Here’s a sneak peek of a scene from Blood Mate (Warning: It’s dark. But it’s not graphic.):
Blood Mate, Copyright 2014, Kitty Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
Her back was to him when he reached the cages. August sat on the ground next to the bars. “Nicolette, come and speak with me.”
“Why should I?” There were tears in her voice.
“We can’t go on like this.”
“Then let me go.”
“You know that’s not an option.” Maybe he should have chosen a kinder and gentler way with her, shown more patience. But her mind had been set against him from the start.
He could have kept her upstairs and given her whatever her heart desired. But being kind was pointless with the Dominic situation. Bribery would feel like cheating, and it wasn’t in her. He had to force her hand, so she wouldn’t have to carry the guilt of betrayal with her. He’d been prepared to be the bad guy, but his plans weren’t working as he’d hoped. He’d never imagined he’d have to be this cold to her.
He’d thought this would be quicker. He’d been sure she would only have to watch him kill one or two people, maybe a week’s cycle at the most, before she tearfully accepted her fate.
Then he would give her everything, reward her good behavior and do anything in his power to make her happy for the rest of eternity. In time she would forgive him. She’d forget Dominic. She’d come to love August, which would make the whole endless ordeal much more palatable to her. They could carve out something resembling a life together. Somehow.
But she hadn’t followed his playbook. She was an enigma, and the lack of power to enthrall her and force her to obey him in any semi-civilized way was proving to be a greater challenge than he’d anticipated.
“So, what’s next?” she said. Her shoulders were hunched away from him, her voice nothing but shattered darkness.
August glanced at the dinner plate he’d brought her, the food barely touched. She’d been eating less each day. She was pale in the cellar light and growing thinner, and the cold panic hit him that he might have less time with her than he planned. If she wouldn’t give herself to him, he wouldn’t have decades to find a way to wear her down at this rate. She’d die down here of malnourishment and heartache. And then what? The thought of her gone, when she was his salvation, was a thousand times worse than anything else he’d done.
As much as he’d hated the history major for planting more fears in her head, it was a simple enough solution. A little quick torture to gain compliance, and then he could proceed with his original plans to pamper and care for her.
“I hunted tonight off the grounds.”
Startled, she turned toward him. “Why?”
“I needed to think. It occurs to me that if you have some natural and rare resistance to vampiric control, perhaps your offspring would as well.”
The horror on her face made it clear he didn’t have to continue with the sordid concept he’d concocted, but he continued anyway. August indicated the man in the far cage. “I could put him in with you. He could impregnate you. If it’s a girl, and she can’t be enthralled, I’ll wait for her to mature, and then she will give herself to me. It’s longer than I’d like to wait, but it’s better than an eternity of this.”
“I won’t hurt her,” the man said.
August stood and walked over to the man’s cage. “Look at me.”
Though he tried to resist, he was unable to keep his face from turning toward August. When their eyes locked, the vampire took full control of his prisoner’s mind.
“When I put you in Nicolette’s cage, you will fuck her until I tell you to stop. And you will continue day after day until she is pregnant. Won’t you?”
August turned back to Nicolette, expecting her to beg him. If the threat got her to consent to the mating bond, nothing else mattered. But her expression grew more stubborn.
“I’ll stop eating. I’ll starve myself. I’ll die. You won’t make me give you a child, definitely not one for you to feed from and do God knows what else with for eternity.”
August turned back to Nicolette’s cage. He unlocked the door and stepped inside. The move had her backing away. He always stayed on the other side of the bars, trying to give her space, to make her feel safer in spite of her circumstances.
“I will force feed you if I have to. I won’t let you die so easily, poppet. You will be mine. Or your progeny will. It’s your decision which it’ll be and how much you’ll have to suffer until then.” She cringed when he brushed her hair behind her ear.
She was so close to snapping. He was determined not to fill these cages again. And he wouldn’t go hunting each night, either. One way or another, tonight she would give him what he demanded. Whatever he had to do. However much of his soul or hers he had to eradicate. It had to be done. This simply could not go on. If it took her a century to forgive him, eventually she would . . . for anything, because they would each be all the other had that lasted. Everyone and everything else would grow old and die and leave.
August stalked to the other man’s enclosure and transferred him to Nicolette’s cage. The vampire stood just inside the door so he could stop things as soon as she consented. She wouldn’t let this happen. He’d seen the way she was crumbling. Another small push and she’d be his.
Nicole had run out of room to back up. The other prisoner lurched toward her like some kind of unstoppable zombie. There was no emotion on his face. No anger. No malice. No pleasure. No desire. He was just following orders. But that didn’t dilute the horror of it all.
She nearly threw up when he ripped her tattered top away. She moved to cover her breasts. “A-August, please . . . please don’t do this. Stop him. If I really mean so much to you, stop him.”
She struggled against the man, but she was no match for the combination of his strength and a direct hypnotic order from the vampire.
“Will you give yourself to me?” The vampire’s voice was steady and demanding. How could he do something so vile to her? And he expected her to give him anything? After something like this?
She was convinced she’d suffer anything he doled out. Rape, torture, anything to ensure she died and never allowed him freedom. The fear of a pregnancy clawed at her mind. A child, he could take and twist. He could raise her in luxury, letting her think he was good. When she grew to adulthood, he could reveal his true nature and take what he needed, it would be a much different setup than the one Nicole had endured.
She would have to starve herself before then. She’d have to be too weak to get pregnant, or barring that, too weak to give birth, and pray desperately for a boy as the final salvation from the vampire’s sick plan if everything else failed her.
“NO!” She wasn’t sure if she was screaming at August or at the man who pushed her against the stone wall, his mouth on her neck, kissing her like she was his lover. A second later, all she felt was air as August pulled the man off her and flung him out of the cage.
The vampire made a sound close to a roar and pounded at the wall until his hands bled. But they healed almost instantly. “Goddammit!”
She let out a relieved breath. He can’t bring himself to do it. Thank God. But that was now. What would he bring himself to do in another week or a month?
August leaned against the wall and sank to the ground, his head in his hands.
Nicole moved as quietly as she could toward the cage door.
“Don’t. Nicolette. Don’t make me chase you. I don’t want to hurt you. Whatever you may believe. We must seal the bond between us. Then things will be better. I promise they’ll be better.”
How could she trust him? Giving herself to a monster in the most irreversible way . . . what he’d shown her so far had been imprisonment and desperation. Locking herself into eternity with that wasn’t an option.
She edged closer to the monster and knelt beside him, pulling his hands from his face. He looked up, so broken that a small part of her wished she could do what he needed, that things were somehow different. That her life was different. That her heart was different.
“Please,” she said. “I’m sorry for what’s been done to you, truly I am. I believe you when you say you were a good man before the curse. But what you’re asking . . . I can’t give it to you. I love Dominic so much. I just want him back. Please, I beg you, let me go. Won’t you feel guilt for the things you do to me? Am I not of the same value as those you kill each night? Does this crime against me not matter?”
She tried not to cringe when his hand brushed her cheek. “You’re of far greater value. But I know at the core of my being that you’re the only train coming. I can’t bear the thought of an eternity like this with no hope of the reprieve of death to make it stop. I will do whatever is necessary to have you. Please don’t make me pile more horror onto my history. Please, Nicolette.”