Reliant Service (The Colony #4)by Regina Morris
Vampire COLONY agent, Daniel Brighton, undergoes an identity crisis after being publicly shot while saving the President of the United States. After his fake funeral and altering his appearance, Daniel reluctantly accepts a sabbatical from his team to chaperone a young pop-star on a tour across Europe. She’s a struggling artist who knows nothing about the supernatural. Daniel realizes she is an undeveloped half-breed vampire and latent witch, with a dark past leading directly back to the presidential vampire team that can shake it to it’s very core.
Published May 12th 2015 by Smashwords Edition (first published September 8th 2014)
Series: The Colony #4
Daniel Brighton, a Vampire Body Guard is forced to take retirement, after a publicly taking a head-shot for the president. Takes up a job guarding a spoiled young star who will be touring Europe. He comes to find, this young star, has a staggering resemblance to the woman haunting his dreams. Lorelei is completely fixed on looking good to her fans. With her health failing, Daniel, is the only one who can save her.
A refreshing take on the vampire stereotype. Amazing pace, It'll keep you on the edge of your seat, and soaked in by the drama. The characters were so well developed that it made me question if the author actually knew people like this! Fantastic read. You have to read it for sure.
Daniel surveyed the huge crowd with a cautious eye. The number of onlookers had more than doubled over the last hour, and people were beginning to push against the rope–line that marked off the safety zone.
Fear gripped him, and his eyes widened as he took in the sight. Why couldn't people stand in an orderly fashion? Was there really a need to push against the crowd?
Concerned about a breach in security, Daniel noticed the posted agents being forced to hold back the bulging mass of people. The guards stood formidably, shoulder to shoulder, their riot shields posed and ready should anyone rush the line. Daniel suspected, even with this protection, that it still posed a threat. The President had just finished his speech at a public auditorium. Daniel’s job was to get him safely to the Beast, the presidential limo which securely waited near the kitchen dumpsters out back. A second limo, with its own agents, protected a decoy president at another exit.
From the corner of his eye, Daniel could see the Beast, but he remained steadfast in the crowd watching. The President would be safe once inside the car with its bulletproof glass, reinforced armor, and anti–terrorist safety features. Daniel counted off the President’s footsteps. Four more steps and the human would be safe.
With his acute hearing, Daniel could hear a gun cock and a bullet entering its chamber from off in the crowd. Fearing for the President’s life, Daniel sprang into action. He was unsure which direction the bullet would come from, but he did know the exact location of the President, and that’s all that mattered. Daniel pushed past the two human Secret Service agents nearest the Beast and stood directly behind the President, sandwiching the man between the opened car door and himself.
Daniel stood tall, holding out his arms to protect the Commander In Chief. His eyes squinted shut and he quickly muttered a prayer that not only the President would survive, but himself as well.
A bullet whistled past the outer line of defense and continued its deadly path. The hot lead missed its intended mark, but hit Daniel in the jaw where it traveled through his neck before lodging in his spine.
Just as Daniel picked up the scent of gunpowder in the wind, the crowd screamed. Agents quickly pulled their guns, surrounding the President.
Pain caused Daniel to cry out. His purple blood sprayed from the wound covering one of the nearby agents, the cement sidewalk, and the inside of the still open car door. Involuntarily, his head flung back, nearly snapping his neck.
From the corner of his eye, Daniel noticed a mass frenzy of black–suited agents jump the shooter as a second shot was fired. He licked his lips as the scent of human blood filled the air. He suspected the shooter to be under the mass of humans, safely secured—but, at what price? Was the shooter dead? Did the agents suffer a potential loss of one of their own today? Or even worse, did the bullet travel through the crowd and managed to hit the President after all?
Daniel's knees grew weak and he felt them buckle under his weight. He took a step backwards, away from the President. In the earbud com unit, he heard frantic orders for the Beast to leave. Evacuate. Keep the President safe.
Daniel stumbled, then righted himself. He turned and pushed President Harriman into the vehicle. An agent from within the Beast grabbed the President and pulled him further into the car. The sudden tug caused Daniel to lose his balance further. A Secret Service agent standing on the sidewalk covered with Daniel’s blood, roughly pushed him in after the President in a desperate attempt to close the still open limo door as quickly as possible.
Daniel's head hit the President’s knee and caused more searing pain. He slumped onto the floor of the Beast as it sped from the auditorium and entered the streets under police escort. Blood poured from his wound onto the President’s pants and soiled the floor. He watched as the blood pooled. Normally, he would have hidden his non–human blood color from the prying human eyes, or at the very least compel them not to notice it. But not today.
Today he needed to protect the President, and not die in the process.
Daniel didn't smell fresh blood inside the car, but knew a second bullet had been fired. He still needed to confirm the President's safety. Searing pain stabbed from his neck as he turned his head slightly to lay eyes on the man.
The President pulled himself into one of the seats. “I’m fine,” he repeated. The man’s face was white with fright and Daniel heard the man’s speeding heart rate.
Every human heartbeat in the car beckoned Daniel. His fangs pierced through his gums, extending to their full length, in response to the sound of the blood pounding through the veins of every human in the car. The prickling behind his eyes hit just before the ravenous hunger that always turned their blue depths to black. He needed to feed. Feed, or die.
A team member named Sulie sat closest to him. He struggled to meet her gaze. At seeing the change in his eye color, she would know his desperate need for blood. But she was preoccupied with the President and didn't look down to him.
The Beast careened around a corner, causing Daniel's body to shift on the floor of the car. He listened as the President continued to proclaim he was fine. Relief washed over Daniel and it felt as though a weight lifted from his chest. He had done his job. But if someone didn’t remove the President from within his reach, Harriman would be his next meal.
Sulie inspected the President and declared him healthy. She had been the President’s private physician for his entire tenure, just like she had been for all the presidents since Lincoln. She was another member of the COLONY, a covert team of vampires who have protected presidents for well over a century. She was also a vampire, just like Daniel. She moved from the President and sat next to her fallen team member on the floor. “Daniel,” she began, “I need you to look at me. Focus on me.”
He glanced up to her, feeling weak. Taking a deep breath, he fought to stay awake.
She gently shook him. “Stay with me old man.”
At the start of the day, Daniel had appeared to be in his late sixties, the age he would be today had he not been turned into a vampire. The blood pouring from his wound became darker and thicker, and he knew his body was growing older before the eyes of the President and all the agents in the car. In the moments since he had been shot, he guessed he had already aged ten years. “Please God,” he said to himself, “Let me heal.”
Sulie leaned over, sealing the bullet's entry point in his jaw with a lick, but Daniel knew the wound was bad. The determined, yet sad, expression on Sulie’s face told him as much.
“You can see his jawbone,” Brandon, the Colony Director, said as he moved from the back row of the limo closer to Daniel.
Daniel’s eyesight began to fade, but he looked over to Brandon. He was human. He had blood in his body. Blood that Daniel needed. Daniel knew he would have attacked Brandon to get what he needed, but his muscles felt like rubber and his breathing became more labored.
“It will heal,” Sulie insisted. “The bullet is lodged in him. It’ll work itself out soon.”
Daniel licked his lips as he mentally counted the number of syringes of human blood Brandon injected into him. He felt the red, human blood pouring out of his wound, and tears welled up in his eyes. For him to heal, the blood had to stay within him, not mix with the dark purple pool on the floor.
“We need more blood,” Sulie cried out.
Daniel succumbed to weakness, and he could no longer see. Brandon injected another syringe of blood into Daniel’s thigh. The hiss of the syringe was slight compared with the sound of Brandon’s beating heart.
Before he lost consciousness, Daniel managed to say, “I really loved my life.”
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