Read The Bloodline War Online

Authors: Tracy Tappan

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Military, #Paranormal, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Genetic Engineering, #Paranormal & Urban

The Bloodline War

 

THE BLOODLINE WAR

 

 

Tracy Tappan

 

The Bloodline War

book one in the The Community Series

 

Beneath the streets of San Diego, California, a unique race of human beings called Vârcolac lives on the brink of extinction. Desperate to save their dying people, a brotherhood of warriors deploys to the surface to steal genetically superior women for a repopulating program.

 

A car accident changes everything…

A computer hacked hospital blood test confirms that Dr. Toni Parthen carries a gene that’s the key to salvation for a unique race of human beings. Abducted to a secret, underground community, Toni is asked to do the unthinkable: procreate with a man from a race called Vârcolac—a species that must consume the blood of other humans to survive. Then bizarre turns dangerous, because a new, mysterious enemy also wants her special DNA, and Toni finds herself in the middle of an all-out war to possess her.

 

Destined to be alone…

It’s the job of Jaċken Brun, leader of the Warrior Class, to keep the captured women safe from a demonic race of humans who rule a neighboring part of their underground world. His challenges multiply when Toni inflames the women into mutiny, and then there’s his biggest problem…his growing desire for the infuriating woman herself. Afflicted with a dark genetic makeup, Jaċken can never be with a woman. Until Toni uses her scientific ingenuity to find a way for her and Jaċken to be together. But then the new enemy faction unearths Toni and drags her to their hidden lair, where they’ll inflict an unspeakable cruelty on her to gain access to her valuable genes.

 

It will take every warrior skill Jaċken owns to save the woman he loves, but only if he can find her in time….

~ * ~

 

The Bloodline War

Copyright © 2013 Tracy Tappan

 

All rights reserved.

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright preserved above, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright holder and the publisher of this book.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

B. Reed Publishing

Digital Edition

ISBN: 978-0-9912613-1-4

 

Cover Design by Laura Morrigan

Digital Formatting by Author E.M.S.

 

Acknowledgments

 

I would like to thank two of the best editors on the planet, Jessa Slade from Red Circle Ink and Faith Freewoman from Demon for Details, for their invaluable help on the manuscript. I couldn’t have asked for two more grammar smart, plot savvy, and honest women. An additional hug goes to Faith for the useful advice she offered on any topic I threw at her (of which there were many), and for our lively Sunday cyber chats.

 

To Bruce McAllister, writing coach, father figure, and friend, your advice has always been spot-on and genius; I thank the cosmos for whatever serendipity allowed me to run into you that day on the cliffs of Cinque Terre, Italy.

 

To Juliette Sobanet, gal pal and author friend, I have no doubt that I’d still be far from the starting line in publishing if not for your generous guidance. It is no exaggeration to say that you changed my life, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

 

Thanks also to Trish McCallan for her tireless mentoring and wisdom. You believed in me from not much more than an excerpt off my website, which is pretty darned cool.

 

And to David and Kelly, who’ve allowed me to embrace the joy of writing simply by being the two greatest kids ever.

 

Dedication

 

To my husband, Jeff, the love of my life and real-life romantic hero,

Not a day has gone by that you haven’t given me my dreams.

 

Note to Readers

 

The symbols that appear above some of the characters’ names don’t affect pronunciation. They are used only to indicate breed (Om Rău, Half-Rău, Fey, or Fey-Rău). This will make sense to you as you enter the story world.

Om Rău
also operates like the word
moose
—the same form for both singular and plural.

~ * ~

 

The lyrics of the song “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane are reprinted by gracious permission of Hal Leonard Corporation.

 

White Rabbit

Words and Music by Grace Slick

Copyright © 1966 IRVING MUSIC, INC.

Copyright renewed

All Rights Reserved  Used by Permission

Reprinted by Permission of Hal Leonard Corporation

 

Chapter One

 

The house loomed out of the darkness like a hulking beast, its windows black eyes, the front door left gaping wide in a permanent scream. Yellow
Crime Scene Do Not Cross
tape was strung around the perimeter, announcing to the world that bad stuff had happened here, just in case anybody had missed the stink of burned flesh and the eerie silence hanging over everything. Only the occasional crackling dispatcher call from one of the police cruisers parked out front broke the stillness.

A shiver crawled up Toni Parthen’s spine, and she had the embarrassing urge to turn around and run. She
really
didn’t care for creepy stuff. She dutifully headed for the house anyway, cutting through the red and blue police lights flashing rhythmically across the brick walkway. A uniformed officer was posted at the front door.

She lifted the ID badge hanging around her neck and showed it to him. “I’m your blood expert out of Scripps Memorial. Dr. Toni Parthen.” A
real
doctor of hematology, not a mere intern, but still a lowly Fellow. Which meant that when the San Diego Police Department needed a blood specialist, she was the one who got yanked away in the middle of watching
How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
to whatever gory scene needed her scientific expertise.

The officer glanced at her badge, then down at the medical bag she was carrying, and then inevitably—she nearly sighed—his eyes landed on her boobs. The Girls were bundled up in a winter coat, nice and tight against the cold January weather, but they were of a size that defied concealment.

She cleared her throat, quashing the urge to quip,
Eyes up here, pal
.

“Uh…yeah, go on in.” To his credit, the officer blushed a little. “They’re waiting for you upstairs.”

She entered the house, passing through a dimly lit foyer and a deserted, well-kept living room. The stink of burned flesh was stronger in here, like a cannibal barbecue gone terribly wrong, and her esophagus tightened. God, but she hated forensics. She arrived at the bottom of a flight of stairs and stopped. Waiting for her at the top was a man with a badge on his belt and a gun in a shoulder holster.

She exhaled sharply. “Crap, not
you
.” The night just got worse.

Detective John Waterson arched a single brow at her, one corner of his mouth climbing upward. “I’m going to stand here and pretend I’m
not
insulted by that, if it’s all the same to you.”

Toni rolled her eyes. “No offense intended, Detective, but your cases stink.” Waterson and his partner, Pablo Ramirez, were on the Occult Crimes Unit, and their crime scenes always ran high on creepiness. Too high.

Waterson’s smile widened, the curve of his mouth masculine and sexy, his amazing blue-green eyes warming with amusement.

Trumpets went off in her head. And here was the real reason she didn’t like working with this man: John Waterson was hot.

Dressed in cowboy boots, blue jeans, and a dark brown long-sleeved shirt that was folded up at the cuffs to reveal strong forearms, he had the tall, athletically lean build of a swimmer or a tennis player. He had…yes, a very nice mouth, despite the fact that an unlit cigarette was dangling from his lips. He was handsome, self-assured, probably in his early 30’s, like her, and in possession of that most alluring of all qualities: intelligence. She was drawn to John in a way she’d never been with any other man. But herein lay the trouble: John was, in point of fact, a
man
, and she’d given up on interacting with their gender—other than professionally—a long time ago.

Sighing, she trudged up the stairs. Nothing else for it. She was here on business. A low rumble of voices was coming from somewhere, a softly crying voice.
Wonderful
. “All right, what am I in for?”

Waterson’s eyes danced. “Feeling a bit squeamish again, are we?”

Heat rose into her cheeks. She wasn’t squeamish about most things—she was a doctor, for Pete’s sake—but she hated the aforementioned creepy stuff. No doubt the result of her older brother dragging her to too many horror films when she was a kid. She narrowed her eyes on Waterson. “Last case we worked on, Detective, some cult freaks had stripped
all of the skin
off the corpse’s body.”

He held up a hand. “It’s nothing like that this time, I swear.” Fishing a pack of matches out of his breast pocket, he went on to explain, “A couple of bad guys climbed in through the bedroom window of the fifteen-year-old daughter and tried to snag her.” He opened the pack and tugged out a match. “Her father heard her screams, rampaged in with a shotgun, and filled one of the perps with a load of buckshot.”

She groaned softly. “Lovely.”

“Don’t worry.” He struck the match and held the flame to the tip of his cigarette. “The scene is surprisingly
un
bloody. That’s why you’re here.”

She plucked the cigarette out of his mouth and mashed it into a plant. “You do know that you’re the only person left in California who smokes, don’t you?” She headed down the hall and entered a room that was clearly a girl’s, and a girl who for once hadn’t gone the way of the Goth: lacy lampshades, white eyelet bedspread, posters of Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, and,
ah
, second place to Matthew McConaughey: Brad Pitt. Against the backdrop of all this innocence, the black-clad body sprawled out under the window was a grotesque stain.

Two other men were in the room. Pablo Ramirez, a Padres baseball cap perched backward on his head, and a skinny kid—okay, an adult, but one who looked fresh out of science camp for a day of dress-up in his daddy’s navy blue suit.

Waterson gestured to him. “This is Silas Thornton, CSI.”

She nodded to the CI and moved over to the corpse, stopping at its feet to—

What the hell? She’d never seen anything like this. The guy was a wreck, half a dozen bullet-sized craters in his chest, a few more peppering his thighs, and yet…there wasn’t a single drop of blood on him—not anywhere, for that matter. Odder still, the front of the guy’s black shirt was completely eaten away, the fabric of his pants nearly in the same condition, and there were holes dotting the carpet beneath him, as if something acidic had dripped off of him and onto it. Jesus, this wasn’t just an
un
bloody scene, it was impossibly blood
less
.

She looked at Waterson. “The body was drained?” For what sick purpose, she didn’t want to know. Cult freaks were such psychos.

“Evidence suggests it wasn’t.”

She arched her brows at him in a
what now?
expression.

Waterson gestured, a hint of wryness slanting his mouth. “You want to take a look?”

“At what? You are aware that I deal in actual, physical blood, right, Detective? The kind of stuff that can be viewed under a microscope and put in a centrifuge?”

Another smile tried to make it onto Waterson’s mouth. “Just give it your best guess, Doc.”

Sighing, she marched over to the body and crouched down. The dead guy was young, maybe only nineteen or twenty, his features smooth and adolescent despite a stern chin and cruel-looking lips. He had a tattoo on his face, black flames crawling up his left jaw like rotten ivy. Biting back an
ugh
, she opened her medical bag and snapped on a pair of latex gloves, then dug out a scalpel. She grabbed the body’s wrist.

“Watch out,” Waterson warned.

She glanced up.

Waterson nodded at the corpse’s hand. “The ring on the perp’s finger will give you one helluva shock if you touch it.”

“You’re kidding.” Who in the world booby-trapped a ring? She turned the corpse’s wrist to get a better view of it, catching the sparkle of a strange red crystal in the center. Shimmering and undulating, the thing looked like it was filled with some sort of boiling liquid—or as if it lived and breathed. God. This night was reaching new levels of creepy.

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