Marked By The Vampire
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“Are you quite certain that you understand the risks?”

Olivia Maddox straightened in her chair as she met the rather doubting stare of Eric Pate, a man with enough power to basically make or break her career. Pate was a big deal at the FBI, and if she didn’t convince him that she could handle this assignment, then he’d be kicking her out of that shiny office door any moment and her ass would be bouncing into the street.

Olivia cleared her throat and tried to appear like she was in control as she said, “I have a PhD in criminal psychology, and I have spent years studying and profiling some of the most infamous killers in the United States—”

He waved that away. “Fantastic for you, really,” he cut through her words, sounding everything but impressed. “But when we talk about sending you into Purgatory, well, we’re sure not talking about letting you mix and mingle with your run-of-the-mill human killers.”

Her heart raced in her chest, but she schooled her expression to show no emotion. She knew that he would be looking for a sign of her fear, and she didn’t want to appear weak before him.

Pate’s nostrils flared a bit and his green eyes narrowed on her.

“I am aware that the prisoners at Purgatory aren’t…human,” Olivia said. This was rather tricky. Most humans didn’t know about the werewolves and the vampires. They didn’t realize that paranormals were right beside them every day and night, hiding in plain sight.

Most paranormals weren’t looking to hurt or kill prey. But some…some very dangerous werewolves and vampires seemed to relish giving pain to humans. It was those particular individuals who found their way to Purgatory, the only paranormal prison in the U.S.

It was a prison that wasn’t even supposed to exist. Modeled after Alcatraz, Purgatory sat on a small island off the coast of Washington. No prisoner there was ever supposed to escape. Once you enter Purgatory, there is no going back. The inmates there were vampires and werewolves who’d lost their control and attacked—killed—humans.

When it came to the paranormals in the area, Eric Pate was the man in charge. “I know that you’re in charge of Seattle’s Para Unit.” An elite FBI team that was far, far off the books.

“And how do you know that?” His voice was mild, curious.

She figured it was time to put all of her cards on the table. “Paranormals attacked me once. Werewolves—they came after me. I’ve known for a long time about their existence.” Others could pretend that monsters weren’t real, but she’d never wanted to hide from that truth.

Instead, she wanted to understand the monsters. Olivia needed to know why some became such brutal killers yet others maintained their control perfectly and were able to live side-by-side with humans.

“That doesn’t explain how you know about the Para Unit. It just explains how you know about the wolves.” He raised one brow as he studied her. Eric Pate was a handsome, powerfully built man in his mid-thirties. He was also a guy that she definitely didn’t want for an enemy.

“Senator Donald Quick is the man who referred me to your office.” And Donald was an old family friend, a man who’d helped Olivia when she’d been at her most desperate. “He’s the man who got your Para Unit up and running. He’s the one who gave me clearance to learn about the work you do.”

“Yes…and he’s the one who insisted on this little meeting.” A flash of anger appeared in Pate’s eyes. “I don’t like having assignments forced onto me.”

Wait, was she an assignment?

“Senator Quick spoke highly of you, but when it comes to Purgatory, I just don’t know that you have what it takes…”

Olivia’s spine hurt because she was holding it so straight. “I’ve interviewed serial killers. I’ve seen the carnage they left behind, and I’ve seen into their minds.” Her breath whispered out. When she inhaled again, her lungs seemed to chill. “Humans or paranormals…they can both be monsters, and it’s my job to understand why they turn into killers.”

Silence. Silence that stretched far too long. Oh, that couldn’t be a good sign.

“I can handle myself,” she assured him. “I am not some green rookie. I am the woman who has the best knowledge to get this particular job done.”

She kept holding Pate’s stare because to look away then would be a sign of weakness. Pate would pounce on any weakness, she knew it. His head cocked as he studied her, and that silence kept right on stretching.

“There are only two ways to access Purgatory,” Pate finally said, “by ferry or by seaplane. The seaplane only lands for emergencies, and the ferry goes across one time each week.”

He is going to send me there. For an instant, she almost felt light-headed.

“The werewolves are collared with silver, so that keeps them contained, and the vampires are given diluted blood—”

“You mean drugged blood?”

His lips curled into a smile that was just cruel. “Would you rather we allowed them to remain at full power? These aren’t some romantic, sweet, glittering vampires. These are savages that have been placed in that hell because they’ve killed, again and again, without mercy.”

Her palms were sweating.

“And you want to go in there with them?” Pate still seemed doubting.

“Not all werewolves are killers. Not all vampires go dark and drain their prey to the point of death. If we can find out why these individuals have lost their control, then perhaps we can help others.” That had always been the point of her research. To understand the killers so that she could save lives.

But Pate shook his head. “Sometimes, there is no why, Dr. Maddox. Sometimes, there’s just evil.”

She didn’t want him to be right about that, but she knew…he is.

“One month. I will give you access to certain inmates for one month, but I want you to forward me all of your case files and notes immediately after you complete each research session with the Purgatory inmates.”

“But confidentiality—”

Pate’s laughter filled the room. “You don’t understand what’s happening here. Things at Purgatory are not quite what they seem. There are certain individuals in power who thought it was a brilliant, damn idea to get all of the most dangerous Paras off the streets and into Purgatory.”

So the humans would be safe.

“Then there are others…” His hand slid over the hard line of his jaw. “Others who think it was the worst, fucking plan ever to get so many powerful Paras in one place. When you bring that force together, what do you think can happen?”

Chaos. Hell.

“One month,” he said again, voice hard, eyes glittering with intensity, “and you give me all of your research data.”

The deal was going to be her only way into Purgatory. “One month,” Olivia agreed as she stood. Her skirt slid down to brush against her knees as she offered her hand to Pate.

He rose slowly. His fingers curled around hers. “Get packed, doctor. That ferry will be leaving at 5 PM.”

Her eyes widened. She gave a fast nod and pulled away from him. Olivia hurried toward the door. She’d have to make a mad dash to Wellswright University in order to get her notebooks and files and—

“They’ll be able to smell your fear there.”

His words stopped her just as Olivia’s hand reached for the doorknob. She glanced back at him. “Excuse me?”

“They’ll know you’re human. Weak. Prey. They’ll smell your fear, and they’ll like it.”

She gulped, and remembered the instant earlier in the interview when his nostrils had flared and his stare had hardened on her. Is Eric Pate human? Her gaze slid over him. He looked human, but most paranormals did…until they were ready to let their beasts out to play. He was tall and muscled, and a predatory air clung to him.

Monster…or man?

“Once you enter Purgatory, I won’t be able to help you.”

His words made goosebumps rise on her arms. “There will be guards there.” She swallowed and hoped her voice would sound less raspy. “Surely they can protect me.”

“If hell breaks loose, look for a dragon. He might be able get your ass to safety.”

She had no clue what the guy was talking about. “Right. I’ll just look for a dragon.” As far as she knew, there weren’t any dragon shifters. Oh, please, don’t let there be any! Fire terrified her, and a giant reptile-like beast that was basically a fire-breathing snake? No. No, thank you.

Olivia opened the door.

“Good luck, doc…” Pate’s drawling voice followed her from the room. “You’re sure going to need it.”

Chapter One

Olivia ran to the edge of the dock. She was late. Embarrassingly, ridiculously late for the ferry. It had taken her too long to gather all her files from the university.

Olivia’s heels rapped over the wooden dock as she raced for the boat. She was clutching her briefcase—containing all of her precious files—in one hand, and her other hand was frantically waving toward the ferry. “Wait! I’m here!” Big, fat raindrops plopped down on her as she ran.

Olivia rushed forward. The ferry was still tied up to the dock. They weren’t leaving her. They weren’t—

“ID.” A towering, bald man with tree trunk arms appeared in her path.

Olivia almost slammed into him, but she managed to stagger to a stop just in time. Then she fumbled with her coat pocket and pulled out her ID even as the rain dropped down harder and harder.

The guy scanned her ID. She noted the gun at his side. Correction—guns. He had a gun strapped to each hip. She had no doubt those guns were loaded with silver bullets.

“You’re clear.” His voice was cold, as cold as his gray eyes.

She hurried past him and hopped onto the ferry. The waves were starting to get rough, and the boat rolled beneath her. “I’m so sorry that I’m late,” Olivia began, voice breathless, “I had to rush back to the university to—”

Her words ended in a dead stop because she’d just gotten a look at the other passengers on that ferry.

Three armed guards, all wearing black, all with their weapons out and pointed at the man who stood just a few feet away from Olivia. At the man who was currently watching her with a predatory stare. His green eyes seemed to glow with an unholy hunger…a dark need…as they swept over her.

“Well, well,” the man said, his words low and rumbling. “This trip just got one hell of a lot more interesting.”

He was shackled. The chains circled his hands and his feet, but the shackles just seemed…ridiculous on him. Useless. Power emanated from him, and the guy’s strong body made a mockery of the restraints. He was big, easily six foot three or four, and his shoulders were wide, his arms rippling with power and—

“Like what you see?” he asked, lifting one blond brow. “Because I sure do.”

Olivia sucked in a sharp breath then she jerked her gaze off that prisoner. Instead, she focused on the nearest guard. “I-I didn’t realize a prisoner transport was occurring today.” Her heart thudded too hard in her chest.

“I’m a special delivery,” the bound man said, his voice—if possible—even deeper.

A shiver slid over her, and it wasn’t caused by the cold rain.

The guard she was staring at—a man with dark brown hair and dark eyes—stepped toward her. “You don’t have to worry, ma’am,” he told her, his Texas drawl reassuring. “This vamp won’t hurt you. He won’t hurt anyone again.”

Helplessly, her gaze slid back to the prisoner. Vamp? He smiled at her, and flashed fang. Deliberately, she was sure.

Her thudding heartbeat sped up even more.

“We’re losing our light!” A sharp voice barked.

She turned to see a man in cargo pants and a dark blue shirt heading toward her. A captain’s hat was slipping down his forehead. “Storm is coming,” he added, giving a hard nod. “The ride across is going to be damn rough.”

Olivia exhaled slowly. She’d taken a motion sickness pill a few minutes ago, but she didn’t know how long it would be before the thing kicked in. The boat was already rocking beneath her feet, and judging by the way those dark clouds were swirling overhead—yes, “damn rough” would probably be an apt description of their journey.

The captain stopped and frowned at the vampire. The captain’s grizzled jaw locked. “Another one of your kind?”

The vampire’s faint grin never slipped.

“What’d he do?” the captain asked the guards.

It was the dark-haired guard who responded. “Left a path of blood behind him.”

Fear twisted inside of Olivia. Her head turned and she found the vampire staring at her. His smile widened.

They’ll smell your fear.

She’d always been able to hide her fear from the human killers that she interviewed. They never saw her fear or her revulsion. Never realized that when she left them, her knees were trembling. But this man…he would know everything.

The captain grunted. “I’m gonna need help on deck.” He jerked his thumb toward the vampire. “So take that guy down below and make sure he won’t be trouble.”

Olivia was quite sure the vamp would be trouble.

“Then someone needs to come up and help me through the storm.”

The guards vanished with the vamp, heading down a flight of steps. Olivia held tight to the railing and tried to make her body move with the pitching waves. The ferry chugged away from the dock, and the clouds overhead erupted with a full fury. The rain wasn’t just plopping down any longer—it was pelting their vessel.

She braced her feet and kept her death-grip on that railing. The farther they went, the wilder the waves seemed to become, and the wind was soon ripping at her, tossing her hair around her face and yanking at her coat.

Go below deck!” The captain bellowed. He was sliding behind the wheel. One of the guards was at his side.

A big wave hit the side of the ferry and Olivia almost hit the deck face-first. Going below deck is a grand plan. She slipped and slid her way to the stairs. Then she hurried down into the darkness that waited below. The wind was howling now, the storm a vicious monster, and she wondered why they just hadn’t waited. Hadn’t tried to come out on that ferry the next day. Wouldn’t that have been better?

Another hard wave must have hit the ferry at that moment because the boat shuddered and Olivia fell down the last two steps. She tumbled down and—

He caught her.

She felt the cold metal of the vampire’s restraints against her arms as he caught Olivia in his strong grip. He lifted her up, holding her easily against him.

“Let her go!” A guard snarled.

The vamp didn’t.

The light over them was flickering. The flickering light let her glimpse the vamp’s expression. His gaze seemed to see right into her. “Better be careful,” he told her, his voice the deep rumble that Olivia knew she’d never forget. “You don’t know what waits in the darkness.”

Oh, she had a pretty good idea.

“Let me go,” she told him softly. This vampire didn’t seem drugged. Not at all. Had he started that diluted blood intake yet? He appeared far too powerful. “If you don’t let me go, that guard is going to stake you.” Her words were a real threat because the guard had already pulled out a wooden stake.

Instead of letting her go, the vampire pulled her even closer and he—inhaled?

“I like the way you smell,” he told her, and she felt the slight movement of his mouth against her ear as he whispered, “I didn’t expect to find something so sweet on my way to hell.”

Her hands were braced against his chest. The ferry was shuddering from side to side.

“Shane,” the guard snapped, “don’t make me do this to you.”


The vampire laughed. “And don’t make me kill you, Philip.”

But the vamp—Shane—he slowly let her go. As soon as his hands dropped, Olivia jumped back as if she’d been burned, and she did feel that way. As if he’d burned her or marked her somehow, just with his touch.

“You okay, ma’am?” Philip asked her, that Texas drawl strong in his voice.

She nodded but didn’t look away from the vampire.

“You’re going to make things difficult,” Shane told her. “Wonder how many dumb bastards I’ll have to take out there…because of you?”

She shook her head, totally lost.

“I guess we’ll see…” Shane shifted his body a bit.

Her gaze fell to his shirt-front. She’d grabbed his shirt when she fell, and she’d yanked open the top few buttons there. She could just make out his golden skin.

Her gaze swept over him, studying him now in that faint light. His right wrist was turned toward her, and, curving around that wrist, she could just make out the faint edge of a tattoo.

She inched forward, still staring at that tattoo.

The ferry dipped to the right.

That tattoo…it almost looked like…

The ferry shuddered to the left. She grabbed onto the wall for support.

It looks like a dragon’s wing.

Her gaze rose. Shane was staring right at her. Smiling. Showing his long, dangerous fangs. And looking at her with a fierce desire glowing in his eyes—a desire that said the vamp would sure like to take a bite…of her.


The restraints were a joke. Shane August knew that he could break free of them in less than ten seconds time. It would take another ten seconds to eliminate his guard and then—well, then he could enjoy the delectable treat staring at him with such big, dark eyes.

She wasn’t letting fear show on her face. Impressive. Most humans usually cracked quickly when they were afraid. But her expression didn’t reflect her terror, but her scent did. Fear hung in the air around her. Fear because of the storm. Fear because of him.

He knew who she was, of course. Pate had briefed him on Dr. Olivia Maddox. Shane had been planning for this particular undercover assignment for weeks.

But he hadn’t counted on the Hot Doc.

Pate had totally screwed him on this one.

You work to get Intel your way. Pate’s words played through his mind. And let Dr. Maddox work the inmates her way. She may be able to uncover information that you can’t.

Right…because all the monsters in Purgatory would take one look at her and start salivating. Just like he was doing.

She was all curves and smooth, golden skin. Her hair—long and black—had escaped from the twist she’d worn when she first stepped onto the boat. Now that hair slid over her shoulders, glistening with water.

Her lips were parted faintly, and he sure liked her mouth. The doc’s lips were wide and full, and he wanted to feel her mouth beneath his. No, he wanted her beneath him, and that damn well wasn’t going to work.

He had a mission. He couldn’t afford to get distracted, no matter how hot the doc might be.

She is plenty fucking hot.

His tongue slid over his fangs. Oh, but it would certainly be fun to have a little bite of her.

“Stop it,” Olivia snapped, some fire shooting through her voice as red stained her cheeks. “I’m not on your menu.”

Are you sure about that?

Philip jerked on Shane’s restraints. Ah, Philip—a transport guard who had no clue who Shane truly was. The guy just figured Shane was another inmate. He certainly had the fake rap sheet and sentencing papers to go along with that cover.

But Shane wasn’t a cold-blooded killer. He’d killed, yes, but all of his recent hunts had been sanctioned by the FBI.

It had been years since he’d let the darkness inside of him loose. But once he stepped inside of Purgatory, all bets would be off.

The ferry rolled again. He heard one of the guards beside him swear. The guy was rather green looking. Humans.

“Help! I need more help up here!” The captain bellowed.

Shane just kept his body braced as the ferry rolled. He could hear the thunder of lightning outside.

Philip pulled Shane toward the cell on the right. That had been their destination just before the delectable doctor had fallen—quite literally—into Shane’s grasp. Shane didn’t resist the guard. What would have been the point of that? But he did take his time strolling into that cell. The door—composed of heavy, silver bars—swung shut behind him.

“Jennings, you keep an eye on him,” Philip ordered.

It looked to Shane as if Jennings could barely keep his lunch down.

Philip touched Olivia’s shoulder. “He’s contained. You don’t have to worry.”

Yes, she did.

Philip hurried up the stairs. And Olivia—

Well, well…

She came closer to Shane. She was smaller than he would have liked, probably only around five foot four or five. He was much bigger and stronger than she was. If they both survived Purgatory, he’d have to be careful with her.

“You don’t seem afraid.” Her words were soft.

He stepped closer to the bars, the better to inhale her scent. Delicious. “Why should I be?”

“Because you’re heading to prison.”

His shoulders lifted in a shrug. He could see the pulse pounding at the base of her throat. Racing so frantically. He’d like to lick her there.

Then bite her.

“Prison doesn’t scare me,” Shane said. Those words were true. Nothing scared him. He’d lived too many centuries for fear. When you’d faced all the darkness that he had, there was no room for such a human emotion.

Especially when he’d never been human.

Her gaze slid over him, as if she were searching for something.

The ferry tipped again, a hard slant, and her fingers flew out and locked around the door’s bars as she tried to steady herself.

Jennings slumped against the floor, covering his face. The guy even let out a moan.

The human guards were making deadly mistakes. If he’d wanted, he could have killed them all so easily.

If he’d wanted…

Shane’s hands lifted. His fingers brushed overs hers. Olivia’s hands were soft, warm. “You’re the one who should fear Purgatory.” He was trying to warn her. Pate should never have sent her in. Shane didn’t care what kind of mind games the lady could play with killers. She was in way over her head.

“I’m not a prisoner.” One of her dark brows lifted. The lights were flickering over them, but he would have been able to see her perfectly in the darkness. “You’re the one caged.”

“You…you should back away from him,” Jennings managed to huff out. The guard appeared to be turning green.

She didn’t back away. Foolish or brave? He decided she might be both.

“You have a tattoo on your wrist.”

Now she’d just caught him by surprise. “Admiring me, were you?”

The boat rolled again. He felt her hands tighten around the bars. She shouldn’t have been afraid of falling. He had her.

“It looks like a dragon’s wing.”

Shane didn’t reply.

“Is it?”

Jennings had made it back up to his feet. “Get…get back, doctor. He’s dangerous.”

You have no idea.

He let her hands go. Took a step away from her.

Slowly, Olivia slid back.

He kept his eyes on her. The delectable doctor had noticed his tat—one that had been a real bitch to get since he healed from most injuries. But the artist had been used to working on vamps, and that ink had been a very special blend.

Once upon a time, he’d battled his share of dragons.

Now, he would battle different beasts in prison.

The doctor staggered a bit as she headed for the stairs. A few seconds later, she fled into the storm.

Laughter came from him. She wasn’t going to escape from him…once the ferry reached the island, they’d both be trapped in Purgatory.


They’d made it to the dock, to Purgatory.

The rain was still falling in heavy bursts, plummeting down as Olivia made her way off the ferry. Armed men were waiting to meet her, all wearing guard uniforms.

One man advanced toward her. “Dr. Maddox?” He offered his hand to her. “I hope the crossing wasn’t too difficult.”

It had been a nightmare. But she’d managed to keep her cool. The poor guard, Jennings, hadn’t been so lucky. He’d been viciously sick several times.

She took the man’s offered hand. Felt his calluses against her fingers. As his hand held hers, she was caught by his bright, blue gaze. A very cold gaze.

“I’m Warden Case Killian.” Another guard rushed up with a large umbrella, one that covered both Olivia and the warden. Case let go of her hand. “Pate told me that you were coming.” He motioned to the guards and another one took her bag. “I’ve prepared temporary quarters for you, but you must be aware that we live a very Spartan existence here. I hope that won’t be a problem for you.”

“No problem at all.” She tried to sound brisk and efficient, a hard task since her teeth were chattering and her clothes were soaked.

The warden gave a nod. “Good.” Then he was turning and leading her toward the heavy stone walls of the building.

Purgatory resembled an old stone castle far more than it did a prison. High towers rose from each of the four corners of the facility, and she could make out the shadowy form of guards walking along the walls up above.

She hurried to keep up with Case, but Olivia found herself glancing back over her shoulder.

The vampire was being taken off the ferry.

“We only transport prisoners once a week.” Case’s voice drew her gaze back to him. “We have to make sure all of the others are in lockdown then.” The heavy doors were opened for them at the entrance to Purgatory. When Olivia stepped inside, the silence was immediate.

Even the roar of the ocean stopped. She just heard…nothing.

This time, her shiver had nothing to do with the cold.

“We have to be very…careful about our new arrivals. Containment is always a priority,” Case added.

She pushed back her hair, sending droplets of water falling around her. The place looked like something from the Middle Ages on the outside, but inside the facility, technology was everywhere. Video cameras. Computers. Sensors.

“Every cell is monitored, twenty-four hours a day. Security was increased substantially because of an…incident that occurred a while back.” Case’s gaze raked over her. “Thought you’d be older.” He shook his head. “Hoped you’d be uglier.”

Her jaw dropped. Had he seriously just said that to her?

“But it is what it is.” He motioned to the guards. “Let’s take the doctor to her room and get her settled.”

That was it? Well, hell, what had she really expected? A red carpet welcome? “Thank you,” Olivia said, her words rushing out. “But I-I was hoping to see the inmates and—”

“Tomorrow. Pate has already sent a list of the inmates you can access. Though why the hell you want to talk with them is beyond me.”

Shane had entered the prison. Case’s gaze shifted to him. The warden’s eyes narrowed. “They’re all evil, straight to the core,” Case said flatly. “Prison is a waste for them. They should just be put down.”

She was looking right at Shane when Case made that announcement, so Olivia saw the emotion in the vampire’s eyes. A quick flash of rage that darkened his gaze.

“But then, they don’t all survive Purgatory,” Case continued as a faint smile curved one side of his mouth. “Here, they have a way of taking each other out.”

That was barbaric. Terrifying. “I thought this place was a humane punishment—”

Case shook his head and never looked away from Shane. “They’re not humans. Never forget that.”

Being a Para didn’t make someone a monster. Everyone deserved fair treatment.

A guard was heading toward Shane, and the guard had a syringe in his hand.

“What is that?” Olivia asked. She’d been told about diluted blood, but she hadn’t been told—

“It’ll make the transition easier for him. Once the prisoner wakes up, he’ll be fully contained.”


Her gaze flew to Shane’s. Only he wasn’t staring at Case any longer. His eyes—dark with a vampire’s power—were on her.

“Don’t worry about me, love,” Shane assured her. “This won’t hurt a bit.”

Two guards grabbed his arms. Held him tight. Obviously, they expected Shane to fight.

Instead he…

Blew her a kiss?

Her eyes widened.

Then the needle was plunged into his neck.

Two seconds later, Shane hit the ground, unconscious.


Shane waited until his cell door shut, then he slowly cracked open his eyes. The drug was pumping through his body, but it wasn’t weakening him. Very little could weaken him, and that was why he’d been chosen for this particular assignment.

He listened for a moment, using his enhanced hearing to monitor his surroundings. He could hear the shuffle of footsteps. The rasp of breathing.

He inhaled. Smelled blood. Decay. The ocean.


If he could smell her, the others would too.

Slowly, Shane rose to his feet. There were bars on his window. A big, wide window, but one covered with long, silver bars. When the day came, the sunlight would pour in, and the bars would keep him in. Rather clever—giving the vamp the sun view. The warden wanted him weak.

And sunlight did weaken most vampires, just as the drug did.

Shane curled his fingers around the bars, but instead of the cold metal, he remembered touching silky smooth skin.

“Let the games begin,” Shane murmured.

In the distance, werewolves howled.

He smiled.

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