Home > Turned (The Vampire Journals #1)(14)

Turned (The Vampire Journals #1)(14)
Author: Morgan Rice

She raised her palm and shoved it into the first doorway she found, and it opened with one blow. It was a private dressing room.

Sitting before a mirror, admiring himself, was Sergei. The singer. This must be his backstage dressing area. Somehow, she had arrived back here.

He stood, annoyed.

“I am sorry, but no autographs right now,” he snapped. “The security guards should have told you. This is my private time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to prepare.”

With a guttural roar, Caitlin leapt right for his throat, sinking her teeth in deeply.

He screamed. But it was too late.

Her teeth sank deep into his veins. She drank. She felt his blood rushing through her veins, felt her craving begin to be satisfied. It was exactly what she’d needed. And she could not have waited a second more.

Sergei slumped, unconscious, into his chair, Caitlin leaned back, face covered in blood, and smiled. She had discovered a new taste. And nothing would stand in her way of it again.

Chapter Seven

New York Homicide detective Grace O’Reilly opened the doors to Carnegie Hall and knew right away that it was going to be bad. She had seen the press out of control before, but never anything like this. Reporters were 10 deep, and unusually aggressive.

“Detective!”

They screamed for her repeatedly as she entered, the room filling with flashes.

As Grace and her detectives cut through the lobby, the reporters barely give an inch. At 40, muscular and hardened, with short black and hair and matching eyes, Grace was tough, and used to pushing her way through. But this time, it was not easy. The reporters knew it was a huge story, and they weren’t going to give. This was going to make life much harder.

A young, international star murdered at the height of his fame and power. Right in the middle of Carnegie Hall and right in the middle of his American debut. The press had been here regardless, ready to cover the debut. Without even the slightest hiccup, the news of this performance was going to splash across the newspaper pages in every country in the world. If he had merely tripped, or fell, or sprained his ankle, the story would have been bumped up to Page 1.

And now this. Murdered. In the middle of his goddamn performance. Right in the hall where he sang just minutes before. It was just too much. The press had grabbed this one by the throat and they would not let it go.

Several reporters shoved microphones into her face.

“Detective Grant! There are reports that Sergei was killed by a wild animal. Is that true?”

She ignored them as she elbowed her way past.

“Why wasn’t there better security inside of Carnegie Hall, detective?” asked another reporter.

Another reporter yelled, “There are reports that this was a serial killer. They’re dubbing him the ‘Beethoven Butcher.’ Do you have any comment?”

As she reached the back of the room, she turned and faced them.

The crowd grew silent.

“Beethoven Butcher?” she repeated. “Can’t they do better than that?”

Before they could ask another question, she abruptly exited the room.

Grace wound her way up the back staircase of Carnegie Hall, flanked by her detectives, who kept feeding her information as she went. The truth was, she was barely listening. She was tired. She had just turned 40 last week, and she knew she shouldn’t be this tired. But the long, March nights had gotten to her, and she needed some rest. This was the third murder this month, not counting the suicides. She wanted warm weather, some greenery, some soft sand beneath her feet. She wanted a place where no one murdered anyone, where they didn’t even think of suicide. She wanted a different life.

She checked her watch as she entered the corridor leading to backstage. 1 A.M.. Without having to look, she could already tell the crime scene was soiled. Why hadn’t they called her here earlier?

She should have married, like her mother told her to, at 30. She’d had someone. He wasn’t perfect, but he could have done. But she had held onto her career, like her father. It was what she thought her father wanted. Now her father was dead, and she never really found out what he wanted. And she was tired. And alone.

“No witnesses,” snapped one of the detectives walking beside her. “Forensics say it happened sometime between 10:15 and 10:28 P.M. Not much signs of a struggle.”

Grace didn’t like this crime scene. There were way too many people involved, already and too many people had gotten here before her. Every move she made would be on display. And no matter what great investigative work she did, the credit would end up being stolen by someone else. There were just too many departments involved, which meant too much politics.

She finally brushed past the rest of the reporters, and entered the taped off area, reserved for only the elite officers. As she headed down the next hallway, things finally quieted down. She could think again.

The door to his dressing room stood slightly ajar. She reached up, donned a latex glove, and gently nudged it open the rest of the way.

She had seen it all in her 20 years as a cop. She’d seen people murdered in just about every possible way, even ways she could not have come up with in her worst nightmares. But she had never seen anything like this.

Not because it was particularly bloody. Not because some horrific violence had taken place. It was something else. Something surreal. It was too quiet. Everything was in perfect place. Except, of course, for the body. He sat slumped backwards in his chair, his neck exposed. And there, under the light, were two perfect holes, right in his jugular vein.

No blood. No signs of struggle. No torn clothing. Nothing else out of place. It was as if a bat had descended, sucked his blood perfectly clean, then flew away, without touching anything else. It was eerie. And outright terrifying. If his skin hadn’t turned completely white, she would have thought he was still alive, just taking a nap. She even felt tempted to go over and feel his pulse. But she knew that would be stupid.

Sergei Rakov. He was young. And from what she’d heard, he’d been an arrogant prick. Could he already have had enemies?

What in hell could have done this? She wondered. An animal? A person? A new sort of weapon? Or had he done it to himself?

“The angle of attack rules out suicide,” Detective Ramos said, standing at her side with his notepad and, as always, reading her mind.

“I want everything you have on him,” she said. “I want to know who he owed money to. I want to know who his enemies were—I want to know his ex-girlfriends, his future wives. I want it all. He may have pissed the wrong people off.”

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