(NW #1) Blood Kisses Excerpt

 

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Natalie grabbed Ashleigh’s arm and pulled her toward the limo.

All smiles, Natalie opened the door and checked out the carload of handsome men sitting in the back. Natalie’s face was a deep shade of red as she looked at the suited men. Though she was a good-looking woman and had her share of handsome dates, these men were from a higher rank than she was used to. They weren’t the average farm boy dressed up for Sunday dinner. These were big city guys.

She guessed them to be rich, and from some of their expressions, snobbish. She got in and motioned for Ashleigh to follow. Natalie sat across from a blond man wearing a white suit. He eyed her with suspicion, but his attention turned to Ashleigh, who hadn’t gotten in the car.

Ashleigh took one look inside the limo and took two steps back. These guys were looking for Victoria, then show up rolling out the red carpet for her? Something didn’t seem right about this and Ashleigh wanted no part of it.

She turned to leave, but Natalie yanked her arm and into the limo she went. Ashleigh glared at Natalie.

“Hey, Mary. Nice to see you again.” Nathan leaned forward and motioned for Ashleigh to sit by him. He wore a smile, something the others in the car weren’t. She obliged, squeezing herself between him and Natalie. No one spoke for the first few seconds, but Natalie soon tried to strike up a conversation with the man across from her.

After taking a quick scan of the gathering, Ashleigh turned back to Nathan’s hand on her knee. Ashleigh tried to mask her sour expression as she checked out the other men, most of them fiddling with their phones or talking amongst themselves.

Since everyone was quiet, Ashleigh spoke to Nathan. “Do you want to go Vix?”

“No,” Nathan answered, his gaze falling on the blond man in the white suit.

Ashleigh let out a small sigh as she forced a smile. She whispered to Nathan, “Well, they’re all a lively bunch.”

“Not yet.” The blond man spoke, sending her a cocky smile. One of his eyebrows rose with his upturned expression, his eyes a shining green. He was handsome, his attention on Ashleigh making her avert her gaze.

“Where are we going?” Natalie squinted, trying to see outside the dark-tinted window.

“Tell me where I can find Ashleigh Brown. Her listed address is a bookstore. I want to know where she lives.” The blond man demanded, his attention still focused on Ashleigh. He did not sound friendly, and the girls realized why they were invited here.

Ashleigh gulped the fear gathered in her throat, her stare settling on the fangs that peeked out of the blond man’s mouth when his smile grew.

It all flooded back. The nightmares that sparked the Nightwalkers’ series. That sadistic smile of a vampire she saw in her dreams. That sick fear that filled her when trapped in one’s gaze. She wanted to scream. Rip the door open and jump into traffic. The world closed in on her.

She had to stop this panic attack. So, she tried to hide her fear as she spoke in her head. Calm down. This is just a prank, Ashleigh. These guys are just doing this because of what Natalie said in the bookstore. Vampires aren’t real. Stop. Stop.

“Ashleigh?” Natalie, who didn’t notice the man’s fangs, spoke to the men, her voice breaking Ashleigh from her thoughts.

“If you lied to us earlier…” The man motioned toward Nathan. His head was down, and he didn’t make eye contact with Ashleigh. “And if you don’t know her, then you will not be going home tonight.”

Biting her lip, Ashleigh glanced toward Natalie again, unsure of what to say.

“Of course, we know her.” Natalie tried to sound upbeat, but her fear still showed. “Right, Mary?”

“Yeah.” Ashleigh sent Natalie an annoyed glare because she bounced the question back. She gritted her teeth and put up a brave front, her tone showing slight anger. “Why?”

“I want to meet her.” The blond man continued to smile, and Natalie saw his fangs. Her hand went over her mouth as she tried to cover her gasp. Her reaction made the men in the limo snicker.

“She can set you up with that.” Natalie kicked Ashleigh in the leg. “Can’t you?”

“Yeah, maybe.” Ashleigh stared at her purse, her gaze burning into the shiny black fabric. Her heart raced, but it wasn’t out of fear anymore. An adrenaline pulsed through her, a great curiosity arising about these men that she couldn’t suppress. She had to see if they were real.

Ashleigh continued, “When do you want to meet her? I can arrange a meeting in the morning and—”

“Tonight.” The man’s expression softened a little when he saw her gaze snap to him. The fear on her face pleased him.

Ashleigh argued, “Tonight might be—”

“Do you want to go home?” He narrowed his stare, the weight of it too much for Ashleigh. Her attention went to Natalie instead.

“Yeah.” Ashleigh’s voice shook.

“Tell me where she is then,” he demanded.

Making a sour face, Ashleigh gazed at her feet. She faked a defeated tone. “She’s at Club Vix.”

“Thank you.”