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A vampires embrace, p.18
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       A Vampire's Embrace, p.18

         Part #2 of Blood Rose Time Travel series by Caris Roane
 
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  “That would be correct.”

  “Looks like I owe you an apology.”

  “Not necessary.”

  Stone opened his mouth then turned swiftly in the direction of the lakeside house. “Hold on. I think the women are upset about something.”

  Rez pivoted as well. He extended his vampire hearing and Holly’s voice came through. “As I’ve told you, Rosamunde, the wraiths were in pens. In the cavern. I saw them.”

  Rosamunde kept shaking her head. “But what does it all mean? Sweet Goddess. No, no, no. I don’t want this to be true.”

  “Something’s wrong,” Stone said.

  Rez started moving the same time Stone did.

  The house was one long bank of windows facing the lake. He could see the kitchen and dining area off to the left and what was the living room to the right. Both Rosamunde and Holly were in a central space that connected the two rooms. It was a small dwelling and had been Stone’s private getaway before Rosamunde.

  By the time Rez arrived in the doorway with Stone, Rosamunde was in tears. She walked straight into Stone’s arms. He wrapped her up then guided her into the dining area.

  Rez met Holly’s gaze. What the hell happened?

  Holly appeared bewildered as she shrugged. I don’t know. I started telling her about what we saw in the cavern and about Lanarae and somewhere in there she lost it. I swear, I don’t know what I did wrong. Given her status, I thought not only that she would want to know, but that I was obliged to tell her.

  He watched the couple and somehow wasn’t surprised when Stone took Rosamunde outside and onto the deck. He had his arms around her but it was clear the woman was sobbing.

  Holly drew closer to Rez. I’ve heard she’s with child. I wonder if that’s part of the problem.

  Rez had heard the rumors as well. For a fae female, there was no greater blessing than to be pregnant during a wedding ceremony.

  Stone pathed to Rez, When Holly started talking about the cavern with the wraiths, Rosamunde experienced a series of battle visions. We’ll be back in a minute.

  Rez turned to Holly and relayed what Stone had just told him.

  Holly looked back at the couple now embracing fully on the deck. “Battle visions? No wonder she’s upset.”

  Rez watched Holly. Was it his imagination, or could he sense what she was experiencing? Was this a blood rose thing? He felt her compassion but he also detected her nerves. He slid his arm around her waist. “Hey. Don’t be frightened.”

  She turned to him with wide eyes. “How did you know?”

  “I’m not sure.”

  “Rez, I’ll be honest. I’m scared out of my mind. My faeness has picked up on Rosamunde. There’s nothing small about what she saw.”

  ~ ~ ~

  “I apologize.” Rosamunde’s eyes were still red-rimmed. “I’ll be okay. The visions were a shock. I thought the battle against the Invictus was over. I thought we’d have a thousand years of peace.”

  Holly now sat on the couch with Rez, her leg pressed against his for support. Rosamunde wasn’t sure why, but the visions of a forthcoming battle were very jumbled and seemed to indicate Stone’s force would attack a camp by air. She’d seen a lot of vicious fighting, but nothing to be of help.”

  Holly hadn’t expected Rosamunde’s powerful and overwhelming reaction. The woman was ancient and had served as the Queen of Ferrenden Peace for over nine hundred years. She had endured an isolated existence, cloaked as she’d been from the rest of the realms for most that time. No one had even known of her existence until recent months. She’d been hiding from Margetta who had wanted the power Rosamunde possessed.

  Now she was married to a ruling mastyr.

  Holly supposed their latest trip into the time-path and the discovery of Cruce’s army had overset her. Yet, her faeness warned it was more.

  Stone turned the conversation. He wanted details about Cruce’s cavern set-up.

  “So, where is it?” Stone’s question came out like a bark.

  Rosamunde extended her hand and covered one leather-clad knee with her palm.

  Stone appeared startled for a moment as he met her gaze. He then nodded to her.

  When she withdrew her hand, Stone addressed Rez in a calmer voice. “Let me rephrase. Do you have any idea where Cruce’s compound might be located?”

  Holly shifted her gaze to Rez, but her mind flew back to Millerell. Rez was shaking his head in the negative when Holly figured it out. “Mist.”

  “What do you mean?” Rosamunde sat up a little straighter.

  Rez twisted his torso to meet Holy’s gaze. “You’re right. That’s it.” He went on to explain about the disguising mist at Millerell.

  Rosamunde shook her head and covered her mouth with her hand. Stone surrounded her shoulders with his arm. “It’ll be all right. You’ll see. What you have to realize is that this mission isn’t on your shoulders this time or even on mine.”

  She frowned as she met his gaze. “What do you mean? Rez and Holly have come to us for help.” Then her eyes widened as she glanced from Holly to Rez. “Oh, I see. I hadn’t thought of that.”

  Holly’s faeness shouted at her. Mastyr Stone was right. Everything she’d gone through with Rez so far now made sense. For whatever reason, she and Rez had been chosen for this particular task, to discover Cruce’s location so Stone and his Vampire Guard could take them out.

  Rez wasn’t there yet. “What are you getting at?”

  Holly only half-listened as Stone addressed him. He talked about his journey with Rosamunde, what they’d gone through and how they’d bonded.

  Instead, Holly’s thoughts were given to how amazing the previous night had been. It was as though she’d lived a lifetime. All the while, she’d come to know Rez much better, to admire and respect him. Vojalie had been right. Holly trusted him, first on instinct alone. But now she’d gotten to know his character. He was a good man and in his own way, had never stopped serving Tannisford.

  Rosamunde’s question brought Holly back to the conversation at hand. “But how is the bond being formed? The original Invictus process required a wraith.”

  Holly thought she knew. “I believe the dark fae has found a way to use wraith blood to create the Invictus bond between two regular realm-folk.” She described Lanarae’s workshop and how she was processing vials of blood which she kept in her fridge. “Dozens of them.”

  Silence reigned for a long minute. Holly pondered all of it.

  Stone’s brows were drawn together in a tight furrow. He leaned forward, his gaze switching back and forth between her and Rez. “I need you to do whatever you can to locate Cruce’s base. Once you’ve found him, I’ll take my Guard in and clean out this vile nest.”

  The plan was simple and straightforward.

  Rez rose to his feet. Holly joined him. “Rosamunde’s vision confirms what we need to do.”

  Stone and Rosamunde rose as well. “I’ll inform the Guard.”

  Rez turned to Holly. “I think we should start out at the mine and talk with Oregis. He knows Tannisford better than anyone. You and I both saw the snow-capped mountains from the cavern so he might have some ideas. I’m also thinking we need to pay a visit to the black market. Oregis can help with that as well.”

  At the mere mention of Oregis, Holly smiled. “You know he’s going to get us in trouble.”

  “I have no doubt of it.”

  ~ ~ ~

  Now that a couple of decisions had been made and their course set, Rez turned to face Holly. “The continuum?”

  “It’s easiest and fastest.” When he extended his hand, she took it.

  He glanced at Stone. He’d pulled out his cell ready to contact the Guard. Rez dipped his chin once as the time-path vibration began.

  It was a jolt to be within the flow of time once more. Stone and Rosamunde appeared frozen.

  “Where is your mine, Rez?”

  “Can you hold us steady for a moment? I need to let Oregis know we’re coming.”
r />   “Sure.”

  He contacted Oregis telepathically and ignored the gremlin’s complaints. Please keep Holly in mind and try to control the sex talk.

  I will take my wife as often as I want.

  I’m not talking about the act. I’m talking about your loose lips.

  He sensed the gremlin was chuckling. But my wife likes my loose lips, especially around her –

  Rez cut him off. Shut it, you demon with twitchy ears. Be respectful.

  Knowing Oregis would happily engage in an argument if given the chance, Rez shut the communication down. To Holly, he said, “He’s decent. Let’s go.”

  “I need some guidance here.”

  “Right. You’ve never been to the mine or my office. If you picture Oregis, will that take us there?”

  “Yes.” He watched her close her eyes and the vibration grew stronger. He still held her hand in his.

  When the time-path moved, he didn’t see anything until they arrived. Then his office appeared behind a blur. The walls were pinned with a dozen large maps. Oregis hovered over one of the tables, also laden with maps. He was holding a magnifying glass in one hand and making notes with the other. He’d been a rock hound since he’d first held a crystal in his hands as an infant.

  When Holly released the time-path, Rez stood four feet away.

  The gremlin glanced back at him. “Glad you made it.”

  But Oregis had an edge that was very familiar to Rez. Something was going on.

  Despite his concerns about Oregis’s current state of mind, he relayed their current objective to head into the black market to locate either Cruce’s lair or Underworld or both.

  Oregis turned then levitated to meet Rez eye-to-eye. “Are you crazy, Warrior? Underworld is full of the worst of our world. Most of those cretins take dark fae potions and commit abominable acts as a way to start the night. Not gonna do it. Besides I need to be here.”

  Rez was ready to argue but Oregis got a phone call. Oregis turned away from Rez and spoke in a low tone. “I’m working on it, Luv. You know how much you mean to me. I’ll have word for you by midnight. You know I will.”

  Rez saw the tension in his shoulders that didn’t let up even when Oregis put his phone back in the pocket of his leathers.

  “The little woman holding out on you?” Rez often teased him.

  “We had a down week. Here I mean.” He swept a hand to encompass the office. His eyes were pinched. Oregis went back to the map and pointed to the northwest corner of Tannisford. “There’s something here I want a couple of our miners to explore. I know we found a cache of rubies nearby sometime last year. I’m going to send one of my lead men out there. But I need to go with them.”

  These words gave Rez the full picture. He crossed to the safe on the far wall, spun the dial back and forth following the code. He’d used Isobel’s birthdate.

  He reached in and removed a small dark blue velvet bag. There were several rubies inside.

  Rez returned to the map and set it down in front of Oregis. “I told you to use these as needed.”

  Oregis scowled. “They’re for your daughter.”

  “And for you. I need you at full bore. More than ever. You know what’s at stake.”

  “I don’t know what to say.”

  Rez laughed. “Thank you will do.”

  “Thank you, Rez.” Oregis’s jaw worked as he picked up the bag with both hands then slid it deep into the front pocket behind his waistband. Gremlins had a lot of places to store the things they stole or in this case were given. “You were always a good friend, even if you are a vampire.”

  “Now, will you take us to the black market and as close to Underworld as you can get us?”

  He grimaced as he cast his gaze Holly’s direction. He moved closer then levitated in a full circle around her. “Sorry, Sweetheart, but we’re going to have to whore you up a bit.”

  Chapter Eleven

  Holly had never been so nervous. Oregis had told her to sex it up, but not go too slutty. The black market grapevine had it that the Tannisford Underworld catered to the wealthy, but it was still mostly about sex.

  She chose a simple black dress with a come-and-get-me short hemline. It was cut low enough on top to reveal a superb line of cleavage. She’d never put on so much eye make-up in her life and her lips were cherry red.

  She donned about half a dozen silver chain necklaces and a pair of red crystal earrings that dangled past her chin. She had to admit, the jewelry choices worked, though she kept her bracelet down to one simple silver band. She finished it off with a ruby ring.

  Having teased her hair to create some height, she angled it all back with a series of mother of pearl combs, then glued it in place with a heavy dose of hairspray. Her curly black hair still hung to her waist, but in a narrower fall than usual. The result wasn’t too bad, but she did look like she was about one inch of hair-height away from standing on a street corner.

  Add a pair of stilettos, she was good.

  When she moved into the living room, Rez had a glass of whisky to his lips as he turned toward her.

  “How do I look?”

  He sputtered the sip he’d taken, then coughed a few times. She took it as a good sign.

  Oregis drew close, his lips crooked. “My wife has a dress just like that. She wears it for me on summer solstice eve.”

  “Hey, stop teasing me. I’m freaking out. Are these shoes okay?” She’d chosen a pair of stilettos she’d bought from Oregis with red satin bows at the back.

  She looked to Rez for approval. But she wasn’t expecting the sudden, powerful wave of his sexy eucalyptus and thyme scent. It blew so hard, she lifted both hands to keep herself upright. As he stared at her, his nostrils flared and he began moving toward her.

  Her lips parted. She was having difficulty catching sufficient air for her lungs. Her body responded as though she’d just discovered what man was.

  Oregis interjected. “I need to spruce up as well. I’ll meet you in Boylbury. Won’t be but a short trip to the mine from there. Okay kids?”

  When neither responded, he levitated swiftly toward the front door. “See you in fifteen.”

  Holly heard the front door click shut. But she didn’t see much of anything else except how Rez had lowered his shoulders and now levitated toward her. Fast.

  He reached her and planted his hands on her arms.

  Her heart slammed around in her chest. “What are you doing?”

  “What do you think I’m doing?”

  Her eyes widened. “But we have to go.”

  “You heard Oregis. We’ve got fifteen minutes and something tells me what’s about to happen won’t take even half that time.”

  “Oh. My.”

  He picked her up and just like that her legs wrapped right around his hips without a single encouragement from her rational mind. He took her into the bathroom and set her on the counter. He pushed her skirt up around her waist and ripped her thong right off. She thought maybe he was the most brilliant man in the universe.

  He dropped suddenly to his knees, right there on the bathroom floor, grabbed her ass then pulled her to the edge of the counter. His mouth was on her sex and her hands were plastered on the mirror behind her as he went to town.

  He was right about the timing. He’d only lapped and sucked at her for maybe thirty seconds and she was already clawing at his head and yelling at him. “Get up here. I need you inside me and please sink those fangs in my neck. I’ve got a supply for you.”

  She’d never seen a man work his pants so fast. He didn’t bother with his shirt or his boots, another sign of his brilliance. He took his stiff cock in hand, pulled her close again and found the entrance to her sex.

  She had her arms wrapped tight around his shoulders as he pushed inside. She was so damn wet, he slid straight in and began to thrust.

  He pushed her hair away from her neck. She moaned so loud the sound bounced off the glass shower door opposite and made her moan all over again.

/>   He only licked her neck twice before he nipped her vein, secured his mouth around the wounds and began to suck.

  His hips went to work at the same time.

  His scent was so strong she kept her lips parted to catch every layer of fragrance.

  Her body was ripe for him. He drove quickly and sucked down her life force. When he added a vibration to his cock, she whimpered then pathed, Sweet Goddess! I didn’t know you could do that.

  He moved vampire fast and that was all it took. She climbed quickly to the peak of ecstasy and flew over the edge.

  He was writhing on top of her and she knew he was coming as well. She could almost feel what he was experiencing. He left her throat, sealed the wounds and began to roar.

  The orgasm intensified and sent a wave of sensation up through her abdomen and made her heart expand. Her head felt light and every nerve ending tingled. She gripped his shoulders hard and cried out.

  This wasn’t sex. This was something so far beyond anything she’d experienced, she didn’t have a word for it.

  And all because she’d worn a low-cut dress, teased her hair up, then put on red lipstick.

  As ecstasy passed, he held her tight, panting, though his hips jerked a couple of times for good measure.

  He drew back slightly. “I swear I could sense your pleasure when you came and it made me come so fast. This was crazy.”

  She smiled. Her own words came out in a breathy rush. “Wicked crazy.” Her heart beat twice as fast as normal, but her chest was light. “We’re being very bad. We’re supposed to hunt down Cruce and instead you have me on my bathroom sink.”

  “I like your sink. I like being here.”

  He seemed so open in that moment. He even leaned in and kissed her. She realized this was who he’d been before the tragedy.

  When he drew back, she said, “I like you being here.” For a split second, she saw what their future could be and her heart began to ache.

  Awareness dawned, a flash inside her mind that made her blink. She didn’t want to put a name to what she was feeling. She really didn’t.

  But there it was, staring at her in the light blue of Rez’s eyes and causing her heart to beat erratically. She felt so much in this moment, she could hardly breathe.

 
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