I had “Bleed” – a spicy vampire romance with Supernatural vibes, scheduled to publish in two days – but I have a SURPRISE – the kindle version is available TODAY!! You’ll still have to wait until the 24th to grab it in print!) WANNA GRAB IT? It’s also FREE to read if you’re subscribed to #KindleUnlimited !!
Have you checked out the first chapter? Here’s the second!
Motel 6 wasn’t exactly five-star living, but it was a hell of a lot less disgusting than that alleyway. Calliope had only seen one roach in the last twenty-four hours.
The tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood at attention. Her fingers curled around the curtain, but she resisted the urge to pull it back and peek outside. He was near; her body could sense his presence as a hunter just as easily as she could tune in to her own prey. If he didn’t know exactly where she was located yet, he would soon figure it out.
Calliope slid the long needle into the protruding vein on the inside of her arm. She held up the first blood bag with her other hand and watched as the thick red liquid made its way down the tubing. She knew that her instant relief was mostly psychological, but if she didn’t transfuse, she would die.
Calliope hadn’t been born with the constant need to replenish her blood. She had been normal once, “human,” as they say. She was born in the year 2007; she was both physically and chronologically an eighteen-year-old woman. Granted, she hadn’t experienced the greatest of childhoods raised by a single mother who always struggled with money and stability, but she had loved her mother fiercely, and Stella had loved her.
Five years ago, in 2020, the pandemic hit. Despite getting her vaccinations, Calliope still caught a strain of COVID, but she recovered. About six months later, she began to feel fatigued, weak, and foggy-brained. Stella pressed her daughter to see the doctor again about her struggles.
After many tests, the doctors revealed that she had an extremely rare form of blood cancer that only three other people in the world had been diagnosed with prior. The cancer was fast and efficient at killing blood cells; red, white, it didn’t discriminate. It caused severe, life-threatening anemia, which was the cause of her symptoms.
Two out of the three others who had been diagnosed recently had died, and the only survivor had to receive a blood transfusion once per week. There was no cure, only constant replenishment.
Bigger challenges came a few months after Calliope received her diagnosis. This new blood cancer began popping up in others like wildfire. Mob mentality blamed it on the COVID vaccines though there was zero evidence of a link between the two. It seemed far more likely that it was an after-effect of the particular strain of COVID that Calliope had previously caught.
The new cancer spread so rapidly that there was simply not enough blood to constantly transfuse the sufferers. Individuals had to start putting themselves on waiting lists, and of course, the wealthy bought their way to the top. Calliope’s mother donated as much and as often as she could, as did her boyfriend at the time, Chad, but it wasn’t enough. It was never enough.
A month after Calliope’s eighteenth birthday, she arrived home after some bad car sex to the run-down house her mother had managed to rent to find that their front door had been pried open. She knew before she entered that something was very, very wrong. There was a putrid odor permeating the air that she could only attribute at the time to rotting fruit. She would never forget the sight of her mother’s corpse; throat slit, panties down past her knees, legs tangled up on the couch with the top of her head pressed against the ground at an unnatural angle. Not only had someone presumably raped Stella Morgan, but the sick fucking bastard had drained her blood.
Calliope died that day along with her mother. Her physical body remained breathing, but the girl that she used to be would never see the light of another day. She had always been rather quiet, rarely making waves in life or drawing attention to herself. She may not have had the greatest reputation at her High School because she enjoyed sex, and she’d accidentally slept with a few girls’ boyfriends (to be fair, the guys hadn’t provided her with that information before jackhammering her unimpressed vagina while trying to mimic terrible internet porn), but to her knowledge, she had never angered anyone to the point of revenge-murdering her mother in such a grotesque, horrifying fashion. High School and its insignificant melodrama no longer mattered, not that it had ever kept her up at night in the first place. This was a Brave New World of bloodlust and survival.
The blonde hair that used to match Calliope’s fair skin was dyed jet-black to match the shadowed taint on her soul. Her only possessions were what she could carry easily enough in a few bags when she moved from location to location. The two activities that she’d stuck with throughout her childhood had been karate and boxing, so she used her skills to have an advantage over drunken bastards who always predictably behaved as if their sheer blubbery body weight was enough force in and of itself for them to terrorize and violate. It was also helpful that she was quite skilled with a blade, thanks to afternoon activities at community summer camp.
Calliope educated herself further on human anatomy and efficient bloodletting in order to supply herself with the blood that she needed. She would not allow the government to give her a death sentence because she couldn’t buy her way onto transfusion waiting lists. She needed to stay alive until she could find her mother’s killer, and in the meantime, she was going to hunt and eliminate as many bottom-feeding pieces of monstrous garbage as she could.
Of course, no matter how clever a killer may be, someone would inevitably catch on to her pattern. It’s not as if the Seattle Police Department was in a hurry to investigate the mysterious deaths of rapists, but once Detective Brodie Colt had been assigned to the case, the balance of power had shifted. While Calliope always managed to stay one step ahead of Colt, he was relentlessly on her tail, and at times he had been so close that she could practically taste him on the tip of her tongue.
The bigger problem was that it wasn’t just Colt’s subtle taste that Calliope’s body responded to. There was something odd and mysterious about him, something that sent bursts of heat in waves like a heartbeat between her legs when he was near. Arousal was not new to Calliope by any means, but the magnetic pull she felt when he was close was akin to ecstasy. When her body began buzzing with life and heat, she knew that her pursuer was closing in.
Calliope’s fingers clutched the curtain again as the pulsing throb between her legs increased. She’d never experienced this loss of control before Brodie Colt had begun tracking her. She unfroze from her panic and raced to her old, frayed, fading blue duffel. She threw open her dresser drawer and tossed her clothes in before grabbing her blood supplies, far more important than anything else. She cranked the dirty motel window open and tossed her duffel onto the grass before throwing her leg over the frame. She hopped down to the ground; just one story, not a big deal, grabbed her duffel and bolted into the darkness.
Another temporary place to crash, forever abandoned because of that bastard’s relentless stalking. Why did Colt even care? She was saving lives and ridding the world of scum. The lackluster Seattle Police Department should be sending her a thank-you card for doing a job they didn’t have the balls to do themselves.
“Calliope,” a gruff, frustrated, and anguished male voice called off into the muggy distance. Colt had found her room. He’d obviously discovered that she’d just fled, but if she’d lingered for another few moments, his pursuit may have finally ended in conquest. Although that realization churned with blinding terror in the pit of her stomach with every leap, part of her already regretted giving in to the other side of her fight-or-flight instinct and failing to surrender. Her soaked panties reminded her of what could have been with every step. She kept running. She didn’t know where or when she would be able to stop.