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A Trail of Echoes(A Shade of Vampire,Book 18)(9) by Bella Forrest

“What’s wrong?” River asked, looking at me worriedly.

Still recovering, all I could manage to reply was:

“We need to get you to The Shade.”

Chapter 7: Rose

Caleb and I sat on the steps of our mountain cabin, admiring the magnificent view of the island. The ocean in the distance shimmered beneath pale moonlight and a cool breeze rustled the leaves of the redwoods. We planned to move into a new penthouse soon, near the Residences with the other vampires, but for now we were still enjoying this mountain location.

Aside from the strange gray ships moored outside the boundary, things in The Shade had been peaceful since our wedding and the departure of the dragon prince. I wasn’t going to complain. We had all had enough drama recently.

I took a sip from my mug of hot chocolate, while Caleb took the last draught from his glass of blood. We sat in silence, content with each other’s presence.

I glanced down at the beautiful ring on my finger. It was still bizarre to think that I was married.

Married.

I looked sideways at my new husband. His eyes looked slightly glazed as he looked out toward the ocean in the distance.

“What are you thinking about?” I asked softly, leaning in and resting my head against his shoulder. He wrapped an arm around me, his hand on my thigh as he pulled me closer toward him.

“A lot of things.” He averted his eyes away from the ocean and looked down at me, a mischievous glint in his gaze. “One of them being… How much longer do I have to wait for you to finish that hot chocolate so I can take you to bed?”

His gaze gave me butterflies. He hadn’t been able to keep his hands off me since we’d exchanged vows. While previously he had been restrained, he was certainly making up for it now… which sure suited me.

I sloshed the liquid in the cup. It had cooled by now. I swallowed the last two mouthfuls within the space of a few seconds, then showed him the empty cup. “No more need to wonder about that,” I said, giving him a sultry look.

His hands reaching around my back and beneath my knees, he swept me up into his arms and carried me back into the cabin. Closing the door behind us, he headed straight for the bedroom and placed me down in the center of the bed. I was expecting him to begin removing his shirt, but instead he paused, giving me a thoughtful look.

“Something else I was thinking about was… our honeymoon,” he said.

I raised a brow, moving back toward the headboard and sitting upright. “Oh?”

“I know you said that you don’t mind waiting for now, since I’m a vampire and traveling anywhere is going to be difficult. But it doesn’t have to be.” He reached for the nearby table and slid open the top drawer. He pulled out a sheet of paper filled with sketches and various mathematical notes. It all looked rather complicated, but I focused on the diagram in the center of the paper as he sat next to me and spread the sheet out on the mattress. It was a fairly large boat, about twenty-five feet long and eighteen feet wide according to the notes, and a shelter of some sort covered the entire deck.

“What are you suggesting exactly?” I asked.

“You’ve never visited New Zealand, have you?”

My pulse quickened in excitement just at the thought. “No.”

“Then how about we go on a little tour, stopping by some of the most remote islands in the Pacific Ocean, and make our destination New Zealand?” His brown eyes warmed as he watched my reaction. “This boat is something that I’ve been working on. Ibrahim would help me to equip it with an exceptionally powerful engine. If it all comes out right, we could stay in the boat by day and at night explore the land.”

I couldn’t nod more enthusiastically, but there were some things that bothered me about the plan.

He seemed to read my mind and answered my first objection before I even asked it. “Yes, we could just take a submarine, and that way we’d be hidden away from the sun… But we will be spending all the daylight hours on the boat, and we will likely be gone for weeks—there’s only so long you can feel comfortable trapped within the hull of a submarine. We’d both be craving the open sea air.”

My stomach churned a little. “But what about the hunters?”

“We’ll ask Corrine to place a spell over the boat.”

“That’s while we are at sea, but what about night time, when we reach land?”

“Rose, the places I have in mind to take you to… I doubt we will meet any hunters there. We’ll stick to the remote areas and avoid people.”

I paused, still uncertain. But the confidence in his expression soon convinced me.

“So”—he moved the plan of the boat aside and leaned in closer to me, his mouth a few inches away from mine—“what do you say, Mrs. Achilles?”

He placed his hands on either side of my hips, brushing gently against me with his thumbs.

A smile spread across my face. Caleb knew how to melt me.

“Sail away with me, Captain.”

Chapter 8: Rose

When I broke the news to my parents about our plan for a honeymoon, they both voiced worries similar to mine about Caleb being a vampire and the threat of the hunters. I let Caleb reassure them in the same way that he had done with me. My father was especially concerned about the hunters because he had been keeping watch on them near the shore. Caleb’s words seemed to satisfy my parents for the most part, although my father still seemed tense. I didn’t like him to be worried, but I couldn’t help but feel warmed on witnessing how genuinely he cared about Caleb’s safety. Not so long ago, my father had believed him to be a traitor and tried to kill him.