She comes up on her tiptoes and presses a kiss against the side of my neck. “Angry? Why would you think that?”

She pushes her fingers through my hair and I almost forget what we’re discussing. “Doesn’t matter–not if you’re happy about it.”

She lowers herself from her tiptoes and presses a second kiss against my collarbone. “I am. But you know what would also make me very happy?”

All she has to do is tell me and I’ll get it for her. “You only have to ask.”

A mischievous grins spreads across her face. “I want us to have a place we are free to do what we want without the fear of being overheard. I think we need a soundproof bedroom. Because I have a lot of naughty things I want to do to you.”

I like the way this girl thinks. “Done. I’ll have someone here in the morning and we’ll put a plan into action immediately.”

“We are in desperate need of privacy.” She’s rubbing her hands over my chest. “How long will it be before we know?”

Longer than I want. “I don’t know. I think they can have it ready in about a month. Maybe six weeks if he uses his entire crew.” I’m willing to pay for an army of construction workers to get this done as soon as possible.

“Four to six weeks sounds great on the bedroom but I meant how long will it be until we know if I’m pregnant?”

Oh. “I think Chansey was a little bit over two months when she saw Dr. Knight the first time.”

“But she was in the middle of following Jenn’s transition. I’m sure she didn’t pick up on her missed period because she was preoccupied but I’ll know if I’m a day late. I’m very regular.”

She’d been very regular since I’d known her. “You should start your menstrual cycle in thirteen days.”

I don’t have to see her blush to know I’ve embarrassed her. “How do you know that?”

If I couldn’t smell a drop of blood, I’d have known by her irritable mood. “I’ve been living with you for months. You’re a fertile human woman that bleeds every month. I’m a vampire that can smell a single drop of blood from a hundred yards. I think you can put it together.”

Her cheeks redden more. “That’s just humiliating. And gross.”

“I know your body inside and out–even better than you know it yourself.” Now I’m gonna rock her world with the information I tell her next. “I’m even able to sense your ovulation cycle by the way you smell.”

She steps back and assesses me, the blush still present on her face. Or maybe it’s a flush. “Pray tell, Mister Alexander. How do I smell when I’m ovulating?”

“Sexy. And horny.” Now it’s me pressing my lips against the side of her neck. “A lot like you smell right now.”

Her mouth is next to my ear. “And did I smell fertile this morning?”

Oh, did she ever. “You smelled especially fertile this morning–much more so than usual.”

“Ohh,” she whispers as I move my mouth down her neck.

“When we’re like this, your agápe scent is the only smell I can detect. It’s a pheromone that overpowers everything else.” I lift her to sit on my desk and I step between her legs.

Her hands are allover me at once. “And it makes you want me?”

Want is an understatement. “Like crazy. You can’t possibly imagine how bad.”

She’s grinning as she nips my bottom lip. “I bet I can.”

Chapter Nine

We emerge from my office so we can make our formal announcement to the family but the looks on their faces when we enter the living room tell me they already suspect. Or know. I’m sure they can tell that we just had sex. Her scent is all over me and vice versa. No way I’m telling Avery that. She’d die of mortification if she knew they smelled the mix of our body fluids.

The family is at full attention without our request. I take Avery’s hand in mine and squeeze it. I’m nervous but one stroke of her thumb gives me that little extra boost of confidence. It’s amazing how she’s always able to give me exactly what I need. “Avery and I have an announcement.”

“I believe you do.” Thatcher is studying us and paying close attention to the way I’m holding Avery’s hand. “Do tell, brother. I can tell this is gonna be good and I’m dying of suspense.”

“This may come as quite a surprise to everyone.” I stop and look into her golden brown eyes before I finish and I see all the reassurance I need staring back at me. “Avery is my agápe.”

Lairah is the first to react to our news. “But neither of you can stand to be in the same room.”

Avery is quick to correct her. “I’m sure it has appeared that way but it’s actually the opposite. We can’t stand to be apart.”

“Obviously since we can smell what you’ve been doing.” Avery jerks her head around to look at her sister. Jenn’s words are intended to wound and humiliate her but why? Perhaps she’s angry that Avery didn’t confide in her but that’s no way to treat her sister. I’m about to fire back when I feel her squeeze my hand. Her eyes tell me everything her mouth doesn’t. Please don’t. I give her a quick nod letting her know I understand, even if I don’t agree. I’m sure Avery would like to address Jenn in private and I’ll give her that courtesy.

Lairah is still wearing a confused expression. “I don’t understand. You’ve acted like you hate each other for months. It’s been uncomfortable as hell living with the two of you under the same roof and now you’re telling us you’re mates? Are you sure? It doesn’t seem likely.”

Avery leans into my side. “I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life.”

“Shouldn’t you have known when you met her?” Gia doesn’t seem convinced.

Curry and Sebastian allow us to answer the family’s questions without interference. “The circumstances weren’t ideal when we met. She was a blood jewel and I drank from her. I thought everything I was feeling stemmed from the side effects of her blood. I had no idea what was actually happening. I spent months fighting my feelings for her because I thought she hated me. I never imagined the physical responses I sensed from her were really her body’s reaction to her love for me.

“It’s as much a shock to us as it is to all of you.” Avery’s trying to smooth this over with her sister.

“I somehow doubt that.” Jenn is sitting on the couch, arms crossed. She’s unhappy about our announcement but I don’t understand why unless she doesn’t want Avery mixed up with a vampire.

“I didn’t know, Jenn. Really.” Avery’s voice is pleading.

“Yeah, right.” Jenn’s words are saturated with sarcasm before she streaks from the room toward the hallway to her bedroom.

I shrug and look at Avery for some kind of clue about what’s going on with Jenn. “I’m lost. What was that all about?”

Avery closes her eyes and sighs. “She’s going to hate me for this.”

I wish I could get a reading on the things running through her mind but it’s racing a mile a minute. “Hate you for what?”

She releases my hand and my skin instantly misses her touch. “I need to talk to my sister. I have to try to make her understand.”

I’m left standing dumbfounded–without my agápe–in front of everyone so I grab a seat on the sofa next to Lairah. “Does anyone have a clue what’s going on with Jenn or why she’s so angry with Avery?”

Lairah punches me in the arm with her fist. “Seriously? You don’t have any idea? You’re even stupider than I thought.”

I rub my arm because it was a hard punch. “What was that for?”

She rolls her eyes and huffs. “You’d have to be a total idiot to not see that Jenn is in love with you. She’s been showing you for months. I think you’re the only one that hasn’t picked up on it.”

She has to be trying to pull one over on me. “I never saw anything resembling that kind of interest from Jenn.”

“Sol had no idea.” Sebastian is defending me. “He wouldn’t notice romantic interest from another woman. It isn’t in his nature for any female to catch his attention because he only has eyes for his agápe.”

We’re all able to overhear the conversation going on down the hall. “Jenn’s angry and I don’t like the hurtful things she’s saying to Avery.” I have an intense need to protect her from being hurt–even if it’s only words being used by her sister.

“You aren’t supposed to like anything that hurts your agápe but Avery and Jenn are sisters,” Sebastian reminds me. “You must let them hash this out on their own just as you and Thatcher do when you have a problem.”

Thatcher and I are both vampires. The worst we would do is beat the shit out of each other. “Jenn is a vampire and Avery isn’t. She could kill her in a fraction of a second.”

“I’m not saying they won’t argue but Jenn’s stable and she loves her sister very much. She’d never harm her physically.” Their argument is quickly escalating so I stalk toward the hallway leading to Jenn’s bedroom. Sebastian calls out, “Sisters do this. It’s normal.”

I’d agree with Sebastian if Jenn was human. But she’s not and all of her emotions are multiplied ten-fold. “Sorry but I’m not chancing it. If Jenn goes after Avery, I can’t protect her if I’m sitting in the living room twiddling my thumbs.”

I don’t knock. I burst through Jenn’s bedroom door like I own the place–because I do. This is my compound. Jenn is a guest here–even if she is my agape’s sister–and I won’t tolerate her hurting Avery even if it’s only a verbal assault.

“Enough.” It comes out as a growl–which isn’t my intention–but I’m in full-blown protection mode. I won’t spare feelings when it comes to my mate. “Avery had no idea she was my agápe. She–nor I–would ever intentionally hurt you. It’s something we couldn’t control. I’m sorry I didn’t pick up on your feelings for me. I would have set you straight had I realized. My relationship with your sister isn’t going away so you need to decide if you can stay here and deal with it or not. If you can’t, you need to leave because I won’t allow you to continue treating her like this.”




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