The Edge of Nothingness
At the age of ten, Zach witnessed the death of his mother and the kidnapping of his sister during a vampire raid on their village. He watched as his mother's killer was murdered by another vampire, then in turn Zach was saved from a burning fire by the vampire. For years, the memory of that night, and the face of the vampire who saved him have haunted him.
Talked into the insanity of a resistance backed raid on vampire territory, Zach comes face to face with the vampire he couldn't forget.
Another completely new world. A world of vampires who rule and the humans they keep captive.
Fire blazed around him, climbing the sides of the building. Then suddenly the world fell away and Zach watched in abject terror as flames engulfed the roof. The hold on him was tight, and when his feet touched the ground, Zach spun around and scrambled backward, fear shot up his spine as he saw the vampire towering over him. Blue-black eyes regarded him without emotion and Zach tripped on his retreat, falling forever it seemed.
A scream broke the unearthly silence and startled Zach awake. He was covered in sweat, shaking, his heart racing like mad. Wiping his hands down his face, he tried to regain his bearings.
Pieces of the night--day?--before came back to him, little by little.
He'd killed Brant Conner, tried desperately to kill a vampire. Night? Zach blinked. Night. And Kat was here ... somewhere. Zach flung the covers off, the chill in the room sending shiver after shiver through him, his hair standing on end all over his naked body.
Seeming to step from nowhere, Night appeared beside the poster of Zach's bed. The light of the candle flared from the night stand. "You had a nightmare?"
Zach bolted from the bed, bumping back against the wall. "What the hell! What are you doing in here?"
"I didn't want you scaring your sister, Zach." Night seem unperturbed as Zach nearly bounced off the wall.
"It would give you a reason to compromise her virtue."
"A reason to do what?"
Zach rolled his eyes. "To fuck her."
"Mortals certainly do seem to have dirtier minds than vampires do. You might want to get back under the covers before you freeze."
Night walked to the fireplace, barely biting back a chuckle, and crouched down to place logs from the stand on the hearth.
Blinking, Zach remembered he was naked. He snatched the sheet off the bed and wrapped it around his waist. "If you're not bedding her, why keep her here?"
"She wishes to stay with me." Night replied as flames engulfed the wood with a snap of his fingers. Carefully, he added a few more logs to fuel the fire for the rest of the night.
Zach didn't speak right away. His attention was distracted as he studied Night. He'd been taught--had seen--that vampires were barbarians, monsters. Yet Night appeared to be relatively civilized. Zach had to grudgingly admit the man's demeanor wasn't exactly what he'd expected.
Night straightened and faced Zach. It seemed the vampire could read his thoughts when he said, "Don't so easily trust us, young Zach. Now, tell me how I destroyed your life."
Night settled at the end of the bed since it was the only place to sit in the room.
He had to skirt the bed to keep his distance before Zach stood in front of the fire to warm himself. Not foolish enough to turn his back on a vampire, he stood in profile, keeping Night within his field of vision. "I was ten when vampires raided our village. My mother was slaughtered while I watched from the top of a storehouse. I can only assume my father and brother met the same fate. My sister was taken--by you."
"Your sister was taken by Reto. As were the others. So you were the young boy I pulled from the fire."
"How did she end up with you? I've had nightmares since then, and all I ever saw at the end was your face, your eyes. I've had to live with those visions emblazoned on my memory. Not exactly the most wonderful thing to think about for ten years."
"I hunted Reto and the others. By the time I eliminated them all, I came across your sister and brought her here. She doesn't remember much of that time." An appreciative gaze followed the line of Zach's body clearly visible with the light of the fire shining through the sheet. "You were taken to a family who would care for you. I had no idea Kat was your sister."
"I suppose I owe you a thank you," Zach said rather grudgingly. He turned slightly to warm his front. "So you are not my sister's lover, then?"
"You owe me no thanks. And no, I am not Kat's lover. Nor will I allow another near her. She is far too young for that." He slid both hands behind him and leaned back slightly, continuing to enjoy the view Zach didn't realize he was giving.
"I agree." Zach sighed and shivered, the sheet dropping a little lower on his waist.
"You're still cold?" With very little effort on his part, he expended a small amount of energy to warm the room several degrees. "Why don't you crawl back under the covers? I'm not going to do anything to you that you don't want."
"Scoot down." Zach started toward the bed, warily.
"Are you afraid of what I might do to you?"
"I don't trust vampires," Zach muttered. He let the sheet drop just as he lifted the blanket to get under it.
"I have never forced anyone into my bed, Zach. I certainly don't plan to start with you."
"It is? You don't seem comforted at all."
Scowling, Zach shifted several times before he finally got comfortable. "Not exactly."
The faintly seductive edge returned to Night's smile as his dark eyes roamed over Zach before lifting to his face. "Do I bother you that much, Zachary Bern? Shall I leave you alone?"
Zach shivered slightly. He wasn't sure if it was in reaction to Night or the temperature of the room. "I'm fine."
"Are you still cold?" Night put his hand on Zach's thigh, and warmth flooded through Zach from the touch.
"Gods ... how did you do that?"
"It's just a small part of my powers. Of which I have many. I would have thought your village people would have had more sense than to try to raid vampire land."
"Brant was arrogant, inflaming everyone to follow him." Zach inched his leg to the side, out from under Night's hand. "I only went because my foster brother did."
"Was your foster brother one of the injured men?"
"No. Thankfully. I suppose it is foolish to ask if there might be a place one might relieve himself?"
"Then he should be safely back home by now." He gestured toward the other side of the room. "There is a chamber pot in the small cabinet over there."
Zach glanced at the cabinet and grimaced, as if that wasn't exactly what he'd been hoping for.
"Ah, I misunderstood your need. Should any of the young women or men find you attractive, I have no problem with it. Until then, I would suppose your hand must do."
A dark flush colored Zach's face and neck, and he cleared his throat, feeling the heat. "Thank you," he said, his tone flat. "Under the circumstances, I suppose it's my hand."
"Out of politeness, I should offer to leave. But I am not a very polite person. It would be more interesting to stay and watch you. Don't worry. I will only watch. I promise not to touch."