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A vampires embrace, p.4
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       A Vampire's Embrace, p.4

         Part #2 of Blood Rose Time Travel series by Caris Roane
 
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  He’d felt her resistance. Same as his own. He had powerful reasons for not wanting to get involved again. He had four reasons in fact, his dead wife, his two murdered young boys and his abducted teenage daughter.

  He’d traveled to Bergisson Realm once-a-week in recent months hunting for Isobel. The ruling mastyr, Ethan, and his wife, Samantha had a shared power to dissolve the Invictus bonds. Never letting hope fail, he’d checked out every young female they’d rescued just to be sure.

  But there was something else about Holly, besides his desire for her, that had his mind whirring. Wanda was right. Holly had a power surge going on right now. If she could teleport, what else could she do? Was it possible she could help him locate Isobel?

  As he took another swig, a second tough question surfaced. Once he was with her again, would he be able to control himself?

  Okay. Maybe one more beer.

  Then he’d head out and get some answers.

  Chapter Three

  Holly sat on the front steps of her mountain home, her elbows on her knees, chin in hand. She didn’t know how long she’d been out there.

  When she’d returned from Millerell, even before she got showered, she’d planted herself on the stone entry. She needed to think, to settle her mind, to figure things out.

  She liked being in her simple mountain garden. When she’d built and landscaped her home, she’d created a natural sloping garden full of rocks, junipers, several holly shrubs and other winter loving plants. Now that it was April, the snow was gone and the plants looked relieved. Some of the new growth was bright green.

  The view helped as well. It was a roll of majestic forested land well in the distance. The range was much taller than where she’d built and had snow-capped peaks.

  She sighed. Traveling in the time-path always left her fatigued and for some reason her heart labored now in her chest. More than once, she’d tried to self-heal, but the heavy, weighted sensation continued. She was a little concerned. If she wasn’t better by the next evening, she’d seek Vojalie out for a remedy.

  A pair of realm night-sparrows chased each other into the nearby pines. She watched. If only her own life could be so simple.

  Rez.

  The moment she merely thought his name, her heart started beating harder. Worse, desire rippled down her arms and kept rippling until her whole body shivered.

  She’d never experienced so strong and profound a reaction to a man in her life. She didn’t understand it at all especially since he wasn’t the kind of man she could admire.

  She rose to her feet. She needed a distraction. Anything to take her mind off the memory of Rez’s fangs piercing Wanda’s arm.

  She headed to the kitchen where the bowl still lay smashed on the floor. She was grateful for a simple chore to take her mind off the man.

  She swept up the debris, slowly moving her broom to keep the flour from billowing into the air. Yet, her mind kept circling back to Rez’s eyes. They were light blue and incredibly beautiful, clear as water, with a strange pull on her.

  She recalled how Wanda, one of the bartenders at the Wild Boar, had offered so readily to feed him as had several other villagers. She’d felt their willingness. She was still shocked.

  Of course, Rez had just saved an entire troll family and who knew how many other realm-folk by taking on two Invictus pairs. Still, she’d hardly expected so many to come forward. It was clear the villagers knew him well and appreciated him. She wondered if he’d helped them out in the past.

  She would never approve how he left the Tannisford Vampire Guard, however. She knew his reputation and it wasn’t good. He’d refused to rejoin the Guard and hadn’t fought in the final battle against Margetta. Her brother, Scott, had died in service as a Guardsman. Rez had no excuse for not taking up arms, even if tragedy had struck his family. He wasn’t the only person in Tannisford devastated by Invictus attacks.

  Once the flour was cleaned up, she took her satchel to her workroom. She checked her supplies carefully, noting any depleted quantities. She sterilized the needle and syringe and replaced the essential oils, herbal infusions and mineral compounds she’d used to make the antidote.

  She’d been training with Vojalie for a full, intense two years on the mysteries of time-travel with a side-specialty in dark fae poison antidotes.

  Were tonight’s events the reason why? Had Vojalie seen her in the future with Rez and knew the training Holly would need?

  She could still recall the moment when Vojalie approached her about joining her small group of apprentices. She’d just finished teaching one of her classes at Tannisford University, when Vojalie had appeared in the hallway.

  She’d known of the powerful fae all her life. Everyone knew who she was and how much she’d done over the centuries on behalf of the Nine Realms. She served on the Sidhe Council and was married to an ugly though extremely charismatic troll named Davido. They had a young troll child at home, Bernice.

  Yet, she’d never met the woman personally. To see her in the halls of the university, having appeared out of nowhere, had been a shock. She was so surprised, she’d almost dropped into an old-fashioned and outdated curtsy.

  When Vojalie had asked for a private word, Holly took her to the office she shared with a couple of other teachers. Each was present when she and Vojalie arrived, but quickly excused themselves.

  Vojalie had gotten to the point right away: She was looking for several gifted fae women to train in time-pathing.

  Holly had been unable to speak for a half-minute. She kept wondering if she’d heard correctly. “But I thought time-pathing was a myth?”

  “I thought so myself and ignored the call for some time. Then suddenly, the realm-gift was on me. I received a series of visions as well showing I was called to train a select few fae women.”

  “Was I in one of the visions?”

  Vojalie had nodded solemnly. “It also helps for each to have some vampire heritage. Apparently, a spattering of strong vampire genes aids in time-pathing.”

  “My mother is a vampire.” She’d spoken quietly. She recalled feeling very confused about what was going on. Time-Pathing? It seemed absurd and impossible.

  Yet even as she’d looked into Vojalie’s sincere, brown eyes, she’d felt the past calling to her, demanding she heed Vojalie. She must apprentice herself to the beautiful fae woman who had served the Nine Realms forever.

  So, she had.

  Now she was here.

  She glanced around. When had she moved to her wood-burning fireplace in the living room? The grate was empty, a sight that troubled her.

  What had Vojalie said to her recently? The words came back like a sword slicing through her. “You’re an empty vessel, Holly. I’m sorry to say as much but others are doing better because they have more to give. They open themselves up to new experiences. They challenge their preconceptions. You’ve got to start doing the same. It’s imperative and I say this both as your friend and as a woman concerned for the safety of our world. You will be needed very much in the coming months and you must prepare yourself. You can’t keep living the withdrawn, careful life you’ve created for yourself.”

  How much Holly had resented Vojalie’s words at the time. Yet, when she’d reviewed her life, she’d come to believe there was merit in the woman’s rebuke. Holly was too careful, too restrained, too exacting in her requirements of the men she dated. She’d built a box for herself, crawled in and thrown away the key.

  The empty grate stared back at her. Cold. She looked around. All she felt was cold.

  She couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had a real date?

  Of course, she’d sworn off men for a time, while she studied with Vojalie. She’d thrown herself into her time-pathing studies. She’d become a skilled herbalist and she now excelled at concocting antidotes.

  She lifted her arms once then dropped them against her sides. She’d never been so frustrated in her life.

  Rez was the cause. Something about him had op
ened this entire can of worms, though she didn’t understand why.

  She headed to the shower. Maybe getting cleaned-up from being so close to the fire and smoke in Millerell would soothe her raw nerves.

  But when she took off her tunic and red-flowered pants, she saw that both were caked with Rez’s blood. A shudder ran through her as tears sprang to her eyes.

  She stripped down and put her clothes in a pile she would tend to later. She then stepped beneath the warm spray, washed the smoke from her hair, and scrubbed herself clean.

  Usually, a shower made her feel better. Yet even as she toweled off then began blow-drying her hair, nothing within her body seemed eased at all. She rubbed her hand over her chest. Her heart labored even more which made her think again how much she’d wanted to donate earlier instead of having Wanda do the job.

  Her thoughts turned to Rez and desire flowed all over again, this time in heavy demanding waves.

  She’d been too long without a man in her life. That was the underlying problem. She needed to start dating again.

  But that wouldn’t help anything right now.

  She grew very still, aware of her vampire nature. She had a very specific need right now.

  Would it be so wrong to use Rez to take care of her?

  Would he even be willing?

  ~ ~ ~

  Rez was feeling the buzz now. After seeing the bottom of three glass mugs, his joints felt loose. The beer had even helped a little with his perpetual stomach cramping.

  Wanda kept him company between serving the other bar-huggers. He had his elbow on the polished wood and his face propped up in one hand. One eye was shut. Battling and beer would do that to a warrior.

  “Holy hell, would you look at that.”

  Wanda’s cursing wasn’t so unusual, not among rowdy shifters and vampires. But it was rarely because of an unexpected sight.

  Rez lifted up to look at her. The music was loud so he’d just barely heard her. “What? Look at what?”

  Her hands were frozen around a dripping mug she’d been washing.

  “Your woman is back. That’s what. And has she let her hair down.” Wanda even grinned.

  Rez scowled and made his slow tongue work. “I don’t have a woman.” He only had his overworked fist and an ancient stone smithy he didn’t want to go home to.

  Not tonight.

  Tonight, after maybe one more beer, he’d head to Holly’s place and see if he could persuade her to work with him to find Isobel. If anything else happened, of a more carnal nature, he’d consider it a perk.

  Wanda jerked her chin in the direction of the door behind him. Rez swiveled on his bar stool.

  But there she was.

  “Holly.”

  Her name came out of his mouth like a prayer.

  A flickering ‘Realm Brew’ sign in the window a couple of feet from where she stood, set her dark curly hair flashing over and over. She’d done something to her hair, fluffed it out. She wore make-up, too. She looked … hot.

  She didn’t smile, though. Instead, she appeared solemn as she met his gaze across the room. Solemn, but edgy. The woman wanted something.

  Holy hell was right.

  His body, all on its own, rose slowly from the metal bar stool. He heard Wanda say something about how she’d cover his tab. He might have thanked her, he wasn’t sure.

  Wanda whistled, a quick, piercing sound meant for her bouncers. From his periphery, he watched two of her shifters head in Holly’s direction. They quickly held back several vampires moving in on her.

  Wise call because Rez’s blood had begun to streak wildly through his body. He wasn’t sure he could guarantee what he’d do with his hands now balling into fists.

  The effects of the alcohol quickly curled away from his brain.

  Time slowed as he took one purposeful step after another in her direction. She wore something different than before. Snug jeans for one thing. For another, she had on a low-cut red sweater that revealed at least two inches of beautiful cleavage. His tongue hit his lips. His mouth watered.

  She lifted her hand and pushed her hair away from her throat. Did she even know how erotic that was to a man like him, a man with a pair of fangs now throbbing in his gums?

  He took a couple more steps and her face became a beacon, drawing him toward her. She had strong straight black eye-brows, which gave her a determined look. Her large hazel eyes never shifted away from him. Goddess, she was a beauty by any standard. But it was her complexion that got to him as though her skin glowed from within somehow.

  His mind shot back to taking blood from the troll, but looking at Holly and wishing it was her. Desire once more rose like a heavy wave pushing him forward.

  Time readjusted and he moved quickly to stand in front of her. The bouncers argued with the vampires. One of them was a mastyr.

  Rez’s fangs emerged. He growled, a sound that rose above the rackety music in the far corner.

  Suddenly, the music stopped mid-beat.

  He growled again, only it turned into a roar, full of mating resonance.

  The rest of the bar fell silent.

  He had so much adrenaline pumping through him he shook. His fangs pressed into his lips. He tasted his own blood.

  The roar dropped to a growl, then kept on rolling.

  ~ ~ ~

  Holly had erotic shivers chasing all over her body. She felt like an animal in heat and the mate she wanted kept those shivers coming.

  The growl.

  The roar.

  Sweet Goddess, the roar.

  More growling.

  She ached deep in her sex. If she’d felt cravings before, now she was desperate.

  Yet, the room was frozen and Rez shook. Her man was ready to fight, to do battle over her if he needed to.

  She had to do something.

  She moved to stand next to him. Her gaze became fixed on the sharp points of his fangs. Her neck throbbed and her heart pounded. For the first time in her life, she wanted to feed a vampire.

  And she wanted her jeans off, his body moving over hers.

  She slowly lifted her hand and rested her palm gently on his cheek.

  With her touch, he grew very still.

  She lifted her gaze to his.

  She’d never seen his eyes this close before. The light blue had shards of silver.

  His voice pierced her mind. You came back.

  I came for you. Take me somewhere, Rez. Anywhere. Now. I’m yours.

  He slid his arm around her waist and pulled her tight against him. She could hardly breathe, but she didn’t care.

  He guided her outside then pulled her into his arms. She thought he meant to kiss her. Instead, he took her straight up into the air, levitating swiftly. She glanced down to watch as a flood of onlookers ran out of the bar and stared up at them. The sight grew smaller and smaller, then disappeared as he veered west.

  She wasn’t sure where he was taking her. Though, in truth, she didn’t care. She had what she wanted, his heavily muscled vampire body pressed up against hers.

  She felt like a different person somehow. Everything about her was fixed on him. All she cared about was being with him, feeding him, touching him, making love with him.

  She’d never done anything like this in her life. She ordered her careful steps, just as Vojalie had said. She took pains to weigh every decision.

  Coming to the Wild Boar had been a complete deviation.

  What she didn’t see yet, and maybe never would, was how this kind of decision could have a positive effect on the entire Nine Realms. She still didn’t know what Vojalie had meant by that or how anything she did could be important to the future of realm-kind.

  Yet here she was with an arm slung around Rez’s neck.

  A village came into view. Boylbury. She’d been there before many times. The coffee shop served excellent pies.

  Rez’s family home was on the main street and had once been the village smithy. She thought he’d take her inside. Instead, he kept flyin
g, crossed over the top of the house and headed toward the back, stone wall. The garden, maybe?

  He didn’t stop. He continued to fly and rose into the air even higher as he soared above his apple orchard. Another drystone wall appeared which separated the fruit trees from the pasture. Several horses grazed.

  In the distance, she could see trees near the northern hills. Finally, he began his descent aiming toward a large, ancient oak.

  Her heart quickened as she settled her gaze on the beautiful broad canopy and gnarled branches of the tree. The fae part of her extended her senses. There was something special, maybe even magical about this place. It was right that he brought her here.

  As he landed her on the grass nearby, he released her but took her hand to draw her beneath the canopy of leaves. The tangy smell of the oak as it played against his eucalyptus-thyme scent, made her nostrils quiver.

  He turned her to face him.

  There was only one thing she needed to say. “Take me.”

  ~ ~ ~

  Rez heard the words. More importantly, he felt how much she was with him.

  Good.

  He needed her present. “Get your clothes off.”

  She glanced around, probably checking to see if anyone was nearby. He was surprised when a flow of red mist began to rise and eventually covered the entire area surrounding the oak tree.

  Apparently satisfied with the level of privacy she’d created, she slid her top up and over her head.

  “You made mist.”

  She kicked off her shoes, though she levitated to keep her bare feet safe. “Vojalie taught me. She said mist would be important.” Her lips curved. “Right now, I’d say it is.”

  He marveled at her level of power, which sent a whole new layer of excitement coursing through his blood.

  Her cheeks were flushed as she lifted up from taking her jeans off. She stood in a red thong and a lacy, low-cut red bra. His lips parted. Her long, curly black hair hung over her shoulders and down her arms, framing her creamy skin.

  She moved in close and tugged his tank out of his leathers. She lifted the shirt exposing his abs and his pecs. She stopped there. “Sweet Goddess, you’re built.”

  When she leaned down and rimmed his nipples with her tongue, his hand fell to the nape of her neck. This was Holly, the professor’s daughter who had healed him. He’d always thought of her as uptight. Didn’t look like it from where he stood.

 
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