I gazed around me, astonished and in awe of Antonio’s little community. “What’re these buildings to our right?”

“Oh, that’s the Residence Hall for commanders and their consorts and personal assistants. Then you’ve got the Residence Hall for all the members of the legion, and another one for any humans. And that last building in the corner by the nightclub is the security lodge.” He twirled on the spot and then urged me to the opposite edge of the roof. “Last but not least, we have all this.”

The view overlooked the pool and gardens of Antonio’s mansion, the arena where the tryout had taken place, the small forest that I had not long ago been chased through, and also a beach. It was absolutely breathtaking with the azure blue sea and white sand. So inviting.

“Only Antonio, the commanders, and the legion have access to this beach,” Fletcher told me. “That’s why he has the man-made beach for the other vamps. So...what d’ya think?”

I smiled at him. “It’s alright, I suppose.”

He elbowed me gently. “Give over. It’s fabulous.”

Back at the office Fletcher handed me documents upon documents about the history of The Hollow and the legion. I made myself comfy on my leather chair, balancing my feet on the bureau, as I settled with the files while Fletcher was in the process of gathering as much available personal information as possible on the new squad members to create their own personal files. I was eager to read them and get a proper idea of who I would be coaching – a job that was in effect from tomorrow.

“Reading up on the history of the legion, huh,” said Jared, leaning against his bureau gazing at me. He was getting a good look at my legs, like he was trying to see through my pants. Self-conscious – not many people ever made me feel self-conscious – I was itching to drop my legs from the table. But then he would know that he had made me feel self-conscious, and he would get off on that.

Then a thought came to me: How had I not heard him or sensed him enter the room?

As if guessing my train of thought, he said, “I can teleport.”

“You have two gifts? How is that possible?”

“I have three, actually. My natural gift is electrokinesis, but Antonio has the power to pass on gifts. Twice he singled me out to receive two others as rewards.”

“So what’s the third?”

Telepathy, I heard in my head. It was like hearing him talk through a mobile phone.

“You can read thoughts?” I sounded horrified by the idea, which made him smile.

No, but I can communicate using my mind, he replied.

I was extremely relieved that he couldn’t read my thoughts; no way did I want him to know how gorgeous I thought he was, or that I was trying so hard to not ogle, or that I was hoping to get a good look at his backside the next time he turned around. “Good for you.” I tried to sound uninterested in him or his attempt at conversation and returned my attention to the documents.

“You could have said that with your mind, you know.”

“I thought you said you couldn’t read thoughts.”

“I can’t. But if you direct a thought at me, I’ll hear it.”

I looked up at him and smirked. I’d like to slice off your salami and shove it up your sexist arse.

His smile became a mischievous grin as he arched a brow. So you’ve been thinking about my salami?

I scowled at him and went back to the documents, but apparently he wasn’t finished teasing me yet.

Well, you’ve been thinking about my salami so I suppose I could think about you naked, and then we’d be even.

“No, no, I do not want you thinking about me naked.”

You really should’ve said something sooner.

I meant to scowl at him again but the intense red glow in his eyes froze me for a second. It was almost impossible not to get a kick out of someone as gorgeous as him wanting you, even if they were a sod. Recovering quickly, I asked, “So where’re our new recruits?”

“My new recruits are having a tour of The Hollow, and then they’ll get settled into their accommodation before dawn.”

“Oh they’re your new recruits, are they? So you’re still intent on being childish.”

He sighed. “Actually, I’ve been thinking.”

“Sulking would be more accurate.”

“Did you honestly think that I’d be thrilled that Antonio thought I needed help?”

“I knew you’d hate it. I knew you’d think you don’t need my help. And I knew you’d try to make my life difficult hoping I’d jib it. But here’s the thing Commander; you can’t possibly hate this more than I hate working for my Sire, and there’s nothing you could do that could be worse than what he’d do if I went back to him. So if I were you I’d stop the sulking and get over it.”

He tilted his head. “Is that why you took the job? To get away from your Sire?” He didn’t say it judgementally.

“That played a factor in it. But I wouldn’t have taken up Antonio’s offer if I didn’t think I could make a difference. If you’re really that immature that you can’t bring yourself to work with a woman then we’ll split the time. You can have the recruits from dusk till before lunch break, and I’ll have them from after lunch break for a few hours.”

“Sounds fair. But I still say I don’t need the help.”

“Anyone who’s so narrow-minded needs help, being prejudiced just holds people back.”

“Is that right?” he asked, smiling and crossing his arms over his chest.

“I can guarantee you that within seven nights you’ll see a difference with our new recruits’ control of their gifts. When that happens, you’ll owe me an apology. A public one.”

He strolled over, stopping only when he reached my bureau. The challenge in his eyes made me stand up. “Care to make that bet interesting?”

“Bets are always interesting.”

“If you manage to improve their control in five nights -”

“Five? I said seven.”

“What, you don’t think you could make a difference within five nights?” His smirk was triumphant as he knew I wouldn’t show any weakness.

“Fine. Five nights.”

“So, as I was saying, if you manage to improve their control in five nights, I’ll apologise. I’ll even make a public apology if that’s what you want. But if you don’t make any difference” – he leaned across the table, leaving only inches between our faces – “I get to taste you.” His gaze wandered down to my throat and his irises began to glow red again. I’ll reluctantly admit that I liked that tasting my blood was so appealing to him.


Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires
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