Wickedly They Dance Page 1

Author: May Sage

Series: After Darkness Falls #3

Genres: Vampire , Fantasy

Moonlight Stroll

Curiosity killed the cat. No one said anything about it hurting a wolf.

Avani wasn’t perfect by a long shot, but none of her failings were considered a problem among the Elder Pack of the Oldcrest Wolvswoods—none except for her burning need to know what was going on, to explain things to herself. That, they couldn’t understand. The wolves obeyed commands from their superiors and questioned nothing.

She always questioned everything.

Which was why she was out of bed on Sunday evening at the witching hour, inching toward the edge of the woods, her bare feet silent as she moved like a shadow. Like a predator.

She’d been awoken by a strange tugging at the edge of her mind; her mother used to call it instinct. Avani had started to wonder whether there was something more to it, because whenever she felt that pull and answered it, something out of the ordinary disrupted her routine, good or bad. Maybe there had been a seer somewhere in her bloodline. She wouldn’t know.

Now that she’d gotten out of pack territory, she noticed a distinctive heady scent in the air—blood. Human blood and something else underneath. Magic. A paranormal creature was bleeding. That was nothing to write home about here, in the hidden territory concealing the hill from which the vampire royalty had once ruled the world, also home to the well-known Institute of Supernatural Studies. Here, blood was on the school supply list, and served warm in the cafeteria.

But something felt wrong.

Then she saw it—him. A man walking aimlessly, as if he was drunk. No, that wasn’t it. Avani had seen many a drunkard in her life. This felt even more unsteady; he advanced without conscious volition, like she imagined a ghost would, or a puppet pulled by strings she couldn’t see.

His steps were tottering and he tripped every time his feet hit a vaguely uneven surface on the old sand road leading from the Scottish Highland train line to Night Hill. Frowning, Avani focused on the man. From a distance, her wolf eyes could see that his gaze was glazed over, unfocused.

Something was wrong.

She didn’t know him, but one sniff and she identified him as two things. Firstly, a resident of Oldcrest. She’d smelled him before, and he didn’t register as a stranger or a threat. And also, a huntsman. He had that strange not-quite-mortal flavor, a spice that rendered him less dull than the bulk of humanity.

And more appetizing.

The wolves who claimed they never felt the desire to sink their teeth into flesh were bullshitting. Or maybe they were just a lot less feral than Avani and the rest of her clan. To her, people smelled like a snack, unless they were pack.

Especially when they were bleeding openly like this guy.

Her eyes went up the silent hill. It was strange that no one else had come yet; the scent of blood should have gotten the vampires’ attention by now. Then again, the residents of Oldcrest who didn’t don a fur coat every now and then had had an eventful few hours; there had been a battle at the border. A serious one. Avani had watched from the woods, dying to join the melee, if only to run as a wolf and get to bite actual people. But the alpha had ordered all members of the pack to stay away, and the alpha’s word was law.

Draiden had said nothing about this guy though. Avani knew that if the alpha had known about a zombie huntsman wandering at night, he would have expressly forbidden all of them to interact. In this case, the absence of directives was all the permission she needed. She couldn’t control it—after a glance encompassing Night Hill and the woods, she ignored the little voice in the back of her head whispering that it was a bad idea, and stepped out of the shadow.

“Hey, are you okay?”

He wasn’t. He was as far from okay as anyone could be. Now that she was closer, she could see dribble around his mouth, and he muttered to himself, repeating the same thing over and over again, gibberish Avani couldn’t understand.

“Do you need help?”

If her pack heard her, they might kill her for this. Literally. They didn’t offer help to anyone, huntsmen most of all.

The Elder Pack’s only concern was fellow pureblood werewolves. The rest of the world were enemies. Humans, vampires, and witches had proved that over and over again. Within her lifetime, Avani had been hunted, imprisoned, tortured, and she’d seen her only parent killed. Why? Because they were different.


She should have little empathy and no compassion by now, like the rest of her pack.

In that, she often failed. Avani lived by a simple code. People were fine until they hurt her. Then they were prey.

That dude didn’t look like he was in a state to hurt anyone.


More gibberish. He sounded like the old priest who’d tried to exorcise her wolf back when she’d been a kid. Then it hit her. It wasn’t gibberish; it was Latin. She caught certain words. Sangui. Dominus. Regina.

That sounded important. The sort of thing that he should be telling someone on the hill, not her.

She sighed. “Come on. Let’s get you up there so your friends can make sense of your mess.”

The poor guy had clearly been hexed. If she was to hazard a guess, he’d probably been sent somewhere to kill a malevolent witch who’d gotten the best of him.

Come to think of it, should she help him? Huntsmen killed paranormal creatures. That was literally their one vocation: getting rid of sups who got out of line. And Avani did get out of line. Frequently.

There were many types of shifters, but whether they donned feathers, scales, or fur, there was only one true difference. Some of them came from a human line—shifters whose forebears were turned into shifters by a member of a First Blood family. And others were born from the very first shifters of their races. Whether they realized it or not, that was the only distinction that mattered. They either were hybrids tempered by weak mortal blood or savages.

The pack of brutal inbred wolves in Oldcrest was the latter.

At the beginning, there had been three wolf shifters: a red wolf and a gray wolf and a white wolf. The red and white lines were killed off thousands of years ago, only leaving one First Blood werewolf line. Fenrir, or Knox—he’d adopted many names over his long immortal years. These days he went by The Wolf.

He was the only pureblood, the only real monster among wolves, but her pack was as close as anyone else could be. Their lines had been directly turned by Fenrir himself, and they’d only mixed with others of the purest wolf blood, which translated into a group of unstable psychos who attacked first, asked questions later.

Avani differed from the others in many ways. She hadn’t been born here, she wasn’t part of their messed-up family tree where their cousins were their uncles and grandfathers. But in one thing, she was just like the rest of them. She was about one hair short of crazy.

At least she admitted it. The huntsmen acted all high and mighty, like they only hunted down her kind for the greater good. Yeah, right. They liked killing, just like most sups. Whether they acknowledged it or not, the source of their bloodlust was the drop of vampire blood in their veins.

Dribble Dude was the enemy.

But he was a pretty pathetic one at that. She sighed again and put her arms around his torso, half carrying him to speed up his pace so they reached Night Hill faster. His blood dripped all over her favorite PJs. Great.

If she was killed by her pack because of that dude, she’d come back and hunt the shit out of him, his family, and his dog.

Sometimes, being the nice one sucked.


The problem with undergraduates was that pretty as they were, they didn’t have nearly enough experience to be good fun, but as Alexius taught a post-grad class, he didn’t have much choice. He drew the line at touching his own students. It was fucking undergrads, cleaning staff, Adairford residents, or going celibate.

Celibacy wasn’t an option. He screwed everything else.

“Oh yes, please, yes.”

He yawned as the bottle-blonde twenty-two-year-old bounced up and down his shaft, head thrown back, screaming like the house was on fire or something.

Jesus, what was it with screamers?

Needing this disaster to end, he took matters into his own hands, cupping her ass and flipping her on the bed, then turning her so she was on her hands and knees. He lifted her hips and plunged right back inside her, setting his rhythm—a lot deeper and faster than she would have managed. Now the screams were two octaves lower and a lot less fake. He grinned, pulling her arms up until her torso was plastered against his. Then Alexius dropped his lips on the side of her neck.

“May I, pretty thing?”

He couldn’t remember her name. Laura. Lana? Something that started with an L anyway.

She gasped out loud. Alexius extended his fangs and ran them along her skin, his right hand caressing her shoulder down to her arm, hand, then circling around her clit.

“You’re going to love it,” he promised.

He meant it, she would. Because he’d use ice magic—his affinity—to numb the pain as his fangs entered her, and he’d display his skills with his hand and mouth to make up for the rest.

Feeding wasn’t sexy. Not between strangers, a nameless fuck he didn’t care about. It was carnal. A desire he couldn’t escape. Thankfully, thanks to romance novels, mortal women were open to the experience. And as long as the vampire was careful, a little pain could do wonders for the libido. He knew—he’d let his ex bite him a time or a thousand.

Viola Wild had been as crazy as her name suggested. But their coupling had been intimate. This was just sex. Sex and blood.

“Yes,” the girl mouthed.

She wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass; she could brag to her friends that she’d screwed Professor Helsing and let him bite her, too. That would give her a celebrity status among her peers for a while. A month, at least. Until he took someone else to his bed.

Alexius did well enough on blood bags. Some vampires couldn’t live on synthetic alone; he technically could. He simply liked to indulge in the real thing every once in a while. One time per month at most, and with a different girl each time, to ensure neither he nor they turned it into more than what it was. A kink. School holidays taken into consideration, he fucked about ten girls per year. As there were about two hundred undergrads in the Institute, who typically stayed three years—five at most—at least a hundred and fifty girls per class never saw his cock. Once they worked on their masters, he wasn’t interested, even if they didn’t take his classes. He had boundaries. Weird, self-imposed boundaries, but still.

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