Her body can unite the vampire and the vampire hunter in bliss.
Anjasa expected that Jaral, a vampire, and Luscius, a vampire hunter, wouldn’t get along. After all, Luscius was intent on killing Jaral, but now she’s taken them both as her lovers, and life couldn’t be better. During the evening, she runs her brothel, and in the early mornings, she returns to their loving — if not rough — embraces. Between a blood-sucker and a twin-appendaged hunter, she’s kept more than satisfied.
But secrets of the past are coming to catch up to them. Someone in the shadows doesn’t like their rising power, and will do anything to ruin them utterly. Financially, emotionally, and then they’ll put the final stake in all of their hearts.
The assassin, the vampire, and the vampire hunter will have to unite against the insidious force if they’ve any hope for a happily ever after.
The final book in the Possessed by the Vampire series!
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The sound of high heels clicking upon the marble flooring echoed through the halls of the Normevor’s governing house. Few people were still about; the court session was closed, so the public was keeping out for the day, and only the stoic guards and a handful of bureaucrats stood to watch her. But Anjasa would be damned before she’d let any opportunity to show off go to waste.
Her attire was hardly appropriate for such a serious-sounding ‘invitation’–a summons to stand before a tribunal. Nevertheless, she had draped a thick fur collar about herself with a long silk dress that split at the sides so that her shapely calves and thighs showed their tanned skin through with each new step.
By her side strode her two most trusted advisors: Iridessa to her right, dressed more modestly than she in a simple grey and pearl ‘business dress’, as she called it, though with her large bust straining its fabric, it spoke of a different kind of business; and Luscius to her right. The tall, elegant man wore a thick overcoat, buttoned to the top of his high collar, so different from the leather he’d always worn when she’d first met him.
Normally, he did not shy from scandalously revealing clothing any more than Anjasa did; however, the onset of winter was affecting the curious serpentine man more than the rest of them. Even so, the chill didn’t keep him from letting the overcoat’s buttons stop at his pecs to part and show his bare, well-cut abs down to his low-hung formal trousers.
Like Anjasa herself, he put practicality just one step behind glamour at all times.
Iridessa spoke to Anjasa as they strode through the halls towards the large, wooden doors at the end. “The new prosecutor appointed by the Crown is committed to taking a stab at crime in the city. And not just crime, organized crime as they call it. He aims to bring down your whole operation,” she said, seriousness edging her voice.
And serious it was. After all, it took something big to get the crime lord herself out and about the city at so early an hour.
His every step a confident swagger, Luscius gave a pointed motion to his coat, where undoubtedly his weapons lay. “You’ll not be taken into custody this day, madam,” he remarked with a soft little hiss, his long, lustrous hair gently swaying with their motions through the cavernous halls and its towering marble pillars.
Anjasa had tugged her hair back in a sleek ponytail that let the cascading black waves spill over the luxurious fur coat. She nodded appreciatively to them both and readjusted her collar so that it revealed some of her ample cleavage. She’d been disappointed that her extra training had reduced them as she took on a somewhat more toned appearance, but her body still never failed to get stares.
She glanced to Iridessa, over to the red hair that shone so brightly compared to the drabber colour of her dress. She smiled. Almost two years ago, Anjasa had saved the woman from a vampire’s lusts run amok, and never had she regretted it. Bold and confident, the human woman became a quick friend and a valuable ally.
“I dare imagine disorganized crime is far worse. We’ll convince him of that,” Anjasa said to her, reassuringly.
Iridessa still held onto her beauty despite her brush with death and the time since then, humans could age and wither so quickly that Anjasa wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them at all times. This hooker-turned-bookkeeper and manager had yet to let her down.
“I am not sure he’ll be convinced of much. He’s a young nobleman, a barrister from the northlands where he earned a reputation as a hard-nosed, by-the-books prosecutor. He’ll be intent upon earning a spot at the foot of the throne as Royal Judge. Money certainly won’t do the trick.”
Luscius kept his usual stoic silence while serving as her day bodyguard, his handsome face marred by that one scar that made an otherwise beautiful man look intimidating and fearsome.
Still, though she lusted for him, she’d managed to find a balance. A balance between her unending need for satisfaction, and her ravenous desire to be in control of it. And her life, for that matter. She glanced at him, sidelong with her emerald eyes and felt that twinge in her loins. Something about stressful situations always set her off.
Perhaps that was why her primary lover, Jaral, was a vampire.
And Luscius, a vampire hunter.
Her heels clicked rhythmically with her step until they finally reached the entrance to the courtroom, and she turned to her companions. As an elf, her age was nearly impossible for them to ascertain, though she’d lived lifetimes longer than anyone she knew.
Well, all but Jaral, perhaps. She didn’t know his age, either, but if his tales were to be believed, she could assume he’d lived almost as long, if not longer.
“Please, just leave this to me. And try not to throw yourself under the horse for me unless you need to.” Anjasa licked over her ruby lips, her eyes lined in kohl, making her dark lashes seem even thicker. “How do I look?”
Luscius’ only delay was in admiring her beauty a moment before replying, “As stunning as the summer sun, madam.” His voice was filled with such velvety smoothness as he complimented her so. While he gave her his low bow, Iridessa remained upright, her mind keenly on business.
“I wish you had given me more time with you to practice statements, and your attire should be more professional,” she chided, never one to mince words, “but as you wish.” Her own hard gaze turned to one of the bailiffs at the side of the door and snapped, “Open up. This is Mistress Vilelight, here to stand before the tribunal and give testimony,” before turning over the summons document.
The two of the bailiffs went to work immediately after inspecting the letter, pulling open those immense doors to unveil the glass-domed hall within.
The three entered an ominous and foreboding chamber, ringed by curved bleachers, upon which sat two rows of the city’s most wealthy and prominent citizens, and at the center the Judge-Overseer for all of Normevor. Everything was cast in the eerie glow of the winter sun that filtered through the dark stained glass above.
One of the bailiffs went ahead, while another ushered her forward. The front most one called out in a bellowing, practiced voice, “A Miss Anjasa Vilelight to give testimony on criminal doings in the streets of Normevor.”
The carpeted marble floors led her to one of two podiums before the Judge-Overseer and the tribunal itself. At the occupied podium stood a tall, slender man wearing a crisp suit of navy blue, his dark hair lined with grey. She knew it had to be the prosecutor, but the grey surprised her. It was unusual for humans to age so very quickly.
The Judge-Overseer spoke up in his own low, gravelly voice, “These witnesses with you vouch for your identity, then?” He asked.
To which Luscius simply nodded and Iridessa replied, “Aye. T’is the lady herself.”
The prosecutor cleared his throat and spoke up, a confident smile upon his handsome, well-shaven face. “The prosecution affirms this is the lady in question.”
He’d seen her before? That tidbit did come as something of a surprise. Anjasa had been on the lookout for the man for some time.
“The Court recognizes the Lady Anjasa Vilelight. Take your place and be prepared to give testimony as per order of the court.” Clearing his throat, the old, white-haired judge banged the ceremonial mallet, carved from wood of an elven tree, long dead in the land of humans, representing a time when her own kin brought the knowledge of justice and order to the then-uncivilized brutes.
Anjasa slid to her assigned little area, her keen, elven eyes taking in her stuffy surroundings. This all reminded her too much of her elven home, of when she was banished for ‘willful neglect’ when she was with the Royal Investigators.
Throughout her lengthy life as a witch, as a spy, as a sex slave, and later a whore, never had she been so shamed and powerless as when she was stripped of her duties. Finally, she’d found a job where she could do what she was good at without having to evade the law. Unfortunately, it also required her to follow it, and her sexual hungers had gotten just too strong…
“Prosecutor General Amarkum, you may begin with questions,” the Judge-Overseer declared with a nod towards the dapper man in the tall black boots who was set upon taking her down.
It shook Anjasa back to the present, and she shut her previous failings out of her mind.
Those cold, blue eyes of Lord Amarkum turned toward her as he folded his hands behind his back. “The Court convenes this day to do more than ask questions, my lady,” he said, paying her recognition beyond her station, though by old custom all elves in the land were once treated as lords and ladies. This Prosecutor was courteous, she had to give him that at least.
“We are here,” he continued, obviously speaking from a rehearsed speech, “to bring to light the immense underground network of criminal organizations that you are not only linked to, but responsible for in this city. The webbing of your nefarious doings that stretched and bound the underbelly of Normevor from the footsteps of this very hall of justice and order, to beyond the walls itself, and into the slums of the outer city.”
In the audience of nobles and merchants among the Tribunal, Anjasa could see eyes widen and butts shift uncomfortably at the blunt manner in which the prosecutor tackled the issue. They were a people not used to such forwardness, but courtly and clever ways of dancing about the issue.
He didn’t stop there. “I have before me– and have presented to this Tribunal before your arrival–significant evidence and testimony as to the heinous nature of your dealings. How far your network of thugs and villains extends. How you have ordered and orchestrated the downfall of public officials, illicitly affected local competition to expand your legitimate business fronts beyond its legal confines, and even waged gang warfare in the streets!” His voice rose with such indignation that was clearly not faked. He was an ambitious man, but one with some scruples, it seemed.
“Already I have shown, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how one individual has come to control the economic affairs of this city to a greater extent than its council. How one lone woman has risen from the lowly rank of bawdy barroom whore to become the queen of a criminal organization that threatens the legitimacy of the true and rightful queen of this land!” His voice shook with anger at that, his face growing a bit flushed, though he never seemed about to lose control. He was a careful orator.
Turning his hard gaze upon her, she standing there in her silken dress as she slid her fur collar back so that Luscius could take her now-unneeded coat from her, the prosecutor tilted his head. “I shall not waste the court’s time on retreading my evidence again for the sake of your benefit, but know that every denial you have: I have a counter. Light to shed upon your falsehoods. So tell us, lady Vilelight…” he came to an end, sounding downright theatrical as he paced around his podium, tracing a hand along its carved stone surface, “shall you spare us all a long process and simply begin by naming the heads of your criminal syndicate under your command? In recognition of your kin and the justice they have done our people, we shall offer you a light sentencing if you aid us in the dismantling of your villainous empire.”
“Villainous?” Anjasa would not be cowed. No, when she was removed from duty, banished from her homelands and forced to run from those who blamed her for their ills, she felt remorse. Regret. Even fear.
But not here. Not in the human lands, where she had true power.
“I would argue that nothing I’ve done is villainous. In fact, I fancy myself a charitable woman, giving life and purpose to the wonderful people of this city who have welcomed me, an elf, openly into their lives. I provide them a reasonable salary for their legal work, which is handsomely taxed. I keep the rabble from your doorsteps by ensuring they’re not subject to poverty, and in the last two years since arriving in this beautiful city, I believe you’ll find that crime, especially violent crime, is at an all-time low.”
Anjasa’s speech wasn’t rehearsed, but it still sounded strong and composed. Her back was straight, and the inappropriate gown fluttered as she moved to look at the assembled crowd. “Indeed, I imagine you all should be thanking me for taking your poor and destitute and turning them into productive people who provide you with much demanded services. The rich have never been safer as when I provide such profitable employment to those that would otherwise be cast aside.”
There was a lot of uncomfortable shifting in the stands before her at that, the wealthy noble lords before her not much liking being brought directly into the limelight on the matter. The prosecutor himself didn’t let them stew long though before he responded.
“You fancy yourself a champion of the rich and the poor alike then, do you?” he challenged, brow raised as he folded his hands together upon the podium, returning to his initial position. “Then how do you explain the fact that you have seduced women from their family homes to work as whores? That you have put children to work as burglars and pickpockets against the wealthy of this city, the same ones you claim to serve the benefits of?”
“Seduced women from their lives as future brides, offering them independence and freedom to live their life in a safe environment? I’m sure that Iridessa, my manager, can attest to the fact that I do not employ whores who do not desire the job. In fact, most of the women seek me out. That’s why we are such a premium entertainment establishment for the upper class, and sought those so-called illegal expansions of our services into more convenient locations for our wealthy clientele.” Anjasa smiled, cordially, but behind her green eyes was pure desire to see them squirm a little.
She parried one of his accusations deftly, but the indignant look upon the prosecutor’s face showed she was convincing him not at all.
“You make great pretense towards doing a service to this city,” he bristled, spine stiff, “yet all your words are but thin veils of lies over the truth. How will you even pretend to defend the way in which you ousted an up and coming noble lord from this city nearly two years ago? Or the droves of dead bodies that turned up last year in the streets after what could only be the biggest and most savage gangland crackdown of this city’s history?!”
Anjasa brushed off his accusations with a wave of her hand. “All misunderstandings, I assure you. Trust me, the city is safe in my hands.” Her mouth spread in a wide grin and she fluttered her eyes at the Prosecutor. “Though I admit my curiosity as to where you have been spying on me.”
Even her ethereal beauty and charms had their limits, however, for the stubborn prosecutor did not flinch. He slammed his fists to the marble podium and said insistently, “This is not a game! For the crimes you stand accused, you face public hanging! Or worse! Royal law brooks no such criminal activities as yours, and if you do not cooperate you will face the worst the justice system has to offer!”
Fuming, he brushed a hand back over his sleek, black and grey hair, turning his once-more calm gaze upon her. “I ask you once again — nay, implore you, for the sake of sparing an elven lady’s life — will you name your chief underlings before this Tribunal and aid in the dismantling of the criminal underworld in Normevor or face the full force of the law? If you cooperate without hesitation or reservation, you may even walk away with a stipend to spend on your life in exile, with comfort and freedom at the least. I speak with the authority of the Crown itself on this matter, with full assurances as to the true queen’s sentencing upon a guilty verdict here.”
“Ah, exile,” Anjasa breathed out. She felt herself inwardly flinch at the word, but she forced herself to stand tall in the face of it. This time, she would not be running meekly into the dark.
“I am the beginning and end of my so-called organization, a legal brothel that employs dozens of underprivileged people who weren’t born into the wealth we see in this room. Perhaps it threatens you to know that the poor can rise up from the chains you place upon them and find their own measure of happiness? Or, worse still, perhaps you are feeling the pinch that an elven woman holds the key to the wealth of this fine city, so we best eliminate her. So please, rally your death squad and bring me into the public square so that I may say my final goodbye to those I’ve helped.”
Anjasa’s voice rose, “Let us see what happens to those so-called whores and burglars without me, and whom they turn their anger and vengeance upon!”
Her two companions stood behind her, proud and silent, their trust in her secure. They didn’t waste their time or energy trying to murmur other ideas for her defense in her pointed ears.
“Lovely words from a lovely woman,” chimed in the prosecutor as he lifted up his stack of parchment and held the thick stack for all to see. “However, as the Tribunal here is aware, your crimes are indefensible. Undeniable. We have countless witnesses and evidence that you have overseen a murderous criminal empire. Witnesses who have seen you head into street battle your very self even! Willful and bloodied.”
Amarkum let the thick stack drop to the podium with a noisy slap. “Your refutations might have taken an unprepared Tribunal unawares, but today your luck has run out.”
Turning confidently to the Judge-Overseer, prosecutor Amarkum proclaimed with certainty, “The Crown rests its case, Lord-Overseer, as the evidence stands apparent to all.”
The white-haired old man turned his gaze upon Anjasa again, the crowd of lords in the stands shifting uncomfortably. “Do you have any final words before the Tribunal reaches its judgment on your accusations?”
“I think that, once Lord Amarkum has finished brooding over losing his big case, he should come visit The Prancing Pixie and see some of our very fine women and men who can make all his sorrows disappear,” Anjasa said with an air of finality and confidence that dismayed some of the audience.
“You have the right to see each piece of evidence and testimony before you and take opportunity to refute them all,” the Judge reminded her, to which Anjasa could feel through some inner sense Iridessa bristling with eagerness to tell her to take.
Lord Amarkum spoke up. “All eighteen pieces of damming evidence and fifty two lead witnesses,” he chimed, a surprisingly hefty amount even for so large a proceeding.
“I have to get back to the club at dusk. I’m certain the evidence speaks for itself, sir,” she said to the judge, feeling a bit bristled at the mere pretense of showing him deference.
She didn’t need some special sense to detect Iridessa’s reaction to that statement, but the spirited human said nothing. She didn’t dare argue against her mistress in public.
The nobles in the stands all moved about anxiously too, and it wasn’t excitement at getting to leave without hearing all the evidence put before them again and then argued against. They were troubled by something else.
“Very well,” the old Judge grumbled, slamming down the mallet upon the marble before him. “We shall take a preliminary headcount of the Tribunal before settling in to deliberate,” he remarked, nodding to the bailiffs. “See to it, bailiffs.”
Anjasa had to give it to Lord Prosecutor Amarkum–he didn’t gloat, nor even look smug. He stood there confidently as the preliminary votes were tallied and counted from the Tribunal then handed to the judge.
An uncomfortable silence hung in the air as the old man counted then recounted them again. Clearing his throat he began to speak, then remembered himself and banged the mallet once more as per tradition.
“The… the vote stands unanimous,” he began, and lord Amarkum let slip a smile. “Miss Anjasa Vilelight,” the white-haired Judge-Overseer stated, unable to look her directly in the eye. “No further deliberation shall be needed by the Tribunal, lest one should speak up now as to change their mind…”
Silence hung in the air, only disturbed by the sound of expensive fabrics shifting upon marble seats in the stands.
“Very well,” he began again, “Miss Anjasa Vilelight, you are hereby relinquished from the authority of this Court. This assembly of lordly personages finds you innocent of all charges, and–”
“What?!” Lord Amarkum blurted, utterly shocked.
The old judge turned a hard glare upon him, “Quiet!” he commanded in a loud voice that seemed beyond the elderly man. “And all further investigations are hereby declared fruitless and without merit,” he asserted with a hammering of his mallet.
“How can that be possible?!” continued the wide-eyed prosecutor.
“Lord Amarkum, if you cannot keep your peace, you shall be held in contempt of this Court’s Authority,” the judge threatened before rising, bent over and enfeebled looking. “The Tribunal is adjourned with thanks for this service rendered. Go now with pride in having served the Realm.”
Behind her, Iridessa’s own eyes were nearly as wide as Amarkum’s, though Luscius wore a smug lopsided grin that showed none of the reservations the lordly prosecutor had when his whole case seemed assured. The dashing man held out her coat, “Shall we return, madam?” he asked with a cocked brow.
She accepted the warm garment and gave him a brief smile. Even though she knew the case was in her pocket, she didn’t feel smug about the win. A chance to flex her muscles and pontificate on the finer points of poverty to the wealthy she held in her palms was a mere errand. A distraction from her true passions.
“Thank you, Luscius,” she said as she patted Iridessa’s shoulder. “I trust I didn’t disappoint you?”
The beautiful redhead had quickly dropped her stunned expression and smiled at her knowingly. “I should have known better than to think this was ever in doubt, mistress,” she approved.
Though as Iridessa led the way, up came Lord Amarkum, striding towards Anjasa with burning questions in his eyes. Luscius stopped him immediately, halting the lord’s charge with a hand.
“How did you manage that?!” the disgruntled prosecutor demanded of her, holding a pile of useless evidence against his chest. “Every single one of them?! The judge didn’t even exercise his right to challenge that farce of a verdict!”
Anjasa felt pity for the man, but she quickly pushed it down. His hopes, his aspirations, his very faith may have been shattered by her, and all she could do was shrug her shoulders. “I help people, Lord Amarkum.”
Clenching a fist as he struggled against the strong defensive barrier of her watchful bodyguard Luscius, Amarkus said, “I’ll be taking this up with the judge again! He’ll have to exercise his rights of discretion in this case, or else… or else…” he struggled, either with what he would threaten the judge with, or his better judgment at whether he should tell her of it or not.
“Okay, handsome. You go do that. I’m sure the judge who just ruled in my favour after viewing all your evidence and hearing your opening statements will start to see your side of things. Everyone likes an upstart.” Anjasa looked up at him and her eyes gave no hint as to the inner workings of her mind. “But, should you speak with him and he convince you of the errors of your ways, I can arrange for a very pleasant evening for you at my establishment. And you can tell me where you first picked up this… strange obsession with punishing me.”
The innuendo was thick on her words before she gave him a disarming smile. “Thank you for your service to the Realm today.”
Luscius kept the man at bay as she strode off before finally following after.
“I won’t rest until I see your criminal organization done with!” he called after her as all the other bodies in the room filtered out, leaving him the sole one standing by.
With Iridessa at Anjasa’s side, she murmured to her quietly, “I take it we won’t need to worry about the old judge changing his mind then?”
“No, dear girl, we don’t.” Anjasa walked in silent reflection as they made their way to the exit. It had been more than a decade since she was banished from the elven homelands, but a decade passes in the blink of an eye for an elf. After centuries of living in a place, of always having a home to return to no matter how hard she strayed, it was difficult knowing she could never go back.
But she refused to let her past make her afraid of the future, and of making her life have meaning. Purpose. Beyond sex, beyond drugs, beyond profits, she wanted something that she could be proud of.
“Luscius, please make sure to alert all our people to Lord Amarkum’s vendetta and contact me immediately if he’s seen anywhere near our properties.”
“Of course, madam,” he said to her respectfully in that charming voice of his. “I have no idea how he snuck up on you unawares, but I shall redouble my efforts to keep you safe, I assure you.”
Anjasa licked over her plush lips, thoughtfully. “If you have an inkling of how or when he was spying on me, I’d care a great deal for that information. Who knows what he might have seen.”
Luscius nodded to her as he resumed his stoic watch at her side, just half a pace behind her. “I’ll do all I can to figure it out, m’lady.”
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