Home > Fractured (Vampire Awakenings, Book 6)

Fractured (Vampire Awakenings, Book 6)
Author: Brenda K. Davies


CHAPTER 1


“I’d like for you to come with me to my home.”

Mia glanced over her shoulder at David as he stood in the doorway of her room. She’d known he was there before he spoke; his inherent woodsy scent of earth and trees was one she’d become increasingly familiar with these past few weeks. She hated that his scent sent shivers of anticipation down her spine, hated that she’d come to rely on his steady presence in her life.

Over the past seven years, the only one she’d had to rely on was herself, and she liked it that way. Or at least she had succeeded in finally convincing herself that was the way she liked it. She didn’t want or need someone else in her life. Caring for another only led to heartbreak, and she’d had more than enough of that in her lifetime.

Mia rubbed her hands over her arms before turning back to stare out the window. The snowfall the previous night had left a white coating across the acres of lawn below her. There were castles smaller than this mansion with its sprawling grounds and seemingly endless, rambling rooms. There was plenty of space in this place for the vampires who resided here while they trained to destroy those of their kind who killed humans.

If a purebred vampire came here for training, it was more intense than what the turned vamps experienced. If the purebred passed the training, they would be able to join Ronan’s men afterward. The turned vampires who finished their training would be on their own after, but they would be better prepared to spot and destroy the vampires amongst their kind who killed for pleasure.

Mia had been staying at the training compound ever since she’d been rescued by David and the others from the warehouse where she’d been held captive. David and his family had come to the warehouse in search of their loved one, Vicky. Like Mia, Vicky was another purebred vampire who had been imprisoned so that other vampires could pay to dine on their blood.

Goose bumps broke out on her flesh as memories of what had happened in that warehouse danced across her mind. Easy. Deep breaths, she told herself.

Closing her eyes, Mia struggled against the panic threatening to pull her into its bleak depths. Before she’d been captured and taken to the warehouse, she’d gotten so much better at controlling the attacks. Ever since she’d been held prisoner, controlling anything had become much more difficult for her again.

Lifting her hand, she pressed her fingertips against the glass in an attempt to center herself in the now. She took another deep breath to fight off the vise grip crushing her chest. Despite the cold glass against her flesh, sweat slid down her nape. Opening her eyes, she took in the serene world before her.

One, two, three, look at the tree, she instructed.

She had no idea when or why she’d ever started doing the rhyming thing when she felt the panic closing in, but for some reason, it helped to calm her. At least it helped sometimes. She focused on the skeletal tree in the center of the lawn with its branches swaying in the breeze. Blobs of snow dropped from its limbs to create dents in the snow on the ground. Keeping her gaze on the tree, breathing slowly in through her nose and out through her mouth, the pressure in her chest gradually eased.

David remained where he was, watching Mia as she gazed outside. Her shoulders were set rigidly; he detected the increased beat of her heart as she battled the demons haunting her. He would do anything to slaughter those demons for her, but she wouldn’t let him get close enough to her to do so.

His gaze ran over her slender form. She’d put on weight since she’d been saved from that building, but her collarbones still stood out against her ivory skin, and the borrowed jeans and sweater she wore hung loosely on her small frame. Vicky had recently cut Mia’s sleek, nearly black hair into a bob just below her chin. He’d been surprised Mia had sat and allowed Vicky to do it, but he’d realized that, as Vicky worked, she was careful only to touch Mia’s hair and nothing else.

Mia inhaled a jerky breath and lifted her head. In the glass, he saw the powder blue of her eyes before she turned her head to look at him over her shoulder. His breath caught as those eyes landed on him. The gentleness of her features belied the steel rod of strength he knew ran down her spine. With every passing day, she grew lovelier as she healed further.

His pulse quickened as he resisted the impulse to stalk across the room and take her into his arms. Touching her was a sure way to get her to shut down completely on him though. She’d made improvements while here—she was friendlier and not nearly as skittish as when she’d first arrived—but she still went out of her way to avoid anyone’s touch.

When they’d discovered her in the warehouse, Mia had thrown herself into his arms. It had been the last time she’d willingly touched anyone for any length of time. He could still recall the feel of her body shaking in his embrace. Her bones had pressed against his palms as he’d held her, trying to ease the terror she radiated.

The image of her in that warehouse, chained to a wall and covered in bite marks, flashed through his mind, causing his hands to fist. Her skin had been raw from those marks, red and swollen to the point where it had hurt her to lie in bed for over a week after she’d been brought here. He’d sat in a chair beside her bed for many nights, listening to her whimpers as she’d tried to get comfortable and wishing he could go back to the warehouse to slaughter every vampire that had been there all over again.

A purebred vampire such as Mia should have healed faster than she had after she was freed, but because of her severe blood loss and the amount of abuse she’d endured, her wounds had lingered for weeks after.

He could still see the faintest hint of bite marks marring the skin around her neck. A human never would have seen them, and maybe most other vampires wouldn’t see them anymore, but he did.

His fingers dug into his palms, pulling back skin. He took a deep breath to calm himself as Mia turned to face him. She couldn’t see him grappling to maintain his control. It might frighten her, and that was the last thing he ever wanted to do to her.

Over the past few weeks, he’d developed more than a passing suspicion as to what she was to him. He couldn’t get her out of his head, the smell of her followed him everywhere, and when he wasn’t with her, all he wanted was to see her again and know she was safe.

He’d been around enough mated vampires to recognize the signs of what happened to one when they stumbled across their mate. There had been many women in his life; none of them had ever kept him as riveted as Mia did. He’d be a fool to try to deny the changes in him and his growing need for her. David had considered himself many things over the years, but a fool was not one of them.

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