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Home > Cryptic Cravings (Vampire Kisses #8)

Cryptic Cravings (Vampire Kisses #8)
Author: Ellen Schreiber

Chapter 1 - Blood Exchange

I had to admit it, Dullsville was no longer dull.

Infact, for me, RavenMadison, the morbidlymonotonous townI'd grownup inhad finallybecome the most exciting place on earth.

Not onlywas Imadlyinlove withmyvampire boyfriend,Alexander Sterling, but I'd witnessed for the first time inmy vampire-obsessed existence anactual vampire bite. The onlyproblem was that it wasn't myneck being bitten.

This wouldn't have beensucha tragedyfor me if the recipient of the bite had beenOnyxor Scarlet, the superfabulous Underworldyfriends I'd met at the CoffinClub, but the bite was givento myownvampire adversary,a real vampire and gothic beauty, Luna Maxwell.

I'd beenwaiting almost a year to be bitten, since I'd metAlexander, not to mentionmyentire life of immortal dreaming, but for Luna it happened withinhours of meeting another vampire. That night, onAlexander's lawn,there had beenanamazing group of partygoers--a handful of vampires mixing withthe mortal local students. It was something I'd never thought would happen. While playing spinthe bloodybottle, Luna and Sebastian,Alexander's handsome and hapless best friend, had locked eyes and gone infor more thana juicylip-lock. His fangs pierced the soft flesh of her swanlike neck. Luna had stared up at me, her eyes dreamy, as if she were some hippie tripping at Woodstock. She glowed even more radiantly than she normally did as a morbid fairy girl fashionista. Most of the partyers missed the action, but those who saw the bite passed it off as a macabre prank.

Sebastian had since moved out of the Mansion, and the rest of the vampires were perhaps back in Romania, or haunting the CoffinClub several towns awayinHipsterville. We hadn't gottenword of their whereabouts, and I hadn't seenanysigns of them at Dullsville's cemetery.

For the week following the love bite, Itried mybest to getAlexander's mind off his disappointment. He was suffering because his best friend's impulsive behavior had put not onlyhimself and Luna but evenAlexander's secret in possible jeopardy. Happily, tonight Alexander was finally obliging.

We were lying in the grass on a hilltop that overlooked Dullsville. From there we were able to see the glamorous sites of Hipsterville, suchas the graveyard, but Ididn't notice them because Iwas lost inAlexander's lips.

Ihadn't broached the tender subject of receiving myownlove bite withAlexander ina while. But Isaw this evening,alone with him and without distractions, as my chance for another try.

Fiddling witha link chainhanging from his black leather belt, Iasked, "Do youthink it's easier for Sebastianto fall for a girl and to take her blood?"

Alexander furrowed his brow.

"Or was it easyto do what he did at the party," Icontinued, "because Luna is alreadya vampire?"

"Ican't speak for someone else."

"But Iwant to know what youthink."

Alexander paused. "Thenyes, Ithink it's easier for him. He is veryimpulsive." His tone was clear and matter-of-fact.

I sighed.

Alexander reached for me and guided myhair back from myface withhis fingers. "It means more to me thanthat,"he said directly.

"Me too," Isaid, touching his shoulder. "But what if I were alreadya vampire?" Iasked thoughtfully. "What if someone else turns me--not onsacred ground--so Iwon't be bonded to them forever. But--"

Alexander withdrew his arm. "That's what youwant?" he asked, his voice almost cracking. "To be turned--by anyone? Sebastian? Or Jagger?"

"Iwas just thinking out loud," Iquicklyrefuted. Ididn't realize I'd hurt him.

"It would be that easyto have someone turnyou? Just like that?"

WhenAlexander posed it to me like that, myfantastical solutiondidn't seem so romantic or practical inits reality.

"That's not what Imeant."

"Are youso sure? You'd have mybest friend bite you? Or worse, mylongtime enemy?"

"But now youare friends withJagger," Isaid, trying to lightenthe mood.

"That's not the point."

"Of course not--Ionlywant you. . . . Iwas just trying to take the pressure off of you. Iwas just thinking out loud."

Alexander didn't seem pleased withmyresponse and continued to stare off into the distance.

"Let's be clear," Isaid, turning his face toward me. "Iwant to be a vampire. But Iwant to be one withyou."

He barely broke a smile.

"I'm turning eighteensoonand you'll be seventeen," he finallysaid. "It's something Ithink about, Raven. You. Me.

Our future. Iwant youto know that. But this is something that is life changing--especiallyfor you."

"Iknow." Igazed up at mydreamyboyfriend's eyes. His face was so handsome inthe moonlight. "But will you reallybe eighteen? Or something else, invampire years?"

"Iwill reallybe eighteen," he said.

"And thenthe next year?"

"Uh. . . nineteen," he said as if Ishould have known.

"But youare immortal."

"The aging process will slow down. But that's many, manyyears from now. Is that what youare worried about? Us not being able to be together unless youare immortal, too?"

"I've always wanted to be a vampire, since Iwas born," Isaid to him urgently. "But thenwhenImet you, I wanted to be one--to be turned byyou. To have the covenant ceremonythat youdidn't have withLuna inRomania.A beautiful wrought-ironlace trellis witha coffinand two goblets, onsacred ground. I'd be dressed ina black corset dress and hold black roses. You'd be wearing a black suit and have a black rose inyour jacket lapel. We'd say a few Romanianwords and drink from eachother's glasses. Then, you'd turnme."

"Wow!" he said witha laugh. "Iguess youhave thought about it, too."

"But it's not about me living forever. It's about me being romanticallybonded withyouand experiencing the world as a vampire." Istared up at him, the stars shining above him.

I waited for him to laugh, to think my ideas were childish and naive.

Instead he leaned into me and stared straight into myeyes, his chocolate ones dreamyand seductive. "There is a yearning that Ihave for you--that goes deeper thanlove," he said. "It's a desire that is palpable." He took myhand and raised it, exposing the inside of mywrist. "This desire courses throughmyveins," he said. He traced a prominent veinwithhis fingertip. "And yours. But I'd never put youbefore myownneeds. What Istruggle withisn't something that youshould have to as well. It's a complicated life--more so thanyourealize."

"Iknow it's complicated. If youdon't want to talk about it . . ." Ifigured it was best to drop the subject. Ididn't want to be a nagging girlfriend, andAlexander had beenthroughso muchalreadywithSebastian's antics. Whycouldn't I be more patient and not spoil our pure quality time alone together?

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