Everyone knows my story. It was a fucking blockbuster hit. But, they say truth is stranger than fiction. In my case, it’s just more depressing. No one would be applauding if they really knew all the things I’ve done; the accomplishments I let burn, and lives I destroyed when my own was in chaos. Fire may have been the start, orphaning me as a man, after I’d already been orphaned as a newborn. I was a rising star in the art world, a successful painter with a wealthy patron and my own gallery on the Cornish Coast.
I’ve also been a thief from early on, honing my skills on the streets of London. Hobbies are a healthy break from the monotony, any expert will tell you that.
But, I went mental to the point of utter detachment, returning to lucidity with no recollection. I lost days, possibly weeks all in one go, painting nightmarish portraits of evil, obscene landscapes of blood and depravity. I lived on whiskey and a will that wasn’t my own; a marionette caught in the twisted strings of my feverish mind.
Therapy was a last, desperate attempt to claw my way out. Instead, I was pushed beyond the brink of madness and that’s where I found clarity. It can happen. You can go so crazy you come out sane again on the other side. But, it’s a different kind of sane. It’s the irrevocable death of your former self. I was reborn scarred, changed, unable to return to the life I’d known. I closed my gallery, packed all of my possessions into storage, and abandoned the only family I had left. A clean break. I can’t hurt the ones I love if I’m not there, if they don’t have to hear my voice over the phone reminding them of the damage already wrought.
Across the pond, I kept my skills honed in Vegas, while learning new, highly pleasurable ones and working as a strip-club bouncer. That’s where they found me, all the ones who would turn my life into something only ever seen in movies, setting me on the path to becoming a vampire, and a prince.
Albeit, a prince of Hollywood, but for Americans that’s the closest thing they’ve got to royalty. So, I walk the red carpet same as I’ve done for three years now. I smile for the cameras, as every flashing bulb hurls me back to a rainy afternoon in a London cemetery–and I hate every fucking minute of their repetitive questions.
They want to know if I’ll make another movie, if I’ll play the same role the way my costars have, and the answer is always, agonizingly yes. Legend Studios has a running series and we’re all contracted to fulfill our character obligations. Whatever Evelyn wants, Evelyn gets. She rules our existence; controls our fates. If she wants the vampire, the last descendant of the Order of the Dragon, then she gets him.
When I left England, it was never with the intention of forging kinships again, but the running joke of my life has cast two new brothers for me. Much like this version of sanity, my bond with them is different. My siblings back home were family without blood because we came up together. With Trystan and Dorian, it’s the brotherhood of soldiers fighting the same war, suffering the same tragedies and injustices. We have a common enemy, and she’s drug us across the fucking country to scout a new filming location.
A new movie can only mean one thing: our family’s in danger of getting bigger. My mates and I are on guard, watching Evelyn to see who she’s watching. Keeping track of those she takes a keen interest to. So far, she only seems focused in the filming site. At her request, I seek out the man with the answer on whether or not she gets to use it.
I already know it will be a cold day in hell before Evelyn takes no for an answer, regardless of what the man says, but I do as I’m told like the good soldier I’ve never been. The sexy brunette that runs smack into me in the parking lot is a thrilling, unexpected distraction. I can’t recall the last time I’ve felt this kind of intense chemistry straight off. Discovering that she’s the one with the answer I need doesn’t deter me from pursuing more than just a business deal.
And it’s dangerous, I know. I’m losing sight of the mission, taking my attention off the enemy for the much better view of golden-green eyes and a mouth made for sin. But, I ca’t help it, her ignorance is just as enticing as her clever humor and gorgeous body. She’s never heard of Legend Studios before, isn’t familiar with any of their movies.
Kallie’s got to be the only woman on earth who has no idea about who or what I am. She’s never seen the vampire, the last Dracul, and I’m in no hurry to change that. To her, I’m just Luke, the infuriatingly quick-witted, silver-tongued Brit that can’t get enough of seeing her all flustered and blushing.
And when she threatens to douse me with mace if I get too cheeky, it’s a challenge I simply can’t turn away from. The feisty little Historian is about to learn that I am a man of many skills.
~ Lucien Alexander Drake