Twilight and all the characters belong to Stephanie Meyer.

Chapter 1

High Ideals

My name is Edward Cullen, by creation I am meant to be the world's most dangerous predator. Contrary to my nature, it's my life's ambition to rid the world of a certain breed of predators. There's an incalculable difference between them and myself.

I have a conscience.

Choosing to go against my base instincts hasn't always been easy, but I've never regretted that decision. Determinedly, I'm able to provide a valuable service. For, walking among the unsuspecting human race, there are, 'wolves in sheep's clothing.' Unique talents, enable me to seek out these wolves. I can read their thoughts. Telepathy is one of many gifts I acquired at the time of my change from mortal to immortal, almost a century ago.

There are others like me who are willing to avail their unique gifts for the betterment of society. Fortunately, an organization exists that appreciates particular talents, no questions asked. Thus, a distinct purpose is fulfilled, stopping the absolute dregs of society from committing crimes. Along with our allies, we aid in apprehending everything from rapists to serial killers, mobsters, and terrorists.

This entity deems it necessary to plant individuals who coordinate such undertakings. Gaining cooperation from law enforcement, branches of the military and foreign governments is essential. Behind the scenes and never publicly recognized, anonymity is crucial. Helping rid the world of at least some of its menaces is a reward in and of itself. I like to think of it as leveling the playing field, making the hunters the hunted.

I am on the trail of a specific miscreant, having been privy to his thoughts and memories, he revealed to me his repulsive desire to re-enact the crime he'd recently committed, exposing the evidence needed to convict him of rape and murder.

I continued to follow him as he entered the ArcLight Cinema, where he feigned interest in the film, while languidly searching the crowd for his next victim. Blocking out every other voice around me, I waited. Only a moment later, his eyes tracked a woman making her way towards the exit. His decision was made, he followed her from the crowded theater.

Outside, the young woman attempted to hail a taxi without success. I cursed to myself when I saw she was setting out to walk, playing straight into the abhorrent hands of the killer. His confidence sickened me, he was sure she would be worth the trouble she'd cause him. My reaction to his detestable imaginings was, not on my watch. If I have any say in the matter, this sicko's games are about to end. I will not allow this crime to happen. This innocent woman's life will not end today.

I will intervene on her behalf.

My first impression was, despite her petite frame, she possessed a physical bearing that commanded attention. Atop a long slender neck was a head full of dark hair, which framed her heart-shaped face. Her eyes were brown and her lips curved into a soft smile. As beautiful as she was, her appearance alone would not have been enough to cause the explosive reaction that occurred within me. What set her apart from any other human I had ever come across was her_ scent.

Vampires identify prey by blood scent alone, then store it forever.

Inextricably drawn closer, my superior control was betraying me. Instead of zoning in on the devil who was bent on slaying, I became fixated on the intended victim.

Fighting against my base instincts I tried to resist, but the victim's blood smelled so appetizing. Control developed over decades simply evaporated. In my immortal existence, I had never felt what I felt at that moment.

FEAR!

After all my years of abstaining, I feared I was beyond redemption.

Would this fragile looking human be my downfall? I had survived for almost a century without shedding human blood, but that was before I'd heard the siren song of her blood calling out to me.

I was under a spell. Unable to waver even though I would be breaking my own steadfast rule, never drink human blood!

Close behind, footsteps echoed off the sidewalk, overwhelming possessiveness urged me forward.

She's mine!

I wrapped myself around her and leaped to a nearby rooftop to a position where I could evaluate my surroundings. Landing in an abandoned alley, I made sure her back was against my chest, unwilling for her to see the horror of what was about to take place. She smelled so unbelievably good I wanted to devour her, but her unexpected warmth seeped through to me, momentarily usurping thirst with intense physical desire. While my hand was over her mouth to keep her from screaming, she twisted and turned trying to loosen my hold, which only incensed me further. With my arm wedged between her breasts, it made me even more conscious of her soft curves.

What I wouldn't give to see this beauty without clothes!

For a moment my thoughts shocked me. Long-buried human emotions were awakening and throwing me off guard.

While struggling to bring my concentration back to the present, I'd allowed her bucking to knock me against the brick wall behind me.

She must have felt my hold lighten, for she doubled her efforts, exerting herself so much that she became almost too still. That's when it finally registered I couldn't hear her thoughts.

Why couldn't I hear her thoughts?

Straightaway, my thirst became trumped by uneasiness. Never once had my gift failed me! How was she concealing her thoughts from me, had I accidentally smothered her? Picturing her lovely features reposed in death, caused my chest to ache. Relief flooded through me when I heard the blood rushing through her veins, as well as her pounding heart. Incredibly, the need for her blood became almost bearable.

I looked down at her.

Although exquisite, her alabaster skin did nothing to protect her or the vital blood coursing through her veins.

How could I be this close and not succumb?

Ambivalence wasn't part of my makeup. My blood-lust fought morality for control.