Immortal Revenge by Mary Abshire
“Wow. You’re like the female version of Rambo.” -Jules
Vengeance comes with a price.
The Legacy, #1
Grief stricken Katie Dillinger is on a mission to claim revenge for the death of her lover. In a race against time to find the murderer, Katie reaches out to Riker, a man listed as her boyfriend’s emergency contact. The cold-hearted man comes to Katie’s aid, but she doesn’t completely trust him. To keep her friends safe, she insists they leave town immediately. But her efforts come too late. A friend disappears and a clear message is left in the wake: surrender or more people will die.
Katie’s world is turned upside down when she discovers Riker has vowed to protect her. She’s involved in a prophecy, one which her lover had been preparing her for before his murder. All the combat training he gave her suddenly makes sense, and as Katie fights to keep her friends alive, she’s forced to prioritize. Revenge now, saving mankind next.
CONTENT WARNING: Violence, Language
A Lyrical Press Urban Fantasy
All rights reserved, Lyrical Press, Inc.
Ravenous flames devoured the headless body pinned to the makeshift cross in the front yard. Katie stared, frozen in shock as she sat in her car. Chills shot down her spine. Her gut instinct told her the body burning was her boyfriend, her lover for the last nine years.
Smoke drifted into the car from the vents. One breath triggered bile to rise in her throat. She shoved the door open and bent. Her dinner came out in a mad gush, flying onto the driveway. Tears streamed down her cheeks while her stomach muscles tightened. More of the disgusting fluid rocketed up to her mouth. Pain and heartache overwhelmed her mind, body and soul. He was gone. Forever. He’d said the word countless times over the years. The meaning of the word never hit home, until now.
Sirens screamed through the night, moving closer by the second. The irritating sound intensified the deep throb in her head. She vomited again, unable to control the spasms. Through the thick smoke, she smelled gasoline. Oh God, they’d poured it on him to make sure he couldn’t survive. As if decapitation wasn’t enough.
Bright lights flashed in the darkness as they headed toward her. She’d stopped in the middle of the long driveway, not far from the burning cross holding her lover. Two police cruisers rushed from the road and came to a stop behind her car. Large fire engines blaring their horns passed them and her vehicle. They drove by so fast her vehicle swayed slightly.
“Katie?” Officer Hildebrand asked. She recognized his voice from having served him drinks at the bar every Friday night when he was off duty. “Katie, are you all right?”
She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand as she watched him jog toward her. He passed her and stopped a few feet in front of her car.
“Holy mother of…” He directed his gaze to the burning cross. “Is that a body?”
Another violent spasm hit her stomach. Teeth clenched and lips tight together, she held the urge to barf again, but she couldn’t stop the flood of tears pouring from her eyes.
“Ben, would you stop looking at it and help her out,” Officer Charles Donahue said, walking toward them. His deep smoker’s voice identified him anywhere.
“Katie!” Officer Hildebrand blurted out as if he’d forgotten about her. He rushed toward her and stopped short where her dinner lay on the ground. “Are you all right? Did someone hurt you?”
Unable to speak, she shook her head. Grief stabbed her in the heart. Why? How? Who? Something such as this shouldn’t have happened.
Officer Donahue stopped a few feet to the side of her door and took off his hat. His white hair gleamed thanks to the bright flames. He stared at the sight on the front yard. “My God.”
Officer Ben reached across the circle of puke and placed his hand on her shoulder. “Are you injured? Do you need medical attention?”
She shook her head again as more tears ran from her eyes. Gone. Kyle was gone. How could this happen? The question repeated in her mind.
“Ben, why don’t you drive her back to the station?” Officer Charles said. “I’ll take her car and meet you back there in a few minutes.” He placed his hat back on his head and straightened it.
“Katie, would you like to come with me?” Ben asked softly, as if he were a parent speaking to a young child.
Katie straightened her tense body. From the gap between the car door and the front windshield, she stared at Kyle’s farmhouse. Large flames leaped toward the sky and consumed the structure. Firemen carrying long hoses ran toward her home, but kept a distance. Clearly they couldn’t save it. God, so many memories. So much passionate love shared. So much laughter and happiness occurred within the walls.
“Come on,” Ben said, wrapping his fingers around her arm.
She grabbed her purse sitting in the passenger seat. Leaving the keys in the ignition and the car running, she slowly rose and avoided the disgusting mess on the ground.
Ben kept his hand on her arm while he escorted her toward his vehicle. She walked with her head up and as much poise as she could gather, but her heart ached fiercely. More tears escaped her eyes. Everything she owned and ever cared about was gone. She had nowhere to go.
Ben helped her into the passenger side of the police cruiser, opening the door and closing it once she was situated inside. Katie’s lip quivered as she stared ahead at the bright flames devouring the home she’d known for the last eight years and the one man on earth she’d loved. He was invincible, a fighter to the end. He was strong, smart, experienced, a teacher and lover at heart. He was also immortal.
Ben slammed his car door. “There’s a bag under the seat if you need to…”
Katie swallowed. “I’m fine.” Her voice quivered.
“Right.” His tone indicated he didn’t believe her reply.
Clutching her purse to her chest, she leaned back and closed her eyes while the non-stop flow of tears continued. She wanted to believe she was having a nightmare. Soon, she’d wake up in Kyle’s arms, in their soft bed and everything would be all right.
Reality returned as she sat in a bright room sitting by a table. The buzz from the florescent light bulbs above her head reminded her of bees swarming around a nest. Voices and ringing phones spilled into the small room through the half open door. A strong coffee aroma drifted in also. She had no idea how much time had passed and no recollection of walking into the police station, but she’d been in it a few times to know exactly where she was.
Ben walked in the interrogation room, followed by Charles. Both wore their beige uniforms with their shiny gold badges. Ben took the seat on the opposite side of her while Charles sat facing her from the end of the table. Charles, the older of the two, arrived with steaming coffee in his hand. Ben held a paper notebook. Both stared at her.
Charles set his mug on the table. “The coroner called a minute ago and said he’ll try to have identification within forty-eight hours.”
Good luck with that, the voice in her head chuckled. He was a five-century-old vampire. Computer records didn’t date back that far.
Katie already knew the truth. The local town of Mishawaka didn’t have much of a crime problem, not of the murdering kind anyway. Cross burning and the Ku Klux Klan died over six decades ago. Based on this and knowledge she had about vampires, logic dictated the body belonged to Kyle.
“I already know the identity,” she said softly.
The two men exchanged glances.
Ben withdrew a pen from the pocket on his shirt. “Katie, we would like to ask you a few questions, if you are up to it.”
His sad brown eyes reflected deep compassion. They’d known each other since college, before she’d met Kyle. They’d even had a few classes together and went out on a few dates during her pre-Kyle years. He never married, stayed close to town, took part in local festivities and enjoyed working. On Friday nights, one of Ben’s few off duty nights, he’d come into the bar, sit for a few hours, drink and chat with her. He tipped her nicely too. The all around good guy cop had always treated her with kindness and respect, not because of his badge but because that was they type of person he was. Perhaps he still had feelings for her too.
Could he understand her loss for a vampire, or even that they existed? Unequivocally the answer was no. If she told him the truth, Kyle was immortal or about Kyle’s involvement with the Order of the Legacy, he’d probably commit her to a state asylum.
“Would you like something to drink?” Charles asked.
Katie cleared her throat. “Water please.”
“I’ll get it.” The old man with wrinkled skin left promptly.
“I’m sorry about all this. And if it is Kyle, I’m sorry for your loss.”
Ben’s sympathetic words brought tears to her eyes. No one could fill the large hole in her heart. Kyle was a one of a kind man–loving, generous, witty, incredibly sexy and had a body of steel. The immortal part was a minor detail, along with his need for blood to sustain him. He never killed or harmed anyone, not even verbally. He was honorable through and through. And he promised to love her forever.
A tear rolled down her cheek and she rubbed it away. “Thank you.”
Ben leaned his elbows on the table and bent closer to her. “Are you sure you want to answer our questions? We can wait for a better time.”
Katie pondered her answer. If she delayed them, they’d resurrect more pain. The better choice seemed to give them what they wanted now since her heart and soul were numb. “Now is fine.”
Ben gave her a small smile. It quickly disappeared when Charles stepped back into the room with a white Styrofoam cup in his hand.
“Thank you,” Katie said as she took the drink from him.
“Are we ready?” Charles asked, his gaze pointed at Ben as he sat in the chair.
“I think so.” Ben pushed on the tip of the pen with his thumb and it made a clicking sound. He met Katie’s eyes. “Where were you tonight?”
Katie sipped her water, then set the cup down. “I had to run an errand for Kyle. He ordered something and asked me to pick it up at the South Bend airport.”
Charles crossed his legs. “What kind of package?”
“I don’t know. It’s FedEx, so it’s probably for me.” A lump formed in her throat. How many times had he ordered sexy lingerie for her and given it as a gift? Too many. The man consistently went out of his way to make her happy. She swallowed, pushing the lump back down her throat. “He liked to surprise me with gifts.”
“Did you do that often?” Charles asked. “I didn’t think you could pick up packages at the airport.”
“Yes, he…” She paused to clear the scratchiness from her voice. “He knew a couple people there. They’d call him and he’d either get it or send me to retrieve the package.”
“And who did you talk to tonight to get this package?” Ben asked as he wrote.
“Stanley Barton?” Charles asked.
Katie nodded. “Yeah.” Mishawaka wasn’t a small town where everyone knew everything, but the people who ended up in trouble with the law always made lasting impressions. Stanley was one of them.
“Is the package in your car?” Charles asked.
“Yeah, in the trunk.”
Charles looked at Ben. “I think we should check it out.”
Ben inhaled a deep breath as he finished writing, then lifted his eyes. “Would you be opposed to us taking a dog to sniff around your vehicle?”
“No, God no. I have nothing to hide.” She picked up her cup and took another sip.
“I’ll be right back,” Charles said before he left.
“Do you know of dealings Kyle had?” Ben asked.
“Dealings? What does that mean?”
“Did he meet with people for business or…other reasons?”
A touch of heat rose within her. Was he implying Kyle was a drug dealer? She’d heard people talk about drugs at the bar, but she had no idea who the dealer or dealers were. If Ben thought for a second Kyle was involved, he was greatly mistaken. Vampires didn’t like drugs. Chemicals tainted blood. Therefore, vampires stayed away from people who used them.
“Do you think he was pushing drugs?” Katie asked.
“We don’t know Kyle–”
“No, you don’t,” she snapped. “He never bothered anyone. He stayed to himself, paid his taxes, gave generously to the community and made me very happy every day I was with him. I can tell you with all certainty he was not a drug dealer.”
He lifted his palms. “Okay, okay. Calm down.”
Katie huffed and shook her head, irritated by such a crazy idea. Could the night get any worse? First, someone destroyed Kyle. Now the locals thought he was involved with illegal substances. What next?
“If there is something in your car, we’ll find it. If not, he’s clear…for now.”
“Unfucking believable,” she said as tears built in her eyes. “He’s not that kind of person, Ben. He never was. I’d know it.”
“Okay, well… Do you know of any enemies he had?”
Katie wiped her face clear of moisture. “No. He didn’t have any.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes!” She tensed, not liking the sound of her loud voice. But how else could she get through to him? “The only trouble he had was with the satellite company and I really don’t think they’d send someone out to chop off his head and burn him on a cross.”
A light throb in her head indicated the numbness had worn off. Perhaps she should’ve waited to answer his questions. It seemed as if they were all bullshit anyway. Glancing down, she saw her purse in her lap and dug inside for aspirin.
“You’re upset. It’s understandable.”
“You’re damn straight I’m upset. He was a good man. You’re asking me about drugs, if he’s a dealer and that’s off the subject.” She popped two pills in her mouth and grabbed the cup.
“We have to consider all options, Katie. We need a motive. You mentioned picking up packages. If he was in the drug business, it’s possible he pissed off someone and they came after him.”
Katie leaned back in her chair while she swallowed a gulp of water. Although she severely disliked the direction he was taking for an explanation, she understood his logic. He merely wanted to find a criminal. She took a deep breath to calm her rising frustration.
“I’m sorry, Katie, but I have to ask difficult questions sometimes. It’s part of my job.”
She turned to face the open door as she reflected on his words. Ben had touched on an important subject. He mentioned having a motive. Kyle had hid his existence for half a century. No one had ever come looking him. What changed? Who found him? Why did someone feel the need to end his existence now?
The throbbing in her head intensified, as did the ache in her heart. She quickly wished she were numb again so she wouldn’t have to feel such intense misery.
Charles walked into the room. He returned to his seat and set her keys on the table. “The car checked out clean. We found two packages in the trunk.”
“And Whisky sniffed them?” Ben asked.
“Sure did, and the dog didn’t do a thing.”
The dog’s name was Whisky? A shot of the drink sure sounded good.
“If we’re done, I’d really like to clean up in your restroom and then leave.” The thought of strong liquor appealed to her taste buds. Without a doubt, it would ease the pain.
“May I ask you a few quick questions?” Ben asked.
She sighed and gave a nod.
“Did you notice Kyle acting strange recently?”
“No. He was his normal self.”
“Do you know of any strange calls or visitors?” Charles asked.
“No. I live with him, so I’d know of any.” She caught the mistake in her response and pressed her lips together. She should’ve said lived.
“Is there any reason someone would want him dead?” Ben asked.
She met his strong gaze. He wanted answers and to find the person who did this. But what he longed for he wouldn’t understand.
“I don’t know.” She thanked the almighty lord she wasn’t taking a lie detector test, because she would’ve failed.
“Is there anyone at all you can think of he argued with or–”
“Again, no.” Clutching her purse, she rose and grabbed her keys. She couldn’t sit with them any longer and answer the same questions phrased differently. “If I think of anything, I’ll call you.”
Ben and Charles stood at the same time. “Do you have somewhere to stay?” Ben asked.
Keeping her head down, she nodded. “Yes.” Liar, liar.
Angst bubbled within her as she walked to the door. She had no home and a small cash reserve. The money in her bank account Kyle had helped fund would last only a few months. Although she had a job, the twelve hours per week she worked would not bring enough income to pay rent somewhere. She’d have to figure out a way earn more money.
“If you need anything…” Ben said, and she paused. “Please, call me.”
Without another word, she walked down the hall to the bathroom. She stepped in the black and white tiled room and checked the three stalls. Finding herself alone, she set her bag in a sink, covered her face in her hands and balled. She cried because he’d left her alone. Cried for not letting him change her into a vampire. Cried for not being home to help him fight. Cried because she would never, ever, see, touch, or kiss him again. And that hurt the worst.
When she’d released enough tears, she wiped her face with a paper towel and gazed in the mirror. Her eyeliner had smeared under her blue eyes. Her brownish-red wavy locks weren’t too out of place, but they smelled of smoke. With a deep breath, she realized her entire body smelled of smoke. A good, hot bath with scented gel would remove the stench. If only she had a home to go to.
Grief drifted and anger returned. Someone destroyed the person she loved. Why, after all these years? The police couldn’t help her find the answer. If she said anything, they would label her as crazy. To find out who and why, she was on her own. One human. And her opponent was most likely a vampire. The chances of her surviving were low if she hunted down the one responsible for Kyle’s demise. Was this evil person worth pursuing knowing her life would be at risk? Was Kyle worth it?
Nine years with a wonderful man had evaporated in one night. Nine fucking years and all of them were wonderful. Life was so unfair, and she hated it. Kyle gave her love, peace and a great deal of knowledge and skills most humans couldn’t imagine. He’d taught her how to fight vamps and use weapons. He’d shared with her their strengths, weaknesses and so much more.
With her spirit lifted and confidence rebuilt, she considered what to do. She’d acquired great abilities from Kyle. Why not use them? Could she sit on her ass, mourn and do nothing while the prick who ended her man’s eternal existence roamed freely? Hell no. She wasn’t that type of person. Her parents died in a car accident when she was fifteen and she took control of her life. She got up everyday, went to school and found a job to pay bills. Through high school and college, she struggled to survive, but she did it. She had strong determination. Kyle had known it well. He’d challenged her in every way possible and she met each one head on. Now, the mother of all tests lay before her. Could she handle it?
Puffy eyes stared back at her through the mirror. Rage boiled deep within her soul as she continued to think about the rogue vampire who destroyed Kyle. He didn’t deserve to walk the earth. Someone needed to send the fucker to hell.
After a deep breath, she thought about what Kyle would want. He’d probably tell her to walk away instead of avenging his death. He’d want her to enjoy life. Time would heal.
Screw time. It was no longer her friend since she couldn’t be with Kyle.
Katie grabbed her purse and slid the strap over her arm. Having made her decision, her mood brightened. She’d take advantage of everything Kyle had shared with her to ensure the fucker who destroyed him would perish. Retribution was worth every breath and drop of blood in her body. Let the battle begin.
- Digital ISBN: 9781616504939
- Print ISBN: 9781616505134
- Genre: Fantasy / Urban / Vampire
- Length: 99,000 words
- Ebook Page Count: 288
- Print Page Count: 243
- Publication Date: November 4, 2013
- Available Formats: Digital, Print
- Series: The Legacy, #1