Jay held onto Isellta and whispered comforting words into the fey’s soft hair. He could feel him relax.
Isellta stopped crying. His breathing calmed.
Until Jay tried to break out of his iron grip.
Isellta’s eyebrows quilted up. He whimpered soft, broken sounds.
“Shh. It’s all right. You’re all right. I’m not going to leave you.”
“Robin. Robin. Robin.” He pressed his face against Jay’s chest.
Darn fey. I just want to adopt him or something. “Don’t worry.” He petted his hair over and over. “I’ll stay here. I’ll keep you safe.”
If Robin does come and take him away, I hope…
He leaned his face against the top of Isellta’s head.
“I hope he treats you good. You deserve it.”
The woman kept talking and talking at Antioch, but none of it was getting through to him.
As far as he was concerned, she was chanting, “Bite me. Bite me. Bite me please.” Her grape jelly scent grabbed his throat, making his mouth water.
Just one bite.
He lunged at her neck, catching her in mid-word. He mouthed her, trying to find the spot with the strongest scent. He found it and dug his fangs into her skin.
She gasped and leaned into him. “Ohh. Ohhh.”
The blood rushed in.
The heavy, tired taste of iron filled his mouth. Antioch almost gagged and spit it out.
Then, her scent overcame his senses.
And her blood tasted like grape jelly.
It was a wonderfully enthralling experience. He bit deeper and drank deeper.
He never noticed her ecstasy turn into agony.
The blood high hit him and he didn’t care about anything.
Everything was beautiful.
Everything was wonderful.
Everything was dripping with blood.
Delicious, decadent layers of blood.
Hildreth glanced over his shoulder and smiled. “Now, Elsie. Didn’t your mom ever tell you that it’s rude to stare at people’s bums like that?”
She blushed. “You idiot. I wasn’t staring at that.”
“Ah, but you were staring.”
“I was contemplating.”
He laughed. “That makes it sound so much better. So, which part of my fabulous anatomy were you contemplating?”
“All of you.”
He stopped and faced her. “Oh?”
“Do you have any idea how well put together you are?”
“Elsie baby, that’s no way to compliment a guy. You should say something sweet and spicy like ‘I was imagining you naked and nearly having a world class incident over my dirty thoughts.’ Or—”
She folded her arms across her chest.
“Maybe ‘Great back! I can’t wait to see you shirtless so I can indulge in my man back fetishness.'”
“No. Just no.”
“I’ve seen too many ugly backs at the beach to fetish about that particular body part.”
“I see. So, what body part gets you all oogly-eyed?”
She smiled. “You. Just all of you.”
His heart melted. “That’s a wimpy, avoidance behavior answer, just so you know.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her body against him.
He gasped. “Elsie Vansing. You are a naughty girl.”
“So you say.”
“Mm.” He kissed her.
She grabbed his hair and kissed him with a passion.
He chuckled into her open mouth.
He spread his hands on her back and pushed her closer.
She tightened her grip on his hair, which made him chuckle even more.
She broke out of the kiss to scowl at him.
“You don’t have to abuse my hair like that. I’m not going to leave you. Certainly not in the middle of such a hot kiss.”
“Oh!” a woman exclaimed behind him. “The nerve of some people.” She tromped over to the loving couple and thwacked Hildreth’s shoulder with her closed umbrella.
Hildreth looked down at the umbrella and slowly glanced at its owner. “Can I help you?”
The woman, a frumpy dish-water blonde in a bright yellow slicker, thwacked him again. “You know, not everyone in the world has a significant other. You should do your lovering somewhere where decent people don’t have to see it.”
A grin spread across his face. “Lovering, huh? Does everyone else in the world know this word except me?”
“I don’t think that’s the point, Hildreth.” said Elsie. She scowled death wishes at the woman. “If you don’t like our public displays of affection, tough.”
The woman gasped.
“You have no idea the levels of drama he and I have been through. It makes me happy to show him that I love him, that I want him, that I—”
“Oh, yeah? Tough on you!”
“You heard me fine, little lady.”
“Uhh, I wouldn’t talk that way to her, if I were you.” Hildreth shrugged. “Just putting in my two cents here.”
“Not everyone in the world wants to see you stand in the street and kiss and—” She shuddered. “—go beyond kissing. So, why don’t you two go find a hotel room or something?”
Hildreth’s expression brightened. “Now, why didn’t I think of that? Darn.”
“Don’t be an idiot, Hildreth. I am not shacking up in a hotel room.”
“Besides that, what I do with my fiancé is—”
A man in a cheap leisure suit strolled over to the woman and grabbed her hands. “Tell me, miss. Has anyone ever told you that you smell like the best kind of vanilla ice cream?”
She stared blankly at him.
“Because you do.”
Elsie and Hildreth exchanged a look.
“Man!” said Hildreth. “I hope you don’t use that line on all the ladies.”
He snarled at Hildreth, baring his fangs. “Stay out of this!”
Elsie sighed. “Why am I not surprised?”
“I smell like ice cream?”
His smile returned. “Of the best quality.”
“Ice cream. I smell like ice cream.”
“Mmmm.” He licked his lips.
“Shouldn’t we stake him right about now?” asked Hildreth.
The woman frowned. “I hate ice cream. It’s too sweet and too creamy.” Her frowned deepened. “So, you fail, sir.”
The vampire looked stunned. “What?”
“You fail miserably at pick up lines.”
“Go bother someone else.” She turned and walked away.