The Elite of the Blood: Chapter 1
I stood on a London street, overlooking the Thames, back in the city where it all began. I came for Jacob, tracking him across the ocean, after Derek’s squad had lost him in New York. My job was to bring him back to face the Council of Nine or, if all else failed, to kill him; I would let Jacob be the one to make that decision. He wouldn’t elude me again, even if I had to rip the city apart.
Trouble with my current plan though, I was lost.
The damn city had changed too much since the last time I’d been here, but I suppose that would be inevitable after more than a century. I should have brought a stupid map with me. Instead, I’m standing here without a clear idea of where to go, looking over the water, with memories surfacing.
It had been forever since I had thought of London and my first life. I grew up with the turn of the 19th century, and I lived through the Regency period, as they call it now. My life was a far cry from the tea and social set as depicted in Jane Austen. I had been poor, and I learned at a young age to use my assets well; a girl can make fine living as a high-class mistress. I was content and complacent until she came and changed my life, my Eleanor de Burgh, the woman from whom I had stolen a name.
Not that she was breathing when I took it; the Hunters had seen to that, I just did what was necessary to avoid the same fate. That act of theft had been the beginning of the conflict between Jacob and I; he never could quite forgive me for what I had done to survive.
Jacob had been here on the waterfront, waiting for the real Eleanor, but he got me instead, the thief bearing her name and papers. I still find it strange after all these years that he never asked me exactly how she died. Jacob is like that, though, never one to ask questions, just deal with the problem at hand. It was the only worthy thing he had taught me.
“Damn.” I was just wasting time; I’d better swallow pride and ask directions. I checked out the crowd and marked the best person to solicit. I figured the arrogant prick in the leather jacket would be the most vulnerable. I hope he liked redheads; all I needed was to get close.
I sashayed over to the creep, giving him my sweetest smile. “You wouldn’t know how to get to King’s Road from here, would you?”
“Yeah, I do luv.” He smirked. “Give us a kiss, and I’ll get you on your way.”
I smiled. The self-satisfied bastard had no idea what he was truly asking. I tilted my head just enough to make eye contact. He was an easy subject and it took barely a minute to have his will in my thrall. After that, I could have made him do anything.
“You have a car?” He nodded. “Good. You’re going to drive me to King’s Road.”
“Anything you say, luv.”
The fool led me to his car- a piece of crap-and meekly drove me where I wanted to go. It was good to be a vampire.
I grinned at that thought. Mortals had such silly ideas about vampires; we’re either bloodthirsty killers or some tragic, romantic figure, with all those daft weaknesses. If they only knew; no vampire has ever had an aversion to sunlight, a fear of garlic, or terror of any holy objects. We are immortal, save for the three things that can put an end to our existence: a wooden, silver, or iron stake straight to the heart, a nice decapitation, or being burned alive.
If events went the right way, I intended one of those fates for Jacob; I just had to find him.
At least now I was on my way to see Sebastian, the head of the London Assembly. I wasn’t looking forward to explaining the whole mess Jacob started back in New York. I knew Sebastian would not like our untidy civil war sweeping into his territory.
Damn Jacob. Why did that stupid fool go and kill an entire coven, stirring the entire Vampire Nation and putting them on edge. Jacob’s behavior had management running scared; The Council of Nine was more than relieved when I volunteered to hunt Jacob down. I guess they assumed I wanted to settle the personal debt that lay between Jacob and I, but I had deeper reasons.
I was fairly certain I knew what Jacob was doing. He was killing off the prophecy bloodlines, making the sacrifices he needed; I could only pray he didn’t have the Book. If that was still in play, I might be able to stop him before he fulfilled his hell-bent quest on remaking the world. It was just a shame I couldn’t tell the Council; they’d never believe my theory, so I thought it best to keep to myself.
“What the bloody hell happened in New York!”
Sebastian’s latest bellow was like a smack in the face and I bristled at his tone. I was standing in his gothic reject drawing room, listening to him rant, trying with difficulty not to rip his throat out. I swallowed twice and took a deep breath, waiting out his tirade.
Sebastian eventually ran out of steam and I was able to do what I had been sent to this place to do; I dutifully gave him my report, in a dull monotone.
I watched the flames flicker in Sebastian’s massive stone fireplace, the recollections flooding back…
It had been planned as an ambush, a trap to catch Jacob, but he eluded capture; Derek and his men found a bloodbath and an entire coven of headless corpses. Of course, I was the one called to stand before the Council of Nine.
“Nineteen dead! Nineteen! How did the Elite let Jacob kill that many! And still not apprehended him!” Lorenzo glared at me.
“Derek’s team was simply too late, by the time they arrived all they could do was clean the aftermath. Jacob must have inside information, it is the only way he could have known we were coming. I have told you we should have done a full purge to find his followers. “
I received another glare from Lorenzo, and the rest of the Council was no happier.
Sebastian was giving me a similar glare as I completed my account.
“What a bloody mess. Some bloody psychopath renegade flitting around London because you stupid Yanks can’t keep him in check.”
“You do know Jacob was born in England; he’s one of you Brits.”
Sebastian scowled at me. “Be that as it may, Jacob’s been seen prowling around the West End.” Sebastian handed me a slip of paper with an address and directions written on it. “One our enforcers is waiting for you here, been keeping an eye out for your psycho. Talk to him.”
I nodded my farewell and got the hell out of there.
There was a Hunter standing across from the building entrance; someone had gotten careless. I had two choices, I could ignore the problem and reveal myself or I could take care of the man.
Well, I have never liked Hunters.
I checked for CCTV cameras, but saw none; one of the few places left in London. I figured he never heard my approach, and he certainly did not see me until I had him in my grip. One twist of his neck and he was dead. I threw his body over my shoulder and entered the nightclub.
“Which one of you fools let a Hunter get this close?” I threw the body at the feet of the nearest kin.
The Elite of the Blood: Chapter 2
Hunters Archives, 1828 Charlotte Harrington
I have finally deciphered my father’s meandering entries that he left in the Archives. I know how to locate the Book of Ascension; now we must try and procure it before Jacob and Eleanor. I shudder to think of the consequences for humankind if we cannot obtain the book.
Despite our efforts, the Book of Ascension has eluded us; the manuscript has protectors who have foiled our attempts to take it. At least I can take comfort in the fact Eleanor has also failed in her quest to possess the book.
Eleanor. Why is that creature still such a thorn in my life? She is still raging her private war against my family and me. My spies tell me she has made blatant overtures to Charles in an endeavor to seduce him. I fear that our ruthless Miss de Burgh may wish my husband to be far more her lover; if she could turn him to the ranks of vampire, she could use Charles against me as a very efficient weapon. I can only have him followed closely and hope his current mistress will distract him away from that vicious creature’s clutches.
It has been a disastrous evening; Eleanor de Burgh has killed Charles. I tried, my Hunters tried, but we failed to prevent the murder, despite having warning. I am not certain of my feelings. I know I should mourn for my husband, but in truth, I am glad to be rid of him. What disturbs me far more is the failure to dispatch Eleanor. At least I may take comfort in the fact she failed to turn Charles, as I am sure she planned.
Charles’s latest mistress will not be so fortunate I fear, her fate is all but sealed. I can think of only two reasons as to why Eleanor should abduct the poor woman as she make her escape; Eleanor shall feed on her or she will become a vampire.