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Obey Me

A Gifted Story

Now longer Available 

 Paranormal Romance
SBN: 1-60504-401-6

 Available September 2009
Publisher: Samhain Publishing LTD.

OBEY ME 

  NOW available through Kindle Unlimited 

 

He’s rich, single, sexy and…oh, yeah. Undead.

Sophie Merlo dreams of becoming an international journalism star. Until her uncanny nose for news leads her into the path of a brutal serial killer. Now she’d be happy just to survive the week.
  Alex wants only one answer from Sophie—how she wormed her way into his exclusive vampires-only club, something no human should be able to do. He thinks he’s being set up in a string of murders, and he’s got a good idea who it is—Octavius, his long-time, bitter rival. Only Octavius could figure out how to leave Alex’s distinctive mark behind on the victims’ throats.
  One drop of Alex’s saliva on Sophie’s skin has her babbling a river, swimming in desire for him—and agreeing to use her persuasive powers to help find the real murderer.
  Caught in the middle of a century-old feud between two rival vampires, there are only three things Sophie knows for sure: One of them is a killer. The other wants to take her to bed. And they’re both lying
  If she can’t figure out who’s lying about what soon, her career hopes could vanish. Right along with her last drop of blood.

~Reviews ~

An intriguing read filled with romance, fury, secrecy, lies, suspense and envy with a little humor          thrown into the mix to stir things up.  If you are in the mood for a quick, thrilling vampire read with    a fascinating story line, then Obey Me is just what the doctor ordered!

       Reviewer: Contessa, Fallen Angel Reviews

A fast-paced, well-written novella.

Reviewer: Bitten By Books

A fast paced, witty story. Obey Me will have you wanting more of Paige Cuccaro in future and more vampires to keep you warm.

Reviewer: Tina, Twolips Reviews

Excerpt

Copyright © PAIGE CUCCARO, 2008.

All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Obey Me

© 2008 Paige Cuccaro

A Gifted story.

Sophie Merlo dreams of becoming an international journalism star. Until her uncanny nose for news leads her into the path of a brutal serial killer. Now she’d be happy just to survive the week.

Alex wants only one answer from Sophie—how she wormed her way into his exclusive vampires-only club, something no human should be able to do. He thinks he’s being set up in a string of murders, and he’s got a good idea who it is—Octavius, his long-time, bitter rival. Only Octavius could figure out how to leave Alex’s distinctive mark behind on the victims’ throats.

One drop of Alex’s saliva on Sophie’s skin has her babbling a river, swimming in desire for him—and agreeing to use her persuasive powers to help find the real murderer.

Caught in the middle of a century-old feud between two rival vampires, there are only three things Sophie knows for sure: One of them is a killer. The other wants to take her to bed. And they’re both lying.

If she can’t figure out who’s lying about what soon, her career hopes could vanish. Right along with her last drop of blood.

Enjoy the following excerpt for Obey Me:

There was a dead woman lying at the end of the alley and I had to get to the body.

“Hey.”

I knew the cop was talking to me. One of Pittsburgh’s finest. I ignored him and lifted the crime scene tape higher to duck under.

“Hey. You. Get outta there.” He cut me off with four quick strides to the other side of the alley, planting his big donut-filled body in front of me.

“It’s okay. I’m a reporter.” I held up my press pass. I’d hung it around my neck when I first saw the police cars flying down Eighteenth Street in front of Primanti Brothers Restaurant. I’d been snagging a late-night bite and my spidey-reporter sense had gone all aflutter.

“I don’t care if you’re Geraldo-friggin’-Rivera. No one crosses the tape.”

Power-high jerk. I let go of the crime scene tape and straightened. I could’ve argued, freedom of the press and all, but I only glared at him, frustration tightening across my shoulders, my pen tapping an irritated beat against my note pad. He knew I was pissed.

This was my big break, I could feel it. My gaze left the bright emergency lights illuminating the dead body like some macabre photo shoot, and scanned up and down Smallman Street. Police were everywhere, swarming the area; their marked cars were left running, plain cars parked every which way with their single off-center lights flashing. So many police lights, they flashed off the metal warehouse walls like an outdoor discotheque.

The cops were checking chained doors, shining flashlights the size of baseball bats into car windows and stopping anyone who even glanced in the direction of the alley, asking them what they knew, who they saw, where they’d been. The crackle and hiss of radio dispatch, routing officers to other crimes and relaying info in code, echoed over the small crowd gathered to gawk. This was no run-of-the-mill mugging gone bad. Something was up. Something big. Damn, I had to get down that alley.

“So who is she?” I asked donut-cop. “Local celeb? She got political connections? Why the crazy calling-all-cars response?”

Here in the Strip District, a person can find fantastic restaurants, the hottest bars and a treasure-trove of merchandise at fell-off-the-truck prices. But like a coin, the Strip District has two sides, Penn Avenue, full of retail and entertainment bliss and the river side, Smallman Street where the seedier citizens of Pittsburgh find their jollies. The two streets are split by long rows of warehouses and after dark, the wise keep to Penn Avenue and the side streets.

Don’t get me wrong, murders, muggings, rapes and such aren’t nightly happenings down here next to the river, but when the call does come in it’s not exactly a surprise. It’s not the first time I came around the corner to Smallman Street where I’d parked my car, only to see a cop putting cuffs on some guy for drug dealing or solicitation or whatever. But even the occasional shooting hadn’t drawn this much attention before. So why the big hullabaloo? Dang it, I had to see that body or spend the rest of my career at the Tribune reporting on elementary school balloon releases, art festivals and dog shows.

“Her name’s Miss D. O. A. and she left a suicide note sayin’ if you showed up to tell ya to stay outta the way.”

“Right.” That tears it. I didn’t really want to use my power on the guy. It kinda feels like cheating. Plus, I’m not completely convinced it’s safe. Brain damage isn’t always easy to notice in some people. As far as I know though, everyone I’d used it on is still able to feed and dress themselves. So, I figure it’s all good.

I closed my eyes—helps me focus—and called my power, clearing my mind of everything except what I wanted most. The hairs at the back of my head tingled, a buzzing sound hummed through my brain, getting louder. It felt like I’d leaned my head against one of those vibrating chair massagers set super-low. Now all I had to do was…make a suggestion.

“C’mon, Officer…” I checked the name tag, “…Pawlicki. Don’t you think I should go down there and have a quick peek?”

Officer Pawlicki blinked as though he was struggling to understand what I’d said. He glanced down the alley where the police lights glared bright as daylight, then back to me, his dark bushy brows puckered tight over dirt brown eyes. His mouth opened and shut twice before he said, “Yeah. Right. I guess you should have a look. But stay out of the way.”

“Absolutely, Officer.” I ducked under the tape without wasting a second. I didn’t want to wait around. Sometimes they regain their will pretty fast, and I have to scramble to make the suggestion again or explain why they were doing something they’d been dead set against a second before.

I don’t know where my power comes from, or why I have it, or the biology behind how it works. I just know it’s always been there, a part of me. I’ve always been able to use it to suggest people obey me. And reconciling myself with those facts has taken nearly all of my twenty-seven years.

The alley was maybe eight feet wide and about eighty yards long. It was dark as pitch everywhere except around the police lights. The dim glow they let off was only enough to outline obstacles like trash bags, abandoned boxes and the occasional pile of rags. At least I think they were rags. God, I hope they were rags.

Beyond the bright lights on the body, at the other end of the alley, the glow of nightlife on Penn Avenue shone through the narrow opening. There were more boxes and debris blocking that end and a slightly larger crowd of people rubbernecking over the shoulders of cops. But the lights and the people meant safety, civilization. Maybe that’s what the dead girl was trying to reach, why she’d come down the alley. She’d almost made it.

I stopped just outside the ring of light around the body, notepad and pen ready. Two plain-clothes cops stood on the other side of the light circle speaking low to each other, gesturing now and then to the body. I didn’t want to draw their attention.

As dead bodies went, this one wasn’t so bad. She was a young woman, close to my age, dressed in a short, golden summer evening dress that sparked and shimmered in the harsh lights. She wore gold strappy heels and held a matching pocketbook. I couldn’t make out her face well. She was lying on her belly, her face to the side with a wealth of thick caramel hair in big carefree curls blanketing over her shoulder. She had a tattoo on her neck, a few inches below her right ear, but I could hardly make it out. Looked like a closed-off “X”, or an infinity symbol with sharp right angles instead of loops on either end.

There was a piece of paper on the small of her back, a cocktail napkin, white with red scrawling letters. Couldn’t make out what it said without getting closer. Her legs and arms were sprawled wide like she’d fallen and hadn’t moved a muscle afterward, though I couldn’t see any cuts or bruises. She’d kept hold of her pocketbook, even though her gold-tone watch had slipped off and lay in a tiny pile by her wrist.

I leaned a hairsbreadth closer, trying not to cast a shadow over the body. Her ears were pierced twice, and the gold hoops and diamond studs were still in place. There was a ruby ring on her finger, a diamond tennis bracelet on her other wrist and a gold ankle bracelet looped around her slender ankle. I glanced back to the pocketbook clutched in her hand…untouched. Whatever else happened to this woman, she wasn’t robbed.

My cell phone, more a mini handheld computer, had a wicked-good camera in it. I dug it out of my backpack-slash-purse and snapped some pictures. Most wouldn’t be usable for the paper, but I wanted them anyway in case there were details I was missing.

“Hey, you. What’re you doing?” I glanced up in time to see that the cop dressed in a cheap suit and loosened tie had finally noticed me. “This ain’t no peep show, lady. Hey, Pawlicki…”

Crap. Think fast. I closed my eyes. I wanna stay—I wanna stay. The hairs on the back of my neck hummed with power, electric current sizzling like a flash of lightning through my body. Someone grabbed my upper arm and I opened my eyes. “Wait a minute, Detective. Maybe I should stay. I might notice something you guys missed.”

The vise-like grip the man had on my arm loosened as he blinked over his shoulder at his partner. Even I was surprised to see the blue-jean-and-dress-shirt-clad partner glassy-eyed and confused staring back. There’s normally a distance limitation to my power and the other cop was at least fifteen feet away. Way out of range. But I’d been caught off guard and had drawn my power fast. Maybe the adrenaline boosted the output.

“We could use an extra set of eyes,” the blue-jean man said. “Let her stay. See if she notices anything we missed.”

Power still humming through my brain I suggested, “And you should tell me why half the precinct was called out on what looks like a run-of-the-mill mugging.”