It was thrilling to have her dead next to me as the sun dipped below the horizon. I moved to play with her hair so when her heart returned to its languid beat multiple braids lay atop her head.

"What is it with you and braiding hair?"

I smiled at her, "Actually, I'm not sure. I just picked it up a few centuries back."

Her limbs wrapped around my body, sending a shiver down my spine. She absently stroked my chest and I was glad I hadn't had any blood in a while. The small, honest smile adorning her face ached with contentment and filled me with the warm knowledge that I'd put it there.

"Want to get a bite to eat?"

"I refuse to acknowledge the pun, but food sounds nice," I replied coolly.

She wriggled out of my hold and off the bed as I stretched to test for lingering pain. Satisfied that I was only a bit tired, we left for the donor room. Lilith kept our usual safe distance as we traveled the halls, but I no longer cared and took her hand. She stiffened for a moment before softening against my touch with a sigh.

"Do you want to die?" she challenged.

I raised my brows, "Aren't I technically dead already?"

Lilith grinned, "Okay fine, I walked into that one."

The minute we entered the donor room silence crashed upon us. Everyone, except Colette's donors who were absent, turned their eyes to us. I'd never seen all of them at once and shifted under the weight of their gaze. Almost as one entity, they beamed with pure joy.

Lilith shakily asked, "Why are you smiling like that? Stop scaring the shit out of me."

"They're just happy to see you two that's all," Letta assured as she emerged from the maze of couches.

"I get the feeling they wouldn't be as pleased if we walked in separately," I observed, squeezing Lilith's hand.

"Oh!" she exclaimed. "Well hell, we don't live for you're entertainment. Everyone better stop smiling at us or you aren't allowed to see any of the fun stuff."

I may have choked a bit, but luckily nobody noticed. Lilith was filled with amusement while I was holding back the urge to kiss her right there. Since she knew my feelings, and returned them, there was an unspoken permission to her body that let loose these tiny fantasies. We fed from two women, not releasing each other's hand, and while she fed with a young vampire's enthusiasm, I was slightly distracted. I thanked the woman and waited for Lilith to finish, although I wished I hadn't. This donor wasn't as sexual as the others, but even her muted moans were too much as jealousy and desire overwhelmed me.

Lilith let out a booming laugh, causing her donor to scurry away in surprise. She held her stomach and continued to laugh as she turned to face me. Her mirth concentrated into her eyes and the form of her lips.

"That was so cute," she cooed.

"What?" I asked, although I knew she was talking about my earlier surge of emotion.

A wicked look flashed across her face and in an instant her mouth was against mine. I tasted blood as I parted her lips with my tongue, coaxing her deeper into the kiss. Lilith shifted her body to hover inches from mine and without a second thought I pushed her back to the armrest of the couch. As she arched against me, hands fluttering across my back I knew we could fall to passion on the couch, but it wouldn't be right.

I breathed, "Not here."

She blinked. "Somewhere else, now," she replied huskily.

I didn't bother waiting for her to stand, I lifted her with hands under her thighs as they wrapped around my waist and hands clutched behind me neck. There might have been some cheers, but little reached me through the focus of her dark eyes. I strode to her room, knowing it to be safer than my own, when she ran her tongue along my throat.

"God Lilith, don't distract me," I gasped while stumbling.

She hummed consent but the vibration wasn't any help. I kicked the door to her room shut and threw her on the bed, claiming her mouth with mine. I was riding the high of adrenaline and accidentally ripped her shirt open in my haste to remove it.

"Not the bra, I like this one," she laughed while arching her back.

I unhooked and tossed it to the side, taking in her pale breasts and my mark along one side only briefly before covering one with my mouth and the other with trembling fingers. She sighed happily while undulating her hips over my growing stiffness. I pressed her nipple hard between my fingers and with a cry my shirt was torn away causing me to shudder with the force of our excitement

She gave a throaty laugh, "It's only fair."

I hooked my fingers on the waistband of her jeans, removing them with a single movement. She lay naked, skin practically glowing and a seductive smile spreading her bruising lips. She sat up, shifting to her knees and unbuckled my belt, sliding it out agonizingly slow. A sound from deep in my throat urged her to hurry, but she took her time freeing me from the constricting fabric. She leaned down to press her hot tongue over my entire length. Gripping her chin I turned her face towards me, my breath catching at the lust in her eyes.

"Not tonight, I won't last," I whispered thickly while my fingers lightly drifted down her body.

I moved to press her down and take her but in a heart beat her hands where demanding on my shoulders, not letting me have control. She smiled and slammed me against the headboard. Pain flourished across my back but only heightened the pleasure of her desperate tongue seeking mine as she hovered, legs spread, over my straining desire.

She leaned back with breasts heaving, grinned, wicked light dancing in her eyes and lowered herself slowly down, engulfing me in slick heat. Groaning, I filled her completely, sliding with smooth, strong strokes along her feverish flesh. My hands found her hips, pulling her to me even as I thrust and she moaned. Grinding with gasps and strangled cries of pleasure we rose on a wave of passion. Her heart beat fast, blood rushing through her body and I could stand it no longer. I sank my teeth into the soft flesh of her neck. She screamed pure pleasure and twisted to bite the sensitive area between, my neck and shoulder. When I cried out she quickened our rhythm, not allowing time to come down from the thrill of blood. Pleasure swelled to the bursting point, as I quivered on the brink of climax and yet didn't want it to end. Her mouth released me and the shifted angle almost tipped me over the edge.

Cheek against mine, breath hot against my ear she panted, "I love you."

I exploded inside her, our bodies convulsing as we rode the screaming orgasm.

Collapsing sweaty in each other's arms I whispered, "Love you too."

I listened to her pulse slow to the normal beats stretched over minutes. I was content lying next to her, our bodies perfectly molded together. Which was why the shock was staggering when the door burst open to reveal John.

Lilith sprung up, regardless of her nudity. "What's wrong?"

"Colette has a donor," was all he managed before she hissed.

She threw my pants and a large shirt at me violently as rage surged through her mind. I'd experienced this same anger only nights ago, but when it wasn't directed towards me it lit up her face with a vengeful beauty.

Pulling on her own clothes she demanded, "Update."

"Colette found Zach and Elizabeth feeding off the same donor, a very intimate experience for the older vampires, and was furious. I didn't stay to see what she would do."

Lilith was dressed and stalking out of the door. "Walk fast and keep talking. Where are they?"

"In the common room."

"I fucking hate that place."

"We all do," I added.

Lilith frowned, "How many did you convince?"

I didn't know what she was talking about but John promptly replied, "Only one other."

"Shit, even including Zach we're out numbered by two," she muttered darkly.

"We have to kill her worst three before they can react," I suggested, catching on at last.

Lilith hummed, "Fine." She reached into an alcove and pulled out a wooden stake. "John, we will keep her attention and you take out one of the three. That will even it out a bit and with the shock we have a few seconds to get another before serious shit goes down. Don't kill unless strictly necessary. If you can trust them, bring them over, I leave the judgment to you."

"Erm, where did you get that stake?" I asked hesitantly.

"I realized I am easily taken so I put them around in case of an emergency. Careful where you wave that thing though."

Voices drifted down the hall and we quickened our pace at the underlying sobs. Frustration contorted Zach's face while Asani restrained him with jet hands and Colette used her thick whip on Elizabeth. She was huddled over Lauren to shield the crying human from the majority of the blows. Colette brought the black coil hard across her shoulders and Zach jerked at Elizabeth's cry of pain. I thanked whoever was listening that the whip wasn't barbed.

"Remember Zachariah, you break free and she instantly dies," Colette chided.

Lilith pushed through the circle and I followed at her side no longer masking my allegiance.

"Don't fuck with my donors!" Lilith bellowed.

The room silenced, not a single vampire daring to make the first sound. Waves of righteous fury burst from her thunderous form, forcing the invincibility of her anger into my body. Even Colette skipped a beat, for a moment not recognizing the woman before her as the servile Lilith she knew.

Her eyes flashed and she sneered, "You have no right to use that tone with me, little whore."

Lilith ignored her, turning to Elizabeth and Lauren, "Go to the donor room, tell them its game time."

Colette screamed with rage as she swung the whip towards Lilith, but I thrust my arm in its path, shoving down the wince of pain as it wrapped around with a snap.

"William, you dare to protect her?" Colette's voice faltered.


I yanked the weapon from her hands, surprising her with my rebellion, and tossed it to the side. The circle stared in shock, not knowing how to act in this situation. Colette turned back to Lilith with her most dominating look, assuming her to be the weaker one.

"I smell sex on you."

Lilith grinned, "Oh yeah, fucked William real good."

"Thanks for that," I whispered sarcastically.

Colette's eyes widened before narrowing dangerously, "You will be punished for taking one of my men. Didn't you learn the last time you were in this room?'

She shrugged. "Can't say I did."

"You stupid bitch!"

I seethed, "Don't you dare."

Colette mocked, "Why not? She is nothing but a weak-"

"Stop!" Lilith snapped stalking towards the older vampire. "You have no power over me, so don't even try to pull that shit. You rule through fear and sex, but I'm not going to roll over for you."

"You rolled over for my men, panting like a whore while they rutted you."

"Okay, stop with the whole whore thing, when you're the one fucking ten guys. You think they like it? Guess what your highness, no one loves you."

I thought Colette would attack her, but she stood still glaring at Lilith. From the corner of my eye I saw Asani slide silently to the floor and John move to stand by Zachariah.

"They would do anything for me," Colette suddenly screamed.

Lilith laughed, only infuriating her even more, "Because they're trained to. You turn them before they know what's going on, teach them nothing of being a vampire, and subject them to sexual slavery on punishment of torture so of course they'd do anything you want. They don't love you, they fear you."

She turned her blue eyes to me with desperation. "William, I've always been good to you. Tell her she is wrong and that you love me."

I left no room for misunderstanding in my voice, "No, I have never felt anything but revulsion."

"Fear is more than good enough to keep you all in line," she roared, challenging Lilith yet again.

"I don't fear you, psycho bitch," she spat sweetly.

Colette shrieked and lunged for her just as Hyacinthe leapt from behind. I knocked him to the floor, hoping Lilith had her knife with her. A cry of pain proved that she did. John, Matthew, Zach and one other hidden in the shadows surrounded the remaining men, keeping them back and whispering in their ears. Some began to fight while others simply did not move to help us. My distraction earned me a solid punch to the face, forcing me to turn my entire attention to him. Rage flowed between Lilith and I, assuring me that she was still fighting off Colette. It allowed me to lose myself in the feel of my fists connecting with Hyacinthe's stomach. He pulled a long knife, slashing at my cheek before wielding it like a sword. I dodged his attacks but the effort it took prevented my own. I needed a weapon and cast about blindly for a glimpse of something Lilith could have hidden.

"William, the painting," she shouted, voice accented by grunts of pain and the pounding of flesh.

I knocked the painting from the wall, almost slicing my hand as a long blade slid from behind it. I spun around just in time to block Hyacinthe's strike. I struggled with the knife, being more accustomed to swords, while Hyacinthe flowed smoothly with his own steel. Blood stained both our shirts as we each cut into the other with growls and flashing fangs. Asani's quickly disintegrating body lay only inches behind Hyacinthe's foot. I ignored his guard and lunged forward, knocking him over the corpse. As he plummeted, I pushed passed the sharp pain in my shoulder and swung as hard as I could, using gravity to guide the knife through his spine and into the floor. He was sprawled unmoving, but I took no chances and hacked into his neck until it rolled from his torso.

"Oh fuck no!"

Colette straddled Lilith, pinning her legs as her hands tightened around her throat. But Lilith's eyes were fixed on Brian who was poised to plunge a sword into her chest. He lifted it high above his head to deal a killing blow.

A shot split the air.

Brian's head exploded, pieces of brain, bone and flesh splattering across the couch, floor and both women. The sword clattered against the stone, barely missing Lilith's face. She strained to see behind her and laughed hysterically over Colette's horrified scream. Rose stood in the middle of the room with a smoking shotgun, the other donor's gathered behind her. Brian's body keeled over, the ragged remains of his head destined for Colette. She flung her arms up struggling to push her lover's body away, not noticing Lilith twisting to reach under the couch. Both drenched in the blood gushing over them, Colette turned back only to have Lilith's palm smash into her nose. She forced the fazed woman off and in a beat smashed an axe into her chest. Colette fell backwards, cracking her head on the stone floor, leaving Lilith room to raise the axe and chop into her breastbone. Colette screamed and clawed at the weapon, bloody fingers slipping off, unable to stall the next shattering blow.

"Hold her," Lilith commanded, voice steady even as she tossed the axe aside and wiped Brian's brains from her face.

I rushed forward to hold down one of Colette's arms while others claimed their own spot on her body. Lilith tucked her slick hair behind her ears leaving a crimson trail over her temples. She shoved her hands into Colette's torn chest, fingers resting in the spaces between the ribs, and cracked them open. Colette was barely conscious, but let out a terrified screech as Lilith's hand dug into the cavity. She paused.

"I have your heart in my hand, but this is not entirely my kill," Lilith said. "Are you ready to see just how much they love you?"

Colette begged as tears streamed down her cheeks, washing off the blood, "No, please."

"Oh you see, if it were up to me I'd end it now and you'd be dead, but you're old enough to recover from this if they choose to let you live. I'm putting your life up to vote."

"No, please, please don't," she whimpered.

Lilith raised her head and shouted, "All in favor of letting Colette live?"

The silence was broken only by Colette's sobs.

Our eyes met. I whispered, "She's hurt too many."

With a nod Lilith continued, "All in favor of ripping the bitch's heart out?"

Cheers ricocheted off the walls, echoing in the room at a deafening level as every human and vampire gave their approval. Lilith leaned down and gently stroked Colette's cheek.

We all heard her whisper, "It's your own damn fault that no one loves you."

She viciously jerked her arm back, face stony as blood showered over her. Rising to her feet with a deliberate pace, eyes never leaving the corpse, Lilith weighed the heart in her hand.

"So who's up for a game of hacky sack?"

John easily took charge of the coven with Lilith and I backing him. Between his leadership of the vampires and Letta's control over the donors we found ourselves constantly drawn away to one place or another to approve one of their ideas. A few donors came only at night instead of living here, but most left. Only Letta and Rose continued to stay with us. Despite the drastic decline in donor numbers, with Aleksi, Hyacinthe, Asani and Brian killed in the fight and two others returning to their homeland the coven did not go wanting.

Lilith insisted on contacting all of the city vampires to invite them to the underground mansion, which she laughingly dubbed the Grey House, or at the very least visit now that power had changed hands. Between Elizabeth, Letta, Rose and my Lilith, the house was unrecognizable as halls were given a wood finish, paintings and furniture from storage rooms dusted and arranged throughout, and the very atmosphere cleansed with sage. It was weeks before anything even remotely resembling order finally descended upon the house.

The sun slid under the horizon on the first calm evening in a fortnight and I woke next to her, my beautiful demon. Our power had increased after killing Colette through what she labeled "crazy ass blood magic", and yet, heartbeats came and went before she returned from death.

"Anyone waiting for us?"

"No, John told me that everything was settled," I breathed while leaning towards her.

Lilith grinned against my mouth, "Good."

The kiss lingered as our lips, tongues and hands gently explored the each other. There was no need to hurry.

We had centuries.