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Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1)
Author: Chloe Neill



Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

 

I owe a debt of gratitude to (at least) the following people:

Jessica and the staff at Penguin for a phone call I will always remember, and for taking a chance on a new author; Lucienne, my agent, for patiently reading would-be chapters and offering fabulous advice;

Melissa, for explaining the architecture of the University of Chicago’s English Department;

Jess and Jill, for being the guinea pigs in my writing experiment;

Jess and Jenny, for being fabulous shower hostesses;

Ryan, for reading the fight scenes and repeating the moves until I figured out how to write them;

My friends and colleagues, including Julie, Sandi, Anne, Amy, Heather, Tory, Matt, and Kevin, who read the draft, helped with the search for a title, and/or offered advice on contracting, history, character development, and editing (and who patiently listened to my incessant lectures on the virtue of vampires);

D.J., for information on weapons and tactics;

The Murphy family, for their hospitality, advice, and inspirational sarcasm;

Baxter, for keeping me company;

Nate, for making me smile more and laugh harder than I thought humanly possible; and

Dusan and Mom, for always believing in me.

 

 

Want to learn more about the vampires,

the Houses, the Canon, or Chloe?

Visit /chloeneill.

 

 

“It is better to be hated for what you are,

than to be loved for what you are not.”

 

 

—André Gide

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

THE CHANGE

 

 

Early April

Chicago, Illinois

 

 

At first, I wondered if it was karmic punishment. I’d sneered at the fancy vampires, and as some kind of cosmic retribution, I’d been made one. Vampire. Predator. Initiate into one of the oldest of the twelve vampire Houses in the United States.

And I wasn’t just one of them. I was one of the best.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me begin by telling you how I became a vampire, a story that starts weeks before my twenty-eighth birthday, the night I completed the transition. The night I awoke in the back of a limousine, three days after I’d been attacked walking across the University of Chicago campus.

I didn’t remember all the details of the attack. But I remembered enough to be thrilled to be alive. To be shocked to be alive.

In the back of the limousine, I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to unpack the memory of the attack. I’d heard footsteps, the sound muffled by dewy grass, before he grabbed me. I’d screamed and kicked, tried to fight my way out, but he pushed me down. He was preternaturally strong—supernaturally strong—and he bit my neck with a predatory ferocity that left little doubt about who he was. What he was.

Vampire.

But while he tore into skin and muscle, he didn’t drink; he didn’t have time. Without warning, he’d stopped and jumped away, running between buildings at the edge of the main quad.

My attacker temporarily vanquished, I’d raised a hand to the crux of my neck and shoulder, felt the sticky warmth. My vision was dimming, but I could see the wine-colored stain across my fingers clearly enough.

Then there was movement around me. Two men.

The men my attacker had been afraid of.

The first of them had sounded anxious. “He was fast. You’ll need to hurry, Liege.”

The second had been unerringly confident. “I’ll get it done.”

He pulled me up to my knees, and knelt behind me, a supportive arm around my waist. He wore cologne—soapy and clean.

I tried to move, to give some struggle, but I was fading.

“Be still.”

“She’s lovely.”

“Yes,” he agreed. He suckled the wound at my neck. I twitched again, and he stroked my hair. “Be still.”

 

 

I recalled very little of the next three days, of the genetic restructuring that transformed me into a vampire. Even now, I only carry a handful of memories. Deep-seated, dull pain—shocks of it that bowed my body. Numbing cold. Darkness. A pair of intensely green eyes.

In the limo, I felt for the scars that should have marred my neck and shoulders. The vampire that attacked me hadn’t taken a clean bite—he’d torn at the skin at my neck like a starved animal. But the skin was smooth. No scars. No bumps. No bandages. I pulled my hand away and stared at the clean pale skin—and the short nails, perfectly painted cherry red. The blood was gone—and I’d been manicured.

Staving off a wash of dizziness, I sat up. I was wearing different clothes. I’d been in jeans and a T-shirt. Now I wore a black cocktail dress, a sheath that fell to just below my knees, and three-inch-high black heels.

That made me a twenty-seven-year-old attack victim, clean and absurdly scar-free, wearing a cocktail dress that wasn’t mine. I knew, then and there, that they’d made me one of them.

The Chicagoland Vampires.

It had started eight months ago with a letter, a kind of vampire manifesto first published in the Sun-Times and Trib, then picked up by papers across the country. It was a coming-out, an announcement to the world of their existence. Some humans believed it a hoax, at least until the press conference that followed, in which three of them displayed their fangs. Human panic led to four days of riots in the Windy City and a run on water and canned goods sparked by public fear of a vampire apocalypse. The feds finally stepped in, ordering Congressional investigations, the hearings obsessively filmed and televised in order to pluck out every detail of the vampires’ existence. And even though they’d been the ones to step forward, the vamps were tight-lipped about those details—the fang bearing, blood drinking, and night walking the only facts the public could be sure about.

Eight months later, some humans were still afraid. Others were obsessed. With the lifestyle, with the lure of immortality, with the vampires themselves. In particular, with Celina Desaulniers, the glamorous Windy City she-vamp who’d apparently orchestrated the coming-out, and who’d made her debut during the first day of the Congressional hearings.

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