If I couldn’t tell by the well-manicured lawn and overall appearance the blue house wasn’t abandoned, then the slight glow I could see surrounding it – telling me and every other vampire it was owned by a human – would have given that fact away.
It was as I was deciding what our next move should be when an awareness lit up inside of her, just as she hissed through her clenched teeth, “The scrawny little man with the rigidly styled hair.”
If she was back to playing word games with me, her statement wasn’t very obvious.
“The pathetic human,” she replied just as angrily, as though that explanation would clear things up. And my mind became even more muddled when she narrowed her eyes at me and ordered, “Wait here.”
And while my upper head was confused about our entire exchange, my lower one wasn’t suffering from the same affliction. It knew exactly what it wanted to do hearing her commanding words.
But now wasn’t the time for fucking around by fucking her into submission.
Always a tactician, my future lover used my confused state to storm off unhindered and I watched her dart across the road and up to the front porch of the house. Her clothes magically transformed into a white summer dress, which she immediately tore into. And then using the dirt from the flowerbed, she trailed her soiled hands across her face and body before using her fingernails to leave long bloodied scratch marks across her chest and arms.
More than just the scent of her blood was calling me to her.
I couldn’t stand to see even her mark herself in such a way.
The whole transformation took less than a minute before she rapidly knocked on the front door and panic infused her voice as she called out, “Please! Help me!”
I moved closer, knowing on one hand she was perfectly capable of handling a few humans by herself, and on the other hand, hating I would be unable to go inside and help her if the need arose.
But just as my mouth opened to order her to remain outside, the words got caught in my throat when the front door opened, revealing one of the occupants, and with him the answer to my earlier confusion.
I was close enough to see him staring down at her in confusion – and her looking back at him pleadingly – when it occurred to me he wouldn’t know who she was.
Because I had glamoured the memories of her from his mind during their first and only encounter, when he’d nearly lost his head to her sword on her first night in my service.
“Please,” she begged again and snapped her head behind her, looking around in fear and letting me see the tears she’d managed to fill her eyes with. And then looking back to him, she cried, “I was attacked by a vampire, but I managed to get away. He’s probably out there looking for me now. Please let me in!”
She truly looked and sounded distraught.
But I was the only one who could feel her contempt.
I stifled the growl wanting to erupt from my throat, watching him put his hand on her arm to pull her inside, and heard him say in the next breath, “Fanged devils!”
At first I thought the door slamming shut was likely the only reason he couldn’t hear the snarl that managed to evade my common sense and make itself heard. But moving to stand directly in front of the house in the same moment, I realized I could have been wrong because I then heard a loud commotion coming from within, intermingled with the surprised shouts in multiple voices of, “What the…”, “Hey now…”, and “Holy shit!”
Only thirty seconds passed by at most before the front door reopened and allowed me to see my furious future lover standing behind Newlin, with her dagger to his throat, as she growled, “Invite him inside.”
His lips hadn’t moved, but I imagined whatever it was she’d heard him say in his mind wasn’t to her liking because her fury rose up and she drew blood from his neck, while she kicked the back of his knees to bring him down onto them and at the same time jerking his head back to keep him upright. And then putting her lips to his ear, she snarled, “Show your king the respect he is due. Now invite him inside.”
I would have glamoured my invitation from him, if I wasn’t so enamored by the show.
And the star of the performance.
The hatred in his eyes was visible, but the fear in them overshadowed it when he grudgingly acquiesced and forced out in a hoarse whisper, “Won’t you please come in?”
“I would love to,” I smiled and it only grew in size, watching her fist his hair into her hand to drag him out of my way.
And stepping inside, I could finally see what all of the fuss was about.
Because there were three other humans, lying unconscious in various corners of the room.
“They live?” I asked in amused surprise, knowing how much she liked to add to her win column.
She kept her glare on Newlin and shrugged, offering, “I didn’t have time to dig into their minds.” And knocking Newlin onto his back and out like a light, with a right cross to his jaw, she added, “Though I’m sure this one is the ringleader, so the others can be used to feed the one they have prisoner down in the basement.”
If she hadn’t just reminded me of our purpose for being there at all, there was a very good possibility I would have fucked her stupid right then and there.
It only seemed fair since everything about this girl left me stupid.
The sound of Stan’s voice wafting up through the floorboards was my first clue he was the prisoner, so I reined in my urge to give in to my baser instincts and began looking for the entry way into the basement. But upon finding the door, I was reminded of Susannah’s self-inflicted wounds when the scent of her blood got stronger, with her now closer proximity giving me yet another clue as to her intention of following behind me.
An older vampire or not, her scent was a draw even without her drawn blood. And not knowing what state I would find him in four days into his captivity, I turned towards her and eyed the wounds on her chest and arms. She seemed to understand because she didn’t hesitate to open her stance and lift her arms, tilting her head back and silently offering herself to me.
Fucking obligations always getting in the way of our fucking.
While I licked her wounds closed – and hoped my strained pants would remain the same – I made a mental note to recreate this scenario at another time when we could do what I could tell we both wanted right then.
Her eyes screamed it just as loudly as her blood.
When there was no more cause for my tongue to remain on her skin than the want I doubted would ever go away, I pulled back and said nothing, forcing my feet to turn and walk down the steps.
Before I ended up turning around and bending her over them to take her from behind.
Reaching the bottom step, his limp body, restrained by silver to the cinderblock wall behind him, met my eyes. Blood trailed down all sides of him, I assumed to weaken him further, with his plaid short sleeved shirt stuck to his body where the cuts had been made. The eyeglasses his second spoke so highly of were barely hanging onto his face, with only the tape across the bridge keeping both halves connected.
He offered a small smile upon seeing me and I moved forward, removing them from his face and inspecting them as I said, “I believe you need a new pair.”
“Nothing a little more tape can’t fix,” he grinned.
Allowing me to see his fangs had been removed.
My outrage came out in another snarl, but Susannah paid no mind and didn’t hesitate to move forward and begin removing the silver restraints from his body.
He turned to study her, but gave no indication he had any intention of attacking her. Even without her abilities or skill with a sword, I doubted he could overpower any human in the state he was in. But when his questioning eyes turned toward me, I shrugged and said, “She’s my girlfriend.”
There was no point in hiding the fact, when I was sure Pam’s first call would be to Isabel as soon as she figured it out.
Susannah’s amusement came through in her smile, but she said nothing and continued on until he was finally freed. Too weak to hold his own weight, I grabbed onto him and carried him up the stairs, chuckling when he looked up at me and said, “I heard what your girlfriend is capable of. Quit trying to make her jealous.”
“I have no cause to be jealous,” she chimed in from behind me and laughed, “He knows what I’m capable of too and that I know where he rests.”
Her admission didn’t appear to surprise him any more than my initial descriptor for her had. And while I trusted Davis as much as possible for any vampire who didn’t share my blood, I wasn’t yet ready to trust him with any more insights into who she was.
When we reached the front room, I was still putting him down onto the couch when she dragged one of the still unconscious unknowns onto the cushion beside him. Pulling her dagger from under her skirt, she sliced into his jugular with the precision of a veteran surgeon, tilting the head to give him more room, and then took a step back. She sheathed her blade and then smiled back at him saying, “Eat up while it’s hot.”
That surprised him.
But I wasn’t surprised when he obeyed.
She was compelling in every sense of the word.
So while he regained his strength via the blood flowing freely into his mouth, I watched her search the remaining men still lying on the floor. Picking their pockets clean, she appeared unsatisfied and moved on to searching the room.
And then the next one.
Only stopping long enough to bring Davis another meal when he’d finished with his first.
He was well into draining the second body by the time she came back into the room and said, “The pathetic one may own this house, but it is unlived in. The closets and cupboards are bare and the only furniture is in this room alone.”
It made sense since I knew Newlin resided in my kingdom, but that wouldn’t preclude him from owning property in another.
Both he and the remaining human began to stir at the same time, so I ripped Newlin’s shirt free from his body and used it as a gag to keep him from rescinding my invitation. While I knew I would regain entry – because my personal pissed off sentry wouldn’t allow otherwise – it would only piss me off more.
And I wanted answers he wouldn’t be able to provide if I killed him in a fit of rage.
But now that Stan was looking better, with as much color in his complexion that any of our kind could attain, I didn’t want to speak freely in front of the now lucid humans. So I switched to Russian, knowing he would be able to understand me, and asked, “How did you come to be here?”
No one was unsusceptible to capture, but I knew him to be a cautious vampire – despite Isabel’s earlier admonishing words – and wanted to know how they managed to ensnare him before we questioned them.
Licking the blood from his lips, while he stared predatorily at the now simpering human beside Newlin, he replied, “I came here to investigate my sheriff. At our last monthly meeting she was nervous, like a guillotine was hovering above her neck. At the time I thought it was due to the decline in her area’s tithe, but I am not an unfair ruler and know the economy is trending downward, so I was expecting it. But then rumors of her elaborate spending reached my ears and I did a little digging into her personal finances. While her accounts remain untouched, she has gone on a spending spree, using cash to purchase every little luxury her heart desires. Cars, furs, jewels. I suspect she is selling V. The crime rate in this area has skyrocketed and I know of three vampire who have all gone missing in recent weeks.”
With the vampire takeover of the world, the distribution of vampire blood was more regulated than weapons grade uranium and carried a death penalty for the seller, regardless of their race. It was a carefully controlled substance overseen by the council and only used on humans in a hospital environment.
While it couldn’t cure them of their prevalent cancers or radiation sickness, it was an invaluable resource for treating mortal wounds when other measures were insufficient.
So of course there was a huge demand for it on the black market. A single ounce of five hundred year old vampire blood cost more than the price of a human kidney. Each kingdom staffed an agency whose sole purpose was to investigate the illegal trade and track down offenders.
If his suspicions were true, his sheriff was just as idiotic as Compton.
And that thought made me feel a little better.
At least I wasn’t the only one.
“Four,” Susannah added and then looked towards Newlin, as she enunciated the name she included when saying, “But I was the one to take Victor Madden.”
And again Davis showed his surprise.
Because she’d said it all in perfectly accented Russian.
She gave me an imperceptible shake of her head, I assumed to tell me Newlin had no thoughts surrounding Madden. And while I thought it odd he had captured a king, but had no part in kidnapping my child, Stan drew my focus to him as he gave a more visible shake of his own head before he said, “Victor Madden? Why would I care? Isn’t he de Castro’s?”
“Our intel said his last known residence was here in this town,” I answered and then offered, “And his final resting place is in my basement, unless they thought to vacuum him up by now.”
I wasn’t about to get into the unknown fairy faction or my own part-fairy’s part in how he came to be in my basement. But knowing it was a sheriff’s duty to report new vampire residents to the reigning monarch, I asked, “I take it your sheriff didn’t inform you of his presence?”
“No,” he snarled. “But there seems to be many things she’s not forthcoming about.”
But then something else seemed to occur to him and he looked back at me and asked, “Is your presence here coincidental to something to do with Madden?”
“Something like that,” I hedged and added, “But your second called me this evening and told me you were missing. She said they’d tracked you to this town and I’ve recently had a run-in with Newlin myself, so finding out my subject owned this house, I thought it wise to investigate.”
None of it was even a lie. Just a carefully crafted truth.
Must be the fairy blood in me.
If only I could have the opportunity to get the rest of me in her and all would be well.
“Speaking of which…”
I pulled out my cell phone, before I could take Susannah into one of the bedrooms and show her we didn’t need a bed to fuck, and said, “I told Beaumont I would call her back.”
His hand rose up as he said, “Wait. I trust Isabel, but I want to find my sheriff first. I don’t know how deep her duplicity goes or what kind of safeguards she has in place. She must have some because I find it more than a coincidence they knew where to find me.”
Yes, I was familiar with more coincidences than I could count lately.
Treasonous sheriffs among them.
His steely gaze met my own when he went on to explain, “I will see it in her eyes when she sees me walking into her office.”
While he looked better than when I’d first laid eyes on him, I knew he was in no shape to take on another vampire, much less however many who were dumb enough to side with her. And knowing he would do the same for me, I nodded and said, “We will go together.”
And who knew?
With all of the coincidences piling up at my feet, this might be one I wasn’t yet aware of.
“What about the humans?” Susannah asked.
I was sure it was her way of telling me there would be no way she would be left behind babysitting them. But I already knew I would have to pick my battles with her and this wasn’t one I would win. In fact, if I dared to try, I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself back at the estate, while she accompanied Stan to visit his sheriff.
Her belligerent attitude was quite the aphrodisiac.
It left me doubly fucked without the benefit of any penetration.
Glancing down at the pile of items she’d pilfered from their pockets, my eyes spotted a key ring and I snatched it up. Walking out the front door, I grimaced when the vehicle I only now noticed in the driveway chirped, as I pressed the button on the key fob.
It was another minivan.
But I soon found out one of the benefits was the added room in the back.
It easily fit two bound and gagged full grown human men.
And I took a picture of it all to show Pam later.
I was sure she would want one.
Susannah wisely chose to clean up in one of the bathrooms before we left, not giving Stan any more indication of just how capable she was. She must have teleported our swords out into the yard because she made a show of picking them up and carrying them to the van. And I drove, following his directions, until we arrived at his sheriff’s main business, which apparently doubled as the main office for all of her sheriff duties.
Its other apparent use was as a pathetic dive bar.
And an eyesore.
So I just shook my head and said nothing, following Stan inside once my sword was strapped to my back, with Susannah doing the same and following right behind me.
We were all welcomed by a flashing neon sign, alerting us we were now entering into Freyda’s Fangtasia.