Nice girls dont bite the.., p.40
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       Nice Girls Dont Bite Their Neighbors, p.40

          part  #4 of  Jane Jameson Series  by  Molly Harper / Fantasy / Romance & Love
Page 40
Author: Molly Harper

“Oh, baby girl,” she crooned. “Good-bye. ”

“Good-bye,” I said, blinking rapidly to clear the tears from my eyes.

They walked away into the distance, fading as they moved, until they were whispers of vapor against the backdrop of morning. I moved quickly up the steps, through the protective cover of the front door.

Inside, in the foyer, Dick wiped at his wet cheeks. “Dust in my eyes. ”

I nodded, hugging him. “Me, too. ”

Andrea and Dick raced home against the rising sun. Gabriel led me upstairs to our room and went downstairs to secure the doors.

Shaken, I stood staring into empty space for long, silent moments. She was gone. Aunt Jettie was really gone. Without warning, without giving me time to prepare. I could only be grateful that she’d let me say good-bye. I couldn’t believe she’d actually left me, but I understood why she did it that way. If she’d warned me, I would probably have tried to talk her out of it, made her stay.

Aunt Jettie deserved to be happy. She’d put off leaving to watch over me, to keep me happy. I was married now. I had a family. It was time for me to stand on my own two feet and be a real grownup.

I wiped at my eyes and tried to focus on the moment at hand. I would only be a bride once, Lord willing. I didn’t want to be a maudlin one.

I carefully stripped out of my dress and lay on the bed, waiting for Gabriel. He came into the bedroom, having shut Jamie’s door and locked all of the other doors.

He cleared his throat. “What a disappointing groom I am. I feel like most of my work is done for me. ”

I propped myself up on my elbows. “Well, not all of your work. I didn’t get that far. ”

He shrugged out of his vest and tie. “Glad to hear it. We do need to get some rest, though. We’ve got a very early flight tonight. ”

“Are you going to tell me where we’re going, or am I going to find out when we land?” I asked as he crawled onto the foot of the bed, his pants and shorts left rumpled and forgotten.

He bent to kiss the delicate bone of my ankle. “I have three words for you. Hampshire. Bath. Southampton. ” He punctuated each location with a kiss to my calf, my kneecap, my thighs. He settled between them, tracing the line of my collarbone with his nose before nipping lightly at my throat.

“Three words that have to do with Jane Austen!” I exclaimed.

I flipped us over, straddling him, and bounced happily on the bed. Considering my position and his state of undress, this was an incredibly effective way to start the honeymoon. Gabriel shuddered under me, and I giggled.

“Sorry. ”

“No you’re not,” he growled softly. He pushed my bra aside and caught a puckered nipple between his teeth. Gasping, I ground down and tugged gently on his hair, drawing a hiss from him. His fingers tightened at my back, keeping me pinned close as his fangs dropped and worried the skin over my heart.

“You’re right. ”

I whispered kisses over his brow, yelping softly when he ripped my panties away and rolled me back onto the bed. He hovered over me, pushing my hair away from my face. “I know we have … travel issues. But I wanted to do something you would find romantic. We’re only going to get one honeymoon, one marriage, Jane. This is it. We’re going to do it right. ”

And with that, he slid home, joining our bodies for the first time as man and wife. I sighed happily, and he tipped his forehead against mine.

I whispered, “I love you, Mr. Nightengale. ”

“I love you, too, Mrs. Nightengale. ”

20

Eventually, it will be time for your childe to leave the nest. You may find that you are lonely, that you miss taking care of someone. Please resist the temptation to turn another vampire immediately. You need some time to rest.

—Siring for the Stupid:

A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Newborn Vampires

Considering our travel history, we handled the honeymoon pretty well. There was only one blow-up, and it was centered on who set up the wake-up calls for A. M. instead of P. M. We toured the villages of England. Walking along the roads at night, visiting the carefully preserved manors, you could almost imagine that time had stopped. You could see horses and carriages ambling down the lanes, imagine ladies in bonnets and gentlemen in beaver hats. I felt a connection to my favorite books that I hadn’t imagined possible, just by seeing the places where they were set.

Oh, and did I mention the constant sex?

Somehow postwedding sex seemed completely new. Not to mention the fact that there were no nosy teenagers within a mile radius. We could be as loud as we wanted. We were tossed out of three hotels because of complaints from the other guests.

We returned home a week later, exhausted and pleased and burdened with a ridiculous amount of souvenirs and gifts. On the drive home from the airport, Andrea and Dick called to tell us that Jamie was waiting for us at the house. He’d been a perfect angel the whole week, Andrea swore. He’d taken care of Fitz, had run to River Oaks several times to check on the house, and had even been helpful with Ray when he rose, explaining the various perks and pitfalls of being a new vampire. So far, Ray had lived up to his word to be well behaved. He’d discovered that he didn’t like bottled or donor blood but actually preferred to hunt deer and drink from them.

When I thought about it, it made a certain amount of sense.

Ophelia had already visited several times to monitor Ray’s progress. And while she gave him several stern warnings about what happened to new vampires who revived old blood grudges, she was pleased that we’d managed to resolve the situation without bloodshed that she had to clean up.

We pulled onto the road leading to River Oaks. Gabriel smirked at me, threaded his fingers through mine. “We could turn around, you know. Take another few days. Get thrown out of some hotels in Nashville. ”

“You are ridiculously proud of that, Mr. Nightengale,” I said.

“Even Dick’s ridiculously proud of that, Mrs. Nightengale,” he reminded me. I smiled. We’d been calling each other by our married names all week, because it amused Gabriel and had seemed sort of appropriate, considering our Austenian setting.

“Well, as sad as I am to end the honeymoon, I’m glad to be getting home. Believe it or not, I missed Jamie,” I said. “It’s sort of nice, coming home from vacation with gifts for our boy. ”

“Well, let’s hope that he didn’t follow the traditional teenage route of hosting a huge party and trashing the house while we were out of town. ”

I chewed my lip thoughtfully. “Maybe we should stop here and walk the rest of the way … so he doesn’t hear us pull up. ”

“That would be …”

“A fun surprise?” I suggested.

Gabriel considered it. “Agreed. ”

We pulled over near the end of the driveway and cut the engine. We each grabbed a suitcase and swiftly made our way up the drive, moving soundlessly over the grass. From the distance, I could see Jamie sitting on the porch swing … and he wasn’t alone.

Ophelia was straddling Jamie’s lap, kissing him passionately as his hands trailed up her bare back. She groaned, grinding her hips down against his as he nibbled along her jawline to her collarbone.

“What in the name of Barnes and Noble do you think you’re doing?” I dropped the suitcase.

Gabriel looked caught between confusion and horror and the urgent need to giggle hysterically.

Jamie scrambled to his feet and pulled his jeans up. Ophelia rolled her eyes and slipped back into her dress.

“Jane! I’m sorry!” Jamie cried.

“You are … grounded!” I yelled. “And responsible for cleaning that seat cushion. ”

Gabriel pressed his fingertips into his eyes, as if he could push the images out of his brain. “Jamie, what’s going on here?”

Jamie looked sheepish, standing in front of Ophelia while she finished dressing. “Well, uh, see, Ophelia explained a couple of things to me. And, uh, we’ve been seeing each other while you were out of town. And yeah, I was wondering, Jane, whether you would be OK if I moved out?”

My eyes narrowed at Ophelia. She had the good sense to look a little uncomfortable.

“And where were you thinking of going, Jamie?”

Ophelia cleared her throat. “Jamie, darling, maybe this isn’t the best time,” she said.

“Phelia,” Jamie prompted, his voice stern. I raised my eyebrows. “We talked about this. You’ll feel better once it’s out. And you owe it to Jane. ”

“I was the one who was responsible for your turning Jamie,” Ophelia mumbled. “Indirectly. ”

“What do you mean?” I demanded.

She looked down at her twisting hands and mumbled. “I know who hit him with the car. ”

All of the blood seemed to rush through my ears, creating a tornado of sound. For a moment, I actually saw red. The edges of my vision were tinged a violent crimson, creating a tunnel that focused on Ophelia’s face.

“Explain,” I growled.

Ophelia nibbled on her bottom lip. “I wanted him with me. I’ve tried having human lovers before, and ever since the social mores regarding age difference changed, it just hasn’t worked out. They age. I stay looking like a mall rat. And they eventually get questioned by the police. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. I saw Jamie at the quilt festival this spring, and I just fell for him. I watched him for weeks. I watched how he behaved around other kids, how he treated girls. I knew he was just the right mate for me. He’s sweet and kind but strong and resilient. He has leadership abilities that will mature as he grows older. And he’s smart enough to let me have my way on occasion, but he will eventually be able to stand up to me. ”

Jamie frowned. “Eventually?”

“I couldn’t turn him myself,” Ophelia admitted. “Because of Georgie. I’m banned for centuries. But it didn’t stop me from following him and talking about him constantly at home—his sports teams, his favorite restaurant, his route at work. Which was a mistake, because Georgie wanted to meet this boy I found so fascinating. She just wouldn’t let it go. She asked over and over, and she couldn’t believe I was actually saying no to her. I hardly ever say no to her, which is I why I think she took it personally enough to wait until I was at the Council office, steal the keys to the car I was using to follow Jamie, sneak out of the house, and drive around looking for him. ”

“Are you saying …”

“My little sister ran Jamie down with the car because she overestimated her ability to see over the steering wheel,” Ophelia said, biting her lip.

My jaw went slack. It was really difficult to figure out whom to be angry with. It felt wrong to be angry at Georgie, since she was basically a child, but she was about three hundred years older than I was, and she should have known better. Then there was Ophelia, who should have at least hired some sort of supernatural nanny to keep her sister from these dangerous hijinks.

“But it all worked out, you see, because I got to meet Jamie, and we’re in love, and we get to stay together forever,” she said, smiling sweetly at him. “And Georgie’s mistake—that’s part of the reason I insisted that he foster with you. I felt responsible for what happened to him, and I knew you would treat him well. I needed someone who was a good person, who would teach him to be a good, responsible vampire but was too old for him to find attractive—”

“Hey!” I barked. “What if Jamie didn’t want to be turned? Did you think about that?”

“Well, since you turned him, he’d be angry with you, not me. So that worked out, too. It’s sort of perfect, don’t you think?” She turned to me, grinning smugly. “You know, you’re taking this a lot better than I expected you to. ”

I slammed my fist into the bridge of Ophelia’s nose. My hand actually smarted from the blow. She went flying over the porch rail and ass-over-teakettle into the rosebushes.
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