Chapter One

It was mid-June and the rain was showing no mercy today. Not that Alianna Carson minded; the rather large drops pelting her window were more than welcome, preferred over the usual silence her apartment had to suffer.

Staring out the window at the rain's assault, Alianna drew her legs closer to her chest and blew a long breath at the steaming cup of tea in her hand. She sipped carefully at the near scalding liquid, feeling it burn all the way down her throat and into her belly.

Turning her attention back to her computer screen, she continued her job search. Ever since she had been laid off from her job at a lawyer's firm as a secretary, she had kept her eyes glued to her computer, practically 24/7. She had already been living pay check to pay check; she could no longer afford the rent without a job.

Not having anything to spend her time on was making her incredibly restless and sitting inside on a Saturday was really getting on her nerves. Even though it wasn't a nice day, she could still be out with her friends, instead of sitting cooped up in her apartment all alone. It wouldn't be so bad if her roommate was home, but that was such a rarity that she didn't expect company any time soon.

A small ping from her computer drew her from her thoughts. She had gotten an email from one of the job search sites that she had signed up for. With excitement racing through her, she clicked on the link attached to the email and read the private message that had been sent to her. It was a bartending job.

Alianna sighed, wishing that she had just finished college. With a better education, she would be able to get a better job. One more fit to her talents and goals, instead of filling up pitchers of Bud Light and listening to sports fans cheer on their favorite teams.

But beggars couldn't be choosers.

She sent an email back, saying that she accepted their offer and attached her phone number. She then got up and stretched her arms over her head, feeling the small aches and pains that came along with sitting for way too long.

A small grin plastered itself to her face; at least she now had a job.

Two weeks had passed since she first started bartending and yet she still hadn't gotten the hang of things. After spilling what had to be her five hundredth bottle of Jack Daniels, she looked up at the clock, thanking God that it was only another hour until the bar closed. She poured the man in front of her another shot, on the house and turned away to clean up yet another mess.

At that moment, she felt a cool breeze from the outside. Not a surprise; people were coming and going all the time, but it was the chill that raced down her spine, caused by something completely different, that made her turn slowly back around.

Two men had walked in, but something told her they weren't… normal. Something was different, perhaps even evil about them. One of them was big, bigger than most of the men already in the bar. He had long dark hair, almost to the middle of his back, and extremely dark skin. His eyes were hazel and filled with something dark, something she couldn't figure out.

But it was the other man that gave her an unsettling feeling. He was slightly smaller but she didn't doubt that he was any less powerful than the bigger man. He had blonde hair and was wearing a black leather jacket. His green eyes were almost glowing with malevolence. She doubted there was anything good about this man.

The two stopped just inside the doorway, the smaller man closing his eyes, his head falling back slowly. He looked as if he were sniffing something out. And then his eyes opened again and his head dropped, looking directly at her.

She gasped and turned around, taking deep breaths to calm herself. He couldn't have just looked straight at her. There were so many people here; he couldn't have pinpointed the bar that quickly without shuffling through the crowd. Turning slowly, she looked back to where the men had been but they were gone. She sighed, feeling relief wash over her.

"Miss," a voice said. It was so quiet that the music should have drowned it out, and yet she could hear it so clearly that she could almost swear it reverberated through her entire being. She looked to her left and saw the two men standing right behind the bar.

Keeping herself calm, she looked the bigger man straight in the eye. Never let a dog see your fear, she had once heard. She figured that was right for this situation as well. "What can I get for you?" she asked, not feeling as safe as she'd like to, even though they were separated by the counter.

"Bud Light," the bigger man said.

"Right away," she replied. With hesitation, she turned her attention to the other man, again keeping her face clear of the fear she felt so strongly within her. "And you?"

He studied her, and the unsettling feeling from before filled her again. She felt like he could see what she was hiding. Like he knew how terrified he made her feel. And enjoyed it. "I have more… refined tastes. I doubt you can satisfy what I desire."

Another shiver ran through her. "Try me."

He gave no answer, only smiled with perfect white teeth. Strange; she thought evil would have sharp yellowed fangs.

With that thought, she turned back around and filled a glass with Bud Light, trying to keep her hands steady, feeling the man's eyes on her the whole time. She turned back and handed the bigger man the glass then continued cleaning up what she had spilled before, her eyes watching the clock, wishing time would start flying.

At the end of the night, when she had finished cleaning, she wrote "3:24am" on the paper that tracked her time and pay and grabbed her purse. Thankfully, the men from before had left only minutes after they had come in. She went into the backroom, finding Derek putting the night's earnings in the safe. "Hey, can you walk me out?" she asked, timidly. If she felt safe having anyone walk her to her car, it was Derek. He was the owner's best friend and the bar's bodyguard. There wasn't a fight he hadn't been able to break up yet.

"Of course," he replied, his voice softer than one would expect from someone his size. "You know I'd do anything for you."

She smiled brightly, feeling the tension of the night fade. "Thanks. There were some creeps in here earlier and they got me really freaked."

He nodded. "Those two men? They seemed a little off to me too, but they didn't start anything so I let them be. If you would have told me they made you uncomfortable, I would have gotten rid of them for you."

She gave him another smile, but in the back of her mind, something told her that not even Derek could have made them leave if they didn't want to. Another shiver ran over her at the thought before she cast it out of her head.

That was impossible.

They were only human.

Trees flashed by as Alianna turned up the heat, shivering slightly. It wasn't exactly cold, but she still had the chills from earlier. Those men had really frightened her. Why were they staring at her like that? Like they wanted to sink their teeth into her? And what had that one man meant? Refined tastes? What did he desire? Probably just something perverted, she assured herself.

Houses were few and far between in this particular neighborhood and she liked it; it offered a lot of scenery. She had driven around this area before her first day of work to get an idea of what the area was like. There were a few parks in the city and a river that went through half of the state. Most days she took her breaks in the park by the bar, eating hot dogs or ice cream on a park bench, sold by a street vendor. Or she'd sit by the lake with her shoes off, feeling the grass tickle her toes, sipping from a cold soda.

She made a mental note to do that tomorrow as she turned down another street. Just fifteen minutes to get home, she thought. She'd take a nice, hot bath and crawl into her warm bed, dreaming wistfully of-

Something smashed onto her windshield and she screamed, swerving before screeching to a halt. A small crack ran down the length of the glass, with smaller fractures extending from it. Her breath came out in loud pants. What in the world had just happened? Something had hit her windshield, but what?

She sat up straighter, looking in front of the car and through the side windows, but could see nothing. Did she hit something? She turned on the hazard lights, opened the door slowly and got out, leaving the car running. With her heart racing a mile a minute, she crept around the back of the car, and what she saw made her blood run cold. A puddle of red was splashed across the cool concrete and the top of her car. Had she hit an animal? Hesitantly, she stepped around the other side and stopped dead. A human head lay there, it's mouth open in a silent scream, it's eyes already beginning to cloud over, yet the fear that they must have felt before their death was still echoing, hushed, in the depths.

A scream rose in her throat, but fear choked her. She turned and ran back to the driver's side and climbed in, slamming the door shut and hitting the gas, not thinking to put her seatbelt on. All she wanted was to get out of this area. Pulling out her cell phone, she dialed 911 and waited until someone answered. "911, what is your emergency?"

Before she could answer, something stopped her car completely, jerking her forward slightly and the phone flew out of her hand, landing somewhere below her seat. She tried to step harder on the gas and the engine revved but she didn't move. Looking back behind her, she gasped. The larger man from the bar was behind her car and he looked as evil as ever.

She tried flooring the gas pedal and the car jerked a little but didn't budge. Then something smashed on the hood of her car and she turned her head back, suddenly face to face with the other, more frightening man. She let out a scream the instant he smiled maliciously at her. The back of the car rose up high and she fell onto the steering wheel before the car suddenly flipped over sideways and rolled down the street before hitting a tree and falling on its top.

She felt as though she had been in a car accident. Her vision was cloudy when she opened her eyes, as if she were looking through a curtain of fog. Her head spun, everything hurt. Panic raced through her veins. She looked around, seeing the world upside down. She sat there for a few seconds, not wanting to move, but the memory of what had just happened came rushing back and she knew she had to get as far from this place as possible.

Pushing herself up off the hood of the car, she crawled to the door, feeling her body rebel, everything flaring with pain the instant she moved a muscle. She cried out in agony, but didn't stop moving to the door, fear taking president over pain. She grabbed the handle and pulled it while pushing at the door but it didn't budge. The whole top of the door was smashed in, making it impossible to open.

Swearing, she punched the door and was about to try the other side when she saw shoes appear outside the window. The man outside knelt down and tilted his head. It was the smaller of the two and he was staring directly at her, his eyes blood red, his smirk showing off sharp fangs. Telling herself the eerie features were just her imagination, she began kicking at the windshield, hoping to get away from him that way. The man grabbed the door handle from the outside and ripped the door clean off the car, creating a loud screeching and ripping sound.

Before she had time to be amazed at how easily he had taken off the door, the man crawled into the car after her and she directed her kicks at his face, screaming for help, but he grabbed her foot and twisted. Her bone broke with a loud snap and she let out an ear splitting scream. He pulled her out without any effort and put his hand over her mouth, holding her arms close to her body and pulling her back against his front. He tilted his head down to her throat and drew a long breath, sighing in ecstasy.

"I was wrong," he said, his voice bringing tears to her eyes. "You definitely can satisfy my desires." Then he bit her.

Pain flashed, white hot, and she screamed into his hand, thrashing her body in his arms in an attempt to get away but his grip was like steel. Her tears rolled down her cheeks as she felt her blood being pulled from her veins. The other man came over from behind the car and knelt down in front of her. He grabbed her wrist and sank his teeth into her skin, sucking hard at her blood.

She could feel everything. Them sucking at her skin. Her life being drained from her body. The pain faded. Her vision faded. The world became a distant blur.

Just as she began to accept that this was the end, the two men were ripped away from her. She felt their teeth being torn from her skin, but she was too weak to scream. She fell over, hitting the cold concrete. Her eyes fluttered open and she saw someone walking towards her. The person picked her up as if she was a baby and through her foggy vision, she caught a glimpse of the most beautiful blue eyes before the world went black.