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Journey of the Damned


Retribution

Written By: Robin Badillo
Series: Journey of the Damned #1
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Waking up in a strange place with no memory is hard enough, but when you unknowingly wake as a vampire with an ins...

I daydreamed and stared out the window above the sink, but too many things twirled in my head to concentrate on anything specific.

I shivered as a chill flashed across the back of my neck and I spun around.

Demetri stood right behind me, his cool breath poured down the back of my neck. Glaring at me, he didn't speak or respond to my startled reaction. He held his empty wine glass and I moved back as he leaned around me to put it in the sink. The gentle brush of his arm against my side made me woozy and my stomach flip-flopped.

"I... I didn't see you there."

"You didn't hear me either."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize to me. I'm not the one at risk because you aren't paying attention. You are," he declared with a cold matter-of-fact tone.

"I, um... I'm not used to everything yet."

"I know that, but still, you should have developed the most basic survival skills within the first twenty-four hours."

His intense stare bore through me and filled me with a mix of fear and defensive instincts.

"I fed within the first few moments, even though I was alone."

"A reptile can do that, Stray," he hissed.

His hostility stirred something deep in the pits of my gut.

"A reptile can be lethal at birth, too," I snarled back at the unwarranted insult.

His eyes widened.

I couldn't believe I'd snapped at the magnificent creature.

"Is that so?" He growled.

"Ye--"

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his hand come at me. I deflected the blow, but he grabbed my arm and spun me away from him. He twisted and pinned it taut behind my back. Demetri pushed against me hard, his head bent over my shoulder. I watched his reflection in the windowpane as he growled in my ear. I was trapped.

"You're such a child," he snarled. "You won't last long if you can't predict when and where an attack may come."

"I don't plan on putting myself in a position to need protection."

He loosened his grip, but didn't release me. "With that scent, Stray, you won't have a choice."

I trembled at the thought that flashed through my mind of Quinton and what Porscha said about him tracking me to claim his creation. A profound shiver of fear rushed through me like a roller coaster.

"Quinton," I whispered.

He jerked me around, grasped my shoulders and almost lifted me off the ground. I winced, prepared for another attack.

"What did you say?" He hissed. His stone cold black eyes locked onto mine with a sinister gaze. I was terrified.

"I...I said Quinton."

"What about Quinton?" He moved his snarling face close to my neck area and inhaled deep. His breath was cold. Although his scent was like nothing I'd ever smelled before, my instinct to survive was more prevalent than my urge to succumb to him.

"I don't know who I am, my memory's gone." I began to explain. "Porscha said there was a possibility my creator may have been Quint--"

He pushed me back and rubbed his jaw. Tension radiated from him. "Are you saying that Porscha thinks it was Quinton who..." His voice trailed off as he paced and stared at the floor.

"She doesn't know and I can't remember anything from that night at all."

I calmed a bit, as he came across more concerned with what I said than he was about me in general.

"Nothing? You remember nothing?"

"I don't even know my name, hence the nickname Stray." Sarcasm returned to my voice. I had a natural urge to remain guarded in his presence.

"Oh, right." He looked up. "Well, if he is...and I'm not saying that he is, you're going to have a fight on your hands."

"I never thought it would really come to that. I guess so much has happened, he slipped my mind." I stepped forward, but he moved back with his jaw clenched.

"You can't ever forget the danger. Being a vampire doesn't make you immune to death." He spoke in a quieter voice, but his gaze remained distant.

I thought of his wife and hoped he hadn't realized I knew how she'd died. It felt like an invasion of privacy. I slowly lowered the wall for a moment, as he appeared so vulnerable.

"I understand. I'll be careful." I promised. I meant it but at the same time, I was no match for a thousand year old vampire sure to have powers like nothing I could fathom.

"You must learn, Stray. You may not have time to wait for skills to develop."

"How?" I didn't even know what my instincts were much less to understand and act.

He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "I guess, if Porscha plans to keep you, I could show you a few things." He ran his fingers through his neatly kempt hair. "I'm not saying it'll keep you alive, but maybe it'll help." The tension eased a bit, but remained noticeable.

"If he's my creator, is it even possible for me to resist him if I can't escape?"

His eyes cut away for a second, as though he pondered the question, then much to my delight, his gaze returned to me. "The best scenario would be to make sure you never come face to face with him. That would be best for everyone."

"That would be nice. Thank you, Demetri."

"Don't thank me yet."

Beauty radiated from him. Even through his anger and the way he'd lashed out, I sensed an unquestionable connection. He was like no man I'd ever imagined. I didn't have my memory, but the inexplicable feeling was deeper than any memory could be.

He could very well be everything I thought he was the first moment I'd laid eyes on him, possibly much more. I hoped he continued to come around so I could figure out what it was about him that got to me.

Somehow, I thought I saw something he may not have wanted anyone to see. I didn't know what it was, but my attraction was undeniable.

Although unrequited, it didn't lessen the flutter of butterflies swarming in my stomach. It was apparent, the more I was around him the closer I came to losing myself.

Whatever the risk, loss, discovery or outcome, life as a vampire was my reality and I began to embrace it without much effort.

Terrified and perhaps even angry about the unknown events that led to my creation, for the first time I saw a silver lining as the tides appeared to turn in my favor. Who would have thought that the cold glare of a man I didn't even know could affect me in such a profound way? I couldn't help it, I liked it.

Waking up in a strange place with no memory is hard enough, but when you unknowingly wake as a vampire with an insatiable desire to drain a stray cat of its life's blood--then you can bet that you're about to take a journey down a very bumpy road. Sydney Chance finds herself a stranger to her new life as well as the one she left behind. On a reluctant mission to uncover her past, Sydney's struggle with bloodlust is magnified when all of her senses draw her to a brooding and intriguing vampire named Demetri Bastian, who seems more intent on fighting her at every turn as he keeps her at arm's length while trying to protect and control. To make matters worse, a sadistic ancient vampire, who makes it his hobby to collect beautiful young women and keep them as pets, has his fangs set on Sydney. Not knowing her own name takes a back seat to the drama that unfolds all around her as she seeks revenge on the vampire who created her, sending her on a suspenseful trail of love, lies, betrayals, twists and turns that could quite possibly destroy her, immortal or not. Who says what you don't know can't hurt you?
Price: $1.59
Forbidden

Written By: Robin Badillo
Series: Journey of the Damned #2
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Sometimes love's journey begins with a glance, sometimes with a kiss, but some journeys begin with a bite. Syd...

We made our way back before sunrise. I couldn't wait to see if it was as breathtaking as the sunset. Demetri went in the house to get us some wine and I sat alone on the porch enjoying the peaceful night. The low murmuring of the cattle in the distance kept a slow rhythm in the air like a tribal song.

I appreciated the tranquility, but was tired and wanted to see the miraculous sun make its entrance before going upstairs to sleep.

As I leaned on the rail, an unexpected movement snared my attention. Something was in the bushes just off the side of the house. At first, I wasn't sure what it was so I sauntered to the end of the porch. I caught his scent before I saw him.

Connor watched from the shadows.

Acting as though I hadn't seen him, I walked around to the opposite end of the porch. The instant I was sure I was out of his sight, I snuck around the house, moving with great vampire speed and stopped just behind him. He had no idea I was there. Folding my arms across my chest, I cleared my throat.

He jumped, startled, and the color from his face drained into an instant pallor. His heart pounded in his chest, echoing in my ears.

"What are you doing here, Connor?" I whispered, trying to prevent Demetri from knowing he was spying.

"I had to see you."

"What? Why?"

"I had to come before daylight. I needed to see for myself." He stood up straight and looked me in my eyes, assuming a bold stance. "I know what you are," he said through clenched teeth.

My insides contorted much like the last time I was near him. "What do you mean by that?" Don't jump to conclusions.

"I saw them when I was a boy. They didn't know I was there, but I saw," he continued. "Mr. Bastian, and his brother, I--I saw them kill a kangaroo and drink its blood. I never told anyone, not even my father."

My first thought was confirmed. "You don't know what you saw. You were confused or perhaps you dreamt it. Now, go home before he sees you and tells your father." I scrambled to rebuff his announcement.

I spun on my heel and headed back the way I'd snuck up. Demetri wouldn't like this news.

"You can have some if you want," he blurted.

I stopped, dead in my tracks. A sharp pinch nipped at the back of my neck, as a nervous though thrilling chill skittered across my skin. I turned to face him.

He peeled back the collar of his shirt with a trembling hand, offering his pulsating vein and eased toward me. "I was willing back on the road. I knew you wanted me then, I felt it. I'm yours if you still want me," he added with a slight crack in his voice.

Sensing his offer had a definite double meaning I stepped closer and leaned in. His scent was so very tempting, even though I'd just had my fill from the hunt. I couldn't help myself and splayed my fingers around his throat, mesmerized by the throbbing vein beneath my touch. I squeezed it just enough to feel the pressure build. Slow and easy, I pushed him against the side of the house, pressing my body into his. His breathing increased and the blood pumped harder and faster underneath my fingertips, sweetening with each passing pulse.

He swallowed hard and moved his hands around my waist, his hot breath cascaded down my neck and back.

I inhaled his scent and slid the tip of my nose across his cheek memorizing his sweetness. Soft stubble scratched my skin. I put my mouth to his ear. Easing the edge of my tongue between my lips, the subtle flavor of salt and a heady blast of eucalyptus mixed with honey infiltrated my mouth. My arms trembled as his essence seeped into my mind. "Connor, I want you--," I whispered as the pressure began to grow into an uncomfortable ache, "--to go home." I pushed his face away and stepped back, struggling against my very nature to refuse the offer.

"But--"

"No buts. This isn't a game and you can't play like that. Do you understand me?"

No matter how tempting the offer, I couldn't allow myself to be as weak as I'd been on the road when we first arrived. "I don't know what you're thinking, but this is a very dangerous path you're walking on here, kid. More dangerous than you could ever imagine, so you better keep it to yourself and forget it," I demanded.

"I'm not a kid," he snapped. "And, I know exactly what I'm offering. I'm not afraid of you. My offer stands anytime you want or need me." His jaw tightened.

I rushed toward him, boiling with threatening intent, and growled, pinning him against the side of the house.

His nostrils flared and his breathing deepened, but he didn't back down. He braced himself against the house and used it to lean into me. The piercing glare of his eyes narrowed with determination, in direct contrast to the tremble he tried so hard to suppress.

Eyeing him, surprised, I pulled back. "You're not afraid of me?"

"No. I'm not. You won't hurt me. It's… it's not in you. It's not in them either." His glance darted toward the house as though referring to Demetri and Saul. "I can see that."

A dozen reactions flashed in my mind. Which one would deter his intentions was anyone's guess. I searched his eyes hoping for a sign of weakness. None was to be found. "Go home, Connor, and we can forget this ever happened, okay?"

He made me uncomfortable enough as it was, and his strength and fortitude worried me. He may have been too bold for his own good. He wouldn't convince me to cross any lines, but the perseverance in his voice told me he wasn't going to stop trying either.

"I'll be back, Sydney," he vowed backing away into the darkness.

I waited a moment to collect myself, but still couldn't get the tone of his voice out of my mind. I leapt onto the porch hoping I'd beat Demetri back to the swing.

He eased outside, looking at me through the screen door. "Were you talking to someone?"

I raised my eyebrows and bit my bottom lip, shaking my head no. I didn't speak because if I had he would have caught my lie in an instant. As I was learning, sometimes there were ways around our gift.

Had I handled Connor the right way or not? Should I say something or see if he decides to back off? I'd mention it if he became more of a problem than I could deal with.

"I must be getting old," he teased.

I chuckled at his charming humor.

"I know you're looking forward to day break, but we'll be here a long time. I have something special for you if you'll agree to wait a little longer for your sunrise."

I joined him by the door, curious, and snuggled under his arm. "What's my surprise?" I loved surprises, well good ones anyway. Goodness knows I'd had more than my share of bad ones. Whatever it was didn't matter, as long as it took my mind off Connor.

"Follow me."

He led me upstairs and as we reached the second floor, he placed his hand over my eyes, and guided me into a room I hadn't had time to explore. The scent of lavender permeated through the air.

He removed his hand and we stood in the bathroom. In the center sat a giant antique claw-foot tub filled with steaming hot water and floating lavender petals. Where did he manage to find those? The room was lit with elegant candles. Romantic nuances, so thick, they sparked tingles of warmth that saturated my body.

Draped across a chair was a white silk negligee and matching robe. He'd thought of everything a man would need to seduce a woman. He didn't need any of that, but the effort was appreciated.

"Oh, Demetri, it's perfect." I beamed. "Are you joining me?"

"I thought you'd never ask," he replied already undressing. I followed suit and slid into the water. He slipped in behind, wrapped his arms around me and kissed the back of my neck.

I was in heaven.

He reached for an elegant ceramic pitcher on an antique stand next to the bathtub, filled it with hot water and poured it over me. He then sprinkled the contents from a glass bottle into the palm of his hand, and applied it to my wet hair. To my delight, he lathered my hair with an aromatic shampoo. Breathing in the delicate fragrance, I sighed with contentment. His massaging fingers sent clusters of gooseflesh across my skin.

If I hadn't been before, I was now convinced that forgiving Demetri for creating me was the best decision I'd ever made. As if I had a choice.

"Are you happy?" He whispered, his soft lips tickling my ear.

"Very." I sighed and leaned my head back against his chest.

I'm not sure when I fell asleep. I missed the sunrise and the rest of the bath, but I was so content for the first time in a long while, life couldn't have been better.

The fact that I was happier than I'd ever recalled, as though the planets had aligned in my world, should have been my first clue. In my world, things were never as they should be and if they were, then they wouldn't be for long.

Sometimes love's journey begins with a glance, sometimes with a kiss, but some journeys begin with a bite. Sydney Chance has found her eternal destiny in the arms of her lover, vampire Demetri Bastian. Their rocky beginning gives way to an adventure fitting the lifestyle of the undead. They've conquered an enemy who threatened their love and discovered powers and gifts contingent on their immortal bond. Everything is finally just as it should be until they set out for a romantic adventure in the Australian Outback. Upon their arrival, they're met with an unexpected problem, when Connor Ryan, the determined son of a human friend, sets his sights on Sydney and tempts her with more than the taste of his blood. And, after an unexpected attack by rogue vampires on a murderous rampage, their coven must unite to help Connor's family and a local Aboriginal tribe, eradicate the lethal enemy. Can Sydney fight the temptation of forbidden fruit or will bloodlust force her to betray the oath she's made to Demetri? Will an unstable lover from Demetri's past destroy more than cattle, or will her twisted agenda rip Demetri from Sydney's arms forever? The journey may have started with a bite, but it just may end with a bang.
Price: $5.99
Scorned

Written By: Robin Badillo
Series: Journey of the Damned #3
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Some journeys take you to distant lands, some to the end of the line, but some journeys take you straight into for...

My attention turned to my own growing hunger. I spotted a young guy across the room that wasn’t dressed as a vampire or covered in tattoos and piercings like most of the other people. He appeared rather normal. Then again, how normal could he be? After all, he was in Hell.

I excused myself and headed toward him. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed Connor take the waitress by the arm and walk with her to the other side of the room.

The guy saw me coming and straightened his t-shirt as if that helped him to look better. I could have cared less what he looked like. The smell of his blood was my one concern.

I didn’t speak, I just did what my instincts told me to do. He followed me to the dance floor where I wrapped my arms around him, watching Connor and the waitress the entire time.

Lean into her slow. Take your time, I told him with my thoughts.

He glared at me with an intense fixation and positioned her in our line of sight.

I did the same with the guy. Do as I do.

He nodded.

I pressed my mouth against the flesh of the guy’s neck as if to kiss him there.

Connor leaned down and did the same.

The girl’s heart pounded so loud I heard it across the room, even over the thudding heartbeat of my own prey. Her breathing changed, too. She panted heavier and faster as she became more excited.

Connor kept his eyes open and set on mine.

Pull her to you tighter and smell the vein.

He closed his eyes as he inhaled.

I gripped the guy I was with harder and did the same. Now, flick the flesh covering the vein with the very tip of your tongue, not too hard though.

Connor opened his mouth and did as I had told him

The scent of her blood wafted toward me.

He pressed his mouth against her skin and began to swallow the sweet flowing nectar. His gaze was fixed on mine as he fed. His eyes glowed red hot.

I’d never seen another vampire feed on human blood, not even Porscha. His eyes were intense and my own body responded to what he experienced. He purred with enthusiasm and a vibration of excitement shuddered down my stomach.

I licked my unsuspecting donor and tasted the hot liquid as it trickled over my tongue.

Connor closed his blood-lusting eyes and savored every drop. For reasons I could never fathom, I wanted so bad to see his eyes while he fed, and anxiety gripped my thoughts.

I rushed through my feeding so I could get closer to him. Take your time, Connor, don’t hurry, I urged. Make it last.

He responded to my thoughts without opening his eyes. I could feel his every emotion as it slammed through his body.

It was as if everyone in the room disappeared as my gaze locked onto Connor and his feast. I left the guy I fed from and moved to where Connor was with the girl. I couldn’t help myself. An overwhelming desire to taste what he tasted engulfed me and I stumbled around in a euphoric state toward him.

He stiffened as I neared. I knew right away that he felt me, although his eyes stayed clenched tight. The closer I got, the harder he gripped the girl. Feet from him, his eyes sprang open and he glared wild-eyed. I heard the rumble of his chest as he growled too low for human hearing.

I stopped when I sensed his warning and responded with a glowering discontent.

He relaxed and closed his eyes again as he suckled her throat. Blood glossed his lips a deep crimson.

I licked my own lips and tasted the remnants of my meal. How I wanted to taste what remained on his.

He didn’t look at me again. Instead, the girl whimpered as his mouth became more eager and he clutched her hard. He was losing control, just as I had feared.

I caught my snap and composed my wild erotic thoughts. Let her go, Connor!

His eyes sprang open and he growled at me loud enough for Saul to hear and stand up. Saul’s quick reaction stole my attention from Connor for just a second. Then, panic shot through me as my own need to partake of his kill kicked in. My fangs pricked the inside of my lip. Joining him became my main desire.

When I turned back to Connor, his mouth was open wide and his fangs were exposed and dripping with venom.

Some journeys take you to distant lands, some to the end of the line, but some journeys take you straight into forever. Sydney Chance found her immortal destiny in the arms of her creator, vampire Demetri Bastian. But life as a vampire has dealt them a shocking hand. Separated by a sinister foe, Sydney must circle the globe, desperately in search of the man she loves. Oceans and continents lie between them and danger lurks at every turn. A female vampire alone for too long incites the natural attraction from every male within her proximity. Even a determined Sydney finds herself vulnerable to nature’s call and when her own feelings of doubt weaken her resolve, temptation becomes her enemy. Can she fight the battle within or will it destroy her before her nemesis ever has a chance? Is it possible for a woman to love more than one man at a time or will fate make the decision for her? Love has a way of leading a heart to its destiny, but nobody said it was going to be easy.
Price: $5.99