Likely only the two of them. Making up for lost time.

If Danii called the coven about this, she'd unleash a shrieking battle contingent to bust down the door of the vampire's love nest.

What would her sister want her to do? The facts: Myst was a master manipulator and enchantress. No Valkyrie was better at getting men to do her bidding. She could handle Nikolai.

Another fact: At the news that Forbearer vamps had been spotted in the city, Myst had been excited, her green eyes alight. Before setting out to hunt them, she'd checked and rechecked her hair.

Myst, it seemed, was already half in love with Nikolai. And if Nikolai was a fraction as thoughtful and gentle as his brother...

I'll get more information from Murdoch before I make a move.

With that decided, Danii rose from the mattress on the floor -  typical vampire, craving to sleep as low to the ground as possible -  and crossed to his closet.

Contrary to popular belief, she wasn't shy, but she still rooted through his duffel bag for something to wear. She and Murdoch had serious things to discuss, their siblings' situation, for one, and she didn't want to do it naked.

Even if he would have no interest in her that way.

She grabbed a black T-shirt and dragged it on, though it swallowed her, then explored his room. As she rummaged through his things, she found his wallet. She'd known who he was, but it was still a shock to see credit cards in the name of a warlord who'd "perished" in the Great Northern War three hundred years ago.

Likewise, seeing his sword belt lying next to his satellite phone was a jolt.

Danii knew much about him and his three brothers; most of the Lore did. The Valkyrie had had a correspondent in the field to cover the war, and she'd reported back on all the Wroths' heroic - and ruthless - deeds as they'd defended Estonia against the Russians. The four had been so merciless that even the creatures of the Lore had started paying attention.

She recalled that the Wroths all differed drastically in personality. Nikolai was the self-sacrificing general, Sebastian the quiet warrior-scholar, Conrad the mysterious one.

And Murdoch? Well, he was the ladies' man, a practiced seducer.

Or he had been, but no longer, now that he was an unblooded vampire. What a waste. The world just didn't have enough broad-shouldered seducers with piercing gray eyes.

She sighed, predicting that this male would star in all her future fantasies. Yes, Danii had a rich and complex fantasy life. While all her sisters were preoccupied with their latest lovers or intrigues, she listened and watched. Daniela the Watcher, observing and imagining. Forever a spectator.

But not tonight. She finally had a secret. She thought... she thought she might be growing infatuated with the vampire, even though her kind had a bitter history with his.

Wars, deceptions, atrocities.

Aside from Myst, the only other Valkyrie who'd been with a vampire had borne him a child - then died of sorrow shortly after.

Danii could lie to herself and say that Murdoch made it easy to forget he was a vampire. Yet in truth, she was aware of that every second with him.

She simply didn't give a damn what he was. For two thousand years, the Icere had tried to destroy her, either outright with attempts to execute her or with bounty hunters insinuating themselves into her life. She'd never met an Icere male that she trusted enough to be with.

Two millennia of stark loneliness did not a discerning Valkyrie make.

The broken doll wanted to be fixed. And somehow, she knew Murdoch was part of her journey. Even the fact that he was a vampire wouldn't sway her.

What he is can't compete with the possibility of what he could be -

She heard a stifled groan from the shower. Ah, gods, he's still hurt. She dropped the wallet, racing for him.

Just inside the bathroom, she stopped short. There was no steam, so she could see straight into the tiled shower stall above the half wall screening it - could see cold water sluicing over his broad chest, drops trickling over the indentations of his rock-hard torso.

Her lips parted, and her claws curled with desire. Her half sister Regin liked her men young, dumb, and hung, as she put it. Danii now knew her type: vampire with an Adonis physique. And she didn't say that lightly. She knew Adonis well.

Murdoch was leaning back, staring up at the ceiling, one brawny arm flexing as he washed himself. Stubble shadowed his lean cheeks.

She could see the trail of hair descending from his navel, but not where it ended because of the half wall.

Her ears were twitching. A warning? But why? "Murdoch, are you hurt?"

His arm stilled. When he met her eyes, she saw that his irises were black, burning with some hidden emotion. His gaze dipped.

Why is he surveying my body? Stingy about his shirt? "I borrowed this. Hope you don't mind."

He didn't answer.

"Okay, then," she said absently, distracted by the broad expanse of his chest. He had a few battle wounds from the Icere and a couple of old scars - not unexpected, since he'd been a warrior as a mortal, too. But his skin was surprisingly tanned.

Gods, she wanted to sweep her palms over those sculpted planes. She gazed at him greedily, taking in details - this would make choice fantasy fodder.

Wait. Had his chest just risen with a... breath? No, it couldn't be.

Her ears twitched again, and even over the sound of the water, she heard his heart beating, strong and fast. Her mind could scarcely comprehend this. He'd been unblooded before, but now...

"Wh-what's happened?"

In a husky voice, he said, "Come see."

As she blankly moved to the edge of the stall, he pressed his hands against the walls to lean forward, his chiseled muscles bunching and taut -

His engorged shaft extended straight out from his body. She gaped at his size. He was glorious.

And he hadn't been washing himself as his strong arm flexed.

"I blooded you?" If so, that would mean his erection was for her, and her alone. In answer to that hardness, her sex grew moist for it. Any lingering aches from her injuries were fading, no match for her mounting desire.

"You're... my Bride."

He sounded angered by the fact. Maybe his need was making his tone sharp? Of course, that was it. What vampire wouldn't want to be blooded?

"Do you know what's happening?" she asked.

He gave a curt nod, leaning against the back wall again, under the water. "Some. From my brother."

"When did you realize this?"

"During the fight."

Poor vampire, how long had he been like this? He already appeared on the verge of coming, his shaft visibly pulsing. His sac looked laden, as if it ached. She wanted to cup it with both hands.

"God, I can feel your eyes on me." His erection jerked, straining forward into the shower's spray. He tilted his h*ps until his shaft hit a hard jet of water, which, judging by his slack-jawed expression, felt incredible. Copyright 2016 - 2022