Title: Immortalis Carpe Noctem
Author: Katie Salidas
Series: Immortalis (Book 1)
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Vampires/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Rising Sign Books
Release Date: January 1 2012
Explore the emotional upheaval that is the transformation from human to vampire. Bleeding to death after brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, Twenty-five year old Alyssa, is rescued by the cold and aloof, vampire, Lysander. Taking pity on her, he shares the gift-and curse-of immortality. She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: An unyielding thirst for blood as well as the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity. As if having her humanity stripped away was not enough to make life interesting, Alyssa finds out her “turning,” did not go unnoticed by the rest of undead society. Old enemies; an ancient sect of vampire hunters, known as the Acta Sanctorum, as well as a powerful Vampire mistress, each set plans in motion to destroy both Alyssa and Lysander. Only by accepting her new-found immortality, seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive. She and Lysander must fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them both.
Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkins off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons. She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, she still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.
And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…
Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.
“You are a vampire.”
“A what?” I shrieked.
“You are a vampire, Alyssa,” he said slowly. “An immortal.”
“No! That’s not possible.” I shook my head in disbelief. “Vampires aren’t real. They’re fiction; nothing but stories and myths.”
One of his dark eyebrows rose slightly. He cocked his head to the side. He smirked as his eyes trailed down from my face. “Did you not notice the mark on your neck? Do you not remember drinking my blood?” His fangs showed as he spoke: pure white, sharp little daggers, just a slight bit longer than the rest of his teeth. His voice carried that same arrogance I remembered from when he talked with my attackers.
My mouth hung open. No, this isn’t possible.
Things were still fuzzy in my head, but I did remember the blood, the liquid fire, I had been forced to drink. I’d hoped it had just been some drug-induced dream.
Oh, my God, it was true. I drank his blood. “I’m…a … vampire?”
“Yes.” He smiled. “Our kind are very real. And now, Alyssa, you are one of us.”
I slumped backwards into the cushions of the couch. His words hit me like a punch to the gut. I stared wide-eyed at the distant wall. This was like some terrible nightmare. I didn’t want to believe what he was telling me, but I knew he was right. There was no other way to explain what had happened to me. No amount of hallucinogenic drugs could have explained how I had survived the attack, why I had these markings, or the sharpness of my own new set of fangs.
“Does that mean I’m… undead?”
“You are immortal,” Lysander said with a casual wave of his hand. “Undead is a silly term mortals use to explain the supernatural things they cannot possibly understand. You are no more dead than you were when you woke up this morning. You are just, for lack of a better word, changed.”
Lysander gave me another toothy grin. His fangs were frightening to look at. The memory of him biting me played over and over in my mind like a video stuck on repeat.
“But you drank my blood.” My hand shot back up to cover the wound on my neck.
“Only enough to allow the transformation.”
He reached out, grabbed my hand, and pulled it from my neck.
“Don’t touch me.” I flinched, annoyed and afraid at his sudden gesture. I tried to pull my hand out of his grip, but he was so much stronger than I was. He pushed my hand to my chest, forcing me to feel the erratic thumping of my heart.
“You see,” he said calmly. “Your heart still beats.”
I let out a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. “But…how?” I relaxed my hand relaxed under his grip.
“Unlike some of your other organs, your heart is still necessary to keep blood flowing through your body.” Lysander let go of me. “For now, while your body is in transition, it will beat in an accelerated rhythm, but it will eventually slow itself to a more normal pace.”
I was speechless. My mind raced, recalling books and movies, everything I knew about vampire mythology. Bats, stakes, and garlic immediately popped into my mind.
“I must mention that your generation’s ideas of vampires are a bit off.” Lysander spoke with a hint of amusement in his voice. “Many of the popular books and movies about our kind are no more real than children’s fairytales.”
Is he reading my mind? I wondered how he seemed to say just the right thing as I was thinking it. “So, none of the stories are true?”
“Most of the new stories you are probably familiar with are filled with complete nonsense.”
“What about the old ones, like Dracula?”
Lysander sighed. His shoulders slumped. “Dracula is not what I would consider an old story, but yes, a few are based on some truth, however little it may be. There is much that is added to make us seem easier to deal with.” His lip curled into a crooked grin. “Mortals like to think they can hurt us. It helps them sleep at night.”
“So, you’re not afraid of crosses, then?”
Lysander shook his head. “Crosses and other holy relics are nothing more than symbols and decorations. I hardly see why an ornamental cross would stop me from doing anything. Furthermore, I think it’s time for the Christians to come up with a better symbol. One that is a little less… gloomy.”
I chuckled. “Okay, what about garlic?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “What about it?”
“Isn’t garlic bad for vampires?”
“No.” He shook his head. “Why would it be? We don’t eat, so how would it harm us?”
I nodded. “Okay… umm… stakes?”
His head tilted to the side as the corner of his lip rose up into a teasing grin. “You can try to stab me with a piece of wood, but I doubt it will do much more than aggravate me. We heal quite fast. Perhaps a blade would work better.”
I shuddered, seeing his teeth again as he spoke. Is that how I look now?
“So, knives and swords are bad?”
“Yes. It is much harder to regenerate a severed limb. And if we are separated from our heads, it would be safe to say we would cease to exist.”
I smiled, noting the sarcasm in Lysander’s voice. I could tell he’d had this conversation before. He seemed to be enjoying my round of silly questions.
“Holy water?” I blurted out.
Lysander let out a hearty laugh. “No, you won’t melt into a pile of goo. You can throw most of that nonsense out of the window, Alyssa.”
I giggled, realizing how silly it sounded: melting into a pile of goo after being splashed with water. Maybe this won’t be so bad.
“You see, we immortals are not as ridiculous as Hollywood likes to portray us. Though one thing is true… we do survive off the blood of the living.”
“Shy, are we, ma chère?” Edmond spoke softly, inching closer. Again, I felt the eerie sensation of his eyes probing me. ”Might I at least have the pleasure of your name?”
“Get the hell away from me,” I snapped.
“Leave her out of this, Edmond, and get to the point of your visit,” barked Lysander.
Edmond’s lips curled at the corners. “I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
I shuddered. Damn it, I probably should have kept my mouth closed. My chest became tight. My heart raced, pounding like a drum roll.
Edmond took another small step closer, reaching a hand out to me. I flinched.
Lysander stepped in front of me, blocking Edmond’s path. He knocked away Edmond’s hand. “I said, leave her alone.”
“Jealous, are we, Lysander?” He sneered. “Don’t worry. I won’t steal her. I just wish to know her name.”
An odd silence halted their verbal tennis match. It piqued my curiosity. I chanced a look at Edmond. He stood firm in his place. He and Lysander stared at one another as if each was threatening the other to make a move, but no words were exchanged.
Lysander’s face was blocked from my view, but I saw the struggle in Edmond’s eyes. His lips quivered at the corners, but he did not move or speak. His hands twitched, fisting and rising to a defensive position, and then relaxing back to his side.
The odd silence and strange behavior confused me. Lysander’s body also seemed to tense and relax in front of me. I shrank behind him, waiting for something to happen. Tension ran thick in the air. I sensed a fight was about to start. Many moments went by silently before Lysander spoke again.
“Enough mind games, Edmond. Speak your purpose for being here or leave us,” Lysander demanded.
“Fine,” Edmond huffed. “It is precisely this enchanting little urchin you have recently turned that gives us cause to have this chat.” There was a definite note of disdain in his voice.
Me? What do I have to do with anything?
A chill ran down my spine. I wanted to get out of there. I needed to escape.
Lysander’s stance became more defensive. He continued to act as a wall between Edmond and me. “She is none of your—or anyone else’s—concern, Edmond.”
“That may be your opinion; however, there are those among us who do not look too kindly on bastard fledglings turned without permission, and, well, you know the law.…”
“Those laws do not pertain to me,” Lysander said with a snarl. “I am under no one’s rule.”
“That, too, is a matter of opinion, and it would be in your best interest and the interest of your…lady friend to sort this matter out with Kallisto.”
“I have nothing to discuss with you or Kallisto,” Lysander said. “I am through with this conversation. Leave my presence before I decide to send Kallisto a message of my own, using your corpse.”
Edmond waved his hand at Lysander. “Save your childish threats for someone else.” He turned and walked away toward the elevators. “Consider this your one and only warning. You have thirty nights.”
“You must create a very strong feeling in yourself. You have to feel it if you are going to make your victim feel it,” Lysander continued.
That doesn’t sound too hard.
“When you have your strong feeling, you must will that feeling to your victim, so they feel it too.”
A wicked grin crossed his face. I knew he was about to do something to me, but I didn’t know what it was.
“Now, imagine your victim feeling this as you attack.”
He lifted his hand and brushed the side of my neck. His touch caused my skin to pimple with gooseflesh. He looked down into my eyes; I felt the power of his stare intensify. A gray haze filled my head, and I suddenly felt weightless in my seat.
My heart fluttered wildly, like a humming bird buzzing in my chest. A feeling of want took me, an overwhelming need for him to be close to me. I swooned, falling back into the chair. I caught my balance just as Lysander bent down eye level with me.
His hand knotted in my hair. He gently pulled my head backwards. Hot breath grazed the sensitive skin on my neck as he drew closer; it set my blood on fire. I suddenly needed to touch him, to feel his body against my own. I closed my eyes, exhaled slowly, and arched my neck towards him in anticipation. I knew now what was coming. I didn’t want to struggle. I wanted him to bite me, to take my blood, my essence, into him.
His lips parted on my skin, sending a shiver down my spine.
A sigh escaped my lips as his teeth pierced my skin—a momentary pinch. I whimpered but didn’t struggle against him. The sensual pull as he drew the life out of me quickly replaced the pain.
I wanted this. I wanted to be taken—to give all of myself to Lysander. Whatever he wanted from me, he could have. I would die in his arms if he only asked.
As quickly as he advanced, he finished his lesson, gently releasing me, letting me sink into the chair. Part of me wanted to cry out. I wanted more of his kiss. My body ached for his closeness.
Lysander pulled away and sat himself down on the floor. His eyes caught mine as I slowly regained control over my body. We sat gazing at each other. I wondered if he had shown me some of the real feelings simmering underneath his usually emotionless exterior.
It took a few minutes for me to completely recover from Lysander’s advance. I sat back up on the chair, breathing slowly, trying to calm my pounding heart.
“Now, Alyssa, I want you to try that on me. Make me feel that same way, make me want to die in your arms.”
I don’t know that I can do that.
His gaze had been so powerful and commanding. He had taken control of me before I knew what was happening. I didn’t know if I would be able to match that intensity and control.
I breathed slowly and steadily, trying to center myself. I needed to quiet my own yearning before I could gauge the emotions from Lysander. The lingering effects of his advance on me still took center stage in my mind. I couldn’t deny the ache, the desire to touch him.
I wanted him. I wanted to share myself with him. I wanted to be close to him.
I slid off the chair and onto his lap, on the floor. Our eyes met, and I again felt the warmth, the connection between us. I focused on his beautiful eyes, calling up any power I might have in myself.
I want you, I want all of you.
Willing Lysander to feel my need, I leaned in, pressing my lips to his. He didn’t reject me.
I want you, Lysander.
His lips parted and our tongues collided, dancing together, playfully licking against sharp teeth as we explored one another’s mouths. We locked in an embrace as new lovers on his dining room floor. I savored the feeling of his lips—so soft, like two silken pillows—pressing against my own.
I willed my feelings on him, hoping they were strong enough for him to want me as I wanted him.
Kissing wasn’t enough; I needed a taste. Thirst nagged at me, and I needed blood to satiate it. I broke from the kiss and ran my hands through his silky hair, gently pushing his head sideways, exposing his bare neck as I searched for the pulsing blue vein.
He shuddered as my teeth broke through the soft flesh of his neck. His blood; the tingling ecstasy, the warm, sweet, honey liquid flooded my mouth, and a dizzying rush of energy washed through me.
Instinctively, as if I had been doing it my whole life, I willed Lysander to share in this feeling.
A low, rumbling groan of pleasure came from him.
I drew his blood into me, slowly feeling my need for him increase. I wanted to have him, all of him. I willed that thought and feeling to Lysander and drank him in deeply.
His arms surrounded me, tightening in an embrace, pulling me in close, silently telling me to take him. A hard knot formed in his pants. I felt it pressing against me as I sat in his lap.
Warmth spread between my legs. I reveled in the feel as he embraced me against him.
His heart beat in a slow, powerful rhythm, like a drum urging me to move and dance.
I ground into his hardness, matching the beat of his calling heart. Lysander’s chest vibrated against me as he let out another rumbling groan of pleasure. His hands raked down my back. Pulling me in close, he forced my body to press harder and harder against him. His hands sank lower down my back. He squeezed and kneaded my ass as he guided the motion of my hips.
My head swam with pleasure as I drank in my fill. My body flooded with energy. I ached with need for more. Erotic images played in my mind. I had not had the pleasure of a man in so long. I needed to feel him inside of me. I imagined him on top of me, taking me. I willed him to see that image and feel that desire.
Oh, God. I need you Lysander.
I released his neck. Lysander’s hand reached up, cradling the back of my head as his lips found mine. In one fluid motion he rolled us over, laying me gently on the ground below him.
It was as if he had heard my thoughts. I flushed with excitement, looking up into his eyes.
Flames of passion burned brightly in the swirling twilight.
Lysander blinked a few times. His lusty gaze suddenly returned to a flat, emotionless expression as if someone had flicked on a light switch.
I silently cried out, What happened?
I wanted to see my friend Fallon and tell her what had happened to me. If she hadn’t left me alone that night, my life wouldn’t have changed. I wouldn’t be this thing. I wouldn’t be here, a prisoner in Lysander’s home.
I needed the comfort of my familiar surroundings. I missed the stale smell of cigarettes and coffee.
Would Fallon even understand if I told her? Could she? Vampires are works of fiction, not walking, talking people.
I tried to think of ways I could tell her what I was without her thinking I was a cold-blooded killer. If I ever see her again, can I make her understand the fact that blood keeps me alive? That I must feed every night, and because of that, I choose to feed from those who do harm to others?
Even to myself, it sounded stupid. I sounded like some form of bastardized superhero.
There was no use. I was not meant to deal with humans or society as an equal anymore. No matter how I thought about it, I knew there was no way she could accept it. I had hardly accepted it.
How could I still maintain a mortal friendship, being what I was? She would shun me, ask me how many I had killed, and secretly wonder if I would look to her for food.
If she didn’t run away screaming in terror, she might want to be turned, too, and I couldn’t pass this thing on to another person.
I’m damned now, only able to associate with those of my kind, if they will accept me.
The tears kept streaming down my face. I wiped them as they hit my cheek, noticing they had a faint brownish tinge to them. Blood.
I could do nothing anymore without blood. I cursed it. I don’t want to be this thing. I don’t want blood. I want to be normal again!
“Why did Fallon have to ditch me that night?” I sobbed.
He patted the space next to him on the loveseat. “Don’t leave. I thought we were going to get to know each other. You need more champagne.”
“Yeah, more champagne,” Jessie blurted out, pretending to be drunk. She grabbed the bottle of champagne and put it to her lips as if drinking. “Mmmm, have a drink, Lyss,” she said with a wink.
She leaned in, handing the bottle to me, and whispered, “Have a little fun. Don’t you want him?”
Jessie didn’t give me time to answer. She immediately returned to her hypnotic gyrations. Erick watched me, so I too lifted the bottle to my mouth, pretending to drink the bubbly beverage.
I used to like champagne, when I was mortal. Now, just the smell of it made me want to retch. Bubbles tickled the tip of my tongue. My stomach flipped, threatening to heave if I swallowed so much as a drop. I lowered the bottle with a fake smile plastered on my face. “Mmm, we need some more of this.”
Erick got up and pulled me close to him. He pressed his hard body to mine, rocking side to side with the beat of the music. “You’re absolutely right. Let’s get some more.”
Erick’s advances became more sexual the more he drank. Halfway through the second bottle, he pulled us both on top of him on the love seat.
I must admit, I savored the delicious warmth of his hand as he squeezed my butt. He lavished attention on both of us, alternating between kissing Jessie and me. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t help myself. I let my hands explore his body as he claimed my mouth. Under his loose, silky shirt was a perfect washboard stomach. I traced each ripple down to his obvious arousal, cupping the tent in his jeans.
He moaned into my mouth. I knew I should stop. The beast inside roared to life, begging for just a small taste.
Erick’s hand slid down between my legs. His fingertips traced the outline of my sex through my thong.
“Ah, hmmmm.” I sighed, enjoying his touch.
It had been so long since I had had the pleasures of a man, and his gestures were quite tempting.
I lingered too long. I should have stopped myself, but his smell, his touch, his heartbeat, his warmth—it was all too tempting. I wanted so badly to taste him. I needed to taste him. Just one taste wouldn’t hurt, right?
My thirst, my hunger, the nagging sensation won. I concentrated on my desire to have Erick. I needed to have him, a taste of him. I left his hot mouth and moved my kisses down towards his neck. His succulent vein thumped against my lips; blood pulsed below the surface of his skin, just begging me to take it.
I tried one last time to fight the urge. No, he’s an innocent. He’s done no harm to anyone. He doesn’t deserve my deadly kiss.
His fingers slid underneath my thong, dipping slowly into my wet opening.
I lost control, giving in to my desire. Opening my mouth wide, I sank my teeth into his neck, severing the vein. My reward was a satisfying rush of hot blood, flooding my mouth.
He moaned, a pleasurable sound. I hoped he was caught in the moment and had not realized what I had done. I didn’t need him knowing I was sucking the life out of him.
His hands still explored my nether regions, confirming my suspicion.
Don’t fight it, let me take you. I willed my desires on him as I drank in his blood. I wanted him, all of him. Every drop of his blood was ecstasy.
His hand went limp beneath me.
A moment of clarity hit me. I have to stop myself. He’s an innocent!
I hoped I’d realized this before I was too close to ending his life. I pulled away and rested my head on his chest, trying to regain composure. I listened for the sound of his heart. The soft, fading beat told me I was too late. I had taken too much blood. His heart struggled as it slowly came to a stop. No!
Erick was dead.
Darkness surrounded me. A voice spoke softly in my head. Do not die, young one. Be strong. Do not die.
I became painfully aware of liquid pouring down on me, each drop like an icy hammer hitting my sore skin. Movement echoed in my ears, telling me that I wasn’t alone. Slowly, I opened my eyes. Harsh light blinded me. My mind was fuzzy. I struggled to recall any small detail that might clue me in to what had happened and where I was.
I reached up to wipe the splattering water from my face. I chanced opening my eyes again. As I looked up, I spotted the source of the water, a showerhead on the opposite wall. Confused by this odd location, I struggled to penetrate the blackness of my memory and figure out how I had ended up in a bathtub.
Where the hell am I?
I tried to focus on the bright, unfamiliar surroundings.
My vision, it seemed, had become remarkably sharp while I was unconscious. I couldn’t remember ever noting so many details in such simple surroundings as these before.
Cream-colored tiles covered the walls, each rippled with tiny imperfections. Each held an individual pattern, making them unique and special. Yellowing, porous grout, framing the tiles, appeared to be littered with dots from small air bubbles that had come to the surface, creating different patterns and shapes.
Even the plain white curtain that separated me from the rest of the room seemed unusually detailed and perfectly woven. I saw each tiny strand that had been tightly bound together to form this heavy, durable cloth.
Small specks of mold building up in the corners of the porcelain basin weren’t able to escape my new sight either.
The amazing level of detail I experienced didn’t hold my attention for long. Freezing water still poured down on me. I needed to reach the handle and end the cold assault, but it seemed so far out of my reach. I eased myself up to a sitting position, my muscles aching with each small movement. Looking down, I saw my beaten body. The water had washed away some of the grime, but what was left of my shredded clothes was stained and clinging to my skin.
“Uggh!” I moaned.
“Oh, good, you’re alive,” said a male voice from behind the white curtain.
The voice seemed strange and yet somehow familiar. I searched my fuzzy memories to place the voice with a face. A wave of fear came over me as I remembered the attack.
Had I been kidnapped? Was I a hostage of some kind? I struggled to recall the events of the evening.
“You’ve been out for a few hours. I was worried I might have lost you,” continued the voice.
“What?” I called, still not sure who I was talking to.
“It doesn’t always work. Some people can’t be turned,” the voice said matter-of-factly.
“Turned?” What the hell is that supposed to mean?