1949: Kindred MI agent Anna Nightingale accepts a mission to clear a fellow vampire’s name after he and his human lover, Professor Sorensen, vanish. On board the True North, Anna finds romance with Captain Sokoloff, a man who desires to become a vampire. Once at the hidden Soviet lab, an evil genie and two rogue vampires force Anna and team member Smitty into an intimate situation that brings forth Smitty’s latent telepathic powers. But can their combined thoughts destroy the djinn and release them all from its hold before it’s too late?
November 24, 1949, aboard the vessel True North, the Arctic Ocean
The Cold War was living up to its name so far.
Anna wrapped her arms tightly about her middle and blew out a vapor stream into the frigid air. The crystalline stars above in the moonless sky filled her with awe. The below freezing temperatures didn’t really affect how she functioned on nights such as these, but the formation of ice sheets on the ship’s deck could cause a nasty slip and fall all the same. Of course, she could heal a bruise or a sprain almost instantaneously as a member of the Kindred race. But accidents caused her human shipmates a great deal of pain and suffering, and if she didn’t act similarly? Well, accidents inspired questions—lots of questions.
She had informed only those who needed to know of her vampire nature and no one else. That meant the vast majority on board the True North had no clue that she had been the victim of Madame V’s horrible wartime experimentation and resurrected from the dead at the ripe old age of twenty-one. It was better that way. Much better.
If only she could forget!
“I wish I knew what you were thinking sometimes, Miss Nachtigal.”
Anna spun around and caught herself before she could bare her fangs in warning. “It’s Nightingale now. And don’t ever sneak up on me like that. I could have attacked you.”
“But you didn’t.”
Captain Leonid Sokoloff possessed the unusual personality trait of seeking pleasure by tempting fate. Anna had seen it before in the spy business, but the athletically-built, black-bearded Soviet defector had it in spades. It was probably why he had joined the Navy in the first place. He couldn’t get enough of spine-chilling thrills and insurmountable challenges during the war. She wondered how the man had convinced British military intelligence that he was the genuine article and not some half-crazed Russian Jew trying to get back at Stalin for burning his ancestral village in a pogrom and blaming it on the Nazis. Sokoloff’s credentials had checked out, however, and he had said he could take them to where it was thought the Soviets ran a top-secret lab in the Arctic, so...
“I didn’t attack you because I knew how much you’d enjoy it.” Anna flashed him a brief smile. “Please leave me to my nightly walk on deck, Captain. It helps me deal with my seasickness.”
He cleared his throat nervously. “I did wonder how someone of your peculiar...heritage...could travel the ocean. Doesn’t flowing water worry your kind? And what about mirrors and crucifixes—do they pose a threat to your safety?”
She shook her head. “Things like that may bother others, but they’re of no real danger to me. They are a part of myth and legend and greatly exaggerated for storytelling effect more than anything. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s no time for fun and games when there’s work to be done.”
As she walked away, he reached to grab her elbow and missed. He clearly wasn’t taking her hints that she enjoyed her privacy! Why couldn’t the infuriating—yet dashing—man take no for an answer?
“Ha, ha! It’s always work with you, Miss Nightingale, isn’t it?” His throaty laughter shook his muscular frame. “For someone so young and charming, it must get boring.”
Boring? Anna never thought of her profession in quite that way. Some days weren’t as exciting as others, but she wasn’t about to admit it out loud. Instead, she turned and struck a sultry pose. “Not at all, Captain. Being a spy for the last decade has been a godsend. It keeps me busy and out of trouble.”
“Out of trouble?” Sokoloff raised a bushy eyebrow and approached closer. “That’s not what I’ve heard. You like to seek out trouble and squash it before it can grow and spread like a cancer. You seem to attract trouble—”
“Like I do former Soviet Navy officers?” Anna winked. She needed some practice on her rusty glamour skills. She strolled toward him and gazed into his dark, intense eyes that reflected little of the weak starlight, penetrating his thoughts with her own.
“Now, Captain, look deep into my eyes and listen well. Yes, deeper and deeper. You can only hear my voice. You’re now under my control. You will go below and forget all about our conversation and any other hearsay you may have picked up about my past. Understood?”
“Understood.” He turned and stiffly walked away.
Anna smothered a laugh with her hand. She strolled along the deck and looked out at the seemingly infinite ink-black sea.
Too easy. Sometimes human males were just too easy to control. She needed a challenge. Perhaps after they had retrieved the professor she could return to the comfort and safety of her laboratory? She could pick up on her research into a cure for her condition...
No, I won’t go that route again. It only leads to frustration. There is no cure. Not yet. But maybe one day, when I least expect it, I’ll stumble across a promising development. Then I’ll be ready to pounce on it and perfect it. In the meantime the professor needs repatriation and assistance.
Yes, that was it. She’d give the spy business a rest after this mission. The exciting world of nuclear physics beckoned.