Lifting the amber ring from the potion, Eyanna realized she felt like the witch some of the local townspeople accused her of being. She shook her head slightly to dispel the thought, concentrating instead on the light that glowed from the ring. She’d poured every bit of magic she possessed into making the amulet. It had to be perfect. She had to protect Adam. He’d given up so much to marry her. If only she felt worthy of his love.
Holding the ring close to her heart, she whispered secret incantations. Then she pierced her skin with the blade she’d prepared for this occasion. Allowing her blood to cover every facet of the stone, she whispered more prayers, forgetting for the moment the right or wrong of what she was doing. She had no choice. Adam had faith in God, more than anyone she’d ever known. But his faith would not be enough to protect him from what was coming. There was an evil presence in their town. She’d sensed it long before she’d begun to see it in her dreams.
Vampires. Only Adam didn’t believe in vampires just as he didn’t believe in witches. He wasn’t afraid of her visions or her abilities to heal. Nor was he afraid when she predicted the future with total accuracy. He loved her, that much she knew. She’d looked into his soul and found it pure. His love for her was the reason she now buried the amber ring soaked in her blood beneath the earth. It had to stay in the ground for one full month to be effective. The evil that was coming for her husband was powerful; the magic to protect him had to be even more powerful. There was no way she could tell Adam what she’d done. Despite his love for her, she suspected he wouldn’t like finding out that she was resorting to such measures after he’d given up the church to marry her.
Rising from the ground, Eyanna brushed her foot over the mound of fresh-turned soil. A shiver ripped through her and again she felt the evil. Vampires were real. If only she could convince Adam of that. She hoped she had time to work the full ritual. The longer Adam wore the amulet, the more powerful it would become. As long as he wore it, he would be safe. No harm would befall him.
One month later
Holding the ring in the palm of her hand, Eyanna felt the charge that filled it. Her blood had sealed the ring. Her bargain had been struck. Her eventual death would be the catalyst that would invoke the powerful magic she’d placed on the ring. The incantations and potions would only continue to grow in strength the longer Adam wore the ring. And hopefully one day they would both live again and her blood bond with him would bring them back together. She truly believed their souls would be reunited.
“I have something for you.”
“What is it?” Adam asked.
“It’s a ring, silly.”
“I can see that. But why?” He glanced at his finger. “I already have a ring, your wedding gift to me.”
She should have anticipated her logical husband’s questions. “This ring is special, Adam, I fashioned it especially for you.”
His lips brushed cross her cheek. His heat seared her and she could feel the evidence of his lust. One glance into his eyes and they would be making love. As much as she craved her husband’s touch, this was too important to leave for even a second longer. So much had happened in the month the ring lay beneath the earth.
“You can keep the other ring, Adam. But I want you to wear this one on your left hand close to your heart.”
Adam held up his left hand to look at the ring he now wore. “You’re a silly woman,” he said. “The right hand is just as good. This ring is my wedding gift from you. I can’t remove it.”
“Stop it, Adam!” Eyanna forced the words out. She’d never before spoken rudely to her husband and a shimmer of remorse slithered down her spine. “This is important to me. This ring is special, Adam.”
“So is this one.”
Their eyes locked and Eyanna took in a deep breath. She was going to have to give him more. “This is an amulet,” she stated quietly. “I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true that there are supernatural creatures in our world…in our town. Vampires. I’ve felt them and seen them in my dreams. The wounds I’ve attended to on the townspeople…they’ve been bitten. I made this ring to protect you.”
“Are you now thinking I’m a witch?”
“I’m asking if this ring you’re so frantically trying to give me has been tampered with. You called it an amulet. What have you done to make it so?”
“Fashioned it with love, allowed the power of the moon and sun to fill it.”
“There is but one power on earth and that’s the power of God.”
“And I have invoked the power of God to shield you with this ring.”
“Invoked?” Adam’s eyes darkened. “Invoked, Eyanna?”
“Prayed, Adam. I’ve prayed.” Her eyes closed. She could not tell him anymore.
“Eyanna, what’s going on? Is it the fire? Don’t worry, my love, I will never allow anyone to burn you. They would have to burn me first. Besides, I already prayed to God and asked him to protect you, to save you from the townspeople, to save you from that horrible fire they insist on keeping.”
“And I got my answer from God.” He smiled broadly and kissed his wife’s forehead. “You’re here in my arms, aren’t you? I will never lose you. I will not lose you!” he said more sternly. “Now, stop talking about supernatural creatures and protecting me with amulets.”
He used the pad of one finger to tilt her chin upward. “And, Eyanna, you must stop spouting this nonsense to people. Two men were burned in that fire two days ago. The people claimed they were vampires. I don’t know where they got that idea, but I know it’s not true. Those men were friends of mine. They were Christians, Eyanna, not vampires. God would never allow something as horrible as you describe to befall the faithful. Even if there were such creatures, surely a person’s belief in God would prevent it from happening to them.”
“No buts. I stand firm on this.” He brought her closer. “I’m so sorry that I don’t have the means to take you away from this place. Then maybe your dreams would stop. I should have never married you. I want so much more for you than a life of want.”
“Being poor doesn’t bother me, Adam, it never did. My only worry is that I’ve taken you from what you loved the most.”
“No, no, my love, you’re what I love the most.” He took a deep breath and turned away as he blew it out. “My not shepherding the flock doesn’t mean I’ve lost my connection to God. My loving you is right. Our marriage was ordained by God. You know that, I’ve told you often enough. Now please tell me what is really troubling you.”
“I’m so afraid that something will happen to you, that you will be taken from me. Please just humor me, wear the ring.”
“I must know what you’ve done.”
“Call it the wishes of a wife to give her husband a gift. I didn’t know I would have to work so hard to give you a gift, to tell you how much I love you. Perhaps you don’t want my gift because you have become tired of me.” She brought her eyes to his and held his gaze. “Perhaps you regret your decision to leave the church. “
Eyanna allowed a tear to fall, feeling guilty as she did so. Adam had such a tender heart; a woman’s tears would always be his undoing. Another tear fell. “If you think me evil, Adam, I will leave this very night.”
Before the words were done he was holding her in his arms. “I love you, Eyanna, my beautiful wife. I will love you for all eternity. That is my promise and my pledge to you. I will never stop loving you, never. If I live for a thousand years I will love you. If I die and am reborn, I will continue to love you. And if you should die, I will plead with God night and day to return you to me. You’re my reason for living. My soul cannot live without you.”
He took his wedding ring from his finger and slid it unto his right hand, then allowed his wife to place the ring with the huge amber stone on his left hand close to his heart, as she’d requested. The metal scorched his flesh. “Ouch,” he said. When he attempted to remove it, Eyanna stayed his hand.
“Leave it,” she said. “It will be alright. It’s just some herbs causing the heat.”
“Herbs?” Adam laughed. “You expect herbs to protect me from what you say are vampires?”
“Adam, listen to me. This is very important. I want a promise from you.” His lips were hot, trailing kisses across her skin. “Adam, please promise me.”
“I promise. I will never take this ring from my finger.”
“I mean it, swear it.”
“You know I can’t swear.”
Blinking rapidly, Eyanna saw the young priest her husband had been before he left the church. “I’m sorry, Father.” She shook her head. “I forgot.” She gazed into her husband’s eyes as fear for his safety began to grip her. She needed him to swear for the spell to be complete.
“I’m sorry, I forgot I’m no longer a priest. You don’t have to call me Father anymore. I’m your husband. I swear that I will never remove this ring from my finger. I will wear it always.”
“Not even to wash, Adam, nothing. Do you understand? Never take this ring from your finger, never. Understand?”
“Swear to me, Adam.”
“There are no such things as vampires.”
“It doesn’t matter if you believe me. Just swear. And this time I want you to mean it.”
“This ring will not protect me. Only God can do that.”
“Swear,” Eyanna insisted as tears fell from her eyes. “Please swear this to me.”
“If I do, will you stop this nonsense and allow me to make love to my wife?”
“In that case, I swear I will never remove this ring from my finger for as long as I live. I will keep it next to my heart and I will always think of you, my love.” His lips touched the ring and he felt a strange tingle but forgot it as he caught the lips of his wife.
“I love you, Adam. You’re all I’ve ever wanted. I will try to be worthy of you, I swear.”
“You are worthy of me. Now hush and stop talking, woman, I’m trying to kiss you.”
Vampires. Adam thought it was nonsense, Eyanna was aware of that. She felt the lust beginning in Adam as he held her more firmly. Then she heard the moan deep in his throat and all thoughts of vampires slid out of her mind.
Present Day Chicago
The memory flashed through Adam, searing his soul. He felt the fire lick her skin, burning away her flesh, and he screamed out in agony. After a thousand years, he was still tortured by memories from the past.
Adam shivered as he felt the call of another’s blood. Eve. He’d learned her name, entered her dreams and she’d entered his soul.
He wanted her, and not just for a night of pleasure. He wanted Eve for eternity, or at least her lifetime. But she wasn’t the woman who now occupied his bed. Her, he wouldn’t bother to call a second time.
He could barely see the woman in his bed for the red haze that clouded his vision. He held on to her words, needing them to bring him back into the now. It wasn’t working. What she was doing gave him pleasure but it wasn’t enough. His flesh quivered in her mouth as she attempted to drain him of every drop. It should be enough to stop the images, but it wasn’t. Eve was near and he knew it. His body tensed as he breathed in hard, thinking of her.
With a swiftness that even his vampiric knowing couldn’t forestall, Adam hauled the woman upward in the bed and sank his fangs into her neck. He needed something to obliterate his pain. It fell short because he saw only his companion’s pain, a woman whose name he couldn’t remember.
The blood, hot and fruity, flowed into him, but he felt no rush. There was a sourness to it. The memories—if only it would wash away the memories. But it didn’t. It produced more memories.
“With this ring I thee wed.”
“I love you, Adam.”
“I hate you, Adam.”
An image followed his thoughts: him helpless, Eyanna screaming out in agony. And fire, so much fire, and then more pain; his, hers.
“You’re hurting me, please stop.”
The pitiful moan from the woman in his arms reached him and brought him away from the pit of madness. He searched his memory for her name but it remained elusive. The only name that came to him was Eve and this woman lying in his bed, in fear, wasn’t Eve.
He could barely see his companion for the evening but the haze was lifting. Adam crooned his apologies before licking the wound and cauterizing the area. Master vampire that he was, he’d lost control. It was time he met Eve in person. She was infecting his senses.
When the haze totally cleared, Adam saw the fear in her eyes. Anna, that was her name. “Don’t worry, Anna,” he whispered to her. “For the rest of the evening I will give you only pleasure.”
He moved down her body, finding her slick with sweat. The stench of fear covered her, but he ignored it. He owed her, owed her the pleasure he’d promised her.
When his mouth found her breast taut and ready, Adam could see the fear in her draining away. When the night was done he would be left with her taste in his mouth and she would be left with memories of the greatest night of pleasure of her life.
Adam looked at the woman’s neck before moving down her body. As always, the puncture marks were gone. Now only a bruise remained, which would fade before she left his home. He forced himself to pay more attention to Anna, to stay his mind from Eve. There was plenty of time for him to make contact with her.
The sauce from the shrimp scampi dribbled back into the plate. Adam looked down at it, pushing his fork through the food, his mind not on eating but on the woman sitting a couple of tables in front of him. This mortal was truly magnificent. “Eve,” he said, caressing her name and sending his touch to her shoulder. He saw her shudder, felt her heat and smelled her essence as it flowed from between her thighs.
No more proof was needed. Eve’s soul was answering the call of his soul. She’d heard him the entire time. Even when he’d released her from the trance, she’d heard him. Eve belonged to him now; he’d branded her as his own. Very soon he would go to her and offer her a life filled with exquisite pleasure. She would accept him, what mortal wouldn’t?
As he watched the mortal man sitting with Eve, Adam bristled and ran his fingers back and forth over the grooves his nails had furrowed in the wooden table. He’d seen the mortal pinching Eve, trying to bring her out of the trance. Little did the man know that only Adam could release Eve. And little did he know that Adam wanted to kill him for hurting her. She belonged to him now and Adam would not tolerate the mortal hurting her.
He smiled as Eve glared at the man. When he heard her words, Adam’s smile turned into a grin. It appeared that Eve could take care of herself. Rather than being afraid of the trance she had been in, she was angry with her companion.
He glanced curiously at the amber ring that sat on his finger, as it had for a thousand years. For some reason Adam couldn’t fathom, the ring had burned his flesh. The sensation had lasted less than a nanosecond but he’d felt it. Very curious, he thought as he looked at the ring and blinked at the glow it emitted. He glanced in Eve’s direction, watching as she brushed her hand through her hair and gazed at him.
For a second, Adam made eye contact with her before deciding to glance away. “Very soon, Eve,” he whispered into her mind, “very soon.”
“Snap out of it, Eve, we’re in public.”
She heard Eric’s voice, had heard him for the past few seconds but she couldn’t explain what was happening to her. It was as it always was, a voice calling out to her. The voice sounded as though it were filled with terror, then anger. It was something she couldn’t identify but had known her entire life. Something or someone was after her. It was as though she was falling into the pit of hell and couldn’t stop the slide, although she desperately wanted to. For most of her life, sexual dreams had dominated her sleep. Telling her mother had done no good. Telling her minister had been even worse. He’d thought she was possessed. Fear of the reaction kept Eve from revealing the powerful attraction she felt for the man shadowing her dreams. She struggled not to hope that he was real.
A shudder of awareness pulled at her and she glanced around before blinking her eyes and settling her gaze on Eric.
“Eve, snap out of it.”
She couldn’t believe it, she felt pain. Eric was pinching her. How had she ever allowed herself to become involved with him? She wasn’t in love with him and he wasn’t in love with her. They were each using the other.
Eve wanted to be with Eric, hoping his connection with the church would save her. Her instincts told her that if the man in her dreams truly existed, he would have the power to destroy her. Countless times her mother had found her naked and writhing on the bed because of her dreams. Eve couldn’t stop the dreams but putting a lock on her door had relieved her mother from having to witness whatever was happening to her. Nothing gave relief to Eve. Neither doctors nor psychiatrists had been able to help. The only clear path had been for Eve to pray, to devote her life to goodness.
Months of observing Eric in a psychology class had convinced her that the life her minister had preached for her to lead was indeed possible. She constantly prayed that Eric’s pious demeanor would somehow rub off on her. Her minister had told her that evil was threatening to overtake her. And she feared it was near.
Eric, on the other hand, was fighting his own demons. Eve wasn’t stupid. The man had never been turned on by her. Eve provided respectability for Eric. It kept the women in the church from pursuing him and it kept his father from badgering him about finding a woman and settling down. Eve fit the bill. She deferred to Eric on religious matters, and her manner of dress spoke of a woman without sexual needs. She would make the perfect wife for the son of a priest. They were together because of their needs, not their desires. Neither had voiced this, but they both knew and they accepted it.
“Eve, stop it.”
Eric’s voice had taken on a cruel edge and his fingers were pinching her skin harder than before. She blinked and blinked again, trying harder to come back, trying to sever the ties with the man who kept coming to her in her dreams. She could swear she’d seen him in the daylight hours watching her, following her. Feeling a touch on her neck, a finger brush across her skin, she’d turned many times trying to catch him, but there’d always been no one there. The feelings were getting stronger. Either Eve was going mad or evil had found her. A tremor touched her soul. Some part of her wanted him. The knowledge came swiftly. It seemed that all her life she’d waited for this man, knowing what he represented. And it hadn’t mattered.
“Eric, are you crazy? Stop pinching me.”
“Where were you? This time you were out for almost five minutes, just staring out into space. It’s freaky.”
“Excuse me if I embarrassed you,” Eve said with all the sarcasm she could muster. “The pinching wasn’t necessary.”
“It was,” Eric fumed. “I looked like a fool sitting at the table with you in a trance. You have a problem. Maybe you should get some help.”
“And maybe you should get help for yours,” she glared. “You think you’re better than I am because your father’s a priest. You think that gives you an automatic pass into heaven. Being judgmental is a sin, Eric. Perhaps your father could counsel us both.”
Eric blanched, visibly shaken. “Just try to control it from now on. I’ll pray for you,” he muttered.
“Pray for yourself,” Eve said. She wished she could call him on not being in love with her, but then she’d have to call herself on not being in love with him.
“And you wonder why I don’t take you out more.”
He said these words under his breath, but Eve heard them, just as she was meant to. For the millionth time she wondered if giving up on her life in order to find peace from a phantom was really worth it.
“Eve, Eve, Eve.”
The voice in her head was calling to her again in a singsong fashion and she fought hard to keep from going under again. She thought of her earlier musings regarding Eric. Her relationship with him was managing to keep her sane, just barely. Still, she remained on this side of the locked psychiatric ward, the side where she chose to remain.
Catching the scent of Turkish tobacco, Adam turned to spot Sullivan. He had to be more careful. Adam made a mental note not to take his former friend lightly. He’d heard the rumors that Sullivan planned to overthrow him. It was nothing new; the vampire tried it every fifty years or so.
“Why are you following me?” Adam turned toward Sullivan and gave a snort of derision at Sullivan’s companion, a little weasel of a vampire. Uriel was the worst of the vampire lot, no class, no loyalty.
“This is a public club and I owe you no explanation,” Sullivan said.
A sigh of regret for the things that had torn their friendship apart seized Adam. He took several breaths, readjusting his thoughts, and leveled both with a glare meant to instill terror. In Uriel it did.
“We were not following you, Adam.” Uriel spoke in a hurried voice, stopping when Adam wagged a finger negatively beneath his nose.
Sullivan turned slowly toward Uriel with a look of disgust. For a long moment, he stared. Then he turned toward Adam. “You have a business to run. Don’t you ever worry that I’ll one day take it over?”
“If I was worried, then I wouldn’t have put you in charge.”
“Do you think that makes up for what you did?” The mild irritation Sullivan had displayed toward Uriel was nothing compared to his blind fury toward Adam. “It does not, Adam, and one day I will make you pay.”
“If working for me is so hard, why don’t you leave? You’re a damn vampire; you don’t need me.”
Sullivan studied Adam before allowing his voice to fall back into the cultured tones he preferred. “I want to remain a thorn in your side for the rest of eternity.”
“If you live that long,” Adam said softly with not even a hint of malice in his voice.
“Then as long as I live.”
An impatient breath came from Adam before he could stop it. He had expressed his regret for the last three hundred years, and yet Sullivan had not forgiven him. “Why the hell don’t you smoke the damn things,” he asked and reached for Sullivan’s package of cigarettes that he always toyed with, never daring to smoke. “What?” he asked, looking from Uriel to Sullivan. “Do you think smoking these will kill you?”
“I don’t find you amusing,” Sullivan said quietly.
“You don’t find me anything, but I find you are beginning to bore me.” Adam lit a cigarette and glanced around the club. “Why don’t the two of you find yourselves a companion for the evening, make love, taste some fresh blood. It might be just what you need,” he said pointedly to Sullivan.
“You know very well I don’t desire mortals,” Sullivan replied, glaring at Uriel. “We came here to talk to you, Adam, not to go to bed with mortals.”
Annoyed by the way Uriel was almost salivating as his gaze followed Adam’s around the crowded club made Sullivan snap, “Uriel, remember the job.”
“I remember, but perhaps Adam is right. One more night more or less will not hurt. I do desire mortal women. I don’t discriminate.”
For the first time since sitting, Uriel was displaying an independent thought. The strong smoke drifted upwards into his nostrils and Adam waved it away, then looked at the cigarette in his hand and snapped his fingers, turning the half-burned cigarette into ash.
“You could have just put the thing out in the ash tray…like any other…”
“Mortal? But I’m not a mortal, neither are you. And those things you buy don’t make you into one.”
“And neither does your lusting after one,” Sullivan fired back indignantly.
“Gentlemen, please, there are much better things we can be doing with our time than fighting each other.” Uriel took one of Sullivan’s cigarettes, lighting it by snapping his finger as Adam had done. Then he laughed, shaking his head in the direction of both of them. “Who would believe it, one vampire who doesn’t desire to bed those of our kind, and another who won’t bed mortals.” He laughed harder in spite of the angry looks both Sullivan and Adam were tossing his way. “I do them all,” he confessed. “Blood is blood.”
“And you make such a mess of it.” Secretly Adam was glad that the little weasel had chosen to change the conversation. He hated doing battle with Sullivan over the same old things. An exaggerated sigh filled the momentary pause before Adam continued. “There are other places to inflict your bite, Uriel, places that won’t be seen.”
“I could care less about leaving a mark. I want these mortals to know I exist.” Uriel studied the mortals in the club, then hissed, “I want them to fear me.”
“They fear none of us. We are but things they see on the screen. They make up excuses for us. They write books and make movies and they have determined what we do and don’t do and how we behave. It’s all very funny really when you think about it.”
“All of it is not made up, Adam. All of us cannot walk out into the sun or keep holy water in our homes. All of us cannot wear a crucifix. And none of us have dared to walk into a church and sit.”
“But you could.” This Adam said softly, once again remembering the friendship he’d enjoyed with him long before he’d betrayed Sullivan. “There is no expiration on the offer I made to you.” He glanced toward Uriel and entered Sullivan’s mind. Their conversation was not for the weasel.
Adam repeated his offer. “Take my blood.” He stared directly into Sullivan’s eyes, hoping this time Sullivan would take his offer. Perhaps that would make up for Adam’s killing Joanna. Even though her death was accidental it had been at Adam’s hand. He stared intensely into Sullivan’s eyes, keeping the mind lock with him. Then he blinked, unable to pretend. Joanna had been the last woman Sullivan had loved and the only mortal. Since then Sullivan had never touched another mortal woman in the act of love, only to feed.
“What you have, Adam, is a rare mutation, something that happens in less than a half of one percent of vampires. You can’t just give your immunity from the sun and holy water away that easily.”
“How do you know?” Adam asked seriously. “I’m not the only one with this mutation.”
“Have you ever attempted to transfer it?”
“And you never attempted to give me your gift until after Joanna. It would soothe your conscience, wash away your guilt over drinking every drop of her blood.” Sullivan blinked, still maintaining mental contact with Adam. “I don’t want you absolved of your guilt, Adam. I want you to have it until the day you cease to exist. Now get the hell out of my mind.”
“That was rude.” Uriel looked from Sullivan to Adam, pursing his lips into a pout. “Sometimes the two of you behave as though you think I’m stupid, with not a brain in my head. I am a vampire, gentlemen, remember that.”
“I remember and you’re a damn annoying one.” Adam reached out with the power of his mind and applied pressure to Uriel’s carotid artery, increasing it when the vampire turned pleading eyes on him. “You’re a vampire. Stop the groveling and behave like one.” Adam applied even more pressure as he glared at Uriel, then turned to Sullivan, daring him to try to stop him from choking Uriel.
“Kill him if that’s what you want, but it won’t assuage your guilt, will it, Adam? Or should I call you, Father?”
“Stop calling me that!” Adam banged his hand on the table, releasing Uriel from his mental hold. “What the hell do the two of you want? Why are you here bothering me?”
“Dr. Meah needs permission from you to begin research on a new blood. He’s calling it the AB-1.”
Studying Sullivan, Adam said, “You could have authorized that, Sullivan. You have that power.”
“It’s a lot more money than we’ve ever spent on one experiment. I wanted to check with you.”
“It’s only money, Sullivan.” Adam shook his head and swallowed. Though neither of them would admit it, he and Sullivan were both living in their own private hells. “You have my permission to write the checks, spend what’s needed. There will always be more.”
For a long moment, he stared at Sullivan before dragging his gaze to where Uriel sat. “Uriel, stay with me and let’s party. There are a few mortal women who I want to introduce you to.”
Instantaneous distaste crossed Sullivan’s face at Adam’s comments. Seeing it, relief flooded Adam’s body. This was much better. Sullivan’s anger, his disgust, not his pity or the memories of a lost friendship. Walking away, Adam paused and looked over his shoulder at Uriel, the weasel. “Are you coming?” he asked.
His stomach churned with disgust at the look of pleasure that was on the vampire’s face. Am I now reduced to hanging out with beings such as Uriel? He sighed as the vampire came toward him. Tonight he would stomach the vampire.
Tomorrow he would have Eve.
Sullivan turned just as Uriel materialized in his den. It annoyed Sullivan that he’d come without asking permission. Glaring at Uriel, he scanned the vampire’s mind. One could never be too careful. He would hate to think that Uriel had changed allegiance and now after a night of fun was working for the invincible Adam. When he saw no change he nodded at Uriel to sit.
“So how was it? Are you now a fan of Adam?”
“Actually we had fun,” Uriel said. “As for being his fan, I’ve always admired him. Adam has a way about him, especially with women, mortal and vampire alike.”
“Adam won’t touch a vampire.”
“Maybe not to make love to them, but he does touch them and they touch him.”
Disgust filled Sullivan for Adam and Uriel’s actions. Both vampires had always appeared to have insatiable sexual appetites, unlike Sullivan who preferred a mate. It had been a long time since he’d had one.
Glancing around the den to bring his own thoughts under control, he glared when his gaze landed on Uriel and he saw the intensity with which the other vampire was studying him.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
“What’s going on with you two? What was Adam offering you?” Uriel asked.
“Why didn’t you ask Adam?”
As he’d known, Uriel didn’t have an answer. He was much too cowardly to ever question Adam in this manner. It annoyed him that Uriel didn’t have that same fear of him. He had to be careful, set boundaries, let the vampire know who was in charge.
“You think you have the right to ask me this?” Sullivan said.
“I didn’t mean any disrespect. But it’s just…well…I thought things were different between us. I thought we were friends. Partners,” Uriel offered.
Sullivan stared for a long moment, not sure how to answer Uriel’s question, not sure if he would.