Sorry it's been so long! I kinda hit a slump and a pity party and it took a minute to crawl out of it. But, I'm writing again and am close to finishing this book.
For those that know me, please forgive my standard intro.
This is the second book of a series. If you haven't read the first one, you will be lost.
This whole series is darker than I normally write. If you have read my Bound by series, these are not remotly the same. Vampires. That is all they have in common.
This is a reverse harem. There will be sexy time. There is PROBABLY going to be more sexy time in this than any of my others. MAYBE.
This is also unedited. It's not a complete wreck, but there will be little things. Please don't hate me.
To those that have followed me through my other books, I'VE MISSED YOU! If feels so good to be back!
Now, on with the story.
Livia watched in fascination as Draven pulled the woman to his lips, lips that were still bloody from the last person he drank. The scream the unfortunate soul let out would have once touched her, but that went away with the murder of her love. The scream she released wouldn't haunt her the way Colvin's did. The scream that came from him when the… thing appeared out of nowhere and cracked open her lover's ribcage and pulled his still beating heart from his body.
No, that part of her died along with him.
The screams grew weaker and she knew what was next. This was the part she wanted. No. That was wrong. It was nothing as simple as that. She needed this. A means to an end.
Draven pulled away and bit his own wrist, pressing the ragged flesh to the mouth on the woman, muffling her sobs.
He would repeat this with the woman a few times before sending her to sleep in the ground. A few days later, she would rise, along with the others.
She thought back to her mistakes when she lured that red-haired vampire into the middle of her husbands slaves. She should have known better than to think that simply cutting him and letting them swarm over him wouldn't be enough. But she was desperate, thoughts of revenge blinding her to anything and everything.
As she watched the fight from above, she almost had two of them dead. But she under-estimated how weak and hunger driven the newborns were. They weren't turned properly.
But this new army…
While it came with a heavy price, this army would see them dead. Starting with the one who carried Colvin's heart in his chest.
She had sought out Draven, as he was a master vampire and was a friend of Colvin's. He agreed. Agreed to create a weapon of properly turned vampires.
Once again, the screams brought her back to the present. This one was the loudest yet, because the woman had vampire blood running through her. All her senses were magnified, including pain. Draven could make it pleasurable for her, but he was a sadist and loved the sounds of agony that he could rip from a body. Man, woman, it didn't matter.
And she knew, first-hand, how he could make one scream.
The price for this army was steep. He'd told her, sitting back in the chair in his living room, that he would do as she asked, but that he would make her pay. Warned her that the cost was her body and her blood. Anything and everything he wanted to do. For one year.
All she had to do was remember that night Colvin was taken and she agreed.
He would do what he wanted to her then drip his blood over the torn skin, healing her before taking her blood to replenish what he lost. Because he continued to heal her, he could have her every night.
Yes, it was a nightmare.
But so was knowing that Colvin's heart beat in someone else's chest.
Elliot led Chevonne into the library and dark green eyes locked on hers.
"Have you fed?" Elliot asked.
"No. But then, I didn't know you would be bringing a human along." There was a gleam in the eyes that reminded her that while the others knew her, were bonded to her, they were still vampires.
Caleb walked in behind them. "You don't bite this one unless she tells you to."
Kian hadn't taken his eyes off her. "Why do you look like someone I've tasted?"
"Because you did."
"The night they found me."
"I suppose I should thank you, but at the same time, I kinda want to kill you."
"Kian…" Elliot said.
The green pulled away from her and she took a deep breath.
"I'm sure you've bitten her, Elliot."
"That's none of your business."
"Oh, but it is. See, I was bone dry. Those things took me for all I was worth. And then, as I'm teetering on the edge, I taste ambrosia." His eyes flicked back to her for the briefest of moments. "Do you know what that does to a vampire, Elliot? I mean, I know you're all Mr. Badass and have probably never had the pleasure of almost passing over. But have you ever been so fucking hungry then have the gods themselves feed you? It's like nothing I can describe and now… everything else sucks."
"I didn't think about that," Caleb said. "But at the time, I didn't know."
Kian dropped into a chair and it was only then that Elliot and Chevonne sat on the couch.
"I didn't know it would affect you like that," she said.
He shook his head. "I'm sure you didn't." A shrug. A look in the green that made her breath catch. Not in the warm way Caleb's did, even before she bonded him, but in a way that told her that he didn't forgive her.
"You tell us your story and then we'll tell you ours," Caleb said and perhaps she was overreacting.
"Yeah, it's kind of important because I don't think she's going to stop."
"Who are you talking about?" Nikolas sat on her other side and she leaned her head against him.
Kian watched them with a frown before shaking his head. "Someone is after you, Elliot. You and someone named Jonathan."
Chevonne's hand tightened around Elliot's and he gifted her with the half-smile. "Is this how you came to be in the subway tunnels?"
"Yeah. It was a trap. This little curvaceous brunette ran in front of the car with two slaves chasing her. She looked at me with big blue eyes and what can I say? I'm a sucker. I told the driver to wait and followed them down the station stairs. I should have known something was wrong when I got a glimpse of her running past the platform, but nope, I had to play the hero."
He stood up and began pacing in front of the fire. "She knew who I was. She knew what I was. And when I pulled the slave off her, instead of finding a suitably grateful survivor, I got a blade in my stomach. Normally, that would have meant her death, but there wasn't time. These things, so many of them, came out of side tunnels. They were starving and… well… you know what happened after that."
"Why do you think she is after us?"
"Because the psychotic bitch said 'Cheers to Jonathan and Elliot. May they know the same agony as my Colvin' while they were drinking me." He stopped and looked at Elliot. "Who the fuck is Colvin and why does she want you dead?"
"Colvin is someone I had been trying to find because of the spawns he kept creating and Livia is his human lover."
"Jonathan has his heart," she said, breaking the silence that had fallen over the room.
Kian met her eyes again. "Who are you? Who is he? And why was I supposed to die for him?" The green of them hard now, the hunger replaced by a quiet rage.
Hiding her flinch was harder than she thought it would be. He had every right to be angry. She had to help him heal from what had been done to him. She had seen his bones.
"Jonathan is special to me. He gave up his human life to become one of you to protect me from… things."
"It sounds like he didn't do a very good job of it if he needed someone else's heart."
"That was my doing." Elliot glanced at Chevonne. "I have been trying to keep Colvin's spawn in check and I found her trying to end her friend's life." His lips curved into the half smile that she loved. "I thought I was doing her a favor.
Kian glanced at their joined hands. "I feel like I'm missing a lot."
"Where is he?" Caleb asked her.
"He texted me yesterday. Madelyn isn't doing well and he's going to be keeping an eye on her for a few days."
"Spying on her?" Elliot asked.
She turned to him. "Spying, watching over, the words change depending on perspective." His lips twitched. "But no, she knows he is there."
"Do you think she might be ready to meet you?"
"Jonathan said that she has begun asking questions. Maybe soon." She still had conflicted feelings regarding her half-sister. Not as to the person herself, but would it hurt her more to see Chevonne? "I'll call him to let him know of the new threat. Maybe he shouldn't be around her now. Not if he is in danger. She doesn't need anymore trauma."
"You don't either, lovely," Nikolas said and she turned to him. "Would you like to go home while we sort this out?"
"I am home."
His lips brushed hers and she could feel his smile on her mouth.
"Seems I'm missing a whole lot." Kian's voice extinguished the slight curl of heat she always seemed to feel around those she loved.
"We will get to the other after Livia. You said she lured you. How would she know you, much less where to find you and what you would be in?" Elliot's question brought her attention back to him.
"Hell if I know, but it sounds to me that you have some people that work for you that like to gossip."
"Yes." Elliot's voice took on a coldness that threatened to freeze her marrow. "Indeed it does."
"Don't kill them, Elliot. You don't know what happened."
Her lover got to his feet. "What happened is a close friend almost lost his life. Someone that I trusted told this woman where to find him. What happened is that you almost died because you fed him. Why should I let them live?" He pulled out his phone and hit a button "I need the names of the people who knew about Kian's arrival." He turned his back to her and she got to her feet.
"Elliot, take a breath."
He turned and she stepped back at the look on his face. "I will." His smile was as cold as his words. "I'll take theirs."
"No," she said and forced herself to reach for him. "I know you want their blood because they hurt him. But listen to them first. James dedicated his life to you and what you did for him. I have to believe that others do as well. Something had to have happened. They have to know that their lives would be forfeit should they cross you." Her hand cupped his tense jaw and he closed his eyes. "Bring them, question them. Listen to them. Don't kill them because of Kian."
His hand covered hers. "It's not just Kian. But I'll do as you say. I won't promise anything, however, because if I get the hint of a lie, I'll make them regret living."
Chevonne stayed in the library with Caleb while the others went to meet the humans in some conference room she had never seen. Should Elliot snap, there was no way she could bear to watch him take the lives of those men.
Nikolas went with him to help keep him in check. Him being closer to Elliot than either of the others. Kian went to hunt after shooting a look at Chevonne and she remembered what he said about how things tasted now. There was nothing she could do about that, but perhaps time would dull that memory.
Before they left, she pulled Elliot down for a gentle kiss. A kiss that changed as he held her close and the warmth that she always felt with him filled her.
"Be careful," she whispered against his lips.
"Are you worried?" he asked, pulling back.
She nodded. "You know I am."
Reaching up, she touched the side of his face, a face that had once been torn open. "They were slaves, until they weren't."
"I concede the point." Another quick, sizzling kiss and he stepped away. "I'll be careful."
She nodded and turned toward Nikolas. The other vampire to have a claim to her heart. "Same goes to you."
He wrapped his arm around her and she pulled him to her lips. His kiss left her breathless and he lifted his head with an sinful curve to his mouth. "We'll be back soon."
And here she was with Caleb, sitting on the couch beside the bonded vampire that she didn't really know. What surprised her was the comfortableness of the silence as they both watched the flames. But, there was something that she needed to do. She needed to warn Jonathan.
She looked down at her phone, almost dreading it. Didn't they deserve some peace after everything they had been through?
A hand covered hers and she looked up, meeting beautiful blue eyes.
"It'll be okay. It's not the two of you against the world anymore. And he is much stronger than he was before he was trapped."
The words were not what she was expecting but they helped with her courage.
She nodded and pulled up his number. Hitting send, she waited for him to pick up.
"What's up, Chevy?"
She couldn't help the smile at the hated nickname. Especially since she could remember when he started using it. Memories. Something that so many people took for granted. Something she never could.
"Do you have a few minutes, Johnny Boy?"
"Always for my girl."
She laughed at that. He gave up his human life for her. What was a few minutes?
"Kian woke up."
"What happened?" The playful tone disappeared and didn't that break her heart.
"A woman tricked him into going into the tunnels. A woman who is angry with you for walking around with Colvin's heart."
There was silence on the other end.
"I'm here. But that explains a few oddities."
"What do you mean?"
"It means that there has been someone watching me. I haven't been able to find them, but if they, if she, knows what I am, if she's been around us, then she would probably know how to blend in."
"She was his lover." She explained what happened in the tunnels and what the woman said.
His curse was soft in her ear. "She wants me dead for obvious reasons. But why Elliot?"
"I don't know. I would say that it was because he was there that night, but she said this before the attack at the rail yard."
"She had to have seen us together at some point."
"If she's been following you, then there would have been a few times."
"And if that's the case, she knows about you as well."
"She said nothing about me. It's you two that I'm worried about."
"I'll be careful, Chevy. You do the same, okay?"
She nodded before realizing that he wouldn't be able to see that. "I will. Jonathan, we don't know what she's planning, but she managed to figure out a way to turn a lot of blood slaves into vampires."
"Trust me, my girl. I'll keep my guard up. I doubt I'll get a third chance at life."
"Call me if you come across anything. Promise me."
"I promise. I'm holed up right now and I haven't felt that feeling in a few days. It'll be okay."
"Take care of her."
"Love you, Johnny Boy."
"Love you too, Chevy."
She hit end on the phone and stared at it.
"She's been following him. At least, I'm going to go with the assumption that it is her. He said that he felt someone watching him." She repeated what Jonathan told her, rambling in her worry, until a finger touched her lips. She looked at Caleb.
"I heard what he said. I also heard him promise you that he would be careful. We'll figure this out, okay?"
He took his finger away and she cleared her throat. "When this thing started, I was terrified. And it was just me then. Those monsters were after me. But this… After everything he has done for me, I can't…" She took a deep breath. "I can't let him be hurt because of this. Because of his decision."
"From what I've been told, this is the result of Colvin going after you. He pissed off the wrong people."
"I doubt Livia sees it that way." She pulled her legs up and wrapped her arms around her knees. "She wants revenge, and I imagine that she will stop at nothing to see it happen."
Caleb shifted on the couch, turning to face her directly. "Elliot pulled Kian from that place and I doubt that she would think he was alive. We know who she is and we know what she wants. Intel like that is a powerful tool."
Her smile was bitter. "Provided one doesn't let it be known."
"I can't blame you for that. I'm not sure I wouldn't have done the same."
"They told you that I threw it in her face?"
"Well, not in those words."
"It's because of those words that an innocent girl almost lost her life. Had I kept quiet, continued to play along, I don't think she would have been harmed."
"And I don't think anything would have changed. Personally, I think they already had her. In fact, they needed her."
"Why do you say that?"
"That time-frame would have been incredibly tight. And then, there is the fact that her blood hurts us."
That was something she hadn't considered. However, it did nothing to lessen the guilt. "Possibly."
"Maybe one day she will be able to talk to me about what happened. Until then…" She sighed.
"You are going to wallow in guilt."
"Wallow is such a weak word. I think drown is better suited." He laughed, and once again, she was surprised by the sound, the richness of it soothing the anxiety in her heart. She dropped her legs and turned on the couch, tucking a foot under her. "Can we discuss something else?"
"Like, what do you like to do for fun? Where are you from?"
"Trying to get to know me?" The glint of humor in his eyes was captivating.
"I think it's only fair since you've seen me naked."
He lifted a brow. "I don't consider that seeing you naked, sweetheart."
"What about bringing me to an orgasm on your lap?"
He laughed again, this one surprised. "I like how you don't mince your words. Fine. Things I do for fun usually involve me having an orgasm as well. Other things include death and bloodshed. Outside of that, I still do some typically human things. Now anyway. I like being out. Movies, concerts. Usually heavier the better. Though, lately, I've developed an appreciation for the classics. Though, mainly the violin."
She didn't know why she blushed, but she couldn't deny the heat in her cheeks.
"What about you?" he asked.
Her smile was soft and only slightly bitter. "Lately, I've just been trying to survive."
"You're doing a damn fine job." He reached out and took her hand.
The feeling she got from him was exactly like what she felt from Elliot and Nikolas and she let out a breath.
"Me too," he said, running his thumb over her fingers.
She watched his flesh moving across hers. "Back to your statement, I've done nothing but make a series of foolish mistakes. And yet, beginning with the first one, they have all managed to save my life. I'm not doing the job. Something else is."
"Do you think that this something has anything to do with the way you make me feel?"
She lifted her eyes and fell into his. He lifted her hand and pressed her fingertips to his mouth. His breath was warm against her, but even that was cold compared to the feeling inside her. "I can't know that, Caleb. Only, I hope not."
"Why?" he asked.
How did she feel the earth stop turning as he waited for her answer?
"Because I want to know what your lips taste like. And I want to know that it's me wanting it."
Caleb watched her for a long moment before he finally spoke. "Do you always say what's on your mind?"
His fingers tightened on her hand for a moment before pulling away. "Do you mean it?"
"I wouldn't say it if I didn't." The warmth of his touch faded and there was much she would have given to get it back.
Once again he studied her. "What are you waiting for?" he asked.
Her heart gave a hard thump as she took a deep breath. Sliding closer to him took more courage then she realized but she had a feeling it would be worth it. There was no shame or guilt, not when Elliot already told her that he understood that there was something between them all. It was strictly herself she would be fighting. She still didn't know him well and sex wasn't on the table. She just wanted to know.
Easing up, she put both knees on the couch and her hands on his chest. He kept still but his eyes traveled her face and she could almost swear he was touching her. It would be easier if he were touching her. But he was leaving this all on her. It was her idea, after all.
She drew closer and his eyes dropped to her lips. Lips she licked at the slight flare of heat she saw in the blue.
"You're going to kill me," he said as she hesitated. Her lips twitched at the words and it was all she needed as she closed the gap.
Her mouth brushed his, softly, tentatively before she grew bolder, her tongue tracing the seam of his lips. They parted and she accepted the invite, fingers curling against him as his taste filled her mouth. Her sigh was swallowed as he met her halfway, touching and teasing her tongue. He made a sound, low in his throat, and she felt a hand cup the back of her head, fingers weaving through her hair, holding her still as the once gentle kiss deepened.
"Oops," he muttered against her and his free hand hooked her thigh, pulling her leg over him.
She straddled his body as his grip tightened on her. She moaned her approval and the warmth inside her swelled. She cupped his face with one hand and ran the other around the back of his neck, trying to pull him closer.
His groan pebbled her skin and she shivered at the feeling of him swelling against her core.
"Easy, sweetheart," he whispered before once more claiming her mouth.
What did he mean? Couldn't he tell how much she wanted him?
Her hips rolled against him and his hand gripped her hair tighter. She leaned against him now, so far away from where she wanted to be, and with a curse, he broke away from her.
"You… I…" he trailed off as she ran her finger over his lip. "Chevonne. Not here. Not now. And fuck it all, that hurts to say."
Slowly, she remembered where they were and breathing heavy, she lay her head on his shoulder. "Wow," she managed to say.
"Yep." He pressed a kiss to the side of her face before helping her back into a mostly normal position.
The question of why was answered when Kian walked in the door.
"How was hunting?" Caleb asked.
Chevonne took that moment to compose herself. Praying to all the gods that existed that Kian wouldn't breathe, she knew that prayer went unanswered when he shot her a glance.
"Hunting was fine, the food boring, and really? All of them?"
The last part was directed at her and she fought the blush. "I don't see how that is any of your concern," she said softly.
"When I left here, Elliot didn't have a crazy bitch trying to kill him. I had never been set up to die. That's how it's my concern. Who are you and what are you doing here?"
She could feel the anger rising in her. It seemed unfounded, because what he said, in a actuality, was true. But she didn't ask for any of it.
"I'm here because because I…" She didn't know Kian. What right did he have to know how she felt about Nikolas and Elliot? "Because I care deeply for the men around me."
The look that crossed his face was one of disgust.
"You 'care' for them. That's a mighty big statement for a fang-whore."
She couldn't remember standing up, but she was in front of him and he was holding the wrist of the hand she had raised.
"You don't want to do that." His fingers tightened on her but she didn't care.
"I'm a whore for no one." She threw out a hand to keep Caleb from getting involved. "What I do with them is none of your fucking business. You asked a question. I answered it. I don't care if you don't like the answer. But I will not tolerate you talking down to me. I said I care about them. I meant it. But even if I was to do what you so enthusiastically believe, you still don't have the right to judge me. Not when I poured the last of my blood down your throat to keep you alive." She pulled her wrist out of his grip.
"Be careful, lady. I didn't ask you to feed me, and I'm pretty fucking sure you did something to it to make me crave it. Do you think you can control me like a slave? You're wrong and you may have them twisted around your finger, but I'm not whipped."
"No one is whipped, Kian, you're just an asshole."
She turned to walk back to the couch and in a half a second, she realized that she should have let Caleb interfere. She had grown comfortable with the other three, secure in the knowledge that they wouldn't hurt her. That they had, in fact, bonded with her.
Kian reminded her by holding her against his chest with his claws against her throat. Caleb was on his feet but there was no way he was going to be able to get him off of her before he drove them into her flesh.
"Kian, if you value your life, you will let her go," the blue-eyed vampire said.
"Don't you see what she's done?" His breath was hot against her face as she stared at the one she was just kissing. "She's just like the one that lured me to the tunnels."
The claws tightened and she swallowed.
"No, she isn't and I'm the reason she's here." Elliot's voice came from the direction of the door and her knees threatened to go out. "If you don't let her go, I will kill you."
More pressure and this time she couldn't swallow. If she did, the claws would cut her and she knew that would be an extremely bad thing.
"You can kill me, but I'll take this one with me."