When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(32) by Alexandra Ivy
“Newly made vampires who aren’t taken in by their sire rarely survive,” he murmured, his eyes closed as he savored their magical surroundings.
Fallon felt an unexpected flare of panic at the mere thought that this magnificent male might have died before he’d ever had a chance to crash into her life.
“I’ve never understood why vampires would create children and then abandon them,” she muttered.
Cyn shrugged. “It’s something that Styx is slowly changing. Lucky for me, Erinna and Mika found me in the caves below this lair and took me into their home.”
She glanced around the meadow, awed by the amount of magic it had taken to create such a special place.
“They obviously love you.”
“Aye. Yet another rare gift for a vampire.” He opened his eyes, taking her hand to lead her toward the grotto. “I have another surprise.”
Feeling as if she’d strayed into some sort of dreamworld, Fallon allowed herself to be led across the meadow, climbing the marble stairs. Cautiously she stepped past the columns, her eyes widening at the sight of the blanket spread across the floor with a large basket and a bottle of champagne chilling in a bucket of ice.
She sent a startled glance toward Cyn. “A picnic?”
The vampire moved to settle next to the basket, pouring them both a glass of champagne before he pulled out the plate of sliced fruit that had been dipped in nectar.
Exactly as she liked it.
“You need to eat.”
She blinked, slowly sinking onto the blanket. Okay, it was one thing for him to make an effort to be polite. But why would he arrange this beautiful meal?
Maybe he really had fallen down the stairs and rattled his brains.
Difficult to come up with another explanation.
“I did eat.”
She thought back, recalling that she hadn’t touched the tray that had been left outside her bedroom door before leaving to explore the castle. But how had he known?
Unless . . .
“Are you having Levet spy on me?” she demanded.
Taking a slice of apple, he pressed it to her lips. “If I have to have him in my house then he can at least make himself useful.”
Fallon took a bite of the fresh fruit, shivering as the taste exploded in her mouth. There was something unbearably intimate about being fed from his hand.
“I don’t understand why you’re being so nice,” she said softly, her expression unconsciously vulnerable.
His fingers lingered, lightly tracing the curve of her lower lip. “It might be hard to believe, but I’m usually considered to be a charming bloke.”
“If you say so,” she forced herself to mutter, the insult losing its punch as she shuddered at the feel of his cool fingers skimming the length of her jaw.
“You possess an uncanny ability to . . .” He hesitated, as if he was searching for the words. “Get under my skin.”
She narrowed her gaze. “Get under my skin” sounded remarkably like “annoy the hell out of me.”
“What does that mean?”
His finger traced the vein that ran the length of her throat. “I want you.”
Heat blasted through her at his unexpected words, her body tingling with a bone-melting awareness.
She wanted to believe that it was a predictable reaction to a male so bluntly stating his hunger for her. After all, she’d never had a man treat her as if she were a desirable woman. Not when the male Chatri knew that any interest would be seen as a direct insult to the king.
What woman wouldn’t feel all hot and bothered?
But a part of her knew that her reaction had nothing to do with her innocence and everything to do with a gorgeous hunk of a vampire who made her want to forget about duty and fiancés and bury herself in his arms.
“Cyn,” she murmured, not sure if she was pleading for him to stop or to throw her back on the blanket and ravish her.
Not that her body was conflicted. It wanted the ravishing.
“But it’s more than that,” he continued, his lips twisting as he grabbed another slice of apple to feed to her. He waited until she’d eaten the fruit before he continued. “Even when you’re not around, my thoughts turn to you. I need to know that you’re taking care of yourself and that you’re—”
A frisson of excitement fluttered through the pit of her stomach as his fingers tangled in her hair, his gaze brooding as he studied her upturned face. She could physically feel the hunger that hummed through his body.
Or maybe it was her own hunger.
Either way it was making her tremble with a delicious sense of anticipation.
“That I’m what?” she asked.
She met his piercing gaze, sensing the intense emotions that smoldered just beneath the surface.
Was he angry? Frustrated? Wishing he’d never followed his friend into her homeland?
“Why do you care?”
His lips parted, his fangs fully extended. “That, princess, is a question without an answer.”
Wearing a cloak that covered him from head to toe, Sir Anthony Benson felt a sharp stab of relief as a shimmering breach suddenly appeared in the middle of his attic.
It’d taken Yiant only a few hours to return with the potion that Anthony had demanded, but he’d hesitated to complete the spell. He needed to speak with Keeley before he headed into the lair of the Oracles. If the Chatri were in this world because they sensed his plot, then he needed to take extra precautions.
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