“Then what happened?”
“The sorcerers won. They’d devised a spell to track every living vampire. Well, living-ish. They killed them all except for me, and then they came for me. There were four of them, they came for me in Iceland, where I’d made a home away from civilization.”
“They tried to kill you,” I whisper, sensing where this is going.
“Hmm,” he growls, nodding. “I tried to talk them out of it. I’d grown tired of violence a long time ago, perhaps even in my human life. But when you are attacked, you can’t cling to honor or high-flung ideas of being the better man. You have to remember that you’re an animal just like they are. And fight. So that’s what I did. I fought them and I won. And so I became the last magical creature in this world. There will be no more after me because despite what those idiot sorcerers believed, we didn’t find a way to make more vampires.”
“What about more sorcerers?” I ask.
He shakes his head. “Only sorcerers can make sorcerers, too.”
“So they really shot themselves in the foot there,” I murmur.
“Yes,” he says. “They did.”
“And you’ve been on your own for two hundred years,” I say, trying to let the enormity of the time sink into my head.
Trying and failing.
“I was on my own for centuries before that. Because I never had you.”
He leans in closer and brushes his lips against mine, body pumping warmly before he gets himself under control, a constant war of flaming lust.
“Let me move you into an apartment befitting a queen,” he says. “You and Chipper deserve better than this neighborhood. Let me dote on you, Tammy. Because I … I’ve been waiting all my long life for you, and the idea of something happening to you turns me feral.”
“Really?” I say. “You’d do that for me?”
His smirk twitches and he cradles me to his chest. For a brief moment, I think I can feel his heartbeat, pounding, but then I realize it’s my own.
“I would do anything for you, Tammy.”The apartment is absolutely freaking amazing, the sort of place I never dreamed I’d be able to live in a million years.
Or maybe that’s a lie.
Maybe I did dream about a penthouse with floor to ceiling windows in my sillier fantasies. When I was a successful singer, I’d buy a place that overlooked the city that had once been so cruel to me. But I never actually believed it would happen.
I walk around the open-plan space, after Torsten’s driver drops me off, over the fur rugs, and into the kitchen of sleek marble surfaces. I stroll to the window and look down at the park, gorgeous even if it’s tiny below, and even if the clouds are shielding the sun and casting a gray night-like sheet over everything.
But the best room, the room that makes me jump up and down like a little kid when I discover it – and Chipper to leap up on his little hind legs and dance around with me – is a freaking recording studio located at the rear of the apartment.
I can barely believe that it’s true until I feel the equipment under my fingertips.
“So you like it?” a voice comes from behind me.
I gasp and turn to find Torsten there, leaning casually against the wall, his body covered in a suit the color of Nordic water.
I must’ve been in here for ages if he’s here. The sun must have set.
“Like it?” I gasp, looking around at the red-cushioned walls, the lamp sending a serene glow over everything. “It’s amazing. But you do realize I’m not a music technician, right? I’ve got no idea how to use this stuff.”
“That’s fine,” Torsten chuckles. “I do.”
“I’ve had far too much time on my hands over the years,” he says. “Learning different skills is a hobby of mine. So whenever inspiration strikes, I’ll be there for you.”
I stand up and walk over to him, feeling a blot of anxiety spreading like misty ink through my body. It touches every part of me as I clasp onto his shirt and bring myself closer to him. The naturalness of the gesture sends a shockwave through me.
I still can’t believe this is happening.
But it is.
And I need to accept that.
“Won’t you miss having all the time in the world, Torsten, if you become human?” I whisper.
“No,” he says at once. “Because I want – no, need – something far more than that.”
He smooths his hand down my body and places it on my belly, rubbing softly.
Something whelms inside of me, a deafening chorus screaming through my body, a cacophony I couldn’t ignore even if I wanted to.
“That’s your womb,” he growls, passion flaring in his voice. His touch blares so hotly I’m shocked he doesn’t scorch through my shirt. “I can feel it, Tammy. I can feel how badly your body wants to give me a child. But a vampire cannot mate with a human. And there’s nothing in this world I want more than to plunge my seed inside of you and to watch our offspring grow and flourish.”