Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Vampires. One An Outcast And The Other A Leader Of The Council; Drawn Together in 'Rogue' by Eden Bradley

The penalty for his crimes is pain…and pleasure.


Madrid, 2069

He is Rogue.

He has known no other life, no other name. Turned at the tender age of nineteen on the dark streets of London, he wanders Europe, angry and rebellious, haunted by the crime that has followed him for over a century. Always alone.

He is Ramsey.

Member of the Vampire Council, all he has are his memories of dazzling grief and unrelenting pain—his only respite is blood and sex. Until a young rogue vampire poaches in his territory…

Inexorably drawn to each other, the head of Madrid’s Midnight Playground and the rebel from nowhere will find passion in each other’s arms—and discover a dangerous secret that could irrevocably change both their worlds.

Note: This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.


Madrid, 2069

He prowled like a shadow around the perimeter of the compound that had once been Retiro Park. He was used to being a shadow. Invisible. Without a name other than the one he had given himself after his Turning. Rogue.



Vampire—yes. But he didn't subscribe to their ways. Their rules. Except for the edict to never take an unwilling victim.

Only once…

No. Don’t think of it. Don’t remember.

But the images came flooding into his mind like a movie he couldn't turn away from, burned into a hundred years of memory.

Her hair like red silk in his hands, and he so newly reborn he couldn't yet read through his enhanced senses to smell the drugs in her blood. All he’d smelled was blood. All he’d tasted was his driving need and the flavor of life in his mouth.

She was beautiful, like a flame in the foggy London night. A lovely face. He’d been as drawn to that as much as he was by the heady scent of human flesh. He hadn't noticed until it was over that her skin held the sick pall of an addict—a morphie they called them now, although he had some vague memory that they were once called junkies. He hadn't noticed until the breath was gone from her body that her red hair was matted, the skin on her arms torn where she’d scratched at it. He hadn't seen any of it until the girl was dead in his arms, her blood still tangy and warm on his tongue.

He’d waited for days afterward in a dank, abandoned apartment building in King’s Cross, consumed by the thirst but unable to believe he wanted to drink human blood. He’d fought it. But there had been nothing to hold him back. No one to teach him. His attack on the red-headed girl had been savage, inexcusably vicious and cruel. Neither one of them had understood what was happening. And in taking her blood he had read her—even through the haze of blood lust—and everything he’d seen had been fear and pain and grief.


It was only later, when he was nearly dying of the thirst, that some wandering group of vampires had come upon him trying to hunt in the alleys of London and had shown him how to feed properly.

He shook his head, tried to shake the memories away. Focused once more on the night around him, the pungent scent of blood discernible from behind the high wall. The tops of the cypress trees making a stark black silhouette against the sky. The moon hanging above like a lantern against the sheet of stars.

The blood.

Deer blood—one of them injured.

He’d heard the vampires who ran Madrid’s Midnight Playground club, housed here in the park in the enormous greenhouse-like structure that was called the Palacio de Crista–the Crystal Palace—kept a herd of deer on the grounds. That their immortal guests were invited to hunt them down and drink their blood for sport.

He was not invited. But he would hunt tonight.

He was never invited, although he could have been easily enough. As a vampire he could walk through the front doors of any of Europe’s Midnight Playground clubs, which were there to serve the needs and desires of the world’s vampires, whether to satisfy their thirst for blood or for sex. But he far preferred his rogue existence, with no Vampire Council to govern his actions. He was too used to being a loner. He gloried in it now—and in these challenges he set himself, the thrill of breaking through their invisible net of invincibility.

It had been almost too easy sneaking into the clubs in Paris, in Berlin, Rome and London. Acting as if he belonged there and seducing the exquisite humans who flocked to the Midnight Playground clubs, offering their bodies and their blood. They had nothing to lose in a world which had little to offer mortals but poverty and pain. And the vampires were intriguing to mortals. They were all too eager to offer him their blood. He’d never taken more than the Little Drink, just enough to let them know—those vampires who ran the clubs—that a thief ran in their midst.

But tonight he would run with their deer.

He attuned his hearing, searching for any sign of activity behind the wall. He heard only the crickets chirping, the occasional snap of a twig as some creature walked among the trees—all sounds of a forest at night. Not that he couldn't have hunted during the day. Daylight was not the enemy of the vampires, as the old stories told it. That had been one shock to the world. He simply preferred the night. There was some sort of poetry to it. He paused to listen once more. No humans. No vampires that he could detect. Of course, a being who was older than his mere single century could mask themselves from him. But that was part of the game, wasn't it?

He laid a hand on the towering concrete wall, felt the lingering warmth of the day against his palm, his fingertips picking up every tiny crevice in its surface. He closed his eyes and listened.

Being at the farthest point from the palace itself, he could hear voices only if he concentrated very closely. But it was the park that interested him. It appeared to be clear.

He took a few steps back, gathered himself and sprang to the top of the wall, landing in a crouch between two of the security cameras mounted at regular intervals. He turned and smiled, let the smile spread into a triumphant grin before knocking the cameras out with a sweep of his hand. He paused, searching the grass and the trees, looking for the scent that had drawn him.

The deer were maybe a hundred yards in, hidden among the trees. He wouldn't go for the injured animal—that would be far too easy. But the rest… His hands itched to feel their downy pelts. His legs itched for the chase. His entire being itched to feel their innocent struggle beneath his hands.

He drew in a breath and leapt.

He was running before the animals caught his scent—he could sense their wariness. He made it to the stand of trees and ducked in. As he moved closer he could feel them, hear the beating of their hearts. Maybe two dozen of them. It would be a fine chase.

Rogue slowed when he saw the herd between the trees, their ears twitching. When they bolted, he dashed after them.

The run itself was glorious. The hunt would be even sweeter for it. His legs pumping effortlessly, he felled the first deer, inhaling the earthy scent of grass and fur before sinking his teeth into its neck and drinking it nearly dry.

The blood still warm and thick on his lips, he stood and ran again, skirting the edge of the herd, enjoying the stretch of his legs as he darted between the trunks of the giant cypresses. He ran faster, spotting his target up ahead, antlers glinting in the moonlight—a prize buck, the fastest of the herd. He sprang on him with a wild cry, taking the buck down to the ground, enjoying the strength of the beast’s struggle for a moment, then leaning in, he tore at its throat. Blood sweet and primal, so different from a human’s, yet he loved it anyway. He stood with the animal limp in his arms, cradling it as he drained it, then let the carcass fall to the ground—and fell like a stone as he was captured.

Arms clamped around his body, pinning his to his sides, pinning him to the ground.

He inhaled. Vampire. Like ancient stone and earth. Impossibly strong.

He struggled, but it was useless. He kept at it anyway.

“Quiet down now,” came the voice in English with a distinct British accent. “You know damn well you’re not going anywhere.”

He was pulled to his feet by the old vampire, a male of pale, ethereal beauty. If they’d been human he would have easily taken this man down, but they were no longer men, either of them. Another vampire was with him, a female with long black hair in a braid down her back. Lovely, of course, as they all were.

“What’s your name, little beauty?” Rogue asked, giving her a wink.

The male holding him wrapped a fist in his long hair and yanked hard. “Being caught poaching on the Midnight Playground lands without invitation is nothing to scoff at, rogue. There will be consequences.” He gave another sharp yank. “You’d do well to mind your manners.”

“I’d do even better to fuck her. Or you.”

The female laughed. “Ramsey is going to love this one,” she said in a soft Castilian accent.


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