I feel myself giving into her. “The others can’t know. They’d never understand or accept it.”

Her mouth spreads into a smile as she nods in agreement. “It’ll be our little secret.”

I’m not so sure it’s a little secret. In fact, I’m certain it’s huge–probably the biggest I’ve ever had–and another one to add to the collection I’m keeping from Curry and the others. The thought of hiding something so important from him floods me with guilt but I’ll do it because this is what she wants and I’ll take her any way I can have her.

Chapter Three

“Is there a mirror in here?”

I gesture toward the closed door. “In the bathroom.”

She angles her head to the side and wrinkles her forehead. “You’re a vampire with a bathroom in your office?”

“It’s a selling point should we ever decide to leave.”

She shrugs. “Makes sense.” She takes my hand in hers and leads me into the bathroom. Once inside she stands so she is facing the mirror with me behind her. She reaches for her long blond hair and pulls it over one shoulder as she tilts her head to the side. She rests her back against my front and her eyes watch mine in the mirror.

She’s not wasting any time. “You want me to do it right now?”

I watch her reflection as she releases her hair and straightens her neck. “Only if it’s what you want.”


To please me. That’s what she desires. And I want to please her as well because this isn’t only about me. “Is it what you want?”

“Yes … very much.”

I will do it for her because–the gods help me–I would do anything to make her happy.

I brush her hair away from her neck until it cascades down one shoulder. She leans her head over again and stretches her neck until I have full access. She reclines back until her body is completely supported by mine. I hear and feel her heart pounding as her eyes lock with mine in the mirror just the way they did when I drank from her the night we met.

I feel her body begging–even coaxing me–to do what it is we both want as her blood vessels rise closer to the surface of her skin. It’s a physiological change her body undergoes as a direct result of her desire to be bitten. My body receives it as an invitation and results in the lengthening of my incisors.

She stretches her arm up and places her hand on the back of my head to pull me closer. “Make me yours, Sol. It’s what I want more than anything.”

I need no more encouragement so I place my mouth against her sweet tasting skin and pierce it. She twitches as I hear her sharp intake of breath. I suck gently over the two openings my sharp teeth have made and her gasp turns to panting as she rocks against me. That intoxicating scent–which isn’t at all like blood essence–floods my senses and I grasp her hard around the waist until a moan escapes her mouth. I loosen my hold because I’m afraid I’m hurting her but she slips her free hand over mine and presses it closer again. “Please don’t stop, Sol. It feels so good.”

And it does feel amazing. Drinking from Avery is a pleasure like I’ve never known and I feel how euphoric it makes her because we are joined on a higher level–one I’d never experienced while drinking from any human. Ever. Sure, it is possible to bridge with a human’s emotions while drinking directly from them but never like this. And I’d never remained connected to them afterwards because the minute my mouth left their skin, all links were broken–but not with Avery. My bond to her remains even months later.

Once I’ve taken what she so happily gives, I pull my mouth away from the piercing and stop the bleeding with my coagulant. I trail my tongue over her wounded skin so the healing process will be significantly decreased and I marvel at the delicious taste of her skin–not her blood. I place a kiss against the spot I just licked before I look up to meet her eyes. “You taste like candy … and sunshine.”

“Candy I understand. Sunshine … not so much.”

I run my nose down her arm. “You were in the sun today. I can smell and taste it on your skin.”

“It was unseasonably warm today so I enjoyed the weather while doing some reading.”

I kiss her forearm and allow my tongue to brush it. “It changes the flavor of your skin.”

“Better or worse?”

“Neither. It’s just different.”

She turns to face me and leans closer to place her cheek against my chest as she slips her arms around my waist. I bring her closer and we stay like that for a while. “You’re happy?” I feel like I have to ask.

“Yes. But you already know that, don’t you?”

How could she know I sensed her feelings … unless she sensed mine too? “Yes. I feel an unusual attachment to you and I’ve never experienced it with any other human. Do you feel it too?”

“Yes. It began the night we met. I’ve never felt it with any other vampire. You’re the only one.” My mind is reeling because I’ve been mistaken about her all this time. “What is it?”

“I don’t know. I’d say it’s a blood jewel trait but that can’t be the case since you haven’t meshed with others.” And I’m glad. The thought of her sharing this special bond with another doesn’t make me happy.

She puts her palms on my chest and slowly slides them up. “How do you feel when we kiss? Do you like it? Because it seems like you do.”

Her hands continue up my chest and over my shoulders. I slide my hands around her waist until they’re grasping her back. “I like it very much.”

I pull her close until her body is pressed firmly against mine. She feels so tiny in my arms–and so breakable. She rises onto her tiptoes like she did earlier and our mouths are as close as they can be without touching. “Enough to do it again?”

I shouldn’t want to kiss her again but I do. “I’d very much like to do it again.”

And I almost do before someone rings the buzzer. I spin my head in the direction of the sound because I remember the door is unlocked. I hope whoever it is doesn’t open it and walk in on us. “Someone’s at the door.” That was a stupid thing to say since I’m stating the obvious.

“Should I stay in here out of sight while you answer it?”

“No.” I take her hand and lead her from the bathroom. “There won’t be any fooling whoever it is. They’ll smell you and become worried when they don’t see you sitting safely in my office.” After she sits, I lean down and briefly kiss her lips. “Try to look calm and act like we didn’t do what we just did.”

She leans up and nips my lip. “Okay. I’ll try.”

I find Curry on the other side of the door when I open it. “Sorry to bother you since your door was closed but Avery isn’t in her bed and we can’t find her anywhere.”

His sniffer must be on the fritz since he doesn’t register her scent. I guess it’s the whole vampire morphing into a human thing–which is probably good–or he’d likely smell her on me since she’s freshly on my lips. And in my mouth.

I swing the door open a little wider so he’s able to see her sitting in my office. She waves from where she’s sitting. “All is well, Curry. Sol and I are just talking about his decision to leave. I’ve told him he doesn’t have to on my account. I think we’ve worked out our issues so it looks like he’ll be staying after all. Isn’t that great news?”

He looks back to me. “Worked it out, huh?”

“Yeah. Working might be a better choice of words. We weren’t quite finished talking but I think it’s safe to say that you can expect things to be much different between us from now on.”

“Then I shall leave you to finish your peace talks.” Curry looks back at Avery to address her. “I’ll let Jenn know you’ve not gone missing. She was sort of freaking out because she couldn’t find you.”

“I certainly appreciate you putting her mind at rest.” Damn. She’s such a good actress she almost has me fooled.

“No problem.”

I shut the door and fall into the seat next to Avery. “I hate lying to my best friend.”

“And I’m gonna hate lying to my sister but we agreed it’s what we have to do because they won’t understand or accept what we’re doing.” She places her hand on my leg and strokes it. “This is our decision. Not theirs.”

“I know but we have to be careful. I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to disappear into my office with me coming out smelling like you. Curry’s losing a lot of his vampires senses but the others aren’t. They’re going to smell you all-over me. I can pass tonight off if I stay in here for a few hours but we need to have a plan for how to handle this in the future.”

She lifts a strand of her hair and twists it around her finger as she thinks. It’s something I’ve noticed her doing many times. “How can we be together the way we want if they’re always going to smell me on you?”

There’s only one solution. “I think the safest time would be in the mornings after they’re asleep so your scent will have time to fade before they’re awake again.”

“But if they’re asleep, you should be too.”

Sleep isn’t an issue for me. I’ve been doing without it for a while. “Let that be my problem to deal with.”

“I don’t want you to harm yourself by being awake during the day.”

Knowing she worries about me makes my heart melt. “I won’t. I’ve been doing this for a while, you know?”

She gets up from her chair and sits in my lap. “How long is a while?”

I’m old as hell and I wonder if it’ll bother her. “I was twenty-five when I was turned so I was born three hundred years ago.”

She looks surprised. I don’t think she had any idea I was that old. “So you’ve been a vampire for two hundred and seventy-five years?”

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