Vermilion Kiss

Blood Rose, Book 3

Elisabeth Morgan Popolow

 

Chapter 1

I crashed hard into the wall, bumped my head against a shelf of books and cried out in pain. The rapier in my hand clattered to the polished tile floor and I blushed. The blonde-haired vampire grabbed the rapier and set it on a small rectangular table, then walked over and patted my head tenderly.

“You were doing well until you tripped over your own foot and hit the wall,” Caen said with a wry smirk. His beautiful mismatched blue and red eyes closed for a brief moment and then opened. He swept across the room until he found an empty recliner and sank into the beige velvet.

I sighed and strode over to the recliner in the front of the private jet, or as far as the front would go before it met with the pilot. Darius’s butler, Lawrence, was piloting the jet as we flew on our way to the Court meeting in Las Vegas. Caen had taken it upon himself to teach me how to fight with a rapier and a sword, should the time come I would need to physically fight.

I had been a vampire for a couple of months now and could now use glamour and materialize a rapier in my hand. I could also shape my aura into my spirit animal, which was an enormous lioness. Darius, my blood master and lover, had a lion as his, so it was only natural for mine to be the same.

My other lover, Sang, could not come with us to Las Vegas as he was deathly afraid of heights, even though just weeks before he had been on a plane with me to England and back. But he insisted he would stay at the mansion and take care of it while we were gone. Darius agreed halfheartedly.

Caen was Sang’s longtime friend and blood brother as they were both of Annabelle’s line. She was a crazy, and I mean a looney-tunes bitch who wanted to turn me into one of her servants. Right when she was about to complete the ritual, however, Darius crashed her party, dueled her and won, and then took Sang and I home. We hadn’t heard from her since but she was bound to be at this meeting, so there was another reason Sang hadn’t tagged along.

We didn’t know why we were invited, we just knew that we had to go. The Court was the top vampiric order in the paranormal world, it monitored and protected the vampires and other paranormal creatures such as shifters from humans that would harm them. They were also curious about me, the only vampire of Darius’s line and wanted to know if I had been willingly changed. I was going to lie and say I was because over the past few months I had really grown into my new undead life and had developed crazy passionate feelings for the dick that turned me against my will.

You could call me nuts, insane or just plain crazy because I wasn’t going to tell on Darius. I loved him so much and didn’t want to cause any more trouble than that Annabelle incident had. Being kidnapped and taken to another country had not been very fun, especially when the maniac who captured you was a sadistic bitch from hell. In the end Darius had come to the rescue right before Annabelle could bind me to her for eternity. It had worried him sick and he was still recovering from being overly paranoid of where I was all times.

I sat on the recliner next to Darius and he held his hand out for me to grip. I squeezed his hand and gave it a light kiss.

He turned to me, amber eyes gleaming from the lights of the interior. “You have made progress,” he said.

I blushed. “A little.”

He nodded. “Good. Now materialize the rapier in your other hand.”

I did as he said and focused all my attention on my right hand. I could feel the cold hilt against my palm, feel the skinny metal blade and hard, solidness of the whole weapon. In a moment, it was in my hand, shiny and brand new. I beamed with delight as Darius grinned with approval and I let the rapier vanish into nothing.

Darius stood up and smoothed his white pants with his palms before kneeling before me, thick chocolate curls obscuring his face. I brushed them away and kissed him fervently, relished the silky smoothness of him and the sweet but bitter aftertaste of wine. We broke apart and he poured himself another glass and took a tiny sip. He offered it to me but I declined. Being a vampire less than a year old, alcohol could have a strong influence on me and paralyze my body for eight hours. I laughed at his silent but cruel joke and rested my head against the top of the chair.

Caen came up beside me and shoved a pillow behind my head before he disappeared into the back of the jet. Darius’s breathing was soft and had a nice steady rhythm that I concentrated on. He got off the chair again and stood behind me. His strong hands began to massage my neck and I moaned in pleasure at the lovely sensation he brought to life in my muscles.

When he stopped, I swore I could’ve melted where I sat like butter. Darius resumed his seat and began to read a novel as I became sleepy and my eyelids grew heavy with drowsiness.

Just as I was about to sleep, the jet stammered at finding a bit of wind turbulence, scaring the shit out of me. My eyes tore open to see that everyone else was totally relaxed and oblivious to what just happened. I got up and went to the back room to check on Caen.

He was lying on the bottom of a bunk where his golden locks fanned around his head. He had become Darius’ from drinking Sang’s blood, since I had almost killed the man when some lunatic vampire, who wanted my blood, was possessing him. Yes, some vampires even had the ability to possess other people’s bodies, creepy, I know. Caen had no objections to being part of Darius’s line although he did have to quit his job on the paranormal police. He was here with us as a bodyguard and mentor to me. I was beginning to like the quiet vampire. He was nice and courteous and kept to himself.

His eyes were glazed over as he fingered the white scarf Sang had knitted him fifty years ago. I sat beside him and he came out of his trance, his gaze sliding over my body.

“Sang loves you a lot, you know,” he said in a low voice.

I replied, “I know. And he loves you a lot, too.” I wrapped the scarf around my hand and undid it, took Caen’s icy fingers within mine.

“There is something about you that I can’t get over. Probably the same thing that mystifies and excites Sang.”

“I don’t know about that. I’m just me and you’re you. Sang is Sang and everything is everything.”

He chuckled at my response and I puffed out my cheeks in an attempt not to laugh with him.

“We’re almost there,” he told me with a solemn look on his face.

“What’s wrong?”

“It’s just…she might be there.”

“And if she is, so what? I’ll pummel her to the ground with my awesome rapier skills.”

This got full-blown laughter from Caen and he apologized as his giggling died down. “I’m serious. Only ten more minutes.”

Ten more minutes and we’d be in Las Vegas to meet vampires that were maybe even twice the age of Darius. Was I excited? Yes. Was I scared? Yes. Was I hungry? Absolutely. I was hungry for blood.

I didn’t want to disturb Darius, who was so engaged in his book that when the jet stopped and then roughly rammed forward again he didn’t move a muscle. Caen was able to see how scared I was and tightened his grip on my hand.

“I’m, uh, thirsty,” I told him as I laid my head beside his. His golden hair tickled my face and I breathed in deeply before stretching my jaw wide, revealing my two pearly fangs.

Caen instantly rolled around, pinning me on the bed, both of his hands locked with mine above my head. He stared in my eyes intently and I gazed back at him with a puzzled expression. What did he want? Was he going to let me feed on him?

He unbuttoned the collar around his neck and bared his flesh to me. “You may drink if you wish.” I raised my head and struck down like a snake, clamping on his throat. His blood was cool and tasted tangy, and I swallowed down more and more in a desperate attempt to tame the burning flame within me. When it finally died down, Caen collapsed onto the bed, eyes rolling to the back slightly, a small moan escaping his pale lips.

I licked my lips and sighed. The hunger was satiated for now. Caen pulled me into his chest and let me lie there, his one arm covering my back. With the other arm, he drew a blanket onto us and pushed a pillow beneath my head. I sighed in contentment, his breathing somewhat shallow and labored from allowing me to feed. My stomach twisted with nausea from having drunk too much blood but I nuzzled into the crook of his shoulder. He closed his eyes and his right hand stroked my hair up and down, back and forth.

I savored the rich taste of him inside me and continued to lie on him in a dreamy state. My consciousness was slipping away and, just as I was about to go asleep again, the jet slammed forward and all the books on the shelves tumbled off. I got up with a start and an angry fist.

“Why does that keep happening?” I asked, irritated.

Caen replied, “The wind. It’s not…” He fumbled for the right word. “Pleasant in this area.”

My lips silently formed an “O” and I walked over to Darius. He slapped the book shut and set it on his lap, and then raised a peculiar brow at me. “I see you’ve fed,” he remarked with a tinge of disdain.

I grumbled, “I didn’t want to disturb you.”

He lifted my chin with his index finger and fixed his amber pools onto my eyes. “I am always here if you need to feed.” He clapped his hands and all the books that had fallen off the shelves levitated in the air and rearranged themselves back onto the shelves. His power always amazed me. Darius was too strong in my opinion. I was still unsure of what his power truly was, but it was a cross between telekinesis and making things dissolve. Yeah, huge idea.

He shook his head, bouncing his chocolate curls up and down. “You like Caen,” he whispered softly, closing his eyes.

I replied, “Yeah, but I love you.”

Darius chuckled. “Fine, fine. But, my dear, do as your heart commands. In the end, you will always remain mine.” I could hear the extreme emphasis on mine. Yes, I was his and he made sure I knew it.

“How much longer?”

“Five minutes.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

I walked back to Caen and flopped onto my queen-sized bed, covered lightly in the pink sheets. I grabbed my stuffed unicorn Lacy, hugging her to my chest, and stared at the ceiling light.

Caen’s voice rang. “Now,” and the jet stopped completely. I swung my legs off the bed and hurried to Darius, who was again deeply engrossed in his book. He didn’t even peek from behind it. Lawrence came into the body of the jet and announced that we had arrived.

“Good,” Darius murmured and slapped his book onto the small table beside him. “We’ve arrived,” he yelled and Caen came running to us. He got down on one knee and bowed his head. I cracked the curtain on a window just as dusk broke outside, the sun rising in an orange glow over the horizon. I quickly let the curtain fall back down and waited for someone to say or do something.

“To the hotel?” Caen asked Darius.

The master vampire replied simply with a faint grin, “Yes. Off to the hotel.”

* * * *

I was to share a room with Darius. It was a huge suite with two bedrooms, a living room, a large bathroom with a round tub, and a kitchen. The walls were covered with black wallpaper decorated with red roses and the carpet was creamy beige.

Instantly drawn to the huge window leading to the balcony, I sat on one of the bamboo chairs as the sun rose farther into the sky.

Darius grumbled something I couldn’t hear and lay on the bed, where he drifted off into sleep. He hadn’t slept the entire four-hour flight or the night before.

I crept onto the bed next to him and his eyes opened slightly. He smiled as I pressed my lips against his and gave him a hard kiss before kicking off my boots and lying beside him. He was still wearing his snakeskin penny loafers.

“So,” I began, “when you wake up, we’ll go to the meeting?”

He answered, “Yes. When I wake, we’ll get ready and go to the meeting. I want you on your best behavior.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay, dad. Whatever you say,” I joked.

He mumbled something low and grabbed my shirt. He pulled me against his chest, reminding me of earlier with Caen. A low growl formed in his throat and Darius crushed his lips against mine, nibbled my lower lip and entered my mouth with his tongue. Our tongues danced in a grand ballet as we relished each other’s taste and then broke apart. He caressed my head soothingly and rubbed my back in large circles.

Then his eyes closed and I knew he was asleep from the peaceful expression on his face. I licked my lips together and remembered how smooth and silky he felt against me. I finally let sleep overtake me and drown me in a cloud of absolute darkness.