IT WASN’T morning yet and Vivienne already regretted saving the vampire. Their boat approached a dark, wooded area around four am. From where she stood, Vivienne could still see the lights of Coral City across the river. It was the brightest light illuminating the September night sky and the full moon paled in comparison.
When they neared shore, Vivienne jumped out of the small motorized boat and dragged it onto the rocky banks of the shore. It wasn’t the first time that night that she had wondered if saving him was a good idea. Lying there inside that raft, was a young man of around twenty-one years of age. Dark and thick, his brows were slightly furrowed even as he slept. His wet hair was plastered to his forehead with a mixture of ocean spray and blood. His facial features contained well-chiseled cheekbones, a strong jaw, deeply set eyes under a brooding brow ridge. Standing there, she could barely see an inkling of the frail boy he had once been.
She still found it hard to believe he really was Blake. In her mind, Blake was still a skinny eleven-year-old boy with large angelic blue-green eyes and gently curling locks of blond hair. The man lying before her was a dangerous unpredictable predator who could kill with his bare hands. Vivienne hardly knew what he would do to her in these dark woods if he woke up and found himself hungry for more of her blood.
Blake’s clothes were ripped and bloody from the battle. After they escaped on the boat, she had allowed him to drink from her to heal. He hadn’t been conscious at the time and had continued to sleep for the remainder of their journey.
Somewhere along the way, she noticed his chest start to rise and fall. He was breathing again. Slowly but surely, he was healing from the spray of bullets that had been fired into his chest. Vivienne resisted the urge to rip his shirt open to check the bullet wounds.If her blood had been unable to heal him, there was little else she could do for him short of calling an ambulance. She didn’t have a cellphone on her. Perhaps, running away and finding help was the only option left.
Even as she considered leaving him there, he was starting to wake up. His hand caught her wrist as she reached over him for her bag. As his eyes fluttered open, Vivienne yanked her hand out of his grasp and scrambled for the gun on the opposite side of the boat. It had fallen into a nook after she shot two rounds at him on the pier. She had considered throwing it into the ocean but kept it in case of a situation like this. She held it up now as he woke up. Blake rolled onto his side and pushed himself into a sitting position. From the lingering grimace on his face, every movement was excruciating. From the holes in his tattered shirt and pants, Vivienne could see the flesh underneath was still raw and bloody.At least the deeper bullet wounds in his chest had stopped bleeding. He rested his arm over his knee as he surveyed his wounded body.
When he finally looked up at her his eyes hardened when he saw the gun pointed at his chest.
“Kill me, save me. For goodness sake, Vivienne - make up your mind.”
“This is just a precaution,” Vivienne said, her voice shaking. “It’s dark here and you might take advantage of that.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not in any condition to force myself on anyone . . . least of all you,” he coughed weakly and then clutched his hand to his chest in pain. After he took a couple of deep, gulps of air, he meekly gestured to the pitch black forest. “There might be wolves out there. Are you sure you want to go out there alone?”
“I think I would rather take my chances with the wolves than a vampire,” Vivienne said, angrily but seeing that he was wincing with every movement, she decided he really wasn’t a threat. Vivienne lowered her gun and gave him her hand to help him out of the boat. As he stumbled out of the boat, he fell onto his hands and knees on the rocks. When she went to wrap her arm around his waist he raised his hand for her to give him a moment to get his bearings.
“Do you think they’re coming after us?” Vivienne finally asked, glancing in the direction of the Coral City skyline. “I just want to go home.”
“Maybe,” Blake muttered as he finally started to push himself upright. Then slowly, painfully he eased himself into a standing position against one of the trees. Vivienne offered him her arm and then regretted it when he accepted. She felt the full weight of his body leaning against her and wished he wasn’t so close. His chest was hard and muscular in her arms. Then there was the cold wetness of his blood that looked more black than red in the moonlight. The whole thing was like a scene out of a nightmare. The only thing that kept her from reaching for the gun tucked into the pack of her jeans was the fact that helping him stay upright required the support of both of her arms.
“If we head toward the road maybe we can find a way to get back to civilization,” he offered softly.
“Don’t look at me like that, like I’m a snack.” Vivienne snapped as she saw him studying her face.“If you so much as move an inch closer to my neck, I’ll shoot you.”
“My apologies. Where am I allowed to look?” He asked, sarcastically. His sharp, narrow eyes were more green than blue at that moment. They emitted a faint light in the darkness. He was normally taller than her by a fair amount but since he was slouched over at that moment, he was at eye level. As he studied her, his eyes were soft and the expression on his face was pained and vulnerable.
“Away from me,” Vivienne said and gestured to the forest. “We’re not children anymore. You can’t just stare at me like that. A girl might get the impression that you have intentions.”
“I really am not thinking about my loins right now. I promise that’s probably the only part of my broken body that isn’t on my mind.”
Vivienne felt him wrap his arm around her shoulders. He was doing it to support himself but she felt uneasy with his tight grip on her. She could hardly complain, he wasn’t looking at her anymore. She raised her hand to push the branches out of the way as they made their way through the forest. In the moonlight, the chain on the cameo necklace the glowed dimly where it was wrapped around her wrist. They said in Coral City that the chain was meant to signify the bond between a demon and a human. Although her bond was to Blake, she hardly knew anything about the mysterious man standing beside her.
Everything about him made her uncomfortable; from his broad shoulders to his chiseled abs, to his piercingly intelligent eyes, and even the feeling of the expensive tattered wool jacket he was wearing. He was not her type. He was too vicious, too malicious, too rich, and too effortlessly sexual. If one had asked her before she stepped foot into Coral City, how she would have imagined Blake Thorne to look like an adult, she would’ve imagined a soft, kind, dusty man who laughed at her jokes and spent his days locked away in an old mansion. The vampire in her arms wasn’t that man, he was more Patrick Bateman than Romeo Montague.
“I don’t think we’re far from the road,” Blake said as he stared into the distance. “I see headlights in the distance.”
Vivienne breathed a sigh of relief. She couldn’t wait to go back home to her mother and father and to the life that she had known.
“Don’t even think about killing anyone when we get there,” Vivienne warned him. “You might be a vampire but I still have my gun.”