Blood Trial Supernatural Battle (Vampire Towers #1) - Kelly St. Clare
Groaning, I peeled my cheek off the damp ground in the alleyway. Being homeless was overrated. Most people who slept on the street probably didn’t have a choice. Kind of like me.
There was another option left to me, but I hadn’t wanted to explore Plan B without giving homelessness a try. For all I knew, it could have been the secret high life.
Not at all.
A pain stabbed in my temple—a result of the flickering lamp post down the end of the alley. Which explained why this godforsaken, slimy sliver of space between two concrete buildings was empty of other upstanding homeless citizens.
I held my head and sat, and a pulpy chunk of miscellaneous garbage peeled off my cheek. The soggy pulp fell onto my lap and I ignored it to better keep up the illusion it was newspaper in a past life. I’d started sitting up against the wall, jumping at every echoing scuffle, but at some point, I must’ve slid into oblivion—and the pile of garbage beside me. To say my life had taken a sudden turn would be an understatement.
Heiress to the largest fortune in Bluff City—and the seventh largest in the world—to pauper. Overnight.
Fists curling in my lap, I snapped my back into a straight line. I was a self-exiled heiress. I had my reasons for being here. Reasons that wouldn’t be shaken by a night on the cold, hard ground—or by miscellaneous pulp.
I reached over to grab my plaid and leather Elegance backpack, throwing the skinny straps over my shoulders as I stood.
“Time to get your shit sorted, Basi,” I said in a firm voice, dusting myself off.
Setting off for the end of the alley, I realised the massive hole in my plan.
Where did Tommy live? She was my Plan B.
Ugliness churned in my stomach as I searched left and right down the empty shopping street. I hated when my snobbish ignorance showed. It only ever hammered in the lonely fact that I wasn’t like everyone else. How the hell did normal people get around? Scrap that. I knew they got around with buses and trains and cars. The details of how those systems ran? No fucking clue.
My heart thumped and I swallowed down the hysteria creeping up my chest.
Think, Basi—you rich bitch.
I’d come here because the area was semi-familiar. Baroness Street, despite its misleading name, had only a few high-end boutique shops, but I’d visited them on occasion. There were far more run-down buildings and clothing chain stores around—so visiting here had always felt like a small rebellion. Which was also why I’d picked this place for my first night as a self-exiled heiress. Baroness Street felt somewhere between the life I’d left and the life I wanted.
A life that wasn’t planned for me. A life where I didn’t feel like part of a well-run, predetermined game that I had no control over.
The problem being that I didn’t actually get here by myself. I’d asked my chauffeur to drop me off a couple of blocks away.
The ugliness churning in my gut intensified, but I had to remember that I wouldn’t always be so ignorant of how real people lived.
I could only think of two options.
One, walk around aimlessly until I found a bus or train stop thing. I did have a small amount of pocket change on me.
Two, ask for help.
Considering the sun was just peeking over the tops of the concrete shops around me, finding a person to ask seemed unlikely. I rubbed my forehead, dislodging more miscellaneous pulp.
A tired smile graced my face.
There had to be a few around.
Hoisting my Elegance pack higher on my back, I set off down Baroness Street, peering into the grey depths of the narrow gaps between buildings. I ignored the alleys with flickering lamp posts at the ends. Even I knew to avoid those.
I struck gold near the corner of Baroness and King Street. A man with a shaved head and black hoodie was there.
“Excuse me,” I called, waving when he jumped and whirled.
Stepping into the shadowed alley, I approached the tall man.
He darted his eyes to my left cheek, and then to our surroundings. His eyes were wide and bloodshot. Bad sleep?
But why did he keep licking his lips?
I hoped sleeping on the streets was just thirsty work, but I kept ample distance between us in case he was a psychopath.
“Hey,” I said brightly. “I don’t suppose you could help me with directions?”
He peered over my shoulder. “You’re alone?”
Scariness intensifying. “Sure am.” I