The Vampire Heir
The Vampire Heir
Rite World 1: Rite of the Vampire 1
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- Forced Proximity
- Fated Mates
- Secret Society
- Secret Mission
A young woman with a secret. A vampire with a death sentence. And a terrible fate that will destroy them both…
When I was invited to Castle DuMoir, I knew I’d end up dead. The guests might be excited by the exclusive ball inside the estate, but I know better. The castle’s inhabitants are vampires, and they want our blood. Undercover work is dangerous, but I’ve been through worse. That is, until I unwillingly become a blood slave to Drake, the brooding vampire prince. Desire begins to stir, but I can’t afford distractions. My dark secret will save us all… or doom the supernatural world forever.
I didn’t think love existed. Then I met Thea. Vampires aren’t supposed to have a heart. But mine beats for her. Yet I can’t protect Thea in a castle full of conspiracies and betrayal. The vampires are about to choose the coven’s new leader, and there’s a murderer running loose. After everything I’ve done, I thought that I was the most dangerous monster in existence. I’m not even close.
A thrilling paranormal romance novel, The Vampire Heir is a new adult fantasy featuring a dark vampire prince and a strong heroine. Fans of A Shade of Vampire and The Vampire Diaries will become addicted to this new series— the first in the Rite World universe!
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
I was here. I couldn’t believe it. I had made it.
Around me, the other ninety-nine people took over half the town square. While we waited for the train to come pick us up, they chatted and laughed and speculated how it would be, what we would see, who we would meet.
It was not every day Castle DuMoir opened its doors to the public. In fact, it only happened twice a year, and only one hundred lucky guests were invited randomly from the thousands, millions of requests they received.
And I was one of the lucky ones.
“Isn’t this exciting?” a girl beside me asked. A wide smile adorned her lips as she bounced on the balls of her feet. Her excitement was irritating, if not saddening. “I can’t believe I was chosen.”
“Exciting,” I said, though that couldn’t be further from what I was feeling. If I stopped to think about this, if I considered all that could happen, that would happen … I inhaled deeply, calming my racing heart, willing the shaking of my arms to stop.
“Oh.” She reached over and squeezed my arm. “I see the train coming.” She turned to me, her smile even wider than a few seconds ago, her brown eyes twinkling in the late afternoon sun.
The majestic, shiny black train slowed to a stop beside the small wooden platform that served as a station on the corner of the town’s square. The glass doors opened, and a tall, handsome man wearing a black suit and a burgundy tie stepped out under the wide, dark awning covering the platform. There was a silver cross brooch on his lapel—the symbol of Castle DuMoir.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, his loud voice carrying over the crowd, shushing the guests. He grinned at us, which made his features even more handsome. “I’m Karl, your host for tonight’s adventure. I have one question for you. Are you ready for the best night of your lives?” The crowd cheered. “Then, please, come on in. Have your invitation handy as I’ll need to check it before you come onboard the DuMoir train.”
The guests hurried toward the train, pushing one another, trying to get in right away, as if the train would depart and leave them behind. Like a bouncer at a popular nightclub, Karl stood beside the door, making sure everyone who came through showed him their invitation.
The girl, still beside me, squealed as we approached the doors. “This is it. So exciting.”
She stopped in front of Karl and flashed her invitation. Karl nodded at her. “Please, come in, young lady.”
Then, I was in front of him. The man was taller up close, harder, more imposing. But his smile didn’t touch his blue eyes. I held his stare as I handed him my invitation, willing my hand not to shake. He plucked the beige paper from my hands and glanced at it. “Thea Harrington?”
I lifted my chin. “That’s me.”
He narrowed his eyes, but I refused to break under his gaze. This was just starting … I wouldn’t break down now.
The penny-sized brooch hidden in the inside pocket of my jacket trembled as he scrunched his nose and leaned away from me.
Karl tsked and returned the invitation to me, as if he was suddenly bored. “Welcome aboard, miss.” He gestured to the doors.
“Thank you,” I muttered, turning away from him.
A long, relieved breath escaped my lungs as I stepped inside the train.
The locomotive was even fancier on the inside. The darkened windows were large and curved upward, taking up most of the ceiling. Two columns of large, black leather armchairs stood on each side of the wide corridor, with touchscreen TVs and folding tables on their backs. Some chairs were turned back and a smooth wooden table stood between two rows.
From the magazines and articles I had read about the DuMoir visit, I knew there would also be a luxurious dining car, a movie theater car, a car with a pool, and even sleeping quarters.
I had started walking down the first car, when a hand grabbed my wrist. “Hey, sit here,” the girl from before said, tugging on my arm gently.
I held in a grimace. This was not the time to make friends. I looked around, but the seats were filling up fast, and what would be my excuse to her? She had already seen I was as alone as she was.
I sighed. “Sure.” I plopped down on the seat beside her.
She offered me her slender hand. “I’m Judy.”
“Thea.” I looked at her once more as I shook her hand firmly. She was probably my age, nineteen or maybe twenty, and she was pretty with auburn hair and tanned skin. I pulled my hand from hers and settled into my seat, looking straight ahead.
The girl, though, didn’t seem to get the hint. “So, how long have you been trying to visit DuMoir?”
I suppressed a groan. “Two years.”
“Oh, you’re lucky.”
I frowned. Was I? “They don’t allow visitors younger than fifteen.”
“True, but my entire family has been trying for years, and finally, I got the invitation.” She tilted her head. “So, why do you want to see Castle DuMoir?”
The golden question. Everyone who was granted an invitation was asked that question. I clasped my hands together on my lap, glad I was shaking less and less, and told her what I had rehearsed for months now. “I’ve lived one town over for most of my life. There’s nothing interesting around here, except the fact that there’s a mysterious castle close by. Who doesn’t want to see it? To know the faces of the lords and nobles living inside it?”
Her grin was so big, I thought it would blind me. “Exactly! I don’t live in Crimson Glen, but my grandparents do. My parents were raised here until they got married and moved away, but we visit often. I’ve always dreamed of seeing the castle in person, to meet a prince, or a lord, or a royal guard, and …” Her cheeks gained a red tint, and she quickly averted her gaze.
Holy crap, this girl thought she was headed straight to a fairy tale. Cinderella going to meet the prince at the ball. Poor girl.
My anxiety and nervousness were replaced by a white-hot anger. Anger for this girl and her dreams. “Well, anything can happen,” I forced out.
She returned her eyes to mine, a small smile on her closed lips. “Anyway, I’m here to have a fun evening. I heard there’s a village outside the castle with actual taverns and inns and stables, like old stuff, you know?”
I nodded. “There’s also a lake and boat rides, and a small winery.”
“And to crown the night, a tour inside the castle and a masquerade party in the ballroom.”
A chill went down my spine. “That’s right.”
“So exciting,” Judy repeated for the tenth time or so. If I had to guess, I would hear that same tone coming from her at least another five hundred times until the end of this visit.
When the passengers were seated and the doors closed, Karl’s voice rang through the speakers. “Welcome aboard, ladies and gentlemen. Please, make yourself comfortable. Fun fact about our fabulous train: It can hit 250 miles per hour, but because DuMoir is only forty miles away and the scenery is beautiful at sunset, we’ll take this trip slow.”
A beautiful woman in a black suit, burgundy shirt and the silver cross pin appeared by my side. With a wide smile, she unfolded each of our tables, depositing on them crystal flutes filled with bubbling liquid.
“Thanks,” I whispered as she turned around and served the guests on the other side of the corridor.
“Please, enjoy a glass of one of our finest wines, produced at the DuMoir estate,” Karl continued. “If you need anything, our attendants can certainly help you. Enjoy the ride. We’ll be at the DuMoir Castle in less than thirty minutes.”
I eyed the flute and the champagne-like liquid in front of me.
I swallowed hard.
Beside me, Judy downed her champagne in one big gulp. With a loud, “Aahh,” she set down her glass and turned to me. “It’s delicious. Drink it.”
From the corner of my eye, I glanced at the attendants nearby. “I don’t really drink this kind of stuff.”
“But it’s great. You’ll like it.”
“No, I don’t want it.”
“Why not? We’re here to enjoy this visit. Here’s the first taste.”
I scrunched my nose. “I’m not—”
Judy exhaled. “Fine, then I’ll drink it.” I gasped as she grabbed my flute and drank the entire thing in less than two seconds. My throat went dry and my heart sped up. Again, I glanced at the attendants, this time not so discreet, but none of them were looking at us. Thankfully, Judy placed my now empty glass in front of me again. “Well, that was even better the second time around.” She chuckled.
“You have no idea what you’ve done,” I whispered, wishing she wouldn’t really hear me.
She shrugged. “This fancy trip is free. I’m eating and drinking and taking everything they hand me. And if you don’t want it, I’ll have yours too.” She grinned, still looking as innocent and cheerful as the girl who first talked to me in the town’s square not twenty minutes ago.
My fingers itched, and even though I didn’t know this girl, a sudden urge to reach out and hold her hand assaulted me, too strong to contain. A small gasp escaped through my lips, but instead of reaching for her, I sat on my hands and looked straight ahead, eager for this night to be over.
For this whole thing to be over.