Taken by a Vampire

By: Joey W. Hill

Acknowledgments


I’d love to have nothing but hours and hours to research the characters and events in my books. Since deadline demands usually discourage such leisurely pursuits, I’m always so grateful for my readers, fellow authors and other experts who jump in and help me out when I need fast, specific answers to improve the authenticity of my work.

As a result, Evan’s Jewish roots and Niall’s Scottish background/dialect have been improved tremendously by those resources. I give my great thanks to Rachel, Brittany and Paulina for their dedicated efforts in this regard. I also thank Trixie for her offer of backup help. An author can never have too many resources at her fingertips.

The provocative tattoo scene between Evan and Niall allowed me to learn a great deal more about this art form. Geoff, who patiently fielded all my follow-up questions, has probably never had an un-tattooed person so interested in his process! My thanks to him and Ferg both for letting me observe for several hours at the 2012 Authors After Dark conference. It was a very educational and entertaining experience. Thanks also to Mindy for sitting with me and offering quiet insights—you were wonderful company, girl!

Any errors in the book are entirely mine and likely due to this author’s woeful propensity to get carried away with foreign vernacular and her romantic imaginings.

Finally, my usual huge thanks to my critique partners and the Berkley editorial staff and cover art department, for making all my work so much better.





1


SHE’D betrayed her Master. In the vampire world, there was no greater crime a servant could commit. She should be overwhelmed by her failure, but she was numb. What did anything matter, once a decision was made that was the end of everything? Her feelings since that moment had been out of reach, faces at the top of a well, staring down at her silent, prolonged drowning.

She was cold, but that was immaterial. Her needs had always been secondary to her Master’s. A simple issue of being cold wouldn’t interfere with her respectful silence, the straightness of her back as she sat on her knees in the empty hallway. There was a chair here, but she hadn’t been told she could use it. A tapestry hung on the wall before her, a depiction of Hell, monsters with gaping mouths, staring eyes.

Lady Lyssa, the new head of the Vampire Council, planned to move their headquarters out of this grim Berlin castle. But there was other business to finish first, and Alanna was part of that. The only reason she was still alive was because they’d hoped to track her Master through her blood connection to him. When Lord Stephen had plotted the murder of the Council’s primary assassin as part of a larger conspiracy to increase the influence of made vampires, he’d become a fugitive. He’d have killed her before he fled, but escape had been a higher priority.

That didn’t guarantee her safety, not that she’d ever had any hope of that. Once he’d found a safe hole, he’d begun tearing her apart. It was the only practical choice, really. He had no ally loyal enough to risk the Council’s wrath by taking her life. So he’d destroy her from the inside. A fully marked servant had no defense against her Master’s invasion. He could reach into her soul, torment and break the mind of his bloodbound human minion.

She wondered if whoever had created that tapestry had endured such an experience. If so, the terrified eyes and gaping mouths belonged to people the artist had loved, or different, twisted versions of his own soul, put through unspeakable horrors. Time had no meaning in the face of such mental agony.

The tapestry dominated her field of vision, but she wouldn’t alter the correct alignment of her eyes straight ahead. However, the gooseflesh caused by the chilly hall prickled in reaction as she stared at the wash of bloodred fibers that dissolved, became blood itself, trickling down over the scene.

She supposed it had been exhausting to Stephen, maintaining the energy to keep her spinning on her axis so the Council couldn’t draw a bead on him, send their assassin to end him. That he hated her for her betrayal, would kill her for punishment as well as self-preservation, was certain. But overall it wasn’t personal. The soul torment had been to preserve his hiding place. He had no feelings for her. A human servant was a valuable tool until she wasn’t. Stephen had made that clear, long ago.

Lord Belizar, the Council head when Stephen’s treachery had come to light, had harshly commanded her to stay alive, to endure. His thunderous Russian baritone had penetrated the nightmares, and her training had done the rest. She was an Inherited Servant. She would obey, would serve with every ounce of will she had.

Hot Read

Last Updated

Recommend

Top Books