Until the Sun Falls from the Sky(8)

By: Kristen Ashley

I heard his laughter not with my ears. It was even more beautiful than Stephanie’s. It was so beautiful, it was enthralling. And it wasn’t just amused laughter, it sounded slightly surprised, slightly expectant, even, I could sense, slightly aroused.

What in the hell?

“I can hear it,” Stephanie said softly, tearing me with a start from my nonverbal conversation. “And see it,” she went on and I stared at her. “He’s marked your every movement. Even the slightest movement you’ve made, Leah, he’s marked it. His heart is beating in tandem with yours exactly. Everyone knows, every vampire here that is, they can all hear it, see it, sense it.” Her voice went softer, turning reverential. “Nobody can do that like Lucien. It’s beautiful.”

She wasn’t talking about him speaking in my head. She was explaining what tracking meant.

Still, I was stuck on another point.

“His heart is beating?” I asked her.

She nodded on another smile. “You’ve got lots to learn, honey.”

I was so shocked at this news I forgot that a vampire across a crowded room was speaking in my head.

“Vampires’ hearts don’t beat,” I told Stephanie stupidly, since she was one, she should know.

“Oh yes they do. You’ll see,” she sing-songed, grabbing my hand and moving me around, heading in the direction of Lucien. “I don’t know what he’s playing at but enough’s enough. I’m hungry.”

She was moving us toward Lucien.

No. Really, really, no.

I dragged my feet and hissed, “What are you doing?”

She didn’t answer my question, instead she said, “I figure he’s showing you off. It’s his way which is normally quite interesting but right now it’s annoying. I’m tired of playing bodyguard. Again, no offense but I want to get to Reed tonight.” Her fingers gave my arm an affectionate squeeze and her strength didn’t allow me to drag my feet, powering me ever forward.

I tugged at my arm. Her fingers gave me another squeeze, this one different, telling me I would not get away.

I tried something different. “Listen, Stephanie, I don’t want to be selected tonight.”

“No chance of that,” she told me happily as she drew me ever closer.

I stopped talking when I looked at Lucien. His eyes were again locked on me, marking me, as Stephanie said and finally, I got it.

They were possessive, declaring ownership, bottom line, I was his. I could see this even from a distance.

I could even sense it.

Others watched, swinging their gazes between him and me.

My heart started beating even faster as the people he was standing with noticed our approach and stepped aside, clearing a path to him.

No! No, no, no, no! My mind shouted, my eyes again locked on his.

Yes, he said in my head.

Seriously, stop doing that! My brain yelled at him.

I heard another chuckle in my head.

I scowled at him.

He burst out laughing, this time not in my head but out loud.

This was, to all those around him, for no apparent reason and they stared at him, stunned. But I knew the reason.

My scowl was joined by my nose wrinkling in irritation.

He shook his head, a smile still tugging at his beautiful mouth.

Stephanie brought me to a halt right in front of him.

He was taller than he seemed from a distance, bigger, more powerful, completely overwhelming. He made me feel small.

I wasn’t small, not by any stretch of the imagination. I was five foot nine, over six foot in my blood red shoes. I wore a c-cup bra. My ass was my nemesis, it always had been. It was completely impervious to every diet known to man.

Your normal, average, every day guy couldn’t pick me up, not for more than a couple of seconds anyway.

This man, even if he wasn’t a vampire, could have done it. No doubt.

I felt fragile in the face of him. Breakable. Delicate.

All conversation in the room had again died.

The entire room was silent. Everyone was watching.

I opened my mouth to say something, likely something foolish, when Stephanie spoke.

“Lucien –” she began, her voice impatient.

He cut her off, eyes locked on mine, he didn’t lead into it, he didn’t even say “hello”.

Instead, his deep, strong, throaty voice announced loudly, “I declare my intentions.”

Oh shit.

“Thank you, God,” my mother breathed happily from behind me.

Chapter Two

The Contract

“Get out,” Lucien growled.

This was not going well and he didn’t like it.

Leah glared at him.

Her mother, Lydia, stared in horror, at her daughter’s behavior or Lucien’s break with tradition he didn’t know. He also didn’t care.

Cosmo, who had been smiling until the moment Lucien growled, now frowned with concern.

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