My sweet little ball of fire. Literally. She was just full of surprises.
I had her. Or just enough of her to give me hope. I had her cornered, pinned against myself and this ancient porch of hers. And she wasn’t resisting. God knows she could have blasted me halfway across the yard, should she choose to. I can only assume her time in Fae had increased her baffling and wondrous ability to shoot cannonballs of pure energy from her palms. In some ways, I wished for her to try. I’d never had an opponent such as her. I’d grown weary of fighting vamps half my age and weres with their sloppy, V-induced madness. None of them posed serious challenges, as all of their strengths and weaknesses are known to me. I’d never had the pleasure of squaring off against a Fae. Perhaps later, she would agree to a match.
Now, however, I wanted no such rebuff. I wanted her close. So close that I didn’t know what to make of it.
Her forehead was against mine. She’d admitted the animal bore my name. I was about to bask in the satisfaction, but she astonished me by leaning in and kissing my teeth.
I inhaled sharply. Her warm little mouth pressed softly against the harsh razors of my canines. No human had ever dared. The presumption. The terrible risk. The intimacy of such an act. And they would have been right to avoid it; I would have gutted even the sexiest fang banger for such an infraction. Vampire fangs are not toys for human pleasure.
But Sookie dared. Sookie always presumed.
I didn’t form a kiss around hers and buffer her exploration with my own lips. Instead, I bared them further, letting her hook her lower teeth around one of my fangs, pulling it securely into her mouth. Gently, she sucked. She pressed her tongue against the point. Through my own raging lust, I could feel my blood tie to her. It was singing softly to me. Lust, certainly. She felt desire for me. But her actions weren’t governed by it. I pushed passed my own euphoria and focused on her emotional state. As I nuzzled my mouth against hers, I sensed a sweet wave of gentle curiosity. Touching me this way gave her pleasure. She liked the fact that I was letting her. She was also pleased that I didn’t retract my fangs as she explored them. I wondered if Bill was as much of a prude in the bedroom as he was everywhere else. Did he shield his fangs from her, like he did all other aspects of his vampirism?
I closed my eyes and gently untangled my teeth from hers, cupped her cheeks, and kissed her properly, fangs and all.
Thanks to that puritan whelp, Sookie had no idea what it was to be involved with a vampire that had no Christian origins and no delusions about being a monster.
Sookie hummed softly as I kept my lips and hands light and undemanding. She moved to my cheek, rubbing hers against it. My eyes rolled slightly. She didn’t know such things marked me with her scent, and her with mine.
“I know this kiss,” she murmured quietly.
“I don’t.” I nosed into the crook of her throat and growled, batting her knees off my chest and pushing her feet onto the stair below us. I moved into the space, keeping her face in my hands. “I have never known this.”
Sookie smiled and tilted her head very slightly, giving me some, but not all. “In my dreams, you kiss like this.”
It was enough to make me pull back and look at her. The blood dreams. Always very amusing. I smiled faintly. “What did you dream of me?”
Her relaxed back against the rail. It took all I had not to scoop her up and settle her firmly in my lap. But I knew it would rile up an otherwise pliant and willing Sookie, so I resisted.
“Mmmm,” she hummed thoughtfully. “I shouldn’t tell you. You’ll be even more insufferable.”
Her eyes drooped with weariness. She was so tired. Long day at work, I guessed. But I refused to end this. She was too pleasing. Too accepting of my advances. Tomorrow night might find her in a completely different mood. I would hold onto this until she crossed her threshold and physically separated me from her side.
I reached out and traced her pulse. “Then I’ll guess. Tell me, are we here in your home?”
Her brow arched suggestively. “Go fish.”
“Hmm,” I replied. “Did you dream of us in Dallas?”
Her pulse jumped under my finger. Fuck, I want to drink her there. Instead, I merely smirked. “Aaah, so it was Dallas. The hotel.”
“Don’t get excited,” she rebuked, lowering her eyes in embarrassment. “I doubt my dreams of you would compare to most.”
“Why’s that, lover?”
“Hush with that,” she said, batting at my fingers. I ignored the push and thumbed under her jaw. She didn’t seem to notice that she tilted to allow it. “Because you’re not all whips and chains and whatnot. God knows what those nasty fangers dream of when they drink from you.”
“I wouldn’t know. There are only three living people who currently have my blood.”
The smallness of the number seemed to surprise her. I withheld their names. They would surprise her further. She resettled her back, taking stock of me. “That all? Huh. Well, still. They probably dream of Fangtasia Eric. In my dreams, you’re…”
She stopped again. I raised my brows, hoping to convey genuine curiosity. It was genuine. I was very eager to hear what she had to say.
She sighed resolutely and looked up and away from me. “You’re…good to me.”
The simplicity of her words had me uncomprehending. My eyes narrowed. “Good to you…”
“Well,” her tone was one of strained rationalization, “I assume blood dreams are all about making humans more…responsive…to that vampire, right? So in my dreams, my imagination makes you very sweet. Playful. You tease me, but I see love in your eyes. Your face is softer. You laugh more. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still you, but your coldness and your superiority complex are just gone. Poof!” she snapped her fingers. “You’re vulnerable in front of me. You mourn in front of me.”
She looked at me uncertainly, unsure of how I’d react. I did nothing, merely stared. I refused her any expression.
Finally, she shrugged, as if it meant nothing. “See? Nothing terribly racy.”
I leaned in again and cupped her throat. I felt a very serious and urgent need to hide from her words, so I brushed kisses into her lips. “And this is how I kiss you in them? Softly?”
She smile knowingly against my mouth. “You kiss me all kinds of ways, Eric. The point is that you mean them. All of them.”
With lightning speed, I gripped her ponytail and tugged her head back. She gasped as my lips landed on her delicate throat. “What about this? Did I kiss you like this?” I scraped my fangs against her skin.
She was breathless, but didn’t struggle. “Yes,” she whispered.
This pleased me. Her imagination didn’t gloss over what I was.
“Did I feed from you?”
Another gasp. “Yes.”
I felt no arousal from her. I felt no fear either, only excitement. She was being honest. This also pleased me.
“If I fed from you now, would you stop me?”
A tinge of protest projected through our tie. I retracted my fangs instantly and loosened my hold on her hair. But not her attention. “You will answer me.”
Her chin lowered against my cheekbone. I moved my lips to her earlobe, licking idly as she considered her answer. She shivered. “I ought to stop you. I still don’t know what you want from me, exactly.”
I retreated from her drugging skin and regarded her closely. “I want to claim you, Sookie. I thought I’d been clear.”
“I’m not a pet, Eric.”
“Simple girl,” I chided gently. “Pam keeps pets. Sophie Anne keeps pets. I have no interest in simply owning you.”
She considered that. I held her eyes and waited. She knew enough of me to know that was true enough. I didn’t keep a herd of humans, as many of my kind did. I never saw the appeal. I had more of a…free range policy. Humans willing to provide blood and sex came to me at Fangtasia, then left when the sun rose. A retinue struck me as cumbersome. I preferred Pam’s company. Or just my own.
“Bill offered to abstain from my blood to prove his love was for me and not my unusual taste. Would you do the same?”
My fangs clicked back into place and I hissed softly. “Fuck Bill,” I growled warningly.
Her eyes widened, yet she didn’t move. “Answer me, Eric.”
Oh, I planned to. My opinion of Bill sank even lower as I looked at this unique creature cinched tightly against me. How could he refuse himself so much? Why could he simply not explain to her? To flagellate himself for this girl for no reason, to underestimate her ability to grasp what the blood exchange meant. Fuck, I wanted to kill him all over again.
Without warning, I pulled her index finger to my mouth and carefully pierced her skin with my fang. She gasped and tried to pull away, but I held fast. I sucked gently, pulling her incandescent blood into my body. I tensed as my own blood roared in ecstasy, the essence of Fae and Vampire uniting in a flood of red.
“Never,” I swore to her fervently.
She opened her mouth to protest angrily. With preternatural speed, I sliced my own finger and placed it between her teeth before she could blink. She jerked away, but several drops hit her tongue and she inhaled sharply at the electricity that shot through her head. She moaned in the prettiest, most alluring voice imaginable. Her eyes closed. She was dumbfounded by the sensation. Our life forces pulsed together, pelting us with wave after wave of emotional awareness of the other. I felt my body slacken and I groaned in pure bliss. Sookie panted gorgeously, my blood filling her with tingling pleasure unlike any she’d ever experienced.
Yes. Bill was a fucking idiot. Sookie had clearly never experienced a blood bond before.
I removed her now-healing finger from my mouth and kissed it reverently. “You are not food, Sookie. You are life itself. I will never take from you unwillingly again, but I will not abstain if you ask for my claim. I will feed from you,” I rasped angrily. “Just as you will feed from me.”
She slumped forward, riding out the last of the tiny hurricane I’d unleashed inside her. I shouldered into her head, urging her to rest against me. She did so, pitching completely to me. I wrapped her in my arms and buried my face in her hair. Limply, her arms did the same, wrapping loosely around my waist. She burrowed her nose into my jacket, swallowing huge lungfuls of air and releasing them violently. There she stayed, content in my embrace. Oh, yes. This was right. I was certain of it. Her taste and her scent might attract all vampires, but I knew. The way her scent clung to mine, just as she did to me. The way our bloods mingled in our bodies. The way I felt when I held her. There was an indescribable, yet undeniable completion. We fit each other. She wasn’t meant for anyone else. She was mine. Only mine. Bill, the supposed great love of her life, barely qualified as a dress rehearsal.
“Sweet fae,” I murmured into her blonde mane. “Talk to me.”
Her gasping had quieted. She lay still against me. “I’m tired,” she murmured.
I had pushed hard enough for one night. My lover needed rest. I picked her up and walked to the door. “Let me in, Sookie.”
Eyes closed, she didn’t even look up from her curled position against my chest. She seemed to feel my honorable intentions and didn’t argue. “Come in, Eric.”
Victory throbbed in me. I’m sure she felt it, but gave no sign. I took in every speck of dirt in her filthy, maenad-mauled house as I launched up her stairs. That was the first thing to change. Tomorrow. I made a decision to call the necessary people to fix this mess immediately. I would not have Sookie living in squalor.
I moved down her hallway and into her room, setting her out on her neatly made bed. “Shall I undress you?” I asked solemnly.
She opened her eyes and shook her head slightly. “I’ll do it. You should go now.” There was nothing in her voice except honesty. She was exhausted and confused.
I nodded and moved to leave. She reached out and took my hand. As I have mentioned, vampires do not normally respond well to being unexpectedly touched in such a familiar way. The fact that her light, warm fingers in mine made me almost fall to my knees in pleasure caused me to gasp in awe. Magic, my lover. She smiled at me.
“Tomorrow night. I’ll come to you.”