"I only ran to avoid killing you." Edward and Isabella sat together on the edge of the charred dais.

"You came back for me?"

She smiled, and he no longer found it frightening. He could see every fine pore on her angel's face. "I knew biting you and leaving would start the process of changing you into a vampire. I didn't mean to be gone long enough for them to tie you to the stake."

"What was the screaming?"

"I killed anyone who tried to stop me." She smoothed his hair away from his forehead. "You must be thirsty."

His hand went to his throat. There was a dry burn in his esophagus. "How will I . . . drink?"

When she smiled that time, it was pure evil. "It'll come naturally, I promise. Perhaps Jacob Black as an appetizer?"

Edward realized the idea had merit. "You mustn't let me kill the baker and his wife. He gave me food when I was starving and homeless."

Isabella rested a palm on his cheek. She no longer felt cold against his skin, but he noticed the angry burns on her wrist. "Isabella?"

She pulled her sleeve down to cover her hand. "I couldn't very well let you burn alive, now could I?"

He leaned forward and touched her lips with his. The bond between them seemed to throb. "The blazing fire in my throat is the only thing preventing me from figuring out what this feeling is between us."

She stood, fluidly and rapidly. "Let me show you the all-you-can-eat buffet."

He flashed a quick grin. He felt invincible. Following his mate to the dungeon, he noticed the town was empty and silent. "What did you do?"

"Oh, I collected them for you. They're all locked up down here, except those that got in my way."

"Oh."

"You were on fire, Edward. Your feet, your hands, and your clothing. I had to run and retreat several times in order to untie you without going up in flames myself. Some of them tried to get in my way." She shrugged. "I needed extra blood to heal from the burns anyway. I locked them up and sat with you while you transformed."

As they went lower, the smells changed from damp earth to rusty blood. It smelled warm. He never knew that was possible. It rushed through their bodies frantically and he was amazed that he could hear it. He licked his lips.

"The women and children are in the church. They'll all be widowed before the day is done. Hopefully they can rebuild a society that is better than this one." She ran her fingernails along the stone walls, laughing at the screeching sound it made. The men in the cells shifted uneasily. "Who here goes by the name of Tyler?"

There was a commotion as someone pushed and shoved the baker to the front, assuming he was to be first. The man stood with his head held high, his hands clutching the iron bars.

"I'm Tyler." He looked at his friend, seeing crimson eyes and pale, dead skin. He shuddered.

Isabella narrowed her eyes lethally at the pusher. Once she was satisfied he'd wet himself, she turned to the baker. "You may join your wife and any offspring she has begotten you. They're hiding in the church, so don't let your approach scare them to death. I suppose you are in charge of everything now. Huzzah."

She pulled on the lock until it crumbled and the door creaked open. Tyler stood very still.

"Go on, he's vouched for you. Don't give me a reason to change my mind."

He scurried past them, his eyes darting around to the other men. He swallowed past the huge lump in his throat and thanked God he'd been spared.

"Shall we begin?" Isabella asked Edward.

He grinned, not realizing that he looked as demonic as she. "Yes, let's."

The echoes of terror-filled screaming followed Tyler as he ran as fast as he could toward the sanctuary of the church. His was a tale not soon forgotten.

The End


Thank you to Kimmie45, starsmina, and NKubie for helping me out with this.


Thank you for reading! I don't have any plans to expand this, but I never say never. It depends solely on what's talking to me. Just ask anyone still waiting for the Ex Delicto sequel.

I'm fiddling with a Christmas one-shot that is tentatively titled Naughty or Nice. I don't have a solid idea of when it'll post, just that it will appear in December. You'll have to watch my FB group for info on that- link is on my profile.

Depressed over thinking she'll be fired before the holidays, Bella decides to get drunk at the company party. Woken by Rose texting her to look at Facebook posts from the night before, she realizes exactly how drunk she got-and it's bad. She and Santa were very naughty, but the worst comes when Bella realizes exactly who was playing Santa.


My reworked fanfic Jack and Crush was published this month! You can find it in the Amazon store by searching my name, Lara Norman, and/or Jack and Crush. I have an author page on FB that is linked on my profile. I post other books as well as some different pictures and funny stuff. Much love to all of you that have already purchased it.