Vampire Shield Excerpt

For Pack eyes only:

The ghostly voice from his past echoed through his mind, piercing the steel wall Byram had built around his heart. Fuck. It hurt to remember. He had spent a lot of time trying to forget, but now and then, she would creep back in.

Like a cold draft beneath a door he could not shut out, or that single ray of sunlight blinding him through the window shade when he was doing a buck thirty in his Vette.

She was the past, though, and there was no getting away from a person’s past, try as he might. It was always there. She was always there.

I promise….

“Byram? You with us, bro?”

Byram turned and blinked slowly, coming back to the present. It was always difficult to return to the here and now after a bad night, and he’d had two more dreams this week, replaying the past. Not a new phenomenon.

Being a Vampire had drawbacks, and his crystal clear memory was one. Even if he wanted to, he could not forget her. Forcing himself to think about anything else was his usual routine, but sometimes there was no use. Sometimes the dreams crept back in. He’d experienced it a hundred times or more since the last time he’d actually seen Kaelene in the flesh. A low, rolling rumble built up in his throat and he closed his eyes, breathing harshly as he fought to control it.


He was losing control over his Vampiric nature. It was no secret, as he’d already talked to Kingston about the dangers of a Vampire suffering from the famine. That was their name for what happened when nothing could satisfy the beast within.

Usually, when a Vampire felt himself or herself slipping into the famine, there was only one thing he could do. Go Hunter or find the true death. It was the reason he’d sought Kingston and the Guardians in the first place.

After his initial discovery that Kaelene had betrayed him, Byram had feared the worst for himself. Vampires were notoriously difficult to kill, and even surrounded by Shifters as he’d been for the past century, none knew the actual strength he really held.

The Dragon was the only living creature who might be able to best him. Hard might. Eventually, they became friends, and Byram had started to believe in the work he did with the Guardians of Chaos.

Keeping magic free and maintaining the balance of the natural and supernatural world was a noble and worthy cause. Far more than wallowing in his own misery.

Stupid heart. Get over it already. Kaelene is not who we thought.

His chest rumbled, drawing the eyes of his compatriots, and he stifled the sound. The evening light filtered in through the windows of Kingston’s office, and he felt the Alpha’s eyes on him. Fifty or sixty years ago, the Dragon would have given him the battle he so obviously needed to sate his rage. But the beast was mated now, all the Guardians were. Byram was the only loner in the group.

Fuck. Steady now.

Loner. Alone. Always alone. Shit.

He had to do better than this. There were new cases, new proof the Loyalists had recouped and were gaining their numbers. The freedom of magic, the supernatural chaos theory he and Egros had worked so hard to prove, was being attacked, and it was his sworn duty to protect it. No, he could not afford to wallow in his unfortunate past. He could not lose himself.

If Byram were to lose control, it would mean death for many, if not all. His future was not determined. Fuck the Fates. He’d trusted in those fickle bastards once before and look where it got him. No. He would not go Hunter or endure the famine.

Loyalty was the cornerstone of his vow, and he owed it to them all to stay true, loyal, and stalwart. Byram would not turn on his group of Guardians. Hell. It hurt him to think of hurting those he cared for.



“I need a moment, Kingston. Apologies,” he grunted, closing his eyes, and giving himself the time he needed to straighten his head out.

“Of course. Take your time,” the Alpha grumbled.

Byram tuned out the others as they whispered amongst themselves. Mind racing, he focused on his breathing and allowed himself to indulge a few moments in his inner turmoil.

Was he really so far gone that turning Hunter, or begging death were his only options? Fury welled within him at what might have been, and he had to work to block out that single-minded rage.

Hunter Vamps were a plague to all. Those Vampires who had lost the will to live allowed madness and thirst to take over. They became creatures who barely resembled what they once were. Bat-like horrors bent on destruction. Byram would stake himself before he allowed that to happen. But luckily, he did not have to.

Facts were facts. Byram’s thirst was growing, and no amount of bagged blood seemed able to quench it. More and more, Byram had been losing himself to memories he’d be better off forgetting.

Even now, he needed a moment to sort them before he spoke to his Alpha, Kingston Baldric of the Guardians of Chaos. The Dragon Shifter had agreed to end him if he showed any signs, though he did so with a heavy heart.

The memories plaguing him had been of the worst day of his life. The day he’d truly lost her. Kaelene was the one true love of his entire existence, but he’d been foolish in giving his heart to a princess who, in the end, had never really loved him.

Yes, she did.

He was in no mood to argue with himself, so he ignored that pesky little inner voice and replayed the facts in his head. Byram had returned to his former Clan a mere five years after being sent away, bristling with new ideas and experience. His old master had trained him in the art of war, and he’d studied science and medicine in his spare time.

He had money, knowledge, brawn, and risen in rank in the Clan army. Finally, he was worthy of putting in a claim for the love of his life, the Princess Kaelene. Only she’d broken her word.

He’d arrived home to the sounds of bells ringing in the old temple and scribes shouting word of the betrothal of the princess to the son of the king of a rival clan.

Byram had not bothered to stick around after that, He’d taken off, heartbroken and mad at the world. If only knowing she’d betrayed him when he had been loyal had been the worst of it, but there was more. The crown had seized his meager holdings, claiming unpaid taxes for his time away, and he was left with nothing. Nowhere to live or lay his head.

Kaelene was readying to marry another, Byram had been stripped of his land and rendered penniless, and worse, he felt the beginnings of bloodlust taint his vision. If he succumbed to it, he would be hunted and staked.

Maybe he should have allowed it, but then he would not be here today. He had to leave his Clan and his home, knowing he would never be fulfilled in his very long lifetime. Talk about a fate worse than death. Byram would be alone forever.


“I’m ready,” he announced, cutting through the whispers of the Guardians, his friends, with his voice steadier than he felt.

“When is the last time you fed?” Kingston growled the question, interrupting his thoughts once more.

“Apologies, Alpha. I was just lost in my thoughts,” he explained, ignoring the surprised expressions of his fellow Guardians.