Druid vampire pg 13 vers.., p.1
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       Druid Vampire PG-13 Version, p.1

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Druid Vampire PG-13 Version
Druid Vampire

  PG-13 Version

  By KuroKoneko Kamen

  Copyright 2015 by KuroKoneko Kamen

  Cover Design by Mathia Arkoniel

  This is a work of fiction. All characters are invented. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

  Chapter 1: Butterfly

  Tattoo artist Derek Dearg was finishing up a memorial tattoo for a burly biker whose nickname was Mad Dog. The tattoo was of the man’s dead wife who’d gotten into a traffic accident on her Harley Davidson. The tattoo depicted the man’s blonde bombshell of a wife on her Harley. The bike’s tires were on fire, and a pair of angel wings was outstretched behind her.

  As Derek worked on the tattoo he couldn’t help but remember his own dead wife. Cinnia. He shook his head to clear it of such morose thoughts. Derek liked doing memorial tattoos best because they had meaning, spirit, and soul. Unlike some of the random tattoos people had him doing from fandom like Looney Tunes, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

  Women were even worse. They’d come from the beach in their skimpy bikinis and want a new ‘tramp stamp’ on their lower backs, four-leaf clover on their inner thigh, a group of stars, a rose, a heart, or a butterfly somewhere indecent. The drunken beach bunnies could barely handle the pain and would leave his tattoo parlor Voodoo Tattoo in tears.

  Voodoo Tattoo was located in sunny San Francisco, California, and just a few blocks away from the beach. The four-story townhouse he’d recently purchased had his business on the first floor while he lived in the upper levels. All of the windows were covered with thick, heavy drapes to keep out the sunlight, which was a must since Derek happened to be a vampire.

  Derek was able to get away with the odd, dreary, dark décor because his shop was a tattoo parlor. And tattoo parlors tended to attract lots of Goths, punks, hipsters, and bikers.

  California probably wasn’t the most ideal place for a vampire to live, but Derek didn’t care. He liked to live dangerously. And even if he were exposed to sunlight it would take a few minutes for his skin to catch on fire, and for him to burn away to a pile of ashes. And that was looking on the ‘bright side’ of his curse.

  Derek also had a very good reason for being in California. He’d pursued his Archenemy; a vampire named Slaine Morvyn, across the globe and had ended up there. Slaine had killed his wife Cinnia more than two thousand years ago.

  When Derek had first arrived in San Francisco a little more than three years ago, he hadn’t expected to stay in the city for very long. His only real skill besides hunting vampires was tattooing, and so he’d opened up a tattoo parlor. Unfortunately, he’d had an incident where he’d been unable to control his bloodlust, and had bitten one of his customers. This had landed his butt in prison where he ended up meeting three nonhumans who were now his best friends - merman, Levi Devlin, Hellcat shifter, Garth Mackenzie, and plant alien, Malakye Sterling.

  Levi had really saved his butt in prison by letting him drink his blood. Derek hadn’t planned on making ‘friends’ in San Francisco, but he’d ended up making new allies anyways. In prison, Derek had learned how to cook and how to be a grill chef or rotisseur. Levi, Garth and Malakye had also taken cooking lessons. Levi’s plan was to open up a seafood restaurant named Poseidon’s Trident as soon as he got out. The merman offered Derek the position of grill chef. Derek had been unable to refuse because he owed Levi. And Derek always repaid his debts.

  Unfortunately, their peaceful lives as chefs didn’t last for very long because Levi had some very powerful enemies. One day, the ADTF (Anti-Demonic Terrorism Force) came for Levi and blew up his restaurant. To make a long story short, Derek, Garth, Malakye, and Levi’s girlfriend, Vivien Tempest, had stormed the secret underwater base of the ADTF, and had rescued the merman before he could be vivisected.

  In order to thank his friends for their daring rescue, Levi had done a little deep-sea diving and managed to salvage four treasure chests full of gold doubloons from sunken ships. The merman had managed to rebuild his restaurant, but instead of asking Derek, Garth and Malakye if they wanted to work for him again, Levi had given each male their own treasure chest full of gold. Levi had then told them to pursue their own dreams and had suggested they open up their own businesses.

  As a result, Derek reopened his tattoo parlor, Voodoo Tattoo. Malakye opened up a flower shop named Out Of This World Flowers, and Garth opened up a candy shop named Helltastic Confectionary. Levi also opened up a new Poseidon’s Trident that was right on the beach this time, which made the merman extremely happy.

  The split saddened Derek, but in the end it was for the best. Now he could concentrate on finding Slaine and avenging his dead wife Cinnia. At night, Derek prowled the streets, dark alleys, and rooftops of San Francisco searching for vampires who sought to prey on innocent humans. And when Derek found them, he killed them without mercy. The city of San Francisco was currently under his protection.

  Each city in America had a Druid Vampire Hunter that was charged with its protection. When a vampire had killed the Hunter, who was in charge of protecting San Francisco, Derek had simply taken over his identity and duties. Because of this a replacement Hunter hadn’t been sent to the city, which was incredibly convenient for Derek.

  As Derek did the finishing touches to the face of Mad Dog’s wife, he couldn’t help but think about Cinnia again. Cinnia had been so beautiful with her long, crimson hair and sparkling, forest-green eyes. Her skin had been pale, and blue, Celtic, animal tattoos had adorned her arms. She’d been so brave and was always the first to charge into battle, especially if it meant saving a friend. Cinnia had also been kind, intelligent, nurturing and understanding. She’d had this fiery, unbreakable spirit. It’d taken proposing to Cinnia two hundred and forty-five times before she’d finally said ‘yes’.

  Aw crap. Derek mentally cursed. The woman was beginning to look more and more like Cinnia. He decided he’d better stop before he screwed up this poor guy’s memorial tattoo. Derek set his tattoo gun down on a stainless steel table, and with a clean towel lightly dabbed the blood off the man’s skin.

  His pupils dilated slightly at the smell of blood, but other than that he had no visible reaction. He had his bloodlust completely under control these days. “There. All done. Take a look in the mirror.”

  Mad Dog sat up on the padded table, looked at his back in the mirror on the wall, and grinned. “This looks frigin awesome, man. Thanks. Anna would love it, for sure. You made her look smoking hot!”

  Derek checked his reflection in the mirror to make sure it looked okay. Vampires didn’t cast reflections because they had no souls, but since Derek possessed magic he was able to will his reflection to appear in mirrors. It was a pretty handy trick. Especially when a vampire was trying his best to blend into human society.

  The bell above the door jingled as a new customer stepped inside the shop. For a moment, Derek’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of the stunning female and her long, red hair. It was like seeing a ghost from his past.

  But then he shook his head to clear it of the image of his dead wife, and focused on the young woman before him. He recognized her instantly - it was Rebecca ‘Becca’ Thorn. Becca was a cyber socialite and power blogger. She was also a writer for Epic Taste Magazine. Becca was an…acquaintance of him and his friends. She’d written an article about Poseidon’s Trident to help them out, and when Levi had needed help during his kidnapping Becca had spread the word online that a top-secret, government organization was about to dissect the last merman on Earth. As a result, the President had been forced to make Levi a citizen.

  Derek had always admired Becca from afar because of her sexy red hair, and had even shared a dance wi
th her at a friend’s wedding recently. But that was as far as he’d let things go between them.

  Derek had promised to love Cinnia forever and he took that promise very seriously. Even though she was dead and he was immortal. For more than two thousand years, he’d kept that promise to his dead wife, and hadn’t looked at another woman in a romantic way, or slept with one either.

  Derek only lived to avenge Cinnia and kill Slaine. And once he’d gotten vengeance he would let the sun have him, and then he’d finally be reunited with Cinnia on the other side. This was his plan.

  A surprised but pleased look came to Becca’s face as she caught sight of Derek. “Derek? You work here?”

  Derek gave her a chagrined look in return. “I’m the owner.”

  Becca frowned slightly at this revelation. “You don’t work at Poseidon’s Trident anymore? What about Levi and the guys? What happened? Did you guys have a falling out or something?” Her expression turned concerned.

  Derek chuckled and felt touched by her worry. “No, it was nothing so serious. Levi gave us the money to open up our own businesses. I opened up this tattoo parlor, Malakye opened up a florist and Garth opened up a candy shop.”

  Becca’s expression turned relieved. “Oh, I see. That was really nice of Levi.” She looked around the tattoo parlor curiously as if to take notes. Dark purple drapes covered the front windows, white pages with examples of blue tattoo designs covered one entire wall of the shop, and she spotted a stainless steel table covered with tattooing tools. Her eyes were drawn next to a stand that contained bellybutton rings and earrings for those who got piercings at the shop. Becca had expected rock music to be playing and was surprised that relaxing Celtic music was playing instead. “Your place is very…Goth.”

  Derek smirked. “It’s supposed to be.”

  “It’s so dark in here…how do you see what you’re doing?” Becca whipped out her smart phone. “Mind if I take some pictures?”

  Derek scratched the back of his neck, beginning to feel a little uneasy about her presence there. “Uh…sure, I guess. What’s this for?”

  Becca began to snap photos of the interior of the shop, and walked over to the wall covered in pages of tattoo designs and began to take pictures of them next. “I’m starting a new blog. It’s going to be all about tattoos and about all the tattoo parlors in San Francisco. I’m going to give them ranks and reviews.”

  Derek raised an eyebrow at the southern belle. “Tattoos? What happened to your dessert blog?”

  Becca frowned at the mere remembrance of her dessert blog. “I’ve decided to stop writing it. I’m sick of having to go to the gym all the time just so I can keep my figure.”

  Derek chuckled and raked his eyes over Becca’s curvy physique. “I think you look great. I like a woman with a little meat on her bones.” He winked and couldn’t believe that he was flirting with her.

  Becca blushed at the unexpected compliment. “Uh…thanks. I was getting sick of having to eat lettuce like a rabbit when I wasn’t eating desserts.” She glanced away since staring directly into Derek’s eyes was just too intense.

  “So why tattoos?”

  “I’ve always had a thing for guys with tattoos.” Her blush deepened at the words coming out of her mouth. “I mean, tattoos. I think they’re very interesting…like works of art that last forever. I’ve always been drawn to them. I wanted to get a tattoo actually, but my conservative, old-fashioned mother would have had a cow! But she’s all the way back in Arlington, Iowa so I’m free to do as I please now!” Becca’s lime-green eyes were sparkling with mischief.

  Derek gawked at her. “What are you saying? That you want me to give you your very first tattoo?”

  Becca nodded. “That’s exactly what I’m saying, sugar.” She reached into her cleavage, pulled out a small folded piece of paper, and handed it to Derek. “I want this tattoo done on my lower back.”

  Derek unfolded the paper and looked at the image of a Celtic, Tribal butterfly tattoo. A tattoo that looked exactly like the one his wife Cinnia had had on her arm! What the hell? Derek reached out and grabbed Becca’s arms in a tight grip. “Where did you get this design?” He demanded.

  Becca blinked up at Derek in confusion and her brow furrowed. “I…a friend gave it to me. Why? Does it have some sort of special significance?”

  “A friend, you say?” Derek let Becca go when he realized what a paranoid idiot he was being. A Celtic butterfly tattoo was a popular design. It was just a coincidence that the design Becca wanted looked just like Cinnia’s old tattoo. He scrubbed a hand down his face. Fool. “No…it’s a pretty design. That’s all. I’m impressed.”

  Becca’s expression shifted to relief and she beamed at him. “I’m glad you think so. So where should I lay down?”

  Mad Dog had finished gingerly putting his leather jacket back on, and stood up from the padded table. He walked over to Derek and handed him four hundred and fifty dollars. Derek charged one hundred dollars per hour, and it had taken him four hours to do the memorial tattoo. “Thanks again, man. Keep the change.”

  Derek grinned. “No problem. Don’t forget to recommend me to your friends.”

  Mad Dog chuckled. “Oh yeah, I’ll tell the gang alright. They’ll all want tattoos after they see mine.” The biker left the shop with a skip to his step.

  Derek motioned towards the padded table. “Please, lay down over here.”

  “Alright.” Becca made her way over to the table, sat down, and began to take her shirt off.

  Derek watched her, transfixed.

  Becca blushed when she noticed that Derek was staring at her. “Uh, Derek, would you mind turning around?”

  “Oh, yeah. Sorry, babe.” Derek quickly turned around and wondered what the hell was wrong with him. With his acute hearing he could hear Becca taking off her shirt, and then her bra. Derek gulped. Becca was shirtless and sitting right behind him.

  Becca lay down on the table on her stomach, and rested her chin on her hands. “You can turn around now.”

  Derek turned around and tried not to stare or drool. But it was hard when he could see the way her curves were pressing into the padded tabletop. Her bare back was exposed and her skin looked extremely soft and inviting. Her long red hair was cascading down her back and his heart clenched inside of his chest at the sight. Cinnia. He shook his head to clear it of such thoughts. Becca was not Cinnia.

  Derek approached the table, and set the butterfly design down on the small stainless steel table that had his tools on it. Not that he needed it. He would be able to tattoo the design into Becca’s skin from memory. Derek gathered a new single-use needle, his tattoo gun, a new bottle of blue ink, a bottle of black ink, some other thicker single-use needles, a clean towel, and some cotton balls and rubbing alcohol. “What color would you like the tattoo to be?”

  “Blue. Like yours. If that’s okay.”

  Derek swallowed again, his throat feeling dry. “Yeah, that’s okay.” He cleaned and disinfected Becca’s lower back. “This is going to hurt a little bit…but I’ll try to be as gentle as possible.”

  “Don’t worry. I know. And I trust you. That’s why I decided to do this now and with you. The other tattoo parlors I’ve visited so far…just weren’t the one. As soon as I walked in here and saw you…I knew I’d come to the right place for my first time.” Becca admitted softly.

  Derek was touched by Becca’s words and also slightly amused. I knew I’d come to the right place for my first time. Heh. “I’m honored that you would trust me with your first time.” He said in a deep, husky voice.

  Becca giggled at his suggestive words.

  Derek attached a new needle to his tattoo gun and began drawing an outline of the butterfly tattoo under her skin. She flinched at the feeling at first but then seemed to get used to it. She didn’t complain and didn’t cry. Derek was very impressed, and discovered a newfound respect for her. She was a real trooper. Once the outline was completed he cleaned
it with antiseptic soap and water.

  It was going to look gorgeous and sexy when he was done, and not only that. As a gift to her, Derek was going to use his magical powers to make this tattoo very special. Next Derek installed a thicker needle into his tattoo machine, and began shading the butterfly design. After cleaning the area again, he began to inject color. Periodically, he dabbed a clean towel against Becca’s skin to remove her delicious smelling blood.

  Derek couldn’t help but breathe in her delectable scent. She had a very clean, citrusy scent…like lemons or limes. He reached out and moved her long, silky hair out of the way revealing her neck. His pupils dilated and his fangs lengthened inside of his mouth at the sight of her bare neck.

  Derek could hear her heart beating loudly in his ears, could hear her blood rushing through her veins. He eyed the throbbing pulse on her neck. He jerked backwards in shock at how his body was reacting to her. What the? What the hell was wrong with him? He usually had such good control over his bloodlust, but right then, in that moment he craved biting Becca.

  Derek growled low in his throat, wondering what Becca’s blood would taste like. He bet it would be delicious. His black leather pants were feeling too tight.

  “Is something wrong?” Becca asked in her lilting, southern drawl.

  Derek realized that he’d stopped moving. He cleared his throat. “No, sorry. I zoned out for a minute there.”

  “That’s okay.”

  Derek resumed tattooing her. “I have to say, I’m impressed. Most girls would be in tears by now. You’re tougher than you look.”

  Becca smiled wryly. “It hurt at first, but now it just feels numb. And I feel like I’ve…” She trailed off and nibbled at her lower lip as if embarrassed.

  “Feel like you’ve…?” Derek prompted.

  “No, never mind.”

  By the time Derek finally finished with Becca’s tattoo he was incredibly aroused. He wanted to take her right there on the table. What the hell was wrong with him? He hadn’t been this attracted to a female since…Cinnia. Derek grabbed a towel, gently dabbed the blood off her lower back, and cleaned her tattoo.

  “Are you finished? Because I really have to pee.” Becca admitted.

  Derek put a hand over his mouth to hide his elongated fangs. “Yeah.”

  Becca began to sit up and Derek quickly turned around to give her some privacy as she pulled on her shirt without her bra.

  “Where’s the bathroom?”

  “Straight back and to your left.”

  “Okay. Thanks.” Becca hopped off the table and ran for the bathroom.

  “Phew.” Derek let out a breath of relief. If Becca hadn’t said anything…he may have attacked her! This was so not good. He had to get Becca the hell out of here as soon as she came back. He sighed and ran his hand over his mouth in a worried gesture.

  The bell above the front door jingled as a customer stepped inside and closed the door behind him. Derek turned to face the doorway and his eyes widened in horror. “You!” He snarled.

  Standing in front of the closed door was a male who was the same height as Derek at six-four. He had spiked-up white hair, and a pair of silver sunglasses on his face. The man was wearing a black, Gothic T-shirt with a silver design of the Grim Reaper on it, a long, white leather trench coat, black and white leather pants, a belt with a skull on it, and biker boots. Diamond earrings sparkled in his ears, a diamond and gold Rolex was on his wrist, and a few golden chains dangled around his neck.

  Slaine smiled amusedly at Derek. “Oh, look it’s Derek Dearg. What a coincidence-” Sarcasm was dripping from his voice.

  Derek attacked Slaine before he could finish his sentence, and punched him hard across the face. “What the hell are you doing here, you punk?” Derek couldn’t help but think about how Becca was in the bathroom while this psycho murderer was here in his shop!

  Slaine wiped the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand. “Now that wasn’t very nice. Is that any way to greet an old friend after a century of not having seen each other?” He pouted.

  “You’re no friend of mine, Slaine!” Derek moved to punch Slaine again, but Slaine caught his fist, twisted Derek’s arm behind his back and shoved Derek over to the front desk. He then pushed Derek against the desk and bent him over it.

  Slaine leaned over to breathe in Derek’s ear. “Now where are your manners, Derek?”

  Derek’s face flamed and he struggled against Slaine’s iron hold. But it was no use. Slaine’s vampire strength was far superior to his own. Slaine fed from humans whereas Derek fed off of rats. Because of this Derek was physically weak when compared to the supernatural strength of a true vampire. Derek could fight Slaine using his Druid magic but…Becca was still in the building and so until she left he was at Slaine’s mercy.

  Slaine seemed to realize Derek’s predicament as well. “You’ve gotten so weak, Derek. Haven’t you been feeding properly? Let me guess, you’re still feeding off of rats like a pathetic pet cat?”

  “Curse you, Slaine! I’ll kill you!” Derek growled and struggled against him.

  “Bull’s eye.” Slaine chuckled and pressed Derek’s face into the desk’s countertop, just to be a jerk. “I could kill you right here and now, you know? Or use you as a snack. I wonder how your blood would taste, Derek?” He purred.

  “Sick freak…”

  “But you can’t do anything to me because of your…guest, can you? Ah, she’s coming back. Now, play nice, Derek. We wouldn’t want to make a scene in front of the lovely lady.” Slaine let go of Derek, and backed away from him.

  Derek quickly straightened, spun around, and glared at Slaine heatedly. What he wouldn’t give to rip the man’s head off.

  Becca entered the main room and it was obvious she wasn’t wearing her bra. She caught sight of Slaine, smiled brightly, and ran over to him. “Hey honey, you’re right on time.” Becca kissed Slaine right on the lips and pulled back.

  Derek’s jaw dropped as he watched Becca’s casual greeting kiss. What the hell was going on?

  Slaine smirked at Derek’s slack-jawed expression. “Hey babe, so did you get your new tattoo?”

  Becca nodded, a gleam of excitement in her lime-green eyes. “Yep. Take a look.” She turned around and raised her shirt to reveal her lower back to Slaine.

  Slaine bent over, peered at it closely, and his pupils dilated slightly because of the scent of her blood. His sunglasses hid that though. He licked his lips. “It looks great. Very sexy. I can’t wait until it’s healed so I can run my tongue all over it.”

  Becca dropped her shirt, spun around and whacked Slaine playfully on the arm. “Geez, don’t be such a perv in front of my friend, honey.”

  Friend? Derek frowned. Had he just been friend-zoned? “Becca, I don’t understand. Who is this man to you?”

  Becca flushed. “Uh, he’s…my new boyfriend.”

  Slaine strolled over to Becca and draped his arm over her shoulders in a possessive gesture. “We’re lovers, actually.” He breathed into her ear, and Becca shuddered with delight.

  What the hell was going on? Please let this be some kind of nightmare. “Lovers? How the hell did this happen?” Derek’s voice was tinged with anger and he clenched his hands into fists at his sides.

  Becca blinked, not understanding where Derek’s sudden anger was coming from. “I met him at Tristan and Issy’s wedding. After our dance when you just…disappeared. Slaine kept me company and we just hit it off.” She explained casually. “You know, it’s funny, he has the same allergy to the sun that you do, Derek.”

  “I think for me it was love at first sight.” Slaine teased.

  Becca whacked his arm. “Geez, you’re such a joker, Slaine.”

  Derek felt like the ground was crumbling beneath his feet. He couldn’t believe that Slaine had somehow managed to become Becca’s boyfriend! And judging from how they were interacting so intimately with each other, they’d even slept together. He f
elt like ripping Slaine’s head off. Both of them. How dare he sleep with Becca Thorn. Becca was in grave danger. Slaine was going to kill her. It was only a matter of time.

  “How much do I owe you for the tattoo?” Becca’s voice pulled Derek from his grim thoughts.

  “Uh…it took two hours so two hundred.” Derek said distractedly.

  “I got it, babe.” Slaine whipped out a white leather wallet with a black skull on it, and handed Derek two hundred and fifty bucks. “Keep the change, friend. Shall we go, Becca? We have a dinner reservation for eight o’clock at Gary Danko.”

  Becca’s green eyes sparkled as Slaine reminded her of their dinner date. “Ooo, that’s right! I still can’t believe we’re going there. It’s so hard to get a reservation for that place sometimes. How did you do it, Slaine?”

  “Money talks, babe. Shall we?” Slaine offered Becca his arm in a gentlemanly manner.

  Becca readily looped her arm around Slaine’s. “Yep.” She glanced over at Derek. “Thanks again for the lovely tattoo, Derek.”

  “Uh, yeah, no problem. Have a nice evening.” Derek found himself saying.

  “Oh, we will. We’re going to have a very good time tonight.” Slaine assured, his voice dripping with innuendo.

  Becca and Slaine left the tattoo parlor, and as soon as the door was closed Derek sunk to his knees in shock. What the hell should he do? Just what was Slaine up to by dating Becca Thorn? Was this just some plot to hurt him? Had Slaine known of their acquaintance? He’d tried so hard to stay away from her for this very reason, and it appeared that his efforts had been in vain.

  Derek stood up, rushed to the front door, flung it open, and ran outside. He was just in time to see Slaine drive off with Becca in his flashy, white and black Lamborghini Aventador. That was a three hundred and seventy thousand dollar car! He looked at his old, gray ’59 Rover and noticed a small dent in its fender. That punk!

  Derek went back inside his shop, grabbed one of his hooded leather jackets (this one with long sleeves) put it on, and went back outside. He flipped the sign on his door to ‘closed’ and locked up his shop. Derek fished out his car keys, got in the Rover, started the engine, pulled out of his parking spot, and smoothly merged into traffic. He headed in the direction Slaine and Becca had gone.

  They were already way ahead of him because of Slaine’s fast car, but Derek didn’t need to see them to follow them. Because he’d decided to imbue magic in Becca’s butterfly tattoo he could now use it to track her. And use it he did. He followed them to Gary Danko. He parked his car about a block away, got out, and headed for the restaurant. With his acute eyesight he was actually able to see Becca inside the restaurant through the front windows. He entered and approached the hostess. “Table for one, please.”

  The hostess was still looking at the reservation list in front of her when she began to respond. “I’m sorry you’re going to have to-” The hostess looked up and blushed at Derek’s handsomeness. His black T-shirt clung to his muscular chest, and his tight black leather pants left little to the imagination. The braids in his dark brown, wavy hair were exotic. His sky-blue eyes seductive. “You know what? You’re in luck. We’ve just had an opening. Right this way, please.”

  Derek smirked. Sometimes it paid off to be good looking. Not that he used this card often. The hostess led Derek through the restaurant, and he spotted Becca and Slaine already seated together at one of the tables. The hostess led Derek to a table towards the back - it was in the perfect spot to spy on his Archenemy and Becca. “A waitress will be right with you.” The hostess assured him.

  “Thanks.” Derek smiled at her and returned his attention to Slaine and Becca. He watched as the couple - gah - ordered wine and decided on a five-course meal. The three-course meal started at eighty-one dollars, and each additional course was eighteen dollars. Ordering a five-course meal was pretty standard at Gary Danko.

  The hostess let out a dreamy sigh as she walked off in the direction of her podium. A few minutes later, a waitress arrived and handed Derek a menu. “Hello, my name is Lila. And I will be your server this evening. May I get you something to drink?”

  “A glass of Merlot.” Derek ordered a glass of red wine.

  “Right away, Sir.” The waitress skipped off to place his order.

  Derek sighed. This was going to be a long night. When his waitress returned with his glass of wine he went ahead and ordered a three-course meal. Foie gras for his appetizer, seared beef filet (extra rare) for his main dish, and a coconut parfait for dessert.

  He continued to watch as Slaine and Becca dined and chatted together. It was surreal. He watched as Becca laughed and smiled at something Slaine had said, and then Derek saw Slaine’s face. The vampire was smiling and it wasn’t his usual sinister smile or cocky smirk either. It was a genuinely happy smile. An almost warm, fond smile.

  In the past two millennia Derek had never seen Slaine look at a human woman like that before…except for Cinnia. But that was more than two thousand years ago. Something strange was going on here. Very strange. But Derek couldn’t put his finger on it. He found himself wondering if perhaps Slaine could have actual feelings for Becca.

  Feeling like a stalker and a fool, Derek continued to spy on Becca and Slaine’s romantic date. Once a beautiful, Latina pianist named Carmen began to play Feelings, Slaine stood up and offered his hand to Becca. Becca giggled, took Slaine’s hand, and he led her over to the dance floor. Derek watched as Slaine and Becca danced together, and Slaine spun her around.

  Derek’s gut clenched painfully at the sight. That should have been him on that dance floor with Becca. But…he’d pushed Becca away that night at Issy and Tristan’s wedding and into the arms of another man. This was all his fault.

  The evening continued uneventfully until Derek followed Slaine and Becca back to Slaine’s apartment building. Derek parked his Rover a few blocks away from the building so that Slaine wouldn’t sense his presence, and watched as the couple exited the Lamborghini. Derek turned his car’s engine off and reached out his senses. He felt Slaine and Becca ascending in an elevator, and it felt like they stopped on the top floor. Apparently, Slaine had a penthouse apartment in this swanky apartment building. Lucky punk.

  Derek got out of his Rover, and decided to go up the fire escape of the apartment building that was directly across from Slaine’s. Once he got to the top, he could actually see into Slaine’s apartment with his superior eyesight. Through the windows, he watched as Slaine and Becca entered and crossed the living room. Slaine turned around and Becca stepped into his arms for a kiss.

  Derek watched Slaine and Becca kissing, and clenched his hands into fists. His nails drew blood. He wanted to kill Slaine right then and there. But he couldn’t attack Slaine while Becca was there. “Slaine, you creep. How dare you taste Becca’s sweet lips.” Derek grumbled.

  Derek couldn’t believe what he was seeing as the couple began to take their clothes off, right there in the living room. Slaine removed his jacket and his shirt to reveal his muscular chest, but also that he had horrible burn scars on his arms. The sight of those scars made Derek feel a twinge of guilt.

  More than two millennia ago, Slaine had been his best friend, but he’d failed to protect him from his father High Priest Corann. Maybe if he’d protected Slaine from Corann things would be different now.

  Becca took off her shirt revealing her lush curves. She eyed Slaine’s chest hungrily and didn’t seem surprised or bothered by his scars. In fact, Becca approached Slaine and ran her hands over his arms in a sweet gesture. Slaine looked down at Becca with a tender expression on his face. And Derek still couldn’t get over how bizarre all this was.

  Becca wrapped her arms around Slaine’s neck and kissed him deeply. Slaine put his hands on Becca’s behind and pulled her up his body. Becca wrapped her legs around Slaine’s waist, and Slaine walked them towards the bedroom.

  It took all of Derek’s strength of will not to go busting into Slaine
s apartment and taking that vampire’s head right then and there. Slaine wasn’t like him. The vampire that was in that apartment with Becca fed on humans, drained them dry, and killed them. Derek had known Slaine to do this for centuries. He was a murderer.

  So what the hell was he doing with Becca? Derek reached out with his acute senses and could hear Slaine and Becca…having sex. “Slaine…deeper…” Becca breathed.

  It was so freakin weird. They seemed to be in a relationship. And Becca appeared to trust Slaine. Derek waited, expecting Slaine to lose control of his bloodlust and bite Becca, but he never did. Derek had to commend Slaine on his strength of will. He probably would have bitten Becca by now, especially while in the throes of sex.

  Derek continued to listen to them having sex like a pathetic, masochistic loser until he heard Slaine reach his peak of pleasure. After that, Derek could hear them panting as they lay together side by side while speaking to each other in low tones. It was almost…normal.

  Except for the fact that Becca was lying beside a red-eyed vampire who regularly fed on humans! Derek scrubbed a hand down his face. “What the hell are you up to Slaine?” The entire situation gave him an awful sense of déjà vu. And then it hit him. Did Slaine plan to try and turn Becca? Just like he had Cinnia? Did Slaine actually think he cared for Becca Thorn? Crap…

  This entire situation was so screwed up. But it made sense. Slaine planned to turn Becca. And all Derek could do was wait until then and stop Slaine from accomplishing his sinister goal. The butterfly tattoo would let Derek know if Becca was in danger. He really had no choice but to wait until then. After all, he was an outsider in Becca’s life. Her relationships were none of his business.

  Feeling sick to his stomach, Derek forced himself to leave Becca behind and go back ‘home’. Less than half an hour later he was entering his tattoo shop. He headed towards the back, passed the kitchen and climbed the stairs. Man, he needed a drink. Derek headed to his wine cellar, and grabbed a bottle of red wine and a wine glass. He then headed for his art studio, which was on the second floor. He opened the door to his studio and entered.

  Derek’s art studio was filled with canvases - some that had already been painted on and others that were still blank. All of the paintings were similar and depicted a beautiful, red-haired woman with blue tattoos on her arms. She wore a red leather vest with hood, tight leather pants, and boots. In some of the paintings she was doing archery, in others riding a horse through the forest, and in one she was dancing under the moonlight at Stone Henge. In all the paintings Cinnia was faceless.

  Derek couldn’t bear to remember her face…it was just way too painful. Derek opened the bottle of wine and poured himself a glass. He set the bottle down, and taking his glass with him, went over to his stereo and pressed play. Celtic music began to fill the room.

  When Derek listened to Celtic music he could see Cinnia more clearly in his mind. Why did leaving Becca behind with Slaine feel like he’d left his heart behind? He wondered. He’d promised Cinnia he would always love her. He was only alive to avenge her death. Once Slaine was dead - he’d die too.

  So why now after more than two millennia was his heart swaying towards Becca Thorn?

  Derek set his glass of wine down, and grabbed a blank canvas, which he set on his easel. He began to paint a new portrait of Cinnia. Her beautiful, long, red hair, and the butterfly tattoo on her arm began to come to life on the canvas with each stroke of his brush. As he painted he drank more wine and continued to listen to the nostalgic Celtic music.

  Hours later, he looked at his finished piece. And stared. Tonight, Cinnia had a face but…it wasn’t Cinnia’s. The face belonged to Becca Thorn. “What the hell?” Derek angrily threw his glass at the wall where it shattered and left a red stain. Painting Becca’s face felt like a betrayal to his Cinnia.

  Derek sunk to his knees and gripped his head with his hands. “Why? Cinnia? Why can’t I remember your face? Why?” He ended up passing out on the floor, and then he dreamed. Dreamed of the past, and of his Cinnia. His one true love.


  Dearg had requested a very special kind of binding ceremony for him and Cinnia of his father, High Priest Corann. He’d explained to his father that he didn’t want to be married to Cinnia just in this life, but wanted to be married to her in the next as well. He wanted their souls to be bound together by the red string of fate so that they would be able to find each other again in their next lives. Dearg loved Cinnia, and was positive that he would always love her and no other.

  On the day Dearg and Cinnia were to be married, the sky was clear and the birds were singing merrily. It was truly a blessed day. The wedding ceremony was to take place in the forest just beyond the Blood Oak Village. High Priest Corann had contacted three fairies that lived in the nearby woods, and requested their presence at the wedding in order to bestow their blessings upon his son and Cinnia. The fairies had readily agreed to attend.

  When Dearg entered the forest clearing where the ceremony was going to take place and laid his eyes upon Cinnia, she literally took his breath away. He couldn’t get over how beautiful she looked wearing a dress. Cinnia had always been a bit of a tomboy and this was actually the first time Dearg had ever seen her wearing a dress. He made sure to burn this sight into his memories.

  The gown Cinnia was wearing was sleeveless in order to show off her blue animal tattoos, and floor-length. Golden knotwork decorated the front of the emerald green gown. Her hair, which was as red as apples, was loose in curls about her shoulders, and her dark forest-green eyes were glittering in the sunlight. A wreath of flowers adorned her head. He walked up to her, and stood beside her in front of Corann. “You look beautiful.” He whispered, hoping that he wouldn’t make his father too angry for speaking.

  Cinnia flashed Dearg a brilliant smile. She also couldn’t help but look him over, her green eyes raking his form hungrily. Dearg was wearing a sleeveless dark blue tunic with golden knotwork, black pants and boots. He had a sword strapped to his side, because that was a part of the clan’s tradition. “And you look handsome.” She whispered back.

  “Lords, ladies, children, and Hunters, today we shall join my son, Dearg, and Huntress Cinnia in the bond of marriage and family. While we do not have power over all the elements of our lives by our acts we have power to decide their meaning. Therefore marriage like life itself shall become what we make it by our actions. Marriage begins with love but to flourish must be sustained by honor, duty, kindness and strength of purpose. These things sustain love beyond mere attraction and make marriage a sacred ground. Hear my words and take heed. Dearg, are you prepared to follow this course?”

  Dearg nodded. “I am.”

  “Cinnia, are you prepared to follow this course?” High Priest Corann asked her.

  “I am.” She replied.

  “So be it. Dearg, you have come bearing your battle tattoos and the sword, which is fitting for this occasion. The sword represents the strength and protection, which a husband offers to his bride and family. The sword is also a symbol of unyielding intent and the banishment of fear and doubt. It is by removing all fear and doubt that our acts and desires have their rightful power. Like the steel of the sword let your commitments to each other be strong and enduring. Dearg, present the sword to your bride.”

  Dearg got down on one knee and unsheathed his sword in one fluid motion. He then presented it to Cinnia. “I offer this sword and my battle tattoos unto your service. That our life together may be protected. I will stand by your side unto death, and beyond. My love for you is eternal. This I promise you.”

  Cinnia took the sword. “I honor this gift and commit to you in kind.”

  “So be it.” Corann said reading from the holy book he held in his hands. “Then the two of you and the family you make shall be protected. Your commitments to each other shall be held steadfast.”

  Cinnia gave the sword back to Dearg, and he sheathed it before standing.

p; “Will the mother of the bride please pass the cup to your daughter.” Corann directed.

  Cinnia’s mother looked a lot like Cinnia, just an older version. She approached and handed Cinnia a golden cup. “With this cup I give you my blessing.”

  Cinnia took the cup with a serene smile and faced Dearg.

  “The cup is a symbol of sustenance and of love.” Corann began. “It is fitting that the cup is passed from mother to daughter for as the mother once gave sustenance, kindness and love to the daughter so shall the daughter pass on the same to her husband and children. The water held by this cup represents the life giving essence to those who partake of it. The sharing of the cup binds you to the giving of love and kindness, which creates more than its measure in return. Cinnia, share this cup as a sign of your promise to share that which is good and kind between you.”

  “Please accept this cup as my promise of goodness and eternal love.” Cinnia handed Dearg the cup.

  Dearg took the cup and drank from it. “I return it to you with my promise to show you goodness and love for the rest of my days and beyond.” He handed the cup back to Cinnia.

  Cinnia took the cup, drank from it, and then handed the cup back to her mother.

  “So be it.” Corann nodded, looking pleased. “Ring Fairy, bring forth the rings.”

  A fairy fluttered over and hovered in front of Dearg and Cinnia holding a tiny pillow in front of her upon which sat two golden rings. The fairy was about a foot tall with long, golden hair, green eyes, a green dress, and translucent, shimmery wings.

  “These rings of gold are engraved with an unending, interwoven knot that expresses two paths woven together as one.” Corann explained. “The rings shall remind you in physical form of your connection with each other. The gold from which they are made is the noblest element of the Earth and represents the best of the Earth’s natural beauty. May your life together be rich and bountiful and may you always be found worthy of receiving it. Ring Fairy, in presenting these rings do you lend your blessing to this marriage?”

  “With these rings I give you my blessings.” The fairy declared in her tiny, musical voice.

  Cinnia and Dearg took the rings from the fairy. Cinnia began to recite the vows, which she had memorized: “I promise you the first cut of my meat. I promise you the first sip of my wine. From this day it shall only be your name. I cry out in the night and into your eyes I smile each morning. I shall be a shield for your back as you are for mine. I will cherish and honor you throughout this life, and the next. With this ring I seal my vow.” Cinnia put the ring on Dearg’s finger.

  Dearg made similar vows and placed the ring on Cinnia’s finger.

  “Flower Fairy, please bring forth the red cord, which symbolizes the red string of fate.” Corann directed in a solemn tone.

  A second fairy, this one with short red hair, blue eyes, and a bright blue dress, fluttered over while carrying a length of red cord that appeared to be too heavy for her. The little fairy bobbed up and down as she flew over and then hovered directly in front of Cinnia and Dearg.

  “We shall now bind your hands with this red cord, which is like your love, and your vows shall join you fast together in this life, and the next. As your hands are joined so are your lives joined, and so are your souls. You two shall become soul mates, the red string of fate shall bind your souls together, and you will be able to find each other in your next lives. Flower Fairy, do you give your blessing to this eternal binding?” Corann asked.

  “I give my blessing to this eternal binding.” The little fairy said in her tinkling voice.

  “Flower Fairy, please bind their hands.” Corann directed.

  The fairy began to wrap the red cord around Cinnia and Dearg’s hands and then tied it into a knot.

  “The Fairy of the Woods carries the staff which symbolizes youthful energy, passion and creative power. In order to bring forth the best of ourselves or find a worthy task we must engage our full measure of energy and passion. May your lives together be filled with both. Fairy of the Woods, with the staff please give your blessing to this binding.”

  The Fairy of the Woods approached and hovered before Cinnia and Dearg. This fairy had long curly brown hair, hazel eyes, and was wearing a green and brown dress. She had a flower wreath around her head and the magical staff she carried was also adorned with fresh flowers. “With this staff I lend my blessing to this binding.” She waved the staff over their joined hands and the red cord glowed momentarily with magical power.

  “As we have bound together this Hunter and this Huntress, let their fate and future be so bound for all eternity. May they hold fast to each other even as they are now held fast. Ring Fairy, please bring forth the bell.” Corann said.

  The Ring Fairy approached and hovered before Cinnia and Dearg, and rang a golden bell loudly.

  “Dearg and Cinnia, hear the toll of this bell. From this day forward let its sound forever remind you of those promises you make today. And so shall it be. As you have not spoken these words idly nor have you made these declarations in vain, may they bind you in thought, word and deed from this moment forward to the end of your days, and beyond into your next lives. For if you are faithful in these promises your love and devotion shall be fulfilled and will bear the fruit of joy and happiness. With this ceremony now complete, I hereby declare you to be husband and wife. You may seal your vows with a kiss.”

  Cinnia and Dearg moved forward and kissed. Cinnia pulled back but Dearg leaned forward to capture those sweet lips again. The villagers and Hunters present all cheered in response. The Ring Fairy rang her bell, and one of the other fairies blew a horn. It was a magical moment, and one that Dearg would never forget.

  Dearg’s heart swelled with happiness. He could hardly believe that Cinnia had finally agreed to marry him, and that she was now his wife, his love. It was a miracle. A gift. After the ceremony the villagers threw rice and flowers over the couple to bestow their blessings of happiness and fertility. Cinnia beamed at Dearg and he smiled back at her. They were like a mirror, each reflecting the other’s happiness.

  Dearg took Cinnia by her hand and led her to the small house in the village where they would now be living together as a married couple. Once they reached the front door, Dearg swooped Cinnia up into his arms, kicked the door open, and crossed the threshold with Cinnia in his arms. He deposited Cinnia on the bed, and went to close and lock the door.

  Dearg walked back to the bed and his brave Cinnia wouldn’t meet his eyes. Dearg sat on the bed next to her, reached out, cupped her cheek and turned her face to look at him. “What’s wrong, my love?”

  Cinnia’s face was flushed, her eyes bright, and she nibbled on her lower lip out of nervousness and fear. “I…I’m afraid.”

  Dearg’s eyes widened in surprise. His Cinnia, who would not cower before a group of blood-sucking vampires, was afraid. “Why? You know I would never hurt you.”

  “I know that, but…I overheard the village women speaking and overheard…things. Horrible things. I’m afraid it will hurt.” Cinnia wrapped her arms around her chest in a subconscious protective gesture.

  His brave Cinnia was afraid, and all Dearg wanted to do was comfort her. He brushed his thumb over her cheek, and then over her lips. “Do you trust me?” Dearg asked sincerely.

  Cinnia didn’t hesitate with her response as she nodded. “Yes.”

  Dearg leaned forward and captured Cinnia’s lips with his own. She eagerly kissed him back. Dearg ran his tongue over Cinnia’s lower lip seeking entrance. She complied and he plunged his tongue into her mouth. Cinnia gasped in response at the sensation. This was the first time he’d done something like this to her.

  Cinnia tasted so sweet. By the time Dearg pulled back from Cinnia, they were both flushed and panting for breath. Dearg offered her a reassuring smile. “Did that feel good?”

  Cinnia nodded eagerly.

  “I only want you to feel pleasure. I won’t do anything that you don’t like
. Understand?” Dearg gave her a serious look.


  Dearg lay Cinnia down on the bed and continued to kiss her. While he had her distracted, he began to undo the front laces of her gown’s bodice. He pulled her dress down and bared her flesh. Cinnia blushed and covered her chest with her hands shyly. Dearg covered Cinnia’s hands with his own. “Don’t shield yourself from me, Cinnia. I want to see you so badly. Please, let me gaze upon you.”

  Cinnia gave Dearg a worried look. “What if…I’m not to your liking, my husband?”

  “That….would be impossible.” Dearg slowly removed Cinnia’s hands from her flesh. Her skin was so pale, flushed, and delectable.

  “Beautiful.” Dearg breathed as he leaned over and kissed her flesh. Cinnia gasped at the feeling. Dearg liked her reaction and continued to kiss her all over.

  Cinnia moaned. Dearg’s hot, wet mouth on her bare flesh felt so good. Tingles of pleasure were running up and down her spine. Her toes were curling from the pleasure. She could feel the whiskers of Dearg’s goatee brushing against her sensitive skin, and she shivered and shuddered in response as his whiskers tickled her.

  As Cinnia writhed beneath him, Dearg pulled her gown down and tossed it to the floor. He removed her underclothes and tossed them to the floor next. Once again out of shyness Cinnia tried to cover herself from Dearg’s sight with her hands. “My love.” Dearg’s voice was chiding. “Will you withhold such a wonderful sight? Let me see you…all of you. That very special place that belongs only to me. That very special place where you and I will become one.”

  Cinnia sighed at his tender words and removed her hands. Dearg swallowed as his throat suddenly felt dry. He spread her legs to admire her. Dearg couldn’t wait to unite their bodies. His pants were so tight, but he knew he had to bring Cinnia great pleasure first since that would ease their first time together. At least, this is what the other young men of the village had told him. He hoped they were right. “Let me touch you, Cinnia.”

  “Oh, yes.” She readily agreed.

  Dearg captured Cinnia’s lips again and lowered his hand to caress her intimately. Delicious heat began to pool in Cinnia’s lower abdomen. A strange kind of tension was coiling in her body, ready to spring and release. As Dearg continued to caress her - her body felt like it was on fire. She was beginning to feel strangely restless. She needed something. “Dearg, I feel strange. I need…”

  “Trust me.” Dearg leaned over to whisper in her ear. “And let go, Cinnia. Just feel.”

  Cinnia did. She let go, and when she did a wave of pleasure crashed into her that left her body trembling in its wake. “Dearg…oh…feels so good!” His wife’s body was putty in his hands.

  And he wasn’t through with her yet. Dearg crawled down Cinnia’s body and spread her legs. Cinnia looked down at him and gave him a quizzical look. She was still panting for breath, flushed and sated. “My husband, what are you doing?”

  “I’m going to kiss your most special place.” Dearg explained before he pressed his lips to her.

  “Oh my Goddess…that feels…wonderful.” She cried out in bliss. “I want more, Dearg. Give me more.”

  Dearg rubbed his face against her and she felt his goatee tickling her most intimate place. This sensation sent her over the edge again. “Dearg!” Cinnia cried out.

  Dearg utterly devoured her. She tasted so good, like honeyed apples. Dearg pulled back and licked his lips.

  Cinnia sat up and had a hungry look on her face as she looked at his clothes. Her fear seemed to have fled her. “Dearg, I want to see you too. Feel you too.”

  “As you wish, my ladylove.” Dearg stripped off his shirt and tossed it aside.

  “Mmm.” Cinnia purred at the sight. Her husband was so handsome with his tanned muscular chest and torso. Cinnia reached out and experimentally ran her hands over his firm pecs, and down over his lean, hard abs. There was such strength within him and power.

  Dearg gasped at the feeling of his wife’s hands on his body. Oh Goddess, that feels amazing. At this rate he wouldn’t last for her. Dearg grabbed Cinnia’s hands and pulled them away.

  She frowned. “What’s wrong?”

  “Nothing, my love. I just want to last for you. Tell me, do you want to see my special place?” Dearg glanced down at his crotch.

  Cinnia glanced down as well, and eyed the bulge in Dearg’s pants. She licked her lips. She was curious to see what it looked like. She nodded. “Yes, I want to see you.”

  Dearg grinned and quickly stripped off his boots and pants, and tossed them to the floor. He crawled back onto the bed and straddled Cinnia.

  Cinnia’s burning gaze was focused on him. She reached down and tentatively took him into her hand. Dearg grunted from the mind-numbing pleasure his wife was giving him.

  “It’s so big…and it’s also soft and yet hard at the same time. It’s…amazing.” Cinnia breathed with wonder.

  Dearg chuckled happily at her innocent reaction. “I’m glad you think so, my love.”

  “Are they all as big as yours?”

  Dearg smirked. “Heh, I wonder? But did you know, bigger is supposed to be better. So you’re a very lucky woman to have me as your husband.”

  “Why is bigger better?”

  “Because when our bodies unite you’ll feel more pleasure from the act of our lovemaking.”

  Cinnia gave him a skeptical look. “I doubt it will fit inside of me. It’s going to hurt.”

  Dearg cupped her face in his hands and peered into her eyes. “We don’t have to make love until you’re ready, Cinnia.”

  Cinnia shook her head, touched by Dearg’s consideration, kindness, and patience. “No. I want to make love to you, Dearg. Unite our bodies and make me yours, Dearg. Make me a real woman.”

  “As you wish.” Dearg positioned himself and slowly began to unite their bodies. Sweat poured down his back and his body trembled as he held himself back from taking her hard. Cinnia gasped at the feeling of their bodies becoming one.

  “Breathe, Cinnia.” Dearg told her.

  Cinnia wrapped her arms around Dearg’s neck and willed herself to relax.

  Dearg felt Cinnia’s virginity and paused. He claimed her lips with his before he united with her fully and took her virginity. Cinnia cried out at the sudden pain which overrode her pleasure and tears sprang to her eyes.

  “Cinnia, my Cinnia. You’re all mine now. You belong to me and no one else.” Dearg said proudly as he kissed the tears from Cinnia’s face and waited for her to get used to the feeling of their bodies being one. “I love you so much, Cinnia. I promise to love only you for eternity.”

  “And I love you too, Dearg.” Cinnia breathed and the pain began to fade. “It doesn’t hurt so much now. I think you can move.”

  Dearg nodded and began to surge over her. Cinnia saw stars. All her pain transformed into mind-numbing pleasure. So this is what lovemaking is like. Cinnia thought dazedly to herself. Their bodies and souls had become one. It felt so good.

  Cinnia ran her hands down Dearg’s back and felt his muscles flexing as he made love to her. She moved her hands down his body until they were resting on his powerful hips. Her husband Dearg was so powerful, so incredibly male. And he smelled divine, like sandalwood. A woodsy, earthy, spicy scent. All Dearg.

  Dearg reached down and caressed her body skillfully so that she was shattering in his arms again. The feeling of her reaching her peak of pleasure sent Dearg over the edge too. If he were lucky Cinnia would get pregnant and give him a strong son who could inherit the Blood Oak Clan. He was looking forward to starting a family with Cinnia.

  Dearg rolled off of Cinnia and stared up at the ceiling, panting for breath, and feeling utterly sated. He felt like the happiest man in the world. Dearg felt Cinnia move beside him and turned to see her getting out of bed. He watched as she put on a robe, tied it shut, and walked over to the pitcher of water that was sitting on their small kitchen table. Cinnia frowned and began
to head towards the door.

  “My love, where are you going?” Derek sat up tiredly, but with a pleased, sated expression on his face. “Come back to bed.”

  “I’m going to go to the well and fetch some water. Our lovemaking has made me very thirsty.” There was a mischievous twinkle in her eyes as she said these words. “I’ll be right back, husband mine.”

  “No, I’ll go.” Derek began to get out of bed.

  Cinnia shot him a stern look and raised her hand. “Ah, ah, ah. Just because I agreed to marry you, doesn’t mean I agreed to become your obedient, little wife that needs protecting, Dearg. Don’t forget I’m a Druid Vampire Hunter too. I can take care of myself.”

  Dearg hesitated, but then sighed while giving Cinnia a chagrined look. “Alright, as you wish, my love. You know I trust and respect your strength as a warrior. Just…hurry back. I’m not quite through with you just yet, wife.” He leered at her and let his eyes linger on her curves.

  “You are incorrigible!” Cinnia chided, hands on her hips, but then she smiled teasingly. “I’ll be sure to hurry back.” She winked. Cinnia tightened her robe and left the house.

  Dearg watched her go with a smile tugging at his lips. “What a woman.” He put his hands behind his head and waited for Cinnia to return.


  Derek awoke with a start and sat up in bed calling out his dead wife’s name. “Cinnia!” He was panting for breath and covered in sweat. His boxers were sticky. Crap. He put his burning face in his hands. If only he hadn’t let Cinnia go to the well that night, then…

  Derek shook his head to clear it of such morbid thoughts, got out of bed, and headed for the bathroom. He needed a very cold shower.

  To be continued in…Tattoo 2: Hawk

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