Read Seduced by Crimson Online

Authors: Jade Lee

Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Fantasy, #Demons & Devils, #Witches & Wizards

Seduced by Crimson



A man can get tunnel vision during battle. He fixates on the sight of blood spurting from a white throat or the smell of charred flesh. If he's trained, he can still fight the demons, the blackhearted Bak-Faru he's likely seen only in a book, but a large part of his mind still fixates on one hideous thing. For Patrick Lewis, it was the taste in the air: blood and bile. Metallic and bitter, it made his throat close and his chest heave. But he had enough training to fight even if he was coming late to the battle.

The screams reached him first. He was in the
San Bernardino
Botanical Garden
, so the sound could travel far, especially at night. He was running full-tilt for the grove when the smell hit him, the smell and that taste in the air.

He didn't even stumble: that was how well trained he was. But his mind was so caught up in not retching that he almost missed the sight of his first live Bak-Faru. The thing was humanlike. Large and dark haired, it had eyes that glowed bright lavender in the night. Patrick's mother had told him the demon gate was being used, and indeed, attuned as he was to nature, he'd felt each and every tremor as something passed through. Still, he hadn't actually believed such disaster was possible until now, seeing one, two… no, make that four of the creatures walking away. Two sported wounds—jagged flesh that bled dark down their naked torsos. But the demons didn't seem to be slowed.

Patrick didn't think. He had seven ceremonial knives with him and began throwing. Score. The closest demon clutched his neck and stumbled, but didn't fall. The monster's companions barely glanced around, even when Patrick's second knife lodged in one of their shoulder blades. They were intent on escape.

Patrick wanted to pursue. He even took a step forward, but the need to find his parents burned hotter. He had to get to the grove. Especially since his mother's screams were growing weaker. Yet he had to go slowly. Much though it burned his gut, Patrick shifted from battle mode to stealth; it wouldn't help his parents if he stumbled blindly into more of these creatures.

He slipped around a redwood and peered into the grove, where his tunnel vision returned with full force. His mind registered each sensation as a disparate element: the taste of bile in the air, the smell of death, and the clenching of his gut. He refused to look for long, searching the bodies on the ground with as much speed as he could manage.

He found his father first, with only one shoulder and half a chest; the rest was burned to oblivion, as if a rocket had burst through him. Numbness seeped into Patrick's spirit. At least his dad hadn't felt any pain.

Patrick stumbled, scanning the rest of the bodies. He found his mother. She wasn't as lucky as his father. She'd been gutted by a short blade, or more likely, by long claws. Blood and bile poured relentlessly from her into the ground where she lay. She was still alive.

Patrick skidded to a halt in the dirt beside her, but there was nothing for him to do; too much of her was spilled across the ground. His hands hovered uselessly above her torn belly. What could he do? He dialed 911 and stammered out details. The operator was speaking to him, but he didn't hear her because his mother opened her eyes. The phone left his ear as he leaned forward. He opened his mouth to reassure her. He was going to lie, to say that shed be just fine, but all that came out was a single word:


She focused on him and her expression softened. She struggled to speak, her voice a bare whisper, and Patrick lowered his head as close to her mouth as he dared.

"Run," she said.

He straightened enough to look into her eyes. "They're gone. The…" He couldn't bring himself to name the monsters, the creatures of nightmare that had at last returned to his world. "They've left."

His mother swallowed, and he was sure he saw relief in her gaze. He grabbed her hands, his mind scrambling for something to do. "Hang on," he said.

"Find her," she replied. "Close… the gate." She was fading; he could see it. Her eyes were growing more distant, and her hands were like ice. He wanted to strip off his shirt to cover her, but he would have missed her next words.

"Draig-Uisge," she said. It shocked him to hear his druidic title spoken with such command, "find her… the Phoenix Tear. Close the gate. Permanently."

Then his mother shut her eyes and was gone forever.


Chapter One


Xiao Fei Finney didn't like to hunt vampires. It was too dangerous, and she was too vulnerable. But she liked illegal fang activity in Chinatown even less.

The area residents had reported the crimes to the police, of course. They'd told the authorities about the drug addicts sucked dry and dumped between the ginger market and the dumpling palace. Xiao Fei's boss, Mrs. Wang, had even made a big stink about a pair of lovers who'd disappeared under mysterious circumstances. But B-Ops in Los Angeles—the government agency set up to handle illegal paranormals and discord between the species—had bigger problems than a rogue vamp or two, even if all of Chinatown was afraid to go out at night. Truth was—according to the news reports—vamp and werewolf tension was ratched up all through the rechristened "
," and everybody was afraid to go out day or night.

Everybody, of course, but several too-cocky fangs and the vigilantes who hunted them.

This particular rogue vamp's name was Stan, and he was systematically buying out an entire block of

Gin Ling Way
. His plan was to corner the local gambling, racketeering, and whoring market. His method was whatever worked: intimidation, seduction, vamp conversion…

The last, of course, had been the final straw. When one of Chinatown's young sons showed up with fangs, the remaining sons and daughters had to act. Xiao Fei hadn't planned the trap—that was Pei Ling's job. He was young—nineteen to be exact—but he was smart, methodical, and well-liked. In short, people followed him, whereas they simply thought Xiao Fei was weird. They were right, of course, but that didn't make her any less lonely.

In any event, they all knew where Stan and his thugs would show up next: Chen's China Emporium. Old Mr. Chen wouldn't sell his little slice of America to anyone at any price, so all they had to do was hide up and down the block, guns at the ready, until Stan's fellow fangs tried to make a move.

Xiao Fei had her favorite weapon—a Glock 27—strapped to her ankle. She'd carried a pistol since leaving Cambodia. Still, as the best marksman in the group, she had a tranq rifle in her hands and had put herself in a good sniping position.


Stan's crew walked like petty royalty—or the newest Hollywood celebs—straight down the center of the street. There was poor Donny Li Chen. Only two weeks a vamp, and he already looked just like the others.

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