Spider Bite

By: J.R. Rain & Scott Nicholson

A Vampire Thriller (The Spider Trilogy Book 3)

Chapter One

Hemingway had it right.

Key West was the place to be, whether you were immortal or not. The streets were crowded, the atmosphere lively, and the food choices limitless. Okay, that takes on a different meaning coming from a vampire, but I was a born-again vampire, so to speak. I rarely took blood from the living, unless it was offered to me willingly.

Parker Cole and I had been experimenting with this method of feeding, her giving me her arm, and me making a small incision near her wrist—usually with a flick of my unnaturally sharp fingernail—and drinking to my fill. Well, never actually to my fill. My fill would mean Parker dying of blood loss. So, I stopped when I saw her eyelids flutter, when I felt her weakening, when I felt her heart slow. Yes, it took all my willpower to pull away.

But I did pull away, every time. So far.

You make me nervous, Spider, when you think like that. These words appeared directly in my thoughts, and they were from Parker herself.

We were sitting outside under the awning of a bar called Joe’s Bar, which sounded fancier than it was. Joe’s Bar was my kind of bar: it attracted dregs and misfits, those types who wouldn’t be missed if, say, they were snatched away in the night, as they weebled and wobbled, drunk, toward their car or down a dark alley. You never knew what was in a dark alley. Maybe a cat. Maybe a mugger. Maybe me.

You didn’t want to meet me. Not when I was in one of my moods. Not when I was hungry.

There you go again, Spider. Jesus, is it that time of month for you?

You’re thinking of another creature of the night, I thought back. And, yeah, sometimes the old me comes out, at least in my thoughts. But they don’t get any further than that.

Let’s hope, she thought, shuddering slightly. I forget how frightening you can be.

Parker was drinking beer, although she was underage. I didn’t condone underage drinking; then again, Parker wasn’t like other girls her age, either. She’d faced down some nasties...and by nasties, I mean demons and witch doctors and everything in-between. If the girl wanted some booze, who was I to say no? I wasn’t the morality police. Hell, I should be in jail a thousand times over.

Besides, I suspected a demon still slumbered inside her, the one I’d saved her from when we first met. Relationships had been built on less, I suppose.

“So who’s this friend of yours?” I asked out loud, since telepathy could be fun and easy, but it was also lazy as hell. And it was nighttime. My time. I felt strong at night. Powerful. Unlimited. I wanted to do something. To hunt, to run, to prey.

I shielded those last thoughts from Parker. No need to worry the girl any more than she already was. Truth was, we were falling for each other. Perhaps her more so than me. Yes, I was very enchanted by her, and I respected her chutzpah, especially in the face of danger. But I had fallen in love countless times, throughout many lives. To say I was jaded was an understatement. But, yeah, there was something about Parker that kept me around, kept me intrigued. She got me. Really got me. And I didn’t have to hide my true nature.

“Your thoughts are shielded,” she said. “You’re not planning my murder, are you?”

“I call it Spider time,” I said.

“Well, Spider time makes me nervous, too,” she said.

“Which is why you’ll just have to trust me,” I said.

“Trust a natural-born killer?”

“I’m not sure how natural it was, but in my case, yes.”

I saw the look in her eye. Yeah, she trusted me. More, she loved me. Desperately. It was obvious and I felt it. Sure, I might be jaded, but she was just an eighteen-year-old sweet kid, full of hope and love and dreams.

I said, “So when’s your cousin coming?”

She looked over my shoulder and pointed. “He’s here now.”

I turned and followed her finger. A young man wearing Bermuda shorts, a tank top, and lime-green flip flops zeroed in on us through the crowd. “How did he know you were here again?” I asked.

“I sent him a text when we arrived.”

“And the first thing out of his mouth was that he needed help?”

“No, maybe the second or third thing.”

Also By J.R. Rain & Scott Nicholson

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