Blood Bound - Amy Blankenship - ebook
Opis

With the blood spell broken, Kane clawed his way out of the ground and searched for the soul mate that had freed him only to find that she’d vanished. With nothing left to lose and revenge on his mind, he started a war. The last thing he expected was to find his elusive soul mate in the path of destruction he’d caused. Quickly becoming obsessed, he watches when she isn’t looking, listens when he’s not been invited, and stalks her every move… and the demon that haunts him knows she is his weakness. To protect her, Kane vows to make her hate him, even if he has to join the demon side to do it. But how can he protect her from her greatest enemy of all when that enemy is himself?

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Blood Bond

Blood Bound Series book 5

Amy Blankenship, RK Melton

Copyright © 2012 Amy Blankenship

Second Edition Published by TekTime

All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

The city of Los Angeles spread out around him in a kaleidoscope of flashing lights and colors. The distant sounds of urban life rang in his ears but Syn paid it no mind, listening instead to the whisper of the soft breeze moving over him. He stood, balanced on the highest peak of one of the tallest buildings in the city, the pinnacle of it being the only thing his feet touched.

Syn had his hands buried in the pockets of his pants while his trench coat whipped behind him like a long cape that seemed to disappear and reappear at random as though it were a living thing. His long dark hair had blown back from his face revealing an ageless beauty the likes of which was rarely seen in this world.

He had taken the precaution of shielding his aura from all creatures who could sense him but he could feel those auras on the ground far below… moving about their lives among the humans with almost no cares in the world.

Looking straight down at the penthouse balcony directly below him, he smirked when he heard Damon giving Alicia the bloodstone… placing it inside of her so she would always be protected from the dangerous sunlight that threatened her new existence. Syn was proud to have such a daughter-in-law, someone who would keep Damon on his toes and challenge him in every way that was important.

His smirk widened when her screams of pain were soon followed by cries of pleasure and he nodded his head approvingly. He couldn’t wait to meet her.

Syn focused his amethyst gaze on the city once more and saw the evil shades of darkness even in areas of light… things others could not see. He didn’t understand why his children had decided to fight this war against the demons. In his mind, he saw demons the same way he saw humans… not really caring one way or the other about them. Yet his children and wayward soul mate had decided to take a stand… choosing to protect those who could not defend themselves against such a war.

A small smile appeared on his face as he remembered his wife… his soul mate. She had always rooted for the underdog, taking up for those who were considered weak. He supposed that not much had changed in her since her previous lifetimes… the soul was the same no matter how many times it was reborn. She had once looked at him as the enemy simply because his power was far greater than most in their world… it had taken years to change her mind.

The sun was just peeking over the horizon and Syn lifted his face to greet it, letting the light flow over him… feeling the vast amount of energy and filling his body with it. Syn knew that his children had chosen to live a human life… something he had never attempted before now. Another hint of a smile crossed his perfect lips as an interesting idea occurred to him.

Yes, it might be a lot of fun to join them since his soul mate also thought she was a mere human and lived by their laws. He would join them… get closer to her and convince her that he was not hers or anyone else’s enemy. This time he would keep most of his power hidden from her so she did not feel so threatened by him. He would become her ally, her friend, and then once more… her mate.

*****

Misery sat on a rock, swinging her legs back and forth making her blond curly hair bounce with each movement. She’d been very busy this week, collecting demons for her growing army. Even now, some of them were hidden in the darkness around her… watching curiously.

Most of the demons she’d collected were weak with no real power to speak of, but then that’s what a soldier was. Standing alone, it was just one weakling. But if you called them together into an army, they could plow through the strongest of enemies with no worry to their own loss of numbers.

Tonight, Misery had felt the power of an ancient aura in the forest that surrounded one side of the city and followed it to a deep cave. The malevolent energy had surged toward her wanting to drive her away from its home but Misery had only been amused by the attempt… that was until the force physically pushed her out.

When she rose to face the demon head on, all she saw was a crow sitting on a rock with its wings ruffled. Searching its black soul, Misery calmed realizing this bird was one of the ancient masters who had been overlooked when the fallen had driven the others to the underworld.

This demon had blended in with its surroundings and made a home for itself. The Native Americans of this land had seen the demon as a great spirit to be worshiped and revered and, from that adoration, the demonic master had grown stronger.

Misery could taste the rage this demon had against the pale-faced humans who roamed its lands freely and sought to take advantage of that. She’d struck a deal with the demon instead of battling it… a battle she now knew she would have lost. The old one seemed agreeable with her idea of releasing their kind from their dimensional prison and had instructed her to gather a blood sacrifice… one of the tools he would need to assist her before flying off into the forest.

When Misery returned to the cave with two vampires and an enthralled semiconscious male, the malevolent spirit was waiting. The crow’s red beady eyes stared piercingly at her before the bird took flight. Misery followed it deep into the forest at the very edge of the game preserve. She had entered a small clearing and was surprised to see an old man sitting beside a large bonfire.

“I am called Black Crow,” the old man stated.

Misery nodded in respect. She remembered the sacred ways of dealing with a demon’s power that surpassed her own. “I am Misery.”

Black Crow laughed mockingly, “What do you know of true misery?”

Misery remained silent, biting her tongue to avoid being ripped to shreds. She had power and he knew it… she was sure he could feel her the same way she could feel him.

Black Crow stood up and approached them. She took in his humanlike appearance and couldn’t understand why one so powerful would choose a body so frail. He looked ancient, very old and wrinkled, with long white hair and dressed in tanned deerskin pants. His shirt was made of the same deerskin and adorned with beads and feathers. A small pouch hung at his hip and more feathers had been braided into his hair above one ear.

Black Crow abruptly reached out and lifted the human man’s head by the hair to look at his face. “This one will do nicely,” He stated and returned to the bonfire.

“What do you wish me to do?” Misery asked.

“We must wait,” Black Crow stated and added more wood to the bonfire.

Misery let her irritation rise, “Wait for what old one? I do not have eternity… my war will happen with or without you.”

Ignoring her, Black Crow added more wood to the bonfire and started to sing. Misery was about to leave when she found herself frozen in place. She could feel her power being leeched from her and her child’s form began to rot away. This was not the effects of her corpse appearance… her entire being was slowly being drained of the power she’d stolen from humans.

“Your plan will fail without me.” Black Crow said condescendingly. “Your existence became mine when you made your bargain. You are weak and hold no power over me for you have nothing that I want.”

Misery was suddenly released but glared at him as she remained sitting on the huge rock waiting for who knew what. Black Crow had been constantly feeding the fire and the flames had risen to an amazing height. The old man stood up and walked to the far side of the clearing to an old redwood that Misery hadn't noticed earlier.

Black Crow kneeled down next to the massive roots and took up a fistful of dirt. Returning to the bonfire, his singing became very loud and rhythmic before throwing the dirt into the fire. The fire sparked and climbed higher when the dirt met the searing flames. His body began moving in a tribal dance while his chants grew louder.

The shadows around them stretched forward until only Black Crow remained untouched by them, dancing inside a perfect circle. He suddenly stopped and reached toward the shadows around his feet. The inky darkness pulled toward his hand, seeking the touch of warmth Black Crow exhumed before he pulled it from the ground. It too met the flames with a spark that quickly turned into an explosion, making Misery reach up to shade her eyes.

An inhuman wail filled the clearing and Misery watched as the shadow slithered up from the flames, glowing red from the heat. It flew across the clearing back to where Black Crow had grabbed the dirt and vanished into the ground. Moments later, the dirt began to heave like it was breathing and two withered boney arms thrust up out of it.

Black Crow immediately went to the blood sacrifice Misery’s vampires had acquired and pulled him from their grasp.

The young man, a student at the local community college, awoke from the vampire’s thrall when Black Crow took possession of him. Still disoriented, he didn’t know what was happening until he saw the long blade approach his throat. By the time he could do anything about it, the blade ripped into his flesh and his scream was silent.

Blood sprayed over the open flames, feeding the bonfire with hisses and sparks. The arms that had thrust up from the ground were now pulling the rest of its body out into the dark night. Long, low pitched moaning erupted from its throat accompanied by grunts of hunger as it dragged itself toward the dying man.

Skeletal fingers fisted into the man’s shirt and the creature lowered its head to the open wound, feasting on the blood and flesh. As it ate, muscle and flesh started to grow over the protruding bones and Misery found herself titillated by the scene. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the work of art Black Crow had created and clapped her hands with glee.

“He will need more to feed upon before he is completely revived… but this one will do for now,” Black Crow said with a touch of boredom caressing his graveled voice.

“Can we make more?” Misery asked as she watched the blood and gore glitter in the firelight.

“I can,” Black Crow said simply and Misery didn’t miss his implication… he could do it and she could not.

“Now young demoness… show me your power,” Black Crow ordered.

Misery smiled and touched the spider pendant hanging around her neck. The spider immediately scattered into thousands of its tiny counterparts before scuttling back together. Black Crow watched as two of the arachnids crawled down her legs and across the uneven ground. The creatures stopped about halfway between him and Misery before burrowing into the dirt.

Black Crow stood in silence as the ground began to shift and a thin blood red crack split the earth open accompanied by a small earthquake. The trees rustled and the cries of forest animals joined in as the ground rumbled in annoyance. Five shadow demons flew out of the opening and around the clearing. Their cries sounding more like screams filled the night with their song. They converged on the bonfire and flew in circles around it, coming closer before pulling back at the last second.

This continued on until the demons grew tired of the game and vanished into the darkness of the forest… toward the city where they could sense their prey. Black Crow stared at the rift into the underworld with an unreadable expression. However, when he approached the jagged crack, he stepped down on it, closing the rift and preventing other demons from escaping.

“A fair effort,” Black Crow stated. “But you are young and foolish. Such a thin sliver between worlds will only allow simple shadow demons to enter back into this realm… leaving our real allies still trapped on the other side. You will need more power than this!” his voice rose then calmed. “While you gain that power, I will make your army... but they will ultimately answer to me.”

Misery had no choice but to nod her head in acquiescence and humility. As she turned away, her childish lips lifted in an evil smirk. The old demon was right about one thing, she needed more power… and she knew exactly how to get it.

Letting the darkness within her expand, she shot back toward the city leaving her underlings to follow. A plan had begun to form and she needed to track down the demon child who could help her. She would have to give up her remaining stash of Kane's blood but the end satisfied the means… it would be worth the sacrifice.

She flitted over the city toward the slums where she’d found a temporary home. Going from street to street searching the darkness, she tried to catch the scent of her target. The problem with this demon was that he had the ability to hide his demonic aura. To anything hunting him, he would appear to be human and that was the biggest lie of all.

Not long after she began her search, Misery felt the hybrid Skye following her. He did not engage her activity and he would not come closer, but she could feel him haunting her every move. Did he miss being trapped in the cave with her? She would give him a refresher course if he tried to interfere with her plans. It was bad enough that the two fallen were tracking his every move… he would only lead them to her if he kept this up.

It was nearing daybreak when she finally found the little demon she was looking for. He came out of the shadows and scurried across the street and into another alley. Misery had stumbled across him out of sheer chance a few days before and had mistaken him for human… that was until he decimated the vampire underlings who had attacked him.

On the outside, the demon looked like nothing more than a little eight year old boy living as a street rat. His shoulder length dark hair hung in tangled, oily locks around his face, which was pale but sweetly angelic in every other way. It only lent to his human camouflage when he wanted to draw in the hearts and minds of his victims. His clothes were ragged and he had no shoes. When he lifted his head to look out at the street behind him, his eyes glittered like black diamonds.

Misery moved over the alley above him before dropping straight down in front of the other demon, taking on the form of the little blonde girl as she fell. She landed in a crouch in front of him before standing upright and dusting her frilly dress off.

“Hello Misery,” the boy said making Misery smile at the small voice.

“Hello Cyrus,” Misery mimicked.

“You’re the one that made all those humans kill each other on the bus the other night,” the boy whispered.

Misery smiled proudly, “Yes I am, and I have need of what you know how to do.”

Cyrus tilted his head to the side. “What can I do that you can’t already?”

Misery giggled and took off the spider necklace that had the remnant of Kane’s blood and slipped it over his head.

“You’d be surprised young one,” she whispered.

“Will I be able to play?” the boy asked making Misery realize just how young this demon was.

“Oh yes, you’ll be able to play all you want,” Misery answered.

The blackness of the boy’s eyes expanded, blocking out all color until they looked like two bottomless pits of nothingness.

“I like to play,” The boy said and a malicious smile appeared while his fingers played with the spider hanging on the end of the chain.

*****

Kriss lay in bed on the top floor penthouse of one of the more prestigious apartment buildings in downtown Los Angeles. He’d taken refuge here in order to avoid Tabatha and his growing feelings toward her.

His mind flashed back to the last time he had seen her. He’d steadfastly kept his distance from her for a couple days before the separation became too painful for him. His chest had begun to ache from not being close to her and when he entered their apartment to find her asleep with dried tears staining her cheeks… his only thought was to hold her and make it all better.

He’d slipped under the covers with her, not realizing she was naked until he wrapped himself around her in a protective embrace. That’s when he’d frozen, straining toward her and away from her at the same time. She’d turned toward him in her sleep, throwing her arm around him to cuddle like she often did her extra pillows. When her breasts pressed up against his chest, the self-control he’d always prided himself on snapped.

For months his thoughts had been drifting toward doing things to her… with her… things that couldn’t be done regardless of how much he loved and wanted her. But in that instant, he’d wanted inside her enough to risk killing the woman he loved. He felt his hardness throb and brush against her soft flesh.

When an angry shadow fell across the bed, Kriss froze then slowly turned his head and looked up into Dean’s accusing silver gaze. He knew he’d crossed the line from friendship into danger upon seeing that expression on his lover’s face.

He’d left with Dean that night, determined that he would not commit the same sins as his father. He felt himself throb again at the memory. Until he got the emotion under control, he knew Dean was right… he had to stay away from Tabatha.

As a further precaution, he’d quit his job at Silk Stalkings just in case she went looking for him there. He’d done everything he could to make sure Tabatha was kept as far away as possible from him, but the separation hurt him like nothing he’d ever felt. When a fallen loved someone… it was a step past what a human called love and the madness that the emotion often caused within humans when they couldn’t have the one they loved was tenfold when compared to the reaction it caused within a fallen.

Kriss once again jerked on the bindings that secured one wrist… he’d hated Dean for restraining him. However, Kriss understood what had almost happened. If he had given into his lust… the pain of losing Dean and killing Tabatha at the same time would’ve destroyed his mind.

He closed his eyes when a cool breeze drifted through the open terrace doors and over his nude body. Although the restraints allowed him movement throughout the huge apartment, he’d laid down hours ago but couldn’t sleep and the tumbled mess of covers on the floor was testament to that. Kriss was now lying on his belly with one knee bent against the mattress and the other leg was covered over with the very edge of the sheet.

Another breeze blew through the room bringing with it a familiar scent. Kriss opened his eyes, watching the shadows of the gauzy curtains against the wall in front of him. When a winged shadow joined them, Kriss remained silent and expectant.

Dean had been on the roof, giving his demons prey and an elusive fallen hybrid a rest for the night. Dropping down from the roof of the building to the terrace below, he stood in the open doorway watching Kriss. The white sheet had been kicked aside, exposing his nude body to the glow of moonlight shining in. Dean felt the loneliness Kriss held in his heart and knew staying away from Tabatha long enough would be the only cure for such pain.

His gaze trailed across the supernatural binding that kept Kriss from leaving the apartment during his absence. He didn’t want to hurt Kriss in such a manner, but he could feel Kriss' love for Tabatha growing every day. He’d reminded Kriss that to sleep with a woman from this world would be the same as killing her and he hadn’t lied… the seed of a fallen would take root even in an infertile woman. It would heal the infertility in order to create life if it had to… but that life would kill the female who bore it.

Dean had told Kriss the truth of his own sins… the one sure way to keep Kriss from being with Tabatha. When he’d first been sent to this world he’d become entranced with a young girl around the same age as Tabatha. He’d spent too much time with her and one thing had led to another… he’d fallen in love with a human female.

Thinking the curse would not follow him… thinking with as much as he loved her that they would have a fallen child, he’d given into to his lust. She’d encouraged it because she wanted him just as badly. Making love to her had been heaven but it had only taken hours for the demon to fully form inside her. When she’d awoken him later in the night with her screams, he’d had to kill his own child when it began to eat her from the inside.

Kriss had been deceiving himself… thinking he could sleep with Tabatha night after night without making love to her but Dean knew that was a lie… a dangerous one. Kriss would never be able to live with himself if he signed Tabatha’s death warrant with the seed of his own love.

The fallen craved love, yet had been sent to a world where they could not touch the women… all they had left was each other. Kriss' beauty had always called to Dean, enchanted him even and he knew why… Kriss was royalty among their kind. He never should have been sent back to this place to fight the demons. He silently wondered how long it had taken one of the kings to realize their prince had vanished. Kriss was meant to be pampered, loved, and cherished.

Stepping into the room, Dean moved slowly making sure his shadow remained on the wall so Kriss could see what he was doing clearly and have time to stop it if he chose to.

“The demons are restless within the city tonight… can you feel them?” Dean kept his voice calm not expecting an answer. His lips parted when Kriss' melancholy voice sent a soft echo through the room.

“Let them come.”

Dean pulled the jacket from his shoulders and tossed it onto a chair against the wall. Next came the shirt… he unbuttoned it and let it fall from his shoulders to the floor in a soft pile of cotton. He unbuttoned his pants and slowly lowered the zipper, almost smiling when Kriss' breath caught. Slipping off his shoes and socks, Dean pushed his jeans to the floor and stepped out of them.

Moving toward the bed, Dean gripped one of the canopy posts for a moment to stare down at Kriss before slipping in next to him. Pulling Kriss onto his side, Dean spooned behind him and jerked him close, giving into the jealousy that simmered within his heart.

He knew Kriss' sadness stemmed from his love for Tabatha… he’d felt a premonition of the danger coming the night Tabatha and Kriss had met. That’s why he’d attacked Tabatha in the parking lot of Silk Stalkings. His intention had been to warn her of the threat but Kriss had stopped him, using his body as her shield… using Dean’s obsession against him.

Kriss rolled over onto his back and turned his head to gaze at Dean. They stared at each other for what seemed to be an eternity before Dean swiftly closed the distance between them and brushed his lips sensuously against Kriss'.

When Kriss inhaled sharply, Dean took advantage and deepened the kiss… making it more demanding. He was tired of lying beside Kriss night after night watching him morn for a girl he could never have. If he could, he would just inhale Kriss' pain and replace it with the furious love of the fallen.

Kriss felt the fire start to spread through his veins but his own guilt made him turn his face away, breaking the kiss. He tucked himself into Dean’s arms, wrapping his own arms around Dean’s body before threading their legs together.

Dean stared silently down at the top of Kriss' head and mentally sighed. The fact that Kriss was holding on to him so tightly was the only thing that calmed him. He could feel the sadness ebb a little before it returned. He’d already decided to release Kriss from his bindings with the dawn but in the face of Kriss' rejection, Dean’s eyes glowed and the bindings disappeared.

In an instant Kriss turned and gripped Dean’s wrists, slamming them down into the mattress and holding them there.

Dean stared calmly up into disturbed silver eyes wondering what Kriss would do now that he had the freedom to return to Tabatha. When Kriss simply held him there, Dean lifted his head from the mattress gently brushing his lips across Kriss' collarbone to the arc of his neck. He was rewarded by Kriss' sharp hiss and his release.

Several hours later they lay entwined together as dawn broke. Dean knew, just as Kriss did, that he would be here when Kriss woke in the morning… he would always be here.

*****

Kane walked the city streets trying to clear his head of everything that had happened over the last few weeks. He’d even felt glimpses of his old personality come to the surface several times… mostly around Michael. He had to admit that he loved the guy.

The tight rein he’d kept on his emotions for the last ten years was slipping and he already missed the security the imaginary walls had allowed him. He was sure some well-paid fraud of a psychiatrist would say that was a good thing but he was also sure he could change their minds in record time.

He used the numbness he brought out of the grave with him like a shield… keeping him half dead and the people around here safer for it. As it was, it was taking every ounce of control he had to keep his feelings for Tabatha bottled up and protect her from Misery at the same time.

He still got the chills knowing that Michael had finally figured out that it was Tabatha who had set him free from his grave. If he’d been thinking clearly, he would have found a way to keep Scrappy away from Tabatha for a while longer while he tried to figure out how to tell her… if he told her at all.

In his opinion, some secrets were meant to be kept. Truth was he’d never planned to tell Tabatha.

Kane growled becoming annoyed when his thoughts were interrupted. He could feel demonic eyes on him as he walked… watching every move he made. He wondered if they had been sent by Misery. He couldn’t sense her among them, which actually made a lot of sense. Why should the bitch stalk him when she could have her underlings do it for her? The city was now crawling with her minions… dark entities he’d helped create.

He quickened his pace to the point where the headlights of the cars coming toward him were suddenly moving away behind him. The red glow of their taillights illuminated the street for a few short seconds before even that disappeared. He’d never been this fast before but, with the mood he was in lately, he’d been ignoring the upsurge in power.

Right now all he wanted was to be alone in his own bubble, instead of around Michael and whoever his best friend slash brother had with him. He wasn’t so sure he was capable of wearing his ‘I’m sane now’ mask… not tonight. His true self was close to the surface and that was something Michael didn’t need to see.

Shoving his hands into his pockets, Kane continued on in an attempt to ignore the spying bastards following him. He’d reached a more upscale area of the city now and he headed toward the section where a large majority of clubs were situated. He needed a good drink and perhaps a bit of a fight, even if it meant he had to start it himself. The clubs would provide the mind-dulling liquid, and it should be easy enough to locate a nest of vampires for the other.

Turning a corner onto a busy street, Kane caught a sweet scent on the wind and stopped, letting the sights and sounds of the city come back into focus. He could smell her very close by and looked around trying to determine her location. He inhaled deeply, wanting more of her, then wondered if he was a masochist for torturing himself.

He knew he should stay away from her since he seemed to be a homing beacon for demons, but his flip side instantly argued that his soul mate had a way of finding trouble on her own. If she was crazy enough to be roaming around in a demon hot spot, then maybe he should refresh her mind on how bad of an idea that really was.

His sharp gaze landed on a club called Silk Stalkings and he frowned knowing that’s where the fallen, Kriss, worked as a dancer. It was an interesting career choice for a fallen but Kane wasn’t one to judge. Sighing in resignation, Kane crossed the street and entered the club so he could take Tabatha home before she got herself into more trouble.

Chapter 2

Tabatha stepped through the entrance of Silk Stalkings and looked around. She’d come here looking for Kriss… and prayed she would find him. He’d gone missing a few days ago and hadn’t even called… and he’d been avoiding her longer than that. She missed him and was starting to worry. If he was gone for any length of time in the past, he’d at least called and let her know everything was all right.

Just catching a glimpse of him would take away her fear that Misery had eaten him or locked him in a cave somewhere.

Sitting down at one of the tall tables, she continued to watch the stage hoping Kriss would come out and perform his act. It was almost an hour later that she realized the time and knew Kriss should have hit the stage by now. One of the waiters walked by her and she touched him on the arm to gain his attention.

“Do you need something, Miss?” he asked.

Tabatha smiled, “I’m hoping you can help me. I’m looking for Kriss Reed. Can you tell me when his next shift is?”

The waiter sighed and shook his head, “You’re the sixth woman to ask about him this week. Unfortunately, he quit a while back, no one’s seen him since.”

Tabatha felt like she’d been slapped in the face. A sinking feeling appeared in the pit of her stomach and she lowered her head to hide the tears that started to gather… she’d lost her best friend.

“Are you okay?” the waiter asked softly.

Tabatha looked up at him and smiled, wiping away the wetness that threatened to ruin her mascara. “Yeah, I’m fine. But you can get me a Malibu and pineapple?”

The waiter gave her a questioning look before sighing and going back to the bar. He recognized Tabatha as one of Kriss' close friends and figured Kriss had skipped town without telling her. It was shame too… she seemed to be a nice girl and Kriss leaving had obviously hurt her.

Tabatha made a show of taking her compact out of her clutch purse and examining her makeup. He’d left without even saying goodbye… he’d promised when they went to Florida with Devon and Envy that he’d never leave her. They had even become closer since her kidnapping… so much closer.

“Here you go,” the waiter announced and set her drink down in front of her.

Tabatha lowered the compact and smiled up at him, “Go ahead and start up a tab… I’m going to stay for a while.”

The waiter nodded and started weaving around his tables making sure everyone was all right, occasionally looking over to make sure his newest guest didn’t drink herself into oblivion.

Tabatha quickly knocked back the drink and set it down on the tabletop. Why was she worried anyway? Kriss was one of the fallen… he had better things to do than mess with humans… much less humans that were his friends. God she hated being pouty and angry at the same time… it made one feel disturbed.

Another drink was set in front of her and she quickly drank that one down, too. About six drinks later she was nice and tipsy. Glancing toward the stage, she pouted seeing a new guy come out wearing only a silver thong and wings. She wondered where the crying drunk Guru was when she needed one and narrowed her eyes hating the dancer for unknowingly mocking her.

“One more before I leave?” she asked the waiter that had hovered close since she sat down.

The waiter smiled softly and shook his head. “I think you’ve had quite enough. Would you like me to call you a taxi?”

“No,” Tabatha said and stood up, grabbing her purse. “I want you to tell Kriss that if he remembers who his friends are, to give me a call.”

Of course she didn’t mean it, but at the moment she was very angry with Kriss… hurt that he didn’t think enough of their friendship to at least tell her he was leaving… or being kidnapped. Opening her purse, she took out her wallet and tried to pay for the drinks but the waiter shook his head again.

“Your tab has already been paid,” he said. “Now go home and sleep it off… I’m sure he’ll call you soon.”

Tabatha fished her car keys out of her purse and dropped them on the floor. “Damn it!” she hissed, wanting to leave before she did something stupid like cry in public.

She bent over to pick them up but another hand closed around them and snatched them up. Tabatha followed the hand to an arm and then a shoulder. Her eyes widened when her gaze locked with Kane’s handsome face.

“Come on, Love,” he said seeing the way the lights shattered within her light blue eyes. She was on the verge of crying. It seemed he wasn’t the only one in a mood tonight. “Let’s get you home.”

Tabatha’s lower lip trembled as she looked up at him and she latched onto his arm instantly feeling his strength. Her bigger-than-life stalker had come for her and for once… she was glad.

Kane nodded over Tabatha’s head to the waiter and led her out of the club. He growled inwardly knowing why she’d chosen this club. She wanted to find the fallen bastard who was hiding from her.

Didn’t Kriss care what his negligence was doing to Tabatha, or had he listed himself as her potential enemy instead of her best friend? Kane wrapped his arm around Tabatha’s shoulders and took her other arm in a strong grip when she almost stumbled in her high heels.

“Have you seen him?” Tabatha asked looking up at Kane.

Kane shook his head sadly, “No I haven’t.” He refrained from telling her that the last time he’d run into Dean he could smell Kriss on him… the fallen was fine.

“He’s gone,” Tabatha swiped childishly at the tear that had finally managed to escape. “What if Misery ate him?”

Kane tried not to chuckle in the face of her drunken but sincere question. “Misery thinks the fallen taste foul,” he recited Misery’s own words.

“Then why didn’t he say goodbye?” Tabatha lowered her gaze to the floor as they walked.

Kane didn’t answer as he got Tabatha into her car and went around to the driver’s side. Images of ripping those silky soft wings off of Kriss' back were running amuck through his head but Kane pushed them aside. Revenge could wait… right now he needed to get his personal angel home safe and sound before his revolving door of a personality shifted back to the dark side.

Tabatha stayed quiet as they drove, the blue of the dash lights giving the inside of the car a soft glow as if daring her to look at the man driving. She’d never really been one to turn down a dare and, although she could hold her alcohol better than the normal person… the drinks did help to suppress a healthy fear.

She slowly turned her head and bravely looked directly at Kane, “Why did Misery say that I belonged to you?”

Kane’s head quickly whipped around to pin her with a hard stare. She wasn’t supposed to remember what happened that night… he’d taken it from her memories. How in the hell did she recall something she was supposed to forget? Seeing car lights shine on her face, he glanced back at the road and swerved just in time to avoid hitting an oncoming car.

Her hand went to the door handle out of instinct when she saw his reaction to her question but she stilled herself. She wasn’t quite drunk enough to jump from a moving car. The twinge of fear that crawled up her back only served to boost her courage level to the point of stupidity.

“Pick a lane,” Tabatha grinned then blinked wanting to smack herself. ‘Crap,’ she thought mentally. ‘Way to go dummy, piss off the guy with pointed teeth.’

“You remember that night?” Kane asked before he could stop himself.

“So what,” she said and mentally shrugged. “Big deal, I remember. Well… most of it anyway. Maybe you’re not as good at putting people under your thrall as you think you are.”

“Maybe next time I won't be so gentle,” Kane warned and watched her shiver at his dark words.

Tabatha narrowed her gaze at his stoic expression. How dare he call her bluff.

“Well, before you try to brainwash me again, how about telling me the answer to Misery’s riddle?” she demanded and crossed her arms over her chest knowing she was taking her anger over Kriss' abandonment out on Kane… then again, maybe Kane deserved it. For all she knew, Kane was the one who had eaten Kriss.

“Either you tell me what she meant, or I swear I’ll hang a big juicy cow heart around my neck and pimp myself out to Misery so I can ask her myself.”

She gasped and quickly grabbed hold of the dashboard when Kane jerked the wheel, making the car swerve to the side of the road and over the curb. He slammed on the brakes and slid across the dirt embankment, making the car do a complete one-eighty before coming to a skidding stop.

Kane was hovering over her before the car stopped moving. Tabatha couldn’t help looking up at his face and admiring the strong planes of his jaw… the amethyst color of his eyes. Her gaze lowered to his perfect lips and she wondered if they would be cold as ice or hot as fire.

Kane was beyond angry and wanted to throttle the woman for even thinking such a thing. Biting his own tongue, he waited until he could taste the quick flow of blood before taking Tabatha’s lips in a searing kiss. Under normal circumstances he would kill to be able to do this… then again, she would have to be sober for it to count. The only reason he was kissing her so deeply now was to clear her mind of the dangerous plans the alcohol had put there.

Hot, his lips were hot and the lovely heat was spiraling through her to center between her legs. Tabatha suddenly felt the fear she’d been lacking just a moment before. It washed over her in vengeful waves and she felt her toes curl at the exact same time panic settled into her stomach. Her mind chose the fear and she started pushing against him as hard as she could. Unfortunately, it had the same effect as an ant trying to lift a house.

Kane felt her hands push against his chest, but if this was going to be their last kiss, then he was going to savor it for a moment longer. He breathed in her warm breath as he softened the kiss only for him to quickly deepen it again.

Tabatha was assaulted with the sweet, salty flavor of Kane’s blood and the overwhelming need to climb deep inside him overrode any lingering fear. That need intensified when his hand curled around her hip and raised her off the seat, pressing her against him as much as the small confines of the vehicle would allow. Her thighs went up in flames and, before she could stop herself, one of her hands slid up his chest to curve around his neck were she gripped his snow white hair in a tight fist.

Kane shivered when he felt her nails scrape against his sensitive skin, making his hips reflex and a growl form deep in his chest. He wanted her… god he wanted her so bad. A car horn blared and Kane was quickly reminded of where they were. It took more strength than he thought he had to release her body and practically slam himself back into the driver’s seat.

“Sober yet?” he asked. The muscles in his jaw flexed and his knuckles turned white where he was gripping the steering wheel as he restrained his hunger.

Tabatha brought her hand up to cover her mouth as she thought about the strange question. After a couple seconds she nodded with a frown on her face. “Yeah, what are you, instant coffee?”

“What are you?” Kane mocked her. “Bloody insane is what you are… talking about cow hearts and demons.”

Tabatha’s eyes widened when a flash of lightning caught her attention as it lit up the street. She licked her bottom lip still tasting him then looked down at herself to make sure her thighs weren’t really on fire. The lightning flashed again and she leaned forward, looking up at the sky to search for the storm clouds. Seeing none, she looked back at Kane and realized it was him making the storm.

“I think you might want to calm down. I was wrong… you’re not instant coffee, you’re instant storm,” she said and straightened herself in the car seat. She hadn’t noticed it before, but when Kane had leaned over her, her dress had slipped up nearly showing the frilly lace of her panties.

Kane rubbed his temple with his fingers and closed his eyes… he had to. “Just do this one thing… stay away from Misery.”

“Is that how you healed me in Warren’s office?” Tabatha whispered, somehow knowing his blood had just killed every drop of alcohol she’d consumed tonight. She missed the lack of inhibitions already but wasn’t about to call him a party pooper with the mood he was in. But, she had to admit, that if he hadn’t stopped the kiss it would have led to other things.

To say he was unstable would have been an understatement if the way he was gripping the wheel gave her any indication. After what she’d just been about to do… maybe they were both unstable.

When he didn’t answer but just stared straight ahead and shrugged, Tabatha found herself getting angry all over again. “Fine, just take me home… or better yet, get the hell out. I can drive myself now.”

Tabatha was slammed back against the seat when Kane put the car back in gear and gunned the engine, bouncing over the curb and reentering traffic… or what little there was this time of night.

“Maybe you should go find whatever bird’s nest Kriss is in and join him since both of you obviously enjoy keeping secrets from me!” she said sarcastically.

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you it’s not a good idea to antagonize a vampire?” Kane asked in a deceptively calm voice while refusing to look at her.

“I’m still alive,” Tabatha pointed out.

“For now,” Kane lied but felt satisfaction when the rest of the drive was made in irritated silence.

Tabatha sat in the passenger seat with her arms still crossed over her chest. She adamantly refused to think about that kiss and she sure as hell didn’t think about how sexy he had looked hovering over her… angry or otherwise.

As soon as Kane pulled the car into her driveway he sighed, running a hand through his hair when she jumped out of the car and took off like she’d been bitten. He found the thought rather ironic considering he had bitten her before. Getting out of the car, he silently followed her knowing it was the wrong thing to do.

Tabatha slammed the car door behind her and rushed to the front door of her apartment. As soon as she had the door safely closed behind her, she turned and spent the next few seconds locking all four locks and the deadbolt then flipped the living room light on.

“For now my ass!” she glared at the door finally feeling vindicated… until she turned around. Tabatha screeched when she saw Kane sitting on the sofa like he owned the place and threw her small pocketbook at him.

“You’re uninvited!” she raged then waited to see if he would go poof and vanish. It was actually a good thing he didn’t because she would have hurt herself with the hysterical laughter that would have followed.

“Damn it, why are you still here?” she demanded and kicked her high heels off toward him, satisfied when he had to move his leg to avoid one of them.

To her amazement, Kane just sat there staring at her with that infuriating expression that looked like a cross between amusement and anger. He shimmered and vanished for a second then she heard the thump of something hitting the door on each side of her. Tabatha couldn’t move due to him pinning her against the wood behind her. She heard thunder outside and felt her fear rise with the sound.

Kane leaned forward a bit until his cheek was almost touching hers and inhaled the mixed scent of her anger and fear. It was like an aphrodisiac and served to remind him why he hadn’t taken his soul mate as soon as he’d found her. If anything, he was fighting the urge to take her against the door… hard and fast.

The gods may have linked them together, but they had been wrong in their pairing. For her sake… they had to be wrong. When he leaned back enough to see her face, he was satisfied to see her anger and fear were still present.

Tabatha felt her bangs move with every breath he was taking as he stared down at her with those heated eyes. She became entranced watching his amethyst pupils enlarge and then felt disappointment shudder through her… she didn’t want to forget.

“Before you hocus pocus me… give me a truth,” she whispered, “A real, honest to God truth.”

“A truth love?” Kane dropped his gaze to her lips and lowered his head until his lips were barely brushing against hers… not a kiss but something far more intimate. “I’m more dangerous to you than any demon could ever be.”