The Forbidden (Krewe of Hunters #34) - Heather Graham


Sunday night

Men watched women.

Women watched men.

He watched her.

Well, it was Bourbon Street. Most people were out for a good time. They were ready to flirt—perhaps take that flirting a step further. Everyone in a good mood. And if they weren’t in a good mood, there was plenty of alcohol available for them to be able to fake it.

He only had eyes for her.

He watched—the way she moved, the way she walked.

There was something dazzling about her eyes when she smiled; her lips were generous in a face created as if sculpted by the most artistic hand.

Her every breath was poetry, creating such thoughts in his head. Eyes like the deepest blue of the sky at the first fall of night, hair as ebony as the wings of a raven, skin as sweet and clear as the finest porcelain made...

He imagined her in his arms. Holding her, touching her. Seeing those amazing electric eyes as they stared into his.

Running his fingers down the exquisite length of her arms.

He thought of her, looking at him, when he was all she could see.

Then a smile touched his face.

She was with friends now, enjoying a beer in a place on Bourbon Street. The band was loud, performing a cover of a Journey song. They were all speaking in shouts, trying to be heard by one another over the music.

She was so animated. Artistry in motion. Of course, there were many like her, and he could wait, bide his time, enjoy others. But she was... Perfection.

Anticipation was everything. Waiting. Hoping. Fearing. Dreading. Praying.

Anticipation... How he loved it!

He watched her eyes now, so sparkling, so alive. In her, the eyes were the key to the soul, the essence, the vibrancy and incredible life within the woman.

And then he imagined those eyes again when she looked at him.

Anticipation. He had time. He would savor it.

He could see the beauty of those eyes...

When the light within them brightened. Not with excitement...

But with growing fear.

Then terror.


He would watch as the light went out of them.

Then, she would be his. Entirely his.


Monday morning


Lying on the tomb, Avalon Morgan could hear Boris Koslov’s comment, but she kept herself from smiling. Makeup artist Lauren Carlson—her friend from her days at college in Central Florida—had just finished touch-ups on Avalon as she lay on the tomb. Lauren was extraordinarily talented.

“Wow! Creepy.”



Those words came from a distance.

They were filming on Christy Island, and the heirs to the island—none of them with the surname Christy—had rented the island, the mansion and the cemetery to Boris for his movie. They had spoken almost in unison, though she thought it was Cara Holstein, probably standing with her husband, Gary, who had said, “Creepy.” Cara’s distant cousins—Julian Bennett and Kenneth Richard—had echoed one another’s “Beautiful” and “Wonderful!”

While Cara Holstein, Julian Bennett and Kenneth Richard were heirs to the estate, they barely knew each other. Their parents had been cousins and, as happened, busy lives had kept that generation from being close. Now, however, they were equal heirs to the estate of Nolan Christy, the grand old patriarch who had passed away two months ago at the age of eighty-nine.

Avalon smiled, happy the group was enjoying the making of the movie...and her appearance on the tomb.

Avalon knew her skin was pale to start with, but with Lauren’s artistic touch, she was beyond white, the perfect bride-to-be of the vampire king, Lucian LaCroix.

She also had long, naturally waving dark hair, and Lauren had lightly adjusted the waves to curls that fell around her face and down to the dusty tomb. Marks at her neck—discernible beneath the fall of her dark hair—were perfectly created puncture wounds, and a slender trail of blood extended just lightly beneath the marks.

In this movie, the vampires wasted very little blood.

“Yes! Beautiful,” Boris Koslov repeated. He was silent a minute and added softly, “Perfect.”

Avalon was certain Lauren was smiling. She kept her eyes closed, but she knew Lauren stood in the old graveyard next to the director of The Two Faces of the Vampire, and she was glad—low budget as this might be—that at least she was working on a film with a director who appreciated the work of his crew. Now, especially Lauren’s work.

Lauren wasn’t even supposed to be on set today. Cindy West, lead on the makeup crew, had been scheduled that morning. But she hadn’t shown up for her call time, and no one had been able to reach her. Lauren, always professional, as well as helpful to her friends, had rushed in when