Pleasure? . . . No, POSSESSION! . . . CONQUEST! was the clear objective; mind, body and my very soul. Glamoured or enamored, I was mesmerized at the sight of his perfect, powerful body in action. His strategic movements ebbed and flowed with animalistic agility. I desperately needed him to stop whispering the sweetest nothings in my ear. That thick, seductive accent strummed the words that broke my hold on reality. I was a gonner. My will, now his.
“Please!” I begged breathlessly, hoping for the slightest reprieve. I just needed to get my bearings. Obsidian eyes glared down at me and then glowed ethereally beautiful silver that reflected the light like diamonds.
Many stern objections came to mind and hid behind traitorous lips that cried out in pleasure. I tried to say the right words but “Oh my God!” were the only ones that came to mind. It sounded more like “Oooooo, expletive, expletive, ahhhhh!”
I shattered apart as he continued his merciless, methodic bump and grind. My hands clawed over tawny, smooth skin that healed instantaneously. He kissed and teased until my back arched and my rogue hips acquiesced to a new master.
My state of undress gave me pause. The skin on my body was pristine. Gone were all signs of my injuries. Only smooth beautiful skin remained. It was like someone had taken an airbrush to a picture and smoothed all the ugliness away. Blonde locks flowed over my pillow and shoulders with the tamed softness of 300 hairbrush strokes. I looked pretty hot and wondered if this pose was what Claude’s photographer had in mind when we shot the romance cover.
A mischievous grin played across a gorgeous, angelic face that loomed above me like a beast. The coarse, ebony facial hair tickled up and down my cheek. He smelled of dark spices and glowed vampire. Large hands roamed and made sure that they paused to appreciate every hill and valley of my topography.
“You are mine, Mz. Stackhouse!” he growled possessively as I reached, yet another plateau of our primitive mating. The formal salutation was kinda funny considering he was presently getting to know me in the Biblical. He finally paused, smiled in triumph, rested back on his haunches and cracked his neck. I took in a deep, sated breath and relaxed. My heart raced as I realized that he wasn’t finished. He was apparently gearing up for a finale.
My blood pulsated loudly in my ears, calling out to him and I splayed out a banquet of major arteries for his choosing. His body trembled with great anticipation and even greater restraint. He took his time and got up close and personal with each one. Sharp teeth grazed the inside of my arm and thigh and ended with my neck. He was careful not to break the skin as he gently kissed my delicate veins with utter devotion.
“You are far too exquisite for a lowly sheriff,” he said in a whisper, pulling me to him. “Your rich Fae blood is nourishment fit for a king!” Fangs protruded, preparing to strike. “Come . . .” and he did, with a throaty gasp “with me, my queen.” His explicit double entendre and explosive release undid me, again.
A high-pitched wail escaped my lips and rang back to me in a loud echo. “FELIPE!”
“SOOKIE!” Pam’s cry scared me so bad that I jumped in the air, crashed into my nightstand, sending a lamp and the ceramic washbasin flying across the room. I landed on the floor in a tangle of covers, panting and shivering. Sweet dream or beautiful nightmare, I thought, dizzily, while the two vampires frantically tried to release me and I struggled to get my bearings.
“Wake the witch!” she ordered to Maxwell, just before uncovering me.
“No!” I said to Maxwell’s back as he hurried out of the room. He moved so fast that the ends of his long coat flew in the air and whacked the door frame.
“Yeah, Houston,” his deep voice said into his cell phone “We got a problem.”
“Wait! Don’t call out the troops. Let Amelia rest. Please. It was a dream. Only a dream.” Everybody paused, partly because what I said had a ring of truth. It was also an easy sell because none of us could take anymore of Amelia’s sorrowful tears.
“That was more than a dream, Sookie,” Pam said. “She needs to secure the wards and add new ones.”
“I will stay awake until sunrise,” I assured her. “Amelia can do the wards then.”
Although I could still smell him and taste the sweet nectar of his kiss, it couldn’t be anything more than a dream. I took a quick inventory: Pink gown, check; multiple contusions, check; bandages, check; aching body, check; bed head, double check. It felt like a bird’s nest. Yep, dream confirmed.
I had a new lump on my head from hitting the nightstand, too. I was thankful that Pam had wakened me when she did. I was sure that “Who’s your daddy?” followed the “Mine!” conquest on Felipe’s to-do-list and that was sure to leave a mark.
Vivid hallucinations were probably a side effect of the unique cocktail that flowed through my veins: The blood of two very powerful vampires (one was over a century old and the other more than a millennia), mingling with my own and contaminated by Fae magic from my bites. I also had several pain relievers and the Fae magic spell that was used to subdue me to contend with. That’s a pretty horrific concoction and was the obvious cause of my delirium.
Eric had Pam and everyone around us paranoid. Who could blame him? His wife, that would be me, had been kidnapped, attacked and nearly killed less than 24 hours ago. Okay, I wasn’t legally his wife. When Nevada vamps took over Louisiana, Eric decided to take an extra precaution to keep the new regime from stealing me away. He married me, vamp style. It was without my permission, by the way. I didn’t like it but it did keep me in Louisiana.
Felipe de Castro is the new H.V.I.C., Head Vamp in Charge. He is the Nevada Vamp King that recently acquired Louisiana as part of his territory. Unlike Napoleon, this Louisiana Purchase mandated the blood of its vampire Queen, Sophie Ann LeClerge, her court, four area Sheriffs and their entire constituency as payment. He also acquired the state of Arkansas which fell to Queen Sophie, after the death of her husband. Felipe only left one Sheriff alive, Eric Northman of Area 5.
One of the reasons is because Area 5 is the largest territory with the greatest number of volunteer subjects in Louisiana. Considering the ruthless nature of vampires this was not an easy feat. Eric also holds the loyalty of the state’s most valuable vampire assets, the vamp bar called Fangtasia of which he and Pam own; Bill, who is an investigator for the area and Bill’s priceless vampire database; and me, Sookie Stackhouse the telepath.
I had been drawn to vampires every since I found out that I couldn’t hear their thoughts. It was a most precious gift to someone who had been tormented by the insensitive, innermost thoughts of humans her whole life. Having all your insecurities confirmed and transmitted back to you through the thoughts of your schoolmates, while going through puberty, was pure-d hell. Fighting to block out the voices earned me the hurtful nickname “Kookie Sookie,” the village crackpot. The stigma was on constant standby, waiting to pull me back into its prickly embrace. Most humans just steered clear of me. It was their loss though, cuz I’m sa-mall in the waist, ca-ute in the face and a loyal friend to the end.
The supernatural community appreciated my quirkiness and welcomed me as one of their own. The fact that my telepathy didn’t work too well on Supes made me easier to accept. Were-animal and Shifter minds were scrambled, but I could get a clear reading with skin contact. Witches could block my gift but most lacked the know-how. Vampire and Fae minds were a complete blank. Bill helped me control my “gift,” as he calls it. He taught me how to block the thoughts and that changed my life. Other than the ten, give or take a few, near death experiences, I’d had in the few years since Supes claimed me, life was good. It’s a pity and a shame, the things that I go through to be accepted.
The distinct sound of loose floor boards creaking in the hallway caught my attention in the night. Someone, undead I guessed, passed in the hall. My head was a little cloudy from my meds. “What was in that thing?” I mumbled to myself, tossing for a better position in the bed.
The house had become quiet and still. I saw Pam come through the doorway of my bedroom. Pam reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, with pale straight hair, pale blue eyes and a small frame. Well, normally she did. Now, she looked disheveled, hair pulled back from her face in a sloppy bun. This night was taking its toll on everyone. She was shaking a bottle of Trueblood, swiftly opened it and began to drink. My mouth watered just a little and then went desert dry. It was a most peculiar feeling. Blood loss was the why of it, I guessed.
I hadn’t told anyone that I gave Bill blood on the way home. The silver was doing really bad things to Bill in the van. My blood seemed to calm him so I kept quiet. I just gave him a little taste. Besides, I owed Bill. He had been there for me when I needed. I’d drink a few bottles of Trueblood, while the vamps were in their day-sleep, I decided. Before I could give another thought to the matter, my body decided that more sleep, in the very near future, was imminent. Sookie owt.
Just before dawn, I was awakened by a quiet voice coming from the corner chair in my room. Pam was speaking to me as if she knew I was alert enough to hear her and I was. “Blood bonds are rare for a reason.” she said in a low murmur. I said nothing in the dark room. I repositioned myself, slowly propping my head up a little on the pillow to let her know that I was listening.
“The vampire becomes a slave to the will and needs of its bonded mate. I realize now that if that mate dies, the vampire will be never be the same. That places my sire in a precarious position.”
“They already know that he cares for me. We are pledged, with the knife,” I said with a note of defense. “Felipe, himself, offered me his protection.” My voice was low but it was getting louder in quiet of the night. I just couldn’t understand why things had to be so complicated.
“I knew this would be upsetting for you but I must let you know that as a vampire of Eric’s stature, he will forever be jockeying for position. He will always have to work to keep what he has, especially to keep something as unique as you, Sookie.” I slowly sat up at full attention in the bed.
“The attainment of a telepath, to add to Eric’s ever growing followers, has proven to be an irresistible temptation for Felipe de Castro. Felipe wants you more than you know. This is not something you can afford to be naive about. He has the patience to wait for you. He is very old and extremely powerful. Because of your pledge to Eric, he has to wait for you to yield or for Eric to meet his end.” I was beginning to feel sick. Pam could see that I was completely unnerved.
“Felipe’s interest was piqued in Eric’s desperation to save you, a mere human, from danger,” she continued. “We are not sure how, but Felipe was able to track you, after your abduction.” Great. I thought, something else to be worried about. “He could have been bluffing but he knew the moment that you crossed over into Arkansas and tried to bargain with Eric to guarantee your protection.”
“Protection that Felipe had already committed to.” I interjected.
“Yes,” she agreed. “When Eric refused to cooperate, Felipe tried to stall him. He threatened to charge my master with abandoning his post. The penalty would strip the Sheriff of his position and all of the possession he has pertaining to Area 5. Eric can’t afford to let other vamps know of your relation to Niall so he set out on his own making it only a short distance before sunrise halted his progress." She looked around the room, filled with anxiety and said “My master told me that the blood bond had been weakened, somehow.” From the look on her face, that was a bad thing. “He had difficulty tracking you and feared you dead.” Pam slowly waved one thin hand up in the air in a surrendering gesture.
The sun was just rising outside my window and I could see the outline of the sharp facial features of the perpetual 19 year old. I wanted her to confide in me more but we were losing time. She had given me a wealth of information and I appreciated that.
“I must go now,” she said with regret.
“Where is Eric now? Bill? Maxwell? Amelia?” The questions flew out rather quickly from my mouth.
“Amelia was finally coaxed to sleep,” Pam stated. “She wouldn’t let me glamour her so I gave her a small amount of my blood which helped her to relax.” Good ole vamp blood is one cure all, I lightly chuckled to myself. I didn’t even want to know how she tricked Amelia to take her blood.
“Maxwell Lee went to Bill’s to sleep for the day,” she added
“Felipe demanded that Bill be taken into his care.” She went on to answer the slew of questions. “Bill is being moved to a safe-house for Supes operated by Dr. Greyson Blade, who is loyal to the Nevada regime.” Pam was showing a great deal of emotion which was truly out of character. Her voice trembled as she spoke. “My Master became incensed and went to Shreveport, no doubt, to break a foot off in someone’s ass. He knew that you would be less than pleased, as well. Eric is now being detained for insubordination, which is what they were hoping for.”
Tears welled in my eyes. I imagined Eric or Bill coming to harm. “Will they hurt Eric?” I asked thinking of how brutal vampires could be.
“Most creatively,” she said matter of factly. “But don’t worry about Eric,” she said in response to my alarm. “He is smarter and older than most and can definitely take care of himself and those under his charge. Besides, Felipe reneged on his promise to protect you. At least Eric has that in his favor. Felipe will have to answer for that in the tribunal.”
I thought that the trouble was over. It seemed to just be beginning. The room was slightly brighter and I could now make out Pam’s entire body in the seat. She had apparently bathed and changed into a powder blue warm-up suit that had belonged to Amelia. Her knees were pulled up to her chest, banded by her thin arms. Fatigue masked her face. It had been such a long night for all. She wasn’t moving from the chair as she should have been, considering the hour. I rose from the bed. I was weak but the drugs kept me from feeling any pain. I moved over to the small vampire. She stood upon my approach and I escorted her to the hidey hole that Bill had created in the closet of my guest room.
“Please.” I made a motion with my hand for her to get in. She looked confused for a moment and then lowered herself into the light-tight compartment. “I would never leave Eric for Felipe, Pam. I will not yield to him.” I assured her. I knew this is what our tête-à-tête was really about. Felipe was very beautiful and extremely powerful, but I wasn’t that shallow.
As I closed the lid, I heard her quietly and very calmly say, “That’s what you thought about Eric.” What an Exit! I thought as the sun rose at my back.