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Inside the Mind of a Vampire
the Mind of a Vampire: Volume Five
He brushed Tara’s damp, dark hair away from her face and kissed her gently, impatiently waiting for her to open her eyes. Like every time before, he hoped that this time when she came out of a V-Point, the familiar shadow that always haunted her smoky irises would be gone.
Her eyelids fluttered, her expression was sated… mellow…she was beautiful and she was now his. Even if just for that brief moment before she reawakened in his arms, no other man could lay claim to her.
“That was fantastic,” he whispered, staring down at her.
She smiled, but it contained the sadness he’d hoped he could forever banish.
“Why does he always wake up with you?” he murmured, tracing the line of her jaw. There was no harshness in his tone, just deep hurt.
She closed her eyes and cupped his cheek. “Because we’re still connected.”
He rested his forehead against hers, shut his eyes tightly, and spoke to her through his teeth in a harsh whisper. “Should I have broken that connection by sending him into The Light by snatching out his heart? What do I have to do? Tell me.”
He felt her tense; the visceral response contracted her entire body beneath him.
“We’ve already done that,” she murmured, stroking his face. “Allow me to grieve as a widow for a while.”
He relaxed and felt her also do the same. Being lodged inside her while having this conversation, wore on him no end.
“But he didn’t die within you—you still love him.”
She nodded. “Yes. And I also love you.”
“I can’t understand that. I deal in absolutes.”
“I know,” she said quietly. “Most men do.”
“Then make me understand it. I’m begging you to do that.” He propped himself up on an elbow and stared down at her.
She drew a shuddered breath and took her time to respond as though choosing each word with care. “He is like a distant star to me now, unreachable… a bright light that died in the galaxy years ago for reasons that I can’t fathom from where I stand. The cosmos had a chain-reaction plan that my spec of existence couldn’t control. But I can still see his flicker… can still enjoy his luminance from a distance, knowing that what I am seeing is the light of the past traveling through space to me. But I also know that, if I ever went to its original source, I would weep… because it burned out long ago. Rider and I are finished, even though he’s still alive.”
“Him still being alive means there’s always the chance that—”
“No,” she said quickly. “The sacred has been violated; I’m now his greatest danger—either because you’ll kill him in a jealous rage, which is an act of passion… or because I will do so through a passion bite. The only logical reconciliation is that we remain dead to each other. That’s the way it has to be—the way I have to think about it so I can exist. It’s the same for him. So, let me grieve, Yonnie. I am a widow that has remarried. I cannot go back, yet until I have enough memories to pattern over the past, I cannot fully go forward.”
“I don’t want you to go to him, now that you’re mine. Swear it by blood oath.”
She cradled his face with her palms and her voice remained tender. “I can’t go to him.”
He withdrew from her body, rolled off her, and stood. “Because you don’t trust yourself.”
Her lack of reply sent him to the bar across the room for a black bottle. “And, as your husband—an eternal throat-mate, how am I supposed to deal with that?”
Everything in the room suddenly felt like it was an eerie reminder of the multiple levels of conflict he existed on. He was a vampire, a Master, but had selected a mate that he could not sway even with supernatural prowess. He was once a fugitive of the Antebellum south and abhorred all that it represented, and yet he chose to build his lair there—appointing it with the lush decadence of the French Renaissance era as a final laugh at the very ones that had once beaten him. He was stronger than her ex-husband… a mere human who was rapidly aging, and he could end the mortal’s life with ease, but wasn’t strong enough to endure eternity with Tara hating him for it… so he’d let the bastard live. He’d taken a wife, but had not left the region where he’d met his mistress, Gabrielle. He was indebted to a man that had elevated him to awesome dark power, but would not indulge in taking a body upon the orders of that same blood-brother who was oddly now in The Light.
Yonnie opened the bottle, his eyes on Tara, her voluptuous body sprawled across crimson sheets that were still tangled from ardent lovemaking. The wall torches and candles made her toffee skin glisten, just like it sent shards of flickering color across her thicket of velvety hair, and made her dark eyes smolder.
“Break the connection,” he ordered, filling two goblets. “Do it soon.” He took a deep sip of blood. “I never want to go to V-Point with you again having him on your mind.”
“He’s not on my mind when I’m with you,” she murmured and stood.
His straightened his back when she came near and gently touched his chest.
“I only feel his heartbreak after.”
He stared at her. “Break the connection.”
“I don’t know how to,” she whispered. “You’re the Master… maybe—”
“I’ve tried!” he shouted, hurling the goblet across the room. The deep red stain splattered the armoire and wall, and oozed down it like burgundy tears. “It’s beyond dark powers—it’s because you’re still in love with the sonofabitch! The darkness cannot break a pure love connection, and you know that!”
“I can no more change my love for Rider than you can change your love for Carlos.” Her voice was soft, seductive, melodic, and reasonable. Her words were delivered like a silken noose, strangling his jealousy.
“I don’t have to listen to this shit. Don’t change the subject, Tara.”
“Carlos is your brother, a chosen connection from the old empire, but also more—a true friend. Tell me, Yonnie, can you stop loving Carlos? Did you stop feeling a sense of connection to him when he burned to ash in the sun? Didn’t you mourn the loss of your past with him when you thought he was dead, but also grieve all that could have been in the future… so much so that, when you first encountered him again you remained in denial that he had become this millennium’s male Neteru—yet you still call him Mr. Councilman, out of respect, out of love, because that is what he will always be to you, no matter what. If I’m wrong about that, and you know how to disengage from something so profound that even our dark realms cannot fathom it, share your secret with me. Tell me how to stop loving someone who has meant so much to you.”
He stormed away from her and began pacing by the huge Rice bed, and then suddenly broke off one of the posts in a loud crack that made her flinch.
“If I put a stake through Rider’s heart, since you nearly turned that motherfucker, would that do it, Tara?” He flung down the splintered wood with such force that it plunged into the floor and remained there as a vertical warning. “Even a cathedral didn’t fry him, nor did daylight! His own team wouldn’t put him out of his misery,” he bellowed. “Did you want him to live? Be one of us! Be yours forever—then why don’t you go to where he is now and make it permanent?”
She wrapped her arms around herself and spoke quietly through glittering tears that only made her eyes more beautiful.
“I would never turn him,” she whispered. “He’s begged me to do that for years, and I never will. I want him to live as a human, and never be one of us. He’s a man with a good heart—”
“Then what the fuck am I to you, Tara?”
“A man with a good heart.”
He closed his eyes and was breathing hard. If he slapped her the satisfaction would be temporary but the damage eternal.
“I love you,” she whispered. “What happened back there to Rider wasn’t your fault, and I don’t hold you accountable—kill him, and I will. We both know that. The decision is ultimately yours. I don’t have enough power to stop a Master from committing a human assassination. Any night, that’s your option. But the fact that you’ve spared him is testimony to me that you care about me beyond measure. It speaks volumes to me about the depth of your character, and that is what I love. The fact that I’ve made my decision to be with you and not with him is something you should honor.”
“He is in my fucking lair!” Yonnie bellowed, toppling furniture with his thundering voice. “In my goddamned bed every time I’m with you!”
“He isn’t in bed with us when I’m with you. I have never called his name in my mind when you were loving me.” She kept her tone even, soothing, yet devoid of emotion. “I have respected you to the utmost. I have valued you and your position as my eternal. At least know that. But if making love to me upsets you this way, then I won’t willingly come to you when you summon—even as your throat mate, because I can’t go through this aftermath each time. Then our interactions will become limited to a Master’s rape of his estranged throat mate. Again, you have choices that I have no option but to abide by, so choose well. Hurt Rider and we’re done for all time. That’s an absolute you can count on.”
Her eyes flickered with the slightest flash of red and then burned back to their normal, serene brown. He knew she’d quietly drawn a line. There was no other option, beyond one that was foolish and that would provide only transient satisfaction.
Yonnie raked his hair with his fingers and stalked away from her. He did know that what she’d said was true; she hadn’t moaned for another man while in his arms—but it was the principle of it all. To be sure, he’d dredged her mind so hard the first time he was with her that it had made her nose bleed. He’d listened for her voice to give him evidence of fraud. He’d studied her eyes to see if they contained a ruse. He never found those things in her, though her honesty was brutal.
“Why can’t you feel about me the way you do about him?” he finally asked, sitting down heavily on the side of the bed.
She came to him and sat beside him and then laid her head on his shoulder. “Imagine the woman who has been traumatized by losing a beloved spouse. For a time, he will be risen in her mind to sainthood… she will forget all his wrongs until enough time has passed. New experiences must layer upon the old, Yonnie. This is like building a new civilization upon ancient and majestic ruins. Soon, the new city becomes the standard, is vibrant, exists in the present… the arcane passes away, but will always be revered and have historical relevance. You have lived long enough in two hundred years to have experienced some of this, yes?”
He stroked her hair and pulled her to him, and let out a long, weary sigh. “You’re romanticizing Rome. It was decadent, had intrigue, drama—”
“But it was also great, and a force to be reckoned with in its glory.”
He leaned her back against the jumble of satin sheets and studied her face. His finger traced the plumpness of her lush bottom lip. “Don’t compare me to him.”
“I never do,” she whispered.
He hesitated, not sure of her vague meaning that could be taken multiple ways.
“Feed from me. Replenish yourself, and build over Rome tonight, okay?”
She ran her index finger down his jugular and he watched feed length fangs present themselves within her lovely mouth with a shudder.
He shook his head no. “A lover’s bite.” He traced his jugular and reopened the original wound that she’d marked him with to show her what he meant. “Remember that one? The first breech of skin delivered in pure passion? Take the vein like that for me, baby.” His vision blurred as tears came to his eyes and his voice became gravelly with emotion. “In more than two hundred years no female ever marked me there. You were my first,” he whispered. “I was your virgin… be responsible with my dead heart, Tara.”
He covered her body, blanketing hers with his as her fangs receded to a lover’s length. She was so soft, a supple compilation of curvaceous flesh that almost felt warm to the touch. As her mouth covered the open wound, a hard shudder passed through him and produced one within her.
“When he eventually dies and goes into The Light, promise me you won’t commit the ultimate vampire atrocity of exterminating yourself,” he whispered against her temple. “I love you so much. Stay with me forever… if I allow him to live as your distant star.”She didn’t answer or commit, just slowly bit down, causing his lids to slide shut and his eyes to roll beneath them in sheer ecstasy.