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Chapter 1

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Always wear practical footwear. That was Anna's grandmother's first lesson when she taught her how to kill vampires. She knew that if she wore heels and met a bloodsucker, she would be dead in seconds. Her best friend, Jess, had wrestled her into a pair without knowing the consequences it would have for the two of them.

She had stopped watching her feet and was now focused on her purse. She double-checked to make sure that she had her rosary, garlic, and stake.

Jess shook her head when she looked at her friend. "What are you doing?"

"Just making sure I have my I.D.," Anna lied.

"You're making sure you have your Holy Weirdo Kit," Jess said. "How are you ever supposed to meet someone normal when you look like an oddball?"

Anna shrugged before closing her purse. She held onto the strap as her heels clicked against the sidewalk. The bright lights from the sign of the bar were flashing and thudding music was coming from inside. Anna looked around the street. No one had gone missing in the past few months, but the paranoia was deep in her brain. Her family raised her to be on high alert.

Anna followed Jess into the small line forming to gain entry. She tapped her fingers against the soft material of her purse, tempted to check her supplies again.

"This place is supposed to be amazing," Jess said. "Everyone's been talking about it in my American Lit seminar."

An uneasy feeling sat in the pit of Anna's stomach. She couldn't place her finger on it, but something did not feel right. The people were stumbling out of the club, and the faint smell of blood lingered in the air.

They got to the front of the line when Anna saw the man. Tall, broad-shouldered, with long hair that was pulled back into a bun. He loped down the sidewalk like a predator, nodded to the bouncer, and swept straight into the club. Anna held her breath when the man wipe his mouth with the back of his hand. The whites of his eyes appeared to be overtaken by his pupil.

"Finally," Jess said. "We're next."

She fixed the plunging neckline of her dress. It was bright blue to match the stripe she had dyed in her hair last week.

"Jess, we have to go," Anna said.

"Fat chance," Jess said. "I didn't wait in the cold for nothing."

Jess handed the bouncer her I.D. and flashed him a smile.

"Name?" the bouncer asked.

"Jessica Cartwright," she said.

Anna grabbed Jess's arm. Jess shrugged her off as she took back her driver's license.

"Jess, we really shouldn't," Anna said. "Let's go back to our place."

Jess scowled. "Lighten up, dude!"

Jess strode past the bouncer and into the club before Anna could stop her. Anna's heart was hammering in her chest and she bit down on her lip hard and tasted blood. She wanted to go in, but she was afraid it would be full of what she hated the most.

Vampires.

Anna knew she had to get Jess out of that club before she became a vampire snack. Even if she wouldn't leave, Anna would've preferred reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the twelfth time, but instead, her evening turned into bodyguarding Jess. Anna had killed many vampires; meanwhile, Jess, like most humans, thought they were a myth.

Anna rushed to pull her identification out of her purse, moving the stake out of the way and passed it to the bouncer.

"Anna Nightingale," she said before he could ask the standard bouncer question.

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