The First VampireBy: Alicia Ryan
The Samson and Delilah Chronicles Book One
She answered the phone on the second ring without looking up. “Ariana Chambers.”
“Hi, it’s me,” said a voice she knew too wel, yet apparently not wel enough.
“James,” she responded, “Hi.”
“I’m sorry to cal you at work, but...”
Ariana looked at her watch. It was after 10:00 p.m.
“That’s okay,” she said wistfuly. “Is something the
matter?” She knew why he was caling.
James hesitated. “You haven’t signed the papers.”
No more pretending. “I know, James,” she said. “I’m
sorry. I’ve been... busy. I promise I’l read them this
weekend, and your lawyer wil have them by Tuesday.”
James sighed. “Thank you, Ariana. I’m sorry it’s come
to this, but now that it has, I just want to get it over
Their life together. Their marriage. Yep, best just to get
it over with. She wanted to cry or scream, but did
“I’l let you get back to work, then,” James was saying.
“Goodnight. I...” Ariana forced herself not to say I love
you. It was a habit she had to break. “I’l sign the
James put the phone back in the cradle. If Ariana said he would have the papers by Tuesday, he knew that’s
when it would be. His wife was a person of her word.
And part of him hated her for it. People trusted Ariana.
She was beautiful and briliant and had a gift for finance,
but it took more than smarts to persuade investors to let
you manage hundreds of milions of dolars of their
money. It took something extraordinary. And that’s
why he had asked for the divorce—because Ariana
wasn’t content to be ordinary. Over the last six years,
James had come to realize he didn’t want an
extraordinary life. He just wanted the usual things—a
home, a family, maybe a dog.
Realizing he was stil staring at the phone, James forced
himself to put it down and trudge into the kitchen.
Cheap linoleum glared back at him. He puled open two
of the particle board cabinet doors and stared for a
moment at the rows of tin cans. Nothing looked likely
to calm the slight queasiness that beset him whenever he
thought about the huge mistake he could be making.
Two steps brought him back into his tiny entryway,
where his neglected running shoes caught his eye. He
hadn’t been running al week. After exchanging his
khakis for a pair of running shorts, he threw on his
shoes, and left the apartment. Outside, stale air hit him
in the face. There was no breeze in mid-town. The
apartment building where he’d lived with Ariana faced
the Hudson. It had always had a breeze.
Kiling off the familiar litany of his doubts, James
focused instead on the flow of the sidewalk beneath his
feet. His usual route took him through the southern
portion of Central Park, but he looked at his watch as
he neared the stone wal along the park’s western edge.
A wary voice in his head reminded him of the lateness
of the hour, but he passed through the entryway with a
shrug. His route wasn’t too far off the main
thoroughfares, and lanterns dotted the path at regular
intervals. He told himself it was as safe as any other
Manhattan street at night.
Inside the park, the green of summer stil lingered
despite the chil in the air, and fluorescent lamps cast
everything in their radius in a strange, bright blue-green.
Deeper shadows faded into pure black, and James kept
his eyes focused on the path iluminated before him.
Twenty minutes later, he topped the hil that marked the
halfway point in his five-mile course. The stone wals to
the right and left of the path got taler in this section,
cresting over head height just as he began his descent.
When he rounded the bend at the bottom of the hil he
shivered, despite his exertion, as a sudden cool breeze
stirred behind him. Before he could wonder at it,
something hooked around his neck, yanking him
backward. He struggled, but before he could get a
handhold or land a blow, his attacker jerked him off his
feet and vaulted them both over the top of the wal.