Excerpt for Vampire Brotherhood: Prequel by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Vampire
Brotherhood

The Dark Words Series
Prequel

A.J. Daniels

GTQ LLC

Orlando, Florida



Copyright © 2017 by A.J. Daniels


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior written permission.


GTQ LLC

PO Box 540375

Orlando, FL 32854

www.gtq.com


Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.


Vampire Brotherhood/A.J. Daniels -- 1st ed.

ISBN 9781370104406





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Epilogue



It’s the year 2092, and the world is a very different place, especially since the end of the alien wars. The earth is now populated by several different species, all living side by side, working together, and things can get rough. Aliens sometimes have difficulty navigating the complexities of human civilization, and there is still much prejudice against the newcomers.

When your back’s against the wall, and your survival is on the line, don’t trust public law enforcement. They’re overworked, underpaid, and spend most of their time combatting the never-ending war on designer drugs.

No matter who’s after you, alien or human, a good hunter can mean the difference between life and death. Get the best one you can find, and then sit back and enjoy the no holds barred thrill ride as they do their thing. Dakota Davenport is the best in the business. She protects newcomers with a vengeance. Trust me, she won’t let you down.

Chapter 1

Ghosts Whispering From The Past

The planet Earth was a weird and wonderful place. The sky was blue, the oceans were deep, and it was just about far enough off the beaten path not to be visited by his kind anytime soon. Alek had been stranded on this obscure planet for over fifty years and had somehow managed to carve out a semblance of a life for himself and his family. The humans were an odd lot, but he had slowly become used to their strange ways.

Alek leisurely strolled through the city park on his lunch break. Pulling his hoodie up over his head, he was careful to block out as much as the sunlight as possible. Though his kind thrived on their new world, prolonged exposure to sunlight did strange things to their photosensitive skin. Vampires were one of the few species that never fed in the middle of the day. The human world stopped every day at the same time for this activity called lunch. It was one of the several times each planetary rotation when his mortal counterparts fed. Alek had long since identified it as an opportunity to either have a refreshing swim or a massage.

Today, he had taken a shortcut through the park to get to his favorite spa with the intention of swimming his lunch break away. Normally, he thought of walking to swim as a clever way to cram twice the exercise into his hectic life.

In the year 2092, the world was a very different place. Since the end of the alien wars, the ozone layer was extensively damaged to the point of being in imminent collapse. Alien weapons had leached exotic chemicals, including high concentrations of abrasive particulate matter into the upper ionosphere, creating what the humans called the Cerion Effect.

The Cerion Effect resulted in increased oxygen in the air, fluctuations in atmospheric pressure, and a slight increase in surface temperature. The ice caps melted, creating more temperate zones in the polar regions. A rapid influx of water into the oceans as the ice caps melted lead to an increase in sea level, which ate up an estimated hundred kilometers of the coastal land mass around each continent. Eventually, the planet would become uninhabitable but not for generations.

The atmospheric changes allowed plant and animal life to grow much larger than before the ships had landed. The changes had been well tolerated by the human physiology, proving mortals were both robust and adaptable. The Most noticeable change was size, with the average human nearing six feet tall. The effects had been especially profound in the deep ocean ecosystems, where squid were now regularly growing to the size of skyscrapers. Alex didn’t understand the intricacies of why this was happening but, then again, he was a computer programmer, not a botanist.

The lush New Florida landscape was hot and balmy, even in the fall. Alek came to a stop, unwittingly drawn to a bizarre flowering plant. The lush foliage towered over him, covered in beautiful snow-white blossoms the size of his head. Each bloom had several long thin tendrils snaking out from the center. The tiny filaments gently undulated in the breeze performing a captivating ghost-like dance in the wind. A light floral scent filled his nostrils. It was a heady scent, and one he’d not encountered before. It was so out of sync with the surrounding vegetation that anyone would know it was obviously of alien origin. It was just one of dozens of new uncultivated life forms thriving on this new world, much just like himself.

Alek paused briefly to let the intoxicating scent wash over him. His body quickly calmed, and a transcendental feeling stole over him. This was what his people would identify as a moment of heightened spiritual awareness. He immediately decided to embrace it, unaware of the impending danger creeping ever closer.

The sounds of nature filled his ears, the sweet scent of the spring flora filled his nostrils, and a warm breeze swirled around his body, caressing his skin like a long lost lover. He felt a brief wave of calmness wash over his senses and his head began to fill with memories and thoughts of days long past. It felt like being tugged gently backward by a hand of a wise and all-knowing specter from his past.

Hearing the soft whisper of long departed friends soothed his battered soul. He could feel long dormant emotions flare to life. It felt good to reconnect with his inner self in that way. It was that part of themselves vampires considered to be the most sacred. He felt whole and complete for the first time in a long endless age, standing there centering himself in the moment.

Alek had never spent much time contemplating the sacred scrolls of his people, but he tried to live his life in in a righteous manner. During the war, he’d been forced to do things that slowly ate away at his soul. The war was long over, and he was only now coming to grips with the memories that haunted him still.

The one experience he could never get past was losing his fighting partner and best friend. Jensen had sacrificed himself to give Alek a chance to escape. Although Alek recognized it as an act of unselfish love and compassion, the fact that he was alive to enjoy life and a family, while his friend was lying cold in the ground never sat well with him.

At night, his dreams were haunted by images of seeing his friend die and of what might have been, had his friend lived. They would probably both have families and would have visited each other’s homes. Their children would have played together. He knew if Jensen were still alive, he would tell him to suck it up and get on with his life. Jensen would tell him to be careful and watch his back.

Jensen said things like that so often, Alek could almost hear his friend and see him in his mind’s eye. He was waving his arms, and his lips were moving…he was shouting at him…something about there being danger…Jensen was shouting at him to get down.

Suddenly, Alek slid back into reality, sensing danger in the here and now. He quickly opened his eyes and looked around. Nervously scanning the landscape proved fruitless. He was not sure what he was looking for, but the birds had stopped tweeting, and something was different. Then it hit him, he was being followed.

His vampire senses began pulling in information faster than his brain could process it. The sound of breathing drifted to him on the wind, and he could smell them…four of them. His nostrils flared slightly. With some concentration, he could make out the scent of two humans, a vampire, and…maybe a Kalian. One was recently injured…he could smell the faint scent of human blood.

He spied movement about a hundred yards away in the bush. They were looking right at him. That was a red flag because people kept to the pathways in the park rather than lurking in the brush. His eyes zeroed in on a form lying close to the ground. His mind registered the rifle in his hands about the same time as he felt a prick on his chest.

His vision began to fail, and he reached out, groping in the air. Even as his hand flailed, he knew it some deeply born instinct searching for something to grasp onto. His knees unhinged and he began falling to the ground in what felt like slow motion. Landing upright on his knees, he looked down and saw a small dart sticking out of his chest. It was the kind used to tranquilize animals.

Reaching down, he jerked it out and threw it aside as his vision began to blur. When trying to push back up off the ground proved impossible, he endeavored to craw with what little strength remained. His hands found a stone fountain, and he tried to pull up by grasping the edge. Darkness was closing in, and he collapsed, hitting his face on the pavement instead. He could hear footsteps, and his sense of smell told him the Kalian was approaching quickly. His last thoughts were of his girls, so young and vulnerable. Who would protect them when he didn’t return?

Chapter 2

Touching the Face of a Goddess

Squeaky spent the ride home worrying about what tomorrow held. His hands tightened around his crucifix, the blatant reminder that although he longed to walk the true path of the righteous, he was forced to accept work that ensured he never caught sight of that particular path.

“So what’s eating at my creepily anxious friend?”

Looking up into his brother-in-law’s smiling face Squeaky had to smile. Jake was about as linked into the criminal underworld as Squeaky was. Only Jake didn’t seem to have to guilt complex Squeaky did.

As his automobile’s automatic driving program, steered the hovercar at a snail’s pace to their neighborhood, Squeaky used the seclusion to bounce his latest caper off his longtime friend.

“My crew was given orders to abduct a local businessman today. “

Jake shrugged.

Squeaky clarified the problem. “He was a vampire.”

“Shit, I know how you guys hate perping on each other. Did you go through with it?”

“Reluctantly, I did. My contribution was minimal. I researched the target and worked with the leader of our group to plan the best time and place for the abduction.”

“If you planned it, I’m sure it went off without a hitch.”

Squeaky knew his friend meant that as a compliment, but to him, it was a reminder that he was good at all the wrong kinds of things in life.

“Yes. My plan was a complete success. My vampire brother is even now being held hostage under our team’s careful watch.”

“You feel guilty?”

“Of course I feel guilty. But note that my feelings on the matter did not prohibit me from betraying one of my own. I worry that my dark deed will turn darker. Even now, my vampire brother lies in a drug-induced slumber, compliments of the large animal tranquilizer we used to bring him down. My sorrow will be compounded tenfold if his body is unable to flush the drugs from his body. Vampires do not process out such impurities as easily as humans.”

“Now you’re just making up shit to worry about.”

Looking into Jake’s serious face, Squeaky explained. “Before the war, many of us were experimented upon often and with no thought to the long-term consequences. Vampires were seen as highly expendable. It was difficult to craft a drug that would bring him down without killing him. I mixed animal tranquilizers together to belay the potency.”

“You’re worried that you misjudged the dosage?”

Nodding, Squeaky swallowed thickly. I believe he is to be ransomed back to his wealthy family. In my research, I discovered he has little ones.”

Holding up his hands, Jake made the gesture for a timeout. “People like you and me; we gotta make do with the jobs nobody else wants. They want those jobs for a reason. You gotta do what you’re asked or suffer the consequences. They ain’t gonna let you pick and choose the jobs you feel comfortable with.”

“The fact remains that if Mr. Shardon wakes at all tomorrow, he will realize the betrayal that brought him down was at the hands of a fellow vampire. I will have to look him in the face, and that is the part of my job that claws at my conscience.”

Jake’s voice softened. “I know Vampires usually shared a strict brotherhood and never committed acts of aggression against each other…”

“Did you know that protecting each other from outside threats is a deeply ingrained part of our religious doctrine? I hate my part in this situation. It goes against every fiber of my being as I am a vampire.”

“Maybe you can do something to ease his way. Treat him with respect, even though the outcome of his fate is not in your hands. Just be open and honest, Squeaky. Just don’t get caught sympathizing with him.”

“You are right to remind me of the inherent dangers of going against the syndicate. I worry all the time about them coming after my beautiful Alyese in recompense for some failure or mistake on my part.”

“It has known that to happen.” Jake’s voice dropped to a low rumble when his sister’s safety was being discussed.

“I will tolerate no risk to my lovely wife. I would suffer a thousand terrible deaths to keep her out of harms way. No matter what, I must keep my home life separate from my work life.”

“My sister is far too innocent to recognize danger in general. It is good she has you to look after her.”

“Though I do my best to keep her safe, I worry that having me in her life also introduced additional danger that would not otherwise be there.”

Look, dude, you cannot spend every minute of every day beating yourself up about shit like that.” Grabbing Squeaky by the head, Jake gave him a playful shove. “I swear to God, you worry more than man I ever met. Get your head in the game. You don’t want to go home to my sister every evening being a total killjoy.”

Sighing, Squeaky had to smile at his irreverent friend. “Coming home to Alyese every evening is an honor I do not deserve, but a pleasure I can never resist. Seeing her smiling face and her kind words are by far the best part of my day.”

“What the hell am I chopped liver?”

“No, you are the only person in the world I can speak openly about such things with. That fact alone earns you a special place in my heart.”

Laughing as the vehicle came to a stuttering stop in Squeaky’s driveway, Jake commented merrily. “Dudes do not say things like to each other, but thanks for the sentiment.”

“Humans are such narrow-minded concrete thinkers.”

Climbing out into the cool night his friend deadpanned back. “Just when I was starting to like you, you come off with shit like that. I am not narrow-minded.”

“As you wish. Do you need a ride into the city tomorrow?”

“Yep, I gotta keep up the hustle. You know how it is.”

“Indeed I do, my friend. Meet here at six in the morning.”

Jerking his hand up above his head, Jake strolled down the block towards the home he shared with several other males.

Squeaky quietly entered through the garage of his modest rental home. All the lights were out. Since it was so, late Alyese was probably in bed. He stopped for a moment by a small meditation shrine to pray. He lit a small incense and murmured a simple prayer. “Praise be to the gods mighty and strong. Impart to me your wisdom that I might know right from wrong. I beg of you, pull me from the path of darkness into the light.” He disciplined himself for a moment of meditation before putting out the incense and going to his room for sleeping.

His beautiful wife was already in bed. Squeaky tried not to wake her as he showered and slid into bed beside her. She was small, delicate, and though he worked in an office. He looked down at the human female lying all pale and lovely against his dark sheets. It was difficult to believe he had somehow managed to find such a loving, loyal, and dedicated mate on this alien planet millions of miles from his homeworld.

Her inherent goodness made it virtually impossible to admit to not being an office worker. Squeaky closed his eyes and imagined the look in her eyes if she knew, really knew what he did for a living. Seeing that look of disappointment on her face would tear him apart.

Meeting her a year and a half ago had been a bit of a life-altering experience for him. Compared to her, he seemed more like the small little creature with many legs the humans despised so much…what was it called…oh, yes, a spider. That is what he felt like every time he did something he knew was wrong.

Squeaky had spent the last year and a half endeavoring to be more like the husband she deserved, rather than the husband she had inadvertently ended up with. In trying to reinvent himself, Squeaky realized something he never knew before. The gods blessed people with the opportunity to make many choices throughout each day.

As he fell into the habit of making better choices, he could feel himself slowly turning from a horrible person into someone who made him proud. Pride in himself was a feeling he had not known much about up until now. He found that the more he tried to be a decent person, the easier it became.

Since this newfound path was the one and only way to finally close the lingering distance between himself and his wife, he decided right then and there to take the final step by getting himself out of the business once and for all. Somehow, he would find a way.

As he looked down at his beautiful little wife, her eyes fluttered open, and her expression turned adoring. His chest ached, as Squeaky realized for the very first time that he was finally beginning to feel worthy of her love. It was so like her to wait up for him. Alyese was always so considerate of his feelings.

He knew she would want him to feed tonight. He was awash with feelings of anticipation, craving, love, lust, guilt, and such an intense thirst for her. Her precious blood was innocent, pure, and better than anything he had ever imagined, much less tasted.

Because his wife always worried about him eating, he made it a point to ease her worries. Alyese didn’t entirely trust synthetic blood to keep him healthy, so she insisted on supplementing with fresh feeding at least every other day. He had a feeling tonight was the night because he had not fed the day before.

She had come to bed without clothing and was wearing the promise locket he had given her. It was the one and only memento of his family and was given to him by his grandmother before she died. It was made of an ancient lightweight metal the color of tarnished silver and had a small, oval, red bloodstone set into the front of it.

It was a good thing the alien overlords cared little for such trinkets, or his grandmother would have never been able to hang onto it all those years on the alien ship. If only she had lived long enough to see it wrapped around the neck of his beautiful wife, she would have known all her sacrifices to keep him alive on the ships had been worth it. Having a mate meant their line would continue.

It gave him an immense feeling of satisfaction to see his most precious possession hanging around the neck of the woman he dearly loved. It looked beautiful against her pale white skin. His eyes traveled from her face, as she sat up, to her neck and down the length of her arms to her delicate hands. Drawing on this his lips, he pressed a gentle kiss to her palm.

“I missed you this evening.”

“I’m sorry, love. Please know that I would prefer being with you a thousand times more than the tasks assigned to me today.”

“Forget about your job. Your wife needs your undivided attention if you’re up to the challenge.”

Grinning, he took a deep breath. “You smell like flowers.”

“I tried a new body wash. Do you like it?”

“Yes. It’s delicate and feminine, like you.”

“I like the way you smell better.”

Almost cringing, he hesitated to ask.

“You smell like a hot sexy male.”

Having grown up on a slave ship, so few of the creatures on board had blood suitable for feeding and even fewer still were willing to feed vampires. He was always hungry before landing on his world. Lack of proper nutrition during his formative years had led to his smaller body size. Being loved and cared for by his beautiful wife was a dream he never had once dared to dream.

“You truly are a precious gift from the gods. Human women were so very open, loving, and accepting of our kind.”

Smiling up at him, she murmured. “It’s because Vampires are all long hair, sexy fangs, and practically worship women. Who wouldn’t want that?”

Squeaky opened up a little to her. “On my homeworld, females are scarce, and only the most prominent members of our society have their very own female. The rest must make do with negotiating breeding rights with a female. Even then, the privilege of procreation is always awarded to the largest and strongest.”

“That sounds very discriminatory to me.”

“Our females think it best that only the strongest males contribute to the gene pool. I would never have been selected by a female because of my size alone.”

“I would have chosen you.”

“Perhaps, but I would not have been allowed to keep you.”

Her eyes got large. “What do you mean by not allowed to keep me?”

“They would have taken you from me and assigned me military service aboard another vessel and never allowed to return. It is how they handled such things.”

“Vampire females must be docile. If anyone tried to take you away, I’d scream the walls down.”

Trying to get her to understand her value was proving difficult this night. “I do not believe you would be so keen to keep me after meeting the males of my homeworld. You know only me and my emotionally scarred brethren that survived aboard the slave ships bound for Earth. The males of my homeworld are large, strong and handsome beyond compare.”

Scooting closer to him, she asked quietly. “Would you like to know a secret?”

Quickly locking down the rising panic, he nodded. Usually in his world secrets were terrible soul-sucking obligations. He knew his innocent wife well enough to not believe her capable of such.

“I’ve always been thoroughly fascinated by Vampires. The thing that held me back was their size. Most of your kind are a good twenty-five percent larger than human men. It doesn’t seem like much until you think of being trapped beneath one. I was drawn to you because of your size.”

Looking down, he tried to get his head around what she was saying. “I am more the size of a human male.”

“Yep, and that makes you perfect for me.”

Seeing the wisdom of her words, he had to admit that it made a certain kind of sense. “How strange that the one quality I always saw as a weakness is the one who drew a perfect mate to me.” Raising his eyes to hers, he reached out to her. She came easily into his arms.

He felt his heart might just explode as he watched her slowly unbuttoning his shirt. Heaving out a sigh of relief, he turned wrapping her in his arms. Moving closer, she kissed his neck and smoothed her hands over his chest. The look in her eyes was both loving and filled with a growing need for him. It was an intoxicating combination. Her soft hands and lips had him hard before she even slid her hand down to his gently tug down his pajama bottoms.

“I love everything about you, especially your nice six-pack. You’re everything I ever wanted in a man.”

His hands roamed over her soft skin, mapping and claiming her as his own. Palming one of her perfect breasts, he teased her nipple with his tongue, before sucking it into a tight little point.

“God, I love how you touch me.”

His woman whispering sexy things flipped all the right switches for him as a male. Learning that she was attracted to him because of his smaller size and that she loved the way he touched her enflamed his desire. Her words, the tone of her voice, and the scent of her arousal were more intoxicating than anything Squeaky had ever known.

Alyese rolled on top of him, wrapping her legs around him and the sensation of her silky smooth body flush with his as she moved against him was just the kind of sensual foreplay he loved.



Her long, brown hair fell over one shoulder and spilled onto his chest, gently caressing his skin. Kissing her way down his body, she landed on his manhood. Her soft wet tongue teased his willing flesh over and over again, spiking his desire until he couldn’t stand it.

It made him want to lick her skin, sifting his fingers through her hair, and run his fingers through her sex until she moaned his name. In one quick move, he put her under him. Kissing her with breathless abandon, he moved down her soft body until his lips found her secret place. He teased her tender flesh mercilessly, bringing her close then slowing down, only to bring her to the edge again.

He didn’t stop until she was writhing beneath him and extremely vocal. Then, he kissed his way back up to her lips and plunged himself deeply into her sweet body. She was soft and the feeling of her feminine warmth surrounding him made him feel safe and cared for in a way he could never quite explain.

Her response was immediate. Alyese wrapped her arms and legs around him, as she made soft sounds that would only come from a woman’s lips. Having her aroused and wet for him in a matter of minutes was gratifying.

She loved being pushed to the edge a couple of times before she climaxed and to be quite honest. If he were honest, he’d admit it was nothing short of thrilling to know he could turn her on that way. Struggling to stave off his own climax, he dove into her over and over again, meeting her needs and his own.

They always strove to climax at the same time. The intimacy of sharing such a sacred moment bonded them together more securely each and every time. When they came together, it was always like a moment in time that was meant to be. As Alyese shattered around him in a strong orgasm, it tipped him over the edge as well. He loved watching her come apart in his arms. The way her body trembled at his touch and the look of pure pleasure on her face really spoke to his heart as a male.

He had long suspected she loved that his body was slightly cooler than her own. There was something about having his cool manhood inside her that made his mild-mannered little bookkeeper hot for him. When he pleasured her, Alyese went from shy and reserved to womanly, vocal, and bold. Seeing to her needs was his highest priority, wanting her to forever associate being in his arms with the most exquisite pleasure.

It was adorable that Alyese always seemed slightly embarrassed after they made love. He felt it was because she was so uncharacteristically vocal and needy when she was aroused. That strange dichotomy only sealed her deeper into his heart.

This was all in the world he ever wanted or needed. They lay wrapped in a warm embrace as they spiraled back down to reality. The period of coming back after such a profound shared experience always made him reflective.

Tonight, she pointed out, “You did it again…became so caught up in the sex, you forgot to feed. Those things are supposed to go hand in hand with your kind, aren’t they?”

He smiled, pulling her close. “Making love to you is always the better part. You are more distracting than you realize, my sweet.”

She glanced up at his very serene face. “What are you thinking? You always look so chilled out after we make the beast with two backs.”

Squeaky laughed at her strange characterization of their lovemaking. He pulled her closer, deciding to follow his new path of being more open and honest. “When I first learned your language, I liked to read human literature. On my world, I might not have had the opportunity to waste my time on literary pursuits, so I decided to find the most whimsical, unnecessary kind of earth literature and waste a few moments a day simply enjoying it. I elected to read poetry because it touched something deep inside me and helped me heal from my experiences on the ships.”

She turned to him and propped herself up on one elbow to look at him as he spoke. The look on her face was one of love and admiration. He was slightly embarrassed to have her full attention to something so trivial but continued with his explanation.

“I have a favorite piece that was written by a pilot. One quote, in particular, reminds me of making love to you. It goes something like, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; sunward I've climbed and hovered there, I've trod the high un-trespassed sanctity of space, I put out my hand, and touched the face of God.’ Only in my case, I feel that I have touched the face of a goddess.”

The next thing he knew, her arms were around his neck again, and she was kissing him as she sifted her fingers through his hair. She ran her hands over his growing manhood. He felt moisture on his face as she kissed him and knew instantly that she was crying. He worried that he had upset her with his stupid talk of being on the ships and poetry that no one else cared about. But if she was unhappy with him, why was she preparing to have sex with him again? She knew he loved having sex twice.

He pulled Alyese back slightly to check that she was alright.

“That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. I love you so much more than words can say.”

He hauled her back into his arms and held her for a few moments before making slow, sweet, sexy love to her all over again. This time, she pulled his face down, and he fed as he made love to her. He had to admit that always fueled their sex into something off the charts hot.

Feeding normally turned his eyes red but feeding and sexing at the same time brought the bloodlust in him so fast, it took his breath away. Turning his face away slightly, he didn’t want her to see his eyes fill with the little lines of bright amber brought on when the bloodlust surged in his kind.

Alyese tilted his face to look deeply into his amber eyes. Allowing her to see him like that was difficult. He always thought he could just about pass as close to human until his eyes changed. Red eyes were a common sight when vampires fed. However, the amber color his eyes changed to when he was in bloodlust was rarely seen in public because it took both intimacy and feeding to invoke that response from a vampire. He was well aware that it made him appear almost animalistic. It always made him feel vulnerable and exposed. Instead of being put off, his lovely wife looked rather pleased with herself.

Sharing his innermost thoughts and feelings had always been difficult for him. As he looked into her eyes, he knew she accepted him. It reinforced the feeling that she was meant for him…just for him. He didn’t know what the beautiful female saw in him, but he felt for sure he was the luckiest man on this strange alien planet called Earth, to have captured her heart.

Squeaky lay awake afterward thinking. He sometimes worried that he spent too much time thinking and not enough time doing. There was something about warm and naked in his own bed with a woman who loved him enough to see he was properly fed that made him introspective.

Squeaky had never told anyone that he read poetry before. He felt it would make him seem weak. However, he was glad he shared that small bit of himself with the woman he loved. Maybe he couldn’t share everything with Alyese, but each additional bit of himself that he shared and she didn’t reject him for, left him feeling hope that she did truly accept him. Truth be told, the more he shared, the more the hauntingly beautiful creature seemed to love him. That kind of acceptance was rare in the universe, and he cherished it beyond all measure.

Chapter 3

Vampire Brother

Squeaky awoke the next morning, grabbed a shower, and kissed his lovely wife tenderly on the cheek as she slept. A quick of her neck assured him the wound from his bite had healed entirely. Vampire saliva had powerful regenerative powers, healing wounds rapidly. Sometimes, when his wife got a cut or a scratch, he would have her wash it and then he would lick the wound and put a bandage on it. It always healed in a few hours, leaving her both grateful and impressed.

He supposed it was a quality that had slowly evolved in his kind to ease the effects of biting on a vampire’s host. Most humans were accommodating to vampires because the saliva took out the sting of the bite and healed the wound so fast.

Squeaky thought briefly that if he had to look at his wife’s neck bruised and torn skin all the time it would rip at his heart, making him extremely reluctant to feed from her. When faced with the choice between love and feeding, most Vampires would choose love every single time. Food could be had in the form of synth-blood, blood bags or even animal blood in a pinch. Love was a much more elusive thing for a Vampire to find. Being consistently denied tenderness led most vampires to value love above all things.

Squeaky pulled up the blanket around his wife in a protective gesture before slipping off to continue his life of crime. He sighed as he began to worry about how to extricate himself from his unsavory day job. The gang of criminals he worked with would not take kindly to him just walking off. Then there was his vampire brother sitting in the warehouse to worry about. Damn, his plate was totally full of worry, and it was only nine in the morning.

Heading out to his vehicle, Jake wandered up with a cup of sim-coffee. Though it smelled wonderful, Squeaky had no taste for its bitterness. Since he’d fed only hours before, he’d grabbed a bottle of water to help himself stay hydrated.

“You look like a rock star today. What’s up with that?”

Shrugging, Squeaky replied blandly. “Getting fed properly has that effect.”

“No, there’s something else going on.”

“Alyese and I spoke last night. I shared things about my past that I’ve never dared to speak to anyone about. I believe your sister really accepts me.” Unable to keep the smile off his face, Squeaky climbed into the driver’s seat.”

“You’re honestly the world’s biggest idiot. Alyese has been absolutely crazy about you front the first moment she set eyes on you.”

Squeaky’s mouth went dry as he realized that his wife could not have possibly loved the real him, as he only recently began to share his true thoughts and feelings with (her)him. Luckily she happened to be accepting of the things he shared. It worried him to lose that acceptance if she discovered his secret life of crime. Realizing his newfound sense of self-respect and the innocent acceptance his wife had for him were both on the line, gave him a newfound sense of purpose.

Parting ways with his brother-in-law, Squeaky headed for the abandoned warehouse, to check on his vampire brethren. He streamed the news as his hovercar made its way through the programmed route. News that he was missing was being blasted on every station, along with a hefty reward for information leading to his whereabouts. Squeaky clicked through all the possible ways to alert the authorities without getting his crew arrested. No good options came immediately to mind. He worked different scenarios out in his brain all the way to their remote meeting spot.

Entering the warehouse, he noticed that his boss had procured fresh blood for their guest. To his mind, that was a good sign. It meant they wanted to keep healthy for the time being. Relief surged through him as he realized that fact alone gave him^ to figure something out. He walked over to the vampire chained to the floor. He was still out cold but seemed otherwise unharmed.

Josh and Faran were picking at each other as they played a game of cards. Squeaky sat quietly and began scrolling through the local news. After a job, he paid close attention to see if any clues leaked out to the press. He could find nothing to indicate they were on the radar of the local authorities.

The day turned into evening and the large vampire chained to the floor did not move. The fourth member of their crew joined them with food in the late afternoon. Little Joe handed him a small synth-B pouch and dropped two large pizza’s on the table for the rest of his crew.

Sipping on the pouch of synthetic blood, Squeaky was worried again about why Alex Shardon was not awake. Finishing his dinner, he tossed the pouch in the trash. Just when he was thinking of checking on their guest again, when Faran got up, strolled across the room and gave his chains a good yank. The lethargic man moved to a sitting position.

Faran boasted, “You owe me sixty large, Little Jo. I told you the animal tranq would have him down for days.”

“We took him down around noon yesterday. It’s only four pm. That hardly qualifies as days.”

The Kalian replied, “Over one day is days. Pay up, little man.”

Josh stood up walked over and looked down at the clearly confused man. Looking over his shoulder, he spoke. “Squeaky, Feed him, the boss wants him kept healthy. That means no toying with him. I don’t want so much as a bruise on his skin.” Turning to Faran, his voice dropped a level. “Are you listening to me, Kalian?”

“I have a name, use my name. I use your name when I address you, Josh. It is discourteous to…”

Josh instantaneously stepped forward into the large alien’s personal space. “Fine. Faran, do not hit, punch, slap, scratch, or otherwise injure the hostage until we receive orders to do so. Am I understood?” Standing face-to-face with almost their noses touching, Josh waited for Faran to acknowledge the directive.

Faran swallowed thickly and for the briefest of seconds, Squeaky though he was going to kiss him, again. Instead, Faran held himself in check, giving a slight nod of understanding. When Josh spun on his heel, Faran watched a split second too long as the other man walked back across the room and sat back down at the card table. Squeaky had a hard time deciding if he liked it better when they were sleeping together or when they feigning for each other. They're on again, off again relationship was getting tiresome for the rest of the crew.

Heating a blood bag under running water, Squeaky tried not to stare at the man who was only just noticing him. When it was adequately heated, he went to his vampire brother. Pulling the end off of the tube that came out the bottom of the blood bag, Squeaky put it to the man’s lips like a straw. “Drink, my brother. You have been unconscious for a day and a half. Your thirst must be great.”

Turning his head slightly, he responded quietly. “I’m sorry, but I drink only synthetic blood.” His voice was dry and the poor man almost choked the words out.

Squeaky felt his brows furrow. “I do not think the others will care about your personal preferences. If you want to feed, this is your chance.”

As always, Faran was anxious and tightly wound when they had a live one on their hands. Apparently still aggravated by the disagreement with Josh, he noticed them speaking. Jumping to his feet, he yelled. “What are you two talking about? Get away from him, Squeaky.”

Josh shot Faran an exasperated look, walked over to the two of them, and gave him a questioning look. “It’s been a long day, Squeaky. If we could just cut to the chase that would be great. What’s the problem?”

“The gentleman says he does not drink human blood. He will only drink synthetic blood.”

Josh stooped down and looked Alek in the face for a brief moment, then slowly pulled a $20.00 bill out of his pocket and gave it to the small vampire, saying, “Just get him synthetic, Squeaky. They have by-one-get-one at the gas station across the street.”

As Squeaky tried to ask the man what kind of Synth-B he preferred, their conversation was drowned out by Faran.

“So you are purchasing the food of choice for our hostages now? You’re getting soft, Joshua. And you’re even more of a fool than I ever imagined possible.”

Josh stood up, walked back to the table, and picked up his cards. He glanced over at their hostage a brief moment before speaking. “You know something, Faran? You and the vampire are both aliens to be sure, but there are only a couple of real differences between you. The most obvious difference is that you’re a criminal and he’s not. You and I do some pretty awful things to other people all the time. He didn’t do anything to anyone.”

Faran nodded his agreement so far, and Josh continued, “The less obvious difference is that you don’t seem to be the least bit selective about what goes between your lips. There are no standards there, whatsoever, that I can see. The vampire refuses to drink our blood. That is called having and sticking to a principle, which is hard to do, particularly in a situation like this. If you really want to know, that’s why I would buy him dinner and not you.”

Shit, Josh did not just say that to the already out of control Faran. Squeaky was certain the human was referencing the fact that his one-time lover wasn’t sucking the correct rod in Josh’s opinion. Since the moment they’d separated after their last tryst turned heated, Josh seemed intent on treating Faran like the world’s biggest man whore. Faran was far too thick to realize Josh’s insults were driven by jealousy rather than generalized disrespect.

Before anyone could respond, Furan’s eyes flashed black. It was the way with his kind when their temper flared. He promptly picked up the card table and threw it against the wall. The other two men did not seem perturbed at all, they just stood staring at him, until he stalked out of the room, cursing.

Little Jo, burst out laughing, righted the table and began gathering the cards back up. Though they had long since become used to Faran blowing his top every now and then, this felt different. He murmured to Josh as he passed, “Beware that you don’t push the Kalian too far.”

“He’ll be fine. Steer clear of him out there, ya hear?”

“I will do my best.”

Upon exiting the building, he found Faran was nowhere to be seen. Climbing into his hover car, he headed down the long isolated road to the gas station Josh had described as across the street. It was more like seven miles down a long lonely secondary road and across the street. He snagged a couple of bags of regular Synth-B and headed back to the warehouse.

On his way from the vehicle to the door, he was blindsided by Faran. Giving him a shove against the hard exterior of the building, he snarled angrily. What’s so gods damned special about vampires?”

“Nothing, leave me alone.”

Grabbing him by the neck, Faran leaned in so close that Squeaky could feel the man’s hot breath against his cool skin. “Human’s love their vampires above all the other aliens who landed in those ships. The part I can’t figure out is why?”

“They don’t. You’re letting your emotions get the better of you again.”

Squeezing tighter around his neck, Faran pulled him forward and hurled him to the ground. Since the Kalian was almost twice his size and had hands the size of his head, there wasn’t a good chance Squeaky would come out unscathed in a physical altercation with his longtime friend.

“Humans are all different, and not all of them prefer vampires. Josh is pissed about you tossing him aside. Making you jealous is his way of getting even.” Coming to his feet, Squeaky tried to dust his clothing off. He could feel a trickle of blood ooze from his bottom lip. “The real question is why do keep letting him get to you?”

“I don’t…I…shouldn’t. I’m sorry.”

Shaking his head, Squeaky looked at his still seething friend. “You are forgiven. Why don’t you go burn off some steam, before you go another round with our smart-mouthed leader?”

Sighing, Faran slapped at an overhanging sign, jutting out from the side of the building. “I suppose you’re right. Thanks for not going off on me.”

“You two are going to need to work your shit out, before one of gets mangled in the middle.”

Snatching up his bag of blood, Squeaky headed into the warehouse.

Taking one look at him, Josh threw his cards down on the table and cursed under his breath. “I swear that dumb ass Kalian is going to be the fucking death of me.” Turning to him, Josh spoke up in a frustrated voice. “Just stay the hell away from Faran when he’s pissed. God, you should know that by now, Squeaky.”

Shaking his head, Squeaky waved away the attention. “Faran is harmless. He just likes to shout it out when he is angry. You know, for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. If you make him angry, he is going to show it. What exactly did you think was going to happen when pushed him too far, Joshua?”

Josh stared at his hand like it had suddenly grown another finger, making it the most fascinating appendage in the entire world.

Squeaky opinioned quietly. “The humans have a saying about flies and honey. Perhaps you have heard of it.”

Storming out the door, Josh appeared a slightly panicked. Little John followed him.

Squeaky murmured, “Yes, do go that before our impulsive friend is balls deep in his next conquest.

Squeaky sat down beside Alek, took out a bag of synthetic blood, and stuck the straw that came with it into the correct spot. He held it up, nodding. “Thank you, my thirst is great.”

Sitting with their clearly confused guest, Squeaky smiled slightly. Handing him a half-liter Synthetic blood bag, Squeaky spoke casually. “I do not know what you did to these people, but they seem unsure what they should do with you. I am not certain you are safe with the Kalian. I will try to stay with you, my vampire brother, but if he wants to harm you, as you can see, I am no match for him.”

The man lifted up his chain. “If not for these, I would be more than a match for him.”

“Trust me, they know exactly what you could do if you weren’t chained. It’s why they chose to drop you using the large animal tranq before they took you. It’s also why they are never going to take the chains off until they decide what to do with you.”

The other man nodded his understanding, sending his dark shoulder length hair falling over his shoulder. Alex Shardon had an impressive war record and had received several Medals of Honor for his marksmanship skills, battle tactics, and something called valor in battle.

Squeaky, put his finger on the scanning plate on his wrist cuff and nothing happened. The man glanced up, and he clarified, “Just in case you were wondering, I cannot open your cuffs.”

The other man’s clear blue eyes gazed into his. “Can you get word to the police?”

Squeaky frowned, shaking his head. “Not if I want to live. The syndicate we work for has informants at the police station. Honestly, he would know immediately if I betrayed him.”

Sighing, Mr. Shardon sipped another drink of his Synth-B before responding thoughtfully. “I am wealthy. Perhaps I can buy my way out of this mess.”

Smiling faintly, Squeaky replied. “They do love money, my friend.”

Little Joe came back within an hour to relieve him. Squeaky felt terrible for the vampire humans did not know what to do with. He racked his brains to figure out a way out of this situation for the both of them.

Squeaky spent the entire next day looking for work that would make his wife proud. He pulled up the data stream associated with employment needs in the area and began searching for respectable job. He communicated with several potential employers and spoke to one in person. He could not see himself being happy working for a meat packing plant, but he would take whatever got him into honest employment.

Heading home early, he spent time with his wife after she got off work. They planted flowers along their walk, and he trimmed their shrubs with his laser trimmer in a delicate formation that pleased her. He sighed as he realized that it really didn’t matter what they were doing together; as long as they were together, they were happy. This could be his life if only he weren’t tied to the syndicate.

Chapter 4

Don’t Name It or
You Won’t Want to Kill It

Squeaky woke up the next morning and was delighted to find the vampire’s disappearance was still at the top of the news feed. Squeaky would at least be able to share that with the poor man and perhaps it would give him hope.

When Squeaky came into the warehouse, Josh and Little Jo were sleeping. One was lying on the table, and the other was leaning back against the wall. The vampire no one knew what to do with was leaning against the wall, asleep as well. His chains were still in place. He dropped one bag of Synth-B in the cooler and brought the other one with him to sit with the vampire the humans did not know what to do with.

Squeaky whispered, “Mr. Shardon, I brought you a data stream so you can see the news. Many are looking for you. Have hope, my brother, the police will soon come for you.” He laid the electronic pad on his lap so he could read the news articles and went to retrieve the blood bag. He slowly fed the blood bag to Alek as he read.

Alek glanced up from the news feed and said pleasantly, “Please, call me Alek.”

Josh woke up, reprimanding Squeaky earnestly. “Don’t get attached to the hostage. You know there’s at least a 50% chance we are going to have to kill him. I grew up on a farm, and I can tell you that once you name them, you won’t want to kill them. I don’t like this situation any better than you do, but we have a job to do here.” Josh sounded a little exasperated.

Squeaky could see the pain and the conflict in Josh’s eyes even as he spoke the words, and he wondered how someone with a conscience fell into this type of work. Perhaps, like him, Josh wanted out as well.

The Kalian came in about four hours later. For no apparent reason, the Kalian walked right over and began kicking their guest in the legs and hit him in the face with his fist. That was when Squeaky noticed his eyes were black again. Faran was normally a very cause and effect kind of man. Squeaky knew Mr. Shardon could not have provoked him because the man had been sitting in the corner in chains all morning. I was unclear what provoked such anger in their friend.

It took both Josh and Little Jo both to pull Faran off.

Josh was furious. “Did you not hear me say that I don’t want a scratch on his skin? Unless you have a kill order, you need to just get the hell out of here.”

The Kalian shoved Josh a step back and said, “I have been working with you for four long years, and all you do is disrespect me constantly. Now you treat the vampire hostage respectfully. There is only one of us who is stupid here, and it is not me.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“There have been many times when I was the only reason you walked off a job alive. You humans love your vampires better than any other species because you are too foolish to realize that, to them, you are just food.”

“You know something, Faran, in all the time I’ve known you, I’ve never let you down. I’ve always had your back and yet, you’re never anything but obnoxious and difficult. I think it’s the way with your kind. All you do is complain, eat anything that doesn’t eat you first, and have sex with anything that stands still long enough.”

Faran sounded earnest in his reply. “I am a Kalian male, and I must mate. I never force myself on others. Can I help it if many are attracted to me? I try to be accommodating to as many partners as possible. Where I come from, that is called being considerate.”

Josh yelled back, “Well, on earth, it is called being a man whore.”

Faran seemed shocked speechless by this revelation.

Squeaky kind of tuned them out and kneeled down to check on Mr. Shardon.

“Are you alright?”

“Of course. It would take more than being mishandled by a Kalian to inflict real damage on a Vampire prime. What’s up with those two?”

“I wish I knew. They are proving to be more distracting than helpful lately.”

*****

Squeaky went to check on his vampire brother several times a day over the next seven days, left the bottled water, encouraged him to stay hydrated, and gave him a container to relieve himself in.

After turning the situation over in his mind, he thought he may just have to take the hit on this one. Dropping down onto the floor beside Mr. Shardon, Squeaky handed him a Synth-B pouch. He seemed to have something to say, so Alek waited patiently for him to spit it out.

“I have decided that if there is a time when we are here alone I will try to free you. I think they will not trust me alone with you because we are both vampires. If they think you tried to escape and I didn’t put up a good fight, they will probably kill me and perhaps my wife as well. If I can manage to free you, then you will have to beat me very, very badly, so they will think I really tried to do my job. I am sorry.”

“That sounds very painful for you.”

“I have promised myself to try to become a better person, and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. I think Josh’s estimation of your survival chances being fifty percent was probably not very accurate. I believe they will eventually terminate your life. This is the only solution I can think of to get you safely away from these people while minimizing the danger to my family. Is this plan acceptable to you?”

A crease formed between his brows and Mr. Shardon replied thoughtfully, “I am desperate to be free and worried about the safety of my children, but I cannot agree. That plan of action sounds dangerous for both of us, and there’s no guarantee your employers will refrain from harming your wife. If they have made such threats before, they may harm her out of spite. Humans are very emotional creatures. We must always remember that.”

Squeaky sighed, and before he could speak, Mr. Shardon stated, “I have a better idea. Why don’t you contact a hunter and alert them that I am willing to pay a handsome amount for an impromptu rescue.”

Squeaky pondered the suggestion out loud. “That would get us both out of danger. Hunters are always looking for missing people, particularly wealthy ones. Everyone would think they hunted you down for the reward. It’s standing firm at a hundred grand right now.”

“No one would blame you if a really prominent hunter came knocking. They wouldn’t expect your crew to be able to stand up to a professional. The syndicate would most likely chalk it up to underestimating my worth.”

“This idea is better than any of the ones I came up with on my own.”

“Have you heard of Dakota Davenport?”

“Hell yes, she’s amazing. My nephew has a poster of her on his bedroom wall. She has a success rate of a hundred percent and is good about searching for missing vampires. Even though she’s human, she is the go-to person when… oh, I see where you’re going with this conversation. You want me to contact her on your behalf.”


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