Crimson (MASTER, Book 1)
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By day, Japanese rock star Raiden is an adored idol; by night, a vicious vampire. While preparing for his band’s summer tour in Detroit, Raiden stalks the streets for fresh blood—and tries to obliterate haunting memories of his fiancée’s murder. Meanwhile, famous TV actor Gabriel Colin is hatching an elaborate plot to recruit Raiden for the starring role in his first film. The two celebrities become fatally intertwined after an unforeseen encounter results in bloodshed, death, and rebirth.
Crimson is the winner of Best eBook in the 2009 Hollywood Book Festival Awards.
Excerpt from Crimson
He had not fed in over five days. The last time he tried, the prostitute he attacked had nearly gotten away. She fought for her life, but he eventually overcame her. Raiden always struck from behind—the unfortunate saps never knew what hit them. This last woman, though…she had some tricks up her sleeve that left him ill-prepared to drain her without making a mess. In light of this near-disaster, Raiden decided that perhaps it was best to lay low for a while. He dreaded his subsequent kill.
Maybe next time, I’ll get caught.
Shuddering, he recalled the scent of urine as it soaked the prostitute’s underwear, and the sight of blood-flecked saliva spraying from her mouth. He closed his eyes, remembering the taste of her hot tears as they slid into the gaping hole he had created in her neck.
Naomi cried when she was dying, too.
Unspeakable memories of his first kill intruded inside his head. The unexpected feeling of remorse took his breath away. Damn these human emotions. He still could not seem to get rid of them, no matter how hard he tried; no matter how much time had elapsed.
Raiden had sincere doubts about his ability to keep his composure at the dinner with Gabriel tonight. The throng of people he was bound to encounter would serve as tempting targets for his bloodlust. Gabriel would be in danger, too. Thoughts of him turned into thoughts of blood. He could easily picture how disaster would unfold from the merest touch.
Now, en route to Gohatto, the downtown Detroit restaurant where Gabriel awaited his arrival, Raiden found his patience with self-willed starvation at an end.
As he parked his Nissan 350-Z on a side street, the hunger veered violently out of control. Insatiable craving consumed him. Wrenching the navy-blue door open, he staggered out of the car. A passing vehicle came close to demolishing him.
Pull yourself together!
Trembling, he darted into an alleyway to try and compose himself. With cold certainty, Raiden realized that eating was no longer an option: it was a necessity. Had he been human, he would have been practically dead. His heart was barely beating. His skin looked waxy, and corpselike; there were purple circles beneath his eyes, marking his pallid face with bruises. His body felt frozen, as if he were encased in ice. Somewhere nearby, he smelled a warm body.
Nearly sobbing with relief, he turned the corner. The promise of blood guided him—he needed it now. Raiden licked his lips, hastening his pace in order to find the source of that tantalizing aroma. Turning a few more corners, he came upon an alleyway that dead-ended. Dimly, he realized that he had stumbled upon the back entrance of Gohatto. Though he knew it was dangerous, as well as stupid, to prey so close to a populated area, need destroyed logic as he caught that crimson scent again.
He heard movement near Gohatto’s back door: it was a male human. Eyes narrowing, Raiden silently sped toward the standing figure. He ignored all other smells, focusing solely on the odor of blood wafting in and out of his nose like the most seductive perfume. At the last moment, he remembered to put on his gloves. He could not leave fingerprints.
The silhouetted man started to turn around, but Raiden was too quick. He shoved him behind a dumpster. Gripping his captive’s hair with one hand, Raiden muffled his cries of protest with the other. Forcing him to kneel, Raiden straddled his back and roughly tilted his neck to one side. The man bucked and groaned, strengthening his desire with every push and thrust.
With a dark smile, Raiden bit into the gloriously straining neck as all traces of humanity abandoned him. The tender skin easily broke. He lapped up the blood in long lines, intimately curling his tongue around the open flesh, licking the ragged wound. His victim gasped and writhed beneath him; pulse pounding.
He sank his fangs in deeper, relishing the effortless way in which the skin tore apart, swirling his tongue into the bleeding depths.
Raiden’s consciousness faded for a moment, lost in the overload of pleasurable sensations coursing through him. This was the best blood he had tasted in ages.