When the service elevator doors opened to the penthouse, Addie jumped. She’d been savoring the silence of the quiet suite as a faint hum of the evening traffic buzzed softly in the bckground. After the ding of the lift coming to a stop, the ancient teenager exited the cubicle as though hunting prey.
Lex was very mellow for his age. His hungers for blood and sex were easily sated. Negative emotions – anger, jealousy, guilt – were non-productive and therefore only allowed in minute quantities around the sheriff. For a vampire, the former prince was a likeable, friendly, go-with-the-flow kind of guy.
Unless his trust was broken. Upon his arrival to his suite, Lex was not the laid-back sheriff in pristine dress-casual clothes. The green Egyptian cotton of his shirt and gray slacks we marred with streaks and splatters of scarlet. His blue eyes were dark and seemed to glow. His fangs remained down as he visibly scented the air, growling when his eyes locked on the hybrid. “Mine.”
Addie had never seen a vampire in bloodlust, though she knew the term and recognized the symptoms. She also knew that she had to work quickly to either calm or distract him; he could easily hurt her in his condition. She swallowed the surprisingly small amount of fear she had at seeing him in this state and stepped forward nodding. “Yours,” she calmly agreed.
“Mine,” he repeated. Possessiveness gave his accent a lusty snarl. “My fairy. Mine to fuck. Mine to drink. Want you now.”
That scared her. She realized just how out-of-control the easy-going vampire could be. Although she had more than a decade’s worth of evidence that her ability didn’t work on supes, she lowered all her guards, removed all her masks, and pushed her will toward the snarling vampire. “Well you can’t have me. Not until you calm down. I will warm you a bottle of the AB-negative that Northman left, but you cannot drink from me in this state of mind. You could and probably would kill me. Neither of us would appreciate that. You just need to back the fuck off right now and chill out.”
She stood still and kept her eyes on the sheriff. Slowly she saw more blue in his eyes as his pupils contracted. The growling stopped and he forced his fangs to retract. When he again scented the air, he smelled the acidic odor of fear under the sweet honey-wheat-sunlight perfume of the fae. “What did you just do?” he asked in quiet astonishment.
Despite the flush to her cheeks, Addie stiffened her spine. “What I had to do. You looked like you were going to rip me to shreds. I didn’t know it would work. I’ve never been able to try before because when I lower my mask around other vamps, they tend to lose their heads. You are the only vampire besides my friend Willa that I’ve ever let my guard down around and even she’s never gotten the full blast of fae. I didn’t know what else to do and at best, I thought it would stall you long enough for you to come back to yourself.”
Lex’s nose crinkled with a sneer. “You are a dangerous woman, Addie Brennan. This is an… unwelcome development.”
“So you would rather fuck me until I’m too broken to fight when you decide to drain me? Sorry, but my survival instinct is too strong to go along with that. You’re stronger and faster than me; you better believe I’m going to use every damn trick in my arsenal when it’s life or death. You should congratulate me. If I’d ended up a corpse or dust… well, Momma wasn’t exaggerating our grandfather’s need to avenge those he loves.” Addie let her guards and masks snap back into place once it seemed as though Lex was rational once again. “I believe a faepocolyptic genocide of your area’s vampires would also be… unwelcome,” she drawled.
Lex had indeed recovered from his bloodlust enough to see the sense in her actions. He nodded distractedly and looked down at his bloodstained clothes in disgust. “Do not think for a moment that this discovery will not be a topic for discussion at a later date, but your survival skills are impressive. You were right; I would have hurt you beyond repair. For now though, I feel the need to relieve myself of the stench of deceitful Weres.” The former prince headed to his chamber with purpose then paused and turned. “Your mother… she isn’t…” he asked, flicking his eyes toward the closed door of her guest room.
The hybrid shook her head. “She’s been with Northman in his suite since shortly after you left. They have a… complicated past,” she stated drily with a weary eye-roll.
Lex responded with a lopsided grin that wasn’t quite a smirk and nodded his head before continuing to his room. “Oh, Addie,” he called. “If you feel like joining me anytime in the next thirty minutes, please consider yourself most welcome.” When she heard the water start, she knew that both the bathroom door as well as the main entrance to his day space had been left open for her.
She took advantage of the moments alone. Addie had read about bloodlust in her momma’s notebooks and been warned about it by Niall and Parker. Her hands shook at facing the reality of it. The fact that she’d been able to push him into calm was… unexpected, to say the least. Not to say that it would come in handy all that often. Not only could Lex feel her pushing him, but she had to lower her protections in order to do so. She knew that if she were to do that around any other vampire, she’d be drained before she could do any kind of persuading. That was not a risk she was willing to take.
Resolving to make the most of what remained of the night, Addie went to her room, stripped off and hung up her carefully selected outfit before grabbing her robe and heading into the room to her right. The water was still running; Addie knew there were few luxuries that sheriff appreciated more than his spacious bathroom with the multi-head shower, whirlpool tub, and specially-built sauna. The vampire relished being clean and warm.
The hybrid hung her plush dressing gown from a wall-mounted pewter hook. The room was thick with steam; Lex’s bare body was blurred by the misty cloud. Because of his blood, she didn’t need to announce her presence. He acknowledged it by silently opening the foggy glass door into his shower. Addie graciously stepped under the water quickly so little warm air would escape the enclosure.
“Marcus and Nico are dead, aren’t they?” she asked, seeing that the sheriff’s face was still set with uncharacteristic lines of melancholy.
“I practically raised those boys,” he said, glaring at the tile wall. “I cared for them when Valetta and Stefan died. I found them a pack – a surrogate family – when Marcus showed signs of the change coming. I provided them with a home, jobs, food… I made sure those boys wanted for nothing. And they reward my generosity, the years I cared for them, with this kind of betrayal? For the multiple assaults against the citizens of my area, I had to set an example. The Weres knew the punishment. They chose to take the risk and lost.”
Addie ached at hearing his normally expressive voice flat and emotionless. “They chose loyalty to a pack over you, who has supported them since childhood. It’s an unforgiveable offense and they knew the consequences. Don’t feel guilty for doing your job.”
“I don’t,” he snapped, flicking his eyes to her. “But I can grieve the loss of two men I’ve trusted for longer than you’ve been alive, and they are dead by my hand. Killing and death have never been strangers to me, but I will take the time to mourn those men.”
Addie silently nodded her assent and stepped behind his taller body. She took a soft cloth and his soap that smelled like an ocean breeze; with long, strong strokes, the cleaned his back, neck, and chest, comforting him with her touch. She knew she was succeeding when his posture relaxed and he let his head fall back to wet his face and hair. The water flowed down his body to wash away the suds; she filled her hands with his shampoo, stretched up on her toes, and started massaging his scalp as she washed his raven curls.
It had been centuries since he’d been taken care of in this manner. If he was honest with himself, he hadn’t let down his guard to enjoy a comforting, non-sexual touch since he was a human. Lex was once again grateful for his blood in the fairy behind him. He could feel the sincerity in her actions. Every single person approached him with an agenda or an ulterior motive. Addie Michelle Brennan merely wanted him to feel better. She didn’t want him to set aside his grief and focus on her needs and wants. No, his blood in the hybrid reassured him that her priority was his comfort.
Her nimble fingers were soothing as they combed through his hair. The scent of the shampoo – activated and strengthened by the steam – helped relieve his aching conscience. Lemon, cream, and almonds made him think of the home of his heart, a place that no longer existed except in his almost perfect memory. It complimented his hybrid’s scent of wheat, honey, wine, and sunlight exquisitely and the blend further eased his soul. He hadn’t expected her presence to soothe him as much as it had.
Addie gently maneuvered him so the soap would rinse from his hair but avoid his face. She moved to his front and looked up at him with her clear green eyes. They sparkled like jewels against her tan face. She was used to being stared at by him; he was obviously enamored with her physical attributes. He was also intrigued with her sharp mind, dry wit, and surprising himself, her stubborn streak. Her defiance and fire sparked something in him that he thought had died long ago and, quite honestly, that startled him.
Addie keep looking into Lex’s midnight blue eyes, trying to read him. Her patience and comfort had done as she intended: the sheriff looked less haunted by the promise he’d had to break. While he was still more morose than she was used to, the fairy was pleased to see a spark of his fun-loving light return to his handsome face.
He leaned down and kissed her softly, touching only her lips with only his. It was a strangely chaste yet sensual expression and, as far as Addie was concerned, over entirely too soon. As soon as he broke the kiss, he spun her so her back was against his front. The vampire wrapped his right arm around her middle, just under her ribs. With the other arm, he raised her left and positioned it so her hand wrapped around the back of his neck. Their torsos were molded together, with only streams of warm water between them. “Now, mia fata, are you ready to continue our discussion from this morning?”
Warm from the water, his fingers stroked the underside of her breast and she breathed a giggle. “Not if you’re distracting me. I need my wits about me if I intend on negotiating with you.”
Lex chucked to himself and pulled her closer, his erection pressed hard against her lower back. “Ah, but you have a new trick up your sleeve. I need every advantage I can get if I want my way.”
Although softened by his tone of voice, it was still a barb. Addie turned to look at the former prince, her peridot eyes filled with hurt. “I wouldn’t! Ever! I didn’t even know it was possible until I feared for my life! I would never do that to get my way with someone I care about. That’s playing dirty.”
“You care about me, mia fata? I confess, I’m pleasantly surprised that you admitted it. Of course, I already knew because my blood told me so. As for ‘playing dirty’… play can never be too dirty. The filthier the better.” The vampire winked and smirked down at the naked girl in his arms.
“Ugh!” Addie grunted in frustration. “That’s what I’m talking about! I want to talk to you seriously so we can come to some kind of compromise and you keep distracting me with innuendo.”
Lex immediately sobered. “Then I apologize, little one. We’ll finish our shower then settle in for a conversation. However,” he said, the usual devilish glint returning to his eyes, “if you want my full attention on what you’re saying and not just watching your mouth move while I imagine your lips doing the wonderful, wicked things I know they’re capable of, we have an issue to resolve first.” He pressed his hips against the cushion of her ass and dropped his fangs at the feel of her slick, soft skin against his rigid penis.
The hybrid held against him had no desire to argue. Despite reprimanding him for his sexually charged quips, they’d still had an effect on her. No sooner had she nodded her assent did his hands start travelling. The left slipped down her raised arm to cup her breast as the right smoothed down her stomach to rest over the neatly trimmed dark blonde curls between her thighs.
His long fingers knew exactly how to touch her. They could bring her quickly or tease, leaving her teetering on the edge of explosive bliss until she cried and begged for mercy. Lex alternated stroking and petting through her folds with pinches to her nipple or rough squeezes of her breast. Over the rush of the shower, he could hear Addie’s pulse speed up and felt her breath stutter against his chest. He nipped at her earlobe with blunt teeth then scraped his fangs against the side of her neck.
“What were you going to offer me last night, love? Before Northman appeared with your mother, I could feel your excitement… and anticipation,” he rasped, his cool breath chilling her warm skin. “You wanted to give me… something. What was it, mia fata?”
Lex’s fingers never stopped their assault, making it difficult for Addie to think. “Oh God, please don’t stop,” she whimpered, wriggling in an attempt to feel more of her vampire.
His blue eyes rolled back slightly at the heat, friction, and pressure against his cock. “Tell me, Addie,” he breathed into her ear. “Tell me what I want to know and I’ll give you what you want.” He slipped two fingers into her to emphasize the point.
Her hands gripped his hair and forearm helplessly, too lost in pleasure to give much thought to his demand. She also knew that that unless she gave him an answer, he’d keep her on the edge, denying her release until she gave him what he wanted. Desperately she moaned, “Bite me.”
Lex froze, shocking Addie with his sudden stillness. “What?”
“I trust you. I want you to bite me.” Her voice was breathless and speech was stilted.
Not wanting to lose the moment to a drawn-out conversation about the whys and hows, the sheriff’s hands immediately returned to their former tasks with enthusiasm, bringing his fairy to orgasm with dexterous skill. Her tight sheath pulsed around his fingers; he withdrew them and quickly filled the space with his aching cock. “Come again, love. You’re right there. I want you screaming my name, blind with pleasure, the first time I put my fangs in you.”
In the steam of the showers, her fae essence seemed concentrated and was almost overwhelming. Holding her against his front tightly, he thrust hard, hitting her internal spot with precision, making her knees give out. Feeling her hammering pulse and rippling muscles, right as she hit the peak of her second release, he struck.
Honey, wine, ambrosia the likes of which he’d never tasted flooded his tongue. The tiny trickles that Addie had gifted him with before were nothing but a tease and Lex immediately knew that there was no going back. Even the full fairies he’d caught and drained in his first centuries (when they were far more common) were no comparison. Sweet and intoxicating, yes, but dangerously so. The fairy high could make even a millennia-old vampire ignore their hard-earned survival instincts. Addie’s hybrid blood – a decadent blend of what might have once been A-negative and the sweet notes of ginger, pomegranate, and thick, rich cream – instantaneously spoiled him to everything and everyone else. He came inside her hard enough to see spots behind his eyelids… yet never released her throat.
Addie was floating on a different kind of high. The sharp pinch of Lex’s fangs hadn’t fully registered, but the pressure of his mouth pulling on her already-sensitive neck sent her spiraling. If it hadn’t been for his secure arm around her waist, the sheer power of her orgasm would have sent her to the marble-tiles shower floor. Despite her vampire’s desire, she was only able to cry his name once before ecstasy robbed her of speech.
Although difficult, Lex managed to stop feeding before he wanted to. He was certain that only two-thousand years of willpower allowed him to swipe his saliva over the twin puncture wounds before biting his tongue and allowing his blood to topically heal the marks entirely. Now he was more certain than ever that his fairy should not leave DC: every donor or anonymous bag would taste like dirty pennies in comparison. Surely she wouldn’t want him to starve!
After catching her breath, Addie gave the sheriff a hazy smile. They finished the shower in comfortable silence before wrapping up in fluffy towels to resume their conversation from the morning. She pulled the luxurious white cotton around herself and made a mental promise not to get sidetracked as she sat cross-legged on Lex’s massive bed. “In forty-eight hours, I’ll be a college graduate… and I did it without cheating or pushing my will at all. There were a lot of times when I’d be slaving over a paper or cramming for a test when I’d want to, but I never gave in to the temptation. No one back home ever thought a Stackhouse would make it through a junior college, much less a prestigious university like Georgetown.”
“So why would you want to return to a place that thinks so little of you, love? You deserve better,” Lex said sullenly.
Addie gave the question appropriate consideration. “Because that’s where my roots are. What little family I have besides Momma is there. My friends Willa, Keith, James, and Lafayette are there. My namesakes Gran Adele and Nana Michelle as well as Poppa Corbett are buried there. Momma and I made a memorial for Daddy there. It’s like…” she tried to think of a comparison.
“It’s like when Dracula travelled to England with those crates of Romanian earth. Being in Louisiana rejuvenates me like nothing else. It’s home cooking and sweet tea. It’s heat, humidity, and Spanish moss. It’s houses that have been in families for at least four generations and family plots where all those ancestors are taking their eternal naps. I need to breathe in that sticky, swampy, Cajun-spiced air on a regular basis. Honestly, after you were taken to Rome, didn’t some part of you wish to be back in Alexandria?”
Lex was silent as he contemplated his fairy’s skill with words. Not only could he understand, even without the correlation to the ridiculous fictional count, but he could sympathize. When Rome would be chilly and damp, he and Selene would imagine their former home: warm and arid, with perfumes and exotic spices scenting the breeze. But while he could empathize with the girl, it didn’t mean that he wanted to be without her for any extended period of time. “One week,” he reluctantly offered.
Addie arched her eyebrow. “I’m going home for three weeks. I might compromise to two, but no less. Momma and I decided to spend several days visiting Houston and Galveston earlier today. We’re going to shop and spend some time on the beach. Besides that, she and Uncle Jason are throwing a huge combo party: my graduation, a bridal shower for my cousin Cora and a baby shower for my other cousin Bettie. It’s been more than a year since I spent any quality time with my cousins. My family is everything to me, Lex, and I’m not going to let you and your various appetites guilt me out of that time with them.”
Although the vampire normally admired the hybrid’s passion and tenacity, he liked it much less when it was used against him. But he didn’t get to his impressive age without some tenacity of his own and not a little skill at making compromises that mostly benefitted him. “I understand that you are leaving with or without my blessing. You say that you want to return as Mine but if, in your absence, I sate my appetites with donors, socialites, or less-abhorrent fangbangers, you will cease the physical relationship with which I’ve become quite fond of over the past several weeks, correct?”
Addie was used to the former prince becoming overly-wordy when he was frustrated. “Yes, if you drink from or fuck anything with a pulse… or had a pulse at one time,” she added when a devious glint sparkled in his eye, “then I’ll be happy to be your friend, but blood and sex will be off the table. Is that something you can agree to?”
Lex narrowed his eyes and put on his “businessman-negotiator” face. “I might be able to… with certain provisions. You make your trip two weeks instead of three like you offered. You will leave me a pint of your blood. You will call me at least four times while you are gone… at night when I’m able to answer,” he amended, seeing her own mischievous glint. Continuing, he said, “Finally, you will take more of my blood.”
Addie personally thought it was funny that he thought he could make such demands of her, but managed to listen to his list without rolling her eyes once. However, she was curious about his thought process behind them. “Why my blood? A pint certainly wouldn’t last two weeks.”
“Because now that I’ve tasted you, nothing else will compare. I’ll use what you donate to mix with my usual donor bags and hope it makes them somewhat palatable,” he explained simply.
Huh. That was kind of… sweet? “And the phone calls? Is that your way of saying you’d miss my voice?” Addie asked with an overly dramatic batting of her eyelashes.
“Phone sex,” he answered shortly. “If I’m going to be relegated to my hand for two weeks, I want to hear you panting and whimpering when I come. I want you following my directions like the obedient girl I know you can be with the right… persuasion. I want to hear you moaning and telling me what you want me to do with you when you return to my fair metropolis. And love… don’t think for a single second I won’t make your fantasies come to life.”
Did it suddenly get hotter? The hybrid could feel the heat of her face flushing red. “And your blood?” she whispered.
The sheriff was quite satisfied with her reactions so far. “You will be fifteen hundred miles away from me and my protection. It will comfort me to have a stronger connection to you during your absence. I have contacts and associates all over the world, including Texas. If a situation arises where you need assistance, I will feel it and call on one of them to protect you until I can get to you.”
Addie was floundering. She’d been prepared to tell him to shove his demands where the sun hadn’t shined even when he was alive during the day. But the maddening provisos he’d given her were not nearly as selfish as they initially seemed. Then… “Plus I like feeling you come in your sleep and know that dreams of me are the reason.” She couldn’t stop the eye-roll at that.
Lex’s face shifted to business-like to predatory seamlessly. On his hands and knees, he stalked closer to her and used his speed to remove the towel from her body before she could even think of stopping him. His dark blue eyes unabashedly roamed over her bare figure. “I want no misunderstandings. This,” he said, grabbing her around the waist, “is Mine. This tight pussy, this delectable ass, these perfect tits, the blood in these veins… they are all Mine. The full lips that tell me to go to hell or suck me off and send me to heaven… Mine. These angelically devilish green eyes that roll with frustrated exasperation or orgasmic bliss… Mine. The sweetly deceptive voice that enthralls your peers when presenting facts yet whimpers and cries my name when I go down on you… Mine. The spine that seems reinforced with steel when you stand up to me but bows so deliciously when I fuck you… Mine.
“But I know you are only Mine because you permit it. It should go without saying that if I abstain, you will as well, but I want no loopholes in our agreement. No one else will be permitted to have what is Mine. I am a selfish man, mia fata, and I do not share when I have something of value. I treasure it, guard and spoil it. Take my blood, accept being Mine as I described, and return to me as soon as you can.”
The poor fairy felt as though she had emotional whiplash even as she nodded her agreement. As angry as the whole “Mine” thing tended to make her, she couldn’t deny that it also made her feel safe and cared for. Her vampire still had his arms wrapped around her and was staring at her intently.
Maybe she was feeling a few other things as well…
Addie raised up on her knees and pressed a chaste kiss to Lex’s mouth and felt the sharp tips of the fangs that had dropped as he verbally claimed her. Adventurously, she pressed her lower lip and involuntarily hissed when they punctured the thin skin. He sucked on the shallow, superficial wounds, making her sigh.
Lex had his hybrid naked in his arms and there was nowhere else he’d rather be. She’d agreed to his conditions with no argument and sealed the deal by giving him another teasing taste of her incomparable blood.
He took her slowly that night. With infinite patience and endless skill, he gave her multiple reasons to return to him. If he were more of a romantic, he’d call it making love; as it was, he simply felt it was his own brand of persuasion.
Shortly before the sun rose, Lex was on his back watching the blonde ride him. He knew that soon he would have to banish her to the guest room that he would always consider “hers” as he hadn’t shared a resting place since his maker released him. As much as he loved watching his cock sink in and pull out as Addie rocked and twisted her hips, he wanted to feel more of her flesh. He wanted to see her in the throes of orgasm at least once more for the night. He wanted to feel her succulent little cunt rippling and gushing over him hard enough for him to feel the entire fortnight she’d be gone.
The erratic rhythm of her hips gave away how close she was. Lex sat up and had Addie wrap her legs around his waist. His hands cupped her ass and helped her move in a way that would get them both off. When her pulse, breathing, and pitch of her moans ensured that she was at the point of no return, Lex brought his arm to his mouth. He sank his fangs into his wrist and held the wound to Addie’s lips. “Drink me, love. Let me feel… Fuuuuuuck!”
Never giving blood directly to someone he wasn’t turning made Lex ignorant to how it would feel. The soft lips on his skin, a hot tongue licking the puncture wounds, his magical life force being drawn out willingly… The vampire couldn’t help but buck his hips and swear at the pleasure that overtook him.
The fairy savored the black cherry wine flavor of the ancient’s blood. The magic inside the vampire, intrinsic to that ruby fluid, restored her, soothing sore muscles and energizing her body. Feeling his essence, thick and sweet, sliding down her throat had her falling, exploding in pleasure that was almost crippling. She reflexively bit down, reopening the healing wound.
The former prince was dumbstruck. In addition to his own pleasure, he was feeling Addie’s as well. When she bit in in the midst of her orgasm, his own was wrenched from him. For the first time, it was only her name that he growled helplessly as he came harder than he had in centuries.
Lex started feeling the pull of sunrise just as his light-blocking shades started to close. Without being told, Addie slipped from his bed, retrieved her robe from his bathroom, and exited the chamber for the day-locks were activated. “I’ll see you tonight,” was the last thing he heard before he died.