Monday, September 9, 2013

Tempted: The Dark Hart Chronicles (Book 1) by Alexandra Anthony


The Dark Hart Chronicles (Book 1)


Nine Years Earlier…

No matter how many times I do it, being jammed in an airplane was comparable to being stuffed in a sardine can.  Albeit an expensive sardine can layered with the strong smells of perfume and cologne, sweat, and last but most important...the alluring aroma of sweet blood.  It overpowered everything.

Closing my eyes, I held my breath and struggled to keep my mind focused on anything except the dueling odors engulfing me.  And if it wasn't the scent assaulting me, it was the sound of whispered conversations that were as clear as if they were next to me.  Add in the sound of wet heartbeats, the steady rush of blood flowing through veins…it was difficult to contain over 140 years of pure instinct.

"I’ve told you this before, Nick.  It makes it easier if you would read something.  You need to keep your mind focused on something other than the humans."

Malcolm's voice broke into my musings.  I opened my eyes and glanced down at his lap.  I grabbed his ‘distraction’ from his hand and glanced at the cover.  "Rolling Stone? This is keeping your mind focused?  I suppose small minds are easily occupied."

Snorting, he grabbed it back and opened the magazine back up.  "Would you rather read American Way?"

Enjoying the banter but keeping with the façade of hating it, I closed my eyes and rested my head against the leather seat.  "Did anyone ever tell you that you're a flaming asshole?"

Malcolm chuckled under his breath and adjusted the dark lensed glasses he insisted on wearing, partly out of necessity.  "You do every day without fail."

Breathing in a shallow breath of recycled air, I fought the burning in my throat.  I shifted in my seat, willing the plane to go faster.

"This...this is a shame."  Malcolm clicked his tongue against his teeth.

"Being stuck on this overcrowded airplane with an asshole?" I shot back sarcastically.  His tone had caught my attention.  Very rarely did Malcolm express any sort of sympathy for humans.

"Ha.  You missed your calling as a fucking comedian." Malcolm flicked a finger over the slick magazine pages.  "No.  It's this girl."

I let out a heavy exhale.  "You have my attention and I’ll bite.  What girl?"

"Humor me.  First look at this." Malcolm flipped back a few pages and turned the magazine towards me.  The advertisement was provocative and had the intentional grainy look of being shot in someone’s basement.  I’d seen many unmentionable things in my many years but this…this made me feel slimy for even looking at it.  It featured a much too young girl naked from the waist up, her breasts barely covered with her arms.  Clad only in skimpy panties, she was the focal point with a much older man posing as the photographer taking her photo.  Who in their right mind would let someone so young be exploited like this?

And yes, the girl was pretty.  In any other setting, she would be stunningly beautiful with her long blond hair, wide innocent sapphire blue eyes and high cheekbones.  But this…this was wrong.  Dirty.  She was much too young to be photographed like this.  I may be immortal, but I still have standards.  I pushed the magazine away in disgust.

Malcolm nodded in agreement.  "Now look at this." He flipped back to an article with the same girl.  Her lovely face looked haunted in the photo, her image caught by a random paparazzi photographer in Los Angeles.  "This girl is being made the poster child for every anti-child pornography group.  It's sad, really.  Humans.  They never...learn do they?"

"They never do.  Fucking idiots." I eyed the photo a final time.  Her long blond hair spilled over her narrow shoulders and her tiny frame looked as fragile as porcelain.  And her face...there was something behind those baby blues that intrigued me.  It had been years since anything or anyone caught my attention.

The chime of the overhead seat belt sign pulled my eyes away from the magazine and I strapped it on for the sake of appearing human.  It was tiring on my best days but today it was mind-numbingly monotonous.

Malcolm closed up the magazine and rolled it up tightly.  He tapped it against his knee nervously, a human trait he’d never been able to lose.  "So what's the plan this time?"

I grinned widely at my old friend.  "We need to learn how to fit in with the masses.  It's time to change how we operate.  It’s time to hide in plain sight."

He ran his fingers through his wavy hair.  His eyes were filled with curiosity.  "Do tell."

"All in good time, Malcolm." I reassured him and stretched my legs out in front of me.  "What was her name?"

"Who?  The girl from the…uh, ad?”  He opened the magazine and paged through the article.  “Savannah Wood.  You're not going soft on me are you, Nick?"

"You wish.  I just hope her parents have a shrink on retainer.  She's going to need it." The plane began its descent.  Sucking back another deep breath, I welcomed the relentless burn.  "Welcome to Los Angeles, my friend."


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Genre – Erotica

Rating – R

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