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Blood Doll (The Vampire Agape Series Book #3) (The Vampire Agape Series #3), Page 1

Georgia Cates




  Table of Contents

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  About Georgia

  Young Adult Books by Georgia Cates

  Adult Books by Georgia Cates

  Inescapable: The Premonition Series

  By Amy A. Bartol

  Chapter 1–Moving Day

  Blood Doll

  The Vampire Agápe Series

  Book III

  By: Georgia Cates

  Published by Georgia Cates

  Copyright 2013 Georgia Cates

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

  “It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom.”

  ― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

  Prologue

  Solomon Alexander

  Three months earlier

  Avery Ferrand is surrounded by twelve armed vampiric guards when she’s escorted into the room where at least one hundred vampires are unaware they’re gathered in her honor. They silence as she enters and their full attention becomes fixed upon the only human in the room–the blood jewel–as she is led to her seat. It looks much like a royal throne for a king or queen so it gives the illusion that she’s treated with high regard. But I know better.

  I’m unable to see her face from where I’m standing in the crowd but I have a unobstructed view of the pale skin exposed at the top of her strapless blood red ball gown. Her severe pallor is evidence that Vincent has shown no mercy in draining her for tonight’s blood jewel ceremony and I’m sickened. I think of what that must have been like for her and I want to inflict a long and painful death upon her captor. It would give me great pleasure to watch him scorch during a slow sunrise before meeting his final death.

  I’m enjoying the scene playing out in my head as the bastard lifts his vial and instructs the entire room of vampires to ingest the substance that will transform them into his minions. They are killers–just as I once was–but none of them deserve to have this addiction unknowingly forced upon them. “Now, let us all partake of the precious blood jewel together.”

  I lift the vial to my lips as part of the deception and I’m unable to stop myself from sniffing the blood contained inside before I pretend to consume it. I’m surprised to discover it doesn’t have an essence at all. I’ve never known human blood to lack scent. I suppose it’s a characteristic specific to only a blood jewel so she isn’t so easily revealed among the vampire population. Perhaps it’s a trait given by Anteros to enable her a better chance at survival.

  A fledgling walks through collecting the empty vials on a silver platter–a show of how no expense was spared–and I’m relieved when I’m able to rid myself of the evidence of my deception. I hear the voices around me murmuring about the exceptional taste of Avery’s blood and I begin to worry that this large group of vampires might break into a frenzy to get to Jenn’s sister. There will be nothing Curry or I can do if that happens.

  I listen for the sound of her mundane heart and I’m surprised when I realize it isn’t pounding as one would expect. How strange. It’s calm for a human sitting before one hundred vampires that just consumed her addicting blood. At the very least I would expect a fast, thready beat due to her recent loss of blood volume. But it isn’t. I’m guessing it’s another Anteros given mode of survival.

  The crowd in front of me shifts and I dart from side to side until I’m able to get a look at Avery Ferrand for the first time. She’s staring blankly into the crowd but turns her head–almost as if I called her name–and makes eye contact with me. I want to look away. But I can’t. She is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

  Her heart speeds as our eyes remain locked. I can’t bring myself to blink because I’m too mesmerized by her beauty but then I realize that whatever I’m feeling toward her must be part of the blood jewel attraction. I didn’t consume her blood so what little is left of it must be calling out to me like a siren summoning her victim to his doom.

  I feel a harsh jab into my side so I fight the urge to continue staring at the beauty in front of me. I’m barely a victor over the strange desire I feel but I manage to turn to Curry. “What?”

  “Our host is calling you so why don’t you go see what he wants.” Curry’s words are slow and deliberate as he gives me a look I can only interpret as a warning to be careful.

  “Oh, sure, sure.” My words stumble. I’m embarrassed Curry has seen how easily I’m enraptured by the blood jewel. It’s a sign of weakness–something I don’t care to fall victim to.

  I’m cautious as I approach Vincent where he is sitting on the armrest of Avery’s throne. I want to look at her again–and my eyes beg permission–but I don’t grant it. I fear any attention directed toward this lunatic’s most prized possession could cause an unwelcome riff.

  An evil grin appears on Vincent’s face as he reaches out to stroke Avery’s cheek and it takes every ounce of strength I have to not rip his arm from its socket. “I couldn’t help but notice your special interest in my sweet, sweet Avery.”

  Shit. He’s already noticed the attention I gave her so I don’t dare make the mistake of looking directly at her again. He drops his hand from her face and watches me. “Did you enjoy her blood?”

  I’m in a shitload of trouble if he asks for specifics so I rack my brain to remember some of the comments murmured by those around me after they drank her blood.

  Damn! I draw a total blank because I was too preoccupied with seeing her for the first time. “I did. It was mesmerizing just as you said.”

  “I know it was everything I promised it would be and more, but what did you think of it?”

  He’s pressing me. But why? Does he suspect I didn’t drink her blood?

  I look from Vincent to Avery against my better judgement. She peers up at me through her long lashes and I confirm the beautiful color of her eyes for the first time. They’re the most unusual color of golden brown–a shade I can’t recall ever seeing in all of my years–but they’re a perfect pairing with her long blond curls. “She is perfection like nothing I’ve ever known before.”

  “Her blood used to be better, if you can believe that.” There’s no misinterpreting the disgust in his voice and I have the urge t
o defend her against his verbal assault.

  “I can’t imagine it being better.” Nor can I imagine wanting her more than in this moment so I force my eyes from hers because I’m ashamed. I shouldn’t want her.

  “My sweet Avery has become desensitized by us. We no longer frighten her so she doesn’t produce the adrenalin high she once did. As you can imagine, I want to get that sensational high back again. I’ve tried everything but I can’t seem to achieve it anymore.”

  Jenn told us the tactics he used on her and Avery to achieve a higher saturation of adrenalin in their blood so I’m not at all shocked by his admission. However, I am a little surprised by how much pleasure his dissatisfaction brings me and I struggle to fight the grin threatening to spread across my face. “I’m sorry, Vincent. I don’t understand what you mean.”

  “Phillip.” I’m briefly caught off guard when he uses my alias. “I noticed the way you looked at my Avery.” He places two fingers under her chin, lifts her face upward, and strokes her carotid. “You noticed too didn’t you my sweet angel?”

  She makes no reply before she lowers her eyes. “Don’t you smell her fear and hear her fluttering heart, Phillip? It’s been months since this happened. She might as well have been dead to the world until she saw you in the crowd and then her pathetic little human heart began to race. Now, adrenalin is coursing in her blood and seeping from her skin. Isn’t it magnificent?”

  I knew the scent of adrenalin well but that was not the fragrance tickling my sense of smell. It was something entirely new and different. And I liked it a lot more than I should. “She is a splendid creature and you are very lucky to have such a rare commodity.”

  “Come closer to her, Phillip.” Why does he continue saying my alias and where is he going with this? It can’t be good wherever it is.

  I’m cautious again as I take a single step toward her and stop. I don’t want to make any aggressive moves that could trigger one–or all–of her guards to charge me. When Vincent sees that I have no intention of coming closer, he motions with his hand. “Closer, I want you to touch her, Phillip.”

  Is he setting me up? Is it his plan to have the guards attack me? Perhaps as an example of what not to do with his property? “Okay, this is getting a little too weird.”

  Vincent rises from the armrest and there’s venom seething in his voice. “I said for you to touch her and you are a guest in my home so please show some respect for your generous host that shared her blood with you tonight.”

  Two words. Arrogant. Asshole.

  I’m furious as I move closer to Avery but then I look at her and all of my anger dissipates the moment I press the back of my hand to her face and slowly stroke her soft cheek. Human touch. It’s something I haven’t felt in decades and I bask in the feel of her warm skin against my cool hand. But that isn’t what feels so amazing. It’s the nearly electrical-like current I feel creeping beneath my skin. It’s almost as if the point where I stop and she begins no longer exists.

  It’s easy to imagine us as the only two people in the room–maybe even the earth–but then Vincent ruins the moment when he opens his mouth. “It is glorious what your touch does to her.”

  He finds pleasure in this girl’s fear. That’s when I decipher what I’m doing to Avery and why he made me touch her. I’m unintentionally terrorizing her because she doesn’t understand that I’m here to save her and not join in with these sick bastards. “I’m glad you are pleased.” I turn to walk away–attempting to hide my disgust–but he isn’t finished with me.

  “Stop, we’re not done here.” I cringe inwardly before I turn back because I don’t know what to expect next from this psychopath. “You’ve accomplished what no one else could and I need to reward you for your achievement.”

  I don’t want to know what constitutes his idea of contribution. “I need no reward.”

  Vincent motions again for my return while stretching out his words in a threatening tone. “Phillip … come … back.”

  I want no part of this game he’s playing but I don’t have a choice if I wish to maintain my cover so I return to stand before him. “I have just one more request.” It comes out as a whisper and his tone is even more devious when he lowers his voice.

  I don’t want to ask what it is he wants from me but I do because I have no choice. “What do you want?”

  An evil grin spreads across his face. “Bite her.” He watches me while waiting for my reaction. “I see you are questioning my sincerity but I am quite serious.” Vincent reaches for Avery’s carotid and caresses it with his thumb. “Bite her now.”

  Every vampire in this place–with the exception of me and Curry–would kill for this opportunity yet he chooses me to drink directly from the blood jewel. What are the odds?

  My mind races to think of an alternative. I’m desperate to come up with anything but it becomes more and more clear as the moment passes. I have no choice. Our cover will be blown if I don’t do as he commands.

  I bring her wrist to my mouth and I’m sickened by what I’m about to do. I’m going to bite a human and drink directly from the vein for the first time in more than two hundred years. As much as I hate doing this, I find comfort in knowing I’m sacrificing myself–and every part of who I’ve become–so this girl may be saved. If I never accomplish another thing in my existence, her life is worth everything I’m giving up.

  The moment before my incisors pierce her skin, Vincent stops me. “No, not like that. Stand up, Avery.”

  Vincent takes her hand and leads her to a huge gothic framed mirror hanging on the wall. He stops and places his hands on Avery’s shoulders, turning her to face her reflection. “Come join us, Phillip.”

  What kind of game is this madman playing? Is this all part of the show to heighten this girl’s fear? “I don’t know what it is you want from me.”

  He moves away from Avery. “Stand here behind her.”

  Avery’s eyes never leave mine while I do as he commands. Once I’m standing in my designated spot I await further instructions. “I want her to watch you in the mirror as you drink from her neck.”

  My fate is sealed. There’s no way to avoid drinking from her now.

  She doesn’t appear the least bit fearful–which makes no sense at all. For a reason I can’t explain, I think she wants me to bite her. And I don’t understand why.

  We’re standing close but we don’t have to be for me to smell how much stronger her scent is becoming. Her fragrance is like nothing I’ve ever encountered. I want to be engulfed by it so I move closer than necessary because I want to drown in it.

  I place my hand on the blond curls cascading down her shoulders and push them aside. My incisors lengthen as I watch the pulsation in her neck. A low groan escapes her mouth as I quickly pierce her flesh but it doesn’t feel like a response to pain. It seems more like she’s enjoying what I’m doing to her.

  I suck gently because I fear she has already lost more blood than her small body can withstand. I’m surprised when her blood hits my tongue. I can’t find the words to describe the flavor in my mouth because I’m far more concerned about the way my lips feel against the skin of her body.

  Doing something so wrong shouldn’t feel this right.

  Vincent grasps my shoulder. “Enough.”

  My incisors retract and I take my mouth from Avery’s skin as Vincent claps his hands with delight. “That was marvelous. Let the party continue. We have many hours until dawn. Please, enjoy yourselves.”

  I turn Avery so I’m able to inspect the damage on her neck. It’s only oozing lightly but I can’t stop my desire to taste her skin again so I place my tongue against her wound and spread my coagulant. The bleeding stops instantly but I steal another opportunity to touch her when I take her face in my hands. I hold her cheeks against my palms and her eyes alternate between looking at my eyes and mouth.

  I wish I knew what she was thinking–or maybe I don’t–but whatever it is won’t matter for much longer.

  I look
deep into her eyes so I may remove this whole event from her memory although I fear it’s one I’ll never get out of mine. “Avery, when you wake in the morning, you will not remember this incident. Your neck will be sore and you will believe it is from sleeping in an uncomfortable position. Do you understand?”

  She takes one more look at my mouth before she whispers, “I do.”

  I battle the raging urge to grab her and flee this nightmare as I walk away. Turning my back on someone has never felt more wrong but I know the ultimate plan and I must stick to it if I intend on saving her from this madness.

  I return to Curry’s side and I’m glad we’re unable to discuss what just occurred. I have no idea what the hell I’d say but I know one thing … I can never tell him how it made me feel or how much I liked it.

  I make a valiant effort to avoid looking toward Avery for a while but my eyes grow defiant and don’t obey my brain’s command when they steal a glance in her direction and find her looking at me. This is the painful game we play over the next hour until Vincent orders the guards to escort her away. As she rounds the corner, she turns for one last look in my direction before a guard gives her an unnecessary shove, causing her to stumble. I’m ready to streak in her direction but she rights herself before falling. And then she’s gone.

  Once my attention isn’t focused solely upon her, I notice the peculiar behavior displayed by our hosts and their guests. Their strange drunkenness increases as the minutes stretch into an hour and I’m left with no choice but to wait for Avery’s blood to effect me the same way.

  Another hour passes and although I don’t feel any drunken effects, I definitely think it’s fair to say that something peculiar is happening to me. It’s scary as hell although I’d never admit that to anyone.

  I can’t guess what is about to happen to me but I know it’s not something I want to experience here among these devils. “Ugh! These drunken fools are driving me crazy. I feel fine for the time being, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I space out, so it’s probably time I leave. I can’t be positive I’ll be able to control myself once this thing hits and I can’t bear the thought of hurting that girl again. Everything is up to you from this point.”