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Vampires’ Consort: Magical Ménages, Book 2, page 1

 

Vampires’ Consort: Magical Ménages, Book 2
 


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Vampires’ Consort: Magical Ménages, Book 2


  Bloodlines merge, passions surge.

  Magical Menages, Book 2

  One riveting glance from the handsome stranger stalking her in the supermarket shakes Akila Massri down to her soul. And when Jacob Baum hands her an engraved invitation to visit his billionaire employer’s retreat, curiosity—and the need to pay off her student loans—overcomes the instinct to refuse.

  Once on Valarian Kaspan’s private tropical island, her dark and deadly host confronts her with several incredible facts. Vampires exist. Her Egyptian ancestry traces back to the sun god, Ra. And her bloodline is critical to the future of mankind.

  From his thrall’s heated reaction to the supple-limbed Akila, Valarian is certain she is destined to mingle his Genghis Kahn bloodline with that of Ra. As a vampire, Valarian is sterile; it is through Jacob that a prophesied savior of mankind will be born.

  As Akila tries to wrap her mind around all this, she finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of erotic passion for two, very complicated men. When they all come together, something powerful unfolds within her. Something that makes her the target of evil vampires who plan to use her—and her unborn—to erase humans’ very existence from the earth…

  Warning: One woman plus a powerful vampire and his thrall equals sexy ménage with explicit sex scenes.

  eBooks are not transferable.

  They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.

  This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.

  Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

  577 Mulberry Street, Suite 1520

  Macon GA 31201

  Vampires’ Consort

  Copyright © 2011 by Bonnie Dee

  ISBN: 978-1-60928-374-2

  Edited by Linda Ingmanson

  Cover by Kendra Egert

  All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

  First Samhain Publishing, Ltd. electronic publication: March 2011

  www.samhainpublishing.com

  Vampires’ Consort

  Magical Ménages, Book Two

  Bonnie Dee

  Chapter One

  She was being stalked. The man followed her around the grocery store aisles: cereal, frozen foods, wines, produce. Akila hadn’t been sure of it at first. Maybe he was just walking the same pattern. Everyone in the store tended to pace the aisles like lab rats in a maze seeking an elusive piece of cheese. Few of them broke out of the pack to go the opposite direction.

  But when she paused to look at a magazine and he stopped at the far end of the same aisle to stare at baby diapers, she became pretty certain he was keeping pace with her. She pretended to read a passage from Allure as she studied the man from the corner of her eyes.

  He was good-looking. Medium height and build, with dirty blond hair, a little shaggy, that tumbled over his forehead. Sharp, even features, a nose that cut the air like a blade. His lips weren’t as full as she liked, but his wide mouth with the deeply bowed upper lip still looked quite kissable. She bet he knew what to do with that mouth. Unfortunately, one of those things didn’t appear to be delivering a line to the woman he was stalking.

  Shy, then. That was kinda cute.

  Then the man looked at her down the length of the aisle and she forgot to breathe or pretend to read her magazine. His gaze locked with hers and she realized he wasn’t cute or harmless at all. The power in his glance seized and shook her, rattling her brain around in her skull.

  Akila didn’t like being rattled. She was usually the one to do the rattling. She snapped the magazine closed and strode down the aisle to stand in front of her stalker. “Can I help you find catsup or something? You seem like you’re lost.”

  He broke the tension of his gaze, focusing instead on the brightly colored packages of crawling babies in front of him. Then he looked back at her and her stomach twitched again. “No. I do not require catsup.”

  He reached inside his jacket, a vintage Armani, she thought, but worn casually over a faded T-shirt. For a moment, she was certain he was going to pull out a gun. Her heart shuddered against her breastbone.

  The man drew a white envelope from his jacket and held it out to her. When Akila saw her full name embossed—not printed, embossed in gold on the creamy paper—real fear surged through her. Christ, he really was a stalker.

  “Please accept this invitation from my…employer.” His slight hesitation made her wonder what he’d been about to say instead.

  Her hand automatically reached out to accept the envelope. Only after she felt the smooth, cool envelope between her fingers did she remember admonishments about not taking things from strangers. For all she knew, she might be getting herself entangled with a gangster or something. Men bearing mysterious messages were not part of the everyday world.

  “Who is your employer? What does he want? How does he know who I am? Have you been watching me?” She fired off questions like pistol shots. “Why didn’t he mail this?”

  “Mr. Kaspan thought you would be more inclined to consider his request if it was hand-delivered along with a brief explanation. He thought the personal touch would make the offer appear more inviting.”

  Then perhaps Mr. Kaspan should have sent someone who wasn’t as rigid as a post. With the man’s slight Germanic accent, Akila was reminded of The Terminator. Come vith me if you vant to live.

  She stared at her name in gold, Akila Mubarak Massri, and tapped the envelope against her palm. “What kind of invitation?”

  “You have heard of Valarian Kaspan?” A single brow arched slightly.

  “Well, yeah. Billionaire. Philanthropist. Eccentric recluse who lives on an island. Everyone knows who he is.” She looked from his serious blue eyes to the thick, creamy envelope. “You’re saying the Valarian Kaspan is sending some kind of invitation to me? How does he even know who I am? What does he want?”

  “He requests your presence at his home. The time and date are contained in the missive. Air travel has been arranged. Everything will be explained in detail on your arrival.”

  “And you’re the one who’s supposed to put me at ease with all this crazy talk?” Akila cocked her head and studied him until she guessed he wanted to squirm, even though he maintained an erect, almost militaristic posture. “The man needs to rethink his hiring practices.”

  Ignoring her jibe, he continued. “Mr. Kaspan wants you to be comfortable about this visit. All travel expenses will be paid and you will be very well compensated for any days you must take off work. Feel free to let your immediate family know the details of where you are so you’ll feel safe, but please don’t share this news with the media. It is not the kind of attention that Mr. Kaspan would desire.”

  Akila nearly smiled at the reference to taking days off work. Kaspan hadn’t done his homework so carefully or he’d know she was currently “between situations”. There was nothing to stop her from taking off on an all-expense-paid trip to an exotic island owned by a billionaire. Nothing at all except a little thing called common sense. Powerful rich men didn’t summon pretty young women to their private retreats unless they had something specific in mind. She couldn’t think of anything he might want her for besides some kind of sex romp.

  But what she really couldn’t fathom was how a man like Valarian Kaspan knew of her at all. She was nobody special. S
he was three years out of college with a B.A. in English literature and, at present, no prospects for employment to pay off her sizable student loans. Her parents were wonderful people, but no one of great importance, either: two high school teachers, squarely middle class. The only vaguely interesting thing about them was that they were of Egyptian descent. When she was little, Akila used to imagine she was an Egyptian princess, descended from the pharaohs. She’d played dress-up, draping herself in gauzy scarves and scads of jewelry from the Dollar Store, making her best friend Myra be her slave and do her bidding.

  The man standing before her now took a step closer, drawing Akila’s attention back to his unearthly blue eyes. “I do understand this is a very unusual proposition, but please, seriously consider at least coming to hear what Mr. Kaspan has to say. If you will only come to him, he will explain everything much more clearly than I possibly could.”

  “There’s more? I mean, besides him wanting me to come to his house?” She frowned. “You know what he wants, don’t you?”

  His silence was an eloquent answer.

  “What is your name, anyway?”

  “Jacob Baum. I have been employed by Mr. Kaspan for many years. I know him as well as anyone could and I swear to you he will not harm you. But what he wants from you is very important. It would change your life and perhaps many others.”

  The entire thing was so preposterous she felt she was dreaming.

  “Please, help him. You’re his only hope.”

  “Okay, Princess Leia. I hear you,” she scoffed.

  His blank look told her he didn’t get the Star Wars reference. Somehow it didn’t surprise her he wasn’t pop culture literate.

  Casually tucking the unopened envelope in her purse, she said, “Tell your boss I’ll think about it and get back to him. I assume there are instructions for communicating with him in here.”

  “Good.” With his slight accent, he pronounced it “goot” and, for the first time he smiled. The flash of levity in that somber face was heart-stopping.

  Akila caught her breath. She’d thought him attractive enough at first glance, but in a single moment he’d transformed into devastatingly handsome. A magnetic tug pulled at her body as if she was a moon being pulled into his orbit. It would be worth it to go to Kaspan’s if only to see this man again.

  An awkward silence fell between them and then Jacob gave her a stiff little bow. “Pleased to have met you, Akila Massri. I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you again.”

  “Um, yeah. Same here.” She couldn’t think of a smart-ass reply as she tried to wrap her mind around the surreal moment.

  As he walked away, she watched his square shoulders beneath his well-tailored jacket. That combination of Armani with a torn T-shirt—class plus casual—said something about the man. She just wasn’t certain what it was yet.

  After he’d rounded the corner, Akila looked at her cart halfway down the aisle. She didn’t feel much like shopping now. Not that she had before this strange encounter.

  For a moment she stared at the smiling babies on the packaged diapers in front of her. No tears or colic or sleepless nights if you bought these diapers for your baby. She should turn her writing talents to advertising. Maybe she could make some money spinning lies rather than trying to dig out the truth as a journalist. Unemployed journalist, her helpful brain reminded her.

  As she returned to her cart and pushed it to the checkout, she opened the invitation. It contained more gilt words in flowing script on thick cardstock—“cordially invited”, “please be my guest”, “you will be compensated”—and an airline ticket.

  Even as Akila told herself this was creepy and weird and she shouldn’t go, she knew her curiosity would win out. She had to find out what this was about. And maybe she could use this bizarre experience as fodder for a story, an exposé about the famous Valarian Kaspan that she could sell to a paper, get her foot in the door as a freelance writer. Excitement percolated through her at the thought of her words in print.

  Cart before horse, she thought as she put her groceries on the conveyor.

  Despite her admonishment to herself, Akila was flying high as she walked the few blocks to her apartment. She’d sold her winter-beater Chevy when she’d moved to the city, and she lived by public transit now.

  She’d nearly reached the door of her apartment building when she caught movement from the corner of her eye in the shadows beside her building. It wasn’t a scampering rat but something much larger—a figure lurking in the dark.

  Her heart pounded and she walked faster. Damn, her pepper spray was on her key ring and her hands were clutching grocery bag handles. Akila prepared to drop the bags and go for the spray. But she wasn’t ready to surrender her groceries just yet. Maybe it was nothing, just a harmless bum rooting through the trash bins, or her imagination.

  A sudden breeze came up from nowhere, blowing from the alley and sending a crumpled plastic bag swirling over the ground like a little white ghost. The dark shadow in the narrow gap between buildings moved again.

  Akila’s heart leaped to her throat. It was definitely a figure. Right at the height of a face where the eyes would be were two shiny golden orbs. They glowed like an animal’s eyes reflected in the headlights of an oncoming car. She couldn’t register what the rest of him looked like. All she saw were the crazy eyes. And what she felt emanating from the man—if it was a man—was a sense of menace.

  The front door of the building was only a few yards away. Akila leaped up the stairs, fumbling with her key as she tried to put it in the lock with shaking fingers.

  Once inside, she slammed the door closed behind her and leaned against it, breathing hard, her body trembling. What the hell was that thing in the alley? And why did she have a gut feeling it was there because of her? Maybe because of the other strange encounter she’d had tonight. Coincidence or connection?

  Even as her muscles cramped from fear, the intrepid Nancy Drew inside her reared her head. She’d been a mystery reader since she was a girl and couldn’t leave this puzzle alone. Danger be damned, she’d go meet Valarian Kaspan and find out what he wanted.

  “What do you think? Will she come?” Valarian stood next to the birdcage that covered nearly an entire wall of the room and fed one of the parakeets through the bars. The colorful little bird perched on his long finger and pecked at the tidbit he offered.

  Jacob felt a little fillip of pleasure rush through him at the sight of those fingers, which could do such clever, cruel, brilliant things to his body. “I don’t know. It is difficult to say, but she seems intrigued. She appears to be a curious, adventurous sort.”

  “How lucky for you. That should make things interesting.” Valarian chuckled as he glanced at Jacob over his shoulder. “Did you find her attractive now that you’ve seen her in person?”

  Jacob damned his pale complexion as he felt his cheeks burn. He hated the way Valarian could always see inside him. Sometimes a man wanted to keep a part of himself private, but with his master that was not an option.

  “You did like her. Good.” Valarian turned from the cage and approached Jacob. “That will make things much easier.”

  “Do you honestly believe any of this will go well?” He frowned. “She’s not going to agree to your plan. You must know that.”

  “Ah, my Jacob. You underestimate the depths of human need. There are very few people who can’t be purchased for the right price, even the lovely Akila.”

  She was lovely, with high, firm breasts, long, supple limbs and close-cropped black hair that displayed an elegant neck. An image of her golden-brown eyes gazing at him in disbelief flashed in his mind. They were ringed with lush, black lashes, tilted ever-so-slightly at the corners, giving her an exotic look reminiscent of her Egyptian forbears. A cat, that’s what she made him think of. A sleek, dark goddess like Bastet whom a man might place on an altar and worship.

  Valarian’s hand covered the scar on Jacob’s neck, bringing him back from his reverie. He froze bene
ath that light, cool touch.

  “I believe you’re truly smitten.” Valarian’s low voice was rich with amusement. That seductive voice stiffened his cock like always, but his master’s patronizing inflection made Jacob want to punch him. Valarian Kaspan—the center of his life and the bane of his existence.

  He shook off the other man’s hand. “She’s attractive enough. I’ll perform the service you require. If she agrees to it.”

  As he turned and strode stiffly away, Jacob thought that was a very big “if”.

  Chapter Two

  Jacob Baum was at Miami Metro to meet Akila and usher her onto a private jet that would fly her to Valarian Kaspan’s island retreat. An entire island that belonged to one man. A Fantasy Island in the Caribbean that was just one of many properties he owned, according to what she’d read about him. Of course, she’d scoured the Internet for every bit of information she could find, but in all the articles she hadn’t seen one picture of the man or any mention of his date of birth. She supposed he must be middle-aged if not older, because his name had been prominent in the press for years.

  For a man who was a recluse and never allowed his photograph to be taken, Kaspan was a surprisingly public figure. He had a hand in dozens of corporations and an almost equal number of charities. He was Howard Hughes and Santa Claus rolled into one. Would she meet a squirrelly little man hiding in his room, fighting a running war against germs, or a magnanimous saint who threw hundred dollar bills around like piñata candy?

  Either way Akila was intrigued, and not too afraid. She’d informed several good friends about this trip so they would keep tabs on her, but hadn’t told her parents, who would be completely freaked out. Not until she found out what the mysterious proposition entailed would she decide whether to ever share the story with her parents. Did they really need to know about their daughter’s sexual flings—if that was what this turned out to be?

 
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