Craving (A Willow Creek Vampires Novel)

By: Stephanie Summers

Craving: A Willow Creek Vampires Novel Book #1




PROLOGUE

May 19, 1798: Willow Creek

Screams ricocheted through the still of night as chaos ensued in the burgeoning little town. Deep crimson splattered and pooled on the soft, green earth. The echoes of conversations and laughter dissipated within seconds. An evening of celebration quickly spiraled into a night of terror.

Members of the newly established community of Willow Creek gathered in the center of town for food and camaraderie. Shortly after giving thanks to God for the good fortune that had been bestowed upon them, a blood curdling scream erupted from the outskirts of the community.

Several men ran to the aid of the woman. As they approached her body lying on the ground, people with beast-like teeth and blood dripping from their faces pounced on the men, ripping their throats out in an instant. Pure panic overtook the remaining members as they fled in all directions trying to escape the onslaught. One by one, they fell victim to the evil things lurking in the dark.

Before the villagers’ very eyes, one lone man swooped in and took out the rogues, one by one. Bones cracked. Flesh ripped. Blood poured as heads rolled. None of them stood a chance against his strength and speed. Covered in blood and eyes lit up with fury, the man addressed the remaining residents.

“My name is Bastian Florien. I would very much like to speak to whomever is in charge.” His powerful voice echoed with an Eastern European accent through the night. Piercing blue eyes scanned the crowd of terrified humans until one hand reluctantly wavered above the crowd.

“Yes, you.” Bastian pointed to the man and motioned him closer. “Come forward. What is your name?”

“My n-name is Thomas Crowley.”

“Mr. Crowley, do not be afraid. I mean you no harm, but I cannot speak for others of my kind.” Bastian rested his hand on the man’s shoulder as he spoke.

“What ailed them? What made them attack their fellow man in such a savage way?”

“They, as well as I, are vampire. There is a great power here that draws them and other supernatural creatures into the borders of your town. I wish to make a bargain with you that will help your town and its people flourish for generations to come.”

“Go on.” Thomas stood tall, trying to stay brave in the face of danger, even though he remained terrified and skeptical of the man’s words.

“If you choose to stay, I will protect the residents of Willow Creek from otherworldly outsiders, as well as other humans, if necessary. This is a desirable area—rich in resources—you won’t be the only people wishing to settle here.”

Thomas glanced down at the ground before looking up to meet Bastian’s eyes. “How would this arrangement benefit you?”

“In return, I only wish that I, and a few of my kind, may walk freely, not ever having to hide our true nature.”

“I have heard tales of unspeakable evil that lurks in the dark; monsters that attack and drain their victims of blood. This is what you are?” Thomas asked as his eyes studied Bastian.

“Not exactly… I am not evil, nor do I lurk in the shadows waiting for unsuspecting victims. Are there others who do this? Yes, this is true, but you must not only fear the night. Though vampires are weakened in sunlight, you are still vulnerable and far weaker than any of us will ever be. You have witnessed the destruction we are capable of, and more will come. Many more will die until none of your people remain. I have witnessed the total annihilation of four groups of settlers in the last three years. The others would not heed my warnings or enter into any arrangement with me.”

“If the stories are true, and from what I’ve seen here tonight, vampires survive on blood, do they not? How will you feed? I cannot and will not agree to vampires running rampant and drinking the blood of those in our community whenever they please.”

“One person per vampire will be paired with me and mine so that we can feed exclusively from the offering. They will reside in my home, and I will provide them with food and shelter until their life comes to its natural end.”

Shaking his head, Thomas spoke sternly. “I will not subject my people to such torture. You may walk among us if you so choose, but you must feed on the animals of the forest. We will not be sustenance for demons.”

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