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Excerpt for Prey by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Contents


Title Page

Copyright


Prey

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine


About Britt Collins

Don’t Miss These Great Titles From Deep Desires Press


Prey


Britt Collins


Copyright © 2018 by Britt Collins


Cover design copyright © 2018 by Story Perfect Dreamscape


All characters are age 18 and over.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblances to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.



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Chapter One


The dead always look beautiful


Lucas Ford casts a dark shadow as he stands over the puddle of flesh on the stairwell. It oozes down over the top of the steps, then dissipates into the dripping blood and fatty tissue. At the top of the stairs, on the landing, is the decapitated head of a white female.

The head is the only solid piece of her left. Her features appear to have been soft with tempting, milky-white flesh, which she covered with too much makeup. Her face reminds him of a Geisha, pale, white, painted, and lacking emotion. Even her hair is done badly; she’s a bottle-blonde that needs a touch up. Not that it matters now; it’s splotchy with her blood. Still, even though he’s not sure of her age, her hair is the kind of dye job that a teenage girl would attempt without reading the directions completely.

Her soft red lips are in an eternal unanswered cry for help. Despite all of this, it’s her dead eyes that kept him gazing at her, mesmerizing him. They’re sea green, lifeless, and open to the world as if with her last gesture she wanted to embed the image of her demise in them.

He bends down and looks at the fleshy tissue on the concrete stairs, then back into her eyes. “Come on, beautiful, tell me what happened to you.” He’s never seen anything like this. Which is saying something, considering the strange occurrences in his life.

Her body, skin, bones, muscles are all in a liquid form, so why not her head? Was decapitation first, then acid poured onto her body? Had the killer also gotten lost in her eyes and didn’t want to destroy the head?

Lucas reaches out and touches the fleshy tissue on the stairs with the tip of his right index finger just as a familiar voice calls his name.

“Ford, what the hell are you doing here?”

“Damn,” he mumbles to himself. He needs more time. He’d been so enthralled with her that he tuned out everything around him. The area surrounding the crime scene is now filling up with cops and onlookers. He notices the medical examiner unloading his gear from the van.

Hesitantly, Lucas stands to his full six-foot-two, towering over the shorter, stockier, out of shape detective. “How are you doing, Rogan?” he says as he looks at the man who used to be one of his good friends.

“I’m good. You know, if I was anyone else I’d have you arrested for contaminating evidence, obstruction of justice and for just being a crazy motherfucker,” Rogan says as he flicks his cigarette bud onto the stairwell and then laughs.

Lucas feels a twitch in his left eye. He counts to ten in his head before he speaks. “I’m not crazy — anymore. I have a healthy mind and body. I no longer see things that aren’t real.”

“From what you used to tell me and from what your mother has told me too, it’s not that easy for you.”

There’s a touch of true concern in Rogan’s voice. Not the voice of sarcasm Lucas had expected.

“Yeah, I know. This time everything is different for me. I have a new therapist, new medications too. I’m good.” Lucas turns to walk away, only to have Rogan grab him by the arm.

“Tell me what you see here. You’ve always had an unnatural way of looking at things. You do observe things at a crime scene that the rest of us can’t. Whether you’re on medication or not, you were a damn good detective … damn good, for a while. Then things got to you.”

Rogan looks him in the eyes. For a moment, Lucas sees a brief glimpse of why the two of them had once been best friends. Then Rogan betrayed him. He went to their superior and informed them about Lucas’s unstable behavior.

After a year and a half of being investigated, he was found to be unsuitable for his job. The ten years he spent on the police force vanished in a blink of an eye.

That was three years ago. He lost his career, all his benefits. The only positive thing to come out of it was that his unhappy marriage finally ended — even though she got everything in the divorce.

His major problem now is he still can’t shake the lingering need to protect and serve. He glares at Rogan. Going against all the anger and resentment that he feels inside of him, he decides to tell his former partner what he thinks about the crime scene. “The dead girl, from looking at her head, looks to be around nineteen, which means she’s probably sixteen. She hasn’t truly matured yet. She looks like a prostitute, which means she’s probably a runaway. Good teeth, decent skin, I don’t think she was a user. Her hair ... it’s breaking off, lack of nutrition along with self-dye jobs. She didn’t eat correctly; that could just be her age or else it could mean she lived out on the streets where meals were rare.

“I think she was decapitated first, then her body dissolved by a chemical. No toxic smells, no residue, only the body was liquefied. Whatever was used on her, it didn’t affect the area around her, not even the wooden stairs.

“The decapitation is rough, almost as if someone ripped it off in one swift motion, that, my ex-friend, is impossible to do.

“Then there’s the fact that nowhere do I see any clothing or personal items. The material could have dissolved when or if a chemical was poured onto her body, but I highly doubt that. It’s more than likely she was nude when she died. Whoever killed her knew what he or she was doing.”

“Damn, you got all of that from just looking at an oozing puddle of flesh and a decapitated head?”

“Yeah, I did.”

“She? You think a woman could do this?” Rogan looks over at the flesh dripping through the cracks.

“You asked and I told you my opinion.” Lucas turns and walks away. Then he suddenly stops and turns back to face Rogan. “By the way, I know you fucked my ex-wife when we were still married. That’s a shitty thing to do to a friend. A real shitty thing. Coming from her, on the other hand, it didn’t surprise me. You weren’t the only one on the force she spread her legs for. You betrayed me in more ways than one. I trusted you more than I trusted her.” Lucas turns around and strolls over to his black-on-black ’04 Harley Davidson Heritage. He leaves the scene as quickly as he can without drawing further attention to himself.


• • •


Unlocking the door to his trailer, Lucas strolls inside. Taking a deep breath, he tosses his black leather jacket onto his green garage sale sofa.

He walks over to the kitchen table and turns on his laptop. He needs to do research on beheading, chemicals used on bodies to destroy evidence. It’ll take his six-year-old laptop a few minutes to boot up.

He’s not a detective anymore but that doesn’t stop him from trying to solve crimes. Plus, it’s a good way to keep his mind active and focused on other things.

He’s in a good place now and he plans on staying there.

Opening the refrigerator, he takes out a cold beer and then he grabs the box of leftover doughnuts from the counter. He swallows one of the chocolate-covered, glazed morsels whole. “Mmm, the nectar of the gods,” he moans as he walks back into the living room.

He abruptly stops as the sweet smell of lilacs hit him hard. The beer and doughnuts slip from his hands and fall onto the already stained, dark blue carpet. He stumbles forward. His vision becomes blurry.

His black biker boots squish the doughnuts into the beer, causing a chocolaty, sticky pile of goo to cling to the bottom of his boots. Staggering over to the sofa, he sits down and shut his eyes. He takes in several long, deep breaths. His mind immediately drifts into darkness and the first time he smelled her.

Twenty years ago, when he was eighteen; he was camping alone at Mosby Creek. It was clear; stars filled the night. He was sitting innocently by the campfire when he caught a whiff of lilac. Then he saw her for the first time. Her name is Victoria and she’s a vampire.

She was with a man and, at first, he thought they were a couple, being playful out in the woods. Then he noticed that something was different. He remembers watching her through hazy, unbelieving eyes as she took blood from a man not much older than he was at that time.

The athletically built, fair-haired male seemed willing to let her drink his blood. An overwhelming feeling of envy and lust immediately washed over him. He wanted her in ways he couldn’t comprehend. The blowjob from Donna at Joshua’s Fourth of July party doesn’t count as sex in his book, or anyone else’s, for that matter. He needed this mysterious woman — creature — to show him what the true meaning of sexual passion is by sinking her fangs into his neck, then drinking his blood as she rides him hard.

These feelings caused him to do the dumbest or possibly the bravest thing in his entire life. He anxiously waited till she finished with the male. The guy walked away in a dream-like state. Lucas then followed the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life through the woods to an abandoned farmhouse.

Time seemed to stand still as he debated going inside or running home as fast as he could. His desire outweighed his common sense. Gathering up his courage and crept up onto the rickety steps, then onto the porch. His weight caused the warped wood to creak and splinter as he moved.

A vampire, here at Mosby Creek, no one would believe him. He wasn’t sure if he believed it himself. Vampires aren’t real, but his boner certainly was. His cock throbbed as he slowly opened the creaky screen door and eased back the front door. He cautiously walked inside. She was there, waiting for him in seductive glory.

The flowing white dress she wore swirled around her in her own pocket of wind. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, yet she moved faster than he could blink from one side of the room to directly in front of him.

She reached her arms up and wrapped them around his neck. Then she brought his face down to her, where she gazed deeply into his eyes.

She nuzzled his neck as she whispered her name to him in a voice so sweet and sultry that thinking about it now is giving him an erection.

The last thing he remembered was the sweet smell of lilacs. He awakened the next morning in the farmhouse. He ran home as fast as he could. He ended up spending most of his senior year of high school going to a private therapist three times a week.

By the end of the year, he was convinced that Victoria was a dream.

Soon after his graduation, he joined the army. Victoria faded from his memory, except for the occasional erotic dream. That was, until he saw her again four years later. He was halfway around the world at a nightclub in Tokyo. He was wide awake and stone cold sober.

He and some buddies had recently arrived at the club. This hot, little, dark-haired beauty had caught his attention and he was busy spilling sweet nothings into her ear when the sweet scent of lilacs filled his nostrils.

He spun around and he nearly fell off the bar stool when he saw her sitting next to him at the bar. Victoria leaned in close and caressed the side of his face.

“Have fun tonight, my young one,” she whispered seductively in his ear.

Then she was gone from his life again, and he went back into therapy.

After that night, he would catch glimpses of her. She’d appear just out of the corner of his eye, like a sexy shadow. These episodes, as he started calling them, were always when things were the most difficult for him. He began to take comfort in her quick appearances.


• • •

“My young one, how you’ve grown,” she says. He’s apprehensive to open his eyes and see the sultry, seductive smile that he knows she’ll have, and those glistening white teeth. Yet, he can’t resist, he needs to see her, even if it’s only to confirm what he already knows; he’s going crazy again.

Lucas slowly opens his eyes and there she is, standing in the living room of his fifteen-year-old trailer. Victoria is as breathtaking as the day he first saw her. She stands about five feet, six inches tall, long black hair, mocha skin, brown eyes, and a body that would make a man kill for her.

He has no idea of her real age, but she looks to be about twenty-six. That, however, is impossible because she looked the same way twenty years ago when he’d first seen her.

“Aw, fuck,” he grumbles.

On this cool October evening, his sexy hallucination is wearing a dark red dress with black heels. Some women don’t have to do anything; they’re just sexy.

“I need to recite my life so that I can center myself back into reality. My name is Lucas Ford. I’m an ex-cop, fired from the police force, and I now work as a repo man. I have short brown hair, green eyes and a five o’clock shadow that shows up promptly at two p.m. every day. My family is a bunch of rednecks from Kentucky that moved to Montague Keep, Indiana, where they lie and tell everyone that they are from Georgia.

“My sister is an overachieving soccer mom and teacher. My two older brothers are ear, nose, and throat doctors.

“I’m six months behind in alimony. My Harley is my most prized possession, next is my eight-year-old Chevy pickup truck.

“I have a firm grasp on reality, I am not insane. I must communicate with my illusion and try and sort out what brought about my confusion. This I will do right now.

“What’s up? How are you doing? It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.”

Lucas doesn’t wait for a response. He casually gets up from the sofa and begins cleaning the mess on his living room floor.

When he stands back up, Victoria is leaning up against his front door, staring at him like he’s a value meal. “Don’t vampires have to be granted permission to enter a house?” he asks.

He feels stupid for asking that question because it’s obvious that she doesn’t need permission because she isn’t real. This is probably happening because of the gruesome scene at the motel.

She doesn’t respond. He shrugs his shoulders and walk into the kitchen. Dumping the beer bottle and doughnuts into the trash, he takes a moment to gather himself. He begins his pep talk. “Alright, when you walk back out there, she’ll be gone. You’ll call your shrink tomorrow and see if he can put you on stronger medication. Everything will be alright, you’re just stressed.” He saunters back out into the living room. “Jesus!” he screams like a little girl.

“No, I’m Victoria!” she laughs.

He has to smile. At least his make-believe, sexy vampire has a sense of humor. Alright, there’s nothing he can do about his sanity until tomorrow, so he’ll have some fun with his craziness. Hopefully, she’ll stick around long enough this time to have a conversation with him. It would be nice, after all these years.

“To answer your question, we can enter the domain of anyone that we own,” Victoria responds.

“You don’t own me!”

Victoria smiles and he immediately drops the attitude.

“I’m just joking, young one. I walked inside because you didn’t lock your door. Next time, I promise to knock.”

“Next time, are you planning on being a regular visitor? You know what, maybe you can answer this for me: Why did I make you a vampire? What is so deep in my subconscious that I put you in my head at all? Why didn’t I just imagine you as a real woman?”

Her only response is to tilt her left eyebrow and look at him oddly.

“I think I saw a ghost once at a crime scene. I didn’t really see him, more like I heard him. At least I think I did.”

Victoria runs her fingers through her long, black hair. Then he blinks and she’s right in front of him. She gently takes his left hand and brings it up to her face. Her skin is cool to the touch, but nothing that would lead a person to think that she isn’t human.

“I’m real, young one. I’m also very hungry.” She licks her full lips.

Victoria drops his hand and sashays into the kitchen. She opens his refrigerator door like she lives there and begins scrounging around until she finds a steak.

“Do you mind?” she asked as she closes the door.

He shakes his head no.

Victoria then takes a plate and utensils from the rack; sits down at the kitchen table and opens the package. She places the raw meat on the plate, says a quick grace, and begins to eat.

“You say grace?”

“I’m Catholic,” she says in between bites of the bloody steak.

A black, Catholic vampire eating a raw steak with a knife and fork at his kitchen table. He should drive to the hospital and have himself admitted for observation. He turns to leave the kitchen.

“You’re not crazy, young one. Impulsive and quick tempered, but that you already know. Now sit down and let us chat, we’ve never done that before.”

“I’m thirty-eight years old, I’m not a young one!” He says that with too much bass in his voice. Immediately, he knows that his tone came across too harsh.

Victoria puts down her fork and stares at him. “I didn’t mean it as an insult, Lucas. I meant it in an endearing way. Please accept my apology, I will not use that term again.”

Great, now he feels bad. “I meant that I’m an adult now. I’m not that kid who followed you in the woods. I’m not even the same man you saw in Tokyo.”

“Trust me, Lucas, I know you’re a man. My apologies once again, please sit down. There’s something I need to speak with you about.” She waves her hand and points to the seat across from her.

He humbly sits down.

“I’ve kept tabs on you throughout the years, Lucas. You were an outstanding army officer and an extraordinary police detective.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you clearly remember everything from the first time we met?” She stares at him with seductive, almond-colored eyes.

“Yeah, a guy tends to remember the first time he sees a vampire.”

“I knew you were there watching us. I found it intriguing how you followed me back to the farmhouse. You’ve always been very brave.”

“Some say it’s stupidity, but I like your take on things better.”

“It upset me when the force released you.”

“Me too, but you deal with it and go on with life.”

“Yes, that’s true, but that doesn’t make what happen to you alright. I know it’s my fault and once again I owe you a sincere apology.”

“Shit happens. I want to know why you keep popping up in my life. If you’re real, that is; for the moment it’s still up for debate.”

“Lucas, I’m real. Things exist in the world that aren’t always seen until they want to be seen. Humans are no naive. If they can’t see it or touch it, they don’t believe in it.”

“You still didn’t answer my question, why do you keep appearing in my life?”

“Because.”

“What do you mean because? That’s not an answer!”

She sighs.

“How did you just do that, sigh? You’re dead, your lungs shouldn’t function.”

“I can do a lot of things that humans do and I do them well.” She winks at him.

“I bet you do. Maybe you can show me some of those things.” He likes flirting with his dream blood-sucker. He silently chuckles. He’s willing to bet that she’d be great at sucking something other than blood.

“Yes, I am.”

What?” Could she read his mind?

“I’ll show you some of those things I need to do to pass for human.”

“Oh, okay, yeah … cool.”

“I should have shown you a lot of things before now. One of my biggest regrets is not warning you before you got married. She was not right for you, but some lessons you need to learn for yourself. You deserve better, remember that, Lucas. You sell yourself short when it comes to your personal life. So many women would love to be with you.”

“Oh, yeah, where are they?”

“I’m serious Lucas. You’re a very attractive man and you have a good heart. You’re a great catch.”

“I’ve found that most women tend to be standoffish when they find out you see undead people.” He smirks.

“I knew I was causing problems for you. I swear it was years before I let you catch a glimpse of me again.”

“Years? That mean you’re always nearby?”

She slowly nods. “For the most part. I leave from time to time, but I check in on you.”

“Are you here now to check on me?”

“No. I’ll make this quick because I know you have work tomorrow.” She pauses. “Lucas, I need your help.”

Her words take him by surprise. He looks deep into her dark brown eyes and there it is. Something he hadn’t noticed until just now. He has seen it a million times before as a cop ... fear. He sits back and waits for her to continue.

“Six months ago, a vampire in Florida was destroyed,” she continues. “He was the first of my clan to be killed.” She pauses again. “It’s been four deaths in all. They are of my blood, as we call it. It means we’re connected. Then, three days ago, I stopped feeling his presence.”

“You stopped feeling who?”

“The one who gave me my immortality, I can no longer feel him. That can’t be ... he’s a Pureblood.”

“Isn’t a Pureblood just an old vampire?”

“No, a Pureblood is a natural born vampire.”

Her fingers nervously play with a strand of her long dark hair. Within seconds, Victoria has gone from vampire queen to victim.

“Purebloods are the first to walk the earth.”

“You’re not a pureblood?”

“No,” Victoria says in a whisper. “I was brought over a very long time ago.”

The cop inside of him is intrigued. More importantly, he wants to protect her. “Could it be another vampire?” He easily switches into detective mode. “The Pureblood, the one who sired you; he made the others that were killed, correct? You’re a clan?”

“Yes and no. I don’t believe that it is another vampire.”

“The clan, to the Pureblood, you’re all like his children in a way.”

“In a way, yes, we are.”


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