This story is dedicated to a friend, Colette Denee. She wanted Owain from the first, so she got him. Since creating the character of Colette, the real Colette has been loving the stories. In fact, the birthday story in the Bardic Tale collection is her favourite. Wonder why…hehehe.
Blurb: Centuries old vampire, Owain Maraigh wanders in search of a cure. He feeds when he must, accepts what he is, but like his brothers, longs to be free of the curse.
Dr. Colette Wylde is mild-mannered obstetrician. She is also a trained Druid shaman. When tragedy strikes and vampires murder her family, Colette is drawn into the hunt for the chance at revenge.
Thrown together by circumstance, Colette and Owain develop an intense, passionate attraction. Neither wants to admit they may be soulmates, as each longs to return to what they were before they met. Unable to resist their desire, they join together to find the cure for vampirism. From Cairo to Dublin to Chichen Itza–they seek the truth and it’s not what either of them expected.
In the end, it comes down to one question: will Owain deny everything or will he give in and accept the Call of the Wylde?
Owain swung forward, his arms holding the water pipe overhead as he propelled his legs to surround the neck of the scampering man. With a quick twist of his torso, the man’s neck gave with a sickening pop. As he fell into a heap, Owain gracefully landed beside him. He brushed a stray lock of hair out of his face as he squatted down. He knew that he needed to move swiftly and quickly in case anyone had heard him follow this vampire.
Working quickly, he reached into the pouch at his waist and removed a rubber tourniquet, a needle, and a couple of tubes for samples. Without breaking his rhythm, Owain rolled up one of the sleeves of the vampire, then inserted the needle into the arm. Attaching the tube to the needle, blood flowed into it. Once it filled, he attached a second while sliding the first tube into the pouch, securing it in the cushioned area to prevent breakage.
He must’ve fed recently. The colour is rich and dark, not from dehydration. The smell of the blood leaking from around the needle filled Owain’s senses. His body tightened in need as he removed the needle from the vampire’s other arm. Hunger taunted him as he placed his fingertips over the needle mark, causing it to heal and fade. Tamping down his hunger, Owain stowed away the last of the filled tubes.
The man twitched a couple of times, a sign that the neck injury had started healing quickly. Owain only had a couple of minutes to decide the fate of this bloodsucker. He had to either let him go or kill him now. Recalling all he knew about the man, Owain realized that there wasn’t much choice at all.
He grabbed the vampire by the shirt so that his head lolled to one side. Owain knew that he’d pay an instant price for feeding from another vampire, that of dealing with blood impurities and the essence of the vampire’s nature, but he needed to eat. At least the vampire’s blood satisfied his hunger, allowing him a respite between feedings. But having to deal with the psychic imprint of the vampire for a few hours wasn’t fun. He hated having to separate his own nature from that of the person he drank from.
A growl from the vampire warned Owain his time was up. He opened his mouth as his incisors lengthened. Clamping down on the side of the neck where the carotid arteries lay, he began to drink. Owain hated himself for having to drink blood, but in this case, the vampire was a known killer. He normally didn’t kill his prey, but for this one, it would be justice served.
* * * * *
Colette double-checked her surroundings, making sure no night patrolmen spotted her in this dimly lit area. Granted, this was Cairo, Egypt, and not many hung about the warehouse area after night fell, but the police did make regular rounds making sure no one trafficked in any illegal items in this area without paying them first. Sliding on her skintight gloves that had hung at her waist, she picked at the lock of the building before her. Inside was Hafid al Masur, the vampire she intended to kill before dawn. Once he was dead, she could return home to Florida and once again resume a normal life, no longer one of the Helsingers. For months it was all she had dreamed of — avenging her family’s death.
Who’d have thought less than three months ago that she’d go from being an easygoing obstetrics doctor to killing vampires? If that rogue vampire gang hadn’t killed her baby sister and nephew, she wouldn’t have become a Helsinger, trained to take out preternatural creatures, particularly vampires who broke mortal laws. But it had happened, and now she, Colette, a daughter of Morrigu, walked among the battlefields of vampires and slayers. If she had her way, no evil vampire would ever walk the Earth again.
Unsheathing her solid silver daggers from sheaths at her waist, Colette entered the building, careful not to make any noise that would alert anyone of her approach. She blended in with the shadows, avoiding detection from any surveillance cameras or any other security that the vampire used. The large warehouse looked to be empty except for various stacks of crates around the main floor area. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness pierced only by thin streams of illumination from small windows, Colette sent a quick prayer to Morrigu asking for protection and the annihilation of her enemy. A noise caught her attention, and she quickly finished her silent prayer as she moved deeper within the shadows.
Tamping down her fear, she concentrated on how to handle Hafid al Masur, a strong vampire who killed Helsingers that tried to stop him. She knew that taking his life, even though he was evil, would hurt and ravage her soul, just as when she destroyed the other vampires who had decimated her family. When she became a doctor, she swore to protect life, to bring forth new life, not to take it. But having been trained as a Celtic shaman in service to the goddess of war, Colette knew that her bloodthirsty heritage would surface in times of need, just like now. Balance was needed, and it was her right to invoke it by demanding payment for her sister and nephew.
Another noise, this one a slight scraping sound near the center of the room, caught her attention. She crept toward its origin, keeping her cover within the shadows while her daggers were at the ready for both attack and defense. Hafid was the last vampire on her list, a list compiled with Davyd O’Connor, her trainer. After chasing down each creature involved, only Hafid, who hid behind the crates in front of her, was left to face his fate at her hands. Anticipation filled her as she slowly maneuvered forward toward the crates.
Carefully, Colette moved around the crates, checking to make sure that no one else was in the building, waiting to jump on her. Then, in the shadows, she saw him as he finished feeding. Anger roared deep in her soul that she had been too late to prevent yet another death by this vampire’s hands, but she vowed he’d kill no one else when this night ended. A cry of fury ripped from her throat as she lunged at the creature, her daggers arcing in downward strokes toward the vampire.
Owain whipped around just as a woman dressed in black attacked him. Quickly, he moved out of the way of the slashing blades, though he couldn’t stand up from the fury of her attack. Once again, she moved forward, words he didn’t understand tumbling from her lips as one dagger headed straight toward his heart. Using a maneuver he picked up from the Orient, Owain blocked the blow, then caught the woman’s wrist, shifting her off balance as he stood up.
Squeezing a nerve in her wrist, Owain caused her to drop one blade, but knew she had another in her other hand. “What the hell is your problem, woman?” He spun her backward, away from him, and she landed on her ass. Beside her was the dead vampire, no life or even soul left in him. What had the vampire done that this woman had come after him?
“You killed my sister and my nephew! I’m going to exact my revenge! May Morrigu guide my hand as it brings you death,” she retorted, throwing the remaining dagger at Owain’s face.
Owain knocked it away with his right arm, then rushed the woman. Grabbing her, he shook her. “Listen to me. I’m not who you think I am. I just killed your enemy. Look next to you.” He pointed toward the body. “He’s the one you were searching for, not me. I’m one of the good guys.”