Wild Girl is the second book in the Immortals Series.
TAMMY SCOPED THE orange-lit, cold streets as perspiration chilled on her skin. Fog descended; the bitumen slick and black. Lamp posts filtered a cloudy gold, and she dragged in a deep breath of Whitby’s North Sea air, surveying the night’s smorgasbord with a vampire’s hungry eyes.
Well, a vampire-slash-werewolf. A nightmare hybrid that made her suppress one or the other whenever she transformed.
“Stop it, they’re glowing. You’ll scare away the humans.” Simone frowned and fell in beside Tammy. The silence of Simone’s footsteps contrasted to Tammy’s leopard-print heels clicking away against the littered gutter.
“What’s glowing?” she asked.
“Really? Well, I’m hungry.” Hearing the whine in her voice, Tammy straightened and clamped her lips. She didn’t want her wolf to come out now. She shot Simone a pleading look. “My stomach is killing me.”
Simone’s frown lines grew deeper. What the hell? Tammy kicked crumpled empty UDL cans out of the way. “You still pissed? We can go raid a blood bank or somethin’. Mess with a few tiny minds. Get a baseball bat and smash the crap—”
“Behave.” Simone’s lips twitched. “Also, why are you wearing those shoes?” She stared down at Tammy’s feet. “How the heck do you hunt when they make such a racket?”
“Easy. That’s the point. They look at my legs, travel up to my backside and breasts, and then settle on my face and hair.” She moved her hands, gesturing to each body part in turn and shrugged. She tried to tell herself it didn’t bother her that men only looked at her physical assets. “Gets ‘em every time.”
“I’m sure it does. But . . . somehow you wish it didn’t?”
“Not tonight,” Tammy denied with narrowed eyes. Sometimes her friend was just too perceptive. “I could chew through my own arm right now. No, I definitely need a man. That vampire blood does wicked things to your system.”
“I know, it teaches you all about hunger. Well, are you going to answer the question?”
“Nag. Sometimes, all right?” she admitted, simply in an effort to make her friend feel better, although it was true. “I wouldn’t mind the thrill of the chase or clever conversation. Mind you, not often. I’m not a masochist.”
“Clever conversation?” Simone stopped in her tracks and stared. The wind blew back her fiery red hair. “You want that from your food?”
“Mmm. It can walk and talk at the same time, can’t it?” Tammy grinned. “You know, you’re turning more vamp every night. You never would have called humans food before.”
Simone sighed and then rubbed a hand down the back of her neck. “My protective instincts are kicking in. Someone is out there killing vampires, and I can’t stop them. I guess I’ve been hanging around too many meetings, but it’s frustrating that I can’t find them.”
“If the killer is a raging homicidal maniac, it’s a good thing you haven’t. Oh look,” Tammy’s voice rose in delight, “ten o’clock.” Her mouth watered at the sight of four men grouped outside Player’s nightclub where a never-ending horde of near naked woman spilled out onto the street.
“You going to separate one from the pack?”
“What?” Tammy flicked back her hair, blonde waves falling across her shoulders. “I said I was hungry, didn’t I?”
“Okay, well, I’ll be waiting right over here. Holler when you’re done.” Simone headed toward the deep shadows cast by another building across the street.
Tammy’s eyes burned with deadly focus on the men. A twisting sensation gripped her stomach, and she immediately tottered over in her high heels. Platinum blonde hair rippled down to her bottom, and her skin was smothered in self-tan now that she was half vampire. In the mini skirt and bright yellow top, she looked like some kind of harmless, fun-loving daisy.
She sidled up to the hottest guy in the group and flashed her mega-watt smile. “Hi, honey. It looks like you’re having fun out here tonight.”
All four men tilted their heads to look her, and their mouths dropped open, their gazes stuck on her jutting breasts before roaming lower to her backside, long legs, heels, and then climbing back up to study her face. She’d spent at least an hour on her hair and make-up.
“Not really,” the hot guy said, recovering his poise.
“Would you like to?” she prompted.
He grinned. “Sure. What’s your name, beautiful?”
Damn these boys and their one-liners, but at least he was playing by the script. Was she truly going to make it so easy for him? Yes, yes she was.
“Tammy.” She drew a shapely nail with pink polish down the guy’s bicep.
“I’m Emerson,” he said. “And this is Trent, Nathan, and Patrick. What did you have in mind, babe?”
Tammy struggled to keep the glee from her face. Not happening. She chuckled. “All four, eh? I’m meeting up with a few girlfriends down at the water’s edge. Having a bit of fun on the beach. Do you wanna join in?”
She acquiesced to another minute or so of hard, stripping stares, like she was a slab of meat. The guys looked at each other in silent communication. But Tammy just kept on smiling. Starvation hurt. She turned her left foot slightly inward, drooped her right shoulder, and then let her arms hang limply by her sides, effecting a helpless pose.
“We have a car,” Trent said. He had dark hair, an open-necked white shirt and a scrummy looking neck. “No need to walk.”
“Terrific,” she cooed, then considered the rules new vampires must follow when hunting. And she was a new hybrid at that. Even more dangerous. The royal vampires didn’t want her gallivanting out on her own when there was a vampire hunter on the loose, either. Plus, she didn’t want to worry Simone more than necessary.
“Would you mind if my friend tagged along, too? You wait until you see her. She’s over there.” Tammy turned and shouted, “Simone, get over here, chicky. Check out these hot guys I found.”
Emerson caught hold of Tammy’s hand, squeezed gently, and then he brought her fingers to his lips for a kiss.
It was all just too fricken’ easy.
“SO GO OVER this for me one more time.” Juliun Cel Batrin, prince of vampires and heir to the mist, paced the clinic inside Ravenkeep’s grounds. He wore black trousers, a white linen shirt, and expensive black shoes.
“Sure,” Tammy said.
Massively tall and brooding, he made the hair stand up on the back of her neck at the best of times, but he treated her best friend like a queen, so Tammy forgave him for their first encounter that had almost killed her.
“You found some men who suited your purpose to feed. Simone waited and watched until you agreed to travel by car. You summoned her over, and then she got in.” His teeth ground, jaw clenched, but he continued: “Yet instead of going to the beach, they took you both for a joyride. Why didn’t you leave the car when their plans changed?”
“It was a Corvette,” Tammy supplied helpfully, although her voice lowered to a murmur as Alec, Ravenkeep’s doctor, burst through the clinic’s swing doors.
“Tamara?” he growled. His hard blue gaze swept the room in a second and then pinned her to the spot.
“You’re in for it now,” Juliun murmured.
Her stomach dropped. “It was a classic car. Hi, Alec. How’s it going?”
Lame. Completely lame.
He stalked up to her, stopping an inch away, getting all up in her personal space and fairly bristled with anger.
She refused to rear back even a little. No way a guy, vamp, or wolf was going to do that to her. She’d already experienced near-death and had enough confused feelings about this particular vamp.
His icy blue gaze raked the torn and bloodied yellow top, mini skirt, her tanned, bare legs, and her come-fuck-me leopard print heels. His mouth was a grim, white line when he lifted his gaze back to hers.
“You went hunting,” he accused, leaning a hand on either side of her hips on the mattress. He breathed hard. “For blood. And then you had a car accident.”
It felt like her heart stopped. “Make it sound bad, why don’t you?”
A whisper of his woodsy cologne drifted to her nose, and she raised her eyes to his mussed up blond hair. He looked like he’d just jumped out of bed. There was a thought: Alec, naked, on a massive bed with silk sheets, his firm, muscled body glowing in the candlelight. She could imagine his usual steady, kind face replaced with an expression of total ecstasy. Sweat glistening all over his ripped abs and powerful back. His arms wrapped around her in a tight cage. Whoa. She shifted her bottom uncomfortably on the hospital bed and flicked a glance at Juliun, but he watched Alec with intelligent grey eyes.
“I wasn’t driving. Simone faded us,” Tammy said, a coarse note in her voice. Her throat ached. “And I’m still thirsty.”
Alec straightened with a sudden jerk and a faint, ‘You’re going to be the death of me’. He stomped over to a sink, washed his hands, dried them and then snapped on gloves. Muscles bunched in his shoulders as he yanked a tray of medical paraphernalia toward him in irritation.
Juliun remained silent but watchful.
Alec pivoted back to her and barked, “Tell me your story while I clean up your wounds.”
“Woke up on the wrong side?” She smiled at him.
He stared at her stonily, and then switched his gaze to Juliun. “Recap what you were saying.”
Juliun nodded and studied Tammy. “You went for a joyride. You, Simone, and four men,” he growled again.
“In a Corvette, don’t forget. Man, you should have seen it,” Tammy said with a wistful sigh. “But it’s totalled now.” She grimaced. “The gas pedal was implanted into a telephone pole.”
Alec jerked his head to Juliun. “Did you say four . . . men?”
“She needed to feed.” Juliun shot the doctor a quelling look, then focused in on Tammy. “They took you along the back roads. Out in the middle of nowhere, and then one of them pulled a gun on you. It was equipped to kill vampires.”
“What?” Alec dropped the tray to the bed and frantically grabbed one of her hands, rubbing her skin. “They hurt you? Someone shot you? Where?”
“No,” she whispered. “But I’d say the gun would’ve killed anything. Even a male alpha wolf.”
“Simone faded her, and the shock of that caused a car accident. The men didn’t expect them to disappear into thin air. We believe it may have been the hunter, or someone under their mind control,” Juliun said to Alec, and then turned back to Tammy. “Please tell me you wiped their minds.”
“Simone did it. She’s very careful. Says the old man would have her hide if she wasn’t,” Tammy said, referring to Juliun’s grandfather, Radu. “Simone probed into their thoughts as well. Talk to her if you want more info.”
“I will,” Juliun promised. “As soon as I’ve seen you healed. I have sworn to her that I would make sure you were all right.”
Okay, so Juliun wasn’t all bad. Simone had definitely been a good influence on his overwhelming personality. Their first meeting did leave a lasting impression, though.
Alec ran his gloved hands up Tammy’s arms and goose bumps broke out over her skin. She stared at his hands as if they possessed some kind of magick. He traced the slash on her knee, the cut between her breasts from the seatbelt, and the bruise over her cheek from where she’d slammed head-first into the dash. She shivered and he frowned.
“You’re in shock. Any broken bones?” he asked.
“No.” For some strange reason, Tammy wanted to melt into the safety of his arms. He smelled of warmth, which was crazy. Vampires were cold to the touch, well; they were when she’d been pure werewolf.
“Are you otherwise okay?” He met her eyes with a tender, concerned look.
No, she wasn’t. Here was a guy who was totally wrong for her lifestyle. He was a goody-two-shoes vamp. Perfect in every way. He probably never did anything wrong, ever. And Tammy wanted to taste him so bad her fangs pierced her tongue. Her heart ached to lead his gorgeous self to the dark side.
“I’m fine,” she lied.
“You need blood to heal,” he murmured absently, checking her eyes with a small light. He turned to Juliun. “There’s nothing here. How are our supplies back at the castle?”
“We are receiving another shipment later tomorrow night.”
A burst of air escaped Alec’s nose. “Okay.”
She couldn’t feed from Juliun, because he was Simone’s fiancé and that whole power of the mist thing. They would have to kill Tammy then. That left Alec.
Sexy, buttoned-up Alec. Drinking his blood would make her year. Her lips quivered.
As though he’d come to the same conclusion, his blue gaze met hers, and the tips of his fangs slid out while his ears reddened.
The effect made her heart skip. She shifted closer to him, perching on the edge of the bed and tilted her head a little. Her fingers walked suggestively along the hem of her top. “I guess I should take this off now it’s ruined,” she said. “Oh, and go find some guard so I can feed.”
Alec stiffened and ran another hand through his hair, blue eyes like ice, jaw tight, and he hunched his shoulders over her in a possessive manner. “What?”
Her wolf howled with joy. She struggled to suppress it. She didn’t want to sprout fur. “Feed.”
“I will talk with Simone. Thank you for taking care of Tammy, Alec,” Juliun said abruptly, striding out of the clinic. In seconds, he was gone, and the banging doors echoed in the stillness.
“He didn’t use the mist,” she said thoughtfully.
“No.” Alec didn’t look away from her.
Tammy let her gaze roam over the good doctor. He wore old denim jeans that tented around his groin, a black t-shirt, and a starched white coat that ended mid-thigh. A gold name tag stuck to the lapel. Alec Dimir M.D. There was a whole host of letters after it. His blond hair never touched his collar, always trimmed, and his skin gleamed smooth and white in the clinic’s fluorescents. He had a strong jawline and cheekbones, and his eyes were an intriguing blue, radiating out from the dark pupil in degrees of pale sky toward a navy rim.
Honestly, she could’ve used him for a fantasy pin-up. Her gaze dropped back to his erection, and she pondered all sorts of delicious, naughty things.
Her teeth worried her bottom lip. Maybe he wasn’t so unaffected by her after all if he had that reaction? She stopped her lustful perusal to discover his gaze roaming over her in the same speculative manner. At this rate, they’d be here all night.
“Alec?” she murmured.
“Mm?” He blinked and frowned.
“You were going to clean my wounds?” she asked softly.
As though he were a rusty hinge, he reached for the tray, setting out a kidney dish and disinfectant, plus swabs. Hands sure, he cleaned her wounds so she didn’t feel any pain, only the most arousing sensations from his careful touch. When he finished, her breasts were swollen inside her lace bra and her nipples tingled, but he bandaged her knee and chest, then dabbed cream onto her bruise. All without looking her in the eyes.
Quietly, he disappeared to hunt down an ice pack, and Tammy heaved a sigh of frustration. She wanted him, but he was too fricken’ good to hit on her. And she needed to eat. Maybe another time she could rattle the good doctor’s cage. She climbed off the bed and groaned at the ache in her muscles, leaning her stomach against the mattress in a luxurious cat-arch stretch. Bones cracked. She moaned. A generic hospital gown would do for stopping the odd guard. She wasn’t picky at this stage of deprivation.
She pulled off her top, ruffling back her hair over her shoulders and then flung the fabric on top of the bed. Unsnapping the back of her bra, she shot a startled look over her shoulder.
Alec stood frozen by the wall. No, actually, he leaned on it; his hands clenched a blue ice pack.
She hadn’t heard him approach, but instinct warned her. “Is there a problem?” she asked. Nudity was something she had gotten over quickly as a werewolf.
His gaze drank in the smooth expanse of her bare skin. “No problem.”
She kept staring at him over her shoulder and then she smiled. His eyes rested on her mouth. Her vampire gaze noticed his dilated pupils. “Good. I’m hungry.”
He exhaled slowly. “I know.”
“Do you? Alec—” she began, then stopped. No, she wasn’t going to come on full force to him, like he was some kind of blood factory she met in the street. This was Alec. The vampire who had saved her life. She shouldn’t be feeling these urges for him, knowing they were so wrong for each other. She didn’t want to break his heart.
“Do I what?”
“Well,” she removed the bra, clasped a hand over each breast and then turned back to him, smiling archly, “do you think you could possibly pass me a hospital gown?” She licked her suddenly dry lips. “Please?”