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KIERA CAPTURED

Your name will be substituted, along with your chosen hero's name and your hair color and your eye color!

CHAPTER 1


A scream startled Kiera awake. She jerked upright with a gasp, hitting her head on something solid. She winced as pain radiated down her neck. What the hell? Where was she and what was going on? The dim light revealed shadowy shapes moving in short, jerky motions. Sobs filled her ears. People, she realized—the shapes were people. 

Her heart raced as she squinted to see better. Was this real? Sweat gathered on her palms despite the cool temperature. She struggled to stand as more screams echoed around her. Something cold and hard held her in place. A sharp pain bit into her wrists. 

Chains. 

Fear crawled up her spine. Was she in some kind of bizarre horror show prank? This couldn’t be real. Fumbling around, she found she was not only chained, but hooked somehow to a tall metal pole. The sounds from the others grew louder as the fog in her brain receded. Metal clanked and rattled. Feet stomped. Screams and sobs intermingled with a noisy mechanical roar, creating a hellish, terrifying song. 

If the others were in on it, they were superb actors. Throat dry and knees shaky, Kiera glanced around and tried to piece together the events that had led her to this. Images flashed in her mind. Mid-term exams. Her dorm mate’s friend hitting on her for the umpteenth time. There had been a care package from her parents waiting for her. Why couldn’t she remember anything past that? 

She shivered as a blast of cool air filled the room. The loud humming, she realized was coming from all around them. A small round window caught her eye.  She tried to shuffle closer as much as the chains would let her. The darkening night sky greeted her. 

A plane. She was in an airplane—an airplane! There was no way this was some joke. This was real. 

Fighting the urge to vomit, Kiera stumbled back, nearly hitting the pole again.

She tugged at the chains that held her in place. “No. No. This is not happening.” 

Someone screamed beside her, the sound piercing and hair splitting. 

“Will you please shut up!” a feminine voice snapped. “There’s no one coming to help us. We’re on a fucking plane. Save the screaming for when someone can actually hear you.” 

“You don’t have to be so mean about it,” another voice cut in. “She’s terrified.” 

A scoffing sound came from the first speaker. “We all are. As we should be. It’s obvious we’ve all been taken and it’s only a matter of time before our captors show themselves.”

Captors. Taken. Was that what this was then? Were they all being…trafficked?

A fresh wave of panic hit Kiera. Whimpers and sobs broke out among the others, adding to her fear. She’d read and heard of things like this happening to people, but not like this. Snatching women right off the street and in broad daylight? Kiera didn’t know about the rest of them, but she had friends and family who would miss her. Who would look for her. Hope flickered at the thought. Yes, she knew her loved ones wouldn’t give up. They would find her. She just needed to survive until they did.

Feeling more confident, Kiera turned to the girl near her. “Do you know who they are? Our kidnappers, I mean?” 

The girl didn’t look much older than her, but she didn’t look like anyone Kiera had seen on campus. At least not from the faint features she could make out in the dim light.

“The guys who grabbed me were wearing ski masks. I couldn’t see a thing. You?”

Kiera wracked her brain, head pounding as she tried to piece the events together. There was a gap between walking to her dorm and waking up on the plane. Who knew how long she’d been out or what they’d done to her while she’d been unconscious? Her stomach turned at the thought. 

“Can’t remember?” the girl’s voice softened.

Kiera shook her head.

“Maybe they double dosed you.”

A shudder ran through Kiera. Is that why she couldn’t remember the abduction and why her body felt so sluggish? Was she drugged? Terror wound inside of her as a million horrific scenarios played in her mind. She was being trafficked and possibly on the path of becoming a helpless addict.

“I’m Malia by the way.” The girl’s clear voice cut through her thoughts.

“I’m Kiera.”

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

Before she could respond, the plane dipped, making Kiera’s stomach flip flop. Screams and whimpers echoed through the cargo hold as they dropped again. Not having belts or proper seats, everyone was tossed around. 

Kiera’s chains tugged at her wrists, holding her in place. She winced. Why couldn’t they have made them more secure? Didn’t they care if they captives arrived bruised and beat up? Nausea rolled through her. Maybe they didn’t. Whatever fate was waiting for them when they landed could only be worse.

She braced herself once more as the plane flew lower and lower. The sudden reality of their situation weighed heavy in the air. A few whimpers came from the back and the roar of the engines filled the cabin. This was it.

“Well, we’re about to find out now, aren’t we, Kiera?” Malia’s bitter voice was muffled by the others.

Kiera held her breath as the plane evened out and landed with a reverberating thud. Sobs broke out and the screaming started once again. Ice snaked its way up Kiera’s spine. There was no time to plan an escape or strategy with the others. She’d barely had time to register what was happening and now…

Harsh, masculine voices echoed beyond the metal walls. Behind the chained women, the door opened and moonlight streamed in. The overhead lights blinked on, bathing them in bright yellow. Cold air swirled around, making Kiera shiver. Even in her jeans and tee, she felt exposed. 

Men and women arrived, tall, and fit with sharp eyes. They spread out among the prisoners and studied them carefully. Like they were shopping for meat. Their harsh faces and cold gazes chilled Kiera to the core. There would be no mercy here. These people were all business and they were well organized, which meant they’d probably been doing this for a while.

Her heart sank. Any chance of slipping past and finding help vanished. One of the men approached their section and her body tightened, her heart sped up. 

No. Please.

His lips spread into a cruel smile as he stared at the first girl, revealing elongated canines almost like…fangs?

A fresh wave of icy fear swept over her. Vampires?

A nervous laugh escaped her. “No. I must be seeing things. Vampires are just a myth.”

Malia’s head snapped toward her. “Oh, no. They’re real. Very real.”

Metal clanked as the girl shifted closer. Kiera glanced at the captors nearby who were unchaining the other prisoners and herding them toward the exit.

“There are a lot of them, too, living among us. And it’s not like in the movies or books. They can walk around in the daytime just like us.”

“How do you know all of this?” 

Malia shuffled nearer, keeping her voice hushed. “I saw one. Feeding on my friend. I tried to tell the police, but no one believes a street junkie. That’s why they came for me. I saw too much.”

Kiera shivered. “Do you think…that’s why they took us? To feed on us?”

She could barely believe she was asking that. The kidnapping, the plane, the vampires—everything still felt surreal. Maybe it was the drugs still running through her system. 

“They selected us for something. I don’t know what exactly, but I’m sure we won’t like it,” came Malia’s reply.

Before Kiera could ask any more questions, the vampire guards turned their way. Her heart leapt into her throat as she tried to recoil, only to find she couldn’t. Still in shock from their impossible existence, she skittered back as they approached. Their closeness sent chills racing up her spine. Her first instinct was to run or hide, but there was nowhere to go. 

They took Malia first. Kiera watched helplessly as the girl fell silent and let them lead her away. Unlike some of the others, she didn’t fight or scream or cry. Her quiet resignation to their fate scared Kiera more than anything. 

They couldn’t give up just like that. There had to be a way out. 

Without a word, one of the vampires grabbed Kiera’s wrist and ripped the chains off. Metal fell to the ground, the sound echoing and jarring. She shuddered. No wonder they didn’t have guns. They didn’t need them. 

She gasped as they pulled her forward and ushered her to follow the others. 

“Where are you taking us? What do you want with us?” 

They ignored her questions and shoved her toward the exit. Her legs were stiff and shaky as she walked through the open door. Warm, salty sea air assaulted her, and Kiera drew in an involuntary breath. There was a hint of jasmine and another scent she couldn’t make out. In the moonlight, everything looked as surreal as it felt. Shadowy clusters of trees and shrubs covered the land, and in the distance, a giant castle rose above the forests. 

Kiera froze. A castle. What was this place?

“It’s an island. They’ve brought us to fucking vampire island.” Malia’s voice caught her attention.

Kiera glanced back to see that she was right. Water surrounded them. 

“There has to be a way out,” Kiera whispered desperately. “Another way off. We have to find a way to escape.”

Some of the other girls nodded in agreement though their wide eyes and trembling bodies revealed their terror. Kiera looked around at the group, her eyes meeting Malia’s.

She couldn’t be sure, but she thought she could see a flare of hope in the girl’s gaze. Maybe she hadn’t given up completely. If they could all stick together and come up with a plan, surely, they had a chance at escape? 

“Welcome, drudges.” A deep voice thundered above the whimpering and sniffles.

Everyone turned to the speaker. A tall, broad-shouldered vampire stood before them, the moonlight highlighting his long, golden curls, and old-fashioned clothes. Kiera’s throat went dry. If it weren’t for the very real, solid dirt beneath her and pain from the metal that had bound her, she’d be sure she was dreaming. There was no way this was for real. Vampires? A castle?

The speaker continued, “Welcome to your new home. Eternal Night Island.”

Sobs echoed around her as the feeling of being watched washed over Kiera. She scanned the group, surprised to find one of the vampires standing a little separate to the others, staring right at her. His gaze pierced through her and as much as she hated herself for it, she couldn’t help but notice his beauty. 

The moon stroked his black hair, the smooth light revealing a strong, masculine jaw, muscular frame, and intense, dark eyes. Eyes she couldn’t look away from. Although fear danced down her spine, she tilted her chin in defiance. Good looking or not, he was a vampire. One working with the same ones who’d abducted them. And that made him a monster. 

One that she needed to escape from as soon as possible. 

As if triggered by the same thought, a few of the women broke away from the group, running for the trees.

“Run!” someone shouted. 

Without waiting, Kiera followed suit. Her sneakers dug into the soft grass as she raced after the others. Screams filled the air as all chaos broke loose. The edge of the jungle grew closer and closer. Behind them, the vampires snarled, giving chase. Kiera’s heart thumped wildly as she pushed herself faster. No way in hell was she going to become some vampire’s meal or worse—sex slave.

She had to get away. The jungle was her only hope.

CHAPTER 2


Heart thundering, Kiera was engulfed by trees and shrubs. Light filtered through the towering, leafy trees and overgrown plants. Though the air was warm and humid, goosebumps covered her bare arms. Sweet fruity and florally scents surrounded her and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t place herself. Where would you find a tropical island ruled by vampires?

Enveloped in the thick, shadowy flora, the screams and cries of the others were muffled. Kiera glanced around, looking for a clear path or hiding place. It was only a matter of time before they came for her. 

Her pounding pulse echoed loudly in her ears as she realized she didn’t hear any animals. Not one. There was no buzzing or trilling or anything you expected to hear in a remote forest. 

There was a rustle, and Kiera sucked in a breath and ducked behind a giant, fern-like plant, hoping it wasn’t poisonous or something. Sweat dampened her skin as she peered through the long branches. Her eyes blinked against the darkness and her breath burned in her dry throat.

There was no one there.  

Relief allowed her to exhale. Her shoulders loosened as she strained to listen for any more sounds. Screams and curses echoed in the jungle. She swallowed hard. The others.

Guilt prickled at her. How had the vampires caught them again so quickly? Were they being punished for trying to escape? Taking a steadying breath and making a silent promise to get help, she turned to run away. As far away as she could.

A tall, masculine silhouette stood in her path. 

Her heart dropped. No.

“Please.” Her voice cracked.

The vampire strode closer, footsteps silent on the forest floor. His shuttered, determined features told her he had no intention of letting her go. Summoning all the courage she could, Kiera darted in the opposite direction.

Impossibly, she ran straight into him, colliding against his solid chest as he grabbed her by the forearms before she could leap away. Panic rose inside her and she knew that if he got her back to the beach, that would be it. Her chance of escape would be over. 

Her life might be next. 

With a strangled cry, she tried to twist out of his hold, giving it everything she had. She wasn’t going back without a fight. Flailing and kicking, she let out a stream of curses at him. Not that it would make a difference, but it made her feel slightly better to release some of her anger. Who were these vampires anyway? That they thought they could just take anyone they wanted and do who knew what with?

Her sneaker struck his kneecap, making him growl. He pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her like a cage so she couldn’t strike him again.

She struggled against him, desperate to get away. His scent overpowered her. It was the ocean and masculinity all wrapped in one.

“Stop.” His voice halted her. It was soft and refined, nothing like the monster he was.

Kiera glanced up to meet his gaze and froze. Moonlight stroked a strong jaw and dark, piercing eyes. It was the vampire from before. The one who’d been staring at her. A muscle twitched in his jaw as he glared back at her. She shivered.

“You’re going to hurt yourself in your attempt to hurt me. I do not want to see that happen.” 

She blinked at him. Was he serious? Was he actually trying to keep her from getting hurt? It didn’t make sense. They were there as vampire food so what did he care if she was injured? 

“I will escort you back to the beach now—”

“Like hell. I’m not going back there.” 

“There is nowhere else you can go. No way to escape. Every port, docking station and helipad are patrolled night and day. This island is a fortress.”

Kiera’s heart sank at his words. Running for the jungle was foolish, she knew, but what other choice did she have? She wouldn’t go willingly and become a vampire’s pet. 

Before she could open her mouth to protest, he heaved her over her his broad shoulder like a sack of rice. Outraged and embarrassed, she sputtered against him and flailed.

“There is nowhere for you to run and I promise you, if the others catch you, you will regret it. Please.”

Was that a warning? The jungle floor spun as he carried her back to the beach. Blood rushed to her head and curses flew from her mouth. Anger pushed to the surface as she dangled from his barbaric hold. What gave these creatures the right to capture and treat women like that?

Despite her underlying fear of them, her rage was gathering like a storm. She would never comply with whatever sick and twisted plans they had for her. She would fight them every day, always look for a way out.

Setting her gently on her feet, he gave her a pleading look before he turned to the other vampires. Her stomach rolled with nausea and what felt suspiciously like fluttering. Kiera clenched her eyes shut, trying to clear her mind. Whatever game he was playing, trying to get on her good side by acting like he was looking out for her, she wasn’t having it. He was a vampire. A monster.

“Round them all up and take them to the citadel.” His voice hardened as he commanded the others.

Kiera watched him go, surprised at how cold he seemed with his own kind and gentle he had been with her. It didn’t make sense.

Her eyes followed him as he walked away from the group without so much as a glance back. Kiera shivered and turned to check on the other women. Her gaze fell on Malia, her stomach clenching at the sight. The thin girl was shaking, holding her arm against her chest as if she’d been injured. 

Malia noticed her stare and shook her head, lips moving in a silent, ‘I told you’. 

Guilt filled Kiera and as she saw the other girls with bruises and scratches, a numbness swept over her. Why hadn’t she been beaten like the others? As much as she hated herself for it, her curiosity was peaked. Who was the vampire who caught her and why wasn’t he like the others? 

“Come on, drudge.” A sharp voice cut through her thoughts. 

Kiera winced as a vampire woman grabbed her wrists and roped them together. The others were gathered and bound, their whimpers and sobs filling the air. Drudge. It’s what the first vampire had called them. Kiera didn’t know what it meant, but it sure as hell didn’t sound complimentary.

“To the citadel,” another vampire ordered.

She was shoved forward, her body colliding with the other prisoners. Screams and cries erupted as they were all ushered toward the giant castle. Kiera sucked in a breath and glanced back at the beach. The airplane was gone now and there were no boats in sight.

The handsome vampire’s words echoed in her mind. There was no way off. No escape.

Dread swept over her. She had to find a way home. Vampires or not, she would find it. 

Rough hands pushed her under the high archway. In the moonlight, the shadowy turrets and peaks of the castle and fort looked like something out of a horror movie. It was fitting for what Kiera could only imagine was inside. 

They were being led to a vampire’s castle and if the old clothes and refined speech were any indicators, these vampires were ancient. How long had they been abducting humans and bringing them here? Had anyone managed to escape before? Kiera peered at the other women, her mind already spinning, looking for a strategy that wouldn’t end with them all drained or eaten. 

Candles lined the stone wall, casting long shadows along the hall. The women’s cries and screams bounced around them. Kiera flinched as one of the girls tripped and a vampire struck her across the face. She crumpled to the cold floor with a cry. Another prisoner stooped to help her, trying to soothe her before they were pushed forward by a guard. 

Kiera scanned the crowd looking for Malia. If they could stick together and not lose hope, they could find a way out. She was sure of it. Before she could spot her friend, the guards pulled Kiera in the opposite direction.

Ice shot through her veins. They were separating them.

She tried to turn back to see where they were taking Malia and the others, but there were too many bodies and the sobs and screams drowned out all other noise.

Kiera and the others were led down the winding hallway and with each step, she grew fainter. Her head spun and her throat was dry. How long had it been since she’d eaten or drunk anything? Try as she could to reserve her energy, the long walk was wearing her down. Was this their plan? To exhaust them completely so they couldn’t run again?

Just when her brain was a confusion of turns and dark hallways, the guards ushered them into a wide room. Two giant candelabras hung from the high ceiling and along the stone walls, bathing the area in a soft, warm glow. Kiera’s eyes hurt just trying to take it all in. The vivid red and gold tapestries along the wall caught her attention. The images of fancy dressed men and women dancing under a starry sky covered the fabrics. Not men and women, she realized—vampires.

“This way, drudge.” A guard snapped at her, pushing her forward. 

She stumbled after the others and fought the urge to glare back. Just because one of the vampires hadn’t hurt her didn’t mean the others wouldn’t. 

They led them to the end of the great room and separated them once more. Kiera glanced back, trying to see where the others were being taken before she was shoved out one of the doors along with a couple others. Three guards flanked them, pushing them toward a long flight of stairs. Dizziness swept over her, her body’s signal that it was on the verge of collapsing. There was only so much she could take.

Taking a deep breath, Kiera squared her shoulders in an attempt to steel herself as the guards motioned them up. 

They made it to the landing and stopped in front of three doors. A guard opened the first and motioned Kiera in. Everything within her recoiled at the thought of going through that door.

“I want to stay with the others.”

The vampire sneered, the candlelight glinting on his fangs. “Get in, drudge.”

Without waiting for a reply, he shoved her forward. Kiera threw her arms out, barely catching herself in time as she landed on a soft rug. The door slammed behind her and the unmistakable clink of the lock echoed through the room. A wave of panic rushed through her, but she forced it back. Slowly, she rose to her feet and glanced around at the candlelit room.

A dying fire crackled and popped in one corner and an old-fashioned bed with canopy stood on the other side. Her eyes landed on a long, floor length mirror and a fancy chair and end table. Something shifted in the shadows somewhere behind her. Kiera froze.

A girl stared back at her in the mirror, making her jump and whip toward her. She looked young with a clean, pale face and wide blue eyes. Kiera’s chest tightened. Another prisoner?

“My apologies. I did not mean to scare you.” The girl spoke strangely. It reminded Kiera of the formal and refined speech she’d heard from the vampires. 

“What am I doing here?” Kiera asked desperately. “What do they want with me?

The girl continued to stare at her in an unnerving way. “Well, you are here as a blood slave.”

Blood slave. 

Panic swept over Kiera. The words rang in her ears, heat spreading up her neck. She darted past the girl and threw herself at the door, trying to open it.

It wouldn’t budge. 

She was stuck—trapped. 

A blood slave.