As a big fan of the paranormal genre and series books my recent discovery of The First Series by Dawne Dominique truly made me happy. This is an exciting and unique series that I'm thrilled to introduce you to courtesy of Bewitching Book Tours. So get comfy and read on......
Eden's Hell, I: The First
In the beginning…
God created man and called him Adam, a fine specimen replicated in his own image. He then created woman to ease Adam’s loneliness and named her Lillith. Unfortunately, God realized his mistake too late in giving woman free will, for she would rule her domain—not man.
When Lillith left Adam, God created another for his first-born son and gave her the name Eve and a kingdom called Eden, but by then it was too late, for he’d unleashed Hell into the world of man.
A foul breeze followed Addison’s steps and with it came the usual stench of lower L.A. His nightly prowls in this end of town had always proved fortuitous. More times than not, he strayed to the Garden Grove district, a haven for low-end prostitutes and addicts. The evil scourging Californian streets had more than tripled in ten short years. Whatever happened to the roads lined with swaying palm trees, beautiful clear skies and movie star mansions? Sure, some were still here, but pollution and crime continued to grow like an infectious disease, and like New York, nothing stopped it from spreading. By far, this district was his favorite hunting ground.
A street corner whore leaned in front of the entrance of a five and dime motel trying to score her next fix. From a window upstairs, her baby’s pathetic mewling carried down the dimly lit road. To say the neighborhood was seedy was giving it credit.
Addison walked unhindered, shrouded in a spell of shadow and drifting unaware past people. His presence was nothing more than an icy shiver down someone’s spine, invisible to all except another vamp, and those creatures stayed as far away from him as possible, if they knew what was good for them.
One could purchase anything here for a price, even blood. The pickings were more than enough to gluttonize even a vampiress like Satrina, but she preferred a higher class of tastes and wouldn’t be caught hunting in a neighborhood like this. That insufferable bitch. Blood is blood, no matter what side of the tracks it comes from.
Thoughts of his ex made Addison’s mood even fouler, and the implications of what he’d done struck home. What’s the definition of irony? he ridiculed. I have a pet.
His boots followed a weed-filled gaping crack in the sidewalk toward a less populated section of the ‘hood long since abandoned but for the usual dregs and sinners like him. The night was oddly quiet, except for the wails of police sirens, a common occurrence in this part of the city.
Would Satrina be stupid enough to invoke Excaedo Pactum? His sigh bounced off the abandoned buildings emblazoned with splashes of spray painted gang tags.
Who are you calling stupid, you fool? What the hell did I just do for a human? Why would I even risk such a thing? He stopped and ruefully shook his head. “Eva Carr, what have you done to me?” he muttered.
His strides lengthened, and he dug his hands deeper into the pockets of his ankle-length leather coat. Looking like a thug made people who accidentally caught a glimpse of him turn away. There was little sense walking down these streets dressed in a thousand dollar suit. No attention was good attention. Confrontations were rare, and he liked it that way. Innocents could get hurt otherwise.
His hunger rose another notch as the wild pattering of two hearts caught his attention, one in fear, the other in exhilaration. The taunting cadence thrummed through his veins like a sugar high. Quarry was near.
He propelled his body upward onto the roof of what was once an apartment complex, now the Taj Mahal breeding ground for rodents and cockroaches, and those were the good tenants. Gliding to the opposite edge, Addison peered down into the alley. In the narrow, garbage-strewn lane, he’d found his dinner.
The coppery spice of spilled blood wafted in the air, electrifying every nerve in his body. His cock stirred and a rush of saliva and a natural secretion similar to warfarin flooded his mouth. Canines lengthened over his bottom lip as he jumped down, his thirst kindling like lust.
He ignored the rat gnawing on the carcass of another a few feet to his left. He wanted nothing to spoil the excitement of the hunt. This was the moment he savored, the scant seconds before a kill. Pins and needles shot down his spine and settled in the base of his balls. The subtle vibrations aroused him and his cock stiffened. It was identical to the first few seconds before an orgasm, a prolongation to rapture one knew was coming.
As if sensing a presence, the mugger turned and jumped back with a strangled scream. “Fuck me! Where the hell did you come from?” The man’s bloodshot eyes did a frantic search of the alley before leveling on Addison. Although suspicious, his fear quickly dissolved as he eyed the expensive leather coat. A gleam of silver flashed in his dirty hands. “Wha’ya want?”
Addison smiled and the ringing of metal clattering to the ground echoed off the crumbling cement. The thief tried to stumble back into the shadows, the color draining from his face and a trail of piss pooling around his beat up sneakers. As if pushed by hurricane winds, the thief rushed toward him, his feet dangling above the concrete.
Caught in the grip of his magic, the thug fell into Addison’s waiting arms like a long, lost lover. His fangs were poised over the skin of the neck before the thief uttered a cry. He lapped over the flesh of the jugular, his thirst heightening. A little salt before the shot, but first he delved into the human’s mind, witnessing the murder of the man who lay a few feet away. Although the victim was not entirely innocent himself, he didn’t have to die at the hand of this paltry thug. Before Addison eradicated any life, he had to know the evil dwelling in the victim’s soul. He grimaced and left the man’s mind, wanting an immediate shower. “You took this stranger’s life for twenty-seven dollars and forty-three cents. His life savings.” He hissed out his disgust and bared his fangs. “You I shall take for free.”
His canines pierced into flesh with a resounding crunch, and an eruption of hot blood spilled over his tongue like the sweetest of champagnes. He wallowed in ecstasy, swallowing in ravenous gulps as the naturally induced warfarin thinned the blood. He staggered into the crumbling brick wall as fount after fount filled his mouth and drained down his throat. Life stirred in his deceased body as he suckled, drawing more of the elixir with deeper pulls. The rigidity of his cock strained against the zipper of his pants, and in that second of time, a vision of Eva flashed into his mind.
Then the world closed off in a blinding flash of crimson heat, as it always did when he fed. He lost himself in the sustenance, pressing himself more solidly against the thrashing body. Thighs rubbed against thighs, adding to the rapture. When Addison heard the quiet thrum of his own heart begin to beat, the fodder had stilled. He dropped the body to join the rest of the discarded garbage fluttering around his boots.
Life detonated into his cold body and he gasped, reveling in the warmth and human semblance he’d just stolen, if for only the remainder of the night. His heart pumped, albeit much slower than a mortal’s, and the frigid temperature of his preternatural body rose to about eighty-two degrees. He saw the night with more clarity, his dark powers attuned and far stronger, but best of all, he felt he belonged in this world.
Wiping his mouth, he resisted the urge to howl in exhilaration. Sated by blood, he drew air into lungs that had no need for oxygen, but breathing just felt good. At this very moment, he was as close to being human as he’d ever get.
Electrified with life, he sensed Satrina’s presence well before hearing her heels clicking on the cement. She picks now to go slumming? With a sharp flick of his wrist, he incinerated the foulness he’d just fed from and waited. A slight breeze fluttered the hem of his coat against the back of his legs as ashes drifted listlessly around his ankles like blackened snowflakes. All the while, the rat continued snacking on his meal, oblivious to the evil in its presence.
Hands clenching and unclenching at his side, anger flowed like the blood inside him and with effort, he reined the emotions back, knowing how foolishly dangerous it was to lose control.
“Why do you torment the unfortunates, Addison?” Satrina cooed with playful innuendo. “Why do you pick on the losers? Go after food that will challenge you. Ease some of that aristocratic boredom that you have shoved so high up your ass. I’d gladly share my list of recommendations of other things you could put there.”
He didn’t turn when her gentle fingertips rolled over his one shoulder and then the other, soft and inviting.
She clucked her tongue under her breath. “I’ve given you so many invitations to join my parties. There was a time you used to love feeding with me.” Her hand swept over the bulge in front of his pants. “Oh, I see you still do.”
Her cruel chuckle grated on him more than usual. He grabbed her wrist and shoved her away. “What I do and how I do it is of no concern to you, Satrina.” He glared, fighting the urge to take her, to fuck her hard and fast until she screamed, but not in pleasure. He was far too vulnerable in this aroused state, and she knew it. How convenient that she’d pick this very moment to find him.
She pouted, but a flash of anger flared in those verdant eyes. “Oh, but it is my business, Addison. You’ve taken my sweet morsel, and I want her back. Come to my beach house this evening. Bring the girl and all will be forgiven.” She offered a nonchalant toss of her head. “We can delight ourselves in decadence like the good old days. I promise I’ll give you all her best parts.” She pressed closer, brushing a palm over his taut nipples.
He jerked away, appalled at her touch. Satrina knew every pleasure point to hit, and she’d had centuries to learn. But to feed with her? Together? From Eva? The thought churned his stomach. “That woman did not sign of her own volition. Now, leave me. You’re not welcome here. These are my hunting grounds.” He sneered with an arched eyebrow and drove his point home. “And you bore the hell out of me.
She never flinched, but continued to circle him, her hands freely roaming over his chest. Addison refused to react, to give her any sort satisfaction. She leaned close, her lips a delicate caress against the lobe of his ear. “When I take her back, and I will, I’ll drain her dry,” she whispered.
Dark Diary, II: The First
Daniella Rolfe, a seven-century old First vampire is unwittingly drawn together with a City of Winnipeg detective, who happens to be investigating a string of some rather bizarre serial murders. It doesn’t take long for her to discover that this mere mortal man holds more power over her than any she's ever known.
And Aiden…he's only dreamed about women like Daniella.
Blood battles and broken vows are just the beginning of Daniella Rolfe’s woes.
It is not every day you will read such words. I write upon this parchment not in an effort to advocate who or what I am, for your opinion is of little significance to me. I mean no disrespect, mind you, but there are veils in this world that carefully conceal creatures such as I. By my own volition, I remain separate from you and those of my kind.
Know this—it is not for fame that I compose these pages, for there are enough volumes filled with fairy-like tales about us. The various renditions of movies that reveal us as beautiful do nothing for the truth of the matter, though it does provide you mortals with some amusement. No, vanity is not the reason I sit here and write.
Perhaps it is to give you a better understanding as to why I have undertaken this arduous task of creating such a diary. I shall try, to the best of my ability, to enlighten those who are brave enough to learn…and those curious enough to read on. Or mayhap it is a strange tenacious omen that is compelling me to record events, though I know not why.
However, I believe proper introduction is in order. My name is Daniella Rolfe, and I am the last of The First.
In this modern day world, where I dwell in mixed harmony with you humans, I find myself holding fast to luxuries of old. I have not put away things such as beeswax candles and delicate quill pens. My penchant for antiquated furniture holds no bounds. I live like a chameleon, maneuvering myself from era to era, striving to be as normal as possible amongst you blood-filled through these ever-changing times. Do not ask me my age, for such details are unimportant to me, and I lost count centuries ago.
I will confess that I have been hunted, glorified, scorned and even revered as a goddess. Although I do not deny my heretic lineage, I ask that you not judge me until you finish reading these words.
The year was 1304 when I emerged from the womb of a human mother, yet I was not mortal. I did not suckle milk from her breast like other infants, but rather my hunger was quelled by the drawing of her blood. A swaddling babe born a blood drinker was not a common occurrence. As your history books correctly depict, abominations such as I were sacrificed without thought or guilt. Is it not the nature of all beasts to destroy that which they do not understand?
Because of the power of maternal love, I survived those dark, medieval times, kept hidden from prying eyes and random witch hunts of evil, however short our time was together. My mother’s demise occurred in the year 1309, when I was still only a child, not yet knowing that the transference of my blood could have kept her by my side today.
I well remember the serfs huddled in their fear, grasping vials of holy water against their pumping hearts. They surrounded themselves with crosses of deities that have never affected me. Humans relentlessly attempt to deny my existence, but the blinding terror I sense in their essence before I feed tells me otherwise. They know me even before my teeth sink into their warm, supple skin, and together we learn what true evil resides in their souls.
I have learned much through these vast centuries, though I had no mentor to guide me in the ways of vampiric survival. I was alone, suffering like a feral dog, but I survived on instinct and my mother’s good graces. My insatiable hunger for blood enabled me to grow from a child to a woman quickly. The more blood I digested, the faster I grew. The genetics of my unknown father made me what I am. Strange though it was, when I entered adulthood, my feeding patterns altered.
Today, I am what humanity shuns as reality. This contemporary era has epitomized me as a seductress blood drinker, and every movie and book depicts me as beautiful and dangerous. To some extent, I will not deny that I fit into that category, though I admit this rather modestly. I dress the part of a wealthy businesswoman, as I have acquired much wealth since my birth. I lack for no luxury. My skin is pale, but with the aid of modern-day cosmetics, its translucency is easily concealed. Many women have endeavored to imitate what I look like, and I cannot help but wonder why. Humans covet the most curious things. I find you difficult to understand, so I keep my distance; I bring no attention to myself. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about certain kin.
Although you know me as a huntress, I kill only to survive. I take the wicked of heart, men and women deemed evil in your eyes, and mine. Debauchery, greed, and gluttony have become a standard way of life in this 21st century, although its discretion has changed drastically since my first mewling cry. Creatures such as I were hunted like rabid animals. Today, people kill as indiscriminately as any blood drinker past or present. Sadly, you humans proclaim I am the monster.
I am untouched by life, or death, but there is one thing that your myths do not reveal about The First. My blood is warmer than my kith and it flows through my body similar to yours. Although my heart does not beat, nor do I breathe, I require the warm, coppery substance of blood to keep me alive, needing replenishment once a month, much like a human needs a blood transfusion. I am unlike my vampire kin, who must feed every night.
I walk anonymously among you. Yes, you are fodder for my thirst, but I am something you have not yet discovered.
I must make the distinction here that in this modern world, evil takes many guises under one form of authority or another. I have become but a small player in this vast world of cruelty. True, there are some who still denounce and curse the soil upon which I walk; but there are others who would seek me out, begging for the gift that I will never share. To think it a gift appalls me to the point of utter disgust. I have known for centuries that it is nothing but a curse. I know I am not alone—I am vampire, but I am the last of my kind.
In accordance with any theory of evolution, it is my belief that the mixing of pure First blood with human genealogy brought forth diverse characteristics that have changed both my race, as well as humankind. The crossover from vampiric to human was inevitable. There are some who place the blame on Adam and Lillith and a tome some say is our bible. I worship no gods. These rumors are convoluted and inane, and I turned a deaf ear centuries ago. Even in our veiled world, gossip exists.
A bible, angels, and demons? My theory is more scientific. As single celled organisms evolve, so too, does the food chain. My kin survived by the sharing of blood with humans. I must point out that vampires are not born per se; they are created blood drinkers, veiled into the darkness. They come into existence through the bite and transference of vampiric blood.
The First, such as I, are born blood drinkers. As I have known no other like me, herein is my quandary: How then did I come into existence? Surely, not by divine intervention. The vampires, my kith, are twisted replicas of what I am. Their vampiric form must have come from a First, but laws of evolution have strained the bloodline, creating those that cannot walk beneath the heat of a sun or digest a sip of a well-aged wine. Who created them, I do not know, nor do I care.
Who created me? The mystery I have tried to unravel through webs of history is forever ambiguous.
My kin and I moved swiftly up the food chain, standing where we are today—at its very peak. In your world, I reign supreme. I boast not at all about this fact, for you must remember that I, unlike a mere vampire, am warm-blooded, similar to yourself. Although my body temperature fluctuates around ninety to ninety-four degrees, that is until the beginning of my blood cycle, I am more human than vamp.
The purest blood fills my veins, gleaned from The First who bedded my mother. I take great pride in the knowledge that I have never interlaced my blood with human, and I vow I will never do so.
But alas, it is part of why I write this journal of sorts, for this solemn promise pulls at me…a yearning I have never felt before.
A mortal man…his spell surrounds me in a web I cannot escape, nor do I want to.
I came to meet Detective Aiden Blackmore, an officer assigned to investigate a break-in that a number of tenants in my building had suffered. Tall and broad of shoulder, he proved professional in every aspect. His casual shirt, unbuttoned at the collar, drew my eyes to the delicious hollow of his throat. Yes, I confess that one particular body part fascinates me, among others. He moved like a Nile panther, and I found myself admiring him, enthralled by his vibrant essence as he conducted the necessary tasks needed to investigate such a petty crime. I did not care what was stolen, for I planned to hunt down the thieves and drink my fill of those who dared defile my domicile. To my surprise, this human man of authority revealed concern over my well-being and the loss of belongings that, except for their beauty, held menial value to me. I find such kindness in humans rare these days.
His ice-green eyes seemed to sear through my soul. I always hold fast to the powers I possess to entice and bend reality. Imagine my shock when it was he who ensnared me first.
You should know that I never dream. My sleep is dark and empty like the night that protects me. It provides rest and sustenance to a soulless body and that is all. Therefore, when Aiden’s face came to me in the gloom of my solitary slumber, I was shocked, for I thought that perhaps I had, at last, ended my immortal life. Now his face haunts my days, as well as nights. He is never far from my mind, and I despise myself for wanting him here beside me...forever.
Kindred Blood, III: The First
There is nothing thicker—or stronger—than kindred blood.
Being married in Scotland sounds like the perfect romantic getaway, doesn't it? For Daniella Rolfe and Aiden Blackmore, the nightmare they'd left behind was just the beginning. When Aiden is kidnapped, Daniella will go to any lengths to ensure he's brought safely back to her, no matter the amount of blood to be shed. Together with Spencer Dalton, a private investigator she hired to help find Aiden, they begin to unravel more than they bargained for.
Broken vows are the least of Daniella's worries now.
A strange iciness leeched into his left cheek, and whatever warmth he'd managed to steal from Rowan's blood was gone. Thankfully, the cold helped him become a little more alert.
Aiden's mind reeled in a pain-induced fog, and every cramped muscle in his body screamed for release. Dirt crunching beneath shoes sounded like shotgun pellets pinging off the inside of his skull. Carefully, and ever so slowly, he turned his head toward the sound.
“Well, if it isn't the infamous Detective Aiden Blackmore, or I should say, Rolfe's new pet.”
The voice ricocheted off the walls with a metallic echo that pounded each syllable through his brain. Worse, it dripped with malice. He raised his head a scant inch off the floor, praying he wouldn't puke. His nostrils flared at the scent of something so intoxicating, the dizziness that came forced him to place his forehead back on the coolness of the floor. A murky red cloud crept in at the corners of his vision, as if he swam in blood with his eyes open.
Well, enough of this shit.
He rose carefully to his bare feet and swayed as the world tilted dangerously around him. His stomach skyrocketed into the center of his throat. Shirtless and still wearing the same pajama bottoms he'd snagged from Daniella's personal stock, he concentrated on the woman in front, who wavered in and out of focus. Vestiges of a dream? Where had he seen her? Someone had walked into the bedroom. Through the pain, he remembered a woman with long, white hair. And here he thought he'd been hallucinating an angel. This bitch was no emissary from God. Then he felt the pinch of a needle in his upper arm.
“I've been called quite a few things in my time, but angel? That's a new one.” The gibe was blatant, especially followed by a bout of jeering laughter.
Aiden's voice came out sounding like pieces of sandpaper rubbing together. “H-how can you read my thoughts?”
“In this day and age, it's amazing what modern science can achieve. We've injected you with a little cocktail that makes you, well, a little more cooperative, so to speak.”
We? Try as he might, he couldn't place the barrier up in his mind. “Cooperative?” He twisted his lips into a sneer. “You kidnapped me half-naked and jacked me up on some kind of dr—”
Every lucid thought trickled out of his head as that delightful aroma wafted through his nose again, stronger than before; the same that had woken him. He whirled around. Huddled on the floor behind him was an emaciated woman. Dirty auburn hair splayed across the bony shoulders poking through a stained sundress. He'd seen enough junkies in his day to know the woman was wacked out on something. He jutted his chin in her direction. “Is she in here for the same crime?” The urge to lick the drool off his lips became unbearable.
His captor followed his stare. “Her? Oh, no. She's for you. I take very good care of my pets. She, unfortunately, didn't make the cut.”
Pet? Cut? This wasn't real. It couldn't be. He was having a blood madness-induced nightmare. Regrettably, the muscles of his guts clenched too painfully for it not to be real. He doubled over. The coppery bouquet swirling and teasing at his senses made his head spin more. His canines lengthened as escalating hunger brought him painfully to his knees. His teeth bit through his lower lip, and like a famished orphan, he suckled the few drops of blood as if his life depended on it. In a sense, it did.
The blonde bitch moved closer and crouched, her voice soothing and condescending at the same time. “Blood is as intoxicating as any crack pipe or heroin needle. We become addicted to one thing in order to survive, and we'll do anything to get it. It's survival of the fittest. Nothing is stronger or more compulsive. When it's not around when you need it, the pain is horrid, isn't it?”
Fingers ruffled through his hair. He jerked away, hating her touch. With more effort than it was worth, he looked up and glared. “Where's Daniella?”
This woman was beautiful, smart, and extremely dangerous. Her line of vision lingered on his bare chest before moving to his crotch. Only then did he realize the raging hard-on he was sporting.
A sinister smile curled the corners of her glossy lips. “The thirst puts Viagra to shame, doesn't it? In time, you'll learn to control it. But I see why Daniella chose to keep you as a pet.” She licked her lips and leaned so close, he smelt delectable traces of her last feeding. “A man of authority, go figure. I shall enjoy breaking you.” She rose and left, her heels a receding clicking inside his skull. The whoosh of a metal door opening was followed by a dull clank as it closed, sealing him in silence.
Aiden pressed himself into the floor battling the vicious knives scoring inside his guts. With difficulty, he swallowed the flood of saliva and dry heaved. If there were a way of tossing his cookies without feeling worse, he would've right then and there. And here he thought vamps weren't supposed to feel pain.
A slight whirling sound drew his attention up to the corner of the cell where the bitch had exited. A small camera lens mounted above the seamless doorframe stared straight at him. He gave whoever was watching his favorite finger and grimaced from the effort it took to raise his arm.
It was then he realized they'd left the girl. The tantalizing aroma of blood absorbed through his pores, her heart beating in time with his pounding migraine. The ruddy fog thickened behind his eyes, and he almost swooned, feeling weaker by the second. Was he strong enough to fight this? He remembered the stern lectures from Daniella about the blood madness. If he fed now, he'd lose control; that much he knew. So why had they left her here? The answer made him furious.
He crouched on all fours and screamed until he was hoarse. “You can't leave her in here. Get her out! Get her the fuck outta here. NOW! Get her out...get her out—”
Dawné Dominique is a multi-published author of paranormal romance and fantasy. Weaving tales of intrigue that include riveting characters and spellbinding plots, she takes great pleasure in immersing an unsuspecting reader into the worlds she created, refusing to let them go until that last page is read.
She embraces life with one simple rule:
“Everything in life happens for a reason, be it good or bad, and
it’s because of this we learn to never take anything for granted.”