Through the small, weak bond he had been able to secretly establish with Cara, Godric understood that her acceptance of his protection was no small accomplishment for either one of them. He was deeply grateful for the privilege, and vowed to keep her safe from all threats to the best of his considerable ability.
He subtly tightened his arms around her soft, warm body as he realized that the relatively simple act of holding her secure in his arms held a profound new meaning. When he had received word earlier of the attack on her apartment, fear had staked his heart with a force he had not thought possible. Although rationally he had known that she was safe in his home, still…even the mere possibility…
Mine. His gut twisted with the force and the truth of that imperative.
How dare anyone attempt to harm her! As soon as knowledge of her safety had appeased his other self, he had thankfully calmed down enough to allow logic to seep in. The need for planning replaced the need for reacting. She was safe. She would be kept safe. All those who would harm her would die in the most painful ways possible. It was that simple.
As if sensing his disquiet, Cara hesitantly started soothing her hands over the taut muscles of his back. He groaned his approval and allowed himself to rest his head atop hers as he focused his attention on her feelings and the soothing, circling warmth of her hands on his back. He fought to ignore the growing bulge in his pants. Her hands were unbelievably arousing even through the cloth of his shirt.
He was gratified to sense her feelings of comfort and safety, but did not understand the strange hesitance…apprehension?…lurking in the back of her consciousness. Soon enough he hoped to clear all paths between them.
He thought back over the evening’s events. The ancient vampire was still reeling from her innate ability to deflect his glamour. In innumerable ways her immunity to glamour would help protect her from the unwelcome auspices of others of his species, but it was an ability best kept secret. He would have to think of a way to discuss this with her…preferably without having to admit his own attempts, of course.
“I am sorry your apartment was attacked, ma chere.” He kissed the top of her head. “You are most welcome in my home for as long as you will stay. I have the perfect suite in mind for you. I want you to be comfortable here.”
To his extreme regret, she slowly backed a step away from him. He loosened his hold, but did not let go.
“Thank you for your hospitality, Godric. I really do appreciate it.” She made the mistake of looking into his eyes as she voiced her appreciation. She couldn’t define the warm look he was giving her, but whatever it was, it felt way too…close? Right, maybe?
He smiled at her innate politeness, but wanted to strengthen the connection between them that was still not quite mended. He knew just the way…
“Just think of the time you will save commuting to work now,” he teased.
She had to laugh out loud at that, which pleased him greatly. Humor, it seemed, was a main route to her heart.
“And you will avoid the rain I sense approaching…another advantage, I believe?”
She nodded with a grin, happy with their good-natured banter.
“And you are most welcome to explore my library any time you wish…also another benefit, I trust?” Naturally he had to cock that dark eyebrow playfully.
“True…true,” she agreed. The look shining from his eyes into hers would have made her agree to anything, so she quickly averted her gaze.
Her face had softened at his look, but then she grimaced. “I don’t have any clothes with me…”
He tipped her chin up and placed a very quick kiss on her lips. “Pardon me for one moment,” he requested, and then, almost as suddenly as he was gone, he was back with his hands once again encircling her waist.
“I have placed some sleeping clothes on your bed. Also, considering the lateness of the hour and the distressing news from this night, I suggest you sleep yourself out on the morrow. I am most certain Sarah can handle their afternoon meal.”
Cara started to speak, but Godric effectively stemmed her words simply by quietly resting his forehead against hers for a moment. “This is a time of much adjustment for you, Cara-mia,” he stated quietly. “You should rest as you can. Let me care for you.”
Enveloped by his scent and the strength of his body, she found it impossible to deny him the respite he wished to provide for her. “Yes, boss,” she quietly smiled. The tone of his voice imparted such peace. She inhaled deeply.
He slowly trailed his nose down to her temple. Her scent was a temptation he could not resist.
Catching hold of her own reaction, Cara reluctantly moved her head from his. “I’m definitely going to have to go back sometime tomorrow to check out the damage and gather some clothes and stuff, though.” Her face fell at the thought.
He immediately sensed her trepidation.
“Shhhh…” he soothed as he easily drew her back into his embrace. “Wait until after dark and we will go in force. You will not be alone.”
She automatically tucked her head back into his shoulder and nodded, not quite comfortable with how very easily she was accepting his embrace and every plan he seemed to have, except…his plans made inordinate sense.
Too bad she always fell for logic, she snorted to herself. Never mind how right his arms felt holding her so close, or how natural her hands felt pressed to his chest… A few long blissful moments later, she roused herself enough to speak.
“I’m sorry to be so much of a bother…” she started as she looked up at him.
“You, ma petite, are no bother. And rest assured, I would tell you if you were,” he interrupted strongly. “It only makes sense for you to reside here with me, and so you shall. No excuses, yes?” The twinkling in his warm blue eyes did not completely belie the surprisingly authoritarian expression on his face.
She huffed in a slight but insincere pout. He quirked his brow in response.
“Yes, dear,” Cara quipped, peeping up at him through her lashes.
Godric quickly but gently popped her ass in retaliation. “Tease!”
He laughed at the startled look on her face, which turned several delicious shades of red as she laughed in surprise. “Hey, now! No bruising the private property back there!”
As she danced away from him, he saw her rubbing her barely tingling butt cheek with one hand. He zipped over to her to whisper in her ear, “I am more than happy to make amends, you know…” The weak bond told him she was far from unhappy with his teasing.
She snickered. “You’re awful, Godric! Absolutely awful!”
He gave an elegant shrug. “I believe we have already established this, yes?”
She snorted. Then yawned. The yawn may or may not have been conveniently timed. Cara had felt remarkably refreshed after finally waking all the way up from her nap, but even so, it was getting later.
Thrilled with the advances made this night, Godric would grant her this temporary reprieve…to an extent. His arms felt bereft without her warmth.
He simply scooped her up to his chest and flew her up the stairs to her new quarters. She was tired, after all…
Cara squealed and clutched at his shoulders, then swayed into him upon their quick landing.
“Oh my…Godric!! You can fly?!!” Her lovely face was a joy to behold! He wiggled his brows happily in answer to her exclamation as he gazed down into her face. The huge smile parting her lips, the light shining from her twinkling brown eyes, the flush still evident on her cheeks…he was mesmerized.
And needing a live feeding…soon.
Not trusting his already-strained self-control, he quickly opened the door to her suite and decorously invited her in with an elegant sweep of his arm. “You should find everything you need, but if not, please let me know. I only ask that you make yourself at home.”
Cara gasped at the pure opulence of the rooms. “It’s…it’s beautiful, Godric. It’s…absolutely gorgeous!” The rooms were a study in pinks, bright ivories, and golds. Heavy silk drapes framed the large windows; soft feminine furnishings meant for a lady’s salon were neatly arranged in the sitting room with a soft, plush carpet extending through both the sitting room and the adjoining bedroom. She immediately kicked her shoes off and sighed as her feet sank down into the carpeting.
Everything in the room seemed to invite her touch; she couldn’t keep her hands to herself. Every soft upholstered chair or sofa she passed had to be touch-tested, as did the small tables, and even the silk drapes as she walked into the bedroom. An elegant 4-poster bed graced the center of the room with a small pile of folded clothes atop the rose-and-gold comforter. She had to laugh in delight at the regal airiness of the room.
Naturally a huge 4-poster bed would live in here… She felt a bit like Alice in a pink and gold wonderland! As in the sitting room the antique-looking furniture somehow managed to be both feminine and sturdy. Across the bedroom she spied an open door leading to the en suite bath.
Cara just had to trace the corner of the beautiful silk dressings on that lovely bed. What could have looked to be a young girl’s fantasy bedroom somehow did not appear in the least bit adolescent. These were exactly the rooms she imagined a queen from long ago might have enjoyed.
Twirling around in delight, she looked back over her shoulder to see Godric standing in the doorway…and her breath caught in her throat.
Never had he looked less tame.
He stood utterly and completely still, face feral with lusts she could only imagine. Hot, hungry eyes tracked her every motion. His body rigid, fangs extended, nostrils flared reveling in her scent…he was a predatory beast in his prime.
He shifted and her pulse throbbed in response. Molten blue eyes pinned her gaze for an eternal moment.
It was the sexiest, scariest, most sensual thing she had ever seen or dreamed.
His throat convulsed once, twice.
“Sleep well,” he growled, then left faster than her human eyes could see.
Cara took a long, calming breath, then closed her door with a shaking hand. She wasn’t exactly sure what good that would do against a determined vampire…but, hey, anything would help, right? Knees weak, she all-but collapsed into a near-by chair to practice not fainting.
Suddenly, nature called. Loudly. She guessed what they said about “scaring the pee” out of someone was spot on. After finishing her business, washing her hands, and inspecting the contents of the gorgeous bathroom, she decided a shower was next on her agenda…somewhere between “breathing again” and “calming the fuck down”. Talk about animal magnetism…
She wandered over to the beautiful bed and inspected the pile of clothing. According to the colors and fit, she figured they belonged to Godric. A quick sniff confirmed it. His delicious scent still lightly permeated the clothes even after a wash. She looked around the room and noticed that, mysteriously, there was no clock on the bedside table in the place where a clock had obviously once lived. She took that as a sign that maybe he really did want her to sleep in.
The nice warm shower did help restore her equilibrium. After she gratefully changed into his clothes, she turned off all but the bathroom light, and slid thankfully into the softest sheets on the softest bed she had ever felt.
All-encompassing comfort kicked in about two seconds after she got situated; unfortunately, her mind did not shut off. She kept replaying the day in an endless loop.
First there was the teasing from Mr. Sexy Vampire Beast…then the feeling of his fangs and tongue on her neck…unf…then there was that kiss that still made her lips tingle…double unf…then Godric waking her up with the best cup of coffee she’d ever had…then finding out the Weres had attacked her apartment…then all those sweet, warm, comforting hugs she wished could have lasted forever…then…wow… Double wow… Double-fucking wow…!
She had never been more aroused in all her live-long days.
But…could she really risk becoming even more involved with the ancient vampire? As best as she could figure, she was mostly mortal, but no matter how long she lived, she would still die well before he would…if he ever did.
And, even if that were a condition he would willingly accept, there were still no promises that a relationship between her and…anyone…would work. With all her issues? She strongly doubted even Godric’s much-vaulted patience, understanding and wisdom would help all that much.
She sighed, stretched, and curled back up. Naturally this was the most comfortable bed ever made, she grumped to herself.
…in the most beautiful bedroom suite ever.
…in the nicest yet most comfortable mansion ever.
…owned by the most fascinating, attractive, intelligent, addictive male ever.
…the same one who stole the alarm clock so she would have to sleep herself out the next morning… *hrumph*
Cara fell fast asleep with a smile on her face.
Godric flew straight from his estate to Alaric’s home. His underling was known to keep several convenient donor-pets whose glad services were repeatedly and unconditionally offered to Godric.
He had to feed for Cara’s safety. Damned if he would be the one who hurt her, but in his current mood, he would not trust himself another moment.
He landed and pounded on the door. Alaric’s servant quickly hid his shock at this unexpected visitor and instantly invited him in. He immediately notified his master.
Alaric took one look at the ancient vampire’s strained countenance and without a word or delay led him to the donor’s quarters. Although Godric did not know Alaric’s donors, they were certainly aware of his reputation for wisdom, calmness, and abstaining. Needless to say, they were all quite shocked at his appearance.
He quickly selected two short brunettes and brusquely informed them that there would be no sexual relations; this visit was for feeding only. He realized that the thought of intimacy with anyone other than Cara disgusted him. Although disappointed, the two women quickly agreed and went to the sofa in the feeding room.
Half an hour later, Godric sat on the edge of the sofa with his head in his hands. He had been as gentle in his feeding as possible, but even so, both women had retired for the evening.
His dangerous blood thirst was slackened, but not gone. He deeply suspected only Cara could actually sate any of his needs. A wry grimace played over his somewhat pinker lips. At least now he was somewhat less likely to lose all control around his delightful temptress.
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