Kill Me Lovingly by Alycia Linwood by Alycia Linwood - Read Online

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Kill Me Lovingly - Alycia Linwood

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Linwood

Chapter 1

Enrique’s house seemed to be far, far away as I made my way down the street. After I had some time to calm down and think, I’d decided I had to see Enrique as soon as possible and ask for an explanation. After all, he was the one who’d told me that vampires could dream when I’d asked him about the recurring nightmare of my death. And he was the one who’d made me believe nothing weird was going on.

But Paula, Dion’s protégé, had told me otherwise and revealed that after I killed her maker, she no longer had nightmares of her death, because apparently vampires dreamed only if they had been killed by someone and their killer was still out there somewhere.

I chewed on the inside of my cheek, wondering if this whole thing was a big misunderstanding. Maybe Paula was wrong. Maybe Dion had somehow managed to influence her dreams and forced her to have the same nightmare over and over again, and once he was gone, the nightmare stopped.

Paula was an old vamp, though, so the chance that she had gotten the whole thing wrong was tiny. I let out a loud sigh. I should’ve probably taken my car or used my vampire speed when no one could see me, but just as I was eager to face Enrique, I also dreaded it.

Maybe I should’ve spoken to Nat about this, because I was sure he knew something, but I wanted to give Enrique the benefit of the doubt and not immediately accuse him of... I wasn’t even sure what. It didn’t make any sense that he’d lied to me, unless he’d had something to do with my death. If I’d even mentioned that possibility to Nat, he would’ve gone straight to Enrique and done God knows what.

I replayed the nightmare in my mind, even though I wasn’t that fond of remembering any part of it. All I could see were my hands gripping the steering wheel of my car. A deer appeared on the road, and then I swerved, crashing into a tree. Was it possible that the deer was still alive and that somehow whatever magic was behind the nightmares blamed the poor animal for my death? No, that didn’t sound right. It had been an accident. It would be ridiculous if a deer had intended to kill me. Homicidal, psychopathic deer didn’t exist, as far as I knew.

I jumped to the side of the road as a car practically flew past me. Some people really weren’t meant to be drivers. What if the reason for my nightmares was that I’d done something wrong? If I’d reacted too slowly or had been driving too fast, did that mean I was the one responsible for my accident? Was I having nightmares because I was behind my own death?

A groan escaped my throat. That would be just awesome, because it would mean I’d never stop having those damn nightmares. But I still couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that some magical force decided that my accident was more than that. And if there was something about my death that I wasn’t seeing, then why hadn’t the stupid nightmare shown me that instead of replaying the same thing over and over again as if that was going to help me with anything?

I got a glimpse of the light in the windows of Enrique’s house, and I wrapped my leather jacket tighter around myself. If someone had really killed me, I couldn’t figure out why they’d done it. I’d been an ordinary college student, and I didn’t remember pissing anyone off or being in any conflicts. Except...

When Nat had given a potion to my best friend Bea to restore her memories, some of the liquid splattered on me and I’d remembered Enrique feeding on me, invading my dreams, and trying to get into my pants while I’d been human. I didn’t even want to contemplate that Enrique had killed me to make me his, but he’d lied to me about my nightmares, and that was too much to be a coincidence.

I still wasn’t sure why he’d do that or why he’d choose me. Sure, he’d wanted me, but he’d backed off when I’d told him no, and he hadn’t insisted after that. Of course, I couldn’t discard the possibility that I’d been part of a bet or a game Enrique had played to see if he could turn someone into a vampire, and he’d chosen me since I hadn’t succumbed to his charms.

I stopped just as I reached the driveway, my stomach doing nervous flips, and I hoped I couldn’t throw up the blood I’d drunk before coming here. As my maker, Enrique had way too much power over me, and he hadn’t fed on me to make himself stronger or compelled me to do something for him. Was it because he was feeling guilty about killing me? I couldn’t believe he’d be so cold-blooded as to be able to look me in the eye, talk to me every day, and not react in any way.

Taking a deep breath, I strode toward the door. Even if Enrique compelled me, I’d still be aware of everything and know the truth, even if I wouldn’t be able to act upon it. In that case, I’d have to find a loophole to show to Nat what I knew.

My hands were clammy when I pressed the doorbell, and I strained my ears to check if Enrique was home. I hadn’t wanted to call him and tell him I was coming because I was hoping I’d catch him unprepared and figure out the truth easier. Enrique’s home had to be soundproof and all the doors and windows were closed, because I couldn’t hear a thing. When the door swished open, I stumbled back a step.

Hello, miss, the servant said, and now that the door was open, I heard Enrique’s voice as he called after his father. Adán was here too. Crap. But maybe that would be good, because if Enrique had done this without his father’s knowledge, then Adán might be of some help to me.

Is Enrique here? I gave the man at the door a polite smile. He was human and my eyes flitted over his impeccable suit, combed short dark hair, and brown eyes. I wondered if Adán and Enrique were feeding on him or if that wasn’t in the job description.

I’ll tell him you’re here, he said, stepping aside and letting me into the foyer. Please wait here.

Thanks. I entered the large foyer as the servant scurried toward one of the doors. I could hear Enrique and Adán even through more than one closed door.

Please, Enrique said, his voice strained. Don’t make me go there.

The discussion’s over. You’re going, Adán said firmly.

Father...

Will you shut your mouth or do I have to compel you? Adán raised his voice.

The Aimaras won’t care if no one from our family shows up. It’s a stupid tradition anyway. We don’t... Enrique’s voice was abruptly cut off, but I knew the servant hadn’t dared to interrupt just yet.

Your protégé’s here. Take her with you, Adán said. She should learn more about the vampire world. There was silence for a few moments. Adán had to be aware I could hear them, and I had a bad feeling he was compelling Enrique to do something but without using his voice so I wouldn’t know what it was. Damn powerful vampires. It was a good thing Adán couldn’t make Enrique compel me to do anything, because otherwise we’d be screwed, but that didn’t mean Enrique wouldn’t compel me of his own free will just to avoid his father’s wrath.

Enrique burst through the door a moment later, his lips spreading into a wide smile that didn’t reach his light blue eyes. He ran his hand through his messy sandy blond hair and stopped in front of me.

Didn’t expect to see you here, but it’s good you came. We’ll be going on a trip across the country.

We need to talk, I said, keeping my face expressionless. In private. It’s important.

Enrique’s lips parted slightly and he eyed me for a moment before glancing over his shoulder. Can it wait?

No. I crossed my arms. I’ll go on whatever trip you want me to, but I really need to talk to you. It’s urgent. My heart was thudding loudly in my chest, and no matter how much I willed myself to stay calm, I was sure Enrique could hear it and would know something was up. If he was really my killer, I didn’t know how he’d react to me finding out.

Would I be fast enough to rush out of the house before he could do something to me so I wouldn’t tell the hunters? What would he even do? My nightmares aside, there was no proof I could provide even if Enrique outright admitted to doing it, but I didn’t know if there were other ways to obtain evidence. I was overthinking it. If I kept at it like this, I’d lose my mind.

Can we do this some other time? His smile faded a little.

No. I know you lied to me about my dreams and I need to... I made the mistake of looking into his eyes. His hand whipped out quickly and grasped my chin, his gaze boring into mine.

You won’t ask or talk to anyone about it until I allow it, he said. Yes, I lied to you, and I’m sorry. I’ll explain everything. I promise. But not here, not now. I can’t. I have to get ready for the trip. You should go home and do the same. He let go of me and I gaped at him, my hands curling into fists, but there wasn’t anything I could do.

Despite having claimed he wouldn’t use the power he had over me, he’d just done it. He’d compelled me. How could I have been so stupid to look into his eyes when I could’ve fought him and gotten out of here? Maybe I should’ve told Nat and risked him coming here with all the hunters to blame Enrique for my death. I probably could’ve reasoned with Nat. With Enrique... I gritted my teeth. Why did makers have so much power over their protégés? That was fucking dangerous.

Destiny, Adán said through his teeth as he entered the foyer and shot a glare at his son and me. Make sure you two don’t embarrass my family in front of the Aimaras. If I hear you did anything inappropriate, I’ll make sure you’re punished for it, even if you’re not my protégé.

I blinked at Adán, who simply glided upstairs without a second look at us, and I fought the urge to give in to my rage and do something even stupider, like trying to trip a powerful, super old vamp.

Hey. Enrique placed his hand on my cheek and I flinched, and he dropped his hand, his brows drawing together. Don’t mind my father. He’s just... He sighed. Well, himself.

Are you going to compel me to do that too? I glared at him.

Destiny, please, he whispered. I’ll make it up to you and tell you whatever you want to know. Just not now. Okay?

It’s not like I have a choice, is it? I said. But I guess you know how that feels.

Turning on my heel, I strode toward the main door. I couldn’t stay in here with him a moment longer. I was too mad to think clearly, because yeah, I should’ve done this differently, and I’d been thinking so hard about this whole thing and yet...

I walked out into the fresh night air. Enrique had promised he’d explain, which meant nothing, because he could compel me again. I’d have to find a loophole to tell Nat about this if Enrique kept avoiding it, although the idea that my maker could just make me do whatever he wanted and that such a thing was okay with everyone... Maybe Nat could tell I’d been compelled, or maybe his ability worked only on humans.

I dragged my hand over my face. No one ever stopped Adán from controlling Enrique, and while hunters tended not to blame protégés who were under compulsion, they still did nothing to stop the vamps from putting their protégés at risk. Where was the boundary to a maker’s power?

I really, truly hated being a vampire right now.

Chapter 2

I’m supposed to go on some stupid trip with Enrique, I said with a groan as I was placing my shirts into my suitcase. He didn’t even tell me how long we’ll be gone. Just that it’s some family... the Aimaras or whatever, and that we have to go. Adán was adamant about it.

The Aimaras? Nat’s dark brown eyes went wide, and he stepped toward me, grabbing me by the shoulders and turning me toward him. You said the Aimaras? Are you sure?

I eyed him for a moment. Um, yeah, I’m sure. Why? I definitely didn’t like the way he dipped his head and sighed.

Those vampires are nothing like the ones here, he finally said when he let go of me and raked his hand through his black hair. You shouldn’t be going anywhere near them.

I don’t understand. I placed my hand on my hip. How can they be worse than any vamp we’ve encountered here? I mean, there are hunters in their city who keep an eye on them, right?

Yeah. Nat pulled his phone out of the pocket of his jeans and quickly tapped the screen. But they’ve been known to get away with things, and the ceremony you and Enrique are supposed to attend is one of the ancient ones and it’s only allowed to be carried out there.

Just don’t tell me the ceremony requires human or vamp sacrifice.

No, Nat said, and the tension left my shoulders a little. But people have a tendency to vanish into thin air during the long parties that precede the ceremony.

And the hunters still allow them to throw those parties? I raised an eyebrow. The hunters I knew would’ve already investigated and put a stop to a thing like that, but I didn’t know if all of them were as passionate about their job as the hunters here.

Yeah, because there’s no proof those people vanished at the parties. They’re just reported as regular missing cases. Everyone in that area claims it’s a coincidence, and there are a few disappearances through the year too, so they’re probably getting away with it. I bet they’re involved somehow. It’s just a matter of time before they’re caught, but until then...

Right. I didn’t like the sound of that at all. Don’t those vamps have enough volunteers for their feedings? Why would they risk getting caught for murder?

I don’t know. Thrill of the kill. Nat shrugged. Some of them are very old and very powerful. They get bored, and they know they don’t have much time left before their humanity’s gone forever.

Please don’t tell me I’ll have to be around more old, crazy vamps. I’d had enough with Dion, and I didn’t want to deal with another case like that. Besides, I’d be going to another city.

Don’t know. Nat glanced down at his phone.

Then maybe it’s a good thing I’m going, I said after a few moments of silence. I can see if something odd is going on and tell the hunters.

He shook his head. The Aimaras have a lot of power in that city. You’re a new vamp, and you don’t want to mess with them. They’re not just dangerous for humans but for other vamps too. Are you sure you can’t get out of it? Let Enrique go alone or with his friends?

I wish. I was hoping Enrique would finally explain why he’d lied to me about my nightmares, but thanks to stupid vampire compulsion, I couldn’t talk about that with Nat. I don’t know if Marcos and Selena are going too, or if it’s just us. Didn’t have time to ask. Don’t even know when exactly we’re going, although I suppose he’ll text me first.

Then I should come with you. Nat’s eyes met mine.

Wait, you can do that? I didn’t know what he needed to do to get an invitation to a special vampire ceremony in another city. He was a hunter, after all, and I didn’t know how other hunters would feel about his presence there. Vamps could get queasy too if they saw him as an unknown threat to their rule. Wouldn’t that be considered like some sort of a provocation that could get me in trouble with those vamps?

I wouldn’t go to the ceremony or the parties, Nat said. I’d never get permission for that. But I’m your boyfriend, and I can travel to the city. I’d have to stay away from you, but if anything happened to you or if you witnessed anything unusual, you’d be able to report to me, and I’d find a way to alert the local hunters without letting them know you or I were involved.

Are you sure about that? A frown line creased my brow. "Wouldn’t vamps be suspicious you just happened to be in town and I happened to witness something and... If those vamps are really as dangerous as you say, maybe we really shouldn’t taunt them. And you might be wrong about them. Maybe they just like pretending they’re mean, but they don’t harm