Lillian sat in the car, unable to move. All she could think of was how difficult it had been for Eric just to stay awake even an hour or two after sunrise. She thought about how he’d said he was too weak to even glamour. Even if he’d made Pam where the sun barely rose…such an act…over several days! It must have been excruciating. And it must have been possible only through sheer willpower and determination. She was starting to think differently about what Eric had meant regarding his self-control. And that was nearly 200 years ago.
Eric shut the hood of the car where he’d retrieved her bags, snapped her out of her reverie. “Do you want to spend the night in the car or shall we go in? You have the keys…”
Once inside, Lillian marveled at the house’s appearance in darkness. Eric hadn’t bothered to turn on the lights as they went in, his eyesight being perfectly adapted to the night. The full moon filtered through the trees and cascaded down into the enormous wall of curtain glass that framed two sides of the living room. It pooled and danced on the wood floor.
“Oh Eric!” she gasped in delight. The home was so seamlessly integrated into the surrounding forest that it was hard to tell whether you were inside or outdoors. “It’s like we’re in the middle of a sacred grove, it’s so serene and magical!”
“What makes you say that?” he said, entirely astonished.
“It just is! I feel like a priestess waiting for fireflies and pixies to come skip about my feet. Like we could stand here and watch the animals dance together among the trees!”
“Min Lila,” he stood in front of her, bathed in shadow and moonlight. He gazed over her searching her eyes, caressing her face with the back of his knuckles. “It is impossible. How can you know such things?” he whispered in a low hiss.
He looked at her in a dazed amazement.
“I built Trädkojan for Godric.”
“You did? You’re lending me Godric’s house?!” The thought panicked her, knowing now just how utterly devoted Eric was to his maker. The sheer weight of the responsibility to care for it properly, even for a short while, made her weak in the knees.
“Well, just this one, yes. He hasn’t been here for a few years. It shouldn’t sit empty. It deserves to have a beautiful flower spreading sunshine and laughter in it. I’d say I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it sooner, but I’m not. I am thankful I get to be here the first time you see it as it is meant to be seen.” He bent slowly down and kissed her, tenderly and purposefully. Taking her hand, he pulled her over to the front of the glass wall for a better view. He wrapped his arms around Lillian from behind and inhaled her hair. Resting his chin on the top of her head, they both stared out into the blue-grey colors of the night. It was cloudless and this far from the city you could see the stars much more clearly.
“Lila, Godric was a warrior like me in his human life. He too was a leader in his homelands, and there the leaders were also powerful shamans. Godric was lord of his people’s sacred grove. It was in this same grove where he was reborn to darkness.”
She looked up at him. “Your inspiration for the design…I…I can’t imagine a more beautiful gift.”
He nodded solemnly and kissed her again, this time passionately. His mouth was so delicious and sensual. Lillian felt the heat start to rise in her body. She resisted the desire to just tear his clothes off right then and there. “So are all vampires drop dead gorgeous warrior sex god kings or am I just incredibly, incredibly lucky?”
He laughed against her cheek, nosing and then nipping at it. “Just Godric and I, I’m afraid.”
“Mmm, I hope one day I get to meet him too then,” she teased, running her hands over his unbelievably sculpted ass.
He stood back and gave her a wild and hungry look. “Be careful what you wish for, lover, you might just get it.” She giggled, thinking how preposterous it would be that anyone else could even remotely compare to the specimen before her.
Somewhere deep in woods, a barred owl let out a lonely, melodic call.
Eric smiled and pushed a tendril of her hair behind her ear. “Ah, Athena your animals await to dance with you.” Lillian laughed softly and suddenly remembered her necklace. She reached back and unclasped the hook and stuffed it in her pocket. If he’d meant to remind her about it in such an unassuming way, then dang he was good at getting what he wanted.
Freed of her silver, he ran his hands down her neck and let his fingers trail over the peaks of her collarbone. He placed a gentle kiss in the hollow of her throat, letting her rich, perfumed scent fill his lungs. Lillian gasped at the delicacy of his touch. It was such a contrast to his rock hard, powerful countenance. He trailed his tongue to her earlobe and sucked. She couldn’t help digging her nails into his back, and he let out a low growl. His fangs slid down.
“Eric, you won’t hurt me, will you?”
“On the old gods and the new.”
She blushed, “I think you may have to talk me through this a bit more than you’re used to.”
“Don’t be afraid, lover.” He smiled, then swooped and arm under her legs and carried her up the stairwell.
He walked into the spacious master bedroom and set her down on the bed with a gentle bounce. Her bags and boxes were still scattered about the room. She’d never had the chance to unpack.
“Tell me, goddess!” he commanded, kneeling over her. “How shall I please you first?”
She still didn’t understand it, but in the last few days, Eric seemed even more handsome that usual. He was glowing with life. She reached up and stroked the curve of his perfect mouth and ran a hand over his chiseled chest. His skin was smooth and firm – firmer than a human’s although not uncomfortably so.
“Well, you could start by slowly ravaging me, Viking,” she smiled, letting her hands wander over the bulge in his jeans.
His chest rumbled in a growl and his pupils dilated. It had frightened her so much the first time she’d seen him this way. His growl was entirely animalistic and inhuman. Now she recognized it as his sexy purr. Eric was aroused and entirely focused on her. He placed a kiss on the inside of her wrist, licking and nipping the spot, then lifted the edge of her blouse and settled another one just on the top of her hip. Lillian moaned, feeling his tongue swirl on the sensitive skin there. He slid back up again and nuzzled the side of her neck, inhaling and sucking lightly.
“The rest of the places I’d like to kiss appear to be covered,” he said slowly dragging the tips of his fangs along her neck. She tensed up automatically, feeling her vulnerability.
“Shh, it’s meant to be sensual, lover. Close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath. Just focus on the sensation. I’m not going to bite you, I’m tickling you.” He did it again, breathing cool air along the trail. She shivered in ecstasy. “See?” She opened her eyes. She could feel herself already dripping for him. Running her fingers through his golden hair, she grabbed it and pulled him towards her mouth roughly. She licked the length of one fang, then kissed him deeply.
“You have no idea how sensitive they are. Do it again.” She licked the other, swirling her tongue along the backside of it. He moaned in pleasure and she felt his arms tremble slightly under his weight.
“Gods Lillian, I think you could make me come just doing that.”
“Shall I try?” she asked in a sultry voice.
He growled again and rolled with his vampire speed. Lillian found herself straddled atop him. Beneath his jeans, she could feel his excitement. And it was substantial. With a single movement, he pulled off her lavender top and undid her bra, freeing her glorious breasts. They were perfection.
“Oh Lila, varför måste du dölja dessa?” he sighed, almost in pain. [Oh Lila, why must you hide these?]
“Hmm?” she hummed in a daze as he ran his hands over the intoxicating curves of her body.
“You are cruel to ever wear clothing. Nothing this beautiful should ever be hidden.”
Her mouth crashed upon his, and hands and lips and gasps were everywhere in a heated frenzy. She pulled off his shirt, gasping the first time she pressed her body against the length of his naked chest. Her nipples hardened achingly at how cool he felt, but stilling for a moment, he warmed slightly under her heat. He spun over her again, so fast she felt like the world was upended, and he slid down over the side of the bed, taking her jeans with him. How did he remove clothing so quickly!? He returned, laying a kiss on top of her underwear. He bit the top edge of the delicate lace and pulled them slowly down with his fangs, keeping eye contact with her the entire time. He’d nearly pulled them over her knees when he wretched violently back, bellowing in shock.
“Jävla FAN!” [Fucking HELL!]
So much for the panties. He’d shredded them right off.
“What!? What’s wrong?” she cried.
He shot to his feet far from the bed and had one leg kicked out, inspecting a spot just below his knee. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong. Your damnable goddess just branded her owl in my fucking leg!”
Lillian covered her mouth. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I completely forgot it.” She wasn’t a total fool, minutes (or had it been hours?) ago she’d slipped her necklace in her pocket, not ready to discard it in case she felt like the situation was getting out of control. When he’d tossed her jeans down it must have fallen out onto the floor and he’d just knelt right down on it.
“Poor darling, come here. Let me see it. Are you okay?”
“Leave it. It will heal.”
He hmphed and pointed at her necklace. “Pick that wretched thing up and put it somewhere safe where your vampire lover won’t accidentally happen upon it, that is, unless you don’t intend on maiming me further?” he raised an eyebrow. “That’s the second silvering I’ve had today. Three is not a charm.” She’d forgotten about his arm. It was healed entirely, but the skin was shiny where he’d had contact with the chain.
She tucked the necklace in the bedside drawer and he stripped off his jeans and leapt to the bed in a fluid, leonine motion. “Now where were we?” he purred. The way it made his chest ripple was divine, and she couldn’t believe how defined it was. It was simply impossible to keep her hands off him. She ran a thumb across her tongue to wet it and rubbed his nipple. She pinched them both lightly and he broke off his kiss at her jaw in a snarl, clearly it drove him wild. He trailed his tongue over her breasts, devouring them, teasing them. He continued southward, letting his long arms range around her contours. When he reached her thighs, she sat up to relieve him of his boxer briefs. She pulled them down tantalizingly slow, staring at him as he had done to her. He sprang out of them and her eyes widened, staring at what she had to contend with. Gently he lay her back down and nestled his broad shoulders between her thighs, He was taken aback by her flexibility. That was something he would be sure to make good use of. Lillian couldn’t even fathom being this turned out without simply burning up – it was sweet agony. Eric ran his tongue up the sides of her thighs, teasing her even more. She felt him run his fangs over the same sensitive skin and she cried out in pleasure, grabbing handfuls of the sheets.
When he struck at her core with his tongue, she jumped at the cold sensation. He built her up and just as she was about to explode, he stilled completely, leaving her gasping. “Eric! Oh god, don’t stop! Don’t stop!” He looked at her with a devious grin and went back to his ministrations, slipping another finger into her center. He built her back up again and again stopped short. “Aaaaggg! You evil Viking!” she screamed and laughed simultaneously, throwing her head back into the pillow. He kissed the inside of her thigh.
“Lila, I’m going to make you come,” he said, matter of factly.
“Yes,” she said between ragged breaths.
“You’re going to explode all over me, and when you do, I’m going to drink up your orgasm right here.” He ran his fingertips over the spot he’d just kissed. “It won’t hurt. You’re going to come even harder because of it, and then come again. And again. Okay?”
She was too breathless to respond, just shaking her head quickly in agreement. He lapped again at her sensitive nub, growling. The sound set her off and she contracted so hard she thought was going to pass out. She vaguely registered him nipping sharply at her thigh, but he didn’t let up on her, instead massaging her and stroking her with his thumb.
He pulled back, his mouth and fangs shining crimson, urging her on. “That’s my girl. Give me what I want. Come again, lover.” She exploded yet again in quick succession and he sucked greedily at her thigh. She was still riding out the waves of her pleasure as he lazily licked the puncture marks. Lillian felt weightless, almost high.
He slid back up to her mouth and gave her a long kiss. She tasted herself on him. Oddly, it wasn’t unpleasant. “Was I okay?” she asked, curious how her flavor was to him. He closed his eyes, shook his head, and fell back on the bed.
“No good?” her cheeks flushed.
“Min himmel och min älskare [My heaven and my lover], I have dreamt of tasting you the second I met you. Your fragrance is so alluring to me that I couldn’t help scenting you right there on the stage, in front of the entire bar. Pam and Chow thought I’d gone mad it was so overt. My fangs ran completely out, I barely kept them hidden. Just the perfume of your blood wafting through my club, even mingled with all the garish smells, it drove me crazy. I left for a week just to clear my head. The rest of the time I confined myself to my office to keep from embarrassing myself in front of my underlings.” He chuckled. “You’re going to laugh at me when I tell you this.”
“No, I won’t! What?”
“After the club closed in the evenings, I got into the habit of taking a meal in your booth.”
“What!? Eric! You were biting girls in my booth!?”
“No, no, no…Just donor blood. But – gods Pam has had her fun with me on this – it seems like the only thing I can choke down these days is O positive…”
“That’s my blood type…”
She smiled. “Well, that’s not so silly. It’s kind of sweet, you know… in a very creepy, very blood drinking stalker-y kind of way…” He growled and jumped on her, pressing his hard body against hers. Lillian was laughing uncontrollably.
He brushed his lips against her temple. “But nothing compares to how ineffably divine you taste, lover. Now you really musn’t laugh, and this time I mean it.” He narrowed his gaze at her. “You wanted to know how good you tasted?”
He slid himself at her entrance, and pushed slowly. Lillian couldn’t help it, she dug her nails into his back in pleasure. He took all of her then, up to the hilt, and they clung to each other relishing the moment. Her muscles were rippling over him, squeezing. Her senses were so overwhelmed it nearly sent her over the edge. He started rocking his hips into her in a circular motion. She couldn’t help the noises she made then, wrapped in his arms and being ravaged by the gorgeous Viking, exactly as she’d wanted.
Eric’s hair fell about his ears and shoulders. “You wanted to know, Lila, what your taste does to me?” He whispered into her ear heatedly “Having you just now, the taste of your delicious fluids in my mouth, your body writhing under my touch…it made me blow my load all over the side of the bed.”
Her eyes grew wide and she lost control yet again, falling to pieces in his arms. He bit gently at her neck, just grazing it enough to have a light taste. He roughly pulled himself out and, roaring in his own ecstasy, exploded all over her belly.
When she’d recovered (he seemed ready as ever), she thought he’d been been talking dirty just to turn her on.
“You were kidding, right?”
He gave her a fangy grin and shook his head. “Look for yourself if you don’t believe me. You reduced me to a horny teenage boy. You’ve unmanned me, goddess divine. I’d be embarrassed if I wasn’t so completely fucking blown away.”
“Well, I was going to ask if it was as good for you as it was for me, but now I see I don’t need to.” She kissed him again. And again. He was too irresistible.
“You do realize the last time that happened to me, I must have been about twelve, right?”
“Twelve?” She heard herself say the word, it almost impossible to imagine it being so long ago.
He shrugged noncommittally. “Milkmaids were hot where I was from.” Lillian laughed wildly and smacked his perfect bum. Trailing her fingers around his shoulders, she thought of his burns.
“How is your leg?”
He pulled a knee up and showed her. There wasn’t a trace. The marks on his arm were gone as well.
“It’s funny, isn’t it?”
“That you can heal me and I can heal you. My weakness to you is your hunger and your strength, but yours is that my frailty can take me from you at any minute and without me, you cannot live. Life has a funny sense of balance.” She sighed in utter contentment and he nestled into her neck, wondering anxiously just how true her words were.
“Why didn’t you want to come in me, darling? You can’t impregnate me or make me sick…Did you think I wouldn’t like that or something?”
“My sweet, all of our fluids except our saliva is tinged slightly with our magic blood. Humans seem to love the idea that we cry blood tears. I’m not sure when or why they started believing in their myths that it would work differently elsewhere.”
He caressed her face and ran a finger over her lips. “The first time I come, it is a very, very minute trace, just enough to make it, how do you say…mind altering bliss. You’ll never know a more potent pleasure. Each subsequent time, however, it becomes more concentrated, enough to create a temporary blood bond. It’s hard to always correctly gauge whether the second, the third, the fourth might….”
“Jeez, how many times can you… do you ever get tired?”
“Nope.” He laughed softly. “Maybe it is the gods’ wish that we respect the ones we have sex with, or else risk suffering through the bond created. Or perhaps it is just to ensure the human becomes yours – another advantage for protecting one’s self. Maybe it is this uncanny balance of which you speak. I’d not thought of it quite this way before. In any case, we were a bit occupied and I didn’t have time to explain.”
“Oh, I see.” She was quiet, thinking back to the moment when he’d sucked his splattered blood off her mouth. She hadn’t realized, it must have been quite a big splatter. Thinking of that first kinda sorta kiss made her shiver.
“Why is your saliva different?”
“It contains an anticoagulant, to help us feed more easily. But our tongues secrete a coagulant, to seal up wounds. So feel free to kiss me all you want, lover…”
She giggled and took advantage of his offer.
“But Lillian?” He pulled slightly away so he could see her clearly.
“Yes min älskare?” She tried to say it as he did.
He smiled in delight to hear such sweet words come from her mouth.
“Lila, I would happily give you my blood if you wanted it…”
The moment he said it, he knew that was exactly what he would do.
“Isn’t that moving a bit fast? Maybe you wouldn’t want me bound to you. I’m not sure I want to be committed to you so soon either.”
“Not a permanent bond. A temporary tie. It would be advantageous to be able to find you anywhere, especially because Pam and I owe Greysolon a visit soon. I don’t like the idea of leaving you now that I’ve only just found you.”
“Is that like the vampire equivalent of ‘let’s be exclusive?'”
Eric gruffed. “I do not share.” His thoughts flickered to his maker. Hadn’t her mention of him earlier nearly driven him insane with lust? Why was this? They’d shared women of course, but neither had ever kept a fully bonded lover. Wait, why was he now thinking of her being fulled bonded?…
“Earth to Eric!”
He came to. “What?!”
“Where’d you go just then? You spaced.”
“Sorry,” he smiled languidly. “You give me all sorts of naughty ideas.”
“Oh yesss,” he purred, kissing her.
“If we bonded, wouldn’t it upset Godric and Pam? Would they feel me too?”
“No lover, a bonded human doesn’t enter into the bloodline like new kin. If you were around them physically, you might feel more comfortable with them, happier to be around them. The blood knows its family. But they couldn’t communicate with you or you with them through the bond. It would just be me feeling your general emotional state.”
They snuggled quietly.
Out of the blue, Lillian had an idea. “Darling?”
“About blood bonding…No vampire would dare try to turn someone against your will because they understand that through the bond, your maker would find them and destroy them, right? Longshadow knows Godric lives, he’d never try it. Plus, any vampire would know even blood as strong as yours might fail to make a vampire with only one infusion. It might just make a really strong blood bond and you’d be the only one to feel it and too weak or dead at that point for it to matter.”
“Yes,” he said, wondering where she was going summarizing all these facts.
“What if it’s a con?”
“We know Longshadow was after money, but we don’t know why. We know he was after your blood, but we also don’t know why. Maybe when he got canned, his game at the bar was up and he got desperate. What if Longshadow had the balls to convince a human – someone very wealthy – that he could give them the gift of immortality in exchange for a very large sum of money?”
“If he tried to con a human to pay him for ‘immortality’, he could give them your blood, get the money, and glamour them to forget his involvement before they attempted the transformation. The poor human would have no idea what happened, he’d either turn or not turn, but either way he’d be screwed and Longshadow would go undiscovered.”
“Lillian, that’s brilliant.”
“I guess now you just need to fit Greysolon’s role into the picture. Maybe he can explain the money issue. You know, you never did tell me why his name sparked your interest.”
“Well, there’s still not a connection, exactly. But in the past few years, we’ve had a suspicion that something fishy might be happening in his territory. Pam and I monitor missing persons reports around the country. If the statistics seem to suddenly increase in a territory, it raises the concern that there are problems with new vampires. I extended my help to him, but he refused, denying that there was anything wrong.”
“You mean a lot of the people that go missing are taken by…vampires?” A chill shot down her spine.
“No, not all, not by a long shot. There are plenty of human murderers and creeps. There are accidents that get covered up, relatives that take children in custody battles and disappear, or simply economic downturns that mean violent crime overall increases. But in general, a big fluctuation of missing people sets off alarm bells. Young vampires can be unpredictable and they need strong masters to teach them how to live responsibly. You must understand that most vampires are made shoddily – a few blood exchanges in a couple of hours and bam, baby vampire. They are weak and impulsive. They drink too fast and can accidently kill.” He cringed in disgust. Good thing Eric didn’t have a sense of superiority about his own making or anything. Of course, she couldn’t really blame him either.
“So you didn’t totally buy Greysolon’s story that everything was peachy.”
“I have no evidence to the contrary, but Pam hasn’t been up there in several years and it was after she left that we started noticing some irregularities.”
“The Minnesota area. She was living in Greysolon’s territory doing her own thing until I asked her to join me on the bar venture. She came a year after I’d gotten Fangtasy set up and she brought Longshadow with her as a favor to Greysolon. He’d hoped a change of scenery would help Longshadow deal with how the world has changed since he was human.”
“Huh. You won’t leave tomorrow, will you?”
“No lover, but Pam and I will have to go in a few days. We need to follow up sooner rather than later. Will you continue with your work at the club?”
“Yeah, I probably should get back to it.”
“Then I will arrange for a security detail for you while I am gone.”
“Just as a precaution. It is because of me that there’s even the slightest chance you could be targeted, and it will be because of me that nothing shall come of it. We can discuss the particulars later. It’s getting near dawn, lover, and as much as I would like to lay here in your arms all day, I’m used to sleeping downstairs.”
“Oh! The windows?”
” The windows here are UVA/UVB light proof like every other freaking thing I own. It’s a pain in the butt to get everything custom installed but thank the gods for the genius who invented that glass. Still, old habits die hard. Shall I tuck you in?”
“Your bedroom is on the first floor?” She hadn’t seen one, just the study and the living rooms.
“Not on the first floor. Below it. Now,” he said, distracting her from asking more questions about his resting place, “there are electronic shutters in here. I imagine you want to have it darker to sleep?” She nodded, realizing how tired she was. He reached over to a remote and an electronic whir drew darkness down on the room.
She yawned. “Eric?”
“I completely forgot. My car is still at the club. I might need to go out tomorrow. Or today. Whatever. This whole vampire time gets me confused…”
“Take Godric’s Audi. It needs to be driven, that’s why I left you the keys. It’s probably getting a bit punchy after sitting for so long.”
“You mean…you don’t want to lend me the Berlinetta?” she teased.
“Ha. Dream on, min älskare.”
“I knew your ‘possessions are meaningless’ speech was BS.” She pulled the covers over her shoulder and snuggled in. “I’ll dream of you instead. Is that a compromise?”
“I shall dream of you as well, lover.” Eric gave her a sweet kiss, then quietly headed out the door to put himself to bed.