With arms inter-locked, Kelly escorted Anna back towards the fire. A few paces behind, Joel seemed content to let Kelly fill Anna in on her potential new life.
“So how long have you been out here?” Kelly enquired.
“Just two weeks. How about you?”
“Coming on four years, now. Like you, I originally came out here for a holiday. I wanted to get away from things back home…you know.”
“You said you are a Véradó?”
“Yes—but not to Marshall or the twins. I am Véradó to Katya.”
“Yes. She is the only female in the coven. I think you’ll like her—although she is pretty strong willed. It’s Katya who showed me this way of life, and like I said, I’ve never looked back.”
As they approached the fire, the flames were dying down and the heat far less intense.
Marshall waited for them. In spite of his biker clothes, his demeanour appeared serious and businesslike. With a grin permanently etched on her face, Kelly handed her new friend over to him, and then stood aside.
For a moment, Marshall stood, his attention flitting between Anna and Joel. Breaking the silence, he said, “You know what we are now, Anna, and you know what it is that we do?”
Anna nodded. Sweat slid down her back, and her pulse quickened.
“But despite everything, Kelly tells me you want to stay here, on this island, with us?”
Again, she nodded.
“Do you understand what you are committing to? Joel is a vampire. For some time I have been looking for someone to assign to him—someone grounded and loyal. He needs a constant in his life, like Bonita is in mine.”
Bonita’s eyes shined at the mention of her name.
“Okay?” Anna replied.
He continued, “Our world is secret, and it has to stay that way. The bond you will experience with Joel will stop you being able to tell anyone our secrets and it will also create a compulsion that will draw you to him. The compulsion is not manufactured by us, it’s just the way it works.”
The words Marshall spoke weren’t filtering in. Anna could feel herself trying to absorb them, but they just didn’t seem real. Feeling a cool, reassuring hand on her shoulder, she glanced up into the eyes of a vampire…her vampire. And at that moment, nothing else mattered. Joel could be hers—this man could be hers—all she had to do was say yes.
“It doesn’t matter. I don’t care what he is—I just want to be with him. I know it’s only been a couple of days, but I can’t bear the thought of leaving tomorrow and never seeing him again. If he wants me…then I want to become his Véradó.”
“You are sure?”
“I am sure.”
“Joel…” Marshall gestured for his brother to hand Anna over—and he did. Gently Marshall’s hand slid down the length of Anna’s arm and he lifted her hand to his mouth. Watching intently, Anna held her breath and watched as his lips gently kissed it. Slowly, he turned it over and centred on her wrist—on her vein. For a moment, his mouth lingered on her warm pulsating arteries, and suddenly she became very aware of the blood coursing through them. Bracing herself, she drew a sharp inward breath…but as his razor sharp teeth penetrated her skin, she felt nothing.
Within moments Marshall released her hand, and Joel once again pulled her to him, his hold firm and protective.
Squealing with delight, Kelly stated, “You did it…you let him take your blood.”
“Uh huh. You’re one of us now. Anna, you are a Véradó. Welcome to our world.” Spinning around on the sand she grabbed Anna by the hand. “Come on…”
“Why…where are we going?”
There’s this little place I want to take you. It’s called Zeus Xenias…and believe me—you’re gonna love it.”
* * * *
A Taste of Blood is a short prequel to the Verado series. If you enjoyed this, please check out the next book in the series – Véradó – A Darker Blood available now on Amazon etc.
Véradó A Darker Blood on Amazon.com
Véradó A Darker Blood on Amazon UK
Véradó A Darker Blood on Nook
Véradó A Darker Blood on Kobo