Logically she knew she should be terrified – Godric’s fangs were extended to an unbelievable length, a low, feral growl was rumbling from deep inside his chest, and his expression was nothing short of livid as he loomed over the man he held by the throat, but she had to do something. Cal might give a good example of Darwinism at its best, but he was still Bart’s brother…Bart’s supportive brother, she strongly reminded herself.
She took a step in their direction, but was immediately hauled back behind the hard, tall body of the blond vampire. She glanced up and could see by the set of his shoulders how tense he was about the situation. She huffed, thought for a second, then kicked the back of his shin as hard as she could. The iron band holding her behind him immediately loosened enough for her to escape, so she took the opportunity and ran about half way to the scene.
“Cal,” Cara said as she stopped for a moment before starting to walk very slowly toward the snarling vampire who hadn’t even glanced at her. The tall blond vampire appeared quickly at her side, but this time she simply took his hand as she slowly continued her approach. She knew she owed him a huge apology later…kicks to the shin hurt!
“This is a clue,” she continued. “Even people who don’t know me very well can tell that I don’t want anything to do with you. If you live through this, you have to leave me alone, got it?”
While Cal struggled to breathe, much less agree, she slowly continued until she was close enough to gently place her hand on the snarling vampire’s shoulder. He jerked at her touch, but showed no other reaction as his black eyes continued to bore into Cal’s muddy brown and noticeably unfocused gaze.
This wouldn’t do. The situation wasn’t diffusing in the least. If Godric was this guy’s Maker, then why didn’t he try to calm him down before he killed the fool? She knew that TSO was vampire-owned, but she was pretty sure that conference rooms were not the best places for unplanned executions.
“Godric?” She called his name softly, and waited a second. She somehow had an inkling that he’d heard her, but he showed no response other than to tone down that sexy growl a bit. Oh, man, she really hoped no one knew just how inappropriate her thoughts could be and at the worst of times at that!
“Godric,” she tried again as she softly rubbed a small circle on his shoulder, then lowered her voice to whisper, “honey, I hate to say it, but you have to let the fool live. He’s brother to a good friend of mine, and while I can’t stand him, his brother would really miss him. I know that vampires can do some sort of hippy-dippy hypnosis thing, right?” The growling was slowly calming down, still sounding feral but not as loud now, so she continued. “Can you do that and just make him forget that I even exist? Oh, and maybe you can convince him to move, too!” She laughed softly, absolutely pretending that she wasn’t trying to save some asshole’s life that exact instant. She had no idea of how hard she was grasping the hand she still held or how much her heart rate had sped up.
“It’d be a hell of a lot cleaner than trying to get his blood out of this surprisingly pretty carpet, ya know? Plus, there’s that whole murder-conviction-jail thing I’m pretty sure you’d like to avoid, too.”
She didn’t dare approach any closer than her current arm’s length, but she did sense that she had his attention. While she had no intentions of becoming any sort of a Vampire Whisperer, her gut told her that she was getting through to him.
“Come on, Godric,” she cajoled sweetly, “Let the fool go. Lay some vamp whammy on him, make him forget ever coming here, and ever meeting me, then let my friends take his nasty self home. He’s starting to smell,” she concluded with a nose wrinkled against Cal’s unintentional urine release. “I dread to think what might come out of him next.”
Godric lips suddenly quirked up in a smile for a split-second. He then raised Cal up by his hold on his neck, and caught the man’s eyes.
Speaking through extended fangs and the rumbling still coming from his chest, he intoned, “You have never met Cara. You do not and will not know of her. You have never visited this establishment, nor will you ever. You will go to your home, you will bathe, and on the morrow you will plan your move to Minnesota.” Cal nodded idiotically at every pause, and once thrown from Godric’s grasp, he lurched weakly toward the door.
Roddy, wide-eyed and torn between concern for the safety of his partner’s brother and his close friend, hesitated until Cara waved him on before turning to the tall blond whose hand she still gripped.
“I’m really sorry for kicking you back there, but I had to do something. Are you ok?”
He glared down at his hand and with an ‘oops’ she dropped it.
Godric smirked. For the first time in recent memory, his Child seemed at a loss for words. He’d placed his Cara into his Child’s care as he didn’t want her to come under friendly fire should the situation devolve, but he wasn’t very surprised when she’d approached him anyway.
His only surprise was how very quickly she had calmed him down.
Anger of this sort generally lasted through several hours and many bodies, but when she’d placed her hand on his shoulder, all he could think of was finishing with the fool so he could concentrate on her. Then he had remembered seeing this Cal touch her, touch her without her permission, and his gaze had blackened again…until she started talking to him. The calm, lulling tones of her voice had reached that place inside him that she seemed to already own. He didn’t understand, but he didn’t mind, either. He glanced down as he pondered and realized that her feet were actually a bit smaller than he’d thought.
Fuck. Now he had to glamour this night from her memory. Their first meeting, and he had to take away her knowledge of it. Loathing filled him at the mere thought.
With an impatient flick of his wrist, he sent Eric away then turned to fully face his Cara so he could at least spend a bit of precious time with her before he did what he had to do. He was surprised once again when she met his gaze directly; so few humans generally had either the courage or the stupidity to do so.
Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes sparkled with interest and curiosity while she barely nibbled at her plump lower lip a moment before she met his gaze squarely. “Hi,” she quietly whispered as a shy smile widened her lips.
“Hello.” He couldn’t think of another thing to say in that instance; all he could do was stand there in rapt silence. Maybe she just had that effect on people?
Cara, apparently, didn’t have that same problem. “Your eyes…they’re really beautiful. The black is going away – does this mean you’re not mad anymore?” She didn’t think he seemed mad any longer; in fact, he seemed, well, the opposite of mad now. There was still something about him, though, something that she just couldn’t place… Seemingly of its own volition, she raised her right hand to cup his cheek, and inhaled sharply at that first skin-to-skin contact.
The warmth of her touch burned on contact as he involuntarily leaned into her hand.
“Mad? No, I am no longer angry.” He sensed his Child’s surprise from the corridor where he had just glamoured her friends. He didn’t blame Eric for his surprise.
Now, of course, he could kick himself for not knowing what to say to her. He had her all to himself in this otherwise empty room, and not one word came to mind. He did blame Eric for the sudden burst of amusement that flooded the bond between them.
Face to face…he was face to face with his Cara…her lovely face…
So he raised his hand to mimic her own gesture, and found joy in how his palm perfectly cradled the curve of her cheek. If he had not wanted to Mate her before, the softening of her gaze and the deepening blush of her cheeks at his touch would have caused that odd need all on their own.
He let his thumb drift down to lightly brush across her lips which then parted on a slight gasp. He couldn’t help it…that slight gasp broke his resolve and he immediately slid his hand into her hair at the back of her neck to tilt her head up enough that he could thoroughly claim her lips.
Cara stood still in disbelief – the gorgeous vampire who had come to her rescue, who had laid the vampire whammy on Cal, who had gazed at her with eyes so darkly blue and touched her so softly with a hand so hard, was not only kissing her, but kissing her with his over 2000 years of incredible experience.
With a slight whimper she returned his kiss full force, parting her lips to welcome his tongue into her mouth as she raised her other hand to clutch at his shoulder. The feel of his growl of approval vibrated along her spine…apparently he liked it when she kissed him back.
The sensation of his firm lips as they claimed her own and of the hard strength of his body as he pulled her to him with his other arm were overwhelming in their own right, but when he eventually leaned back just enough to allow her to breathe, she caught her first clear whiff of his clean, masculine scent…
Still panting, she lowered her hand to his waist as she nestled her head into the curve of his neck to catch her breath…and to savor the wild pine and leather scent of his skin. There was another note to his scent that she didn’t immediately recognize, something darker, older and more primal that she knew she’d never forget.
He raised a hand to stroke her hair, and she could swear he was inhaling her scent, too, a thought which made her smile. When he pulled her closer, she wrapped her arms about him, and reveled in the strange safety and security she felt in his hold.
Godric held her as close to his body as he dared without crushing her frail ribs, luxuriating in her scent of vanilla and honeysuckle blended with cotton and spring rains. The pounding of her heart bled over into his own chest, the vibrations both soothing and invigorating. When he felt her scenting him as a Mate would do, he barely managed to avoid releasing in his pants.
Long moments later, his stroking of her hair serving to calm them both, he reluctantly parted from her embrace, knowing he had to glamour her to forget seeing him almost kill the brother of her friend. He wouldn’t cause her to forget any other portion of the evening…just that part should be enough he rationalized to himself.
He tilted her chin up to raise her eyes to his, and began, “You will forget my altercation with the fool. It never happened,” he softly began.
“Why,” she interrupted, surprised that he would suggest such a thing.
“Because I don’t want,” he began to answer her question automatically before pausing as he realized what her question meant. He was hard pressed to contain the shock on his face as he caught her gaze in his own again. “Cara,” he started.
“I don’t want to forget,” she interrupted him again, “that you came to my rescue. I don’t want to forget that you chose to change his memories and release him instead of killing him like you really, really wanted to. Maybe it’s wrong of me to feel this way,” she halted, then continued a bit softer as she placed a hand on his chest, “but maybe I like knowing that you’re looking out for me.”
With that, she rose to her tiptoes and kissed his cheek before turning back to the table and gathering her purse. She was determined to get out of there before she said something stupid like “I love you” or “I want to have your vampire babies” or any other illogical thing of the sort.
She walked toward the door and when she reached it, she turned back to look at Godric still standing where she’d left him, paused for a second, then stated quite calmly, “And Godric? The next time you follow me home, why don’t you knock on my door?”
**A/N: Remember – reviews rock!**