Anne caught her husband cheating with the maid of honor before their wedding cake was cut. She decided to take her planned, and paid for, honeymoon in Tuscany, alone. On the evening of what was to be her wedding night, she gets bitten by a female vampire. Marcus Monteleone has waited three hundred years to find his fated female, only to discover her dying in his arms. He saves Anne’s life by turning her, and then works to gain her trust, to cope with being a newly formed golden vampire. But when Anne finds out Marcus has not been completely truthful about his past, she vows to live as a human, and shuns the vampire world. Alone and unprotected, she falls prey to the very villainess who took her human soul, and who now takes the only man she’s ever loved. Which lover will have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the other before they both are lost?
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Does your husband know about your appetites?” From behind Anne came a gravelly male voice that sent shivers down her spine. The screams of the Starbuck’s espresso machine made her wonder if she’d really heard the voice. But the male scent of him was impossible to miss. The hairs at her neck stood at attention, telegraphing urgency. The urgent sensation extended well beyond her waistline. Time stood still before she could bring herself to turn around and fall under the warm gaze from this tall dark male that covered her.
Not man. Male.
He held her gaze as she stood, transfixed, unable to move or to speak. That was the way it felt. Being held. “I’m sorry?” she blurted out finally.
“Don’t be sorry, my dear. It’s a simple question.” The ends of his lips curled up at the corners. When he inhaled, his chest extended, and he appeared several inches taller. Then he exhaled and she was covered with the same musky scent, incapacitating her, wrapping around her like a warm shroud. It was familiar.
She heard mournful viola music drip with slides and rifts that pulled on her heartstrings. She felt dizzy. Did she hear him murmur a groan? Or maybe it was a small earthquake? Probably an ordinary person wouldn’t hear or feel it. But she did.
Anne was on alert; this male took liberties with her feelings.
What a crazy thought. Ridiculous.
He leaned forward, grazing just the edge of her forearm with his warm hand. An electric spark pricked her. He leaned against the counter and looked at the barista, not her. “I’ll pay for the lady’s drink.”
She noticed the strong pulse at his neck. Healthy. Smells wonderful.
“And what would you like, sir?” The young barista was pert. Anne didn’t like her perfect white teeth. That and the fact the girl’s shirt was made for a ten-year-old, showcasing her pierced bellybutton.
“I have all I need.” The rumbling words sparked shivers again down Anne’s spine. He said it just next to her ear, barely touching touched the small of her back . . . He was facing the barista, but deep inside Anne knew the words were meant for her ears only.
“You didn’t have to do that.” Anne suddenly found the urge to speak.
“My pleasure.” He removed his hand and gave a slight bow.
A bow? No one had ever done that before. Anne had just fed. She wasn’t hungry enough to play the game this afternoon, having gorged herself on a salesman who liked to eat garlic fries. His blood was thick with fat globules she could almost see as well as taste. But it went down smooth.
So maybe she would play along. This stranger might be a good candidate for a snack tomorrow. She had never fed twice in one day. She wondered what being too full would feel like in her current state. It would probably make her horny. Well then, maybe she should reconsider. She should do a wet feeding. That way she wouldn’t have to be too careful, could gorge herself on him. He’d be wonderful to look at in the shower, and his hands might do something unexpected to her. Something memorable in a string of unmemorable feedings.
His hand gently touched the small of her back again, and she allowed herself to be ushered to a corner table, flanked by two purple velvet overstuffed chairs. They sat, facing at right angles to each other. The counter girl called out Anne’s drink. He was up and walking over to pick it up for her before she had a chance to react.
She watched him cross the coffeehouse like a thirsty traveler eyeing a pitcher of water. He was probably six foot six. His dark hair was pulled back in a short ponytail. His black leather bomber jacket showed his nice ass and those long lanky legs that went all the way to Heaven. Even for his size, he appeared graceful. Unassuming. Confident. And the nicest looking male from behind that she had ever seen.
And then he turned, holding the little white paper cup with two fingers, the other ones splayed out, large as antlers. She could see how long his fingers were, how substantial. She envisioned what those hands could do to her. But as sexy as he was, he also made her mouth water to feed.
His prominent jaw line sported blue-black stubble. His strong pulse would be no problem at all, but she would have to bite a little harder to crack the skin. Maybe he would let her take him slowly. Then she could kiss other parts of him in between while his heart pumped more of the blood she craved. His lips were bright red and full. She would enjoy sucking them, licking them. Perhaps biting them.
His eyes found their way to hers, and when she met his gaze, she became self-conscious of her thoughts, as if she knew somehow he could read her mind. Anne told herself it was her craving for blood that caused the almost sexual attraction for this male. After she fed, surely she wouldn’t feel this way, she thought.
He delicately deposited the white cup delicately in her hands. One finger touched and almost seemed to rub against hers. She thought she was imagining the touch, of course. Between her legs, a warm pool had formed. It was a curious place to feel hunger, a hunger of another kind. She blushed at her erotic thoughts.
“You like cappuccino?” He seemed intrigued by the idea.
“Yes. I need the caffeine in the afternoon.”
“And here I thought your cheeks were flushed and ripe from a good meal.” Those black eyes peered right to her soul. Almost as an afterthought, he smiled, and the dark became brown, ringed with a coppery color that drew her in.
I’ll play your game.
“Yes. After a big meal, I get tired sometimes.”
He nodded. “I remember that.”
Anne looked out the window. This was beginning to feel dangerous. She grabbed her drink and stood. He stopped her by placing one hand on her wrist. His action was soft, but deliberate. This male won’t be denied.
“Please, sit just a little longer. Then I’ll let you go home to your husband.”
“Go? You’ll let me go? What kind of talk is that? I think . . .” She began to rise again, but his firm grip on her forearm stopped her.
“Hear me out just a bit.” He did appear to be begging. Could it be she saw a flash of pain there? No way.
“How do you know I’m married?” she snapped out, letting her impatience show.
“You wear a wedding ring.” He fingered her ring slowly, sensually. She let him touch her, perhaps a bit too long. She was going to correct his misconception but decided to leave him thinking she was protected by another man. Safer that way.
But was she looking for safe?
There was an obvious physical attraction between them. She had not felt this before, not since before she was made.
“Do I know you?” she asked, ignoring the comment about her marriage.
“No. Ask it another way.” The huskiness of his voice made her ears buzz, like he was brushing his lips across them, like they were in bed whispering unmentionable things to each other.
“Do you know me?” Her eyebrows rose at the ridiculous suggestion.
He very lightly nodded. “Oh, yes. I have waited a long, long time for you.”
“Okay, that’s it. I’m outta here.” Anne jumped up, her coffee in her hand. She slung her purse over her right shoulder and stormed off. He followed her outside, keeping pace like they were walking in unison. She stopped suddenly.
“Look. Whoever you are, I will call the police if you don’t leave me alone.”
“And tell them what?”
“Tell them there is a very strange male following me, bothering me.”
He groaned again. The ground beneath her feet rumbled when he did that. “I like that you say male.”
She backed up, raising her palms up and out in his direction. “Please, please leave me alone.”
“Agree to meet me here tomorrow at this time and I won’t follow you.” He smiled. “I promise.” He held his hand over his heart. Anne felt a small tug at her own.
“Alright,” she said, fully intending never to come back to this place again. “Tomorrow at four. But I will call the cops if you don’t stop this, this, way you are being—”
He grabbed her upper arm and pulled her close his chest. She struggled, but he held her tighter the more she wiggled. The spice on his cheeks was a familiar scent to her and, relaxed her just enough so she wouldn’t collapse entirely being so close to him. He leaned down and whispered into her ear, “Go for now, little one. But as for leaving you alone, there isn’t a chance in Hell that will ever happen. See you tomorrow.”
And then he was gone. Just gone. Nowhere to be found. She turned around and around and there was no trace of him. No car leaving the parking lot. No door being opened. Just the normal day all around her.
She was hungry and, scared. She liked feeling both emotions equally.
She knew it was going to be forever until four o’clock tomorrow.
A feeding would take up the next hour. Only twenty-three more to go.
© Sharon Hamilton