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A Trail of Echoes(A Shade of Vampire,Book 18)(11) by Bella Forrest

He stood behind me and his mouth found the back of my neck. He trailed kisses along my skin, which heated up beneath his touch. I bent my head backward so he could claim my lips. I felt his body tense against me. The next thing I knew, he was pulling me across the deck, down the staircase and into our bedroom. We took turns undressing each other, and then made love between the silk sheets.

Each time Caleb had slept with me since our wedding had been magic, but there was something about being on a boat again that made that night even more exhilarating. Our first time had been on a boat. That beautiful boat he had constructed for my birthday…

I’d been under the impression that the first time was always awkward, but it hadn’t felt like that with Caleb. He’d taken me as he’d said he would. He’d made me feel owned, possessed, cherished, and he’d left no room for doubt or uncertainty.

Being so intimate with a vampire, I’d expected to feel more pain. But except for a dull ache between my thighs, I had barely felt discomfort. I wondered if my body was tougher than that of a regular human, or, perhaps more likely, the pleasure I found in Caleb’s arms was too overpowering to feel much else.

Caleb often tensed up, and I could sense what a struggle it still was for him to reel in his craving for my blood. But he did. His fangs hadn’t yet broken my skin. There were times, in the heat of his passion, when he seemed to forget his strength, but I was so used to Caleb being gentle around me that, if I was honest with myself, I relished those moments of roughness and reveled in his abandon.

Hours passed, and by the time Caleb and I reached our climax again, morning had arrived.

I lay breathless against him, our legs still intertwined. He ran a broad hand down my back as his lips pressed against mine.

“You’re on fire,” he whispered, pulling me flush against his cool body.

“Now you know why I married you,” I breathed back. “I needed a portable A/C unit.”

His chest vibrated as he chuckled.

I imagined that had he been a human, I would be feeling far too hot to be so close to him right now. But Caleb being a vampire meant that there was rarely a time when I didn’t cherish his embrace.

I blew out a sigh and nestled my head against his chest. Listening to the beating of his heart, I looked out of the tinted window at the sun’s first rays reflecting in the waves.

The question that Claudia had asked me during her and Yuri’s welcome-home dinner played in my mind.

“Are you going to turn into a vampire, Rose?”

It was a question that had been at the back of my mind ever since Caleb had proposed to me. Of course, I’d always expected that I would turn as soon as my parents allowed it—but being married to a vampire made the issue more pressing.

There wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t worry about Ben. None of us had any idea of when he would return. Or even if he would ever return. I couldn’t lie to myself and pretend that question hadn’t passed through my head, although I tried not to entertain the thought.

In the meantime, it was frustrating not knowing what was to become of my future. I didn’t want to risk turning and becoming the same crazed bloodsucker my brother had woken up as. I couldn’t become a risk to our people like he was.

And yet I felt that I had no choice but to turn into a vampire. My whole family were vampires now—except my father, although he would turn back into one soon. And most of my closest friends were supernaturals. Even if Caleb was willing to turn into a human for me, which I knew he was, I just couldn’t imagine living my life as a mortal and leaving everyone behind.

No. I had to turn into a vampire. And we had to find a way to solve my brother’s problem, not run away from it.

I chewed on my lower lip.

“What’s wrong?” Caleb asked, frowning as he looked down at me.

“What if I don’t turn out like my brother?” I said.

“What do you mean?”

“What if Ben turned out the way he did not because of our blood? What if it’s something unique to him?”

“You’re twins. What makes you think that could be the case?”

“I’m not sure. I’m just thinking that all this time we’ve been assuming there is a danger of me turning out like him. But what if we’re assuming wrong?”

Caleb remained staring at me, waiting for me to continue. Detaching myself from him, I rolled onto my back and gazed up at the ceiling. “When Ben and I were newborns, we got separated. He was taken to Aviary… by none other than Kiev. I just wonder if the Hawks could’ve done something to him that even Kiev wasn’t aware of. Or if the atmosphere affected him somehow. I already mentioned the idea to my parents, but of course, there is no way that we would know for certain… unless you tried turning me.”

Caleb sat upright. I could see from the expression on his face that he didn’t like where I was going with this. But I continued all the same. “If you tried turning me, one of two things would happen. I could turn out exactly like my brother, or I could turn into a normal vampire. If it was the former, we’d know for sure that there’s something strange about our blood that causes this reaction, and we could eliminate the Aviary theory. But if I turned out all right… we’d be a step closer to understanding what’s wrong with my brother, however small a step that might be.”

“Why don’t we save this talk of turning for when we return from our honeymoon? We’ll have plenty of time to discuss this then with your parents and family.”