Free Read – A Prequel to Mid-Winter Magic…


Not so Sweet

Christmas Eve 1960


Ty fingered the velvet box in his pocket. Was now the right time to ask her—an early Christmas present? Or should he wait until after they’d met with his sire?

The truth was, Ty wanted to show Dina off to Severino. And maybe he could do that better with his ring firmly on her finger.

Sinking down onto the mattress beside her, he stroked the hair from her face. He’d thought she was asleep, but her eyes were half open, watching him from behind her lashes.

Reaching out a hand, she stroked his cheek. “Come back to bed.”

“We need to leave. Severino will be waiting.”

Something dark flashed in her face and was gone. She came up on one elbow, and the sheet slipped revealing the slight curve of her breasts. “We don’t have to go. We could stay here. You could come back to bed.”

At her words, Ty’s gums ached, and heat uncoiled low down in his belly.

Dina whispered a spell, and a bunch of mistletoe appeared in the air above his head. “Did you know,” she murmured, “the berries of mistletoe can be used to cure love-sickness.”

He leaned close, breathing in her delectable scent. “What if I don’t want to be cured?”

She wrapped her arms around his neck, dragged him to her for a long drugging kiss. Ty gave in then. Ripping off his shirt, he tossed it to the floor as he came down besides her. He licked the satin flesh of her throat, sank his fangs deep into her vein, and she went soft and boneless beneath him. The warm sweetness of her blood flooded his mouth, and he lost himself in the taste and feel of her.

When he came back to himself, she was sitting up in bed, her long, dark red hair falling like blood around her shoulders. The softness had gone from her expression; her grey eyes were cold as slate and filled with an emotion he couldn’t identify. She glanced at him, saw he was watching, and the expression was gone. Her lips curled into a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “Come, we must go.”

She rose gracefully to her feet. For a moment, she stood before him, slender and naked, and he drank in the sight of her. Then she spoke a spell, and she was dressed in a black lace dress that left her shoulders bare.

Ty got up and pulled on his pants. He felt the ring still in his pocket. It would have to wait now. He would ask her afterwards. They had the rest of eternity; there was no need to hurry.


Severino was waiting for them. He looked up, his face filled with irritation. “You’re late,” he snapped.

Behind him, Ty heard Dina catch her breath. He swung around; she was staring at Severino. This time he read her expression with ease. Loathing.

“What is it?” he asked.

She ignored his question. Pushing past him, she chanted the words of a spell under her breath. A moment later, a sword appeared gripped in one fist, a wooden stake in the other. She leapt across the room, before Ty could even think to stop her, and Severino’s decapitated body fell to the ground between them, the stake protruding from his heart.

Shock held Ty rigid. He stared at the body of his sire, then back at Dina. “Why?”

The sword clattered to the floor at her feet, and she looked up at him. “I’m an assassin. It’s what I do.”

His mind reeled. It had happened so fast, and he was finding it hard to understand. He shook his head trying to clear his brain, searched her face for the woman he loved. “The two of us—was it all a lie?” He hated the pleading in his voice, but he needed to know.

Dina shrugged. “I used you. You were a means to get to Severino. Nothing more.”

A red fog of rage swirled around him. He stalked towards her, his control unraveling. Dina held up a hand, palm facing him, and he hit an invisible wall.

“Goodbye,” she murmured. “You never know, maybe we’ll meet again, some other Christmas.”

Ty gritted his teeth. “I loved you. Now, if I ever see you again, I’ll kill you.”


Dina heard the words and fought the grief that clouded her mind.

Ty hadn’t really loved her. Vampires couldn’t love. She had to believe that.

The body of Severino lay at her feet. She had worked so hard towards this moment She glanced down, waiting for elation to fill her, but all she felt was empty and sad. Revenge wasn’t so sweet after all.

She looked back at Ty. Fury and betrayal warred on his face. She could sense the darkness rising inside him, and any moment, the force of his rage would break down the wall that protected her.

She whispered another spell. Ty vanished, and a large toad squatted on the floor in his place.

Scrubbing viciously at her face, she dashed away the tears that blinded her.

Assassins didn’t cry.

She had to get out of there—the spell wouldn’t last.

At the door, she paused, for one last look. “It wasn’t all lies,” she murmured, and turned away.

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