Chapter 1

Deep green eyes scaled the area, making sure no car was coming down the never-ending street. Storm clouds were moving in, and the roar of the wind was deafening to his ears. Zeke shifted on the hood of the car, getting antsy with paranoia.

Why did every fight with a human have to end up like this? On the back street of some loner city in the middle of nowhere with a ripe bludgeoned body to burn on the asphalt. One of these days he swore they'd get caught.

Okay, maybe that was just the paranoia talking, but he was sure they needed to stop doing the same-old shit. It was getting aggravating.

Aidyn stood in the grass with the passenger door of the car open, fumbling with his phone trying hopelessly to get a signal. Seeming to give up, he shoved it back into his pocket with an annoyed look on his face. His thick black hair blew with the rough wind as it picked up again. Zeke watched his emerald eyes flicker to the funnel cloud dipping out of the sky above them, heading down toward the jonquil yellow Kansas plains.

Their brother was always changing the beautiful weather, ruining it with his rage. The power he held was incredible, and the sudden shifts in climate were due to his inevitable shifts of rage. Oh yes, the many variations of anger that he went through daily. No one would ever believe there could be so many.

"Actually, you know what? It's our house. We shouldn't have to call him and tell him we're coming," Aidyn sighed as he rubbed his face.

Zeke nodded at his brother's words and glanced over at his other brother whose huge fists continued to bash the blonde body builders face in. He had him pinned down on the blacktop of a deserted back road as he struck him repeatedly. The man was already dead, Zeke was sure of it. If he wasn't, then he wasn't gonna live much longer without his brains properly placed in his head instead of on the pavement.

Always with the blood, the guts, the flesh, the gore. He swore his brother lived off of it. Which he did, given that he slightly needed some of that to stay fit and healthy. But did he really need the rest? What would a day be like without his brother digging his fingers into a person's skin and bones? The question befuddled him.

Truth: He wouldn't know what to think about it.

Blood soaked his brother's hands as he stood up from his victim, his tall height making him seem like a dark brooding giant. He smirked down at the dead body, getting some sort of high off of it like he always did. Killing people, his number one drug. His hobby.

The dead dumb-ass had picked the wrong man to mess with. Back at the bar, the guy had started shit with Damian who had only just walked in to get his brothers. Bad move. There was no real reason for him to get in Damian's face, other than the fact that he thought he was a bad-ass that could take on a way bigger guy than him. And Dom had proved the man damn sure couldn't.

A few drops of blood stained his perfectly carved face. He walked back up to the car, his devilish grin still intact.

"The fuck you starin' at?" his deep voice growled at Zeke as his soulless black eyes glowed with hellfire.

Zeke closed his eyes and lightly shook his head, the long black strands of his hair bouncing back and forth. "Nothing."

He knew not to push his brother any farther than he'd already been pushed, especially seeing as his ebony eyes were getting blacker by the second -if it were possible. Damian pulled his black shirt off and wiped his face and hands with it as he leaned back against the door.

"My phone's not working out here in bum-fuck nowhere. So Jason's just gonna have to be left surprised." Aidyn stretched before diving into the front seat of the '70 Dodge Challenger with a shiny black paint job.

It was parked in the grass on the side of the run-down road.

Zeke slid off the hood and went around the car.

"Why's he in Tennessee anyways?" he asked, climbing in behind Aidyn's seat.

"He said he has business to attend to -whatever the fuck that means." Aidyn pulled a baggy filled with white powder from out of his front pocket.

Opening it up, he dipped his finger in and lifted the dust out of the bag. Lightly, he placed it on his inner skin between his thumb and index finger. Snorting it up his nose like the true coke-head he was, then gave a light shake of his head.

"One day you're gonna overdose on that shit, therefore killing yourself, and then you're gonna be dead. Unless, by some miracle, Damian finds a way to save your ass."

"I wish you'd shut," he paused, sniffling, "the fuck up." Aidyn cracked his neck.

"I don't even know why I roll with you guys anymore." Zeke looked out the window at the burning body on the road. "Damian just wants to beat the fuck out of people...and you-you just sit back snorting shit up your nose. And I don't even know what the fuck I'm doing here." He watched Damian light a cigarette as he stood over the roasting corpse. "Sometimes I think I should end it all and be done with everything for once." And he meant that.

Everyday that voice in his head was telling him to do it. Flooding his mind with perfect ideas on how to go successfully about it.

"Stop talking like that. Everything's straight brother. We. Are. All. Good. To. Go," his brother said slowly.

Eh, he had a point. There was still beer to be chugged.

"Just wait until the world runs out of beer," he muttered and grabbed a beer off of the seat next to him. Popping the cap off, he threw it out the window, it barely missing Damian as he stalked back up to the car.

"You're something the darkness will feed upon in the years to come, so it's best I end it before it even begins. Something evil is within your path, a brick of temptation from the chosen one and you will beckon to its call because you are a woman and you are weak," he preached as if he'd just read the words right out of the bible. "It has to be this way. The almighty has told the queen that you must be destroyed."

She stared at him as if he'd lost his mind, which he obviously had. Her six-year-old eyes watched as he drew a long knife from his duffel bag. With a hard jerk of her hair, he pulled her head back exposing her neck and-

Jade's mind flew back to reality, and she realized she hadn't heard a word Jason had said.

"Huh?" she asked blankly.

They were sitting in his new canary yellow Mustang in a Wal-Mart parking lot waiting for her sister to get out of the store. Erika just had to have her precious gummy bears to snack on. Jade hadn't felt like going in. For some reason, it seemed like everyone in the overgrowing small town that they lived in were always at Wal-Mart.

The car revved up as her sister came out of the entrance of the store. Her short and choppy vibrant red hair blew in the wind as she struggled to carry a big bucket of gummy bears in her arms.

Girl needed to be slapped. She'd never eat all of those damn bears. Jade noticed that the woman forgot to get her cupcakes.

What a hoe. Jade pushed her long dark brown curls out of her eyes.

"I said, I'm not taking you to your dorms." Jason bit his lip as he scowled at her. "You guys are gonna stay at my house."

"You know, if you said that to any other girl, they'd think you were kidnapping them." Her freckled face scrunched up.

He pushed his dirty blonde hair out of his gold eyes. "I promised your mom I'd look after y'all."

She sighed and shook her head. "I knew you had somethin' up your sleeve."

People were always messing up her plans. Wasn't college supposed to be a new experience or something?

"This is just ghetto," she pouted as she opened up her door and scooted the seat forward so her sister could squeeze in.

Just a few seconds of having the door open and the sweltering heat was already pouring into the car.

Erika plopped down in the back seat. "Look at all me gummies!" she exclaimed, hugging the bucket with joy.

"That's great for you but where the hell are my cupcakes?" Jade turned in her seat crossing her arms over her chest as she looked back her sister.

Her sister's flawless pale face stared back at her as if she were dumb.

"So that's what I forgot..." Her sister closed her honey brown eyes. "Sorry, I saw the bears and forgot about the cupcakes." She shrugged.

Never depend on anyone. Now her poor cupcakes were gonna get eaten by some other fat slob with grubby hands. What a shame.

"Did you hear where douche bag here is taking us?" Jade asked, wanting her sister to say yes so she could strangle her.

I dare you to say...

"Yep!" Erika bounced on the seat. "So freakin' glad I don't have to worry about sharing a bathroom with three-thousand other snooty-ass bitches."

Well, that was kind of a nice touch. But Jade was wanting a new experience with different people. Some kind of an adventure whether she enjoyed it or not. Moving into a dorm and going to college in Greeneville, Tennessee was supposed to be that new adventure. Plans seemed to have changed though, which decreased the thrilling air of the adventure part.

"I'm going to strangle you now."

Erika frowned. "That's not nice. You should be thanking me. I got us out of having to share a room."

"Whatever, butt-munch." Jade settled in her seat and buckled up her seat belt before blondie had a fit.

She pressed her forehead to window and made a face at a young couple that they passed by as they backed out of the parking space.

She could feel Jason giving her a wary look as he drove, hoping she'd fall into his trap of staying with him and not running off. Lucky for him, she didn't know anyone in Tennessee so there was nowhere for her to run to.

"Your mom's pretty worried about you, ya know?" Jason's eyes grew sad. "Just please, promise me that you'll at least try to stay at the house."

"Eh...why not?" She sat up in the seat and reached behind her to grab some gummy bears out of Erika's ginormous bucket.

Flickering her gaze to Jason, she glared at his pretty features.

In the twelve years she'd known him, his face hadn't aged a day and never would. His gold eyes were still the same vibrant color they'd always been. The light pale skin highlighted his high cheekbones while dark shadows under his eyes showed he hadn't had a good sleep in a long time. And she knew why.

Bitch better have cable. Jade started munching on a mouth full of yummy delicious bears.

The drive from South Carolina to Tennessee was gonna be killer boring. She just hoped there was cake waiting for them wherever they were going.

My college was supposed to have house warming cake. She pouted as she cut her eyes.

Eight hours later, she was tapping her hands against the dashboard, hitting it to the beat of the song playing in her mind while the car made a sharp turn off of the long stretch of highway and onto a small, roughly wooded dirt road.

The dark, bumpy road reminded her of those horror movies where the hillbilly, incest cannibals would jump out with their axes and chop the innocent victims up. But she wasn't innocent so she had nothing to worry about. Plus, there were two other people in the car that would serve as perfect distractions as she'd successfully get away.

Where exactly was this house? It looked like the dust trail didn't end for miles.

Peering into the trees, Jade saw something tall and black trudging through the mud of a low-lying trench. She did a double-take and realized the hooded thing was carrying a sickle in its gloved hands.

Oh joy, there's one of the flesh-eating hillbillies now.

Just what she wanted to see: Her thoughts come to life.

Palm to nose. Palm to nose, she repeated the death move in her head.

Wait, did that thing even have a nose? Back-tracking; perhaps there was a spoon in the car. She knew how to use a spoon with deadly force and take a man down.

She glanced back at her sister wondering if she'd seen the thing. Nope, never mind. The girl was laying in a contorted way in the back seat, her arms were still tightly wrapped around her big bucket of gummy bears as she kept biting at the air in her sleep. Erika stirred, smacking her lips loudly as she repositioned herself in the seat, her foot popping Jade on the side of the head as she did.

Biting back the urge to break Erika's toe, she looked back out at the woods to see the hooded man but to her dismay he was gone, as if he disappeared into thin air.

The road seemed endless, getting steeper and steeper as they drove. When the mansion came into view Jade's eyes grew wide. The house and scenery that surrounded it was amazing, beyond words even.

"Holy-" Jade cut herself off as she turned her head towards Jason. "You didn't say you lived in a big-ass mansion?"

He shrugged, smirking with cocky pride.

The five-story Victorian styled mansion was enveloped in rich dark colors of brick. Columns made of gray stone graced the wraparound porch, and the dirt road they were on turned into a tar paved driveway that led around the house that was abounding in woods. A waterfall hung in the background on the right, its perfect flow almost surreal. Chrysanthemums of white and roses of different colors bloomed in the bushes that were pressed against the mansion's sides. Other pink and purple flowers grew in the trees that encircled the house.

The nature that surrounded the place was, no doubt, very much alive. One large lone balcony stood out on the fifth floor and a couple other small balconies hung on the floors below.

After unpacking all of their stuff from the car, they headed up the steps of the house. Inside, Jade stood stunned by the beauty the house had. It matched the outside completely. It was just as huge, magnificent, and full of life.

"It should be illegal to be this rich," Jade mumbled as she slowly spun around letting all the features melt into her mind.

The tiles of the floor were polished emerald and the walls were a glossy, dark wood. Down the hall was a large dining room where a long brown table sat, eighteen chairs were wrapped around it as if it were a table made for a king. The massive staircase near the bar-room twirled all the way up to the roof like a castle. She couldn't deny, this house made her feel like a princess.

She didn't care for it too much, made her feel spoiled. Although, she was glad it wasn't an old, broken down house like she imagined it would be. Pfft...who was she kidding, she was liking it.

Her sister came in through the front door just as stunned as she was.

"Oh...whoa." Erika's mouth dropped open in amazement. "Please say you have Cheetos? Because everything in my world would be perfect if I only had a bag of Cheetos.

Jason's eyebrow arched. "Uh, no."

"Dammit," her sister said disappointedly.

He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out four silver keys. "Um, I'm not really sure which ones which, but you guys got all day to figure it out."

"Oh how organized you are." Jade batted her eyelashes as he handed her them.

One key had her name imprinted on it while the other had the address of the house. She gave the other two to her sister and hoped she had enough brains to figure out which one opened her room door. Her stomach growled trying to make itself known to the outside world that it was starving and needed food.

"Maranda put a pack of cookies on your bed," Jason commented.

Obviously, he'd heard her tummy's cry.

Without another thought, Jade raced up the stairs as fast as she could with her three duffel bags tripping her along the way. Erika was right on her tail, chasing her up the staircase.

They finally made it to the top floor and stopped, breathing erratically they looked up and down the hall.

Dear God, who made so many freaking steps? They needed to be shot. Several times.

Jade looked to the left of the corridor and saw that it broke off into three other hallways. The other end of the corridor was exactly the same making six hallways to confuse them with.

"How many freaking halls can there be on one floor?" Jade asked rhetorically as she peered down each of the six corridors.

"Go to your right, it's the hall farthest left!" Jason called out from below, still standing at the front door.

As if that made sense.

Jade shook her head. "Pfft, that's not confusing at all."

"Thank you," Erika called back to him.

Erika's room was the first door on the right, a slip of paper with her name on it placed around her door knob. Jade kept searching for hers down the long hall, of course hers had to be the last door on the left.

As she opened her door, she could barely believe her eyes as she saw the enormous room. It was the size of her house, if not bigger.

She was expecting a little window, instead, the entire wall was a glass window that overlooked the waterfall. In front of the window was an enormous jet tub that could fit at least ten people in it. The walls were baby powder blue, and her king-sized bed was against the left wall dressed in silky baby blue and black covers, piled with cute pillows. Two bed side tables held candles and incense instead of lamps while a sixty inch flat plasma screen TV lined the wall across from her bed. Under it one long dresser stood waiting to be filled with her clothes.

Ooh, she thought to herself like it was candy as her jaw fell to the floor.

She threw her bag onto the bed and went to the dresser to stare up at the massive TV. Who knew life could be so grand? This was the first time she considered it. She'd always been too poor to afford anything else other than the clothes on her back that her mother had worked so hard for.

Jade pivoted and hopped over to the bed to plop onto it. It bounced her like a heavenly cloud with its softness, the silk covers smelling of sweet mint and berries. She could get used to this, the entire high-and-mighty life that consisted of butlers and cooks to wait on you. Ah, rich people and their stuck up ways.

She loved it.

Aidyn wanted to stop off at a gas station considering that Zeke drank all the beer they had. While he went inside, Damian sat in the car. His eyes would not stay open for nothing. They kept closing and he'd flash them open again, only for them to flutter back down. Finally he gave in, closing his eyes for just a moment, he laid his head back against the seat drifting into and out of sleep.

He saw Zeke in the woods like he had three years before. Blood covered him as he sat on the ground, naked, cradling the dead girl who lied deathly still in his arms. Except the girl's hair was dark brown instead of blonde. Damian realized it wasn't Zeke sitting there holding the girl...but himself.

Damian's head snapped up as Aidyn opened the car door.

"I got two packs this time, so if the alcoholic decides he wants to drink an entire case again, he won't leave us empty-handed." Aidyn threw the cases on the floor as he was about to get in, but paused, "Fuck...I gotta piss. I'll be back."

Slamming the door, he ran across the street and into the woods.

"Had the dream again, didn't you?" Zeke's rough voice broke the silence.

Not answering, Damian stared out of the windshield hoping his brother would let it go.

His brother always had to get into his business, always trying to tell him what he should and shouldn't do. Fucker pissed him off about that. He knew what he wanted to do -what he should do. Kill Zeke.

"Why don't you go to sleep when we get back to the house and find out what it means?" The bad thing for Damian was that every time he had that dream, so did Zeke.

Their minds were linked by some strange force. He guessed it was a brotherly connection that nobody else had, because his other brother, Aidyn, didn't have to worry about anybody seeing his dreams. Lucky bastard.

"Mind your fucking business." Damian sucked his teeth as he tapped his foot on the gas pedal, wishing Aidyn would hurry up.

His brother was quiet for a moment. "I hope you and Aidyn find out what it's like. And I hope it tears you apart on the inside, 'til your nothing. Like me."

Yeah, killing him was looking better every damn second. He brought that sob-story shit up every chance he got.

Damian was about to turn around and choke his brother when Aidyn opened the door and jumped in.

"It never felt so good to piss," Aidyn laughed as he got comfortable. He looked at his brothers and seemed to realize he'd missed something while he was gone, "What the hell's wrong with you guys?"

Zeke retorted, "Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing."

At least he knew to keep his mouth shut.

Damian revved the car up, the engine becoming a big roar as they got back on the road.

The blade etched itself into her skin, drawing a diagonal line from under her left earlobe down to almost the base of her throat. Slashing her jugular deep. But not deep enough.

She fell limp to the cold leaf covered ground as he released her hair from his grip. Jade laid there for what seemed like forever, listening to the crunching of the leaves under her father's feet fade and watched as the low, dark clouds passed quickly by in the sky. She closed her eyes as a rough wind blew the tree branches above. Light raindrops started to pat her face like cold, soft, small fingertips.

Her lids fluttered open when she felt two strong arms lift her out of the leaves.

Strange gold eyes stared down at her. The face seemed almost alien as her vision blurred and distorted his features. His mouth moved but the sound of his voice was drowned out by the ringing in her ears. The soft rain suddenly became heavy, pouring down as he carried her through the mud. The storm clouds seemed to linger over her with such irony.

Opening her eyes, Jade blinked from the burning memory that would forever be lodged in her mind. She took a sip from the glass of soda that sat in front of her. The dining hall table wasn't too crowded, it's not like it could be with the size of it. Just a few people sat talking amongst each other, laughing and carrying on. She eyed each of them and knew who all of them were.

Marcus, the douche, sat across from her talking about a piece of ass he scored, his disheveled, black hair shined in the dim light of the room as his piercing silver eyes gleamed with pride. He was slightly tan for a vampire but none-the-less cute with a couple tattoos here and there, a nice lip ring rounded over his thin bottom lip. If it wasn't for his asshole attitude, she'd like him. His redheaded sister, Lily, sat beside him shaking her head to the obnoxious poppy-cock coming out of his mouth.

Yes, poppy-cock. The word suited him well, not to mention, Jade liked the word herself.

Lily was quiet most of the time but when she did speak, she was usually pretty determined to get what she wanted. The two were pretty old or so she'd heard. Jason said something about more than five centuries, and she put that as pretty damn old in her book.

Well she didn't really have a book but if she did, that would go in there. Man, she needed to make a book. Imagine the crap that would go in it.

Eh, vampires and their strange abilities. They didn't harbor some whacked out vulnerability to the sun, in fact most of them loved it. Like Lily, she was always one for tanning. Of course they all had to drink a little bit of human blood here and there to survive eternally, but it was nothing too extreme.

Um, they were pretty sneaky. But that was about it...

Pfft, vampires: Overrated.

Maranda came out of the kitchen holding a pan of cookies that the cook, Doodle, had made. She sat them right in front of Jade, probably guessing that she would be the only one to tear the cookies apart. Delicious, precious chocolate chip cookies, how she loved thee.

Her light green eyes flashed as she tucked a light brown strand of her long hair behind her ear and smirked at Jade.

"Chow 'em down, sensei," Maranda said as she took a seat at the head of the table.

"Will do, grass-hopper." Jade took a cookie and started munching on it.

She felt like she was being watched and looked up to see green eyes staring at her.

"What are you lookin' at, hobo?" she asked Tristan as he sat idly watching her eat the cookie.

He shook his head and his shaggy, dark brown hair got in his eyes. "You never change, do you?"

"What's so good about changing?"