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Midnight bite, p.5

Midnight Bite, page 5

 

Midnight Bite
 


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  “I didn’t ask for you to be at the New Year’s party!”

  “Technically, I wasn’t at the party. You were there with that dumbass Charles.” He sniffed. His eyes blazed. “Don’t worry. My men are hunting him. I’ll have him staked before nightfall.”

  Staked before… “What is wrong with you?” The question just blurted from her.

  He blinked.

  “I mean, you’re a vamp prince. I’m the daughter of a monster hunter. You shouldn’t be here—giving me nightgowns, hunting down my blind date from hell. You should be staying in your own lane, a lane far away from me.”

  “Staying in my own lane…” Devereaux repeated her words with a frown as he rose. His body brushed against hers, and a surge of heat swept through her. “I happen to think I am in my lane. You’re mine.”

  “That is…wrong. I’m not your anything.”

  He smiled. He had dimples. Shit. A cute vampire. He looked all…less menacing when his dimples winked and why hadn’t she noticed the dimples before?

  Oh, right, because she’d been too busy trying to stay alive.

  “Three times,” she whispered.

  A furrow appeared between his brows.

  “I was bitten three times yesterday.” Now she took a huge step away from him. “I know what that means.” And it didn’t just mean that she’d had a really shitty New Year’s Eve. Maybe the worst ever. “Two bites from you and one from Charles.” Her hand rose to press against her neck. But the skin didn’t feel tender. And when her fingers fluttered over the area, she couldn’t find any trace of the bite marks.

  Weird.

  Her hand fell back to her side. “In order to become a vampire, a human has to be bitten three times. Three times, and then the human drinks the blood of a vampire. After that, presto, no more human.” Hello, worst nightmare.

  Hadn’t her mother told her, time and time again, that there was nothing worse than a vampire? That they were the most evil beings on the planet? The most conniving?

  And yet…there she was. In a vampire’s bedroom. Her mother had to be spinning in her grave.

  “That is how it works…for humans,” he murmured. His gaze was on her neck.

  When a vamp looked at a woman’s neck, it was never a good sign. “Give me clothes to wear, or I will walk out of here in this nightgown.”

  Now his gaze fell to her body, and his stare heated even more. “You look beautiful in that gown. But then, I think you’d look beautiful in anything or in nothing at all. Actually, I think you’d be absolutely stunning naked.”

  The vamp prince was seriously hitting on her. She pointed to herself. “Monster. Hunter’s. Daughter.” She pointed to him. “Vamp. This isn’t going to happen.”

  “I think it’s very Romeo and Juliet.”

  “Uh, yeah, you know how that story ended, right? They both died.”

  He winked at her. “Then isn’t it a good thing that I’m undead?”

  She wouldn’t laugh. But…There was something about him. “Why? Why are you doing this? Why help me last night? Why give me a place to sleep? Why—”

  His hand rose and cupped her cheek. Again, a surge of heat swept through her body. Her heart raced. Her breath panted out. And her nipples became tight as desire beat in her blood.

  Okay, hello, plot twist.

  “In the vampire world, I cannot become king until I have a worthy queen to rule at my side. I have been waiting centuries for my queen. I don’t have to wait any longer. I’ve found her.”

  She looked over her shoulder, just in case. Because, obviously, there had to be someone else there. He couldn’t mean her.

  A rumble of laughter came from him. “Absolutely, it’s you. You are the only one who will do for me. You were born to rule. Born to be at my side, forever.”

  No way. “I was always told that I was born to kill vampires. All monsters.” Her mother had drilled that particular lesson into her head.

  His fingers slid down her cheek. Fell away from her, and dammit, why did she miss his touch? Why was she leaning toward him like he was the sun and she was a freaking flower?

  “How did all of that work out for you?” Devereaux asked her. “The monster killing routine? Out of curiosity, just how many monsters have you killed in your life?”

  Damn him. “None.” She was the biggest failure in her family’s history. “Turned out, I didn’t have the killer instinct.” If she couldn’t take down one single bad guy, how in the hell did he think she was going to be queen of the whole undead world? Not happening. “You’ve got the wrong woman. Sorry. But thanks for the help last night.” She turned on her heel. Looked like she’d be leaving in the nightgown. Whatever.

  Before she could reach the bedroom door, Devereaux was in her path. Stupid vamp speed.

  But, wait, she’d used vamp speed the night before. How the hell had she done that?

  “I bet you have all kinds of…instincts…inside of you,” Devereaux rasped. He looked fierce and dangerous. A bit delectable. If you went for that type. “Maybe you just needed the right person to wake them.”

  She wet her lips.

  “I have the right woman. The only woman I want. I just have to convince you, Lark, that you want me, too.” His head lowered toward hers.

  She should back away.

  Push him.

  Get a stake or something.

  She didn’t move. Because she liked having him close. That weird heat was pounding through her blood again, and all she wanted was his mouth. On hers.

  “I have to wake you up.”

  She was awake. Crazy vampire.

  “You’ve been sleeping a very long time. Living in a world that wasn’t meant to be yours. So much more waits for you. I can show you things…impossible, wonderful things. I can put a kingdom at your feet, if you’ll just let me.”

  He was going to kiss her.

  Back. Away.

  Instead, she stepped forward. She didn’t wait for him to kiss her. Instead, the girl who’d been raised to fear vampires, the woman who knew she should run—she put her mouth on his because a hot, dangerous desire was blooming within her. A dark lust that pushed her to touch him. To taste him. Even though she knew it was wrong, even though Lark knew it was a mistake, she put her hands around his broad shoulders. She rose onto her toes. And her open mouth met his.

  Need. Hunger. Longing. The surge hit her so hard that her knees trembled. She didn’t have to worry about falling, though, because his arms locked around her, and Devereaux pulled her tightly against him. The kiss was consuming. His tongue thrust into her mouth. She tasted him. He devoured her. Desire exploded. A wild craving that shook her entire body. All she wanted was more. So much more. She grabbed for his shirt. Yanked—and the buttons went flying.

  He gave a low, rough growl and picked her up. Her legs wrapped around his waist. She’d never, ever felt this way before. Part of her was absolutely horrified. She couldn’t be reacting this way. Not to a vampire!

  But…

  Another part of her…another part just thought…finally, I found him.

  That was insane and wrong, but…

  At the moment, she didn’t care.

  He spun her around, caging her between the closed door and his body. Her mouth pulled from his, and she began to kiss her way down his neck. Her sex was against him. The gown and her panties covered her, but the material was so thin. The hard, heavy length of his arousal shoved through the pants that he wore. Pants that were in her way. Down, down her mouth went, and Lark could feel the race of his pulse beneath her lips. She licked his skin. She sucked. She scraped her teeth over his neck, and then she opened her mouth to—

  Bite?

  Whoa. Whoa. She jerked her mouth back. Gaped up at him as ice water seemed to fall over her.

  She’d been about to bite the vamp prince. And if she’d taken his blood into her mouth—if she’d bitten him hard enough to break the skin—

  Lark would have become a vampire.

  OhmyGod. That was wh
at he wanted. He was playing with her. Messing with her mind. She’d thought that she was immune to vamp mind control, but maybe since he was a prince, he had some kind of bonus power that made her susceptible to him. She didn’t really want Devereaux. She couldn’t. He was a vampire! The desire had seemed too strong, anyway. He was messing with her.

  The bastard.

  Her hands shoved against him. “Let me go!” Lark snarled.

  Devereaux blinked. His gaze was still filled with desire, and stark need was clear to see on his face. After a moment, he swallowed and growled, “Love, your legs are wrapped around me.”

  Oh, jeez. They were. Her cheeks blazed as she unwrapped her legs and pushed him away. “I am not playing your game.”

  His breath heaved in and out, and, yes, she could see his fangs peeking at her. That was the thing with vamps. When they got physically turned on, their fangs came out. They liked to fuck and drink at the same time. The pleasure that came from combining both acts was supposed to be incredible.

  Addicting.

  Dangerous.

  “No game.” He put his hands on his hips.

  She glared at him. “Get out of my head.”

  “Am I already in there?” Devereaux seemed pleased. He even smiled. Hello, dimples.

  “You’re making me want you,” she fired at him. Lark would not give in to the charm of his dimples.

  At her words, his smile vanished. “I’m not making you do anything. Everything will be your choice. It has to be.”

  “Bullshit. It’s not natural to kiss someone and get so turned on that you almost come.”

  His brows rose. “That’s…good.”

  It was bad. So bad. “You’re making me want you,” she accused him again. “Using a vamp trick. There is no way I’d ever want to kiss a vamp without you using your power on me. There’s no way I’d want to have sex with you. You’re manipulating me. You’re—”

  Okay, fast vamp movement. Before she could say another word, he’d lunged forward. Devereaux caught her hands and pinned them on either side of her head, locking them against the wooden door frame behind her.

  “You’re insulting me,” he growled.

  “Let me go!”

  “I would never use a compulsion on you, even if I could. I want you to come to me willingly. I want you to desire me, even though you think I’m a monster.”

  “I—” She did think that, didn’t she? But saying it out loud just seemed wrong. Like she might hurt him. Since when do I care if I hurt a vamp?

  “You’re going to choose me because I’m the one you want. And that desire—the lust that is tearing you apart from the inside? It’s not a game or a trick. It’s real. It’s you wanting me. I feel the same way for you. If you hadn’t pushed me away, I would have gladly fucked you right here.”

  She couldn’t look away from his eyes.

  “You are the only woman I want. I have waited for you, waited centuries. And I will keep waiting until you are ready for me. But don’t tell me that I’m tricking you. Don’t act like you don’t want me just as badly as I want you. That desire—that out of control madness? It’s nature’s way of saying we were meant to be. That we are mates.”

  “Vampires don’t have mates.” That was a shifter thing.

  “Says who?”

  Her mother.

  His lips curled. Not a smile. A sneer. “You think we can’t need? We can’t love? Did your mother brainwash you that much? Always trying to turn you into a hunter, always pushing you and pushing you—”

  “Stop!”

  He let her go, but his left hand trailed down to her side. Pressed over her silken nightgown. “I took your blood-stained dress off. I saw the scars that mark you. Scars you must have gotten when you were very young.” His jaw locked. “Tell me a name, and I’ll kill the bastard. I’ll kill anyone who hurt you.”

  Tears wanted to well in her eyes. Those scars were part of her secret shame. “No names. Just stay away from me.”

  “I can’t do that.” A stark pause. “And I know the scars left from shifter claws when I see them. But the scars are old. You must have been so young.”

  “I was thirteen.”

  “I will kill—”

  Dammit! “My mother already killed them, okay? It was all part of her big plan. She thought if she threw me in a cage with two rabid shifters, my hunter instincts would kick in. I’d fight them. I’d destroy them. She gave me two silver knives and told me to attack. Only I didn’t do it.” Because she’d stared at the animals—those wild, desperate animals—and pity had stirred within her. How long had they been chained up? How long had they been tortured? How long had her mother hurt them? “I wanted to help them,” Lark confessed as her voice dropped to a hoarse whisper.

  Why was she telling him this? She’d never told anyone this truth.

  “Lark…”

  The way he said her name made her heart ache.

  “I was trying to break the silver chains. I was trying to help them, but they thought I was there to hurt them, too. Just like my mother had hurt them. So they attacked. They clawed me. They would have killed me, but my mother finally came in. She shot them with silver bullets and…” No, she wouldn’t tell him the rest. Wouldn’t tell him about how her mother had stood over her as Lark bled and cried. How her mother had said…

  “You are such a disappointment. You’ll never be a hunter. You’ll never be worthy. There is too much of your father in you.”

  And one thing she knew…her mother had always hated Lark’s father.

  Lark had been left in the cell, bleeding, with the two dead shifters. After that attack, she’d never gone hunting with her mother again. Not until…

  Until the night her mother had died.

  Her head tipped forward and her hair slid over her eyes. She just didn’t want to face him. Couldn’t, in that moment. “I’ve never been a threat to the monsters. You can all just leave me alone. I didn’t go after any of you.”

  “But we came after you.” Sadness roughened his voice. “And they won’t stop. Not unless you are protected. I can give you that protection. I can make you my queen, and you will never need to fear—”

  Now her head snapped back up as she gaped at him. “You were serious about that? When you asked me to be your queen last night?”

  “Dead serious.”

  Undead serious. “I’d have to become a vampire for that to happen. No human could rule the vamps. Even if they’d accept the daughter of a monster hunter.” Which she didn’t think they ever would.

  And not that she wanted to be queen. No way, no day. But she was just stating things for the record.

  His jaw hardened. “They’d accept you, or I’d kick their asses.”

  Spoken with the true arrogance of a royal prince. “I need to get out of here.”

  He shook his head. “Just because it’s the day now, it doesn’t mean you’re safe.”

  Vamps could go out in the sunlight. They were just weaker when the sun shined down on them. And shifters could certainly transform during the day. But paranormals usually stayed out of sight during the hours when the sun was up. They preferred to hunt and to play in the darkness.

  “Stay with me, love. I can get you some food. I can get new clothes for you.” His eyes gleamed. “I can give you anything and everything that you desire. All you have to do is stay with me.”

  Okay, when a super-hot guy made an offer like that…vamp or no, a girl would be tempted. But… “I’m not meant to rule the vamps, and when I’m around you, strange things happen. I mean, I almost bit you. That’s not me.” She maneuvered away from him—without letting their bodies brush again—and opened the door.

  “Don’t be too sure about that.”

  Her eyes narrowed as Lark glanced back at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

  “It means maybe you don’t know yourself as well as you think. Maybe you’ve spent too many years trying to be normal. You’ve fought your real nature.”

  Her bare toes
curled into the wooden floor. She really needed clothes. And shoes. And a ride out of that place. Wherever the place happened to be. “I’m not a hunter. I don’t have any of those special hunter skills but…” Now her voice trailed away. Lark gnawed on her lower lip as she turned toward him. “I ran really fast last night.”

  “Um.” A very non-committal response.

  “Faster than I’ve even seen some vamps move.”

  He lifted a brow.

  “Maybe I’m a late bloomer?” Was that even possible? She’d sure been riding a high of adrenaline and desperation when she’d bounded away from him so quickly. Perhaps some of her dormant hunter skills had kicked into play. Though she didn’t know of any hunter who’d ever been able to move quite that fast before.

  Devereaux shrugged his powerful shoulders. “Or perhaps you’ve just been fighting your true nature too long. Now that your twenty-sixth year is here, all sorts of changes may be coming your way. The veil is lifted, the hunt is on, and anything can happen.”

  Suspicion settled in her gut. “I feel like you know way more about my life than I do.” Her chin notched up. “I don’t like it.”

  He smiled. “New clothes are in the bathroom behind me. Clothes, shoes, makeup. Anything you need. Change and come find me. I’ll be waiting downstairs for you. Because, seriously, this is a real warning, if you go running out in public wearing that sexy gown that shows off your beautiful nipples, I’ll just have to kill every vamp and human who crosses your path.”

  Shows off your…She glanced down. Crap. Her arms flew up and folded over her chest. “You have to stop threatening to kill people.”

  Devereaux just grunted as he passed her. “Maybe you can convince me to change my wicked ways. For my queen, I’d do just about anything.”

  Then he was gone. Lark lingered in the doorway as uncertainty filled her. This was madness. Total insanity. She’d get dressed, and she’d get the hell out of there. Lark marched into the bathroom—a bathroom that was probably bigger than her whole apartment. Her gaze darted toward the massive mirror that hung over the sink. She stared at her reflection, hardly recognizing the woman with the disheveled hair, the flushed cheeks and the fangs—

  Fangs?

  For an instant, Lark could see tiny fangs peeking from behind her lips. Her hand flew up and slapped over her mouth as her eyes widened in horror.

 
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