Donning a robe, Emma called over her shoulder to Andre, “Sookie brought me a beautiful wrought iron cup holder – it’s beside the coffee brewer now, a bag of mini-baguettes, some orange marmalade and some Meyer lemon marmalade.” She paused to laugh at the weird look that crossed his face. “Now, I want you to go ahead and lay down while I go get the last thing she got me, and don’t bother with your robe,” she finished with a sultry laugh.
Andre’s skin tingled; he’d never heard her use that tone before. As he did her bidding, in an effort to control his suddenly resurging lusts, he pointedly reminded himself to contact the vampire in charge of the queen’s ceremonial garbs. He never could remember the female vampire’s title, it was a fancy word for “seamstress” as far as he was concerned, but his Maker was always very pleased with Leana’s work. He couldn’t figure out why he suddenly felt it was important to see to his Emma’s Pledging and Coronation raiment, but he’d long ago learned to listen to that gentle nudging. Well, such attire took much time to correctly assemble, so the sooner they started, the sooner that task would be completed.
There was also something tickling the back of his mind about the odd assortment of items the…Sookie gave his Emma. At first glance, they were all perfectly acceptable gifts, and as far as he was concerned his Emma deserved mountains of such tributes, but…
He swiped all the coverings to the side and took his place in the center of their bed. After adjusting the pillow under his head, he crossed his long legs at the ankles and adjusted his growing erection. He couldn’t wait to see what his Emma had in mind. The slight nervousness and vague apprehension he detected through their bond had him a bit troubled on her behalf, but he was highly curious as to her warm anticipation and mischief.
Still wearing her robe, she came into their bedroom carrying something blue that looked like a long scarf and smelled of silk.
“She also got me this gorgeous cobalt blue silk scarf,” she declared as she walked up to the bed. “If you’ve ever wondered what my favorite color is, well, this is it! Feel how soft it is,” she instructed, her voice lowering seductively.
She knelt beside him on the huge bed and began stroking the crumpled material slowly over his stomach and across his chest. When he made to move his hands, she stopped.
“Nope. Hands to the side, big guy. I’m in charge now.”
He sucked air in on a hiss. “Oh, really,” he growled. He wasn’t sure he liked how hard his cock throbbed at that thought. Barring a few certain adventures with his Maker when he was a newborn, he had always been in charge of his sexual activities. Always.
“Oh, yes,” she replied cheekily. “Remember? Next time, I’m in charge,” she reminded him. “And, if you can’t play nice…” She trailed off with a grinned warning.
Oh fuck, he thought as she resumed petting him with the balled-up silk, he was in so much trouble.
He watched as she lightly teased his dark nipples with the silk, sliding it over his chest, venturing down to his stomach but no lower, swirling around in widening circles, then coming back up to tease first his ribs, and then his pecs, in long, slow strokes. She chuckled very quietly as his muscles involuntarily bunched and jumped under her sweet torture.
He exhaled a small sigh of relief when she, bottom lip secured firmly between her teeth, finally brought the silk up to stroke his cheeks. He’d thought he might could relax a little and enjoy her ministrations…until she started lightly teasing his throat…then she slipped down to his collarbones…then slowly back up his throat to torture the lobes and outsides of his ears.
Gaagh, he had no idea that his ears were that fucking sensitive!
Then, again with agonizing slowness, she drug the softness straight down his chest, down his stomach, until, at the last possible moment, she evilly veered off to tease his thick, clenched thighs with her silky soft caress. As she lightly traced the muscles of his calves and now-uncrossed ankles, he thought she was trying to kill him.
When she drew the silk back up the inside of his thighs with inhuman slowness, he was sure of it.
As she purposefully bypassed his throbbing cock again, he threw his head back into the pillow and roared…but even if his hands did fist into the bottom sheet, they stayed lowered.
In all his years, both before and after his transformation, he had never felt anything like this. From their bond, he could tell that giving him pleasure was something that gave her pleasure, too. The only other person he could imagine who’d ever thought anything even remotely the same was his Maker, and that was during his earliest vampire years when they still fucked like rabbits as most new progeny did with their Makers. Everyone else had wanted something in exchange, either favors, or leniency, to form some sort of unwanted alliance, or to at least be serviced in kind. His bond told him that his Emma didn’t even want this sweetest of tortures returned; she was pleasuring him solely for the pleasure of…pleasuring him.
He gasped for unnecessary breath as she once again avoided his cock with that evil, evil silk.
No, she just wanted to give him pleasure in her own selfless way. And it was killing him. But the love he felt from her made him do the impossible – that love, that simple joy she took in pleasing him, stilled his hands and let her do with him as she would, no matter how urgently the need to take, to cover her small frame with his own and pound into her, vibrated through his aching body.
And then she killed him with two words.
“Turn over,” she rasped softly, her voice resonating with her own need and desire.
He clenched every quivering muscle in his body until they were rock hard, held that tension for a very long moment, then…turned over. His mate wanted to please him, so he would let her, even if it…killed him.
He turned over.
A few long-forgotten, barely detectable scars, accumulated then healed while training and fighting during his earliest years as a vampire, caught her eye. He wasn’t even sure how she’d managed to see them, but he felt her lightly run her fingertips across them, then felt his eyes prick with tears he refused to shed when she started placing sweet, lingering kisses to each one across his back and down to his waist.
He couldn’t contain his groan when she placed her warm palms on his cool skin and slowly, reverently, smoothed her hands from the tops of his shoulders down over the rippling muscles of his back, down to his trim waist and slowly over the firm curves of his ass (where he could have sworn she paused for a second), and then on down his large thighs, stopping to place a soft kiss on a bite scar he’d completely forgotten about on his calf, and on down to his ankles.
She pushed on his calves to tell him to part his legs for her, and he did with both eagerness and reluctance. He truly was not sure how much more of this sweet hell he could take. His hands were fisted, his fangs and cock were throbbing, and his balls were getting tighter by the second.
He felt her move and kneel between his feet, and then he felt her warm hands slowly caressing up the insides of his legs. When he felt her very lightly scrape the backs of her fingernails along the insides of his thighs, his hands tore holes in what would now be their old mattress.
“Emma,” he growled warningly into the pillow flattened by his face. Body pulsing with fire, hands clenched into the mattress, cock threatening to explode at any second, he tried again. “Emma,” damn, he hadn’t meant to sound like he was pleading…but by now, maybe he was? He was so turned on, confused, but craving her more than he’d have thought possible without bloodlust being involved.
Taking pity on the relative giant of a male under her hands, Emma straddled his hips and leaned forward to whisper near his ear, “Ok, sweetheart, you can turn over now.”
In the blink of an eye, he flipped over onto his back and had instinctively reached for her.
“Ah ah ah,” she admonished with a grin, “No touching yet, honey, remember? Am I going to have to tie your hands up with this scarf?” She dangled the silky, wispy fabric threateningly.
“Like that scarf could hold me,” he growled menacingly.
“Oh, yes it would, my love, because you’d let it,” she retorted sweetly with a charming grin that displayed her dimples to their full effect.
Her confidence in him, and in his adoration for her, oddly warmed his heart even more, but fuck, he couldn’t even pretend to threaten his own mate anymore. Even his cock seemed to agree with her as he felt the painfully forceful urgency recede to a barely-tolerable level. He was well and truly fucked.
“I’ll try,” he agreed with a pout.
“That’s all I’ll ever ask, honey, just that you try.”
When she immediately closed her lips around first one and then his other nipple and sucked and licked and softly bit, he tried not to yell.
When she planted hot, open-mouthed kisses across his quivering abdomen, he tried not to growl…too loudly.
When she firmly grasped his hard length in her warm, soft hands, he tried without success to not heave his hips upward.
When she took him into her hot, wet mouth and sucked first gently then harder and faster, bobbing her head and stroking with her hands what wouldn’t fit, he tried to think of anything other than the sensations overwhelming his system, and failed miserably. He violently exploded in her mouth before he even had a chance to warn her. When she eased his aftershocks with her hands and mouth and mewling sounds of comfort, he tried to remember his own name.
Panting, exhausted, satiated beyond all reason, Andre pulled Emma up across his chest and held her close. He couldn’t tell if he was flying or falling; only holding onto his Emma kept him tethered to what he hoped was reality.
“We need to name that scarf,” he finally had breath enough to mumble. He glanced over at the clock and could not believe how little time had actually passed. Damn but he was glad he was her lover.
She giggled quietly in agreement and then mentioned having a funeral for the mattress. He shamelessly agreed, extremely proud of himself for lasting as long as he had, but when he readily offered to return the favor, she shook her head and mumbled against it.
Had he left her sore then, he worried with self-disgust? In truth he’d been rather… passionate…in his lusts earlier that evening, so he admitted to himself that it was highly possible that he really had been a bit more forceful in his attentions than he’d meant to be, regardless of what her emotions had told him.
Instinctively knowing that enough time had passed to prevent an accidental Third Bond, he deeply nicked his forefinger and, turning over to gently dump her onto her back to make her open her mouth in surprise, he placed his freely bleeding finger between her lips.
“You must never allow me to harm you, Em, in any way, no matter what we’re doing, or how much you enjoy it.”
She briefly glared at him, then nodded her understanding as she strongly sucked on his finger. She began feeling better almost immediately. She wasn’t sore, yet, but could tell that she might have some noticeable problems walking the next day. She was glad for the healing, even if he had been a sneaky bastard about it. He offered another “dose”, but she shook her head. She’d heard about V addicts, of course, and didn’t want to become too accustomed to the power of his blood.
He curled around her after she arranged herself for sleep, and held her close until she quickly drifted off.
Once he was certain she was resting deeply, he quickly rose, redressed, and went to the dungeon.
All four prisoners were well-contained, but he had special surprises in store for one particular were and one particular vampire. Preliminary investigations at the scene had revealed that these two were a particular threat to Emma, and they would suffer accordingly. Specifically, they had suspicious, and incriminatingly new, ties to the kitchen where her human food was prepared.
The vampire currently guarding the chained prisoners, Hollander, nodded to the Master Torturer as he strode purposefully into the dungeon.
“Come. We have work to do.”
Hollander immediately followed Andre as he approached the two most dreaded torture devices he’d personally ever seen. During his short tenure of service in the dungeons, he hadn’t witnessed these two items being used, but that was about to change. He couldn’t decided whether to crow or cringe.
“These are derived from something I invented during the early 1200’s. I never named them,” he intoned as he rolled his eyes. “There was no point. They were simply an effective torture device. I saw no use in crafting a woman’s face onto the exterior, either,” he said with disdain as he waved toward what was now known as “The Maiden”. “When I first designed these, I used a simple iron and wooden box with a door opening to each side,” he suited words with action as he opened the two doors on each device. “The prisoner would be placed inside, tied down to halt movement, and I would close the doors. At intervals, I would drive long nails into the wood from whichever side or height I chose. Eventually, after hours or several days, the inhabitant would shut the fuck up and die, or if vampire, would weaken to the point that they would either talk, or cry like babies. It was quite… satisfactory.”
“These Maidens,” he ‘pfft’d at the name, “have been somewhat redesigned. Although the prisoner is still tied down, there is a bit more room inside for their…comfort,” he snorted. “The nails are now spikes, and while they are not quite as long, they are extremely sharp and well-coated with silver.”
Andre was justifiably proud of his numerous inventions. That a cruel percentage of them dealt solely with torture made him shrug quite eloquently.
Without deigning to acknowledge the prisoners, he grabbed the first vampire by the neck while Hollander, commanded by a nod, unchained the male’s ankles while leaving his hands bound in silvered shackles. Using his steely grip around the vampire’s neck, Andre drug the male to the first device and, ignoring the vampire’s curses and whimpers of fear and dread, shoved him into the “box” portion, secured him into place, with bands of silver, then slammed both doors shut. Immediately the stench of silver-burnt flesh assaulted their noses while the desperate screams of pain annoyed their ears.
The process was repeated with the screaming, struggling were whose continued attempts to shift were halted by his own silver shackles. Andre’s ears thanked him for remembering to ball gag this fucker before stuffing his large frame into the device and slamming the doors. He loudly chain-locked both devices, then faced the other two prisoners.
The remaining were pissed himself when Andre turned his glare upon him, and the vampire stood wide-eyed and, wisely, still. Both were chained to the wall with their hands secured behind them.
After a brief readjustment to the first vampire’s enclosure and a mocking “good night” issued, Andre checked the were’s bindings, then stalked over to an instrument table. He grabbed another device that Hollander had never seen employed.
“This,” he held up the awkward looking contraption, “is known as a Heretics Fork. While I regretfully cannot take credit for inventing this lovely item, it does serve a purpose. Grab your gloves, open that first Silver Cell, remove the chair, then be prepared to secure the door after I toss this pathetic bastard in.”
Hollander rushed to complete his tasks, eager to see how his master would apply that weird looking device. When all was ready, Andre approached the urine-scented, nearly hyperventilating were, placed the rusted iron section over his neck, and adjusted the sharp spikes between his chin and his chest.
“If Fido here decides to try to take a nap, or even becomes too comfortable and dips his chin, the spikes here,” Andre pointed to the sharp iron touching the chest and the underside of the were’s jaw, “will impale either his chest, or his chin, or both.”
Andre removed the Heretics Fork and tossed it over to the junior guard. “You do it.” Hollander had been a guard in the Queen’s employ for a while now, and showed both good promise and an eagerness to learn.
Harshly subduing his giddiness at being allowed to learn and perform this new task, Hollander proceeded to correctly reapply the torture device to the whimpering were, and was rewarded for his efforts with an appreciative nod.
Andre then “patted” the were on his head rather forcefully. “But you’ll be a good boy, won’t you,” he snarked as if talking to a good puppy as he “patted” his head yet again. “Yes, you will,” he growled, “or you’ll lose a lot of blood by the time anyone comes back, and that will really piss me off.”
With that, he slung the were none too carefully into the silver lined cell. Hollander snickered and immediately locked the cage.
Then, Andre confused the other guard. He went a few steps down the hall from the general part of the dungeon, opened a prisoner’s cell, placed a chair and a six-pack of True Blood into that cell, then returned for the remaining vampire.
He glared down into the smaller vampire’s scared but stoic face for a long moment, then unchained him from the wall to escort him to the prepared cell.
“Guard the door,” he commanded Hollander, then led the prisoner over to the chair and commanded him to sit. “The bars and lock are silver coated and studded with silver burrs. Do not attempt to escape or you will meet with the same fates as your partners.” He unlocked the male’s silver cuffs. “Drink, then die for the day. We will discuss more tomorrow.”
With that, he left. Unbeknownst to the prisoner, Andre’s instincts were hinting that the vampire was not a willing participant in BeauChamps’ schemes. For now, his fate was not yet sealed.
Andre gave Hollander his instructions for the rest of the night and for the morrow’s guards, checked in with his queen and discussed with her and his brothers the results of the raid, then returned to his quarters. As he showered away the misery and stench of the palace’s lowest level, he contemplated his time in the dungeon.
There was something about that last vampire that did make him wonder about the male’s willingness to be involved in the plot, and was glad he’d taken less drastic measures in securing him for the night. He smiled. His Emma would be proud of his ability to temper his harsher side with fairness.
**A/N: Writers write better when rewarded with written love!! So, what did you think?**