Authors: Vivi Anna
EMT Trevor Blackstone has treated hundreds of vampires, lycans and witches in the city of Nouveau Monde, but never one as mesmerizing as Mistress Genevieve. The centuries-old vampiress has a voice that could bring a man into the throes of ecstasy, and the exquisite beauty to match.
Though Trevor has admired Genevieve from afar, he never expected to be drawn into the political war around her. But even as they are chased by her enemies, the real danger is the passion that blazes when he lays his healing touch on her. Trevor craves Genevieve and her bite, but is it worth the risk of surrendering
Trevor Blackstone rode shotgun in the ambulance as it raced toward the 911 call. It was three in the morning and the streets of Nouveau Monde were still hopping. That was what happened in a city where at least one third of the residents were vampires.
The call came in from Sinsational, a vampire cabaret club that entertained all the other denizens of the European cityâlycans, witches, vampires and humans. For the most part it was just some fun, but sometimes it could get out of hand. Hence, 911 had been called. But instead of a blood bite gone too far, they had a 901-- a shooting.
When Kostas, Trevor's partner, pulled the ambulance up to the curb in front of the club, there were a couple of police cars blocking off the street. Two constables stood outside the front doors. Trevor got up, went into the back, and opened up the main doors. He jumped down, medical kit in hand, and waited for Kostas so they could lift out the stretcher and take it in.
“Hey, Blackstone,” one of the constables said as Trevor and Kostas passed him to go into the club. Trevor nodded to him and continued on.
The club was large, could easily hold three hundred people and usually did most nights. The owner, Mistress Guinevere, was a popular attraction. An eight-hundred-year-old vampiress who could sing like a nightingale. She had a voice like no other. Her songs could move most people to tears, and sometimes into the throes of passion.
Trevor had experienced both.
He'd come to the club a couple of times during his nights off. He'd heard so many things about it, and the proprietor, that his curiosity had gotten the best of him. Both nights had been impossible to forget.
Inspector Gabriel Bellmonte met them about halfway across the floor.
Trevor greeted his friend. “Hey Gabe. What's the situation?”
Gabriel looked at his notebook. “Multiple gunshot wounds. The victim is vampire, no more than seventy-five years old.”
Trevor and Kostas followed Gabriel down the back stairs to the basement where other more decadent activities took place. At the bottom of the stairs, they stepped into a large room. Trevor could think of only one thing when he searched the room, French boudoir.
The room was decorated in deep rich colors, reds and gold. Each wall was adorned with a nude painting and candelabra flickering with low light. Lounge sofas were set against two walls. On each were three or more loungers. He counted four women and two men. Each was dressed elegantly, lavishly even, as if they were in a Shakespearean stage production. It was totally for show. Vampires didn't dress like this in their usual day-to-day or night-to-night activities.
On the thick white shag carpet lay the victimâa female vampire dressed in a sheer black gown that left nothing to the imagination. Another vampire, a constable, was down on his knees pressing a blood-soaked cloth to the victim's chest and to her stomach.
Trevor crouched beside her, to take her vitals. He nodded to the constable. “What's her status?”
“Gunshot wounds to her chest and stomach. Happened about ten minutes ago. She's been lucid until now.”
Trevor examined her pupils, shining a light in them. They still responded, which was good. He then listened to her heart with his stethoscope. Her heartbeat was still strong, considering. Most people thought vampires were the undead, that they didn't have heartbeats or breathe air, but the truth was they were as alive as the rest of humanity. Vampirism was a genetic quirk that could be passed on by blood transfusionâalthough it was rare for that to happen.
Nudging the constable aside, Trevor looked at the bullet wounds. If he could extract the silver, she'd live. If he couldn't eventually it would kill her. Like poisoning, the silver would eventually dissolve into her bloodstream and stop her heart.
He took out a pair of forceps. Kostas knelt down on the other side of the body and held up a flashlight, a beam directed onto the bullet hole in her chest. Time was of the essence. He couldn't wait a second longer. She was already going into septic shock.
Without a word, Trevor forced the instrument into the hole and rooted around for the bullet. He found it, pulled it out, then moved down to the wound in her gut. He took that one out in less time.
“Will she live?”
Trevor glanced up at the woman standing over them. It was Mistress Guinevere. She was as exquisite as he remembered. Vampires were always beautiful and alluring, but this vampiress took that to a whole other level.
She had waist-length brilliant red hair, amber eyes and pale skin. Most vampires were pale but Guinevere had skin like fine china. She almost glowed.
Nodding to Kostas to bandage her up, Trevor stood. “Yes, she'll live.”
“Good. That's good.” She wrung her long elegant hands together.
And that's when Trevor noticed the blood drops on her peacock blue gown.
He reached out for her. “Are youâ?”
She shook her head, then with a nod, turned to go into the adjacent room. Grabbing his medical bag, Trevor followed her in.
After he stepped over the threshold, the door closed on its own. Although he knew that wasn't possible; the vampiress had likely compelled it shut. Turning quickly, he pulled on the door. It was locked.
“Am I a prisoner?”
“Of course not, I just need some privacy. I don't want the others to know I am injured. It would worry them.”
Trevor approached her. “Where are you hurt?”
She lifted her right arm to reveal a bullet wound along her side.
As he neared her, he stripped off the latex gloves he was wearing, shoved them into a pocket, and snapped on a new pair. He inspected the bloody wound. It wasn't as bad as the other vampiress' this was a through and through. The bullet was not inside her flesh, eating away at her.
“It's not bad. But I'm going to need you to take off your dress so I can bandage it properly.” The dress looked as though it cost about a month of his salary and he really didn't want to ruin it further. “What happened, by the way? How did you get shot?”
From this close proximity, he could see her glorious amber eyes. They sparkled like gems, mesmerizing him. The scent of cinnamon wafted to his nose and he had to fight the urge to inhale deeply.
“Someone with a vendetta I think. I don't believe I was the intended target.”
He thought of the other vampiress lying on the floor. “Did you see who did the shooting?”
She shook her head. “Male, human. But he was already up the stairs and gone before anyone could react.”
Trevor frowned. “That's odd. How could a human escape a room full of vampires?”
“How indeed.” She raised one elegant eyebrow. “I recognize you. You have been to my show?”
He nodded. “Twice.”
Her full mouth twitched up at the corners into a warm smile. “I like repeat customers.”
“Your voice is amazing.”
“What is your name?”
She eyed him curiously. “Hmm, Blackstone. You come from an old witch family. I may have known your ancestors.”
Although he had lived most of his life in Nouveau Monde, it still rattled him a little when he met people who knew his grandmother or great-grandfather. People who looked as young as he was.
She brought her long slim hand up to the zipper on the side of her gown intending to pull it down so Trevor could get at the bullet hole, but her hand stilled, and he got the sense that she was listening to something out of his hearing range.
“What is it?” he asked.
It was then that he heard gunshots from beyond the door.
“What the hell?” Trevor rushed to the door to open it. But it was still locked. He glanced over his shoulder to Guinevere. “Open it.”
“I can't. It has a failsafe for my protection.”
“So we're trapped in this room?”
She shook her head. “No. There is another way out.” She pointed to the giant hearth in the corner where a fire raged on. “Through the fire, is a latch. Pull it and a secret door will open.”
Trevor looked into the hearth searching for the latch. “We need to douse these flames.”
“It's magic and can't be put out with water. ”
Without another thought, Trevor reached through the fire and grabbed the latch. He didn't feel the flames. They didn't touch his skin. He was blessed with healing hands, a gift that accompanied his witch genes. They were part of what made him a good EMT.
He pulled the lever. A small trap door opened in the marble floor in front of the fireplace under Trevor's foot. He toppled forward. Guinevere was quick and grabbed him by the jacket before he went down into the hole. Yanking him back, she managed to rip the material from its lining.
He nodded to her. “Thanks.”
He motioned toward the trap door. Guinevere stepped into the hole and onto a metal ladder. She climbed down. Trevor waited until the top of her head was out of sight, then followed her. He closed the trap door and plunged them into total darkness.
“Damn it,” Trevor swore. He had not anticipated the total lack of light.
“Don't worry, I can see in the dark.” She patted him lightly on the leg in reassurance. “I will guide the way.”
Trevor held on tightly to the ladder, as he continued his descent.
“I've reached the bottom,” Guinevere announced. “Three more rungs and so will you.”
He stepped down onto solid ground and felt Guinevere beside him. Her eyes glowed yellow as she looked at him. Grabbing his hand, she pulled him forward into the dark.
“It's a tunnel. It will lead us to a storm drain that empties into the river.”
“There're no rats in here, are there?”
Guinevere chuckled. “Are you afraid of them?”
Trevor shook his head, then wondered if she could see the action. “No, not really. I just don't want to catch some disease while I'm walking through the pitch black.”
She tugged him further into the tunnel. He had to trust her that she wasn't leading him astray, or into something that could injure him.
“What was all that, anyway?”
“What do you mean?”
“The gunshots?” he asked. “It didn't seem like it was random. A gunman doesn't come back if it's not personal.”
He heard her sigh and wondered if she was going to tell him the truth. Not that she was required to. He wasn't anyone to her. Just an EMT in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“It seems I'm involved in a bit of a political war.”
“A turf war?”
She sighed again. “I suppose you could call it that. I have control over certain parts of Nouveau Monde, certain businesses and whatnot. My second, Soren, has chosen to move against me.”
“So this was an assassination attempt on your life?” Trevor was surprised. He knew about vampire politics, but didn't think it involved mafia-like tactics. He'd never heard of one vampire moving on another like this.
“Yes, I suppose it was.”
Trevor was silent the rest of the way as Guinevere guided him through the tunnel. Of course, he didn't have a choice. It was completely black. He couldn't see a thing except for the eerie amber glow of Guinevere's eyes when she turned to check on his progress.
Eventually, Trevor could see a small pinpoint of light. They were nearing the end of the tunnel. Cold water sloshed around his feet, sending shivers up his legs. They were obviously in the storm drain.
Guinevere slowed. She tightened the hold on his hand.
“I'm not sure.”
He could feel the shivers wracking her body. He didn't think vampires got cold, but maybe she hadn't ingested any blood recently and she was reacting to the loss of heat in her limbs.
“Have you fed lately?”
“No, not since before the show.”
According to Trevor's calculations that would've been over six hours ago. Guinevere definitely needed blood especially since she'd lost some from being shot.
The light became larger as they neared the drain's exit. Trevor could hear the rush of the river beyond them. He hoped there was a way out of the drain other than jumping into the river.
As they approached the drain cover, Guinevere crouched down to peer out. Trevor did the same. In the pale moonlight, he could see that her face was drawn and her eyes had darkened.
She was in significant pain. Maybe the bullet had fragmented inside her. If there was even the tiniest piece of silver in her bloodstream it could slowly poison her.
“I need to look at your wound, and treat it now. I think you're going into shock.”
“We don't have time. We have to get out of this tunnel and to a safe place.”
“If I don't treat you now, you'll die.” He knew he sounded brusque, but he didn't want to waste time explaining. He knew she wouldn't listen. Guinevere was a woman accustomed to giving orders and expecting them to be followed immediately. But Trevor wasn't one of her minions or employees. He was the guy who was going to save her life.