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           J.W. Phillips
 

  “I made you something. I know you don’t like my handy work, but I think you’ll like this.” She smiled and tossed a sloppy wrapped present at him. He bounced it in his hands.

  “You’re my greatest gift.”

  “Just open it.”

  He meticulously unwrapped the present, his face beamed when he saw it. It was a small leather band. The leather had seven small silver beads braided throughout, the beads spelled out TDC&JDE.

  “It’s not as nice as your other one, but I thought you would like it.” Julie shoved her hands in her back pockets. He glanced up at her, and smiled his mega-watt, million dollar, Trucker Castleman smile.

  “I love it, it’s perfect.” He smooth his fingers across the leather and blinked back tears.

  “Anytime it gets too much, you can look at it and know I. Am. Yours.” She sat down in his lap then kissed his cheek. He nodded his head as Julie tied the bracelet on him. “Truck, it’s not ever going to be easy is it?”

  “No it’s not, but I promise you it’ll be worth it.” He rubbed down the length of her face. She turned to kiss the palm of his hand.

  “Angel, are you ready for this weekend?”

  “Yes, but first, Trucker, tell me more?” she asked. Julie laid back against his chest, and started fiddling with a button on Trucker’s shirt. “More about ... demons?” She hated questioning him, but she needed to know.

  “We are horrible and hideous monsters who only want to destroy you.” His voice trailed off, and he started clicking his tongue. His fear was almost palpable. She tilted her head up to glimpse into his eyes. The pain in them left her lost.

  “You’re not like that.” She reached up and stroked his unbelievably soft facial hair. She wished she knew how to soothe him. He didn’t speak for a few seconds.

  “Yeah, baby, I am. Part of me thrives on it.” He slipped her legs off his and stood up, scratching the back of his head. “Part of me wants to be good, be the man you deserve.”

  She wrapped her hand around his lower arm. “You are good.”

  He flipped around and fell to his knees. “Angel, you bring out that part.” He rubbed his forehead against hers. “If something happens to you . . . because of me.” He vigorously shook his head.

  “You won’t let anything happen to me.” She traced over his lips. “But I need to know more.”

  He sat back down beside her. “What do you want to know?” His mouth was draw in a cautious straight line.

  Oh, where to begin. I don’t know enough to know where to begin.

  “Are there different types of demons?”

  “Yes, Emily and her mom are shape shifters,” he explained.

  “A what?” Julie’s mind was running so fast. She felt like it was going to explode. This is more than I ever dreamed.

  He took her trembling hands in his. “Angel, a shape shifter can take on the shape of anything or anyone. It’s a great tool in spying. Todd, remember him?” Trucker asked. Julie didn’t respond so Trucker continued. “He’s a jokester.”

  He felt her shiver in his arms. The sight of his angel, his sweet Julie, with her big green eyes and a pouting lip almost crazed him. “I promise no one’s going to hurt you. Just breathe and I’ll protect you from all this.”

  “That snake that bit you?”

  Trucker nodded. “Is a shifter.”

  Julie started gnawing on her fingertips. “You killed him?”

  “No, Angel, we can’t die until our mission is fulfilled. I guess you can say we’re bullet proof.” He smiled a wicked grin. “He wanted to hurt you so I just left him to suffer a few hours.”

  Trucker looked over at Julie and pulled her hand away from her face. “Yes, babe, I enjoyed it. There are only three people I don’t enjoy hurting. My mom, my sister, and you.”

  “Don’t talk like that.”

  “You wanted to know. You wanted to know more, and Angel, I’m the worst kind out there.”

  “What kind are you?”

  “A power demon.” He pulled his hands down over his face, flustered.

  “I thought you all wanted power.”

  “We do, but I crave it. Ugh.” He leaned forward on the couch, his elbow resting on his knees, his legs apart. “I absorb power from humans.”

  “How?” She felt her hand go to her mouth, but he didn’t even comment on her nail biting.

  “I told you that all your myths come from our traits. Right?” He glanced at her over his shoulder.

  “Yeah,” she said and nodded.

  “Emily is a shifter. They love to change into animals. They can run and be free. Hence, the werewolf myth was born. Todd is a jokester, in other words he loves to play tricks on you. Make you see things that aren’t there. He’s the topic of many a ghost stories.”

  “And?” Julie asked and by the look of dread on Trucker’s face wished she didn’t.

  “I feed.” He gripped her hand and placed it onto his chest. “I absorb power that way, thus a modern day vampire is born.”

  He feeds off humans . . . blood. NO! She jerked her hand away.

  “You drink . . . blood?” she whispered.

  “Yes, angel and yes, I like it.” His eyes peered at her steadily, studying her.

  “When?”

  “I use to a lot, but you changed that.”

  “When was the last time?”

  “The night before you went with me. The night of the bonfire.”

  “You haven’t fed since then.”

  He took a deep a breath. “Angel, I want to be good for you. I want this life with you.” He slammed his head on the back of the couch and slouched. “I need you more than I need that.”

  “Who was it?”

  “Who was what, baby?”

  “At the bonfire, whose blood?”

  His hand fisted up at his side. “Why do you ask questions that will just hurt you?”

  “I want to know. I need to know.”

  “Courtney,” he whispered. “I wanted you so bad . . . I was hurting and it made me feel better. I wish it were anybody but her. But she was there and she was easy.”

  “Show me.”

  “Show you what?”

  “How you feed without touching a human?”

  “Stand up,” Trucker ordered. Julie stood and turned to face him. Trucker bounced to his feet but didn’t touch her. “Take off your bracelet.”

  Julie unsnapped the bracelet and slipped it into the palm of Trucker’s hand. His eyes instantly got brighter, shimmering with raging blue flames. Julie had a pulled in her that was indescribable. Without a word from the both of them, Julie tilted her head, offering her neck up for Trucker’s taking. He bent slightly and sealed his mouth around her neck. True to his word, the only small part of his body touching her was his lips and teeth as they scraped over the throbbing vein on her neck. He didn’t bite down instead he pulled back and held up one finger.

  “My favorite way,” he whispered and immediately

  Julie placed her wrist up to his lip. Trucker still didn’t bite down. He simply placed a light kissed on it then fell back on the sofa.

  Julie wasn’t sure if she was relieved he didn’t bite her or hurt. Courtney, my arch rival, gave you something I haven’t. Can I even do it?

  “Do you want my blood?” she asked and sat down beside him.

  “Yes, you smell amazing and your life force is strong. It’s actually the strongest life force I’ve ever came across.”

  A lump formed in her throat as she held her arm out and placed it to his mouth. “Here.”

  “Oh, babe, I don’t want it out of your wrist. I want to plunge my teeth deep in your neck as I make love to you.”

  “Is that why you haven’t . . . we haven’t?” Julie asked as Trucker nodded his head slowly and deliberately.

  Julie squirmed out of Trucker’s arms and lay back on the couch. She swept her hair off her neck as Trucker crawled over on top of her. His mouth closed around her neck, she let out a cry as his teeth sunk in. A sudden and sharp s
ensation tingled across her skin. She found herself floating in a pleasurable haze, and felt a tug in the pit of her stomach as he let out a moan. He sucked greedily, her precious blood pooled in his mouth. Julie became dizzy as her life force slipped from her body. The sheer undiluted ecstasy she felt started to turn into a sharp prickling. He was taking too much. Julie was unsure if he was capable of stopping.

  “Trucker, it’s hurting.”

  He kneaded his fingers painfully into her breast, and twisted his head trying to pull away, but he latched deeper into her skin. He rocked back and forth, fighting a battle within himself. His eyes went black.

  “Trucker, you have to stop. Fight it, baby. Fight it for the both of us.

  His eyes flickered blue. He shoved her body deeper into the sofa cushions and sprung to his feet. “No, Angel, why did you do that? I could’ve hurt you.” He wiped a spot of blood off the corner of his mouth. “I could’ve bonded with you.”

  “No, you couldn’t. You love me.”

  “I don’t need blood to survive. I use it to draw life and power from you. It makes me feel alive and strong.” He hesitated. “It takes a piece of your soul away. I don’t want to hurt you. I’ve taken so much from you. I’m not feasting on you.” He sat back down and lifted her body onto his lap. She froze. He tenderly brought his face to snuggle against her neck, and slowly licked the mark left behind by his teeth. It vanished. “You didn’t think we left behind evidence.” He licked the corner of his mouth as his eyes finally went back to normal.

  She didn’t know what to think or why she did it. She didn’t know if it was the fact she wanted to share her entire self with him or if it was the fact that the last time he shared that experience, it was with Courtney. She did know, she didn’t regret it. “You want to bond with me. How is that different?” She placed her hand on his cheek and shifted his face toward her.

  “I will release my bonding agent in you. It’s unlike anything I can describe.” He angled her head to the side, and started trailing his nose up and down her exposed neck, inhaling. “You will take my blood too,” he murmured into her neck.

  She shoved him off her. “What?”

  “My special smell that you love?”

  Julie nodded her head.

  “That’s my blood calling you. I knew how much my human side wanted you, but when you mention my smell, I knew my demon side wanted you just as much. It wants to bond with you, and baby, you will want it one day too. When I bite down and pour my bonding agent in you.” He stopped and kissed her forehead. “You will gladly take it.”

  He smiled showing his elongated teeth. Julie reached up to touch them but he shook his head and brought his wrist to his mouth. When he pulled his arm back, Julie saw a drop of blood drip on the front of his shirt.

  “Taste it, Angel. It will make you feel amazing.” Trucker said in a deep, raw voice.

  The world fell away around her. Leaving behind a gaping hole to swallow her up into. He wanted her to take his blood.

  “I can’t,” Julie responded and clamped her mouth shut.

  “Oh, babe, you can, and you will love it.” He placed his wrist to her mouth and let the blood coat her lips.

  She licked her lips and her mouth twisted as she tasted the blood. Her legs started to tingle. She latched on tighter and let his blood coat her mouth. Losing track of time, she greedily sucked his blood down her throat. Trucker’s brows creased as if the thought of what she was doing was more painful than her touch.

  “Angel, my love, you need to stop. I’m breaking here, and I won’t be able to control myself much longer.”

  She took in one more gulp of blood before releasing her mouth from around his arm. Julie leaned against him, never feeling closer to anyone in her life. She was not sure of the feeling still coursing through her, but she was sure that would not be the last time she got to experience it.

  He wrapped her curl around his finger. “I’m sorry.”

  “For what?”

  “Being me, my mom gave up her life for me and now I’m asking you to do the same.”

  “I’m not giving up anything,” Julie said and stood up, pulling her cotton shirt over her head. Trucker didn’t even give her a moment to think before he had her thrown on the couch and shoving himself down over her.

  “Not now, not until after this weekend. I can’t until I know I’m not going to lose you,” Trucker said and pushed up, without once looking at her.

  Chapter 15

  Trucker put the top down on his car, letting the wind whip through his hair. Trucker was full of life. Too full. Julie couldn’t help but wonder if drinking her blood was part of the reason he was so high-spirited. Who was she trying to fool? She was just as exuberant and for the first time in her life, horny.

  “Where are you taking me?” she asked, and secretly hoped it involved a bed and her.

  “With me. You might not ever want to go with me again after this weekend, but right now, you’re going to enjoy herself.”

  She hated to start questioning him but needed some answers.

  “Truck?” She reached over to put her hand on his knee. “Can I ask you something?”

  “Anything, you know that,” he answered, placing his hand on hers.

  “Why do you keep saying, I won’t want you anymore?”

  He clicked his tongue. “Angel, how can I put this? It isn’t really a dinner party. It’s for lack of a better word, a board meeting.” He squeezed her hand. “Some of the worst evil comes together once or twice a year to strategize. Tomorrow night is that night and this is the place.” He scrutinized Julie’s face, her expression frozen in fear. “Can you take it?” he asked.

  “Yes,” she struggled to get out. The thought of all that evil coming together in one place and the one man she thought would always protect her throwing her in the middle of it. “Are you crazy?”

  “About you. Angel, I don’t want you anywhere near that place. I have no choice.” Pleading with her, he gripped her firmly against him. She felt his cool skin, and knew her Trucker was still in charge.

  “Why?” she whispered.

  “I didn’t want to tell you this but I see I have no choice. Hear me out before you respond, please?

  She nodded her head once. She wanted to cover her ears and scream, but needed to hear how he could put her in so much danger.

  “It was a demand put on my father. We tried to fight it, but they refuse.”

  “Why?” she asked, subdued.

  “They want to prove you are not a suitable match for me. That you would crumble in my world,” he said, slowly. It was as if he had some confession in his head for days and dreaded releasing it.

  “Why do they care?” she asked. He flicked her bottom lip to stop her from chewing on it.

  He looked away and begged, “Don’t ask, please?”

  “Answer me,” she demanded.

  “Angel, my sweet love, I’m under contract to marry Emily when I’m twenty-five.”

  “Stop this car, now!”

  Before he even got parked, she had the door thrown open and was out of the car, ready to puke. The blackness had rushed over her heart taking all her hopes and dreams away. How could she win? His future was with Emily, not her. Why did she even care? He was never hers anyway. Their future was null and voided.

  “Please don’t leave me.” He hovered over her. She could tell by his stance, he was terrified. “I never wanted her. The contract was signed when I was five.” He fisted his fingers through his hair. She wanted to reach out and touch him, but knew each moment they were together her heart would entwine more deeply into his, until her heart no longer beat too. He would soon be twenty, could she save him from himself in five short years. She looked at him broken and battered and knew she had to try.

  With her heart screaming out in pain, she reached out for him. “Don’t you have a choice?” she asked, hopeful.

  “No, my own life was planned before I was even born. Even our move to your little town was foreseen. There
was a great debate when I was small at who would run the Brotherhood. They knew what the prophet foresaw in me. So it was agreed that if my father would sign that I would marry Emily he could rule the Brotherhood. That way both families could have a part in the greatness of my mission.”

  Julie felt her mind wanting to close up; she had to stay strong for him. “What’s your mission?” she asked, cautiously.

  “All I know is it has to do with politics. Some of the greatest leaders in history have been a.” He stopped, unable to say the simple word, demon. What he was, was more than he could bear.

  “Demon,” Julie finished his sentence.

  “Yeah, I’ll do all I can to be with you, to be good for you,” His brow creased together, his expression riddled in pain. “Don’t leave me,” he whispered.

  “Is it hard to be with me? To be good around me?” Julie wanted to know if he could even keep up his facade for her.

  “Yes,” he kissed the top of her head and then took a long, hard, deep breath. “It’s almost impossible. First, your aura is that of an angel, the pain is horrendous. I can fight through the pain, but then the rage boils deep in the pit of my stomach. It is like a boiling pot with a tight lid. It boils and boils until it knocks the lid off.” He paused taking a deep breath. “But baby, that pain has nothing on the pain I would experience if I couldn’t touch you.”

  “Can demons even love?”

  “Not like humans, theirs is a possessive nature. Kind of like a child with their favorite toy, they care about it and want it with them, but they can throw it down to play with another toy. Then let some other child come pick it up and it infuriates them.”

  “Possessiveness is not love. It’s control. What kind of love do you have for me? Human kind or demon kind.”

  “Both,” he acknowledge. “but don’t you see that makes you the most loved woman ever.”

  “Huh?” she asked, baffled.

  “I do have that possessive nature over you. You’re mine, and I would fight someone to the ends of the earth for you. I also have the humanly love that will always put you first. We don’t have many feelings but what we have is heighten. Those feelings are never changing. My dad doesn’t love my mom the way you think of love, but she is his. He will protect her. He has a powerful need to protect her, but his needs come first. The same way with Sea and me, he’ll protect us to the death. My demonic side considers you its favorite possession. He’ll fight for you. My human side loves you beyond measure and wants your needs to come first. So see, Angel, this is a hard world to be in but you’re lucky because no one is loved like you are.”

 
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