Even vampires have demons . . .

Ritter Breitmann, WWII German soldier-turned-vampire, has learned to survive in the modern world. His existence is rigidly controlled, safe and lonely until he rescues a beautiful scientist from an apparent mugging and discovers a plot to inflict his curse on other men. The demons from his past are back, and Ritter must stop them before they plunge the world into a final, immortal Reich.

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Awards and Honors:

2006 Dream Realm Awards Finalist!

 

"One of the most original vampire novels I've read in years!" ~Jaye Roycraft, author of Immortal Image

 

"Fast moving action and bittersweet decisions make this a memorable book." ~Huntress and Eternal Night

"TWICE DAMNED delivers some novel worldbuilding along with a convincing romance between a heroine who is never stupid and a hero that lets his emotional slip show. It's a vampire romance with a healthy infusion of straight horror -- including a gross-out moment that made me, fan of Clive Barker, cheer."

~ E. Joseph, Speculative Romance Online

"****" RT Bookclub

Excerpt

 

Chapter One

Waukegan, Illinois

May 16, 2014

 

Blood. Hunger. Lust. An explosion of red. Red floor, red walls, red air. A girl: thin, naked, dead. Another girl. And another. Black wounds on milky thighs. Gaping throats. Blood- stained breasts.

Another girl. Pink and gold. Arms lift. Veins open. Blood, hot as flame, sweet as life, pouring, gushing, flooding.

Ritter jackknifed off the bed. The image shattered. A dream. Only a dream. He pulled in a shuddering breath and rolled to his feet. It was early, but he dreamed often enough to know his sleep had ended.

He quickly showered, dressed, and slipped into the settling dusk. As always, hunger followed.

 

***

"Thanks." The girl leaned her head against Ritter's upper arm. Unlike most modern girls, she was too short to reach his shoulder. She lisped slightly, and beer tainted her breath. "Shouldn't have tried walking back to the dorm alone. It's not safe."

"Life is not safe." Ritter brushed his lips across her baby soft curls. Baby. That's what she was, a baby. Eighteen years old and out for a night of trouble. He had found her staggering down the bike path, drunk silly and easy prey.

Careful not to frighten her, he gripped her shoulders and turned her toward him. Light from the dormitory spilled across her face. Under black eyeliner and lipstick, her skin glowed with youth and innocence. Black scoop-neck top, black leather miniskirt, black stockings, black shoes. She wrapped herself in darkness, sought it, craved it. If only she knew.

He lowered his face to the curve of her neck, inhaled her fragrance. Under the beer and cheap perfume, the scent of life rose from her. Her pulse fluttered beneath his lips, and his heart matched its pace. He licked the pulse point. "Invite me in." The words scraped his powder-dry throat.

She shuddered and sagged against his chest. "Sure."

The alcohol was catching up with her. If he didn't hurry, she would pass out on him. "Shall I carry you?"

"Can't." She looked up and giggled. "My room's on the fourth floor, and the elevator's broken."

"No problem." Ritter scooped her into his arms and carried her up the steps to the dormitory entrance. She was light, warm, and so alive.

"Wait, the key." She twisted. Her hand seared a path across his chest to a pocket in the skirt. A moment later, she lay back and raised her hand to his gaze.

The key glinted silver, but it was her wrist that caught his attention, thin, blue-lined, enticing. He bent toward the lock. "Open the door."

After two tries, she slid in the key and turned it. Ritter bumped the door open with his shoulder. Several students pored over books in the common room. A young woman in shorts and a T-shirt glanced up and frowned. "Ashleigh, are you all right?" She shoved away from the table and stood. "Why are you carrying her?"

The girl he carried giggled. "Met him at the party. Isn't he hot?"

Other students looked up. Ritter sighed. "Forget the interruption," he said. "Return to your studies." They all obeyed, including the young woman, but Ritter needed a more secluded spot for his purpose. "Which room is yours?" he asked the girl.

"Four-thirteen."

Right to the stairs, up three flights and down to the end of the corridor. He could run the distance in a handful of heartbeats.

A rising wind chased them across the threshold. Harbinger of a storm, it was scented with rain and spiced with fear. Fear—sharp, intense, and growing.

"Ow." The girl struggled in his arms. Without meaning to, he had tightened his grip. He relaxed his fingers and lowered her to her feet. She pushed away from him, staggered, but remained standing. An angry blotch marred her arm. She rubbed it and glared at him. "That hurt."

"I must go." Ritter craved the girl, but not enough to ignore the waves of desperation beating against him. He had tasted that kind of fear before, too often before someone died, and under it ran the faint sepulchral essence of his kind on the hunt. He caught the girl's gaze and held it. "Go to your room. Sleep. I will come when I can." Knowing she would do as he ordered, Ritter turned and ran toward the rising terror. Dinner could wait. He had a life to save.

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