Dom spotted Angelica, no longer in her pink sundress, but in her usual sleepwear: A tank top and lounge pants. Both light pink, of course. How she managed to make casual loungewear look so damn sexy was beyond him.
She paced back and forth in her bedroom, clearly very agitated. Although his vision wasn’t completely in-focus and his hearing was garbled, there was no mistaking her anxiety.
Concerned, he struggled to focus his senses. It took a tremendous effort, but eventually he succeeded.
“You’re not listening to me. He swore! Dominic has never broken his word before. He should’ve called hours ago and he’s not answering his phone or his cell. Something’s not right, I can feel it.”
Confusion flooded his thoughts. Why hadn’t he called her like he said? He couldn’t remember.
An unfamiliar female voice with a British accent drew his attention to where she was sitting on the bed. “Angelica, I’m sure he’s fine. He probably just passed out once he got home and he’ll call you when he wakes up. Did you see how much he drank today? I know the boy can hold his liquor, but it was enough to sedate a bloody elephant.”
How would she know? He’d never seen her before in his life, much less today at all the different parties he’d been to. He was pretty sure he would remember an exotic brunette dressed in tight leather and sporting ink on her arm if she had been around. Even if she wasn’t his type.
“Corryn, please –”
“I’m sorry, but you know the rules just as well as I do. I have no right to contact his Guardian. You need to stop worrying and get some sleep, okay?”
His guardian? He hadn’t had any contact with the assholes who called themselves his guardians since he turned eighteen. Why would she think they would have any idea of where he was or that they would even care?
Angelica stopped pacing and placed her head in her delicate hands. “Dominic, where are you?” she whispered so softly he almost didn’t hear her. She inhaled deeply and let out a shaky sigh before looking up at her companion.
“Okay, I’ll try. I hope to God you’re right.”
Dom couldn’t take any more. He had to let Angelica know he was okay and that he was sorry for not calling. It killed him to see her distressed over something that was entirely his fault.
Dom tried to go to her, but he wasn’t making any progress. Why wasn’t he moving? He had obviously gone to her apartment. How else would he be seeing her? He needed to get her atten–
A wave of icy cold water angrily slapped him to full awareness.
Sputtering and choking on the water that managed to invade his airway, he tried to get up but found he was grossly unable to do so. Dom blinked furiously to bring his surroundings into focus through the cold rivulets that streamed from his drenched hair.
A single torch was bathing him in a circle of light, taunting him with the harsh reality of his grim situation. He lay on a metal table with his wrists and ankles locked down in metal shackles. It looked as though he was in some sort of storage cellar with dirt floors and walls, and what looked like wine barrels stacked in various corners.
Breathing fast and heavy, adrenaline coursing through his veins, Dom lifted his head off the table to confront his captor.
The man named Griffin stood holding the bucket that had no doubt been carrying the frigid water only moments ago. Wincing with the pain in his head that had been caused by the man’s mean right hook, Dom struggled against his bonds. He could think of nothing but getting free so he could wipe that smirk right off his fake-fanged face. “What’s the matter, Griffin? Afraid to fight me like a man?”
Griffin laughed in patronizing amusement at his captive’s weak attempts at ridicule. “On the contrary, Dominic. I can’t wait to fight you once we’re on equal ground. I’m sure you’ll make an excellent punching bag.”
Dom looked past Griffin to where the new voice emanated from. Griffin’s attitude quickly changed. He bowed his head in reverence and stepped away from the table, allowing another man to step into the minimal light being cast by the torch.
He looked older than Griffin, maybe in his early forties, but still possessed the same huge frame as the younger man. His thickly braided hair was jet black with streaks of silver. The long braid hung in front of his right shoulder and snaked down to his waist. His skin looked like the definition of death warmed over. But it was the man’s soulless eyes that made the hair on the back of Dom’s neck stand on end. His pupils were lost in rings of matching obsidian and the reflection of the torch flames danced in the pitch-black pools.
Dom’s breath caught in his throat. The man reeked of malice, his presence seeming to suffocate Dom with an unseen evil energy. He had to concentrate on dragging air into his lungs as he studied his newest captor and obvious leader of whatever whacked-out gang was holding him.
“Let me go,” Dom managed between clenched teeth.
His newfound enemy smiled that same fangy smile. “Over your dead body, I’m afraid.”
“Who are you and what do you want with me?” The question sounded so cliché, but maybe if Dom could get him to talk long enough he could figure a way out of his shitty situation.
The man instantly became more arrogant, if that was even possible. “I am Lysander, Lord of the Diabolus Umbra. And you are a guest in my humble lair. Welcome.”
Dom didn’t bother to hide his sarcasm. “Guest? Do you always show so much hospitality or am I the only lucky one?”
“I am sorry for the restraints, but at the moment they are necessary. I can assure you that once the change has been completed, you will not only be freed, but you will be my second in command with much power.”
Any hope of reasoning with the man just flew right out the proverbial window. He was obviously Lord of the Loonies.
“What are you talking about?” Dom demanded.
“I will explain more fully when you have an open mind, but the abridged version is that I am a very powerful Being. Your kind would call me a vampire. I have need of you to join my clan in order to get close to the one Being I need as my queen.”
Dom let his head slowly fall back to the table and laughed at the insanity of what he just heard.
“Let me see if I can get this straight. You’re a vampire and you need to make me a vampire because I’m the only one who can get you the woman you want as your queen. Ever consider internet dating? I hear they do a bang up job of finding you a compatible mate. And the upside is there’s no felony involved.”
“You have a very sharp tongue for someone who is in such a precarious situation.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve learned that if you’re going to get a beating one way or the other then you may as well speak your mind.” Suddenly something the creep had said registered in Dom’s brain. “Wait a minute. Let’s just assume for the moment that what you say is true. Not that I’m even remotely close to believing you’re anything more than a lunatic with a God complex.” Maybe he shouldn’t be taunting the man, but he couldn’t help himself. Dom had never cowered in front of anyone for any reason, and he wasn’t about to start now. “Who is this chick you want as your queen that I’m the only one who can bring her to you? The only girls I know are from school and I’m pretty sure that Big, Tall and Ugly over there would be able to get them for you just fine.” Not that Dom wanted any girl to fall into the clutches of these psychos, but if they’d let him go he’d be able to alert the proper authorities.
He heard Griffin growl from the shadows at his last remark. Somehow Dom didn’t think he was endearing himself to the man. Like he cared.
“My dear, Dominic –”
“It’s just Dom.” Hearing anyone use his full name was enough to grate on his nerves. Well, almost anyone.
The big, bad lord looked slightly irritated at the correction, but he adhered to it anyway. “Dom, the girl that is fated to be my queen does not yet know of her Destiny. According to my sources, she must come to my bed willingly to set the proper wheels in motion. I feel that with you at my side, that would be an absolute certainty.”
Dom gave him a humorless laugh. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no female likes me that much. I’ve had my share of intimate escapades, but I’ve never been the relationship type. Girls typically start to despise me once they realize my non-committal attitude isn’t about to change.”
Lysander smiled at his captive’s ignorance. “You are quite mistaken, dear boy. I know for a fact that the female I need would quite willingly follow you anywhere. After all, Angelica trusts you with her life.”
Dom’s eyes widened in horror. That had to be a sick joke. The very thought of anyone – anyone – much less this sick bastard, putting their hands on Angelica spawned a fierce struggle against his restraints. He pulled hard, the metal slicing through the thin flesh at his wrists like a hot knife through butter. “You can go to Hell! I’d never in a million years bring her to you!”
The freak’s gaze moved and fixed on Dom’s wrists where he could feel the blood leak out from his self-inflicted wounds. With a blink of his coal-black eyes he snapped out of the brief trance and responded, “Once the change is complete I have the means of making sure you’ll go along with all of my plans quite happily. All it will take is a simple ritual to strip you of your soul. And as for Hell, I’ve already been. I have no desire to visit again anytime soon. I rather like it topside.”
Although logic told him he wouldn’t be able to escape his shackles or anything else, it didn’t prevent him from continuing to fight against everything that held him down.
“Relax, dear boy. The more you struggle against the inevitable the worse it will hurt. Of course, that could be eliminated for you, but I think pain is part of the rite of passage, don’t you?”
Dom ground out, “Go fuck yourself.”
“Griffin,” the lord called. “Unfortunately, I just ate. Would you care to do the honors?”
“It would be my pleasure.”
Griffin opened his mouth revealing indefensibly sharp fangs and laughed sadistically as he walked to stand next to the table where Dom lay helpless. Just then he felt a strange sensation invade his body. He couldn’t move a single one of his extremities, including his head. The sense of imminent danger at the hands of these creeps was just ramped up several hundred levels. The man bent down with his canines extended. Dom’s eyes widened in horror. A low growl of helpless frustration started deep in his heaving chest then ripped out of his throat as the man’s fangs sank into his flesh, tapping into his traitorous vein. Cold lips formed a seal on his throat and he cringed with unimaginable pain with every pull that extracted more and more of his blood.
Dom’s thoughts were foggy and muddled. His cries grew steadily weaker and he struggled less and less with every passing minute. The sadistic laughs in the background sounded like they were echoing down a long tunnel, getting further and further away.
Vampires are real…I’m being drained…fuck…
That was the last thought he had as the darkness claimed him for the second time that night.