Chained to an Irish hillside, Brijit is at the mercy of the madman, Eochaid. After undergoing a painful transformation at his hands, Brijit must come to terms with her new reality as a vampire and seek help from her doting husband, Fáelán. But will he accept what she’s become or cast her out from his life forever?
“Wake up, Brijit.”
A hard slap to the face followed the voice. Brijit drew in a deep, rasping breath at the shock of the blow and opened her eyes. The black curtain that clouded her sight melted away slowly to reveal the tops of trees silhouetted against the darkening sky. She groggily turned her head back and forth, trying to remember what had happened and where she was. She felt cold stone against the bare skin of her back and the realization that she was naked brought her to full alertness. Brijit struggled to sit up, but found her ankles and wrists bound with a heavy chain, pulling her flat to the ground. Her breathing grew ragged and her body started to quake as she felt the onset of panic take over her mind. She pulled and struggled against the chains, ignoring the rock beneath her that scratched at her skin as she moved, but it was to no avail. Her bonds held her tight, and the budding panic rose to all-out fear as her body shook uncontrollably, her breath escaping her in sharp gasps.
“Are you done?” Eochaid asked as he moved into view above her, his glowing staff held in one hand as he looked down on his prize. “You can’t get free. Those chains are the strongest I could find. I can’t tell you how many mallets I destroyed trying to hammer those pegs into the rock…”
“Where are Fáelán and Almaith?” Brijit gasped in between taut breaths, her body quaking beyond all control. “What are you doing to me?”
“Your spouse and child are fine. I couldn’t bring myself to harm them. They’ll wake up with splitting headaches, but they’re otherwise healthy. I wouldn’t worry myself about them, as you’ll never see them again.” He leered down at her.
“To Hell with you!” Brijit managed to spit at him, her hatred evident. “Let me go!”
“And let you wander in the wilderness by yourself? I don’t think so,” Eochaid chided as he turned and took position at her feet. “You’re miles from your home, and you’d probably die alone in the woods before you had any hope of reaching there.”
Brijit summoned up as much of her bravado as she could through her quaking voice. “So, what next then? You going to rape me?”
Eochaid looked genuinely hurt as he shifted the staff in his hand. “It pains me that you think of me that way, my dear. I would do no such thing. What do you take me for?”
“You have other plans for a naked woman chained to a rock?” If it were not for the full-blown panic attack, Brijit would have laughed at him.
“You have no idea,” Eochaid said with a broad smile. “You will be mine—I’m certain of it. After I finish with you, you’ll come around to my way of seeing things.”
“Not bloody likely,” Brijit managed to croak. “I see nothing I like now, so what would make me change my mind?”
Eochaid leaned on his staff and looked into her green eyes, his own eyes brilliant in the fading light. He sighed heavily as he started, “I’ve desired you since you were of age, Brijit. I’ve followed you your whole life, impressed with what I saw. You have a defiant spirit, you don’t take things at face value and are eager to learn about the world, not have priests or lesser men feed you lies. You learned to read even though your mother forbade it. You are wise beyond your years, and that is what makes me desire you so.”
She felt a tremor of disgust move up her body as she watched his eyes, feeling them move over her curves as if he were touching her physically.
“Of course, you are the most beautiful woman to ever walk the Earth. Who wouldn’t desire you? That fool Fáelán probably never realized what he had.”
“He loves me,” Brijit said in a tremulous voice, her quaking body making it hard to sound confident. “And I love him, more than there are stars in the sky. I would die without him.”
“Very poetic. Yes, I know the depth of your love. I’ve been watching you for years, remember?” Eochaid tapped the side of his head. “Every lovely moment of your courtship is all up here, seared into my brain. He loves you, but only I can truly appreciate you and treat you as an equal.”