Series: Part of the 2016 Holiday Charity Bundle
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication date: November 28, 2016
Length: 110 pages
Shy nurse Cora both dreads and lives for the moments she sees Zeke, an orderly at the hospital where she works. Zeke is too handsome, too compelling, too much, and seems totally unaware of Cora. But before she can bring herself to his attention, an explosion rips through the hospital Christmas party.
Zeke has noticed Cora—in fact, he’s so irresistibly drawn to her that he saves her from the explosion by turning her into a vampire, much to the jealousy and resentment of his partner, Merrick. Zeke hates being a vampire, and now that she’ll live, doesn’t want Cora to suffer his fate. If they can both resist the overwhelming instinct to bond, joining their bodies as Cora draws her maker’s blood, she might be able to return to her normal human life.
As Merrick uses every erotic trick to keep Zeke distracted from the blood passion, Cora becomes more and more drawn to both of her reluctant captors. And more and more happy to abandon her old life in exchange for an eternity with two hot immortal lovers. All she has to do is convince Merrick and Zeke that being a vampire isn’t all that bad.
I’m okay, I’m okay, she told herself, but somehow it just wouldn’t sink in. It was only a nightmare.
She could feel her right arm, even though it had burned away in the dream. And she’d lost half the side of her face too, but when she touched it everything was still there. Her skin was still smooth and unburned; her body utterly unbroken. It had to have been a dream. People did not survive enormous explosions, and if they did, they didn’t survive them completely intact. Nothing could have happened—that much was absolutely clear.
It just didn’t feel clear.
It felt like she’d woken up, and the nightmare was still carrying on. Something was really wrong in a way she couldn’t quite put her finger on—and then she realized. She realized so hard it kind of made her go all still. She took it in out of the corner of one eye, as though it might go away if she didn’t face it full on. But there it was, all the same: this was not her home. She was not in her home.
She was on the floor of a windowless room in some filthy cabin.
She went to lift her left arm and found it oddly heavy, and for a second thought she actually was hurt. Then she glanced down and there it was—a metal cuff. Not even a cuff, really.
Someone had put a manacle around her wrist. It was an enormous and ancient-looking thing, of the type seen in terrible horror movies about haunted castles. It literally clanked when she moved. The lock seemed like it needed a creepy key guarded by something awful.
Plus there was a chain leading off from it.
She had been chained to the wall. For some ungodly reason, she’d been chained to the wall. The manacle wasn’t just some mistake, or maybe a fancy type of jewelry that the kids were all giving out these days. This was a real thing that was actually happening, no matter how much she tried to convince herself otherwise.
She glanced around the room, searching for the punch line.
But there wasn’t a punch line. If anything, her harder look around this place only backed up her first and most frightening assessment. It seemed like she’d accidentally fallen into The Evil Dead. A single, dim, unshaded bulb hanging from the ceiling provided the only light. Everything was worn and grimy, including the furniture. The chair and table in the center of the room could have been made in the thirteenth century. Thirteenth-century artisans would probably sneer at the idea of ever making something so crude and unsettling.
Why was it so unsettling?
Why was everything in here so unsettling?
It went beyond her predicament. It was more than a sense that stuff needed a good scrub. Something was really not right about this place. The shadows were too deep and too thick, as though they’d lain here so long they’d started to take on forms of their own. And it was so quiet. Even the sounds she was making seemed muffled somehow.
Apparently, this place did not accept anything other than silence. It rejected noise and movement and normality. Soon it would start to reject her, and then what? That uneven chair will come over here and eat me, she thought, but the idea didn’t make her laugh. She wasn’t certain she’d ever be able to laugh again.
Someone was coming to make sure of that.
About Charlotte Stein
Charlotte Stein is an RT-nominated erotic romance writer of over thirty novellas and novels. She lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and cheeky dog.
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