Home > Gypsy Freak (All The Pretty Monsters #2)

Gypsy Freak (All The Pretty Monsters #2)
Author: Kristy Cunning

Prologue

Then…

ARION

Emit is toasting Damien as I walk in, all of them laughing at a joke they surely won’t share. I pull my chain, that bears my small, wooden cross, out of my shirt and let it hang in front of me as I approach, hoping the devil’s demons aren’t dwelling in this tavern and simply waiting for a weak, intoxicated soul to attach themselves to.

When I take a seat, Vancetto slaps me on the arm as he speaks Italian to some girl near us. Emit is speaking another language, one I vaguely recognize, as he claps the busty bar wench on her derriere.

“What have you found us, reverend? Must be important if you’re walking into this place just to seek us out,” Damien states with mocking undertones tinging his words.

“A perfect plot of land,” I say with a growing smile.

“Really?” Emit asks, his attention turning to me.

“It’s outside of Romania, has plenty of land for farming, a small but effective mountain at its back, and a rushing river that circles the majority of it. There’s plenty of room for all six families. We can start our own community, and we can defend ourselves.”

“Unless they send an army after us. I’m sure a horde of gypsies starting their own town would draw quick attention,” Vancetto states dismissively, winking over at the flattered Italian woman in an…immodest dress, who certainly isn’t his girlfriend.

“We can have a home,” I tell them seriously. “We could stop moving, stop finding each other in places like these, and settle down. With the way most of you look, we can hide the gypsy roots we have—”

“I’ll stop you there,” Vancetto says, smiling as he waves a turkey leg at me. “We’re no good at hiding who we are, which is why we stay on the move.”

I put my bible on the table, opening it, but Emit shuts it before I can read. “Don’t preach to us, reverend. Just tell us what you think.”

He gives me a pointed look.

“I think Victoria and I could marry and have children, a home, and a life if we start our own community. I think all of you could marry your beloveds instead of flirting with bar wenches and Italian women who work for the brothel just above this…filthy, unholy establishment,” I say, glancing warily at a corner where I think two people are involved in relations outside of wedlock…and certainly outside of the privacy of the bedroom.

My eyes quickly move away, and I hold my cross like it’ll protect me from the devil’s reaches until I get out of this place. A tremble of discomfort spreads up my spine when a fight breaks out on the other side, and a woman’s dress is ripped, as another man tosses her atop the dirty table. A rat scurries to get out of the way.

Emit nods slowly, as though he’s actually considering this, before reaching over and petting the wolf pup that has calmly sat at his feet this entire time. Even as pups, his animals are better trained than the wealth of common slobs that frequent these poorly establishments.

“My wolves could have their own land to roam, and I wouldn’t have to worry so much about hunters. This little fella is the next pack alpha. He’s Fang’s son,” he tells me like he’s making introductions.

I’m not sure why he treats wolves like men, but some people enjoy animals. I’m allergic.

As if cued, I sneeze twice, and Emit starts laughing as I dig out my handkerchief to sneeze into.

“A man with a hanky is a man with a target, Arion,” Vancetto says on a laughing breath. “It makes you look wealthy.”

“It was a gift from Victoria,” I tell him as I quickly tuck it back into my pocket, looking around in search of seedy eyes. “I need out of this hellish place. Find me at the second meeting place if you want to take this seriously. Because I’m starting this gypsy town. I hope I have the support of my best friends,” I state quickly as I stand and move toward the door.

Spew lands in front of me when a man retches, and I restrain a gag when some of it lands on my shoes that I spent hours shining to a mirror polish.

Without waiting for an encore performance, I step over the spew and hurriedly exit. As I reach the outside, I see stars just before I feel an explosion of pain on the right side of my face.

My head jerks hard to the left and my bible tumbles from my hands, as I collapse to the ground, dizzied and disoriented. The taste of copper invades my mouth as the blood leaks, dripping from my lips as the unsteady, sickening feeling of the hit keeps me downed.

Muffled laughter finds my ears as someone starts patting me down, and a single stream of blood continues to drip from my mouth.

“Thank you, preach. Now I can buy some ale,” someone with vile, contemptible breath states near my face.

The laughter ends abruptly, and suddenly one of those men are lying in a crumbled heap next to me, completely unconscious.

I’m hauled upright, still seeing some bits of double, as my bible gets pushed to my chest by Vancetto. He snarls at someone else, shaking his head.

“I’ll have to hunt you down if anyone else touches him,” he warns the surrounding group. “And a Van Helsing always finds what he hunts eventually,” he adds with a tone that chills even my bones.

I practically scramble away. A man of cloth is a man with little pride.

I still detest it when they pick these horrid meeting places, but all that will yield if they join me in creating this utopia I wish to build.

We can just live and die in peace, until it’s our time to go to our final resting place and walk alongside our brethren who’ve gone on before us.

Death won’t be something we fear any longer, because it’ll be a welcome peace once we’ve lived full, blessed, peaceful lives.

A man without a dream is a man with no soul.

Chapter 1

DAMIEN

Violet drops so unexpectedly that I barely have time to catch her head before she hits the ground. Exhaling heavily, I lift her and glare over my shoulder at Arion’s house.

He’s been unconscious for too fucking long, and he’s acting out, just as we knew he would. Yet now a very unique Portocale is in the mix, and he’s clearly off his rocker as much as ever.

“Were you taken or did you come of your own volition?” I ask as I listen to the faintest sounds of Vance shouting at Arion inside the fortified home.

Something shatters, and a loud crash accompanies a curse.

“Taken,” she says a little weakly as I continue listening in, hoping to hear Arion yelp in pain one good time. “Clearly,” she adds in an almost curt tone.

I hear the clanging of swords and feel confident Vance has it under control.

“Then why the hell would you kiss him before departure?” I bite out as I carry her to the van and put her in the passenger seat.

She limply bats my hands away as she buckles herself in and answers, “Because it’s the gypsy thing to do. You never knowingly disrespect a gypsy in their home.”

I want to throttle her right now for reciting old traditions that aren’t exactly rules to live by. Instead, I shut the door, listen to the swords still clanging, and debate calling Emit, since Violet certainly doesn’t need to be left alone. I sure as hell shouldn’t be left alone with her in my current state.

My heart is pounding. I’m a sexual deviant, not some good ol’ chap who knows how to exercise control when his motherfucking monster heart is beating.

I really hope she isn’t putting off a lot of pheromones the way she normally does around me.

If I call Emit, he’ll just get himself killed. It’s not fair that he’ll get a temporary reprieve from the hell Arion is sure to leave in his furious wake.

“I really hope you make him hurt worse than you hurt me this last time, Van Helsing!” I shout on frustrated breath as I make the decision to leave.

As I jerk the van door open and get seated, Violet just stares blankly at the house.

“You don’t have to follow any sort of gypsy code when the other gypsy is a psychotic vampire and has no pride and…kidnapped you,” I point out a little angrily, as I quickly drive us out of the long driveway and back onto the road.

“I’m sure that’s easier to believe if you’re a prideless gypsy,” she answers quietly. “Prideless gypsies have no code. Side note: You didn’t even blink at the amount of lifeless bodies.”

I have a moment of empathy for Emit when I have the unnatural urge to put my head through a wall.

“You’re infuriating and a hazard to yourself. You attract too much attention.”

“At least now I know why,” she says quietly, eyes still distant and vacant as she stares outside.

“I highly doubt that’s true,” I scoff, watching the rearview for any vampire followers.

“Now that I know you’re all a bunch of old-blood gypsies, it makes perfect sense. The prideless are always drawn to those with their gypsy pride still intact, and try to make them fall as well. At least that’s how the tale is told.”

I run a frustrated hand through my hair. “You certainly sound like a Portocale now,” I state a little bitterly.

“Good. Maybe I’ll survive all of you long enough for the fanatical lunatics of that cult to get their hands on me. Still, I got the good end of the deal, since I don’t have to cut ghosts down to salt in order to survive.”

“Your life sucks so hard sometimes,” Anna says from the backseat with her very abrupt entry. “Fill me in on what I’ve missed.”

Violet sighs as though she’s relieved to hear the annoying ghost, so I put the salt ball back in my pocket instead of tossing it over my shoulder.

“Gypsy vampire and gypsy Van Helsing are about to have a gypsy throw-down in the House of Arion—the big bad vampire who rose from the dead after I was tricked by—” The words halt on her tongue and she curses.

“By who?” I grind out.

“By Shera,” she states and looks out, frowning.

“Shera tricked you? How did she even know where he was buried or—”

“Shera tricked me, and that’s all I seem to really be able to say, for whatever reason,” she goes on as she sits up a little straighter, her brow furrowed.

“It wasn’t Shera. It was Grandma’s handmaiden!” Anna shouts.

“That’s not it either. I can’t really remember at this second who it was,” she goes on, seeming lost and confused.

The steering wheel tries to crumple under my tightening grip. “Arion has a way with words,” I state vaguely. That’s why the son of a bitch leaned down to her ear.

I thought he was just sniffing her hair the way I sometimes do. Discreetly, of course. She already thinks I’m creepy. It’s not a flattering term.

But she really does smell like those Portocale oranges, and I never would have placed the forgotten scent if not for Emit pointing it out.

They haven’t smelled that sweet in far too long.

“What do you mean?” she asks with an uneasy tone. “Why am I saying Shera tricked me?”

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