Half in Love is the first of a series featuring Willie, a kickass female shifter/ vamp hybrid. Her story starts on a dark night in downtown Buffalo. She stumbles across an injured man that she quickly realizes is a vampire. Her track record with vamps and shifters runs in the "always having to kill them" vein, so she decides to take off before he attacks. She's called back, finds him wounded or drugged, and is begged for help.
This snippet is the first encounter between Nick and Willie. She wanted nothing to do with him, but sometimes Fate has other ideas. Enjoy!
Like she asked to be a half vamp, half shifter freak. She didn’t consciously stop the change from finishing when she was drained and tasted vampire blood for the first time. It wasn’t her fault that she possessed some sort of natural immunity to the vampire virus and only gained some of the vampire traits. No one cared that she hadn’t asked for this split existence. She thumped herself on the forehead. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, she chided, we’ve played this game before and all it does is get your hackles up.
She stopped in the middle of taking a step and sniffed again. The unmistakable scent of vampire drifted to her from someplace near. The breeze whipped in small swirls through the streets and alleys confusing the exact location of the bloodsucker. Willie did what she always did when faced with a vampire. She turned and started walking the other way. She’d fight if she had to, but most of them were stronger than her, so why take any chances. Fucking vampire. She scowled and kicked a discarded soda can down an alley. It thumped against a pile of rags, and she watched the pile moved. A quick glance told her all she needed to know. Under the discarded cloth was a vagrant who seemed for enough gone that he didn’t know she stood and stared at him. She ignored the homeless person in hopes of vacating the area before the vampire sniffed her out and decided she was worth a fight. She didn’t want to add another death to her list, she just wanted to go home.
“Help me, please.” A hoarse male voice begged from under the pile of rags in the alley. A pale hand trembled from beneath the rubbish reaching towards her. She tensed, anticipating an attack. She relaxed slightly when she caught a glimpse of the man under the pile. She stood rooted in the mouth of the alley, conflicting thoughts running through her head. Stay and help the dude, or leave him as food for the bloodsucker? She felt horrible even thinking about leaving the man to a vampire attack. She knew how painful that could be and didn’t wish that on anyone, especially some drugged out homeless guy. She also didn’t want to stick around and find out what a vampire was doing in her city. She edged along the sidewalk warring with herself.
Leaving the guy to the mercies of a vampire made her feel guilty and left a bitter taste in her mouth. The man had asked her for help. She couldn’t leave him to the suckhead and live with herself in the morning. She hesitated for a moment before turning towards the heap of man on the ground and approached reluctantly. He better really be in need of help and not trying to lure her into a mugging. Good luck with that if he was human, he’d find out that not all women walking the streets were weak. She reached over her shoulder, digging her hand under her jacket and grabbed the hilt of her short sword. Relief and comfort radiated from the cold steel. She pulled her favorite blade out from the sheath she wore strapped to her back and approached the man cautiously. The eleven inch blade and heavy hilt were comforting to her and eased the tension in her shoulders.
The knife had been a gift from Robert when she turned fifteen. He’d spent hours each day training her on hand to hand combat both with and without weapons. She’d learned years ago to be very proficient with the blade, taking down more than a few vampires that had gotten it in their heads to kill her. She lived now only because of her training and her blade. With Robert’s help she’d fashioned an over the shoulder holster that could be worn under a coat without anyone else guessing what she carried.
“Please.” The heap moaned and moved until the man was on hands and knees. The broad back of a large, muscular man spread out in front of her under a dark coat painted in last weeks trash. His movements were slow and awkward, almost jerky. Willie wondered if he was drunk or high, that would explain the uncoordinated movements. She didn’t smell any strong alcohol rolling off the man, though, so perhaps it was a medical concern. The scent of vampire was stronger and she scanned the rooftops trying to catch a glimpse of the bloodsucker. She hoped that the owner of the scent wasn’t too close to this location. She really didn’t want to be forced into a fight tonight.
“Okay, bud. Just let’s move nice and slow.” Willie approached him with the blade held against her right leg as she offered her left hand to him. She was surprised by the power in the man’s grip when he grasped her arm and pulled himself up to his feet. She grabbed his arm when he wavered, tilting precariously. She looked him over quickly while helping him stay on his feet. Tall, handsome in an old-fashioned chiseled way, and vampire. Well, shit, there went her night.
As quickly as she could, Willie ripped her hand away from the man and sank into a fighting stance. She backed away a few steps and waited, poised on the balls of her feet. She breathed in the night and let her vampire out to play. She rolled her head on her shoulders, loosening up her muscles. Canines extended from her top and bottom jaws, filling her mouth and gums with extra inches of teeth. She yawned wide like a lion to seat her teeth and lips around the additional lengths. She was surprised that her mountain lioness woke from her normal slumber to take notice of the man in front of her. The lioness stretched in her mind and swung her nose up to catch a whiff of his scent. Well, hell, this was definitely something she didn’t need tonight. A slight growl rumbled from her chest as the powers inherent to vampires and shifters coursed through her system. A slight rush of adrenaline heightened her senses and made her morbidly giddy with the prospect of a battle.
She watched the vamp try to steady himself. He’d stumbled awkwardly after she jerked her hand from his. He bent forward and groaned as his head hung and his arms shook while propped against his legs. He wavered slightly on his feet but didn’t fall. Willie waited for him to give up the charade of being ill and attack her, but after a few moments of no movement she started to question his behavior. Could a vampire be sick?
“Look, I know what you are and you probably know what I am. Let’s just get this over with.” Willie wanted to get the fight on, but she wouldn’t attack until he made the first move. Robert had taught her to always take a defensive attitude with vampires. Sometimes giving her opponent an extra few seconds to study her made them second guess an attack. With this vamp she hoped that she wouldn’t have to fight him. She could decapitate him in this position, though, all bent over and not watching her. Damn her morals.
“There’s something wrong with me,” he groaned. He slowly shook his head back and forth, still not looking up. His short, spiky black hair moved stiffly on his head. “My head’s all fuzzy. I can’t think.”
She watched him for another moment and then decided that she wasn’t going to stand and watch him any longer. Waiting for him to spring at her was a dumb move. If there really was something wrong with this vamp then it was her lucky night, she could walk away without getting sweaty or bloody. She stood from her stance and cautiously took a step away from him, watching for any flicker of movement. When nothing happened she took another step away, backing towards the street. She willed her fangs back into her gums and rubbed absently at her teeth as they receded. She turned when she reached the sidewalk and took one last look at the man, still hunched over in the alley, before heading off at a fast pace. She made it three steps before she sensed movement behind her. Shit.