Forbidden Temptation of a Vampire 
  
Prologue: Dragon Council Proclamation

In order to remain undetected by mundane humans on Earth, The Dragon High Council has decided peace between the Sídhí races is critical. Therefore, all Sídhí Valleys will participate in a summer camp hosted by Dragon Valley. It is believed the unique blending of races within the summer camp will achieve the first step toward peace.

Participants shall include the eldest two teenage children (or direct descendants) of each council member. Participation in the Peace Camp is not optional. If any Sídhí Valley refuses to participate, all known gateways within that valley will be shut down immediately.

NOTE: A copy of this proclamation has been dispatched to the governmental bodies of all known valleys.

Dragon Valley - Day of Arrival

Hate was a sin, but Katie couldn’t help it. At the moment, she truly hated the Dragon Council. The dragons destroyed her summer. Forcing her to attend camp with hundreds of full bloods was not her idea of fun. She’d have to watch her back every single moment or she just might find a dagger plunged through it.

"Katie, you okay?" Mitch asked. His deep male voice appeared in her head without warning.

He was on the other side of the cabin, in the guy’s dorm room, unpacking his clothes and stuff, same as she was. Yet, from the tone of his mental voice, he was worried about her. Sometimes, having a twin-bond wasn’t a good thing. Thank goodness, he couldn’t hear her thoughts unless she projected them.

She groaned, realizing her shields must’ve slipped. Again. It was either slipped shields or she'd been muttering out loud, which was worse than slipped shields, especially when someone heard. It was such a mundane thing to do.

What did she expect? She hadn’t grown up inside one of the ‘oh, so perfect’ immortal valleys. She grew up on Earth around normal mundane humans.

"Yeah, fine," Katie answered glumly. She didn’t try to sound cheerful. He wouldn’t believe her if she tried. They were both in a rotten mood. She didn’t think anything could make her happy today. Though, she would be happier if she knew where they were. She still wasn’t sure.

Oh, she knew they were in Dragon Valley. The valley was probably hundreds of miles wide, possibly thousands of miles wide. She just didn’t know where 'on' Earth Dragon Valley was located. They could be anywhere.

Not that it mattered. She couldn’t leave the campgrounds, not even to port home for a few minutes. The stupid dragons had strictly forbidden teleporting, or porting, as vampires called it. Even if she tried to leave the camp, she was too young to port very far. Without knowing where Dragon Valley was located, she’d have to port without a specific destination in mind, which meant porting blind.

Katie shuddered at the thought of porting blind. Horrible things happened to people that ported blind. The synth crystal in her blood could heal nearly any injury, but she didn’t want to test the theory and end up squished in the middle of a mountain.

Sighing, she reached into the nearly empty suitcase and snatched up the last two items. She tossed the fluffy pile of colorful panties into the top dresser drawer, and laid her worn Bible on the nightstand. That was it. Finally, everything was unpacked.

She shoved the bulky suitcase under her bed, the one farthest away from the bathroom. Six girls would make the bathroom the busiest room in the cabin. She could imagine the chaos that would reign every morning. Mixing teenage elves and vampires in a single bathroom was the perfect way to create a daily fight. By adding her into the mix, it was a recipe for disaster.

As a halfling, she wasn’t an acceptable member of polite valley society. Even her grandpa had taken several hundred years to accept her mom and dad’s lifeBond. Full bloods didn’t accept mixed lifeMate couples or their halfling children. It was totally taboo.

"Finished unpacking? Hungry?" The sugary sweet tone in Mitch’s voice was pure payback.

Katie had teased him unmercifully the previous summer. For some reason, Mitch went through puberty a full year before her, while she suffered through an additional year of being a skinny pre-pub. They were twins. They were supposed to do things together. She guessed her body didn’t know that.

"Dumb question, I’m always hungry," she complained.

Puberty meant she’d be eating everything in site, at least for the next few days. Sídhí puberty was very different from mundane puberty. Sídhí puberty lasted three weeks. Period. A Sídhí juvenile went from stick-thin to adult curves in a short twenty-one days.

A little over two weeks ago, she finally started puberty. Her strength and senses had slowly improved. Soon, she would be tremendously stronger than any human could ever dream of being. Her fangs showed up the first week. As did her ability to port, and just last week she extended her claws for the first time. It was so freaky to have normal fingernails one minute, and two-inch crystal claws the next. She thought they looked like weird grizzly bear claws, only a hundred times stronger and semi-white.

"You’re going to harass me for my final week of puberty, aren’t you?" she asked.

"Of course, you’d think I didn’t love you otherwise," Mitch answered. His serious tone of voice didn’t surprise her.

Why did she even bother asking?

Katie grumbled for a minute, but she really was hungry. Then she grinned to herself, at least she wouldn’t look like a cartoon stick figure for much longer. Not that it really bothered her, but guys never showed interest in someone with a boyish thin figure. No one ever asked her out on a date. Sometimes being Sídhí really sucked.

She couldn’t even delude herself as to why they didn’t ask her. Being Sídhí meant she heard all the human thoughts around. She knew what guys, and girls, thought about her. She didn’t even try to kid herself. She had major self-esteem issues.

Her growling stomach pulled her back to his question. "There’s a ton of food in the kitchen. I’ll cook, if you’ll clean up."

"Yeah, sure, that’s fine," he agreed quickly.

"What sounds good?"

His deep chuckle echoed behind her as he entered the girl’s dorm room. "Anything, as long as I don’t have to cook, I’ll eat whatever. That is, if there is anything left to eat after you get finished. You ate that entire pack of Oreo cookies and didn’t even give me one."

At a few inches over six feet, Mitch had the muscled body of a pro-football player. They both had their mom’s light coloring and elfin features. She reluctantly admitted, even though he was her brother, he was good looking. Though, she’d never tell him. It’d go to his blond head, and there would be no living with him.

"And I saw you snitching that last slice of coconut cream pie mom made. You should be ashamed of yourself for not sharing with your beloved twin brother."

She grinned as he walked toward her. He was so busy teasing her he didn’t notice the slowly rotating ceiling fan. He had a bad case of tunnel vision, or maybe she should say, once he got something stuck in his thick head, he chewed it to death, it rattled around in his hard head and would not go away.

For all his teasing, she should let him walk into the fan, but his head would break her ceiling fan.

"Mitch," she said, pointing up at the fan in warning.

He ignored her, chattering on about how much she was eating during puberty. He was almost there.

"Mitch!" She waved her hand to stop him, waiting for the inevitable ker-chunk.

"Aargh!" He bellowed and his eyes bugged out. Ducking at the last minute, he neatly avoided the thin wooden blade of the fan. Looking up, he glared at the fan.

Katie’s laughter filled the room. Talk about priceless. Though, she was glad his cement-hard head hadn’t broken her ceiling fan.

"Very funny, Katie. Ha. Ha," he grumbled, turning his good-humored glare on her; his lips twitched, trying not to laugh with her.

"I tried to stop you."

"Just wait until you start your growth spurt. Next week you’ll be whining and complaining that nothing fits anymore."

He dropped onto one of the six beds lining the room. The poor thing groaned under his weight, there was nothing tiny about him. He was solid muscle.

"I think it might be sooner than next week. I’d guess a couple of days max." Her clothes were loose, but they irritated her skin. Every time she moved, she felt the brush of her shorts and soft cotton halter-top slide against her sensitive skin. Her skin had started tingling yesterday afternoon. She sighed in resignation, being tender was normal a few days before she started the final growth spurt.

"Honestly," Katie said. "I can’t wait. I’m so sick of wearing boys slim cut jeans. To think, I’ll actually have…"

"La! La! La! La!" He loudly bellowed with a sick look on his face and fingers stuck in his ears.

"I was just going to say hips," she said, planting her hands on her hips. She grinned at his pained expression.

He gave a long-suffering sigh and removed his fingers.

She couldn’t resist the urge to tease him. "Oh, and I’ll finally have boobs."

Her giggles turned to laughter as his mortified expression turned beet red. He tried to say something, but only a gurgle came out, while the tips of his pointed ears turned rosy red.

The words barely left her mouth, when she felt someone watching her. She turned and found herself looking into a set of piercing blue eyes. She skimmed his face and then took in the whole deal: deep blue eyes, silky black hair, tall, muscled, and gorgeous. Definitely, the most gorgeous guy she’d ever seen. She honestly didn’t have the words to describe what he looked like.

How could Katie think of words, when he made all her brain functions cease to exist? For just a second, she forgot where she was and even how to breathe. Her body went from laughter to a hot flush, even the tips of her fingers and toes tingled with sparks of awareness.

Wow, talk about making a great first impression.

He casually leaned against the door frame, watching her as she gave him the once over. He was nearly as tall as Mitch. And she thought her brother looked like a pro athlete. This guy put her twin to shame. He looked a bit stunned as he stared back at her. She briefly wondered if she wasn’t the only one having trouble breathing.

Then it registered. Her heart stuttered to a complete stop; her eyes widened and she stared at him in mounting alarm.

He was a vampire. A full blooded vampire!

His stunned look changed to shock. His eyes slightly narrowed and his gaze flickered across her face, taking in her small pointed ears as they peeked past her thick hair. She groaned and felt her face and ears fill with blood, turning her light golden tan into a deep red blush.

She was humiliated. He must’ve heard them talking about her current lack of feminine curves. She wanted to crawl in a dark, deep hole and hide.

His eyes settled on hers, she finally remembered to breathe. Sucking in a ragged gasp of air, she vaguely realized, breathing didn’t come easy.

~ ~ ~ ~

Jared stood frozen in the doorway; this could not be happening. He was only seventeen. Yet, it was happening. He couldn’t deny it, not that he ever would.

The inhuman roar raged through his blood, scorching his every thought, making it hard for him to breathe, hard to think. He shuddered. He knew what it meant.

Half of him was eager for the hunt of his life, but the other half was terrified of failure.

Instinctively, he knew one simple fact: She didn’t know who he was, but he knew who she was. Oh yeah, he definitely knew who she was. Would she look at him differently if she realized her life hung in the balance? That from her single glance, as she looked at him with elf colored eyes, she had become his prey.

He watched in fascination as blood pulsed through her face and neck, filling the tips of her very elfin ears. He groaned and gritted his teeth. She wasn’t a vampire, but he admitted she had beautiful eyes. They were an incredible shade of pale green with a large inhuman black pupil. He could barely see the white around their edges; they looked like an exploding green star with an indescribable black hole in the middle.

All other thoughts ceased to exist. Nothing else mattered. Everything in him focused on her. He inhaled a shaky breath, knowing death was likely. He was a vampire and she was an elf.

Yes, death was a very real possibility. If he could not resist the call of her blood, he knew death would call.

~ ~ ~ ~

Katie silently stared at the vampire as he watched her. His gaze was so intent that she couldn’t stop the shiver racing up her spine. Captivated, she watched as he slowly clenched his jaw. Then the worst thing in the world happened, even though he didn’t show his teeth, he growled at her. She froze. Sucking in a frightened squeak, her fear instantly wiped her blush away. Fear can do that, especially when faced with an angry vampire.

Her first thought was to run. Vampires tended to attack first and ask questions afterward. That is, if the other person was still alive. This wasn’t good.

In a split second, less time than it took to blink, Mitch stood between the vampire and her. Her twin’s tall frame crouched ready for a fight. She couldn’t see his face, but she was sure it had a look of anticipation on it. Mitch had been searching for an excuse to blow off some steam.

Katie cautiously leaned around Mitch and a strand of satiny blonde hair fell in her face. She flipped it behind the point of her ear in exasperation. From the safety of her bed, she uneasily watched the growling vampire.

Mitch started forward and she grabbed his wrist. "Mitch, stop it."

Fighting wasn’t a good idea. Blood and/or death were usually involved when immortals fought.

"Sorry." The growling vampire sounded almost embarrassed. He quickly held both hands out, palm up, in the universal gesture of peace. He stopped growling. She could hear his heart racing as he glanced down at her. Then he quickly returned his attention to her angry brother.

"You’re elves. Anytime I see an elf I'm not familiar with, I automatically growl. It’s not something I can control. I swear, I meant you no offense, little one." He directed his solemn plea to her. His somber face seemed to soften as he gazed at her, which, of course, had to be her very vivid imagination. He held her eyes and she saw him draw a shaky breath. His hands slightly trembled as he rubbed them against his beige shorts.

"Katie, let go," Mitch said, snarling at her, his earlier humor quickly forgotten. He had tried to hide it from her, but he had been stewing for a fight. She was sure he’d been praying for one.

Did he think she was crazy? Not for all the chocolate sold on Halloween would she let him go. She wasn’t about to do something so insanely stupid.

"No way," she adamantly refused. "I’m not letting go. I doubt if he wants to be here any more than we do. You aren’t going to start a fight the first night we’re here."

She tried digging her feet in, but Mitch easily pulled her from the bed. Tightening her grip, she soon found herself dangling from his outstretched wrist. At only five-feet, her toes struggled to reach the floor. Yelping, she tugged on his wrist, but he was being hardheaded.

He growled, shaking his arm in frustration, trying to dislodge her. She tended to forget how strong he had become since puberty. Her teeth snapped together as her entire body shook.

Ouch! She immediately tasted blood as her fangs pierced her tongue. Her new canines were sharp! Even when not fully extended, they were longer and sharper than normal teeth.

The vampire glared at her brother, his eyes hardened into blue flint. It was odd, he didn’t seem angry with her. But she could feel the silent anger he aimed at Mitch, billowing from him in nearly visible waves. Talk about confusing. She didn’t know what was wrong with her. She’d never been so aware of another person.

From Mitch’s increased effort to dislodge her, she knew his annoyance with her was rising. He growled and continued shaking his fist while glaring at the vampire. She couldn’t depend on common sense calming him down. Her brother was too stubborn for that. She had to figure out some way to cool his temper.

The scowling vampire did not help matters.

~ ~ ~ ~

Jared’s fury exploded amid the inhuman roar humming in his blood. He felt it surge through him. He welcomed the primal instinct urging him to extend his claws and teeth. He felt like ripping the blond elf into small pieces. He shook with the need to attack. Without a doubt, he could easily take the over-sized elf down.

He gritted his teeth, barely holding back his natural response of attacking first. He desperately wanted to attack. Watching the muscular elf’s continued efforts to free his arm only fueled his anger.

His head pounded a furious beat. The smell of her blood drove him beyond rational thought. Damn it, he couldn’t take her, not here. At this point, she’d fight him.

No, there was a better way, but she had to stop bleeding. If she didn't, he'd screw up right here, right now.

"Stop shaking her!"

~ ~ ~ ~

Katie sensed the vampire stopping a few feet away. Then she heard him.

She jerked her eyes toward the vampire as growls erupted from his chest. It wasn’t like his first short growl. This echoed through the bare room and she heard the deep anger rolling through this rumbling sound. His mouth opened, exposing fully extended fangs. In growing fear, she watched the now furious vampire slowly extend his claws as he moved closer toward them.

"Come on, Sis, let go!" Mitch snapped at her, never shifting his attention as he glared at the growling vampire. He suddenly stopped shaking her, flipping her toward the bed, he snapped his arm around, but she doggedly hung on. His motive was transparent. The minute he got her off his arm, he would attack the vampire and enjoy every darn minute of it. It’d make him happier than a kid with a new puppy.

"Damn it! You’re hurting her!" The vampire snapped, flinging his accusation at Mitch. Deep snarls punctuated his words. "I can smell her blood!"

With each word, the vampire’s fury seemed to be growing. She felt a flush of surprise go through her. He really thought Mitch was hurting her. She wasn’t sure how to react. She was a halfling. Why in the world was a vampire trying to protect her? It didn’t make any sense. Full bloods and halflings never got along.

Mitch hesitated. Katie knew her hardheaded brother hated anyone telling him what to do. He growled a warning at the vampire, but thankfully, he stopped shaking her. Slightly tilting his head toward her, he sniffed the air. She knew the moment he smelled her blood, because he hissed. He hadn’t known she was hurt.

"Mitch, he said he was sorry. No harm done." The tips of her toes brushed the floor and she got enough leverage to tug on his arm, trying to get his attention, but her big brother (by a few minutes) was being obstinate.

Once more, testosterone ruled the day.

A dark haired girl, about Katie's age, suddenly appeared, out of thin air, immediately in front of the growling vampire. Her port seemed to catch both guys off guard.

"Oh, both of you grow up! It looks like we’re going to be room mates for the next four months. Repeat. Four months stuck together in a single cabin. Fighting on the first night is just dumb." The female vampire shook her head in exasperation as she lectured them.

Her beautiful jet-black hair swirled in waves past her shoulders, nearly to her hips. Her dark tan flushed red as she continued ranting at both boys. "Guys can be so full of themselves, elves or vampires, you’re all the same! You all act like empty headed morons."

The girl looked like an angry sprite as she chewed them out. Katie kept that opinion to herself. She doubted if the girl would see the humor. Comparing anyone to one of the tiny harebrained critters flying around most valleys wasn’t normally a compliment.

The girl’s exasperated gaze flickered to Katie and she felt herself grin in return. She couldn’t help it. The sprite-like grin proved contagious and the girl was right. No guy could survive long without a levelheaded female around. Her eyes invited Katie to join her aggressive stand between the angry young men.

Katie laughed. Within a split-second, she mimicked the girl’s defensive position. Katie stopped in front of Mitch. She really was getting much faster.

"I agree. Guys tend to have an ego problem." Katie glanced toward the vampire. He held her eyes, his gaze smoldering with an unnamed emotion, before returning his cold stare to Mitch. Her heart fluttered with excitement. It really felt like he was looking into her soul.

"They’re right," the vampire said. His fangs and claws quickly disappeared. Once again, he looked human. In a gesture of apparent frustration, he raked his hand through his silky hair; the black strands slightly curled around the collar of his polo shirt. "Only a moron would really want to be an ‘honored guest’ of the Dragon Council."

The vampire didn’t hesitate, holding out his hand, he said, "I'm Jared Andrews." He nodded toward the girl. "And this is my younger sister Emily."

Jared’s smile lit up his eyes.

Katie began sinking fast. This wasn’t a good thing. Honestly, it really wasn’t a good thing. He was a full blood and she was a halfling, nothing good could come of her attraction. Attraction? Ha! Instant and total crazed infatuation would be a better description. She fought back a sigh and hoped she wasn’t drooling on the hard wood floor.

For a moment, Katie feared Mitch would refuse to shake Jared’s hand. She didn’t want the uproar that would ensue from such a rude action. Elves and vampires took honor into an entirely new level. Mitch’s snub would be a grave insult to the now smiling vampire.

She glanced up at Mitch, just in time to see him smile slowly. Oh, no, what was he doing?

"Mitchell McQuillen. My twin sister is Katelyn." The tips of Mitch’s slightly lengthened fangs showed as he reached for Jared’s hand.

At Mitch’s words, both vampires paused. Their human-like eyes got a bit bigger, but at least they didn’t growl. Katie tried reminding herself, no growling was always a good sign. Vampires were so unpredictable.

Mitch’s smile grew with anticipation and she groaned. He flashed his fangs on purpose, elves didn’t have fangs, and then he intentionally introduced them like that. Her obstinate brother might get his fight after all. One of these days, he’d be the death of her. She just knew it.

"You’re Councilman McQuillen’s grandchildren?" Jared asked with a chuckle, he quickly stepped forward and grasped Mitch’s outstretched hand. His reaction seemed overly excited, which was unusual. Certainly not the normal reaction she expected. Most full bloods reacted with politely reserved revulsion or a small pained smile when meeting halflings.

Katie sighed, smiling as their hands met, but her relief quickly turned into exasperation when they both tried to give the strongest handshake. It was rather stupid when you thought about it. Immortals got super strong after puberty, but it took years for their bones to harden with synth crystal. The really old immortals rarely broke bones, but someone their age could easily break (or crush) a hand. She grimaced hoping neither of them got a cracked bone. Oh, well, if they did, it would hurt, but it would heal in a few days. Emily was so right. Guys will be guys, whether they’re vampires, elves, or human.

Jared’s eyes became unreadable as he turned toward her. He offered her his hand and warmly said, "Hi, Katelyn."

His eyes seemed to devour her face, or maybe that was wishful thinking on her part. She turned slightly pink as he continued his appraisal of her body. Her stomach did a flip-flop. She wished it was next week and past her growth spurt. In her entire life, she had never detested her twiggy body quite so much as she did at that very moment in time.

"Hi." she smiled up at him. "I really prefer Katie."

Jared’s strong, slender fingers enveloped Katie’s and she felt a rippling shock go through her body. Her stomach stopped flipping around and quickly plunged to her feet. She controlled the urge to bolt. The air caught in her throat and once again, her mind went completely blank. She acted like a complete idiot. By now, she knew, she must be slobbering.

A few moments passed and he didn’t let go of her hand. He kept watching her with a slight grin on his face. He acted as dazed as she felt.

She forced her jagged thoughts into something a little more reasonable. Maybe, he knew other halflings and didn’t find her as repulsive as other full bloods always did. From his reaction, it was possible he thought she was pretty or maybe he found her scent attractive.

Yeah, right, dream on! Not in a million years would either possibility occur. At times, she was so out-of-touch with reality. She grabbed a tight reign on her ridiculous thoughts. Desperately trying to cover her confusion, she pulled her hand away from his and turned to Emily, who was in the process of picking out a bed.

Emily dropped her suitcase onto the bed next to Katie’s and began unpacking. "Have you checked out the kitchen yet? I’m starved."

Katie’s stomach growled in response to the other girl’s question.

Emily giggled.

Katie peeked toward the doorway, exhaling in relief. Mitch and Jared walked out of the girl’s dorm and into the big gathering room, discussing whether to flip through all the channels or go to the commissary and pick out a movie, no doubt wanting to try out the huge flat screen TV.

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Snippets:

Forbidden Valley - Summer 2011

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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