeying me. It didn’t help that I knew Jessie was standing on the other side of the door and as soon as I managed to claw through it, I would be in his arms.

Finally, I was able to wrench the door open. “Jessie,” I gasped.

There he stood—tall, chiseled, pale as moonlight, with full lips and dark, ruffled hair—a fantasy come to life and waiting patiently on my front step. He ran his fingers through his hair a couple of times and then looked at me with his gorgeous gray eyes. “Good evening, Miss Keys,” he said, one arm tucked behind his back. I had the sneaking suspicion he was concealing a bouquet of flowers.

“Good evening, Mr. Vanderlind,” I said, mimicking his formal style but feeling like I had taken a light blow to the belly. Just seeing him had knocked the wind out of me. I pushed the front door open a little wider
. “Won’t you please …”

“Aurora, wait,” he said, cutting me off with a sudden urgency. “I know we agreed to this, but I really need you to think about what you’re about to do.”

“I have thought about it,” I informed him. We’d had this conversation before, multiple times.

“Please, just listen to me this one last time before we do this,” he insisted, reaching across the threshold and taking my hand
. A jolt of electric tingles raced up my arm. That always happened when he touched me. “Some people get a pit bull as a pet. And they love their dog and roughhouse with it and trust it around their children,” he began. “But still, it’s an animal. A dangerous animal. It’s unpredictable.” I drew breath to interrupt, but he kept going. “Then one day, something gets tweaked in the dog’s brain, and it tries to rip the face off the neighbor who just happens to be out in his front yard planting spring tulips.” I tried again to say something to stop him, but he raised a hand to silence me. “And when the cops interview the distraught pet owners, they always say the same thing. They always say, ‘He’s such a good dog. We never thought he would ever hurt anyone.’ And they love their dog. They really love it. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that the neighbor is in the intensive care unit. That doesn’t stop the creature they love from actually being a killer.”

“That has nothing to do with you and me,” I informed him rather stubbornly. He could use any crazy example he wanted, but I wasn’t going to change my mind.

“It has everything to do with you and me,” Jessie said, his expression very grave as he struggled to make his point. “When you invite someone like me into your home, you’re taking a risk. No matter how much I love you and no matter how much you love me, you’re still taking a risk that someday something will snap inside my head and I’ll end up killing you.”

I should have listened. I should have forced myself to hear all of the words coming out of his perfect lips, but instead, I only heard him say, “I love you.”

That was enough for me. I wasn’t going to listen to anything else. I pushed the front door open even wider and said in a clear voice, “Jessie Vanderlind, won’t you please come in.”

With a defeated sigh, Jessie stepped over the threshold. Despite myself and all of my convictions, a wave of dread washed over me. I had, after all, just invited a vampire into our home.

Chapter 1

“Hello. I’m Helen Keys, Aurora’s mom,” a bright voice said behind me.

Once Jessie had stepped over the threshold and into our home, I wrapped my arms around his neck, eager to kiss him and practically scaling him in my attempt to do so. But he kept his posture ramrod straight, his arm clenched behind his back, and gave no indication that he had any inclination toward kissing me at all. That’s when I realized my mother was in the room. I
’d been so busy battling the lock on the door and persuading Jessie to enter our home that I hadn’t heard her come down the stairs.

“Mom.” I blushed, immediately releasing him. “This is Jessie Vanderlind. Jessie, this is my mom.”

Jessie stepped forward, extending his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Keys.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Jessie,” Mom said, shaking his hand. “Aurora has a lot of great things to say about you.” I felt myself blush. Mom continued
. “But let’s just stick with Ms. Keys for right now.” My mother was in that awkward position of having divorced my father a decade earlier but kept his last name because I was only seven at the time and she didn’t want to traumatize me any more than I had already been traumatized. But still, who wanted to walk around for the rest of her life labeled as Mrs. Whoever when she wasn’t even married to the guy anymore? Especially because my dad was a cheating snake who always complained bitterly about having to pay child support.

“Thank you for having me into your home, Ms. Keys,” Jessie said, pulling his arm forward from behind his back and presenting her with a large bouquet of purple flowers that had sunny little yellow faces.

“Asters,” my mom said, smiling as she accepted his offering. “How sweet.” Then, looking up at Jessie and giving him an amused smile, she said, “Well, aren’t you the charmer. I never expected a date of Aurora’s to bring me flowers.” I have to admit, I felt a brief sting; I had thought the flowers were for me. But my flash of jealousy didn’t last long because I could see that my mom was pleased. She turned to head toward the kitchen. “I’ll just put these in water. Can I offer you anything to drink, Jessie?”

“I’ll have the same as the flowers are having,” he told her.

“Aurora, why don’t you get your guest a glass while I deal with these stems,” Mom said. I knew that was code for, “Come in the kitchen for a moment.”

“I’ll be right back,” I told him, squeezing
his arm. An evening frost still clung to him, and I knew that he had flown over. “You can hang your coat on the hook if you want.” We had a coat rack by the door that we really only used for visitors.

When I walked into the kitchen, Mom had Jessie’s water already waiting. “I can see why you were so excited,” she said in a whisper, handing me the glass. “I didn’t know they made seventeen
-year-old boys that good looking. He could be a model.”

Dinner went surprisingly well. Jessie did a remarkable job faking his way through eating a meal
, going so far as to rave over my mom’s pot roast, even though it was a little dry. “So, Jessie, are you part of the Vanderlind family that lives in the big house on the river?” Mom asked. I had already told her that he was, but I guessed it was her way of trying to make conversation.

“Yes, I’m the youngest in the family,” he replied truthfully, although he failed to mention that he was closer to Grandma Gibson’s age than he was to mine.

“Do you have any siblings?” Mom wanted to know.

“I have an older brother, Daniel
, and some cousins that come to stay with us from time to time,” he told her. “But usually, it’s just Daniel, my mom, and me.”

“But you don’t go to Tiburon High?” Mom asked, piling more meat on Jessie’s plate under the assumption he was a growing boy.

“No, I’m home schooled.” That was the reply that Jessie and I had worked out. It would save a lot of questions about sports and after-school activities.

I’d been watching Jessie carefully. To all appearances
, he was enjoying his meal, happily chewing away. But closer observation proved that he was just using his vampire speed to quickly remove the food from his mouth and conceal it in his napkin every time my mother glanced away. It was a pretty easy maneuver when he was eating the meat, but a little less graceful when it came to things like mashed potatoes. There were a few times when I had to stifle a giggle.

After we were done eating, Jessie insisted upon carrying his plate to the kitchen and even made his best offer to do the dishes. “You made this wonderful meal; the least I can do is wash up,” he told my mom, winning her over completely.

“No, you two go on and study. I’ll get the dishes,” she told him. When he tried to protest, she added, “I promise I’ll let you scrub a bunch of pans next time,” which made them both chuckle a little.

“Okay, great. Thanks, Mom,” I said, grabbing Jessie by the hand and heading for the stairs.

“Ah, ah, ah,” Mom said, stopping me in my tracks. “There’s no studying in your bedroom with a boy,” she reminded me. “You know that.” It had always been a rule, just not a rule I’d had any previous reason to try to cross. I’d only had one boyfriend, briefly, before Jessie, and he’d only been over to our house once or twice. “You two can use the living room,” she informed us.

 

It was literally impossible for me to concentrate on anything but Jessie when the two of us were in the same room. It was even challenging for me to think about anything but Jessie when he was not in the room with me. Fortunately, I had all my assigned school work done already; “homework” was just an excuse I told my mom because it sounded like what normal teenage couples do.

I took a seat on the couch
, and Jessie took his seat, chastely, a full cushion-length away from me. I frowned, looked down at the cushion, looked up at my boyfriend, and blinked at him slowly. A smirk spread across Jessie’s full lips as he reached over and slid me across the couch so I was sitting snugly next to him. Vampires are surprisingly strong. I pressed against his muscular, lean chest and sighed. Being with him was intoxicating.

When my mom turned on the sink and we could hear her clinking the dishes together, Jessie bent down a little and kissed me on the lips. It was a soft, tender kiss, but I could feel the hunger underneath. It sent little sparks of pleasure shooting all over my body. “I know we should be studying, but I wanted to give you a proper hello,” he whispered, his breath tickling my neck and sending my libido through the roof.

The next thing I knew, I was on top of him, straddling him on the couch, kissing him madly and burying my fingers in his thick, dark hair. It wasn’t anything I’d planned or even thought through; I was just consumed with desire for him and never wanted him to stop touching me. “Aurora,” he whispered a bit hoarsely, and it was ecstasy to hear him say my name.

“Oh, Jessie,” I murmured back, lost in the touch, the taste, the smell of him.

Suddenly, I found myself at the other end of the couch with an open book in my lap. It happened so quickly that it made my head spin.

“Would either of you like some dessert?” Mom asked, poking her head in the living
room. “We have ice cream.”

“No
, thank you, Ms. Keys,” Jessie said, looking up from a book of his own. “I’m stuffed from dinner.” He patted his flat stomach to show how full it was.

“I’m good, Mom,” I added. “But thanks for asking.”

As soon as she disappeared, Jessie closed his book and set it on the coffee table. “I should go,” he said, starting to get to his feet.

“Why?” I practically whined, springing across the couch and grabbing his arm. “It’s still early.”

“I know, but I can’t keep my hands off of you,” he said, extracting himself from my grip. “And I don’t want to be impolite to your mother.”

“Then I’ll go upstairs and we can meet at our window,” I told him. We’d spent many secret evenings with Jessie sitting outside on the roof of our porch while I leaned out my bedroom window so we could talk without him receiving an invitation to enter our home. “This time
, you can actually come in.”

Jessie smiled at me
—a lovely, happy smile tinged with lust. Pulling me into his arms, he dipped me low, letting his lips skim over the flesh of my neck. “Aurora,” he whispered, breathing in deeply, taking in the scent of me. “I want to be with you so badly. More than you’ll ever know.”

“Then meet me at our window,” I said, wrapping my arms around his neck. I wasn’t normally so forward with boys. In fact, I usually didn’t chase after boys at all. I really didn’t mind being a virgin. Sex in high school was so complicated for girls. If you didn’t have sex, you got called frigid
, and if you did have sex, you got called a slut. I had decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to have sex with some random dude just to get it over with. I was going to wait for someone special, and that someone had his arms encircling my waist. Jessie and I had been through a lot together, and he’d saved my life on more than one occasion. Plus, the connection between us was electric; a simple caress from his hand was more thrilling than French kissing anyone else. So that was why I was so desperate to be with him. When I thought about having sex with Jessie, I was beyond ready. I did remember that one time Jessie had told me that he wanted to wait for marriage to be with me, but I was determined to erode his resolve. He had, after all, just said that he wanted me more than I could ever know.

“But,” Jessie added
, pulling his lips away from mine. I hated that there was a “but.” Jessie righted me on my feet, still keeping his arms around me. “This will be the first time for both of us.” He was so gorgeous, it was hard to believe he was a virgin, but he had no reason to lie to me. “I don’t want to rush into intimacy because we’re both feeling passionate. I think we should take it slow. I want to court you. I want to give you romance. I want to make our first time truly special.”

My first impulse was to tell him that just being with him made everything special. But he was right; it was his first time, too. If he thought we should go slow so he had time to court and romance me, then who was I to say no? As far as I could tell from my limited knowledge of the world, women craved romance and men were usually pretty damn reluctant to fork it over. Here I was, lucky enough to have a romantic boyfriend. The least I could do was appreciate my good fortune.

Finally, I spoke. “Okay,” I agreed. “I can wait if you can. But promise me,” I said, pressing my forehead against his, “promise me it won’t be too long.”

Jessie released a small laugh. “You’re such a modern girl. It really does take some getting used to.” I was about to feel hurt or embarrassed or something, but he quickly gave me a passionate kiss and added, “I promise.”

*****

“Aurora,” my mom said in a subdued voice.

I was having a wonderful dream where I was gathering colorful blooms in a lush, green field of wildflowers. My hair was loose around my shoulders, and I was wearing a favorite dress—green with tiny white flowers. There was a handsome boy by my side; the sunlight was dancing off his dark, wavy hair, and when he smiled at me, I could see happiness illuminating his usually stormy gray eyes. We were walking along hand in hand, plucking flowers as we went. I didn’t know where we were going, but I didn’t care. All I knew was I was very, very happy. And in a strange way, I felt at peace.

That’s why I did not want to relinquish the dream for school or work or whatever reason my mom was trying to wake me. None of those mundane things could measure up to being next to him with the sun warming our backs and smiles
brightening our faces. Besides, I was pretty sure it was a Sunday.

“Aurora,” Mom said again, shaking me gently.
There was a bit of a tremble in her throat that didn’t sound right. That’s what finally pulled me from my slumber.

“What is it?” I asked, forcing open one eye and then the other.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news,” Mom said, taking a deep sniff and brushing at her cheeks.

I sat up in bed, immediately alarmed. Someone had to be dead. “Is it Grandma Gibson?” I asked, putting my arms around her. My great grandmother was in her nineties
, so she was the most likely person I could think of to pass away.

“No.” Mom shook her head as more tears spilt down her cheeks, replacing those she had just wiped away. “I’m sorry. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be alarmed. Everybody’s fine.”

“Then why are you crying?” I wanted to know, thinking maybe she’d gotten a phone call from my jerk-face father, or maybe she’d been laid off or something.

Mom took a deep breath and said, “They found Colette’s body.”

“What?” I said, practically rocketing out of the bed, my heart hammering in my chest. “What do you mean?”

“They finally found Grandma Gibson’s sister.” Mom let out a sob, covering her face with her hands. “What am I going to tell Grams?”

I felt an ice cold shiver creeping up my spine. When it reached my scalp, I could feel my hairs standing up on end one by one. I had a very complicated history with Colette Gibson—more complicated than my mother would ever know. “Where did they find her? What happened?” I asked, struggling for breath and trying to keep a throb from creeping into my voice.

“The chief of police called just a little while ago. He said the construction crew that’s rebuilding the foundation for the town hall unearthed a body late yesterday afternoon.” Mom took a ragged breath and continued
. “There haven’t been that many people who have disappeared around here, so they figured it out pretty quickly. I guess she’s …” Mom’s shoulders shook as she let out a few more sobs. “I guess she’s very well preserved. It’s been so long since Colette disappeared that they didn’t know who to call, so they called me.” Mom pinched the bridge of her nose as if fighting back a headache. “They wanted to know if I can bring Grandma Gibson down to the morgue to identify the body.”

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