Blood and Sand (Elemental World) - By Elizabeth Hunter Page 0,1

mouths dropped open in horror as they watched their fellow human crumble to the ground. One darted for the door of the gambling hall, but Paula was already there. He didn’t even have time to scream. The other made for the mouth of the alley, his voice pitched high as he yelled for help, but Ernesto caught him by the hand and squeezed. The man fell silent, his mind flooded by Ernesto’s powerful amnis.

He stepped closer to the Chinese man, handing Paula the human’s hand as she finished drinking his comrade.

“What are you?” the human asked in perfect English.

“You speak very well.” It was true. He had a distinct accent, but his words were clear. “What is your name?”

“What are you?” the human asked again, wiping the blood from his eyes and inching toward the dark street.

“How did you learn to fight like that? It was fascinating and very effective.”

The man never took his eyes offrewhis eye Ernesto, but he straightened a little. “My father taught me to fight.”

“He would be proud.”

“No.” The man was inching along the grimy brick wall. “He wouldn’t.”

There it was again, just a flicker in the human’s eyes. Such exquisite anger. What would it be like with immortal power behind it? What would it take to leash the power of such a creature? Ernesto’s blood pumped in his veins and he bared his fangs at the thought. The human saw his opportunity and ran out of the alley, silently fleeing the vampires and disappearing into the night. Paula appeared at his side half a second later.

“You didn’t drink, Father.”

He turned and smiled, patting her cheek and taking his handkerchief from his pocket to dab at a spot of blood on her chin. “I’m not hungry for blood tonight, mi querida. Did you enjoy yourself?”

“Sí, Papá. Gracias.”

“Good. Now that you’ve had your fill…” Ernesto finished tending to his child, then his eyes grew cold as he turned to the foggy night. “Find the human, Paula. And bring him to me.”

CHAPTER ONE

San Diego, 2013

The lights of the club pulsed red and gold as he swirled the ice in the glass in front of him. The frozen water turned and twisted, spinning the liquid in his glass into a small whirlpool that splashed over the edge of the cut crystal. His amnis caught the drops that fell to the table and quickly slid them back in the glass, leaving the polished wood unmarked. The music, the abysmally loud techno and pop that the patrons preferred, flowed around him as he sat in the black leather booth, watching.

Baojia was always watching.

Humans danced in a mass like one pulsing organism. Skin. Heat. Sweat. The mingled scents of blood and alcohol filled his nose, but he had already fed that night, a pretty young co-ed who would have no memory of his teeth in her neck. He would have indulged in more, but the girl had too much alcohol in her blood, so he pushed her back toward her friends, who only giggled and winked at him.

Idiotic humans. Baojia was painfully bored.

The club in San Diego, Boca, was his sire’s pride and joy. It had been recently remodeled, thanks to Baojia’s presence. He had nothing better to do, after all. He was stuck in San Diego, having a time-out like a rebellious toddler. The first year had been deserved; he had taken his exile with stoic grace. After all, it had been his failure that had led to the death of Ernesto’s kinsman and his negligence caused Ernesto’s favorite granddaughter grave injury. Beatrice De Novo had been under his protection, and he had failed in his mission.

No, the first year had been well deserved.

The second year as well. Perhaps.

Baojia had been in San Diego for three years. Beatrice De Novo had recovered—rather admirably—and had settled with her mate in Los Angeles. She had probably forgotten about him. Forgotten the years he had watched over her while the damnable Italian had been jaunting around the world. It wasn’t Giovanni Vecchio who had protected the young human, it was Baojia. For four years, she had been his assignment. Her safety hadn’t been his only job, but it had been a priority. It still stung that she had no idea the lengths to which he had gone.

History. He took another sip of water. It was history. He had more important things to worry about. Like how to relieve thing s excruciating boredom and convince his sire to release him from the hell on earth

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