Robin woke up flat on his back and alone.
His stomach growled.
And I’m freakin’ hungry.
He got out of bed.
First thing he saw was that empty rocker.
And the room felt a whole lot emptier.
Robin approached the chair and ran his hand along the left armrest all the way to the back. He closed his eyes.
He leaned his head back as Isellta’s phantom fingers traced the scar on his face. “‘sellta.”
He opened his eyes.
Isellta was still not there.
Robin stomped his foot on the floor and roared. He marched over to the bedroom door and yanked it open.
He stomped down the hallway and down the stairs and he didn’t care who heard his ruckus.
It’s all so stupid.
Me bein’ in love with not just a man but a freakin’ fey! That’s stupid.
Me not realizin’ such feelings until I can’t do a freakin’ thing about it. That’s even stupider.
He stopped in the kitchen.
Missy was in there, drawing something on a piece of paper.
“Hey! Where’s Raven?”
She raised her head. “Hunting.”
“Of course, he is. Just when I need him, he’s out huntin’.” He growled and headed for the front door. “How freakin’ typical.”
He yanked the door open and marched off into the night.
A young man with old dreadlocks opened his eyes.
And his eyes widened.
The vampire who had been haunting his dreams stood now before him. The silver toggle buttons on his black winter coat gleamed in the city’s light.
He curled up in a desperate huddle. “Don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.”
The vampire floated down to his level. His black eyes were savage hunger. His open mouth certain death.
The man choked back a sob. “Please spare me. Please don’t kill me.”
He shuddered at the familiar voice.
The vampire smiled. “I’m not interested in killing. I’m hungry.” He bared his fangs. “I’m so hungry.”
He extended his claws.
The man couldn’t breathe. Those claws.
He sliced through the man’s coat collar and peeled it open to reveal his neck. He licked his lips in anticipation. “You smell so good.”
In his mind, he saw his wife’s body arch as the vampire sank his fangs into her. He heard her moan and scream.
Unexpected peace came to him.
If he kills me, I’ll be with her again. My Heather.
He met the vampire’s hungry gaze. “Fine. Go ahead. Bite me.”
The vampire smiled. “I wasn’t waiting for an invitation. But thank you.”
The young man with the old dreadlocks screamed loud and shrill as Ambrose’s fangs pierced his neck. But Ambrose didn’t care. All that mattered to him in that moment was the blood filling his mouth and pouring down his throat.
The man stopped screaming and took up sniveling.
Ambrose released him before the blood high could kick in. He licked his lips and ran his tongue along his teeth. “Yes. Thank you.”
The scent of antique roses and lavender drifted into the alley.
Ambrose fumbled up to his feet.
A woman entered the scene. She wore a coat that emphasized her doll-like features. Her hair was too perfectly set. Her blue eyes both too bright and far too dull. Her lips set and painted in a perfect cupid’s bow. “My child.”
He bristled. “Get out of here. Leave me alone.”
She strolled over to him as if she had all day and all night.
He backed away until he hit the wall.
She stopped in front of him. “Mm.”
Ambrose shivered. “Don’t touch me.” He snarled. “Don’t you dare touch me.”
“My beautiful child. I’ve been looking for you. I’ve traveled through so many cities. Slept in…quite frankly, some pretty unsavory places. Just to find you.”
She laid her hands on his chest.
He grabbed her wrists and pulled her hands off his body. “Only one woman can touch me like that. And she isn’t you.”
She ignored both the gesture and his words. “I thought about a great many things since you and I shared a train ride together. Do you remember that? I do. My dear child.”
He released her hands. “Stop calling me that.”
“Do you remember that train ride? We played cards. A friendly game of War.”
“What do you want?”
“I told you then that I wasn’t interested in companionship. Things have changed. I want a companion. Not necessarily for pleasure, unless you insist upon it.”
“That won’t happen.”
“I just. I feel the years that I have been a vampire, that I have been completely on my own. I don’t want to be alone to the end of my days, any more than you do.”
His irritation died down. “So, go out there and find someone else.”
She scoffed. “Because every decent young man wants to be with a female vampire.”
He thought about Barbara and smiled. “It isn’t impossible. If I can find someone to love me, so can you.”
She shook her head. “You don’t understand. Female vampires have a certain reputation that male vampires never have. So, like I said, no DECENT man will want to be with me.”
“So? What am I? Your last resort? No, thanks.”
“Think of it. You will never have to worry about overpowering me, about trying to bite me, about trying to change me.”
“My lady. I’m engaged and I will not break my engagement. Not even to save the world.”
“I’m being very lenient. I could force you into it by using my Lord’s Privilege, but I’m not.” She unbuttoned his coat and spread it open. “I want this to be your choice.”
Her touch made his skin crawl. “I can’t be the only man you’ve fathered. Go hunt one of them down.”
“I would do that, but—” She nibbled on his neck. “Mm. I love the taste of your scent.”
Her fangs pierced his neck, rocking his body with unspeakable pleasure. Her fangs sank deeper into his skin and he felt only pain. Nerve-tearing pain.
He shoved her away, extended his claws, and took a swipe at her.
She hissed at him.
“I don’t want to be your companion, your lover, or anything in between. And, get this: I will never, ever want it.”
“You’ll regret this, my child. Ambrosia. Ambrose Smith. Whatever you want to call yourself. You will regret this.”
Ambrose smirked. “No. I won’t. Good-bye, my lady.” He left her standing there.