Home > Compelled (Vampires in America #10.5)

Compelled (Vampires in America #10.5)
Author: D. B. Reynolds



Vampires in America series by D.B. Reynolds
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Acknowledgements

    As always, I want to thank Brenda Chin for her encouragement and support, along with her terrific editing skills. Thanks also to Debra Dixon and everyone at BelleBooks for taking such good care of my Vampires, and my Warriors, too.

    Thank you to Michelle Muto and Steve McHugh, my longtime critique partners, and to Karen Roma, for being such a thoughtful beta reader.

    Special thanks to Joss Whedon for creating Buffy to keep me company while I write. I’m sure that’s why he wrote it. And to all of the wonderful writers out there who create such beautiful escapes in their stories.

    And finally, love and endless gratitude to my big and extended family for all of their love, humor, and support. And love always and forever to my darling husband.

 

 

Prologue

    Present Day, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    COLIN MURPHY SAGGED against his bonds, the ropes biting into his bare arms, and burning fresh wounds on top of old where they’d cut into his wrists and ankles. And that was the good part. He grimaced at his own twisted sense of humor, but it was the only thing keeping him sane. If he thought about all of the other damage they’d done, all of the other things they’d done . . . .

    He shut off his thoughts and reached for the mate bond he shared with Sophia, that shining, indestructible thread that bound them together. It was there, but it had become thin and fragile, and so very distant. It was as if a million minds hung between them, and every one of them was clamoring for attention, blocking his way to her.

    It was the blood. His stomach roiled at the memory of how they’d poured the blood down his throat, how they’d forced his body to heal the wounds of their torture night after night. Maybe they’d done it in order to give themselves a fresh canvas for each new, more gruesome session. After all, a kidney could only rupture once; bones could only break into so many pieces . . . unless the body was healed over and over again.

    But that was only part of their motivation. In filling him with the blood of another master vampire, in letting that blood heal him time after time, they’d blurred his connection to Sophia, weakening it night by night, until he could barely feel her in the back of his mind.

    The door opened. He smelled wet earth and a whiff of rot that spoke to a location well underground. He struggled to open eyes that were nearly swollen shut, the right one so filled with blood that he saw everything through a haze of red. It didn’t stop him from recognizing the vampire who stood in front of him.

    “Look at you,” the traitor taunted, fangs bared in a pleased grin. “And still you won’t betray her. Jesus, Colin, if you like vampire pussy that much, I can find you someone who’s a hell of a lot easier to live with. I mean, Sophia’s a fine piece of ass, but, man, she’s got to be totally butch in the sack. Always on top, right?” The traitor snickered at his own pathetic humor.

 

        Colin was barely listening. Hell, he could barely hear. They’d slammed his ears one too many times tonight; the nerves were still numb. He was pretty sure his hearing would return eventually, even without their bloody damn healings. This wasn’t his first rodeo, after all. One didn’t spend fifteen years as a Navy SEAL without taking some damage.

    Of course, he would only heal if they planned on letting him live when this was all over. Which he doubted. The torture had been purely for their entertainment, continuing long after they’d pretended to interrogate him. They didn’t really need his Intel. The traitor could provide most of the information they needed, while Colin served his purpose simply by sitting in this room, captive. Or so they thought.

    They were fools if they thought his Sophia could be so easily diverted from her responsibilities, from her true purpose. She was his lover and his mate, the love of his life. She’d search for him and never give up, despite their weakened link and his deep underground location. But she was first and foremost a vampire lord—Lord of the Canadian Territories, one of the most powerful vampires in North America and the world. She’d understand better than most that his kidnapping was a ploy to distract her from the defense of her territory, and she wouldn’t fall for it.

    Sophia would hold her people together, and she’d defeat those who thought to take her territory by force. Then, she’d crush the traitorous bastard standing in front of him into dust. Colin only hoped he’d live long enough to see it. Or, hell, just long enough to see her one more time. Even if it was only to kiss her good-bye.

 

 

Chapter One

    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    SOPHIA STOOD IN the elevator, the cold of the brushed steel wall behind her seeping into the muscles of her back. She should probably move, but found herself strangely unmotivated.

    She needed to focus, to put her game face on. Or one of those other sports analogies that men were so fond of, the ones they used to hype themselves up for a challenge. There would be no challenges tonight from any side, but she still needed to play her part. She was a vampire lord. She couldn’t afford to appear weak or indecisive, especially not in the midst of what Colin would call a vampire sausage fest. All male and all powerful didn’t begin to describe the alpha vampires waiting for her in the downstairs conference room, including the most alpha of them all . . . Raphael.

    She sighed inwardly as the elevator slowed to a stop. Her bodyguard, Eleanor, stepped in front of her as the doors slid open to reveal a pair of her own vampires waiting in the corridor just outside. She’d brought the guards with her from Vancouver, because she’d wanted to be certain of their loyalty. Or, at least, more certain than she was of any of the Toronto vampires. They officially owed her the same allegiance as those in Vancouver, but one could excuse her for doubting their loyalty just now.

    Eleanor eyed both of the waiting guards carefully before stepping out of the elevator and moving immediately to one side, making room for Sophia to exit into the hallway. Eleanor was the only female vampire on her security detail. She was an incredibly strong one, in terms of pure physicality. That was her gift, rather than vampiric power. She was also fearless, intelligent, and completely loyal. Plus, it was nice to have another female around. No matter what anyone said, women and men simply didn’t think the same way. Sometimes, when Sophia was enduring yet another endless meeting, it was everything she could do not to look at Eleanor and roll her eyes, knowing the other female would understand the sentiment perfectly.

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