“You’re more appealing.”

“But that’s not why you’re here,” I sensed, knowing him well.

“I guess I just wanted to check that you’re okay…and that you’re not having second thoughts.”

“I told you last night that I wasn’t.”

“Yeah. But that was last night.”

There was a glimmer of vulnerability in his eyes that I’d only seen once before – that night that I’d learned the truth about the bitch that gave birth to him. A vulnerability that she’d put there. Despite all his confidence, there was a lack of self-worth lurking deep, and it was clearly making him doubt that I truly loved him. I kind of wished she was alive just so that I could kill her. “I have not had an overnight change of heart.”

“Even though you know everything about me, even though you know that I’m pretty damaged? It can’t be an attractive idea to Bind yourself to someone with this many issues.”

I slapped his arm. “Hey, I’m taking offense to that – I have issues of my own. But so what? I think it would be pretty boring to be one-dimensional anyway.”

He smiled against my mouth. “Good, it means I don’t have to tie you to the bed and hold you here against your will.”

“You’re not even joking, are you?”

“No. I can’t let you go.”

“Does this mean I can relax in the knowledge that you’ll turn up to the ceremony?”

His all-too-perceptive eyes narrowed. “So I wasn’t the only one worrying.” When I shook my head in admission, he dabbed a drugging kiss on my mouth. “That’s just dumb. I need you in more ways than you know. You were right in what you said; when I came here I forget who I was and where I came from because I wanted to. You brought me back from that. If you go, I’ll be tempted to forget again, because it’s easier that way. I need you to keep me grounded. It sounds corny, I know, but you’re like my personal little refuge. You can’t leave.”

“I won’t. But note, for the record, that if you don’t show up, I’ll gut you like a fish.”

His smile took over his face. “There’s my girl.” He nipped my bottom lip. “Open for me.” When I did, his tongue immediately shot inside to find mine. In a dominant move that could have landed him in trouble if I wasn’t in such a good mood, he tangled a hand in my hair and angled my head how he wanted – holding it there while he literally devastated my mouth.

When he pulled back to nuzzle my neck and lick at my pulse, I groaned. “You need to go, or we’ll end up bonking.”

“And that would be bad because…?”

“Fletcher’s right; it’ll add to the anticipation and stuff if we hold off tonight.”

“You’re mean to me.”

“I won’t be mean to you tomorrow night. Although...I will be biting you in some very interesting places.”

His eyes were shining with humour and interest when he looked at me. “Oh I really hope you do.” Having smacked one last kiss on my mouth, he released me. “Oh and Sam…I’ll be doing the same.” With a devilish smirk, he teleported away, leaving me tingling in all kinds of places. The sod.

A cold shower. That sounded like the best idea.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I came out of the shower feeling more sexually frustrated than I had before I got in it.

I was just slipping my robe on over my underwear when there was a knock on my apartment door. Clearly Fletcher was back to help me try on the dress. I quickly scuttled through the apartment and opened the door – and growled at my two visitors. Before I could say a word, Brook grabbed my arm, and there was a very familiar sensation in my stomach as he – oh f**k a duck – teleported me, him, and Magda to a strange living room.

I had no idea where the hell I was, but I had a very strong feeling that I was no longer at The Hollow. Confirming that, the door opened and five male vampires entered. I recognised three of them. Two were the Trent brothers, and the other was Blake. Fucking great.

Abruptly, Brook shoved me into an armchair, holding me there by my shoulder. I had barely shrugged him away, fully intending to whip the crap out of these people, when I was suddenly paralysed. Literally. I couldn’t move at all. Recalling what Orrin had said about one of the brothers having the gift of freezing things, I quickly realised what had happened.

“You’ll have to do it quickly,” Magda told the brothers, sounding desperate and anxious. “Jared will sense her fear, and he’ll come to her.”

“Do not worry,” said the tallest brother. “It will not come to that. Blake.”

The ex-Handler stepped forward, grinning mischievously. If I hadn’t been frozen in place, I’d have snarled at him. “How much do you want gone?”

“Everything up until the day that she was recruited,” the tallest brother told him. “I do not want her to remember anything after that day.”

Oh shit.

Magda shot me an evil smile. “I should be getting back. I don’t want anyone to notice that I was missing at the same time that she disappeared. Plus, Jared is going to need me to be there for him.” She left with her consort, wearing a smug, devious smirk. Oh the bitch.

Blake put his index finger to my temple. Then, there was only blackness.

(Jared)

I felt like someone had punched me in the head – there was a heavy impact, there was a momentary disorientation, and then there was pain as my connection to Sam abruptly vanished. Not physical pain, but a crushing, overwhelming, agonising emotional pain as suddenly I could no longer feel her.

I should have been rushing out of the bar in a panic, but that same sense of panic seemed to be stopping me from moving. I was expecting to feel her again any second now, for the ‘glitch’ to fix itself.

“What’s wrong?” Evan asked.

“Sam.”

Concern was plastered across his face. “What’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know.”

“Go to her.”

“I can’t.” Without our link, I couldn’t take myself to her unless I could see her.

“What do you mean, you can’t? Don’t tell me your gifts are now acting up, too.”

Shaking myself out of my shocked state, I teleported to our apartment, right in the spot that I’d left her only half an hour ago. The room was empty. “Sam! Sam!” In vampire speed, I raced through the apartment, coming to an abrupt halt when I saw that the door was open. I dashed into the hallway, but there was no sign of her whatsoever. “Sam!”


Tags: Suzanne Wright Deep In Your Veins Vampires
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