Surrender to Me
Former aristocrat turned lowly vampire Devlin Dalcon gets by on his supernatural charm, swindling others for money and goods. When Devlin encounters bride-to-be Annabelle—another potential victim—he finds the tables have turned as he falls in love with her.
SURRENDER TO ME
Hurt and angry, I searched through the forest for easy blood. Angry at myself for my outburst and the stupidity I’d shown in telling a woman about to be married that I loved her. That was a mistake for a man of eighteen to make, not one that was over two hundred years old. I was supposed to be helping my gypsy partners steal dowry treasure. I wasn’t here for romance. Besides, Anna had made it clear she would never surrender to me...
Intrigued she had followed me, I veered towards the sweet sound. “Anna? What are you doing outside the walls?”
There was a sudden scream of terror. “Devlin!”
Running as fast as I could, I burst into a meadow. Anna was on the far side, cornered against a stand of fallen trees, her eyes wide. In front of her was the largest bear I’d ever seen. It was enraged, most likely because of the five arrows sticking out from it at various spots, seeping blood steadily.
Her fiancé and his band of noble idiots had gone hunting today. They’d left the hunt when they got bored, left the bear to die from its wounds. The animal was mad from pain, but its death was likely days of suffering away. It would kill her in a few moments; it was already readying itself to strike.
I raced to her side, and got in front of her, just in time for its claws to lay open my chest when I took the blow meant for her. I let out a scream, baring my fangs, and launched myself at it.
My chances weren’t good. I had only my fangs and a knife. And the bear was much bigger than I was.
It struck me again, its razor sharp claws digging deep. The pain was excruciating, and I screamed as it rent me, my fury mounting.
I tried in vain to break its neck, but its bones were too strong for that. I stabbed it repeatedly, but the thing wouldn’t stop. Blood loss from my shredded chest, my clawed arms, and my chewed-on right shoulder was rapidly weakening me.
With the last of my ebbing strength, I grasped one of the embedded arrows, and shoved with everything I had left. The arrow pushed deep, and the bear let out a keening sound. It clawed frantically, deepening my chest wounds, but I clenched my teeth and kept pushing. Soon, it gave its last gasp, and collapsed on me.
Anna was hysterical, crying and screaming, and to risk drinking blood in front of her wasn’t optimal. But there was nothing for it; it was feed or die. So I reared back, bearing my fangs, and sank them into the bear. I drank for a long time, until my grievous wounds closed. Then I pushed the carcass off me, and sat up.
Anna had calmed down, and stopped screaming. She was just out of reach, watching me intently. I imagined she was figuring she should have taken her chances with the bear.
I looked over at her. “Now you know,” I said sadly.
I expected her to shrink away. To my utter shock, she got up, and came over to me. “You’re a nightwalker?” she said quietly. “You drink blood?”
She must mean vampire. “Yes.”