Red Night by RK Close
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Blitz: May 11, 2016
For five hundred years I have feasted on the blood of the innocent.
For centuries I have seduced beautiful victims into my bed.
And all this time, I have never gone without…
I am Zachariah…
While enduring endless days as an immortal, only one urge soothes my savage need.
I have consumed countless humans—I have witnessed mountains of corpses piled beneath my feet. But none more significant than the woman I once loved.
My heart was not the only one she captured, but it would be the last…
An inferior creature turned her heart against me—Adam. Such a pathetic identity to be named after the original creation of God, and always besting me in life. But in death—I am king.
I am far more treacherous.
I should be feared.
I demand to be remembered.
And I am, for being known as the immortal who slayed the woman we both loved, and my rampage continues…
Now in the scorching desert, I find prey well worth the chase…
And my interest in this mortal runs deep. Adam has pursued me over the globe in search of revenge—but his own weaknesses have made him vulnerable. He’s taken to the striking mortal, which means only one thing.
She will be my next target.
But this time, not for the taste of blood. I will take her as my own mate, and neither Adam, or anyone else, will stop me…
Dirty little secrets are my bread and butter. Everyone has them, and exposing what people try to hide is how I make my living.
I’ve always liked to watch people, study them, and unravel their mysteries. Give me a few minutes and I’ll know if they’re happy, sad, needy, or insecure.
People are easy for me to read and far too predictable. Money, sex, and power are prime motivating factors, at least for the people I’m hired to expose. Tonight, I’m doing just that.
Busy shoppers move past me as if they’re running out of time. With the holiday hours at the Scottsdale Fashion Mall, they’re feeding their retail addiction late into the evening.
Thanksgiving hasn’t even passed, yet Christmas sales and shopping have begun in full force. I’m not interested in the shoppers or the sales. My focus is on the Tiffany & Co. store across from where I sit. A certain female shopper named Rebecca Tanner stopped in there about twenty minutes ago and still hasn’t emerged. I’m tempted to follow her inside and see what the heck she’s doing, but keeping a low profile will make my job easier.
The coffee in my cup is now cold and my stomach is rumbling loudly because I missed dinner. Just as I’m growing bored and restless, a tall attractive woman with long auburn hair walks out of the store. She’s on the arm of a dark-haired man wearing a gray tailored suit. Both look as though they belong on the cover of a magazine instead of shopping at the mall, but they do make a striking pair. He has movie star quality written all over him. It makes him stand out like a sore thumb.
The redhead smiles and leans into him. Her eyes never leave him, but he appears preoccupied with leading her swiftly through the crowd. Her companion appears detached or aloof. Rebecca is my target tonight, but he’s the surprise.
Where did you come from, Mystery Man?
Tossing my coffee in the trash and grabbing my fake shopping bag from Victoria’s Secret, I begin to follow them.
Mystery Man’s dark hair catches the light and gives him an unearthly glow. With broad shoulders that taper down to a slim waist, even his expensive suit can’t hide his long muscled legs. He has an air of confidence in the way he holds himself that causes shoppers to quickly part around him—many stopping to stare or catch a second look. Nobody is moving for me and I’m forced to dodge bodies in order to keep up.
I’m not easily surprised. This evening may have developed an interesting twist, a bump in the road. I love bumps and twists because they make life and especially work, more interesting.
The couple turns down a long hallway that leads to the public restrooms but they continue through metal doors marked, ‘EMPLOYEES ONLY.’ Without slowing my pace, I ditch the shopping bag and pull my long hair into a quick, messy bun. Before I reach the doors, I’ve pulled a solid black apron from my bag and slipped it over my head. This apron is the best ten dollars I’ve ever spent. It gets me into all sorts of places. Add a fake name tag and I’m unstoppable.
Good thing I’m not wearing heels tonight.
Through the doors is another dimly lit, industrial hall with many gray metal doors. There is a stark difference between the lights, color, and holiday music of the festive mall to the colorless, sterile feel of this corridor.
Moving purely on instinct, I head left down the hall and around a corner. There I find a door marked ‘EXIT.’ Not knowing what’s on the other side, I stop to compose myself. Easing the door open, a burst of cool air hits me as I peer into a dark concrete jungle also known as the underground parking garage. I’m parked down here, but I can’t say where because I’ve never been to this area before.
Lighting down here is worse than in the hallway I came from. There is no visual end, only a dark abyss in both directions. There are no bustling shoppers at the moment, and the cars are still. The silence is a creepy reminder that I’ve left the security of the mall.
My head snaps in the direction of a slight sound, somewhere to my left. The sound may have come from one of the corners where the light doesn’t touch. Narrowing my eyes, I focus all of my senses on the blackness but I’m unable to make out more than inky shadows.
They didn’t have time to leave, so where are they?
I’m considering pulling out my small flashlight and shining it into car windows, when I hear it again: a slight scraping sound coming from the dark corner.
In case I’m being watched, I pretend not to hear as I walk in the opposite direction. Turning a corner, I crouch behind a row of cars and work my way back. At times like this, I sometimes wish my legs weren’t so long.
My hiding spot is roughly sixty feet away from the suspicious sound, behind a dark sedan. Two forms that blend into one finally take shape in the dense shadows. Rebecca Tanner is one busy gal. I guess having an affair with my client’s husband is not enough for her. We can add hooking up with random men at the mall to her resume.
Cheating on the cheater is poetic justice at its finest.
There was a time when spying on unknowing individuals would cause me embarrassment or guilt. After all, it’s like I’m digging around in people’s dirty laundry. Eventually, my skin got thicker and my sensibilities became…less sensitive.
It’s not like I ask people to cheat on their spouse or steal from their company. Some people might call me a voyeur. I’m not, but I gain a great deal of satisfaction finding answers to questions and giving my clients closure.
I’m hoping this twosome doesn’t go X-rated on me, so I pull out my camera with a telephoto lens and set the aperture to pull as much light as possible without using the flash. I lift the camera to my eye, start to focus on the couple, and—
What I originally perceived as a passionate embrace now looks suspicious. Rebecca’s back is toward me. Mystery-Man has a hand intertwined in her long red hair, holding the back of her head. His face is buried in her neck and the other hand has a death grip on her arm.
That’s going to leave a mark. If he keeps this up, she’ll be wearing long sleeves and turtlenecks for weeks.
All the popular Hollywood visions of vampires pop into my head and I have to clamp my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. Of all the silly things to think about. Those types of movies have never been my thing, but I’ve seen a few.
I prefer comedies.
Pop culture seems to like its romance with a touch of horror and violence mixed in. I’ve never understood the attraction, myself.
Still, my stomach feels uneasy, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It’s not like me to let my imagination run away. I’m a professional, after all.
I knew it was too late for that coffee.
Still, I have the nagging feeling I’m witnessing a crime. Only I’m not sure what crime it is. Death by hickey?
I’m cracking myself up tonight. Definitely too much caffeine.
My current client hired me to prove that her husband is having an affair with another woman. He is, and Rebecca Tanner is the other woman. My client’s husband stands to lose his marriage of twenty-four years and a great deal of his wealth because of his affair with Ms. Tanner. How I would love to be a fly on the wall when the lawyer presents him with these photos! Revenge won’t mend my client’s broken heart but it might help that bitter pill to go down easier.
Nights like these, I feel like an avenging angel—minus the wings.
It may not be angelic making a living exposing cheaters, liars, and thieves, but the money is good. I set my own schedule, and enjoy most of the challenges that my career presents. Challenges such as how to get out of here before clothing items start to fly and this scene becomes pornographic.
Right as I press the button to take the first of many incriminating pictures, Mystery Man’s head rises a fraction as his eyes lock on me. I think my heart skipped a beat or two.
Oh, crap! He couldn’t possibly hear that.
But there he is, looking right at me. I’ve never felt so naked or exposed.
With his lips still on her neck, his gaze never leaves me. Panic rises in my chest. Neither of us move for what feels like an eternity. Even without help from the telephoto lens, I can clearly see his eyes in the darkness. Some trick of the light causes them to glow.
Without breaking our stare, I shove my camera in my purse as I prepare to rise and run for it. I only release his stare when I’m ready to run.
My foot catches on my apron and I stumble, landing on my hands and knees, my bag still gripped in my fingers. My hair has fallen out of its messy bun and hangs in my face. I can’t see a damn thing. Frantically, I shove my hair out of my way but when I do, I see he’s reached me first. Somehow he’s breached the distance between us and stands a mere car’s length away.
What the hell?
He starts to move toward me with a lethal grace. Judging by his size and the way his body moves, my defense skills will only prolong the inevitable. I find his eyes are a distraction.
They’re the bluest I’ve ever seen.
A savage look on his handsome face tells me it’s about to get ugly.
Did he growl at me?
I’m reminded of a panther moving in for the kill from some nature show. Under any other circumstance, I would admire someone his size maneuvering this gracefully. His movements are fluid and perfect like a well-choreographed dance.
Does Death dance? I’m about to find out.
Like a deer in the headlights, I freeze. What a surprise that all my self-defense training flies out the window. My limbs refuse to move and my throat feels like I’ve been days without water. Frozen by fear, my traitorous body refuses to obey my mental commands. I can’t even scream.
Like a predator, he senses my fear and reacts to it. Just when I think I’m dead, a group of young men burst from the stairwell laughing and talking loudly. “Blue Eyes,” as I’m naming him, stops his advance and slowly, reluctantly pulls his gaze from me to glare in the direction of the young men.
Once he looks away, something in me clicks and I immediately move into action. My body feels awkward at first, as though I’m moving through water. Finding my missing voice, I yell at the group of men, even as I begin running toward them. “Hey, you guys want to help a girl out?” My voice sounds raspy and hoarse.
My unintentional rescuers look startled but alert. The foursome looks over my shoulder to see who I’m running from. Their faces register concern but not the reaction I’m expecting. Confused, I glance over my shoulder to find Blue Eyes is gone and so is Rebecca. I spin around in a circle but it’s as if they’ve vanished into thin air.
So why don’t I feel safe?
About the Author:
Hello! I’m RK Close, author of the ‘Vampire Files Trilogy’. ‘Red Night’ is the first book in the series. I write paranormal-romance & urban-fantasy with a hint of darkness and a dash of humor. Creating characters that my readers will fear, fall in love with, despise or cheer for, is what I love most about writing.
Ann Rice gets all the credit for my vampire addiction which started in my early twenties. Like so many others, I fell in love with her vampires first.
Originally from Kentucky, I’ve lived most of my life in Arizona where I met and married my true love. We were late to the game so we knocked out three ankle-biters in quick succession. We often joke that parenthood saved us from ourselves. Now we need to be saved from parenthood. *just kidding* We love our darling spawn.
When I’m not writing, I’m taking care of a busy family, dragging my butt to CrossFit, thinking about my stories or spending time with family and friends. My dream is to sell enough books to hire someone to clean our house and cook our meals. Okay, maybe that’s my family’s dream. I tend to get a little obsessed when I write.
Truthfully, I would love the opportunity to pull you into my world of strong independent females, mysterious vampires, noble hunters, hungry werewolves and seductive yet deadly fae. If you like paranormal-romance in a modern-urban setting with plenty of romantic tension, mystery and suspense, then my novels were written for you.