The Vampire's Submissive
by Violet Gray
The streetlamp flickered and popped, plunging the corner of the cobbled sidewalk into darkness. Creepy much? Katy Foster locked the door to Bebe’s Bookshop and peered over her shoulder. The fine hairs at the nape of her neck prickled. “Stop it. You’re being silly, Katy,” she chastised herself under her breath.
The scent of coffee and pie wafted through the air. Maybe she could dart into Moe’s across the street and scare away the heebie jeebies with a mocha and a slice of pecan pie. No, she needed to get home. That paper on gender roles in contemporary romance literature wouldn’t write itself. The street lamps flickered and a whiff of cigarette smoke irritated her sinuses, but she didn’t see anyone. Moving quickly, she walked toward the city parking lot, suddenly desperate to be safe inside her little red banger.
Nothing bad ever happened in Sweetwater.
Oh, damn, now she’d done it. Anytime a character in a book said those words, something bad inevitably happened. Shuddering, she tightened her grip on her car keys and shivered in spite of the wool coat wrapped around her size eighteen frame. Where was everyone tonight? The street was terribly quiet, even if it was ten o’clock on a Monday night. She neared the alley between Sweetwater Hardware and Billy’s Guitar Shop.
Smoke, thick and putrid, curled and danced its way out of the alley. Okay, that was weird. Hurrying, she held her breath and dashed past the opening to the alley. An arm snaked out of the smoke and grabbed her around the throat. In her mind, she was screaming, but no sound escaped. He dragged her backwards into the alley, and she gagged as his oily, filthy scent invaded her nostrils. Oh, god, she was going to die. He threw her onto the ground and knelt over her, pressing a knife against her neck. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Please! Let me go!”
He laughed. “You ain’t going nowhere. You’re a fat one, but I don’t mind.” He reached down and pressed his hand against her knee.
She scooted backward, a scream finally breaking free. “Help me!”
He hit her across the face and she saw stars flash behind her eyelids. The dirty ground scraped against her legs, bared by her cute floaty deep red skirt. She’d made it herself. It would be ruined.
“No,” she whimpered, disbelieving this was happening to her. A nightmare. She was caught in a nightmare. “Help me! Oh, god, help me!” He struck her again.
In the moment before blackness consumed her, she thought she saw Jackson Wainwright’s perfect face.
Jackson Wainwright heard the cries for help from several blocks away. Taking off at a run, his nightly jog for serenity forgotten, he followed the sound of her pleas. She sounded familiar. Keep calling, baby. Keep calling. Her cries would distract her attacker, giving him the element of surprise. Not that he actually needed it. His incisors had descended the moment her first plea for help had pierced the night. He ran past Bebe’s and he knew he’d found her. He could smell her sweet scent. The dark curling smoke gave him a moment’s pause. Non-human. Probably demon. And not the gentlemanly sort like his best friend, William. He heard him hit her and then he was on him, just as she fell back against the ground, her head striking the filthy asphalt.
Jackson wrapped one arm around the demon’s chest and used his other hand to rip the beast’s head from his shoulders. For a heartbeat, the head glared at him, then head and body transformed into ash. Wiping the disgusting soot from his hands onto his shorts, he knelt beside her. He recognized her beautiful, heart shaped face at once.
She was unconscious but breathing. The demon had bloodied her lip and a huge bruise had already begun to form on her right cheekbone. He didn’t want to frighten her, but he needed to get her out of there in case the thing had friends lurking about. He could take her home, doctor her up. Or, he could take her to the hospital. Much as he wanted to keep her close by, he knew she might be frightened if she woke up in his home.
They were passing acquaintances, seeing as how he shopped often in Bebe’s. Always at night. He’d admired her from afar for two years but something about her kept him from asking her out. Her fragility perhaps. A docile flower like Katy wouldn’t be comfortable with his dark needs.
Hospital, he decided.
Lifting her easily into his arms, he held her close, trying not to notice her lush breast pressed against his chest. Fail. Her thick wavy blonde hair--he’d bet it was natural--flowed over his arm and down her back. Thank god he’d gotten to her in time. If that bastard had succeeded in hurting her, Jackson would have spent a great deal more time killing him. As it was, the sonofabitch was lucky he’d killed him quick.
Walking two streets over and then three more blocks north, the hospital came into view. He headed straight for the emergency entrance and recognized Kyle Porter, the night guard. “Kyle, this is Katy Foster. She was attacked in the alley between Billy’s and the hardware store.”
“Goddamnit,” Kyle muttered, holding the door open for Jackson. “Did you catch the guy who did it?”
“He got away while I was checking on her,” Jackson said, the lie rolling off his tongue.
“The police will want a statement.”
“Yeah, I’ll hang around.” Fisting his hands at his sides, he wished he could kill the demon all over again.
The police came and took his statement, along with his description of her attacker. Should he go home, or should he wait and see if she needed a ride? Would they keep her overnight? Was she conscious? The questions crowded his brain but none could quiet the rage, the innate urge to kill. He needed to talk to Alexander, head of the vampire council for Mississippi. Alexander needed to know about the attack as well as the very real possibility that more demons had descended on the small Southern town. Jackson ran a hand through his mussed dark brown hair. If only they would tell him something, let him know she was okay.
“Mr. Wainwright?” A nurse beckoned him. She led him through a secure door, and he followed her past several curtained rooms. When she stopped, he drew a subtle breath. Mixed with the strong odor of antiseptic was Katy’s unique scent. Wildflowers and a summer breeze.
“She’s asking for you,” the nurse said. “It’s against policy seeing as you aren’t family, but she’s become rather vocal.”
Katy? Vocal? That didn’t sound right. She was so soft spoken at the bookshop. “She recognized me in the alley? I wasn’t sure.”
“Yes, she knew you were the one who saved her. She wants to thank you. Since she doesn’t have any next of kin for us to call, we can have a police officer take her home…”
“I’ll do it.”
The nurse nodded, satisfied Katy would be in good hands, and walked briskly to the desk in the center of the ER.
He pulled back the curtain and stepped inside the small room. Her mouth looked much better now that the blood had been cleaned off. How he’d managed not to bite her earlier, he had no idea. Fear and rage must have drowned out the hunger. Plus, he’d eaten bagged blood a few hours before, so he’d been sated when he found her.
“Katy?” he whispered. Her eyes were closed.
She opened them and tried to smile. “Ouch,” she said, touching her fingers to her injured mouth.
“Are you all right? Oh, god, that’s a stupid question. Of course, you’re not all right. You’ve had a terrible scare.”
“It would’ve been worse, Jackson, if you hadn’t stopped him. I thought it was you…I wasn’t certain…I only saw you for a moment and then everything went black. Did you catch him? The man who tried to…I’m sorry, I can’t say it.”
He moved to stand beside her and brushed a curl from her forehead. “You don’t have to say it, Katy. No, I didn’t catch him, but they will. I gave a good description. Katy?”
Damn but her blue eyes were the most beautiful he’d ever seen. “Do you have a roommate?”
She shook her head. “No, I live in my Aunt Agatha’s house over on Cherry. When she died a couple of years ago, she left the house to me. That’s when I moved here.”
He nodded. “I ask, because I don’t think you should be alone right now. You’re safe, of course, but I’d feel better knowing you weren’t alone. Is there someone you could call?”
“Oh, I don’t want to bother anyone, and I don’t have family here. Or anywhere for that matter.” She wrapped her arms around herself protectively.
“The way I see it, you’ve got two options.” He held up a finger. “One. Stay at my place for a few days.” He held up two fingers. “Two. Let me stay at your house. Just so you’re not alone while you’re recovering.”
She shook her head. “Oh, but, Jackson, I don’t want to be any trouble…”
Typical Southern response. Tucking his hands in his front pockets, he shifted his weight onto one leg and gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “It’s settled then. We’ll go by your place so you can pick up some of your things, then you’ll stay with me. A week minimum.”
She smiled ever so slightly and nodded her head before letting it flop back on the pillow, exhausted. “Thank you, Jackson.”
Anything for you, he wanted to say, but he didn’t dare. Now, here’s hoping he could keep his hands—and his teeth—to himself.
Text copyright Violet Gray. Copying of any kind is prohibited except by express written permission from Violet Gray. Thank you for respecting this author's rights.