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is an avid fan of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, so much so, that waiting for the next book was not an option! This Sookie Stackhouse Fanfiction fantasy picks up where CH's book 9 left off. Tune in weekly for the next installment of Back from the Dead. Disclaimer: J. Barrington does not own the characters of the Southern Vampire Series AKA Sookie Stackhouse Novels. All rights are reserved for Charlaine Harris.

Fangs 'n Fortune - XLI & XLII

MINE! The dual declaration reverberated throughout the manse. The word was so full of power that the building and all inside seemed to quake in its wake, resolute, infinite. Felipe’s pronouncement was a deep possessive growl on his lips. He threw his head back and let out a full roar of conquest as he pulled me into an embrace. The same affirmation from me was quite different. I slumped in his arms as it fell from my mouth to the ground before me in defeat, shattering my Happily Ever After into a million pieces.

The binding spell worked like the charm that it was. Felipe’s love for me was something he emitted through every pore. It resonated through me and God help me, the feeling was freakin’ mutual.

I swung my body around to face the window as the magnitude of my grave error took root. Felipe is mine? I thought to myself. My hands were splayed on the glass and I looked out desperately searching for an anchor in the sea of people that flowed through the streets below. The view from high above was breathtakingly beautiful: a futuristic vampire paradise and my own hell. We were light years away from Blooood in the Quarter and a lifetime away from the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

“Sin City. Glitter Gulch. Sunset Strip. City of Lights. The Gambling Capital of the World and The Entertainment Capital of the World is also The Fang Capital of the World.” Accented words told me in a low tone. “You, my sweet,” he said regally, “may call it our fiefdom but most importantly, you will call it home.” Cool, firm hands massaged my arms and shoulders and I was so tempted to melt into him.

“Vegas,” I said, recognizing the famous landmarks. I could have sworn that I saw extended canines flash in the smile of the neon cowboy sign. This was the one place that a God-fearing southern gal never wanted to find her self, not even in the wildest of dreams.

The sound of my gown ripping up the back confirmed that this, unlike the many times before, was not another of my beautiful nightmare encounters. My body went completely numb. Felipe’s tepid frame clung to my back. He took deep inhalations of my scent, burying his face in my hair. I somehow knew that he was intoxicated by the fragrance of blood that flowed just below the thin fragile barrier of my skin. I also knew that the hypnotic rhythm of my pulse entranced him. My body heat drew him close and he longed to take a sip of my life. That's what drinking from the living is for vampires; the undead, living vicariously through its victim, as long as there is a heart beat. I don't know why I empathized so strongly now, but I did.

Strong arms banded around my waist, pulling me against a rock hard body. His satin sleep pants had somehow disappeared. He was a little taller than I remember and he was oh-so-happy to see me. Panic in full throttle, my chest heaved and tears streamed. “But I love . . . Fe . . . li ...” I silently mouthed. No matter how I tried to say another, my mouth and mind could only fathom or form the name of Felipe.

Born thousands of years ago and suspended in time as a perpetual 30 year old, (give or take a few years) Felipe de Castro is a reigning vampire king who now controls three states; Nevada, Louisiana and Kentucky. The National Vampire League, which is the largest Supe organization on the planet, count him as one of their five leaders, as well. He was the mastermind behind the hostile take-over of Louisiana, leaving only one-fifth of the state's vampire leaders alive. For all Supes in the entire world who compete for power, he is the one to beat.

He is average height and weight, not the warrior type of Eric, Quinn or CJ, yet his presence is larger than life. Next to them, he doesn’t look small, but they look too tall and brutish in comparison. He does not take up space, he saturates it. He possesses the angelic attractiveness of the Fae, smells of dark spices and glows vampire.  His beauty, however, turns my stomach. Well . . . most of the time it does.

To me, he is deception at the core and I know nothing good of him. The Loas that are after me don’t have a thing on Felipe for he is the bringer of chaos, death and destruction. There were many of the undead that I considered friend. Felipe is truly foe. To give him a swift kick in his ancient booty everyday for the remainder of my existence would thrill me no end. He reneged on a promise of protection to me, after I helped save his life, which makes him a liar in my book. He also used my weakest point to torment me through my dreams. His warped view sees it as seduction or a way of acquisition, following the “all is fair in love and war” rule. The only problem with that is he hadn’t declared his love or war and was willing to acquire me in a hostile takeover, just as he did Louisiana.

My trembling body was sandwiched between the cool window that towered above the city before me and the cold steely body of the vampire behind. All is lost. However, CJ was not finished with me yet. Inside of me, burned a majestic fire. Double, double toil and trouble, I said to myself. Somethin' was a brewin', I knew. Even in his helpless and hopeless state, he would not permit the undead have me.

I was being pulled toward CJ. Well, in my mind, I was. My gift, which he held on to like a life line, permitted me to see precious glimpses of him. I could feel his pain. He could feel my turmoil and was trying to provide a way of escape for me. He was in a far worse place and dreaded the thought of my mind being imprisoned in his hell. So there we remained, in limbo, for what seemed like an eternity.

Felipe was waiting, too, for other things. Our bodies touching are like fire and ice. “From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire.” A poet (Robert Frost) once said and I whole-heartedly agree. A less seasoned vampire would’ve sank daggers into my nearest vein and ravished me until I was nearly depleted. Felipe is patient and his resolve is strong. He will wait until I no longer shriek at his touch or tremble at the sound of his voice. His love for me will not allow him to take that which I am not willing to give.

That was wishful human thinking. The vampire’s roaming hands were making a liar out of me before I completed the thought. I was waiting for my miracle while the king of my desires poked and prodded for a point of weakness.

I was convinced that the cavalry would arrive on white stallions and deliver me from my misery. "Stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you!" I imagine CJ saying like Hawkeye said to Cora in the Last of the Mohicans. I would have settled for the less dramatic, “I got you” like he always said. CJ said nothing of the sort. He knew that I was being ripped apart and it pained him. My mind could not reconcile a world were CJ did not exist and a world were I loved Pepe de Psycho. I did love him with all my spell bound heart.

I heard an eerie silence before the lover of my very soul suddenly released my mind like a great bird losing its prey from high above the earth. I don’t know if CJ let go on purpose or by accident but I began to descend back to my station. It felt like long talons being extracted from deep within me and I was falling, falling, back to me, back to who I was, back to the world where the undead reign supreme.

The good book tells us that a house divided cannot stand and Casa de Sookie is no exception. My psyche splintered into two viable entities and then collapsed. My defenses fell in on me like a house of cards.

“CJ!” I cried out in shock of my new, unbearable reality. I think that I actually heard the poof of my heart imploding. "He let me go!" A vacant and cracking voice painfully strangled out of my throat. My song bird, my Prozac, my fire-breathing dragon, my teacher, my soul-mate left me.  I sank to the floor.  Felipe held on to my shuddering body in a comforting embrace. When the very last of CJ's essence evaporated, my entire being became as cold as the grave. In the blink of an eye my pendulum of power swayed to negative and held there. The imbalance was disorienting and I searched the vampire's face in an effort to steady myself. Felipe wrapped my trembling body in his own robe. It smelled like him, dark spices and vampire. The fact that I found comfort in the fragrance was disturbing. I wept.

The Felipe that I know would have taken advantage of a weakened Sookie, like he did after the Fae war. He would be pretzeling my legs around him and doing unmentionable things over and over until I cried uncle or worse, cried "Felipe!" My blubbering was probably a turn off. Strangely enough, the callous creature truly pitied my fragility. Love makes for uncharacteristic choices.

For days I lie in state, like Sleeping Beauty, waiting on a kiss from my prince to awaken me. During my slumber, I’d been elevated to the vampire queen to be, or so Felipe’s mind told me. Yes, I could hear this vampire’s every thought. CJ had told me that if a being could manage a cognitive thought, I could read it. It was a truth that I didn’t want to know. Unlike Eric, whose mind was full of regret, Felipe had none. He expelled such things from his mind thousands of years ago. I blocked most of it out, only permitting emotions and the necessary particulars like if I could die now? The images, however, continued to flow from his head to mine. I saw my surroundings through his eyes.

My body was bathed, perfumed with smell goods and placed on the finest linen. My gown was a true work of art. “Only the best for my queen,” he had said to my ladies in waiting, of the vampire persuasion, of course. He was impeccably dressed as well. He wore a dark suit with a dark shirt, heavily starched with ruby and onyx cufflinks set in white gold that bore the NVL logo.

Physicians attended my every whimper. Dr. Greyson Blade was the chief of staff at the infirmary located somewhere in the building. He spent most of his time on me. He smelled wild, like the woods. Shifter, maybe. The mitt-like hands that examined me were ice cold, Vampire cold. The chime of his voice lilted like the Fae. Thick magic surrounded him as if he were animated by it.

Incense burned in a continuum as Amelia recited chants and anointed my body with oils. She knew that I was not dead or dying. She was trying to counter the spell that was breaking my fragile hold on reality.

The binding spell (that seemed to be growing stronger by the second) mandated that if I thought of another love, past or present, my vision blurred and my heart ached until I either changed course or passed out. I can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes and my reaction was so debilitating that it took a couple of days to make the connection. Pretty soon, I associated love with Felipe and pain with all who I had romantic feelings for. Unless I was asleep, then I could dream without consequence. So I was contented with only dreaming on two occasions, day and night.

My dreamscape was how I could bear my existence. I could be where I wanted to be, back in Bon Temps, before I ever knew of the undead. My nocturnal journeys would also shelve me in a time when I was uncorrupted by the “survival of the fittest” modus operandi. I dreamed of lazy days sunbathing in my chaise on my family’s property. I dreamed of being a barmaid at Merlottes. I dreamed of the first time I saw Quinn and how we met. I dreamed of the Fae and discovering who I am. I dreamed of CJ and the night we stumbled upon each other’s gifts. Good times! My favorite getaway was dreaming of New Orleans at the Carmichael estate and being fitted with the necessary armor that would allow me to live harmoniously with the supernatural.

My most vivid dreams, however, were of the vampires. Maybe it was because I could smell their dry scent in my sleep. Maybe it was because their blood, which had brought me from the brink of death many times, still coursed through my veins. Maybe it was my fear that I hovered on the cusp of vampirism. Just like in my real life, my dream turned into a nightmare.

It was a formal affair. Bill and Eric were happy and being presented before the King’s royal court. All of their dreams and aspirations were about to come to fruition before a sea of their constituents. Something went terribly wrong and they turned on the king and ripped him to shreds. The vision vexed me to no end. I didn’t want to dream anymore after that and I finally cracked my eyes open.

The windows that surrounded the loft were translucent at night and then turned an opaque darkened hue to block the sun. The sleek pristine furniture reflected the rich colors making the room seem to change décor with each passing day. A fireplace burned in one section behind the glass, pretty as a picture. It was noticeable only when in use. The heat elevated the temperature to a toasty warm to accommodate the human.

Surprisingly, Felipe was patient and very thoughtful. He never left my side. The good part of this scenario is, for once I could see the humanity in the king of Nevada. It was brought on by a spell but there just the same. The bad part was that he had a front row seat to my dreams and nightmares. He was familiar with the Shifters and vampires that I mentioned in my sleep. He knew not of this CJ or why I cried for him night after night. He did know that he hated the sound of CJ’s name on my lips.

Countless days and nights of ministrations and incantations yielded no results. Poor Felipe didn’t know what had hit him. He grew more in love with me with each passing moment. He felt compelled to stay with me and see me through. To his own peril, he refused all nourishment, organic or synthetic.

The sleep chamber brought in to accommodate him remained unused. Nights would find him in a nearby chair, watching and waiting. During the day, when he should have been resting, he would climb in the bed next to me and place my head on his silent chest or lay his head upon mine. He liked to hear the hypnotic thumping of my heart. I’m sure that my built in pillows provided some comfort to him as well. Only the strongest vampires could go without food or daytime rest. One night he even cried over my still body and begged, “My Queen, come back to me.” To his utter amazement and my chagrin, I did.

My body sat up in a graceful move. No warm blooded woman could refuse such a heartfelt plea from her love, so I did as he asked. Aaaand, the spell commanded me to or I was going to be consumed by a lake of fire or something like that. He was so excited at the victory that he wanted to applaud. He stumbled a few paces back. Chantilly lace covered me in an intricate design from head to toe. It was kind of gaudy but better than the tattered nylon gown that I arrived in. I glided over to where he stood, stopping and bowing in a regal curtsey.

“Splendid!” he said a little louder than he intended. He attempted to hide his excitement by masking his face in a stoic pose. I mirrored him, in an effort to mask my own horror of my acquiescence. With glee he pulled me to my feet, looked into my eyes and then gasped. I was expecting a burning stare filled with utter devotion. A look of disgust is what I got. It’s not something you want to see on the face of someone you love. It actually reminded me of the way CJ reacted when he found out about my ties to the undead. “The Sorcerer's Kiss,” he whispered in distaste. He may as well have said “Eww, you've got the cooties!” I didn’t know what made him say that but I was not ashamed.

“CJ gave up everything for me” and yeah, he kissed me, long and hard and, and I liked it, thank you very much. Since I wanted my head to remain attached to my body, I kept the last part to myself and was thankful the he was not telepathic. I would never be ashamed of CJ. If I was ashamed of anything, it was ending up back where I started and feeling so powerless.

Then he asked me the single question that had been on the edge of his mind since he heard me cry out his name. “Do you love him?” I shook my head. My mouth could not form the single syllable answer. “Do you love the Northman?” That name brought a slight smile to my face. The pain of thinking about any love that I might have for him drove me to my knees.

He joined me on the floor. I trembled in fear from the heartache. Rather than wait for my reaction as he went through Sookie’s all male review, I silenced him. I got up in his handsome face and spat the words, “I love Felipe de Castro and only him.” He exploded into celebratory laughter adding a clap of his hands and then quickly calmed.

His body language pronounced a relaxed nonchalant “No Big” but inside he was doing the Church Lady Victory Dance. His fangs, that he tried to hide by keeping his mouth closed, were fully extended. Ebony eyes were wide with wonderment and awe. I actually saw a little twinkle before a solitary crimson tear escaped his almond shaped eye.

“I know,” he said low, his voice was filled with excitement. He caught one side of his lower lip between his teeth and rubbed his hands vigorously. “It is a spell, yes?” I didn’t answer. I figured that the question must be rhetorical since we both had the same spell cast over us. His grin turned devilish and I backed up in a scramble over the floor until my back hit the bed. He followed, stalking toward me. He flicked a long tongue out a few times, (to catch the drool, I was sure). His fingers reached forward and pulled a ribbon from my bodice nearly spilling its contents. I held the pieces of fabric closed with my hands. “You cannot deny me, either,” he purred in a deep and rich Spanish brogue of come-hither. His voice put me in the mind of Antonio Banderas when he played the hit man, el mariachi guy. The sound strummed my hearing like a caress and I actually smiled and then I caught myself.

“There you are,” I said to myself as the real Felipe stood up to be counted. He was sex personified, master of deception and on the prowl and I was skerred. I was scared of getting lost in those pretty brown eyes. His dark thick eyelashes actually brushed his cheek when he closed his eyes. I will not touch the sinewy muscles that corded his frame. I will not listen to his sultry words.

He slid the gown down to reveal my naked shoulders and hungrily kissed each one in turn. Obsidian eyes pierced through me. He held me close and kissed the vein on my neck with an open mouth. That set off all manner of sensors in my body and it blossomed. I could feel his hunger and he desperately wanted to bite. My head tilted to the side and my back arched so far that it hurt. I cussed aloud. My body was going to give it up to him no matter what my mind said. I could not believe the next words that left my lips. I tried to reel them back in but out of the mouth the heart speaks.

The thick curls of hair on his head laced through my fingers. It felt so good. It felt so rights. My hands positioned him perfectly and I could feel his full, wanting lips on my neck. The loud pounding of my heart and pulsating blood coursing through my veins rocked my body. “I will not deny my love,” I confessed breathlessly.

“But I will!” My pixie shot in just before the scores of kisses reached my mouth. “Excuse me! I do NOT see any rings on these fingers.” She must have been perched around my ear but she appeared to come out of thin air. The shock of her presence and her Herculean push caught him off balance.

“Dyxie!” He laughed as he tumbled back to the shiny dark floor, holding on to the Pixie.

“Don’t be Dyxie-ing me. No sampling. You want, you buy, mi amigo.”

“You know I don’t do humans, Dyx.” He said matter-of-factly while getting to his feet. He shook his head at the absurdity of the assumption. Eric had told me that. It seemed like a life-time ago but he had said that Felipe did not consort with humans. Felipe’s tone was cocky and pretentious now. It was evident that the softer side of Felipe was something that he wanted to keep under wraps. His hand brushed the hair from my face adoringly. “I’m just getting her primed and ready for purchase.”

I watched the volleying conversation, some of which was directed at me. “I can’t believe you,” Dixie fussed at me “standing there and letting him feel you up.”


“She is mine!” he scoffed. He pulled the pixie to his lips and kissed her before releasing her into the air like a dove. “When she is made vampire, she will beg me to feel her up and fill her up.” He laughed deep and low in his throat. “She will be my progeny. She will come at my beckoning and I shall take pleasure in that most ardently.”

He lost me at the “feel” and “fill” comment. His thick accent made some of the words sound alike and it took me a while to catch up. The word “come” sent me off for a moment, as well. “Ugh!” I gasped at his crudeness. The look on his face was even worse, eyes hooded were just ravenous, tongue grazed his fangs like a feral hungry animal. Then my hands began to tingle with magic. He was going to make me a vampire? My heart ached at the thought of losing him but I'm a somewhat averse to losing me. Felipe was going down.

“Not now, my precious,” Felipe added, noting my obvious displeasure. “You have been under the weather and that would not make for a strong transition but you say the word when you are ready.”

“How about NEVER? Is never good for you? I'll Sharpie you in my calendar.” By this time I was fuming and more than ready to turn Felipe, my love, into toast. My eyes burned like lava and I closed them tight, fearing that the pixie would be caught in the line of fire. An animalistic growl rose from within me and I took a deep breath, preparing to unleash my fury. All went silent in the room excluding the buzzing of fairy wings close to my ear.

“Uh-ruh, Girlfriend? Yeah, let’s back this thang up.” Dyxie said in exasperation. I looked toward the sound instinctively and sorcerfried the pristine bed, part of the chair and destroyed what I thought was a real window. The simulation of the landscape was so beautiful and life-like. It surrounded the entire room. Well it used to. Part of it shattered and the other melted to reveal a cold and dark cinder block wall. Even the fireplace was gone.

“Illusions!” I spat. I sealed my eyes not willing to take in the sight of another lie or let one tear escape. “They are all a big illusion!” I was ready to destroy everything in my path.

“We happen to need this illusion, Sweetie,” she squeaked, giving me a maternal reality check. “These illusions provide asylum for us and keep the boogey man at bay. You need to ix-nay on the agic-may before we have to am-scray. Ya feel me?” I nodded. “Now keep your eyes closed and count to ten.” I had to count to a hundred and ten, twice before the burning in my eyes stopped.

Harnessing such power is truly an exercise in futility. How did CJ do it? I wanted and needed to blow some sh*t up. I was reminded of something that CJ said about training the trinity to live in harmony and decided that blowing stuff up was probably not conducive to finding the Chi. Control the energy control the gift, I said to myself as I meditated for a moment and I calmed.

After a long while, the curiosity of the quietness in the room made me pry my sullen eyes open. Dyxie was lounging on top of the dark hair on the vampire’s head as if she didn’t have a care in the world. The vampire stood next to the smoldering bed. He was frozen in place by my anger. “Shepherd of Judea!” I said in astonishment. I did it? I did it! He looked like a stuffed doll and soooo much less intimidating. My mind worked double time. I was trying to figure out a way to rattle his cage while he was incapacitated.

I'd been wanting to try that tornado kick that CJ taught me. What I wouldn't give for a jar of fire ants and some peanut butter. Could I conjure up a cattle prod?

“No magic means, no magic!” Amelia’s words came into the room before her. “I can smell it outside of the room.” She gawked at the stilled vampire. She opened a panel on the wall, and pressed a few buttons, apparently locking us in and others out. “Ooooooo.” The witch circled him. The knock she gave him on the head sounded like solid oak.

“He wants to turn me,” I said in my own defense. “I didn’t mean to petrify him.”

“It’s cool!” the pixie squeaked. She was deep in thought and pacing back and forth on the vampire’s head. “Eeeeeverybody stay calm.”

I sat on the floor since the furniture and bed were smoking. I was feeling sick and my legs just gave out. I would have thrown up, I was sure, but my stomach had nothing to give. Thy dry heaves took a while to subside. I was just so upset at the possibility of me giving away our location that I couldn't calm myself.

“Will they find us now?” Was my biggest concern. It would make CJ’s sacrifice all for nothing.

“We are several stories below ground and surrounded by the undead, so it’s unlikely.” Amelia answered. So being on the top floor of a high-rise building is all an illusion too, I realized. No wonder he didn’t flinch when the sun appeared to rise. “I gotta give it to you fairy, bringing us here was a stroke of genius.” The witch directed to the pixie. “Not even CJ would look for us here. It’s like we don’t exist.”

“If there is power in my own tongue let me state right now that I do not want to stay here. I do not want to become a vampire. I want to live and not in this hell hole with the dead!” Although he did look awfully cute with his lips perched and ready to speak “I do not want to be in love with Felipe.”

“Chill!” Dyxie interjected. “Felipe being in love with you is our Ace in the hole. Your love makes you slaves to each other’s will." her little green pixie fingers formed air quotes. "That means that if your will is to remain human, he will not change you.”

“Is there any way to break the spell . . . from me at least?” I looked to Amelia for the answer. If my will changes, because of my love for him, I am in trouble. She thought about it for a while.

“I know of none which is why I told you to CUT IT OUT!" she responded, snapping at me. "Love spells almost always end bad. Look at what happened with my parents.” Her parents were beguiled in a love triangle for all eternity. That spell was performed by an experienced alchemist and practitioner of the arts. If I had learned anything from Amelia it was not to do trial and error magic. “I did hear once that if a virgin offers you their blood,” she said eerily, “that will break any spell.” We both looked over to the pixie.

“Don’t be looking over here at me!” she snorted “Um strictly dickly, ladies. Don’t get it twisted. I gets mine on the regular. Ow-kay! I likes to tap that, spank THAT! Oh yeah, Baby! You know what um sayin’?. . .” Dyxie continued on a tangent and after a few more very colorful statements we decided to ignore her.

We would bide our time in the refuge that Felipe provided. I would suppress the magic as much as possible. We would surface when it was safe to do so and we would find CJ. When I divulged the latter part of my plan, the witch was stricken with a look of such utter hopelessness that I had to ask. “What has happened to him?” She shrugged her shoulders.

“I am counting on the fact that the rarity of Junior will save him. To train a mage to adulthood is uncommon. A lifetime of training is but a stitch in time to the Loas and they can wait for another to be groomed. They they will not get another CJ. His natural gifts of sorcery and song are what make him truly one of a kind.” Amelia was trying to convince herself as well as me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I knew that her brother was being punished for his transgressions against the gods. His stay, wherever he was would not be a pleasant one.

I decided at that point in time that I would not reach out to him. I knew he would be compelled to answer. I would not be trying any more binding spells because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I would suppress the magic. I would play nice with the vampire. All this for one low price of becoming the Queen of the Damned.

“We cool?” The pixie asked after we had talked in circles and come to the conclusion that we must stay put. I gave an infinitesimal nod. “Good! Now mum’s the word, ladies. Felipe assumed that we were on the run from the Fae when we arrived,” she informed us. “We will just let him continue to think that.” We all agreed.

I gathered my courage, laced up my dress and released the vampire at my will. He blinked a few times before the rest of his face moved and we all stood staring. We didn’t know if, or how well, my way of reanimation would work. His face displayed a myriad of conflicting emotions. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the rest of his body moved. He tilted his head to pop his neck, stretched all of his muscles and shook them out. He moved mechanically at first but then became limber in his motions.

“I’m going to need you to not do that again,” he said to the room with a nervous chuckle. He seemed oddly cheerful as he assessed the damages. “Wooo hooo hooo. Never a dull moment when you’re around.” He gave me a wink and the gun. He was pissed enough to use a real gun although he pretended not to be fazed in the least.

“I love you,” I said nervously. That was my get out of jail free card. It sounded more like a question than a statement. I looked around the room that was once like a work of art. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice meets Hurricane Katrina was the decorum now. I was little anxious since he, unlike Eric, was very much aware that he was disabled for a time and he didn’t appreciate it at all. The house guest from hell is what he called us in his mind. He walked around the room several times in silence and then responded.

“You love me.” He stopped in front of me, grabbed my face and gave me a quick peck on the lips. I wasn’t sure if his words were a statement or a question so I waited. He was about to speak but then paused. He licked his lips several times very slowly, suspiciously. He could taste the magic from my lips. I said nothing as he fought an internal battle of coming back for another taste of my intoxicating enchantments or remaining highly pissed. “Love" pissed won the battle "will speak the truth about why you are in hiding, oh great Queen. Then you may tell me about the Loas and just who Junior is.” We all panicked and went straight Babylonian, stuttering and sputtering simultaneously and not making a lick of sense. We went on and on until he held up a hand. “Never mind. I get the gist.”

I frantically searched my memory to learn exactly what we had divulged. “You know,” he said, beginning his stroll around the room again. “I have been a cat for far too long to be fooled by a kitten.” He stopped and stared the pixie down. She offered a protest, which he immediately shushed. His attention turned to Amelia. “You should ask Pam what they do to witches who enchant vampires.” His voice was cool but he was vampire angry. His fangs appeared longer, more like weapons. As he got close to her I knew she was a graze away from becoming a human Pez dispenser.

“You had no qualms about it when it helped you get into my house and into my dreams,” I interjected with more balls than brains. He smiled at the memory and then his expression went cold. I knew that would get his goat. He was thinking that Amelia put the love spell on him. His stare was blank and detached. He saw that I was trying to deflect the attention away from my friend. He measured me with appraising eyes for a time in silence. Then he demanded in a deadly tone “Remove your dress, love.”

I stood motionless as he continued to try and rattle me. He moved in closer than I cared for him to be. “Don’t be shy. I have seen all of you.” He was going to have to come harder than that. I hung out with Shifters who stripped down at the drop of a hat. Nakedness, even my own, didn’t bother me one bit. “I bathed you on the night you arrived. Love compelled me to wash the stench of the bayou from every orifice of your body.” He taunted, smiling at the memory. That was true and my fault for casting that stupid spell in the first place. “I didn’t molest you . . . much.” He was even closer to me now, almost touching.

“Liar, liar,” I thought. Actually, he was near tears the whole time, afraid of losing his loooove. I wasn’t going to bust him out, though, and let everybody know that the great and powerful King was in touch with his feminine side. I would definitely know if someone did things to me in my sleep. Right? Besides, the spell wouldn’t permit him to violate me in such a way. It was a pretty good bluff though.

“Had you been with me, you would not have suffered any of those battle scars.” That stung me a little. It wouldn’t break me but he was not done “Strangely, I found each one sexier than the other. Especially the one where you got staked” he was suddenly very close to my ear and startled me.  “Ohhh! You gotta love a woman who can take a big stick like that.”

The sound of fabric ripping halted an all out assault on the king. Moratorium on magic be damned, my girls were about to teach him some manners in how to speak to a southern lady. He really liked that dress. He had it specially made for the Queen. I enjoyed hearing him gasp as I ruined it. I knew what he wanted to see. The long sleeves of the dress fell to the floor revealing the veves that marked my arms. Incredulity momentarily masked his face and he suddenly went from serious to cautious, predatory to protective.

He grazed the etchings with his thumb. He was upset with himself that he didn’t pay more attention to them when he bathed me. His eyes were chock full of other things at the time. “Do they own you?” He questioned quietly. I shook my head. “But they want you?” I waited for a few moments and then nodded. He was thoughtful for long time and then conceded. “I promise you sanctuary for as long as you need.” I reached out my hand to shake on it but Dyxie swooped in.

“Hold Up! She does not have to sleep with you, right?”

He laughed low and deep. “Thank you, Dyxie. We should negotiate terms.”

“Yeah, thanks.” I said dryly but I really should have thought about protecting my back side, literally.

“You seemed to have many preconceptions about Felipe, the King.” He paced around the room again, his finger tapping his chin while the gears of deception turned in his vampire head. “During your stay, I ask one favor. Forget what you heard about me and go only by what you see. You no like, you no buy. Agreed?” I wouldn’t buy a dang thing from him so that offer was a no brainer. We waited for the other shoe to drop. “You will stand by my side as queen-to-be, my help meet, so-to-speak, and share in my vision for all vampires.”

“We will not be harmed?” Amelia questioned before I could agree or disagree. “And we are free to leave whenever we want?”

“Deal” he agreed.

“You will not turn me,” I demanded through gritted teeth.

“Don’t knock it until you have tried it, my sweet.” He chuckled. I didn’t find any humor in my own demise. “Suit yourself. Deal!” It was a little hesitant but he agreed. We were on a roll.

“You will not try to sex her up, even if she asks you to.” Dyxie wanted reassurance. He propped himself up on what remained of the couch. His dress shirt still looked to be freshly laundered and heavily starched.

He sucked his teeth before offering a resolute “No Deal!” He stared at the wall as if he could see a vivid scene being played out. “Listen carefully for I will only say it once." His gaze turned to me "I wait for her slightest beckoning and oh yes, I will certainly comply. Nothing will stop me from going in hot, hard and heavy over and over and over.” His thickly accented voice made for a hypnotic soliloquy and we were all captivated. “I long to feel your body quaking underneath me and your tender voice urging me to finish you.” He said as a side note, directly to me. My eyes bugged out. A sly smile broke the line of his serious expression. “No, I will not be gentle. No, I will not stop. If she retains her sanity in the aftermath I have no doubt that she will beg me to . . .”  He paused, was thoughtful for a moment and rephrased. “You will never leave my side.”

“Umph! I felt that in my shondo,” Dyxie squeaked. I wasn’t sure what a shondo was but we all felt that and said simultaneously, “Deal!” and let out a collective, audible whoosh. He was across the room, but the intensity of his words and piercing gaze left us gawking. I wanted to scream out a snappy, “Dream on buddy!” but I had a feeling that he would have no problem driving his point home.

“I thought you didn’t do humans,” I said. The visual of his statement had me reeling and my words, a response of shock.

He threw an arm over my shoulder like we were old friends and spoke sincerely. “Humans tend to break with a vampire of my,” he paused searching for the appropriate terminology, “experience. Turning you is simply a precautionary measure and selfishness on my part. I want to be able to enjoy you for years to come.”

He wasn’t trying to shock me or scare me like before. He was simply answering a question. I guess that’s what frightened me. I actually took a few steps back. I wanted to take off running. I could see the Bon Temps Bugle headline: SOOKIE STACKHOUSE SCREWED TO DEATH.

“Kay,” I whimpered. I faced what was left of the window that cast a crimson hue. I hardly recognized my own reflection. Felipe stood to my right. He was smiling like he had just won the lottery. We looked like we belonged on a wedding cake. My gown, even though it was minus the sleeves, was stunning. Dark curls framed my face. CJ had changed the color to disguise my appearance when we went shopping, I remembered as I pulled on one of the locks. I wonder if he had a premonition about me needing to stay in disguise or if he just forgot to change me back. My skin looked pretty pale in contrast. My eyes glowed amber full of magic. My mirror image confirmed that I am not the helpless creature of old. “I’m a beast!” I said. My eyes traveled down to the tattoos on my arm. They glowed with power as if to reassure me. “The night fears you,” is something that he had once said to me. We were going to find out if the sorcerer’s words were true.

“So,” Dyxie said loudly before I lost the nerve “we are in agreement?” She pushed a tiny green hand out and all joined in a group shake. We all looked to Felipe who we still didn’t trust any further than we could throw him.

“What?” he asked incredulously. “You have my word on all the aforementioned promises and are hereby under the protection of the king,” he said ceremoniously.  “I will not reveal your location to any being. That is my solemn vow. Rest assured that what happens in Vegas . . .”

“STAYS IN VEGAS!” we completed the phrase in unison.

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