Excerpt

I leaned against my car as Crispin walked beneath into the Coven, disappearing into the darkness below. If we walked in together, it would’ve raised so many unnecessary problems with Eve that I didn’t want to deal with. I could be a smart ass when I wanted to, but there were times when I just didn’t want to bother.
Now was one of them as my mind drifted back to the garden once the door had closed behind him. He had seemed, felt different and his demeanor left me confused. Sincerity was not in Crispin’s vocabulary and I had never seen him be so soft with anyone. A part of me wanted to believe that Mikael was still in him somewhere, but another argued that he was no longer that person. I had always agreed with the latter, but now…I wasn’t sure what to think.
A few minutes after Crispin disappeared, London came storming up the stairs, slamming the door into the wall. Barely glancing my way, he slammed his fist into the concrete, cursing in French. London only spoke French when he was upset or trying to be romantic. Based on his choice of words and demeanor, I was really betting on the first one. He had still failed to put on a shirt apparently, his alabaster skin practically blinding in the afternoon sunlight.
“London,” I tried to get his attention, my pride screaming at me. If looks could kill, I would’ve died ten times over from the glare he gave me. I frowned, displeased with his reaction. “What’s your problem?”
“What’s my problem?” Suddenly he was in my face and vanilla flooded my mind until I wanted to push him back before the sweet scent suffocated me. “Oh, nothing, just that Eve is being an annoying bitch and I just want to rip her guts out!”
“Well, sorry, that’s not really news around here.” I didn’t like him taking his anger out on me, especially when I had nothing to do with it. Most of us thought Eve abused her position as Lucius’ Servant, but that was hardly my fault. Eve probably had taken a jab at London’s harem again, something he was very touchy about. “I was trying to apologize.”
The angry lines left his face, but he didn’t move, his orange curls bouncing. He looked at me with genuine confusion as he spoke, still leaning over me. “Apologize for what?”
“What I said earlier.” I muttered, looking away. “I didn’t mean to say it like that or to compare you to Mother. I don’t really think you’re like her. You’re pushy at times, but you care for your harem, something she could never understand.”
Surprised by my words, he smiled at me, putting his hands on my car, and pinning me to the hood with his body. He leaned down as if to kiss me and I quickly turned away from him. Instead he placed a light kiss on my cheek, lips barely brushing against my skin. He pulled back slightly, his eyes now looking at me softly.
“Don’t worry about it luv, I’m over it.” London ginned at me and I chuckled softly.
“Didn’t take long.”
“What can I say? I just can’t stay mad at you.” He looked ready to say something else but instead he leaned his head down, placing his neck close to my mouth. I could smell the fresh blood pulsing beneath the skin, and I quickly had to push him away. After my encounter with Crispin, my addiction was already barely under control and I looked at him with horror. He looked at me surprised, confused by my refusal of him. “What’s wrong?”
“You’ve fed today. You need to leave.” I turned away from him, trying not to think about the fresh blood now running through his veins. The red, sweet blood that filled his luscious body, just waiting for me to indulge. I grabbed my arm as it shot out to grab him, digging my nails into my own flesh. “You need to leave now. You know better than to come around me after feeding.”
“Raiven,” his voice whined with how much he wanted to stay and be with me, but I knew it wasn’t safe. Besides, the bloodlust would buy me time, and keep me from having to admit my lack of feelings for him. I knew I couldn’t keep putting it off, but now was not the time. I shook my head, refusing to look at him.
“Leave now, London, or I will make you leave. Don’t come near me.” I found it difficult to speak as my fangs tried to reveal themselves and I fought to keep them in my mouth. After a long silent pause, I finally heard London walk away and breathed a sigh of relief as I heard the door to the Coven close. I opened my eyes to the afternoon sun and tried to control my bloodlust. To think of anything except about the blood…
“You okay, Rai?” I looked down to see Kisten step out of his silver mustang. He was dressed up with a blue silk shirt and black dress pants, a simple gold chain around his neck. His hair was combed back into a slick back style, with a few strands refusing to obey and hanging in his face. I could almost hear his blood pumping beneath his skin as he closed the car door. I dug my nails into the hood of my car, the screeching sound almost enough to drown out the lust.
“Go away, don’t come near me.” I growled through semi-closed lips and I closed my eyes. I was so close to crying as I heard Kisten walk towards me. <Please, Kisten, I don’t want to…>
Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my hand and opened my eyes to see Kisten piercing my skin with his sharp claws. Kisten was such an old and experienced shifter that he could shift any part of himself that he wanted to independently and his hand and forearm bore his beautiful leopard spots and fur. Despite the blood his claws were now drawing from me, I felt an urge to pet the soft fur gracing his skin.
Before I could ask why he had scratched me, Kisten forced my hand to my mouth, allowing me to taste my own blood. As soon as the taste hit my mouth, all thoughts of wanting blood faded. The cold metallic taste of my own blood was nothing like the sweet taste I craved and was familiar with. It was like jumping into a cold shower; I sobered up quickly and the addiction faded to its usual dark pit. I looked at Kisten in surprise as he released me, still holding my hand to my mouth, and letting the blood flow in. He smiled at me softly, shifting his hand back to being human.
“You never thought of that?”
“I…” I wanted to give some sort of excuse, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. Kisten’s eyes lit up with mirth, and I saw the corners of his mouth twitch up as he worked to hold in his laughter. I finally took my hand out of my mouth, and tried my hardest to look upset, fighting my own smile. “Well, why in the world would I ever do that to myself?”
“It seemed like a good idea. Would be bad if you wanted to drink your own blood.” He shrugged, turning to walk back to his car. “Give me a moment to get my kit and I’ll treat you.”
I said nothing and merely watched as he dug through his trunk to find his first aid kit. As an Alpha, Kisten took taking care of his pack seriously and it was obvious why him and Lucius were both good friends as well as connected as Master and Alpha. His kit was fitted to treat any kind of shifter and almost any possible wound that could be sustained, whether from each other or Hunters.
He came back with a large roll of gauze as well as a needle and thread and I winced when I noticed. Kisten set down the supplies and reached for my hand. I instinctively pulled it away, looking at the needle. Kisten followed my gaze and gave me an incredulous look.
“Are you seriously going to tell me you are afraid of needles?”
“I’m not afraid, just…” the words faded and Kisten sighed, taking my uninjured hand in his. He gently stroked the back of my hand before quickly kissing it, the gesture burning my skin.
“Uncomfortable? Because of Mother?” he whispered, and I nodded, wanting to press his hand to my face, wishing I could just relax in his arms. He kissed the back of my hand again before releasing it and gently touching my face with his fingertips, the closest he would get to caressing me. “You know I know what I’m doing. It’ll be a quick stitch and taken out tomorrow once you’ve healed.”
“I know.” I closed my eyes as he quickly got to work. Kisten was a doctor and even worked at the local hospital, specializing in treatment of Supernaturals. It was kind of an unfair job to his patients, since technically, he oversaw so many of them, but I think it was how Kisten preferred it. Working at the hospital gave him the authority that he needed to take care of his people, no matter the circumstance.
“There, done.” Kisten patted my freshly dressed wound and I opened my eyes. Green met chartreuse as we looked at one another and, unable to resist, I reached out to touch his face with my uninjured hand. His hand caught mine however, and he held it awkwardly for a moment, before picking up my bandaged hand and pressing it to his face instead. This is what I had been reduced to, not even able to touch the person I longed for the most.
“I hate this.” I finally sighed, dropping my hand in frustration. Kisten dropped his as well, gathering up his materials from the hood of my car and helping me down. “This isn’t what I want.”
“I know Raiven, but I can’t hurt you again.” Kisten’s expression resumed its gloomy stare and my heart sank. It had been a long time since I had allowed anyone into my heart, but Kisten…he was different. Kisten had been so lonely for so long, it was as if he didn’t even remember what it was like to be loved by another person. I never went long without physical comfort, but before me was a man who had not touched another being in more than two centuries. I never questioned him about it, but I wanted to know why he had chosen to be by himself for so long.
“C’mon Raiven, you need to get ready.” Kisten’s voice drew me from my thoughts and I watched as he checked his shirt for bloodstains. It suddenly dawned on me that he wasn’t even supposed to be at the Coven while LeAlexende was in town and I gave him a confused look.
“Actually Kisten, why are you here? I thought yo-” I was interrupted by the door behind me slamming open, and I turned to see LeAlexende and Lucius bursting up the stairs from the Coven carrying someone between them. Lucius quickly turned to look at us and relief flooded his eyes when he saw Kisten. It was right then when I noticed the dark blue hair and the constant dripping blood from my friends’ body.
“Kisten, it’s Justina, she-” Lucius didn’t get to finish as I scooped up my friend from the Masters and deposited her into the backseat of Kisten’s car, sliding in with her. Kisten quickly got into the driver’s seat and gave a quick nod to Lucius, who simply nodded back. The other two moved to Lucius’ car as Kisten peeled out of the parking lot and sped down the road. As he flew to make it to the hospital, I held Justina’s hand tightly. She was still alive, but barely and I prayed that we would make it in time.

 

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