I stared down at my unintentional temptress, trying to get a rein on the lust swirling through me.
Both Sookie’s and my own.
I’d felt glimpses of her attraction to me over the last week or so, but more surprisingly what I’d felt mostly from her during those times was something akin to affection. She seemed to genuinely like both Pam and myself, but now I was just feeling her desire and…hopefulness?
If I’d thought feeling her emotions were a distraction before, it was nothing compared to the avalanche coming through our weak bond now.
After her impressive escape the night before, I was already contemplating giving her more of my blood. I didn’t like not being able to feel her when I thought she could’ve possibly been snatched by the fairies, but it wasn’t something I took lightly.
Before Sookie, the last time I’d given my blood to a human had been when I turned Pam, but my instincts were telling me to protect her beyond my debt to Niall.
Telling me it was something I needed to do now and they hadn’t failed me yet in keeping me alive for a thousand years.
And the thought of finally being able to taste Sookie was no hardship either.
Her scent was intoxicating, but not so much that I felt the need to drain her. However it was enough to make my mouth water whenever she was near, but I would never force her if she’d been unwilling. I may have even questioned her unspoken motivations if I hadn’t been able to feel her emotions through our weakened bond.
She wanted to.
She wanted me.
She just needed to say the words.
I knew through my bond with Pam that she had wisely chosen to leave the room and the palpable chemistry encompassing Sookie and me. But our little bubble was burst by the sound of Sookie’s cat hissing at our feet.
Our eyes were drawn downward simultaneously in time to see Tina baring her fangs at me seconds before she leapt towards me with her claws out.
She couldn’t do any damage to me, but I still caught her in midair by the back of her neck with Sookie chiding, “Tina! What’s gotten into you?”
I hadn’t paid any attention to the cat the night before other than to notice the comfort it seemed to provide Sookie.
But holding it now I sent a silent call to Pam for her to return as I asked, “Sookie? Am I mistaken or should Tina be a female cat?”
With my eyes still on Tina, I heard Sookie reply, “Of course she’s a female. Why else would I have named her Tina?”
That’s what I was afraid of.
Instead of asking why I would question its gender, Sookie could now see for herself that this cat clearly wasn’t a female, with her blurting out, “Oh! I didn’t even notice he was a boy cat. He looks exactly like Tina!”
I’d seen enough subterfuge over my long lifetime and just as Pam walked back into the room, I said, “Fucking witches! They can’t get anything right. Grab the silver and iron chains and follow me.”
Even as Pam did as I bade her, she teased, “I know that isn’t the pussy you REALLY want, but if you kill it, you won’t be getting any of Sookie’s either.”
“That’s still really rude you know,” Sookie called out as she followed along behind us. “Where are you going? What are you doing with Tina? I mean, Boy Tina?”
As soon as we were outside of the chambers and the wards, I stopped and signaled for Pam to wrap the animal in silver, explaining, “I am making sure this is nothing more than a cat. If it is a shifter, then the silver will burn it.”
Her eyes went wide as she watched the animal fight against my hold, but the silver chain did no damage to it and she seemed to relax until Pam switched to the other chain, explaining gleefully, “And iron can kill a fairy.”
I’d heard of some Fae having the ability to shape shift and we watched it hiss and yowl as it quickly became weaker until it could no longer hold its shape.
Pam was able to remove the chains just in time for it to transform into the form of a naked man, who was no doubt a fairy given his scent.
Pam and I probably would’ve had a more difficult time controlling ourselves had it not been for spending so much time around Sookie. While she didn’t smell completely of Fae, the constant presence of her scent seemed to have desensitized us somewhat and Pam quickly secured him in the iron chains before he could pop away, as I bared my fangs and asked, “Who. Are. You?”
“Preston,” was the answer I heard, but instead of coming from him it came from Sookie.
“You know him?” I asked.
She nodded her head, saying, “He was one of my fairy guards. He’d tried talking to me several times and was the one who would bring me my meals until I’d thrown enough things at him to make him black and blue.”
The fact that she’d been willful enough to fight back against her captors only served to make me want her even more. But I pushed those thoughts away and turned to my newest Fae guest, who would not be getting the same treatment as Sookie.
“What is your mission?” I snarled into his face.
Niall had been adamant that none of the Fae were to be trusted, so his position as Royal Guard/waiter in Niall’s service meant nothing to me.
It was clear he wasn’t going to answer my questions any time soon without a little persuasion on my part, but there was no time for it.
Already it was nearing the time for my coronation to begin, so I handed him to Pam, saying, “Have him placed in one of the iron cells and leave Sigebert to stand guard over him. He is old enough to be able to withstand his scent and we will question him later.”
Her eyes lit up before she carried him away and I turned to see Sookie’s crestfallen face as she said, “So Tina is probably dead too.”
She didn’t feel as broken as she had upon learning her grandmother had died, but I still felt the need to comfort her.
So I wrapped her in my arms and replied, “We can’t know for sure.”
I only knew for sure that Preston would likely be dead soon.
I walked her back into my chambers before I held her by her shoulders and looked down into her eyes, saying, “After this breach, I definitely think you should have more of my blood.”
“But how?” she asked in a daze. “Why would he pretend to be Tina? Why would he be here at all? And how would he be able to get through the wards?”
I sighed – a human gesture I found myself making more and more in her presence – before answering, “I cannot be sure. I will be having words with the witch, but I have to assume it was because he entered in the form of an animal which would mean any other Weres might be able to do the same. I’ll have my theory tested later with one of the Were guards, but I have no idea of why he was sent. He could be a backup plan as part of your protection from Niall or he could be a spy for Brendaen. I won’t know until I question him later or hear back from Niall.”
I felt apprehension spike from her again – I assumed at the thought of having snuggled with a fairy spy all day long – but it turned back into despair as she said, “I’m sorry for all of this.”
And at my quizzical look, she added, “You know, for all of the drama I seem to be causing you.”
While the timing could have been better, things were never boring with her around.
So I smiled down at her, saying, “Considering it is thanks to you that we now have undiluted fairy blood on tap, I really should be thanking you.”
After her comments about wanting to kill the fairies the night before, I didn’t think my remark would upset her and I was right feeling nothing but a contented acceptance from her.
But I was admittedly stunned by her next question.
“Would you…you know, be able to tell by tasting my blood if there was any fairy in me?”
I knew from her scent alone she was a descendent of the Fae. I don’t know that I would’ve been able to pick it out right away had she not arrived with Niall, but having that knowledge all along definitely pinpointed where her sweet scent was derived from.
But she hadn’t asked that, so I merely answered her question.
The nervousness that rose up within her made me curious, but thankfully she gave voice to the cause of it, saying, “I never believed Niall when he claimed to be my fairy great-grandfather because I didn’t want to believe that my Gran would’ve been unfaithful to her husband. Now I can never ask her about it, but seeing as how they’re still finding ways to get me, I’m left wondering if it’s true.”
Her disbelief over her lineage certainly explained her defiance and disdain towards Niall and it only raised my estimation of her overall.
She’d obviously come from a humble background, but even after being told that she was a descendent of one of the most powerful royal lines ever known, she’d refused to accept it.
From what I knew of typical human behavior, I knew most people would’ve been happy to be told they were actually royalty (there was a whole theme park based on that concept), but that happiness would quickly lead to a sense of entitlement and arrogance.
However, before I could ponder her abnormal reactions any longer, her next words commanded all of my attention as she said, “I would like to exchange blood with you if you’re willing. It will protect me better and I want to know if I really am a part-fairy.”
My fangs automatically snapped down with her request, but the lust I’d felt from her earlier had been replaced by something else and before I could stop myself, I voiced it out loud by saying, “You trust me.”
It wasn’t a question because I was reading it straight from her, but it still surprised me just the same when she nodded, “I do.”
I knew our time was short and we couldn’t fully enjoy the experience.
But I wasn’t going to completely rush through it either.
So I led her over to the couch and retrieved a small pocket knife before taking a seat next to her. Her eyes got wide when she saw it, but I felt no fear from her and placed the blade at my neck, instructing her, “Once I’ve opened the wound, I want you to draw on it until it closes.”
When she nodded her agreement I shifted my body closer to hers and sliced a small gash into my skin.
I was fully prepared for her to cringe or shy away.
I was fully prepared to have to remind her of her own reasons why this was the best option.
I was even somewhat prepared to finally feel her lips on my body.
But I hadn’t been prepared at all.
There was no hesitation as Sookie leaned forward and when her lips sealed around the wound, pulling the first draw of my blood into her mouth, I was sure my knees would’ve buckled had we been standing.
I’d already given thought to what this exchange would mean for us and a permanent blood bond was never something I’d ever wanted.
Even five seconds ago I had my doubts I would ever want to be permanently tied to someone in that way who wasn’t my child.
And I’d already reasoned in my mind, if after this exchange Sookie was somehow critically wounded, I could always have Pam heal her with her blood in order to prevent furthering our bond.
Now I felt an overwhelming need to possess her – to protect her – to kill anything that dared even to look at her harshly.
The thought of her taking anyone else’s blood – even that of my own child’s – made me enraged.
But as soon as my fangs slid into her neck and her blood hit my tongue, I knew I was done for.
I could immediately taste the Fae qualities in her blood, but there was something more to it than that.
Had I been one for triteness, I would’ve said she’d been made just for me.
But since I wasn’t that cliché, all I could say with any certainty was I would do everything in my power to make her mine. In that moment I knew no one else could ever compare.
I could feel every emotion flowing through her more strongly than ever before – lust; want; need – but above all was her happiness.
She was happy to be there with me and I had to say, I returned the sentiment.
The vibration of Sookie’s moans against my skin was reciprocated by the growl that rumbled through my chest and it was only when she pulled away to cry out with her climax did I realize she’d somehow ended up sitting sideways on my lap.
I’d lost all concept of time and had no idea if I was in danger of draining her, so I slowly licked her wound clean while fighting my instincts to claim her now.
Coronation be damned.
Her subtle shift in my lap made my other needs known by more than just me and I was sure there would be a blush waiting for me when I pulled back to look at her. But instead I felt a wave of insecurity wash over her with her eyes darting to my lips.
I thought perhaps it was because I was a vampire that had just fed on her blood for the first time, but when I felt the undertones of desire as she stared back at me I realized what it was she wanted.
Kissing wasn’t something I normally engaged in. I never truly saw a need for it and that was especially true after the Great Revelation when our meals approached us without shame, knowing they’d be used for nothing more than a feed and fuck.
But Sookie was nothing like them.
She was like no one I’d ever met before and it frightened me what I found myself now willing to do to make her happy. But thoughts of kissing her soon overrode everything else.
Pam had told me of her suspicions that Sookie was perhaps innocent – which I would’ve thought an impossibility at her age and with her beauty – but I’d seen the blushes for myself over the last couple of weeks, so I couldn’t be sure.
With those thoughts in the back of my mind, I made sure to keep my movements slow – even for a human, in case she decided to pull away – and as my lips slowly inched towards hers with my intent now clear, I felt something else filter through our strengthened bond.
Had we been fully bonded, she would’ve felt the exact same thing in return as soon as our lips touched because the moment I felt her skin pressed against mine, I knew I would gladly spend hours just exploring her mouth with my own.
Her shy and timid movements soon gave way to the passion I could feel bubbling up inside of her and I was only too happy to let her have her way with me. Her hands came up to fist her fingers through my hair and I felt my arms wrap around her like bands of steel so she could never leave my lap again, with a part of me wondering if I’d somehow become bewitched by her Fae magic.
But our moment was over seconds later as we heard Pam say from the doorway, “If your intention is to eat her, I think it’s her other lips you want.”
Sookie gasped and pulled away, I knew only due to Pam’s presence and, thankfully, not because she could understand her.
Still, I shot Pam a warning look telling her to leave and then looked back at Sookie, saying, “We will have to resume this later, lover.”
Her eyes got wider hearing me calling her ‘lover’ and I wondered if I’d overplayed my hand.
But instead of irritation or annoyance, I only felt her insecurity return as she whispered, “I…I thought you didn’t like me that way.”
Again, if we’d been bonded she would’ve felt my incredulity at her statement.
But we weren’t, so her self-doubt only continued to grow until I framed her face in both of my hands and softly kissed her lips, admitting, “I like you in every way.”
I felt her own disbelief as she argued, “But…you’ve never acted like…and I’ve never…and you…you only have brunettes and redheads in the donor pool. There isn’t anyone there that looks anything like me!”
We were now late, so I stood up and gently placed her on her feet before giving her one last kiss of reassurance, saying, “That is because there is only one you.”
I didn’t give her the chance to argue anymore because we really were late now, but I felt better being able to feel her so much more strongly.
I heard her intake of breath while feeling her need to say something else, but Pam’s sudden presence at our side made her close up again. I didn’t know whether to be grateful or angry, but there was no time for either because moments later my name was being announced to the gathered crowd in the ballroom as I stepped into the room, with Pam and Sookie following behind me.
Coronations were nothing more than an expected formality and more often than not, a way to gloat over defeating the previous ruler.
That was not true in my case, but as the oldest and most powerful vampire in the state, no one challenged me when I took over upon Sophie-Anne’s demise. I wouldn’t have had the ceremony at all had it not been for Pam’s insistence that it was necessary to show Nevada our strength and while I agreed with her on that point, she was unable to convince me to hold a second coronation in Arkansas.
Pam just liked parties.
I’d already visited each of the areas of both states early on so the resident vampires could swear their fealty to me. It had been a precautionary measure not knowing at the time who was most likely to attack us.
So while many of the vampires under my rule were in attendance, they weren’t required to swear fealty to me a second time.
But my presence on the throne was needed so the visiting vampires could come and falsely congratulate me while unnecessarily kissing my ass.
I’d always despised politics and it was even truer now, but as we approached the dais I realized that as my pet, Sookie would be expected to sit at my feet.
Pam must have already thought it through because there was a large silk covered cushion on the floor next to the throne and I was concerned at how Sookie was going to react when she realized that it was meant for her.
However, my concern was soon replaced with shock when she appeared to be heading towards it and I felt nothing but a hint of irritation underneath her overall acceptance.
But her bewitching Fae magic must have been strong because the thought of her sitting at my feet was unpalatable at best.
Repulsive at worst.
She was a Fairy Princess – the only true born royalty in the room – and while I knew her importance to me would be scrutinized with my unorthodox behavior, I kicked the cushion from the dais altogether and took her by the hand, leading her shocked self to stand directly behind my throne to the left.
As my Second, Pam took her place on the right, with her lip twitching and hysterical laughter flooding our bond, but she remained silent as I took my seat.
Fuck it. While we were no longer in Victorian times, my child was from that era and they could just assume Sookie was my Royal Courtesan.
The Texas vampires were the first to greet me, but I’d heard of the injuries Stan Davis suffered in Rhodes, so I wasn’t surprised to not see him. It had been his nest mate Farrell that had been kidnapped by the Fellowship of the Sun and left out to burn at one of their sunrise services along with another vampire.
They were then followed by Russell Edgington and Bartlett Crowe. I’d performed their marriage ceremony at Rhodes the night before the bombing, but they each managed to survive unscathed. Their alliance was for more than just political purposes with each of them having genuine affection for one another, so anyone would be a fool to attack either of their states.
Vampire after vampire filed through – interspersed with Weres and prominent human officials – while I entertained myself by going through Sookie’s emotions as she felt them.
Shock. Shyness. Agitation. Surprise. Awe.
When I felt a particularly strong burst of jealousy from her, I turned to see her staring at the line of waiting donors off to the side of the room.
The daggers they were shooting back at Sookie were pissing me off, but before I could act on it, I was distracted by yet another well-wisher who I knew to be half-demon.
And I didn’t like the way he was staring at Sookie.
I felt her fear rise up a second later and guessed she didn’t like the way he was looking at her either. So I let my fangs snap down, asking, “Do you have a problem with my Royal Courtesan?”
He seemed to realize his mistake because his eyes dropped from her and he bowed, saying, “Of course not, your majesty. I simply find her beautiful.”
“She is,” I agreed.
But my tone was decidedly less agreeable, when I added, “And she is mine.”
Sookie’s irritation flared for a second, but her fear was still simmering hotly through her blood.
And since Nevada appeared to be a no show, I decided I’d done enough face time on the throne.
Standing up, I held out my hand towards Sookie, who took it gracefully and allowed me to lead her to the dance floor. I wanted to be able to hold her so that she would no longer feel afraid and she surprised me again by falling seamlessly into me leading her around the dance floor in a waltz.
I could feel her calming down now that it was just the two of us and whispered into her hair, “You have untold depths lover. You didn’t tell me you could waltz.”
I felt her happiness begin to gain ground over her fear as she looked up at me and smiled, “Right back at ya, your majesty.”
For some reason I hadn’t hidden very much from Sookie at all, allowing her to see how I truly am with Pam. So she knew all too well that I didn’t like being King and she only giggled more when I rolled my eyes at the title.
When she settled down again, she looked up at me saying, “About last night. I wanted to ask…”
But I cut her off with a slight shake of my head and leaned down to whisper in her ear, so no one else would hear, “Supernaturals have exceptional hearing. Whatever it is you want to ask will have to wait until later.”
She nodded her head and mumbled something about ‘superb sniffers’, but then she looked up at me asking, “Is that sword in your office just for show or do you know how to use it?”
Pam’s outburst of, “Oh, he knows how to use it,” from across the room let me know she wasn’t that interested in the brunette she was talking to if she was so busy eavesdropping on us. But it also allowed Sookie to see what I’d been warning her about.
“She can hear us from all the way over there?” she asked taken aback.
“Unfortunately,” I smirked down at her.
I felt Sookie’s amusement before she gathered her thoughts and asked, “Do you think you could teach me how to use a sword sometime?”
I didn’t think she was referring to anything to do with the innuendo Pam had just used and while I’d known Sookie to have a defiant streak in her, the thought of my little Fairy Warrior Princess swinging a sword in battle was making me hard.
If she truly was an innocent, like I suspected her to be, I doubted she would suddenly allow me to fuck her until dawn and after our earlier exchange I knew no one else would suffice.
So I attempted to calm myself again as I nodded my agreement. She bounced happily in place, only making my situation worse, but seeing the light in her eyes, I didn’t care.
When I felt her hunger, I had Pam take Sookie to where the human food was set out so she could eat something, while I continued to mingle with the guests.
I had been standing off to the side discussing Nevada’s possible whereabouts with Russell when I felt Sookie’s fear sky rocket. My head automatically turned towards where I knew her to be and saw her flat out running towards me.
Having my blood earlier that evening increased her speed and my arms instinctively widened to catch her when I heard the slight whistling through the air just as she made contact with my chest.
“Sookie?” I asked before I felt the pain radiating through her body.
“Shooter,” she whispered and then smiled faintly adding, “I beat him.”
And then the smell of her blood permeated the air.
Fangs clicked down all around me and I again instinctively wrapped my body around hers, growling out my warning to everyone in the room before I took off with her towards my chambers.
I had just placed her face down on the couch to check the wound I knew to be there – from the blood I could feel dripping down my hands as I carried her – when I registered a sound behind me and turned with my fangs bared and my hands curved into claws.
Only to see Pam standing there with her hands up and her eyes lowered in submission.
“I am only here to help,” she said, with her eyes still trained downward in submission.
Logically I knew she was no danger to Sookie, but it took all of my willpower to allow her to step foot into the room and I somehow managed swallow the snarl that threatened to leave my throat as Pam kneeled down next to her.
The small piece of wood was lodged firmly in the back of her shoulder and while it wasn’t deep, I knew it would be painful to her when it was removed.
I was contemplating glamouring her, so she wouldn’t feel it, when Pam said, “She knew.”
Her words filtered through my already busy thoughts and I realized from the location of Sookie’s wound – in comparison to when she’d leapt into my arms – the wooden bullet would have hit me in the heart had it not pierced Sookie’s back first.
Her declaration that ‘she beat him’ made more sense now, but not how she’d known.
“How?” I asked.
Pam winced hearing Sookie’s painful yelp when she’d touched the wooden bullet and I smacked her hand away as she said, “I do not know. One minute I was standing there telling her my dinner looked much more appetizing than hers and the next she took off running towards you.”
“Maybe she saw him?” I speculated.
But Pam was already shaking her head no and explained, “Just before she took off, she looked over at the swinging doors leading to the kitchens, so I did too. There was nothing there and yet she ran. When I saw her get hit, I looked back in time to see the barrel of a gun being pulled back through the doors and grabbed the shooter as he tried to get away. Just a regular human, probably Fellowship.”
Sookie whimpered again and I leaned down so she could look into my eyes and said, “Sookie. I’m going to glamour you so that you don’t feel the pain when we remove the bullet and then I will heal you, okay?”
She’d already had a good quantity of my blood earlier, so she’d likely heal relatively quickly on her own. Her skin was already trying to close over the wound, so I didn’t want to put it off for any longer knowing it would only be more painful if we waited.
Thankfully Sookie nodded her agreement, saying, “Okay. It hurts.”
I locked my eyes onto hers and pushed at her consciousness with my glamour, saying, “Sookie, you are going to close your eyes and go to sleep. You won’t feel any pain whatsoever and when you wake up again, you’ll feel as good as new.”
Her eyebrows crinkled back at me and she huffed out, “Well that’s a nice idea Eric, but could you try again using glamour this time?”
“What?” I asked, stunned. “I was using glamour.”
Never had I heard of a human that could withstand it and I wondered if it was a fluke due to her fairy heritage.
Pam had no success either, but Sookie was starting to become delirious because she giggled, saying, “That makes my brain tickle.”
“You can feel our attempts to glamour you?” I asked.
“Mmhmm,” she replied. “I felt it earlier too when I was your Royal Courtesan,” she added with a snort.
Someone attempted to glamour what was MINE?
Had it not been for her skin trying to close over the wood, I would’ve delved further into the subject, but her health and comfort were at the top of my list of priorities at the moment.
However it seemed my child had had the same train of thought as me and she voiced it out loud with, “Maybe it’s because you’re part fairy.”
I didn’t like the sensations I was feeling from Sookie and worried she was possibly going into shock.
So I had resolved myself to having to just rip the wood from her skin and then drown it in my blood in an attempt to heal her even more quickly.
But I paused, briefly wondering if it was I who was in shock, either from feeling hers in our newly formed bond or from her next words.
Because just as she lost her battle with unconsciousness, she sleepily mumbled, “Or maybe it’s because I’m a telepath.”