Home > Dark Kisses (Carnal Thirst #1.2)

Dark Kisses (Carnal Thirst #1.2)
Author: Sylvia Day

CHAPTER 1

Raze’s night had been going pretty wel, until the woman he’d just spent four hours fucking stumbled across a naked, disemboweled body on his doorstep. Her scream had shattered the serenity of the predawn, forcing him to knock her out before she drew a crowd. Now, as the sun stretched sleepy tendrils of light over the horizon, he stood over the corpse and struggled to contain his roiling fury.

“Dumped on my goddamn porch like trash.” He ran both hands over his shaved head. “Poor bastard.”

“Guesstimate of the time your gift arrived?” Vashti asked, her stiletto-heeled boots tapping out an impatient staccato as she paced. Her crimson hair swayed around her shoulder blades, the vividly-hued tresses the only wash of color against her skintight, al-black jumpsuit. She was a comic book aficionado’s wet dream, with her lush tits and ass offset by a falen angel’s incomparable beauty. Her appearance was as lethal as the twin katanas she often wore in crisscrossing sheaths on her back, her physical beauty another weapon in the arsenal she used as second-in-command of the entire vampire nation.

“Hel if I know,” he bit out. “There was nothing out of place when I got home at midnight. He was found at four.”

“You didn’t hear anything? Nothing at al?”

Raze scowled. He had a squeaky board on his front porch and everyone knew it. Even if they ruled out the benefit of his vampire hearing, his powerful sense of smel should have picked up on the freshly spiled blood. “No. Christ. If I’d heard anything I would have caught the fuckers.”

Damned if he’d tel her that it hadn’t been possible to hear anything over the woman moaning beneath him and the steady banging of his headboard against the wal as he pounded into her. The smel of hot sex, dripping sweat, and semen filed-latex had saturated the air along with the scent of the blood he’d drunk from her—a lover whose name he couldn’t remember now. It shamed him that the broken body on his doorstop had been lost among the sexual excess.

He stared at his name carved into the corpse’s left biceps and the cattle-branded monogram he recognized as the mark of a vampire known as Grimm. A growl rumbled up from his chest. Even without the mutilation, the victim was Raze’s now. He would stand for the man and the vengeance due him. “I almost wish Grimm was stil alive so I could kil him again.”

“You’ve got enough on your plate dealing with his minions,” Syre said, entering the room soundlessly.

Despite the hour, the vampire leader looked flawless. Even in casual dark jeans and a plain T-shirt, there was an elegance to him that was regal and commanding.

Raze would brave the pits of hel for Syre if he commanded it. They’d come to earth together, falen together, lost their wings together. Two hundred of them. And there wasn’t one of the Falen who wouldn’t give their life for their leader. From the heights of grace as Watchers to the fal that cursed them with vampirism, Syre led them forward with a confidence that inspired them al.

Vash’s pacing came to an abrupt halt. “Do we have any idea how many minions we’re talking about here? How many have you taken out so far, Raze?”

“A dozen pairs, give or take a few. Adrian was on it, too,” he said, referring to the angel who’d severed Syre’s wings. Raze had a lot of reasons to resent Adrian, as wel as the Sentinel angels who served under him—the Falen’s vampiric punishment being the least of it—but there was no denying that when they were aligned and hunting the same prey, Adrian’s involvement was a benefit.

Syre crossed his arms and looked at Vashti, his second-in-command. “Remind me: how long did Grimm evade our attention?”

“Too fucking long. He was in our faces, but I didn’t look deep enough. On the surface, his theory had merit. Stil does. Or maybe it’s wishful thinking. With the number of minions we lose to madness during the Change from fledgling to vampire, I’d like to think there’s some way to cut the waste. He wrapped his dogma up with pseudoscience and I bought it.”

“He was the one pairing fledglings into couples to ease the transition? I remember discussing it with you. He had enough success in the beginning to justify alowing him to proceed, if I recal.”

Raze shot her a chastising glance for being hard on herself. “If you were looking for a bal and chain, and vampirism was one of your requirements in a perfect mate, Grimm was the man to see. He had personality profiles, compatibility charts, etc. Al of which he used to weed out the whack jobs so he could pair them with nutcases.

I knew his doctrine was dangerous, so when I took him out I hunted down al his disciples, too. Whoever is responsible for this, Grimm didn’t document them the way he did the others.”

“Disciples,” Syre murmured. “Interesting word choice.”

“It’s the right word, trust me. What else would you cal the folowers of an idiot playacting as a messiah preaching revolt against you?”

Syre ran a hand through his thick black hair, the only sign he gave of any disquiet. “Whoever is responsible, they came directly to you. This is personal.”

“You’re goddamned right it’s personal.” He looked at the body again, knowing it wasn’t merely a taunt but a message. “Help me turn this guy over.”

Syre stepped forward, waving Vash back.

It was a gruesome task. The smel emanating from the open body cavity would torture a human; for a vampire, it was pure hel. They got as far as getting the corpse onto its side. Then the loosened entrails slid out with a soft sucking sound, and they both leaped back and away. Raze had eviscerated his own share of enemies, but this man was a victim, and that made al the difference.

“Do you guys need a hand?” Vash asked, stepping up to them.

“No.” Raze had seen the tattoo on the corpse’s shoulder blade. Unlike Grimm’s brand, the ink was a mark the man had voluntarily applied as a show of loyalty, affection, and team spirit.

“The Cubs,” he muttered. “Guess I’m heading to Chicago.”

CHAPTER 2

Raze hit the ground running in the Windy City. Within an hour of his plane landing, he’d swept through the building that had once housed Grimm’s operation (presently a printing shop) and checked his way through a quarter of the list of Grimm’s known haunts. Then, impatient, he took a chance and headed to Wrigley Field.

Although the balpark was dark and quiet for the night, Raze knew wrong when he came across it and he damn wel felt it as he drove by. Parking a few streets away, he slid out from behind the wheel and opened the back door of his rental to grab his blades. He strapped them on with the efficiency of long practice: daggers on each thigh and two katanas crisscrossing his back. Then he darted over on foot, moving so quickly the mortal eye couldn’t catch him.

   
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