As I drifted in and out of my sleepy state, I couldn’t decipher what had been real from what had been my dreams.
But all of that took a backseat when I attempted to stretch out and realized I couldn’t.
Because I was within an inch of my life of being snuggled to death.
I somehow knew without opening my eyes that it was Eric holding me. And while I’d never found myself in that particular situation with anyone before, I found I quite liked it and dreamily asked, “How long have I been out?”
“Eric?” I murmured and slowly extracted myself from his grip enough to be able to turn around.
But it wasn’t until I finally opened my eyes that I realized I wasn’t in my room. Judging from the masculinity of the decor, I guessed it to be Eric’s, but I’d never been inside of it to know.
I’d felt the shift within me yesterday when we’d first exchanged blood. He had said that I wouldn’t be able to feel his emotions unless we exchanged blood three times, but as the night wore on, I found him to be wrong.
The tie between us was faint – on my end at least – and at first I thought my mind had been playing tricks on me.
That perhaps I’d been reading his body language or facial expressions or it was simply wishful thinking on my part.
So it wasn’t until we were nearing the dais and I’d begrudgingly accepted that I would have to sit at his feet – in keeping with playing my role as his pet – that I realized what I felt was coming from him.
He’d been repulsed by the idea of me sitting on that cushion and I’m sure he felt my shock when he led me to stand behind his throne.
But that was nothing to the shock I felt now realizing he’d taken me with him into his inner sanctuary, while he would be the most vulnerable.
He trusted me.
There were so many things running through my mind I couldn’t latch onto any one of them.
But my full bladder took precedence over it all, so I pulled myself from Eric’s grip and hoped there was an actual toilet in his bathroom. He’d left the bathroom light on and the door ajar so I could find my way and I was grateful to see that I was wearing a pair of the comfortable cotton pajama sets Pam had gotten me, while not thinking too much about which one of them put it on me.
I couldn’t remember much after Eric saying he was going to glamour me and since I hadn’t felt any pain, I was glad for it. I was also happy to find not only a toilet, but a note with my name written across the top and taped to the mirror.
I hope this finds you feeling well, no longer having the wooden bullet lodged in your beautiful body. I kissed it to make it better, but sadly you slept through it. Pam informs me your lack of reaction to my affections reflects poorly on my ability to excite you, therefore I must make amends for I am most certainly up to the challenge.
Tonight will be busy as I am quickly running out of cells thanks to your impressive ability to liven up a room full of mostly undead creatures, but we have much to discuss. There is food for you on the table in my room and feel free to turn on any lights you may need as I will not be disturbed in my daytime rest. You will not be able to exit until I rise for the evening and for that I apologize, but I’ve brought in some of the books you’ve mentioned wanting to read.
Until then my lover,
I checked my back in the mirror and saw there wasn’t a mark on me and aside from his questionable innuendo, reading ‘My Lover’ brought with it the memories of what had happened during our blood exchange.
I blushed automatically, but it was as good a thought as any to start working through, while he was still dead to the world and couldn’t feel me.
At twenty-five…I mean, twenty-seven years old (it was still weird knowing close to a year and a half had passed in what felt like a month to me) I was still a virgin. My curse made dating impossible and while I couldn’t deny my attraction to Eric (what heterosexual woman could?), the thought of being with him – while exciting – was frightening to me.
I’d seen plenty of thoughts in my lifetime to know the difference between making love and, well…not. And in the thoughts I’d seen of the other women he’d had sex with, there’d been nothing tender about it.
I couldn’t be like them.
I wasn’t like them and if that was what he would want from me then we could never work out.
But having seen the donors’ thoughts was a catch twenty-two because not one of them ever remembered being kissed by him.
Every interaction Eric ever had with any of them had been nothing more than biting and sex. It had always been a purely physical act, with no affection whatsoever and since it was coming directly from their minds, it seemed they knew what they were to him too.
It was what angered them about me the most, with my perceived preferential status.
But it was also what had made me afraid when our blood exchange was over.
I’d wanted the affection. I’d craved the intimacy and even though I’d somehow managed to climax through the process (I still turned bright red at the thought), what I wanted most was his kiss.
And he had given it to me.
Whoa boy did he.
So I guess I paid more attention to the donors’ thoughts than I’d realized.
That thought calmed me some and made me feel like maybe he could want something more with me, but it segued to when he’d called me his.
I’d seen for myself that Supernaturals seemed possessive as a whole and while I had no desire to be with anyone else, that certainly didn’t mean I was Eric’s.
I knew now that he found me attractive and that was a step in the right direction. But if he thought I’d be okay with entering into some sort of relationship with him, while he continued to indulge in the donors, then he was sadly mistaken.
I would never tolerate that kind of disrespect, so if he wanted me to be his then he would definitely have to bemine as well.
And how would that work anyway?
What if Niall suddenly returned?
Would Eric willingly give me back to him even though I hated the man?
Or would he fight to keep me?
Could I expect him to?
I knew I wanted him to, if only so I wouldn’t have to go back with them, but I had no idea of what Eric wanted. So I had no choice but to wait and discuss it all with him.
And I still had to find out if he’d tasted any fairy blood in me since I’d been a little too distracted right after to ask last night.
I breathed a sigh of relief, not only at my now empty bladder but from one item checked off of my mental list. But that thought immediately led to what had precipitated the whole ‘Mine’ exchange.
I guessed him to be one of the half-demons Eric had warned me about because while I already knew vampires to be voids, fairies’ minds to be light, and Weres to be snarly and red, this man’s thoughts felt – for lack of a better word – dark.
Almost as though they were shrouded in shadows.
At first I couldn’t read anything beyond the initial hum I’d heard, but the more I concentrated, the more the reception became clearer.
And I’d distinctively heard him think, ‘She lives. I must inform the Prince‘ with his eyes boring into mine.
When Eric called him out on staring at me and that whole ‘Mine’ crap started, his thoughts got fuzzy again.
But I’d already decided before then that I would be telling Eric I was a telepath and I’d be sure to say it just as soon as he woke up tonight. I couldn’t afford to keep my secret any longer and I did trust him to keep me safe.
I would’ve told him after our blood exchange, but my mind was still swirling and before I knew it we were in the ballroom. But I really wanted to be there when he questioned Preston in case he had any thoughts I could decipher.
And I really wished there was some sort of Fairy to English translation book I could buy.
But in the meantime I could at least tell whether or not he was being truthful.
Back in Never Never Land he’d attempted to talk to me several times, but in my stubbornness I’d completely ignored him. However I could remember feeling a sense of longing from him. I’d thought it was because he’d wanted me to open up to him, but that made no sense as to why he was here now.
I doubted he’d been yearning to hear me say, ‘Good kitty’.
I returned to the bedroom and found the fruit and bagels Eric had left out for me, so I sunk down into the chair, picking at a bagel while enjoying the view.
He was still lying on his side, with his arms reaching out from where I had left him and he was shirtless with the sheet pulled up to his waist. So the broad expanse of his back was on display if I leaned to the right and his washboard abs were in view if I leaned to the left.
Thankfully he was wearing pajama pants (I only knew that purely accidentally) and I never would’ve guessed he would own a pair, considering neither him nor Pam seemed to have an ounce of modesty between them.
But Eric truly was a stunning man – vampire – whatever, and I still didn’t know what he could possibly see in me.
A (former) small town barmaid.
But the fact that he’d brought me into his room with him – when he would be completely vulnerable – spoke volumes. I didn’t know if it was because he no longer trusted his wards against Weres or if it was because he’d just wanted me close, but both scenarios warmed my heart because either way, it meant that he cared.
Seeing him lying there whole and unhurt made the pain of taking the wooden bullet worth it. I already knew I felt something for Eric that I’d never felt for anyone before and while I knew it wasn’t love, I thought it had the possibility to turn into that with time.
Remembering how nice it had felt to wake up in his arms and not knowing if this was a onetime deal, I decided to be selfish and soak it up while I could. The display on Eric’s charging cell phone told me it was just after noon, so he wouldn’t rise for several more hours and I wasted no time in crawling back into bed next to him.
He’d written that turning on lights wouldn’t disturb him, but I wondered whether or not any movement would, so I’d climbed in slowly. He didn’t even twitch, so I performed another scientific test and poked him with my finger.
I got bolder then and pushed him onto his back, rearranging his arms and legs, so that I could curl up beside him, with my head lying on his chest right above the spot I was so desperate to protect the night before.
I’d never been more terrified hearing the shooter’s thoughts and was even more grateful for our earlier blood exchange. Eric hadn’t been lying about vampire blood increasing a human’s speed because everything else was a blur as I raced towards him, but then that also could’ve been due to my tunnel vision.
All I knew was I had to save him.
I knew it down to my bones that I couldn’t let him be killed and I didn’t have to think about it at all.
It was instinctual.
And remembering it all now, I placed a light kiss on top of the spot I’d won in my race against the bullet, suddenly feeling the exhaustion of the night before. Knowing it would be another long night, I didn’t fight it when my eyelids fluttered shut and I finally drifted back to sleep.
I woke up some time later underneath a very happy vampire – who seemed to be trying to inhale me awake – and the feel of his nose tickling the side of my neck made me giggle.
When I opened my eyes I found his face hovering just above mine, with his eyes smoldering down at me, saying, “You are well.”
“I am,” I agreed, not knowing if he just wanted to hear me say it or he wanted confirmation of whatever it was he was feeling from me.
“You are here,” he continued on.
Did all vampires have a thing for being literal or stating the obvious?
“I am,” I repeated, wondering if it had been a test and I really could’ve gotten out of his room if I’d bothered to try opening the door.
But I didn’t care.
I would’ve been lying there regardless.
The smoldering in his eyes turned into fire, just as he said, “I am glad.”
And then his lips were on mine, showing me just how true that statement was.
Our second kiss was nothing like our first, but it was oh so very much better. He’d been holding back the first time, letting me have all of the control, but that wasn’t the case now.
And I was quickly getting swept away by it.
I knew if I didn’t stop him soon, I’d be in danger of losing all rational thought and while I knew I wanted something more with Eric, I couldn’t give in to my desires until we’d talked about it all.
So when he finally moved his lips back down to my neck so I could take a much needed breath, I said, “Eric…wait…”
The things his lips were doing to my self-control – never mind my moral compass – were making me dizzy and I knew it wouldn’t take much more to persuade me to forget all about the ‘his’ and ‘mine’ conversation we needed to have.
Some parts of him were more persuasive than others.
But he’d kept his attack to nothing more than kisses, with his hands staying in my hair.
It was another part of his body he couldn’t hide that gave away his desire and I fought with myself not to rub up against it, knowing no good would come of it.
Alright. That was a lie.
I had a feeling it would be great, but it was too soon.
Remembering I wanted to tell him right away that I was a telepath and thinking that was a good enough distraction to keep him from making me forget everything I’d ever been taught about being a proper young lady (snuggling didn’t count in my book), I blurted out, “I’m a telepath.”
“I know,” he mumbled against my collarbone and continued his assault on my definition of decency.
I say that because I just then discovered firsthand how firm his backside was.
I shook off my stupor as my brain registered his words and pushed against him, asking, “You knew?”
The shock and hurt ran through my veins like wildfire. He’d never said anything about it in all of the time we’d spent together – never even hinted about it – and yet he knew?
Was that why he wanted me?
He must have felt my emotional turmoil because he pulled back and stared down at me with wide eyes, saying, “You told us last night before you passed out when our glamour didn’t work on you. What is wrong?”
I couldn’t remember doing so, but that tiny little tie I felt from him flared to life and I could feel his concern and sincerity.
It only made me happier that I could at least feel that much from him and I relaxed again, admitting, “I don’t remember.”
I wondered why I couldn’t be glamoured, but knowing how much other people hated thinking I could read their thoughts, I set that aside and quickly added, “But I can’t read your thoughts or any vampires at all.”
His face rearranged into amusement as he said, “I know.”
He must have felt my curiosity (or saw my eyebrows rise up into my hairline) because he added, “If you had been able to read my thoughts all along, then you would not have been surprised last night, hearing me tell you that I find you desirable. I could feel your disbelief then and your truthfulness now.”
“Oh, so you’re not mad at me for not telling you before?”
“No,” he replied without hesitation. “It would’ve been foolish of you to reveal your gift when you did not know or trust us. I cannot begrudge you your pragmatism.”
When it looked as though Eric wanted to pick up where he’d left off at, I stopped him while my thoughts were still clear, asking, “What are we to one another? I know last night you called me yours, but you know that’s not really true, right?”
That certainly killed the mood because Eric rolled off of me and the fire in his eyes had nothing to do with desire now as he snarled, “You do not want to be mine?”
I could feel the underlying current of his own hurt and anger, so instead of snapping back at him, I softly explained, “I didn’t say that. But now that you know I’m a telepath, you can imagine what I’ve seen in the minds of the donors.”
I felt him internally twitch at my statement, but he showed nothing outwardly, so I continued on with, “I’ve seen enough to know that is the norm in your world. I’ve seen in their own minds that they want to be here – that they enjoy everything that happens to them – but I’m not like them Eric. If that’s all you want from me, then no, I do not want to be yours.”
Eric was back to counting my eyelashes, while I grabbed onto that tiny bond in my mental hands and wrung everything out of it that I could feel from him.
Shock was the prevalent theme, but I didn’t know if it was directed at me or himself.
However, his underlying desire was still there and finally he asked, “And if I want more?”
I could feel his hopefulness bubbling up with his question and I smiled softly, admitting, “I would be open to exploring that with you.”
But remembering my earlier concerns over the donors, I added, “But I would not be open to anything if you still feel the need to partake in the donor pool.”
Realizing that was a partly unfair request since the man needed to eat, I offered off the cuff, “But I’d be willing to provide you with blood while we’re exploring.”
His eyes were back to smoldering at me as he leaned forward with a smirk, saying, “To be clear. You agree to allow me to convince you to be mine. I will forget the donor pool ever existed. And you will be the only one providing me with my sustenance?”
“Yes!” I exclaimed, not sure if the idea of feeding only from me was a deal breaker, but it damn well would be one for me. “If you want me to be yours then you damn well will be mine too buddy!”
The next thing I knew I was underneath a very ecstatic vampire that was sucking all of the air out of my lungs with his kiss.
But he hadn’t actually agreed.
Vampires were not only a possessive bunch, they were sneaky too.
And sometimes rudely spoke other languages around people that didn’t understand them
But I managed to pull away from his mouth only for his lips to return to my neck, asking without much conviction, “What are you doing? We haven’t decided anything yet!”
A shiver ran through my body, hearing his fangs snap down and a thrill ran through me feeling them lightly scrape across my neck as he said, “My lover, I agree to all of your terms. Now if you don’t mind, I’m exploring.”
My everything was quickly turning to jelly.
My willpower. My body. My mind.
But knowing he’d be able to hear me, I softly whispered, “I’ve never…you know, done anything like that before.”
He brought his head up again and when his eyes met mine there was nothing but tenderness and understanding in them as he said, “My future lover, I suspected as much and I can feel that you are not yet ready, but I will wait until you are.”
Part of my mind wandered to wondering just how great their sense of smell was because how else could he know that I was a virgin?
But when he brought his lips back to mine, the gentle and sweet caress of his kiss nearly brought tears to my eyes and I let myself just go with it.
We explored each other’s mouths for what felt like hours and while his other needs were glaringly obvious, he never acted on them, which only put me more at ease.
When his lips made their way to my neck again, I leaned into his kiss, breathing out, “Are you hungry?”
A low growl escaped his chest that I took to be a ‘yes’, but he pulled back and surprised me by saying, “I shouldn’t. At my age I don’t need to feed every night and I already took from you yesterday. Besides, you lost even more blood in the attack, so your body needs time to recoup what it has lost.”
His eyes became warmer as he added with a smile, “But thank you for offering.”
“Knock fucking knock! Pussy prize patrol! You’ve just won the most prized pussy in the entire state. Like you didn’t already know that.”
“Is that Pam?” I asked dumbly, since she was the only other person that could be in Eric’s chambers and it sounded exactly like her on the other side of the door.
Eric rolled his eyes with a grin – probably from my stupidity – but he’d just have to get used to it.
So I pressed on anyway asking, “What did she say? I really hate it when you all do that, you know.”
Eric just chuckled at me as he got up from the bed, saying, “Why don’t you go and ask her while I get ready?”
I watched him speed over to the door and enter a code into the pin pad along with scanning his fingerprint and the door popped open immediately after.
As he walked into the bathroom, he added, “We will do your scans and pin code when we return later lover, so you won’t have to be locked in with me all day tomorrow.”
And then he left me sitting there, catching flies.
But I guessed it wasn’t a onetime thing.
Remembering Pam was still waiting, I quickly got out of bed – with an admitted bounce in my step over everything with Eric – but my mind turned to fluff seeing Pam standing there, holding a little white ball of fluff.
She held it out towards me, with a pout on her face, saying, “You’ve changed my Master, my little telepathic friend. When he’s sent me out for pussy in the past, this is not what he was referring to.”
“I love it!” I squealed and lunged at her.
The look on her face was priceless when I hugged her, but I let go hearing Eric behind me saying, “Lover, when we discussed exploring earlier, this is not what I thought you had in mind. I do not agree to this unexpected change in our terms.”
I ignored his joke and turned giving him not just a hug, but a kiss as well, before saying, “I can’t believe you got me a kitten, but thank you. I love it.”
I could feel his own enjoyment over making me happy as he shrugged, saying, “It was nothing and I know with certainty that this is nothing more than a feline.”
His eyes took on a harder edge when he added, “As for the fairy, he has much to answer for.”
I don’t know how it slipped my mind that Preston was somewhere in the palace and I half wondered if they already had a tap in one of his veins, like a vampire version of a keg party.
But shook it from my thoughts a second later, saying, “About that. I would like to be there when you question him. When I was being held captive my telepathy grew to where I can hear their thoughts now. I just can’t understand their language, but I can sense their emotions and I’ll be able to tell you if he’s being truthful.”
Eric’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline, asking, “You wish to be there when we question him?”
I felt one of my own eyebrows mimic his, asking, “Why wouldn’t I?”
His eyes shot to Pam and she left a second later, while he tucked a piece of hair behind my ear and looked into my eyes, when he explained, “We have other ways of making him talk. It isn’t necessary for you to be there nor do I want to publicize your gift.”
Part of me felt better knowing that Eric had no plans to use me or my curse, but the other part of me was angry that he was discounting what I was capable of.
While I didn’t necessarily want to witness or be a part of any of the other methods he’d alluded to, it was obviously me Preston was there for and I felt like it was my right to be able to try and help find out why.
I was a Stackhouse and Gran didn’t raise any damsels in distress.
It was only feeling his concern for me in our faint tie that kept my tone neutral as I explained, “Well, unless you have any plans on releasing him, then my secret should remain just that. Besides, he may already know about it because Niall told me not to say anything about my telepathy just before we walked into your office. I never told him about it, but he knew.”
Eric mumbled, “Fucking fairies,” but I had no idea what it meant, although I had a feeling it had to do with Niall so I didn’t ask.
Finally he looked down at me and said, “Fine. We will try your way first, but if that doesn’t work then I will have to resort to other tactics.”
I didn’t care what happened to Preston so long as I didn’t have to see it and nodded when he asked, “What did you hear last night from the shooter? I assume you heard his thoughts and that’s why you decided your life had no value?”
His tone only got angrier as he went on, with him snarling the last word and raising my hackles up.
So I smacked his chest and snarled back, “You’re welcome!”
The next thing I knew I was encased in six and a half feet of vampire.
Under any other circumstance I would’ve found it quite nice, but I was mad at him.
The kitten mewled in protest in between our two bodies, so Eric loosened his grip and stared down at me saying, “Petulant insufferable woman. Do you have no self-preservation instincts whatsoever? From the moment we first met you’ve done nothing but antagonize a thousand year old vampire king. Shown no fear of me at all when I could’ve easily killed you with a flick of my hand a thousand times over. What do you have to say for yourself?”
While he’d started off hissing out his words, by the time he was through I could both hear and feel the exasperation in him, with a dash of amusement thrown into the mix.
It calmed me enough to say, “Mmhmm…you nearly snuggled me to death earlier.”
He’d already pegged me as petulant, so why hide it?
Remembering the fear of him being killed, I whispered, “It would’ve killed you. I didn’t think – I reacted – and I don’t know what you’re so upset about considering we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if I hadn’t.”
He still didn’t seem very convinced and I was already tired of arguing with him, so I grinned, adding, “I’d probably be calling Pam to explore my other options right about now.”
I only teased him because I knew he’d be able to feel it, but he still looked angry enough to shoot fire from his eyes, which only made me laugh out loud.
It didn’t help when Pam walked back in, saying, “Oh Sookie, for you I would always come.”
Eric’s responding growl only made Pam smirk and add, “What? You know it’s true.”
Feeling like I was about to be in the middle of a vampire war I had no hope of refereeing, I blurted out, “I think the shooter was glamoured and I think he’s from Nevada.”