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She licked her lips as she considered her own actions the last few nights.

Crap. I'm fucked, she thought dismally.

Cian studied her expression and sighed a little. “I know about what you did at the campus. The Satanic killings were actually you. As was the truck driver killed in Dallas. ” He lifted a couple of newspaper clippings off the table next to him. “And I have a feeling this woman who died in East Texas of mysterious causes was you. ”

“She was on her way to kill her ex-husband and kidnap her kids,” Amaliya said defensively.

Cian smiled at this. “So it was you. ”

“Look, no one told me how to do this! I've been trying to figure it out for the last few days. I even burned my fingers trying to see if sunlight affects me! I didn't get a manual when this happened. I didn't get any sort of orientation or a workshop. I woke up buried alive! Okay? Alive in a stupid grave in the stupid forest! I was out of my freaking mind. I don't even know how I found that secret orgy and. . . and. . . ” She licked her lips, remembering her first bite, the way the blood had filled her. Unknown to her, her eyes flamed red at the memory. She limply sank back in her chair. “I didn't mean to kill all those people. ”

Cian was stoic as he listened to her. “I know. ”

“I just did what. . . what. . . ”


“Felt natural. ”

“Yeah. ”

“I did the same thing. Half a plantation of slaves and their masters. I couldn't stop killing. I only stopped when the priest arrived and drove me back into the night. ” He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, and rubbed his hands together. “I do understand. ”

Blood tears started creeping down her face. “I don't feel bad though. But I should, right? I mean, I know what I did was wrong, but there is a part of me that is fine with it. What I did. ”

“You were surviving. The first hunt is the most important. If you don't drink enough blood, you can go permanently mad. ” His gaze leveled with hers and he seemed slightly less terrifying. “It is hard. The first nights. My hunger remained unquenched for four nights. By then I had most of Barbados hunting me. Since you killed at the college, how many times have you fed?”

Amaliya rubbed her brow and sighed. “Well, this guy named Pete. I didn't kill him though. He's a friend from my childhood. My cousin told me he's in the hospital. ”

“Your cousin? You've had contact with your family?” Cian looked shocked.

“Yeah. I saw my grandma and my cousin last night. I saw my Dad and stepmom the night before along with my crazy Aunt Mae and my asshole brother, Damon. ”

Cian looked completely startled by this. “And you didn't kill them?”

“Hell no! Well, I was tempted with my stupid Aunt, but no. ”

“So you haven't been as famished as you were the first night?”

Shaking her head, Amaliya fiddled with her nose piercing again. “No. I did get really weak and hungry after I burned my fingers and healed them. That is why I bit Pete. ”

“You woke up during the day?”

“Yeah. So?”

Cian's eyes narrowed. “That is rare. We usually cannot rise during the day at all. Only when we feel threatened and often we're not completely conscious. ”

“Well, I woke up that second day. I was scared of the sunlight. ”

“I see. And when did you feed again?”

“Um, that night. ”

“The second night after you woke up?”

“Yeah. I drained that crazy ass woman who wanted to kill her ex and take the kids. And I felt okay for the rest of the night. I hitched a ride to Dallas with that guy Rob. ” Her face clouded at the memory. “Everything was fine until he got into my hotel room and started trying to. . . ” She swept her hair back from her face. Her gaze grew distant as she remembered the horrible feel of his hands on her. “So I beat the shit out of him. And drank his blood. Then. . . . ” She looked at her longer nails. She had already chipped the polish on them. “I kinda tore him up. I was pissed. ”

Cian blinked slowly, then said, “Okay. ”