Swimming The Dusty River Ch. 01


I had been safe for over a month, and the truth was I missed sex. What had passed between Nikola and I, or his cronies and I, was never sex. It was sexual, but it was about power, terror, humiliation, and pain.

I knew I'd never be the same after a year of torture, but I wasn't sure when I could channel my natural urges correctly. Sometimes I wanted a sane, normal, fully human male, other times I found myself fantasizing about vampires. One in particular, Michael Durand. Tall, dark, and handsome, he resembled my own mental image of Hades. He was a quiet soul who'd made his interest in me known, but wasn't pushing. Part of me wished he would.

"Why did this Durand send you to me?" Santiago asked as if he could read my mind.

I shook the thought off; as far as I knew that kind of telepathy came only after sharing blood. "He says he knows you. Perhaps if things...don't work out, he'll be a good resource."

We made our way onto an interstate, 26, and Santiago sighed as Mark stayed to the right lane. "I feel I can trust you. Forgive me for saying this, you are a very strong woman, but you have 'victim' written all over you."

"Great." I rolled my eyes and stiffened myself for what I thought would be an insult, but he surprised me.

"I'm terrified, Alex."

I chewed my lip. "Why are you telling me?"

"For two days I have been suffering alone, I have had no one to talk to. I am scared, Alex, and I think you might understand."

He might have been a 5'11" two-legged lamprey, but at that moment he seemed vulnerable. I reached over and covered his hand on the gearshift, and when the vampire duke smiled at me, I returned the favor.


Sara Alvarez was not what I expected. She worked a day job...at a blood bank.

"That'd be like you working in a bakery," Donna teased, and I smiled. I was still terribly underweight from my ordeal, but in my former life I had been constantly twenty pounds overweight, due in part to my irresistible attraction to Krispy Kremes.

"She doesn't look like a vampire hunter," Donna said.

Alvarez was petite, curvy, her skin a dark caramel, her hair bottle blond. She wore nurse white though the blood bank was privately held, and more interested in profits than aid.

"She has hidden talents," Mark said and Donna pouted.

I rolled my eyes and leaned back against the tiny Metro. "So we grab her, dump her in your trunk, Mark, and drive her somewhere for questioning?"

Donna shook her head. "We should follow her home, question her there. That way we can search her house."

Mark smiled down at her and she beamed. I rolled my eyes again. "All right, it's closed, so she should be out soon. Mark, you follow, let Donna drive. She's more experienced. Call us when you get there, the GT's too flashy."

Santiago grinned like a teenage boy at that.

"Places, everyone?" Donna said. Mark passed her they keys and we sat down in the cars, watching the store front.

The small sports car felt stifling, intimate. I didn't feel like I was on a stakeout with a client, but doing my first parking with a teenage boyfriend. I realized that a palpable tension was rolling off of Santiago.

I saw his line of vision staring hard at the blood bank, as if he had x-ray vision to the fridges in back. "Um, Santiago, when did you last eat?"

He smiled. "We don't eat."

"You know what I mean. Sipped off the hoof? Hat a hot drink? Your vitamin B infusion?"

He grinned wider, a very charming smile. "Such amusing terms. I need to feed soon. I can wait, and take it from Sara. I think it will be fitting."

She was a vampire hunter. She had lied to him, possibly taken his memory. She had exploited me for her demented cause. I had many reasons to not like her, even a few to hate her, but when I remembered what being forced had done to me, I couldn't accept it.

I turned to Santiago. "Do you know what a Binder is?"

He shook his head. "We're humans with power over souls. You're a Binder too. Usually we're Turned, and I'm fighting not to be. My blood is twice as powerful as hers, and I will give it to you freely."

His eyes darkened suddenly to the midnight chocolate color of his lust. "Alex, do you know what that means?"

In Nikola's world yes; but Santiago was different. There was something gentler about him, something far more sane. I had no idea what this would entail, and still, I nodded.

I was giving myself to the vampire.


The space was small, but Santiago was strong, and helped draw me onto his lap. He raised the steering wheel and we paused to watch Donna and Mark drive off after an old Buick.

"We don't have much time Alex, and for that I'm sorry," the vampire whispered to me.

I nodded, trembling, and he raised the hem of my shirt, his cool hands sliding along my skin to my bra. He hooked his fingertips over the cups and used the leverage to pull me down to him. He kissed me softly but didn't hide his fangs, instead he used his tongue to draw mine in, make me lick them.

As I relaxed into this sensation, his cool fingertips stroked back and forth across my nipples, teasing them. I found my body taking over, and I licked his fangs harder, drawing a moan and tremor from him.

"Rub yourself against me," he whispered into my mouth.

I moved awkwardly at first, pressing my aching pussy against his hard erection. The fabric made a scraping noise as velvet and denim met, and with a groan of impatience one hand left a breast to clamp on my hip and move me back and forth.

I closed my eyes and his lips left mine as my hips built up speed. I was whimpering, mindlessly hungry as he kissed across my cheek, licked my jawline, and began to kiss and nibble on my neck.

There was a little fear in my excitement as I wondered when he would bite. Santiago rubbed my nipple faster and faster as I ground my pussy into him, my clit desperate for attention. The fear excited me and I found myself cuming, screaming in pleasure as shiver wracked my body.

At the peak of the tightening of my body he bit me gently. Suddenly I felt a ghostly penis inside me, ghostly fingers and tongues all over my body, his erection even harder on my clit. I came again, a stuttering, hard orgasm that threw my head back and whacked it on the roof of the car.

Santiago clutched my shoulders with both hands as he fed, and as my orgasm passed he cried out, shuddering, and wetness spread between our bodies.

I came down panting, he was still, unmoving, not breathing, eyes closed.

I had almost fucked a vampire. I had shared blood with a vampire, and found pleasure. Worse, the danger of it had excited me.

I was bleeding, and he opened his eyes and pulled a large bandage from the glove box. He passed it to me with sad eyes. "Thank you," I said quietly and began to shift off of him.

He stopped me, took the bandage back and opened it. "Alex, I saw everything that happened to you. I am so sorry. What you suffered was-"

"Don't say any more, please. I'll move past it some day. Thank you." The bandage was on, and I was thankful he'd considerately avoided an artery.

He reached up and stroked my cheek. "I'd like to help you. You're a good woman, Alex."

I smiled down at him. "And you're a good man." For a corpse, my mind echoed, and we both winced.

Shit, I'd forgotten he could read my mind.

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