Addie was the only one to not notice Eric wince when she mentioned the abandoned vampire. He hadn’t seen Willa since he released her, but thought of his youngest child often. He’d lost the ability to summon her when he released the call of his blood in her. He couldn’t help but think that if he’d been a proper maker to the girl, his guidance could have made the one-time First Daughter of Louisiana one hell of a formidable vampire.
The co-ed continued. “Go on. Look. Read. No names are mentioned. No identifying characteristics are included. While I would love to hear y’all’s stories, I have an excellent paper without them.” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself.
Lex poured a glass of wine and led her to an overstuffed armchair in his den. To calm her, he asked her to tell him about the Beethoven recital he sent her to. Half his attention was on her voice; the other half was monitoring the vampires left in his study.
The blonde female took a seat on the sofa as her maker flipped through the pages that had been shoved against his chest. Pam scowled at the Viking. “Eric, please don’t tell me that the little bloodbag convinced you!”
Eric found and read the passage about the abandoned vampire. According to the girl’s paper, if it hadn’t been for “K”, in his sixth century, the baby vamp likely would have killed herself or been put down by the area sheriff due to lack of control. “K” went into detail about the steps he took to gain the vampling’s trust and how he managed to get her to follow his rules without having the maker’s call available. Eric sincerely hoped that Willa had fared similarly. “Pamela, the girl was under my glamour. It was impossible for her to lie.”
“Her scent disturbs me, Eric. The last time we encountered a scent like hers, the fucking fairy telepath was trying to convince Billy Manbangs to take a sip of Sarah. I know you remember the scent even better than me. What if she’s fae… immune to glamour?”
Lex was about to scoff at the impossibility until he saw Northman’s eyes blaze butane blue. “She is,” he groaned. “The scent is undeniable.” He turned to the sheriff, stunned into stillness as he was entering the room. “At your age, how did you not know? What have you learned of her?”
The prince sipped his cooled bottle of AB-negative, not really tasting it. “She turned twenty-one in January. She chose Georgetown over Tulane and Duke. Her father died when she was young, but she has an extraordinarily close relationship with her mother.” He paused, thinking over the past months. “I’ve spoken with Mrs. Brennan, just once, to assure her of Addie’s protection in my area.”
“How did the father die?” asked Eric. Fairies were known to be quite strong and while not immortal, had exceptionally long lives if they stayed away from iron, citrus, and vampires.
“Murdered. Drained. By unknown assailants more than ten years ago,” a soft voice answered from the study entrance. “If you’re going to talk about me, at least have the courtesy to do so in my presence.” Her cheeks were flushed from the wine, but neither her posture nor the focus of her green eyes gave any hint of intoxication.
The Viking stood and vamped to the girl’s side. He was silently impressed that she didn’t jump or flinch. He took a small wrist in one hand and beckoned Lex to join him on her other side. “I’m sure you’re aware of uncontrollable biological responses to lying. Your pulse is one of those. The sheriff and I will ask you some questions and gauge your honesty without glamour. Are you prepared to be honest?”
Slightly frightened, Addie didn’t feel as if she had a choice. Resigning herself to what was to come, she nodded her head and steeled her nerves. She felt honesty was the only way she would be leaving this penthouse alive.
Lex didn’t want to admit it, but he would feel used if she were fae and had been able to deceive him. Against his better judgment, he had come to care for the blonde spitfire. To get an appraisal to her responses, he began with question he was fairly certain he knew the answers to. “Is your name Addie Michelle Brennan?”
“Are you a pre-law student at Georgetown University?”
“Did you choose your major to pursue vampire rights?”
Eric took over, focusing his concentration on the pulsing of her radial artery under his fingertips. “Are you fae?”
Addie gulped audibly, but held firm to her goal to be as honest as possible. “Not entirely.”
“Explain,” demanded the duped sheriff, who had to concentrate on not snapping the delicate bones of the wrist in his hand.
“Daddy was half and Momma is an eighth. Basic math makes me five-sixteenths.”
Eric asked, “Do you have a gift?”
Before Addie could answer, Pam growled, “Are you a telepath?”
Addie shook her head rapidly. “I can… I guess persuade regular humans to do what I want them to do. I don’t know what to call it, but it doesn’t work on other supes. Since they still have those anti-glamour contacts available, it’s been helpful to some of my friends at times.” She sighed and leaned against the door jamb as much as she could with her wrists still being held by the vampires. “Pre-law is partially a ruse. In that field of study, I can maneuver to use my gift on the humans in power so my friends can have better lives. Is kindness and selflessness so rare to you that you can’t recognize it when it stares you in the face?”
“Yes,” replied all three vampires, in unison.
Lex looked at her with regret. “Addie, you should have told me from the beginning that you can’t be glamoured. You now know far too much about our world and dealings that humans simply cannot know – for our safety and theirs.”
“Wait!” Addie squeaked in a panic. “I’m not human! Not entirely, anyway. These past few months should prove to you that I know how to keep a secret. Nothing I’ve heard in confidence has left this suite, not even into my paper. Please! What will it take to convince you that you can trust me?”
The prince looked at his guests. Pamela was leaning back in her chair, looking both annoyed and bored. The Viking, however, was staring at the girl’s pleading expression as though he was trying to convince himself of where he’d seen it before. When her peridot-green eyes looked up at him beseechingly, he quickly turned his gaze to the sheriff. “You can give her your blood. That will tell you when she’s honest and when she’s lying.”
Lex was possessive of his blood. He had only ever opened his vein to make three children, who had long been released. As much affection as he had for the eager student, he was apprehensive about creating a blood-tie.
Addie, though silent, was equally concerned. Even if the stories from Jessica and Keith hadn’t convinced her that taking a vampire’s blood was a last resort only to be used in matters of life and death, she had also read about the experience in her mother’s notebooks.
The soldier had given her blood several times, usually in cases where she would have died without it. Never mind that he‘d been the one to put her in most of those situations to begin with. The sheriff… he was sneaky. He tricked her into taking his blood the first time, having her suck silver bullets (that he’d truthfully shielded her from) from his chest. The second time was a willing exchange as they both drank from the other. Addie had flushed red and closed the book before finishing the tale of her mother’s blood-fueled hallucinations and erotic adventures with the amnesiac sheriff. She had no want or need to know her momma that well.