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Savanna Royce is a weekend Goth-girl who has always been fascinated with vampires. She doesn't really believe in them, of course, but that changes when she is bitten by a rogue vamp and left for dead. Fortunately, two-hundred-and- seventy-eight-year-old vampire Kaige Travers is there to rescue her. Unwilling to let her die, he turns Savanna into a vampire to save her life - not knowing if she'll thank him or hate him for it.
While Kaige is teaching Savanna what she needs to know about being a vampire, neither of them can deny the chemistry that's there. Somewhere between getting her registered at the local vampire admin office and teaching her how to order blood on the internet, they fall for each other - fast and hard.
Just as things are heating up between the sheets - and everywhere else - they encounter one minor problem. The rogue vampire who attacked her is back and this time he wants to finish the job he started.
Tall, dark, and handsome, with a side order of brooding. That’s exactly the type of man Savanna Royce was looking for. It sounded simple enough. So, why the heck was it taking her so long to find him?
Because you’re looking in the wrong places.
She scowled at that. It wasn’tas if she had a lot of options when it came to finding him. She should know�she’d tried. She wasn’t going to find him in the produce department of the grocery store, or a spinning class at her health club, or hanging around the water cooler at work. Or at any of the usual places a woman went to meet a guy in San Francisco. That included dance clubs. Traditional ones, anyway. Which was why she was in a Goth club called Nighttown right now.
If she couldn’t find the dark, mysterious loner she was looking for in the equally dark and mysterious subculture of the Goth world, then maybe he didn’t exist. Which was entirely possible considering her perfect guy happened to be a fictional character on a TV show. She’d spent years searching for her very own real-life Angel, the hunky vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Savanna had first started crushing on vamps in high school. She and her friend had been in her room channel surfing when they’d come across an episode of the cult classic. She’d never seen the show before, but one look at the tall, dark, and brooding vampire, and she was hooked. From that moment on, she’d been fascinated with everything and anything vampire, devouring every vampire movie and TV show ever made, collecting posters, books, and magazines�anything to do with vampires. She even had a silhouette of a bat tattooed on a strategic part of her body.
With all that time spent thinking about vampires, it wasn’t surprising that when she started looking for a boyfriend, she’d been attracted to guys who made her think of Angel. But while she’d met a lot of men who were tall, dark, and handsome�even a couple who were a little bit brooding�none of them had ever come close to her ideal. Now, at twenty-eight, she was still looking. She let out a sigh. Honestly, how tough could it be to find a gorgeous, mysterious, sensitive, damsel-in-distress-saving, I-only-like-to-come-out-after-dark kind of guy? But just because she hadn’t found him yet didn’t mean she wouldn’t. Maybe she would meet him tonight.
Her pulse quickening at the thought, Savanna smoothed her hands down her black skirt. Her outfit wasn’t as “Goth” as some of the other women. Despite her fascination with everything vampire, she wasn’t what most people would call a traditional Goth girl. She liked the dark clothes, but she wasn’t into the heavy make-up or the pale skin. No one ever looked at her like she was out of place, though, so she guessed she pulled it off.
Savanna flipped her long, dark hair over her shoulder and slowly made her way to the glossy black bar on the opposite side of the Goth club. As she walked past the various sitting areas, she glanced at the club’s patrons and was disappointed to see mostly regulars on the brocade sofas and tapestry-covered chaise lounges. Goths to their very bone, the men looked as if they’d just stepped out of an Anne Rice novel with their skintight black pants, ruffled shirts, and heavily made-up eyes. While she had to admit the look worked for a lot of them, it didn’t do anything for her. She preferred a guy in a long, dark overcoat like Angel always wore.
Slipping in between a woman dressed in a red, velvet gown and a guy with a spiky Mohawk, Savanna placed her evening bag on the highly-polished bar and waited for the server to come over.
“What’ll it be?” the bartender asked, raising his voice to be heard over the band’s haunting music. Tall and lanky, he had skin so pale it was almost white, and hair so black it couldn’t possibly be his natural color. He had tattoos covering both of his arms, a stud in his nose, and a ring through his lower lip.
“Red wine, please” she said.
As she waited for the bartender to get her drink, Savanna did a quick sweep of the club. She got halfway around the room before her gaze settled on a tall, dark-haired man over in the corner. Though not what she’d call classically handsome, he was still good looking, and from his expression he clearly came with that side order of brooding she went for. He looked really good in those tight leather pants and that long overcoat he was wearing, too.
He was leaning casually against one of the columns that supported the club’s high ceiling, his hooded eyes taking in his surroundings. As if sensing her gaze on him, he lifted his head to look at her. Hmm, maybe her luck was looking up.
If she were anywhere else, she would have given him a flirtatious smile and a come-hither look to let him know she was interested, but doing that kind of thing in a Goth club would just make her seem silly. She might not look like the typical Goth girl, but she still wanted to fit in. So instead, she picked up her goblet the bartender had set down and gave the guy in the overcoat a look over the rim that said, I’m interested, how about you?
He returned the look with one of his own, his gaze intent as he took in her short skirt, lace cami-top, and thigh-high leather boots. She shivered in anticipation. Yep, things were definitely looking up.
Wine goblet in hand, Savanna hooked her evening bag on her shoulder and slowly made her way over to him.
* * * * *
Kaige Travers leaned back in the brocade-covered wing chair, a bottle of beer dangling loosely from his fingers as he surveyed the club’s patrons. He wondered what it was about Goth clubs he found so intriguing. The dark clothes? The eerie music? The macabre atmosphere? Or was it simply their bizarre fascination with vampirism? While no one was sporting fake fangs or wearing a cape, a good portion of the club’s clientele was clearly into the whole vampire thing. Of course, no self-respecting vampire would wear half the things most Goths did. A couple hundred years of wearing nothing but black would get old pretty damn quick to any vampire. Hell, he should know. He was one, after all. Two-hundred-forty years ago tonight, he’d been turned into a vampire.
If he told the Goths that, they’d probably take one look at his jeans and T-shirt and laugh in his face. They were already giving him strange looks as it was. Probably wondering what the hell he was doing in a place like this.
He lifted the bottle to his lips and took a long swallow. God, he felt old. On the outside, he looked like your average thirty-eight-year old, which was the age he’d been when he was turned. But on the inside, he felt every bit the two-hundred-and-seventy-eight-year-old vampire he was.
Kaige let his gaze follow a dark-haired woman as she made her way around the dance floor and over to a guy dressed in an overcoat standing by one of the decorative columns. She was pretty, and with her long, silky, midnight black hair and naturally creamy skin, she could have easily carried off the Goth look if she’d wanted to. But her short skirt and high, black boots weren’t very Goth at all. As he watched her curvy hips sway, he felt his jeans tighten.
Damn, it had been a long time since he’d been with a woman.
Longer than he wanted to think about.
Swearing under his breath, Kaige lifted the bottle of beer again, only to pause with the thing halfway to his mouth. On the far side of the dance floor, the guy in the overcoat was ushering the dark-haired girl out the back door of the club. That shouldn’t have been enough to make his vampire-senses tingle, but there was something about the way the woman’s companion threw a furtive look over his shoulder that made Kaige frown. As if the guy wanted to make sure no one saw them leave together.
Telling himself it was none of his business, Kaige turned his attention back to his beer, but as he tipped the bottle back, his gaze went to the door again. What the hell was it with him and rescuing damsels in distress? Saving some pretty girl’s life was the reason he’d ended up a vampire.
Kaige swore under his breath. Think he would have learned.
But no. A moment later he slammed the beer bottle down on the table, grabbed his leather jacket from the chair beside him, and headed for the back door.
* * * * *
Savanna glanced nervously around the dark alley. When the guy had suggested they ditch Nighttown for another, supposedly better club, she’d been all for it, but that was before he’d led her out the back door. He seemed nice enough, but maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea.
He jerked his head toward the mouth of the alley. “Come on. We can grab a cab out there.”
Savanna still thought it would have been easier to go out the front door than walk all the way down the dark alley, but she didn’t say anything as she fell into step beside him. Halfway between the club’s back door and the main street, he came to an abrupt halt. Savanna stopped, too. She started to ask what was up, but the word’s came out in a rush of breath as he shoved her back into the alcove of a door. Heart hammering in her chest, she opened her mouth to scream, but he silenced her with his hand. For a moment, Savanna swore she saw what looked like fangs protruding from beneath his upper lip. But she must have been imagining it. There was no way that could be possible.
“No screaming,” he warned, pressing her back roughly against the corner of the alcove with his body. “Because that’ll get someone’s attention, and I don’t like to be interrupted when I’m feeding.”
Savanna blinked. Feeding? What the hell was he talking about? Then again, what the hell did it matter? She wasn’t hanging around long enough to find out. She tried to bring up her knee to ram it into his crotch, but before she could even move, he bent and buried his face in her neck. A moment later, she felt a stabbing pain as something sharp sank into her skin.
She gasped, her eyes going wide as she realized what he was doing. Crap, the jerk was biting her!
* * * * *
Kaige had hoped to hell he was wrong, but the moment he walked out the back door, his gut told him something was off. The alley was dark, but with his better than average night vision, he should have seen the couple somewhere. They couldn’t have made it to the street already. Eyes narrowing, he looked right, then left, but still didn’t see anything. Where the hell had they disappeared to?
He was debating which direction to go when he heard a noise. The sound was so faint a human probably wouldn’t even have heard it, but with his extra-sensitive hearing, he had no problem picking it up. Or recognizing it. A woman moaning. Swearing under his breath, he raced down the alley toward the sound.
Up ahead, Kaige could make out the dark form of the couple in the alcove of the building. The girl was pushing weakly against the man in an effort to get him to release her, but her struggles didn’t have much effect.
Fuck. His instincts had been right.
“Hey!” he shouted.
The thug in the overcoat immediately lifted his head and turned to look in his direction, hissing a warning as he bared a set of bloody fangs.
Shit. No wonder his radar had gone off. The asshole was another vampire. What the fuck did the bastard think he was doing? Feeding from humans like that was flat-out forbidden. Either the idiot must have been sired by an even bigger moron, or he was just plain demented. The latter seemed more likely, considering the theatrical way he was hissing and flashing his fangs. The asshole probably thought he would scare Kaige off.
Well, he was in for one hell of a rude awakening.
As Kaige advanced on him, the other vampire stared at him in obvious confusion for a moment. Letting out a snarl, he dropped the girl and leaped at Kaige.
He moved fast, but Kaige was faster. The other vampire was still in mid-leap when Kaige darted forward and closed the distance between them, lashing out and catching him with a backhand fist across the face.
The blow knocked the vampire clear across the alley into the opposite wall. He landed on the pavement with a thud and stayed there. He stared at Kaige in surprise, then pushed himself to his feet. Blood trickled down his chin and he gave Kaige a baleful glare as he wiped it off with the back of his hand.
Kaige expected the other vampire to turn tail and run, but instead the asshole charged again. This time Kaige spun around and kicked the other vampire square in the center of his chest. The force of the blow sent him bouncing off the wall again. When he pushed himself to his feet this time�albeit more slowly�Kaige opened his mouth and bared his fangs. A light of recognition flashed in the vampire’s eyes. Apparently, the dimwit had finally realized that Kaige was a vampire, too.
He hesitated as if debating whether he should charge again, but then he hissed at Kaige one more time and took off down the alley at a run.
Kaige was torn between chasing after him and checking on the woman, but a quick glance at the dark-haired girl made his decision for him. She was in bad shape and if he didn’t get her help soon, she wasn’t going to make it.
Jaw tight, Kaige dropped to one knee beside her. Shit. The bastard had made a mess of her neck. Instead of puncturing her skin with his teeth like he could have done, he had torn at her like he was some kind of crazed animal, and now she was bleeding out. Even if Kaige called an ambulance, she’d be dead before anyone got there.
But that didn’t mean he couldn’t still save her.
As if sensing his presence, the woman’s eyes fluttered open. It was impossible for him to tell what color they were in the darkness, but the beseeching look in them tore at his gut.
Do it. Turn her now before it’s too late.
The girl opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
After a moment, she lifted her hand weakly, silently begging him with that one feeble gesture to help her. When he made no move to take her hand, it fell limply to her side again, her eyes closing.
Kaige ground his jaw. God knew he didn’t want to do this. He’d promised himself he never would. But he didn’t have a choice. He couldn’t just stand there and watch her die.
Swearing under his breath, Kaige gently slipped an arm beneath the girl and lifted her so that she was lying back against his thigh. Cradling her in the curve of one arm, he lifted the other and sank his fangs into his wrist. As the taste of blood filled his mouth, he lowered his arm to hold his wrist to her parted lips.
It would have been easier if she were aware enough to suck on his wrist. On second thought, maybe it was better she was out of it. If she were conscious, she probably would have tried to push him away, and if he didn’t get his blood in her quickly, she would die. After a few seconds, he saw her throat convulse rhythmically.
Whether or not she knew what she was doing, the blood was going down.
When he was satisfied that she’d ingested enough, he moved his wrist to the bite marks at her neck and let the blood run freely over the wound. Not only was it another way to mix his blood with hers, but it would also help seal the wound faster.
Kaige held his breath as he gazed down at the girl and waited for some sign that her body had started to accept the change. Not everyone’s did. And since he didn’t have a hell of a lot of experience with what happened to a person when they became a vampire other than his own turning�which he didn’t remember much about�he wasn’t really sure what to expect.
He was wondering if he should give her more of his blood when she stirred in his arms. Relief coursed through him only to be replaced by alarm when she started to have convulsions. He wrapped his other arm around her, holding onto her tightly.
Was that normal? He had absolutely no idea.
Feeling completely helpless, Kaige could do nothing but hold the girl and pray her body accepted his blood. If it didn’t, she would die an agonizing death�that much he did know. When she finally went still, he was almost afraid to wonder if that was good or bad. But then he saw the spasm as her chest began to rise and fall. She hadn’t rejected his blood. Thank God.
Taking off his jacket, he wrapped it around her, trying his best to hide the jagged wound in her neck. He looked down to see her purse lying on the ground. He should probably take that, too. Grabbing it, he gathered the girl up in his arms and headed for his SUV. This was going to be one hell of a long night.