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       Obsessed, p.1

         Part #12 of The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice
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Obsessed


  obsessed

  (book #12 in the vampire journals)

  morgan rice

  Morgan Rice

  Morgan Rice is the #1 bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the epic fantasy series THE SORCERER’S RING, comprising seventeen books; of the #1 bestselling series THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS, comprising twelve books; of the #1 bestselling series THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY, a post-apocalyptic thriller comprising three books; of the epic fantasy series KINGS AND SORCERERS, comprising six books; and of the vampire paranormal series VAMPIRE, FALLEN, comprising one book (and counting). Morgan’s books are available in audio and print editions, and translations are available in over 25 languages.

  Morgan’s new epic fantasy series, OF CROWNS AND GLORY, will publish in April, 2016, beginning with book #1, SLAVE, WARRIOR, QUEEN.

  TURNED (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals), ARENA ONE (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy), A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1 in the Sorcerer’s Ring) and RISE OF THE DRAGONS (Kings and Sorcerers—Book #1) are each available as a free download on Amazon!

  Morgan loves to hear from you, so please feel free to visit www.morganricebooks.com to join the email list, receive a free book, receive free giveaways, download the free app, get the latest exclusive news, connect on Facebook and Twitter, and stay in touch!

  Select Acclaim for Morgan Rice

  “A book to rival TWILIGHT and VAMPIRE DIARIES, and one that will have you wanting to keep reading until the very last page! If you are into adventure, love and vampires this book is the one for you!”

  --Vampirebooksite.com (regarding Turned)

  “Rice does a great job of pulling you into the story from the beginning, utilizing a great descriptive quality that transcends the mere painting of the setting….Nicely written and an extremely fast read.”

  --Black Lagoon Reviews (regarding Turned)

  “An ideal story for young readers. Morgan Rice did a good job spinning an interesting twist…Refreshing and unique. The series focuses around one girl…one extraordinary girl!...Easy to read but extremely fast-paced... Rated PG.”

  --The Romance Reviews (regarding Turned)

  “Grabbed my attention from the beginning and did not let go….This story is an amazing adventure that is fast paced and action packed from the very beginning. There is not a dull moment to be found.”

  --Paranormal Romance Guild (regarding Turned)

  “Jam packed with action, romance, adventure, and suspense. Get your hands on this one and fall in love all over again.”

  --vampirebooksite.com (regarding Turned)

  “A great plot, and this especially was the kind of book you will have trouble putting down at night. The ending was a cliffhanger that was so spectacular that you will immediately want to buy the next book, just to see what happens.”

  --The Dallas Examiner (regarding Loved)

  “Morgan Rice proves herself again to be an extremely talented storyteller….This would appeal to a wide range of audiences, including younger fans of the vampire/fantasy genre. It ended with an unexpected cliffhanger that leaves you shocked.”

  --The Romance Reviews (regarding Loved)

  Books by Morgan Rice

  VAMPIRE, FALLEN

  BEFORE DAWN (Book #1)

  OF CROWNS AND GLORY

  SLAVE, WARRIOR, QUEEN (Book #1)

  KINGS AND SORCERERS

  RISE OF THE DRAGONS (Book #1)

  RISE OF THE VALIANT (Book #2)

  THE WEIGHT OF HONOR (Book #3)

  A FORGE OF VALOR (Book #4)

  A REALM OF SHADOWS (Book #5)

  NIGHT OF THE BOLD (Book #6)

  THE SORCERER’S RING

  A QUEST OF HEROES (Book #1)

  A MARCH OF KINGS (Book #2)

  A FATE OF DRAGONS (Book #3)

  A CRY OF HONOR (Book #4)

  A VOW OF GLORY (Book #5)

  A CHARGE OF VALOR (Book #6)

  A RITE OF SWORDS (Book #7)

  A GRANT OF ARMS (Book #8)

  A SKY OF SPELLS (Book #9)

  A SEA OF SHIELDS (Book #10)

  A REIGN OF STEEL (Book #11)

  A LAND OF FIRE (Book #12)

  A RULE OF QUEENS (Book #13)

  AN OATH OF BROTHERS (Book #14)

  A DREAM OF MORTALS (Book #15)

  A JOUST OF KNIGHTS (Book #16)

  THE GIFT OF BATTLE (Book #17)

  THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY

  ARENA ONE: SLAVERSUNNERS (Book #1)

  ARENA TWO (Book #2)

  THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS

  TURNED (Book #1)

  LOVED (Book #2)

  BETRAYED (Book #3)

  DESTINED (Book #4)

  DESIRED (Book #5)

  BETROTHED (Book #6)

  VOWED (Book #7)

  FOUND (Book #8)

  RESURRECTED (Book #9)

  CRAVED (Book #10)

  FATED (Book #11)

  OBSESSED (Book #12)

  Download Morgan Rice books now!

  Listen to THE VAMPIRE JOURNALS series in audio book format!

  Now available on:

  Amazon

  Audible

  iTunes

  Copyright © 2016 by Morgan Rice

  All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author.

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Jacket image Copyright Subbotina Anna, used under license from Shutterstock.com.

  CONTENTS

  CHAPTER ONE

  CHAPTER TWO

  CHAPTER THREE

  CHAPTER FOUR

  CHAPTER FIVE

  CHAPTER SIX

  CHAPTER SEVEN

  CHAPTER EIGHT

  CHAPTER NINE

  CHAPTER TEN

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  CHAPTER TWELVE

  CHAPTER THIRTEEN

  CHAPTER FOURTEEN

  CHAPTER FIFTEEN

  CHAPTER SIXTEEN

  CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  CHAPTER NINETEEN

  CHAPTER TWENTY

  CHAPTER TWENTY ONE

  CHAPTER TWENTY TWO

  CHAPTER TWENTY THREE

  CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

  CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

  CHAPTER TWENTY SIX

  CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN

  CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT

  CHAPTER TWENTY NINE

  CHAPTER THIRTY

  CHAPTER THIRTY ONE

  CHAPTER THIRTY TWO

  “Thus, with a kiss, I die.”

  --William Shakespeare

  Romeo and Juliet

  CHAPTER ONE

  From the roof of the ancient Boldt Castle, Scarlet Paine could hear Sage’s agonized screams. They echoed through the cold November night, each one feeling like a knife slicing into her heart. She could not bear the thought of it, of Sage being tortured to death by his own kind because he loved her, because he would not kill her in order to live two thousand more years. Scarlet had never dreamed she would be loved so fiercely by someone, so fiercely that they would actually die for her. And yet her
e she was, about to do the same for him.

  Lore, Sage’s cousin, had lured her to Boldt Castle. The Immortalists’ two-thousand-year life span would be over once the moon waned, and Lore was desperate to take her life—the only way to save theirs. She, the last vampire on Earth, had to be sacrificed. Even though Scarlet knew it was a trap, she had to come. She knew her life would end here tonight, yet it would be worth it for a chance to save Sage.

  Another one of Sage’s screams pierced the night. Scarlet couldn’t bear to listen to his agony any longer. She drew herself to standing and flapped her wings so that she was hovering an inch or two above the castle’s old, sloping slate tiles. Then, heart pounding, she flew down through the window.

  The room was at least a hundred feet high. Scarlet swooped through the shadows of the vaulted ceiling and perched on one of the old wooden ceiling beams. She felt a wave of heat coming from below her and glanced down. The hall was filled with an agitated, angry crowd of Immortalists. There must have been at least a thousand of them in here. The crowd looked like a swarm of insects from this distance, some pacing back and forth whilst others were swooping a few yards above the ground. They were far enough below, at least, for them not to notice her hiding there.

  Scarlet clung to her perch, feeling her palms grow slippery with anxious perspiration, waiting for her chance, psyching herself up to jump.

  Down below, the Immortalists were fixated in one particular direction: a slightly raised platform that stood at one end of the room. There was an impossibly tall man on the stage, holding a long staff. He seemed to be jabbing the staff against a large cross.

  Scarlet cocked her head in confusion as the cross appeared to move. It was then that she realized there was someone shackled to the cross, someone who writhed in pain every time the man’s staff was jabbed into him.

  Her heart lurched as she realized: Sage.

  Anger rippled through every fiber of Scarlet’s being. The man she loved was strung out by his arms and legs. His head was drooping forward onto his chest with exhaustion and his hair was slick with sweat. Blood had dripped down his torso and pooled at his feet. Scarlet wanted to scream out for him but knew she had to keep quiet or risk being spotted by the braying crowd. She felt sick to her stomach knowing that Sage’s torture was on display, that he was at the center of their hatred.

  Scarlet watched in horror as the man in the long crimson cloak on the stage brandished the staff with a cross at its end before slamming it against the floor. The stone tiles made a loud noise that reverberated through the cavernous space.

  “Will you relinquish?” the man screamed. “Will you give the girl up?”

  He appeared to be the instigator of the torture and Scarlet concluded that he must be the Immortalists’ leader. She remembered Sage telling her about the man who commanded his race. His name was Octal and from what Sage had told her, he was a violent tyrant.

  “Answer me!” Octal screamed.

  The crowd joined in with a loud jeer.

  Scarlet could not hear Sage’s answer from this distance but she knew that whatever he had said was not what Octal wanted to hear, because he leaned forward and pushed the metal staff into Sage’s chest. Sage let out a blood-curdling scream.

  Scarlet could hold herself back no longer. She leapt from the beam she’d been crouched on and screamed at the top of her lungs.

  “STOP!”

  As she began soaring down toward the crowd, the Immortalists below turned their gazes up to her in one sharp, sudden movement. Scarlet faltered and her wings suddenly seized up with terror. She began plummeting through the air on a collision course with the angry mob below.

  From far away, Scarlet could hear Sage scream her name. It was the scream of a desperate man in love, a man whose heart was being torn from his body, a man whose pain at seeing his lover race toward death was far greater than the pain of the torture he’d just been enduring.

  Scarlet flapped her wings frantically, but it was no use. The terror she felt had overwhelmed her powers. She was falling faster and faster toward the angry crowds. She knew that when she reached them they would rip her to pieces, for her death was the only way they could survive. Their jeers and shouts grew louder the closer she raced toward them.

  As she fell, time seemed to slow down and the faces of her friends and family flashed through her mind’s eye—her best friend, Maria, her mother, Caitlin, Ruth the dog. Even Vivian flashed into her mind even though Scarlet had hated her.

  Then a beautiful face appeared before her eyes, one that made her gasp. It was Sage’s face. In her odd slow-motion plummet, Scarlet managed to tip her head to the side and lock eyes with the real life Sage. Though he was covered in sweat and blood and grimacing with pain, he was no less beautiful to her than the perfect memory her brain had conjured up. As they made eye contact, Scarlet felt a surge of love race through her. Though she knew she was mere seconds from dying, she no longer feared it, because she knew she would die loved.

  She closed her eyes and prepared for impact.

  But before Scarlet hit the ground, Octal stepped forward and affixed his translucent eyes on her tumbling form. Effortlessly and without emotion he rose into the air and reached out for her. She felt his hands tighten around her arm. He pulled her into him as though plucking her from the air. All at once the rushing, racing sensation she’d been feeling was replaced by a gentle lull as they began floating in a controlled manner to the ground.

  Scarlet opened her eyes, almost unable to believe that she was not in fact dead. But whilst the immediate fear of death drained from Scarlet’s body, she knew the danger had not passed. Octal may have saved her from dashing her brains against the hard tiles of the church but she knew he hadn’t saved her life out of compassion. He was a torturer. It dawned on Scarlet that he had saved her only in order to kill her in a more unpleasant manner.

  She peered over Octal’s shoulder at Sage.

  “Scarlet!” Sage shouted.

  Octal let Scarlet down. The crowd surged forward but Octal held his arms up as if to keep them back. The crowd obeyed. Scarlet didn’t know why, but Octal was giving her and Sage one last chance to be together, one last chance to say goodbye.

  With the eyes of a thousand seething Immortalists on her, Scarlet ran toward Sage. Her eyes blurred with tears as she flung her arms around him and buried her face into his neck. His skin was searing hot, as though fighting a fever. She held him as tight as she could, fearing it may be the last time she ever would.

  “Scarlet,” Sage murmured into her ear.

  She drew back and held up his head. His eyes were puffy and bruised, and his bottom lip was split and swollen. Scarlet’s heart ached to see him like that. She wanted to kiss him, to kiss away the pain and heal him, but she knew she had no time. Instead, she swiped a tendril of hair from his face and placed a delicate kiss on his forehead, the only part of him that did not look bruised or broken.

  “How did you find me?” he asked.

  “Lore. He left me a note telling me you were here.”

  Fear flashed in Sage’s eyes. “It’s a trap. They will kill you.”

  “I know,” Scarlet gasped. “But I had to see you. My life is in ruins anyway.”

  She thought of her parents and their constant arguing, of her mother’s promise to eradicate her, of her house turned upside down by Lore, of Vivian who hated her guts and her friends who seemed to have turned on her.

  “You’re the only good thing left in my life,” she added with sincerity. “Don’t you remember me saying that if you died, I’d die with you?”

  She tried to smile reassuringly but the look in Sage’s eyes made a pit of pain open up inside her stomach.

  He shook his head.

  “I wanted you to live, Scarlet,” he gasped, wincing from the pain of Octal’s staff. “Don’t you understand? The only thing that comforted me through my torture was the knowledge that you would get to live out your life once I was gone.” He sighed. “But now we will both die.


  Scarlet held Sage’s heavy head up in her hands. “And what about what I want?”

  “You’re young,” Sage said with a grimace. “You don’t know what you want. I’ve lived two thousand years and the only thing that’s ever made sense to me is you. I don’t want you dying for me!”

  “Was Juliet too young?” Scarlet replied sternly, remembering the magical night they had spent together watching Shakespeare’s tragedy.

  At that moment, Scarlet felt the surging crowd on her back and knew that Octal was not prepared to hold them back any longer.

  “Anyway,” she said, flashing Sage a bittersweet smile, “it’s too late now to change my mind.”

  “It’s not,” Sage contested. “Please, Scarlet. Fly away. There’s still time.”

  Scarlet responded by pressing a fierce kiss against his lips.

  “I’m not scared of dying,” she said replied, firmly. Then she slipped her arm around his waist and turned to face the murderous crowd. “As long as we’re together.”

  CHAPTER TWO

  A vampire war.

  The sea below Caitlin was as black as night. She listened to the sound of the thrumming engine as the small military plane soared through the clouds, the words repeating themselves over and over in Caitlin’s mind. She could hardly comprehend how it had gotten to this, how her daughter had flown off into the night, leaving her and Caleb to chase desperately after her. The worry she felt for Scarlet was all consuming, making butterflies of panic take flight in her stomach.

  Caitlin felt a strong, primal sensation stirring within her. Scarlet was somewhere nearby. Caitlin was certain. She sat bolt upright and gripped Caleb’s arm.

  “You can sense her?” he said, studying her expression.

 
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