My name is Zoe Tempest. Just let me say, I had no intention of becoming a vampire hunter. My world revolved around the trendiest clothes, the boy of the week, shopping, and texting.
I always tried to play down the fact that I’m really quite intelligent. I’d much rather be considered blonde and clueless. It’s so much easier to get dates.
My parents were well-off and indulgent. I was the center of their universe. I’m afraid I took that for granted.
One odd thing, my mother insisted I take self-defense training. I just figured she wanted to keep her little princess safe. But looking back, perhaps she had a premonition.
To my surprise, I took to it like a kid to Pop Tarts. I ended up with a black belt in karate. It’s an excellent form of exercise. Not that I need to worry about that like some of the poor things in my class. I’m a 5’7” blonde, with blue eyes and a kick-ass figure. Barbie’s got nothing on me.
My life was as close to perfect as a seventeen year old can get. I had everything. Then my parents were murdered and my world came crashing down.
After their funeral, I went to live with my uncle Julian Kilmer. That’s when everything changed. In a manner more terrifying than anything I could have imagined.
“Don’t go out after dark.”
“You’re joking right?” I said the first thing that came into my head then heaved a sigh from deep in my flat, toned belly. In the short twenty-some odd hours I’ve known him, the dark brooding man standing in front of me never cracked a smile let alone joked. Too bad, for an older man—he’s thirty-seven if he’s a day—Uncle Julian is a bit of a hottie…in an intense sort of way. His olive-colored skin stretches tight across high cheekbones. His thin nose reminds me of a predatory hawk.
I really couldn’t say a thing about his eyes. I’d never seen them. He invariably wore dark glasses.
“I never joke.”
There’s a news flash.
We stood in the dark gloomy hall of his mansion. As thunder boomed, the lights flickered. Moments later a streak of white lightning, visible through the long narrow window, hit nearby. The floor shook. Outside something screamed in the night. Though the room felt hot and stuffy, goose bumps roughened my skin. I rubbed my arms.
He leaned toward me. His shadow loomed menacingly across the floor engulfing me in black.
Before I could stop myself, I took a hasty step back and bumped against the door. The cool knob pressed into my back. He might be my uncle, but he was a stranger and a scary one at that.
With his index finger, he pulled down the sunglasses and looked over them. I gasped. His eyes were the same distinctive cobalt as my own. But where my eyes only added to my Barbie doll appearance, his sucked you in like a vortex. As if he could suction every thought right out of your head just by looking at you.
Get a grip, Zoe.
A trace of unease flickered across his face. “You aren’t sick are you?”
“No. What makes you think that?”
“You’re white as a sheet. Goose bumps are standing up on your arms like a plucked turkey.”
Being a vegetarian, the mental image wasn’t exactly a pleasant one.
I gathered my courage and asked “Why can’t I go out?”
“Because I said so.”
I barely refrained from rolling my eyes.
He shifted his weight, his expression impatient.
The silence stretched between us.
Cold clammy beads of sweat trickled between my shoulder blades. I twitched my shoulders.
“Now there’s a reason.” I fisted my hands on my hips.
“Because it’s dangerous,” he said curtly.
“What do you mean?”
He raised a black slashed eyebrow. “What about dangerous don’t you understand?”
I watched his gaze travel over my hot pink top and short white skirt. When his glance came to rest on my manicured toenails visible in my pink polka dot sandals with rhinestone bows, he shook his head his expression dismissive.
I shouldn’t have let it bother me. I was used to being looked at like an empty headed blonde who’s only thought was her wardrobe. I even encouraged it. But it hurt coming from family. If he’d been around while I was growing up, he’d have known better.
“This is the Bahamas. How dangerous can it be?” I challenged, straightening my shoulders and lifting my chin. Why should I care what this man thinks of me?
“This is a remote, unknown, island in the Bahamas.” He flicked an imaginary piece of lint off his black silk shirt.
“Does this remote island have a name?”
His cobalt gaze locked with mine. The deep black flecks in them flickered like crashing tidal waves. “Vampire Island.”