Authors: Lisa Rayns
Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Rayns
Cover Art by Stephanie Nelson
Available in print June 2012.
ISBN-13 # 978-1475277104
ISBN-10 # 1475277105
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
All rights reserved
Amazon Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
First, I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support with my writing dream––especially my husband. His faith in me has been inspiring. Next, I’d like to thank my wonderful writing group and critique partners for providing a constant flow of motivation and feedback. A special thanks to Liz Schulte & Danyel McDaniel for all their encouragement and invaluable support throughout.
This book is dedicated to soul mates everywhere.
The vampire stood motionless, damning himself for letting it happen
. Letting her die the way she did was inexcusable! He should have been there. She was only human, after all, and fate was a cruel, cruel thing.
He eyed the white-haired aristocrat, trying to gauge his thoughts. “Should history repeat itself and fate takes her life, my soul must find its end.”
Damion brushed a piece of lint off his Armani suit, then grimaced as he scanned the large dungeon in his French castle. He pointed upward toward a trap door in the ceiling. “The sun will be your fate. You will not die by my hand.”
“We’re agreed then?” the vampire asked, a dead set conviction in his eyes. He could show no doubt.
Damion clasped his hands behind his back and paced the ash and dirt covered stone floor. “You’re absolutely certain about this?”
“And when should this atrocity occur?”
“She is one now. I will give her until she turns twenty-one.”
“Twenty years?” Damion paused to consider the words. “Suppose I forget?” he suggested.
“I trust you, old friend. You will not forget.”
“Elizabeth Tarkson, from America.”
Damion took an unnecessary breath and gave a solid nod. “I swear, it will be done.”
Running for my life, I darted through the large banquet hall filled with gaudy decorations of graduation caps and birthday cakes. The pink, frilly dress my mother made me wear wasn’t helping matters. Tight, with a low neckline, it suffocated me and made it hard to breathe. After tripping twice, I finally slipped into the small bathroom and locked the door, praying I’d lost my pursuer.
The image from my tenth birthday party, my last big one, was hard to let go of. Being forced to sit in the middle of all of my relatives, open presents, and thank them in turn was not an experience I wished to repeat––mostly because of the card. Every year for my birthday, I received a card with no note or signature, just
written on the front. It always contained a cashier’s check for a thousand dollars in my name. That particular year, my relatives threw a complete fit because they thought someone was trying to outdo everyone else––It was a Tarkson Family nightmare!
“Elizabeth,” my mother called through the door, as if to prove her honed tracking skills.
After a mental groan, I unlocked the door and leaned against the sink.
Vera fluffed up her short, black hair as she stepped into the room. Her own plain green dress fit loosely which probably made it easier for her to find me. She took one look at my troubled face and closed the door behind her. “Can you at least try to enjoy yourself?”
“Remind me again why you’re doing this to me.”
Her laughter sounded merciless in my ears. “Because I’m your mother, and it’s my God-given right to throw a graduation and eighteenth birthday party for my only daughter. You should be glad I’ve combined them. Now give your guests a chance to congratulate you properly…and be polite,” she added sternly.
My unrelenting captor gave no hints of a catch and release so I stalled. Looking into the mirror over the sink, I combed through my long, straight black hair with my fingers. My heart shaped face and pouty lips made me pretty in an average sort of way, and the light layer of makeup made my green eyes stand out a little more than usual. Even so, I didn’t want to be the guest of honor at any party. “You did tell them no gifts, right?”
“I wrote ‘no gifts necessary’ on the bottom of every invitation, just like I promised, but it doesn’t seem to have deterred them.”
I frowned and spun around. “It was my
My mother fronted an understanding smile. “The good news is that you don’t have to open anything tonight. That’s what ‘Thank You’ cards are for.”
“Thanks, Mom. I’m sure it’ll be wonderful,” I lied.
“You’re welcome,” she returned, mocking my sarcasm. When I moaned, she nodded toward the door. “Let’s go,” she said impatiently.
Seeing no escape, I forced the expected smile and followed her out into the banquet hall. When I reached the main table, my smile waivered but held as my relatives lined up for cheek kissing, hugging, and the dreaded “Happy Birthday” song. It was good to see everyone though. Most of the aunts, uncles, and cousins, I only saw once every couple of years at weddings or funerals.