Eventually, they convinced me to get up and go inside the house.
Hadley murmured an invitation into the house I’d given her, so Jessica, holding me up, was able to get us across the threshold without a pause. She set me down as carefully as she could manage onto an old Lazyboy. Its upholstery was so threadbare, I could make out the stuffing under the weave. Jessica took a seat across from me on the mismatched couch, peering into my face as she bit her lips in worry.
Alcide and Hadley continued their conversation in the kitchen, whatever it was. I wasn’t listening.
I saw Jessica looking in their direction, her eyes hard. I growled at her and shook my head. We’d already had our little discussion about what would happen if she took her sadness at losing Bill to Hadley. She lowered her gaze and nodded.
Hunter, however, was far more interested in his guests than his mother and wolf guard.
Standing to the side of us, he alternated leaning in both our directions, looking much like a bouy at sea.
He looked at Jessica. “Your brain’s also quiet,” he surmised with a grin.
She gave him a kind look. “I’m a vampire like Eric, sweetie,” she explained.
“You’re pretty like him, too.”
She chuckled with embarrassment. “Thank you, mister.”
“Can I sit on your lap? Momma’s brain gets really loud when she’s mad.”
She looked startled by the request, glancing towards the kitchen, but sat back and opened her arms. “Sure. I guess.”
He immediately climbed onto her legs, clasping her bare arms and bringing them around his middle. His hands stayed curled around her wrists and he sighed blissfully as their connected skin drowned out the minds of the adults in the other room. “I like you. You’re nice.”
From the corner of my eye, I saw Jessica lean in and take a surreptitious sniff of his hair, her pupils dilating for the third time that night at the scent of fairy. I cocked my head and snorted a sample for myself.
Despite my misery, I cracked a smile at the girl. The child smelled delightful. Like Sookie, Hunter had an earthy sweetness to him, but unlike honey, his was a darker, clove-like scent. Such a tempting little meal sitting right in her lap, his blood would be calling to her with a siren’s allure. I couldn’t help but think that once Hunter became a grown man, he would drive female vampires crazy with that heady, masculine spice running through his veins. Like mulled wine, he’d go straight to their heads. That, and I had yet to see a Stackhouse that wasn’t a looker.
His genetic make-up might drive him into the arms of one of them. Just look at his aunt, and to a lesser extent, his mother.
At that moment, a familiar tabby jumped onto the banged-up coffee table, meowing at us expectantly. It stabbed my heart all over again.
“It’s your kitty,” Hunter pointed excitedly. “Mom says we get to have him for awhile. Just until aunt Sookie gets settled.”
Jessica saw my blanched face, and hurriedly asked the boy, “He’s very pretty. What’s his name?”
“I don’t know. The other quiet lady who dropped him off didn’t talk much. I think she was sad. She told us we could eat him, for all she cared. I call him Cheeseburger. Momma said it was okay because he doesn’t come to anything anyway.”
I hated the animal for being yet another reminder of my Sookie, so I approved of the name change from my own. Her Kitty Eric, with his ridiculous, lopsided canines falling on either side of his chin, would henceforth be known as Cheeseburger.
I ignored the cat, giving all of my attention to the boy wrapped so contentedly in a vampire’s embrace. “Tell me about this place, Hunter. This place behind the air. Is it someplace you can see? Someplace you can get to?”
The tiny telepath tilted his head, frowning with thought. “No. I can’t go there. At least, I don’t think so. But I can see it sometimes.”
“Where do you see it?”
He gestured in front of himself. “Right in front of me. At school or in the woods. It doesn’t matter where I am. It just shows up.”
“What does it look like?”
At that, Hunter pulled a face. “It’s hard to see real well. There’s a thin, white shower curtain in my dad’s bathroom? It’s not clear, but you can see when someone’s behind it. This place is kinda like that.” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. It’s boring. No one’s hardly ever there.”
“But Sookie’s there.” I wasn’t asking.
He nodded enthusiastically. “I heard her singing once. I tried to talk to her. Then I tried to think to her. She didn’t hear me.” He paused and rolled his eyes. “She sings awful. She was trying to sing all these songs we learned in school, but she got a lot of words wrong.”
I grit my teeth. She’d been singing children songs. To our boy. And she was rusty.
“Can you see this place if you think about it? Or if you try really hard?”
He shook his head again.
“If I come see you in the evening time, do you think you can try for me? It’s very important we get Sookie out of that place. She’s going to have a baby and she needs to see her doctor.” I didn’t mention my own agony. The boy heard enough problems that weren’t his own.
He looked at me skeptically. “Will she be mad about me naming Cheeseburger?”
“I promise you she won’t mind at all. She might even let you keep him, if your mom agrees.”
His eyes lit up at the prospect.
I wordlessly indicated to Jessica that we needed to leave. It was late and the family was getting anxious about us. As badly as I wanted to stay and make the boy show me this place, Jessica needed to go to ground in a few hours and I had several plates that needed spinning. I needed to check on Pam, get some rest, and figure out what the hell to do about Massawa. I was no good to Sookie if I was too weak to help her, or if I found her and brought her back and Massawa was every bit the threat Claudine said he was.
I stood unsteadily. Hunter turned in Jessica’s lap and hugged her neck, burying his face in her hair. “Wasyer name?”
Jessica stiffened again, then slowly hugged him back. Just to torture herself, she put her nose in the crook of his neck and breathed deep. “I’m Jessica.”
“Will you be my girlfriend, Jessica? I like sitting with you.”
I fucking knew it.
With an iron will, she gently pulled away from him and set him on his feet. “I’m a bit old for you, sweetie. But you can bet that I’ll be your friend.”
Very commendable. But she wouldn’t be too old for him for long. In fifteen years or so, the boy would be much harder to say no to. He’d bat his enormous dark eyes and smile his irritatingly charming smile, and suddenly she’d find herself out of excuses. Like the rest of us. I half hoped that Jessica never had the questionable honor of tasting him as a man. Drinking a Stackhouse fairy, then going back to normal humans was the culinary equivalent of wearing a hair shirt after experiencing the finest weave of silk. She’d be ruined.
Hunter accepted her friendship with a very serious handshake. “Momma! They wanna leave!”
Alcide and Hadley came into the room. Alcide crossed his arms and looked at me accusingly. “You gonna tell me what that was out there?”
No, I fucking was not. “The woman following you is a guardian of sorts. She’s making sure Hadley meets with no harm. Once I’m gone, she’ll probably return to her post.” I stared him down. “Call me when that happens.”
“Hell, no. If she’s dangerous enough for you to attack her, then next time I see her around Hadley or Hunter, I’ll kill her myself.”
“You can’t. Not only is she more powerful than you, but I may need her. I was simply trying to keep her from leaving. Call. Me.”
“You plan to hogtie her again?”
“Until she plays ball.”
“Or disappears into thin air? You’re not telling me what I’m dealing with. How can I protect these two if you keep jerkin’ me around?”
He was giving me a headache. He might have been right and I might have been paying him for this kind of diligence, but I hadn’t had a migraine in a millennia and I didn’t feel chatty. I pinched the bridge of my nose to expel it. “Jessica…” I twirled my fingers again.
“Sure,” she took the hint just like before. She stepped forward and captured them both. “You don’t need to worry. Chloe’s not a problem. And you didn’t see her disappear. Relax. Just call Eric if you see her again. That’s all.”
Hadley and Alcide nodded blankly.
“Oh,” she added, “and Eric’s gonna come by for a few nights to hang out with Hunter. It’s totally fine. They’re just gonna talk. Okidokie?”
They kept bobbing thier heads like puppets.
Hunter watched with his stupid, adorable Stackhouse eyes wide with wonder. “They’re not thinking anymore,” he whispered in awe. “How did you do that? Can I learn how to do that?”
Poor child. How attractive our gift must seem to a telepath. Jessica merely shook her head. “It’s a vampire thing.”
He looked at the floor. “Oh.”
Carefully, I lowered to one knee, catching his eye. “I’ll be back tomorrow night, once I’m through with a few chores. We’ll practice then, okay?”
He shrugged noncommitally. “Kay. Bye Eric! Bye Jessica!”
We retreated and drove back to the bar. It was after closing time.
Pam had been moved onto the sofa in my office. Ginger and Jason were gone, but Ludwig was still sitting beside her, reading a magazine.
Jessica was perched under my arm. I looked down at her. “Where do you rest now?”
“I took the money you gave me and rented a house close to campus. It has a basement.”
Good. Now that Compton’s home was empty of descendants and vampires, I could tear it to the ground. “Go home. Feed. Rest. I’ll need you again tomorrow night.”
She stepped out from under me. “You got it.” She leaned back and offered, “G’night, Pam.”
“Fuck off, fire crotch.”
Jessica took our combined advice and left.
I got to Pam’s side and knelt. “How are you?”
Her bleeding had stopped. She looked at me with eyes rimmed in dried blood. “This couch reeks of screwing.”
“You’re welcome. Did feeding help the pain?”
She gave a wincing smile. “Yeah. You know those movies where a retard does one brilliant thing? I think Jason Stackhouse’s blood can count cards.”
“That good, huh? Just remember, I got the sister. Her blood can play concert piano.”
“He’s a decent silver medal.”
I didn’t think it wise to mention that Hunter might knock Jason off the podium entirely.
I stroked her hair. “We must rest. Massawa is coming back tomorrow and we can’t afford to look this weak in front of him. Claudine came to me earlier. She has Sookie. She believes Massawa is a threat to our child.”
“I knew that asshole dressed too well to be a good guy. Sweethearts don’t wear William Fioravanti.”
“If Claudine is right, then he’s a good guy willing to do evil for the greater good. That is far worse. I need to ascertain what he wants, if anything, but I also need to get rid of him as quickly as possible. Sookie’s cousin has a telepath child who may know how to find her. I must meet with Massawa, then get to the boy.”
Her eyes slipped closed and air puffed from her raw throat. “I hurt. I don’t want to move.”
I turned to the doctor, who hadn’t lowered her reading. “How is she?”
She still didn’t lower it. “Healing. Slowly. She should be at seventy-five percent by tomorrow night.”
I got to my feet and walked to my desk. One of my safes was hidden behind a false drawer. I twirled the combination and opened it. In it were meticulous stacks of bills, one hundred C notes in identical rubber bands. I took out ten stacks, closed the door and spun the lock. I gathered the stacks and walked back to the doctor. Without asking her, I opened her medical bag and dumped one hundred thousand dollars in cash inside.
She glanced down, then did a double take.
“Cambridge,” I muttered. “The first instalment.”
“My God.” Her magazine shook slightly in her hands.
I went back to Pam. “I’ll lock the door. You shouldn’t be disturbed.”
“Where will you rest?”
I looked away. “Home.”
She said nothing. I left with the doctor, locking every door as I went. I drove with great effort to the house I shared with Sookie. I bore through scent of my wife and the little evidences of our happiness together. I clutched her ugly track suit to my nose as I died for the day. It was the last thing she’d worn and it smelled strongly of her. I rose the next night feeling no better, but looking less ill. Pam had improved considerably. Massawa commented on it when he arrived at seven. We conversed about our original topic of the upcoming Senate election. He gave me a list of people to lobby on the vampire community’s behalf. He asked several times about Sookie. Now that Claudine had colored my view of the man, I found every inquiry suspicious, though they seemed innocent enough. After he left, I went to Hunter.
The woman and wolf took my visit in stride, thanks to Jessica. The boy ran to my redheaded chauffeur as she climbed out of the driver’s seat and threw himself in her arms. Just like the night before, his expression turned dreamy and his body went lax as the silence of her mind enveloped him. I spent two hours on the lawn with him, watching him scrunch his face up as he tried to summon this shower curtain world of his. I suggested several meditation techniques. He tried them as well as his own methods. Nothing worked. Soon his weariness caught up with him and his mother called him in for bedtime. I could not bring myself to glamor Hadley for more time. Hunter was flagging badly. He was only a child, after all.
I came earlier the next night. In vain. The results were the same.
The night after that, Massawa visited me again. It was unexpected. My suspicion increased tenfold. He brought with him some paperwork that could have been couriered, then proceeded to sit in my office with me and discuss menial concerns that could have been emailed.
I answered every one of them and tried to act as helpful and trusting as an eagle scout.
“Sookie is still not with you. I imagined she would be more eager to help oversee your work, given how encouraging she’s been in the past,” he remarked coolly.
“She’s still very encouraging,” I replied soothingly. “While she’s spends most nights with me, she spends some days awake to tend to human matters. I would not ask her to overtax herself by staying awake.”
“I do hope she’s not ill.”
My expression didn’t betray the growing ire I felt at his prodding. “No. She’s healthy as ever.”
We sat together in a few moments of silence. Massawa drew one long, exploratory breath after another through his nostrils. His eyes never left mine. My office smelled like booze. Pam, both healthy and silvered. Ginger. The doctor. Dust. Paper. Me, mostly. But threaded through them all, was Sookie. Watching the man pull the room apart with his nose, I became increasingly certain that he could detect Sookie’s precious secret.
I silently cursed my own stupidity for ever bringing my fairy angel to this vampire dive, pregnant or otherwise. What kind of arrogance did I specialize in where I would tease them with her, and assume I could handle any reaction they might have to her allure?
And now here I sat with a man that I had not background checked, with far more power and age than myself, watching him as he idly confirmed that my fairy wife carried the magical child that he planned to murder in the womb.
I should have tied Sookie to my bed the very first night she came to me, and never let her go.
I asked if there was anything else he wished to discuss.
He let his silence continue for a moment, straightening his already straight cufflinks, before gracing me with a simple no.
I stood. As did he.
He wished me luck with Pam’s continued recovery. And, he said before passing through the door, “I hope to see Miss Stackhouse soon.”
By the time he’d gone, it was already well past two in the morning. The weekend was over and Hunter was back with his father, two towns away. I could not fly to him, glamor the man, force the child to work, then fly back. I was growing weaker every day without Sookie’s blood to nourish me. Flying took energy. Driving, while less strenuous, would take even longer. Nor could I risk going to him in the day. Sookie had been right when she noted I had fans. And enemies. I could not tip my hand, especially if Massawa was watching us.
And now, I was convinced that he must be. Which meant he already knew Sookie hadn’t left our house in days. Just like he knew that she’d seen Ludwig several times, once at an OBGYN center.
A Magister, even an ordinary one, would have fingers in many, many pies.
A Custos of War bent on stopping the Coming would own the whole pie shop.
His network would include day walkers of all description. Since he’d met Sookie, I doubt we’d made a single move that he was unaware of.
It had now been three days since she’d been taken from me. I used to employees’ exit to avoid the stragglers in the bar and made some calls in the quiet parking lot. I could no longer assume my office was safe to speak in. I swept it regularly for spyware, but now I was paranoid. So from the relative safety of outside, I set my own spy network in motion, as well as my gophers. The CIA and the Pinkertons had nothing on my people. Massawa was now mine. He just didn’t know it yet.
I felt tired when I hung up. I knew I couldn’t do much else tonight, and the lack of action made me angry. I missed Sookie. I missed how her very presence gave me purpose. She centered and calmed me. My sun. Now I was adrift and slowly descending into madness. Closing my eyes, I offered my love and devotion to the Radia in my chest, even if it was torturing me. It was my only piece of her.
“I love her,” I muttered to it softly. “You’re killing me, but I love you as well.”
I did not expect it to stop hurting and it didn’t. I imagined my blood in Sookie was tormenting her in much the same way.
Even though she was not with me, I could use this time doing something that would please her. I got on my phone again. Hadley’s homey but humble digs had impressed me. The woman was trying to pull herself up. I had ordered her to do so, but she seemed to be taking it very seriously. She was working hard and making a clean life with her child and new mate. I put in a few calls. She would have a new car. New furniture. And Hunter would have a few new toys. Nothing major. I knew how Sookie felt about spoiling people. But I also knew that she loved her cousin and would like to see her happy. With that in mind, I simply told the car and furniture dealers to call Hadley and tell her she had an account with them now. I would not dictate models or styles to her. If she refused my offer, that was fine too. But Hunter was getting his toys. I paid my debts.
Reports began filling my inbox almost immediately after that night.
Massawa’s people were good, but mine were better. They were watching us, and not with the stealth that I’d expect from such a high-level employer. If we were friends, I’d inform Massawa of his lacklustre workforce. As it was, I’d send these idiots drink vouchers for the next time they sat in my bar and pretended to pick up giggling emos while clocking my movements.
My researchers also lent credence to Claudine’s claim. After they attacked the dark vampire’s past with all the clearance that a king with endless piles of money could buy, they reported to me that Massawa’s movements for the last two hundred years (so far as they could be tracked) trended towards trouble. Literally. Whenever human conflict broke out, no matter where in the world, he was there.
This in itself wasn’t too unusual. Many vampires were attracted to the disorder and blood that war brought down. Feeding was plentiful and detection was rare. Chaos provided an easy cover for us to move freely.
But all wars? All battles?
It stank. Especially from such an ancient as him. We didn’t thrill as easily as newborns. Blood on the streets lost its appeal after several hundred years. Chaos, while exciting, posed many variables. It was easy to get distracted. Old vampires did not enjoy variables. We liked control.
Unless of course, it was part of our job description.
In the meantime, Massawa and the AVL entourage had moved onto South Carolina.
I spent two more nights with Sookie’s track suit smothering my face.
Sitting like a fat spider poised on my web, waiting for the faintest vibration alerting me to my prey’s movement, I steadily grew sicker.
I’d survived seven days without food before without particular hardship. But now, I knew in my bones that I was dying. It wasn’t just food I endured without. How had I ever lasted a thousand years without Sookie? How had I enjoyed other blood? Other women? It was inconceivable now. My hands burned for her skin. My lips tensed in expectation for her soft kiss. My body bowed outward in the hopes of being nicked and sipped. My cock twitched at the slightest provocation. Her toothbrush in my bathroom made me hard, for fuck’s sake.
Starvation, I could handle. Being exorcized of my soul, I could not.
Seven days. Soulless for seven days.
I was laying on our bed, trying to conserve my energy for the coming night. I’d spent almost no time outside. The sun did not interest me anymore.
And then suddenly… a miracle.
Missing in action for a week, my bond with Sookie seared back to life with such hungry urgency that it punched me in the gut.
“Sookie,” I gasped harshly, bolting upright.
It was her. She was back. Somewhere in this world, she had reappeared. I could feel her with the same dazzling clarity as when she returned from Faery over a month ago.
And she was near.
I didn’t think. I didn’t consider Massawa’s spies. I didn’t even use the door.
I shot straight through my ceiling and into the afternoon sun.
The bond throbbed hotly, yanking me south. I shot like a bullet towards it. The land moved in a blur beneath me. I saw nothing of it. A magnet was dragging me with such force that I could not have moved an inch in any other direction.
There was a patch of forest ahead. My blood reached for me somewhere inside.
“Sookie!” I roared as I collided with the ground like a comet. I spun around, orienting myself, before exploding to the right. “Sookie!”
My blood jerked me towards a large cypress tree. I ran straight at it, scanning the high branches right down to the protruding roots. “Where are you?! Talk to me!” I bellowed.
I circled the trunk.
There, reaching out through a large knot hole at shin height, was a sweet, slender arm that I’d know anywhere. “Here! I’m here!”
I fell on my knees and clasped her hand in mine. “Sookie,” I moaned reverently. “My god, Sookie.”
I could see her face peeking through the hole, beaming through two rivulets of tears and laughing wildly. I pressed her hand into my face, kissing her palm and fingers in a frenzy. It went gold in a flash and shot me directly in the eyes. I roared with joy as her Light claimed me once again. The pain I’d suffered all this time disappeared in a blink, replaced by blinding pleasure. I’d already forgotten how incredible it felt. I ripped my shirt open and shoved her hand against my heart.
“AGAIN!” I bellowed at her.
She sobbed and shot me again. It exploded directly into the Radia surrounding my heart. I screamed as the ball of Light once again filled me with ecstasy.
She laughed even louder and complied. I was nearly thrown backward as my heart convulsed in my chest.
She curled her hand around my neck and drew me down. I could tell she was straining upwards, like she wasn’t tall enough to reach the hole. I crouched into the tree, craning my neck. We could almost kiss. Almost.
“Eric,” she breathed in relief. “Where are we? Where does this hole lead?”
“South of our home. I came as soon as I felt you.”
Warmth flooded her lovely features. “I knew you would.”
“Are you okay, Sookie? Tell me Claudine did not hurt you.”
She shook her head emphatically. “I’m fine. Just pissed. Get me out of here.”
I gripped one side of the hole. “Stand back.”
She looked at me with her huge, adorable Stackhouse eyes, then disappeared. I ripped one side of the knot. A chunk of wood cracked and broke away in my hands. I grabbed another side and ripped another piece. And another. This hole, or door, or whatever it was, became bigger. I reached my hand through.
“Grab me,” I called to her. “Take my hand.”
A small, warm hand clutched mine. I pulled gently. Her other hand came through the hole and I leaned down to link it around my neck. We rose carefully. I guided her other arm to hold my neck so I could support her staggeringly beautiful body, so swollen with my son that I gasped in shock.
She plastered herself to me, raining kisses all over my face and neck as I lifted us up and away from the tree.
I staggered back, weak from relief and shock and hunger. We fell togther, me on my back with her straddling my hips. Her hair fell around her face like a golden waterfall. Her tears struck my chest and broke my heart. She was wearing a white sheet that had been roughly sewn into a shapeless dress, much like the standard issue at a mental assylum. She levered her hands on my chest, then leaned down as much as her stomach would let her and devoured my mouth.
The taste of her.
My fangs instantly clicked as ambrosia filled my mouth. I opened eagerly to her, my tongue making desperate passes over her lips, tracing her teeth. Her tongue met mine and curled around it, stroking wildly and driving me crazy. My hands gripped her belly, hidden under that hideous dress. Sookie grabbed them and brought them to the neckline.
“Rip it off,” she panted against my lips. “I never want to see it again.”
I growled in agreement, nudging her to sit up, I fisted my hands in the material before shredding it back and front. It fell away from her body and I was left speechless at the sight of my naked mate.
Most of her body was the same sleek, golden cocktease it had always been. Shapely and feminine. Arms and legs, little hands and cute feet. But the womanly aspects of her, breasts and hips and stomach, had been sculpted by Freya herself. The Viking goddess of love and beauty had blessed me with the most stunning pregnant woman in the world. With shaking hands, I splayed them wide over my son. He kicked my hand in response.
“I…” My words failed me.
Sookie was in no mood for words.
She put her hands on my torn shirt and pants, stripping them off in that delightfully expedient way of hers. Looking down at my own naked body, her eyes rounded with desire and she let out a sexy little whimper.
I had no time to wonder if any of this was a good idea. Exposed to danger. Heavily pregnant. Unpredictable from starvation.
Sookie gave not one fuck.
She yanked her dagger pendant free. She pulled me into a sitting position. She held me by the shoulders as she lowered herself, her pussy gripping my cock like a hot, vicious little fist until I was buried completely inside of her.
She cried out in joy, then stabbed me in the neck, throwing her face into the junction of my throat and collarbone, sucking hard on the wound.
Pleasure destroyed me. She left me no choice.
I roared and plunged into her neck, sinking my fangs in her flesh straight up to my gums.
I shook uncontrollably, unable to stop my hunger pangs. After a week of torture, I was being inundated with wave after wave of healing magic. I’d spent those seven days fantasizing about saving Sookie. How I would find her, and hold her, and stroke her cheek, and trail my fingers gently over her belly. Light as a feather. She’d been through hell and needed to be caressed and petted until she felt safe again. I had planned to be that safe place for her.
My eyes rolled back into my head. Sookie was moaning nonstop into my skin as she lifted and slammed onto my cock while gripping me by the hair, forcing my fangs deeper into her throat. My hands were bruising her hips as I held her steady and rammed upwards, the loud smack of our flesh puntuated by our groans. My dagger wound healed. She pulled back long enough to stab me again, just as deep, and locked her lips back over it.
“Yesss,” I hissed against her.
“My Eric,” she claimed hotly, sinking her teeth in and shaking her head. “Fuck, I missed you so much.”
I lifted from my bite and nuzzled my face against hers, purring loudly. “My Sookie. We really need to stop meeting like this.” And I meant it. If I had to endure one more separation from her, I’d surely die.
She gave a desperate little laugh before licking my neck of the last drops and hugging me fiercely. Slowing her fantic pace on my lap, she brought my mouth to her neck again. “Keep drinking. Thinking about how hungry you are gave me nightmares.”
Our reconnected bonds were zinging crazily between us, two over-excited dogs bouncing off the walls and yipping like mad. I was hungry, it was going to take a lot to sate me over the coming days, but I did not want to take too much now. I didn’t care if I supposedly couldn’t hurt Sookie anymore, it wasn’t worth the risk.
Sookie felt my restraint and shook me by the scruff. “No, dammit. Don’t hold back. Drink, baby. Please. You can’t take too much.” She leaned back and brought our lips together, kissing our shared bloods into our mouths. I moaned in pleasure. She broke it and smiled. “Let me feed my husband. Let me make you strong.”
I hissed with love and pride before I settled back into her neck and continued. She murmured happily, as if she could possibly find as much pleasure in our act than I did. My fangs and cock were buried in hot liquid paradise. She continued to ride me gently so that I could feed without upset. The few brain cells I had left even tried to please her, massaging her tight, ripe breasts and skimming circles over the beautiful bump resting between us.
When she came, her Lit hands detonated at the back of my skull. I went rigid in her arms, ripping away from her throat as my spine snapped straight. I screamed louder than ever as her tight pussy squeezed me until I burst. My seed jetted in such hot, thick ropes that I feared we’d drown the boy.
We trembled, glued together with sweat and blood and come. I collapsed backwards. Since Sookie could no longer lay atop me, I grabbed the rags of her dress and laid them to my side before urging her to rest next to me. She followed, slotting her stomach against my side, her leg thrown over my hips. I groped for my shirt and found it nearby. I tucked it around her back and covered her bare chest. I would not suffer my woman being cold.
She burrowed into me, clutching me tightly. “Eric,” she repeated in a sigh. “I love you so damn much.”
My arms around her tightened in response. “I need to get you out of here. Where is Claudine? Is she in that hole as well?” I lifted my head to look back at the hole I’d ripped into the tree. I should have taken us further away from it. But my need to rebond myself to Sookie had been greater. I supposed I shouldn’t feel too negligent. The fairy could simply pop anywhere we ran to.
Her head shook against my shoulder. “No. She’s in Faery now, I think. She never stayed long.”
“I’ll kill her.”
“Great. Take pictures.”
I levered up to look down at my lover. I put my hand wide over her belly again. “Is he well?”
She smiled a very motherly smile and nodded. “If he inherits your wingspan, we have an Olympic swimmer on our hands. He’s swum laps from here to the moon in there!” She tapped her womb.
I grew warm at her words. My wingspan. Yes. My arms had always made swimming quite enjoyable. I was suddenly impatient to teach him.
I looked up, scanning the trees. “We must go.”
With great effort, she moved to sit up. I helped her, an overwhelming wave of protectiveness rising up in me. “Is her ranting about Massawa true, then?” she asked.
As we stood, I quickly put my jeans on, then helped her into my tee shirt. It almost fit her now. I gathered the tatters of the white dress and made a crude sarong, which I tied around her hips. “It’s highly likely,” I muttered low, tightening the knot.
I back off and looked at her. Even in men’s clothes and a ragged sheet, she was heart-stopping.
I reached out and gently took her hand. I raised it to my bare chest. “Again?” I whispered.
A tremulous smile graced her impossibly pretty face. “As many as you want.”
She shot me.
My Radia rejoiced, removing the final pieces of charred flesh I had suffered under its tyranny.
“I love you,” I gasped at her, taking a step back to absorb the hit. “There’s nothing left of me but my love for you.”
She fell into me, suspending our son between us as her warm arms locked me in and made me whole. “Take us home,” she said. “My hero king.”