For the Love of a Vampire (Blood Like Poison #1)


by M. Leighton

PROLOGUE

Bo was on his knees in the center of the concrete floor, kneeling on a black towel.  He was shirtless and covered in blood spatter.  Under the slimy red sheen, I could see a sickly greenish black color seeping across his chest, radiating from the left side outward.  It was darkest over his heart and it pulsed as if gangrenous death was being pumped throughout his body with every slow squeeze of the muscle.  That, however, was not the most alarming part.  The thing that caught and held my attention was his face.

As always, when I thought of Bo, my heart clenched painfully.  I remember seeing him that day, the horror of it and how terrified I was.  But even now, I can’t bring myself to regret stumbling upon him like that.  I might’ve gone through the rest of my days in a selfishly numb state of hiding if I hadn’t met him, hadn’t known him for who and what he was.  He taught me so much about a world I didn’t know existed and so much more about a life I hadn’t been living.

He taught me to stand up for what I believe in, to shout it out at the top of my lungs.  He taught me to feel—the deep, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-singing kind of emotion I had avoided for so long.  He taught me about the importance of life.  He taught me about the beauty of death.  He also taught me about love.

This is our story.

CHAPTER ONE

Rhianna blared from the radio, but even over the loud music, I could still hear Izzy’s bell-like voice singing Disturbia.  She bobbed her head and wiggled her shoulders, tapping her thumbs rhythmically on the steering wheel.

Her dark auburn hair was pulled back in a French twist at the back of her head and the dashboard lights illuminated her heart-shaped face, making her silvery blue eyes look even paler.   Her cheeks were a little fuller than usual and her skin had an uncharacteristic glow.

I wondered about her weight gain, had my suspicions, but I said nothing.  If she had something to tell me, she’d get to it in her own sweet time.  That was Izzy’s way.

She slid me a sidelong glance. “What are you staring at, Perv?”

“Those man hands,” I replied teasingly.  “You could palm a grown man’s head with those mitts.”

“Hey,” she said, glaring at me.  “Do you want to walk home?”

“Yeah, like—”

And then, as I’d done hundreds of times in the last three years, I awoke in a cold sweat.  Heart racing, chest aching, I lay in bed and struggled to catch my breath.  I squeezed my eyes shut against the last few seconds of the car crash, but that didn’t stop me from seeing it.  It never did.  The awful crunch of metal rang in my ears and I knew what was coming after that—the same images that always did, the ones that only got more confusing with time.

Memories of a deer and a boy tangled together in my mind.  I’d told the authorities of a person I’d seen as the car spun off the road, about the pale face of a stranger that had flashed in front of the headlights just before my recollection went blank.

I assumed we’d hit him, but they’d found no body, no evidence of blood or tissue on the blackened remains of the front bumper.  They’d assured me that no one could’ve survived being struck by a car going over fifty miles per hour.  They’d concluded that, since they hadn’t found a body, the boy must’ve been a figment of my imagination, born of terror and trauma.

But I wasn’t convinced, and after three long years, I hadn’t forgotten him either.  Though the details of his face had faded over time, there was something about his eyes—a soul-deep agony, a burning self-loathing—that I’d never been able to get out of my head.  It had stayed with me since that night.  I was drawn to that kind of suffering, almost like a kindred spirit.

Slowly but surely, as I stared at the ceiling, reality returned, settling over me like a blanket of blandness.  The television played the early morning news reports, as it did every morning.

I was probably the most well-informed kid in school, mostly because I went to sleep every night with the television on and woke up every day listening to the most recent happenings as they echoed through my room.

I listened with half an ear to the Channel Six anchorman as he talked about the top story.

“Another body was found late last night in Arlisle Preserve, near the area police have dubbed the ‘Slayer’s Slaughterhouse’.”  The body was positively identified as seventeen year old Jolene Turner of Falls Town.  At this time, police are not able to divulge all the details surrounding her death, though they did confirm that she was killed in a manner typical of the Southmoore Slayer, including the animal attack-like markings on the neck, a fatal chest wound and exsanguination.  Turner makes victim number twenty-seven of the Southmoore Slayer and, unless he’s captured, police fear that her death will not be the last.