Cursed By Destiny Page 1

CHAPTER 1

Master Vampire’s Estate

Tahoe City, California

“Are you ready, Celia?”

Misha’s voice was nothing more than a seductive whisper. It made me breathless. “Yes.”

His gray eyes wandered down my body. “Are you sure you can handle it?”

“Yes.”

“All of it?”

I shot him an exasperated look. “We’re no longer talking about the scrimmage, are we?”

He let out a deep sigh. “No, but perhaps we should continue.”

Misha gave the order in the form of a subtle nod. Ten of his vampires attacked me, the thirst of the hunt shadowing their overly eager faces. It was hard not to rely on my claws. The vamps fought dirty, and they didn’t hold back, but hell, neither did I. My body slid lithely across the hardwood floor of the dojang, just when two vamps tried to tackle me. They slammed into each other—hard, like two boulders colliding.

The moment I kipped up to my feet, three more advanced. I punched, kicked, and maneuvered my way around them. It was grueling and my animal instincts propelled me into overdrive. Yet my innate need to survive and the long months of extensive martial arts training paid off. The overly obnoxious and excessively tanned vampires dropped with a skull-pounding crunch against the hard floor while I continued to hold my own against the rest. It wasn’t easy. Liz, Maria, Edith Anne, and Agnes Concepción were especially vicious. For she-vamps who bounced around in Catholic school uniforms all day, they sure were a mean bunch.

Maria threw back her dark hair, her Brazilian accent thick and dripping with spite. “Did you get an invitation to Aric and Barbara’s wedding, little tigress?”

That was low, even for Maria. “That’s none of your business.” She hadn’t even hit me yet, but I knocked her out with an uppercut to the chin just for being a bitch.

Liz jumped over Maria’s body, pouting her perfectly plump bottom lip as she advanced with all the grace of a starving cheetah. “What’s the matter, Celia? Are you mad that you’re not good enough to marry that werewolf?”

My hackles rose. Liz had hit a raw nerve. “Mention Aric one more time and you’ll be gumming your next meal.”

Liz smiled, peering down her nose at me. “Aric. There. Now what—?”

Liz’s fangs landed somewhere near Misha’s feet. He rolled his eyes. An entranced maid silently appeared and swept the pointy canines into a pan.

Edith Anne crouched into an attack stance. “Damn. You’re an angry little shit.”

I growled at Edith, blocked her strike, and wrenched her arm behind her back. She hissed and snapped her fangs at me. I silenced her with an elbow to her temple. The sickening snap almost made me feel bad. Almost.

Maria stirred as she regained consciousness. I was still ticked at her for mentioning Aric’s wedding, so I knocked her out again with a kick to her face. My sudden bitterness overwhelmed me and made me lash out at two male vamps who’d struggled to their feet.

My foot nailed the first vamp in the jaw, but his pal struck me across the face before I was able to plant both feet. I whirled in the air three times before crashing on my back. Crap. He leapt into the air with his fist reeled back. I rolled away—fast. He grunted upon impact, lodging his hand through the floor. My heel found the back of his neck before he could jerk his arm free. The pop of his vertebrae and limp form told me he wouldn’t be getting up anytime soon.

I panted and spun around, swearing under my breath. The vamp could have easily busted my jaw. I knew it, and so did the next two vamps who rushed me.

I couldn’t heal like weres, but damn it, I was just as strong and just a little faster. And unlike weres, I could shift underground and come up completely unscathed. I spat out some blood and used my resentment against the remaining opponents.

I held Agnes and Edith with my feet pressed against their throats, taking care not to protrude my back claws when they grabbed my ankles and tossed me. I flipped back and landed in a crouch. Maria regained consciousness again, and tackled me from behind. I yelped as fangs dug into my skin, piercing my flesh like sets of scorching needles. The scrimmage ended and the pain receded before I could tear the Prada-worshipping leeches off.

Edith and Agnes visibly shook as Misha laid into them. “Celia belongs to me,” he hissed. “You are never to taste her.”

I frowned. “I’m not yours.”

The vamps ignored me. “I didn’t drink her blood, Master. I swear it,” Edith Anne whimpered.

Agnes cowered at his feet. “Neither did I, Master. Not even a lick.”

I rubbed my face. The Catholic schoolgirls and I weren’t exactly buddies. In fact, we barely tolerated one another. That didn’t mean, though, that I wanted them turned into clumps of dust. I strode to Misha’s side and grasped his elbow, halting his tirade. “Misha, it’s fine. They only bit me. On the shoulder and . . .” I turned to look at my backside. “Damn it, Edith—you bit my ass?”

Edith shuffled back and forth, looking at her feet. “Sorry, Celia. It was an accident.”

Her wicked smile and flirty wink told me otherwise. Misha glared with the might of his master badassness. “Leave now.”

The so-called Prince of Darkness knew how to clear a room. There was a slight breeze and the whole lot of them vanished—as in hauled serious supernatural tail. I tried to leave, too, but Misha grabbed my hand. “Wait. I must heal you.”

The smoldering look Misha gave me told me exactly what he meant. “That’s okay—they’re only puncture wounds. I’ll see Emme tomorrow. She’ll fix me right up.”

Misha closed the distance between us. “They left deep marks. You should not wait to tend to them.”

“Misha . . .”

Chills spread through my body as Misha licked my shoulder to seal the wound. His tongue and breath warmed my skin. Misha had been around for over a hundred and forty years; he’d had plenty of time to learn how to touch a woman. He continued on, even though the bites had closed after the first flick of his taste buds.

I broke his hold and backed away. “Misha, don’t.” Misha was a thrill ride I didn’t want to straddle. My loneliness had become unbearable; every part of me longed to be touched. But it wasn’t his hands my body craved.

Misha’s heated gaze promised me hours of pleasure. “I’m not done yet, kitten.”

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