I gape at Felipe, eyes wide, jaw dropped.
“What? No, Louisiana is my home. I am bonded to Eric, you can’t just snatch me up on a whim.” My grip tightens on Eric’s arm as his hold pushes me deeper into his body. It’s comforting to know that he still wants me, even after my psychotic meltdown.
De Castro’s brow creases and his fists clench angrily at his sides. I am sure he is not used to anyone defying him, let alone a telepath, in front of his minions.
Too fucking bad!
“I am King!” He spits out, pointing a boney index finger to me. “You, Messs Sstackhousssee are clearly having an emotional collapse being in the Viking’s care.”
His voice levels out into a calmer tone, “Business-wise, this is a prudent move.” He smiles wickedly at Eric. “On a personal note, I believe that Eric needs to understand his responsibility for losing my Regent. A year should suffice, and who knows…in that time you may be able to see Eric again.” His gaze transfixed to me again. “That is, of course, if you both behave. My feisty pet.”
I grasp Eric arm so rough I am sure I inadvertently drew blood with my nails. He molds me to him anew, growling toward his monarch. His rage and possessiveness fills the bond to the rim as it spills over into fear. Does Eric think Felipe will win?
“Sookie is mine!” Eric seethes, his fangs are out and ready to destroy all those who dare step in his path.
“I am your King, underling. You do as I say, otherwise you will witness your bonded in many very unpleasant circumstances.” His dark brown eyes are humorless in their threat. “And make no mistake, I will ensure you witness everything.” Eric snarls but De Castro smile turns into a DC Joker style kind of demented as his eyes flash to me, or more accurately my body. Ew, I feel sick with the rapist lust he is giving off. De Castro leisurely inspects me up and down before speaking.
“I have longed to taste her, as has my servants.”
This declaration is beyond disturbing.
“Given my generosity, I have waited long enough,” turning to the crowd of vampire cronies, De Castro throws open his cape in a theatrical manner. Causing the edges to flap and flutter down behind him in an over the top flourish.
I idly wonder if he got that cape at a second hand, washed up magician’s store. Fifty percent off the day after Halloween.
De Castro makes his next announcement with raised hands, as if he were a preacher on Sunday, inviting his flock to an all-you-can-eat buffet after the most moving of services.
“I will grant all who are loyal to me here, tonight, a taste of the delectable Sookie Stackhouse. What say you?” The crowd immediately shouts their approval in response and the King turns, his smile darkens further as his fangs engage. Showing off the white stakes in his open mouthed smile, it’s creepy.
Draped around Eric’s waist, I whimper in fear. Imagining fifteen hungry vampires taking turns on my neck, wrists…or worse, is not my idea of an after party. I shut my eyes as I cling to my Eric, willing my breathing to calm.
“You speak words that you know not of the consequences.” Eric sneers at De Castro.
“Consequences? How about Victor’s mysterious disappearance, Eric?” De Castro says, “Did you believe you would have no recourse in the evaporation of my Regent? Consider my acquisition of your bonded, my royal asset, as my reparation for your disobedience.”
“Sookie is mine!” Eric shouts. Victor’s lack of appearance does not mean you may punish Sookie or myself. The law is clear on her place with me until she decides to leave.” Eric was seething in barely controlled rage.
“No monarch, not the council, not even a maker can intervene between us and our bond. You know the penalty for such an offense.” Eric was beyond furious, it made me wonder what the punishment was. The amount of barely controlled violence was shocking to see on my Eric’s beautiful face. I hope we could file a complaint, or something in the very near future. But that likelihood seemed to fade a million miles away.
Eric spoke further, disrupting my thoughts on an appeals process. “Sookie has been mine pre-dating your takeover of Louisiana and Arkansas.” Eric defending his case masterfully. A vampire in ruthless control. “Have you already forgotten that it was she who freed you from silver, spared you from the true death, by the hands of the old regime’s child? This is grounds for the council to be involved.”
De Castro’s grin turned murderous. “That, of course, is your right to file a claim with the council. In the meantime Sookie will enjoy all that Nevada has to offer.” His eyes twinkled then, a light bulb going off over his head. “I believe the next summit is six months from now.” Felipe’s fangs were out and proud, glistening in the starlight. “Yes, plenty of time for Messs Stackhouse and I to become better acquainted.”
Eric roared his protest as he quickly moved me behind his hard body. Protecting me from anyone who dare touch or look in my direction. Truth be told, Eric was downright terrifying when he was filled with unbridled wrath. Even though admitting this sent my mind into a state of confusion, another part of me of extremely turned on over his possessiveness.
I had fought him so hard, for so long. Deep down, Eric’s need to guard me against the many forces of our enemies was irresistible. I would do the same for him, and had. I needed to say this out loud to him, later. If there was a later.
The king waved Eric’s alpha behavior dismissively with a shake of his wrist and spoke in a loud, almost bored voice.
“Grab the girl.”
Flicking a piece of imaginary lint off his second rate cloak, he added. “If the Viking meets his end in the process, so be it.”
No, no, no!
Our second chance, gone? Just so I can be kept a prisoner for months, perhaps years…on end?
Eric was gearing up for the fight, the Nevada vampires start to surround us in a semi-circle. We were alone, but I felt the resolve and love coming from him, humming strongly through the bond. Soothing my nerves and antagonism towards De Castro’s infuriating arrogance, leaving me only with the focus I needed.
I send out a quick prayer to the cosmos, to please save my beloved Eric from this impending doom. He didn’t deserve to die because of me.
Sure, we had killed Victor. That asshole had it coming, in spades. I was certainly not a ruler hell bent on world domination, but De Castro should have realized the risks in taking over two additional states far from his land. Expanding his kingdom didn’t seem to bring him anything more than headache. I bet my bottom dollar that at some point he would unload the territories as dead weight.
Eric’s fangs are bright white in the evening’s partial moon light. Long gone was my sweet lovin’ man, in his place is my cold-blooded vampire. I loved all the masks he wore. I loved everything he had become in a thousand years. It just can’t end now, we have so much left to do. To see, to be…together.
“I love you,” I whisper into his back. Hugging him briefly from behind, before ducking under his lean muscled arm to face him. My back to De Castro and his filthy goons.
Eric’s head shifts downwards, shifting his long golden tresses across his broad back, he peers at me for a moment. The look in his eyes are unreadable. No doubt he is uncomfortable with the crying, crazed, mascara running down her cheeks woman that he cradles in his arms. His sea blue eyes search mine and the most serious look I’ve ever seen comes over on his masculine features.
“I love you, Sookie.” Eric’s eyes are pools of blue fire light, “We will be victorious.” His lips are on mine in a heated kiss. Cool lips to my warm ones, I can taste my salty tears as he licks the corner of my mouth and pulls away. Leaving me breathless, he whispers. “Trust me.”
Beaming with renewed sense of hope I respond, “Always have. Always will.”
A rumble from behind us makes the hairs on my neck stand out. Are they attacking in our moment of love? Pam appears at our right, handing Eric his large broadsword. I’ve seen it many times in an intricate stand on his side of our bed. I thought it was an heirloom, clearly it’s his weapon of choice.
She nods and bares her fangs, hissing toward the De Castro and the Nevada vampires. Joining Pam are Bill, Indra, Bubba, Thalia and Maxwell Lee. Alcide in his Werewolf form, and four additional weres behind him growl toward De Castro’s thugs. I knew Eric had used Alcide’s pack for security tonight, but I didn’t think they would get involved with a vampire skirmish. Normally, the weres stay out of Vampire business and vice versa.
Oh, shoot! It’s me, I am a friend of their pack. Surly, it would not look good to have me taken by another vampire on their watch. My gut scrambles nervously with butterflies. Eric nods at Alcide, who replies with a chuffing noise back. Armed with knives and swords, Eric’s vampires hiss at the incoming dozen or so enemies. It’s almost an even match up.
In a heartbeat, a crash of fangs and metal weapons being drawn erupts on the slick lawn. Eric pushes me behind him, pressing a silver dagger into my palm. Zipping out of my grasp, he moves easily forward, beheading two enemy vampires that disappear before my eyes into a bloody heap on the lawn.
“Two.” Eric calls to Pam. Smiling with the thrill of the fight. She is sparring with a short red haired male vampire. A long dagger in one hand, a wooden stake in the other. She twirls, staking the smaller vampire in the heart.
“One,” she huffs, annoyed. Eric has engaged one of Felipe’s body guards. A heavily muscled vampire with a military flat top. The fighting persists around me. The moment Eric had left me, Bill and Bubba stepped up to cover any rouge vampires. It is a relief, I can and will defend myself but if a vampire wants you dead, you are probably going to go that way.
At least Bill follows direction from Eric and isn’t still hung up on the fact that we are no longer together. Another item off my checklist. Bubba slashes and grabs an incoming vampire by the neck. Head butting the dark haired vampire, Bubba drops his stake to twist his head off. Which rolls to the side before becoming red sludge on the lawn, he looks to me with a proud grin. I smiled back, happy to see my friend having fun and protecting me. With the radiant expression, I almost expected him to beat his chest like Tarzan.
Thalia had barreled through two star struck vampires and was about to end her third. The vampires was on fire and tearing down the enemy faster than Pam. Poor Pam, she would never hear the end of it from Eric. De Castro’s posse was being decimated at an alarming rate, and for the first time tonight, he looked nervous.
Watching Eric fight was beautiful, his body moved with the fluid grace of his Viking days, combined with his thrill to end all who threaten us. It was mesmerizing. Lean legs in black tight jeans moved in a flurry of dance spins around the onslaught. Taunting and then lunging. Captivating.
Distracted from Eric’s moves, I missed Bill leaving my side at a dead run. He moved at a speed a Cheetah would be jealous of, behind Eric while he thrust his sword at a burly-looking vampire. This was silly. Surely, Eric can take care of himself without Bill’s assistance. What was he doing?
I called out, concerned for my neighbor’s safety, “Bill, stay back!”
He was going to get himself killed. Shit!
Bill was a step or two away from Eric’s turned back when he whipped out a silver chain, catching Eric by the neck.
“No, Eric! Bill, stop this!” I screamed, confused and horrified. The metal burned into his flesh, causing Eric to drop his sword and fall to his knees. The pain reverberated through the bond, as well as shock and then blood thirsty anger. Bill grabbed Eric by his long, loose hair, exposing his neck. De Castro strolled up, nodding to Bill, stake in hand.
Bill leaned down and whispered something in Eric’s ear, causing Eric too growl and jerk against Bill’s hold. In my periphery vision I saw Pam push off a vampire she was fighting to defend her maker. She would be too late.
De Castro’s fangs were long, his face with riddled with evil intent toward my love. Eric’s face tilted to Felipe’s, no doubt to watch his own demise. Love and sorrow ripped through the bond and straight into my soul.
Eris was saying goodbye.
Felipe raised his hands that held a wooden spike that would be Eric’s end.
“Farewell Viking.” De Castro jeered.