Blood Secrets - By Jeannie Holmes

prologue

NO MOON SHONE IN THE SKY WHEN HE DUMPED THE body. He hardly recognized the mangled mess before him as the vibrant young woman he’d known, even though their affair had been brief. Hair the color of darkest flames turned black with dried blood. A dull silver film encroached on the sparkling blue of her eyes.

Her jaw was marred by a dark smear as he traced its gentle curve. He pulled back and stuck his thumb in his mouth, coating his tongue with her blood. An electric charge jolted his spine. Memories that were not his own flickered through his consciousness, playing scenes from her life on the movie screen of his mind, until the film stopped in a crimson moment of violence.

The rags he’d used to wipe down the trunk and hide his fingerprints fell from his hand and greedily absorbed the blood pooling beneath the remains. Using his elbow, he slammed the trunk closed, blotting the macabre view from sight.

A falling star streaked across the glittering sky. He closed his eyes and made a wish he’d made a thousand times before. The vision of his wish coming true filled his mind.

“Soon.” His whisper sliced through the silent night like a blade. Without a second glance at the trunk-turned-tomb, he walked away.

one

November 17

ALEXANDRA SABIAN SEARCHED THE HALL OF RECORDS for clues that would lead her to a killer. The only problem with her search was that she had no suspects, no witnesses, and the body had been buried for forty-one years.

Her father, Bernard Sabian, had been murdered in the spring of 1968, when she was only five. Someone had left his staked and beheaded body in a cemetery near her childhood home.

Simply because he was a vampire, like her.

At least that was her theory.

In the two weeks since she’d discovered she could access the Hall of Records—a metaphysical storehouse for the memories and experiences of every man, woman, and child who’d walked the face of the earth—she’d been searching through the records, trying to locate her father’s. She hoped once she did that she would uncover the clues she needed to find his killer.

It wasn’t an easy task she’d set for herself, considering her father was a lost soul, one of the wandering spirits who roamed the neutral zone between the physical and spirit realms. He claimed he’d chosen his fate, had traded his passage to the spirit world in favor of remaining in the Shadowlands. She couldn’t—she wouldn’t accept that her father would willingly condemn himself to an eternity of unrest and was determined to give him the peace he deserved.

And her quest began in the Hall of Records.

Crystals housed in a black granite access terminal projected the large screen before her. Names scrolled by in one column while the adjacent column held a series of numbers showing the location of a door that led to that person’s memory.

She hadn’t actually tried accessing anyone’s memory yet. The thought of viewing a stranger’s most intimate recollections made her skin crawl. It was a violation of the worst order. However, if it helped find her father’s killer, it was an issue she was willing to work around.

The screen flashed from white to red and bold black letters appeared: ACCESS DENIED.

“Damn it,” Alex muttered and dropped her head into her hands. Every time she sought her father’s name she met the same result. Varying the combination of search parameters hadn’t worked either. Perhaps his records truly were lost.

Sighing, she looked around the Hall. It had transformed since the first time she’d entered as a result of her experiments to manipulate this “reality.” What had been a single endless hallway had become a huge ornate multi-level rotunda. Countless doors lay hidden in shadows on each level of the massive round building. Large golden Corinthian-style columns supported each level, and she craned her neck to count ten floors before darkness consumed the topmost levels. Although moonlight streamed through a circular opening in the apex of the rotunda’s unseen dome, none of it reached the lower levels. The only light came from the screen in front of her and the softly glowing crystals beside each door.

“All I need are some crickets chirping in the background,” she said to no one in particular. She turned her attention back to the screen, ready to try a different approach to her search.

Somewhere in the distant shadows overhead, a door opened and closed.

Alex jerked, reaching for a sidearm she didn’t possess. While she’d known others could access the Hall,

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