“Just as you’ve changed, so have I.” Mirceo sounded confident. “I am ready for this. Only your stubbornness holds us back.”

“You’re the youngest mated male I’ve heard of in all my years. But finding your mate early is not a good thing. There’s a reason most immortals go centuries before facing that kind of commitment—because they are in no way prepared to handle it when young.”

“Damn you, demon, I don’t want others!” Mirceo’s elegant fingers gripped the furs—another visual to torment Cas for eons. “I don’t desire or need them.” The vampire couldn’t lie, so he’d meant what he said. For now. In the future, the prince’s outlook would change. “We could grow the House of Castellan together.”

“I listened to you about journeying to Dacia, because you’d all but beguiled me by that point. Now I wonder what in the hell I’d been thinking. Would I—the spawn of a nameless death demon, with no ancestral line to speak of—be welcome inside those hallowed Dacian halls? If you actually believe that, you’re kidding yourself.” Just one more reason the two of them would never work. Cas rose and paced, restless in the suddenly too-small cave.

Brows drawn, Mirceo watched him. “I am trying, Caspion. I want only to be what you need.”

“You can’t force these things. Sometimes you have to let things just . . . be.”

“Easier said . . .”

He needed Mirceo to listen to him. “Here, in the grueling downtime between hunts, I would will time to pass faster.” He’d lain on those furs, memorizing every nuance of the cave ceiling, his mind turning. Hell, Cas had welcomed the surprise whenever a stray Wendigo wandered past the flap. “No endeavor in the worlds could madden a demon so much as that. I finally learned to let go. I simply had to take the pain and accept my lot.”

“I’ll never accept a life without you in it,” Mirceo said. “You’re denying us for reasons that no longer apply. Why? Perhaps you don’t lack faith in me. Perhaps you lack faith in you.”

“What does that mean?”

“Chew it over. We’ll discuss it after we collect our impossible bounty.” Mirceo removed his sword belt and his trench coat, tossing them atop a trunk.


Cas cleared his throat. “What are you doing?”

“Settling in for the duration.” He reclined on the furs, hands behind his head.

The vampire in my bed. Desire was a whip across Cas’s back.

“If only we had something to do to kill time.” Mirceo’s voice was lazy, seductive. That sexual tension sizzled between them. “I could use a top-off, and you look like you’re about to burst.”

“Because you’re turning me into a host!” Cas could bloodlet, but that would help for only so long. Whenever a host lost blood, his body assumed he was ceding it to a vampire, so it would produce an excess.

And right now, Cas’s excess had settled into his groin—away from his brain. How was he going to concentrate on the job like this? He needed to drain himself of blood—and pressure.

Holding Cas’s gaze, Mirceo murmured, “Won’t you feed me, Caspion? I’ll make it good for you.”

Finally Mirceo had asked. Who could deny this prince? “Fine. You’ll have your dinner from me. But we’ll do it my way.” Mirceo had manipulated Cas; why not use the vampire to make one of his countless fantasies come true?

Expression brightening, Mirceo traced to stand before him. “What did you have in mind?”

“I’m going to show you what I’d expect from my mate.” Reclaim control. Dominate the prince. “And, leechling . . . you are not going to like it.”


Caspion eased ever closer. His swollen horns were straightened, his eyes gone black. Even his fangs had lengthened. So wickedly demonic. “I’m going to own you for a time. Because that is what I do to my partners.” At Mirceo’s ear, he rasped, “I’m going to own you because you’re a prince, and I think a part of me hates you for that. A part of me needs to put you on your knees.”

These dark musings got Mirceo harder than he’d ever been. Pre-cum wet the inside of his breeches.

He reached for Caspion’s shaft, but the demon seized his wrist. “Ah-ah. I’m in control. Take off my sword.”

With an intrigued lift of his brows, Mirceo unbuckled Caspion’s weathered sword belt, then tossed it away.

In reward, the demon used a black claw to cut a line along his own neck. “Come, have a taste.”

Mirceo eagerly did, leaning in to daub his tongue. A moan escaped his lips.

“My blood rules you, doesn’t it?”

If this was Caspion’s idea to scare Mirceo away . . . failure was at hand for the demon. “There is nothing like it.”

“And biting me?”

“When your flesh gloves my fangs, I see heaven.”

Caspion swallowed thickly. “Unbutton my shirt.”

Mirceo did, spreading the material wide to bare the demon’s brawny torso. Blond chest hair glinted in the firelight. I’ve wanted to nuzzle it since I first met him. Mirceo was helpless not to now, rubbing his face in it, inhaling with delight.

Caspion hissed in a breath, then sliced a line above his nipple. “Suck, vampire.”

Mirceo eased over to press his mouth to the crimson. As he sucked, his tongue teased the hard little point, eliciting a growl from the demon.