His lips curved, drawling, “If it ain’t broke…”

I snorted, and then started jogging, glancing over my shoulder. “Race you?”

He grinned and sprinted after me.

Quickening my pace, running as fast as I could without my Vampire speed, I laughed when I stopped abruptly and tripped him on the grass. My only way of beating him. I shot off again, hearing his fake growl where he had landed. I made it to the door before I was picked up off my feet — no one could see us there — and I shrieked as he raced us inside and down the hallway with his Vampire speed to the gym.

The place was silent and dark, but lights weren’t needed with our glowing eyes, and he set me on my feet. He bent going under the bleachers ahead of me, but I didn’t need to duck the bar there, following him easily. Traveling to the middle, he stopped, his spring green, glowing eyes roving over my dress. “Hike your dress up a little, so you can wrap your legs around me.”

Blinking, I glanced about and realized he was right. There was no way to do this unless he got down on the dusty floor, because I was so short, and that wasn’t happening with his black attire. I hiked my dress up until modesty could have been threatened if I took it another inch, and he lifted me easily.

Wrapping my legs around his waist, he moved so my back was against the wall, then leaned heavily against me, asking patiently, “You know you can’t send me what you normally do, or I’ll fall, right?”

I paused. Shit. “What do I send you?”

“Whatever you can manage without making me hit the ground.” He grinned. “I fall, you fall.”

“Great,” I muttered, biting my lip, tiny fangs already descended. “Joy?”

He nodded. “That should work.”

My eyes moved to his throat, and I gently tilted his head back and to the side, careful not to mess up his spikes. Placing my mouth against his throat and inhaling softly, I sighed quietly. He didn’t smell like food, even though his blood was delicious. He smelled like my best friend. Like Ezra. Against his heated skin, I whispered, “Thank you.”

He pressed against me harder, holding me in a tighter embrace. “You’re welcome.”

I licked over his pulse slowly, feeling the pounding against my tongue. Rubbing along it, I found the exact place I wanted. I tilted my head a smidge more, and gently sank my fangs in. His hot, dark spice blood ran over my tongue and I moaned, gripping the back of his neck. I sent him emotions.

It made his body start to go slack, so I stopped.

He straightened immediately, murmuring, “Try again, but hurry. We need to get back out there before the guards start searching.”

Trying again, I started sending him the usual serenity, but pushed through the haze of his dazzling blood when I felt him react the same way. It was hard, and I grunted with the effort, but I knew immediately when he felt joy instead, his body pressing against me harder than before, straightening.

He whispered deeply, “That’s good. Perfect.”

In answer, I hummed delicately, and then I let myself go back into the fog of dark spice. Gripping the back of his neck, my fingers pressed on his muscles just a smidge, holding tight as one of his hands ran up my back and in my hair, gripping it and pushing my mouth against his neck as he sighed. He seemed to like it, so I knew I was doing a good job.

Moaning at the taste, I rubbed up him for higher positioning, his blood spiced a little different with the joy I was sending him, instead of the serenity. It was scrumptious. Really damn delicious. His other arm slid down under my behind, lifting and giving me the added boost I needed to really get a good pull, and I sent him a heavy dose of joy. In return, he held me tighter.

Two more pulls, because he was that tasty, then I ran my tongue over the wound and leaned my head back, gently massaging his nape and watching his eyes slowly open.

He smiled, and it was a sloppy, happy one. “I like that one better than the other.”

“Same here,” I agreed, scrutinizing him. “You feel alright?”

“Yeah.” He nodded. “Just need another second.” He rested his forehead against my shoulder, and I continued massaging his neck.

A minute later, his head lifted, and he cracked his neck both ways, his eyelids no longer drooping. In fact, humor etched his features as his lips twitched. “Sweetheart, you aren’t wearing any panties.”

Blinking, I belatedly realized what that meant. His arm under me was touching my private bits. His shirt didn’t even cover it because he had rolled his sleeves up his forearms earlier. Not moving an inch, because that would make it worse, instead I stated factually, “I couldn’t. This dress shows underwear lines.”

His lips twitched again, but he nodded studiously. “The dreaded underwear lines.” He glanced to his right, the way we had come in. “We better go out another door, just in case anyone’s out there.”

“That sounds about right.”

He unclenched the hand he had in my hair and dropped his other arm, keeping pressure on me with his body so I wouldn’t fall. His hands grabbed my hips, which were completely bare by this point with my dress rucked up to my waist. Stepping back from the wall, he held me, and I loosened my legs from around him. Gently lowering me, he kept his gaze on my face, which I was grateful for until I was able to lower my dress.

We ended up taking the gym’s back exit directly outside.

Glancing around, Ezra picked me up, and then moved with Vampire speed, going down through the trees and behind the dance floor to the tree line at the edge of the tables and food. Lowering me, he motioned for me to go on, and then he disappeared, blurring through the trees surrounding us, to enter from another direction.

Sidling around a thick tree trunk, I moved covertly, giving the impression I was just winding my way through tables, trying to appear innocent of any wrongdoings. Absently, I ran my fingers through my hair, since he’d had a hand in it and the wind had blown it. Now I knew why he used so much gel. While trying to work tangles out, I waggled my free hand’s fingers at Jack and Pearl where they sat to the right…and slammed right into a table. Biting my tongue, I barely withheld a curse, my hip bone jarred with the impact.

Jack and Pearl saw it, and I could hear them laughing from all the way over where they sat. At least Gideon and Nikki weren’t busting up, too.

Apology on the tip of my tongue, my attention swung to the occupants of the table, and the words stalled inside my throat, my mouth slightly parted. Sweet baby Jesus. Did this seriously have to happen right now? Out of all the tables on the lawn, I had rammed into King Venclaire, Ezra’s parents, Antonio, King Kincaid, and Fi’s table.

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