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Blooddrinker’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #3)

Written by Anna Abner

Copyright 2018 by Anna Abner

Read The First Chapter Of Beasts of Vegas #3!

Chapter One

Maksim Volk struggled to his knees despite the pain in his muscles and joints, despite the hunger gnawing at him from the inside out. The garage tilted, fluctuating the shadows of the wooden joists supporting the roof. His chains rattled, clanking among his wrists, ankles, and the bolt in the concrete foundation.

There was nothing for him to do but wait while his body wasted away. The infection swimming in his veins would keep him alive indefinitely, healing injuries and enhancing his senses, making him stronger than human men, granting him strength. Not enough to escape, though, not after starving for days.

But Maks hadn’t survived decades of torture to surrender to a few links of chain and a dry spell. During the twenty years he’d been a prisoner and guinea pig of the US Army, his captors had tried everything to test the limits of his fortitude, including starving him. He knew exactly how badly things could get before he desiccated.

Connor had done this to him. He and Anya.

No, she preferred Ali now, the name her biological father Uri Rusenko had given her. It was a pretty name, but it was difficult to gaze into her big blue eyes—eyes so like her mother Katya’s—and not remember the little girl named Anya.

Maks had never considered loving a child. Turned into a vampire at seventeen, he was barely more than a child himself when he first laid eyes on Katya. But when he infected her rather than lose her and she birthed a beautiful, blue-eyed baby girl into his hands, Maks had been completely and utterly smitten. For the first time in his life, someone had not only depended on him, but trusted him too. As Anya had grown, she’d gazed up at him and it had felt like someone in the world believed in him. He was a father, no matter how unconventional, and Maks loved every minute of it. Loved Ali. Loved Katya. Loved being part of a family.

But his daughter had stood by and watched Connor Beckett lock him in chains.

Maks gripped the links near the bolt and heaved upward. One of his finger joints dislocated, and still he pulled.

It wasn’t enough. The bolt remained secure, and he drooped, exhausted.

It wasn’t Ali’s fault, though, that she’d lost faith in Maks. She’d been in Britain under Uri’s brutal care for almost her entire twenty-two years of life, far from vampires and the supernatural. Far from him. It wasn’t her fault she thought he was a monster.

If he escaped the chains, he’d do anything to make it up to her.

He kicked the only object in range—a section of half-finished wall. Little remained of its original shape, and Maks further added to its deterioration with three or four savage blows with his bare foot. Wood splintered, drywall crumbled, and nails squealed in protest.

Unable to remain on his knees any longer, Maks slumped onto his side and closed his burning eyes.

Dozing in a blood-starved haze, he thought of his amber-eyed captive, Violet. It was like he could smell her sweet breath. Like he could feel her creamy, soft skin.

Maks had kept a lot of blood donors over the years, but Violet had impressed him from the start. She wasn’t cowed, despite having suffered under Oleksander the Destroyer, sadistic former warlord of the horde. She was brave, smart-mouthed, and her blood was fine liquor after a hard day. But keeping Violet a prisoner was like trapping a wild bird in a wire cage. It wasn’t right.

He must find her before Olek’s little brother Sergei hurt her. Anya would help him. No, she went by Ali now. Still, his little girl would help him save Violet. She had to.

Someone approached the garage. Footsteps crept nearer, and the side door swung open on silent hinges.

#

Ali Rusenko wasn’t super excited to do the Oracle’s bidding today. Ilvane the Oracle, also known as fourteen-year-old Caitlyn from suburbia, wasn’t exactly a friend. So far, Ali’s experiences with her prophecies were less than positive. If it hadn’t been for the Anya from Nadvirna prophecy, Ali wouldn’t have become the obsession of Oleksander and nearly died.

But the Oracle had recently visited Connor and asked him to be at a street corner in Vegas today a little after two. Oh, and by the way, bring Maksim Volk. The only hitch was, Maks was currently chained up, feral and half-mad himself, in their cabin in the Nevada desert.

“Prophecy time,” Connor Beckett announced, whipping open his hotel suite’s front door. “When the greatest seer in the world tells me to be somewhere at a certain time—I’ll be in that spot at that time.”

Ali strolled into the hallway and pressed for an elevator. “Any chance the Oracle’s ramblings were just that?”

“Caitlyn may be batshit,” Connor said, gracing her with a slow smile, “but everything she says happens.” The smile, at odds with his words, widened suggestively.

Her boyfriend was damned sexy, even more so since he’d been infected. A card-carrying member of the supernatural world—he was without equal in strength, speed, and healing ability. In her humble opinion, he was the hottest vampire walking.

Still amazed at how lucky she’d been on her first trip to the US, Ali rose on tiptoe and pressed a sweet kiss to his mouth. Growing up sheltered and different in the UK, she’d never believed she’d fall in love with such a beautiful, warm-hearted man, let alone that he would love her in return.

Still in his arms, Ali asked, “Didn’t she say taking Maks with us was optional?”

The elevator doors opened inside the underground parking structure and they beelined it for Connor’s souped-up 1973 Ford F-350.

“She said it’d be fun. Besides, I’m not taking any chances with fate.” Connor held the passenger door open for Ali, and she climbed in, bouncing on the wide bench seat. “Especially when it comes to helping people.”

 “Speaking of helping people,” Ali said, “can we agree to release Volk after we do this errand for the Oracle? It’s not right keeping him like a captured animal.”

Ali didn’t enjoy the thought of Maksim Volk, or anyone, chained up in a cabin—alone, restrained, starving. No one deserved such treatment, not even Olek’s right hand man. But the last time they’d interacted with him, he’d been raving mad. Not long ago, Volk had murdered her cousin Stefan right in front of her. She didn’t exactly trust him. Connor had never trusted him.

“I don’t feel right keeping him prisoner,” Ali told Connor as they raced across deserted highways south of Las Vegas. “Either we hand him over to the government, or we let him go. We can’t keep him caged indefinitely.”

Connor glanced at her before returning his attention to the gray road unspooling under the hood of his pickup. “You know what the government would do to him.”

“Torture him,” she agreed. The US Army had already held him prisoner for the past twenty years, testing God-knows-what on his body, his blood, and his spirit. “Or just kill him.”

“Is that what you want?”

Ali sighed. “Of course not. I’m simply making the point that we don’t have a lot of options.” Maksim Volk was the closest thing to a father she had left, which depressed the hell out of her.

She possessed no memory of it, but according to Maks, she’d lived with him and her mother in some twisted vampire family for the first two years of her life. Volk had infected Ali’s mother Katya when she was nine months pregnant with Ali. The infection had forced Ali into the world and into Maksim Volk’s arms. Which made her feelings about the vampire complicated. To say the least.

Connor pulled the truck onto a long, sandy driveway and, after coding a number into the security gate, parked in front of a one-bedroom hunting cabin once owned by Connor and Roz’s friends, Anton and Natasha. But after the unlucky siblings had been murdered and eaten by the Four Sons, Roz had inherited the property as well as a great deal of money to use in researching the paranormal.

Connor caught up to her at the garage door. “I don’t hear anything.”

Ali tried peering through the side window, but the glass was too dirty. “Is he okay?” Oh, God. Had they killed Maksim Volk?

“I expected to hear chains rattling,” Connor said, “or swearing, or something. The last time we saw him he was screaming bloody murder.” Stepping around her, Connor unlocked the door and opened it extra slowly, examining the large space an inch at a time.

“For God’s sake,” Ali exclaimed, wiggling under his arm and shoving wide the door.

Volk hadn’t escaped. He was exactly where they’d left him. Though his gunshot wounds had healed, it was obvious from the various dark red streaks that he’d tried to squeeze out of the shackles around his wrists and ankles. He may have even tried to chew himself out.

“Maks?” she called softly.

“His heart’s beating,” Connor said, remaining by the door. Apparently satisfied the vampire curled on the floor, pale and covered in his own blood, posed no threat, he said, “He’s alive, but he needs to drink if you want him to stay that way.”

Ali threw Connor an annoyed look over her shoulder before kneeling beside Volk. Of course, she wanted him alive. If everything he said was true, and who knew with his reputation as a liar and a traitor, then her mother had loved him enough to leave her human life and join him in some vampire commune in the Ukraine with her newborn daughter. If Katya had trusted him, Ali could give him another chance.

“Maks?” Ali repeated, reaching out a hand to touch his blood-crusted hair. Her fingers brushed at the dark lock covering his face. “Can you hear me? We brought blood.”

At the B word, his sunken brown eyes opened, but he remained eerily quiet.

“Here.” She gestured for Connor to hand her a blood bag, which he did. She tore open the tubing and pressed the dribbling end to his lips, then, shifting into a sitting position, she pulled Maks’ heavy head into her lap. He swallowed as if it hurt.

She found the vampire’s musky scent faintly familiar. Was it a distant memory emerging from the shadows of her past? Maybe, but when she focused on it, the recollection disappeared.

 “I’m so sorry,” she said, cupping the side of his face. “We thought we left you enough blood to last two weeks.”

“Looks like,” Connor said, kicking at empty, discarded packets, “he drank everything the first day to boost his strength to escape.”

“We should have come back sooner.” Ali didn’t enjoy thinking of him in such a desperate situation, especially one she’d put him in.

 “She’s helpless,” Maks hissed between swallows, finally breaking his silence. “…my fault.”

“Who is ‘she’?” Ali asked as he finished the first bag. He’d been ranting about saving someone since they’d captured him, but he hadn’t yet been lucid enough to explain.

“Violet.”

She’d never heard of her.

Connor handed Ali a second blood bag.

“Unchain him,” she said firmly. “Enough’s enough. He can’t even feed himself.”

After a pause, Connor said, “Fine,” and knelt to unshackle Maks’ wrists and ankles.

Ali offered Maks the next bag, but he didn’t immediately take it. When he attempted to lift his right arm, it became obvious it was dislocated.

“I can help with that shoulder,” Connor said.

After Maks inclined his head, Connor grabbed his right wrist, pushed back with his boot, and slid the arm into its socket with a wet pop.

Ali cringed, but Maks didn’t react to the pain.

“So,” Connor said, leaning against the wall. “The Oracle asked me to take you with me to the corner of Thompson and Faraday at two oh six this afternoon. Wanna come?”

“Why?” Maks asked.

Ali gazed down into the vampire’s pale, boyish face. Holding him was like carrying a sleepy lion in her lap. He was dangerous, and yet his weight was comfortable and familiar, as if they were friends. Or even family.

No. Not even close.

Ali wiggled out from under the suddenly stifling burden of Maks’ upper body.

“You think the Oracle makes sense?” Connor chuckled. “She told me to be at a certain place at a certain time, and then tacked on that I should bring you. ‘Fun’ is what she called it. Now, drink your fill, clean yourself up, and let’s hit the road.”

“So you can lock me up again?” Maks questioned angrily. Grabbing a third blood bag, he sat up and sank his fangs into the plastic pouch.

“I’d rather trust you,” Connor said. “But it’s not easy. Are you a bloodthirsty psychopath, or are you a misunderstood victim? Or something else altogether? I don’t know. No one knows.”

“I have to get out of here,” Maks said, struggling to stand.

He swayed, reaching for the wall that was too far away to help. Ali imagined him tumbling onto his face, and her stupid sympathetic heart won over common sense. With a muttered curse, she swept under his arm and supported some of his weight.

“I don’t know if he’s strong enough to come with us,” Ali told Connor, frowning at Maks’ so-white-it-was-nearly-translucent skin. “I’d rather drop him off at the suite and put him to bed for a couple days.”

They rented the fifty-first floor of the Le Sort Hotel on the Vegas Strip, another gift from the recently deceased Anton and Natasha. So long as Roz and Connor wanted it, the siblings’ sizeable estate would foot the bill. Right now, Ali felt it was the safest place for Maks to recuperate.

Connor shrugged. “Caitlyn said I should take him.”

The Oracle was never wrong. She’d foretold Connor’s releasing of Oleksander the Destroyer and Ali’s role in the same warlord’s final battle. Ali didn’t mess with the Oracle. Caitlyn simply knew too much.

“If you swear to me,” Maks looked directly into Ali’s eyes, “that you’ll let me go, then I’ll do the Oracle’s bidding. But you have to swear.”

Before she could second-guess herself, Ali said, “I swear it.”

Connor grumbled something unintelligible and handed Maks the fifth and final bag of blood before leading them outside.

#

Maksim Volk stared at the side of Connor Beckett’s head and snarled around his fifth blood bag. He was feeling a little more like himself—arm healing, joints mending, any and all torn flesh regenerating—which meant his annoyance with the uppity twat had returned in full force.

Who did Connor think he was? What made him believe he could romance Maks’ little girl and act like lord of all vampires? He was such a holier-than-thou asshat, Maks could hardly stand him. Maks was a prince, a lieutenant, a goddamned warrior. He should terrorize anyone idiotic enough to make eye contact, but Connor Beckett jerked him around like the dumb kid Maks certainly was not.

Maks glanced to the right at Ali. Her love for Connor was the only reason Maks hadn’t eviscerated him already.

By the time Connor’s truck passed through the outskirts of Vegas, Maks had finished devouring the bagged blood.

“Explain to me again the Oracle’s instructions,” Maks said, dropping the empty blood bag on the floorboards near his feet.

He needed to get this prophecy shit over with so he could track Sergei’s group. They’d probably fled their last hiding place on Red Rock Road in suburban Las Vegas. If they’d taken Violet with them rather than slaughter her and leave her for Maks as a warning, he would find her.

Guilt niggled him. If he’d let her go when he could have, she’d be safe in her home now, not an abused blood slave at the mercy of a pack of psychopaths and sadists.

He was a piece of shit. A no-good, selfish, cowardly pile of garbage.

He could do one decent thing, though. He could get Violet away from the horde.

That firecracker must still be alive. She was stronger than anyone gave her credit for. No one had been able to bully her—not Olek, not him, not even Sergei.

“I will find Violet,” he vowed, and his chest swelled slightly with the first stirrings of hope. He could do this. For her. For himself. He could do something noble and selfless. He would.

Connor speared him with a look. “I don’t know who that is, but you’ll have to get your strength back to find anyone. In the condition you’re in right now, you’d fall over at the first stiff wind. You’re useless.”

“Your flattery is embarrassing me.”

He rolled his eyes. “Just telling the truth, brother.”

“I’ll help you,” Ali chimed in, and then ducked her head, shielding her face with her long blonde hair.

“Thank you.”

“Anyway,” Connor cut in. “The Oracle didn’t make a lot of sense.” The man’s hands tightened on the steering wheel of his obnoxiously loud F-350 pickup. “But the gist is to be at a specific corner at a specific time. Oh, and by the way,” he said sarcastically, “bring Maks with you. It’ll be fun.”

“Hmm.” Maks couldn’t care less about the ramblings of an unstable young woman. Olek, though, had been obsessed with the Oracle Ilvane’s prophecies, especially the ones about him. The Anya from Nadvirna prophecy had pestered him more than the rest, but that had been proven true. Anya, now Ali, had destroyed him and fulfilled her prophecy.

“Whatever happens, I trust her,” Connor said. “If she says you should be there, you should be there.”

“Anya, do you believe in this prophet?” he asked, edging around to see her more fully. She looked so much like her mother. The only thing she’d gotten from her father was his yellow hair. Everything else came from Katya, his little bird. She would be so proud to see her daughter grown and doing well. The thought of Katya’s dismembered skeleton buried in the Nevada sand made his stomach clench. The damned US Army had tortured and killed her, then buried her in a mass grave. As if she was nothing, as if they possessed the right.

“It’s Ali,” she corrected him, “and yes. I trust her.”

Guilt again. Sour, acidic regret.

Perhaps the way to Ali’s good side was through Katya. “Do you want to know anything about your mother?” Maks blurted out.

“What?” She looked startled and maybe a little hurt.

Where had his legendary charm gone? Had it finally been beaten and humiliated out of him? Had Sergei done what neither Olek nor the US Army could? Break him?

“Your mother,” he tried again, more slowly. “I can tell you stories about Katya. If you’d like to hear them.”

Connor broke into their conversation before Ali had a chance to answer. “Sorry guys, but we’re here, and we’re cutting it close on time. Rain check on the family reunion?”

#

Violet Russell blinked into the gauzy light, unable to make out more than varying shadows within a poorly maintained bathroom in a tiny hotel room stinking of mold and cigarette smoke.

She’d once naively believed being the blood slave of Oleksander the Destroyer had been the worst experience of her life. When he’d given her to his second-in-command, Maksim Volk, it had been a relief. Maks didn’t beat or abuse her and only drank from her when necessary. He didn’t release her, either, but he didn’t harm her.

What a fool she’d been to think things couldn’t get worse than slavery to Olek. Being a captive of Sergei and the Four Sons’ horde was worse.

If Maks hadn’t split, they might have figured out a plan together. But the beautiful dummy had abandoned her. After all the blood she’d sacrificed for him, he’d just left.

Life wasn’t working out as she’d planned. Things had started out okay. Two parents, a decent home, twin little brothers, a mediocre elementary school, and church on Sundays. But things had gone seriously awry. She’d downgraded from girl next door to blood slave.

She didn’t deserve it.

A stupid bachelorette weekend in Vegas with her cousin Lexi, the bride-to-be, had decimated her entire life and all of her potential. If Violet had been at home with her baby Jackson on the night Olek had been netting blood donors, she wouldn’t have been pushed into a dark corner by a giant of a vampire, drained into submission, and driven to an abandoned hospital on the outskirts of town. She wouldn’t have been kept like a farm animal for weeks and handed over to Maksim Volk like a half-eaten sandwich.

Maks had the pretty face and lanky body of a seventeen-year-old boy just coming into his own. He wasn’t a boy, though. He was much older than he looked. And he cried quietly in his sleep. When asleep, the most Olek had ever done was snore and fart. But Maks was different. Something inside him was broken, and in the dead of night when she was the only witness, his tears came. In those moments, it was easy to forget he was a vampire. And not just any vampire—Maksim Volk, right hand man to Oleksander the Destroyer. Maks the Traitor. The Beautiful Devil.

He may appear a cold-blooded killer, but he wasn’t. He was a broken man trying to survive among monsters.

She worried about him, and worrying about Maksim Volk made her question her own sanity. He stayed out late, returned stumbling and covered in blood, and he rarely drank from her, which made her wonder both where else he acquired his blood and why she wanted him to taste her. But he was just the right kind of crazy to make her want to know more.

For the past thirty-six hours, Maks and Sergei had both been no-shows in her shitty new slave quarters, and Violet existed in a strange dream world of exhaustion, anxiety, and gnawing hunger. Once in a while, one of her captors would remember that she required sustenance, too, and they’d give her a can of soda or a granola bar. It wasn’t enough to keep her alive for long, not with the prolonged anemia.

If Maks planned to rescue her, he’d better move faster.

She might save him the effort.

The door opened, and painful fluorescent light poured into the foul-smelling room. Sergei himself glared down at her. He opened a single can of salty, processed soup and toed it across the tile. They made eye contact, and Violet read nothing but cruelty in his dark stare.

Then Sergei was gone.

Violet hesitated only a moment, straining to hear the vampire as she stood on weak legs and tip toed oh-so-slowly through the deserted hotel room. She pictured her son’s bright, pink face, all curious golden eyes and sloppy smiles. He needed her. Violet must be brave.

Light as a feather, quiet as a butterfly, she scampered to the window and peered down onto a busy street. It was a three-story drop, but she hardly registered as she slid open the glass and tore through the screen.

Where no one had been a moment ago, Sergei stood in her personal space. He caught her by the hair with a laugh of amusement. Violet stiffened, fighting the urge to scream her throat raw. Though she wanted to wail and beat her fists against the vampire warlord, she swallowed the pain.

“I grow bored of you.” Sergei sniffed her flesh from her mouth to her throat. “I look forward to seeing the traitor’s face when I tell him I made you fly.”

#

Maks hopped out of the truck, berating himself for screwing things up with Ali yet again. Maybe after a good night’s sleep and a hot shower he’d be a little better at talking to her, not that he’d ever had that problem before.

“This is the spot,” Connor said, marching across the sidewalk in front of a sleazy hotel from the nineteen sixties. He checked his watch. “Two minutes to spare. Keep your eyes peeled. Anything seems out of the ordinary, speak up.”

Maks wandered a little down Thompson Street, finding few crowds this early in the afternoon. He backtracked and stared down Faraday. Nothing supernatural about a parking lot and a weed-choked chain link fence. The most unusual things on either street were the three of them standing around looking conspicuous as hell. Maks joined Connor on the corner and gazed up at the dilapidated hotel that could stand in for a set from a Hitchcock film.

As he watched, movement in the third-floor window caught his eye. Wood casing splintered, and a girl sailed through the window, tumbling straight for the sidewalk at their feet.

Not any girl. Violet.

It took Maks no more than a split second to recognize the rags Violet wore and her streaming auburn hair as she plummeted to earth.

Beside him, Connor had seen her too and steadied himself to catch her. Maks shoved him off balance, stepped into his spot, and looked up just as Violet crashed into him with the force of a falling piano. She flattened him to the pavement, but he was able to hold her off the ground and sit up as Violet hung limply from his arms.

“Oh, my God!” Connor exclaimed. “Did you see that? She fell out of a window, and you fucking caught her! You caught her.”

Maks cradled Violet to his chest and patted her pale cheek. Bruises along her throat told him she’d been bitten. A lot. The actual fang marks may have healed, but the bruises were a different matter. They’d be around for a few days.

“Violet?” he whispered. The shock of the fall and the force of their collision had knocked her out. “Ali?” he tried instead. “She needs a doctor.”

“Of course, of course,” Ali said, her cell phone already plastered to her ear. “Lukas will be here in two minutes.”

“Who’s Lukas?” Maks queried. Violet was nothing but skin and bones in his arms, and he wasn’t handing her over to just anybody, not again.

“A friend.”

Connor grabbed Maks by the collar and shook him back to the present. “Hey, hero, the jerks who threw your friend out of a window are taunting us. Feel like kicking their asses?”

Maks tore his gaze from Violet’s pallid face to Connor’s and then further up the wall of the shady hotel. Sergei leered out the shattered, third-floor window. For a brief moment, their eyes met, and Maks had never known such rage.

Sergei blew him a kiss.

“Ali, promise me you’ll take care of her.”

“Of course,” she stuttered. “I mean, I promise.”

Without removing his eyes from his enemy, Maks passed Violet into Ali’s lap. As he dashed for the hotel lobby, he heard Connor’s heavy footfalls behind him, though he didn’t wait to see if the man followed. Maks didn’t care. He was angry enough to take on an army single-handedly.

Maks ran up two flights of stairs in a dead sprint, and then he crashed through the door to the first room on the left. Right into a knife.

The blade punched through his abdomen. He roared, grabbing the vampire by the hair and torqueing his head so hard he nearly decapitated the unlucky henchman. The man collapsed into a boneless heap.

Connor blew past him headed straight for Sergei as Maks ignored the eight-inch blade bisecting his liver. His rage outshone any other sensation, even pain. Grabbing a pot-bellied lamp off the end table, he threw it overhand at Sergei’s head. It struck with a reassuring crunching sound.

Sergei just brushed off the attack as he and Connor exchanged heavy blows in super speed, catching and throwing punches evenly until Sergei feinted left, forced Connor face first into the wall, and rabbit punched him between the shoulder blades. Connor sucked in a horrified gasp as his legs gave out. Before Maks could reach them, Sergei grabbed Connor by an arm and a leg and tossed him out the window.

Though his pulse roared through his ears, Maks slowed his approach. He’d been spanked by Sergei before.

In the Ukraine, back when Oleksander was keeping his monster of a little brother reined in, Sergei hadn’t dared touch a hair upon Maks’ head. With Olek dead, Sergei seemed to be making up for lost time.

“You didn’t have to hurt her,” Maks shouted, his voice ragged with fury. “You didn’t have to use her like a piece of meat, not when you knew how much she meant to me.”

“I hoped you were already dead,” Sergei growled. “I’m delighted to correct my mistake.”

Maks didn’t care whether he lived or died. Violet was safe. Ali was grown and well. Katya was beyond him. He could die and be satisfied with his life.

He grabbed the TV remote off the coffee table and flung it as hard and as fast as he could at the other man’s head. While Sergei was distracted, Maks slid the knife from his belly and lunged, driving his shoulder into Sergei’s midsection and then peppering his abdomen with the blade. In and out, a staccato rhythm, hoping to sever an artery or twenty.

Sergei rained down a skull-cracking blow to the back of Maks’ head, stunning him. Dazed, he dropped his arms, leaving the knife embedded in Sergei’s belly. Easily as lifting a kitten from a curtain, Sergei took hold of Maks’ throat and carried him to the window. Dangling three stories above the concrete, Maks struggled to find any purchase on the walls or casing to keep from falling.

Unable to hoist himself back inside, Maks wrenched the knife from the warlord’s belly. Sergei squeezed his hand around Maks’ throat. Vertebrae crackled and his left leg went numb. Before he lost all control—and maybe his head in the process—Maks gripped a piece of stone siding with one hand and sawed at Sergei’s wrist with the other. The vampire continued squeezing, harder and harder. Maks cut faster.

Finally, Maks broke through bone, and he was weightless for a split second. The force of gravity was too much for his fingertips to fight, and Maks fell.

It was only a three-story fall. He’d leapt off much higher buildings than—

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Spellspeaker’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #2)

Read the first chapter in the second installment of the Beasts of Vegas series.

Spellspeaker’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #2)

Written by Anna Abner

Copyright 2018 Anna Abner

Cover blurb:

Roz Carrera is a witch on the fritz. Thanks to the Coven’s rejection of her application for membership, she’s been denied a proper magical education. Without a mentor, she’s nearly useless in helping her team of vampire hunters. Complicating matters is the hulking shapeshifter she stumbles upon outside Las Vegas who may or may not be a vicious psychopath.

The only creatures shapeshifter Lukas Larsson hates more than vampires are witches. He’s in the Nevada desert to destroy the vampires who murdered his family, but the witch Roz Carrera and her ragtag team sideline him. He can’t allow the very sexy Roz to distract him from his vengeance.

Chapter One

Roz Carrera calculated the chances that the bonfire in the distance was a positive occurrence. Considering the number of vampires in the area, the lateness of the hour, and the sheer size of the flames, the odds weren’t great it was anything other than a clusterfuck.

Connor Beckett leaned forward in the passenger seat. “Trouble ahead,” he said softly, his voice nearly fading under the roar of their modified F-350’s engine. “Ease up, Roz.”

She decelerated slowly. In the darkness, the orange and red flames shone like napalm. Shapes and shadowy figures danced around the fire. When she cranked down her window, an animal—a big one—roared in some cross between rage and pain.

“Vampires?” she questioned, catching Connor’s eye across the bouncy truck seat while his girlfriend Ali Rusenko fidgeted between them.

“I can only hope.” He gave Roz a look that said—keep your guard up. It had been days since they’d even seen an infected. Too long, considering their mission’s sole objective was to find and capture them.

Signs of modern civilization were sparse this far out in rural Nevada. It was the only light for miles. The only village for miles. Nothing but acres and acres of desert, rocky hills, and sagebrush. And anybody who lived anywhere within sight appeared to be circling the bonfire.

“Let’s move real slow on this one,” Connor said. Once she parked the truck a hundred feet from the fire, Connor cracked open his door. “Roz, keep everyone calm until we figure out what’s going on.” He shoved a .44 down the waistband of his jeans and handed a smaller .38 Ruger to Ali. “If anyone breaks away and comes at you—shoot. Don’t hesitate.”

“I’m not shooting anyone.” Ali didn’t even glance at the weapon.

“Just in case.” He forced it into her hands.

Rolling her eyes at the dramatic twosome, Roz stepped out of the truck in form-hugging leggings, flip flops, and a crop top. Connor tossed her a handgun over the hood and she caught it, checked the clip, and flipped the safety off. She rolled her shoulders. Ready.

They approached the fire together.

“The poor thing,” Ali whispered.

To the east of the fire, a full-grown bear writhed on a set of chains, strung between two mobile homes. Roz wasn’t great with species—black, brown, polar, grizzly—but she recognized a bear when she saw one.

Roz would rather have skedaddled, but Ali moved forward. And where Ali went, Connor followed.

And just so Connor didn’t think he was too special, barking orders, Roz said, “Connor, flex your muscles. If one of those freaks makes a run for it I expect you to throw a car at him.”

“Ha, ha. Now get to the magic.”

Except Roz was a witch on the fritz and had been for weeks. The thought of calling her power already had her pulse picking up and her blood pressure spiking. She was so tired of failing, and yet she couldn’t figure out how to succeed.

“I don’t want to leave the bear here to be tortured and killed.” Ali laid a hand on Connor’s sleeve. Though Roz couldn’t see her, she figured the girl was giving Connor her big, sparkly blue eyes. Fucking bleeding hearts. What were they gonna do with a super pissed off bear? They lived in a hotel for crying out loud.

“This isn’t our business,” Roz reminded them both. “I vote for backing out of here. We’re supposed to be hunting vampires, remember? This is local stuff.”

“She’s right,” Connor said, flicking his gaze from the crowd to Ali. “Let’s go.”

“We can’t leave it here to be tortured,” Ali hissed. “You know what they’ll do to it.”

“It’s none of our business,” he hissed back. “Vampires, remember? Not bears.”

“We could put it in the back of the truck,” Ali continued, still staring with moon eyes at Connor. “We’ll set it free in the mountains. It’s the right thing to do.”

Normally, Roz would be in step with Connor, but she wanted to piss him off. She was still stinging from being replaced as the sole female in their group. Oh, how easily she’d been replaced.

Roz sort of hated them right now, their love and their to-the-death loyalty and the happiness in their eyes, and their secret glances, and the passion sparking between them. Because it had been a long time since anyone had looked at her that way.

If Connor wanted to leave, then suddenly Roz felt like staying. “Not that you asked,” she said, shouldering her way between them. “But I say we rescue the bear.”

“Fine,” he snapped. “We’ll rescue the bear.”

Connor sighed as if this was a huge imposition, but Roz saw the sparkle in his eyes. He loved the hunt, whatever the prey. He was itching for a fight. They all were. The last vampire they’d encountered had fought so hard against being captured, they’d killed it by accident. Strange. Cause back in the day they’d have killed it on purpose. But since Ali arrived and changed everything, now they had a no killing policy when it came to the infected.

“But let’s do this quick,” Connor said. “No blood shed. Especially ours.”

“Deal,” Ali said.

A small group of fire enthusiasts broke away from the group and ambled nearer.

Roz took a deep, calming breath and centered her thoughts. “Blessed is my power,” she whispered, breathing in through her nose. “I call upon thee.”

Nothing sparked. No invisible wind, no whirling particles, no zing under her skin.

A barrel-chested older man raised a can of beer and burped hello. “You all tourists?” he asked in the same tone she’d ask a person, You all child molesters?

Connor may have been impersonating a Roman statue, but Roz knew inside he was a jumpy mess. He was calculating. Using his senses. Running plays. Only rarely did anyone get the upper hand on her best friend. He was a freaking warrior.

“Not exactly,” Roz answered. “What’s with the animal?”

“Last night, three people were torn apart in their trailer.” He slurped beer, and then shrugged. “We put out bear traps, and lookie what stepped in one. Must’a escaped from the zoo.”

Under her breath, Roz called her power again. A whisper of magic tickled the tips of her fingers. There was something there in reserves, and she teased it out.

“What are you going to do with it?” Ali asked the man.

“Can’t you see the BBQ we set up?” He guffawed as the bonfire flared over his shoulder.

Right on cue, the animal in question roared an inhuman scream of pure rage with an underlying note of pain. Roz may play the tough girl on a regular basis, but that sound plucked a heartstring. They were going to do horrible things to the beast because it had chosen the wrong food source.

“Join us,” the man said. “There’s plenty for everyone.”

Roz couldn’t imagine how these drunk idiots had wrapped a chain tight around the bear’s throat and trapped it between two mobile homes, but she guessed the steel bear trap eating its left hind leg had something to do with it. Another heartstring twanged.

The beast’s hide shone with blood. Its leg was torn up and broken, and patches of fur were missing.

She disliked frontier justice.

Connor gathered both women into a huddle a few feet away. “Roz, when I signal you, put the bear to sleep. And, Ali, for God’s sake, keep your hand on your weapon.”

They turned back toward the mob circling the fire. “We can take care of your bear problem,” Connor said. “We’ll buy it off you and haul it away.”

This announcement was met with general irritation from the crowd.

Roz pushed her power up and out. “Stay calm,” she hissed, over and over, a never-ending stream of words. So long as she kept speaking, her spell would hold. Perspiration beaded between her breasts and under her arms.

She whispered under her breath, her lips barely parting at all. Knowing in a few minutes, she’d have to throw up a sleeping spell on the bear on top of the calming spell she was currently sweating through. Not that Connor ever considered her power’s parameters. Connor thought it was a piece of cake speaking complex emotional spells, making people do things they didn’t want to do. She wasn’t a machine, goddamn it. She was barely a witch at all, let alone a first class spellspeaker with the ability to alter the world.

“You have enough to do, burying your dead. Let us pay you for the bear.” Under his breath, Connor said, “Roz, get out the money. Hundreds should do it. And put the bear to sleep.”

Sure, sure. Keep the crowd calm, force an enraged animal to close its little peepers, convince a grown man scraps of paper were hundred dollar bills, and anything else that came to mind. No problem.

Her fingers and lips tingled with the power swimming through her.

“Calm, calm, stay calm, go to sleep.” She repeated the spell, her lips working in fast-forward. Her breath hissed between her teeth, the words all running together. Without stuttering a syllable, she pulled three hundred dollars from her pocket. Connor didn’t need to know it was real cash, not magicked money. There was only so much she could do.

Roz hated passing off newspaper as bills, when she could actually juice up her magic to perform the spell. Those were the places she could never go back to. She was giving witches a bad reputation. Not that she cared what the Coven thought of her. Those prissy, holier-than-thou bitches could all roast.

Especially after their latest bullshit. Last week, an envelope had arrived at their suite at the Le Sort Hotel addressed to #Roslyn Carrera. Inside was a cease-and-desist letter from the Coven demanding she stop performing unauthorized magic.

As if.

In the distance, the bear quieted. Roz pushed harder, speaking faster, focusing all her energy on the sleep spell. The beast roared once and sat down, its head, shoulders and chest hanging from the chains. If they weren’t careful, the thing would choke to death before they rescued it. She refocused on the trailer park crowd.

“Holy…”

Roz’s head snapped up. What? Which spell had faded? Who were they coming after first?

She froze.

“No way,” she breathed, her spells forgotten.

The bear wasn’t a bear at all. He was a shifter. A supernatural freak, just like her. And asleep, his conscious mind gave up control and he shifted back to his natural form.

The bear was gone, vanished, and in its place, still strung up between two rusted mobile homes with chains, was a man. A bleeding, unconscious, naked man.

Oops.

Download Spellspeaker’s Prophecy  (Beasts of Vegas #2) now!

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Shopgirl’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #1)

Read The First Chapter Of My Latest Series (More Coming In 2018)!

The Shopgirl’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #1)

Written by Anna Abner

Copyright Anna Abner 2016

Cover Blurb:

Ali Rusenko has dangerous secrets she keeps close to her heart. In search of the truth of her past on the glittery Las Vegas Strip, Ali discovers vampires aren’t the most hospitable creatures. If it weren’t for sexy vampire hunter Connor Beckett and his sidekick Roz Carrera, she’d be dinner.

Connor and Roz rescue Ali, but they just can’t shake the vampires trailing her. Unfortunately, Connor knows exactly how the creatures feel. The beautiful stray sets his blood to boiling. But if Connor’s going to have a real chance to defeat the horde leader, Oleksander the Destroyer, he can’t allow Ali to leave the country without discovering the one secret she refuses to reveal.

Chapter One

“Get down,” Roz hissed, yanking on Connor’s black jacket. A spotlight swept over their heads, and he tasted dry earth as he flattened onto the sand.

“That was too close,” Roz complained.

They skittered like cockroaches across the ground, avoiding a parked Humvee, and staying out of the guards’ eye line. The things they couldn’t avoid at the secret army facility in The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Nevada were surveillance cameras on every wall and post. Hence, the need for speed and an electro-magnetic pulse device the size of a suitcase strapped to Connor’s back. If they were caught breaking into Oleksander the Destroyer’s prison, they’d never see daylight again. Sort of the way Oleksander had been in the dark of an army cell for the past twenty years.

Connor Beckett hadn’t known six months ago—a lackluster engineering student at the University of Chicago—that the Seer Ilvane would write down his name and forever link him with the end of the human race.

Connor from Cleveland will release the Destroyer and trigger the apocalypse.

There wasn’t any way to fix the prophecy and save the world except to kill the vampire lord.

“Push the button,” Connor said, nodding at the EMP. Thank the fates for Anton and Natasha, their very generous benefactors from New Zealand and their high-tech toys.

“Pushing the button.” Roz activated the device, and every electric light on the base, hopefully the cameras and security doors too, blinked off. “Now,” she ordered. “Move.”

Light on the balls of his feet, Connor ran for building 2A, which he knew from poring over satellite photos of the installation, was where the army kept the vampires. He hunched over the card reader controlling the prison’s heavy-duty outer door, sweat rolling down the back of his neck. “Please,” he breathed. A single second delay while they stood like a couple of sore thumbs at the gateway to a vampire’s cell on a secret military base could ruin everything.

He hoped for the best and yanked. The immense door swung open on soundless hinges.

“I was only fifty percent sure the EMP was going to work,” Roz admitted as she followed him inside and sealed the door.

There wasn’t supposed to be a guard on duty at two-thirty in the morning. Except there was.

“What the hell?” complained the unlucky soldier.

Engineering classes hadn’t prepared Connor for this situation. He’d psyched himself up for killing the Destroyer, not innocent bystanders. The soldier glaring at him carried a gun on his hip, and he probably knew how to use it better than Connor could operate the high-tech gear his New Zealand backers had sent.

“Both of you get on the floor. Now.” The man pulled his weapon, but he didn’t call for back up. Connor needed it to stay that way.

“Whoa,” Connor exclaimed, his mind coming back online. He stepped in front of Roz as she followed his lead and held up both hands. “I just want to see the vampire. Don’t shoot me. Jesus!” He cracked a goofy smile.

“Yeah,” Roz parroted. “This idiot promised me we wouldn’t get in trouble.”

“Stay where you are.” The soldier wasn’t buying it. “I’m calling my sergeant.”

Plan C. Or was it D? “Sleep spell?” Connor whispered to Roz out of the corner of his mouth.

“Blessed is my power. I call upon thee.” Roz produced a tiny windstorm that pushed and pulled at her dark clothes. “Sleep, sleep, sleep…”

The guard blinked at Connor in bewilderment before his knees buckled and he crashed to the floor, fast asleep.

“Oh, crap.” Roz said, picking up the soldier’s fallen handgun. “I was only about twenty percent sure I could do that.”

“That’s twice as confident as I was,” Connor admitted, relieved he didn’t have to hurt anyone human. With no magic or supernatural abilities of his own, having a witch as a friend had its perks.

Her windstorm died down. “We gotta hurry. My spell won’t last more than a few minutes.”

Satisfied the guard was out cold, Connor turned his full attention on the pair of cell doors at the far side of the room. Each one had a monitor above it, and under each monitor was a name plaque. The first read: Maksim Volk, vampire lieutenant. The second read: Oleksander the Destroyer, vampire lord. But someone had scratched out lord and written douchebag in permanent marker.

“Grenade,” Connor said, holding out one hand. His voice didn’t even waiver, which was weird considering how terrified he was on the inside.

A cold, egg-shaped bomb landed in his palm. Connor opened the sliding hatch in the cell meant for exchanging food and correspondence and peered inside. Volk lay on a cot with his back to the door wearing an unadorned orange jumpsuit. Connor pulled the pin from the grenade and tossed it into the cell. He watched through the slit as the grenade went off, so loud Connor jumped back from the door. Through the smoke, Volk was suddenly under the cot instead of on it.

“Volk’s down,” Connor announced. He swallowed thickly and gestured shakily for the second grenade.

Roz passed it to him, and Connor opened Oleksander’s mail slot. He’d fantasized about killing the Destroyer so many times he wanted to savor it, to take his time and be certain the vampire was dead. But Oleksander wasn’t visible through the small opening.

He’d never murdered anyone before.

Connor’s skin prickled. Was the vampire in there skulking in a corner? Or had the army moved him in the six hours since Roz had sweet-talked a drunken, off-duty soldier for info at Applebee’s?

The poor sot had admitted nobody guarded the vampires anymore because after twenty years of incarceration, torture, and experimentation both were as docile as a pair of kittens. If the army was stupid enough to believe that, fine. Connor assumed Olek and Volk were every inch the cold-blooded psychopaths they’d been before their bloody capture.

Visible or not, Connor tossed the grenade at Olek and waited. There was a gong as the bomb was thrown back at the exit, and it exploded against the door, warping it outward and filling the entire room with white smoke.

The door remained closed, but it was badly disfigured.

There was a moment, staring wide-eyed at the twisted metal, Connor considered backing out. Nothing catastrophic had happened yet. No one was hurt. So what if a few cameras were sizzled? He could pull his friend out of there and go home.

But he didn’t leave. This was Connor’s best chance to kill the Destroyer and negate his prophecy. He had to kill the vampire.

Connor plucked the third and final grenade from Roz’s vest and rolled it through the wasted door of Olek’s cell. Almost immediately, the grenade skidded right back out again.

Connor launched himself at Roz, and the grenade went off before they hit the ground, blowing them horizontally against a wall.

“Oh, shit,” he said, a ringing in his ears and blood in his mouth.

He wasn’t ready to die for a stupid prophecy. To be honest, he hadn’t totally believed the Destroyer would even be in this cell let alone that he had a chance in hell of slaying the vampire.

Connor was a failure. He was unprepared. He should have stayed home.

He rolled, taking weight off a gnarly wound on his left hip and shook Roz’s arm. “Are you okay?”

No answer.

A very aggressive alarm sounded. So much for the EMP. The base had come back to life. Soon, there’d be soldiers everywhere, and Connor didn’t have a good reason for blowing up their super secret vampire prison or a desire to spend time in a matching cell.

Through the haze, a large orange shape appeared carrying a body over one shoulder.

Oleksander the Destroyer.

Looking as spry and psychotic as ever in a prison jumpsuit.

Unable to tear his gaze from the Destroyer’s nearly black eyes and heavily Slavic features, Connor shielded Roz and prepared to be consumed.

“Thank you,” Olek said and then carried a bloody and unconscious Maksim Volk out of the building.

Chills skittered up and down Connor’s battered and bloody limbs. The Destroyer was much more terrifying in person than he’d been in photographs. He was a monster, a devourer of children. And he seemed to think Connor had just done him a favor.

“Roz,” Connor groaned, the world tilting dizzily. “We have to get out of here.” Olek might realize his mistake and double back to kill them both.

“Connor?” Roz sat up, wincing as she took in the warped cell door through a haze of white smoke. “He’s free?”

“Can you run?” he asked rather than admit the truth.

“If I have to.”

They hobbled, Connor gritting his teeth every time his burned leg touched the earth, toward the back fence as scream after tortured scream reached them. Olek was finally free and obviously enjoying himself.

“Halt,” a commanding voice ordered. More soldiers.

“Smoke bomb?” Conner questioned Roz. They had debated whether it was necessary, but he couldn’t remember if she’d packed it.

She pulled a canister from her waistband, tossed the pin, and threw the explosive over her shoulder. Immediately, they were engulfed in a thick, red cloud. Shots were fired, but nothing found a human target.

Like half-dead rabbits escaping the hunt, they slid through a hole in the chain link, and limped across an expanse of sand dotted with sagebrush.

“Get in, and start the engine,” Connor ordered, ripping a camouflage tarp off his baby, a 1973 Ford F-350 pickup. “They might have helicopters.”

The truck roared to life, and he leaped through the passenger door, hanging on for dear life as Roz raced over desert roads toward the lights of the Las Vegas skyline.

No choppers took flight. No Humvees chased them. No further shots were fired. It was like the base had been swallowed up. Olek was making up for lost time and wiping the secret military installation off the map with nothing but his hands and a pair of fangs.

“What happened?” she demanded.

Connor grimaced at the black smudges on her face, the ashes in her hair, and the blood splattered across her top.

The worst thing possible. “I fulfilled my prophecy.”

#

Maksim Volk’s prison cell faded from sight as he was dragged away by his army-issued prison garb.

Someone had thrown a grenade at him. Even now, his eyes burned and his entire left side felt gooey.

“I miss people trying to kill me with wooden stakes,” he grumbled, squinting to see who or what had a grip on him.

Oleksander the Destroyer.

“Fabulous.” Maks swatted at Olek’s iron-like fist, but only managed to bring his right arm halfway up. Yep, something was definitely wrong with his limbs. Fricking grenades.

Olek hauled him without any gentleness whatsoever across an asphalt parking lot and then roughly over a concrete curb. Maks’ legs, currently numb and useless, had been blown up a bit, it seemed.

Lovely. With a twist and a grunt, Maks freed himself and landed flat on his back.

He sat up to inventory his injuries. His right arm was burned down to bare bone, his left leg was ground beef and cloth, but nothing seemed missing that couldn’t heal. His seventeen-year-old body would regenerate exactly as it had been, leaving him forever looking like a rangy youth.

But the best news he’d received in twenty years? He was a free man.

No matter what happened next, he would never go back into a cell and be anyone’s guinea pig.

Maks crawled on his hands and knees, headed for rocky hills in the distance, and something fragrant tickled his nose. Faint, like a memory. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeper.

Not a memory. Real.

Maks got to his feet despite the pain and stumbled west toward the scent, straining to place it.

“These mortals annoy me,” Olek grumbled as soldiers continued to fire their weapons.

Maks couldn’t care less because he’d finally recognized the scent. Vampires. Lots of rotting vampires under tons of earth. He increased his scuffling and lumbered toward a bare stretch of sand between the outer security fence and the base infirmary. The closer he got, the stronger the smell became.

He ignored the rapport of gunfire and the familiar sounds of Olek feeding messily on human victims to drop to his knees and tear into the earth as the shooting ceased altogether. His right arm was useless so he excavated with his left, scooping and clawing until his fingers were bloody and his nails cracked to the quick.

“Explain yourself,” Olek demanded, appearing behind him.

“Can’t you smell them?” Maks cried.

More specifically, his little bird. He could smell his sweet Katya, and he’d dig until both arms fell off to free her.

“Who?”

“Our people.” His fingers unearthed a trouser leg, and he dug faster.

At last, Olek knelt to help. He wasn’t half blown up and was made stronger from the soldiers he’d gorged on. He was much quicker displacing mounds of dirt.

A body appeared, rapidly followed by another and another. When the army had finished with Olek’s horde, they’d tossed the dried out, skeletal vampires into a mass grave under the base.

His mates. His fellow warriors. At last, he knew they weren’t being kept in a separate facility. They weren’t being tormented and experimented on the way he’d been. No, they’d been used up and thrown out like so much refuse.

Katya among them.

His little bird had been stolen from him so long ago, and yet he pictured her exactly as she’d been two decades earlier, before their capture. Young and beautiful, shy yet passionate. She had set his blood on fire.

Olek uncovered half a dozen more bodies, emaciated corpses, but further down the bodies emerged in pieces. Hands. Feet. Heads.

“No, please.” Maks dug directly at the spot Katya’s scent was strongest. She couldn’t be dead. She couldn’t be.

She was.

Maks lifted a familiar torso, now rotted to pieces, and beside that, a skull with a tuft of strawberry hair still attached.

No.”

The sky collapsed around him, drenching him in shadow. Not possible. She couldn’t be gone. Not the woman who gave his soul life, who gave his wretched existence meaning.

“Sergei, Ilya, and Ivan are beyond saving,” Olek said, picking and choosing bodies from the grave. “But my three best fighters are still strong.”

Lies. Maks didn’t have to look to know Olek’s three brothers Sergei, Ilya, and Ivan were whole and in stasis thanks to their immortality, but Olek had never enjoyed his brothers’ company, not when the four siblings were constantly struggling for control over the vampire horde. But Olek’s three favorite lackeys—Freddie, Dawn, and Lara? They were a different story.

He smelled fresh blood as Olek fed his three acolytes from nearby soldiers’ throats.

Maks didn’t care. His little bird had been cut into pieces. He would never care about anything again.

“How?” He cradled Katya’s head. “We are not animals. We are not experiments.”

Not that the U.S. Army hadn’t tried. For twenty years they’d been cutting imprisoned vampires open, testing their blood, pushing the limits of their mortality. Volk and Olek had been their preferred test subjects, though, and Volk had endured an eternity of pain and agony.

He would repay every second.

“I swear to you,” Olek said as his three warriors rose up around him, “we will make the human race suffer for what they have done. We will burn their world to the ground.”

Olek started to walk away, but Volk didn’t follow. He curled around Katya’s remains and was content to die from the grief splitting him in two.

“We go.” Olek grabbed Maks’ collar and pulled.

Maks scrambled to keep a hold of Katya’s skull, but he was only able to snatch her necklace off her neck, pulling strands of red hair with it before his master tossed him, Freddie, Dawn, and Lara into a Humvee with an unconscious soldier.

If he must live a little longer, then he’d get his revenge.

While they drove out of the base and into the mountains, Maks sank his teeth into the dying soldier’s throat, Katya’s locket clenched in his hand.

Download Shopgirl’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #1) now!

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<3 Anna

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New Release Coming Soon!

Look for The Shapeshifter’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #4) on March 26, 2019!

Markus and Mercy belong together, but when a catastrophe threatens his life and his future, Mercy will do everything to protect her sexy shifter.

<3 Anna

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Beasts of Vegas BTS Character Interview (Maks)

Or, I Ask Maksim Volk A Few Questions

*This interview appeared on JB’s Bookworms in March 2018.

Q: Thank you for joining us today, Maksim Volk. Tell us a little bit about your story, Blooddrinker’s ProphecyIs there anything you would change if Anna Abner offered to?

Maksim Volk: To be honest, I’d rather Ms. Abner left me the hell out of her stories. I’m not a character in a book. This is my actual life. By sharing this so-called novel, she’s screwed my anonymity all to hell.

Q: How would you describe Anna Abner?

MV: Not cool. She took my private life and splashed it all over the internet.

Q: Do you feel like she portrayed you correctly?

MV: Hell, no. I’m not nearly as kind as she thinks I am. I have very little sympathy or loyalty to humans. My daughter, excepted.

Q: How about others in the story. Do you feel she did well with them?

MV: ::huffs a disgusted snort:: She made Connor Beckett out to be some kind of hero, though he’s a giant twat. She didn’t describe Oleksander the Destroyer half as diabolical as he really was. The only thing she sort of got right is what a decent young woman Ali Rusenko is. Though, if you ask me, Ali’s even sweeter than Abner portrayed her.

Q: You might be wondering why I’m wearing a scarf on a hot sunny day. It’s not that I don’t trust you ::tightens the scarf:: or anything. I’m just deathly allergic to vampire venom. You know like some people are with bees? So, please don’t bite me.

MV: I’ve considered it, believe me, but your questions amuse me. Continue, and I won’t drain you. Despite what Ms. Abner writes, I have some self-control.

Q: Okay, now that that’s settled. Who created you in the story?

MV: I was turned at seventeen by none other than Oleksander the Destroyer.

Q: Was there a reason for your creation?

MV: He was building an army, and he incorrectly assumed I was a murderer without conscience. Luckily, I’m a world-class liar or I never would have survived this long.

Q: Were you happy or angry about the transition from human to bloodsuc–, I mean vampire?

MV: I wasn’t given a choice, but I took to it like a fish to water, like I was born to carry the infection.

Q: What’s your favorite blood type?

MV: Moppet, the infection is too overpowering for niceties like tastes or preferences. Blood is blood, and I drink it all with equal pleasure.

Q: Where is your favorite place to dine? Some of us might want to avoid any late-night forays there in the future.

MV: Since being forcibly relocated to Las Vegas, I have learned to appreciate American cuisine. Bazaar Meats is one of my new favorite haunts.

Q: Have you seen any more stories in the recesses of Anna Abner’s mind?

MV: From what I gather, she has volumes and volumes of ideas, more’s the pity.

Q: Do you get to play a part in any of those stories?

MV: I can only hope she leaves my daughter and me out of any future novels.

Q: You’re no stranger to darkness. What is your author’s darkest secret?

MV: She reads ::shudders:: superhero comic books.

Q: If Abner makes you mad, you could just bite her when she’s sleeping, you know.

MV: Don’t think I haven’t fantasized about just such a night, moppet.

 

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Beasts of Vegas BTS Character Interview (Connor)

Or, I Ask Hero Connor Beckett A Few Questions

*This character interview appeared at Author’s Secrets in March 2018.

Pull up a chair, grab a drink, a chocolate chip cookie from the plate, and let’s find out a little about The Shopgirl’s Prophecy! Please introduce us to your guests.
Anna Abner: This handsome guy standing next to me is Connor Beckett and the late arrival is Alina Rusenko, the heroine of The Shopgirl’s Prophecy.
Q: Okay, lets start with ConnorWhat event in your past has left the most indelible impression on you?
Connor Beckett: I don’t want to talk about my dad leaving, okay? But if you want something that screwed me up, when my prophecy came out, my whole life got tipped upside down. I went from a mediocre engineering student to a giant disappointment. People who’ve never met me hate me now.

Q: What do you most value?

CB: I don’t really have anything that belongs to me anymore. I live in a hotel. Everything I have was bought by our investors. But if you’re asking what means the most to me, then it’s the memories I have growing up with my grandpa. He was a great man who taught me about respect, hard work, and honor, and I can never repay him.

Q: What is the type of woman you want to spend the rest of your life with?

CB: I’m a little distracted right now with the end of the human race, though I will say I’m partial to blonde cheerleader types.

Q: What do you consider most important in life?

CB: There’s nothing more important than family, and sometimes the family you create is even more important than the family you were born into.

Q: What is your biggest secret?

CB: Well, it wouldn’t be much of a secret if I told everyone who asked. But most people wouldn’t know by looking at me that my bank account is bulging at the seams. That’s all I’m going to say.

Q: Alina Rusenko, who are you really?

AR: Why? What have you heard?

Q: Who were the biggest role models in your life?

AR: My father taught me a lot. Everything I am came from him. I think my mom could have been a big role model for me, but I wasn’t lucky enough to have her growing up.

Q: What kind of man do you want to spend the rest of your life with? (or if you don’t want romance – Why not?)

AR: Romance just isn’t in my future. I’m happy being single, really. It’s safer that way, for everyone.

Q: What kind of man would you never choose?

AR: I’ve had bad experiences with popular jocks. I definitely will never waste time on one of those beefy jerks.

Q: What is most important to you in life?

AR: I value my privacy, as well as peace and quiet.

Q: What is your biggest fear?

AR: There are things I must keep secret, for everyone’s safety. It’s why I live such a secluded life in London.

Q: Anna, tell us a little about writing this story. Was it fun or difficult? Do your characters always act as you expect? Are you a plotter, or fly (write) by the seat of your pants?

AA: Shopgirl’s Prophecy is the beginning of a paranormal series I’ve been obsessed with for over ten years. I’ve always loved this story, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Writing it wasn’t difficult at all! It was a joy to create each character, each setting, and each turning point. That’s not to say the novel didn’t go through several iterations. In one, Oleksander had a mother more vicious than he is. In another, the entire novel takes place in the Ukrainian countryside. But I’m very happy with the final version, and I love the way it turned out.

When I started Shopgirl’s Prophecy, I was a pantser, writing in whichever direction the wind blew. Over time, though, I learned to embrace organization and planning. Currently, before I write a novel, I complete a pre-writing packet and use it as a blueprint for plot and characters. It helps me feel more in control of my work.

 

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<3 Anna

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Preorder Beasts of Vegas #2

Or, Spellspeaker’s Prophecy Is Available For Preorder On Amazon

I’m so excited to announce Beasts of Vegas #2 is now available for preorder. Roz finally gets her own love story, and it’s with a sexy shifter.

Cover blurb:

Roz Carrera is a witch on the fritz. Thanks to the Coven’s rejection of her application for membership, she’s been denied a proper magical education. Without a mentor, she’s nearly useless in helping her team of vampire hunters. Complicating matters is the hulking shapeshifter she stumbles upon outside Las Vegas who may or may not be a vicious psychopath.

The only creatures shapeshifter Lukas Larsson hates more than vampires are witches. He’s in the Nevada desert to destroy the vampires who murdered his family, but the witch Roz Carrera and her ragtag team sideline him. He can’t allow the very sexy Roz to distract him from his vengeance.

Preorder now!

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<3 Anna

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Winning NaNoWriMo

Or, Another Fun And Successful November

It was a long month, and there were several days I didn’t write a single word, but despite all that (and catching a cold the last week of the month), I finished National Novel Writing Month. I’m so relieved and feeling amazing.

The novel isn’t finished, of course. In a lot of ways, it’s hardly begun. But I now have a solid foundation for the fifth book in my Beasts of Vegas series, and that excites me.

I loved spending an entire month eating/drinking/breathing vampires, witches, and shapeshifters. In this new novel, the oracle Caitlyn is all grown up and falling for her own tall, dark, and supernatural stranger.

Did you participate this year? Do you have an idea for a novel you’ve always wanted to write? Tell me about it!

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<3 Anna

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NaNoWriMo Home Stretch

Or, I Made It To 40,000 Words Tonight!

I had to share the good news — I made it past 40,000 words in the National Novel Writing Month contest. I’m so excited! I feel like I can finish on time. 10K is nothing, right? Three or four decent scenes, and I’ll have my first draft finished.

This year, I’m writing a sequel to my paranormal romance Shopkeeper’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #1), and it’s so fun! I’m blissfully swimming in an ocean of vampires, witches, and shapeshifters. In this new novel, the oracle is all grown up and falling for her own tall, dark, and supernatural stranger.

I think this calls for a celebratory mixed drink. A white Russian sounds dang good. Want to join me? Raise your glass.

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<3 Anna

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25K Words in NaNoWriMo 2017!

Or, I Made it to the Halfway Point!

I’m so excited to be halfway through my NaNoWriMo journey this year. I’m a little behind the curve after being bogged down several times by everyday life. When reality hits (job, family responsibilities, daughter’s homework, etc.), it’s hard to find time to write uninterrupted for more than five or ten minutes. But, I’m finally at 25,000 words. It feels like a huge obstacle overcome.

I’m writing a sequel to my paranormal romance Shopkeeper’s Prophecy (Beasts of Vegas #1), and it’s so fun! Daily, I’m blissfully swimming in an ocean of vampires, witches, and shapeshifters. In this new novel, the oracle is all grown up and falling for her own tall, dark, and supernatural stranger.

How’s your writing journey this month? Let me know.

Day Seventeen Word Count: 25,200 (and counting).

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<3 Anna

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