After having to finish The Angels of Paris Chronicles, I finally did it! Now, I can concentrate in editing and proofreading His Beloved. That's why I put the book for pre-order.
In case you've missed it, you can see the cover below and the first teasing chapters.
I hope you enjoy it and pre-order the book on Amazon.
Chapter 1: The Selection
The last thing Jade wanted to do was follow her best friend, Jenna, into that fancy nightclub. It was the type of place where people would do anything to get chosen by a vampire—even beg. Most of them either wanted to be turned or they wanted to become a vampire’s personal pet for a week. She sure didn’t want to be one—a vampire, or a pet. Her favorite color was pink for God’s sake! She also didn’t like reality shows and she thought Who Wants to Be a Vampire? was the most pathetic of them all.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” she complained, raising her voice so Jenna heard her against the loud boom of music and chatter.
“That’s what friends are for,” Jenna replied. “My purpose is to talk you into doing something you would never do.”
Jade rolled her eyes, drinking her non-alcoholic beverage through a straw.
“Just relax! You are here to keep me company. Nothing bad will happen. These are friendly vampires.”
“Right!” Jade replied. “I can’t believe there are so many people paying for this!”
“It’s a really famous reality show. You have no idea how many people want to be a vampire.”
“I have no idea why.” Jade shrugged. “Vampires are dead, they can’t come out into the sun, and they have to drink blood to continue living. They are evil creatures that think they’re better than the rest of us. They use these girls and boys for sex and blood, only to discard them and choose someone new the next week.”
Jenna kept smiling since this wasn’t the first time she had listened to that speech. She also knew why Jade didn’t like vampires.
Jade arched an eyebrow. “What else did I forget? Who in their right mind wants to be a vampire?”
Jenna puckered her lips before replying to the rhetorical question. “Jade, a lot of people would disagree with you.”
“Why? Because they are immortal? Maybe they can live for a long time, but they can be killed.”
“Keep it down,” Jenna mumbled as she looked around to see if anyone was eavesdropping. Leaning closer, she whispered on Jade’s ear, “The last thing I want is for my best friend to be kicked out of the club for talking about killing vampires.”
Jade lowered her voice. “In my opinion, having to drink blood is pretty much a deal breaker. Besides, they don’t actually choose anyone to spend eternity with,” she said while air-quoting ‘eternity’ “How many humans have been turned or chosen to be their beloveds since the show began?”
Jenna shrugged. “I just want to meet Seth.”
Jade kept rambling. “I just think it’s scary how many humans treat them as if they are gods. It’s like they’re willing to be used just so they can appear on TV.”
Jenna was going to say something, but she was interrupted when some girls started to scream louder than the music. She looked around frantically, with her hands against her chest. “They have arrived,” she said, breathless.
“I’ll be fine. Just go look for the vampire of your dreams, even if I think you deserve a lot better than a bloodsucking, arrogant, rotting corpse.”
Jenna giggled, putting her hand over Jade’s shoulder. “I’ll come find you in a bit. I just need to see Seth and the other vampires. Who knows, they might pick me!”
With a shrug, Jade scanned the club for a safe place to stay out of sight while Jenna went to flirt and try to find a sexy vampire willing to adopt her. She chose the darkest corner, away from the crowd of dancing bodies and humans desperate for attention. The creepiest of the supporters had a picture of one of the vampires—Seth—on their chest like some kind of treasure. Of course, he was gorgeous and famous. They would only pick the dazzling undead to be the main attraction in the show. There was no point in choosing ugly, old-looking vampires. It wouldn’t sell and people wouldn’t line up, desperate to be chosen.
The show had seven vampires, each one known for being a singer, an actor, or just a famous socialite. Seth was the most famous of them all because he had once been the lead singer in some boy band. She couldn’t recall the name of the band because it had been a while since he was famous for singing. Now he was well-known for doing low budget movies and for being a hot vamp. He was going by the name of ‘Seth’ for the last few decades, with his perfect curly hair and deep blue eyes.
Since Jade wasn’t remotely interested in being turned or becoming a vampire pet, she didn’t need to worry about looking pretty when she got dressed to go to the club. She was just fine in her pink tank top and a blue pair of skinny jeans. Actually, the last thing she wanted was to catch the attention of one of these men. After the selection, she could go back home and resume her quiet existence.
All the screaming and colorful lights were giving her a headache. Meanwhile, Jenna was nowhere to be found. She was probably making out with one of those creepy cold bloodsuckers. The thought made her cringe. The whole idea of exchanging saliva with a being who drank blood wasn’t at all appealing.
“Excuse me.” Jade heard a voice coming from behind her back after someone cleared his throat.
She jumped, startled, and held her hands to her chest while her heart raced and almost burst. She thought she was all alone and safe from danger. How could someone suddenly be present when there was a wall behind her?
“Could you move? You are in my way,” the man said. Jade turned around and saw an open door behind her and a man standing there.
She swore that the door wasn’t there before. Her vision narrowed to the guy in front of her. Her face was just in front of his chest; it was a rather sculpted and interesting chest. He was wearing a black cotton sweater that molded his ripped torso perfectly. He had nice abs and he also smelled good. Probably because of some ridiculously expensive men’s cologne.
“So,” the guy sighed with impatience, “are you moving?”
Jade blushed. Finding her voice, she said, “Sorry,” as she stepped aside. She lost her voice again when she saw his face turn serious. His heavenly, gorgeous, and breathtaking face. He had a stunning pair of piercing blue eyes. Her mouth went dry and her palms began to sweat as she stepped away to let him pass. She noticed his shiny, raven hair was styled messily, which made him even sexier. He might be gorgeous but he was also extremely rude.
He didn’t even give her a second glance or thank her.
“Annoying human groupies,” he growled. His teeth clenched as he moved forward, leaving a scent of woody, herby, and fruity notes caressing the air she breathed.
Her fascination quickly dissipated. He was a vampire. There it was: the arrogance and the rudeness. He could be attractive, but he was an asshole. He was probably running late for his leggy, blonde nighttime snack. She fought the urge to throw up in her mouth.
Jade didn’t have time for additional assumptions because a cute little teenage girl with golden locks exited from the same door in the wall. She was pretty, but her choice of clothing was really odd. She looked like a cartoon girl from Japanese manga. She wore a short all black Victorian-style baby doll dress with a magician’s hat on her head. She also had black lace gloves on her hands. She also had a sweet, happy smile on her face as she winked at Jade with a giggle.
Then the door closed in one swift movement and all that was left was the wall. It was a secret passage of some sort.
Jade sighed deeply. She had no peace there; she couldn’t even be safe in some faraway place without a vampire showing up and creeping her out. She leaned back and took out her phone, distracting herself. Despite her efforts to keep a low profile, a few different guys tried to make conversation, asking her to dance or offering her drinks. She refused everyone; she was more interested in finding out when Jenna would show up so they could leave. She perused the crowd, searching for her best friend, but she knew that she needed to wait for the selection for Jenna to want to leave.
“Hi,” said a vaguely familiar male voice.
“I’m not interested,” she replied, loud enough for him to hear without taking her eyes from the game she was playing on her phone.
“I just need you to move so I can go inside,” he said.
Jade lifted her eyes from the screen. It was the rude vampire. Again.
For a few seconds, she had a hard time taking her eyes away from his. She had seen him around, not very far from the place where he had crawled out. He had been talking with people in the VIP area, but he didn’t seem to want to be there. It was something they had in common, at least, but it didn’t make him any less of a jerk. The proof was in the way he was staring at her as if she were an inconvenience.
“I’m not even near the door,” she muttered, looking sideways toward the couple obstructing his secret door.
“The panel to open the door is behind you,” he explained. Moving forward to reach for it, Jade recoiled back, panicking from the closeness.
“Personal space,” she complained, trying to evade the touch of his arm. The last thing she wanted was to be touched by a bloodsucking monster.
Leaning closer, he whispered in her ear, “Why do you smell so good?”
His question sent unwelcome, frightened shivers down her spine. Listening to those words from a vampire wasn’t on her bucket list. She could feel his presence, but she was sure that there was no panel behind her because she didn’t hear the door opening.
“What’s your name?” he asked, backing away.
“Again,” she said, gaining the courage to face him. “I’m not interested. Now would you please step aside so I can leave?”
He narrowed his eyes and clenched his teeth. Jade gulped back her fear, unsure if he was going to do something rash. Vampires could be unpredictable and she had just wounded his enormous ego; she was sure of it.
Seconds later, he touched his ear and gave her a sexy demonic smirk. “We’ll talk later, Jade. Don’t go too far,” he said. The blood ran from her face at the sound of her name. He swiped his phone and the door opened. The people around them moved so he could enter and Jade ran to look for Jenna.
Half an hour later, she was still uncomfortable with the thought of the vampire knowing her name—and worse—that he had possibly shown an interest in her. Meanwhile, Jenna was nowhere to be found and the crowd of people inside the club was making Jade feel claustrophobic.
The loud squeal of a microphone shut everyone up for a moment. It was time for the show. Girls and boys would be chosen and taken by their new vampire masters. The host, a vampire man, would go to the stage area and read names aloud or point to people in the crowd. Some hysterical girls and boys would jump and scream, thrilled about being a vampire snack and excited to have a chance to convince a vampire to turn them. Nothing new about that.
It was a clever idea. She had to give them credit—to the vampires, not the humans. They didn’t need to hunt for food. Food walked straight through their front door and begged them to be eaten. They even profited from the cover charge people paid to get in and from the live broadcast show that ran every Sunday night. The reality show also earned a crazy amount of money from sponsorship and it was apparently one of the most popular viewed programs in the world.
Jade always felt sick thinking about it. At least deaths by vampire attacks were diminishing and the vampire population was under control as it was rare for them to actually turn someone. They just used the show as bait to convince people to donate their bodies and blood willingly and with a smile on their lips. All for a vague promise of immortality.
Like expected, after a lot of talking and a lot of drama with vampires saying goodbye to their older pets, the host began to pair the new girls and boys. He would call their names while the vampires were also on the stage, waiting. It was usually the same vampires every week and every week they left with someone new.
When the chosen girls were brought to the stage they hugged each other like best friends and screamed and jumped like they had just won the Miss Universe title.
Jade decided the night had been a complete waste of her time. She had better things to do than to watch something she didn’t even watch on TV. How did Jenna convince her to come here? Right, she had promised to take Stevie to school for a whole month. At least it was almost over and she could finally go home.
“And now, the sponsor of this party will pick one of you to spend an entire week with him and maybe turn you into his beloved. You heard me right! His beloved! Our famous bachelor is looking for a companion for eternity! You can be the lucky one,” the show host said happily, pointing a finger toward the crowd while girls released shrieks of excitement.
More propaganda and more empty promises with some new vampire to add to the team. Jade stared at the stage, impatient, becoming deaf to the screams and shouts.
“Did you hear that?” Jenna mysteriously appeared next to Jade. She gripped Jade’s arm tight while she jumped in her tiny red dress. Her blonde hair bounced up and down along with her boobs.
Jenna was blonde and pretty. Maybe she would get picked and would stop getting her into trouble and forcing her to attend parties like this one. But then Jade would miss her.
“We can still be picked!” Jenna said with enthusiasm.
Jade narrowed her eyes at her. “I’m not blonde and I don’t want to be picked. I’m here against my will.”
“Oh, stop being such an old lady and have some fun!”
Jade was going to answer her, but something caught her attention from the corner of her eye. On the stage, a tall, black-haired vampire stepped forward and with his penetrating blue eyes stared coldly at the crowd. Jade’s heart almost stopped inside her chest when she recognized him. He was the one who had tried to flirt with her earlier. He also scared her senseless when he had already known her name. If he was the sponsor of the party that meant that he owned the nightclub and was also why he had a secret doorway in the wall.
Something inside her stomach clenched at the idea that he was going to be part of the freak show.
Jade didn’t realize she had been staring with her eyes fixed on him until Jenna spoke in her ear. “He’s hot, isn’t he? This is so exciting!”
“I really want to go back home,” she mumbled, noticing how his arrival was making everybody go quiet.
Meanwhile, on the stage area, the vampire scanned the crowd one time, two times. Many girls were holding their breath while Jade was just trying to free her arm from Jenna’s tight grip. Jenna was hurting her.
“This is stupid! I’m leaving,” Jade muttered as she pushed Jenna away.
She was about to exit when she heard a creepy and authoritative voice say, “You!”
The vampire had picked his new prey. She couldn’t care less about who the poor bastard was. She just sighed, bit her nail, and stared at Jenna.
“Can we go now?”
Jenna had turned quiet and serious as if in shock. When Jade looked at the silent crowd, a bunch of eyes stared back at them both. It wasn’t just in her head. They were definitely staring at them.
“Me?” Jenna asked.
Jade was going to lose her best friend to a vampire! What horror would she experience in his company?
“No!” The vampire’s answer sounded like thunder hitting the ground. “You,” he said with a powerful roar that made Jenna stare at Jade while Jade stared at the stage.
Was he choosing her? No way. He had to be kidding. Was this a sick joke?
“Come again?” Jade asked, swallowing hard. The ground disappeared beneath her feet.
“And there you have it, folks. The girl has been chosen,” the host said, sharing the good news with everyone else. The crowd cheered around them and the music started playing again. Jade stopped breathing for a moment while she looked at the vampire, terrified.
“Go get her!” the vampire ordered. The camera spotlights followed the two big and muscular men in expensive, gray, Italian suits. They were probably his bodyguards.
“But I’m not even a cute blonde!” Jade cried, not believing what was happening to her. She didn’t have time to think about it because the two men held her by her arms and took her to their master.
Chapter 2: The Contract
There were no cameras or spotlights where Jade was taken. Jenna had followed behind the two brawny bodyguards. They only let Jade go when they put her in front of the vampire who had chosen her as if she were a pair of shoes rather than a living, breathing person.
Jade glared at him and he stared back at her coldly.
He grabbed her face and studied her as if she were an exotic animal. “She will do,” he said.
“She will most definitely not do,” Jade disagreed as she took his creepy, cold hand off her face and stepped back. “She is a person and she doesn’t want anything to do with you.” She crossed her arms, defying him with a fierce pair of hazelnut colored eyes. “I’m not leaving with you!”
The vampire smirked at her; he wasn’t intimidated. And why should he be? He could smash her into a wall with a flick of his wrist.
“You really need to learn how to deal with rejection,” Jade said. “I’m not leaving here with you. You must be out of your mind.”
The vampire narrowed his eyes, losing his smile. “Did you sign the papers when you came here today?”
Jade frowned. She stared blankly while she tried to recall what he was talking about.
“Yes,” she answered, pursing her lips. But did she read it? She remembered complaining about signing the suspicious piece of paper to get in, but Jenna had urged her to hurry. Without signing, she couldn’t get in. Well, it seemed that not reading it had been a big mistake!
“Did you use a fake ID to get in?” the vampire asked again.
“No!” she shouted, outraged by his question.
“Then,” he said, leaning his face over hers. His enticing scent hit her as she swallowed. She had to admit it. He smelled good. Damn good, actually. He looked good, too. Very healthy for someone who was dead. Okay, fine, he was gorgeous, but his arrogance was exasperating. “You are mine for at least a week.” He smirked as if he enjoyed rubbing it in her face.
She started to dislike his pretentious smirks very much.
“You humans should read contracts before signing them,” he said.
Jade clenched her hands into fists and gritted her teeth. If she could kill with her eyes, he would’ve burst into flames. Just her damn luck to be chosen by an insufferable and conceited bloodsucker who thought he knew it all.
“Let’s go. I have somewhere else to be and my time is short,” he said. He motioned for her to follow him like she an obedient, little pet.
He moved forward with his small army of bodyguards behind him. Jade didn’t move an inch.
The vampire stopped, noticing she wasn’t following him. He looked sideways and breathed deeply as if he actually needed oxygen. He was probably losing his patience. She couldn’t care less.
“Do I need to drag you?” he asked with a menacing tone.
“I want to read the contract,” she said.
Jenna touched her arm, most likely afraid of what could happen. Everybody knew that defying a vampire was risky.
“You should just go. I can explain to your brother what happened and take care of him. It’s just for a week anyhow,” Jenna whispered in her ear.
“Not before I read the contract,” Jade replied.
“You can read it in the limo,” the vampire said, coming back to get her.
“Goodie, goodie!” a girl cheerfully squealed in excitement next to Jade, catching her attention because she didn’t hear the stranger’s arrival. “I’ll have a new friend to play with.”
Jade recognized her as the girl who dressed like an anime character. She still thought the girl was peculiar, but nice. She seemed genuinely happy that she had a new toy, which was a little odd. Jade sucked in deep breaths to disperse her terror. She was already beginning to regret that fateful moment when she had agreed to go out with Jenna.
“You will like us. We are nice,” the girl said with a smile.
Somehow, Jade seriously doubted that. She wanted to run away and get the hell out of this place.
“Complete name?” the vampire next to her asked. He was too damn close.
She didn’t want to touch him; she was afraid of the coldness and paleness of his skin. Even if he smelled like vanilla with spices, it wouldn’t be enough reason to be next to a vampire. She shivered from the closeness as she stepped away from him. He noticed, and his eyes became darker.
If she didn’t know any better, Jade would think that he was offended.
“Name?” he barked.
“Are you going to pretend now that you don’t know my name?” Jade narrowed her eyes. “You twisted and sick—”
Jenna covered Jade’s mouth so the rest of her insults were muffled.
“Her name is Jade Sullivan,” Jenna said. “She didn’t lie about it if that’s what you’re thinking.”
The vampire looked at his men. “Go get a copy of the contract to show Miss Sullivan.”
Jade glanced at Jenna and then at the serious vampire, feeling really scared for the first time. “I have a job to go to, bills to pay, and classes to attend. Pick someone else—one of those extra large boob chicks with nothing better to do.”
“Pick me instead,” Jenna said. “It’s my fault. She didn’t even want to be here.”
“I’m not into blondes,” he said, and Jade rolled her eyes. Was he teasing her or was he just being an idiot? Not that there was much difference.
“Well, I’m not into vampires,” Jade sneered at him, folding her arms.
“You will be. Come. Now,” he ordered, reaching to grab her arm.
She stepped back, alarmed. “Don’t touch me!”
Jenna put herself between them. “Let me talk to her.”
He eventually nodded.
Jenna turned around. “I’ll try to fix this, but just go with him.”
“But, Jenna. . .”
“There’s no point in being stubborn. He won’t choose anyone else.” Frowning, Jenna glanced over her shoulder at the vampire. “Are you going to pick someone else?”
He answered with a round and certain ‘no’ while Jade gasped impatiently. She felt like growling and telling him to go to hell and rot there for all eternity.
Her best friend put her hands on her shoulders and she calmed down. “I’ll call my parents to tell them what happened. They will take care of Stevie while you . . . are on a vacation. I’m sure nothing bad will happen.”
“And my job?”
“I’ll call your boss.”
“I don’t like him one bit,” Jade muttered, glaring at the vampire.
“He clearly likes you,” Jenna said, gripping to her shoulders harder. “Some girls would kill to be in your shoes, you know.”
“Yeah? So where are they when I need them?”
Jenna snickered, amused by her sarcasm. “Come on, he looks harmless enough.”
The vampire smiled as if to prove Jenna’s point.
Jade rolled her eyes and shook her head, not believing for a second that he was cuddly and fun to be around. She knew better.
Suddenly, he turned around, touching his ear. “We will be leaving the nightclub soon, Jack. No, I don’t want any cameras outside or inside the limos. Wait for me at the exit. I’m leaving with the girl… I couldn’t care less about what you think.”
“Here is the contract,” a man announced, arriving next to them, breathless and waving a sheet.
“Good.” The vampire stepped closer to Jade. “Say goodbye to your friend and happy reading,” he urged, giving her the paper she desperately wanted to read. “Now,” he added, gripping her arm and giving her the chills. Panic took over her stomach and her breathing grew erratic. “Come!”
As Jade followed him unwillingly, she felt as if everything in her perfect world was crumbling. Her future looked bleak. Who knew what scary and weird things he wanted to do to her?