Pretty When She Dies

Page 32

“I just realized I have no idea where I am. Since you kidnapped me,” she said a bit tartly.

“I helped you,” Cian corrected her, and stepped into the elevator as the doors opened.

Rolling her eyes, she stepped in with him. They were both silent on the way down. It was obvious that they were both determined to pretend that the events of the night before had not happened.

She supposed that a vampire as old as Cian may have some sort of weird need to try to have a normal life, but she didn't get it. She was looking forward to figuring out this vampire stuff, then carving a life out for herself far away from all this crap with The Summoner. Yeah, he was following her, but she was boring. Maybe he would just grow tired of her and leave her be.

Even she knew that was too stupid to even hope. Therefore, she was going to have to keep running.

The doors opened on a large, boring lobby with treated cement floors and brick walls. They headed to the doors that opened out onto the street and Amaliya glanced toward the security guard. The man barely looked at her before returning his gaze to the Austin American Statesman newspaper he was reading.

Cian shoved the door open for her and she walked outside into the humid spring air. They were close to Town Lake and it made the air muggy. It took her a moment to figure out where they were located, but she quickly recognized a few landmarks and realized they were close to the club scene.

“Where are we going?”

“Headhunters,” Cian answered. “Seems like your kinda place.”

She couldn't help but roll her eyes. “Yeah, okay, fine. I used to hang out there on occasion.”

“I figured that. Live bands. Sweaty guys with long hair and tattoos.”

“Shut up,” she said with exasperation. But she was pleased in a way that he had her pegged. Of course, in some ways she was a stereotype, but she didn't care. She had tried on a lot of looks and personas when she came to Austin as a student. It was when hanging out with the metalheads that she finally felt accepted. Plus she loved metal, so it worked out just fine. She had even played drums for a few bands and slept with the lead singers, of course.

He laughed and said, “Eh, you just look like the girl who'd be hanging out there and dancing all sexy to music that sounds like just noise to me.”

“Yeah? And how would you know?”

“I've got to spread my hunting around,” he answered. “I sometimes have a bit of a wild metal diva to entertain myself.”

They reached 6th Street and headed down the sidewalk that was slowly growing crowded. Thursday night was much busier than Wednesday and lots of college students were out and about. Strolling past the clubs that were just gearing up for the long night, the various tattoo parlors and tourist trap stores, they fell into an easy pace with each other.

“Um, wild metal divas, huh? Is that what you call us?”

He shrugged. “Goth girls are tasty, too.”

“Go to the hip hop club and grind on girls, too?”

Giving her a surprisingly warm smile, he said, “Why, yes I do.”

“You really are an equal opportunity guy.”


“Does Samantha go with you?”

“No. No. I hunt alone. Except for tonight. It's a personal thing. It's just you and your prey and the thrill of the hunt.”

“But aren't you kinda domesticated now that you live in your own barn?”

Giving her a sharp look, he studied her expression, then gave her a lazy shrug. “Maybe.”

Amaliya smiled at him and bumped him with her shoulder. “You're all bashful over being the nice vampire!”

Cian frowned at her. “I am not.”

“Oh, you so are. You're all freaking mean to me when I show up, but now I can see you're all Mr. Nice Vampire.”

“I am not. I could kill you where you stand!”

“Oh, yeah?” She laughed at him and skipped away and into the doorway of a tattoo parlor. “Do it in front of all these people?”

Cian passed her and gave her an annoyed look.

She hurried along to catch up with him and tucked her hands into her jean pockets. “Aw, c'mon. It is kinda funny. You're all old and stuff and getting married to Barbie.”

“Don't call her that,” Cian growled.

“Okay, Blondie, and meanwhile you prowl the streets of Austin hopping into clubs to take a little sip here and there, but going home to the missus afterwards. I think its kinda cute. I'm being instructed by freaking Ward Cleaver.”

Cian grabbed her wrist tightly and tugged her around to face him. His eyes blazed at her and it was clear he was pissed off. But surrounded by all the people moving up and down the sidewalks, laughing and talking as they anticipated a night of revelry, she wasn't afraid. He wouldn't hurt her here.

Besides, from the look on his face, he was mad, but he was feeling what she was.

That dangerous vampire lust.

Sticking her tongue out at him, she pulled her arm free and headed down to Red River, the street where a few more clubs were located.

“C'mon, Ward. June is waiting. We must hurry.”

Turning around, she walked swiftly ahead of him, inwardly laughing at his flustered expression. She could feel the tingle of her growing arousal at the thought of feeding and she was having really evil thoughts about Cian. She was a little annoyed with that since he was hooked up with blondie and he was so not her type. But being around him made her want to do lascivious things to him.

Even if he was kinda short.

Walking down Red River, the street was clogged with lots of scantily clad girls standing in line to get into a club. Their male companions tried to discreetly or not so discreetly check out every girl in sight. She wove her way through the line noticing a few of the guys checking her out. Her appearance was far different from the girls in their halter tops and tiny skirts, but when she was in her mode, she knew she could give off hot vibes.

Or good fuck vibes, as her old boyfriend told her.

Passing the Goth club, she looked over her shoulder to see Cian walking along behind her, his hazel eyes boring into her. She blew him a kiss and dashed across the street despite the slowly moving traffic to the club with the metal music pouring out of it. Headhunters always had live music playing everyday of the week and five years ago many of her friends had played here. For a moment, she wondered if she would recognize anyone.

Once in the bar, she looked around the steamy narrow room with its crazy decorations. It was decorated with a wild island theme with plenty of fake tropical plants, imposing idols, native masks, and bamboo blinds. Most of the bands on the bill seemed to be metal bands. Already the guitars were screeching and the lead singer was growling. The room was packed with the band's fans and family and she wove through them to the bar. Sliding onto a stool, she saw a few long time supporters of the scene gathered in a tight knit group, talking animately and drinking heavily.

They wouldn't recognize her. She was never that popular. When she performed with the bands, she was their cool chick drummer, but the guys got all the glory. Besides, she had been in Austin under a year when she got the call about her sister, Rachel. And she had vanished as quickly as she had appeared. It had been terrible not only because her sister was deathly ill, but also because she had just started to find her niche when it had all drawn to a close for her.

Now, here she was again, trying to find her niche again. Except this time she was a blood sucking fiend with a ticket to eternal youth if she didn't get whacked by her psycho ancient creator.

“I need a drink,” she decided, and signaled for the bartender.

Cian slid onto the barstool next to her and leaned his elbows on the counter. Ordering a drink for both of them, he took out his money clip, flashing a nice chunk of change. It was a good way to keep the bartender happy and pouring some strong drinks. Amaliya was sure that was the rule in any club.

The music was hard and fast, just the way she liked it. She let out a few primal yells and thrust a fist into the air a few times. Cian just drank his drink slowly and studied the crowd.

Oh, yeah; she was here to learn to hunt.

Leaning against him, she said, “Okay. So where do I start?”

“Well, first off, you have the power to get attention. Use it.”

She looked at him and said, “That's it?”

“You don't feel it?”

Well, actually she did. It was as if she could throw out an invisible net and pull people to her. She felt it, but wasn't sure how to use it. She could feel her body pulsating with the need to feed and it was making her feel wild and sexy.

Cian leaned toward her, his lips close to her ear. “Find someone you want. And then project it at them. Call to them inside of yourself.”

Amaliya sipped her drink and enjoyed the burn as she scanned the crowd of writhing people. Spotting a tall man with long black hair and a heavy beard, she smiled to herself. He kinda had the Rob Zombie thing going. Dangerous and dark. Concentrating, she flung out her power at him. To her surprise, he turned and looked at her. As their eyes met, he nodded at her, and began to move through the crowd toward her .

“See,” Cian said with a smug look.

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