Cassidy Kerrigan has reluctantly left her computer to assume the role of host for a brand new prime-time monster hunt called Wild Things. Relying heavily on her hunky guide/cameraman/vampire lover, Andrei Dinu, she travels down the Amazon River in search of the giant anaconda. What they find is something far more dangerous. Will Cassidy's wits and Andrei's strength be enough to save them?
Wild Things: Embraced
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2012 Jocelyn Michel
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
The Amazon rainforest, so dense around us, blocked all fresh air but somehow managed to let in enough noon sunlight to dazzle me. Unfortunately, I couldn't wear my designer sunglasses at the moment. I had to focus on my camera screen while Andrei Dinu, my guide/cameraman/bodyguard walked ahead of me, hacking a path through the tangled vines and undergrowth with a gleaming machete. Strictly speaking, he should've been doing the filming. I was the host of Wild Things, not him. But while fit enough, I'd only been able to swing the machete for twenty minutes before I handed it over. Andrei, on the other hand, had been at it for over an hour, ruthlessly clearing our path without breaking a sweat.
Today we searched for the giant anaconda, the second so-called monster on what we hoped would be a very long list of mythical or not-so creatures. Werewolves were the first. I hadn't been able to prove their existence, or so I'd told the world. In actuality I'd met some, but I didn't blow their cover. Why? I had my reasons.
As for my current quest, a ginormous reptile said to viciously bite and then squeeze the life out of its prey, locals swore it was the length of a football field and wide as a road. I sincerely hoped not. Stumbling across one half as big would be scary enough. Yeah, I definitely had mixed feelings about our goal.
Wild Things had actually been my idea, though I'd written up my premise with a hunky male host in mind and not city-girl me. Sean Kerrigan, my estranged dad who was also Earth Broadcasting Network CEO, had nixed the plan, instead insisting I, Cassidy Kerrigan, would have to helm the series myself or forget about it. Payback for my ignoring him and his brand-new wife, a woman younger than me? Undoubtedly. So it was do this or quit my job, and just like everyone else I had bills to pay. Besides, I couldn't let Dad win our battle of wills.
Though my guide and I trekked on dry land at the moment, the anaconda was a water snake, which meant we'd find one there if such a thing existed. Unfortunately, we'd been forced to abandon our boat a couple of hours earlier. It had bogged down in a shallow area, and no matter what we tried, wouldn't budge. Andrei thought we were close enough to walk to where we needed to be, a narrow inlet that supposedly had a nest of the giant snakes.
Not for the first time, the digital video screen at which I stared went sort of gray. I adjusted the angle, hoping it would help. It didn't. Suddenly exhausted, I stopped for a sec to catch my breath. I should've been sweating buckets, but wasn't. Even stranger was the fact it wasn't just the screen going wack. My surroundings had begun to fade and close in on me. I blinked once, twice, in an attempt to clear things up. Instead, my world went from gray to black.
* * *
Water gushed into my stupor sometime later. Sputtering, I opened my eyes and saw Andrei's face inches from mine. "Welcome back." He gave me a half grin, but I saw worry in those baby blues of his. I realized I was in his arms. Disoriented, I wrapped mine around his neck and tried to figure out where I was. I saw the jungle, of course, and realized we were up to our necks in a stream or lake or something. Over my shoulder, water cascaded noisily from a cliff overhead.
Andrei brushed a strand of hair from my eyes. "How do you feel?"
"A little out of it." Without warning, he ducked us under the water again. I struggled for freedom, but he didn't let go or let me up for several seconds. Then we broke the surface with me sputtering. "Are you trying to drown me, Dinu?"
"No, I'm trying to bring down your core temp. Sorry I let you overheat. Sometimes I forget how fragile humans are." Dinu was the stuff of myths, himself, as in a real vampire. Ironic, considering it was my job to prove or debunk such folktales. Andrei had revealed himself to me in Romania while we searched for the werewolves who proved to be his lupine brothers. Since I'd had a thing for him from minute one, it was easy to promise all of them my silence. Unfortunately, Andrei's feelings for me remained a mystery. But who cared? I was perfectly happy just being with him. And all our wanton sex? Icing on a very yummy cake.
"I'm fine now. We can get out of the water." I looked around me rather anxiously, trying to see the give-away ripple of a deadly snake or a school of piranhas.
Andrei obediently headed to the nearest grassy shore. Since the water depth went down the closer we got, I realized I was still dressed. "You couldn't have stripped me first?"
"Great. Now I get to wear wet clothes for the rest of the day."
"We'll let them dry in the sun for a while. Shouldn't take long." Seconds later, he set me on my feet by our gear. Without delay, he dug into one of our bags and pulled out two bottles of water. He handed one of them to me. "I want you to drink all of this, and then I'll give you the other one."
I groaned. "I'll slosh."
"Your body needs it."
"Fine." Rolling my eyes, I opened the bottle and chugged down half of the tepid water inside it.
Andrei didn't let me stop. "Every last drop."
I made myself drink the rest of it. Andrei took the empty bottle and handed me the second one. I opened it and managed a couple of sips, which was honestly all I could get down.
"I promise I'll do it, but you're going to have to give me a minute. I can't hold any more."
"Okay." He glanced around. "There's a shady spot. I'll spread a blanket while you take off your wet things."
With a sigh of resignation, I skinnied down and joined him under a tree. The broad leaves of a tropical plant provided extra shade. The diversity of greenery in the rain forest absolutely amazed me. And with ninety percent of the Amazon basin unexplored, no wonder new species were discovered every year.
With his gaze glued to my face, Andrei nodded for me to get comfortable and began to toss aside his own clothes, which he draped over tree limbs to catch the sun's rays. When he stepped out of his boxer briefs, I said, "Whoa!"
"What?" he asked, clearly baffled.
"You don't have a hard-on."
"You almost died of heatstroke, Kerrigan. It would be a little inappropriate, don't you think?"
"Your dick is politically correct?"
I hooted at him and began hanging up my clothing alongside his. In my experience, his cock stayed at the ready, a vampire trait I totally loved.
Now naked, I located my bag and dragged out the spare bikini panties and sports bra I'd packed. Though they weren't exactly sexy as lingerie went, they made better sense on an outing like this. Besides, it didn't take much to arouse my guy. But he ignored me and donned black boxer briefs before spreading out a sleeping bag for us. When I sat on it, he sat next to me and handed over the water I hoped he'd forgotten. Then he laid back, one arm tucked under his head. His keeping his distance between us unsettled me a bit. "You don't want me anymore?"
Andrei glanced my way in visible disbelief. "How can you ask? We've fucked every way but upside down a dozen times a day since we've met."
I smiled, remembering. "Sorry. I guess I'm a little insecure. I mean, I've never dated a vamp before, and you haven't been particularly vocal about your feelings for me."
"Actions speak louder than words, baby."
Yeah, but a good fuck doesn't necessarily mean there's real emotion involved.
I did, tipping up the bottle to halfheartedly swallow another lukewarm mouthful. Andrei closed his eyes as if he might be wanting to nap or something. That was a first, though vampires did sleep, just not as much as regular people. So far, I hadn't discovered very many differences between vamps and humans beyond superior physical speed and strength, sexual tenacity, and the blood-as-food thing. Oh, and his eyes glowed in the dark.
I stretched out beside him. "Are you really dead?"
"Do you have a soul?"
"It flew the coop decades ago."
I frowned. "Excuse me?"
With a sigh, he turned on his side in my direction. "After most people die, their souls split off from their bodies and go to Heaven or Hell. In my case, my soul left my body before I actually died, leaving me a soulless immortal."
"Was this because a vampire killed you?"
"It was because a vampire bit me. Big difference."
"He gave you a virus?" I asked, remembering some fictional theories I'd read.
"No one alive or dead really knows exactly what causes the soul malfunction." He shrugged. "Or if they do, they're not telling."
"Is there no hope for you?"
"Why? Are you trying to save me, Kerrigan?"
"The quest for a cure would make for a very exciting episode of Wild Things."
I noticed he'd sidestepped the question, but let it go. If he didn't want to talk about vampirism, I sure wasn't going to press him. "How long until dark?"