With long black hair past her knees, Olivia had ageless beauty, but she had been in her forties when she had turned, which had probably been a very, very long time ago. Her clothing was entirely tight black leather, and I had never understood how she was able to move.
While we weren’t exactly old friends, Olivia had been the vampire who had first rescued me from Lucian and Violet. There seemed to be a wisdom lurking below her hazy grin, and even though she had the slow, slurred movements of an aging junkie, she still had the killer instincts of a vampire.
“What?” I tried to return her smile, but I was too frustrated over not finding Jane.
“He turned you,” Olivia said, and she reached out, caressing my cheeks. Her eyes were glazed, but her voice was low and surprisingly seductive. “And what an exquisite creature you are.”
“Thanks,” I replied uncertainly, and Jack appeared at my side.
“Maybe you can help.” Milo walked over to us. Bobby trailed after him, and Olivia looked at him with disdain. Her interest apparently didn’t go past human girls, or probably girls in general. “We’re looking for a girl, a friend of Alice’s.”
“She’s a bloodwhore, we think,” I said. “She’s tall and thin, and very pretty, like a model. Her hair is short and dark, and she’s always dressed to the nines. Her name is Jane, and I think she’s in trouble.”
“If she’s the girl I’m thinking of, she definitely is in trouble,” Olivia nodded gravely. She licked her lip and pointed down the hall. “She’s been coming around here a lot more than any one person should, and she went down that hall an hour ago with a vampire.”
“Thank you,” I smiled and turned down the hall.
The hall was pitch black, but I saw the outlines of the doors. I smelled the blood and heard the erratic heartbeats and happy moans, and I had to concentrate on it without thinking about it. I had to find Jane without giving into my own thirst.
Jack was a few steps ahead of me listening for her. Bobby complained about being unable to see anything behind us, and Milo tried to reassure him.
Before I could even smell her, I heard her overly sultry moan. Unfortunately, in my years of friendship with her, I had heard it far more than I had ever cared to. Without thinking, I threw open the door, and a figure flew at me.
- 14 -
I didn’t have a chance to react, and Jack was already in front of me, shielding me from the vampire coming at my throat.
Jack threw him back, slamming him against the wall and holding him there while he gnashed his teeth. Jack managed to hold him in place, but Milo rushed past me to help him restrain the seriously pissed off vampire.
Jane was lying on a bed stained dark with blood. She wore some tiny piece of clothing that passed for a dress, revealing her pale skin. While she had always been thin, her arms were bony and her face was gaunt. Her heartbeat was almost nonexistent.
The room was filled with the scent of her fresh blood, and it was impossible to ignore. She moaned and stirred in the bed, and somehow that let my urge to protect her override my urge to eat her.
“Jane!” I ran to her, leaving Milo and Jack to contend with the thrashing vampire on the wall.
I got on the bed, ignoring how disgusting and tantalizing the blood stained mattress was, and I slapped her cheek. I had meant for it to be gentle, but the panic mixed with my unmastered strength made me slap her a little hard, not that she even noticed or woke up.
“Is everyone okay? What’s going on?” Bobby asked. He couldn’t see anything in the darkness, and he only heard the sound of struggling.
“Everything’s under control!” Milo shouted as the vampire tried to bite his throat.
“What the hell is going on?” the vampire growled, and when he saw me tending to Jane, he stopped fighting. “You’re after the whore?” We interrupted him in the middle of feeding, the time when vampires are most animalistic, and he seemed to be coming down from that.
“Her name is Jane!” I snapped, trying futilely to rouse her. She was completely out, and I knew how impossible blood loss was to wake up from.
“I know her name!” the vampire shouted. “I want to know what you want with her!”
“What do you care?” Jack countered, doing his best to sound tough. It would be comical if he wasn’t trying to hold back a vampire from slaughtering us.
“Jonathan,” Jane murmured, still mostly asleep.
“No, it’s me, Alice,” I said. She moved her head, and I turned it towards me, trying to get her to focus on me. “Jane, wake up. We need to get you out of here.”
“She’s talking about me, you silly twat! I’m Jonathan!” The vampire pushed against Jack. “Will you let me go? I’m not gonna fight you! I don’t have to. She’s not gonna go with you.”
Jack lessened his grip, and when Jonathan didn’t attack him, Jack took a step back from him. Milo did the same but more hesitantly. Jonathan smoothed out his shirt and glared at them.
“Jane, honey, wake up,” I said and shook her.
“No, Jonathan, let me sleep.” Jane swatted at me.
“She’s not going with you,” Jonathan repeated. He stepped closer to me, and Milo growled and moved in between him and the bed. “I’m not gonna stop you. What do I care if you take the whore?”
“I think it might be better if you just shut the hell up,” Jack said.
“Jane, come on.” I grabbed her shoulders and pulled her so she was sitting up. Her head lolled back, revealing the open wounds on her neck. Then she opened her eyes and lifted her head. “Jane, come on. Let’s go.”
“Alice?” Jane squinted. “What are you doing here?”
“Taking you with me.” I put my arm around her to pick her up, but she pushed back at me. She was much weaker than me, but I didn’t want to force her. “Jane, you’ve gotta come with me.”
“No! No! Why would I wanna I go with you?” Jane pushed away from me so she could lie down on the filthy mattress. “Get away from me. I’m staying with Jonathan.”
“I told you,” Jonathan said and crossed his arms over his chest.
His hair was cropped short, almost shaved, and he had that perpetual unshaven look. He was undeniably foxy, the way all vampires seemed to be, and I was fairly certain that I had seen him on a billboard modeling men’s underwear before.
“What are you even doing here?” Jane sounded incredibly irritated, because I was ruining her buzz. She was awake now but not entirely alert, and she ran her fingers through her hair in an offhandedly sexy way. Her reflexes were even seductive.