by Zenobia Renquist
What do a four hundred-year-old vampire and a mid-level necromancer have in common? Money. Jeliyah needs it to pay off the people who trained her and Teaghan enjoys killing to get it. Together they hunt rogue vampires—assuming Teaghan can focus on something other than getting her in bed and Jeliyah doesn’t put a bullet in him first.
The uneasy partnership promises to be lucrative until Teaghan and Jeliyah get on the wrong side of a feud. Jeliyah is forced to use forbidden magic and finds herself bound to a man she should hate—but whom she can’t stop fantasizing about.
Every second they stay alive fuels a growing desire Jeliyah is unwilling to deny. Is it the magic? The danger? The only way to get the answers she craves is to outrun the enemy or kill them. She knows Teaghan’s preference but it’s Jeliyah who must put their mind-blowing sex aside and make the choice that will decide both their fates.
Teaghan knew it. A coup was about to happen. He didn’t know the players and didn’t care. So long as the bills got paid, the person in power didn’t matter. From one leader to the next, nothing ever changed.
He said, “Fine. You want me. I get that. Leave the necromancer out of it. No one would miss me but take her out and you’ll have the higher-ups gunning for you and your boss.”
“You’re right, the higher-ups would be quite upset if we killed the necromancer, and that wasn’t my intention. The others wanted to have some fun with her before handing her over but that was all.”
Jeliyah gripped the door handle and her eyes widened.
Teaghan said, “The higher-ups won’t overlook you molesting one of their own.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. They’ve given us permission to do with her as we please so long we return her to them intact.”
Jeliyah yelled, “They would never do that.”
Fredrick chuckled. “Well, hello, Jeliyah. Ephraim tells me you smell of vampire seed and blood. Recent seed. Old blood. I had thought you would hold out against Teaghan much longer given your initial reaction to him. Either I overestimated you or underestimated him.” He made the vocal equivalent of a shrug. “Doesn’t matter since I felt the need to pass on the news of your little indiscretion to Hirsch, who then relayed it to the higher-ups. They are very displeased that a high-middle class such as yourself would give a vampire permission to invade her body. That displeasure graduated to anger when I informed them of the blood sharing as well.”
Oh please, no. No. No.
Teaghan grabbed Jeliyah’s hand in a firm grip to anchor her to the here and now. She clutched at him and stared at his profile. Tears rimmed her eyes. He knew she was holding it together by a thin thread of will. Images of the bleeding chamber raced through her mind. She was imagining herself in the place of the person she’d seen when she was young.
He told her through their link, I’ve got you, Jeliyah. Nothing’s going to happen.
Fredrick said, “Stop the car and give up. Make this easier for all of us.”
“Denied.” Teaghan released Jeliyah’s hand so he could snatch the phone off the dash and hit the end button.
Jeliyah asked, “What do we do? They want you dead and me—” Her words choked to a halt and she pulled in a shuddering breath. A single tear slipped down her cheek.
He retrieved her hand and squeezed it. “Easy there, necromancer. Don’t fall apart on me now.”
“Why? All you did was kill a rogue.”
“That’s why. It’s a changing of the guard. It happens every few centuries. Family infighting. They involve people from neighboring families who have been promised some little tidbit or other to help the wannabe head take power. It’s a story as old as the vampires. Seems you and I got in the way.”
Teaghan changed his destination. The enforcers probably knew which hotel they’d used by now and might be lying in wait. He steered the car back on the highway. If one family wanted him dead then his only protection was to seek refuge in another family’s territory.
While a risky proposition without petitioning for entrance first, the destination Teaghan had in mind came with a sponsor. He released Jeliyah’s hand once more to bring up a number he hadn’t called in years. He hoped it still worked.
Ellora’s Cave - http://www.ellorascave.com/cream.html
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Zenobia Renquist lives in her imagination. When not traveling through her fantasy worlds, she can be found in Hawaii living with her husband and two cats.
She is an Air Force brat turned Air Force wife, which means she’s accustomed to travel and does it whenever possible (so long as she doesn’t have to fly). Her favorite pastime is torturing her characters on their way to happily-ever-after for the enjoyment of her readers.
On the few occasions her muse flees the scene of the crime, Zenobia likes to read (comics, manga, and romance), go to the movies, play a few levels of whichever puzzle game has hijacked her interest or experiment with a new chain maille weave.
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