Dark heirloom an ema mar.., p.5

Dark Heirloom (An Ema Marx Novel Book 1), page 5

 

Dark Heirloom (An Ema Marx Novel Book 1)
 



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  My grin fell into a frown, yet I wasn’t at all surprised by her request. “I cannot allow that at this time.”

  She turned her head to face me. “Why not?”

  I smiled. “Because, my thoughts are filled with dirty images that will thrill you to death.”

  She narrowed her eyes. “Be serious.”

  “I am.” I unzipped her dress and slid my hand inside. My palm glided over her breast and massaged its delicate center. I kissed her shoulder blade and savored the flavor of her perfect demon flesh. She arched her back and ran her long fingers through my hair.

  “You are so cruel. All you do is take from me.”

  “That’s not true. I give myself to you every day.”

  She scoffed at my response. I lowered my hand and dipped a finger between her legs. She spread her thighs just enough for me to enter. She was dripping wet and purred at my touch. With my other hand, I grabbed her jaw and tilted her head to the side. She moaned in delight. My own desire pressed against the fly of my trousers.

  “I’ll ask you one last time. Name your price.”

  She whimpered. “Bite. Me.”

  My lips curled away from my teeth, into a smile. “As you wish, my love.”

  Opening my mouth wide, I sank my fangs deep into her jugular. She moaned with desire as a stream of blood flowed down her chest and stained her dress. I pulled my teeth out slowly, making sure she felt every bit of the stinging pleasure. Suctioning my lips around the bite, I sucked like a starved animal.

  She moaned louder as ecstasy built with each pull of blood from the vein. After a few minutes, the wound on her neck began to heal, and I had reached the point where something needed to happen with the throbbing in my groin. I let go of her and sat on the edge of the desk. I held the remnants of her blood in my mouth, holding off on swallowing it.

  She faced me as I let the warm, scarlet juice drip from the corners of my lips. She licked my mouth clean while unbuttoning and pushing down my pants. I lifted her hips up as she climbed onto my lap and straddled my manhood.

  I dematerialized our bodies and whisked us into our bedchamber where things progressed quickly. While Leena rode me, I took the opportunity to get what I really wanted from her. “So what of the information you promised?”

  She wrinkled her nose and slowed. “Do not make this about her. Not now.”

  “I gave you what you wanted.”

  “No.” She stopped and dismounted. “You gave me what you wanted to give me, but not what I asked for. I still do not understand why you let her live. It’s cruel.”

  “I thought you liked that about me.”

  She shrugged, lounging on her side. “Killing a gypsy is one thing. Allowing a gypsy to turn is another. Imagine what her life will be like. She will be an outcast for eternity.”

  “Are you sympathizing with the rat now?” I teased.

  “No,” she shot back, “but it’s against the law for good reason.”

  My brow furrowed. The very qualities I loved about Leena were also the ones that challenged me most, and I was tired of her questioning me. I rolled onto my stomach, and then pushed up and pulled her under me. I pressed my hips to hers, pushing myself into the space between her legs, going in deep. I kissed her nose, forehead, and lips. Then I nuzzled my nose against her neck.

  “My love,” I whispered. “My Væn Mánijós,” I said in the old Norse tongue. “Close your eyes and relax. Let me take care of you. You are my queen in every moment we breathe.” I kissed her lips with as much passion as I could muster. It was the truth, there was no other woman on Earth I adored as much as Leena. I rocked against my darling queen until she trembled with pleasure. Her body tipped into ecstasy, causing her internal juices to spill. I came seconds later.

  I drew the sheets up and wrapped them, along with my arms, around her precious body. She gazed into my eyes for a time as I held her and admired the contours of her lovely face.

  Leena had the body of a Greek statue, a perfectly toned hourglass figure that I much enjoyed. Though it had been well over two-thousand years, I would never forget what she looked like as a human. Her then chocolate brown hair was often worn loose, and freckles had blemished her thin nose and olive-colored cheeks. Now, she looked like me. Soft, pale skin with bright green eyes, and fine black hair she kept in a long ponytail. I twisted a strand of it around my fingers. I didn’t care what she looked like, so long as she was mine.

  She sighed. “You are not going to like this.”

  I played with the tips of her fingers, waiting patiently, a skill mastered only after a good romp with my queen. Leena took a breath.

  “The girl… She is the one from Jesu’s premonition.”

  Chapter 6

  My reflection haunted me as I stood with my forehead pressed against the bathroom mirror. I couldn’t feel the glass. My brain said it was probably cold and hard, but all my skin felt was pressure.

  I looked like a zombie. My tan had disappeared, replaced by liquid white, and my skin was rubbery like latex. My teeth fanged like an animal’s, and my eyes…

  Two days ago, my eyes were bright brown. Now they were the darkest shade of black, like onyx beads. The irises blend into freakishly wide pupils. Little specks of scarlet glittered in tiny splashes around the irises. Shuddering, I stepped away from the mirror.

  Vampire.

  I couldn’t believe it. One thing was for sure; my hosts weren’t human. Humans couldn’t fly, or walk through walls. Humans couldn’t hear or smell things from miles away with precise accuracy. Humans couldn’t see detail or vivid color in the dark of night.

  Aliens, ghosts, monsters… It didn’t matter what name they chose, the facts remained the same, and they were convinced I was one of them now.

  I need to get out of here.

  I need to get help, but how? Even if I managed to get out of the castle and escape the island, I’d have a hell of a time trying to find an airport. I didn’t speak Finnish. I hadn’t the faintest idea where the nearest town was. The others knew this place like the back of their hand and already proved they were faster than I was. No, escaping was not the answer. I would have to be rescued, preferably by the U.S. Army, with tanks and a lot of machine guns.

  I sighed and glanced at the magnificent porcelain tub. It beckoned to me with promises of home comforts. I couldn’t smell myself, but I’d been unconscious for two days, and was sure I reeked. The others could surely smell me from whichever part of the castle they occupied.

  How long until one of them barged into the room again, demanding answers to more idiotic questions? Maria and Jalmari claimed I was their guest, but neither treated me like one. I wasn’t their guest, I was their prisoner. Still, this prisoner wanted a bath.

  I turned on the hot water only to cringe as the stream gushed forth louder than a waterfall. I sighed. They would all hear me bathing. I turned the water off. Maybe it was better to stink. With such sensitive noses, I’d have better luck keeping them away.

  I crept into the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed. How much could they hear? How much were they keeping track of?

  I listened to them too, using my new enhanced hearing. Leena gibbered in a muffled voice. I wished I could understand the language she spoke. It was different from the Finnish Jalmari and Jesu used. Jalmari didn’t talk back. His shoes shuffled along the carpet as he paced.

  Wooden drawers rolled open, then slammed shut in what I assumed to be the kitchen. Liquid splashed against crystal as Maria hummed to herself. I closed my eyes and imagined the liquid, thick and red.

  Blood.

  Longing burned in my gut.

  Maybe I am a vampire.

  The sweet scent of rain filled my nostrils, bringing sensations of spring, while heavy footsteps approached the door. My mind told me who my visitor was before he even had a chance to knock.

  Jesu.

  I squared my shoulders and waited for him to enter. He pounded on the wooden door, though logic disagreed, telling me he merely tapped on
it. I hesitated, wondering what he would do if I denied him entrance. Probably come in anyway. Locks were for show in this house, nothing more than props or, by the looks of the exquisitely crafted brass door handle, a way to flaunt wealth. I sighed. “Come in.”

  Jesu opened the door and stepped into the room in one fluid motion. “I wanted to let you know to close the drapes.”

  I eyed the window. “Why?”

  “The sun will be rising soon.”

  I wasn’t sure why this was significant.

  “Or,” Jesu shrugged, “you can wait to see what happens.”

  Right. Vampires don’t like the sun.

  “Do I… have to sleep in a coffin?”

  He cocked his head. “No.”

  I tried again. “What does sunlight do to you?”

  “To us,” he corrected. A sly grin stretched along his left cheek. “Wait and see if you like.”

  I thought of what little I knew about vampires. “I don’t want to burn to death.”

  Jesu chuckled. “You might get a little sunburn, but it will not kill you. I can wait with you.” He flipped one of the wicker chairs around and straddled it so his chest was to the backrest.

  We waited in silence, facing the lone window. Moon and starlight illuminated the sky. Looking at the moon was like looking at a dim lamp. I shifted my gaze to the forest, where snow shimmered on pine branches. Bits of ice crystallized the needles, casting rainbows of light I never could have seen with regular vision.

  A birdcall caught my attention, its pitch sharp against my acute hearing. My eyes followed the sound and spied tiny brown and white feathers hidden beneath layers of green. Without meaning to, I zeroed in on the rapid rhythm of its heart. My mouth salivated as a strong need stirred deep inside my gut.

  The moon descended below the trees as I pushed away the foreign desires. Soon, the sun peeked out from beneath the horizon and stained the sky with pink, orange, yellow, and white hues. I stood and shaded my eyes with my hands. Images quickly faded as the world flooded with white light.

  I turned away from the window, barely able to make out Jesu’s face. He wore a pair of sunglasses and a big cocky grin. The light filled the room, turning everything blurry, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

  I felt around for a piece of furniture to keep my bearings. My right hand hit something solid. I had no idea what it was, but I grabbed a hold and sniffed at it like a blind dog. Cherry wood, a bedpost! I followed the contours of the bed with my hands until I reached the side farthest away from the window. I ducked down behind it.

  “Okay,” I called out. “I want the curtains closed now.”

  “Of course,” Jesu chuckled. I listened as he made his way to the window. Threads snapped. “It is done.”

  I opened one eye, and then the other. I still had to squint, but at least I could see. Instead of the blinding white, a bright yellow haloed the room and its contents. I shaded my eyes with one hand and pushed myself up with the other. “God, it’s like the sun skyrocketed into the earth. Does it always do that here?”

  Jesu grinned and nodded. “It will do that no matter where you are, now that you are a vampire. Our irises do not contract from light, so our pupils remain dilated. That is why we can see in the dark. The only drawback is we cannot handle something as bright as the sun.”

  “So, we can’t go outside in the daytime?”

  “I never said that. We have these.” He tapped the glasses on his face. “They block out UV-rays, ever heard of them?”

  I rolled my eyes.

  Grinning, he pulled another pair of sunglasses out of a pocket and tossed them at me. I caught them and put them on. They were too big, and drooped down my nose a little, but they made a difference in softening the light. It became tolerable.

  “As for your skin, we are very prone to sunburns—there is not much pigment in us. We have sun-block lotion, but it is easier to just keep yourself covered.”

  I looked at my hands. A rosy pink kissed the tops of my joints.

  “That will be gone in a few seconds.” Jesu commented, referring to my hands. Oddly, my skin didn’t feel hot. When I looked at them a second time, the pink was gone, replaced by the new snow-white hue.

  “Thanks for the sunglasses,” I murmured.

  “No problem.” He glanced around, rubbed the back of his neck, and absently nudged the table leg with the toe of his boot. “I, ah, wanted to ask you something else, too.” He stared at the floor as he spoke. “You might be more comfortable if you had your own room.”

  “Sorry, what?”

  “I mean, you may not want to spend eternity in a guest room. We have others, we can easily relocate you.”

  Eternity? I didn’t want any of them getting used to the idea of me being here for long, much less forever. “No thanks.”

  He cleared his throat. “You would be farther from Jalmari and Leena.”

  I perked up. Isolation would increase the chances of making an escape possible. Maybe I could find a backdoor, or a secret passage, leading to the forest. After all, secret pathways were a standard castle feature.

  “This room you speak of, will Jalmari be able to hear me from there?”

  He shook his head. “It has been soundproofed.”

  “Why didn’t you say so? Let’s go.”

  Jesu smiled and opened the door. “Ladies first. I will give you a tour of the castle along the way.”

  My heart sank as I stepped into the hallway. Jesu didn’t strike me as dumb. None of them did. Psychotic, bi-polar, and schizophrenic, yes, but dumb? No. They were confident. Cocky, even. Jesu could give me a tour of the entire island, if he wanted, and no one would care because if I tried to run away, any one of them could catch me in two seconds.

  So, why not give me a soundproof room and tour of the castle? It didn’t matter, I wasn’t a threat to them.

  “…And, that is how Linna ‘lta Korento came about.”

  I blinked. “I’m sorry, what was that?”

  He looked me over. “Are you all right?”

  “Yeah, just… never mind, I’m fine. What were you talking about?”

  Jesu smiled and rested a hand on my shoulder. Before I could stop myself, I shrugged it off. A glint of sorrow flashed in his green eyes.

  “Sorry, I didn’t mean to.” I had meant to, though, so why was I apologizing?

  The left corner of Jesu’s lips inched up in a forced smile. “No need to explain, I understand.” He shoved his hands into his pants pockets. “This way.”

  We went left down the hall. Jesu walked a couple of steps ahead. The corridor gave way to a balcony on the second level of a staircase with more grandeur than anything I’d ever seen before.

  Black marble with white and silver lightning streaks flowed down the imperial stairs from either side of the level above us, pooled on the landing at my feet, and then split in half and spilled into the floor of a ballroom like twin waterfalls. Hundreds of finely carved wooden vines, complete with realistic rose buds and sharp thorns, held up a sleek walnut handrail along the edge of the staircases. I didn’t dare stain it with my fingerprints.

  “This is the first wing. Over there,” Jesu pointed to the back right corner of the third level. “The corridor continues into the second wing, where Jalmari’s and Leena’s room is.”

  I spoke while admiring the architectural beauty of my surroundings. “They share a room?”

  “They are a couple.”

  I scoffed. “Talk about being made for each other.”

  “Indeed, we all think they were predestined,” Jesu chuckled.

  “How long have they been together?”

  “Since Classical Greece.”

  “Wow, she stuck with him through the Dark Ages and the Great Depression? I’m impressed.”

  And, just a little bit envious.

  Jesu chuckled and nodded. “Through there,” he pointed to the back left corner of the third level, continuing the tour. “Is the third wing, where the help stay.”


  I cringed. “Are they human?”

  “Of course not.”

  I wasn’t sure if I should feel relieved or worried. Jesu cocked his head, gesturing for me to follow. We went down the steps into the ballroom. Echoes bounced off the walls as we crossed the marble floor. I cupped my hands over my ears while gaping at the sights the change of perspective offered.

  Three white marble pillars held up the open hall of the third level on the right and left sides, making six total. In the center of the ballroom, directly above us, the third floor ended, creating a column of empty space. I could see straight up to the vaulted ceiling, where a wrought iron chandelier, the size of a monster truck tire, hung in all its glory. The candles within weren’t lit, as the daylight already cast a yellow haze over everything. Set into the floor directly beneath the chandelier, white marble created a six-foot wide pattern of a seven-pointed star. On the walls, red velvet panels hung in white marble frames. Life-size, semi-nude statues of men and women, made from the same white stone, stood in seductive poses throughout the room. Some had angelic wings, others were demonic. Glancing up, I noticed a few more statues protruding from the tops of the pillars, holding the ceiling in their raised hands.

  Jesu chuckled. “There is much more to see. We have not yet covered a quarter of the castle.”

  “This room is so unnecessary. I can’t imagine how much it cost to build.”

  He glanced around. “It is nothing compared to our old castle in Sweden.”

  “Do you have celebrations here?”

  “No, not for many years. It draws too much attention. As far as the good people of Finland are aware, this island is uninhabited. Shall we continue?”

  Without waiting for a response, he led me through an arched opening in the center of the back wall, which gave way to a formal dining room. Oak floors shone brightly in the light that leaked in from the ballroom. A polished mahogany table stood in the center of the room, encompassed by fourteen chairs upholstered in scarlet, with room to spare. Baroque period art covered three of the surrounding stone walls. I gasped at the authenticity of their pre-Columbus origins.

  A striking triple-box fireplace spanned the entire length of the wall to the right. I didn’t know a hearth could be so big. Bleached white brick made up the mantle, which stretched up to the ceiling. A bearskin rug hugged the floorboards at the base of the fireplace. It might have been inviting if it wasn’t staring at me with creepy, glossed wooden eyes.

 
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