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Called by the Vampire - Part 2, page 1

 

Called by the Vampire - Part 2
 

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Called by the Vampire - Part 2


  Called by the Vampire - Part 2

  V. Vaughn

  Sugarloaf Press

  Contents

  About this Book

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  About the Author

  About this Book

  Called by the Vampire

  V. Vaughn

  Maggie Evans loves her new job working for the Hart brothers, because it will allow her to live life in a big way. Unfortunately being attracted to both Sebastian and Alexander is messy, so she decides a nice human boy would be a better idea. When she sets out on a mission to add normal back into her life, the vampires she lives with have different ideas.

  Chapter 1

  I gaze out the window of my bedroom in the Hart mansion to see the sun sparkling on the water. It’s my day off from working for Sebastian and Alexander Hart, and the weather is predicted to be unseasonably warm, so I decided I’m going to the beach. But first I need my morning walk. My exercise tights snap as I pluck out the wrinkles. My stomach flips with my inner turmoil.

  I came to Port Porpoise, Maine for an adventure through a job working as Sebastian’s personal assistant. After spending my life with a heart condition that was finally relieved by a transplant I was ready to live large. Once I got here though, I discovered Sebastian wants me for much more. I’ve become Kitty Kane, the face for the pen name the Hart brothers share for their erotica romance novels, and I learned my heart used to belong to Sebastian’s true mate.

  My heart skips a beat as if to warn me I’m making a mistake. Even though I feel my donor’s thoughts and experience her love for Sebastian, the rest of me isn’t willing to give in to her desires, because with the first day I arrived I fell in love with Alexander. I believe I’m his true mate. Last night I played pool with the men, and it was more than billiards. It was an attempt by both of them to win my attentions.

  After hours of tossing and turning in my bed last night I determined it’s foolish of me to try to choose one over the other. I think the best course of action is to stay away from both men. Besides the fact they’re vampires who are tempted by the warm blood in my veins, witnessing their competitiveness with each other made me think choosing to get involved with either one would be a grave mistake. I flash back to the physical reactions I had to both of them, and my cheeks heat up. I had more than one dream of a ménage with the brothers last night, and I wish I could erase the memory. Get a hold of yourself, Maggie. They are my bosses and I should stay professional. I grab my phone to turn on my music in an attempt to push the thoughts away.

  I leave my bright, sunny room and descend the staircase to the dark. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of light or the actual temperature, but it feels cold when I get there. I rush to the door to get outside to sunshine. As I walk to town, I find I need to remove my thin jacket, and I tie it around my waist. The cool breeze off the ocean is welcome on my sweat-slicked skin. My mood lightens with each step, and I pass more people than usual. It seems they’ve crawled out of their winter caves to welcome the first sign of summer.

  When I get to center of Port Porpoise, I find the door of the coffee shop is propped open, with the rich aroma of coffee floating toward me before I enter. I smile as I look for Aiden, but discover a girl about my age is working instead. Her dark hair is in two long braids, and she has an olive complexion that I’m sure tans with just a hint of sun.

  I notice the shop is busier than usual, and I have to wait behind three people. The woman in front of me is on her phone, and I take in her pleasant floral scent as I listen to her gush on about the shipment of T-shirts she just received. She’s excited about it, and her enthusiasm rubs off on me.

  When it’s my turn to order, I ask, “Is Aiden off today?”

  “He is. There was a storm out to sea yesterday, and you know Aiden. He had to catch the waves.”

  My smile returns as I think about what he’d look like in a wetsuit hanging at his waist, and I place my order. Kristi will be happy to hear he surfs.

  “Do you want me to tell him you stopped by?”

  “No. We just met.” The girl is nice, and since I’m on a mission to make friends, I say, “I’m Kitty. I moved into town about a week ago.”

  “Lyndsey. Welcome to Port Porpoise.”

  “Thanks. Does Aiden surf at Porpoise Beach?” She nods as the metal milk container clatters against the machine. I say, “Then maybe I’ll see him there. It’s my day off too.”

  She glances at me. “Once I’m out of here, that’s where I’m headed. If you want, I can introduce you to a few people. We hang out by the lifeguard chair.”

  “Really? That would be great.” I step out of the way for the next customer.

  “Have fun!” she calls out as I walk away.

  I take a seat on the bench outside and sip my drink. Whipped cream is sweet on my tongue as I lick it off my lips. Even though Sebastian said I shouldn’t make close friends here, I can’t help but be excited about the prospect of seeing Aiden and hanging out with Lyndsey later.

  I get up to go home and come to a short bridge that used to be a functional drawbridge. My feet thud on the old wooden walkway as I glance up at a seagull calling out. I watch in fascination as something drops from the gull’s mouth. I stop, and the old metal rail of the bridge is cool on my stomach as I lean on it to look down. The tide is out and reveals multiple rocks poking up from the mud flats. The item crashes on a rock, and the gull swoops down to land near it. As he pecks at it, I realize he dropped a clam to smash the shell so he could eat the insides. Clever.

  It makes me think about fried clams and how my mother and I had a ritual of getting them once a summer. I decide that’s what I’m going to treat myself to after my day at the beach. When I walk again, I think about how the Hart brothers didn’t eat the first night I arrived, and a chill runs through me. They pushed their food around on their plates, pretending, and I think it’s because they consume blood to survive. I recall the flush of pink I saw under their skin the night they fed. The night I kissed Alexander.

  I shudder when I remember the metallic taste on his lips. Was it human blood? No. Surely if the Hart brothers were feeding on people, they wouldn’t be able to live amongst them so easily. I imagine the local authorities would do everything in their power to find out who was killing a few people a week in a small town like this.

  I convince myself they eat animals and decide I’ll have to ask how that works when I talk to Alexander again. But when I finish the thought, my heart fills me with the emotion of dread, and I wonder if she’s trying to tell me I don’t want to know.

  The feeling stays with me for the rest of my walk, and I try to push it away as I step into the Hart mansion. Sebastian must listen for me each day, because like clockwork he greets me. “Margaret, it’s lovely out there. Did you enjoy the exercise?”

  “I did. And I’ve decided I’m going to check out the beach.”

  “Ah.” He lets out a sigh, and I wonder if he’s reminiscing about a time over a hundred years ago. I imagine what it would be like to never walk in daylight. At least I assume he can’t, based on the darkness of the house, though we’ve never discussed it.

  While he shut down my questions I had about vampires the first time I tried to ask, I feel as if we may have broken past that barrier last night when he was trying to seduce me, so I ask, “Is it true you can’t go out in sunlight? How does that work?”

  “The sunlight does burn our skin, but with proper clothing and the wonders of sunscreen,
we can go outside for short periods of time. However, it’s not something I do often.” His eyes dance with amusement as he adds, “I prefer the cloak of darkness.”

  He answered so quickly I dive in with the question I don’t think I should ask. “Is it true you feed on humans too?”

  The warmth on his face disappears as he stares at me with a blank expression for a moment before he says, “Enjoy your day at the beach, Margaret.”

  My heart sends a bolt of fear through me, and I say, “I will.”

  As I walk up the stairs, I can feel the icy stare of Sebastian as he watches me. I swear it’s colder because he’s around too. I have to resist the urge to run as if a monster is chasing me, even though I realize if Sebastian wanted to feed on me, I’d be no match for him. I can’t help but wonder if I’m in danger. When I get to the second flight, I pick up my pace and breathe a sigh of relief when I’m finally in the secure space of my suite full of daylight. I wrap my arms around myself as I shiver and wait for the sun to bring back the warmth of life.

  It takes me a few minutes to shake off my fear, and I grab my duffel bag out of the closet to find my swimsuit. With my scar climbing up my chest almost to the hollow of my neck, the only style that covers it is a halter top. I pull out my one piece, wishing I had a bikini instead. I put on shorts and a T-shirt and pack a bag, complete with a book by Brock McGillis, my bosses’ old pen name.

  When I go to the kitchen to make a lunch, I hurry by Sebastian’s office with the hope he won’t come out to talk to me again. I get my wish, but I run into Bertha, the crotchety old housekeeper instead. I’m determined to make the woman smile for me, so I say, “Good morning” in a cheery voice. “It’s a beautiful day out there. Was your drive in pleasant?” She lets out a grunt, and her knife taps on the counter as she cuts a sandwich in half. I say, “It’s so nice out I’m going to spend my day off at the beach.”

  She glances at me and nearly growls. “That’s why I’m making you lunch.”

  “Goodness, you didn’t have to do that. But thank you.” I know she doesn’t think I should be here cavorting with vampires, so I say, “I met a girl at the coffee shop in town, and she’s going to introduce me to her friends.” Bertha’s eyes widen, and it makes me say more. “There’s this really cute guy too. Aiden. He’s going to be surfing, and that should be fun to watch.”

  “Hmpf.” Her voice is gruff, but it has lost a bit of the usual anger when she says, “I hope you know not to bring anyone here.”

  “Oh. Of course. It’s just that I want to have a life beyond the one in this house. You know?” I glance over at the dark shades. “Do you ever get depressed working without daylight?”

  If Bertha were the eye-rolling type, I think she would. Instead she snaps the lid on a plastic container of cut vegetables and sets it with the rest of my lunch. As she walks away, I call out, “Thank you, Bertha.” She doesn’t reply, but the small nod she gives me instead of a grunt makes me think I’m growing on her. It keeps me smiling all the way out to my car, and I set off to make new friends.

  Chapter 2

  My beat-up Subaru sputters to life after the third try, and I crank music as I drive toward the gate. It’s set to open automatically with motion when leaving, and when I started walking, Sebastian gave me a code to punch in on the keypad to get back in. I sing loudly as I open the moon roof to let the salty ocean air blow through my hair. I’m determined to push thoughts of the Hart brothers far from my mind today and focus on being human.

  I glance out at the water, and the polarized lenses of my sunglasses make it appear to be sapphire blue. The beach is a few miles past town, and I get a few stares from people on the sidewalks as they hear my tunes blaring from my car. Parking for the beach is along the road and requires a permit after Memorial Day, but for now it’s free. I find a spot near the lifeguard tower, and when I turn off the ignition, the engine heaves before it finally cuts off. That can’t be good, and I make a mental note to get my car looked at.

  The rush of waves fills my ears as I get out. There are big rocks and wild sea rose bushes that separate the beach from the road. I glance at the vivid pink flowers as I walk down the street until I find a path that leads to the beach. It’s sandy, and I stop to kick off my sandals. While the grains are warm on the top, when I sink deeper with my footsteps, the sand is cool on my toes as I make my way to the beach. Dunes are on either side of me, and the tall grass sways in the breeze as if it’s as happy as I am to be enjoying the sunshine.

  I gaze out over the water to see if I can locate surfers, and I find a group of three clustered together sitting on their boards. I understand why Aiden was so eager to get out here, because the waves must be over six feet when they break. I find a spot near the lifeguard chair, which gleams white with a fresh coat of paint, and I lay out my towel before I remove my shorts and T-shirt. Greasy sunscreen coats my skin as I apply it, and I watch the surfers pull apart from each other. Two hop up to ride a wave, and I wish I knew which one was Aiden.

  I notice two girls near me and wonder if they’re Lyndsey’s friends but decide I want time to myself before I strike up conversation with strangers. I pad my way down to the water and think back to how excited I was to come start my new job. I was sure it was the adventure of a lifetime, and it is. But not quite the one I had in mind. While being the face of an erotica pen name can be an exciting new life, struggling with an attraction to two vampires isn’t. My heart wants one, my soul wants another, and my brain says to stay away from both. I’m going with my brain.

  The Maine ocean is cold year round, but I’ll swim in it when the temperatures are above sixty degrees. It typically happens in June, but in May it will be too frigid for me to do more than dip my toes. I will, though, because experiencing the tingle of ice-cold feet is a necessary part of my beach experience.

  I’m not disappointed when a wave washes up over my ankles, and I let out a small gasp at the sensation, which feels like pins and needles on my skin. I stand firm so that when the wave retreats, sand is sucked out beneath my soles, and when the water returns, more sand is deposited on my feet. When I was a little girl, I used to believe I could eventually be buried completely. But I never managed to last long enough to find out. I gaze out at the ocean, which ends at the horizon. Did I make a mistake coming here? Bertha thinks so, but my heart fills me with hope, and it helps wash away my fear to replace it with my usual determination to make the best of my situation. Can I really live with two blood-sucking men? They haven’t killed Bertha yet, so as long as I’m useful, I think I’m safe.

  I smile to myself as a plan forms. Today, I’m going to tell people I’m Kitty Kane and establish a need to keep me. I glance over at the surfers. Now that I’m closer, I can make out more details and find one with hair that falls to his shoulders. Since the other guys have shorter cuts, I assume he’s Aiden. I watch as he rides a wave. His board cuts into the water as his agile body balances with grace, and when he finally ends his run, I say, “Yes!” Kristi would be drooling right now, and I wish my friend were here to enjoy this with me.

  One of the girls that I saw earlier has come down to the water too, and she must have overheard me because stands next to me and asks, “Do you know those guys?”

  I glance at a brunette in a green bikini. “I might know one. I think the guy with the long hair is Aiden from the Port Coffee Shop.”

  “It is. Are you new here?”

  “Yes. I’m Kitty.”

  “Jenna.” She lifts her sunglasses up to see me, and I notice her eyes are warm brown. “I’m the assistant manager at Decked Out.”

  It’s a women’s clothing store, and I say, “That must be a fun job. I’ll have to check it out.”

  “We don’t open until Memorial Day weekend. Where are you working this summer?”

  Here we go. I get to practice being Kitty Kane. “I’m actually here for more than the summer. I’m a writer.”

  “Nice. What do you write?”

  “Romance.” I kick at
the water to make it splash.

  “Wow. That’s great. Are you published?”

  I glance back at Jenna and find she’s sincere. “Not yet, but I hope to be soon under the name Kitty Kane.”

  “Is that really your name?” I nod, and she says, “It’s like you were born to write romance novels. I love them, so you’ll have to let me know when your first book comes out.”

  I smile. “Thanks. I will.”

  I gaze back out at the water to see a guy take a fall. His board flies up in the air. “Whoa.”

  “That was Matt.”

  “Do you think it hurts when they fall like that?”

  Jenna chuckles. “It must not be too painful, because they always get back up again.”

  I watch as Matt grabs his board and paddles out for more. “Looks like you’re right.” As I speak, I notice Aiden stand tall on his board and ride it to the shore. He steps off easily and bends down to pick it up.

  Jenna says, “They’re going to take a break. C’mon. I’ll introduce you to the rest of the guys.”

  “Sure.” I follow her as she begins to walk.

  Jenna’s blond companion has gotten up from her chair, and she joins us as we move toward the guys. Jenna says, “Becky, this is Kitty.”

  “Hi,” I say.

  Aiden has reached dry sand, and he begins to peel off his wetsuit as we approach. He grins when he sees me. “Hey, girls.” His eyes twinkle with playfulness when he looks at me. “Kitty. How are you?”

  “Great.” I glance at his board. “You’re pretty good out there.”

  He shrugs as Jenna says, “The waves are huge today. Where’s Lyndsey?”

 
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