I kissed the top of Selene’s head, and she melted back into me.

Her parents sputtered for a minute; then something must have occurred to Selene because she cocked her head to the side. “How do you know what a consort is, Mom? And that Athan is a vampire?”

Her mother’s lips twisted as an expression of disgust harshened her features. “Your aunt was supposedly a ‘consort,’” she said, using air quotations as she spit out the word. “Her mate”—she glared at me with hatred in her eyes—“killed her. They’re monsters. Murderers. And if you choose to stay here, I have no doubt you’ll meet the same fate.”

This was an interesting development. “Are you sure it was her mate who killed her?” I asked softly.

Selene’s head fell back, and she twisted her neck to look up at me. “Didn’t you say something about nightwalkers hunting consorts?”

I nodded and brushed her hair behind her shoulder so I could run a finger over the mark on her neck. As though to make sure it was still there. But it was also a reminder that Selene was still in danger as long as she was unturned.

“See?” her mother shrieked. “They hunt down their supposed mates and drink all their blood until they’re dead.”

Selene looked at her parents once more. “Nightwalkers.”

“Exactly,” her father piped up. “Besides, who would want to live a life condemned to darkness?”

“I think there’s been a misunderstanding,” Selene interjected.

“I’m so glad you understand now,” her mother sighed. “Let’s go.”

I was about to threaten them when Selene patted my arm and minutely shook her head. She was silently asking me to let her handle this. I would never deny my consort anything in my power, except when it came to her safety. I could have pushed the protection angle in the current situation, but I knew she would be much more tactful and patient with her parents than I would. If she wanted to continue to have a relationship with them—such as it was, considering she’d barely seen them since they’d sent her to boarding school in Switzerland—it was far more likely to happen if I wasn’t threatening their lives and throwing them out of our home.

“No,” she said gently. “The mistake is yours, Mom. I’m gathering that you aren’t aware of the different breeds of vampires?”

Her father snorted with derision. “They all drink blood, don’t they?”

“You drink scotch, which I find disgusting, yet I don’t judge you for it,” Selene snapped. Once again, I hid my amusement with my face in her silky tresses.

Her well-played rebuttal had him pausing long enough for her to forge ahead before he could try to argue her point. “Athan isn’t like the vampires in books. Or the one that killed Aunt Lola. I do not doubt that a nightwalker hunted her. But Athan is different. His kind are called daywalkers. He was born, not bitten.” She went on to explain the differences between the types of vampires, and it impressed me that she’d retained everything I’d told her in the last twelve or so hours. And it had been a lot to take in.

When she finished, her parents remained stubbornly silent, and Selene sighed. “I know you two aren’t big on relationships”—she’d attempted to keep her tone neutral, but I picked up the thread of resentment in her voice—“but I’d like to try to maintain one with you. However, Athan is my mate. I’m choosing him, and if you can’t accept him, or what I’ll become once he’s claimed me...well, you found your way in, so you can find your way out.”

Fucking hell. I was harder than a damn baseball bat and on the verge of throwing Selene over my shoulder and marching off to find a private place to fuck her. Her delectable little ass wiggled against my hard-on, and I growled in her ear. “Watch it, love.”

Her breathing picked up a fraction, and I almost forgot her parents were there until her dad grumbled, “I can see that you aren’t going to be reasonable about this. But we love you, and we’ll do our best to accept you.”

“And Athan,” Selene demanded.

Her mother sniffed and glared at me. “As long as you’re still alive...or whatever you’ll be.” Then she spun around and marched out of the room. Her father’s parting glance was a little less frosty, but certainly not the loving response one should receive from their father.

“I’m sorry, love,” I told her quietly once we were alone. She turned in my arms and stared up at me with sad eyes.

“I’m used to it,” she muttered with a delicate shrug.

“Well, now you have plenty of nosy family who will inevitably drive you crazy.”

She wound her arms around my neck and went up on her tiptoes to brush a sweet kiss across my lips. “Sounds perfect.”

I finally had my consort all to myself again, and I swept her up into my arms and took her straight back to our bed. After wearing her out with the orgasms she’d earned as a reward, we both fell asleep.

Tags: Fiona Davenport Dusk Before Dawn Fantasy
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