Midnight Bite(7)

By: Cynthia Eden

Patience was a virtue, right? One of the very few that he possessed. So Devereaux locked his jaw and lowered her to the floor. “You aren’t wearing shoes.”

“Because you can’t run fast in high heels,” she mumbled back, never taking her amazing gaze off his.

His lips quirked. He couldn’t help it. She made him…happy?

No, be careful. Don’t let her get her claws too deeply into you.

“You said you’d help me.” Her breath sighed out. “Okay, fine, let’s see if you were lying or telling the truth. I want out of this bar. I want to go home. And I don’t feel like tangling with another vamp or any wolves.”

No worries on that score. “You only have to tangle with me.”

Her head cocked as she studied him. Her hair trailed over her shoulder.

Do this right. Devereaux straightened and offered his arm to her. He could be gallant. After all, he was royalty. “Shall we?”

Hesitantly, her fingers rose and curled around his arm. “I don’t understand what’s happening tonight. My mother told me to never trust vampires.”

He sent out his power, making sure the humans around them stepped back as he escorted Lark to the door. “Did she have any rules about kissing vampires?”

A quick burst of laughter came from her. A sound like sweet music. Then… “You’re the first vampire I’ve ever kissed. She didn’t specifically mention a rule, but I’m sure she would have been against it.”

The first vampire. “First and only.” The rough growl slipped from him before he could think better of it. But he didn’t want another vamp touching her. Not kissing her. Not taking her blood—

His gaze fell to her throat. Charles was going to get staked before dawn. Bastard.

“What did you say?” She’d stilled near the door.

“I said…Don’t be so sure. Your mother might’ve just had a soft spot for vampires.” Or, at least, for one. Once. But they’d cover that bit of news later. Once he had Lark exactly where he wanted her.

Bonded and bedded.

If he revealed too much, too soon, she’d run. He couldn’t have that. There were too many dangers that she faced. Too many who wanted to take her away from him.

A howl sounded in the distance. Ah, a pack was closing in. Too late. “When we go outside, I won’t let anyone else touch you.” A solemn promise.

She stared at him, as if trying to decide whether or not he was telling the truth. He was. Absolutely.

“You’re not a hunter,” Devereaux told her as he leaned in close. No humans were close. His power kept them away. “You turned away from that life, so you’re not prepared to handle the beasts coming for you. Trust me. I’ll take care of them.”

“I still don’t get why you’re helping me, or how you seem to know so much about me.”

He knew everything. He’d made a point of learning every secret. “I’ll tell you, soon enough.” First, it was time to get her outside.

Time to get her to his home.

He shoved open the club’s door. The cold air came at him, and he thought of her shoeless, cute little feet. He didn’t want her walking on the cold pavement. Devereaux scooped her into his arms and hurried away from the club and the loud humans.

“Fucking bastard!” A tall, broad-shouldered asshole with too-long blond hair strode from the darkness. Four men were at his back. All built along the same long and rough lines. Powerful. Dangerous. Beasts usually were. “You think you got to her first?”

Devereaux lowered Lark until her feet touched the concrete and gently pushed her behind his back. “As usual, Martin, you’re too late. Must suck always coming in second place.”

The men behind the alpha growled.

Devereaux just laughed. “Are you missing a pack member?” Innocently, he posed the question. “I do believe I saw him a few moments ago. The fellow was crawling away to lick his wounds.” He let his laughter and smile fade as his stare sharpened on the pack. “Take a step toward my Lark, and you’ll all be doing the same.”

Martin fisted his hands. “The deal is over. The new year has dawned. I want my vengeance. I’m due.”

Screw this. The werewolf with the too-loud mouth was going to ruin everything. Devereaux surged forward. He locked his fingers around the alpha’s throat and lifted the werewolf two feet off the ground. An alpha was strong, but no match for a vampire with royal blood. “I got her first,” he rasped, keeping his voice low so that Lark would not overhear. “That means I’m due. All vengeance is mine. She is mine. You try to take her, and I’ll destroy every member of your pack. Are we clear?”