Until the Sun Falls from the Sky(7)By: Kristen Ashley
I had to admit I was getting more than a little bit sick of this Lucien business. Mostly not knowing what in the hell everyone was talking about and especially now that I’d laid eyes on him.
However, I wasn’t stupid. Stephanie was being serious, she was also being real. She wasn’t trying to scare me, she was telling me like it was. She was trying to protect me. Even though she was a vampire, I decided not to throw that back in her face. I might be a lot of things but I wasn’t someone who would do that.
“Now I’ll introduce you to one of my old concubines,” she told me, her voice back to friendly and cheerful.
She led me to a man who had to be seventy years old and, I will add, Stephanie looked about twenty-five, but he was a fit, still handsome seventy year old with an even fitter, more handsome thirty-something man with him. The younger was the only man in the room wearing a red bow tie.
A blood red bow tie. Another Uninitiated. A male one.
I tried to be cool even though this was something Mom hadn’t shared with me.
It was obvious Stephanie was fond of both the men. They laughed, they chatted, they drew me into their conversation.
After we said farewell, Stephanie led me away and I said, “I didn’t know there were male concubines.”
“There weren’t,” Stephanie replied. “But I lobbied The Dominion, which means I bitched and moaned so much a hundred and fifty years ago they recruited males, thank Christ.” She turned to me, plucked my empty champagne glass out of my hand and exchanged it with a full one from the tray of a passing waiter. “No offense.” She grinned as she gave me my new glass.
“No offense?” I asked.
She was still grinning when she said, “Girls taste good. Boys taste better.”
“Oh,” I whispered, looking at the floor and going back to being flipped out by this entire business.
“Not surprisingly a lot of female vamps were pretty pleased at the new recruits. Also not surprisingly so were some males.” She chuckled and the sound was nearly as beautiful as she was. So much so, I lifted my eyes to her as she carried on, “Though, some females still prefer their girls. It’s the way of the world, no?”
I nodded because it was indeed.
Freakishly, I had to admit, I liked her. Therefore, I got closer to tell her something. Something I hadn’t, until that moment, admitted to myself.
“Something’s wrong,” I whispered and she tensed.
“What?” she asked.
I shook my head and looked around.
Then I caught her eyes. “I don’t know. I feel funny.” And I did.
After Nestor left…
No, it was before that. After Lucien arrived, it happened. It wasn’t the hands at the throat and heart thing. It was something else. Something that tugged at the edges of my consciousness. Something that was making me feel weird, like I was drugged.
I looked at my champagne. “I think I’ve been drugged,” I breathed.
The rigidity left her body, her face grew soft and she got close. “You haven’t been drugged, Leah.”
“No, you haven’t. He’s tracking you.”
I blinked then I went rigid. “What? Who?”
“Lucien,” was all she said.
My eyes flew around the room. It wasn’t hard to spot him. He was standing with and talking to two men and a woman.
But his black eyes were on me.
“Tracking me?” I whispered, looking directly into those eyes.
Yes, my pet. Tracking you. Marking you. Mine.
I dropped my champagne flute.
In a flash of movement that didn’t register on me, Stephanie’s hand shot out and caught the glass before it fell to the carpet.
Those words, spoken in a deep, throaty voice, sounded not aloud but in my head.
“Oh my God,” I was still whispering.
“Yes, honey, tracking you.” Stephanie’s voice sounded amused and I tore my eyes from Lucien and looked at her. The minute I did she smiled. “Oh, Leah, it’s good. When I say that, I mean it’s good. The Buchanan women have been aiming for Lucien for centuries. Everyone aims for him. The only catch that comes close is Cosmo and your mother had him,” she paused then grinned a cheeky grin, “and, of course, me.” She chuckled then said, “You don’t have to look so scared.”
“He just… Stephanie, he just…”I stammered then heard more words in my head.
No, Leah. Don’t tell her.
My mouth snapped shut. I didn’t snap it shut; it just did what it was told.
Oh my God, I repeated in my head, panic overwhelming me.
Relax, my pet. He spoke again, also in my head.
Leave me alone! I shouted, yes, yet again, in my head.