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Blessed Curse
Author: Sandra R. Neeley

Prologue

 

 

The swirling, misty, grey fog lapped at the feet of the tall, thin female as she hurried through the edge of City Park on the way back to her home. She pulled her poncho closer about her shoulders, trying to shake the feeling of dread that had settled about her.

“It’s nothing,” she whispered aloud. “Just the darkness of the night.”

She heard a clicking noise behind herself and glanced quickly over her shoulder, not even slowing her steps as she looked for anything that could have made the sound she’d heard. Nothing — just as she’d thought.

She snapped her head back around to quicken her steps even more and swallowed the scream that threatened to leave her body, as it was silenced by the ghostly pale hand wrapped tightly around her throat. “What a pretty little witch,” the creature purred, tilting his head this way and that, examining in great detail every small nuance of her face, her eyes, her lips.

Adrienne made the worst mistake she possibly could; she dared to stare the creature in the eye, to defy him, she thought. But he was far too powerful for her to withstand. Instead, he seized control of her mind, of her body, of all that she was, and bade her submit to him, willingly at that.

“Adrienne,” his anciently accented words fell from his mouth seductively, making even the very sound of her own name an evil thing. “I see you. I see your heart, I see your courage.” He laughed as he stared into her eyes, taking every secret she kept in her soul for his very own. “I see your magic. It will not save you this time. It’s not enough, but then, you know that — it never has been enough.”

Adrienne whimpered as he lowered his mouth and nipped her lower lip before snaking his tongue out to lap at her blood, moaning in ecstasy. “I shall enjoy this. It’s been a while since I’ve savored such a good little witch.”

Tears started to roll down Adrienne’s cheeks as she realized there was nothing she could do. Her sisters couldn’t hear her calls as her mind screamed incessantly for them. Her grandmother couldn’t hear her pleas for help. This creature, this vampire, was so powerful he’d blocked her ability to reach out to them, and now he had her completely under his control. She wouldn’t survive this. She didn’t want to survive this; she turned her thoughts to the magics she’d been born into, begging for a quick end to her suffering.

Alastair watched the emotions flicker over her face, he felt her resignation, he heard her thoughts. “Perhaps you will choose to join me, little mouse,” Alastair teased.

Adrienne couldn’t look away from him; she wanted to, but his hold on her made her body not her own.

“Do you like my new name for you, Mouse? It is fitting, I think. One with even as little magic as you would certainly fight me, but no, you just give in and choose death rather than fighting the inevitable. What a pity.”

Alastair had no fear of her running from him, she was frozen in place, awaiting his next command. He looked down at the ugly, shapeless poncho she wore and used his milky-white nails to rip it down the middle. He snatched it away from her shoulders then tossed it carelessly to the ground beside her.

“I wish to see my prize,” he said, licking his lips. He clawed at her blouse, ripping it in shreds and exposing her bra to his hungry eyes. Alastair lifted one painfully thin hand and caressed the breast beneath the lace cups holding her breasts in place. At his touch her nipple hardened, and she closed her eyes shamefully.

“Do not fret, Mouse. You will know all there is to know of me soon. Then you’ll not be lying with a stranger, you’ll be lying with your lover. For a while anyway, until your death.”

Adrienne’s breath caught with her fear.

“That is what you wished for, isn’t it? Death?”

Adrienne’s eyes were still closed. She was making every effort to regain some of her self-control.

Alastair knew as long as he could stare into her eyes at great length, he could keep the hypnotic control over the pretty, young witch. If she kept her eyes closed for too long, though, she may possibly be able to give him a fight. The fight he craved. He loved it when his prey fought him. It made for so much more entertainment than simply feeding.

This one, Adrienne — she confused him. She had power, yet she was timid. More timid than any little witch he’d ever encountered. He had a particular affinity for witches developed over time as a result of the Granddame of the LaCelle coven refusing to even attempt to help him when he’d begged for it during one of his rare moments of clarity. A moment in which there may have still been hope for him. But now? Now it mattered not. That time was long past. He’d embraced his insanity, his complete lack of remorse, and had made every attempt to become so powerful he was nearly unstoppable. And as a special gift to the great Marceline LaCelle, whenever he could, he fed from any witch he was able to entrap, then left them dead all over the world. But Marceline had trained her coven well. They were never caught unawares. He’d yet to take one of her own coven-sisters.

Alastair’s brows creased and he leaned forward, sniffing his pretty, willing - yet unwilling prey. He pressed his nose to the valley between her breasts, inhaling deeply. Her scent was familiar. He sniffed her again, lifting her hair and pressing his nose against her neck up near her ear beneath the heavy curtain of her blue-black hair.

He laughed — slowly, evilly, his rich laughter poured from his chest. “You are of the LaCelle coven, are you not?” Alastair grabbed Adrienne’s hair in his bony fist, yanking her head backward and startling her into opening her eyes. He towered over her, staring down into her eyes.

“Do you know the witch Marceline?”

Adrienne couldn’t help it, her mind began to remember herself as a small child, sitting on her grandmother’s lap as she taught her spells and read to her from the books of their history.

Alastair’s eyes glittered with the realization of what had fallen into his hands. His laughter was boisterous, his head thrown back. “Finally! The fates have smiled down on me!” he shouted, then laughed again as he tore the bra from Adrienne’s body, grabbing her breast and twisting it painfully. “Marceline is your mother, is she not?”

Adrienne didn’t answer, she held her tongue defiantly.

Alastair twisted her flesh harder. “All it takes is a yes or a no. One simple word and the pain stops,” he whispered into Adrienne’s ear. He angled his fingers so that his nails pierced the soft flesh he mangled.

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