|When she heard someone approach, she turned around.
It was Vishous
not Butch who came into the room. The Brother was wearing black leathers and
heavy black boots, but he had on a fine white shirt. Turnbull and Asser. She
recognized the cut. Something told her he’d put it on just to see
“Tell me he is alive,” she said. “Save my life right here and now
and tell me he is alive.”
Vishous nodded. “He’s alive.”
buckled in relief. “But he isn’t coming, is he?”
“No. Tomorrow night.
You’ll see him then.”
As they stared at each other, Vishous stood in the
doorway, overwhelming her even though he was across the room. He was a dangerous
male, she thought, and not because of the tattoos at the side of his eye and the
goatee and that warrior body. He was cold to the core and someone that removed
was capable of anything.
In the heavy silence, she feared both him and
the news he brought.
“Where is he?” she asked.
“Then why isn’t he here?” She crossed her arms over her chest. “I
want you to tell me what’s happened.”
“Just a quick fight.”
Quick. Fight. “I want to see him.”
“Like I said, he’s not
“Is he at my brother’s?”
“And you’re not going
to tell me where, are you?”
“He’s going to call you in a little
“Was it with the lessers?” As all Vishous did was continue to stare
at her, panic kicked her heart into overdrive. She couldn’t bear for Butch to be
involved in this war. Look what had already been done to him. “Tell me. Goddamn
it, tell me, you smug bastard.”
Only silence. Which of course answered
the question. And also suggested Vishous didn’t care whether or not she had a
good opinion of him.
Marissa gathered up her skirts and marched over to
the Brother. She had to crane her neck to meet him in the eye. God, he was so
much bigger than Butch. And those eyes, those diamond white eyes with the
midnight blue lines around the irises. Cold. So very cold.
“I don’t want
One black eyebrow cocked. “Not your call.”
too dangerous for him.”
“If he is an asset, and he’s willing, he’ll be
“I don’t like the Brotherhood at this moment,” she blurted.
She started to go past him, and his hand shot out, grabbing her arm and
jerking her close, holding her though not hurting her. His glittering eyes went
over her face and her neck.
“You know, you really are the great beauty of
the species, aren’t you.”
“No… no, I am not.”
“Yeah, you are.”
Vishous’s voice got lower and lower, softer, until she wasn’t sure whether she
was hearing it or he was in her mind. “Butch would be a wise choice for you,
female. He’d take good care you, if you’d let him. Will you, Marissa? Or are you
just playing him?”
Those diamond eyes hypnotized her and she felt his
thumb go over her wrist. As it stroked back and forth, her heart rate gradually
slowed to the lazy rhythm. She swayed.
“Answer my question,
“What… what did you ask?”
“Will you let him be your
mate?” Vishous leaned down, his mouth at her ear. “Will you let him take
“Yes…” she breathed, aware they were talking about sex, but too
seduced in the moment not to reply. “I will take him within me.”
hard hand loosened then stroked her arm, moving over her skin warmly, strongly.
He looked down at where he was touching her, an expression of deep concentration
on his face.
“Good. That’s good. The two of you are beautiful together.
A fucking inspiration. But I want you to remember something. You hurt him again
and I will consider you my enemy. We clear?”
The male turned on his heel
and stalked out of the room.
Butch paced around the mansion’s library, feeling caged by all the bookcases
full of leather bound classics. They reminded him of all he hadn’t read, all
that literary culture bullshit he’d never been a part of, all the higher
education he hadn’t had.
Street smarts were his deal and he’d always
thought that was enough.
Except now, he wished he was a fricking Rhodes
With a curse, he forced himself to chill by the fireplace.
Looking into the flames, he fiddled with the collar of his silk shirt. Smoothed
the jacket of his Prada suit. Checked his shoes to make sure there were no
scuffs on the Gucci loafers. He wanted to be perfect for his female.
After all the misunderstandings and… the other thing, he prayed they
finally had a shot at a future.
So he wanted to at least look as if he
were worthy of her.
The smell of an ocean breeze drifted into the room
and Butch closed his eyes, dragging the fragrance down deep into his lungs. He
had to brace himself as he turned around.
Oh, Christ, she was beautiful.
Marissa appeared in the doorway like an angel and his mind momentarily
seized up, seeing her not as real, but a figment of his obsession. Her pale
yellow gown and her hip-length blonde hair seemed more like a divine aura and
her body became the apparition of beauty he’d seen in his dreams… and his
nightmares. As she looked across the room at him, his pathetic, racing heart
transformed her into a vision right out of his Catholic childhood: the Madonna
of salvation and love. And he, her unworthy servant.
“Hello, Butch.” Her
voice was soft, gentle. Devastating.
“Marissa.” Man, this woman… this
vampire… was everything he’d ever wanted and nothing he’d dared ask for. Too
good for him on his very best day.
And so help him God, he wanted
Yet as she came into the room, he ditched the hearts and flowers
stuff. Jesus, look at how weak she was. She moved slowly, as if she couldn’t
feel her legs, and she was terribly pale, nearly transparent from a lack of
Her words, too, were thin as breath. “Butch… we need to
He inhaled as he nodded. “I know what you’re going to
“Yeah.” He started across the room toward her,
arms out. “Don’t you know I would do anything for-”
“Don’t come any
closer.” She shuffled backward, bouncing up against a panel of matching, blood
red volumes. “You’ve got to stay away from me.”
He dropped his hands.
“You need to feed, don’t you?”
Her eyes widened. “Yes. How did
“It’s all right, baby.” He smiled a little, aware of a blast of
heat flaring in his body. “It’s very all right.”
“So you know what I’ve
got to do? And you do not… mind?”
He shook his head. “I’m fine with
it. More than fine.”
“Oh, thank God.” She lurched over to a sofa and sat
down as if her knees had given way. “I was so afraid you’d be offended. It’ll be
hard on me as well, but it’s the only safe way. And I can’t wait any longer. It
has to be tonight.”
This time, when he came closer, she let him. He knelt
in front of her, taking her hands in his.
God, they were cold. He rubbed
them back and forth in his palms, warming them.
“Come on,” he said,
aware of a thick anticipation. “Let’s go.”
A curious expression crossed
her face. “You want to watch?”
He stilled their mingled hands.
“I, ah… I’m not sure that’s a good idea. You can get a little
“Wait- watch?” He became aware of a sinking feeling in his
gut. Like someone had popped the stoppers on a number of his internal organs.
“What are you talking about, watch?”
“When I’m with the male who lets me
take his vein.”
Abruptly, Marissa recoiled, giving him a good idea of
what the expression on his face must be like. Yeah, or maybe she was reacting to
the fact that he’d started to growl.
Butch jacked up to his feet. “The
hell you’re using another man. You have me.”
“Butch, I can’t feed from
you. I’ll take too- where are you going?”
He stalked across the room,
shut the double doors, and locked them in together. As he came back at her, he
tossed his jacket on the floor and ripped open his shirt so that the buttons
popped off. Falling to his knees in front of her, he tilted back his head and
offered his throat, himself, to her.
There was a long
silence as their stares warred. Then her scent, that gorgeous clean fragrance,
intensified until it flooded the room. Her body began to shake, her mouth
opening. As her fangs unsheathed, he got an instant erection.
yeah,” he said in a dark voice. “Drink from me. I need to feed
“No,” she moaned, tears glowing in her pale blue eyes.
made a move to get up, but he launched at her, taking her by the shoulders,
holding her down on the couch. He moved himself between her legs, bringing their
bodies together. She trembled against him and pushed at him and he kept her
close… until suddenly she was gripping the two halves of his shirt. And
pulling him in tight.
“That’s right, baby,” he growled. “You grab on to
me. Let me feel those fangs get into me deep. I want it.”
He palmed the
back of her head and brought her mouth to his throat. An arc of pure sexual
power exploded between them and they both began to pant, her breath and tears
hot on his skin.
But then she seemed to come to her senses. She
struggled hard and he did his best to keep her in place, even though he knew he
was going to lose the fight against her soon. As he was just a human, she was
physically stronger than him even though he out-weighed her.
please, take me,” he groaned, his voice hoarse from the struggle and now the
His heart broke as she sobbed, but he didn’t let
her go. He couldn’t. “Take what’s inside of me. I know I’m not good enough, but
take me anyway.”
“Don’t make me do this.”
“I have to.” God, he
felt like crying with her.
“Butch…” Her body bucked, strained against
his. “I can’t hold back… for much longer… let me go… before I hurt you.”
It happened so fast. His name shot out of her on a yell
and then he felt a searing blaze of pain at the side of his throat.
fangs sinking into his jugular.
“Oh… God… yes…!” He loosened his
grip, cradling her as she latched onto his neck. He called out her name as he
felt a powerful, erotic draw on his vein. Pleasure swamped him, sparks flowing
all through his body as if he were orgasming.
This was so the way it had
to be. He needed her to take from him so she could live-
the contact abruptly and dematerialized, right out of his arms.
head first into the empty air where she’d been, face planting into the sofa
cushions. He shoved himself up and spun around.
He threw himself at the door and clawed at the lock, but couldn’t budge
it. And then he heard her broken, desperate voice on the other
“I’ll kill you… God help me, I’ll kill you… I want you too
He pounded on the door. “Let me out!”
“I’m sorry-” Her
voice cracked then grew strong, and he feared her resolve more than anything
else. “I’m so sorry. I’ll come to you afterwards. After it is
“Marissa, don’t do this-”
“I love you.”
He beat at
the wood with his fists. “I don’t care if I die!”
The lock sprang free
and he burst into the front hall. The vestibule’s door was just easing shut.
He ran for it flat out.
But by the time he got out into the
courtyard, she was gone.