“What about Fletcher and Norm?”

“Apparently they’re intent on being fashionably late, so sod them.”

Smiling, he dabbed my lips with his. “Sure, baby.” But that smile disappeared as something over my shoulder caught his attention. Of course I’d known that there was an additional guest left to arrive. Well, ‘guest’ wasn’t quite the right word. More like ‘gate-crasher’. But I’d kind of hoped she’d fallen off a cliff or something. Clearly, there was no such luck.

Bracing myself, I slowly turned. So this was quite possibly one of the reasons Jared was so guarded. The cow had to be beautiful, didn’t she? She couldn’t just be a hideous heifer with oozing zits, overgrown hairy moles, and a big fat pimply arse. Instead, with her flawless pale skin, her long tumbling red hair, and curvaceous body, she was like a real-life Jessica Rabbit.

Her gaze – a heated, inviting gaze – didn’t move from Jared even once as she approached, as if he was standing here all alone. It was a snub, and I knew it. Maybe, in addition to being a devious manipulator, she was a silly little mare who was curious to know what it would feel like to have my fist crashing into her face.

Even when she stopped in front of us, she didn’t look at me. What cheesed me off most was that she actually reached out to cup Jared’s cheek. He didn’t back away. He did something even better. He growled so menacingly that everyone within hearing range froze. Just like that, most of the squad were gathered behind me.

She dropped her hand, but she didn’t drop her sultry smile. “It’s been so long, Jared. I’ve been so looking forward to seeing you again.” Her consort didn’t appear to like that, going by the scowl he was wearing and the jealousy shining from his eyes. It would seem that she had this one totally enamoured.

“I can’t say I feel the same.” Jared slipped his arm around me – a move that forced her to acknowledge my presence. She actually looked down her nose at me. That confirmed that she was, in fact, a silly little mare who was curious to know what it would feel like to have my fist crashing into her face.

I cocked my head. “Males who Turn people are referred to as ‘Sires’, so with you being a female, I guess that makes you…a ‘Bitch’.” Ignoring the muffled laughs coming from the squad, I gave her a winning smile.

Her answering one was thin and fake. “I have been looking forward to meeting you.”

I almost snorted at that.

“Wait…is she a Sventé?” her consort asked disbelievingly, bursting into laughter.

Before I knew what was happening, my whip was in my hand and I’d cracked it around his throat, cutting off his laugh. Yes, I should be used to this by now and be easily able to shrug it off, but, well, I preferred not to.

Jared kissed my temple, grinning. “I think he’s learned his lesson, baby.”

I sighed. He was no fun. “Fine.” I allowed the whip to fade away.

“A Sventé Feeder,” said Magda to her red-faced, coughing consort. “I wouldn’t have thought it possible, Brook. But, then, I wouldn’t have thought it possible for Jared to claim someone, considering his issues with women in general.”

There was an odd note to her voice that told me I was being baited. Obviously I wondered what she meant by that, especially since Jared was a mystery to me in some ways, and it got to me that I didn’t know him as well as I wished to. But she would know that, wouldn’t she? She was already using her gift against me.

Evan appeared then, wearing the mother of all scowls. He stopped at Jared’s side, glaring at the woman in a way that said he’d happily kill her and think nothing of it.

“Evan,” she crooned, “it is good to see you also.”

“She’s kidding, right?” he said to Jared, who tightened his arm around me.

“I heard about your mother. My condolences to both of you.” To Jared, she then said, “I imagine, what with everything that happened, that you’re not attending the funeral.”

He’d be attending hers if she tried to touch him again. Slut. And here she was baiting me a second time. “Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be on fire, Magda?” I asked casually. Her brow wrinkled. “Use your gift on me, and I’ll use mine on you. That’s how it’s going to work. Don’t test me on that. Unless, of course, you do have a curiosity about burning – I’d be more than happy to help you out with that.”

“Someone seems a little jealous,” said Brook.

I arched a brow at him. “Should I take that as an indication that you’d like to become better acquainted with my whip?” He swallowed hard, losing his smirk. Arsewipe.

“I think you may be right, Brook.” Magda turned back to me, grinning. “I suppose it’s only to be expected, considering I have a blood-link with the man you love.”

I went nose to nose with her, smiling at the way it clearly unnerved her. So she wasn’t as confident as she appeared to be. “Let’s look at it this way: you need to use a gift to piss me off and make me jealous. All I have to do to have that effect on you is breathe.”

Turning on my heel, I headed for the balcony, hoping to get a little fresh air. There was no point in acting as though her words hadn’t had the desired effect. With her gift, she would know how they would make me feel. Annoying me even more, I knew she’d be enjoying it. However, what was pissing me off the most was that Jared had clearly opened up to her about his past when he had told me bugger all.

That was why I avoided his touch when he came up beside me. “I need a few minutes alone,” I snapped.

“Don’t give her what she wants, Sam.”

It was too late. I already had. But if the wanker next to me had simply opened up to me like he’d opened up to her, I wouldn’t be feeling like this at all. With that reasoning, all I wanted right then was for him to be far away from me. “I said, I need a few minutes alone.”

He reached for me. “Baby—”

I pulled away. “Don’t call me that.” That was my kneejerk reaction whenever he upset me – to deny him the right to call me anything even remotely possessive. What complicated things a little was that his kneejerk reaction to that was to f**k me senseless to prove that I was his. At least he wouldn’t be able to do that right now. Suddenly he caged my wrist with his hand and there was a queasy feeling in my stomach as he teleported us into one of the empty conference rooms in the mansion. Shit.

Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires
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