Her eyes burned as she tried to keep them open, but in the end, weariness overcame her, and she drifted into sleep.


She awoke with a jerk, then smiled slowly as she realized how refreshed she felt. After using the bathroom, she washed her face and brushed her teeth, grateful that Vanda had shown her how. Then she dressed and went into the main room.

Glorious scents filled the kitchen, and her stomach rumbled.

There you are. Brynley backed away to keep a safe distance. She motioned to the counter. I made some bacon and eggs. And theres toast and jelly.

Thank you. She prepared herself a plate. Did anything happen while I was asleep?

Nope. Brynley settled on the couch with a paperback book. Its been real quiet. The suns already going down.

Marielle smiled at the thought of seeing Connor soon and starting her new mission to help the Vamps. After eating, she went out onto the front porch to watch the sun descending in the west.

A new adventure awaited her. She would help the Vamps destroy the Malcontents. The world would be a safer place. The Archangels would be so pleased, they would vote her back into the Heavenly Host.

She strode back into the cabin and headed for the closet.

Are you sure thats a good idea? Brynley asked from the couch.

Ill be fine. She let herself into the closet, turned on the light, then closed the door.

Connor was stretched out on his back with his hands resting on his flat stomach. She knelt beside him, admiring his handsome face. Even though his hair was a bright golden red, his eyebrows were a reddish brown. His eyelashes looked thick and dark against his pale skin. He must have shaved, for the stubble along his chin was gone.

He wore a dark green shirt that hugged broad shoulders and went well with his red and green plaid kilt. Even his knee socks were green. She smiled at the dagger hidden beneath his right knee sock. Hed tried to take on a demon with that weapon.

His chest suddenly expanded as if a burst of energy had struck his heart. His hands jerked, and his eyes opened.

Good morning. She grinned. Or rather, evening. Its confusingagh! She gasped when he seized her by the arms and shoved her onto the floor.

Connor, what are you She gasped again when he leaned over her, his eyes glowing red. Good heavens! Hed been awake for only two seconds. Was he already thinking about sex?

His hand slid up to her neck. Lass, ye should never wake a sleeping vampire.

You woke yourself. She shoved at his chest. And I dont care about the Three-Step Rule. Im not giving you a blow job.

Chapter Eleven

Connor reeled back. What the Had he actually heard those words come from the mouth of his innocent angel?

He stared at Marielle, so stunned that he forgot for a moment how hungry he was. Or how much the sight of her had instantly incited a hunger for her body as well as her sweet-smelling blood. Ye dinna What did ye?

Theres no need to act so surprised. Vanda told me what the glowing red eyes mean. Marielle scrambled to her feet and gave him an indignant look. Youre thinking about sex. Again!

Bloody hell. He jumped to his feet. And what were ye thinking? Ye never close yerself up with a waking vampire! I could have bitten you!

She crossed her arms. I dont think it was food that was on your mind. I know about the Three-Step Rule now.

The what? His stomach twinged as a hunger pain jabbed at him, demanding blood. Never mind. I have to eat. He threw the door open and rushed straight to the fridge.

He shot her an annoyed look as she exited the closet. Doona ever do that again. He grabbed a bottle of blood, wrenched the top off, and stuffed the bottle into the microwave. His gums ached with the strain of keeping his fangs from springing out.

Why are you fussing at me? she asked. You were the one with the glowing eyes who shoved me onto the floor.

He heard a gasp from the couch. Bugger. Now Phils sister knew what was happening. He seized the bottle from the microwave and guzzled down some blood.

Relief poured through him. The pain in his gums melted away, and his vision returned to normal.

Marielle stepped closer, peering at him. Your eyes stopped glowing.

He groaned inwardly. Lass, a Vamps hunger is verra powerful when he first awakens. It has a way of triggering lust. And thanks to Vandas interference, Marielle now knew that hed lusted for her last night. There was no point in denying it. I find you verra tempting and . . . beautiful.

When she smiled, he gritted his teeth.  Twas no meant as a compliment, lass. Im giving you a serious warning. Ye must stay away from me until Ive had my first bottle of blood. I could be dangerous.

Her smile lingered. Ive never thought of you as dangerous.

Vampire. He gave her a wry look and drank some more.

She shrugged. I dont believe you would harm me. Even in the closet, with all your hunger and lust, you didnt bite me or demand sex.

He choked on the last swallow of blood. He glanced toward the couch where he could hear some smothered giggles. Bugger. Had he made a big mistake asking Vanda to bring along a few women so they could give Marielle some female guidance?

He set the bottle in the sink. What did ye talk about with the ladies?

Lots of things, she replied. The Three-Step Rule, o**l s*x

Holy Christ Almighty. He pressed a hand to his brow. They were supposed to teach you how to shampoo yer hair, no give you instructions on o**l s*x! His heart lurched at the thought. Did they?

Did they what? she asked.

Laughter erupted from the couch, and he shot an angry look at Brynley. He turned to Marielle, and as usual, her beauty took his breath away. He lowered his voice, hoping the female shifter couldnt hear. Did they give you . . . instructions?

She nodded. Yes.

His groin tightened. Really? He blinked, trying to keep his eyes from turning red.

Yes. I learned how to shower and brush my teeth. All sorts of useful things. She smiled at Brynley. And I was well guarded all day. Thank you.

Brynley grinned back, her eyes twinkling. Youre welcome.

Excuse me. Connor slipped into the bathroom to relieve himself and get a grip. He needed to stop thinking about sex and focus on business. After he washed his hands and face and brushed his teeth, he returned to the kitchen.

Marielle was still there, drinking a glass of water.

The demon dinna return? he asked. Just as she shook her head, the phone in his sporran rang. He quickly answered it. Aye?

Good news, Emma reported. Shanna woke up and shes drinking her first bottle of blood.

He exhaled in relief. Thank God.

Youll start with the training today as planned? Emma asked.

Yes. Connor looked at Marielle. Hed have to explain what was decided at the strategy meeting last night.

Ill let you get to work then, Emma said. I just wanted you to know that Shannas doing well, and shes eager to see the children.

Im sure she is.

She expressed a desire to meet the angel, but Roman said no, not with the children about. Ill call back if she manages to change Romans mind. Emma chuckled. She usually can.

Aye. Connor rang off and dropped the phone into his sporran.

Marielle was watching with a hopeful expression. Shannas all right?

Aye, if ye call being a vampire all right.

Im sure her husband and children are happy shes still with them. Marielle sighed. I would have felt awful if Id killed her.

It wasna yer fault, he insisted. I was the one who took you there.

She gave him a wistful smile. I missed you during the day.

He wished he could say the same, but he didnt feel anything in his death-sleep. That had always been a blessing before, but he suspected nothing would ever be the same now that hed met Marielle. Ye look well. Ye rested?

She nodded. I slept for the first time.

Good. Ye need yer strength tonight. He was just about to explain when a form materialized close by.

Ian MacPhie set two tote bags on the kitchen counter. Vanda thought ye could use some more supplies, he told Connor, though his attention quickly shifted to Marielle.

Greetings. She inclined her head at Ian.

His eyes widened. He looked at Connor, then back at Marielle. He opened his mouth to speak, then changed his mind and bowed.

This is Ian, Connor explained. Hes no usually speechless. Or so well dressed. He hid a smile. Ian had worn his dress kilt, black jacket with brass buttons, and white shirt with ruffled cuffs and cravat.

Ian gave him an annoyed look. I shouldna wear my best clothes to meet an angel from heaven?

You look very nice, Marielle said. I love your shirt.

Ian blushed. Thank you.

Connor crossed his arms and muttered, I have a shirt like that, too.

Marielle ignored him and continued to talk to Ian. The colors on your kilt are lovely.

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